Florin Lazarescu, from the first patient to the President of the European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry

Behind Smilemed stands a team of dedicated, demanding and ambitious physicians led by Florin Lazarescu. He is a physician, is the president of some prestigious international institutions, but first and foremost … he is a man. Although he describes himself as a very tough and very difficult to please, his employees appreciate him and they are standing by him for many years. In fact, powerful people accept their weaknesses, recognize their defects, and testify nonchalantly that they sometimes can do mistakes, isn’t it?

Without putting labels, we invite you to discover the man behind the scrub: Florin Lăzărescu.

Who was your first patient? Do you remember him/her?

Of course (he smiles!). Mrs. Meriu, an elderly, very nice lady. She was the mother of some of my friends, and she was the first person who trusted me, becoming my patient. She came regularly to control and even more, she was bringing cakes for us! It was a very special relationship. I say “was” because the lady died, unfortunately.

What can you tell us about SmileMed?

Smilemed is my first dental office, which is very close to my soul. I opened it in 2001, two years after graduating, and I founded it in collaboration with a very small team. The most people of that time are still standing by my side, even now after 16 years. It’s an environment where it feels like home. And I know from certain sources that the patients feel the same.

But how did you become an entrepreneur in the field you are specialized in?

Our profession is a strictly liberal profession and every dentist, after graduating college must work in a private environment-because the state environment is practically non-existent.

Of course, today there are many possibilities to be hired in a privat office, but 16 years ago there were not many dental clinics as now and the employment opportunities were very low. I worked for two years as, let’s say, an apprentice, for a former college professor. But I felt it was necessary to have my own dental office.

At that time, I had two options: either to buy a studio, obviously relying on the help of my parents and to open a small office in a neighborhood, or to find a location in an elite area, renting the space, equipping it much better than I would have done in the previous scenario (because it was no need for initial investment in the real estate). At that time I had underdeveloped sense of private property, therefore renting seemed to be the optimal solution.

Do you remember your first employee?

Yes, of course I remember. At the beginning I hired two collegues. One of them graduated college one year after me and he was looking for a job. He had a simultaneous activity, as events organizer and he needed to work just occasionally in the office. Neither did I had so many patients, therefore this situation helped me.

The second employee was a physician which I hired for personal reasons.

What can you say about your first colleagues, about them as human beings?

We were all at the beginning, once because we had just finished college, the second because we were the “pioneers” of opening dental practices.
So, we were at the beginning from both professional and business points of view.

We have been experimenting a lot, we have been a very united team, very solid, and we have been together for many years. Life-long friendships have been tied up, one of the doctors still is still standing by us today.

Who is that person? How/when did she/he got into the team?

It’s Maca (Dr. Mihaela Radulescu)! She got into our team from the very beginning of her career, as she was an OMS surgery resident, and she was a very good friend of one of SmileMed’s nurses. They worked together at the hospital, were on night shifts at that time, and so we started to know each other, to became friends. That’s how she got into our team. And since then, she’s with us and that’s what I enjoy very much.

What is the most difficult task of manager’s job?

To harmonize the team. The bigger it is, the harder it is.

What are the criteria you use when recruiting?

What interests me when rectuiting is the human quality of the person I choose to hire and the fact that I feel that I can rely on that person, which counts much more than the initial professional experience, of which, I repeat, I can not appreciate within the first few days, but which can be gained.

How is the ideal employee?

Serious, punctual, and confident: I have to feel that I can rely on that person on the long run.

How do you think your coworkers perceive you?

I think they see me as very tough and inflexible.

And is it so?

Not totally.

Then, please characterize yourself in three to four words.

Very innovative, constant, meticulous.

Are you afraid of anything?

I think I have the same fear as many other people: fear of death. A long period of time I was afraid of heights, in fact of flying, but I overcame it.

How did you overcome this fear?

I think the fear of  flying was due to the fact that I had no control over the aircraft. But, on the other hand, I had the impression that if you are a very good driver and you can control things, nothing can happen. Time has shown me that this is not really true.

That’s what happened when I had a serious road accident: a wrong-way driver crashed into my car. Sure, I was not the one to blame, but couldn’t do anything to avoid that extremely unpleasant and … significant accident.
This has made me realize that, no matter how safe you are, and no matter how much you think you can control things, you can not really control them completely.
It just led to a decline of my fear, and now I have no problem with flying.

How does the fear of heights manifests itself in your case?

It was not about heights, it was about fear of getting on a plane, of taking off.
I did not want to get on the plain.
Once, I remember that I checked my baggage and I withdrow it afterwards, because I did not want to get on the plane.

How are you as a patient, are you afraid of dentist?

I’m afraid of needles. I can not watch when blood should be taken from me.
The same with me as a patient …you know, it’s about that feeling when you should have anesthesia and you are afraid of it?
In addition, it really bothers me the effect of anesthesia after completion of the dental treatment.

What about your first dental experience? Do you remember it?

Yes, I was a student; an university assistant was treated me without giving me sedation. She followed the principle that “she have to feel the nerve” to know exactly how it is; but I had really acute pain that I still remember. Pain was of great intensity, but of short duration. I can not say it was a traumatic experience, but I remember it. Now, I prefer to have anesthesia.

Getting back to the professional aspect, you hold many important positions. What do you like the most?

I hold two organisational positions: I am involved in the activity of Society of Esthetic Dentistry in Romania and I hold the position of President of the European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry. Both positions involve a slightly different activity in comparison with the physician’s one. It’s more about organizing events, organizing very large conferences. I really like this activity and if I would have to compare them, I do not know if they are on the same level, but they give me the same degree of satisfaction.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I do not know, 5 years ago I would not have said that I’ll have an internationally published book, I would not have said that I’ll have the most modern clinic in Romania, I would not have said that I’ll be the President of the European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry, therefore I do not want to make plans for the future. I’ll do my job right and I’ll see what the future holds.

What was the most spectacular story that comes to your mind when think at your professional experience?

It was the moment when the book I printed in the Romanian language was accepted to be printed internationally by the Quintessence Publishing House. This gave me a very great professional satisfaction.

And what was the biggest challenge?

When you are a trailblazer and you are travelling by a rough road, you may encounter some difficulties, and here we can talk about the same book, which is the first and only book in Romania that was internationally printed.

What about the position of President of ESCD (European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry)?

I would not say that the election as President was difficult, this came as a result of a constant activity up to that moment.

What about your plans? Have you thought to do a PhD?

Yes, there was a plan… I got to a pretty advanced stage, I had just to submit my doctoral thesis. But, my supervisor passed away and things got complicated at that time, so I didn’t finished my PhD.
At the moment, if I would do my PhD, I would do it abroad.

Do you plan to write a new book?

Not at the moment, not enough time has passed since the last book. The hard work and the wasted nights are still alive in my memory! I think it would take more than a year to think about new book

Dr. Florin Lăzărescu
Smilemed Clinical Coordinator

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