The Dentist as Artist

Or… The Artist Who Happens to be a Dentist

It was the spring of 2009 that I first tried my hand at sculpting stone. I always had a desire to pick up a chisel and when I finally did I found I had unleashed an inner talent for it. Currently I stick to abstract pieces but I plan on trying figurative sculpture in the near future.

I have found that dentistrIMG_1085_opty and stone sculpting have many things in common. I like my stone pieces to have a flow to them. A smile needs to have a sense of flow as well, where all the teeth interact with one another without any one tooth being too obvious.  I like to think of my dental restorations as a bit of personal, functional, sculpture that my patients get to take home.

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White alabaster

All of my stone sculptures are done totally by hand without the use of air driven or power tools. I have sculpted alabaster, soapstone and French limestone. Hammers, chisels, files and sandpaper all combine to give me the desired result usually in about 30-40 hours. I believe that there is purity in the work not using power tools. It is a more intimate relationship with the stone. I enjoy the evolution of the pieces from a nondescript piece of stone to the finished work. Few pieces end up exactly as I pictured them in my head before I start.

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Brazilian Soapstone

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French limestone

The pictures that follow really don’t do the work justice as sculptures are something that need to be appreciated in person. I hope to give you a taste here and I invite you to my office to see some of them up close and personal. If you like them that’s great, if you don’t that’s OK too. When I first showed them to my mom she asked me “why do you do that?”.  The answer to that is that I do it for me, it makes me feel good to stand back from one of my creations and appreciate how I participated in the evolution of the stone.  The reality is that, I feel the same way about my dentistry. I love taking that worn or unsatisfying smile and making it beautiful. Putting a smile on the face of my patients puts a smile on mine. I see myself as a dentist who is an artist, both inside and outside of my office.  I truly believe my patients benefit from it!

 

Closing Gaps With Dental Bonding

Mary is a new patient who was self-conscious about the gaps between her front teeth. She is missing her lateral incisors which creates an excess of space between all of her front teeth. When she first walked through the door she was under the impression that veneers or crowns were the only way to fix her problem. Of course she was incorrect as I routinely use composite dental bonding to correct this. Closing gaps between teeth is done quite easily and painlessly.

The key to a great final result is space management and getting the proportions of the teeth within an esthetically acceptable range. In this case wear on the edges of her front teeth provided us additional pathway to getting an esthetic result. Another challenge was visually turning her eye teeth (canines) into lateral incisors. A quick mock-up showed us that dental bonding was possible and we were well on our way.

The first step was a Zoom in office whitening treatment followed up with the cosmetic bonding two days later. Closing gaps is a procedure easily done. Mary’s front teeth were lengthened and the spaces were closed in a single visit. Six teeth were bonded in the process. This was all accomplished at a significantly lower cost than Mary ever thought possible. That was another reason why she had such a big smile at the end of treatment.

Pre Bonding

Mary’s smile prior to treatment

Post bond

Smile after bonding done by Dr. Shapiro

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Smiling LI…

 

Picture of the Day

This post is the start of something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Putting up photos of my work up on a regular basis. Showing off some of my dental art work and showing some of the less desirable dentistry that comes into my office and how we get our patients smiles back.

These first photos are of a molar tooth that had root canal treatment. I decided to keep most of the existing tooth structure by doing a ceramic onlay. The onlay is fused to the tooth and creates a very durable tooth.

Lots of dentists would crown this tooth, a crown covers all the tooth above the gum line. An onlay is my preferred way to restore a tooth like this. I feel it is more conservative and gives the patient a less invasive restoration. I believe these onlays allow me to be the best dentist I can be.

Molar prepped for onlay

Tooth shaped for porcelain onlay

Porcelain onlay

The ceramic restoration before bonding to the tooth

Bonded Porcelain Onlay

The final seamless restoration

These ceramic restorations are made through CAD CAM technology.

The onlays are cut out of a block of very hard ceramic material which has the ability to bond to tooth structure. I have been successfully using this technique of restoring teeth for the last 25 years. Dental materials have evolved during that time. I feel that these current materials may have the ability to last my patients a lifetime.

Keep Smiling LI

 

 

Long Island’s Finest Coffee Shops

Don’t let your inner java connoisseur pass up the opportunity to check out Long Island’s finest! The next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop in at one of these popular coffee joints:

Cyrus Chai Coffee Company in long islandCyrus: Chai & Coffee Company

This comfortable establishment offers coffee ground on-site from beans imported from all over the world and vegan-friendly specialty drink options. Not sure yet what you want to drink? Cyrus will encourage you to have a smell or two from a selection of tea leaves and coffee beans to figure out what appeals.

Tend Coffee

Perhaps you are more of the sort who enjoys picking up good coffee to brew at home. Visit Tend to stay or to take away! Tend has several different kinds of bagged coffee for sale all of which is roasted on-site. Check this place out the next time you’re in Long Island for great organic coffee with quick service.

Georgio’s

For a family-run and cozy local operation, stop by Georgio’s located in Long Island, NY. Georgio’s knows coffee, so you should know Georgio’s! When you visit Georgio’s, you can be sure you’ll take away a funny story and/or some helpful coffee advice from the owner himself.

Gentle Brew

Come visit Gentle Brew for the best deal on the island. There’s plenty of room to lounge and enjoy your coffee at leisure in a quiet and laid-back environment. Gentle Brew offers a wide variety of delicious snacks and takes their coffee seriously!

Coffee will stain teeth and sweet drinks can promote cavities! If you are interested in whitening or stain-removal during your stay in Long Island, then call Cosmetic Dentistry to take care of your dental needs.

The Best Pizza in Long Island

pizza being served in long island NYWhat trip to Long Island is complete without investigating the best pizza options available? Whether a classic standby or something quirky and new, there is a pizza out there for every taste! Discover yours by visiting one of these popular establishments:

Ciro’s Pizza

Just up the road from my office at the intersection of routes 111 and 347. Ciro’s is known for quick and respectful customer service in addition to some of the best New York style pizza Long Island has to offer! Even a slice of plain cheese pizza is better than the best! You may also want to try the famous Sicilian pizza. Just tell Tony that Mitch sent you!

Juventus Pizza Ristorante

Renowned for its variety, Juventus Pizza Ristorante in Deer Park offers online ordering so that you pick up your order, fresh! You also have the option to enjoy a sit-down dining experience in a classy Italian setting. Besides pizza, you also have a number of soup, salad, and pasta options to choose from.

Rocco’s Pizza

Rocco’s located in S. James offers  an incredible selection of pizza topping combinations all ready for the asking. Don’t forget to try the great pasta dishes as well.

Little Vincent’s Pizza

Pulling an all-nighter? Little Vincent’s is open Friday nights until 4 AM on Saturday! Little Vincent’s is also known for some excellent heroes, pastas, and eggplant parmesan.

Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante

Whether dining-in or taking-out, Emilio’s is popular as one of the best Italian experiences available on Long Island. Quick service, a variety of pizzas, and renowned cannolis make this place a definite must-try on your list!
A dental emergency can spoil the greatest culinary experience. You can continue to enjoy the pizza of your choice when you visit Cosmetic Dentistry in Long Island, NY to get relief for your dental pain.

Long Island’s Best Kid-Friendly Activities

kids having fun in Long Island New YorkIf you’ve got the family along for an extended visit to Long Island, then be sure to treat your kids to a day of fun and exercise! Long Island has a lot to offer in the way of amusements that will keep kids laughing and entertained for hours. Make some memories when you visit one of these highly recommended kid-friendly locations.

Wildlife and Ecology Center

This center has it all: running track, swimming and diving pool, a small zoo, a petting zoo, and botanical gardens. Located right here in Long Island, your family can have the chance to see large birds-of-prey up close at the Wildlife and Ecology Center.

Active Kidz Long Island

Fun for the whole family, Active Kidz Long Island offers arcade games, laser tag, rock wall climbing, a maze, inflatables, and more. Book in advance if you want to plan a party for a special little someone in your life. This center offers a good time for everyone ages two and up!

Alley Pond Adventure Course

If you plan on traveling with a sizeable group of “big kids,” you can sign up to do a team obstacle course on an incredible series of zip-lines, ropes, and other fear-defying challenges. The rest of the park offers room for sports and quiet areas for a group BBQ or picnic.

Animal Farm Petting Zoo

This perfectly sized Long Island petting zoo packs it all! Enjoy a mini train ride around the zoo and some one-on-one time with the animals as you feed them from your own hand. The kids also get a free pony ride! Bring a picnic lunch or choose from the concessions offered to round out your stay.
When kids run around, accidents can happen! In the event of any dental emergency just remember that Cosmetic Dentistry is located right here in Long Island, NY and is at the ready to keep your family’s teeth safe!

Patient Centered Health Care

A family happy with Dr. Shapiro's patient centered health care.You may be aware of the news about a dentist in Florida who was accused of abusing his pediatric patients by doing much more dentistry then necessary, including extractions, and billing Medicaid for it. If true, this act goes way beyond Medicaid fraud.  This dentist assaulted his young patients. This is not patient centered health care.

It is unfortunate but I personally believe that this type of treatment occurs more commonly than we could ever think. I have seen patients passing through my office who were recommended treatment which was aggressive and at times unnecessary. There have been patients who were recommended  crowns on teeth that could easily be filled. In my photo gallery there are pictures of a 24-year-old patient who had worn front teeth.

Another bad example:

Another dental office recommended that he have 12 veneers placed while offering no other treatment options. His top front teeth were severely worn and could have benefited from porcelain veneers but his lower teeth did not require veneers at all. I used composite restorations to replace the portion of the tooth which was worn away them while preserving remaining tooth structure.

Patient Centered Health Care

This is all my humble opinion but it is based on over 30 years of experience. It is also based on the concept that it’s the obligation of the provider to inform patients of all of their treatment options and explain the pros and cons of each option. This allows patients to participate in their care. This may seem like a time-consuming practice but in the end it saves time and money and results in happier patients. Most medical malpractice lawsuits occur not from poor outcomes, but from a lack of communication. Patients become upset after getting disappointing results often feel they never were presented with other options which now seem like the better choice.

Too many medical providers are driven by a profit centered approach to care, while many patients are often looking to spend the least.  There is a happy medium where better educated patients are informed of the value of treatment options. The best approach to medical care is a patient centered educational approach where informed consent is the backbone of treatment.This is patient centered health care.

How we serve you.

So what does this mean to you? It means you need to ask questions and participate in your care. Providers who have their patients best interest at heart encourage questions and are willing to listen to their patients. And if by chance you feel like your doctor isn’t listening to you, find a new doctor. In the end, the reality is that we teach people how we want to be treated, accept poor care and you will continue to receive it.

Till next time…

Keep Smiling Long Island

Toothpaste, Microbeads & Your Health

microbeadsDo you know about microbeads? These are tiny little beads of polyethylene or other plastics that are in many of our personal care products. From toothpastes to facial cleansers, they make the products more effective at removing debris.

Microbeads?

These ingredients may not be as beneficial as they may sound.  In our office we have often seen these little blue beads embedded between the teeth. They act as an abrasive agent but in the end they wind up becoming debris themselves.  The debris is also harmful to the environment.  These particles are small enough to pass through water treatment plants and enter our waterways where they ultimately end up in the bellies of fish. The Great Lakes are polluted with these particles. These particles take forever to degrade.

Science has shown that some plastics attract toxins and some may even be hormone disrupters mimicking estrogen. We are hurting ourselves and our environment by using these products.

I am personally bewildered by what is going on. Four years ago I read articles on microbeads, pollution and the personal and environmental risk these pose. At that time I chose to find products that did not use them. I can’t understand if there was research condemning  their use,  why are new products manufactured with them? In terms of environmental and health preservation, I was way ahead. Large bodies of research are proving how detrimental these ingredients are to us. My advice is to stay educated and don’t expect products manufacturers to have your best interest at heart.

What can you do to avoid microbeads?

Many companies have pledged to remove these beads from their products. For instance Crest plans to remove microbeads from their toothpaste products next year. My recommendation is to avoid using all products containing microbeads  as soon as possible.

Till next time…

Keep Smiling LI

Welcome to the Center for Cosmetic Dentistry Blog

Dental blog picture #1: porcelain veneers.Welcome to our new blog. I hope that you will ultimately be informed, entertained and possibly inspired by what you will be reading on my new blog. Dental information will hopefully be abundant, but really, how much can you talk about teeth and gums? I am excited about this new venture and plan on putting out some interesting content.

I am amazed that I have been practicing dentistry for over 30 years and I am thankful at how much I still enjoy doing it. In spite of believing I have done some great dentistry in the past, I feel as though I am currently doing some of my best work. I am definitely enjoying it more, as my thirty years of experience has given me the knowledge and confidence in knowing that I can keep my patients happy by exceeding their expectations. Happy patients-happy doctor. Happy doctor-better dentistry.

Dr. Shapiro, Smithtown Dentist…and blogger?

I consider myself a lucky guy, I have a great family,  a great staff and great patients who allow me to practice my craft. I thank you all for being a part of my life.  And if by chance you are reading this and not a current member of my dental family I invite you to join us. Come on in, become a patient, allow us to put a smile on your face, you will be glad you did.

Mitchell Shapiro, DDS

More blog to come!

PS- I have already started working on my next post-it’s about microbeads, toothpaste and your health! Stay tuned…

Keep Smiling Long Island

What’s In a Smile?

Big smile with red lipstick.If you’ve ever looked into having a cosmetic dental procedure, you might have felt selfish about it. Many prospective patients view cosmetic dentistry as something that they have put off for a very long time because it only impacts their smile. But the truth is…a beautiful smile goes so much deeper than our own thoughts and feelings.

What can a smile do for you?

People with beautiful smiles are usually seen as:

  • Friendlier
  • Confident
  • Happy
  • Successful

Some research even shows that people with beautiful white smiles are more likely to be considered for jobs, promotions, and have better social lives.

Woman with a big smile.Many procedures that people perceive as cosmetic are really necessary restorative procedures that have cosmetic results. When you pair all of these facts up with how you feel about smiling, investing in cosmetic dentistry is actually a good investment in your quality of life! The type of smile makeover that you invest in can be different from one person to the next. We take your goals, expectations and budget to put them together and create an individual treatment plan that may range from anything from tooth whitening to porcelain veneers.

We Can Give You A Great Smile

At the Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we won’t question why you feel one way or another when it comes to how your teeth look. We will simply provide you with an honest, educated voice when it comes to changing your smile for the better. Are you ready to get started? Call our Smithtown, NY dental office today.