Share a Smile

Smiles restored with porcelain cosmetic crowns.

Alabama native Gini Poeltler was teaching school for the Department of Defense in Okinawa, Japan when she met a young Marine from Iowa. They married, spent time in Florida while he finished flight school and eventually moved to Iowa, where they lived and worked for more than 30 years. In 2007, Gini retired, and she and her husband returned to Florida.

Dr. Stephen Lester of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater improved Gini Poeltler’s dental aesthetics with porcelain cosmetic crowns.

Gini Poeltler and Rudy

By the time Gini made it back to the Sunshine State 12 years ago, she was already unhappy with the state of her teeth. But the problem reached its peak last year.

“I didn’t realize I grind my teeth at night, but I did notice my teeth were getting shorter compared to what they were,” Gini, now 70, reveals. “I could really see the difference if I looked at pictures of me when I was younger.

“We’re Catholic, and I love the sign of peace during Mass. When that moment came, I hugged or shook hands with other people, but I never smiled. I didn’t like my smile because of my short teeth. I was uncomfortable with it.”

Gini’s discomfort did not include any pain, nor did it cause her any trouble when chewing. She did, however, experience some sensitivity because of gum problems and knew the issues would only get worse if she didn’t act to correct them.

Conscientious of that fact, Gini sought a friend’s advice on a good dentist. The friend recommended Stephen P. Lester, DDS, of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater. It wasn’t the first time she’d been advised to see Dr. Lester.

“I first met Gini in 2009 when she came in with a broken filling from a front tooth,” Dr. Lester remembers. “At the time, I mentioned that her teeth were looking worn out, and she thanked me for letting her know.

“A year later, she pointed out that her teeth were starting to chip, but nothing happened after that either. It wasn’t until 2018, when Gini came in complaining that her teeth were getting shorter, that she decided to do something about them.

“But that’s not unusual. For a variety of reasons, it can sometimes take a long time for people to decide they are ready to have major dental work done and to have their smiles restored.”

Try Before You Buy

When Dr. Lester takes on a smile restoration project such as Gini’s, he always follows a precise process that begins with an extensive interview with the patient. During the interview, the patients do most of the talking. Dr. Lester interjects questions to ascertain what the patients want and what their expectations are from treatment.

Dr. Stephen Lester of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater improved Gini Poeltler’s dental aesthetics with porcelain cosmetic crowns.

Before & After Cosmetic Crowns

“Gini’s major concern was that, over time, her teeth had become short and square,” Dr. Lester observes. “They were also unappealing aesthetically because they looked worn and old. She told me she wanted them to look longer and younger. Our goal was to get that effect by opening her bite with crowns.”

In the past, crowns were made of a metal base with porcelain fused on top. Metal-based crowns have proved to be quite functional, but when the gums receded, the metal became visible as a thin, black line along the gumline.

The crowns Dr. Lester uses now are made completely of porcelain, which is tooth colored, so there’s never a black line when the gums recede. Certain cosmetic crowns can also be sturdier than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

“The crowns we chose for Gini are made of a type of porcelain called zirconia, which is extremely strong and durable,” Dr. Lester describes. “Zirconia has been used in dentistry for a long time because it has always been a strong material.

“In the past, however, it was not very aesthetically pleasing. Over the years, zirconia has been improved so that now it is both strong and beautiful. It is an excellent material for dental restorations.”

Following his initial interview with the patient, Dr. Lester performs a thorough dental exam and takes x-rays. He also takes impressions of the patient’s teeth, and from those impressions, he makes molds of their teeth.

“I pour plaster casts from the molds and then make wax models,” Dr. Lester explains. “I study the models and use them to create solutions, first in my mind and then on the models to show the patients. I actually pre-perform the cases on the models.

“After pre-performing Gini’s case, I was able to show her what she would look like when she was done before she committed to the process. That is a huge benefit because most patients do not want to let a dentist work on their teeth, then get a big surprise at the end. It really builds trust when I can show patients their results ahead of time.”

Dr. Lester says it’s easy to make people with teeth that are worn down, chipped or unappealing look better with porcelain cosmetic crowns. He further notes that when multiple crowns are involved, as was the case with Gini, it only takes two dental visits, one for shaping the teeth and one for fixing the crowns in place, to complete the work.

“Between the first and second visits on critical cosmetic cases, our patients get to wear temporary crowns that match the appearance of the wax models previously approved by the patient,” the dentist informs. “This way, the patient has plenty of time to study the appearance of the new crowns before making a final commitment to that particular look. They can, at this time, also share this new look with their spouse and friends.”

In Dr. Lester’s practice, patients never leave the office without temporary or permanent crowns.

“We use a dental lab for most of the larger cases with multiple crowns rather than our in-office crown-making system,” Dr. Lester educates. “It would take many hours to make multiple crowns in-house, and we don’t want to keep our patients in the dental chair that long.”

“First, Dr. Lester prepared my teeth for the crowns and gave me temporaries, which I wore for several weeks,” Gini recalls. “I wore the temporaries until my permanent crowns were ready. During my second appointment, Dr. Lester put in the permanent crowns and made sure they fit and looked all right.”

Their Best Interest

Dr. Lester is committed to ongoing education and is trained in nearly every aspect of dentistry. As a result, he can offer most dental procedures in his office so his patients don’t need to travel to multiple dental offices to receive their care.

Dr. Stephen Lester of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater improved Gini Poeltler’s dental aesthetics with porcelain cosmetic crowns.

Gini is overjoyed with her smile restoration.

“There are times, however, if it is in the patient’s best interest, that I refer patients to qualified specialists for specific procedures and therapies,” Dr. Lester stresses. “There is a group of specialists in the community I work with that I have vetted and know provide the highest quality patient care and treatment.

“Gini’s case was a team effort. While I performed the crown work and managed her overall care, Gini also required the specialized help of a periodontist for her gum problems and an endodontist for root canal therapy.”

When Gini’s smile restoration was complete, she had received 12 new porcelain cosmetic crowns. She had also achieved the goals she set at the outset of the process. The crowns have made her teeth look longer and more aesthetically pleasing, and Gini is thrilled with the outcome.

“I love my crowns; I absolutely love them,” she raves. “They’ve made such a difference, and I feel so much better about smiling. Now, I love smiling during the sign of peace at church. Maybe I smile too much, but I can’t help it; I’m so proud of my teeth.

“One of the things I love is that my teeth look so natural. And it’s not just me saying that. Dr. Lester recommended I get a root canal on one of my teeth, and the dentist who did the root canal couldn’t get over how natural my teeth look.”

Gini says her experiences at Park Avenue Dentistry are always positive. She credits Dr. Lester for that and for her outstanding results. She gives the dentist a perfect grade for his work, adding that it has made a “world of difference’’ in her life.

“Dr. Lester is wonderful,” she says. “He’s very knowledgeable, thorough and capable. He’s very caring and always makes sure that what he recommends is the best course of action for me. He’s just a very good dentist.

“He’s very compassionate, and he really gets to know his patients. He calls me by name. I’m not just anybody coming in. His receptionist is the best, she’s so friendly, and he has a well-run office.

“I’m highly satisfied with the smile restoration Dr. Lester did for me. I score it a ten out of ten. If I ever need crowns again, I’ll definitely have him do the work. I absolutely recommend Dr. Lester and Park Avenue Dentistry to anyone who needs a dentist.”

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