‘The more we learn, the less stressful our lives are’: Manrina Rhode discusses the importance of aesthetic dentistry training for all dental professionals and the correct way to go about getting it.
Today I’m going to talk to you about training to get into aesthetic dentistry.
We are not really taught aesthetic dentistry at university. We’re not taught smile design, we’re not taught basic gingival architecture or any of these fun things. I think that’s a shame.
I think it’s an important part of what we do. We’re very much brought out to do single tooth dentistry, not even quadrant or to look at the mouth as a whole. Never mind how the mouth sits in the whole face.
It’s very important when you graduate, if it’s something that interests you. If you’re if you’re going to be a specialist, an endodontist, or a periodontist, I would like to say it’s not as important. But actually, even for you within those field, it’s important to start understanding smile design.
Smile designs are really important, for all of us, and something that they should add on to our syllabus at university. But it’s not, so let’s talk about what you do instead…
Finding the correct training
Once you graduate, there are a whole host of courses that you can go on that will teach you about about aesthetic dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, how to be a cosmetic dentist.
I don’t like to use the word ‘cosmetic’ dentistry. I think it sounds like makeup. What we do is so far from makeup. I call myself an aesthetic dental surgeon and I think that’s more fitting.
The main treatment that I do in my profession is porcelain veneers. I’ve done it with 13,000 porcelain veneers and I teach a course on porcelain veneers.
I believe that the smile makeovers that we do with porcelain veneers are the most complex thing that we do within dentistry. There’s so many things that could go wrong.
At every stage, there’s so many little things that have gone wrong for me over the last 20 years and every time that’s happened, I’ve modified the way that I work my workflow to make sure that that doesn’t happen again. There’s a lot to be said for that.
That doesn’t mean that it’s not a treatment that we should do. It’s just a treatment that you really shouldn’t try to do without the correct training. Let’s talk a little bit about about that training pathway.
The training pathway
There are courses out there – like year long courses – where you go and attend a day a week and every day they’ll talk to you about a different aspect of of cosmetic dentistry.
There will be a day about whitening, a day on bonding, a day on smile design and smile makeovers. And that way you really get a nice outline of all the different procedures that are available to your patients.
I don’t think you necessarily come away with the ability to carry out these procedures, but you learn what they are. And then if it’s something that you want to bring into practice, it’s something that you would then go and and learn in more detail in a course specifically for that treatment.
The more we learn, the less stressful our lives are. People who are trying to do treatments that they’re not trained in, I’m sure they’re just living a really unnecessarily stressful life, getting lines prematurely.
My best secret to anti-ageing is to stay within your comfort zone. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t push out of your comfort zone. It just means when you are ready, get the training that you need and make sure you’re supported so that you can carry out treatments predictably.
Don’t use Youtube…
This leads me on to a story that I’m going to share with you. There’s this American dental forum on Facebook where people post and one of my friends in America sent me one.
It said: ‘Hey guys, I decided to do veneers for my patient but I didn’t really know how to do veneers. So, I watched a video on Youtube and I prepped these veneers.
‘After I prepped my veneers I put some temporaries on but the temporary veneers kept falling off. The patient could see where I cut the teeth underneath and they were really upset about it and it was really uncomfortable and I had to keep sticking them on and it was so stressful.
‘Finally we got to the appointment when it came to fitting her veneers. As I came to fit them, I couldn’t get them to all stay next to each other and fit them at the same time. I was scared that if I fit them at the same time that they would get stuck together.
‘So instead, I fit them one by one, but as a fit one, the next one didn’t fit. They all fit wonky in her mouth. It’s been a really stressful experience and I just wanted to share it with you guys. What would you guys do? Can you please help?’
It gave me palpitations. Why were they trying to learn such a difficult procedure on Youtube? Don’t learn your dentistry from Youtube.
If you want to learn how to do something, go on a course. There are loads of respectable dentists out there that you can go and learn from. Go and learn how to do something properly.
Go out there and learn!
If you haven’t learned how to do it, but it’s something that you want to provide for your patients, then refer out to someone that doesn’t know how to do it until you do know how to do it. Stay within your comfort zone.
That doesn’t mean you’re losing clients by doing that. Actually, you’ll be building your client database because you will build a referral network to the people who know how to do things really well.
At DRMR clinic, I always say to my patients if I believe there is someone in the world that can do this job better than me, I will send you to that person to do it. I’m only doing the treatments that I know that I’m really good at.
I’ve been a dentist for 20 years, so it’s all well and good for me to say: ‘Oh yeah, I’m really good at these certain treatments.’ I also understand that there are young dentists out there who want to expand what they know.
You should expand on what you know. But the way to do it is to go on a course and, through that course, make sure there’s some form of mentoring.
This is so that when you start to provide these treatments and things do start going wrong, which inevitably they will at the beginning, there’s someone who you can you can message and you can turn to who could be like, ‘Yeah, if that happens then do this and that will really help you.’
It’s not doom and gloom
I hope that was a good synopsis about training for aesthetic dentistry. It was not doom and gloom.
The moral of the story is go out there, go on courses and learn about the treatments you want to do.
You can do them in a really predictable way, which will give you a good life.
Catch up with previous Aesthetic Dentistry Expert columns:
- The ‘dark side’ of crowns
- The dark side of composite bonding
- Making the most of aesthetics in 2023
- What is the Hollywood Smile?
- ‘Turkey teeth’, Jack Fincham and the realities of discounted treatments.
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.
Visit Manrina’s website here: www.drmrlondon.co.uk.