Merivale Denture Clinic Senior Clinician Thomas Gu tells Metropol how the process of treatment through to creating high quality dentures lies in the expert combination of science, art and engineering.
Tom’s treatment for providing good dentures begins with a thorough oral exam, discussion and diagnosis, which he kicks off with a free no-obligation consultation.
“I spend a lot of time listening to my clients’ history of dental issues to identify and fix the root cause of the problem.”
Tom ensures all his patients know exactly what is possible and what the limitations may be, without sugar coating the situation, so he can provide the best options that are unique to each individual and their circumstances.
Tom’s vast and varied career began at the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry where he specialised in various scopes of practice including implant supported removable dentures, conventional full dentures, partial dentures, metal substructures, flexible dentures and orthodontics. He was the senior technician leading these various departments.
After his university career, Tom has practiced privately, which means his experience ranges from treating complex hospital grade cases through to cosmetically oriented private cases.
Tom and his team use a combination of the latest technology and extensive specialised experience and skills to craft customised dentures.
This technology includes an IvoBase Injector unit, E4 digital scanner, Asiga 3D printer, and computer aided design with 3Shape software (pictured).
High quality dentures improve physical health as well as mental well-being by restoring your ability to eat better, giving you a beautiful smile and improving your quality of life.
It’s an all too common misapprehension that those with dentures have an easier time of it than those with natural teeth. This is because they look just as good as natural teeth and because they generally last around five to ten years. This leads to a “wear ‘em and forget about ‘em” belief around dentures that, however good it sounds, is not the reality.
Just like natural teeth, dentures come with problems too and these can only be picked up by maintaining regular denture check-ups.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton recommends at least every two years, but if there are natural teeth as well, then every year.
A regular denture problem can be ill-fitting dentures, which can cause soreness and ulcers, and make eating difficult.
Visual checks for possible oral cancers and other abnormalities are also carried out in check-ups.
As with natural teeth, the cleaner the denture is, the easier it is to maintain oral health.
Dentures need to be cleaned daily with a denture toothpaste and brush to help reduce bacteria in the mouth, as well as to tackle stains, plaque and tartar that can accumulate on dentures.
Caldent Denture Cleaner can effectively remove years of stains and built up plaque and tartar deposits.
It’s very popular with Dentures Plus clientele, with beneficial results showing in a few days, Dentures Plus are highly experienced dental professionals committed to providing the best quality service in dentures maintenance and oral health.
Find Dentures Plus at 396 Innes Road, phone 03 385 5517.
Are you happy with your smile? Can you eat what you like? Are your dentures comfortable? At Merivale Denture Clinic they see denture wearers every day who are experiencing difficulty in carrying out normal functional activities. This may be due to a number of factors, one of which is the ability to control the dentures effectively while eating and speaking.
All this can not only undermine a person’s self-confidence in interacting socially, but it can also have repercussions for health and mental wellbeing. The good news is that by using the latest technology in materials and technique, comfortable fit, function and aesthetic appearance can be drastically improved with dentures at Merivale Denture Clinic.
If you are having problems with your existing dentures, make a time to talk to Thomas Gu, the senior clinician at Merivale Denture Clinic. You can be assured Tom will take the time to listen and endeavour to understand your needs. “For me, spending a good amount of time with each patient before starting the treatment is crucial,” Thomas says.
“This allows me to make a thorough and comprehensive diagnosis to identify the needs and requirements necessary to produce the highest quality dentures. Dentures should be designed to the specific conditions of each patient’s mouth to adequately restore essential functions such as speech and the ability to eat and smile, which a lot of us take for granted.”
Watching patients’ self-confidence return and their quality of life improve is immensely satisfying for Thomas and his team.
To book a complimentary, obligation-free consultation, phone 03 355 4704.
When it comes to denture care, advancements in technology and attitudes have changed the game in recent years.
Leading dental experts have been adapting and introducing new techniques in denture application, resulting in dentures with the look, feel and function of natural teeth.
In Christchurch, the team leading the charge is Dentures Plus, a St Albans-based practice, owned by Ryan and Marion Carlton, who work alongside their highly skilled team. Established in the late 1990s, the business has grown to become one of the most experienced dental labs in the country, manufacturing full and partial dentures, implant retained dentures, flexible partial dentures, bite splints, denture repairs, re-lines and custom-made mouthguards.
There are many reasons people choose dentures, implants and bridging, including those who have lost teeth due to an accident, medical issues or have had poor oral health. All dentures are personally designed and created for the client, to ensure a more comfortable and natural fit.
At Dentures Plus, many options are available, and during your initial consultation, Ryan can explain those different options for you to help you make the right decision.
To help return your winning smile and confidence, give Dentures Plus a call today for a no-obligation, free consultation, to discuss the latest advances in technology with a highly skilled professional. Phone 03 385 5517 or visit www.denturesplus.co.nz.
An extensive and holistic understanding of his profession has earnt Lovebite’s Richard Greenlees a reputation as a true artist and a global leader in the dental profession, creating perfectly formed dentures with the ability to rebuild the facial structure from the inside out, dentures which are indistinguishable from natural teeth; handmade, bespoke and individually characterised.
We caught up with Richard about cutting his teeth in the industry and his journey to the top.
Your mother was an artist and your father a carpenter. How did their work influence your career?
Growing up with parents that used their hands to make their living led me to what I do today. My mum Wendy is an artist and has an innate understanding of colour which I think has been transferred to me. Colour comes into play immensely in the fabrication of dentures, crowns and veneers. John, my dad, who has passed, was a carpenter and had an ability to understand things in space and 3D; this helps with my understanding of the empty space left in the oral cavity, filling this space without the denture appearance is where my work sits apart.
Can you recall the very first set of teeth you ever made?
The first set of teeth I made at the age of 16 were a disaster… but I see that as fortunate as I soon realised how difficult and how much of an art it is to make dentures for a patient that has lost their teeth. Taking a patient through a rehabilitation programme means so much to me. Now I’ve got 40 years of knowledge from New Zealand, Japan and Europe where I spent time honing my skills. Implantology is fast becoming an option for patients; this is a very technical approach to rehabilitation and is much more costly, needing planning and time. I am currently looking closely at a new Zirconia system from Europe for these large implant cases.
It must have felt like a fantastic achievement to open your own clinic in Harley Street?
Having my own studio on Harley Street was part of an incredible journey for me. I worked with some of the top prosthodontists/dentists in the world and made teeth for many international celebrities. I also made teeth for the average man/woman and treated all my patients in exactly the same manner. Some of the most interesting people were the ‘behind the scenes’ people… speech writers, directors, businessmen, inventors, fellow artists.
Some very interesting things happened to me during these times… parties, private jets and, ultimately, a role in a British movie! But what drove me then and continues to drive me now is making teeth that improve lives. I can sit at home and see my patients of the stage and screen and have a quiet satisfaction that billions of people are looking at my work, without even realising it.
What brought you back home?
To slow down, go surfing and do my oil painting… there were not many waves in London. Funnily enough, I’m as busy as I have always been… but I like it. I still find myself travelling internationally to keep up with technology, or speak at conferences about my approach to dentures and dental ceramics.
What are some of the common dental situations you see?
The most common thing I’m presented with in my daily work is what I call a ‘collapsed denture face’, caused by a lifetime of denture wearing that has taken away a patient’s appearance and character – and often their self-esteem. Rebuilding this in a natural way is what I strive to do daily. Understanding a patient’s ‘oral architecture’ and what they have lost is critical. I am fascinated by the face and this is what I lecture about internationally – how to rebuild it.
How does it feel to see a client elated by their new appearance?
Seeing a patient restored to their natural appearance is why I do what I do. As I move through the stages of my work, the change can be quite dramatic. This is usually followed by friends querying what they’ve done and commenting on how great they look. Patients carry on their lives – looking and feeling great and no one knows why; it’s their secret. I love this side of my work.
Clinical Dental Technician and artist, Richard Greenlees of Lovebite, has returned from a tour of Switzerland, Germany and the UK where he contributed to symposia on the latest technology used in denture creation.
“It has been fascinating,” Richard says, “My main conclusion being that you just can’t surpass a set of dentures completely hand-made and bespoke to their owner”. The drive to computer-generated dentures simply doesn’t replicate Richard’s ability to create a set of dentures indistinguishable from a person’s own teeth. Key to Richard’s stunning results is his passion for studying faces and features. Regarded as gifted by colleagues, Richard has an innate ability to recreate a face as it would be if structured by its natural teeth.
“It is common to be left with a ‘denture face’ after a number of years,” Richard says. “Cheeks collapse and lips thin, distorting the integrity of facial structure.” He finds women often bring their husbands in to get a denture face restored to its original more masculine appearance. Experience plus possessing the eye of a practicing artist enables Richard to visualise how the patient’s face would look at its best authentic self, at its current age.
“The face fascinates me. It shows its owner’s history, illustrates the character and sustains life through its role in eating. Once it is restored there can be quite a dramatic change – patients can look in the mirror and see a younger self looking back. It always moves them and it can take a little time to adjust to this different yet completely authentic self.” Richard’s ‘after shots’ of patients are authentic too, he is strict on no use of stock photos to misrepresent his skill.
The process begins with Richard observing the face, plus getting to know the personality behind it. A technical phase utilises moulds in different ways. Richard’s own-recipe wax is used to create lip stents as tools to reshape the face, helping decide where the teeth will sit, and where to place the teeth in the skull shape. This skilled and thoughtful analysis sets Richard’s work apart.
Fittings occur to ensure the patient and Richard are happy and then the finishing stage can begin. This is a critical element, where Richard’s artistic side comes to the fore. The denture is handmade, incorporating the shape of teeth and gums, tinting and colouring and the character features that make the denture indistinguishable from real teeth are added.
Creation of the dentures occurs in both the clinic and the art studio space at Lovebite, with the whole process in Richard’s hands only. Far from a 9–5’er, Richard sometimes works on a denture in the small hours, unable to put it down. He puts in long hours, but like any creative enterprise, it is not work, “it’s an expression for me, I love it”.
“There are exciting things happening in the world of dentures. We’ve really embraced the digital age and its associated technology. ”
Ryan Carlton of Dentures Plus has recently been to IDS, the leading global trade fair of the dental industry in Cologne, Germany. “IDS presents the most important concepts and advances for the practices and laboratories of today and tomorrow. I was looking in particular at 3D printing of dentures.“
Ryan says that 3D printing of dental appliances is not only accurate, but it is quick, helps to streamline the making of high quality polymer-based dentures and is far less messy than creating plaster models. It also reduces the amount of material required and is a rather more pleasant experience for patients.
“As 3D printer techology becomes more accessible, the cost of use is also going down. I have been waiting for an all-in-one system that covers virtually the whole process and that is now available from a company called Kulzer. My patients can look forward to 3D printed dentures when I introduce the technique over the next few months. It will be great for them and stimulating for me as well.“
Dentures Plus is located at 396 Innes Road, phone 03 385 5517. Opening hours are Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm and on Friday 8am to 2pm.
The need for new or replacement dentures could bring a range of emotions to the surface, but you wouldn’t necessarily count on ‘joie de vivre’ being one of them. Unless, of course, your dentures are created by Richard Greenlees of Lovebite.
Richard is re-established in Christchurch from his Harley Street practice in London, where the well-heeled and those needing to be ready for their close-up, cut a track to his door. Renowned for creating dentures indistinguishable from natural teeth, Richard combines artistry and technical know-how with a passion for deep understanding of his clients, their lives and personalities.
Contrary to modern computerised and mechanised denture-manufacture, Richard’s dentures are handmade, bespoke, and individually characterised. Taking time to get to know a patient before creation begins, you’ll never see a conveyor belt of people in the waiting room, because consultations are a relaxed and enjoyable interchange that involves building dentures around who you are.
“Dentures go on your life journey with you, so they should be intrinsic to you,” Richard says. This year Richard travels to conferences in London and Cologne to keep abreast of advances. “Dental technology moves along at a pace similar to technology for space exploration and the materials used are markedly similar with zirconia, carbon and 3D printing coming into play.”
Oil painting is a second outlet for Richard’s artistry and drive to represent, and fills any time left over from the oral works of art. Having shown in London and made art for most of his life, he particularly loves the works of Francis Bacon, for its emotional and sheer human scope. “That’s what I am always trying to bring to my work in all spheres – honesty but also great beauty.”
This year Richard will carry on striving for reality in appearance for his patients, looking forward to meeting the new ones who each become important to him. “I’m always looking to create something special for my clients – a smile that truly reflects their individuality and character, and which makes them feel like themselves. This is critical if the teeth are to be accepted as a part of the person.”
Find Richard at 404 Montreal Street, phone 021 555 293, and www.lovebite.com – he’ll discover who you are, but you’ll want to talk about him.
Getting dentures can be a daunting prospect, and the last thing patients want is a generic, or ‘horsey’ smile, says internationally renowned clinical dental technician, Richard Greenlees of Christchurch practice, Lovebite.
“People get new or replacement dentures for many reasons, but one thing is true for every patient; they want to love the new smile reflected back to them in the mirror and feel confident when they go out into the world.” Richard creates expertly crafted bespoke dentures, which are unique to every patient. “Teeth are as different as fingerprints and vary greatly depending on a person’s age, sex and race. I work one-on-one with patients to create a smile that allows them to feel like themselves again. My dentures also provide the correct support and structure to give them a more youthful appearance.”
As a reference while he works, Richard often uses his patients’ own photographs showing their natural smile. His dentures are like artworks, with each tooth individually crafted with colouring and small nuances to match his patients’ individuality and character.
Not only do Lovebite teeth look real, the whole structure and shape of a patient’s face is transformed with Richard’s top-of-the-line dentures – which feature his signature ‘denture lift’. “With appropriate facial support, the facial tissues are brought back into the correct position, lips are reformed and beauty is restored,” he says.
It is the interior architecture of a Lovebite denture that helps to create a more youthful appearance by recovering the face and skeletal shape that can be lost after years of wearing old dentures. To achieve these results, Richard has created world-leading techniques, which are now internationally recognised. He is regularly asked to lecture worldwide, and in April was the keynote speaker at the international DTG Symposium in Frankfurt, where he demonstrated his unique methods on a Christchurch patient, flown to Germany by the event organisers.
His vast experience includes 15 years running his own clinic in the prestigious Harley Street, London, where he treated people from all walks of life, from barrow boys to the rich and famous, politicians, actors and musicians. In addition to dentures, Richard also carries out crown and bridge, veneer and implant work, in conjunction with like-minded dental surgeons who complement his creative and aesthetic work.
There is nothing more satisfying for Richard than to see his patients leave the Lovebite studio with a beautiful new smile, and their self-confidence and identity restored.
Senior clinician Thomas Gu now leads the team at Merivale Denture Clinic with his highly specialised expertise and down-to earth personality.
He is already providing his patients with the finest quality handmade dentures that are comfortable, functional and aesthetically pleasing and those patients are very happy with his work.
Tom studied and worked at the University of Otago’s Faculty of Dentistry in Dunedin for more than 10 years. He led various departments in removable prosthetics, including partial dentures, full dentures, implant supported prosthetics and orthodontic appliances. His additional few years working at a private clinic in Christchurch prior to joining the Merivale team, support his extensive and wide array of experiences from complex and highly specialised hospital cases, to conventional dentures and prosthetics.
“For me, spending a good amount of time with each patient before starting the treatment is crucial. This allows me to make a thorough and comprehensive diagnosis to identify the needs and requirements necessary to produce the highest quality dentures. Dentures aren’t something you can pick off the shelves and away you go. They are oral prosthetics. They should be designed to the specific conditions of each patient’s mouth to adequately restore essential functions such as speech, and the abilities to eat and smile, which a lot of us take for granted.”
To book a complimentary, obligation-free consultation, phone 03 355 4704.