For many people, a perfect smile can be achieved with the help of their dentist. In Mission, Dr. Kesteven, who has been in dentistry for 16 years, changed the focus of his practice to the cosmetic side of the business.
“It’s an exciting time to be in dentistry because of the things you can do now,” said Kesteven, who recently completed the Master Aesthetic Dentist program at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental studies.
In the past, a person needed to make about 20 appointments with the dentist to have a smile enhancement, but today, Kesteven can do it in two or three visits.
“This treatment is a lot of fun to do but you have to have dedicated time for it,” said Kesteven. “Much of what we do is aesthetic, meaning elective. In the past we had to go to the dentist because we had to get a filling. Now some people are excited to be here because they know their smile will be changed.”
Each case to improve a person’s smile is different, said Kesteven. “Each person’s opinion of a great smile is different,” he said. “We spend time focusing on a person to find our what they want, what their long term desire is.”
In many cases, people want to remove the mercury filling and whiten the teeth.
Before any procedures are performed, Kesteven and his team talk to the patient about what can be done, how soon it can be done and finances. “Once we come up with a treatment plan, a patient has the option to do everything or only some of it,” said Kesteven.
Many dental plans are designed to look after dental decay and most do not offer coverage for elective procedures. Some plans will offer partial coverage for things like replacing silver fillings, said Kesteven.
The silver fillings, which is 50 per cent mercury, can leech into a person’s body, said Kesteven. “Mercury is a heavy metal that deposits itself in body tissue,” explained Kesteven. “In 1996, Health Canada recommended against placing it in children, the elderly and pregnant women. Where do that leave us? Many of us will become elderly.
“Over time mercury expands and fractures teeth. Besides the health concerns, it doesn’t seal well. Sometimes when I’m cleaning teeth, there is decay there. It’s a trap for bacteria.
Although the effects are long term, Kesteven still wants to see patients for check ups and cleaning.
A better smile gives people a youthful look, said Kesteven, who adds sometimes the best part of his day is following up with patients after a procedure to see how they’re doing.
By Carol Aun
Published in The Mission City Record, May 2, 2002