Wear It Well

Your smile can be your best accessory.

A legal secretary in the public defender’s office, Melissa* says her appearance is something she takes great pride in, especially her smile.Melissa* had a smile makeover courtesy of Stephen G. Blank, DDS, of Port St. Lucie.

“It’s the first thing people see,” she conveys. “Whether it’s the people you are working with or your family, your teeth make a lasting first impression.

“I always liked my teeth, but I had several silver fillings that bothered me that I wanted removed and replaced. I never liked people seeing those silver fillings when I smile. I also wanted my teeth to be a lot whiter.”

For years, those desires remained on Melissa’s wish list. She never had the time to cater to herself, she says, and being able to afford the care was also something she needed to consider.

“You can put on makeup and do your hair to look good, but your smile is the key in all of it,” Melissa says. “I wanted to take care of my cosmetic dental issues for years. I just never did. I never found the time. It was at the bottom of my list.”

The day finally arrived when Melissa decided it was time to move it to the top of her list. After years of admiring her brother’s smile, she made an appointment to see his dentist, Stephen G. Blank, DDS. Dr. Blank practices cosmetic and functional dentistry in Port St. Lucie.

“My brother goes to Dr. Blank and his teeth look great,” Melissa says. “When I was finally ready, it just felt right to go to Dr. Blank.”

Initial Exams

Dr. Blank gives new patients, including Melissa, a thorough examination to determine their dental needs and develop a custom treatment plan. The 1.5-hour exam includes a complete oral examination, including TMJ, bite and soft-tissue evaluations; computerized periodontal measurements, digital x-rays, an intra-oral video tour that allows the patient to see what the dentist sees, an oral hygiene fitness evaluation and more.

“The goal is to build a good dental relationship that will allow each patient to achieve the best oral health possible and, with proper care, maintain that level of health for a lifetime,” assures Dr. Blank.  “It’s not your typical five-minute dental exam.”Melissa* had a smile makeover courtesy of Stephen G. Blank, DDS, of Port St. Lucie.

Once Dr. Blank determined Melissa’s gums and teeth were stable enough to proceed with cosmetic repairs, he moved forward with that analysis.

“I think the best part of caring for patients is really understanding what their desires and needs are with a good interview at the beginning of our relationship, and then a good examination for the patient to understand his or her current conditions,” adds Dr. Blank. “That allows us to discuss options and make plans for each patient based on their individual needs and desires.”

Personalized Design

Dr. Blank, who has been practicing in Port St. Lucie for nearly 33 years, stresses the importance of delivering customized care to all of his patients.

“I want people to understand all of their options and be educated before making any decisions,” he emphasizes. “Every patient is different, and not every option is going to fit well with every person. I do my very best to understand a person’s long-term wants and needs.

“When it comes to smile restorations, sometimes we do a natural smile and other times we do one that’s a little bit more a Hollywood smile,” Dr. Blank explains. “Melissa was leaning toward more of that Hollywood look. She wanted teeth that pop and have the wow factor.”

“Dr. Blank did the top first,” shares Melissa. “He took impressions for the crowns and veneers, and sent the mold to the lab. He took his time with that. It took about two weeks to get the permanent ones back from the lab, and they look beautiful.”

“With Melissa, we did what we call a smile design visit where we do measurements of the teeth.  Then, we did a full series of photographs. We then did a mock-up on the teeth with some temporary resin so we could guide the lab to create the results that we wanted.

“From that smile design visit, we ordered a wax-up of the teeth that fulfilled Melissa’s cosmetic need. That way, Melissa was able to see how her teeth would look in the end.”

“The temporary teeth were wonderful because I could literally see what my finished teeth would look like, and it was so reassuring,” Melissa confirms. “I am thankful Dr. Blank has the ability to do this. It takes a lot of time, and you want to see how the finished product will look.”

Dr. Blank later placed all ceramic crowns and veneers along the front to enhance Melissa’s smile.

“Melissa had a tooth that was misaligned, so rather than use a straightening method, we placed crowns on two teeth and veneers on the rest to better align the teeth,” Dr. Blank explains. “We also removed her silver fillings and replaced those with porcelain fillings that look like the natural tooth so that when she is laughing or smiling very wide, the silver fillings are gone. There is no distraction anymore. Everything turned out very well.”

Restored Confidence

Melissa admits she was becoming self-conscious about her smile until she finally went to see Dr. Blank.Melissa* had a smile makeover courtesy of Stephen G. Blank, DDS, of Port St. Lucie.

“He restored my confidence and made me feel good about how I look when I smile,” she relays. “He was very reassuring every step of the way. And his staff was wonderful, too. They make you feel like family.”

Dr. Blank stresses that while many cosmetic dental procedures help patients’ smiles look better, the procedures are also instrumental in improving function and preventing any dental damage.

“Not everyone needs everything at the same time, but eventually we all tend to need something,” says the dentist. “It’s like having a car, where you repair it and maintain it, and sometimes you actually have to replace things.”

Melissa says she is more than happy with her new smile and highly recommends Dr. Blank to others.

“I didn’t want to smile and look like the Cheshire Cat,” Melissa says with a laugh. “I wanted a wow smile, but I also wanted it to be natural at the same time. Dr. Blank gave that to me. He combined the best of both worlds! I love it!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Stock photo from istockphoto.com. Before and after images courtesy of  Dr. Blank. mkb
*Patient name withheld at their request.


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    • Stephen G. Blank, DDS office

      Stephen G. Blank, DDS, is a 1982 graduate of Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago. He has since completed intensive continuing education studies. Dr. Blank has studied temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders under Mark Piper, MD, D... Read More

    • Stephen G. Blank, DDS

      Stephen G. Blank, DDS, is a 1982 graduate of Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago. He has since completed intensive continuing education studies. Dr. Blank has studied TMJ under Mark Piper, MD, DMD, at the Piper Education and Resea... Read More