Dr Marwan Al-Obeidi speaks about DHA Implantology Privilege, COVID-19 and his experience in Dubai
Dr Marwan, it is a pleasure to feature an experienced dentist such as yourself on the Dental Tribune Middle East and Africa edition. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your educational background and your work experience, especially related to the UAE?
Many thanks for giving me this opportunity, and it is my privilege to be interviewed by such a prestigious publication. I graduated in 2003 from Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of medicine and dentistry (King’s College, London) and immediately wanted to explore different avenues in the post-graduate world. I worked as a senior house officer in maxillofacial surgery at The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth UK, and at the Royal Military hospital in Haslar, UK. This gave me my first practical implant experience where I was able to place my first few implants under the direct supervision of the consultants. I realised from that point onwards that I enjoyed, above all, the surgical aspect of dentistry and worked towards this goal. I achieved my membership in the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2007.
In 2012 I decided to broaden my horizon when an opportunity to move to Dubai arose, and I did not hesitate for a moment to move to such a wonderful and vibrant city. I joined the team at Dr Michael’s Dental Clinic and was appointed the Clinical Head of the clinic in 2014. I continued to pursue my implant experience by achieving a post-graduate certificate in implantology from the Cambridge Academy of Implantology in 2015 whilst still working at the clinic, and then my postgraduate diploma in implantology in 2019. In 2019 I moved to our newest clinic in the group, Micris Dental Clinic on the Jumeirah Beach Road where I am currently working in a capacity as a general dentist / implantologist, and as a Medical Director.
You have graduated from the Clinical Implantology Dentistry Certificate & Diploma programme from the CAPP-Tipton Dental Academy, British Academy of Dental Implantology (BADI) and the British Academy of Restorative Dentistry (BARD) in Dubai. Can you tell us what was your experience with the programme and what exactly it consisted of?
I felt that the programme was ideally structured for dentists who wanted to further their implantology career whilst still working. The design of the course meant that it took into account the demands of daily dentistry and so the modules were designed in such a way that they did not interrupt my daily duties.
Having attended CAPP courses and conferences previously, I knew that the programme would be well organised, however, once I started on the first module my expectations were surpassed. The training centre was extremely well organised, and well equipped and the theoretical aspect of implant dentistry was discussed in detail that was easy to follow and relevant to the practical application.
When it came to the practical aspect of the course, the patients were provided by the course organisers (or your own patients should you wish) and the surgery was carried out at a University hospital setting where all equipment and support was provided. One of the best implant systems was used (Straumann) and this underlined the course organiser’s commitment to excellence.
The course consisted of 6 modules that ran over a period of 18 months. Each module was over four days, two of which were practical where implants were planned, placed and restored, and two days were going over the theory of implant dentistry and its clinical application. The course was extremely useful.
I felt that the best thing about the course was the amazing experience I gained from working with such great and renowned clinicians as Prof Göran Urde. Meeting him was a privilege and an honour and I felt he was the best mentor I could have had to embark on my implantology career and not only did I gain from his vast experience but his gentle approach and immaculate attention to detail has helped me gain confidence in not only the clinical aspect of implantology but also the theory and treatment planning.
The course also ensured that the quality of lecturers and clinical demonstrators was of the highest order, and International speakers such as Prof Paul Tipton who is the President of the British Academy of Restorative Dentistry were present to lecture on the clinical application occlusion, soft tissue management, grafting etc.
After completing the Clinical Implantology Diploma, you also applied and successfully obtained from Dubai Health Authority (DHA) your Implantology Privilege. Could you share with our readers more details on how you achieved this privilege? What is your advice to the GP Dentists in Dubai who would like to obtain an Implantology Privilege?
The DHA as you know is a very well organised government institution that is set up to ensure high standards and the safety of patients. It is for this reason that very stringent requirements are in place to ensure the safety of patients. These requirements are set out very clearly on the DHA website and include completing a course with 160 CME hours (continuous within a maximum of 2 years) and completing 30 supervised implant cases (with restorations) successfully. The course I attended was certainly very helpful in helping me reach these requirements. Once these are completed you need to further prove your competency by sitting an exam set by the DHA to ensure that your knowledge in this field is sound and that you are safe to practise.
The process is well streamlined and ensures that the privilege is awarded only to dentists who have demonstrated the required skills and knowledge to proceed to place implants.
Obtaining the privilege is only the beginning of the journey and I advise all GP dentists to continue their post-graduate training in implantology as this is a changing field and we need to stay on top of all modern studies and practises.
Currently, you are working as Medical Director, General Dentist & Implantologist at Micris Dental Clinic in Dubai. Tell us more about the clinic and the procedures which you perform?
Micris Dental Clinic is a relatively new clinic set up in 2019 as part of the bigger Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics Group, one of the oldest, and most successful dental clinics in Dubai. I am extremely fortunate to be working with a team made up of world-class international dentists and hygienists who utilise their knowledge and expertise on a daily basis to provide patient-focused dentistry.
We are a multi-speciality clinic where I am able to practise everyday dentistry including cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and of course surgical and implant dentistry with the support of a great team of specialists who are there to help guide the patient through their treatment journey.
You have been working in Dubai since 2013. What is your experience as a dentist in one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world? How is life in Dubai in general?
Dubai is internationally recognised as one of the top and major cities in the world. Its wonderful hospitable people, warm weather, stunning beaches and scenery, and drive for development make living here a dream for most of us.
The cosmopolitan nature of Dubai helps you grow as a person. Your daily interaction with people from different corners of the world helps you gain an insight into a world you had never experienced. The cultural exchanges that occur in this city are phenomenal and this is reflected in the dental aspect also as you are more exposed to different treatment planning by colleagues who have may have different experiences to yourself.
Although I grew up and spent my whole life in London which is a city I adore, having a Middle Eastern background drew me to Dubai to engage my Arabic heritage. I was overwhelmed with the warm nature of the local Emiratis, who welcome you to consider Dubai as your second home, and they ensure that you are made to feel at home from the moment you step off the plane. This has played a crucial role in me living and working here for all these years and as an expat I am sure that these sentiments are shared by the millions of other expats living in this wonderful city we now call home.
The COVID-19 virus has changed dentistry forever. What precautionary measures are taken in your clinic to protect your patients and all dental staff? Do you believe these measures will become the new norm?
In my opinion, dentistry changed dramatically in the 1980s with the first official reporting of AIDS. Prior to this most dentists around the world did not even use gloves when examining or even treating patients. HIV suddenly changed all this and stricter cross infection controls were brought into place which we now take for granted. I believe the same will occur now with COVID-19. Although the dental clinic is still one of the most sterile environments you are likely to step into due to universal cross infection controls which have rapidly improved in the past 2 decades, further protocols have now been adopted, and I believe will remain, due to this pandemic. We are now much more vigilant in screening our patients, where our patients and staff have their temperature screened as soon as they enter the clinic. A questionnaire is filled out by all patients to help identify the risk of viral exposure to ensure the safety of all patients. Our waiting rooms have been adapted to allow for greater social distancing and I am fortunate to be working in one of the biggest clinics in terms of size in the region with clearly identified markers to ensure adequate social distancing. Hand sanitisers and masks are provided around the waiting areas to maintain the highest protection whilst waiting for your appointment.
We have also adopted a system where longer appointment times are given to ensure greater gaps between patient appointments. This not only helps limit the foot-flow in the clinic to ensure the safety of all patients and staff but also to allow longer fallow time between appointments thus ensuring all clinical spaces are thoroughly cleaned and sterilised between patient appointments.
As I explained earlier, Dr Michael’s Dental Clinics have a long track record of immaculate universal cross-infection measures even prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and therefore the changes we have made, although are hugely significant in helping reduce the spread of the virus, have not deviated dramatically from our usual routine.
Dr Marwan, what are your hobbies and what do you like doing in your private time?
I have to say that having two young children means that I dedicate most of my time outside work to them. I love spending quality time with the family and watching them grow up is a joy as every day is an experience and a surprise.
I also have a passion for history, and I enjoy reading about and exploring the different eras that have come and gone, as I believe that we understand our current times better if we learn from the mistakes that history shows us. This has led me to travel to many wonderful locations in pursuit of observing historical monuments and different cultures that grew from ancient civilisations.
I also enjoy sports, in particular football, but I will not cause a stir by naming my favourite club.
It was a real delight to have you with us on the Dental Tribune Middle East and Africa edition. Thank you very much for this informative and interesting interview.
CAPP is currently the Marketing Partner of the ITI (International Team for Implantology) for the “ITI Implant Privilege Mastership” taking place in the UAE. More information can be found here: https://cappmea.com/implant/ or call/WhatsApp +9715278423659