Leaders Voice; Words to Inspire | Nikkei special edition

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Takashi Ozaki(Meieki Dental Clinic, Orthodontic)

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Find your own unwavering Merkmal, a guidepost for your life

Takashi Ozaki,
Meieki Dental Clinic, Orthodontic

To attain the ideal treatment

With a friend’s introduction, I opened a dental clinic five years ago specializing mainly in implants and orthodontic treatment. In our orthodontic treatment, instead of the conventional metal braces, we use a transparent and removable plastic mouthpiece, so that patients can live their daily lives without the unpleasantness of wearing unsightly appliances. In the case of implants, we adopt the approach of immediate implant placement with immediate loading. Thanks to this system, even for patients with periodontal disease and wobbly teeth, the implant can be placed as soon as the natural tooth is extracted, followed by loading of a provisional crown, in one surgery instead of two. Neither of these processes is technically simple, but I was drawn naturally to this approach out of concern about the worries and hardships of patients. On the technical front, through constant training I believe I have raised my skills. The majority of patients come to the clinic for orthognathic, or corrective jaw surgery, for overall improvement inside the mouth; so measuring against my own Merkmal,* I strive to attain the ideal. I am gratified that recently patients from distant locations have been coming to the clinic, making us quite busy.*Merkmal: A German word meaning “benchmarks.” This term is used in the clinical field.

Takashi Ozaki(Meieki Dental Clinic, Orthodontic)

The importance of treatment matched to the patient

I was born into an ordinary household, as the son of a salaried company man. I was the type of child to become deeply absorbed in anything I started, even play. I think it was around the time I was considering my career path as a high school student when I decided to go into dentistry. One of my relatives was involved in dentistry, and the incentive was that I thought it would be nice to exercise skills in the manner of a dentist. Upon graduating from dental school, I started working as a clinical practitioner. During the first three years, I performed a full range of treatment including cavities and periodontal disease in a general dental clinic. After that, I worked for three years under a specialist in prosthesis, dealing with caps, bridges and other artificial appliances. Looking back, my six years as a clinical practitioner taught me many things, not only the technical aspects of the work but learning to work one-to-one with each patient, men and women, young and old. It was a time of growth as a human being. I came to realize the importance of treatment matched to each individual patient.

Takashi Ozaki(Meieki Dental Clinic, Orthodontic)

Adopting a philosophy suited to your style

After that, I started my own clinic. Wanting to help those troubled by dentures along with providing general dental treatment, I introduced implants, which were still somewhat unusual at the time. During that time, I frequently took part in study sessions and training aimed at dentists. It was demanding, but enjoyable. Among the areas, I devoted myself in particular to the field of occlusion. Since my own Merkmal regarding occlusion had yet to be defined, however, no matter how much I studied, there were still aspects that remained unclear to me. Then when I heard a talk by a renowned American professor who had come to a certain seminar in the field of occlusion, it was like a fog had lifted and everything fell clearly into place. Having been left duly impressed, I made several trips to the US for further study, while continuing to run the clinic. To explain simply, there is a certain principle common to people who still have their natural teeth after growing older; and by carrying out treatment with that as the target stage, in theory their bite will remain stable for a long time. What I learned in these studies has become my backbone, and even today I am putting this to use in corrective jaw surgery, my area of concentration.