Dr Germaine Lee, General Dentist at i.Dental Clinic

We'd like to introduce you to Dr. Germaine Lee, a general dentist at i.Dental. Dr. Lee graduated with honours from the University of Queensland, earning the Queensland Group Award for her excellence.

She has held significant roles in a private hospital, including Deputy Physician Leader (East) and Vice-chairperson of its dental education arm, earning the Chairman Service Excellence Award and a silver award for the Singhealth Quality Service Award 2023. Dr. Lee is committed to staying current in her field by regularly attending courses and believes in personalized patient care.

Join us as we discuss oral health and Dr. Lee's journey in dentistry.

Hello Dr. Lee, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about your journey in dentistry and what inspired you to pursue this career?

Dr Lee: Hi everyone, I’m Dr Germaine. I’m a general dentist who has been in private practice for just under 10 years. Prior to joining iDental, I worked at a private hospital as well as a large dental group practice in Singapore. 

With regard to my inspiration behind dentistry, I used to play hockey in school. During a particular match, one of my teammates was hit on the face by a hockey ball. Quite a few teeth were knocked and broken. There was a lot of bleeding and she was in so much pain… It was a horrifying sight. However,  when I subsequently saw her post dental treatment/s, there was barely any trace of the damage done. I thought it was magical!

Have you always wanted to be a doctor and why did you choose to become a dentist?

Dr Lee: After my A levels, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do. I tried a variety of things - was on a scholarship for occupational therapy, started a bachelor's in accountancy and worked at an ice cream cafe before arriving at dentistry. I love it and have not looked back since.

Do you remember your first-ever visit to the dentist and how did it go?

Dr Lee: I recall being very afraid of the school dentist. I would try to take a long route or hide in the toilet in hopes that the nurse will forget about me (it didn’t work).

You have been part of a multi-disciplinary team at a private hospital and held several leadership roles. Has this experience influenced your approach to patient care and dental practice?

Dr Lee: Working closely with specialists of the various disciplines has provided me with valuable insights into delivering holistic and comprehensive treatment to enhance the overall well-being of patients. By integrating diverse expertise and perspectives, we can address various aspects of patient care more effectively and create more personalised and effective treatment plans. 

You were awarded the prestigious Chairman Service Excellence Award and the silver award for the Singhealth Quality Service Award 2023. What do these recognitions mean to you, and how do they impact your day-to-day practice?

Dr Lee: They serve as constant reminders that as a dental professional, I am treating patients and not just teeth only.

What are the most significant challenges patients face when it comes to dental health in Singapore?

Dr Lee: While there have been improvements over the years, there is still a lack of dental awareness among residents. This includes dental health and oral hygiene practices, as well as of financial reliefs that are provided by the government such as Medisave and CHAS schemes. This lack of awareness can lead to delay in seeking dental treatment leading to more severe dental problems.

Have you noticed any particular oral health trends or common issues among your patients in Singapore? How do you address these in your practice?

Dr Lee: Cracked teeth are quite prevalent among patients in Singapore. Treatment and prognosis for cracked teeth tend to vary depending on severity of the cracks. Prevention is better than cure, so if you are aware of any teeth grinding habit, do consider night guard and/or botox to prevent excessive loading of teeth which can result in cracked teeth.

What would you say is the biggest myth related to dentists and oral care in general that you'd like to dispel?

Dr Lee: Dentists cause pain! On the contrary, we are trying to alleviate pain or potential pain.

What are some essential preventive care tips you recommend to your patients to maintain good oral health?

Dr Lee: 1) Good brushing and flossing techniques go a long way. 2)Similar to how cars require regular maintenance to prevent potential breakdowns, our teeth need maintenance too. Remember to visit your dentist biannually!

There are so many options for toothbrushes and toothpaste available. How should patients choose the right ones for their needs?

Dr Lee: Always use a soft toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste

Can you explain the importance of flossing and how patients can effectively clean between their teeth?

Dr Lee: Every tooth has 5 surfaces. Brushing cleans 3 of the 5 tooth surfaces - top, cheek side and tongue side. Interdental aids such as flossing will clean the remaining 2 surfaces which are between teeth.

How often should people visit the dentist for check-ups and cleanings to ensure optimal dental health?

Dr Lee: 6 months.

What are some early signs of dental problems that patients should watch out for and seek professional advice on?

Dr Lee: Sensitive teeth and bleeding gums. They are often signs of some form of dental problems.

How does diet impact dental health, and what are some common dietary habits for people in Singapore that can negatively affect our teeth?

Dr Lee: Never use your teeth to crack open crab shells! These crack shells may crack your teeth instead. Also, be careful when having anything acidic as they may erode your teeth and cause sensitivity and other issues.

What advice would you give to parents in Singapore about maintaining their children's dental health? Are there any common mistakes to avoid?

Dr Lee: Don’t forget to brush the back of the upper front teeth with age-appropriate toothpaste. These areas are susceptible to decay. Remember to brush after the last milk feed of the night. 

What is your favourite or most rewarding part about working in dentistry?

Dr Lee: I find it the most rewarding when patients share that their initial fears of visiting a dentist were unwarranted after the visit. Dental phobia can deter one from visiting a dentist, allowing dental issues to worsen and require extensive and costly treatments.

What about the opposite - is there anything about being a dentist that you're not too keen on and would prefer to change?

Dr Lee: Definitely the noise. As a patient, the idea of visiting a dentist is scary enough and the noise seems to make it even worse. 

In terms of exercise and sports, what activities do you enjoy the most, and how do they help you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Dr Lee: Some may debate if golf is a sport, but I enjoy playing golf. There’s something therapeutic about being among the greens and like any sport, it challenges your determination, patience and endurance. I also enjoy gymming and HIIT classes.

Golf definitely counts as a sport! And it's the only sport where the 19th hole might be the best part! Thanks for the great conversation, Dr. Lee.

For our readers who would like to get in touch with Dr. Lee for questions or treatment, you can find her at i.Dental™ Invisalign Dedicated Clinic: idental.com.sg. We wish you all the best in your ongoing work and future endeavours.