Traditional ‘drilling and filling’ dentistry is evolving, with customers now coming to Enniskillen from Galway and beyond, requesting cosmetic techniques that they have discovered through a celebrity tweet or a reality TV show.

In her 18 years as a dental surgeon, Sinead McEnhill has “constantly been learning new treatments and gaining new qualifications.” Progressing to implant dentistry, Sinead then added bone reconstruction and regenerative techniques to her offering in the Belmore Dental Clinic.

Now, she has at least one booking per day for PRGF (also known as the ‘Vampire Facial’) a “cutting-edge facial rejuvenation treatment” that stands for plasma rich in growth factors. It involves taking blood from your arm and injecting the plasma from your blood into your face.

Sinead first came across PRGF when it was approved by the International Olympic Committee as a treatment for sports injuries and surgeries, because it stimulates and accelerates the processes of tissue healing and regeneration. It is also used by Chelsea Football Club. It was made popular among celebrities last year when Kim Kardashian tweeted photos of herself mid-treatment and Simon Cowell talked about the benefits.

“I don’t want to be known as someone who mainly does facial rejuvenation,” Sinead qualifies. “I am a cosmetic dental implant surgeon. This is regenerative medicine. It is different because it is state of the art and it’s natural.” She has always been aware of customers seeking a wider range of services. “I mean, who wants to wear dentures or have broken or discoloured smiles? It’s obvious how much a person’s confidence is affected by not having a white smile or the inability to chew food. Over the last 20 years, people have witnessed major advancements in cosmetic technologies via ‘Extreme Makeover’ and ‘10 Years Younger’. Now, people request cosmetic techniques that they have checked out online or have seen on a reality TV show.” In late 2012, Sinead underwent PRGF training in Spain. She has had the ‘Vampire facial’ while in Spain, but, because she and her brother (who is based in Belfast) are the only two providing the treatment in Northern Ireland, she hopes more people will become trained locally so she can avail of it again.

“There are very few things that are approved by the international powers that be, so when I saw that PRGF was approved by the International Olympic Committee, that proved it for me,” Sinead comments. “The industry were saying: ‘Why were we not using this years ago?’” she continues. At the Facial Aesthetics World Conference in London last week, the main theme was using plasma for peoples’ faces.

The bulk of Sinead’s patients are referred from neighbouring counties requiring implants, veneers or reconstructive surgery. “The reason I started PRGF was because it was making tooth implants and jaw reconstructions heal quicker,” she explains. “Once I had completed that training, I realised they were using this for facial rejuvenation. It was a win-win because most people who get their teeth cosmetically fixed, in the next breath, they usually want to rejuvenate their faces too.” At the moment, she reports: “The most common facial aesthetic treatments are wrinkle reduction or fillers to smooth creases. But there is a large emerging proportion of men and women who want any improvement to be natural, with no transformation in their facial movement.” Therefore, instead of BTX, customers are opting for PRGF. The ‘Vampire facial’ has evolved, Sinead explains, and the Spanish version involves “plasma, taken and prepared from the patient’s own blood, and only proteins related to collagen and elastin regeneration are placed back in the skin.” Sinead argues that “the beauty” of this £500 treatment is “you can’t have any reaction to your own blood plasma, but the skin improvement is incredible.” The most popular dental services are implants, whitening, gum shaping, orthodontics and cosmetic veneers.

She states: “People are asking me for these treatments. They want cutting-edge treatments. They don’t want a pie-in-the-sky thing they have heard about in a magazine. They want it to actually work for the long-term.” Sinead is a tutor and practice assessor for the Diploma in Implant Dentistry course at the Royal College of Surgeons. She recently gained a diploma in implant dentistry and advanced bone grafting from the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

From a family of dentists – her father and three brothers are also in the profession – Sinead has always sought out areas that “mentally excite” her. She is driven by a mixture of passion for helping people achieve confidence in their appearance and a hefty dose of sibling rivalry! “It was always about finding the part of it that was cutting edge,” she says. Her advice for those entering the dentistry profession is: “It’s only as interesting as you make it. Search out the areas that really interest you.” Women are in the minority in the dental and cosmetic profession, the mother-of-four has noticed. “That becomes very apparent at international conferences,” she notes, having been to Berlin and London recently. She is set to attend another conference in Italy next month.

“If you want to stay at the cutting edge you have to attend these events. A lot of dentists realise they have to do this,” she comments, adding: “I find it very exciting but I have a very supportive family network who understand my desire to find new technologies that inspire me.”