Covering Worn Teeth With Zirconia Crowns

Friendly face features beautiful smile after trusted dentist finishes oral restoration.

As a young girl growing up in Detroit, Candice Milam enjoyed many outdoor activities. Her favorite was going to the beach. But none of those excursions compared to the one she made to Florida several years ago.

Candice reports that she’s received many compliments on her new smile.

“Many people visit Florida and never want to leave — that was us,” Candice says of her and her family, which moved to the Sunshine State in 2007.

Candice, 41, arrived as a stay-at-home mom to seven children. As the kids got older, she decided to enter the workforce. Four years ago, she obtained a full-time job in a New Smyrna Beach real estate office.

“I do everything, from managing the office to assisting the agents,” Candice describes. “I even do field work. I put up signs, hold open houses, access the lock boxes on the doors and get homes ready for showings. Whatever needs to be done, I do.”

Working in a professional business environment, Candice desires to present a pleasing appearance to co-workers and clients. Unfortunately, she was dissatisfied with the appearance of her teeth, so much so that she rarely parted her lips when smiling.

“Over the years, with wear and tear, my teeth became discolored,” she describes. “There were also some cracks in my teeth that needed to be fixed. They just weren’t as beautiful as I wanted them to be, so I started looking into getting them repaired.”

Candice visited several dentists but was unimpressed with their patient care. She researched others online, read reviews of practices and listened to word of mouth.

The positive reviews and recommendations directed her to Stephen P. Lester, DDS, a skilled and experienced general and cosmetic dentist at Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater.

“During my first meeting with Dr. Lester, I knew right away he was the dentist I wanted to take care of my mouth and restore my smile,” Candice confirms. “He’s very easygoing, genuinely cares about people and made me feel comfortable.

“I already knew that to correct my teeth, drastic measures would need to be taken. Dr. Lester presented several options, then he helped me choose the best treatment plan for me, which was to crown the majority of my upper teeth.”

Stained Seams

“Candice had many older, tooth-colored fillings that were stained, and the seams where the teeth were filled had dark lines and staining that she couldn’t remove on her own,” Dr. Lester reports.

“The only way to get rid of those stains is to replace the filling or crown the tooth, but if you replace the filling, the staining problem will just recur over time. Crowns, on the other hand, do not have seams. They’re just hunks of porcelain, which is nonporous.”

Like natural tooth enamel, crowns can become stained on the surface, but people can slow that staining process by effectively brushing their teeth and seeing their dentist routinely for cleanings.

“The hygienist can remove 100 percent of that surface staining,” Dr. Lester asserts. “As a result, patients won’t have problems with stains remaining on their teeth and impacting the aesthetics of their smile.”

“Dr. Lester is a fabulous dentist. I won’t go to anyone else.” – Candice

When a treatment plan calls for one or two crowns or a bridge, Dr. Lester can use his E4D computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) system. With the E4D, Dr. Lester can digitally scan a tooth, design a crown on the computer and fabricate the crown from a block of porcelain in the office during one appointment.

“It takes several hours to create multiple crowns using the E4D system. We do not want patients waiting for a long time while we make multiple crowns. So, when we need to create multiple crowns, as in Candice’s case, we laser scan the teeth and send them to a dental laboratory, which creates the permanent crowns. In the meantime, patients wear temporary crowns.”

“Virtually Indestructible”

To ensure longevity, Candice’s crowns were made from zirconia. Derived from the element zirconium, zirconia is a porcelain made from zirconium dioxide, a very durable type of material and a salt derivative of the mineral zircon, Dr. Lester educates.

It’s also “virtually indestructible,” he assures.

“As a test, I placed a zirconia crown sharp side down on our wooden kitchen table and struck it with a three-pound hammer. The impact simply drove the crown into the table like a nail. The crown wasn’t damaged. That’s how strong zirconia is.”

While zirconia has always been durable, it was rather unattractive when first introduced as part of a dental prosthetic a few years ago. It tended to be opaque and had a chalky appearance. As a result, it was rarely used for teeth in the smile line.

“It was a good choice for restorations in the back of the mouth, where most of the biting force occurs and nobody could see it,” Dr. Lester elaborates. “But forward of the second molar, it was awful. It looked like the patient had a piece of white chalk in her mouth.

“Fortunately, the technololgy used to make zirconia crowns has evolved and now we have the best of both worlds. Zirconia is one of the strongest dental materials, and it is also quite beautiful.

“Unless the patient has an extremely high cosmetic demand, such as a supermodel who’s frequently photographed, zirconia is quite attractive for use on front teeth. And it is four times as strong as other cosmetic porcelains.”

No matter how they’re made, crowns are a great way to cover stained or worn teeth and restore an individual’s smile.

“Our patients can have their new smile in one or two visits, depending on how big the project is and whether or not we can use our E4D system,” Dr. Lester assures. “Either way, the results improve patients’ self-esteem and make them look younger. And everybody wants that.”

“I Can’t Stop Smiling”

Candice Milam

Candice is a perfect example of the benefits of crowning stained, worn teeth. She is thrilled with the results of her treatment at Park Avenue Dentistry.

“The crowns are beautiful,” she enthuses. “They look just like my natural teeth. I can’t stop smiling now, and I have a high level of confidence in my smile. It helps on the job because I present a more friendly face to people. And I’ve received many compliments on my smile.”

Candice also has high regard for the dentist who gave her those beautiful crowns.

“Dr. Lester is very knowledgeable; he knows what he’s doing.” Candice raves. “When I met him for the first time, he actually sat down and got to know me as a person to find out exactly what I wanted. I’ve never had that from a dentist before. That made me trust him, and when you put your smile in somebody’s hands, you need to trust them.

“Dr. Lester is a fabulous dentist. I won’t go to anyone else.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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    • Park Avenue Dentistry

      The atmosphere at Park Avenue Dentistry is designed with your total relaxation in mind. Their nurturing attitude is the lifeblood of their practice and flows through every thing they do. They combine only the finest materials available with t... Read More

    • Stephen P. Lester, DDS, MAGD, PA

      Stephen P. Lester, DDS, MAGD, PA, earned his dental degree from Emory University in Atlanta and completed a comprehensive advanced program in cosmetic dentistry, Level 1, at the University of Florida. Dr. Lester holds mastership status from th... Read More