Dr. Sanjay Shah

Health Jockey has had the privilege of taking the interview of Dr. Sanjay Shah, an expert in his field. In his earlier interview with us, this prestigious dentist had given a generalized idea about Smile Designing, Cosmetic Dentistry, and Laser treatments among other topics. Through this interview we hope to give a clearer idea of topics that may be hazy or blur at the moment.

In order to gain an in depth understanding of the various types of latest dentistry treatments, Dr. Sanjay Shah, Bachelor in Dental Surgery, has obliged us with yet another interview. Here, we have tried to cover the important treatments and their pros and cons, which might interest you readers. Who better than the expert himself, can answer dentistry questions and queries. Here are the excerpts from the interview with Dr. Sanjay Shah:

Ideally how many sittings does a cosmetic dentistry require?

It depends on the type of treatment required. There are chair side procedures and procedures which involve lab work. If it’s a chair side procedure, and a simple case then normally it can get done in maybe 2 or 4 sittings depending on the type of cosmetic work required. If a full smile designing is required then maybe 4 sittings are needed. If it’s just 1 or 2 teeth then maybe 1 or 2 sittings are enough. If it has lab work requiring porcelain laminates then one week’s time would be required.

The estimate cost for this type of treatment?

Ranging anywhere from Rs. 1,500 – Rs. 15,000 a tooth depending on the type of material used, the type of treatment required, whether endodontic treatment is also required along with smile designing. Sometimes root canals have to be done in order to make the teeth come in alignment. There are a lot of elective root canals done. So if that’s the case then the expenses might go further.

Do celebrities come to you for this type of treatment?

Yes a lot of celebrities do come to me. If I may name some, then Mr. Himesh Reshammiya is my patient. The to-be released Khalballi’s heroine, Ms. Sada Saiyed is my patient. Mr. Goldie Behl has been my patient once. Mrs. Shulbha Arya also had visited as well. A lot of TV stars also come to me. The hero of the TV serial, Remix, Mr. Raj singh Arora is also my patient. These are to name a few. I have got many other celebrity patients’, whose names have been diluted in my memory.

On an average how many patients come to you for this kind of treatment?

Everyday almost one or two patients come to me for this treatment, seldom even more.

Are your cosmetic dentistry customers satisfied with the end result? Are there any complications?

I generally haven’t heard about any complications. The only complication that is known is if the person is allergic to the material that we use. In my 21 years of practice, I have not encountered even a single allergy. The complication could be whatever work we do. If the patient is not careful and has very hard food, he may chip the material that we have fitted on the root of his front teeth. Once in a while there maybe hypersensitivity, but I have not experienced that in my practice. However some dentists have heard of complains of teeth hypersensitivity, where the patients experience a feeling of sensitivity due to hot and cold drinks after the treatment. This occurs if the treatment has not been done perfectly. Suppose if the margins have not been properly sealed then there maybe complications. If the dentist has done a good job, normally complications are not expected.

Are there any after treatment precautions or care that the patient has to take?

In the kind of treatment I am referring to, the patient can eat immediately. There is no time lag. But if the patient has undergone bleaching or just whitening of teeth, then we advise them to avoid consuming colored foodstuffs, like red wine, turmeric foods, etc and smoking for 24 hours. Basically avoid anything that can color or stain your teeth. Even if they want to drink a cup of coffee, I would recommend milk coffee over black coffee.

Does laser treatment have any side effects on the patient’s health or gums?

No they don’t have any side effects. Again, sensitivity can be a minor complication. In any surgery, there is something called a “post-surgical inflammation” or post-surgical pain. Lasers are normally used for gum surgeries or whitening, so whenever they are used, the patient may complain of sensitivity for a day or two. We give them an anti-inflammatory medicine and that usually takes care of their sensitivity.

Your patient’s don’t complain about any specific pain at all?

I have rarely heard of any complaints, in fact Laser Dentistry is pretty miraculous as a technology. I was one of the first 4 or 5 dentists in Mumbai who bought it together. Since then people and dentists are equally amazed with the results. Out of 7,000 dentists in Mumbai, only 20-30 of them use lasers. We always advice other dentists to purchase this equipment as well, if affordable, as it’s an expensive piece of equipment.

Again are there any precautions or care that they have to take, like avoid hot or cold beverages immediately?

Yes, immediately after laser treatment, for at least an hour or two, they should avoid eating. Due to sensitivity, extreme hot or cold is to be avoided. Other than these there are no other complications.

Indians don’t usually use mouthwash or floss. Do you recommend the usage? Is it required?

Absolutely! It’s mandatory to floss. There have been terms like, “If you don’t floss, you die.” Flossing is very important, because the inter-dental plaque, the bacteria in your plaque, can get into your blood stream. And that can actually block one of your heart arteries, and can even cause heart attack. It has been proven beyond doubt, that the heart, brain or liver arteries can get affected due to this. It can actually create slow infections in the arteries or cause a slow plaque build-up to form. During the Vietnam war, when a lot of young soldiers had died, their hearts were opened up and they found those plaques there. Their gum conditions were also very poor. They found the same bacterial colony that was in the gums to be present in the heart. That’s how they inferred that this can actually travel and go to the heart and cause a problem. So flossing is a must. If you don’t want to floss, then there are oral irrigators available. Teledyne is the brand name and Water Pik is the product name. That’s a fantastic oral irrigator available. It’s a water jet. Even that can clean the inter-dental areas very effectively.

As far as mouthwashes are concerned, you can use an anti-plaque mouthwash, having anti-bacterial properties. This not only gives you a pleasant breath, but also makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive in your mouth. Mouthwashes contain alcohol, which is anti-bacterial; they also contains cetrimide, which is an anti-bacterial agent, which is very good for cleansing your mouth of bacteria.

Some people might be superstitious about using alcohol based mouthwash, would you like to comment on that?

There are non-alcoholic mouth washes also available in the market, especially for children. So you can definitely use those. The non-alcoholic mouthwash is also good enough.

Is it advisable to use mouthwash, if a person is suffering from ulcers or bruises on their gums?

It might burn the patient initially, but mouthwash is anti-bacterial nonetheless. Ulcers are basically formed because of bacterial infection themselves, not only due to stress. There is a lot of bacterial flora present in the ulcer. Even though it might cause a burning sensation to the patient, it does not mean that you cannot use a mouthwash. You can apply gels that can numb that area, and then use a mouthwash.

They don’t worsen the ulcer?

No, it does not worsen the ulcer. In fact it will help the healing process better because it is anti-septic. Ulcers are best healed by lasers. If you have an ulcer, you can come to any laser dentist, who will just zap that ulcer for you. The pain will almost vanish immediately. And if traditional healing takes a week, laser treatment will probably help heal it in 2 days; because it kills the bacterial infection instantly. The laser tip is at the temperature of about 250 degree Celsius. But because it is pointed at one area, the patient does not feel pain.

Even after getting their teeth cleaned, some people’s teeth get stained due to cigarette smoking or coffee. So are there any measures that they can take?

Basically if you are having strong coffee or tea or if you are a heavy coffee drinker, then you should consider cutting down on your coffee intake. Prevention is always better. Smoking can also cause stains so regular clean ups and check-ups need to be done by your dentist. Mouthwashes and tooth pastes, which have polishing agents, can also be used. However, they may cause a little bit of enamel abrasion. These may reduce your stains a little bit but they won’t be as good as professional cleaning. Professional cleaning will not abrade the enamel. So ideally, a balance of coffee, tea and smoking should be observed. If you can reduce it, then that is the best, if not then professional help will always be there.

There are some chewing gums in the market claiming to whiten the teeth. What do you have to say about that?

These chewing gums claim to whiten the teeth, but they don’t actually do so. I would not call them completely true. However, they may help in making your teeth look cleaner or a little bit shinier. But they don’t have the same effect as bleaching or they don’t aid in color change. They don’t contain sugar, and the very act of chewing a gum, removes plaque from the tooth surface. So eventually indirectly it helps in making your teeth cleaner and shinier. For that matter any chewing gum will help, but as compared to the other chewing gums, the sugar free ones can be called a lesser evil. However, I would not call it a treatment modality. It’s not a treatment to be given to people with stains. If you have gotten your teeth cleansed by a dentist, and then chew on such gums to maintain them, then that’s fine. But again if you are drinking too much of coffee, then these chewing gums are definitely not going to help you.

If you were curious to know more about Laser, Preventive dentistry and other miracles in the world of dentistry, then stay tuned to this section as we conclude it with the second part of the interview with Dr. Sanjay Shah.