Never stop learning
Laurence Adriaens – always willing to go the extra mile
Graduate, cum laude, D.D.S., School of Dental Medicine, University of Ghent, 2002. Master’s Degree in Periodontology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Berne, 2008. Specialist in Periodontology, European Federation of Periodontology 2008. Speaker at international and national congresses (Europerio, SEPA, ITI). ITI fellow since 2008 and Study Club Director since 2009 in Palma de Mallorca. Co-Director of the official Journal of SEPA (Sociedad Española de Periodoncia y Osteointegración). Publications in national and international dental journals.
What is the Women’s Implantology Network (WIN)?
Although the number of women dentists graduating today is higher than men, statistics show that women are under-represented in implant dentistry. This applies to all areas and at all levels ( surgeons, speakers, key opinion leaders (KOLs), practice owners and leadership positions). This imbalance needs to be addressed and it starts with building a strong community of women who are active and successful in implant dentistry. Supported by Straumann's commitment to playing an active role in assisting this, WIN was formed in October 2016. The aim of this network is to connect international women with different involvement and responsibilities (across the dental specialties, academia/private practice, with/without family, part-timers/full-timers etc.) who are willing to share their experience and knowledge. The hope is to inspire fellow women colleagues to enter implant dentistry and expand their skills. The diversity of energetic and successful women in WIN will enable it to address the imbalance in implant dentistry of men and women in the future.
“I want patients to feel at home and safe with me”
Laurence Adriaens is an experienced, internationally trained periodontist and implantologist. She and her husband, Dr. Fernando Franch, also a successful periodontist and implantologist, have their practice in the city centre of Palma de Mallorca. They work as a close team, supporting each other in new techniques and materials. For Laurence, success is always measured in people: the ones she treats, works and lives with. This people-centric approach guides the practice they have run together for nearly 10 years. She likes to devote extra time to her patients as though she were treating a family member. “I don’t want them to be numbers. I want them to feel at home and safe with me.”
“Happy patients at the chair is very gratifying”
Empathy is also key in the dental profession. “No one is keen on seeing us,” she admits. “I once had a patient who was terrified of dentists. She got into the chair, sat on her hands and announced, ‘as soon as I feel pain, I’ll slap you!’ Undaunted, Laurence gently proceeded and, “by the end of the treatment she was relaxed. That’s success and it’s satisfying,” she reflects.
Career growth through implantology
Although she comes from a long line of dentists, it wasn’t until age 18 that she decided to go to dental school. In spite of the fact that she lacked a full science background, she nevertheless took the difficult entrance exam, and passed.
From the beginning, her father Prof. Dr. Patrick Adriaens was a steady and invaluable coach who made her believe she could do anything. After completing dental school she worked 2 years as a general dentist in private practices in Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy. During this time she realized that she was keen to do more than just general dentistry and applied to a master´s study at a school in Switzerland.
“I love surgery”
In October 2004 she began the periodontology program at the University of Berne. The study was demanding and she learned to listen to criticism and see it as help. Her pluck and openness to accept advice yielded a great education.
Prof. Dr. Klaus Lang became a generous and influential mentor in periodontology and implantology, offering her a wide range of learning opportunities, and she found her niche. “I love surgery,” she says. Her Swiss professor was a great example for her. For nearly four years she enjoyed the opportunity of working closely with Prof. Lang. From that she gained an understanding of successful leadership. She defines it as one who is organized, available, supportive, empathetic, loyal, effective and efficient.
Maximizing family quality time while being an engaged dental professional
It’s important to her to be a good partner to her husband Fernando and an involved parent to her young boys, Teo and Ugo. While they’re small she wants to maximize time with them and treats patients three days a week. She’s been an active member of the International Team for Implantology (ITI) in Spain for 8 years, and organizes 4 ITI Study Clubs in Mallorca every year. Laurence was a key inaugural member of the WIN initiative, attending the first workshop in Zürich in 2016 and she welcomes this forum for mentoring women dentists. These are her advices:
- Where there’s a will, there’s a way, don’t give up.
- Get a solid foundation of 2-3 years as a GP before pursuing a specialty.
- Implantology is not just drilling a hole! You need a thorough understanding of biology.
- Choose a top educational program, even if it means applying 3 times, and work to distinguish yourself as the best.
- You need strong business training, which isn’t offered in dental school. Find it in professional programs or from experienced practitioners.
- Never stop learning. Take all the hands-on courses you can.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch it. Try new things.
- Listen to criticism and see it as help.
- Invest in social organizations to build your practice.