Orthodontist Dr. Shahla AbdulGhaffar
BY ANAAM IKRAM
Breaking the stereotype of dreaded dentist visits, Dr. Shahla AbdulGhaffar offers dental expertise in the comfort of a pristine and welcoming environment. Dr. Shahla’s eponymous clinic is home to a wide-range of orthodontic services that cater to the dental needs of children and adults alike to provide a healthy, beautiful and beaming smile. Dr. Shahla spoke with Perle Magazine about her work in the field and the importance of dental care from a very young age.
Looking at orthodontics as art, Dr. Shahla says she was always interested in the field. “Its not repetitive and the cases vary from person-to-person and that challenge is very interesting to me”, she says. Dr. Shalah started her journey by receiving her Bachelor of Dental Science from India’s prestigious Manipal University. Upon completion, she returned to Bahrain to start her practice in American Mission Hospital before taking the decision to further pursue her dream of becoming an Orthodontist and travelling to Scotland for higher studies. Dr. Shahla trained as well as worked in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Scotland, before resuming her practice back in Bahrain at the American Mission Hospital, in addition to starting work in a joint-clinic alongside experts, Oral and Maxillofaical Surgeon Consultant Dr. Arif Rajab and Constructive and Prosthodontic Consultant Dentist Dr. Yamama Al Jader. Accomplishing the goal of owning her own clinic, the expert orthodontist set up Dr. Shahla Dental Clinic and splits her time between the three locations.
Focusing mainly on orthodontics, Dr. Shahla’s work consists of working towards the alignment of the jaws and teeth in relation to a person’s face. “Orthodontics”, she explains, “deals more with guiding the individual tissues in the jaws as they are growing to ensure proper alignment to achieve an overall pleasing look.” Her orthodontic expertise allows her to determine which treatment is best to prevent or correct a malocclusion (‘bad bite’). Whereas dentistry only looks as teeth individually, orthodontics she says, takes into consideration the growth of the face and the jaw, and positioning of the teeth. In addition, Dr. Shahla also offers general dentistry for patients, such as extractions and fillings. Her work at the joint-clinic, she explains, is more complicated as there she works with patients who have suffered injuries from road-traffic accidents, or severe cases such as cleft lip and palate or a prominent jaw, among other complex procedures. Dr. Shahla and her colleagues are the only team in the Kingdom to offfer these services in the private sector. Dr. Shahla also offers her patients the service of Veneers or any adjunct prosthesis work that would accompany her orthodontic work.
Concentrating on ‘Interceptive Orthodontics’ when it comes to children, Dr. Shahla says the procedure involves children getting dental check-ups from a young age and their dental growth is monitored. “We don’t really use any major appliances with them, but if there is an extra tooth that doesn’t need to be there or adjusting a jaw bone, we can look at that”, she says. Dr. Shahla says it is important that parents take their children to the Orthodontist from a young age to make sure any visible minor issues can start getting treated to avoid future dental problems. Once the orthodontist has looked over the child’s dental development at the time and everything is fine she explains, then a yearly check up is sufficient to make sure no issues arise. For older people, she says, if there is an issue braces are often recommended before any surgery (if needed).
Setting up her own clinic last year, Dr. Shahla was able to transfer her vision into her workspace. Encouraged by her patients as well as family, Dr. Shahla took the leap and started to work towards creating an orthodontist clinic that offered the patients quality services in a “feel-good environment”. Complementing her own polished look, Dr. Shahla’s clinic has a clutter-free minimalistic approach, with a quaint yet light and airy seating area. Incorporating her philanthropic work into the design, the clinic walls are decorated by paintings bought at a charity event by Ibn Kuldoon National School. The design process, which was carried out by Dr. Shahla herself, was done keeping in mind the need to provide a comfortable feel for the patients, she says. “I wanted it to feel like you’re in good hands and at the same time in a clean environment”, she adds.
Clarifying any rumours related to orthodontics, Dr. Shahla says there are misconceptions about how much the treatments can change a person’s face. “There are claims that orthodontics can clear your sinus issues or fix any neck issues”, and adds that none of these claims are true. She says some also have heard that orthodontics can get rid of wrinkles and even migraines in some cases, adding that none of these claims have any scientific evidence. She stresses that although through orthodontics, the shape of the face can change it is not equivalent to getting a facelift and similar cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Shahla recommends a visit to the dentist every 4-6 months to make sure dental hygiene is maintained. Dr. Shahla also strongly suggests parents take into considering orthodontic check-ups for their children from as early as 7 years old to avoid any future complications in their children’s dental development.
Dr. Shahla’s years of expertise and commendable work has garnered her a number of loyal patients who choose to come to her for even their most basic dental care. Dr. Shahla ensures her customers are well looked after whether she is working at the American Mission Hospital, the joint-clinic, or her own clinic in the most comfortable and homely environment.
8th Floor Office 84, Capital Plus Tower, Seef District, Manama, Bahrain
Open daily from 9 am to 9 pm except Fridays
For more information and booking an appointment:
(00973) 7711 1140
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