When people first meet Sarah Farrier, principle dentist and director of Arden House Dental and Cosmetic Clinic in Cheltenham, and find out what her job is she says that most instinctively cover their mouths.
“I think that’s fairly common for most dentists, but it’s sad. Everyone should have the confidence to smile. If they don’t, they should come to see the team here at Arden House so we can help them.
“Giving people back their confidence is one of the aspects of my job I most enjoy. It can change how they feel about life.”
Sarah has a particular interest in implant and cosmetic dentistry. She’s a certified user of the Inman Aligner and ClearSmile Aligners. She believes the secret to achieving a smile that inspires confidence is not only in the treatment itself, but its careful planning.
“We pride ourselves on offering bespoke treatments.
“I tell my patients it’s like building a house, you wouldn’t start construction without properly planning every element of it. We create individual treatment plans using a combination of traditional models, photographs and digital technology.
“Planning can take time, something perhaps in the past some patients have been reluctant to invest in or delay treatment for, but it’s vital to deliver a predictable and agreed outcome.
“It’s really important to us that we consider every aspect of the patient, not just their smile and clinical needs, but also their emotional and financial needs too. The ability to share these plans before embarking on treatment helps understand and meet patient expectations in a way that wasn’t possible before. It is even possible to offer patients a ‘trial smile’ to verify and visualise the end result before any active or irreversible treatment takes place. This is really valuable, in the consent process, particularly in cosmetic dentistry.”
Arden House Dental and Cosmetic Clinic is also able to offer same day crowns, and other porcelain restorations thanks to one of the investments they’ve made in the latest technology, CEREC.
Responding to the evolving needs of their own patients and those of neighbouring referring practices, the team has grown to include the addition of three specialists, an oral surgery specialist who is highly qualified in the use of IV sedation, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a periodontal specialist.
It’s not just in practice where Sarah helps patients. Alongside running and working in Arden House, she’s also a busy mum of two and for one day a week takes up the role of locum consultant restorative dentist for the Gloucestershire NHS Trust.
“In the hospital I work with oncology patients, both prior to their treatment to help manage their oral hygiene and carry out vital screening and also afterwards, to support their rehabilitation. It’s humbling and certainly puts things into perspective.
“It’s important to me to give something back.”
Prior to taking up the locum role, Sarah has worked in various hospital settings, gaining experience in, amongst other areas, oral and maxillofacial surgery and restorative dentistry. She has also worked as a lecturer at The University of Wales College of Medicine and studied at the world-renowned Eastman Dental Institute where she was awarded a diploma in restorative dentistry.
To add to her long list of roles, Sarah is the vice chair of the Gloucestershire Independent Dentists (GID), a group which works towards enabling like-minding practitioners to communicate professionally and socially with the aim of enhancing their perception and knowledge of dentistry.
As a committee member of the GID, Sarah works with the committee to support the continuing professional development of local dentists and support staff by arranging the provision of high calibre speakers, frequently international, and also meeting essential training requirements where possible.
And that’s not all, Sarah is starting her training in facial aesthetics this year to add extra bandwidth to Arden Face as the offering is proving to be particularly popular among patients.
“Currently the majority of facial aesthetics treatments are carried out in practice under our Arden Face brand by our consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon. It remains that the majority of patients are women and feedback has told us that it’s important to have a female practitioner too – I guess sometimes it’s easier for women to talk to other women about the concerns they have.”
Sarah bought Arden House in Cheltenham in 2014, it’s a practice with a long history – in fact one of the team’s patients as a child once lived in the property the practice now occupies, with his former bedroom now being the place where he receives his dental care.
It’s hard to imagine how Sarah finds any time for herself, but she assures me so does.
“I like to be busy and being a dentist is a great career, it gives me the flexibility to be a mum and the variety to fulfil my professional interests.
“But everyone needs time for themselves and to spend quality time away from work.
“I’m sporty and so are my two children, the list of sports they take part in is long and I love going to watch them. I also play in the Gloucestershire netball league, I’ve just taken up soft-ball cricket and I love to run and go on long walks with our dog, Scruffy. Weekend fun with friends and the family is always high on my agenda when it comes to time outside Arden House”
It’s clear that Sarah loves what she does and her energy for it is inspiring.
One thing is for sure, with Sarah leading the charge at Arden House Dental and Cosmetic Clinic there will be less people in Cheltenham covering their smiles and more confidently showing them off instead.