Smile Spotlight: Becky | What Keeps Us From Smiling?

CASE STUDY | Porcelain Veneers

Patient: Becky, 52 Years

Problem: Did not like to smile because her teeth were short and dark in color

Solution: 4 Porcelain Veneers


We’d like to introduce you to Becky …


At 52, Becky, realized that she didn’t like to smile. Not because she didn’t want to, but because her front teeth were worn down and chipped with yellow stains. So, her teeth appeared short and dark when she smiled; a far cry from the beautiful smile she really wanted.


Becky’s consultation with Dr. Anderson revealed an easy fix … 4 porcelain veneers on her front 4 teeth.


By performing a simple cosmetic procedure, Becky’s smile was transformed. By adding just 4 porcelain veneers on her front 4 teeth the following objectives were met:

  1. No more stains: we lightened the color of her veneers, giving her the pearly-white smile, she wanted.
  2. No more short teeth: we improved the overall length and made them soft and rounded, to achieve a natural and beautiful smile.
  • Upper picture (before photo) shows the short length and discoloring
  • Bottom picture is the final close up of the 4 new porcelain veneers showing Becky’s beautiful and natural smile.
    • Notice the level of craftsmanship and detail that can be obtained with porcelain veneers.
    • Porcelain Veneers can improve the length and symmetry of a smile.
    • Porcelain Veneers can cover teeth that are misshapen or severely discolored.


By examining these before and after results of Becky’s improved smile, you can see for yourself the difference this simple enhancement made; not only for Becky’s smile, but for her self-esteem, confidence and overall happiness as a person.

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We Believe: You Should Want to Smile Every Day 

Not smiling and being conscious of not smiling – especially when you’re happy – is the exact opposite of what we want our patients to do. We should all feel confident when we smile and smile big when we want to, without hesitation and fear of any judgement from a troublesome smile.

Enhancing smiles is SIMPLE and it’s our FAVORITE thing to do for our patients because it’s so rewarding for our team and so life-changing for our patients. If you’re not happy with your smile, for any reason, we hope you’ll visit us, so we can understand what you do and don’t like about your current smile and how you’d like to see it transform, with a little help!

If you’d like to look at another one of our SMILE SPOTLIGHT patients who had Porcelain Veneers, check out Amy’s Story.

Why do some people prefer to NOT smile?

A smile typically signifies a positive emotional state — happiness, satisfaction, kindness, and warmth. The benefits of a positive mood, according to researchers, include improved heart health, increased longevity, and stronger immune systems. These benefits are definitely worthwhile goals — no one would argue that. And the majority of evidence suggests that smiling truly does enhance our moods and our lives.

However, we might wonder if consciously controlling a facial expression can really change our lives.

Why Do We Really Smile?

Although smiles are generally taken as signs of contentment, humans actually smile for many different reasons.

Sometimes we really do smile because we are happy, but we also smile for social reasons and to put people at ease, as well as to show more complex emotions, such as acknowledgment.

What Keeps Us from Smiling?

Personal Characteristics

Some people just aren’t prone to smiling — they may be shy and unsure of themselves, self-conscious about their appearance, or simply don’t feel the need to offer smiles to all and sundry. They may have been raised in families or cultures where smiling wasn’t as frequent as it is in others.


Does your cellphone make you less friendly and less likely to interact with others in social situations? Absolutely! When you have your cellphone in your hands, you are a lot less likely to offer anyone a smile or to make eye contact.

However you look at it, smartphones detract from the present moment and can be an obstacle to building relationships that might have benefitted you in some way.

Oral Health

Smiling is a lot easier for those individuals who possess healthy teeth and gums. We probably have experience — either firsthand or witnessing the behavior — of holding a hand over the mouth when talking to others if self-conscious about the appearance of our smiles. Even kids as young as 4 years old may exhibit unconscious sensitivity about the health and appearance of their smiles and be reluctant to smile as frequently as kids who have higher levels of oral health.

When we are hesitant to smile, we are also often seen as less friendly, less approachable, and less inviting to have around. If we don’t respond to a smile with one of our own or use a smile to open up a social connection, we will end up having a lot less to smile about in the long run, as smiles serve as the bridge to social connections.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can wreck lives in many ways, one of which includes its significant detrimental effects on oral health. “Meth mouth,” a term coined to describe the resulting damage to teeth that addiction to this substance can cause, is one example of the ways in which oral health is negatively affected by addiction. When an addiction is kicked, the damage will remain unless corrected and can be a permanent scar of past struggles and poor choices.

Findings from a recent study suggest that treating the oral health problems, can actually increase the success rate of substance abuse recovery programs. When individuals seeking addiction treatment also received treatment for their smiles — everything from fillings to root canals to dentures — they were significantly more likely to complete their substance abuse treatment and stay clean longer. Having a healthy smile makes a difference in addiction treatment and recovery motivation.

Benefits of Smiling?

Fine-tuning Your Mood

In a round-up meta-analysis of over 130 research studies related to smiling, it was found that smiling or scowling or frowning really do have some measurable effect on our emotional state and really did make for more positive experiences in life. Forcing a smile won’t change your life, but allowing yourself to smile about something positive in your day, or in response to another person’s smile, or about something amusing you notice, can actually influence your mood positively. Happiness and life satisfaction are predictors of a slew of positive health markers regarding such physiological factors as cardiovascular and immune system functioning.

Inspiring Confidence

When we put on a genuine smile, we actually feel better about life’s circumstances and ourselves. When you smile at another person, and they return the smile, or vice versa, our brain floods with endorphins which makes us feel happy. It’s like a quick shot of joy that lifts our heart and our spirit. It also makes us feel more confident in a situation. At job interviews, when you smile at candidates, they are going to perform better than when you take the “blank screen” approach.

Smiling at others, when the smile is authentic, makes you more likely to be perceived as trustworthy. People who smile more often with their partners also enjoy more peaceful and pleasant marriages and relationships.

If You Just Can’t Crack a Smile

Inauthentic smiles aren’t going to provide the benefits to your health that authentic smiles will do, but learning to look for the humor in an otherwise unpleasant situation can help you find more reasons to smile. Learning to let go of frustration and anger can also help you spend more time soaking in all the pleasures that surround you.

If you find you’re trying too hard to fake a smile or put on a mask for others, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Feeling unusually unhappy, losing interest in the things you once found engaging, and having a hard time moving through life are all signs of depression. When a smile becomes too much to expect from yourself, reach out to others, whether it is friends, family, or a professional helper.



More about Porcelain Veneers … what are they?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells made from porcelain to that is placed over a tooth to correct any tooth damage or to improve the color and alignment of a smile. They are customized to match the color of your teeth as closely as possible, all while enhancing your smile for a more realistic and natural look. Veneers are bonded to your teeth permanently for lasting results and you can receive as many or as few veneers as you need.

Veneers can fix a multitude of cosmetic dentistry issues to bring you your best smile:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Teeth that have large gaps or are misaligned
  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Small teeth
  • Worn down teeth

Veneers can last for a long time, often lasting at least a decade and porcelain veneers are great at resisting stains, keeping your smile bright!

Check out our Porcelain Veneer FAQ HERE.

What Are the Benefits of Porcelain Veneers?

Corrects Unwanted Imperfections: One of the primary advantages to porcelain veneers is the ability to repair chipped, broken, or gapped teeth quickly. Veneers offer instant results that, in most situations, eliminate the need for additional dental cosmetic procedures. Overall, porcelain veneers help conceal minor cosmetic and orthodontic issues.

Whitens Teeth Immediately: For people who have stained or yellowed teeth, porcelain veneers offer a quick fix. They shield the front portion of the teeth, disguising any discoloration and presenting a more beautiful smile. Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains and offer protection and longevity. After this dental procedure, individuals do not have to worry about whitening their capped teeth. Instead, they can comfortably sip coffee, wine, and other drinks without hesitation.

Provides a Protective Coating for Teeth: Tooth enamel plays an important role in tooth function and longevity. Enamel is said to be much stronger than bones in the human body. Although it is resilient, enamel can wear down over time and leave teeth susceptible to decay, discoloration, and unwanted oral conditions. Porcelain veneers offer a solution to damaged enamel as it provides a layer of coating that protects to teeth. Veneers also limit any discomfort or visible damage caused by worn-down enamel.

Read more HERE about veneers.

Why Do People Want Veneers?

There are many reasons why people choose dental veneers to makeover their smile. Here are the top six reasons why people make this choice:

  1. Decayed and broken teeth
  2. Crowded teeth treatment
  3. People choose to close gap in teeth, especially the front teeth
  4. People with heavy, permanent teeth stains choose to enhance and brighten their smile with veneers
  5. Many people choose to get veneers to lengthen teeth and create a more symmetrical smile
  6. When previous teeth restorations have failed and the gums have pulled away to show an unsightly black edging around the tooth, veneers are a choice to restore teeth and the appearance of the smile

As you can see, there are several reasons people choose a veneer smile. When a patient visits one of our offices, our goal is to help them in any way we can. When you are unhappy with your smile, you are less likely to share it with others. Enhancing your teeth will make it much easier for you to express your joy through smiling. We want to help you because, everyone deserves to have the confidence to smile.

More on Dental Health and Veneers:

How Do You Get Porcelain Veneers?

Many patients visit our office with questions about the steps of getting dental veneers or have concerns they’d like to talk through. Below, we’ve outlined several steps of the veneer process in order to ease nerves and answer some questions.

  • One of the first steps in the process is to get diagnostics of the patient. Impressions and photos are taken to map out what the final teeth restorations will look like before preparing the teeth.
  • Once diagnostics have been done, the patient we’ll begin the actual process of preparing the teeth. During this appointment, your dentist will discuss shape, size, contour, and shade with you, so that the temporaries and final veneers will be customized to your satisfaction.
  • Your teeth will be prepared by trimming down a small amount of your tooth, about half of a millimeter. Then an impression of your teeth will be taken and models created to get the sizing accurate for your veneers; and your temporary veneers will be placed.
  • After that, your porcelain veneers will be created in the lab based upon the information provided by the doctor.
  • Your perfect smile is just around the corner! Once the lab has finished creating the veneers, the doctor will place them. They will be bonded to your teeth using a special adhesive and post-op photos will be taken.
  • After this appointment there may be a following appointment to check the final outcome of the teeth restorations.

Read more HERE about What to Know Before Getting Porcelain Veneers. 

Caring for Your Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are not high maintenance and do not require any special care. To keep your smile in tip-top shape, continue with your normal oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist on a regular basis. However, if you want to preserve your veneers for the longest amount of time, we recommend:

  • Protect your teeth at night if you grind them
  • Wearing a mouth guard during contact sports
  • Try not to chew on hard items such as fingernails
  • Do not use your teeth to open packages

At Thomas L. Anderson and Associates, we know that no one wants unnatural-looking teeth, and that’s why we use the latest technology to create custom porcelain veneers to enhance your smile without anyone noticing!

We Can Help You Get the Smile of Your Dreams!

Porcelain veneers are one such procedure that we have used to help our patients achieve the look and function they want from their smile. If you have been dreaming of the perfect smile, reach out to our team of professionals to discuss how veneers could be the solution for you. Contact us to book your appointment.

Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.