Dentist Dr Andrew Chan brings both medical and dental qualifications to his new position at National Dental Care West Lakes. Dr Chan’s broad range of experience gives him particular skills in oral surgery, dental implants and all aspects of cosmetic dentistry, including Invisalign.
“West Lakes is a really well-equipped practice with everything you could want for treatments,” says Dr Chan. “It’s also a really friendly practice and has the best views of anywhere I’ve worked. Each surgery has a glass wall which looks over the lake and makes it a beautiful and relaxing setting for dental treatments.”
“I enjoy the whole range of dentistry, I particularly like being able to help patients with dental anxiety feel comfortable and confident about their treatments. When you take the time to understand and listen to patients that are anxious, be gentle and reassuring, you can really turn it around. Anxious patients can become confident about undertaking dental treatments and can be some of the most grateful and rewarding cases.”
From dentistry to medicine and back again
As a young student, Dr Chan knew he wanted to do something which involved working with his hands and was creative. He’d always enjoyed things like woodworking, design and art, but just wasn’t quite sure what his career should be.
“Originally I began studying physiotherapy, but it wasn’t scientific enough for me,” he recalls. “I changed to a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Adelaide and graduated in 2009, then obtained a Fellowship at the Royal Australian College of Dental Surgeons in 2013.”
Whilst Dr Chan worked across the field of dentistry, he still wondered whether he could do more with a career in medicine. The answer was to return to study and in 2017 Dr Chan graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from Flinders University in Adelaide. He worked as a doctor at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Royal Melbourne Hospital but found he didn’t enjoy medicine as much as he enjoyed dentistry.
“I just found I missed dentistry and wanted to return to it,” says Dr Chan, who grew up in Melbourne. “The good thing about my time in medicine was that after returning to Adelaide as a doctor, my wife and I realised how much we loved the city. That made us decide to settle there.”
Understanding oral health basics
Dr Chan is not just focused on dental treatments to fix problems, he is keen to ensure every patient has a good understanding of oral health and how to look after their teeth. “People often wonder why they are getting cavities when they’re eating a healthy diet,” he says. Dr Chan says that two common causes of tooth decay is coffee with sugar, and fruit.
“A lot of people don’t realize that fruit is full of sugar. If patients are eating four or five pieces of fruit per day it can cause many cavities, even though it’s ‘healthy’. Also if patients are having just a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar in multiple hot beverages each day, that can cause tooth decay. It’s not the quantity of sugar, it’s the frequency.”
Make the most of your smile with Dr Chan
It’s not just the Insta Generation who are looking for a great smile, according to Dr Chan. “Having a nice smile is important for everyone to have confidence socially,” he says. “I find that people who are in their late 40s and 50s who have had bad teeth all their life, but prioritised their children’s dental care earlier, now want to improve the appearance of their own smile.”
“Dental technology has improved considerably in the last decade and there are some great treatments to improve your smile, whatever your teeth are like now. We can do crowns in one appointment with CEREC, we can scan teeth and entire jaws with 3D scanners, and we have in-house 3D X-rays. We can do virtual surgical planning for dental implants and printed surgical guides, we can use Invisalign to straighten teeth without braces, and we can replace old fillings with advanced ceramics to make a really big difference.”
Making a difference overseas
Dr Chan also enjoys making a difference to people’s oral health in underprivileged communities. He has done volunteer work providing education, dental health and health awareness in Ghana and Cambodia as well as the Northern Territory. “I love giving back with the skills I’ve learnt and seeing the positive impact in these communities,” say Dr Chan. “I also enjoy the travel involved and the different places we visit.”
When he’s not working, he and his wife and two young children enjoy time out at home. “We love the lifestyle here in Adelaide. The weather’s great and everything’s close,” he says. “I used to enjoy a lot of travelling, snowboarding, skateboarding, photography, woodwork and playing the guitar, but now we’re both busy working and raising children there is less time for these things. I’m looking forward to travelling more and teaching my children to snowboard when they are older.”
Book an appointment online now to get a dental check or discuss any dental issues with Dr Andy Chan.