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The name might suggest otherwise but cosmetic dentistry goes beyond appearance, says Dr Michael Apa
Eduan R. Maggo
Believed to be the first medical specialisation, the history of dentistry dates back almost as far as that of humanity, with some records existing as early as 7000 BC. But the field really came into its own over the past decade with the rise of cosmetic dentistry, says Dr Michael Apa.
“A good set of teeth can bring balance and harmony to a person’s face and make them more attractive,” says the man behind the globally celebrated Rosenthal-Apa Group and Apa Aesthetics clinics, known as pioneers of noninvasive cosmetic dentistry.
The clinic uses customised porcelain veneers to rejuvenate the smile, creating a more youthful look. “Teeth shapes and positions also emit personality, which is key when designing something special for patients.”
Cosmetic dentistry, he explains, refers to recreating a smile to enhance both function and aesthetics. “They really go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s purely a ‘cosmetic’ fix, like colour or to fill in gaps, but 80-90% of the time we restore function or create function that was never there with a ‘cosmetic’ outcome.”
A graduate of New York University College of Dentistry, Dr Apa splits his time between his clinics in New York and Dubai, where he fronts the Facial Aesthetic Design approach he originated. “It is basically breaking down the symmetry or asymmetry of the face and designing the smile to enhance and work with the asymmetries to bring balance,” he explains. “A great smile will disappear in someone’s face rather than stand out.”
Asked how much of what he does is skill, and how much artistry, he replies: “It’s interesting to try and define it. Part of why I personally think I’m special in the industry is because I’m able to visualise how someone’s smile should look as well as how the human mouth functions. This is at this point second nature to me.
“Is that artistry or skill? I would say the visualisation part has always been there and has been honed with experience and repetition. The skill comes from doing it over and over. So, maybe 50/50?”
His Dubai outpost, Apa Aesthetics Dental & Cosmetic Centre, is a luxury bespoke practice and his first international clinic. Spread over 5,000sqft, it blends opulent design with the latest technology, featuring a one-of-a kind lab on-site. The lavish clinic is decked out in chic white interiors with gold accents, and features six practice and surgery rooms. It’s run by two highly skilled specialist dentists he trained personally in New York. The clinic will also have a VIP room for confidentiality.
Dr Apa says the evolution of digital technology over the past decade has contributed to more accuracy in the industry. “However, in general this is a human craft. The end product is made by humans and at the highest level, for the near future, will continue this way.”
He says anyone can be a good candidate for his treatments. “My measure of success is a patient’s satisfaction and building their confidence to feel better about themselves. Also the ability to chew properly without worrying about their teeth.
“We have a pretty high success rate.”
Asked how comfortable veneers are, and how he avoids an unnatural or too-perfect smile, Dr Apa replies: “If they’re done properly, patients forget they have them after a month or so. Avoiding the unnatural work is all in the design from the dentist.”
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