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Dental Questions With Dawson’s Principal Dentist Dr. Gelfand

Guelph Dentist Edward GelfandAt Dawson Dental Centres, we want you to get to know our Dentists the way we know you.  We sat with Dr. Edward Gelfand, President and Owner of Dawson Dental to ask him a few questions about how he translates his love for dentistry into an exceptional patient experience.

Q: If you could have the smile of any celebrity, whose would you want?

A: George Clooney

Q: What makes a great smile?

A: Technically, what makes the “perfect” smile is the same as what makes a beautiful face – symmetry.  Of course, there are other elements, like proportions, the shape of the teeth, how white they are but most importantly, how the “wearer” is wearing it!  It’s all about confidence

Q: If money and time were no object, what dental treatment would you give everyone?

A: Almost everyone could benefit from Invisalign® Invisible Braces. It’s for anyone with bite issues, gaps between teeth and misaligned teeth.  Best part is that you can fix it without anyone knowing because the aligners are virtually invisible.

Q: What’s the greatest joy about being a dentist?

A: The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the patient’s amazement at the end of a significant cosmetic procedure.  They usually cry – but in a good way.  You know?  I love that.  Seeing how deep of an impact I can have on someone’s self-confidence.  It’s really humbling and I feel honoured that they have trusted me with such an important part of themselves.

It’s funny, when people used to ask me what I do for a living, I used to say “I make people smile”.  People loved that.  But as time went on, that answer changed to “I make people cry – of happiness”.

Q: What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you when you had someone in the chair?

A:  Uuuh.  Hmmmm.  Well, when I was many years younger, my co-workers decided to play a joke on me and hired a “female dancer” to come to the office on my birthday, pretending to be a patient.  So, there I was, it was the last patient of the day and she starts her routine as I enter the room and there is no female assistant to be found… I ran out of that room, panicking, yelling for someone to come over and assist me…  Scared for my life of some kind of harassment lawsuit… meanwhile, they were all hiding around the corner chuckling!  It was crazy.

Q: If you had to name the single most important quality of a good dentist, what would it be?

A: I think there is a lot to be said for a dentist who has good clinical skills, as this is what allows him or her to create good results but I think it’s equally, or even more important for the dentist to be able to really LISTEN to the patient.  I am continuously amazed at how rare that is to come by these days.  Personally, I like to take some time to get to know a little bit about each patient that I see.  Find out about their life, ask about their kids, that sort of thing.  And not because I’m just making small talk.  It’s because I WANT to know them on a deeper level and I like to share things about myself as well, you know? Tell them a joke or listen to a new one…  It’s that human touch – that’s what makes a good dentist, or a good person, for that matter – in my opinion.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice for someone who has a fear of going to the dentist?

A: Ask questions about procedures that cause you anxiety. If you know and understand what is going to happen, you’ll have less reason to worry. Eat a light meal before your visit and try not to drink coffee, teas or colas as they stimulate you instead of relaxing you. Eating a rich protein snack like a lean meat sandwich will help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce irritability.

Distract yourself in the dental chair by using headphones to listen to the radio or to music you find relaxing. This will muffle noises that may bother you.

Establish a signal, such as raising your hand, to let us know you want us to stop a procedure. It will make you feel more in control and it gives you a chance to ask for more anesthetic if you feel any discomfort. The ways you deal with stress outside of the dental office will work inside too!

Try thinking of pleasant images, deep breathing or relaxing your muscles one by one.

I’ve had a number of different experiences, which have taught me to respect people’s fears.  When someone is apprehensive, it is usually for a reason.  Whether it is because of a bad experience in their childhood or in some cases, abuse as adults I always make a conscious effort to listen and acknowledge that these feelings are normal and real.  Most experienced doctors will have the same view on this.  I’ve had people in the chair who refuse to have a cleaning without deep sedation so, don’t be embarrassed to talk about your fears.  Much to our chagrin, most dentists are used to being feared but we’ll help you through it.

Q: What’s the biggest myth about dentists?

A: That they enjoy giving the anesthesia needle.  Totally untrue.  I hate to see anyone uncomfortable but you gatta do whatcha gatta do!

Q: What would you say is the single best way people can save on dental costs?

A: Two words. Preventative Care.  It’s that simple.  Visit us every 4-6 months and we will take care of any problems before they get out of control.  That’s it!

Q: How should people go about trying to find the best dentist?

A: Like most relationships of this sort, you really need to feel comfortable with the dentist.  You need to like him or her and you need to trust him or her.  A lot of it comes down to “gut-feeling” but obviously; you’ll want to make sure that the clinical skills and experience are there too.  Ask questions like how long the dentist has been practicing, how many of a particular procedure he/she has done, has anything ever gone terribly wrong, if you’re not pleased with the results, what is the policy for adjustments, etc.  Do your research.  Or, save yourself the trouble and just come to a Dawson Dental Centre.  We offer Guaranteed Dentistry.  Haha…

Q: Why did you pick the city of Guelph to start your first practice?

A: Guelph was voted #1 as having the nicest people in Ontario and I found a great spot in a medical building there!  It was meant to be.

Q: If you were to pick the one thing that always makes you smile, what would it be?

A: My 4 kids!

Dawson Dental Centres are knowledgeable, caring Guelph dentists in 15 locations across Ontario including Aurora, Barrie, Oshawa and more. We offer General & Cosmetic Dentistry services such as dental implants, Invisalign invisible braces and dental veneers. New patients are always, warmly welcome!

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