Reconstructing Smiles: Moving forward from cosmetic dentistry to dental spas
25 Oct 2016 - 20:28
By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
Gone are the days when dentistry just revolved around treating toothaches and filling cavities. The unbelievable (as it seems sometimes) growth of science, technology and innovation has also brought conventional dentistry miles ahead of tooth extractions and implantations.
Now dentists are remaking your smiles by positively re-constructing your teeth. To explore new trends and technologies in the field of cosmetic dentistry, The Peninsula had an interactive session with Dr Shahnaz Kader and learnt with surprise that the number of people seeking smile-enhancement was on the rise in Qatar like other metropoles of the world. Beauty is the catchword in this whole industry of cosmetic dentistry.
“Yes the number of such clients is on the rise. But recognising a good cosmetic dentist is important. Owing to availability and advancement in technology, every dentist can be a cosmetic dentist but a good cosmetic dentist should have a detailed implementation and artistic execution,” says Dr Shahnaz, a graduate in dental surgery from Mangalore, Karnataka, adding that at times she as an honest professional had also advised interested clients to not go through the advance procedures as they did not need it as it was like “gilding the lily”.
Beauty knows no gender: years ago, beauty products and jobs were synonymous to women-world. It runs contrary to the ground realities today. “Not only women but also men are attracting towards cosmetic dental procedures to bring positive changes in their set of teeth to enhance their beauty and eventually to enhance their smiles,” says Dr Shahnaz.
They say a good surgeon needs three things; a lion’s heart, a hawk’s eye and a lady’s finger. Being a lady dental surgeon, she has a lady’s finger (by nature) and her successful career as a dentist also proves other two abilities in her. She said with the passage of time in today’s fast-changing world, trailblazers of dental industry were coming with a lot of advancement in aesthetic choices.
How it works: popular cosmetic dental procedures are teeth-whitening and “smile makeovers”. She said Botox and fillers had replaced shortcoming in dentistry. “Their therapeutic uses in dentistry are meant for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Botox dental therapeutic uses include correcting the gum-line (gummy smiles), TMD (bone joint) pain, orthodontic relapse, facial pain and correcting the hyperactivity of muscles for retention of removable prosthesis.”
Predicting that current infatuation with cosmetic dentistry would further soar, she shared that the spaces between the teeth after placement of crowns, implants and bridges called “Black Traingle” was usually a big aesthetic concern.
“Newer systems like veneers, lumineers, non-prep-veneers, u-veneers and pro-veneers are almost impeccable,” she says, adding that u-veneer was a new technology and she was also offering those services. “Digital smile design and 3D planning have made communicating ideas with patients and laboratories much easier. In the years to come, introduction of virtual dentistry would be the icing on the cake.”
As Qatar is wholeheartedly marking breast cancer awareness month, Dr Shahnaz Kader is sensitising the masses about the correlation between cancer and oral health. Referring to various authentic studies, she says that there is an increased risk of breast cancer in women having poor oral health.
“In men, poor oral health also increases the chances of prostate cancer. It was also seen that poor oral health increases the chances of heart disease, pneumonias and is associated with diabetes,” she added.
She has just not fastened her whole attention on cosmetic procedures and believes in first-thing-first therefore emphasises on child dental care.
Citing a study conducted in 2011 by Ministry of Public Health and WHO, she said that 70% of children are affected by untreated dental caries while in the preschool children dental caries was as high as 89%. When asked about the reasons behind the problem, Dr Shahnaz said: “This high incidence of dental health related issues in children are: lack of awareness of dental problems; no dental check-ups as more than 60% of children never attend a dental check up and frequent habit of snacking and fast foods.”
She lamented over the fact that large number of advertisements appearing in print media were about dental clinics but no one was working on awareness. “The focus has always been on cosmetic dentistry as the demand is high. Most general practitioners and specialists are not interested in treating children as the treatments are time consuming and difficult,” she noted, further suggesting that school health programmes should involve oral health awareness.
Citing a study conducted in 2011 by Ministry of Public Health and WHO, the doctor said 70% of children are affected by untreated dental caries while in the preschool children dental caries was as high as 89%. This high incidence of dental health related issues in children are: Lack of awareness of dental problems; no dental check-ups as more than 60% of children never attend a dental check up and frequent habit of snacking and fast foods.
In her fight against misconceptions, Dr Shahnaz advises women to go through dental check-ups during pregnancy without any fears.
“Caries during pregnancy is known to produce a larger incidence of pre-term deliveries and smaller babies. Preventive dental cleaning and annual examinations are not only safe during pregnancy but is also important. Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause gum swelling and bleeding which trap food causing increased irritation to the gums,” she said with an advice that elective treatments like teeth whitening and cosmetic treatments were best postponed till after delivery.
Pursuing her thirst for knowledge, Dr Shahnaz Kader, did foundation course from Cambridge University last year in dental implantology. She believes in using tooth-friendly products; the products that are safe for teeth as they are non-carioegenic and non-erosive. She says she rarely missed any opportunity of broadening her horizons in her profession and is set to attend forthcoming Dental Facial Cosmetic International Conference to be held in Dubai next month.
The new revolution at the gates: to assist cosmetic dentistry, now dental spas have entered the medical arena. Experts claim that it is meant to ease the fear and anxiety often associated with dental visits. Dentists across the country have created welcoming and relaxing environments for their patients by adopting the pampering amenities and services of day spas. These emerging dental practices often are termed “dental spas” or “dental day spas.”
Talking about dental spa services, Dr Shahnaz said there were various types of spa like relaxation and massage therapies, paraffin wax hand treatments, aromatherapy, neck pillows, fleece blankets, heated hand mitts, complimentary beverages and snacks, music headphones etc. “Opening a dental spa would be my goal for the future,” she said.
She thinks that relaxed patients pose less risk of injury and are easier to work with than tense, unhappy individuals squirming in their chairs.
She stresses on tooth-friendly eating. “The trick is to reduce the number of acid attacks. Remember every time sugar goes into your child’s mouth it can cause an acid attack. Harmful sugars hidden in foods and drinks are not easy to identify. If you look at ingredient labels you might be surprised that products saying ‘no artificial additives’, ‘low fat’ or ‘healthy’ may contain a large amount of added sugars.”
Colleagues call it ‘weird’ while she thinks it is an extreme expression of passion. During interview she narrated an unusual thing: “Also as a dentist I have always tasted any new dental medicine for example these gels, creams, mouthwashes, etc. before prescribing them to the patients. I would taste it myself so as to explain the kind of feel they (patients) would get. My colleagues think it is weird.”