The Cullen Dental Practice has moved to Century Dental Clinic, Ravenna Rd, Putney, SW15 6AW, 0208 788 2785
T: 0208 788 2785
No one likes going to the dentist but as a dentist myself I am worse than most people. I started working with Patrick and Moya 8 years ago as a specialist oral surgeon in their practice (I have both dental and medical degrees as well as a surgical qualification), and have mainly been involved with performing extractions and in placing dental implants.
During this time, I gradually became aware that both of the Cullens spent a great deal of their time correcting and adjusting their patients’ bites (their occlusion), much more so than most of the dentists with whom I worked. Initially I was very skeptical that these adjustments made any significant difference — but this was an indication of my own ignorance.
As an oral surgeon I have had little to do with occlusion over the years. It was the rather boring and difficult to grasp topic that I was taught at dental school and was far more important for crown, bridge and denture treatments than for surgery. The more time that I spend out of hospital practice and instead spend working in dental practices, the more I realise that occlusion really is very important.
I work for a number of dentists in practices that vary from Harley Street to Brighton High Street and the one thing that has become clear is that the better dentists get the occlusion right before doing anything else — if previous dental work has failed on that tooth, then the bite MUST be corrected BEFORE replacing the filling or crown, otherwise the restoration will fail again.
Still, it is much easier to treat someone else than to allow someone else to treat you. I have been aware for many years that I grind my teeth very heavily and that this has caused tremendous wear to them. I am generally a very calm individual but there are always times in everyone’s lives when stress comes to the surface. When this happens to me I show it by grinding my teeth —if I imagine being cut up in London traffic I can almost picture myself grinding my teeth together.
Patrick spotted wear on my teeth about 4 years ago and has been gently coaxing me towards having something done about it. Even though I am a dentist and work in dental practices every day of my working life, it is about 12 years since I have had a proper dental check-up (all I tend to do is take an x-ray or two every 5 years or so). I always found an excuse to avoid having any treatment until one of Patrick’s nurses (also a qualified dentist) underwent occlusal adjustment herself. She raved about how she finally had a proper bite and how everything now felt even when she chewed. Having observed the high standard of Patrick and Moya’s work over the last 8 years, this nurse’s testimony was the final encouragement I needed to begin treatment.
Patrick and Moya began my treatment with careful assessment — x-rays and impressions, so that models of my mouth could be produced to show how badly my teeth fitted together and to plan how to remedy this.
I was very apprehensive about my first session of actual treatment, but I shouldn’t have been. Patrick talked me through the procedure, which was to adjust my bite. This is a weird feeling! Eating was interesting at first but it is amazing how quickly you adapt so that it feels normal after only a few days.
The next stage was to replace some of my old amalgam fillings with modern white ones. I was particularly interested in the intra-oral camera that was used to show me what was going on at every stage. It’s amazing how decay follows any cracks in the teeth — but it’s something that you would never normally see as a patient unless shown it with the camera. I had fillings replaced by both Patrick and Moya and was surprised at how straightforward the whole procedure was.
I’m now waiting for some of my teeth to move and am actually looking forward to the next stage (who’d have thought it!) where everything is carefully ground into the perfect bite.I work with many different dentists all over the country, and I think the fact that I have chosen Patrick and Moya to treat my own teeth should speak for itself.
Mr Bill Schaeffer BDS, MBBS, FDS RCS Eng, MRCS Eng