Everything you need to know about finding a dentist

By: Camille Hogg | December 20, 2017 | Abu Dhabi World Online

From cavities to consultations, we find out about the main dental issues in Abu Dhabi and how to pick a good dentist.


Your smile says a lot about you, and that’s especially true when it comes to your teeth.

With cavities and gum disease on the rise, we consult the experts on maintaining good hygiene, dealing with dental emergencies and knowing what to look for in a clinician.

The root of the problem

“The two biggest diseases in dentistry are caries – or cavities – and periodontitis,” explains Dr Per Rehnberg, CEO at Snö Clinics.

Caused by factors including poor oral hygiene and diet, cavities are common in children and adults, and occur when your tooth enamel begins to erode due to acids caused by bacteria.

With a particularly high prevalence of decay in the region among children, Dr Per is keen to emphasise that more awareness is needed of the detrimental effects our sugary habits have on our teeth.

“In this region, the caries in kids are so much worse. Kids drink a lot of juice and soda, and the low pH means that the soda is acidic as well as sugary, so we see a lot of eroded teeth,” says Dr Per.

Dr Heba Aboushady, general dentist at the Boston Dental Center, agrees.

“Adults misunderstand the right diet for the teeth and switch from milk to fruit juices; these are actually very high in sugar and acids,” she emphasises. “We need more education on healthy diets and how to follow basic oral hygiene instructions.”

But with pain, sensitivity to cold and, in severe cases, visible holes as key symptoms of caries in children and adults, the solution isn’t always drilling.

“Small caries can be healed without drilling,” Dr Per clarifies. “If you do flossing and fluoride treatments, we can check in three to six months and you may not need a filling, so [the tooth] will have much better longevity.”

Even with larger cavities, there are still options before you need to undergo a root canal, where the infected pulp from inside the tooth is removed and the tooth sealed.

“The root has a function, so once you replace it with a root filling, it shortens the lifespan of the tooth,” Dr Per explains.

“When [the cavity] is middle-big and gets closer to the nerve, you can still do a filling in that case without a root canal treatment.

“If you have a cavity that is close to the pulp, one way of treating it is to have a special kind of dressing and calming filling on top of that in order to save the root,” he adds.

Periodontitis is another common disease in the region, but unlike cavities, pain is not a common symptom until more advanced stages.

“Many people in this region are under-diagnosed with periodontitis,” says Dr Per. “It’s not usually painful for the first ten to 15 years, but then it’s often too late to save the teeth.

“It generally starts with bleeding gums. Bad breath could also be a factor. When you eat, food gets stuck between your teeth and causes inflammation as it rots; this causes tooth loss. We also associate calculus (plaque that has hardened and cannot be removed by brushing) with the disease, which can be removed at the hygienist.”

One key way to slow the disease down is flossing, and Dr Per recommends a once-a-day regimen.

However, whatever your problem, acting early is key, as regular check-ups can prevent problems from escalating.

Things you should look out for include pain or sensation when you consume something cold, as well as bridges, crowns or problematic wisdom teeth – and any jaw joint issues should be dealt with by your dentist, too.

Dental emergencies

With many of us harbouring a deep fear of the dentist, we often ignore our problems before it becomes an emergency – and that’s not a good idea.

“There’s often a difference in opinion between the dentist and their patient as to what constitutes an emergency,” Dr Heba chuckles wryly.

“When there’s a cosmetic problem, like a tooth has fallen out or a filling has broken, I find that patients come in quite quickly, but with pain or infection, it’s not always the case.

“As a dentist, things like swelling on one side of your face, fever and difficulty swallowing can indicate a life-threatening infection,” Dr Heba states.

“Things like accidents involving knocked-out teeth also need quick intervention, and constant pain might be an abscess or deep cavity. One thing people don’t know too much about is that if you have red patches or ulcers in the mouth, you need to take instant action.”

Dr Per agrees, noting the location of the pain or problem: “Go quickly to the dentist, especially if the infection is in the lower jaw.”


Which dentist?

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know what to look for when picking your dentist.

“That’s the hard thing about being the patient,” agrees Dr Per. “You just don’t know. We have a transitory community here and people don’t tend to get that long bond with their dentist that they might get in their home country.

“One way is to make sure you can audit what the clinic has done,” he adds. “You need to ask to see the documentation, diagnosis, x-rays, printouts and treatment plans so that if needed, you can get a second opinion.”

While many dentists may offer deals for free consultations, Dr Per recommends knowing what you’re getting from the experience.

“It’s very important to have a proper exam,” Dr Per advises. “If you don’t have all the data on the patient’s specific conditions, it’s very hard to suggest the right treatment – it’s like building a house without having a f

“Many dentists might offer a free exam, but these may not be full exams – a proper one would usually take at least 45 minutes and will detail the status today, risk calculation and a prevention plan.

“Patients also need to be informed about problems that might happen,” Dr Per adds. “Many dentists are reactive; they might only treat symptoms like tooth pain, but a good dentist would look at underlying causes.”

For Dr Heba, communication is a huge factor.

“A good dentist will explain everything to the patient, including treatment options, the procedures involved, the expected outcome and, of course, involve the patient in any decision making,” she says.

“Going to the dentist can be scary – I was that child and I had a bad experience,” she laughs. “These days, it’s very different: there are new techniques, technologies and types of anaesthetic.

“We don’t want you to have more pain; we want you to be rid of it, and a good dentist will explain what they’re doing.”

At the end of the day, make sure you feel confident before you put your money where your mouth is, says Dr Per.

“Establishing trust with your dentist is very important, and if you don’t like the clinic or clinician, then close your mouth and get a second opinion.”

Word of mouth

Good oral hygiene takes some effort, so here are our experts’ top tips.

Have regular check-ups: Scheduling a check-up depends on your oral health, says Dr Per. If you have ongoing conditions such as periodontitis or you’re at increased risk of cavities, you’ll need them more frequently, but between six months and one year is common in the UAE.

Get a fresh brush: “You need to change your brush every three months – and use a soft one,” Dr Heba says.

Don’t forget to floss: “Use floss or interdental brushes if you have a brace, crowns or bridges. They have tighter contact than air flossers,” Dr Heba says.

Supplement with fluoride: “Water here has no fluoride,” says Dr Heba. “Fluoride application for children can help reverse early signs of decay.”

By Camille Hogg

December 20, 2017

Article Link: https://adwonline.ae/everything-need-know-finding-dentist/

Sometimes, the best treatment is no treatment

Why less is  often more.

No matter the clinic, trust, openness, and transparency should be at the core of the services provided. At Snö, we pride ourselves in being Superior, Gentle and Trusted,  in our approach to modern dentistry.  And, as part of our core values, we believe that sometimes, the best treatment is no treatment at all – something we are not afraid to tell our patients. When treatment is required, we will always choose to save as much of the healthy tooth and tissues as possible to ensure good long-term dental health, instead of drilling and damaging the tooth for short-term symptomatic relief.

Here, you will never be over-treated or overcharged. You will always get the dental care you need and deserve.

The wisdom to say no

Take the case of nine-year-old Sara, who had crowded teeth. After a consultation with a dentist, orthodontic braces was suggested. However, at Snö, we gave her a second, much less invasive and practically free alternative. To wait.

We were able to ascertain that with time, Sara’s natural bone growth would set her teeth, without the need for orthodontics or expensive treatments.

Sure enough, in a year, Sara’s teeth aligned themselves without the need for any treatment. With the right prophylactic care and proper brushing and flossing techniques, she will have strong, healthy teeth in the future (images above are for illustrative purposes).

Modern dentistry allows us to treat such cases in many ways, but with the proper examination, the right diagnosis and thorough documentation, it is possible to avoid expensive short-term treatments and provide long-term  health benefits.

But what about cavities?

Caries (cavities) affect many people. A usual practice is to “drill, fill and bill” as soon as caries is spotted, which could be just the beginning of a cavity. But at Snö, we know that this approach does not always yield the best results. The best tooth is one we do not have to drill.

We believe that it is better, whenever possible, to heal the caries lesion, which can be achieved through prophylaxis – simple things like improved oral hygiene, fluoride treatment and changes in diet. Unfortunately, the alternative of drilling and filling the  tooth is a common practice in the region, and around the world. But with our superior, gentle and trusted service, you can be rest assured we will not take the easy way out when it comes to your dental health. We also use a specific method for improving your diagnosis in order to drill less – an infrared camera that can spot caries without radiation.

How can I trust that this is the treatment that I need?

If you are doubtful of a treatment suggested by your dentist, do not be afraid to ask questions. They should be able to explain the treatment and how it will be done. Often, this is not the case and results in unrequired treatments that cause more damage than good, in the long run.

Take the case of this patient, whose x-ray shows a caries lesion (dark zone indicated by the arrow).

The treatment option suggested to this patient was a root filling, a post and a crown, which is common in this region. The total cost of the treatment was AED 9,800. At Snö, we were able to save the root and do a composite filling  instead. The nerve is alive inside the tooth, the treatment was much less invasive and less painful, and cost the patient only AED1,500.

All our treatments and examinations are thoroughly documented and yours to keep. You are encouraged to get a second opinion. But most importantly, you are able to audit all treatments at Snö, which gives you the guarantee that you are getting only the highest quality care that you need and deserve.


What makes the Snö Exam Superior, Gentle and Trusted?

For many people, a visit to the dentist often starts with a toothache. As a result, many dental clinics in the region, and around the world, have been geared to treat symptoms and not put the patients’ holistic dental health first. The result is often a prescription and an unrequired treatment, as opposed to an informative and informed discussion on what your dental care should be. Many people are happy to leave the decision to their dentist and not get a second opinion.

At Snö, we believe that your holistic and long-term dental health begins with a simple, yet thorough examination. We also believe that our patients have the right to know what treatments are best for them – and sometimes, the best treatment is no treatment at all – and as dentists, we have an obligation to ensure that our patients are always informed of these alternatives. You should not feel apprehensive about getting a second opinion; in fact, we encourage it. This is why the Snö Exam embodies our core values of Superior, Gentle and Trusted, and why it is necessary for your long-term dental health.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s so much more to dental exams than just finding a problem to fix. Here are five ways that the Snö Exam lives up to its reputation and why it ensures you always get the best treatment options for your dental health.

1. Digital or printed copy of your entire exam package

Our latest digital equipment not only allows our dentists to carefully document every x-ray and 3D scan, but also share that information with our patients. The results are quick and easy. What’s more, we will hand you a digital (USB or via our App) and printed record of your full Snö exam for you to keep. This is your right.

2. Updated information at least every year

The Snö Exam is not just for spotting cavities or finding the cause of a toothache. It is an important record of your dental health so your dentist can spot problems early and prevent them from getting worse. It is also the best way to keep track of your dental health, the progress of treatments, fillings, veneers, crowns, implants, orthodontics etc.

3. All your x-rays and 3D scans, yours to keep

X-rays are a very important tool for us to discover diseases early. In keeping with our minimally invasive philosophy, we use the latest digital equipment ranging from intraoral x-rays, in all treatment rooms, to full 3D face scanners (cone beam). We also save a 3D model in full colour of your teeth and gums. This means better, more accurate results, and more importantly, a through record of your dental health. This helps us model treatments (braces, guards, guided implant surgery, crowns, bridges and veneers), track changes on a microscopic level and perform any replacements, if necessary, keeping your original tooth anatomy. Best of all, the records are yours to keep.

3D scanned full color model with microscopic precision – included in all Snö exams.

4. Properly documented treatments

Documentation is VERY important. Not just for your case history, but also for rebuilding damaged teeth, to track wear and changes in your dental health over a period of time with highest accuracy. It is also crucial if you want to get a second opinion or if you want to audit any or all of your treatments. These are just some of the ways we offer a superior exam and security for you at Snö.

Whether you move to another country, your dentist at home is unavailable or you have an emergency while on holiday, your Snö exam and treatment records will always be with you. This could prevent other dentists from having to start from scratch and prescribe incorrect treatments.

5. Risk assessment and results

At the end of the exam you should also get a risk assessment which classifies your risk for conditions like caries, periodontitis, and other general and technical risks. This helps dentists (and you) better understand and focus on the right kind of prophylactic treatment and maintenance. If treatment is suggested, you have the right to know all the alternatives, risks, prognoses, costs, and guarantees.

For a trained dental team this whole process only takes 30-60 minutes. Follow-up exams are usually much quicker.

There are many good dentists out there, but great dentists give their patients superior, trusted and gentle dental care they deserve and need, without over-treating or overcharging. If your dentist doesn’t provide you with this information or kind of treatment you should be concerned.