212 Drummond

Patient Experience

From personal experience, Dr Ian Harper really understands what it is like to have dental work performed. He would like to share his story:

At the age of 40 I knew that I would still want my own teeth when I’m 80. It was at that age that an experience prompted me to recommend to myself to have two gold crowns and three porcelain fillings placed in my teeth.

The incident involved a tooth breaking, right out of the blue, when I bit into a sandwich, but there was nothing hard in the sandwich. I had realised that at some point this would happen, because I have seen countless patients come in with the same story, and I always knew that my teeth were heavily filled—I could see the black and grey for myself.

In our twenties we can throw as much abuse at our health as we like and it “bounces off”. But in our forties you start to realise that you have to do something to conserve your health. Forty appears to be the cut-off for a lot of my patients, as it has been for me. As everyone older than 40 knows, reaching that milestone age means sporting injuries don’t heal as quickly and somehow your body becomes less resilient to everyday stresses.

Even though I had always been aware of this vulnerability in my mouth, I had never taken any action, as there had been no real reason to. Like everyone who is a patient, even as a dentist I could still think of many other things I could do with my money and time than sit in a dental chair. It wasn’t until the tooth broke that I realised I had, for a long while, needed these preventive procedures.

Once the need was established due to the fracture, I didn’t want to end up with regret at the age of 60—trying to fix all the problems at that stage, then finding that I had missed my opportunity and that an extraction would be the only solution. Implants are a great option for a missing tooth, but of course the best option of all is keeping the tooth you already have.


So it was in 2007 that I had the work completed and it has performed beautifully since then. It has been fantastic to have taken the action that prevents slow collapse of my mouth health. Nothing lasts forever in this life, but I know that I have given myself the very best chance of keeping my teeth into my old age. I don’t ever want to have a tooth extracted!


Why do you take an hour for the first exam, when other dentists don’t? Why do I need to see a hygienist? Can’t the dentist just clean my teeth? Will they cost more? I haven’t been to a dentist in years & I’m worried about what they might find. What’s the difference between a porcelain filling
and a cheaper one?
How do our dentists look
aftertheir own teeth?
Why do I need X-rays?
Do they do me any harm?
If it isn’t currently broken,
do I need to get it fixed?