By Colin McCandless
With 35 years of contemporary clinical dentistry experience, Virginia L. Gregory, D.M.D., provides Charleston-area residents world-class care in a comfortable and relaxed setting.
Her services run the gamut from routine preventive care to full mouth restoration. One area of Dr. Gregory’s expertise is aesthetic dentistry, which aims to replicate the natural beauty of teeth while ensuring functionality.
Aesthetic dentistry can include materials such as composite fillings for cavities, porcelain crowns or veneers for broken down teeth, bonding for chipped teeth and dental implants.
Dr. Gregory explained that these materials are “aesthetic and natural-looking so that we can mimic nature and restore function as well as enhancing the beauty of the teeth.”
For example, compositive fillings for cavities are made to match the teeth shade so that no one can tell the difference, as are the porcelain materials of crowns or veneers. Implants are made of durable materials that emulate the natural chew of teeth and are designed to harmonize with the patient’s facial structures such as lips and smile lines.
“We want all of our work to look natural as well as feel and function naturally,” asserted Dr. Gregory, who has a fellowship from the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. “It’s important to have a dentist who understands the concept of how to make a mouth look natural.”
Porcelain veneers can be used to reshape and brighten a smile to enhance its beauty. They can be applied to one tooth that is chipped or broken to fix a smile’s aesthetics, or a patient can use six to eight veneers that can be crafted and perfectly shaped to match their other teeth.
“That can really improve a smile,” said Dr. Gregory.
She has also been using Invisalign® for adults, using clear aligner trays to help straighten teeth that have shifted over time.
“It’s a very simple adjustment. It’s not only aesthetic – it’s functional as well,” Dr. Gregory remarked.
She is supported on staff by two dental hygienists who help with aesthetics, including teeth whitening and periodontal issues.
“Having clean teeth that aren’t stained; that’s part of aesthetics,” noted Dr. Gregory.
Her practice offers teeth whitening procedures from simple white strips to in-office Philips Zoom whitening. Philips Zoom might be warranted for patients who want to expedite the whitening process and lack the patience for wearing strips. It utilizes a light to isolate the teeth and applies a bleaching gel to remove stains quickly.
“It’s a great way to brighten up your smile,” said Dr. Gregory. “You get a substantial improvement in the whitening of your teeth.”
Aesthetic dentistry can do more than just repair a mouth; it can also do wonders for self-esteem and happiness. Dr. Gregory has had patients tell her they didn’t realize how fixing their smile would change people’s perceptions of them or that they never perceived themselves as attractive or having good teeth. Now they are receiving compliments on their smile from strangers in the grocery store.
“A healthy, attractive and ‘clean’ smile allows one’s confidence to soar,” stated Dr. Gregory. “This confidence in oneself radiates to others you meet, whether new friends or in dating. If one is interviewing for a job or meeting new clients in your job, confidence in your smile will give you the overall confidence in your competence.”
Expanding safety protocols
In response to COVID-19, Dr. Gregory’s office is closely following all CDC-recommended guidelines, including isolating patients, practicing social distancing and using HEPA filters to improve air flow. She and her staff have always worn masks, and now face shields and surgical scrubs have been added to the mix.
Her clinic re-opened three months ago, and they have had zero positive COVID-19 cases among staff or patients.
For more information, visit www.virginiagregory.com.