Dr. Hitesh Gangaramani, is an Indian citizen and Chief Consultant at Family Dental Care in Lagos. In this interview with Peter Uzoho, he speaks on the importance of good dental care, amongst others. Excerpts
What inspired you to go into this line of business?
People by nature are always looking to be presentable, socially accepted and admired. While facials and other external beautification techniques get share of wallet, there is a demand and a big market for dental contribution to beautification. People nowadays make adequate provision in their budgets for the improvement of their facials, including dental care. I also discovered that Africa was lagging behind in access to first world class dental facilities, with many Africans travelling to USA and Europe to have these procedures done.So Family Dental Care saw this human need as a call to service.
Despite the business condition in the country, what gives you the confidence to establish here?
Interestingly, Nigeria is one of the biggest economies in Africa. Contrary to what people believe, the country accepts diversity and has hard working people. Nigerians are highly educated and exceptionally well-travelled. It’s a place where people are welcomed and accommodated irrespective of where they come from.
The challenges which make life difficult are real but not peculiar to Nigeria. Every country in one way or the other faces hard times. Nigerians are well groomed and take pride in putting their best forward. However, Nigeria has seen many of its people seek quality dental treatment by travelling to Europe, so setting up world class dental facility in Nigeria would make world class dental services available locally and to a bigger section of the population.
Furthermore, Nigeria’s increasing aspirational middle class that is pursuing careers in arts, fashion, entertainment, and television, understands the importance of making a great first impression with a great smile.
What is unique about your services?
Family Dental Clinic is known for its creative, beautiful, fully functional multi-specialty dental office equipped with the latest dental equipments and materials. With computer- aided dental software, unique individual patent profiles predicting before and after treatment, results are delivered in real time. Our practice consists of fully computerised surgeries with media systems, x-ray rooms and a very welcoming, comfortable, spacious and relaxing waiting room. Our dedicated staff and state of the art equipment can provide every dental care required.
We perform simple procedures from cleaning and tooth extraction to complex cosmetic dentistry procedures and dental veneers on a daily basis. We also provide similar treatments locally, thus saving you cost and time. Now whether it is a face to face or online job interview, your confidence and that radiating smile are sure to produce favourable first impressions. And even if it’s a simple ‘selfie’ for the digital space, that radiating smile is sure to get a lot of likes.
What is your assessment of dental awareness and hygiene in Africa?
Dental awareness and proper dental hygiene is lacking in Africa. That does not mean that people do not make attempts to take care of their teeth by way of routine brushing with pastes, dental floss and mouthwash. Tooth care however goes beyond that.It involves regular dental check-ups, knowing what to and what not to eat.
We believe in educating people about dental hygiene, dental procedures and about cosmetic dentistry. Through a variety of community programmes, patients of all ages are becoming more aware of oral care. We blend commercial dental procedures with free community dental services to increase awareness of good dental discipline.
Why is it necessary to seek the services of a dentist?
Some people are gifted to have a great set of teeth and naturally have a great smile, while others seek the services of a good dentist to get a great smile. The end results are the same, which means a better first impression and greater self-confidence. Dentistry has seen an evolution where an experienced dentist not only provides traditional oral hygiene but also a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures. Plus matters of the teeth are always a sensitive subject and getting the right advice at the right time is of paramount importance.
What are the services available to patients?
We have a variety of dental services in our outlet which are devoted to ensuring that every patient has a service that cares for his or her dental problem, including tooth scaling and polishing, fillings and restorations, digital IOPA and panoramic X-rays,digital case study and smile design, extractions and wisdom surgeries, and orthodontic treatments (root canals).Others include: full range of cosmetic dentistry such as composite and porcelain veneers whitening enameloplasty, orthodontic treatments using metal, ceramic braces and invisible aligners; dental implants;dentures, and micro polishing.
You dentists always talk about dental veneers. What are they?
A veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth to improve its aesthetics, recreate a natural look, correct the colour and size of the tooth or to protect it from damage. It also provides strength and resilience to the tooth’s surface. Veneers are either made of a composite material or dental porcelain.
What are the aftercares once veneers have been put on?
After the placement of porcelain veneers, patients should commit themselves to good oral hygiene regiments; regular visits to the dentist, and generally, healthy lifestyles. This helps to ensure the longevity of the veneers, not to mention good oral health.
Also, with proper care, veneers are much more likely to reach the 20 year mark. Along with regular visits to a general dentist, routine brushing and flossing are most important to protect the longevity of the veneers. Although the porcelain itself is not subject to decay, when the underlying tooth structure is damaged by cavities, this can damage the veneer. In many cases, after the cavity is repaired, the tooth is no longer able to support a new veneer.
Good oral care is also important because it helps prevent gum disease and receding gums, which can compromise the appearance of veneers. Because the porcelain ends at the gum line, if the tissue recedes, the edge of the veneer will become visible, and the entire restoration may need to be replaced. Patients should be diligent about frequent brushing and flossing, but they should also be careful to avoid overly vigorous brushing, as this can also compromise periodontal health.
What is your advice to those who pay less attention to dental care?
People should realise that cosmetic dental surgery has made huge strides in treating a variety of dental conditions. They should be up to date with regular check-ups and maintain good oral hygiene. Veneer requirements have seen many people travel to Europe and America to undergo the treatment. This adds to the financial strain especially during the current difficult economic times.
Habits such as nail biting, chewing ice, and using teeth to open packages are already harmful to teeth, leading to cracks, chips, and dental erosion. Dental patients should avoid stain-producing substances such as coffee, tea, wine, berries, soy sauce, and tomato sauce. Smoking is perhaps the most notorious culprit for dental staining. Should these stains occur, these can be easily removed by scaling and polishing.