Maida Smiles Clinic’s cosmetic dentist Dr Pedro Laranjeira was one of the finalists for this year’s Aesthetic Dentistry Awards. The prestigious awards, which could be described as British dentistry’s version of the BAFTAs, are presented each year by the highly esteemed dental communications company FMC for excellence in aesthetic dentistry.
So what drew Dr Laranjeira to become one of Britain’s top aesthetic dentists?
In short, the opportunity to improve people’s lives.
“A person’s smile is like their visual signature; probably the first thing people notice about them,” he says. “And that’s whether it’s a great smile or not, so it has a big impact on a person’s confidence and social life. Patients have actually reported receiving fewer negative responses to requests after undergoing aesthetic dental treatment. A great smile not only makes them feel happier about their appearance and more comfortable smiling, but it makes them seem trustworthy to others, too. It’s a matter of quality of life and one could say of dignity.”
And what makes a successful aesthetic treatment, or ‘smile makeover’?
“The most important thing to remember is that each patient is different”, says Dr Laranjeira. “What makes a beautiful smile on one person will not necessarily work on someone else. It's not a matter of simply copying certain looks, but of working together with each patient individually to achieve the result that they seek and that works for them specifically.”
This is why he is so adamant that the patient is involved with the decisions throughout the treatment, from the initial consultation to the final appointment.
First, the patient is encouraged to describe their issues, needs and desired look. Then Dr Pedro Laranjeira advises on the best course of treatment to achieve this look, using his expertise to make sure that the new smile will look harmonious with the patient’s other facial features.
But the patient always has the final word.
“When I see patients looking to redo or make adjustments to previous treatments, more often than not their disappointment arises from a failure to diagnose or address their concerns. If these have not been successfully identified it will be unlikely the treatment will meet their expectations,” Dr Pedro Laranjeira explains. “The patient should always be comfortable during the treatment and happy with the results. If it turns out the shape or shade of a tooth doesn’t feel quite right, we then make the necessary adjustments until we get it right.”
Despite the careful planning of each treatment, the communication with the patient is always ongoing as sometimes adjustments may be required. For big makeovers, there is a test period with the temporary restorations (veneers or crowns), so that the patient can get used to the new look before the permanent solution is fitted.
“This is a key stage of the treatment, because it usually takes a little while for the patient to realise that they would like to make some final adjustments. They have to get over the big change first.”
After any adjustments have been made during this test period, the permanent veneer or crown restorations can then be put into place with the smile finally reflecting their image of their best self …and hopefully that will mean that they will smile more often.