With luxurious décor, a spa-like feel and a patient-centred approach, it’s no wonder that The Harrogate Clinic has quickly earned a nationwide reputation as a leading provider of both dentistry and cosmetic treatments. After working in an NHS setting and feeling that patients deserve a more personal, relaxed experience, founder Dr Shoreh Ghasmi set out to totally reinvent dentistry in the clinic, eradicating the traditional fears associated with going under the light. Leeds Prestige spoke to Dr Shoreh about the success that she has seen, and the steps that the clinic’s handpicked experts take to treat each and every patient like a VIP.

How often should patients visit the dentist for a check-up?

When we see a patient for the first time, we examine them, discuss their diet, and assess their oral hygiene to see if they have any problems. If there are very few issues, we will see them once every six months. If there are no problems at all, we can see them annually. On the other hand, those with gum disease and other oral health complications may need to come in once every two to three months. We treat each patient on a case-by-case basis to ensure they receive the correct treatment and service for their needs.

What are the most common mistakes patients make with their dental care and what is the best advice you can offer to rectify these?

Being a Swedish dentist, we have been trained that prevention is always the key, alongside being properly informed and educated about your teeth. I make sure that everyone visiting my clinic leaves with the correct knowledge and understanding of what they should be avoiding or incorporating within their dental routines.

Important factors such as diet and the frequency of food consumption have a huge effect on your oral health. Many people are unaware that saliva can take up to a few hours to neutralise the acid produced by bacteria in our mouths, therefore constant grazing and snacking between meals – even on healthy food like fruits – prevents this from happening. Snacking into the late evening and right before bed can also be an issue as brushing after eating citrus can weaken the enamel. We usually advise patients to rinse before brushing and not after brushing, to keep as much toothpaste on the teeth, as rinsing after brushing removes the goodness of the toothpaste.

Another very important factor is to ensure patients are using the correct techniques of brushing and flossing. Using hard toothbrushes and brushing the teeth too hard are common mistakes that many people make, as these can be abrasive to the teeth and cause the gums to recede, and also damage the enamel and dentine which may lead to sensitivity, despite how healthy their bones may be. You can achieve good oral hygiene with very soft brushes and the correct technique.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, almost half of UK adults have a fear of going to the dentist. How does The Harrogate Clinic help put their patients at ease?

Many people fear visiting the dentist, and as such we always set aside enough time for patients to feel totally at ease. The whole concept of dentistry has been reinvented at The Harrogate Clinic; our set up is very relaxing, and we’ve made sure it doesn’t look like a clinic. We have a lot of people saying, “this doesn’t look like a clinic, it’s more like a spa.” and “it’s very peaceful and relaxing in here with your calming music”. That’s what we aimed for, and we worked alongside a psychologist, colourist and yoga teacher when curating the colours and paintings on the walls to ensure we have an aura of calm. There are no scary pictures of teeth on the wall or anything to induce fear.

The Harrogate Clinic centres patients from the minute they enter the clinic – they are politely greeted and made to feel extremely welcome, have a chat with our friendly staff and are served a hot or cold drink, if they would like. We explain thoroughly what we are going to do, and the patient totally feels they are in charge. Each check-up is a minimum of an hour and a half, and we never rush treatments. Patients have time to think about what they want, and as dentists we can meet all of their needs. Patients are given detailed treatment plans, and have time to think about the right options for them without any pressure. He or she is in control and is afforded a VIP experience at the clinic.

Numbing cream and injections are given at the patient’s own pace, and they are never shown any needles. If a filling or a similar treatment is required, we assign enough time so they can close their mouths and rest if they feel uncomfortable or need a break. All of these things have been carefully considered at the clinic, and significantly reduce the fear associated with going to the dentist.

Having trained in Sweden, have you discovered much difference between the dental health care in the two countries? And if so, how does The Harrogate Clinic incorporate the best of both?

I believe all dentists do the best they can, and although they are highly qualified professionals and are extremely passionate about their jobs, unfortunately the pressures put upon them are simply too high. Having worked across the UK, I have seen and experienced this first-hand.

Dentists care deeply about their patients but certain constraints enforced by NHS authorities mean they can be rushed into their work, for example having only 10 minutes to examine adults and just five minutes to exam children, leaving no time to even discuss prevention. This could possibly be a contributing factor to the widespread fear of visiting the dentist.

Stresses felt by many dentists include working conditions, running behind schedule, time pressures and many more. These factors have an effect on the mental health and wellbeing of dentists and it is no surprise that the dental industry have high levels of heart attack and suicide.

Witnessing and experiencing these pressures, I tried to implement change within my previous work places. One of the things I raised and requested was to have more time with patients, however I was told that every dentist works to these restrictions. I felt helpless having no influence for change. At this point I decided working for NHS dentistry was not for me. It encouraged me to open my own clinic where patients would be at the centre of everything, and everyone visiting my clinic would feel like a VIP! I am proud of what I have achieved because I have stayed true to my word, I give enough time to myself, staff and patients, and the clinic is a place of extreme harmony because of this. Everybody loves coming to the clinic and when patients leave, I feel content in knowing I have done everything I can for them.

What led to your decision to combine dentistry with aesthetic medicine?

Aesthetic medicine became an offering at The Harrogate Clinic so that patients could enjoy a comprehensive service, both cosmetically and medically. We often fit cosmetic dentistry such as veneers and therefore other facial aesthetics, such as anti-wrinkle injections, go hand in hand with the overall look that the patient is trying to achieve. We often find patients are much more satisfied and feel more confident within themselves through a combination of procedures.

Sometimes we see patients for lip fillers primarily, but during the consultation I may see that they have a lot of decay on their teeth or that the teeth are not quite straight or white enough. Therefore, having lip fillers alone is not going to create the smile they desire, because the teeth are the root cause of the problem. I will then discuss the best options with my patient, and provide them with comprehensive information, so that they can make an informed decision about what areas should be prioritised to create the outcome they desire.

By all means, this isn’t because I’m telling my patients that they are unattractive or need multiple treatments. We’re always telling our patients: “It’s not all about the lips or the teeth – you’re beautiful anyway.” It doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy! But we like to make sure our patients have realistic expectations!

You are the only practitioner in Harrogate and North Yorkshire performing both the O-Shot® and the P-Shot® procedures. Can you tell us more about this?

As a woman, I realised that a lot of ladies had problems following from a natural birth. This is particularly the case for those who have had more than one child by natural birth, and many women suffer from incontinence as a result. However, it can be an embarrassing subject to talk about.

Women feel silenced, and have come to understand that this is just the ‘way it is’. They may have problems going to the gym, and even carrying out normal activities. When they go through the menopause and experience dryness, itchiness and soreness, there is the same silence.

I researched what we could do for women in this situation, and I came across platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This works by taking the blood of the patient, extracting the plasma, and injecting it into a woman’s private parts. After this, the dryness disappears gradually. This is usually done three times, and once a year or so thereafter. The process stimulates blood circulation, increases collagen production and causes tightening, meaning that incontinence and dryness gradually disappear. This has been a revolutionary procedure for many women.

The P-Shot® is PRP designed for men who have issues with sexual performance; perhaps because they’ve used a lot of medicine or have suffered from prostate cancer. Again, the plasma is injected into the penis, and can deliver lasting results. This is the case for both younger and older men, many of whom have been ‘cured’ through this method. It doesn’t work for everyone but there are no complications, so it’s something that we recommend for people who are suffering with these symptoms and can’t find an adequate solution with Viagra and other medicines.

Elsewhere, we use PRP for hair growth by injecting it into the hairline. I am extremely pleased to say that PRP has also assisted patients with joint problems such as arthritis, knee problems, and shoulder pains. This procedure has provided very effective pain relief for patients, and is helping a lot with long-term conditions. It comes back to my reason for opening the clinic: I wanted to create something that served the normal person – something that the majority of population need. That’s why PRP has become a highly sought-after treatment at The Harrogate Clinic.

Are you noticing any other new trends in cosmetic and facial aesthetic treatments?

We have found that many people seek lip fillers and cosmetic dentistry. There is also a big appeal for therapies such as non-surgical lifting of the patient’s face and non-surgical rhinoplasty. Alongside Dermapen Microneedling for patients who suffer from facial acne scaring, fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and skin texture problems. We have doctors in the clinic doing most of these things, and this comes back to what I mentioned before – I believe that they go hand-in-hand.

Can you briefly talk us through the different treatments and procedures offered at The Harrogate Clinic?

At the Harrogate Clinic we do all general dentistry as well as cosmetic dentistry, including 24/7 emergency dental treatment, children’s dentistry, Invisalign® orthodontics, veneers and teeth whitening. We are proud to be North Yorkshire’s Enlighten Regional Centre of Excellence, meaning that we can offer our patients the world’s best teeth whitening results – up to 16 shades brighter.

We also offer PRP for arthritis, knee and joint pain, hair loss, and urinary incontinence, alongside the O-Shot® and P-Shot® and The Vampire Facelift® – using the body’s natural healing powers to slow down the signs of ageing. An orthopaedic specialist comes in once a month to perform joint pain and arthritis treatments.

Many patients benefit from our facial and body aesthetics range, including anti-ageing injections using botulinum toxin (Botox) and fillers; body sculpting with the Xero Lipo to reduce fat and reshape the body; Dermapen® treatments to rejuvenate skin affected by stretch marks, acne scarring and other issues; laser hair removal with the high-power Elysion diode laser; microneedling; non-surgical facelifts; non-surgical rhinoplasty to correct kinks and bumps in the nose; and deep cleansing ProFacial treatments. We can also remove skin tags, moles, and carry out blepharoplasty to remove excess skin from the eyelids, and we have doctors in the clinic for these purposes.

We sell ZO® Skin Health anti-ageing products, which is a luxury prescribed skincare range with some of the best creams on the market. They have been expertly developed to address and prevent the signs of ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation and age spots, and deeper lines and wrinkles – and are made up of key ingredients such as retinol, antioxidants, and the exclusive potent antioxidant complex Z-RRS2™.

Finally, we surgically close earlobes that have been stretched and damaged by heavy earrings over time.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The only thing I’d like to add is that The Harrogate Clinic is a happy environment for staff, and a happy environment for patients. We have tried – and succeeded in – creating a clinic that treats every visitor as a VIP, and this is why patients continue to come back and see us. The standard of our treatments speaks for itself, and our clinicians are committed to doing the best for patients. Because of this, there is no need to worry about anything else. Our ethos is to look after people, and everything else falls into place.

The Harrogate Clinic has been named Best in Dentistry Services for 2020 by Leeds Prestige. The judges were particularly impressed by the personal approach and commitment to service excellence for all patients regardless of whether it is for a regular check-up or advanced procedure.

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