Blog

Mary did not like her smile. Her front teeth were dark and uneven. She was ready for some cosmetic dentistry to give her a smile she could be proud of. We spoke about placing veneers on several of her front teeth but she wanted to see how we could improve her smile with minimal dentistry. I felt that we could achieve what she wanted by placing porcelain veneers on her two front teeth. The veneers would lengthen and brighten her smile. She is so happy with how her teeth look that she is now considering placing veneers and crowns on her other teeth that could also use restoration.

X0107268

Before: Broken teeth, stained and decayed.

X0107277

After: Porcelain veneers to brighten her smile.

Yes, “Painless Parker” did exist.  “Painless” was a dentist who practiced in Brooklyn from 1897 until he moved to San Francisco in 1912 where he continued to practice for several more years. Parker was born in New Brunswick, Canada and attended Temple University dental school. He may not have been the best dentist, but he was a pro at advertising. The outside of the Flatbush Avenue building that housed his dental office blazed with the alliterative: “Proclaimed by Public, Press and Pulpit”; “Painless Parker Is Positively Perfect”; “Pains and Pangs Positively Prevented.” The dental association was not amused by his false claims. Born Edgar Rudolph Randolph Parker, he legally changed his name to “Painless” in 1915 because of complaints of false advertising.

 

Parker was the quintessential snake-oil salesman with goatee, top hat and cutaway coat.  Early in his career he hired a former manager for P.T. Barnum and traveled through Canada and Alaska with dancing girls and a tent show.

 

He established the first and, hopefully, last sidewalk dental show. He employed a brass band, bespangled women and contortionists who would perform a sideshow to drum up patients. Dr. Parker would be on-hand to speak out on the horrors of tooth decay and then he would ask for volunteers to come forth to sit in his portable dental chair. One of his assistants would volunteer, and the doctor would pretend to extract a tooth without causing pain. He would afterwards display a palmed tooth to the astonished audience.  But back in his office when Dr. Parker pulled a real tooth, he would tap his foot to signal to the band to play and thereby drown out the screams of the unlucky patient.

 

Parker founded a dental chain, owned a yacht and made and lost several fortunes in what he called “the noble tooth-plumbing profession.” His life was an inspiration for the character of Painless Potter, the frontier dentist played by Bob Hope in “The Paleface.”  Parker died in 1952 when dental advertising was still illegal. Today advertising by professionals is legal. Lets hope that dentists today employ truth-in-advertising.

 

 

When Ray was a child he fractured both of his upper front teeth. He had crowns placed on both teeth in the early 1980’s. As you can see below, the crowns are squat and too bright for the surrounding teeth and the gums are uneven. The crowns look very artificial and he was unhappy with the looks.   Not only were the teeth ugly – but they were causing enormous wear of the lower front teeth because the crowns were in the way and he was grinding and clenching his teeth.  Fred needed a makeover!  We removed the old crowns, placed new all-ceramic crowns on the upper front teeth and placed porcelain veneers on the lower front teeth. Ray is thrilled – he looks wonderful!

X0096045

 

Before: ugly crowns, worn down lower teeth

X00960A0

After: new crowns and veneers – very natural looking

It’s a cliche: the British have really bad teeth. A reference to British teeth always gets a laugh from the American audience. I’ve checked out the situation and maybe yes, maybe no. Are British teeth really in worse shape than other people’s? Probably not. But in 2012 the New Republic raised a ruckus when it placed a photo-shopped portrait of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge with rotting teeth. The picture is on the cover of the July 8, 2012 edition of the magazine and it is meant to be a sign of the decay of Britain, the featured story. This special issue of the magazine ran with the title ‘Something’s Rotten. The Last Days of Britain’ next to the picture. The photo really is a shocker and shows how ugly teeth can spoil a lovely face.

kate_middleton_teeth
The British newspaper, The Daily Mail, voiced outrage at the lack of respect for British royalty. Then other media and social media weighed in on the appropriateness of altering the royal image and whether the cover photo showed disrespect for the British royalty.
I always thought Kate had a beautiful smile and I wasn’t sure if she had had any cosmetic dentistry done. So I went on an internet hunt and searched for clues. According to the British periodical, Mail Online: “Last year the pearly white Duchess spent thousands of pounds having her teeth polished and turned to give her the perfect smile.” A French dentist used a “hidden brace to make Kate’s teeth appear a little out of line, un-American and therefore beautifully natural. ‘He did some little micro-rotations on Kate,’ the dentist Bernard Touati revealed. ‘That’s why they look so good – because they are not perfectly aligned. The problem in the United States is they have very artificial vision. But what we like is a natural healthy smile, but not artificial.’”  Yes, I do agree with him that natural is best and that is what I strive for. The dentist also whitens teeth and has an office in London’s Wimpole Street as well as in Paris and Geneva.

Here is Kate’s naturally beautiful smile, before any cosmetics were done:

kate-before

 

Kate’s husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has his mother, Princess Diana’s teeth – incisors too large and a narrow buccal corridor. Maybe he had his premolars removed for orthodontic treatment? I think his mother, the late Princess Diana almost certainly did. His younger brother, Prince Henry of Wales, could use braces to close the spaces between his front teeth. The boys’ father, Prince Charles, has scraggly, yellow teeth.  Just look below at a cartoon of Prince Charles, complete with bad teeth, which appeared several years ago on the cartoon series The Simpsons:

6400203

 

And look at how a royal fan weighs in:

prinewillandkate

Marilyn is 87 and lives in an assisted living home.  She is active and feisty: loves to play cards and billiards. She dresses with great care, but she had a habit of removing her denture – probably because it didn’t fit or wasn’t comfortable. So last week she removed it in the dining room and placed it in a napkin (NEVER do this, I tell my patients!). A denture wrapped in a napkin is looking to get discarded – and that is just what happened. Marilyn was without her teeth and she was, understandably, very upset.

 

Her daughter read on the internet that I make great fitting dentures in just four visits. She called me and she asked if I could make a denture in even less time so Marilyn could have teeth sooner rather than later. I told them to come in the next day, and I would have a new denture for her in four days. They were both thrilled. I condensed the fabrication process into one visit but I couldn’t guarantee that we would be happy with the result. I explained to them that if we weren’t happy with the teeth, then this denture would be counted as a temporary denture, and it would take just a few more visits to make a denture that satisfied us all.

 

The next day mother and daughter came in for mom’s visit – I took impressions and measurements. I consulted with my fabulous denture laboratory. Four days later I delivered a new denture, and the result was spectacular – looks great, fits snugly and functions well. Let’s just hope Marilyn doesn’t take this denture out and place it in a napkin! But if it is lost, at least I always put the owner’s name on the inside.

X0108310

Marilyn lost her upper teeth!

X0108311

Now Marilyn can smile again!

 

 

 

Fifteen month old Nicole wants to keep her teeth healthy. She is a diligent brusher, eats healthy foods and visits the dentist regularly. This wide handled toothbrush is especially made for small hands. Smart parents!

20140721_171913

Joe and his wife were so happy with his new smile that she snapped our photo – another happy patient with Linda, my all-time favorite dental assistant and fashion consultant, sitting, and myself standing on Joe’s left.

Gibbons

 

I started writing this blog in 2006 and have kept at it two or three times a month. I now have over 260 blog posts. So why do I write? I really like to write and as my friends know, I love to read. Maybe I am a frustrated writer and vent my frustrations on this blog. I write about all kinds of things, but usually connect the entry to dentistry because, after all, the blog is a dental health blog and it appears on my dental website. So I write funny stories about things that happen in the office and I write about cases I have done and I write about dental topics that I hope people want to learn more about.

People who read my blog, send me messages. It is a dialogue with my readers and patients. It is an excellent tool for me to get known and, yes, to market my dental practice. Read what Julie Roehm has to say about the art of storytelling: “its history, impact, and the importance for brand and marketers to understand and master the art.”

John had a composite filling that was placed several years ago. It had broken and there was decay around the edges. The tooth was in jeopardy of breaking. Repairing it after it broke would have been complex: possible root canal, periodontal surgery, post and core and crown, or even extraction if the fracture was into the tooth root. Instead of waiting, we removed the old composite filling and removed the decay. We took impressions and placed a temporary crown.  The following week we cemented a beautiful ceramic crown. This new tooth will be functional for many years to come!

X0102241

 Broken composite filling with marginal decay.

X0102250New porcelain crown.

Mary came to our office from Patchogue – her daughter had recommended us to take care of her mother’s dental problems. Mary had been suffering with loose, infected teeth. She had already lost most of her upper teeth.  A front tooth had fallen out the day before she came to the office, and she arrived with tooth in hand. An upper denture with implants in the future and lower partial denture were indicated.  She was thrilled to learn that she would have teeth in a matter of weeks. She would be out of pain and would be able to smile and eat comfortably once again. Mary was anxious to get started so we took out the remaining teeth and scheduled impressions for the following week. Then the week after that we took some measurements, the week after that we had a dress rehearsal of the new teeth. One more week passed and she had her new teeth. Four weeks all told!

Her daughter flew up from Tampa to be here for the big day.  Her entire family loved Mary’s new smile and so did we. This is the start of a new life for Mary. She can go out in confidence.

 

X0103432

 

X0103450