Crown Jewels

Dental crowns restore damaged smile.

Photos by Nerissa Johnson.

John Watterson

Ever since he was young, John Watterson liked anything with a motor and wheels. His interest developed into a passion, and racing cars became an active pastime, one that kept the Grove City, Ohio native occupied for decades.

“I drove late-model racecars on dirt back in the Sixties and Seventies,” the 75-year-old welder says. “I tried to get back into racing in the Nineties, but when I went back, we were driving on asphalt, and I didn’t like asphalt. I had a little bit of success then, but not much.”

Racing had an impact on where John chose to live after he sold the welding shop he owned for more than 26 years. But it wasn’t the only factor in his decision to move south to Florida in 2014.

“I’d been coming to the races in Florida since 1965,” he states. “I always went to the short track at New Smyrna Speedway. I knew the area well, so when I was retiring, I started looking around here.

“The sad part is, I now live three miles from the track, and I’ve only been there once or twice this year. Apparently, since I can’t race myself, I really don’t enjoy watching it that much. But I also moved to Florida for the weather. I’ve had many surgeries, and the cold weather in Ohio was just killing me.”

Before John retired, his job in Ohio negatively impacted his dental health as well. As a business owner, he stressed over every detail of every job and about making each customer happy. This stress caused him to grind his teeth, which affected his smile and his chewing ability.

“Owning a business, I was just so aggravated all the time,” John confirms. “I wanted jobs done. I wanted them done now, and I wanted them done right. But it didn’t always go that way. I started grinding my teeth at night, and eventually, I ground down my upper and lower teeth. I also smoked cigars for a long time, so my teeth were stained as well.

“I was still living in Ohio when I got my upper teeth capped. I had that done when my daughter got married. But when I moved to Florida, two of my upper teeth broke off, and my bottom teeth were really bad. I was at a point where I couldn’t eat hard foods such as nuts and carrots because of my teeth, and I never smiled anymore. I didn’t like my smile.”

Unlike many people in similar situations, John was certain he knew what treatment the dentist would recommend for him. He knew about dental implants and attended several seminars on them. He was convinced implants were the right option to give him a nice smile again. All he needed to do was find the right dentist. That problem was answered through serendipity.

“I was at my doctor’s office, and I picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News,” John recalls. “I read about Dr. Lester of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater and all he does and thought, I’ll go talk to him. When I got there, Dr. Lester performed an in-depth evaluation and said, Implants are fine, but your teeth are still good, so why not capitalize on those.”

Right on Target

Stephen P. Lester, DDS, recalls John’s initial visit to Park Avenue Dentistry. When the welder arrived, he presented with several dental issues that were aesthetically unappealing as well as functionally limiting.

“When I first met John, the two teeth next to his upper front teeth, his lateral incisors, were broken off and clinging at the gumline,” reports Dr. Lester. “As a result, there were spaces in his smile line, which didn’t look good. In addition, most of John’s lower teeth were worn down close to the gumline, so he had trouble chewing.

“But while John’s teeth were badly damaged, many from grinding, he had all his natural teeth with all their roots. For that reason, there was no need for dental implants and replacement teeth. We simply had to repair the teeth John had in his mouth, and we could do that with dental crowns.”

Dr. Lester went about that process by first capping John’s two broken upper teeth. John’s appearance improved dramatically after that procedure. The transformation it created was like night and day, the dentist relates.

“This case shows that we don’t always have to restore the entire mouth to achieve a significant change in the patient’s smile,” Dr. Lester notes. “We simply need to place crowns in a few key positions to create a meaningful enhancement of the patient’s appearance.”

But Dr. Lester didn’t stop at John’s lateral incisors. He placed individual crowns on all of John’s lower teeth as well, a total of 14 crowns. When multiple crowns are needed, as in John’s case, Dr. Lester relies on the skills of a hand-picked dental lab to fabricate the restorations rather than his in-office crown-making equipment.

“It would take far too long to fabricate that many crowns with our in-house system,” the dentist explains. “In cases where many crowns are needed, it is more efficient to have our dental lab create them. The patient wears temporary crowns while the permanent restorations are being made, and the final crowns are typically placed at a second appointment.”

Age is not a factor in using crowns, Dr. Lester assures, and a smile restoration can be completed quickly in just a few visits to the dentist.

“Patients are never too old to use crowns for smile reconstruction,” Dr. Lester verifies. “The treatment is relatively easy compared to placing dental implants. John’s entire restoration was completed in three visits, and the actual crowning was done in two visits.

“The whole process of restoring John’s smile took three or four weeks. During that time, John went from having a broken-down smile to having a really good smile he loves.”

“I’m Very Pleased”

Photos by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Lester gave John a new smile using crowns.

John is indeed thrilled with the outcome.

“I’m well pleased with my teeth,” he enthuses. “They look very nice, and I can eat nuts and vegetables again, so I think they’re great. I’m very pleased with my results from Dr. Lester’s treatment.

“I have a new smile, and I’m getting back into smiling. It’s going to take a while because I never smiled before. I’m seventy-five, and I’ve noticed changes in my face and lips over the years, so I know I won’t have a smile like I did when I was twenty-one.

“But the smile I have now is so much better than it was before I got my crowns. I wanted a smile people could see, and by capping my bottom teeth and making them longer, they show more in my smile. I have that. He did an excellent job.”

John no longer races cars, but he has a new hobby he devotes his time to: turning old cars and trucks into rat rods. John currently has a couple of trucks he’s transforming.

“A rat rod is a vehicle that’s been sitting around for the last twenty years, and it’s rusty and the paint is faded,” he describes. “I put a really good drive train under it and put in a good motor and drive it like that. I leave it looking as is.”

Thankfully, John had more concern about the appearance of his teeth. And he’s grateful for the care provided by Dr. Lester and his staff. He rates his overall experience at Park Avenue Dentistry as “very good.”

“Dr. Lester is an excellent dentist, and he really cares about what he’s doing,” John says. “He takes his time. He talks to me and explains everything. And he always asks for feedback – Do you have any pain? Is this going the way you want it? He’s great about that.

“I definitely recommend Dr. Lester and Park Avenue Dentistry to anyone who needs a dentist.”

Before photo courtesy of Park Avenue Dentistry.
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