Cosmetic Dentist to the Stars
Kevin B. Sands, D.D.S. grew up in Beverly Hills and became accustomed to seeing movie and TV stars driving, walking, and just enjoying life around town.
When Sands became a dentist, the trend continued – at his office. He now sees so many celebrities and notables in his practice for various dental treatments that he has become known as the dentist to the stars. Recently, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey, Jr., Denise Richards, Halle Berry, Britney Spears, and a visiting potentate from the Middle East brought their smiles to Dr. Sands for tune-ups and other treatments.
Of course, his patient load is also filled with we ordinary mortals of all ages who come seeking a better, whiter smile. Common repairs include teeth whitening, dental bonding, and porcelain veneers, his specialty. Those veneers are handled quickly – usually within two weeks -- because Dr. Sands has a lab at his practice.
"A new smile brings tremendous confidence to a person," states Dr. Sands., "Some guys come in with teeth that need work, get a new smile and then the next thing you know, they are married," states Dr. Sands, who offers a warranty with each procedure.
Plus, there's a lot more to do than leaf through old issues of Time and Newsweek while you wait. Instead, Dr. Sands' office offers in-office foot massages and DVDs on flat screen television to help pass the time.
"Smiles are important in more ways than one," says Dr. Sands. "Three out of four U.S. adults believe an unattractive smile can hurt your chances at success in business. That's because your smile is the first thing people notice about you."
While Dr. Sands routinely handles cosmetic dental procedures like teeth whitening, dental bonding and tooth bleaching, his specialty is porcelain veneers. The procedure starts when a patient notices he or she has uneven, misshaped, chipped, or discolored teeth, or a smile that has a gap in the front teeth. A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that fits over the existing tooth. Porcelain offers several advantages – it is extremely durable and has color, translucence and texture that are similar to natural tooth enamel. Moreover, porcelain won't decay or stain, nor does the procedure require braces. Installing porcelain veneers starts when the dentist examines the patient's teeth and gums, takes a medical history, and perhaps a few photos to compare to the final results.
Next, the dentist takes a full mouth impression after roughening and shaping the enamel on the existing teeth, which have been numbed via a local anesthetic. The patient leaves the office with temporary veneers covering his prepared teeth while the customized veneers are being completed in the lab. The procedure is relatively pain free.
"The first visit requires about two hours," says Dr. Sands. "And then in about two weeks, your veneers are ready to be cemented onto your old teeth."
During the final appointment, the dentist checks the fit, size, and color and makes any necessary corrections. Before cementing the veneers permanently, teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned because clean teeth and healthy gums are necessary for the appliance to bond. Applied veneers feel just like natural teeth but are not indestructible. The dentist will ask you to avoid biting down on hard substances and to slice apples before consuming them. Costs depend on general economic conditions in your area but usually range from $700 to $2,000.
A quick look at other dental procedures done in Dr. Sands' office includes:
*Teeth whitening. Whitening agents can brighten a smile dimmed by stains brought on by coffee, dark sodas, cigarettes, medication, or aging. The procedure produces instant results and is done by placing a special gel on the teeth and then using a laser to activate the substance. The procedure takes one to two hours and, while the results often last for years, the treatment does not work for fillings, crowns and past bonding.
*Dental bonding. Some stains can't be removed by bleaching. This procedure also restores chipped or broken teeth, fills in gaps and brightens the smile. To start, the dentist uses a special acid to roughen the surface of the tooth. Dental resin is then applied and shaped; a high intensity light hardens the compound and seals the tooth enamel. The dentist then contours the bonding material to the shape of your tooth and polishes it. The procedure does not require anesthesia and usually lasts five to ten years.
*Dental implants. Implants feel like natural teeth because implants are substitute teeth permanently anchored to your jaw. Implants are most often used to replace ill-fitting dentures or missing teeth.