The Glasgow dental clinic story: from vision to reality PART 1

I’m often asked about the history of the clinic and the building which houses our surgeries.
Here’s a blog all about the evolution of Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry…tells the story about how the clinic came about.

I hope you find it of interest…

My vision for my new clinic was crystal clear.
I wanted to create a leading dental clinic with highly experienced and trained staff working in an environment equipped with the very best in dental technology to ensure our patients receive the highest-level of treatment and care.

I wanted my new clinic to look like no other clinic – to be a state of the art building in which patients would feel 100% comfortable and welcome at all times.
My clinic is about its people – the staff and the patients. I wanted to create a space that would be the perfect background for everyone.

Where it all began

My professional career has resulted from a long held passion for the study of dentistry and especially cosmetic enhancement work.

Having graduated from Glasgow University with degrees in anatomy in 1998 and dental surgery in 2000 I left my home town of Glasgow and headed northwards.

I worked in Inverness taking a two year training pathway in general practice and maxillofacial surgery.
I then opened a clinic in Ayrshire and spent five years building it up, developing its patient list before selling it.

The day after I sold the Ayrshire practice I bought the building that was to become my current clinic, however due to the premises having existing tenants I needed to wait for almost three years before seeing my vision become a reality in its final form.

Over the years since graduating and developing my career I have had a particular focus on dental implants and have travelled extensively throughout the world in my quest to study more about implantology.
I had always wanted to create a clinic where, as well as offering bespoke general dentistry, our patients could avail themselves of the finest cosmetic dentistry techniques and, of course, life changing dental implant surgery.

In the three year period before moving into the new clinic I worked from temporary premises just a few hundred yards from the new building.
This meant it was easy for me to work closely with the architects and subsequently the project manager because I could be on-site in just a few minutes.

Work in progress

I’d known my new clinic premises – based in a traditional Victorian red-sandstone, tenement style building – for many years before purchasing, living as I did at the time in the neighbourhood with my wife and family.

The area has a really good ‘buzz’ to it and is a much-sought after residential pocket of West End Glasgow with an excellent local and outlying patient demographic within easy commute. Neighbouring businesses include hairdressers, doctors’ surgeries, delis, wine bars, bookshops and coffee shops.

The new premises are split over two levels and the ground floor is elevated giving passing motorists an ideal view of the clinic. Located adjacent to traffic lights at a busy junction it means that drivers and their passengers can see the premises and signage – proving to be a great marketing bonus with the clinic name being the most-used keywords on Google searches generating visitors to our website.

The building dates back to late 19th century, is listed and is in the middle of a conservation area and so our hands were rightly tied as to what we could and couldn’t do with it. My aim, however, was to ensure that our makeover was as sympathetic to the original building as possible and I wanted our refurbishment project to create a hugely positive benefit to the street in general.

We worked with and supported the local community council in order that they knew we wanted to be a ‘good neighbour’.

I instructed the architect to not only look after the internal refurbishment but also consider the garden and stairway entrance to the clinic.

I had a healthy concern about the need to adhere to stringent planning laws but thankfully I had a great architect on board and he gave me a lot of confidence about what we could achieve in the new clinic.

The design brief for the new clinic saw the radical transformation of the ground and basement floors of a predominantly residential building to create a 21st century, cutting edge clinic with the latest developments in dental technology and sterilisation techniques.

My brief to the architect was to create a clinic that was “bespoke, dynamic and different” that would create a new benchmark in clinical environments.

The two level clinic houses five surgery rooms with the latest in contemporary technology and equipment.

As well as extensive internal work, I gave the exterior and gardens a facelift too.

Because I lived nearby at the time of the renovaton and I love the area I knew the importance of keeping our neighbourhood looking great and vibrant.

As well as attention to detail inside we mirrored that outside with the design of the new wrought-iron railings incorporating the nice touch of our company logo.

This project was a real dream come true for me and I had spent several years visualising and developing very specific aims and objectives about how the clinic would operate. Today’s patients have high expectations in terms of patient care and comfort and my own standards are high.

I’d done extensive research on how the clinic would be fitted out with input from all over the world – visiting clinics in Sweden, Germany, Canada and the US.

The plans were a real melting pot of bringing together what the patient needs and expects and my vision to create an environment that’s different and state of the art.

The new design was endorsed by many of the leading dental companies who associated themselves with the project.

Because I’d had the building for three years before we eventually moved in, I was able to prepare myself mentally for the project. The extra time also gave me the chance to work closely with my accountant who was able to prepare the budget for the project. That extra time also gave me the opportunity to save money for purchasing equipment.

My project manager and main contractor Simon Mullen was excellent. He was a neighbour and I met him at a summer party about a year before we started our work together.

I already had encountered experiences with two other project managers who’d been keen to get involved and hadn’t been impressed so Simon’s arrival was exciting.

He was a great influence on the whole project, spending a huge amount of time on-site, overseeing the refurbishment and being the ideal liaison between the contractors and many of the dental equipment suppliers.

The printing cartridge bomb scare in the middle of 2010 which almost crippled our flights network had an impact on our project. We were awaiting deliveries of the sofa from Spain, the vinyl floor covering from Italy and the ‘no-touch’ taps from Holland. Suddenly everything ground to a halt as deliveries were ‘quarantined’ for uncertain periods of time.

Notwithstanding these unexpected hiccups the project went well. In just three months the major work – the hidden wiring, plumbing, electrical and building stuff that no-one sees but the cheque book sizzles with was done and the fitting and installation work began.

Read part 2 soon….

Courses planned

We’re planning to run a series of course during 2013 that will be of interest to other dental care professionals.

We have a great seminar room and audio-visual links throughout the Glasgow dental clinic complex that allow us to showcase work being carried out in a surgery to an audience in another part of the building.

The courses planned will cover a wide range of topics including the work of a dental implant nurse and dental implant surgery.

Dental care professionals are required to complete a specified period of study to further their professional development and it’s our intention that these courses will be verified as contributing to that study total.

We’re working on the programme at the moment and as soon as it’s complete we’ll release details.

A quick guide to dental implants – and the benefits.

I call them ‘life-enhancing’…

They can dramatically change and improve a patient’s appearance and dental function.

They can play a key role in boosting the smile factor and can also be a major ingredient in a smile makeover.

But how much do you know about dental implants?

In this blog I’ve put together some quick facts about implants to give you an insight into what is now considered a dental phenomenon.
The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic is on hand if you need any more information or advice about dental implants.

What is a dental implant?

A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum). It is the root in the jawbone that actually holds the natural tooth in place.
Dental implants are state of the art modern dentistry.
They are small titanium “fixtures” that take place of the natural root of the tooth. Carefully implanted into the bone, these very tiny titanium roots actually bond or integrate with a patient’s bone, more securely than natural root would.

Dental Implants provide additional support where teeth are missing without putting forces onto remaining natural teeth. They can be used to support the replacement of a single missing tooth or a complete functional set for individuals who have lost many of their teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Improved Appearance.

When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can stop this for happening. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth.

Improved Comfort

Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.
Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone.
Gum irritation and the pain associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.

We see many patients throughout the year for dental implant work and we have several testimonials shown on our site.

If you click here you’ll see what some patients have written about dental implant work carried out at the clinic.

Update on dentist colleague Liz Glass and one of her pups

Here’s dentist colleague Liz Glass with one of her six new pups – delivered by Twiggy her golden labrador.

The team all visited Liz at home to see the pups – four ‘boys’ and two ‘girls’ – not long after they were born back in December and we’ve been interested to learn whenever each finds a new owner.

Dentist Liz Glass with pup

Dentist Liz Glass with the pup destined for Canine Partners' charity training programme

This little chap – 8 weeks old on Tuesday – is very special as he’s been signed up by the Canine Partners charity which provides ‘assistance dogs’ for people with disabilities.
He’ll undergo 18 months of training before being allocated to his ‘partner’ and owner…

Liz tells us he had to undergo a short training assessment when the charity people came to visit. He passed!

Liz has given him the Kennel Club registered name of “Glasgow Wish Come True”. Her clinic colleagues know him as Pfad (acronym for Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry).

The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic is looking forward to hear of his progress as he heads off on Tuesday to start training for his role.

The charity site gives you more info on the great work they do…click here

You can see a video of the puppy at our Facebook page by clicking here

Patient’s view on dental implant work: “awe inspiring piece of precision ‘engineering’”

We were delighted to receive this testimonial from a patient at our Glasgow clinic.

We really do appreciate the time patients will take in giving us feedback on the treatment they’ve received. This 68-year-old female patient wrote…

Dr Philip Friel is an outstanding practitioner, an unbridled enthusiast and optimist, and an utterly delightful person in whom one can have absolute confidence; he is well deserving of the many awards and accolades he has received, both at Scottish and national levels.

Despite setbacks, none of which occasioned by him, during my complicated, implant treatment, he continued to treat me with infinite patience, perseverance and genuine kindness. His approach has always been unhurried, calm and precise.

Before the treatment commenced, I received a detailed treatment plan with a precise costing, rather than the more commonly given estimate. It was particularly reassuring to be given Dr Friel’s mobile phone number with instructions to contact him, should I experience any post-treatment problems; following each surgical procedure, I had a phone call from the practice checking on how I was feeling. Such attention to detail, does make a real difference to the overall, patient experience.

Dr Friel’s dental implant nurse, Kasia, has been a constant support; her friendliness and empathy have been a real ‘comfort blanket,’ as I am definitely not the bravest or calmest of patients, following a lifetime of dental complications, too numerous to mention.

The finished result is aesthetically very pleasing and an awe inspiring piece of precision ‘engineering’. It has certainly taken time and there have been difficulties along the way, however, thanks to the sheer professionalism and perseverance of Phil, I am delighted to say, mission duly accomplished. Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry is a dynamic practice, using state of the art technology and the very latest techniques and materials, but for me, it is the genuinely warm and friendly atmosphere and the emphasis on treating people as individuals, in addition to the high quality dental care, that sets it apart from others. I cannot recommend Philip Friel highly enough, and sincerely thank everyone involved in my treatment.”

The team particularly appreciated the patient’s comments about dental implant nurse Kasia whose involvement gave the patient what she described as a “comfort blanket”.
Our thanks to the patient for her kind words.

Dentist Elizabeth Glass increases her clinic presence

We’re delighted to announce the our dentist colleague Elizabeth – or Liz as many know her – Glass is set to increase the number of days she’ll be based at our Glasgow dental clinic.

Elizabeth Glass who has many years of dental experience and has a focus on cosmetic and general dentistry is a well respected member of our team here.

She also has a particular interest in teeth whitening and is a member of the British Dental Bleaching Society.

Elizabeth Glass is a dentist at the Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry Clinic in Glasgow

Elizabeth Glass

Observing changes in her patients’ dentition and appearance over the years has led to Elizabeth developing a special interest in tooth wear, grinding and clenching habits and the accompanying aesthetics changes as well as functional problems that these habits bring. Worn teeth lead to a reduction in the height or “vertical dimension” of the face.

Restoring the back teeth properly – to the correct facial height – can have a wonderful cosmetically enhancing effect – often described as a “non-surgical facelift”.

This can be combined with bleaching, porcelain crowns and veneers on the front teeth – a real complete smile makeover.

She enjoys all aspects of dentistry from basic care to advanced techniques and gets particular satisfaction helping apprehensive patients overcome their fear of dental treatment.

For more information or for appointments to see Elizabeth contact us via the website, by emailing her directly on eg@philipfriel.com or by telephoning the clinic on 0141 339 7579.

You can find out more about Elizabeth’s professional qualifications and background by clicking here.

Caring for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment

Last year our dental hygienist team Jen and Viv – based at our Glasgow dental clinic – penned a series of columns for the Dentistry Scotland magazine.

Here in the column they touched on a sensitive topic – caring for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

There’s some useful information in this column and we’re happy to answer any questions in relation to what’s included.

“When we were asked to write a column in Dentistry Scotland our plan was to keep it light hearted and chatty, informal and fun.

However over the last few months we’ve both had some young patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, seeking advice on how to take care of their mouths during treatment. We decided that a more serious topic is the order of the day for this issue.

Prevention of oral problems during chemotherapy begins before treatment even starts. A doctor should suggest the patient sees a dentist and dental hygienist a few weeks before chemotherapy begins. They may refer the patient to a dentist that has a particular focus in caring for patients undergoing treatment.

Chemotherapy kills or slows cancer cells by interfering with cell growth processes in rapidly growing cells. Cancer cells grow at an uncontrolled rate even faster than healthy cells in your body, hair, nail, skin, blood, and mucus membrane that are supposed to grow quickly.

The mouth and digestive system are made of cells that normally renew themselves at a fairly swift pace and this makes then very susceptible to temporary damage by chemotherapy.

Jen and Viv our dental hygienists who penned this blog post

Jen and Viv - our dental hygienist team at Glasgow dental clinic

If you encourage your patient to work with your dental team, hygienist and oncologist to help prevent and treat oral side effects, you will give your patient a better chance of getting through cancer treatments smoothly resulting in a better quality of life.

Oral Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Not everyone will have the same side effects, but many patients may have some of these problems during treatment. If the patient develops an oral problem during treatment, here are some suggestions that may help…

Infections in gums or mouth lining

You should always encourage your patient to inspect their mouth including their lips and tongue in good light every day. Advise them to look for any abnormalities in colour or texture.

Dry mouth

After treatment and using painkillers this may make your patient’s mouth dry. This can be extremely unpleasant and can interfere with talking, eating and holding dentures in place.

Always ensure your patients keep their mouth and dentures as clean as possible and to seek advice quickly if they think there is any infection.

They should keep a bottle of water handy and drink plenty throughout the day.

Sucking on sugar free sweets or chewing sugar free gum can help keep their mouth moist.

You can also suggest to them to try a swish-and-spit solution. Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt or baking soda with a glass of water, four to five times daily or more often if required.

We did find one other solution that was recommended. Either olive oil or vegetable oil, which helps, lubricates the mouth but apparently hardly anyone can tolerate this – we wonder why?

There are some saliva substitutes available by prescription and your patient should refer to their GP for more information.
Ulceration can often be eased by regularly using a mouthwash containing –
Chlorhexidine (products such as Corsodyl Chlorohex or Eludril ), which will help, ease infection and give pain relief from ulcers. You can also explain that it will help prevent build up of plaque, but may cause some staining, which can easily be removed.
Benzydamine mouthwash (a product such as Difflam) can be helpful as a local anaesthetic and again can ease discomfort and aid eating.
There are protective gels, which can be applied directly to the sore areas in the mouth (a product such as Orabase) which people find soothing.

Taking good care of your patient’s mouth is paramount and we recommend you advise them on the following points:
· use a soft toothbrush
· use mild or unflavored toothpaste with fluoride
· choose alcohol–free mouthwash
· floss gently to avoid irritation
· keep your toothbrush clean and dry between uses
· apply non-petroleum lip balm to keep lips moist

We considered the pros and cons of using natural toothpaste. Firstly, Kingfisher (Holland and Barrett) is BDHA approved and contains fluoride but contains SLS (a binding agent which can cause adverse reactions in the mouth).
Aloe Dent toothpaste (Holland and Barrett) contains aloe vera and Co Q10 which is great for soft tissue and aids repair (antimicrobial/antibacterial) and xylitol (not fluoride but has been shown to help reduce decay) is SLS free.
Tom of Maine (H&B) again contains xylitol. No fluoride but contains SLS.

Corsodyl Daily contains fluoride, lots of various plant extracts and essential oils to keep gums and tissue healthy. It is SLS free but is an acquired taste.

Losing the sense of taste
As we know there are four main types of taste, so taste changes during chemotherapy are common. The exact reasons for taste change are unclear at least 50% experience taste change.
Most people report changes involving a lower threshold for bitter tastes and higher for sweet there are a few things you can encourage your patient to try so they can manage the changes…
- as always maintain good oral hygiene and rinse with a fluoride containing mouthwash after meals
- avoid cigarette smoking
- increase fluid intake
- chew ice to mask the bitter or metallic taste
- once again eat sugar free sweets and chewing gum
Taste changes may occur during treatment and can last hours, days, weeks or even months. There’s no magic solution for taste change that will suit each and every patient. Finding the right foods that taste appealing may involve a process of trial and error.

Going forward
Having chemotherapy is never easy or pleasant so as dental professionals it’s our job to aid our patients in every way to make our side of caring for them as informative and as helpful as possible.
Then we’ll help them to make that difficult journey just that little bit easier and more comfortable for our patients.”

New surgeries: fit out work well underway

There’s great excitement in the clinic as we’re expanding!

Workmen are in on our clinic lower level completing the final fit-out of our two new surgeries…No4 and No5.

The plumbers, electricians, plasterers, joiners, ventilation experts and the fire and security specialists are working together to create the state of the art surgeries.

These surgeries will complement our existing three on the upper level and the additional rooms are being kitted out to the same high level of equipment and finish.

"Expansion work under way at our Glasgow dental clinic"

Let the work begin...transforming the surgeries on lower level

We’ll post further photos and update you on the project’s progress.

"Makeover work at our two new surgeries in our Glasgow dental clinic"

Makeover work continues at our two new surgeries in our Glasgow dental clinic

Sedation: key facts about a solution for patients attending the clinic.

There have been some reports in the media recently regarding the greater numbers of people receiving dental care with various sedation techniques in Scotland.

Now you may think that this is due to more and more people feeling nervous and anxious of receiving dental treatment, but I am not too sure this is the case.

I think more and more people are aware of the benefits of receiving dental care, and this includes the various sedation techniques such as “twilight sleep”.

In today’s world, people are aware of the importance of having a nice smile in their working and personal lives. Many of us are no longer willing to compromise on our appearance or our ability to chew and enjoy food in comfort, and people who are anxious of dental care are no different.

Some people may be nervous about undergoing dental care; this is perfectly normal. Often these anxieties can be dispelled with a caring attitude and good communication from your dentist, as well as gentle use of effective numbing techniques.

Websites for dental anxiety support, e.g www.dentalfearcentral.org, are wonderful resources where anxious patients can receive support from fellow patients and caring dentists, helping them on their journey to achieve optimal dental health.

Modern dental conscious sedation is a technique whereby different drugs are used to relax and sedate the anxious or phobic patient, and is carried out by dentists who have undergone additional postgraduate supervision and training.

It is an invaluable technique used to help those people whose anxiety may be such that a form of sedation is required to allow them to achieve their dental goals. Conscious sedation is also preferred to a general anaesthetic for potentially difficult surgical procedures e.g. removal of lower wisdom teeth or multiple implant placements; due to the exceptional safety record of conscious sedation, a more pleasant experience, and significantly lower costs compared with general anaesthesia.

Prospective candidates for conscious sedation are first assessed by the sedating dentist, to ensure that sedation is appropriate.

This will involve taking a detailed medical history, as well as assessing the patient’s medical fitness. If it is deemed that conscious sedation is appropriate, a full explanation of the procedure is provided, and an appointment arranged for treatment. On the day of the procedure, the patient will arrive with an escort who will accompany them home and look after them for the rest of the day.

The sedation drug will make the patient relaxed and a little drowsy, and for many, they will have no memory of the treatment.

After a short rest in the clinic to ensure that it is safe for the patient to go home with their escort, the patient is discharged, a step further along their road to optimal dental health and the smile that they have dreamed about.

The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic can offer patients advice and information on sedation techniques as well as in-clinic sedation. Please feel free to contact us via the website or by telephoning the team on 0141 339 7579.

Clinic back in full swing…

We’ve had a busy start to the new year – always a good sign.

After the holiday break the Glasgow clinic dental team returned full of renewed enthusiasm and motivation – and spurred on by our success as recipients of the Best Team Award (Scotland) in the UK Dentistry Awards in December.

Team work is vital in a clinic and we’re fortunate to work with a group of focused, experienced and well trained dental care professionals who know what team work is all about.

I’ve had some focus also on my role as president-elect of the ADI UK (the Association of Dental Implantology UK). The organisation exists not only to inform the public about the ins and outs of dental implant surgery but also to help dentists involved in this work. I’ve found membership a huge advantage as we get to find out a huge amount of information about the latest and newest advances in the dental implant world.

If you’d like more information about the ADI and its work you can click here.