Dr. Gregory Pereira speaks on changing the idea of prosthodontics in medical science
Growing up in Panjim City, Dr. Gregory Pereira enjoyed his school days in a multicultural community, blessed with plenty of friends and some sport almost every single day. Hobbies were plenty, mostly sport, besides diving into the Arabian Sea to go angling, sailing and snorkeling. He represented Goa State at Basketball in national tournaments at school and college level.
Dr. Gregory completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree from Goa Dental College and hospital, Bambolim in 1989, topping the final year examination and was awarded ‘Best Graduate’ besides ‘Sportsman of the Year’. He received his Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) Degree in Prosthodontics from KLE Dental College, Belgaum. He worked with Dr Suresh B Shetye MDS, Orthodontist, in Panjim for a couple of years; and later did a short stint in Baden Wurthemburg, Germany, training in clinical Prosthodontics, Implantology and laboratory tech. When Dr. Gregory returned back to Goa, he started ‘Miramar Dental Center’ in 1998 to become Goa’s first Prosthodontist in full time private practice. As part of his continuing education, Dr Gregory has qualified for the Nobel fellow certificate program in Dental Implantology. He conducted courses for dental surgeons all over India on metal free ceramics / aesthetic dentistry.
Dr. Gregory briefly explains what Prosthodontics is. “It is one of the dental specialties that deals with replacing lost teeth and the soft and hard tissues that are associated with them with prosthetics (crowns, bridges, and dentures), which may be fixed or detachable or supported and kept by implants.”
A prosthodontist is a type of dentist that specialises in using bridges, dentures, or prosthesis to replace missing teeth and the associated jaw or mouth structures. Following dental school, they complete an extra three years of study to specialise in this area.
Dr. Gregory shares with us an insight as to why he chose this field of expertise. “From the beginning of my student days I was fascinated by the art and science of restoring the lost dentition so my only focus was to master in Prosthodontics. In this dental specialty missing tooth and supporting structures are replaced either with a removable or fixed prosthesis. This can be with acrylic, metal, ceramic, zirconia or combinations of these. For a while now, support for these prosthesis can be dental implants, which makes the prosthesis function like natural teeth under masticatory loads as well as have better patient acceptance”, he says.
Later, Dr. Gregory goes on to speak about his early years in the profession. He said, “Choosing a location of choice for my clinic was an ordeal for lack of big funds or lack of well planned sites. I still remember riding on my scooter in and out of Panjim checking almost every available corner. Finally I settled for a larger site with adequate infrastructure and managed a 2 chair practice right away. The early years of practice saw me doing a lot of general work to build up the practice, very long work hours was a normal feature. All went well and I was able to offer other dental specialties eventually.”
There are certain aspects about the profession that excites him. “The art and science of restoring lost dentition to form function and esthetics excites me the most. Now with dental implants as support and digital technology in production there is another dimension of excitement.”
Dr. Gregory mentions the support that he received from his family and friends. “Financially I started off with zero, in fact minus! So yes, a lot of help, encouragement and advice from family and friends did make it easier to start out.”
Dr. Gregory later shared some of his important regimes to maintain a good dental hygiene. He states, “Life has got too fast and dental health and hygiene is neglected by many, a regimen of good home oral hygiene practice along with regular checkups with your Dental Surgeon with professional oral prophylaxis is of paramount importance in maintaining good dental health.
Home care can consist of good brushing of teeth at least twice a day. Inter-dental cleaning aids as indicated e.g., dental floss, interdental brushes, waterpik etc, mouthwash if required.”
With the practice growing, he would like to look into more help to cope with work load. This would also give him more time carry on his other interests in the dental field, like teaching students and training junior dental surgeons on a regular basis, a little research on and looking into tissue regeneration with bio materials that aid restoration of dentitions, are some things that he is eagerly looking forward to.
Dr. Gregory concludes by sharing his mantra for success. He says, “In my 34 years as a qualified clinician it does strike me that there have been certain factors responsible for what would be called a ‘successful’ practice. There are no shortcuts; one has to learn the ropes and gain experience. There are good times and bad times with some cases, we just have to solve the difficulties with all our sincerity and expertise. So my mantra for success would be: passion, hard work, sincerity and knowledge. Enjoy what you do, make people happy”