Facing the challenges: A Norwegian in London

Facing the challenges: A Norwegian in London

Read the unusual story of a man who was never hesitant to overcome any obstacles in life.

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Facing the challenges: A Norwegian in London

Between moving to a foreign country, specializing in a demanding field of dentistry and setting up his own specialist practice – Dr. Nicolai Orsteen is a prime example of a man who embraces challenge. Learn more about Nicolai, how he unexpectedly became a specialist in root canal treatments, and how he eventually set up his practice in a foreign country.

Against all odds

Nicolai earned his DDS at the University of Oslo in 2002. After gaining a few years of work experience, he decided to continue studying for a specialist degree in endodontics. Paradoxically, while studying for the DDS, Nicolai wasn’t very fond of performing root canal treatments at all. They even frightened him: “In the beginning, I was scared of root canals. I really didn’t like doing them,”  he admits.

At the same time, he felt the urge to learn more about this specific type of treatment: “I felt that I didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t happy with the results, so in my fourth year I asked one of my teachers in endodontics if I could observe him in practice. I nursed for him one evening per week for almost a year. I then learnt all his routines and since then I have enjoyed endodontics.”

Now, Nicolai is intrigued by the workflow and the way he is able to set up a system for the treatment. Being a specialist has some great advantages, but there are also a few disadvantages. One is the fact that Nicolai has forgotten how to do general dentistry: “I’m not that good at normal dentistry anymore,” he says with a smile. In exchange, however, he has gained a deep understanding of a specific field of dentistry: “What I’m good at is root canals. Why should I do anything else?”

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Relocating to London

While studying, Nicolai met his wife, who lived in London. He decided to move to London to try it out, and over a year ago he set up his own practice, the Root Canal Dental Referral Centre.

The relocation, however, also provided a few challenges: “I moved to London without knowing any dentists. As a specialist I’m dependent on other dentists knowing and trusting my work to get patients referred. I had to make connections. First, I started working in an endodontic-only specialist practice and in another practice with other specialist where I was the only endodontist. It takes time to get dentists to know you and trust your work,” he explains.

Despite these teething problems, Nicolai has fallen in love with London and its multi-cultural environment. He enjoys taking advantage of the many professional and social opportunities the city has to offer.

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Back to the roots

While he embraces London’s multiculturalism, Nicolai wanted to stay true to his roots by bringing a Nordic feel to his own practice: “Most practices in the UK are very different from the ones in Norway, and I wanted to build a Nordic practice in the UK. I wanted airy treatment rooms, high-end equipment and efficient work flow,” he explains. 

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At the same time, Nicolai stresses the importance of providing a secure environment based on trust, where his patients can feel comfortable and relaxed. The XO unit proved to be the perfect fit for his vision: “The XO unit is the best on the market. It works perfectly with my workflow. It is also very comfortable for my patients, who spend 1-2 hours per appointment. The XO is the first unit that I have used which has not needed an engineer to come and fix. It’s a workhorse,” Nicolai concludes.

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