By John Subritzky
In this age of selfies and social media, a positive self-image is worth more than ever before. We have come a long way in the last 100 years, when missing teeth was the norm. It can be more than cosmetic though. An uneven bite can wear teeth prematurely, load up jaws, and even lead to cracked teeth. However, the thousands of dollars that typically need to be invested in orthodontics to get that perfect smile is still a huge hurdle for many people.
I have always been committed to looking after my teeth to try and avoid issues in later life. We have encouraged our children to do the same. Like many other parents, we offered orthodontic treatment to those in our family who would benefit. It’s common knowledge that such treatment is not cheap, however until I talked to Dr Nitin Raniga, at Auckland Orthodontics I had not realised that orthodontics is a specialisation of dentistry, and it takes at least ten years to become fully qualified. After the five-year course to become a dentist, there is two years of work experience before tackling the three-year orthodontic training.
There is also a big support staff cost. As you can see in the team photo, just one orthodontist generates enough work for three other clinical staff and two administrative people. They are a great team and most have been with Nitin for many years; I was warmly welcomed by the bubbly Pam on reception when I arrived.
When I asked Nitin why he got into this career, he told me that from a young age he was fascinated with oral health, and he was concerned about people’s wellbeing. Growing up in Fiji, he saw that there was often a fear of dentistry and the frequent tooth extractions there. This led him into dentistry as a career. During his first year of general study at university he would ‘shadow’ dentists for half days on his semester breaks to get a better understanding of their work. He did this especially with Dr Peter Raymond at Blockhouse Bay Dental Centre.
Like so many other areas, technology has brought massive changes to the profession in recent years. At Auckland Orthodontics, they have bought an Intraoral Scanner to use instead of taking moulds of teeth. This avoids the unpleasant wait for the mould to set and the frequent gagging reflex. Instead, the digital image is captured and then emailed to the lab where they use a 3D printer to print the mould from resin. Innovations like this have made the process a lot more comfortable and less stressful.
Braces are no longer just the old ‘railway tracks’ of days gone by. There is now the ‘clear aliner’ market with the brand Invisalign becoming better known. As we discovered when our son went through this process, the Invisalign are a series of clear, nearly invisible trays that change incrementally as the teeth are corrected. They are removed for eating and are less intrusive generally than the traditional braces. People are ecstatic with the results. In our family’s case, in the before and after photos, the change is astonishing.
Nitin balances his work with family life and sports. Married in 2010, He and Renalda have two boys aged eight and six. He is passionate about soccer and supports Manchester United and Phoenix. Until he had a recent knee injury, he played indoor soccer at the Lynfield YMCA where there are three teams. He also enjoys playing tennis.
Nitin and the team love looking after locals and helping people enjoy their smiles more. It is great to have so much expert care available right here in the Bay.