Alastair Smith is passionate about orthodontics and has always wanted to open his own practice. Here he answers a few questions which explain the background to Pallant Orthodontics and his commitment to working as part of a team.
Why did you choose to be an orthodontist?
My choice of career came as a complete surprise to me. I remember as a child thinking this would be the last job I would choose. Little did I know! I come from a family of medics and dentists and when I decided I wanted a medical training I realised that being a dentist gave you more flexibility. So I chose dentistry over medicine. Then, while at dental school I became interested in orthodontics. I’m still surprised at my choice of career – but happy too because it’s so rewarding. There is only one job I would rather have and that is David Attenborough’s!
Tell us about owning your first practice
Opening the doors of Pallant Orthodontics was an amazing experience. I have worked as a specialist orthodontist in a variety of places, including London’s Wimpole Street, but now I have a professional home of my own! Renovating this wonderful Georgian Grade II building in North Pallant was really exciting. At the front of the practice we look out onto Pallant House Gallery and at the back we have views of the Cathedral. There is also a tiny studio in the courtyard garden which we will turn into the laboratory. When converting the building, my remit to the specialist dental architects was to put the patient at the heart of the practice and I do believe we have achieved it.
How would you describe the way you work?
I like to think I practice understated excellence – but I will let my patients be the judge of that! My overarching principle is to give my patients the kind of treatment I would want for myself or for other family members.
What do you dislike the most?
Hard sell. Anyone who tries to push me into anything will fail automatically. I never push my patients. I give them the options and leave it to them. The first aim of any professional should be to put the interests of your patient or client first.
What do you enjoy most?
In my working life, I really enjoy teamwork. I would never want to work on my own. Outside of work I like spending time with my wife, an oral surgeon, and our children. When time allows, I enjoy playing tennis and cycling on the South Downs.