Dental News, Pakistan talks to Dr. Petros Yuvanoglu, D.M.D. summa cum laude, Cert. Prsth. (Tufts, USA) Specialist Prosthodontist, who is in private practice, working exclusively with immediate loading dental implants. Together with Dr. Costa Nicolopoulos, they co- founded the award winning Same Day Dental Implants Clinic located in DHCC, Dubai, UAE.
Q- What prompted you to start this same day practice? What services are offered under same day treatment?
First I would like to point out that “SameDay” practice doesn’t mean that quality is compromised by any measure. On the contrary the techniques and materials used are second to none.
“SameDay” doesn’t only mean shorter time of treatment, shorter time at the dentist, but also means that the surgical procedures used are minimal and less invasive. As a result any potential complications are decreased dramatically.
Having practiced as a specialist dentist for the past 17 years, it was apparent to me that patients were in need of efficient high quality, along with fast dental treatment. Because they were not able to find such a service, the majority of them were neglecting their teeth, sometimes to unimaginable extend. This prompted Dr. Costa and myself, to establish such a SameDay Dental practice.
Surgical dental services, like implants, extractions of teeth, orthognathic rehabilitations removal of cysts and tumors are performed by Dr. Costa who is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.
Prosthodontic dental services, such as dental fillings, crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures and reconstruction of dental implants with fixed teeth are performed by ourteam of specialists Prosthodontists Dr. Safa, Dr. Fokion and myself.
Our in-house dental laboratory warrantees the good quality of the prosthesis and speeds up the whole process.
Q- How do you plan for patient fatigue?
Patients think that dental implants is a major surgical procedure. I have to reassure them that it’s not. At any time during the process, they could have a break to relax or go to the rest room, maybe even pray. Our practice has a dedicated “recovery room”, where our patients relax while waiting for the placement of their teeth. Patient care is extremely high on our priority, good communication, care and procedures that can be done in a short time frame all work to minimise any potential patient fatigue. We had one patient who came for implants in the morning and went immediately to an important business meeting!
Q- It is a general belief that immediate or delayed loading of implants vary from patient to patient, how do you counter that?
Nowadays immediate loading of implants is scientifically proven and well supported by successful cases and vast experience. The success rate of both options (immediate and delayed loading) is the same providing certain protocols are followed.
Of course that doesn’t mean that anyone can place implants and immediately load them. Dr. Costa is an experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. He has placed over 35.000 implants. He is carefully selecting the cases and knows the limitations.
Q- Is it safe to implant the same day and let the patient travel, what if there are complications after a couple of days?
Due to the minimal invasive surgical techniques that our clinic is using, for example avoiding extensive grafting procedures, the complications are limited and controlled with medication.
I am proud to tell you that one of the major airline companies in the UAE is referring to our clinic, their senior executives, pilots and flight attendants, with all of them being able to return to duties within 24 hrs of treatment. So our same day service, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, is particularly suited to people who lead busy lives. But we also take into consideration the growth of medical tourism in the UAE where demand for same day dental treatment such as implants is on the rise.
Q- Does this mean that all implants done by you have been 100% successful?
No. And whoever claims that he has 100% success rate, either he is placing very few implants or he is lying…The success rate is extremely reliable at 98%. Any problems are taken care by our team of specialized dentists, very quickly and efficient by replacing the failed implant, without of course any additional cost.
Q- How many patients can the facility take in a day? What happens if there are more patients?
The number of patients varies every day depending on the extent of the treatment (number of implants) that each patient needs. Dr. Irina, our implant coordinator is carefully organizing our daily schedule, coordinating doctors, patients and our in-house dental laboratory technicians. Any patients in need of immediate assistance are taken care of.
Q- What exactly does same day mean? is it from start to finish, if yes then for how many implants?
All of our patients, 4 hours after implant placement are having teeth on top of their implants.
So yes it’s “SameDay” implants and teeth.
For single implant cases, Dr Costa is placing the implant in about 20 min. Then our in-house dental technicians are taking over. They need 4 hours to fabricate the final all ceramic zirconia teeth.
The patients can either wait in our recovery room or even go for shopping at the nearby shopping mall. When back, one of the Prosthodontists dentists (Dr. Fokion, Dr. Safa, or myself) is ready to place the newly fabricated tooth, on top of the implant.
For multiple implants cases our dental technicians need 4 hours to fabricate the temporary acrylic teeth. Then one of the Prosthodontists is placing them into the patient mouth. 5 days later the permanent ceramic (porcelain) teeth are ready. The patient comes back, the temporary teeth are removed and replaced with the permanent.
Q- In terms of charges, is the facility more expensive than the usual dental practices?
Implant treatment is not cheap. But even though we’ve managed to maintain our quality to the highest of standards, I have to say that our prices are reasonable. Certainly are not higher than other regular dental clinics. We try to help our patients with regular promotions and payment plans.
Q-What was the methodology behind same day service for dental implants?
The late Professor Branemark, a dental physician, researcher and visionary made the discovery and scientific proof that immediate loading of implants could in fact take place and it transformed our business model almost overnight. We embraced his methodology and began the process of perfecting our skills and experience. Branemark literally set the gold standard for dental implants procedure and later officially commended us for our achievements by awarding us one of only 13 Branemark Osseointegration centres in the world. Our methodology became firmly focussed on improve technical skill with each case, exchange ideas with the dental community, so we continuously made improvements.
Q- How did Technology Help?
We knew that technology would dramatically advance our practice and it was a massive investment to create our own in-house lab. But no other clinic has the capacity to produce its own implants, and it significantly reduces the waiting process. Patients do not need to wait. And we have a comprehensive product range always in stock. We also have absolutely state of the art 3D imaging and scanning, the only one of its kind in the UAE and some of the best hospitals in the region refer patients to us because we have the technology that they lack.
Q- How did you perfect the treatment in order to guarantee a same day service???
Continuous evaluation and improvement of everything we did, constantly and always. Improving patient care and communication automatically went hand in hand.
Q- What were some of the keys to growing a successful multispecialty dental practice?
Well when we came to Dubai, no one knew who we were. We had to market better than anyone and differentiate ourselves completely from the rest. Having the skill, experience, the passion, as well as the right partnership to thoroughly perfect procedures enabled us to make our speciality a sort after niche in the Middle East and Europe. As a result we have developed our practice and have become sort after by patients who have busy lives and need our help, along with hospitals and clinics who lack the technical expertise and skills.
Q-In your lifetime what would you hail as the biggest advancements in Dentistry?
Without a doubt, dental implants. To be able to complete the procedure for patients with busy lives in one day is truly remarkable considering it previously took 6 months.
Q-Where do you see the future of dentistry headed?
One day soon, technology will advance machines that will fabricate teeth and implants.
Q-How were you able to balance a busy dental practice, do dentistry with an entrepreneurial pursuit and grow your practice?
It’s really challenging to balance everything!! My clinical partner, Dr. Costa and I share an extremely busy schedule. We both have families, a busy lecturing schedule, and see patients day to day. We love to mentor and share our expertise with other dental professionals and so continuous development forms an essential component to what we do. We are extremely passionate about everything that we do, otherwise we simply would never have gone into this business.
Q-Population is changing and becoming more diverse? What challenges does this bring for modern dentistry and your practice in particular?
Technological advances and the sheer expense of dental technology today, mean that it’s just not possible for all dentists to be able to specialise in every kind of procedure, and it enabled us to carve out our niche. Pricing still remains a challenge for practitioners the world over, though fortunately there are things that we can do to help patients balance the cost.