Put the Beam Back in Your Smile

Crowning achievement caps off restoration project.

By early October, a mix of falling temperatures, bright sunny days and the occasional rain shower has turned the leaves on the trees across the Great Smoky Mountains into a collage of colors that make them look like a bowl full of Skittles.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Linda proudly shows off her new smile.

That’s when Linda Wille, 62, and her husband make their annual trek there. It’s a chance for the couple to get a real feel for fall, but Linda would like to take a second trip to the Smokies in late January or early February.

“I grew up in Rochester, New York, and the only thing I really miss about it is the fall and playing around in the snow in the winter,” she says. “I’ve been telling my husband that we need to make another trip to the Smokies in the winter to enjoy the snow a bit.

“The Smokies are absolutely beautiful in the fall with all the colors and everything. I’m sure it’s just as beautiful but in another way in the winter with snow on the mountain tops. I’d love to experience that. I think it would be a lot of fun.”

The thoughts Linda has of frolicking in the snow are among the fond memories she has of her childhood. Unfortunately, she also has some not-so-fond memories of that time in her life relating to dental issues she struggled with.

“When I was little kid I had a mouth full of teeth; I also had buck teeth,” Linda reveals. “It was like my two front teeth stuck out of my head, so my parents eventually had to take me to the dentist to get braces.

“Before I could get the braces, though, the dentist had to pull a bunch of teeth. He said I had too many teeth and that my teeth would need room to shift after I got the braces. I remember to this day, he eventually pulled 14 teeth.

“After they finally put the braces on, I wore them for two or three years. What eventually happened though, is that teeth on the sides of my top two front teeth started to separate and I wound up with these big spaces between them.

“When I got a little older, my sister went to work for a dentist and she told me one day that the dentist she worked for could fix that. So, I went to see him, and he ended up making me a bridge that ran from eye tooth to eye tooth.”

Linda, who was in her early 20s, says the bridge was “beautiful” and that for years thereafter, she regularly received compliments on the beauty of her smile. As time wore on, the beauty of that bridge faded.

“This was like 30 or 35 years later, and with gum recession and all that, you could see the metal underneath the bridge,” Linda explains. “It looked terrible and so I said, I’ve got to find a fix
for this somewhere.”

Living in West Palm Beach at the time, Linda found that fix through a dentist, who spent more than a year replacing the old bridge with a new one. The new bridge never looked as good as the old bridge did initially, though.

“It looked like plastic in my mouth,” Linda laments. “It didn’t even go up to my gum line. I was never happy with it because the teeth didn’t look natural. They were too big and because of that
I didn’t smile a lot.

“I tried to get the dentist to fix it, but she said that was the best she could do. A little while later, my husband and I moved to Punta Gorda. After I got here I started looking for a dentist. A co-worker suggested I go see Dr. Farag, so I gave him a shot.

“I remember during my first appointment with him he asked me if I was happy with my teeth the way they were because he could see I had this bridge. I said, Honestly? No. I’m not. And he said, Well, I can fix that if you’d like, and I said, OK, let’s do it.

Digital Dentistry

Dr. Farag is Joseph H. Farag of Port Charlotte Dental Care. When he first saw Linda, he detected several problems with Linda’s existing bridge, including the color, which did not match her other teeth, and the fit, which negatively impacted her bite.

To correct those problems and give Linda a smile she could be proud of, Dr. Farag recommended replacing the bridge with crowns for each of the teeth in her smile line, six teeth in all running from the canines on the left to the canines on the right.

“We start that process by doing a diagnostic wax-up, which is basically a mock-up with the lab technician,” Dr. Farag educates. “This is all done digitally, and we go through a couple of iterations of it on the computer to see what we like best.

“I’m thrilled with the work that Dr. Farag did, and I’m back to getting compliments when I smile.” – Linda

“Once we’re happy with the color, size and shape of the teeth, we give the lab the final go ahead to prepare temporary teeth. We then remove the old bridge or crowns and place temporary crowns that match our design.

“The temporaries are worn for a couple of weeks in case any changes need to be made. For example, if we want to round off or square off the teeth or change anything, we note those changes, finalize everything and make the final restorations.”

Depending on which tooth is being crowned and the color that’s desired for that tooth, a variety of materials, including lithium disilicate and zirconia, can be used to create a crown. In all cases, new crowns made of such materials are monolithic.

That creates several natural advantages over old crowns made of porcelain fused to metal. For starters, monolithic crowns are stronger. They are also more aesthetically pleasing, in part because there is no metal collar at the top.

“These new materials mimic the enamel translucency of natural teeth because they allow light to transfer in and out of the tooth,” Dr. Farag notes. “And people like that because it looks more like a real tooth even close up.

“With the old porcelain fused to metal crowns, your teeth might look good from far away. But if you get up close you can start to notice that there’s something different about them and they don’t look as real or as good.”

Smiling Wide Again

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Linda Wille

Linda can attest to that. After years of hiding her smile, she is happy and proud to smile again, and it’s all due to the work Dr. Farag did renovating her old, outdated bridge.

“I’m thrilled with the work that Dr. Farag did, and I’m back to getting compliments when I smile,” Linda raves. “He even did a root canal on one of my teeth and I will tell you that it was no big deal at all.

“I never had a root canal done before and, of course, I’d only heard bad things about them, like it’s the worst thing you can have done. So I was expecting the worst, but I never felt a thing other than a little bit of pressure.

“Now I go to see Dr. Farag once every three months for cleanings because I want to take good care of my teeth. And, I can even floss between my new teeth because they’re all individual crowns. I couldn’t do that before.

“I’m really thankful my friend recommended Dr. Farag. He’s awesome, and I absolutely recommend him in a heartbeat. My husband is going to see Dr. Farag now and, just like him, I like and appreciate everybody in the office there, the whole staff is great.”

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    • Port Charlotte Dental Care

      Dr. Farag provides a full range of quality, caring dental services to the Port Charlotte community. He looks forward to hearing from the viewers of the Florida Health Care News website. For more information or to schedule an appointment, pl... Read More

    • Joseph H. Farag, DMD

      Joseph H. Farag, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. Dr. Farag served an... Read More