Why patient comfort is essential for successful outcomes

Why patient comfort is essential for successful outcomes

‘I don’t want to do bog-standard dentistry. I want to be delivering quality care’: Stewart Beggs explains why patient comfort is at the heart of his treatment. 

For any clinician with an eye for precision dentistry, gratification comes from creating life-changing results within a carefully considered patient journey.

And for any dentist whose treatment protocols have roots firmly planted in years of science that deliver on predictability, then the rewards must surely be all the sweeter.

Stewart Beggs is a cosmetic dentist who combines artistry with an engineering-type approach to his dentistry in the form of biomimetics.

Described as the ‘emulation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems’, biomimetics dentistry is quite simply the process by which treatments are made to look natural without the need to resort to invasive techniques.

Music to the ears

Graduating from Newcastle University in 2015, Stewart now delivers this brand of minimally invasive dentistry at the multi award-winning Chelsea Dental Clinic, a practice that attracts people from way beyond the boundaries of its much-coveted London postcode.

With such a wide net cast, it often means his patients are happy to invest time and energy into lengthier stints in the chair if it means comfortably achieving long-lasting, natural-looking enhancements to their smiles.

For Stewart, this is music to the ears.

Replicating the natural contours and translucency of a tooth whilst preserving its structure is no mean feat – it requires time and patience to achieve high quality restorations designed and engineered to replicate the natural dentition.

Motivated by the ethics as well as the results, Stewart sees this branch of restorative dentistry as the future and regularly lectures on the topic keen to convert colleagues to its protocols.

Godfather of biomimetic dentistry

He explains: ‘Biomimetics draws on engineering principles – it’s about making sure materials match, flex and move like a tooth. The evidence behind biomimetic dentistry is nothing new; in fact its science goes back decades and has its robust roots in American dentistry.

‘Essentially, it is about understanding the structure of the tooth and the difference in stress and function as well as the strain engineering at the dentine-enamel junction and how different qualities of material of ceramics and composites match this.’

Stewart was initially inspired by the godfather of biomimetic dentistry, Dr David Alleman, who is widely published on the topic of advanced adhesive techniques and how they reduce stress, increase long-term bond durability and tooth conservation

‘By understanding the relevant bonding protocols, it allows us to restore and emulate the natural, sound tooth safely and predictably,’ Stewart explains.

‘Dentistry is changing and the fundamentals of biomimetic dentistry is definitely something the younger generation are keen to adopt. Social media has raised awareness and Instagram is great at showcasing different modalities and new ideas.’

Start to finish

He applies these biomimetic principles to bonding, smile design, diastema closure and natural layering techniques and uses composite resin as well as semi-direct and indirect restorations and semi-direct composite restorations.

With aesthetics key to any anterior restorations, Stewart believes in precision from start to finish – this includes everything from isolation, preparation and bonding to layering techniques, finishing and polishing. But he also applies this commitment to finer detail to the patient experience.

Welcoming the level of clinical control achievable with biomimetic practices, he’s keen to pay this forward.

With patients happy to be in the chair for up to two hours at a time, their comfort is inevitably a component of Stewart’s successful outcomes, which is why he now factors The Wand into his dentistry.

The computer-assisted anaesthesia system is, he says, ‘so much more predictable with its delivery’.

‘With a nerve block, it can take a long time to kick in and patients might not be numb even after a couple of attempts. The Wand is less stressful and more predictable.

‘The majority of patients fear the injection most of all so if you can administer the local anaesthetic with a targeted delivery and in a way that patients don’t care about it, then it’s a win-win. I am amazed by how quick and easy it is and how rapidly it achieves numbness.’

Excellent patient tolerance

Giving Stewart control over the flow and delivery of anaesthesia, The Wand pinpoints intraligamentary tissue for precise delivery, which dovetails perfectly with Stewart’s biomimetic principles.

‘I need isolation and having a good dry working area for rubber dam application makes all the difference. So, it is vital to be able to successfully numb and have excellent patient tolerance. You can also be so much more targeted administering LA, so there is no need to numb half the jaw,’ he says.

With every confidence that his restorations are going to work, he also knows that there will be no post-sensitivity for the patient – either because of treatment or unnecessary discomfort caused by the anaesthetic.

Stewart says: ‘I have noticed a shift in patient perception since the pandemic. With the raft of infection control regulations, patients are now far more accepting of longer appointment times, which means we can avoid the “quick fix” and achieve long-lasting restorations.

‘I don’t want to do bog-standard dentistry. I want to be delivering quality care, which is why I want to actively avoid damaging the tooth structure with certain procedures.

‘This makes biomimetic dentistry a game changer for me. I get a joy out of creating restorations that have solid foundations and look like a tooth again.’

For more information on The Wand, visit dentalsky.com/wand-dental.

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