Smile Wide!

Gospel singer’s smile, confidence enhanced using distinctive veneer technique.

As a teen, David Smith liked to play baseball and race go-karts. He also enjoyed being part of a family-based musical group that traveled throughout Central Florida performing Southern gospel music.

“My brother and I were members automatically because my mother was in the group,” relates David, now 66. “When she traveled around with the group, she took us with her. I played bass guitar and my brother played drums before we ever started singing. I got into singing later in my life. 

David Smith

David Smith

“At first, I didn’t like being in the group and traveling around, but I ended up loving it. And it became a part of my journey.”

Today, David sings bass in a Southern gospel band called Lifeline Quartet. The band performs in churches, auditoriums and other concert venues.

“Our group was called Holy Ground for a long time. Then one of the members decided to stay at home with her grandbabies, so we started Lifeline Quartet,” David shares. “We haven’t been singing much lately because of COVID-19. We saw what was happening and backed off from performing in public places. We plan to start back up again in 2022.”

As a performer, David aspires to present a positive and pleasing image to his audience. Part of that image is a wide, bright, attractive smile. But David was unhappy with the appearance of his smile and wanted to enhance it. 

“My smile wasn’t wide enough,” David bemoans. “I have a small mouth, and when I smile, you can only see my four front teeth. I also had a bridge that didn’t match the rest of my teeth. The three teeth on each side of the bridge were dark-looking; they weren’t white, and I felt insecure about that whenever I smiled or even sang.”

When David’s not singing, he’s working as a manager for a Toyota dealership in Sanford. While selling a vehicle recently, he learned that his customer was a dental hygienist at Park Avenue Dentistry, the Edgewater practice of Stephen P. Lester, DDS. They eventually began talking about David’s dental needs.

“I told her I was looking for a dentist to work on my smile, and she said, You’ve got to visit Dr. Lester; you’ll love him,” David remembers. “I have a home near Jacksonville and another in DeLand, and I work in Volusia County, so Park Avenue Dentistry isn’t right around the corner from me. It’s a long way away. But I decided to give them a shot and made the drive.” 

Narrow Corridor

Dr. Lester explained that there is a technical term for the problem David presented. It’s called a narrow buccal corridor. When people with this issue smile, only their front teeth are visible, so it looks as if they have no back teeth. 

“The issue is due to the shape of David’s upper arch,” Dr. Lester explains. “His teeth are laid out in a way that his back teeth sit directly behind his front teeth, so when he smiles all people can see are those front teeth.

“An example of someone who has an extremely wide smile is actress Julia Roberts. When she smiles, you can see all the way to her six-year molar, which is near the far rear of the mouth. 

“For a really good-looking smile, people should be able to see 10 upper teeth and maybe a little bit of the first molar, so possibly 12 teeth, when they look in the mirror and smile. That makes for a really nice smile, and that’s what David wanted.”

There are different approaches to broadening a patient’s smile. Braces may partially achieve the effect, but that wasn’t the direction that David wanted.

“Our treatment plan for David involved placing veneers on his four upper bicuspids,” Dr. Lester describes. “But in doing this we used a distinctive technique. When we placed the veneers, we fit them so that they stuck out laterally more than David’s natural teeth. As a result, those teeth are now more visible whenever David smiles.”

The technique for applying veneers is less destructive to the teeth than traditional approaches.

“With traditional veneers, we need to blend them in with the rest of the teeth,” Dr. Lester explains. “To do that we have to reduce the tooth structure slightly so it fits in the available space in the mouth. But in David’s case, we were trying to do the opposite; we were trying to make the teeth stick out. Only a tiny amount of the tooth structure was removed. The process required minimal drilling.”  

Single-Visit Service

Another distinctive aspect of the treatment plan was that it was completed during a single visit. That was made possible through the use of E4D equipment.

The E4D machine uses computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to create all-porcelain dental restorations, such as inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers. The restorations are designed and fabricated within a few hours in the office.

“We began David’s treatment by scanning his teeth to create a digital image, which was sent to the computer, where we designed his veneers,” Dr. Lester educates. “Once the design was finalized, it was sent to the milling machine, which created the restorations out of a solid block of porcelain. We then bonded the veneers onto David’s teeth. 

“This process offers multiple benefits. First of all, the teeth are scanned digitally, so there are no messy molds. Secondly, patients receive their final restorations the day of their initial appointment, so there are no temporary restorations that can fall off at inopportune times. Finally, there are no inconvenient second visits.”

“Well Worth It”

David is quite pleased with the results of his treatment at Park Avenue Dentistry.   

“Dr. Lester gave me a wider smile and made my teeth look whiter.” - David

“Dr. Lester gave me a wider smile and made my teeth look whiter.” – David

“I live so far away, so when Dr. Lester asked if I was OK with him doing all the work in one day, I said, Yeah, I’m good with that,” David recalls. “The process took about six hours, but it was pleasant. Dr. Lester did what he had to do. I just relaxed and watched TV while he worked. There was no pain whatsoever.”

“Dr. Lester gave me a wider smile and made my teeth look whiter,” he enthuses. “It’s made a big difference for me. It’s even helping me to sing better. I didn’t have to learn to sing again with veneers in my mouth, and I didn’t have any problems with pronunciation. The treatment turned out really well.”

David says when he sings now, he smiles and feels a lot more confident.

“Now, I have a really wide smile, which changed my entire appearance,” he relates. “I’m actually shocked at how well the treatment turned out. I’m like, Wow, I didn’t know Dr. Lester could do that! My new smile is working out well for me with my singing and for my job at the dealership. I’m very, very pleased.”

David is also impressed by the dentist who performed the enhancement. 

“Dr. Lester is very knowledgeable,” David describes. “He’s one of the best dentists I’ve seen in my lifetime, and he gave me the smile I always wanted. I definitely recommend him. Going to Park Avenue Dentistry is the best move I’ve ever made. It was a long trip for sure, but it was well worth it.” 

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo.  Photos courtesy of David Smith. mkb
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