pdf of this article

For more information, contact:

Tarun Agarwal, DDS

8304 Creedmoor Road
Raleigh, NC 27613
Telephone: (919) 870-7645

Dental Approach to Health and Beauty

Today, cosmetic dentistry is not just for the well-to-do, but is accessible to all, notes Dr. Tarun Agarwal of Raleigh Dental Arts in Raleigh. “And,” he adds, “It should be. Fixing crooked, broken, uneven teeth certainly plays a part in improving oral health. But more than that—and I can’t emphasize it enough—cosmetic appearance is important to a person’s overall emotional health. Attractive dental appearance boosts a person’s self-esteem and confidence, and can literally shave years off a person’s appearance.

Dr. Agarwal, right, and Dr. Fiza review a patient’s treatment plan

“We take great pride in the cosmetic work we do,” he says, “and consider it a high priority of the practice. And it is, in part, due to our commitment to the highest quality cosmetic work that we are expanding the practice to include a new associate—Dr. Shaharyar Fiza, DMD.

“Dr. Fiza will, course, provide general dentistry services to our patients. But what is most welcome is the remarkable skill as a cosmetic dentist that he brings to our practice. Shah is a gifted artist with wonderful training in the latest research and techniques in cosmetic dentistry.”

For Dr. Agarwal, his connection with Dr. Fiza is personally satisfying. “I first met Shah about four years ago when he participated in one of my training programs, and we found that we shared many interests. And, interestingly, he had just joined the Charlotte practice of Dr. Ross W. Nash—who was my mentor back in the early 2000s. Four years later, he was ready to move back to the Raleigh area—just as we were looking for another associate. The timing was perfect for both of us—and we’re delighted to welcome him to Raleigh Dental Arts.”

Dental Health and Overall Health: Connected in Every Way

“In any consideration of chron-ic illness, we need to talk about dental health,” observes Dr. Agar-wal. “Because the relationship between tooth and gum health and all other body systems is direct and profound. Research over the last several decades, for example, has clearly established a connection between heart disease and gum disease. Periodontitis—gum dis-ease—is an infection of the gum tissues,” he explains. “Essentially, it’s a collection of bacteria in the mouth that can travel through the bloodstream, throughout the body, often resulting in infection and inflammation in other body sys-tems and organs. Which is why gum disease has been correlated with heart disease, diabetes, and many other inflammatory conditions.

“In our practice, we often see another chronic condition with a direct connection to dental health issues—and that is sleep apnea,” says Dr. Agarwal. “Obstructive sleep apnea causes oxygen depri-vation during sleep, which is a serious health threat. It can contribute to and create more health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and acid reflux.

“Dentists are often the first to identify the problem of sleep apnea,” he notes, “because many of its symptoms are reflected in our mouths. Clenching, grinding, worn front teeth, dry mouth, and pain when chewing are among the common signs of sleep apnea.

“When considering the connec-tion between dental health and overall health, I would have to include appearance and function as well as disease. An important component of mental happiness— and therefore our overall health—is how our teeth look and feel, as well as how we’re able to chew. Missing and crooked teeth interfere with people’s ability to chew—and therefore get adequate nutrition. And these same problems have a profound impact on a person’s self-esteem, affecting all parts of their lives. All these issues can be remedied by cosmetic dentistry.”

Dr. Fiza was born in Pakistan, and immigrated with his family to the U.S. at age 11. He grew up in High-point, and graduated from NC State University in 2008, so joining Raleigh Dental Arts is something of a homecoming. He and Iqra, his wife of one year, now live in Raleigh. In a conversation with Health&Healing, he talked about his background and his interest in cosmetic dentistry.

Health&Healing: What was your attraction to dentistry?

Dr. Fiza:I’ve always loved science. After receiving my BS in biological studies from NC State, I also realized that I really enjoy working with my hands and helping people—that’s what led me to dentistry. I started shadowing my family dentist when I was a senior, and I really grew to love what he did—he had such an ardor and technique for changing people’s lives. In dental school—I received my degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry in 2014—I also found that I particularly loved the artistry of cosmetic dentistry. So that became my number one passion.

H&H: Why cosmetic dentistry?

Dr. Fiza: I love taking someone who’s not happy with the way they look, and within a few hours, completely changing their dental and facial presentation. Often these are people who once had a beautiful smile, and over time their teeth simply wore down. With current technology and training, I can give them back their youthful dental appearance. When you change the way they smile, you change the way they look, and very often this completely changes their outlook on life.

H&H: What does cosmetic dentistry entail?

Dr. Fiza: In dental school and in post-graduate studies, I’ve spent countless hours studying and working with great cosmetic dentists, learning how to visualize and design someone’s smile—in the context of their facial features. Each smile is unique and you have to have an artist’s eye to see what kind of smile will fit each person.

I look at the proportions, size, color, and shape of the patient’s teeth, as well as the location of their eyes. All these features matter. I also take into consideration the patient’s preferences.

I have the ability to design this new look, and give them a preview of how it’s going to appear, not just in a photograph, but actually in their mouth. This is all about transferring my vision of an excellent aesthetic outcome, presented for the patient’s evaluation. I take this approach with provisional, temporary restorations, on the path to exceptional outcomes for each patient. You really have to be an artist to develop this approach, which takes years to accomplish.

H&H: Does cosmetic restoration have an impact on a person’s overall health?

Dr. Fiza: Absolutely. Whenever there’s misalignment of teeth, good hygiene becomes more challenging for the patient. It’s very difficult to clean overlapped teeth; even with brushing and rigorous flossing, you just can’t get into those tiny grooves, nooks, and crannies unless all the teeth are properly aligned. Unaligned teeth build up tartar, which can cause gum disease, that affects overall health. Having well-aligned teeth makes a major contribution to better oral hygiene