It’s a long way from Kuala Lumpur to Canberra. And Dr Jasprit Nirmal Singh certainly took the long route before opening her state-of-the-art orthodontic practice, Capital Smiles, in Deakin.
One of the country’s most highly trained orthodontists, Dr Singh studied in Malaysia, England and Scotland before settling in Australia. She recently spent two years travelling back and forth from Canberra to Germany to complete her advanced training in lingual braces at Hannover Medical School.
Dr Singh is the only orthodontist in Australia and New Zealand with a master’s Degree in Lingual Orthodontics from the University of Hannover and hopes to share her knowledge with up-and-coming orthodontists by volunteering as a university tutor.
By sharing her passion for lingual braces – also known as hidden braces – with the next generation of orthodontists, she hopes to prevent the system from “dying out”.
“Lingual braces have been around since the 1970s, but in the early days the brackets were very clunky,” she says.
“While having invisible braces was a popular concept, people gave up on it after a few years.”
But over the past five to seven years, Dr Singh says the braces have made a comeback overseas, particularly in Germany where she studied the system for two years.
“The technology is so much better with computer-aided design, and the low-profile brackets and wires are a lot more comfortable,” she says.
“Many young adults and teenagers want the completely invisible braces that are fitted behind the teeth.
“There is definitely a greater awareness about how having a great smile can affect your personal appearance and self-esteem.”
While the concept has taken off in Europe, Dr Singh says it’s not widely available in Australia with only a handful of orthodontists offering the treatment.
“As I’m the only orthodontist in Australia and New Zealand with a master’s in lingual, it makes sense for me to eventually teach the system.
“I feel I have a responsibility to share my passion and knowledge with orthodontists as part of their training.”
Dr Singh opened Capital Smiles orthodontic practice less than a year ago, and already Canberrans are embracing her vision to create a centre of excellence.
Of Indian heritage, Malaysian-born Dr Singh completed her Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2002 at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur where she began her career working as a general dentist.
In 2006, she went on to complete her Diploma in Dental Clinical Sciences with Distinction from the University of London, United Kingdom, and was awarded Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.
While in the UK, Dr Singh pursued her passion for orthodontics and spent an additional three years of orthodontic specialty training at the Eastman Dental Institute, University of London. In 2008, she completed her Master of Science in Orthodontics, and the following year obtained her Membership in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
In 2017, Dr Singh relocated with her family to Australia, where she gained her Membership in Orthodontics from the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons and continued with her advanced training in lingual braces at Hannover Medical School from October 2017 to September 2019.
As a school student, Dr Singh planned on studying medicine or dentistry. Surprisingly, it was her love of art that drew her to orthodontics.
“I was very good at science subjects and also loved art and I wanted to blend the two,” she says.
“Working in orthodontics you have to consider the artistic element of someone’s smile – the symmetry, shape and size of teeth, and try to design the best possible smile for the patient.
“It’s really satisfying to see your treatment plan come together and a happy patient two or three years later when the braces come off.”
Dr Singh says braces can change a young person’s life and that’s why she supports the Give a Smile Foundation where she provides at least one child with free orthodontic treatment every year.
“Sometimes you come across a patient who really, really needs treatment but can’t afford it, and you think about how much the child could benefit from braces.
“As well as the confidence and self-esteem aspect of having orthodontic treatment, more often than not there are also dental health benefits, such as correcting a less than ideal bite, that are equally as important.”
Working in a high-pressure and fast-paced environment, Dr Singh believes it’s important to keep her body and mind fit and healthy. She enjoys yoga, strength training at the gym and running. When she can find the time, she also loves cooking Indian food, at which she claims to be not very good!
The lead orthodontist at Capital Smiles, Dr Singh aims to provide her patients with outstanding results through treatment plans that address their individual lifestyle and needs.