Pushing Minis – Interview with Dr Oliver Hennedige
Unconventional and Strong-Willed, Dr Oliver Hennedige Proves Dental Success Comes in Minis
Without passion, a dentist’s job is just that, a job with long, painstaking hours, cleaning and attending to every cavity and oral health concern there is. Imagine seeing 10 to 15 patients a day, with various dental problems, pacifying kids who are visiting a dentist for the first time, being careful with elderly patients, putting up with irate and whiny ones, while trying to give them the best dental care. Ideally, dentists do all these for the love of the profession, but sadly, some do it these days for obvious reasons – dentistry is one very lucrative industry.
Knowing somebody who is not only passionate about his profession but is willing to suffer criticisms of his conventional colleagues in order to give his patients innovative service to date is inspiring, to say the least. Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, Dr Oliver Hennedige of Oliver Dental Surgery Pte Ltd is one dentist you wished you had when you were five years old. You would have saved yourself from developing dentophobia.
Dr Oliver’s dental magic, however, is not confined to the four corners of his dental clinic. He endlessly seeks improvement and demands enhancement of his profession and services. It was through this exact passion that his patients nowadays get to benefit from Mini Dental Implants (Minis), small diameter implants that considered to be painless, require much less surgery and cause less trauma to patients.
After more than 20 years in the dental practice, he noticed that certain aspects of dental treatment could not be adequately addressed without the use of implants. Since he knew of some significant drawbacks of conventional implants, he began exploring the benefits of Minis. Ten years and 20,000 successful implants later, Dr Oliver is not resting on his laurels any time soon and is continually pursuing advancements and improvements of the craft, either by giving workshops and lectures or receiving them.
Ezyhealth & Beauty (EHB):
Share with us your journey to becoming one of Singapore’s most respected dentists practicing orthodontics.
Dr Oliver: At one stage of my career I focused on orthodontics and obtained excellent training in it. As a result, I’m able to provide orthodontic treatment, which maybe complex and involve either some surgery or orthodontic implants.
Today, my emphasis is on mini dental implants which I find extremely useful especially in fixed crowns and bridges. It is an uncomplicated system which makes it affordable to many patients especially the elderly. It is also a system which many more dentists could and should learn and be competent in.
Aside from practice, I’m also involved in organised dentistry, having been the President of Singapore Dental Association for six years and later the President of the Asia Pacific Dental Federation. Subsequently, I became its current Secretary General. I’m also concurrently the Executive Director of the International College of Continuing Dental Education as I’m passionate about upgrading the skills and expertise of dentists in the vast Asia Pacific region.
EHB: You are among the few dentists in Singapore who advocate the mini-dental implants procedure. We learned that when you were starting, you received a lot of criticisms for doing the Minis. Can you tell us a little bit about it, and how you have proven your critics wrong?
Dr Oliver: As there are detractors in the profession who cannot conceptualise the usefulness of Minis or for other reasons condemn it, I’ve written articles, conducted workshops and also given public lectures to educate both dentists and the public towards a better method of implantology with mini dental implants.
When I started, some of my colleagues made disparaging remarks about the Minis, and they in fact dismissed the procedure as not functional and only for temporary use. Today, many have taken me seriously. I’m convinced the public will see the benefit of Minis as it is happening in the USA and elsewhere. Minis for long term use are part of mainstream dentistry in USA.
EHB: You have been in the dental practice for so many years now. What do you consider your biggest achievement in your career so far?
Dr Oliver: I’ve been in practice from 1970 and I consider my greatest achievement was to recognise the usefulness of mini dental implants when I first heard about it at an American Dental Association’s Conference more than 10 years back. There was a learning curve and after carefully documenting my cases and studying them, especially those which gave trouble, I’ve honed my skills in the use of Minis. I understand how to use them effectively especially for fixed crowns and bridges.
I’ve not kept the knowledge to myself but have given lectures and conduct workshops widely in Singapore and several overseas countries.
It is with great satisfaction that I read recently in a leading mini implant report that in USA, among general dental practitioners and specialists, Minis today are one of the fastest growing sectors of implant dentistry. It is the treatment of choice of an increasing number of dentists and specialists worldwide. Research is supportive of these implants with proper treatment planning and placement.
EHB: They say dentists are workaholics, is there any truth to that? How do you keep your professional and personal life balanced?
Dr Oliver: Though it appears that I maybe a workaholic, I really enjoy working in my chosen profession. To me money has never been the motivating factor. I treat all, and if patients cannot afford the service, I do not charge them or I do give them a discount well below my cost sometimes.
I work hard but I enjoy doing dentistry. Part of my time is utilised in organised dentistry through the Asia Pacific Dental Federation; and the demand for lectures and workshops on mini dental implants in several countries keep my travel schedule pretty tight.
EHB: Any hobbies you wish to share to our readers?
Dr Oliver: To keep myself physically fit I do brisk walking in the morning and work out at the gym.
EHB: Please give our readers some fool-proof tips to take care of their oral health.
Dr Oliver: The best advice I can give to patients is that oral health is important to general health and wellbeing. It is not difficult to achieve optimum health by constant brushing your teeth and gums. Visit your dentist regularly. It will keep your mouth in a good condition. Do not neglect dental decay and gum disease.
by Maripet L. Poso