Dr Reena Wadia is a renowned London-based dental health and wellness expert, and entrepreneur. We recently caught up with her at her luxury dental clinic RW Perio in Harley Street
Why did you decide to go into dentistry and to specialise in periodontology?
I’ve always had an interest in dentistry from a young age and was inspired by my own dentist. However, I always knew my long-term vision was to go on to specialise after completing my five years of dental school. The language of dentistry has changed dramatically over the last few years and gum health is at the forefront of specialist dentistry. Gums are often overlooked, however. Without healthy gums you cannot go on to create your perfect smile with the likes of orthodontics, veneers, bonding etc. Healthy gums are the foundations and without that there’s no point in investing in anything else.
What services do you offer at your clinic?
Our focus is gum health and aesthetics, not only in the immediate but also in the long term. Our patients can book in with us directly or can be referred by a dental professional. We work in a bespoke manner as all our patients come to us with different requirements. This can be everything from treating severe gum disease to creating the most optimal gum aesthetics, such as gum lifts for gummy smile and correction of gum recession. We also have a team of five in-house hygienists who provide advanced hygiene maintenance and whitening under the Polish & Perfect treatment. This is well-suited for anyone including those wanting to maintain a healthy and aesthetic smile in a state-of-the-art and discrete environment.
Have you seen a growth in business since the onset of the pandemic, fuelled by the ‘Zoom Boom’?
There is now a key focus on combining both health with aesthetics. Achieving the perfect smile isn’t just about masking imperfections, it’s about investing in the health of your mouth for the long-term. I personally saw a particular rise in this throughout the pandemic when people were becoming very aware of ensuring they were maintaining optimal health levels, which will naturally progress to the most beautiful smile. An investment in your oral health is an investment in your general health. A healthy body begins with a healthy mouth. There is a clear link between oral health (gum/periodontal disease) and general health. There is now evidence to suggest links between gum disease and many other inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s. Treatment itself can improve general health. For example, successful periodontal treatment improved diabetes outcome.
What kinds of treatments are proving popular at the moment?
Gum aesthetics are at the forefront of specialist dentistry and these “tweakments” can dramatically improve the overall smile. This can cover everything from gum lifts/gum sculpting to correction of gum recession. Often, many people are unaware that these treatments are available with minimal disruption to your lifestyle during the procedure, with fast recovery and little downtime afterwards.
Did the wearing of masks during the pandemic encourage more people to have procedures?
No this was not the case as even with our most complex gum aesthetic surgeries, downtime is minimal. Most of our patients have a demanding lifestyle and many are travelling globally with work, so our treatments are designed to suit their schedule. In most cases, they are back to work within a day or so. Our treatments are completed using the latest high-tech equipment. For example, we use The Wand for anaesthesia rather than the traditional injection, so they can get on with their day straight afterwards.
Has Instagram played a part in the desire to get the ‘perfect smile’ and other enhancements?
We are a lot more self-aware and the expectations are higher but, as a result of the pressures of social media, people are now wanting more realism and natural but healthy smiles. Instagram is a fantastic way to connect directly with your audience and give them instant access to the world of dentistry.
Is technology playing a greater role in the field of dentistry and how will it impact on the industry?
When we designed our clinic at 75 Harley Street, it was vital for us to use the latest and most trusted technology throughout to give the best experience and results for our patients.
Are your clients mostly local or do you have an International clientele?
We are based on the iconic address of Harley Street so instantly accessible for everyone right across the UK. Many of our patients and dental referrals are also globally based.
Any key tips to looking after your teeth/gums on a day to day basis?
Brushing your teeth isn’t as simple as it sounds, especially if you’ve not been shown before by a dental professional. Firstly, I’d recommend buying an electric (re-chargeable) toothbrush. These are far more effective at removing plaque because they’re designed to gently massage teeth and gums correctly – with many now having a pressure sensor that warns you if you’re pressing too hard. You need to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the spot where the gums and teeth meet, angle upwards for the upper teeth and downwards for the lower teeth. Spend a few seconds per tooth. For those with established gum disease, you are likely to need more than two minutes. Always use a toothpaste containing fluoride. If you have specific issues, for example, tooth sensitivity, find a toothpaste which helps tackle this. Always spit and don’t rinse out your mouth after using the toothpaste or it will wash away all the ‘good stuff’!
Cleaning between your teeth
Cleaning between your teeth is essential. If you, don’t it’s a bit like only washing one side of a dirty dish and then using it again. You need to clean all surfaces. Interdental brushes are ideal but if they don’t fit then use floss. Once a day is key.
This is great as a breath freshener but should be used at a different time to brushing or it will wash away all the ‘good stuff’ in the toothpaste.
Tongue scraping/cleaning can be a helpful part of your oral healthcare regime. The tongue is made up of lots of little crypts, which can harbour bacteria and debris. If these are not regularly removed, a tongue coating forms and this is one of the biggest causes of bad breath. Once you’ve got used to it, your mouth won’t feel clean without it! We would recommend the RW Perio Tongue Scraper.
How important is good nutrition?
Good nutrition is key for healthy gums. Ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium are vital. For ultimate oral health you need optimal general health so the focus is holistic wellbeing.
When did you start offering courses and why?
Perio School is our global teaching academy for dental professionals. This is both online and in-person within our flagship W1 clinic. We have most recently launched a Diploma in Periodontics for hygienists/therapists and dentists alongside a full programme of courses launched over five years ago to suit the needs of every dental professional. The aims of these courses are to support and enrich the gum/periodontal knowledge and skills of dental professionals.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
As a businesswoman myself, having the opportunity to be at the centre of many aspects of the dental industry and beyond is most rewarding. No two days are the same and it’s certainly a lifestyle approach. I’m so lucky to wake up in the morning and be doing something I love. This one was one of the reasons I wanted to launch my podcast, Life & Smile, as I personally find it so inspiring to hear how other entrepreneurs have built their own careers across contrasting industries and shattered those glass ceilings. With every episode I’m joined in conversation with a specialist expert in their chosen field, who give us a behind the scenes glimpse into their daily regime, career turning points and an insider look at what they can’t live without.
Where is home for you?
I’m based in central London, opposite Hyde Park, conveniently 15-minute walk from Harley Street.
Do you use Marylebone/Mayfair? Favourite local places (ie. restaurants, clubs, bars, shops, galleries etc)?
From a lifestyle aspect I am predominantly W1-based unless travelling for business. When not on Harley Street, I love taking advantage of all the culture that London has to offer such as to The Wallace Collection. Bond Street has everything and is a stone’s throw away, leading onto Piccadilly – I love the traditional aspect and architecture – you really feel like you’re in London around there. I always do a pit stop at Fortum ¶ Mason, which is so convenient for last-minute gifts. As the ultimate treat, I love popping into Claridge’s for a tea or business meeting – the service is always outstanding.
RW Perio, 75 Harley Street