It’s with a wink and a smile that Dr. Eladio DeLeon likens his mission to that of a historical figure who shares his name.
“What was Ponce de León seeking?” he asks rhetorically. “The fountain of youth! That’s what we’re offering.”
He and his colleagues can’t exactly turn back the clock, but it sure looks that way when they display the jaw-dropping before-and-after photographs of patients treated in DCG’s Ronald Goldstein Center for Esthetic and Implant Dentistry. The center, directed by Dr. Gerard Chiche, combines prosthodontics with orthodontics, ceramics, oral surgery, periodontics and any other dental specialties needed to help adults regain smiles ravaged by decay, trauma or other factors.
Chiche, who is the Thomas P. Hinman Chair of Restorative Dentistry, and DeLeon, the Marvin C. Goldstein Chair in Orthodontics, are frequent collaborators, a partnership eased by logistics. “In this one building we have everyone and everything we need for amazing results,” DeLeon says. “The key is effective team collaboration and making the patient the center of the universe. In my 40 years of dentistry, I’ve never worked with better people than these. They’re masters.”
Orthodontics — a specialty in which adults are now seeking treatment in record numbers — is often the first step in using implants and other methods to recreate dazzling smiles. “We’re focused on both esthetics and function,” Chiche says. “The teeth have to be positioned correctly in all three planes — the vertical, sagittal and transverse — before we can add esthetic restorations such as crowns and veneers.”
DeLeon concurs, noting that lots of work unfolds in the gums and bone to preserve and position existing teeth, enabling them to serve as solid foundations for the pearly whites presented to the world. Says DeLeon, “The teeth are like fence pegs. I have to put the pegs in the right spots.” When orthodontia is necessary, clear braces are usually an option for adults who want to avoid a metal-mouth appearance.
The entire process often lasts two years or so, enabling patients to become “like family,” the dentists agree.
“There is a synergy in everything we do,” Chiche says. “Interdisciplinary treatment takes a lot of planning and organization, but it’s worth it. The results are amazing.”