Please introduce yourself
Asif Chatoo, a Specialist in Orthodontics with a very special interest in lingual orthodontics. I opened the UK’s first clinic dedicated to lingual braces in London in 2005.
What most interests you about orthodontics?
Working with my patients to enhance the beauty of what is naturally there without cutting or harming the integrity of the tooth.
What did you learn about orthodontics from treating a family member or close friend?
You get a very direct feedback from family members and from one in particular I learned that the first few days with braces can be difficult – this is often down-played by patients you know less well who have got used to the braces by the time they next see you. With young patients, you are usually communicating with both the child and a parent. I am currently treating my 7-year-old daughter and this is particularly challenging. Being both the clinician and the parent is quite demanding!
What makes a great patient?
Someone who is engaged in their treatment and understands the part they play in achieving the best possible outcome.
What one thing can patients do to better support their orthodontist?
Tell the orthodontist if something bothers you – this feedback helps improve the relationship between the orthodontist and patient and can influence the outcome too.
Do practice staff make good patients?
I am all in favour of treating staff members if they want orthodontics and invariably they are good patients. It helps them appreciate what our patients are experiencing. It’s wonderful to hear the reception team or nurses chatting with patients and sharing experiences. Communication and empathy are important factors in the patient experience.
What do you think the next big advance in orthodontics will be?
I think the use of digital technology is only just starting in orthodontics; already it’s so much easier to explain the intricacies of treatment to those who want to understand the process. Orthodontics is both a science and art and this is most fully showcased in digital planning of treatment. There is great scope for further integration of the technology to make the patient journey and experiences even better.
What do patients most enjoy about visiting your practice?
Our goal is to take an interest in the patient’s overall well-being while they are with us – only our patients can say whether we achieve this, but I hope we do. I am very lucky to have a great and very supportive team. I feel they engage with the patients to help them feel relaxed and comfortable
Why should patients consider lingual braces?
It provides a comprehensive way to align the teeth in a very discreet manner. Sometimes people just do not want to share their secret.
Does it take longer to adapt to wearing lingual braces?
Both conventional and lingual braces have different challenges. I think it generally takes 7 days to adapt to braces of any kind.
If you weren’t an orthodontist, what would you be?
An architect. The clinic’s guide The Architecture of the Smile was written with feeling! You can view it here
What would be your recommended first meal for patients who have just had their braces fitted? Something nutritious and easy to eat, like a soup. We are in the process of writing some recipes with the nutritionist Farzanah Nasser to help make it easier for patients to plan their meals in the early days of treatment.
Broken wires or detached brackets are most often caused by..?
Eating the wrong food.
What advice would you give someone thinking about getting braces?
I would ask why do they want braces? The treatment requires commitment in every sense and you can’t be half-hearted about it. I feel that it is important for the patient to be engaged in the process and working towards the final outcome – a natural straight smile that the patient feels happy to share at every opportunity.
Asif is a Specialist Orthodontist at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic
If you are an orthodontist or work in orthodontics and would like to feature on my blog, please do contact me.