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Australia’s largest private dental practice, Smile Solutions, is introducing the booming cosmetic dental sector to new markets with an innovative same-day approach to porcelain veneers. By Shane Conroy
Demand for cosmetic dentistry has exploded in Australia. It’s a trend that Dr Kia Pajouhesh, founder of Smile Solutions in Melbourne, has been witnessing for the last seven to eight years.
He’s observed an approximately 40 per cent increase per year in patient inquiries specifically related to cosmetic dentistry treatments, and says increasing consumer awareness and online trends via social media are driving the significant demand for cosmetic dentistry.
“We have witnessed a remarkable increase in patient engagement through social media, with a 2.3-times surge in queries, and a notable 2.1-times rise in cosmetic patient referrals compared to the previous year,” he explains.
At the same time, Dr Pajouhesh believes that progress in technology and materials is paving the way for new possibilities and more predicable outcomes—such as Smile Solutions’ innovative Same Day Porcelain Veneers™. This, he says, is helping to shift the demographics traditionally at play in cosmetic dentistry.
“Traditionally, the majority of porcelain veneer inquiries were from females and accounted for more than eight out of 10 cases. However, with the introduction of Same Day Porcelain Veneers™, we have observed a significant shift towards a more equal distribution between male and female patient inquiries.
“Approximately 70 per cent of patients expressing interest in veneers are particularly interested in the possibility of same-day treatment. This clear trend underscores the market’s strong demand for a convenient offering of this nature.”
Solving the smile
Dr Pajouhesh founded Smile Solutions in 1993 with just eight patients. Today, it’s considered to be Australia’s largest private dental practice with a 200,000-plus client base, and more than 70 practitioners, including 20 specialists, all operating out of a single building.
The practice has become the first in Australia to introduce same-day porcelain veneers—a revolutionary treatment that removes the requirement for uncomfortable temporary veneers.
Dr Pajouhesh spent more than five years developing the systems and processes required to handcraft up to 20 porcelain veneers for a patient in a single day. The result is an innovative same-day veneers service that has extended cosmetic dentistry to new markets.
“We have extended the advantages of cosmetic dentistry to individuals who may have otherwise been unwilling to undergo the traditional two-to-three-week process,” he says.
This includes busy professionals, men, working mothers, mothers with young children, as well as patients residing in regional or distant areas with limited access to high-quality cosmetic dental services.
“By eliminating the need for temporary veneers and implementing a seamless procedure, our patients experience reduced teeth sensitivity, eliminate the worries and doubts associated with a two-to-three-week wait, avoid social isolation, require fewer and shorter appointments, and experience fewer injections.”
Smile Solutions follows a structured patient workflow for its Same Day Porcelain Veneers™ service. Once a patient is deemed to be a suitable candidate for veneers in a complimentary consultation, digital scans are taken and sent to the in-house ceramic studio.
The patient’s treatment day begins with an early morning preparation appointment, after which he/she is sent to a nearby five-star hotel to relax while the practice’s master ceramist, Greg Karabasis, individually handcrafts their porcelain veneers in time for an afternoon try-in session.
“Any necessary adjustments are promptly made, and once the patient is satisfied with the outcome, the new veneers are permanently inserted that same day,” Karabasis explains.
“The product is equal to any traditional veneers we would do in the practice. There is no compromise in the end result, and there are no additional fees to the patient. The process has successfully removed all the downsides of traditional veneers, without any disadvantage to the patient.”
Technology is another critical success factor. To deliver the same-day workflow, state-of-the-art equipment is required throughout the highly individualised planning and treatment processes.
“Significant time is dedicated to collaboratively designing and planning each individual case with the patient, utilising both digital tools and physical mock-ups.
“Our advanced technology, including a fleet of intra-oral scanners and 3D printers, enables us to expedite the fabrication of porcelain veneers to be completed within a single day,” Karabasis says.
But it’s perhaps the practice’s in-house ceramic studio that is the secret sauce to the success of Same Day Porcelain Veneers™. It ensures a high level of treatment personalisation while reducing treatment timelines.
“Unlike remote third-party or overseas ceramists that patients never have the opportunity to meet, our ceramists work on-site in our own ceramic studio,” says Dr Pajouhesh. “This guarantees a personalised experience as the patient cooperates with the ceramist and the cosmetic dentist through every stage of the smile enhancement process.”
“It is crucial to have an in-house ceramic studio for this purpose,” Karabasis adds. “Our same-day service is not compatible with the limitations of a third-party laboratory where multiple lab workers handle the same cases each day to make it commercially viable. This results in an average two- to three-times longer production time.”
As technological advances continue to enable dental practices to bring more design and fabrication processes in-house, same-day veneers may be only the tip of the personalisation iceberg. The key to success may be in the ability to deliver convenient, time-sensitive, highly personalised and affordable cosmetic dental services that achieve the same quality outcomes as traditional treatments.