Getting the bite right

Years of dental neglect can impact smiles (and more)

  • 1

    Tracy Skantel had worn his teeth down from years of grinding.

  • 2

    Tracy Skantel had crowns installed on all of his upper teeth by Dr. Alexis LaRose of Kootenai Family Dental

  • 1

    Tracy Skantel had worn his teeth down from years of grinding.

  • 2

    Tracy Skantel had crowns installed on all of his upper teeth by Dr. Alexis LaRose of Kootenai Family Dental

For years Tracy Skantel kept his mouth shut because he didn't want people to notice his bad teeth.

Thanks to a dramatic dental makeover, he can smile again.

“My teeth were terrible,” said Skantel. “I had been grinding my teeth together and they were completely worn down and I didn't like my teeth.”

Unsightly teeth impacted the 53-year-old's self esteem and his professional career.

“I sell mining and drilling equipment,” he said. “You talk to a lot of people in sales. I was very self conscious and I didn't smile a whole lot.”

After a major life change, the Coeur d'Alene man finally decided to do something about the way he looked and felt.

“In all I spent 22 hours in the dentist chair,” said Skantel. “I had crowns placed on all my upper teeth and a bunch of fillings on the bottom.”

His dentist, Dr. Alexis LaRose, owner of Kootenai Family Dental, said Skantel's teeth had worn down to about half their original height, causing his natural bite to close.

“When Tracy smiled you could hardly see his teeth,” said Dr. LaRose. “Over years of grinding, he had worn his teeth down so much that his nose and chin got closer together. This impacts a person's face and places a great deal of stress on the jaw muscles and joint.”

Dr. LaRose performed a full mouth reconstruction on Skantel to repair the damaged teeth and to “open up his bite.”

“Dental reconstructions are much more common now,” Dr. LaRose said. “People are realizing their bite is very important. By opening his bite back up to where it used to be, not only did we restore his smile, we relieved stress on his jaw, making him more comfortable. Tracy's problems could have been reduced if he had worn a night guard in his 20s.”

Dentists can choose between a host of options, including crowns and veneers for a total reconstruction.

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or a composite material covering the front and edge of the teeth. They are bonded to the front of teeth.

“They are fantastic for improving the appearance of your teeth,” said Dr. LaRose. “We can fix so many different things with veneers, such as discoloration, spacing and irregular or chipped teeth.”

Crowns, on the other hand, cover the entire tooth and like veneers can require about two visits to complete the process, depending on the extent of changes required.

 “We do veneers in a multi-stage process because people are able to wear the temporaries for awhile and provide feedback to us so we are able to make the final restorations to their liking,” Dr. LaRose said. “Patients can tell us if the teeth are too square, too long, too small, too short and we can make adjustments to the final crowns/veneers easily.”

So who are good candidates for crowns or veneers?

“People with either small front teeth, too short front teeth, people who have ground their front teeth down and they are flat or chipped,” Dr. LaRose said. “People with spacing on front teeth, including crooked or irregular front teeth. People with white spots or brown spots of discoloration. Or people with large composite restorations or large areas of decay that compromises the tooth.”

Discussing bad teeth can be uncomfortable. Many Americans face the reality that they're judged by their smile and teeth.  

“Being able to smile confidently can affect many areas of people's lives,” Dr. LaRose said. “It's easier to get the jobs you want, have more confidence, be more comfortable in social situations. You don't have to feel like you need to hide your teeth with your lips when you talk or smile.”

Skantel said his reconstruction makes him feel like a new man.

“First, Dr. LaRose and her staff were outstanding,” he said. “It was relatively painless and now I have a whole new smile. My self esteem is better and I feel better when I smile at people.”

--Written by Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content.

Read More Sponsored Content

Getting them back on track

November 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm | You would never guess the young man had been considered for expulsion from middle school for displaying aggressive behavior with a teacher four years ago. The teenager was pleasant, polite and prof...

Read More

Found in translation

November 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Bill LaCrosse spent 20 years in the Air Force as a space system operator, steering satellites in orbit and handling sensitive weapons systems. So when it came time to find new career opportunities,...

Read More

How to prepare your home to sell

November 14, 2017 at 11:00 am | Preparing your home for the market means making repairs and general sprucing-up ― but also making it easy for potential buyers to imagine their happy lives there. Before you show your home to...

Read More

Got diabetes? Heritage Health can help

November 13, 2017 at 9:00 am | When it comes to blood sugar, what you don't know can kill you. A recent report from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 84 million Americans, or roughly one-third ...

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy