Aiming for Aesthetics

Cosmetic dentistry creates new smiles, increases confidence.

Richelle McKay has been a hairstylist for 25 years and has owned her own salon for nearly 21 of them. She named her business after her two daughters. It’s called BellaBrooke Salon. But before Richelle began styling hair, she created make-up and plied her trade in the entertainment industry.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Richelle McKay

“I did the make-up for a couple of financial television shows on CBS and for a film made by the University of Central Florida,” Richelle remembers. “I also did the make-up for NSYNC when the boy band first started out years ago. I did the make-up for their photo shoots, which was pretty fun.

“I enjoy doing make-up. I still do it for wedding parties or if someone wants to get their make-up done for a special occasion, but I mainly style hair now.”

Richelle currently lives in Orlando, but she lived in DeBary when her first daughter was young so her mother could help with the baby while Richelle and her husband worked. Fortunately for Richelle, her mom had assistance to offer beyond her babysitting skills.

“I’m very particular about my teeth, and my mom told me about a great hygienist who happens to work at DeBary Dentistry,” Richelle recalls. “When I got to the practice, I met Dr. DaCunha, and I liked him right away. Dr. DaCunha is also very particular, and honest. He saw that I was reluctant to smile and asked if I was happy with my teeth. I told him I wasn’t.”

Andrew DaCunha, DMD, at DeBary Dentistry, understands that there’s a person attached to every tooth he works on, so he strives to make every patient comfortable, informed and satisfied with their entire treatment experience. Once Dr. DaCunha noticed that Richelle was uncomfortable smiling, he asked to hear the story behind the smile she was hiding.

“About seven years ago, I hit my two front teeth, which killed their nerves, and I had to get root canals and crowns on them,” Richelle relates. “At the time the dental work was performed, the teeth looked good, but they were starting to shift and move.

“I used to wear braces, but my teeth were moving back to where they were before the braces. My front teeth were protruding, so it looked like I had buck teeth. I didn’t smile much, and when I did, I smiled with my lips closed to hide those teeth.

“To make matters worse, the teeth next to my two front teeth were starting to erode due to my acidic saliva. Those teeth were starting to thin, and I could almost see through them.”

To improve the aesthetics of Richelle’s smile, Dr. DaCunha recommended placing new crowns on her two front teeth and porcelain veneers on her adjacent teeth.

“Having had braces and crowns before, I knew what my smile could look like,” Richelle states. “I wanted to get back to that, to be confident in my smile again, so I decided to go forward with Dr. DaCunha’s recommendation.”

“We chose to use new crowns on Richelle’s two front teeth and veneers on the canine and lateral teeth on both sides, for a total of six teeth restored,” the dentist reports. “We blended the crowns and veneers to create the correct arch form, matching the tooth size and color to her natural teeth to give her a nice, new smile.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, veneers are used for aesthetic reasons, to improve the appearance of the teeth. We typically use veneers when someone comes in and says, I’m not happy with my smile, or I want to be able to smile again. That was true with Richelle.

“Generally, veneers are used in the patient’s smile zone, that area where the teeth are visible when the patient smiles. In Richelle’s case, most of her upper front teeth are highly visible when she smiles. She was an excellent candidate for crowns and veneers, which is what I recommended, and she agreed to proceed with that.”

Popular Services

DeBary Dentistry is a multi-doctor dental practice featuring Dr. Andrew DaCunha, Steven Calhoun, DDS, and Robert Burkhart, Jr., DDS, that offers the full gamut of dental services. For specialty services not offered at the practice, the DeBary dentists refer patients to a vetted group of local specialists with whom they maintain close professional relationships.

“Cosmetic dentistry is an important service we provide at DeBary Dentistry and an aspect of dentistry I especially enjoy practicing,” Dr. Calhoun points out. “Cosmetic dentistry is important because it can truly change a patient’s life. A patient may come in having not smiled in years, and we can give them a brand-new smile and new self-confidence.

“Veneers, crowns and Invisalign® clear braces are a few of our most popular cosmetic services. We can use these treatments alone or in combination to get the best functional and aesthetic result for the patient.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Richelle is so happy with DeBary Dentistry that she travels 23 miles to visit them.

Invisalign is a system of clear plastic aligners that are worn by patients but are invisible to anyone looking at them. The aligners work like metal braces to progressively adjust the position of the patients’ teeth.

“We start Invisalign treatment by obtaining a precise digital scan of the patient’s teeth, which we use to map out a customized treatment plan for achieving the desired results,” Dr. Calhoun explains. “The patient wears the aligners about twenty hours a day, and they gradually shift the teeth into place as determined by the treatment plan.

“The total time for Invisalign treatment varies for each patient, but it typically takes about a year to a year and a half to achieve the desired results.”

Generally made of porcelain, dental crowns are restorations that cover the entire tooth. They are fixed restorations designed to restore a tooth to its original size and shape. Crowns are permanently cemented on teeth that are extensively decayed, cracked or otherwise damaged.

“Veneers are thin layers of porcelain material that cover the front of teeth,” Dr. Calhoun informs. “They may be used if the patient’s teeth have shifted and they don’t want to go through braces or use Invisalign, or if their teeth are stained and unattractive.

“In patients who have healthy, functional teeth and are simply concerned that the teeth are crooked, I typically recommend Invisalign over veneers because Invisalign will keep the teeth healthy. With veneers, we must remove some of the tooth structure in order to fit the veneer on the tooth. That involves additional dental work, and it’s irreversible.”

Immediate Results

Richelle’s two front teeth were given root canals and now required new crowns. There were failing crowns already on those teeth, so Dr. DaCunha couldn’t place veneers on them as he did on her adjacent front teeth. When replacing Richelle’s permanent restorations, Dr. DaCunha also made sure to match her natural teeth.

“That can be a challenge because it’s difficult to make something artificial look natural,” the dentist observes. “Fortunately, we use an excellent dental lab that has the skills to do just that.”

At DeBary Dentistry, patients receiving veneers and crowns come in for an initial appointment, when they receive temporary restorations. The temporaries give the patient a good idea of how their permanent crowns and veneers, which they generally receive at a second appointment a few weeks later, will look.

“The temporaries are typically so attractive that the patient essentially walks out of their first appointment with a brand-new, aesthetic smile,” Dr. Calhoun asserts. “Some patients prefer this immediate result rather than waiting the year to a year and a half it takes to see a difference with Invisalign.”

“The temporary crowns and veneers I’m wearing right now look amazing. I can’t wait to see what the permanent ones will look like.” – Richelle

Another service provided by DeBary Dentistry is the follow-up treatment after dental implant surgery.

“There are two components to dental implant treatment,” Dr. Calhoun describes. “There’s the surgical component, where the dental implants are placed into the patient’s jawbone, and the restoration component, where the crowns or other tooth replacements that sit on top of the implant are placed.

“We perform the restoration component, but don’t generally place the implants. For that, we refer patients to an excellent oral surgeon we’ve been working with for years. We have great confidence in this surgeon or we wouldn’t trust him with our patients.”

Looking Forward

Richelle is still undergoing cosmetic treatment at DeBary Dentistry and is currently waiting to receive her final crowns and veneers from the dental lab.

“Dr. DaCunha has perfected my teeth and taken molds of them, which he sent to the dental lab, where they’re fabricating my permanent crowns and veneers,” Richelle states. “I’m wearing temporaries right now, and we’re waiting for the permanent ones to come back. The dental lab DeBary Dentistry uses is phenomenal. They do excellent work.

“The temporary crowns and veneers I’m wearing right now look amazing. I can’t wait to see what the permanent ones will look like. The temporaries match my other teeth perfectly, so I don’t think there’ll be much to critique when the permanent ones come in. I really like the way they look now, and they can only look better. I’m looking forward to the final outcome of my treatment.”

Dr. DaCunha told Richelle her permanent restorations will be finished, her dental work completed and her smile finally restored by the end of January 2020. But that won’t end Richelle’s relationship with DeBary Dentistry. That’s an ongoing association.

“I live in Orlando now, but I still drive the twenty-three miles to go to DeBary Dentistry,” Richelle says. “I go every six months, and to me, it’s worth the drive. I only get one set of teeth, and Dr. DaCunha takes really good care of them. I recommended him and his hygienist. The whole staff at DeBary Dentistry is sweet and caring. They’re amazing!”

Print This Article
    • DeBary Dentistry

      The search for your dentist ends here!  DeBary Dentistry is proud to provide gentle and affordable dental care for the DeBary and surrounding Orlando communities. Their mission is to serve and inspire patients to have a lifetime of hap... Read More

    • Andrew DaCunha, DMD

      Andrew DaCunha, DMD, is a veteran of the United States Air Force who completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Florida College of Biology in Jacksonville, where he graduated magna cum laude. Dr. DaCunha earned his denta... Read More

    • Steven Calhoun, DDS

      Steven Calhoun, DDS, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Dr. Calhoun earned his dental degree from the University of Fl... Read More