Walpole – The Orthodontic Specialists – celebrating 20 years of great orthodontic treatments resulting in thousands of happy patients.
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of Sharon Orton-Gibbs’ stewardship of Walpole – The Orthodontic Specialists, Surrey’s foremost private specialist orthodontic practice.
We caught ups with Sharon this week to discuss what had changed – and what has been constant over the last two decades.
When Dr Orton-Gibbs took over from her father, eminent orthodontist Dr Harry Orton, OBE, the practice consisted of two dental chairs in one room in the family home. Today, Walpole is a stylish but functional 4 clinic practice in Thames Ditton, offering outstanding facilities for both her team and patients alike.
“My PA’s job was certainly different then as all of our correspondence was generated with carbon paper to ensure hard copies were kept of everything. All of our records were paper based and we also had to take plaster cast moulds of our patients’ smiles at the beginning and end of treatment” Sharon recalls.
“Today all letters are part generated during the consultation process and emailed shortly thereafter. We also use a digital camera and digital x-ray machine now and store study records as 3D files electronically.”
Clearly there are obvious benefits to patients – they can see the same orthodontist’s impression of their smile at the initial consultation and then immediately see treatment simulations being generated on screen. This is possible through patient information software which is used to help patients not only understand why they may need treatment but also exactly how it will be delivered and the final results.
“I have always aimed to have my practice use cutting edge technology – Walpole was one of the first to use digital photography. We were also the first independent practice to treat a patient using Invisalign and the first in the world to use AcceleDent, to deliver treatment faster” Sharon said. “Our patients really do appreciate that we consistently use the latest technology to deliver outstanding results which is ultimately why we are rewarded with so many family and friends being referred to us”.
“Virtually all my practice procedures are now software-driven and all paper files are a thing of the past” Sharon confirms. “Everything is a lot more environmentally friendly now with no more unhealthy chemical waste and with radiograph development, far less plaster used and of course a lot less paper waste.”
Patients also find their orthodontic treatment is significantly improved – braces are now more comfortable, less visible and with the recent AcceleDent innovation, treatment can be finished as much as 30% to 50% faster.
“My patients now have a great deal of choice open to them – there are invisible braces, near-invisible braces and clip in and out aligners. Material improvements mean that the wires used to move teeth are gentler and provide longer-lasting pressure to move teeth more efficiently. Invisalign now provides an excellent 3D set-up facility allowing patients to see precisely what tooth movements will occur, which will ultimately give them the result they want.
“We have also invested in a 3D scanner so Invisalign patients and patients wanting braces behind their teeth can avoid gloopy impressions as we send their 3D scan straight to the lab and can proceed much faster” she adds.
“The last 20 years have flown by – I’m incredibly fortunate to be in a branch of dentistry where the patient outcomes are consistently rewarding because of the pleasing results of our treatments. I can honestly say that great orthodontics can change the lives of patients so I feel privileged to have been able to help so many people obtain the perfect smile that they deserve.”