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The Dynamic Duo


Two of the top dogs of the dental world are teaming up to bring you a service like no other. Richard Greenlees from Lovebite and Dr. David Kao from Christchurch Boutique Dental are trailblazers in their field and it is safe to say they make quite the pairing – certainly one worth smiling about.

 

 

But to appreciate them as a team, you must first delve into who these professionals are individually.

Richard is a master dental technician who has people coming to see him from all over the world to have work done.

He recently was inducted into the Oral Design Group which consists of 80 hand-picked individuals around the globe.

On the other hand, Dr. David is a highly skilled dentist and one of the only people in the country in dentistry, who works under a microscope.

His forte is complex reconstructive procedures and he takes on referrals from dentists around the country.

For two people who are so used to being highly observant and precise, their meeting was rather serendipitous.

Dr. David travels around the world to find master technicians who can deliver the quality and precision he is looking for.

After years of visits, Dr. David was asked by one of the technicians he worked with “Why do you travel halfway around the globe when you can work with Richard Greenlees from Christchurch?”.

The pair use the latest technology, make everything in New Zealand and do not outsource their work to other countries; to give every patient the best result on the market.

A partnership like this is worth every praise as Richard explains, “The fact that we are working so closely together, is the best way to get a result.

No one else is doing that in the country; we really work on a one-on-one basis”.

The team work with patients who have lost all of their teeth or even those who need implants in the upper and lower jaw.

They completely replace their teeth with varying options from dentures that are clipped onto the implants to full Zirconia.

With any surgery that takes place, David proudly says “Everything that we do here is pre-planned digitally.

We take a full digital scan of the patients mouth and combine it with their CT scan.

So, we can place implants virtually on the computer, exactly where we would want it and then mould a guide.

We can then use that guide to direct the implant”.

Precision is key in what they do, this leaves room for next to no errors and ensures that every patient is getting a product that is tailored specifically for them.

Both parties have a shared interest in working to the highest possible standard and creating the most natural appearance that they can get in the mouth.

“Back in the day, people would approach it from a functional sense,” David explains. “Nowadays, we look at how it is going to appear first; what it’s going to look like.”

With a smile on both of their faces, Richard says, “We don’t want to be the biggest; we don’t want to be the cheapest, we just want to be the best”.

In practice, they are following the DCNZ guidelines for COVID. You can see either of these professionals for an initial consultation.

For more information phone Dr. David on 03 925 9929 or Richard on  03 379 1222.


 

Rebuilding Faces: Lovebite


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.

 

ONE OF RICHARD’S OIL PAINTINGS TITLED ‘SEVEN’, AVAILABLE DIRECTLY FROM RICHARD

 

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.

 


 

Light ‘n’ Shade: Lovebite


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.

 

CASE STUDY PATIENT #4001 (BEFORE AND AFTER)

 

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”.


 

 

Lovebite

Oral Artistry: Lovebite


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.

 

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.


 

Lovebite

A smile to love: Lovebite


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.

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.

 

Lovebite
Characterisation of the teeth and gums on this stunning Lovebite denture has created an incredibly natural looking smile.

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.

 



 

LoveBite

a Bite of the Best: LoveBite


Like the Bach Cello Suite No 1 performed by his favourite cellist Mischa Maisky, the dentures made by Richard Greenlees, maestro at Lovebite, are a masterwork of harmony with the face and the nuance of character of their fortunate wearers.

 

LoveBite

 

Each set is a work of art; you cannot guess the dentures are not teeth, as grown and worn by the owner during their lifetime. “The last thing you’d ever want is a generic denture that goes across in a straight line,” (think Jim Carey in The Mask).
“It’s just so obvious,” Richard says.

With his artist’s eye, Richard understands that our mouths and the natural teeth they hold are a representation of the person inside, whom he takes time to know before beginning to create. A fisherman client recently consulted with Richard: the set of dentures resulting from that collaboration had a tooth missing to retain the integrity of that client’s identity!

Training at Otago University, in Christchurch and Wellington, Richard went on to study ceramics in Osaka, Japan. Mentors Jean and Peter Hyam were the catalyst to the young Richard, who went to work with the rich and famous in London from his Harley Street practice for 15 years and now works in New Zealand and internationally.
Richard also makes caps, crowns and bridges. He loves doing what he does. “I can change people’s lives for the better – it’s a craft and an art and also a science.”

When starting, Richard didn’t think there would be a need for dentures today. However, far from being a sunset industry, Richard is seeing people place a higher value on their health and wellbeing. His clients range from young people who haven’t looked after their teeth, to Baby Boomers who have let their teeth go as they aged, to older people with reduced bone mass affecting their natural teeth.
He works on a sliding fee scale for all the different options, ranging from entry level to the ‘Rolls Royce’ level of work.

The first consultation is face to face and is $150. There is a myriad of materials he can work in: acrylic, light cured composite, gold and porcelain. Choosing materials is a shared process which blends the goals of the client with Richard’s 40 years of experience.
His work takes time. “These are not like the dentures of old which could be churned out within the week.”
Four, even five visits are required to create the dentures, “more if you have selected the top of the line work”, and the dentures themselves take four to six weeks to create.
“It is an alchemy of materials making things work for a human body – it is a great thrill.”

 


Find Richard at www.lovebite.com.