Up Close with Dr Edgar Kieu
Dr Edgar Kieu is the Deputy Director of Raffles Dental. Aside from caring for patients’ dental needs, he also manages his team of dentists in Raffles Dental. Outside of his professional work, he has been volunteering with the People’s Association for the past 8 years with an interest in youth empowerment and education. He is also the vice-chairman of a School Advisory Committee and a Town Councillor for his constituency.
What made you choose dentistry as a career?
When choosing a career, I wanted a profession where I can work, interact and impact the lives of many people. I also like to work with my hands and as such, dentistry provides the opportunity for me to exercise both my mind and also my hands.
What does your work entail?
As a dentist, my job involves helping patients maintain their oral health and treating conditions related to the teeth, gums and jaws. In dentistry, a large part of the work revolves around patient education. Most dental problems can actually be prevented with proper oral hygiene.
What do you like about what you do?
I love it when my patients tell me at the end of the session that their initial fears were unfounded and they wear a happy smile of relief. Over the years, dental surgeons build a close bond with our patients as we see them every six months. In some ways, we have a very acute sense of the passage of time as every return patient reminds us of how half a year has flown by.
What is most challenging and rewarding about your work?
The most challenging thing involves managing fellow professionals and building a team that shares the same passion for dentistry and subscribe to the Raffles core values. In Raffles Dental, we hold each other to high standards of practice and have established common treatment protocols to provide the best available care for our patients consistently across our clinics and clinicians. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to welcome new colleagues that share the same passion for excellence in dentistry with a strong sense of ethics.
What is a common misconception people have about dental surgeons?
The most common would be that they think whatever we do is unpleasant and painful and we are oblivious to their discomfort. The truth is as dentists we are most cognizant of the patient experience and understand that a comfortable patient is one that will trust us for life.
Any memorable experiences on the job?
In the earlier part of my career with Raffles, I worked with the inmates detained in the Singapore Prison Services. Frequently, inmates would come to see me for dentures before they were released and some teared with joy the moment, they saw themselves in the mirror when the denture was issued. Many mentioned that with their new smile, they are able leave their past behind and attend job interviews with confidence.
If you could change the smile of someone with a high profile, who would it be?
Instead of a single person with a high profile, I would like to continue to maintain the beautiful smiles of the Singapore Girl. The Singapore Girl is an icon of not only Singapore Airlines, but also of Singapore and she is one of our most powerful and visible brand ambassadors.