Implant surgeon explains what’s behind that attractive beam
By: Alex Y. Vergara / @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:06 AM February 10, 2015
No one knows a celebrity’s killer smile better than Dr. Steve Mark Gan. As one of the country’s leading dentists, Gan, a United States-trained implant surgeon, has been responsible for the disarming smile of celebrities, businessmen, politicians, beauty queens and society figures since 2001.
While Gan, 45, doesn’t talk about his famous clients, it is quite known that they include Sarah Geronimo, Kim Chiu, John Lloyd Cruz, Lovi Poe, Angelica Panganiban, Richard Yap, Sam Milby, Piolo Pascual and Derek Ramsay.
Even retail tycoon Ben Chan, TV celebrity Boy Abunda and former tourism secretary Gemma Cruz go to Gan to have their teeth fixed.
Thanks to these celebrities, the killer smile is now a growing trend.
Not only does Gan use the latest and most advanced treatments, he also tries to give patients a pleasant experience.
“It depends on what patients need,” he says. “We give them a killer smile by doing either implant or cosmetic procedures. In some cases, we do both. For as long as we give them comfort and confidence with their smile, I believe we have achieved that killer smile already.”
As president and CEO of Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC), Gan leads a team of close to 30 dentists, with specialists assigned to five branches, which include two flagship clinics at Medical Plaza and Greenbelt Residences in Makati.
Gan sought to integrate the concept of lifestyle with the practice of dentistry.
He says, “Since we want to preserve natural teeth as much as possible, we usually give them whitening enhancements. Resorting to caps and implants is a last resort.”
With lost teeth, he considers dental implants as the best replacement. Not only do they look more natural, implants address a patient’s worries about the discomfort and inconvenience associated with dentures.
“If done well, an implant is a better option to regain fixed teeth without the need of grinding any natural teeth to make room for crowns,” Gan adds.
After some prodding, Gan relents and mentions three film celebrities who have the best smiles.
“In no particular order, I’d say… Bea Alonzo, Kim Chiu and Kristine Hermosa,” he says. “When I say best smile, everything is proportionate to their facial profile. I also took into consideration the nature and structure of their teeth, including their gums.”
Gan invested in state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. His Greenbelt clinic has a panoramic X-ray machine, motion-detector sliding doors, several operating rooms, one recovery room and six dental chairs.
When he was looking for a name for his first venture in Medical Plaza, he steered clear of such words as dental, oral and teeth—which remind potential patients of pain, blood and unpleasant experiences associated with dentists, says Gan.
A few years after finishing graduate studies in California, he instead adopted the seemingly esoteric word osseointegration when he opened GAOC.
“My parents, who are both medical doctors, thought I was crazy,” he says.
Osseointegration is simply a shorter, fancier term to describe the successful fusion of the dental implant with the patient’s bone.
Dental implant surgery is usually performed using local anesthesia. But patients who are a bit “anxious or medically compromised” are given the option to have it done under conscious sedation.
GAOC also offers professional teeth whitening, composite cosmetic restorations, porcelain veneers and metal-free crowns and bridges. It also does gum contouring and gum depigmentation for patients with discolored gums.
Although GAOC provides all types of dental services, including caps fashioned from cutting-edge CAD/CAM impressions of the mouth, Gan wants his chain of clinics to be known as the foremost dental implant center in the country.
“Fifty percent of our practice is devoted to surgery and implants, and another 50 percent to cosmetic, restoration and oral diagnosis,” he says.
Modern dentistry allows GAOC to provide patients the option to have a natural-looking artificial tooth immediately attached after a post or implant is made.
Before, one had to wait four to six months for the implant and patient’s bone to fuse (osseointegration); only then could the dentist place an artificial tooth. But the oral surgical site completely heals after five to seven days.
“There are many techniques dentists can now resort to to minimize swelling,” says Gan. “Of course, it is better to do the traditional approach to eliminate the possibility of rejection. But those in a hurry, especially Filipinos living abroad, can now have their tooth extracted and implants made within the same day.”
Since he opened GAOC almost 14 years ago, the market has grown tremendously. Implants have become routine procedure at Gan’s clinics.
People are now more aware of porcelain veneer and metal-free crowns as quick fixes for teeth that are slightly “malpositioned,” irregularly shaped and discolored.