Who is Dennis Shepherd?

I was raised in Durban, South Africa and finished my schooling at Durban Boys' High School in 1978. I studied Dentistry and graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1989. Upon graduation as a specialist dentist I worked for the South African defence force at No 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria and in private practice from 1990-1996.

I have always participated in sports to a high level, including rowing and karate for which I achieved Natal and Transvaal colours. A highlight of this was representing the South African University Rowing team in a sports tour around Germany and eventually competing at Henley in the UK. The crews in which I rowed were South African champions in several different classes over the years, I even won a gold medal at the South African Olympics in 1983 (this is a discussion in itself).

These days I have eased back to recreation fishing, boating and kayaking and have been attending Pilates classes for three years. I enjoy spending time with my wife Kim (radiologist) and adult sons Christopher (dental house surgeon) and Alexander (final year Bachelor of Science degree). I also spend a lot of time walking my dog on the beach and kayaking at Ngunguru where I live next to the estuary.

I immigrated to New Zealand with my family in 1996 where I re-qualified with my NZDREX NZ Qualification in 1998. This NZDREX is a foreign graduate exam to the equivalent standard of New Zealand qualified dentist from the University of Otago. I briefly worked for White Cross in Dargaville before opening my own private practice in Whangarei in 1999. Since then I have obtained an additional post graduate qualification in Periodontics (gum disease) dip Clin Dent (Periodontics) 2005.

My point of difference from the other dentists in Whangarei is:

  • My extensive training as a specialist Prosthodontist
  • My subsequent interest and qualification in Periodontics

This enables me to offer a standard of care locally in Whangarei for which patients previously had to travel to Auckland and beyond to receive.

Although the majority of my patients are referred to me by dentists, medical practitioners or other patients, I am happy to see new patients without a referral.

If you feel you would like to become a patient at my practice and would benefit from quality dentistry please call and book an appointment on 09 438 7694.

I often get asked what a Prosthodontist is

I am often asked; "What on earth is a Prosthodontist?" Allow me to clarify. A "Prosthodontist" is a specialist in cosmetic, implant and restorative dentistry. After graduating as a dentist I spent a further three years of full-time study gaining knowledge, skill and ability, learning techniques which are not typically taught to general practitioners. This allows me to provide more complex treatment options to you if needed. In addition I have a special interest in periodontal (gum) disease and have postgraduate qualifications in this area.

There are a number of ways to analyze your smile. We regularly use two different approaches - the emotional evaluation and the objective analysis. Below is a simple list of questions using each approach that you can do on your own in the convenience of your own home.

The Emotional Smile Evaluation

  • Do you love the appearance of your teeth and smile?
  • Do you ever turn your face while smiling or hold your hand up in front of your mouth while talking to others?
  • Have you ever found yourself looking at models or other people with beautiful smiles and wishing you had a similar smile?
  • Have you figured out a way to use your lips to cover any aspect of your smile?
  • Are you embarrassed to visit a dentist due to the condition of your teeth or the length of time since your last visit to a dentist?
  • How does your smile make you feel? Confident?
  • Do you shy away from showing a full smile in front of other people, especially strangers?
  • When taking pictures, do you tend to smile with your lips closed instead of flashing a happy smile?
  • Have you ever held back a laugh because you felt uncomfortable about your smile?
  • How would a beautiful smile make you feel?
  • What would you like to change about your smile?

The objective Smile Analysis

  • Are all your teeth brilliant white or are they somewhat yellow, dark or stained?
  • Are there spaces between any of your teeth?
  • Are you missing any of your teeth?
  • Do you have teeth that are crooked, uneven or out of line?
  • Do the biting edges of your teeth appear short and fat or too small or too large?
  • Are the edges of any of your teeth even with the rest of your teeth or are they too long or too shorts?
  • Do your teeth (as a group) slant one way or another?
  • Is the mid-line of your two front teeth centered with your face and nose?
  • Are the edges of your canine teeth too long, sharp, or look out of line?
  • Do you grind your teeth or are any of the biting edges on your teeth chipped or worn down?
  • Do you have a "gummy" smile - showing too much gum tissue or having gums that are too thick?
  • Are your gums even and in line and symmetrical or irregularly shaped - higher on some teeth and lower on others?
  • Have your gums receded or do they appear red or puffy?
  • Do you have any gray, black or silver (mercury) dental fillings in your teeth?
  • Do you have any old crowns that have dark edges at the top or that don't really look natural?

If you answered yes to ANY of the above questions, we can help you achieve a more beautiful and confident smile.

Dennis Shepherd - Principal Dentist
Erin Finlayson - Practice Manager