Perfecting smiles with the latest technology is all in a day’s business at Canaan Dental Surgery.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. ISAAC CHONG
Dr. Isaac Chong loves putting a smile on his clients’ faces—literally. His clinic, Canaan Dental Surgery along Upper East Coast Road, specializes in a branch of cosmetic dentistry which uses the individual’s face as a guide to produce a smile that looks good and natural.
With the advancements being made in the field of dentistry, it is no longer the second choice discipline among aspiring medical students. “In fact, it is one of the most sought-after courses at the National University of Singapore, with about 1,000 applicants vying for about 40 to 50 spots every year,” says Chong.
Ironically, his own foray into dentistry came not by choice. “When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I had my baby tooth extracted. After that, I told myself I would never ever become a dentist.” When he applied to study medicine at the National University of Singapore, however, he was offered dentistry instead. After much prayer and careful consideration, Chong enrolled into the course. “But it was only in my third year onwards that I really started enjoying it, learning to work with my hands while planning and thinking through things in a scientific manner.”
Upon graduation, Chong worked with the Ministry of Defence for several years before opening his own clinic in Siglap in 1996 with his wife, Dorcas, an occupational therapist by training. Being dental-trained, however, Chong was not prepared for the business aspect of running his own practice. As the number of staff and overheads increased, the couple decided they had to “divide and conquer”—while she focused on the operational areas of the business such as people management, Chong handled the clinical aspects.
One day, they received news that they had to move out of the premises they were operating from. At a loss, both husband and wife got down on their knees and prayed. “It was at the last hour that God provided us with this place,” he says, referring to the clinic’s current location at Crescendo Building along Upper East Coast Road. “Truly, God is above all; He takes care of everything.” Today, the clinic has expanded, with four full-time dentists and another part-time specialist on the team.
“We’re very blessed to have patients who have gone overseas for seven, eight years, and they return to us when they move back to Singapore.” Besides, a strong emphasis on ethical practice no doubt contributes to the loyalty they enjoy from their clients. Chong’s vision for the future is to expand the clinic to a bigger facility, one that houses both an aesthetic specialist wing as well as a general dentistry wing.
Just last year, Chong embarked on a community project, Brand New Smile, with City Harvest Community Services Association to provide free dental services to the underprivileged in Singapore.
“We want the love of God to be felt beyond the walls of the church, even though it’s just one person at a time.” Indeed, while aesthetic dentistry is a nice-to-have option for some, it offers life-changing possibilities to those who have felt so disadvantaged by a broken smile that they do not even dare to smile at job interviews.
Besides the increasingly common techniques of dental implants and bonding for broken or missing teeth, metal drills and steel braces are becoming a thing of the past at Canaan Dental. Instead, laser equipment is used to do drilling for the removal of tooth decay, producing a sound akin to popcorn popping in the microwave. This reduces the element of anxiety evoked by the whirling of the metal drills.
And in place of unsightly and cumbersome metal braces, the clinic offers the option of Invisalign, which uses a series of clear, removable aligners to slowly move a patient’s teeth into place. Besides the fact that it can be removed before eating and brushing one’s teeth, one of the advantages of using Invisalign is the 3-D computer imaging technology which allows a patient to see the end result before the start of the treatment. Also, average treatment time is only about a year, effectively slashing conventional treatment duration by more than half.
Because the industry is constantly evolving due to the advancements being made in terms of technology and techniques, Chong attends numerous continuing educational programs—one of which was a postgraduate level training in contemporary aesthetic dentistry at the University of Minnesota in U.S.A. The honor of being the first dentist to have successfully completed the rigorous requirements and receive a Certificate of Contemporary Restorative and Esthetic dentistry did not come easy; Chong had to make 16 trips to Minnesota within a three-year period to complete the course.
He says, “As Pastor Kong teaches, we need to constantly upgrade ourselves.” The certificate has not only helped Chong expand his clinical practice but it has opened many doors for him to give lectures and hands-on courses both locally (he is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the National University of Singapore) as well as overseas.
“There are two ladies I have to credit for my career: one is my wife, who was the one who spurred me to take up the program; the other is my mother, who during my undergraduate days, pushed me to stay focused when I wanted to give up.”
When he is not peering into a patient’s mouth through a magnifying glass, the father of two likes to capture the beauty of nature through a camera lens.
CANAAN DENTAL SURGERY
29 Upper East Coast Road
Tel: +65 6442-0293