Exclusive Interview With Dr Sandra Short

July 27, 2010

Dentist carves out new niche for Double Bay clinic
Dr Sandra Short, the owner of dentArtistry Dental Clinic in Double Bay, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, says she was exposed to the concept of aesthetic dentistry in the 1980s.

This type of dentistry — now popular in Australia — focuses on oral health and beauty, but it wasn’t common here in the 1980s.
“Back then, dentists carved the cavity and filled the hole. That’s it. When I went to the U.S., I was surprised how different it was,” Dr Short said in a recent interview.
“The concept of aesthetic dentistry will be more popular in Australia because Australians who do business here and overseas realize its importance. If you show your big smile full of decayed, crooked or poorly filled teeth to potential customers or partners, it won’t help you get your business deal, in fact you will lack credibility” she said.
Born in Brisbane, she grew up in Sydney and did dentistry at Sydney University. She bought a dental practice after graduating and getting a dentist’s license as in those days 1975 it was hard for women dentists to get jobs in Sydney. Then she went to New York in 1977 to study with a dentist, Dr Leonard Linkow, the “father of implant dentistry” for a year.
In a recent interview Dr Short said “Before I went to US, I thought the U.S. would be more advanced in dentistry. When I went there, I found it was really advanced, in fact, for example, the material the fillings are made from was of higher quality in the U.S., Cheap and low-quality fillings can hurt the gums around the filled teeth. The technique of fitting fillings and crowns to the teeth was also of higher quality in the U.S. at the time. Now the gap between the U.S. and Australia has narrowed dramatically.”
An increasing number of Australian dentists are currently recommending some treatment methods that are actually better than other older options in not only in appearance but also in oral health, she said. However other dentists are getting into cheap, commercial products and services that are mass produced, easy to use but not as precise or long-lasting which are also coming from the US
The positive procedures include for example, implanting artificial dental roots made of pure titanium, the mineral best-matching the human body, is a much better treatment to fill a missing tooth than the so-called bridging option, she said.
In bridging, a dentist carves two teeth next to the spot where a tooth is missing and fills the carved holes with a material, which can contain palladium, nickel and other elements to stabilize an artificial tooth.
But Dr Short said carving healthy teeth is not good for dental and oral health. It can lead to irreversible damage of the nerve of the adjacent teeth in 30% of cases
As for fillings, gold, platinum and ceramic are better for gums than palladium, Short said. Ceramic is white and thus typically preferred for cosmetic reasons however it is also likely to fracture.
Oral disease may be considered not life-threatening, however this is not true if you see a mouth as one of the digestive organs, and part of the whole body it is very important,” she said.
“Poor digestion will lead to various illnesses, also there is a recognised link between heart disease and miscarriages now” Dr Short added.
Despite the importance of dental care, Dr Short said there are many in Australian’s who need to go to dentists but are reluctant.
“A dental clinic is basically not a place people want to go to,” she said. “So, dental patients typically wait until they are in pain or have visible symptoms. Such patients typically have symptoms that could have been much less serious and less expensive if they had come to dentists earlier.”
It is ideal to go to a dentist every six months, she added.
She said she tries to create a soothing environment so patients feel they are not in a dental clinical environment.
“I want to relax patients because they don’t really normally want to come to a dental clinic,” she said. “I have a very different looking environment in order to create this. It is more like a luxurious home”
She also said she bought cutting-edge equipment to help perfect this treatment.
She uses a high-tech I-CAT scan. The machine shows the location of nerves and bones in three-dimensional images of a patient’s mouth. The payment for these can be claimed on Medicare.
“It’s very important not to damage nerves and other anatomical structures, so the I-CAT scan is very useful,” she said. Conventional X-ray’s show only 2-D images which are often misleading.
dentArtistry Dental Clinic is open from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

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