from Fall '03 with permission.
Something To Smile About
By Pamela Fulford
What do we notice first about another person?
According to most studies on physical attraction, it’s
the eyes that grab us first—and then the smile. That’s
probably why so many of us are sensitive about our teeth. Cosmetic
dental work can be an expensive proposition, but for those people
who’ve had it done, it appears to be the best investment
they’ve ever made. Three women who made that decision
‘upgrade’ their teeth share their thoughts on everything
from why they chose their dentist to how they feel about their
brand new smiles.
“I Almost Cried”
Josie Hettinga used to model during her university
days, but she became so self-conscious about her teeth, she didn’t
feel comfortable smiling in front of the camera. “I grind
my teeth,” admits Hettinga, a mortgage-broker and mother
of two. Her bruxism left her teeth not only sensitive, but one-half
the size of a normal tooth. “There came a point where I
just had to do something about it.”
Thorough and determined, Hettinga researched
as much as she could. A visit to a local dentist near her home
in Kitchener left her feeling uncomfortable. “I was really
nervous about the work I was going to have done and the atmosphere
was just too cold and clinical,” she explains. In addition,
the dentist started talking implants right away, something that
made Hettinga very nervous.
“I decided I was going to keep looking
until I found the right dentist. I had been doing research of
my own on the Internet, and it was around this time that I saw
a television ad for the Kochman Centre in Toronto.” Hettinga
doesn’t mince words when she talks about her feelings. “I
was frightened about the extent of the work I might have to get
done, so I was going to make sure I was absolutely comfortable
with the dentist I had chosen.”
Her first visit with Dr. Mark Kochman helped
ease a great deal of her fears. For one thing the atmosphere at
the Centre relaxed her. “I wanted warm and fuzzy,”
laughs Hettinga. She also felt her research had enabled to be
more emotionally prepared.
Despite her worst fears, Kochman assured her
she didn’t need implants. However, to achieve the results
she wanted, both dentist and patient agreed that a full-mouth
construction –upper and lower porcelain crowns—would
be the best solution. Hettinga was excited about the prospect
of ‘perfect’ teeth, but the realization of what that
meant didn’t dawn on her until the appointment where Kochman
showed a wax mock-up of what her new teeth would look like. “I
almost cried,” she admits. “I knew at this point there
was absolutely no turning back.”
Hettinga doesn’t downplay the commitment
it took to have her teeth done. “After I made my final decision,
I still waited awhile before I went ahead. I wanted to be absolutely
sure of what I was doing.” The time and money involved was
also extensive, but in the end,
absolutely worth it.
“I am so much more confident now,”
says Hettings, who has returned to modelling part-time. “I
feel like I’ve had my new teeth all my life. And, you know,
the first thing I notice about people now is their teeth.”
“I Never Wanted To Laugh”
Twenty-four years ago, Pamela Himel had a collision
in phys ed class, leaving her with two crowns in her upper front
teeth, “When I had to have the crowns replaced,” says
Himel, “I decided it was time to get some other work done.
I had never been happy with the rest of my teeth and wondered
what could be done.”
Even though she is extremely comfortable with
her own family dentist, he doesn’t do the type of cosmetic
dentistry Himel wanted. Instead, he referred her to Dr. Ed Philips
at the Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry in Toronto.
“During my first appointment, I initially
met with one of Dr. Philips’ assistants. She showed me before
and after photos of patients, discussed prices and appointment
schedules.” Himel liked theprofessional approach and the
atmosphere. “Frankly, it was a pleasure to sit in such nice
As for Philips, he just exudes confidence, according
to Himel. “You just know he knows what he’s doing.”
What he suggested, beyond replacing the two crowns, was five veneers
on the upper mouth. Himel felt that her teeth were two big for
her mouth, so Philips agreed to reshape some of her bottom teeth,
sanding them down slightly to make them smaller. The final step
would be to whiten her teeth so that they would be as bright as
the new veneers and crowns.
Once the decision was made, Himel went for it,
“The majority of the work was done in two weeks. I was going
on holiday and wanted to have it all done before I went. But even
the temporary tteeth I had while the veneers and crowns were being
made looked great,” she laughs.
The result? “I really am more confident.
I used to be very self-conscious, especially about my eye teeth.
I never wanted to laugh. But not any more.”
“I’ve Got The Smile Of My Dreams”
Like many teenagers, Lori Jenkins faced the
prospect of wearing braces. There was overlapping of her eye teeth
on both sides of her mouth, but her dentist at that time felt
it was serious enough to require correction. “She actually
thought it added character to my smile,” says the mother
of three, who works as a sales coordinator for Aramis Fragrances.
However, as she got older, she began to resent
that ‘character’. “When I got married, my husband
convinced me to switch to Dr. Izzy Novak, who was his dentist.
I used to complain to Izzy about my teeth, but never did anything
About six years ago, the talks turned more serious.
Novak, whose practice Dentistry By Design, was working with dental
technologist who, he told Jenkins, was doing fantastic work with
veneers. “One thing led to another and after some serious
thought—and discussion with my husband—I decided to
go ahead with it.”
The work entailed six veneers across the upper
mouth. “My teeth used to slope backward,” says Jenkins.
“The veneers would be straight so my teeth would look normal.”
While dental work can be drawn out and uncomfortable, Jenkins
describes the process as practically painless. “It took
only a few visits and because Izzy is so much fun, it was not
stressful at all.”
Even after several years, Jenkins is thrilled
with her teeth, “They are still as perfect as when I got
them. They transluscent and bright—I actually get compliments
all the time. I know it sounds corny, but finally, I got the smile
of my dreams.”