Name: The DPN Interview: Dr Stefan Koubi

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Dr Stefan Koubi is the founder of “L’institut de la facette”, a private training center in Paris, France, which focuses mainly on laminate veneer restorations and the minimally invasive rehabilitation of worn dentitions.

Dr Koubi talked with Razak Ahmad, publisher of DPN magazine, in this one-on-one interview conducted at the dental faculty, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

DPN: Dr Koubi, welcome to Kuala Lumpur. Is this your first dental lecture in Malaysia?

DR KOUBI: Yes, this is my first lecture in Malaysia, and I’m very happy to be here in the region because of the enthusiasm of the audience. This region is very dynamic – patients are looking for better solutions and dentists are looking for better treatment. Now I have good taste of Asia from my lectures – from Hong Kong to Singapore, then to Jakarta, Manila and Kuala Lumpur all in 10 days. Every country has its own cultures and personalities. In Jakarta, for example, it was a great experience because it was a full-day lecture with full turnout of 300 people. In the end it was a beautiful experience for me to understand the different cultures of these countries where I lectured. I believe this region is the future for dental education and esthetic dentistry.

DPN: Smile design has become a general term these days among dentists in esthetic dentistry. What does smile design mean to you?

DR KOUBI: For me smile design means it’s a traditional request from patients who are looking for the final solutions. This means having a new design for their smile. That’s why we call it a smile design. Because as dentists we need to be an architect of the mouth and for that we need to draw the design. Design means we have to draw the new feature of the smile. That’s why we need to learn all the procedures and “recipes” for the treatment. This is the spirit of my lectures… it’s not about artistic dentistry, but about feasible and teachable dentistry.

DPN: And there’s also the term, digital smile design. What are your views on this concept?

DR KOUBI: This is a little bit different from conventional smile design. From the initial appointment, from initial pictures of the case, you will draw the final design of the new smile on the computer or laptop screen. This system has become very popular worldwide, maybe because of very strong marketing. You need some digital tools for this concept. But it’s not enough to treat a case with just digital smile design; you still need to find the right solutions for the case.

DPN: What are the key criteria for dentists to create a new smile for their patients?

DR KOUBI: The key thing is for dentists to think basic. That’s why it’s important to bring some basic and practical solutions. You need to think about the treatment needs and where you want to modify the smile. Then once the dentists start to know what the future they’re looking for after validation of the treatment, it becomes a kind of guided dentistry where everybody in the team can guarantee a minimally invasive approach, the best tool using porcelain laminates, for example. Then you will approach esthetic dentistry in a repeatable, feasible way.

DPN: What challenges do you normally face in esthetic dentistry?

DR KOUBI: The challenge is to try to mix esthetic requests from patients with stability and play with the most efficient tools, biologically speaking. We also try not to charge too high cost for the treatment. Many patients are now very aware about the preservation of the tooth. Modern dentistry is driven by biology, which becomes a main pillar. And the materials that we use in the treatment need to adapt to this important requirement. That’s why the use of e.max, for example, because of the bonding capacity is able to fit in with this philosophy.

DPN: You mentioned that laminate veneers are a versatile tool to solve not only cosmetic but also functional problems. Can you elaborate on this?

DR KOUBI: During my lectures I want to highlight one way of thinking – in cosmetic dentistry the most efficient tools are laminate veneers. Moreover, with functional problems, our aim is to provide basic recipes where we will use exactly the same kind of tools. Laminates can be for cosmetic or functional purposes. So, we can say it as cosmetic or functional laminates.

DPN: You do emphasize the concept of minimally invasive dentistry, right? Can you explain more about this concept?

DR KOUBI: I think it’s a mandatory concept because today people are looking for low biological-cost solutions. All the treatment planning and protocols have to be based on the preservation of the biology. This is my definition of minimally invasive dentistry. The less invasive dentistry you provide to your patients, the more efficient the treatment is, biologically speaking. And laminate veneers are one of the most efficient tools to fit in with this minimally invasive dentistry concept.

DPN: What are the key trends that you see in esthetic dentistry now?

DR KOUBI: There are different trends in different areas – for dentists, labs and patients. The trend for dentists is to try to fit minimally invasive philosophy within economic reality. It’s esthetic, biological and functional. Also, the focus is on simple access to this kind of esthetic dentistry. For the labs, there’s a strong trend towards digital dentistry. So, the dental technicians become digital technicians to provide esthetic solutions. For the patients, the trend is that they are looking for fast, easy and esthetic solutions. The patients are much more aware now about the importance of the preservation of the biological tooth structures.

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