The Perfect Imperfection
My Story: By Mike C
Dr. Kevin Landers and Staff:
If you think this story is just about teeth, you can stop reading this. A dentist can save a life. Dr. Landers had no Idea I wrote this and this is for anyone to read. In 2004, I was a regular 18 year old kid in high School and grew up in Collegeville, PA (outside Philadelphia). I was very active lettering in 3 sports: baseball, basketball, and golf. At halftime of a televised basketball game (which I played in), there was a commercial for a dentist who did a training course at LVI for “Cosmetic Dentistry”. I decided to check him out. I had a small gap in my teeth, but I thought I had pretty nice teeth. At 18yrs old, the doctor said veneers were the best option. I trusted him. Since I didn’t have the money, and wanted this fixed, a family member paid for me. The dentist mentioned it was non-reversible. Why would anyone want to reverse something if it’s going be Fixed!
That’s me in 2004 (18 years old)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; however, the results were awful. This story is not to cast blame but to reward excellence.
I went back on numerous visits and the dentist did some contouring but again, he insisted that I would get use to them and it was a new change. I was made fun of in school and cried numerous times because all I wanted was my old teeth back. It was a nightmare. Eventually, the dentist recommended I go someone else because I was complaining (too bulky, long ,etc) too much.
(Pictures Above are the Veneers done by the other dentist).
It was a nightmare that I could not wake up from. I didn’t have the money to fix them or the knowledge to see who could help me. I was told to just deal with them. It was difficult to look at my friends or family and smile. I was determined that one day I would get these fixed. I started researching and tried my best to find a solution. Years went past and in 2008, I reached out to emailing many doctors across the country. I was disgusted with veneers and I thought that all dentists were the same but still was not willing to give up. A few dentists in the area popped up and some out of area like Dr. Landers in Chicago.
I emailed Dr. Landers and he responded very concerned and asked for me to come in. I thought, How can I afford this? I am in school. How am I going to go to Chicago and visit? I live in Philadelphia. I eventually found a dentist in Philadelphia (AACD) who was going to redo my work. I went in for a consultation and the first thing he said was “Let’s step up a cleaning.” Not a good start. He gave me an estimate of 4600 and sent me on my way. I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I thought the price was way too low for previously prepped veneers. All in all, I only saw that dentist for a few cleanings and then he retired. So, again I was stuck.
Over the past 8 years, I have be researching dentists, forums, veneer pictures, and emailing professors at dentistry colleges with the goal to try to find an answer. While I was searching in 2012, I found Dr. Landers pop up on an internet search under “Cosmetic Dentist”. The detail in his description was what really attracted me and his work looked amazing. I emailed Dr. Landers again and he said “I can make you handsome again” and to come visit. I called in beginning of 2012 and couldn’t get my scheduling down so eventually on Sept 11, 2012 I came in for a visit.
When I first met him, I knew he was the one to do this even though I was very skeptical due to my history. It is very strange. He sounded like my uncle and I already felt like I knew him. He explained to me all the options and he was willing to do 8 resin veneers (hand-made piece by piece that I requested. He said most dentists wouldn’t even perform this but if I wanted, he would do it. The other option was porcelain veneers (yuck). I asked him how many people have had porcelain re-done with resin and he said, “This is a unique case”. He said AACD members do have to do this training at some point and only highly skilled passionate dentists can perform it. I really wanted Dr. Landers to do the Resin. He told me it would take him a some time to build piece by piece per tooth but He WOULD do it if I wanted to. I showed him pictures of myself pre-2004 (above) and said I want to look like this. He understood what I wanted. He told me, we would have to have a good communication during the treatment so that I could offer my opinion while my new smile was being created.
I went home from Chicago with a feeling of confidence but I assumed he probably does this to all his patients. I had so many questions. The next day after work I received a call from a random number on my cell phone. It was Dr. Landers. He wanted to see how I was doing and if I had additional questions. I was blown away. I had a ton of questions (8 years of research of questions!). What types of materials did he use? Ceramic? What generation veneers? 1st? 2nd? Any benefit over Emax over Authenic? Tooth reduction? Bend of Veneers? Strength per cubic inch of the veneers? Did he actually meet the technician? What kind of Training did he have? I had a long list questions that he answered. We spoke for 1-2 hours via cellphone as he took the train home from work or had a long drive. All in all, he convinced me the best option was to go porcelain for many reasons. This was actually cheaper than the resin-bonding. He said he could prove to me that this can be fixed. I trusted him. It was not easy from my past but; Dr. Landers knew what he was getting into with me and said he wouldn’t ever just bail on me. Consequently, I was convinced and trusted him.
I am going try to be as brief as possible. I could write a 40 page report on this. I re-visited Dr. Landers a few weeks later (in October) to start the veneer process. The whole staff was amazing in the whole process. Especially the assistant (We had our quiet moments When Dr. Landers left the room!) helping, assisting, and offering her specialized training skills and for all her help scheduling and funny jokes, none of this would have ever been done. The staffed even offered me an anxiolytic to help make the process more relaxing. They always made me feel as comfortable as I could.
The first thing Dr. Landers does with all his patients (that get veneers) is actually puts resin-bonding on your teeth or pre-existing veneers and molds them into what you want before the finals are made. A big issue with me was I didn’t want a lot of tooth reduction since I already had veneers prepped. Dr. Landers used a soft brush stoke with cell optic dental handpiece and washed off the old veneers. This was all done with little to no more tooth reduction. Not only that, he barely even touched my natural teeth, Below is the picture of him CARVING My old veneers to shape them into what I liked. I went in at 12pm and we didn’t get finished until 5:30 ish (the office closes at 4pm). I went in the next morning (7am) to prep for the veneers again and we did some more contouring and he put on temporary veneers.
These are the Before pictures of the old Veneers
These pictures after Dr Landers reshaped my old Veneers and used Resin composite to design my smile
Here are a few Pictures of me with the Temps
Here are Dr Landers Veneers at the first Try in Appt.
The temps definitely were not my favorite part,, however, anything was better from before. They were only temporaries. I decided to move on and explain my concerns. At no point ever did Dr. Landers say we’re doing it my way or force me to do anything I didn’t want. He offered his suggestions through years of professional training in cosmetic dentistry, clinical experience, and numerous continuing education but in the end, I was the one making the decisions.(should be)
I returned in 3 weeks (4rd visit) in October (Fly out of Philadelphia to Chicago) to finish the process. Dr. Landers and I knew this was a step by step approach. He made that clear to me and I felt a whole lot better when I heard him say that out loud.
The detail on the one front tooth looks so real I cant even tell. (That is saying a lot). Good Job Lab on that one.
We decided to send the 4 Veneers back to the lab for refinements and put 4 newTemps on. (look below 4 on/off)
3 gap-week visit (scheduling) and new Look which I really Liked.
(left canine, bilateral no temp/tooth, temp on right canine/ bi-lateral
I went back, Dr. Landers refined and physically reshape the veneers (thickness and shape down, (I don’t know how he did this since the veneer was so thin.) I would then return again in Jan.
6 veneers on. (How natural is that look!) My expectations were suppose to be similar to my original teeth. Not the really white hollywood look. I love left side more(mirror image) and Its real tooth.(whats left of it!) Amazing real and esp for a guy! Awesome Character! People relate to a Genuine look.
The perfect imperfection
This shows some character of who Dr. Landers is and the people who he puts around him. Dr. Landers and there Staff genuinely care about you (the patient) and happiness is the final endpoint.
He truly respected my decision. He is a truly surgical artistic Magician. It’s magic cause no one knows how he does it.
This is a unique case. The time and effort Dr. Landers and Staff put into this is a miracle. The time and effort the staff put in for me is insurmountable to a price. No one every complained about me and was nice to me. I can not explain how grateful I am to come in contact with Dr. Landers. He truly takes pride in what he does in everything in life, and dentistry is just another part. He expects the best out of you and he will absolute give you the best, even when he doesn’t get it in return. The journey has just begun. I have found my dentist for life. We shared stories , jokes, but most important he understood it was time for me move on in my life and stop worrying about my teeth. That is why Dr. Landers saved my life. He is truly a remarkable person and I can not Thank him enough.
Mike C. Pharm.D