Rejuvenation And Restoration

Couple’s dental, aesthetic issues resolved by same provider 

Tanya Plaut & Morton Rosenblum

Tanya Plaut & Morton Rosenblum

Morton Rosenblum is a man of many talents. He practiced law for 25 years before retiring in 1978 at age 47. Since then he has learned to build boats, fly airplanes and worked as a commercial fisherman and rancher. He also competed in multiple sporting contests, including the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii — twice.

“While working on my master’s degree in exercise physiology at the University of Central Florida, I happened to read about the Ironman,” recalls Morton, 90. “I thought, That would be a neat thing to do. But in a triathlon, you need to run, bike and swim. I was already a runner and biker, but I could never swim. So, I gave myself a year to train.

“Every morning, I got up and trained. My wife, Tanya, got on the bicycle beside me and I ran hundreds of miles. I also started swimming. Tanya was very encouraging. My goal was to at least be competitive for my age, which was 51 at the time. At my first Ironman in 1982, I competed in the 50-and-over age group. I completed the event in something like 11 hours. I don’t remember exactly. It was a long time ago.”

These days, Morton spends most of his time handcrafting wooden longbows. Historically the oldest style of bow, longbows were the weapon of choice for the armies of England from the 14th century until the introduction of firearms. Morton doesn’t use his bows for hunting; he prefers not to kill living creatures. Instead, he shoots arrows at three-dimensional targets shaped as animals. He’s part of a group of target shooters in Central Florida that hosts outings throughout the year.

“We didn’t have any outings last year due to COVID, but I finished first in the Florida seniors competition the year before,” Morton reveals. “The senior national championship is coming up in February, and I’ll probably participate. Of course, at 90, I’ve outlived most of the competition, so I don’t have too much to worry about.”

One thing Morton does worry about is his teeth. All his life, he’s liked to gnaw on hard things, but the habit resulted in damage to his upper teeth and existing crown and bridgework, tarnishing his smile. He looked to Stephen P. Lester, DDS, of Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater, to restore that smile.

“Dr. Lester is a former neighbor,” Morton reveals. “He lived on one side of the street and I lived across from him, and we were friends. At one point, my wife and I sold our house and moved to North Carolina for 10 years. But as I got older, the North Carolina mountains got higher, so we returned to Florida. We ended up living in Edgewater about a mile from Dr. Lester’s office.

“Dr. Lester has taken care of my teeth for a long time, and he keeps them in good health. Since I started seeing Dr. Lester, we haven’t allowed things with my teeth to get to the point where I need to have surgery or anything like that.”

Nevertheless, earlier this year, Morton’s eating and chewing habits resulted in an issue that required extensive help from Dr. Lester. 

“Except for the lower front, Morton’s teeth are essentially all crowns and bridges,” Dr. Lester reports. “The problem is that he has a habit of gritting his teeth. He also likes to eat abusively, often chewing on chicken and rib bones. That can be tough on restorations.

“In fact, Morton has broken just about every restoration his dentists have made for him. Recently, he cracked all the bridgework on his upper front arch. About 10 teeth worth of bridge just crumbled into pieces and came out in a pile in his hand.”

For a fix, Dr. Lester initially recommended replacing all the crowns on Morton’s upper arch. Morton balked, though, so Dr. Lester agreed to replace all the broken dental work with a single bridge that covers every tooth in the upper arch.

‘Indestructible’ Crowns

The biggest challenge Dr. Lester faced in completing the task was creating a bridge that is aesthetically pleasing and strong enough to handle Morton’s forceful chewing habits. The answer, the dentist concluded, was to fabricate the restoration from zirconia, a newer crown and bridge material.

Zirconia, derived from the element zirconium, is a porcelain made from zirconium dioxide, a very durable type of metal related to titanium, as well as the 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 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 his mouth. 

“Fortunately, zirconia evolved over the years and ultimately became very aesthetic. Now, we have the best of both worlds. Zirconia is one of the strongest dental materials and is also quite beautiful. It’s not the most beautiful, but it’s close. Unless the patient has an extremely high cosmetic demand, such as a supermodel who’s frequently photographed, zirconia is sufficiently attractive for use on front teeth.

“We fit Morton’s bridge in early July,” Dr. Lester adds. “It’s as strong as it gets, so I’m optimistic it will be the first restoration he won’t be able to break. But I still cautioned him against chewing on bones.”

Perceived Flaws

Like her husband Morton, Tanya Plaut practiced law for many years: 52 to be exact. She specialized in family law, but represented clients in other capacities when their cases intrigued her. Just like Morton, Tanya eventually tired of practicing law and made a dramatic career switch.

“The field of law has changed tremendously since I was sworn in many, many years ago, and it just wasn’t fun anymore,” says Tanya, 85. “I believe no matter what you do to make a living, you should at least enjoy it. I was no longer enjoying law, so I decided to go back to school and get an aesthetician license.”

Tanya’s choice for a second career wasn’t out of left field. When she was younger, she worked as a product demonstrator for Helena Rubinstein, an international cosmetics company.  

Tanya’s fascination with cosmetics and aesthetics outlived her former employer and a 52-year law career. In 2020, Tanya braved the COVID-19 pandemic and attended The International Academy to earn her aesthetician license and begin a new career. 

“I’ve always been interested in working in Volusia County,” Tanya reveals. “A friend had just opened a full-service salon called Nature in Beauty, and she needed an aesthetician. Once I got my license, I joined her salon. I perform facials, microdermabrasion and microneedling as well as other services.

“As an aesthetician, I’m very interested in skin care, not only for my clients but also for myself. I want my clients to think, My goodness, she has good skin. What does she do to care for it? Anything I can do to improve my skin, I’m happy to pass on to my clients.”

Tanya was already a dental patient of Dr. Lester when she learned he also offers cosmetic services, including laser facial resurfacing. She wondered if the laser could help resolve her perceived facial flaws. 

“I’m what we call a mature woman,” Tanya describes. “I’ve lived in Florida for many years, and years ago, we weren’t so concerned about protecting our skin from the sun. I was out in the sun a lot golfing. I developed lines on my forehead and on each side of my eyes, where it crinkles up when you smile. I was also looking for a way to improve the texture of my skin.

“Dr. Lester offers BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers such as JUVÉDERM®, but I liked the idea of the laser because it’s noninvasive. I did some research and decided to move forward with Dr. Lester’s laser treatments.”

Multipurpose Tool

The laser used by Dr. Lester is the multipurpose Fotona®,, which uses an advanced pulse technology to deliver superior results with minimal side effects. The Fotona laser can be used for dental as well as aesthetic procedures, and is employed for both at Park Avenue Dentistry.

“Dentally, we use the Fotona laser when filling teeth and performing gum surgery, oral surgery and root canals,” Dr. Lester observes. “We also use it in placing dental implants to  stimulate healing, and for whitening teeth, obtaining biopsies and pain management. The laser is also useful for alternative gum treatments, instead of surgery.

“There are four major ways we employ the laser aesthetically. First, we use it for skin resurfacing, which makes the skin look younger and more supple and feel better. Second, it is effective for fine line and wrinkle removal. Third, we use the laser to perform lip enhancement, plumping and refining. And finally, the laser can help eliminate bags under the eyes.”

The Fotona is also effective in removing age spots, spider veins, warts, moles and cherry hemangiomas, pencil-point-sized red spots that can appear on the surface of the skin.

The Fotona works by stimulating collagen production. Collagen is the main structural protein of the body’s connective tissue, which includes the skin.

“Young people have layers of collagen in their skin that plump it up and give it contour,” Dr. Lester explains. “But as they age, people produce less collagen and develop lines, wrinkles and sunken spots on their face. The laser essentially aids the skin in making more collagen, which helps to eliminate those problems.” 

One benefit associated with the Fotona laser is that treatments have minimal side effects.

“Most of our laser treatments are performed intraorally, from inside the mouth, with the laser facing outward toward the skin,” Dr. Lester reveals. “The laser never actually touches the skin on the face, so there’s no outward damage that is visible. As a result, there are minimal side effects, such as redness and tenderness. Therefore there’s minimal downtime.

“Other cosmetic treatments, such as surgery, face-lifts, radiofrequency and microneedling, all result in downtime. People expect it and often plan their lives around having to hide for a week or longer, depending on the procedure. With our laser treatments, patients don’t have to hide at all.”

“A Good Investment”

Making exclusive use of the laser, Dr. Lester performed a skin resurfacing procedure; defined the border of Tanya’s lips; emphasized the philtrum, the vertical groove between the base of the nose to the top of the upper lip; highlighted her Cupid’s bow, the “V” formed by the double curve of the upper lip; and plumped her lips.  

In all, Tanya received nine laser treatments during visits three weeks apart through the end of July. The results were evident to her before the treatments were complete.

“I began to notice a difference in the appearance of my face around the fifth or sixth treatment,” Tanya reports. “There were minimal lines on my forehead and minimal lines on the sides of my eyes. The texture of my skin was smoother as well. Even my friends were noticing a difference.

“Dr. Lester’s laser treatments are a good investment for mature women. These women will see a definite difference in their skin. If they couple the laser treatments with good skin care, including facials, on a regular basis, they’ll see a huge improvement in their skin.”

Morton received a vastly different treatment, but he’s equally satisfied.

“The bridge Dr. Lester made for me is beautiful,” he raves. “Everybody admires it. It’s very comfortable and looks natural. I should have had it done a long time ago instead of fooling around trying to fix one tooth at a time. But I’ve learned my lesson, no more bones. Well, chicken bones aren’t too bad, but no more rib bones.”

Morton and Tanya’s friendship with Dr. Lester is one reason they have developed total trust in him as a dental provider.

“Dr. Lester is a great guy,” Morton maintains. “We usually have dinner with him once a week. We have interests in common. He has airplanes, and I used to have a plane. Our hangars used to be next door to each other. But I don’t fly anymore.

“And I know Dr. Lester is knowledgeable. I wouldn’t go to him as a dentist if he wasn’t knowledgeable. I don’t suffer fools lightly.”

Tanya agrees that Dr. Lester is a “fantastic dentist.” She admires his work with the laser as well. 

“He’s very, very careful and conservative. That’s why it initially takes a few visits,” explains Tanya, whose son is also a patient of Dr. Lester. “He wants to monitor how I feel after a treatment, and the staff always asks how I’m doing the day after. Dr. Lester is an excellent dentist, and he’s doing great things with skin care.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. Tanya’s photo above courtesy of Park Avenue Dentistry. mkb
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