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20 Mar 2018

By Basil Mizrahi

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In pursuit of dental excellence

Basil Mizrahi talks about how he achieved his dream of opening a state of the art dental practice that incorporates a hands-on teaching centre.

Throughout his career, Dr Basil Mizrahi has always pursued a very clear vision: to combine his two passions of dentistry and teaching.

Basil graduated from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand in 1989. Shortly afterwards, he completed an MSc in dentistry with a major in periodontics, but his ambition wouldn’t let him stop there.

He relocated to the USA where he completed a three-year full time specialist programme in prosthodontics and implant dentistry at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. While specialising in prosthodontics he also obtained an MSc in education. Driven to put both into practice he again relocated, this time to the UK.

Once in London, conscious of his desire to deliver the very best in dental care and teaching, Basil headed to Harley Street.

‘I rented the first empty room I could find,’ he confides. That location, 39 Harley Street, was to be his address for 13 years. He conducted his teaching at UCL Eastman Dental Institute, and his practice grew and thrived.

‘The advantage of starting from scratch is that you get to build your own practice based on the kind of dentistry you want to do, and the kind of patients you want to treat,’ he explains.

‘I’m a perfectionist by nature and I wanted to provide the highest quality of dental treatment, catering to the most demanding and discerning of patients.’

At the same time Basil started running hands-on didactic courses in all aspects of advanced aesthetic and restorative dentistry.

Bringing it together

Basil continues: ‘I wanted to realise my dream of building a hands-on teaching centre within my dental practice. I knew that by inviting delegates into my actual practice and working environment, I could offer so much more educationally.’ Now well-established, and with an enviable reputation in both restorative dentistry and teaching, it was time to take the next step: to bring the two disciplines together under the same roof.

The facility would need to accommodate his specialist restorative dental practice and provide a teaching environment that would allow observation and participation in live patient treatment. An imaginative dual-purpose solution was required to satisfy both purposes without compromise or detriment to the other. Staying in the heart of London’s medical district was also a high priority for him.

After five years of searching, Basil secured a 1,000 square foot apartment in Harley Street (Figure 2). From the outset it was obvious that the refurbishment process would be complex and involve a number of contractors and suppliers. A daunting process for some, but his clear vision provided sufficient motivation.

Architect Alan Tate of Grey Associates, who came highly recommended, was on hand from the start to translate his vision into an elegant design statement that would satisfy all eventualities.

Not only would the new space need to fit a number of different roles, the compact environment also needed to reflect the type of high quality dentistry being provided, and create a high-class but relaxing environment.

The list of requirements Basil gave his designer was long and complex. The dental surgery needed to function as a regular dental surgery yet also be able to integrate into the teaching facility and allow for live patient teaching courses. A smaller second surgery was needed for an associate and a hygienist (Figure 8). In addition a small private office, bathroom and decontamination room were also required.

The same space would, on demand, need to be transformed with the least amount of effort into a teaching centre. This would necessitate a large floor area that could accommodate lecture-style seating for about 30 dentists for seminars, and study clubs. In addition, facilities were required for eight handson ‘phantom head’ demountable teaching benches, and the ability for dentists to come and observe live patient treatment either directly, or filmed through high quality HD video cameras and projected onto a large screen.

All this meant the surgery had to be able to open up completely and become an integral part of the teaching area when needed. To this end the entire front wall of the surgery was designed and purpose-built to open up elegantly, and seamlessly, with ease. Similarly, a retractable folding wall was made between the waiting room and the private office. Air-conditioning, central heating and a fresh air exchange ventilation system were also installed.

All in all, the project took six months – two more than planned – with attention to fine detail being of the essence.

All's well that ends well

As a result, Basil now owns a distinguished, modern, and versatile dental centre equipped with high-end dental resources. The list of equipment on site makes for impressive reading.

The Planmeca Sovereign dental chair has an extremely versatile movement range, with a double rotating base. This allows for optimal chair positioning for use of a microscope and access for dentists observing live patient treatment. The chair is electronically operated, which allows for optimal control of the electric micro-motors and speed-increasing hand pieces that Basil uses routinely.

The dental cabinetry is elaborate and customised to Basil’s exacting specifications, which took many conference calls between him, the design team, and his highly experienced dental nurse, Sandra Seeram. These calls allowed the design of the cabinetry to be modified immediately on screen in front of all parties.

The cabinetry incorporates a mobile trimming bench with integrated suction, compressed air feed, and a laboratory handpiece for trimming and adjusting temporaries under the microscope. This bench has an extendable working surface and doubles as a demonstration bench during teaching courses.

The cabinetry also incorporates a mobile photographic cabinet to allow photography of objects on an elevated glass surface against various coloured backgrounds. A special LED white light was mounted on the wall behind the cabinet. When this cabinet is wheeled out, patients sit on a chair in the recess in front of the LED light, which creates a pleasing and shadow-free white background for portrait photography.

As for audio visual equipment, no expense has been spared. The set up allows for an unprecedented ‘live-patient’ teaching experience with instrumentation that captures the highest level of detail and clarity when filming and photographing dental procedures.

Equally, patients can expect their treatment to not only be of the highest excellence, but conducted within an environment that exudes comfort and relaxation, as patients can spend many hours undergoing treatment in one day.

Attention to detail with subtle lighting, rugs and beautiful bronzes create a calming dental experience. After much effort and focus, the Mizrahi Dental Centre opened in the second part of 2012. Since the opening, a constant stream of patients, colleagues and delegates eager to learn have come through the door and everyone is full of praise for the look, feel and facilities at the centre.

The ‘wow factor’ has been created as Basil envisaged it – not only for the smiles he creates and the teaching he delivers, but for the creation of a distinguished dental practice and teaching centre in the heart of London’s medical district.

Download the full article to see photographs of the practice. 

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