Celebrating Smiles | 17 March, 2020

From The Dentist’s Mouth – Dr Allen Baker

Dr Allen Baker has been a dentist for almost 40 years and is one of the highly-skilled cosmetic dentists at Lumino Pearl Dental Centre in Remuera.

He was part of starting New Zealand's first ever emergency dental surgery and is well known for being the dentist on the TV show '10 Years Younger'.

What made you decide to get into dentistry as a career?

I guess I first started to think seriously about dentistry on my last year of high school, I was heading down the Health Sciences route. As I was reasonably good with my hands, it was an obvious fit.

How long have you been practising dentistry?

I graduated in class of 1980, so that’s a long time, I think I almost know what I’m doing.

What do you love most about your job?

I get great satisfaction in doing a job well and genuinely like helping people. At times it feels almost like an artistic expression.

You were part of starting New Zealand’s first ever emergency dental surgery. What did you learn from this and what does it mean for you in your career today?

Starting the emergency dental centre was a huge leap of faith and luckily it worked and turned out it was very much needed. Obviously there as a lot of trauma, particularly of the front teeth and restoring these took me down the cosmetic pathway. From there I was lucky enough to do 10 years younger in ten days.

Patients may recognise you from the TV series, ‘10 Years Younger’. Can you tell us a bit more about the show and what you enjoyed the most about being part of it?

I did 30 episodes (3 series) of 10 years younger and every series became more complicated. At the end, we did 2 people per episode., Working in the TV entertainment industry was hard work but also tremendous fun and extremely rewarding and somewhat humbling. During this time, I realised what a gift dentistry is. Many of the patients taking part of the show, were overwhelmed with the results. It was a real buzz to be involved.

What are your special interests in dentistry?

Rehabilitating smiles. And I am particularly interested in the smile zone. I also enjoy doing implants: from placing them to restoring them.

What are some of the current trends in cosmetic dentistry?

Technology has made incredible advances in not just cosmetic, but all parts of dentistry. All veneers and crowns are now scanned into a computer and so designed is aided by, Veneers and crowns are milled by a computer controlled milling machine and soon will be replaced by 3D printers. Because of this, dentistry has improved dramatically in the last 5 years, our planning, design and the delivery of crowns and veneers is now incredibly accurate. The computer will continue to change the world of dentistry. We are now virtually metal-free which is wonderful. Along with the technical changes, there has been amazing research into implants and into dental materials and these changes have opened up new horizons and possibilities for patients including total tooth replacement.

What is the main piece of advice you give your patients?

Importance of hygiene (hygienists), you only floss the teeth you want to keep; Maintenance is huge. I also discarded amalgam out of my practice in 1988 and am still advocating amalgam free dentistry.

Where would we find you outside of the  practice?

I have a batch in north Auckland and it’s a great place to chill and unwind. You may also find me on a golf course.