here it’s “smile architects”
Tendances – Geneva is home to one of only ten dental clinics worldwide to have adopted fully digital practices. Holistic, futuristic and designed to alleviate anxiety, yes, but this clinic still hasn’t forgotten the importance of the human touch.
Walking through the door of Smile Design Boutique, on the Quai du Mont-Blanc in Geneva, feels like crossing the threshold of an exclusive club or an upmarket tea-room. Everywhere you look, the attention to detail is plain to see, starting with the name of this ultramodern dental practice – whose approach is unlike any other in the world. It truly understands today’s leading-edge concepts such as “design” and its futuristic overtones, or “boutique” and its connotations with cocooning. Its slogan sets the tone: “emotional dental care”. From the luxurious decor to the meticulous manner of its staff, no stone is left unturned in an effort to chase away the only sensation we typically associate with the world of dentistry – fear.
The basic idea is to combine extremely sophisticated examinations and treatments – revolutionary, even, insofar as they are all digital (Digital Smile Design) – with soft lighting, soothing music and velvet armchairs. This emphasis on constant human contact is punctuated by the jovial laughter of the practitioners. You won’t see them wearing rubber gloves unless it’s absolutely necessary. This temple is the brainchild of Eduardo de la Torre, a Spanish-American who married a girl from Vaud and is now fully embracing life in Switzerland. The initial consultation is free. The clinic shows great confidence in this approach because, once you’ve seen the video testimonials of patients and heard the detailed reassurances of the “client personal assistant”, it’s ever so hard to resist taking a bite of the apple yourself. Smile Design Boutique’s messaging is every bit as laser-focused as its scanners, to the point that you may well wonder how you ever put faith in your old dentist, whose methods seem decidedly medieval by contrast.
For, while the motives of the clients/patients are primarily aesthetic – when they first step through the door at any rate – the clinic’s methodology is entirely holistic. Rather than simply whitening teeth or fitting veneers, it insists upon a comprehensive approach that encompasses the quality of a patient’s bite, the position of their jaw and even their natural facial expressions.
This new breed of dentist is a true “smile architect” and, to run with the metaphor, you wouldn’t paint the front of your house without repairing any leaks first, to avoid unpleasant surprises further down the line.
Digital procedures provide increased comfort and speed up the process of taking measurements. In less than thirty minutes, the patient’s head will be X-rayed, their jaw scanned using a minimally invasive futuristic stylus and their facial expressions photographed and filmed.
Everything is revealed the following week, as Dr de la Torre and his team place a plastic prototype of the patient’s new smile over their teeth, before taking a fresh set of photos that are sure to take their breath away. All that remains is to manage any lingering anxiety, whether it concerns the potential scale of the treatment (and the pain) or that of the bill (even though the clinic’s prices are in fact about average for Lake Geneva).
“Our jaw muscles are the most powerful muscles in our bodies,” explains Teodora Motorca, People and Operations Coordinator. “You could hold your entire bodyweight by biting into the branch of a tree – not unlike a dog would do whilst playing with a stick – though it wouldn’t be good for your teeth! So the slightest disturbance can put huge pressure on a single tooth and lead to collateral damage, potentially spreading as far as the trapezoids. Patients often require orthodontics (metallic braces have long been replaced by transparent braces that are removable and invisible, Ed.) before veneers can be fitted to enhance the colour and shape of their teeth.”
Although it may take a little time to pluck up the courage to commit to what can sometimes be a lengthy treatment plan, the clinic boasts a “conversion rate” of almost 100%. In this day and age, people invest in more than just their car or their home, they also invest in their smile, which is often tantamount to a business card when it comes to the job market.