It all started with Lego®
Charlotte Stilwell – a pioneering dental professional
Charlotte Stilwell is a model of a modern day dentist, having blazed a trail in the early days of implant dentistry. She is an advocate for excellence in patient care and a mentor to young professionals. She has also mastered the balancing act between work and family.
Danish, born in Copenhagen. Graduate, Royal Dental College, Copenhagen 1983. Specialist in Prosthodontic Dentistry, General Dental Council, UK 2000. Royal London Medical Dental School 1983-1988. General dental practice 1988-1995. Private referral practice 1995 to date. Senior lecturer, University of Geneva Dental School, 2015 to date. Editor-in-Chief ITI Online Academy 2014 to date. Member Education Committee since 2010. Examiner in Implant Dentistry, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh 2013 to date.
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.
It all started with lego
She was just three years old when her father recognized the skills of dentist. Her Dad spent a lot of time at the dental school in Copenhagen that he supplied with x-ray films. Charlotte’s creativity and concentration in building complex Lego structures reminded him of the dental students. The dream took hold and she never looked back. Even now she says, “Dentistry is both my day job, and my hobby.”
When Charlotte finished dental school, Implantology was something entirely new. It wasn’t until 1995 that she encountered patients with existing implants. It was with trepidation that she began a steep learning curve in order to treat them. She recalls, “This was in the early days of managing patients with existing implants and associated complications. They were challenging and difficult and I remember that they made me feel, at age 37, that I now knew what it was to be a grown up.” Her apprehensions about the process were relieved with the help of several generous mentors who equipped her with their own growing knowledge in the field. Dr. Julia Davis and Dr. John Besford, both prosthodontists, and Dr. Stephen Dover, an oral surgeon, guided Charlotte and introduced her to the International Team for Implantology (www.iti.org.) Trevor Brooker an experienced prosthetic technician was also an important teacher along with the representatives from Straumann who were a constant source of information and support.
Perseverance paid off
Those first difficult cases turned out to be a rewarding education. Charlotte now runs her own London practice where she plans and restores implants that are placed by a surgical colleague. She has found that planning her own cases and working in tandem with a surgeon is much easier than the early days. She enjoys her specialty practice now, as much as her general work, and takes special pleasure contributing to teaching at the University of Geneva, and designing curriculum as a member of the ITI Education Committee. She is also the Editor of the ITI Online Academy (academy.iti.org).
“With the increasing percentages of women dentists worldwide, I feel we have a collective professional duty to offer (our patients) a whole spectrum of dental options. This means a substantial number of us must become involved in implant dentistry.” Charlotte Stilwell
Parenting and professional career – an ideal match
Charlotte is an enthusiastic champion of implant dentistry. She explains, “It is a treatment that can offer significant improvement of quality of life to our patients.” About women she adds, “With the increasing percentages of women dentists worldwide, I feel we have a collective professional duty to offer (our patients) a whole spectrum of dental options… this means a substantial number of us must become involved in implant dentistry.” Further, “For a professional wanting to expand in dentistry implantology is a worthwhile step and readily available through flexible education options.” Like dentistry, parenting is a rewarding and challenging career. Charlotte found them to be an ideal match. It was the combination of support from her husband Matthew and a flexible practice schedule that allowed her to be really involved with her kids, Thomas and Cecilia during their school years. Now that they’re grown she has time for teaching, mentoring, riding horses, running and traveling.