Ask The Expert

Facing Facts with Dr Shan Lam

Dr Shan Lam, who recently joined Holland Park Dental Centre, explains to SLOAN! Magazine why she feels dentists are the ideal healthcare professionals to carry out facial aesthetic treatments.

More than any other healthcare professionals, dentists understand that the state of a person’s smile greatly affects their confidence. A lovely smile can be the result of good oral health; we smile more easily when we do not have to worry about bleeding gums, tooth decay, or bad breath. A healthy smile is the best way to ensure a great smile and as dentists, we are trained in the art and science of creating them.

However, as important as a healthy smile is, we also appreciate the appeal of a beautiful smile. It is for this reason that many of my patients opt for teeth whitening. The growing demand for the procedure, along with other cosmetic dental treatments, has meant that many dentists undergo additional training so we can make our patients’ teeth look more aesthetically pleasing. Sometimes though, teeth whitening is not enough to craft the winning smiles we and our patients want. Often we also change unsightly old fillings, replace missing teeth with implants or bridges, or correct a misalignment — in many cases using treatments such as Invisalign (clear plastic aligners) to allow our patients to undergo teeth straightening more discreetly. Importantly, and I am speaking here from personal experience, changing the alignment of teeth can also help prevent and alleviate migraines, facial pain and tooth grinding.

Shan Lam

Dr Shan Lam tells us why dentists make good facial aesthetics practitioners

What many patients may not know, however, is that as dentists we spend a great deal of time studying more than ‘just teeth’. We also focus in great detail on the tiniest movements and workings of the face. We understand very well that the deceptively simple act of smiling is a complex process. It requires coordination among teeth, lips, jaws, cheeks, chin and other parts of the face. Most of our facial muscles are involved. This intimate knowledge of the architecture and workings of the face that I acquired in dental school some fifteen years ago, combined with a longstanding interest in facial aesthetics, led me to extend my professional skills beyond traditional dentistry into facial aesthetics. I am now skilled in the use of dermal fillers and lip enhancing procedures as well as treatments that minimise wrinkles by temporarily immobilising facial muscles. Over the past nine years, I have relied on both sets of skills to enhance the appearance of my patients’ faces. It may come as a surprise to some, but dentists who have had the requisite training in the use of facial aesthetic procedures are among the best placed healthcare professionals to administer such treatments. Let me tell you why:

Dentists are experts in the workings of the face

From the moment we start training in dentistry, long before we qualify, our training centres on both the dental and the maxillofacial areas (that is, the areas of the head and neck). We understand intimately how all these areas of the face are connected, how they come together in essential ways to make your face function and affect your appearance. We also understand how changing one part of the face can have a knock-on effect elsewhere. This means we are able to carry out treatments that are not only functionally effective, but that also enhance patients’ physical features, and thus often their personalities as well. Of course, facial aesthetic tweaks and adjustments also draw attention to exemplary dental work.

Dentists are experts at delivering facial injections

As dentists we are very proficient at delivering facial injections. Many times a day, we administer local anaesthetic injections for treatments such as fillings or crowns. We numb the areas where our patients will be treated. Dental injections are very similar to the kinds of facial injections that certain aesthetic treatments require. The only difference is that dental injections are placed inside the mouth, whereas facial aesthetic injections are administered in and around the visible areas of the face: forehead, eyes, lips. We know precisely where to place these injections (for example, to reduce wrinkles or crow’s feet) and how to make them quick and virtually painless for our patients.

Dentists offer a level of discretion that other healthcare professionals struggle to match

Understandably, some patients are not keen to tell friends or family that they have had, or are considering having, an anti-aging treatment. Most of us would feel at least a little embarrassed if were seen walking into a facial cosmetic clinic by our loved ones or colleagues. Men perhaps feel this even more. A visit to the dentist can be the perfect solution. My patients at Holland Park Dental Centre have described as ’ideal’ the opportunity to receive facial aesthetic treatment alongside their dental treatment, leaving friends and families none the wiser. As far as they are concerned, my patients are ‘simply going to see the dentist’. There is no need to elaborate any further.

Not only do dentists understand how treatments, dental or facial, look and affect the entirety of your face, we are also able to administer them expertly and discretely. So you see, dentists, like me, who are trained and experienced in providing both dental and facial treatments, can do it all: We deliver healthy smiles as a focal point of lovely faces.

For more information regarding Dr. Shan Lam, the dental and facial aesthetics treatment she offers and Holland Park Dental Centre, please visit www.hollandparkdental.co.uk

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