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From Blueprint to Building: An Architect’s Smile Story
Written by Dr. Kelvin Mah   

Designing a well-built smile for a successful architect.

When patients, friends, colleagues and peers ask me what I love the most about being a modern dentist, the answer that I give them tends to create some initial confusion because it goes: what I love the most is that I also get to be an educator, an artisan and an architect! A little confused? Please allow me to explain.

Yes, my training, experience and expertise are in dentistry. When I’m asked to fill in the occupation box on forms, I always put “dentist.” But, in reality, my job gives me the wonderful opportunity to be so much more for my valued patients. I am an educator who explains the options and benefits of modern dentistry. I am an artisan who creates harmony between personality and style. Finally, I am an architect who designs and builds smile solutions that are functional, durable and aesthetically attractive – especially when it comes to the all-important “first impression.”

So in light of these other hats that I wear every day – and especially the architect one – it’s not surprising that the moment Alex walked into Smile City Square Dental, I knew that it was the start of a unique success story. You see, while I integrate architectural concepts, themes and ideas into my work, Alex goes a few gigantic steps further: he is an architect (and not an ordinary one, either). In just a few short years, Alex has built a renowned reputation for excellence, a distinction that has earned him an increasingly prestigious roster of international clients. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news was that, despite his professional success, Alex was worried that his overall presentation skills were not keeping pace. He felt that something was holding him back, undermining his confidence, making him self-conscious, and worst of all, threatening to limit his career potential at the precise moment when it was poised to soar beyond his wildest expectations. That restrictive something, as you’ve likely guessed, was his smile. And that’s what brought Alex to my practice.

Examining the Teeth and the Man

The first thing I noticed was that Alex’s front teeth had become extremely worn down because of a bad bite and grinding habit. In addition, while his front teeth had been repaired many times, his fillings had become stained, and the shape and proportion of his teeth were never properly addressed. As a result, Alex’s overall smile was compromised and certainly didn’t reflect his outgoing, professional personality.

I spent a considerable amount of time getting to know Alex as a person. I learned about Alex as a husband, as a father to an adorable baby girl, as a former Calvin Klein® model, as a soccer coach and, of course, as a renowned architect with limitless career potential. I also learned how he felt about his appearance on an aesthetic and emotional level. How he longed for a dazzling white smile that would be powerful and memorable, yet natural and subtle – a smile that would perfectly match the confidence and candor that he so prominently expressed through his brilliant work.

Once I had a clear sense of Alex as both a patient and a person, I began studying models of his smile, and worked closely with him to determine the exact shape and colour that he was looking for. With an architect’s commitment (or perhaps obsession) to detail, I ensured that every factor was addressed so that Alex’s new smile would meet very specific design parameters, while remaining natural and subtle.

Architecting Perfection

Ultimately, we agreed that Alex would benefit from veneers and some minor gum contouring via state-of-the-art laser technology. Indeed, some dentists overlook gum position in the overall treatment plan and consequently, the final result can be compromised – just as a beautiful painting can be diminished by an unaesthetic frame. Working collaboratively with Alex and getting his input every step of the way, I also addressed his bite problem so that it would be more functional, healthy and able to support him into the future.

before photo of smile after photo of smile

When the finishing touches were complete, Alex looked at his new smile for the first time and instantly recognized it as the one that he had always known was within him, but had never had a chance to come alive. Just as I imagine the deep pride that Alex feels after he meticulously transforms a blueprint into a building, I was tremendously satisfied with the results. But more than that, I also felt an immense sense of gratitude for the opportunity to help Alex find and share his true smile – the one that was always inside him, just waiting to be “built.”

Before and after profile photos

“As an architect, I’m not just selling an idea or a concept to my clients. In a way, I’m selling myself and what I stand for as a professional, which includes a meticulous attention to detail, confidence, competence and high energy.

I knew that the imperfections in my smile were holding me back and preventing me from making the best possible impression. But, for a long time, I didn’t try to solve the problem because I thought it would take too long, or require major treatment. Was I ever wrong!

“The rapid results that I experienced thanks to Dr. Mah have surpassed my wildest expectations. Without question, I now feel more confident, I am smiling more and my attitude is more positive. My bite has also improved, which is something that I was sure I’d need braces for, but somehow, Dr. Mah made it happen!

“Are people noticing my new smile? Absolutely! But not in the ‘wow, you must have had work done’ way. Dr. Mah’s work was so natural and sublime; people simply say that there’s something more positive and radiant about me. While I guess my little secret is out, it’s a small price to pay for sharing just how amazed and impressed I am with Dr. Mah and his skilled craftsmanship.

“Before this, I never thought of a dentist as an architect. But Dr. Mah truly has an architect’s heart, mind and vision – and thanks to him, I have the smile that I’ve always wanted to boost my self-esteem and, no doubt, my career as well. Thank you Dr. Mah!”

Indeed, call me a dentist, an educator, an artisan, an architect, or all of the above. The reality is that I have a special job that allows me to play a role in the lasting happiness and success of my patients. To me, that makes this the best job I can imagine, and one that I wouldn’t trade for any other – not even to be a world famous Calvin Klein® model. (Well, now that I think about it…)

Dr. Kelvin Mah -

Dr Kelvin P Mah is driven to "enrich lives, one smile at a time." He believes in helping people – not merely treating problems – and takes a dedicated, personal interest in the health, wellness and happiness of each individual patient. His award-winning Smile City Square Dental practice reflects an organic and zen-like atmosphere of warmth and relaxation. He is also a graduate of UBC's prestigious Dental School and is an instructor with the Frontier Institute, which offers postgraduate programs in advanced cosmetic dentistry. Learn more about Dr Mah and discover the transformative possibilities of modern artisan dentistry at, and visit Smile City Square Dental on Facebook at


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