Posted on 12th May 2020
They say two heads are better than one, and attendees of Drs Paul Gorgolis and Asheen Behari definitely get the many advantages that come with being lectured by these two general practitioners. They are clearly good friends (they were at the same university in Johannesburg and were next door neighbours at the campus residence), but perhaps the courses are also so engaging because the dentists have such a wealth of experiences between them.
For Paul, immediately after he qualified from the University of Witwatersrand, he moved to the UK, aiming to be there for a very short stint, although he quickly realised there was a lot of opportunity there professionally and personally.
“When I was working in the UK, I discovered I had an interest in aesthetic dentistry, and soon realised there were limitations of what my scope of understanding and experience allowed me to do,” he says. “I wanted to source other people to work with and it developed to the UK’s first multi-disciplinary practice.”
Asheen started his own practice after graduating in South Africa, and after about four years also headed to a private practice in London and developed a passion for aesthetic dentistry.
Both ended up in Perth, working as general practitioners (with interests in aesthetic dentistry) and both tutored final–year dental students at the University of Western Australia. They have been running their Ceramics Restorations course for a number of years.
“They say the total is greater than the sum of the parts,” Paul says. “Our experiences are different and we can have different perspectives on the same topic.”
Paul and Asheen’s lectures inevitably incorporate an element of fun, too. “We have a bit of banter, which is good,” Asheen says, laughing. “I also think it is important to present to people that there are different methodologies, without confusing them. There must be a great clarity, but they can see there are different ways to achieve things.”
The duo encourages attendees to participate and ask questions. “We generally find that we do get asked a lot of questions in our courses,” Asheen says. “Because we’re general practitioners, we’re on the same level as everyone else.
“We also create an atmosphere and an environment where I think people feel unafraid to ask questions.”
Asheen explains that at the start of a course, everyone introduces themselves. Then the attendees are asked why they’re at the course and what they want to get out of it. “We write a list of those goals or questions on the whiteboard, and throughout the course we answer those questions.
“At the end of the program we always go back to those questions and make sure that we have covered every question that has been asked.”
“We teach in an informal environment,” Paul says. “I think that is part of the reason why people are comfortable to ask all of their questions.
“The bottom line is we try to create an atmosphere – we don’t have any airs and graces about ourselves,” Paul adds.
Paul and Asheen will be presenting a lecture in June on Ceramic Restorations, which will explore guidelines to help practitioners select and understand the materials and systems that achieve the best aesthetic and functional outcomes for their patients.
Asheen says the course is pitched at a range of people who have interest in the topic.
“We get some youngsters who have just graduated, some much older practitioners and a whole bunch in the middle,” he explains. “So, the course is aimed at giving people greater skills to work with these ceramic materials. It is not uncommon to find older practitioners who have never done any ceramic work.
“We talk a lot about what the materials are, how you work with them, and expectations related to each material. We do a bit of theory and then we do a hands–on component.”
Paul says there is a lot of confusion amongst dentists regarding ceramics, which stems from the huge choice of materials available and the marketing of them, so they are commonly asked what ceramic material to use and when.
Paul and Asheen will also be presenting a follow-up course, “Porcelain Veneers & Ceramic Onlays – A Practical Approach to Multiple Restorations”, which focuses on multiple ceramic veneers and onlays. Attendees do not need to have completed the Ceramic Restorations course to attend, but it is worthwhile so the fundamentals are already covered.