Welcome to another section of DocScopy, let us take a look at the life and professional journey of Dr. A.P Tikku. MedBound Times was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to have a candid conversation with one of the most renowned endodontists in India and the Dean Of The Faculty Of Dental Sciences at King George's Medical University, Lucknow.
The conversation between Dr. A.P. Tikku and Dr. Anjali Singh from Medbound Times gives an insight into various aspects of Dr. Tikku's life. Let's dive into his professional journey, his role as a mentor to his students and so much more.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Sir, please tell us something about your life and professional journey.
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I was born and brought up in Lucknow and have completed my schooling from Colvin Taluqdar’s College, Lucknow. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Science (B.Sc) from Lucknow University in 1978 after which I went on to pursue my Bachelor's in Dental Surgery (BDS) in 1978 and Master's in Dental Surgery (MDS) in 1986 from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow. Later on, I joined as a faculty in 1986 in the same institution and was promoted to the designation of professor in 1999. I was appointed as the Dean of the Faculty Of Dental Sciences, KGMU from 2014-2017 and was reassigned the position of dean in the year 2022 and continue to hold so. I have been a part of the beautiful campus of KGMU for the last 45 years and currently, I am one of the senior most faculty members of endodontics in the country. I have mentored and trained more than 1600 undergraduate and 130 postgraduate students over the years, many of which now hold the position of professors, heads, principals, and deans at various dental institutions and private practice centers across the country.
Dr. Anjali Singh: What prompted you to choose this career path?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: My mentor and godfather professor T.N Chawla who is also considered as the father of dentistry here. He was the principal of the dental college at KGMU. He also happened to be my neighbor at that time and inspired me to join BDS. I opted only for the BDS entrance examination in 1978 and did not try for MBBS entrance even once at that time, as the exams were held separately for both courses during that time.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Wow sir, that's a great anecdote. What is your passion in the field of dentistry?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I have been fascinated by the specialty of conservative dentistry and endodontics and was fortunate to get a postgraduate seat in this specialty in 1983. To save, to conserve destructed and destroyed tooth structure and to relieve the patient from pain and suffering specially of the poor and needy has always inspired me in my life.
Dr. Anjali Singh: What are the most common or challenging situations in the field of your practice?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I look forward to challenges in life and accept them as they come. No challenge deters me in life. However, I also firmly believe that “we treat but god heals”.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Couldn't agree more sir, you've brilliantly summed up health professionals in a single quote. So tell us some interesting clinical or career-related cases/situations/events that have left an impression on you. Or, some unforgettable cases/events/incidences?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: On the day of the Holi celebration about 30 years ago, when I was resting after the celebration in the afternoon, there was a lady who came to my clinic in excruciating pain to the extent that she had forgotten to wear her slippers, her sindoor was totally smudged, her hair was all over her face and she hadn’t slept the previous night. In spite of it being Holi, I opened her root canal to relieve the pulpal pressure and to my surprise within ten minutes as soon as her pain was relieved, she went on to sleep on my dental chair itself. I didn’t disturb her till she got up herself after a few hours. Since that time, every year for the last 30 years I receive a packet of sweets from her on the day of Holi as a gesture of thankfulness.
Dr. Anjali Singh: That was such a kind and benevolent gesture on your part sir, it's no wonder you are known for your kind soul. Sir, but still I would like to know if there's any incident that you feel you could have handled in a better way (something that left you disappointed or less than satisfied?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I have been more than satisfied with what I have done and achieved. I have no regrets or disappointments in my life.
Dr. Anjali Singh: That's great to hear sir, it helps in the long run to live a regret-free life. Moving on sir, what would you say about the difference in dentistry that you see now and then?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I feel, dentistry is an amalgamation of art and science and most of the procedures in dentistry are technique sensitive that require a good practical hand and it has only evolved over time. Oral medicines have a limited role to play unlike in the medical field where except surgery most of the ailments can be treated by medicines.
Dr. Anjali Singh: True sir, indeed dentistry has evolved a lot and has become a lot more technique sensitive with the advancements of new technologies over the years. Sir, if you tell us your vision, what and how do you see yourself five years down the line?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: The dentistry curve has slightly declined in the past 10 years but I see an upsurge again and the coming years will be exciting for the new ventures in dentistry like the induction of Artificial Intelligence, tissue regeneration, and other advancements in techniques and instruments.
Dr. Anjali Singh: What is your take on the decision of imparting medical education in regional languages?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: Regional languages are important in our country but the language of medical education should be uniform and one, so that everybody can correspond and coordinate with each other for the advancement of medical and dental sciences.
Dr. Anjali Singh: What is your message or advice for budding doctors and allied dental health professionals?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: There is only one mantra to success- “dil saaf rakhey aur niyat nek rakhey”. Do not attempt to take shortcuts in your career and never betray the trust of the patient.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Wow sir, your words really pack a punch. Sir, aside from professional life what are your hobbies and passions in life?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: To live life king-size and enjoy every day. I have been a keen sportsman all my life and played cricket at the university level and now I play golf. I have been an avid mountaineer, and trekker, and have done white water rafting, remote-control flying, horse riding, and powered hang gliding.
Dr. Anjali Singh: It's no wonder your adventurous hobbies fit your dynamite personality. Sir, how do you like spending your free time?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I follow any one of my passion and hobbies in my free time. I do not waste time in my life and that is also my advice to youngsters. I never get bored.
Dr. Anjali Singh: What is the best/most memorable moment of your life?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: The admiration respect and affection which I have gotten from my students and patients all my life are all my cherished moments.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Okay sir, now a fun question, if your life was a movie What would you name it?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: Shehanshaah
Dr. Anjali Singh: Haha! That is really a very fitting title, I agree wholeheartedly with it. If I may ask what do you hate most?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I hate the three D’s - Deceit, disloyalty, and dishonesty.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Is there something that triggers you?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: Nothing triggers me. I trigger others, haha!
Dr. Anjali Singh: That's hilarious. Sir, have you ever wondered what would you be doing if you were not a dentist by profession?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: I would have been a lawyer or a judge.
Dr. Anjali Singh: Last question for you sir, a message you would like to give the society?
Dr. A.P. Tikku: Have trust in the dental professionals and hold them at the highest level of respect and esteem as what they serve and that cannot be done by anyone else.