Join us as Loran Simon, Founder of Somnowell Marketing and the Somnowell device, interviews dentists around the world and shines a light on dentistry and dental marketing in different countries. This interview is with Dr Tula Oros, from Hospital de la Solidaridad de Wanchaq, based in Cusco, Peru.
Loran Simon: My first question for you is, why did you become dentist?
Dr Tula Oros: When I was 18, I started to study for a small profession. It's not for the university, the name in Cusco or in Paris, Instituto. It was to... For to make a fake teeth for the dentist. Some laboratory. And I wanted to learn more about why people has this kind of disease. Or why these things happen? And that's why I started my long adventure to become a dentist. And I really had opportunity to meet one doctor, the doctor, Michael Holt, from United States.
And I volunteer with him since 2009 or '10, I guess. All the time we build this kind of stuff or things. And that was my goal for me. Just seeing the difference you can make in the people when you teach them that this is very, very important, the dental health. So, since that I knew that I took the right decision to study for a dentist and I did it.
Loran Simon: Wonderful. In England we see there's a lot more information now in the news about how good dental health or bad dental health can create other problems in your body.
Dr Tula Oros: Yes, it is. And... I used to work with a company, the Metlife company for five years. And we went to the communities around the Cusco. And it's terrible when you see what happen with the teeth of the people. And it's like a... I mean... And the culture here is different. They think that the baby teeth is not important because they will fell.
But they is with abscess with everything and they think, "No, no, no problem. I don't feel any pain." It's the mentality.
Loran Simon: Right. So a lot of education needs to happen.
Dr Tula Oros: Lot of education. We went for around four years, at the same community, every year, and we change it. The mentality. And all the time the people come, the young mothers come with their babies and we knew that this is way we can change. Learning and learning and learning and teaching and teaching and teaching about them.
Loran Simon: What are the biggest marketing challenges that you face and how do you deal with them?
Dr Tula Oros: In Peru the prices of the dental treatment. We have a lot of dentists here. And not enough patients. And if we want to get one patient, we have to give them lower prices. It's like... It's difficult. Because we have more and more universities, and all the universities have gone through... They have more dentists... And the culture here is different. The people go to the dentist only when they feel pain.
Just for cleaning, or just for see if everything is okay. So that's the biggest problem between us. But I'm lucky because I contact with some people that they like good quality. They don't see the prices. They like good quality. I contact with people who send me tourists and the tourists pay the correct price. And I work with people who likes good treatment. And I focus in that. So I work with these kind of patients and I don't need to give them a lower prices.
Loran Simon: Thank you. So marketing has changed a lot recently, in the last 10 to 15 years. What does this mean for dentists? Is it easier or harder now?
Dr Tula Oros: I think it's easier, because the social media is everything for everybody now. Like in my case, I didn't need any marketing, only my own work and it was working for me. And it's nice because, it's like roses for me, the people say "Oh she's good, she's good." And very good for me it was, because the last year, I had a small office, I was working only me and it was enough for me. But this year, I go up, I have six people working for me and I need another kind of marketing, because it's not enough, why, how I work.
To get more patients. No, so I know that it's very important. And here in Cusco I don't know if we have special companies to do our marketing. I know two, about two small, small companies but I'm not... I don't know if they are very good doing that... But as I told you, I'm since March until now, more working here. This is mine, and I need another kind of marketing. I know that, but I don't know how can I start that, I don't know how... Who can tell me, "We need to do this, this, this, this and you will get more patients" and things like...
Loran Simon: Thank you. What role does cosmetic dentistry play in your practice here today and what do you think the future holds?
Dr Tula Oros: Well, it's very important. I have a few experiences changing literally, the smiles. One was my friend, she looks completely different, she was so happy. She wanted to go to a big travel for Europe, with her department from the school.
And she came here and when... And she said, "I don't like to smile," and when I told her, "Look at the mirror, I will show you." "No, no, no, I don't want to look at my teeth, because I don't like, you just tell me what you can do, to make my smile much better. I know it's difficult but you tell me." And we did a nice job, we took almost one month, one and a half month but two days before she left, she was like "What did you do? Thank you, thank you." It was like, for me, this kind of thing is like "Wow." I don't have any speciality. I'm a general dentist, but I know that I'm doing good, I'm doing well. And I know that the cosmetic industry is very, very important here, because everybody likes to smile, likes to have a nice smile you know. And I know that I have to learn more...
Loran Simon: So do you see cosmetic dentistry growing in your practice in the future, in the next five to 10 years?
Dr Tula Oros: Yes, I know that it's very important. Most people come here, for first because it's pain and then because they want to braces, because they want to... Anything to smile nice. So it's very important.
Loran Simon: Yeah, and it is a huge part of dentistry as we see in America and England, where I've just been recently. People come, it's not the pain in the teeth, it's the lack of confidence. The way their teeth look is affecting their lives, so you can really transform somebody's life.
Loran Simon: Thank you. Do how do you manage the dual roles of being a respected dentist and a business owner? And what tips do you have for new dentists that are just starting out?
Dr Tula Oros: See, I start this big, big project for me. I was fine, because I was working alone, small office, stuff like that. But now it's a big, big responsibility. But even sometimes stress. But at the same time I feel strength, I feel that I grew up, I feel trust in myself, I feel that I can do more. So many problems are round this small, at the same time big, dental office. But it feels really good when you have your own business, and you see that you are doing well. For the new dentists, they have to believe what they want and what they like about the profession. Because when you are a dentist it's not only the teeth, it's everything about the people and about the life of the people, as you have said it's even their mental health. So they have to be sure about what they want and what they like, especially about the profession, and they can go.
When I read your email and read the questions, I thought I have no idea, because we have a really big problem. As I have told you we have lot of dentists and not enough patients. The culture is the problem, but at the same time, it's the government, because the government don't do anything to control the universities. Because there are not the university as part of the government, there are private universities. And if we are a lot of trained dentists and not enough patients, because the patients think "I will go to the dentist only if I feel pain. Not for cleaning, not for anything else. Only for pain." We don't have enough patients. So, if we need to do something different for us, I think, we need to make a difference, something different just to bring patients to us. For Peru I really don't know what's the future. But for my own experience it's just to make a difference.