Dr Christopher Orr is one of the UK’s most prominent cosmetic and aesthetic restorative dentists in the UK. He has been invited by Align Technology to lecture at its annual GDP Forum on Saturday 3 November 2018. Dentistry.co.uk speaks to him about his forthcoming lecture
You are going to present at the Invisalign GDP Forum, what are your main lecture objectives? What are the key learnings that you would like delegates to take away/implement?
CO: If you step back and look at where we are now, as opposed to where we were 15 years ago, everyone would concur that the changes have been fairly substantial.
In the past, if adult patients had crooked teeth, for example, they would have been offered fixed appliances, but in many cases the length of the treatment or visibility of the braces would have put these people off. Their only alternative would have been to have their teeth extensively prepared for a restorative approach.
Now our mainstream philosophy is to create a nice smile whilst being kinder to the patient’s teeth, with more awareness about what happens to these teeth much further down the line.
Dentists most certainly need to see the bigger picture now, incorporating their patients’ views, their health, the aesthetics and the function of their mouth, which are becoming fundamental components of what all everyday dentistry should be about.
This Align Technology GDP Forum is giving me an opportunity to talk about comprehensive dentistry, looking at patient’s lifetime care, coordinating the work between teams and across all disciplines.
I will be highlighting the importance of predictability and outcomes as well as managing patients’ expectations by anticipating issues and informing delegates about possible limitations, complications or different outcomes prior to them embarking on any treatment. I will look at ways that minimise the stress of the dentist to create a more synergetic and beneficial approach with the patient, again focusing on lifetime care and prevention, and preferring holistic treatments, which may not be as fast as some patients would want, but treatments that work better at the rate the body allows.
More specifically, I will expand on the future trends of dentistry and how dentists are now embracing treatments which used to be the preserve of specialists, and that is truly exciting.
What changes have you witnessed in the last decade of dentistry and how have they changed the way you practice? Which key milestones which have led to a step change in dentistry?
The trend towards realistic implementation of minimally invasive dentistry has involved several things: better restorative materials, better adhesives and a blurring of the boundaries between general and specialist practice.
When Align Technology came to the UK in 2003 they were at the forefront of a big game change with a blurring of boundaries between orthodontists and general dentists. Invisalign allowed GPs to offer orthodontics to their patients in a way that the patients would agree to.
Composite and ceramic products have improved enormously. Twenty years ago, if you were lucky enough to come across a ‘superstar’ dentist who delivered amazing results with composite, you knew it was because of their unique skills, and not materials, which were of a barely acceptable standard. Now a general dentist, with an above average level of skill and motivation, can easily achieve a good level of restoration, in a clinically realistic period of time too.
This has been achieved thanks to advances in material technologies (better ceramics, better composites, better adhesives). These better materials bring about some better outcomes and offer new possibilities for general dentists.
The aims of this forum are to guide general dentists to embrace these changes and move away from what they have been traditionally doing, with a view to improving their clinical skills, their practice workflow, developing an optimal patient journey whilst making their working environment a less stressful one. With digital dentistry, GDPs can anticipate complications, manage them before they arise and minimise any invasive interventions.
What future trends do you foresee for GDPs? Minimally invasive dentistry and digital smile design will be a key focus at the Forum. What’s your take on these, and what are the key messages you plan to deliver?
I envisage that GDPs will be elevated to the level of ‘doctor of the whole mouth’, as a result of embracing a concept of comprehensive care where aesthetics and function evolve and merge to be seen as ‘normal dentistry’.
They are also being given genuine opportunities to move away from doing dentistry in an analogue world since the price point for digital technologies is now right, and it is indisputable that the way it will affect the dental workflow will benefit both the dentist and patient.
Digital scanning makes it easier for patients to see the potential for their treatment, and as a result they have a better understanding of the implications. It also helps them reach a decision about their treatment faster. Let alone the gooey stuff that patients hate and can now avoid, and this gets them to talk to friends and relatives about their positive experience at the dentist.
GDPs adopting digital technology have a big advantage over others, so it is definitely time to get on-board now, and not in five years to come.
As for Invisalign, every patient says yes to not having to wear braces, so it is a no-brainer.
GDPs can now be the next generation of these super heroes of dentistry.
For more information about the GDP Forum, please click here.
About Dr Chris Orr
Dr Christopher Orr is one of the UK’s most prominent cosmetic and aesthetic restorative dentists, who practices in his multidisciplinary clinic in central London. He is an Accredited Member and Past President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and also a Certified Member of the European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry. He was voted at the most influential private practitioner in the UK by the readers of Private Dentistry magazine in 2013. Through Advanced Dental Seminars, he is the sole lecturer for a one-year course on cosmetic dentistry and aesthetic restorative dentistry for general dentists – the UK’s most popular course programme on the subject with over 1500 dentists completing the programme over the last 15 years.
Dr Orr lectures extensively around the UK and abroad and his work has been widely featured in the UK and international press, across radio, television, print and online media.