Laugh Out Loud

A beautiful, functionally sound smile is your best accessory.

A recent 15-year study conducted by Norwegian scientists showed that people who enjoy a couple of hearty laughs each day tend to live longer than those who don’t. Lucille Klein believes there’s a lot of truth in those findings.

Lucille headshot

Lucille’s new smile provides the improved function she was lacking.

Lucille will turn 88 this year. Laughter, she says, is what keeps her going.

“My Fountain of Youth,” Lucille exclaims. “I can find a laugh in just about anything. Sometimes that gets me into trouble. But I definitely believe in the power of laughter. It’s very strong medicine.”

Laughter isn’t the only thing keeping Lucille young. She also has a strong thirst for knowledge — so much that she recently started taking classes at Indian River State College.

“They have a senior citizen program there, and I love history,” Lucille explains. “I have a girlfriend who likes history, too, so we signed up for some history classes. One of the classes we took was all about the Napoleonic Wars. It was fascinating.”

Lucille recently feared she might need to fight a war all her own after learning the enamel on her upper two front teeth was thinning. The fear of one breaking at an inopportune time spurred her into action.

“I was planning to take a trip to California to visit my sister and thought, What if one of those teeth breaks when I’m visiting her,” Lucille relates. “I would not be very happy if that happened, so I went to see Dr. Blank.”

Stephen Blank, DDS, practices cosmetic and functional dentistry in Port St. Lucie, and Lucille has been his patient for about four years. During that time, Dr. Blank has completely restored her smile.

All the Way to the Blank

“Lucille came to me with concerns about some teeth on the upper right,” Dr. Blank confirms. “She had some teeth that were chipped there, and she had a filling that needed to be replaced on the upper left. We took care of that, but it was evident that her smile was wearing out.”

Dr. Blank recalls that Lucille had some of the old, porcelain, metal-style crowns that get dark at the gum line as the gums recede and the edges of the crown become exposed.”

Dr. Blank discovered those issues during a thorough 90-minute introductory oral examination that included TMJ, bite and soft-tissue evaluations, computerized periodontal measurements, digital x-rays and an oral hygiene evaluation.

That initial exam, which Dr. Blank conducts for all new patients, is designed to determine the patient’s dental needs. It includes an intraoral video tour that allows the patient to see what the dentist sees.
“The goal is to build a solid dental relationship that allows each patient to achieve the best oral health possible,” Dr. Blank explains. “And with proper care, our goal is to maintain that level of health for a lifetime.”

Lucille is a perfect example of how effectively Dr. Blank’s system works. After first correcting the issues that needed immediate attention, he turned to correcting those that could lead to greater problems down the road.

The thinning enamel on her two front teeth was one such problem. Aging crowns on the other teeth in her smile line were, too. Another issue was the color of the crowns didn’t match, although Lucille wasn’t as concerned about that.

“Not everybody comes in wanting a super bright smile,” Dr. Blank relays. “Some people are functionally driven rather than cosmetically driven. That’s how Lucille was when she came in. She wanted to be able to eat properly and not have any problems with her teeth.

“She wasn’t looking to be in a beauty contest or to be on TV, so any cosmetic benefits were secondary. We put together a treatment plan that was functionally driven and cosmetically finished. That way, she got the best of both worlds.

“And that’s something we can do for anyone. No matter their age. The most important thing is having a good foundation underneath, and Lucille understands that. But we can make sure anyone has that healthy foundation and make their teeth look great, too.”

Crown Achievements

To achieve that objective with Lucille, Dr. Blank put together a smile design plan that called for him to replace the aging crowns on the teeth in her upper smile line with new crowns that perfectly matched her other teeth.

To improve the function and look of Lucille’s two front teeth, Dr. Blank removed the bonded fillings that had been used to repair them previously and fit her with new crowns that matched the other crowns in her smile line.

“She now has all ceramic crowns, so there’s no metal and no dark edges at all in her smile line,” Dr. Blank reports. “Her teeth are functionally strong, her gum contour and health are excellent, and her teeth look great.”

“Dr. Blank did a great job with my teeth. They are beautiful and look like my real teeth.” – Lucille

Dr. Blank began restoring Lucille’s smile line in October as the coronavirus pandemic was raging. He completed the work a couple of months later. Throughout the process, Lucille never feared contracting the virus through her dental visits.

“Dr. Blank’s office is impeccably clean,” she raves. “They have hand disinfectant, everybody wears their masks all the time, and while I waited in the lobby, I was the only person waiting. So I felt very safe.

“And of course, Dr. Blank did a great job with my teeth. They are beautiful and look like my real teeth. The best thing is that I can eat with confidence again now that I know nothing is going to happen to them.

“I’m very thankful for Dr. Blank and his work. I think the world of him, and his staff is great, too. Dr. Blank has been my dentist for about three or four years now, and he’s become my buddy because he likes to laugh, too.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Before image courtesy of Stephen Blank, DDS. mkb
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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