My Blog

Posts for: October, 2015

By John Leitner DDS
October 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.

"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."

As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.

For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.

If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.

If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”

By John Leitner DDS
October 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Lasers  

The only option for treating gum disease was once surgery. After the anesthetic wore off, patients faced a painful recovery period and several follow-up visits. Fortunately, laser surgery has changed the way John O. Leitner, DDS, your Grand Haven dentist, treats gum Laser Dentistrydisease. When compared to traditional surgical options, laser treatment offers a variety of benefits, including:

Less pain: Instead of a scalpel, your dentist uses a thin laser fiber that fits between your teeth and gums. The laser removes the infection responsible for gum disease. Because there is no cutting, there's less pain during and after the procedure. You'll only need a local anesthetic, and in most cases, can return to your regular activities after the procedure.

Quicker results: If you have traditional gum surgery, you'll visit your dentist at least four times for treatment. There will also be additional appointments to remove stitches and check on your progress after every treatment. Laser gum treatment only requires two 2-hour sessions and two follow-up exams.

Shorter recovery: Recovery typically takes less than 24 hours, while the traditional recovery period is two to four weeks.

Freedom to eat what you want: It's no surprise that your mouth will be sore and swollen if it's been cut open with a scalpel. In fact, people who have traditional surgery can only eat soft foods or drink liquids for two to four weeks following the procedure. Your dentist in Grand Haven may recommend that you follow a soft diet for one or two days after laser treatment, but after that, you can eat all of the foods you enjoy.

Insurance coverage: If your dental insurance company covers traditional surgery, they'll probably cover laser surgery. Coverage amounts vary depending upon the company. The staff at your dentist's office can help you find out what percentage of the treatment your insurance plan will cover.

Gum disease treatment doesn't have to be painful. When you choose laser treatment, you'll be amazed at how quickly you return to normal. Call Grand Haven Dentist John Leitner DDS at (616) 842-2850 to find out if laser treatment for gum disease is the right choice for you.


Dental implants are popular with both patients and dentists for their durability and likeness to natural teeth. That natural look, though, can be difficult to attain, especially in what’s known as the “smile zone” — the area of the mouth where teeth are most visible when you smile.

Our biggest concern is the upper front teeth, where the gums are most visible, especially if you smile widely. It takes considerable skill, experience and artistry to position implants in this area so that they appear to naturally emerge from the gums and blend well with other teeth.

To obtain that natural look, we must first assess whether or not there’s enough bone present, which tends to dissolve (resorb) when a tooth is missing, to sufficiently anchor the implant in the right position. There also needs to be sufficient bone around adjacent teeth to support the tiny triangles of gum tissue between teeth called papillae. Without the papillae an unattractive black hole may result between the implant and an adjacent tooth or implant.

Another factor we must consider is the type of gum tissue you have. Everyone generally inherits one of two types of tissue from their parents: thin or thick. The type you have can influence the way the implant appears to emerge from the gums. If you have thick gums, they’re easier to work with and can cover more of the implant. Thinner tissues aren’t quite as easy and are less forgiving if an implant isn’t placed as precisely as possible.

In recent years, improvements in implant design have sought to provide greater stability around bone and gum tissues to offset some of the issues we’ve mentioned. A variation on the design of the top of the implant (where the crown is attached) changes the direction of growth for gum tissues from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one, which can help with the final appearance.

The first step, if you’re considering dental implants for a tooth in the smile zone, is to visit us for a complete examination to see if any of these factors may have an impact on your situation. We can then advise you on the best course of action to achieve the most attractive smile possible.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Implant Aesthetics.”