Dr Bonka Mutafchiyska on her dream to create A Place for Smiles and Friends: Mutafchiyska Dent Clinic
The interview with Dr Bonka Mutafchiyska, a leading dentist with almost 20 years of practice, was not an ordinary one. We wanted to know more about the personality of the founder of the outstanding Mutafchiyska Dent Clinic, in Plovdiv. We invited her for a leisurely walk along Plovdiv's main street. Surprisingly, it was next to impossible to have our planned introductory conversation. Every couple of steps some local would stop Dr Mutafchiyska to say a brief "Hi," to discuss with her some new local problem or an upcoming event. Our introductory conversation did not happen as we had hoped, but in the meantime we understood something: Plovdiv loves Dr Bonka Mutafchiyska at least as much as Dr Bonka Mutafchiyska loves Plovdiv.
Dr Mutafchiyska, what inspired you to become a dentist?
There is a good and a bad reason behind this decision. The good one is my older sister who also chose this profession. As a child I aspired to be like her, she was my example and inspiration. This was how my dream of becoming a dentist started to take shape, but it became a solid decision after an ill-fated meeting with the dentist. All Bulgarians from my generation have traumatic memories of going to the dentist as at the time the development of dentistry in Bulgaria was neglected and the field lagged compared to other countries.
During this visit, I felt such pain that I almost lost consciousness. I screamed and I cried, but the dentist said sternly: "Don't be a sissy!"
At this moment, I, a traumatised child, decided to become a dentist and to have my own office where no kid ever would scream and cry. In my office, patients would not be berated and I would not cause them pointless pain.
My childhood plan persisted and took me first to the Dental Faculty in the Medical University of Sofia, and later to the one at Plovdiv. After graduation, step by step, Mutafchiyska Dent Clinic was born. We call it A Place for Smiles and Friends, because for me and my team the number one principle, goal and task is to make patients feel good in every way possible. To provide first-class care for their smiles and to make them feel welcome in a cosy, friendly and serene ambience.
I am happy that we succeeded in this and that we have so many patients with healthy and beautiful smiles, and so many friends.
Today I am thankful to both my sister and the tough dentist. My sister inspired me, but that dentist, with her sharp drill, provoked me to choose a profession I still love deeply.
Why did you choose to open a clinic in Plovdiv instead of in Sofia?
All the roads I have taken in my life have led me to Plovdiv. I feel strongly connected to this city: personally, professionally and as a citizen. My parents are from the nearby Panicheri Village and in my childhood Plovdiv was the "big city." I fell in love with it as a child. I graduated high-school and my higher education in Plovdiv, all the important people and memories in my life are here.
Plovdiv is truly special. It is developed, cosmopolitan, diverse, culture oriented, aristocratic, with a good business environment. But it is also warm, cosy and friendly. Plovdiv has a heart. This is very important for me.
While I was studying in Sofia I considered starting a practice there. But soon my heart led me back to Plovdiv where I found love and created my family.
How did you start your private practice?
As every young person – in a funny, naive and clumsy way, but with big plans! Apparently, the saying that one is as big as their dreams was true. Mutafchiyska Dent became a place that patients know and love. A place they trust. For a dentist, this is everything!
How did Mutafchiyska Dent evolve through the years?
Mutafchiyska Dent became what it is solely because of our patients. Some of them have been with me since I was at university. I know personally all the rest and I feel them close. My words fail me to thank them properly for their trust and support!
On the other hand, a dentist's professional path is outlined in advance and mine is not an exception. You start with a small office with one chair bought with a lot of effort and sacrifices. Then, if you deserve your patients' trust, you gradually add new offices, more dentists, dental assistants, staff, equipment. Today at Mutafchiyska Dent work six dentists, me included. Everyone is specialised in a different field to meet all needs of our patients.
What have you learned as a person and a professional since you established the clinic?
That professionalism and humanity should always go together. You could be the best in your field, but if you lack a personal approach and do not make your patient calm you will sooner or later lose them.
And the opposite: you could be the most affectionate, wonderful person, but if you are not good at your job, if you do not grow, your results will disappoint you.
We, at Mutafchiyska Dent, strive on a daily basis to keep this balance. For us there are no "ordinary" cases. Each patient is special, each case is followed long after the treatment's end so that we are able to react immediately if the need arises. We work with top-class equipment that guarantees excellent, fast and sustainable results. We ourselves strive to develop constantly with the speed with which our profession is developing. Nowadays this happens very quickly, for the benefit of our patients.
What is your biggest achievement?
Our patients' love, trust and smiles.
How do you manage to create a motivated and highly professional team?
My team is great! We rely on one another, we understand one another and besides colleagues, we are also close friends.
I think that here, too, the heart has played the main role. All in Mutafchiyska Dent's team truly love their work and are dedicated to it. No-one is more important than the others, we are all a team. Because of this the atmosphere in the clinic is friendly, cordial and warm. Ultimately, this is important for the patients, too.
Why did you decide to offer the full spectrum of dental services in Mutafchiyska Dent? What are the benefits for your patients?
My greatest pride is that we, at Mutafchiyska Dent, offer all dental services at one place. The patients have different needs that require different specialised knowledge and skills – from conservative treatment and aesthetic dentistry to smile correction and root canal treatment to prosthetics and periodontology. For me, it is crucial for them to know that they can find the best and most painless solution for each dental problem at Mutafchiyska Dent.
This is why I was incredibly happy when a couple of years ago we completed our "palette" and added to our services the "creme de la creme" of dentistry – implantology and oral surgery. For this we are using the brilliant expertise of Dr Branimir Kirilov and Medical Dent Clinic in Sofia, undoubtedly one of the most experienced and established implantologists in Bulgaria. Thanks to him we now have a solution for even the most severe cases. Since we started our partnership, we have restored hundreds of smiles that seemed beyond salvation. We are continuing to do this!
What does Mutafchiyska Dent look like in your imagination five years from now?
I can actually show it to you. I am on the road of turning yet another dream into a reality: to move Mutafchiyska Dent in a new home that is even bigger, more beautiful, modern and technological than the present one, with more amenities for the patients, and more dentists and opportunities for growth.
The construction of our new clinic is already over, furnishing and equipment will start soon. Of course, it is again in my beloved Plovdiv. I am using this interview as an opportunity to invite you and all of our patients to the official inauguration in 2023!