Science meets Art
ESTHETIC DENTISTRY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:
ELEVATE TALKS TO DR. ED PHILIPS.
Dr. Ed Philips is a man on a mission. "There is more to dentistry than just filling holes, " he enthuses. "I want to change how people look."
Right after graduation, he went to The Hospital for Sick Children to practice dentistry. Working as part of the reconstructive team in the Cranial-Facial Department of Dentistry, he saw first hand how cruel nature and circumstance can be. He also realized what a difference improving the teeth made to a patient's self image. Today, Dr. Philips is one of the few dentists in Ontario who only does esthetic work in his practice.
"Our teeth shift and drift as we age; they discolour and wear down," he says, "But patients often underestimate just how much their appearance can be changed with cosmetic work." For example, just lengthening short teeth results in more convex and curvaceous lips. "I call this a smile lift" he says humorously, and recommends that patients contemplating plastic surgery should have their teeth seen to first.
At The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Philips begins a consultation by looking at the structure of a patient's face and analyzing the smile. There is no one ideal smile, he explains, adding that "cookie cutter solutions are great, only if you're a cookie."
But there is an ideal smile for your face. When you smile, the corners of your mouth should line up with your pupils. And your two front teeth should not only work as a unit, but their width should be 80 per cent of their height. He is quick to add, though, this is not a matter of his own personal taste; his esthetic analysis is firmly rooted in established mathematical principle. And we see this proportional beauty reflected everywhere in nature, from the architecture of a nautilus shell - which Dr. Philips has chosen as his logo - to the spiraling strands of our DNA.
The two procedures patients ask for most are the re-whitening of their teeth and the application of porcelain veneers. Dr. Philips explains the reason for the popularity of veneers is obvious - they simulate the play of light on natural teeth. When a patient needs crowns, or what we laypeople commonly refer to as 'caps', these are also veneered to eliminate the tombstone look so often associated with the process. Some of the other procedures he performs are composite bonding, dental implants and perio plastic surgery where the gum line is digitally tailored to achieve a more attractive smile.
However, it's not all high tech at Dr Philips. Patients are really pampered in his spa-like facility by world-renowned designer Yabu Pushelberg. In this serene environment that reflects the flowing lines of a nautilus shell, Dr Philips works on only two clients a day. They have their own private washroom and changing area, and some people even bring their dogs!
Beyond his own practice, Dr. Philips thrives in his role as an educator He reports that a recent survey by the World Health Organization reveals 75 per cent of Ontario's population sees a dentist at least once a year. "That's one of the highest rates of preventative care in the world,' he says, "But we have one of the lowest when it comes to cosmetic dentistry." And Dr. Philips aims to change that.
At his studio, he has incorporated an interactive educational center. Members of the public are welcome to come by any time to access information on the technical and esthetic wizardry that can transform their appearance. And as Dr. Philips views it, this newly emerging field of dentistry is a living example of science driving art, and benefiting all.