Miss Kay Baby Epperson has been quite a flamboyant patient through the years at Dr. Rick Coker’s Smile Studio. She breezed into the office that first time ready for a new smile. She had broken a tooth while participating in a church meeting and another of the committee members suggested she get to Tyler to see Dr. Coker right away.
What a fun gal! She wanted a bright white Hollywood smile to go with her charismatic personality. Every time she comes in she has a new story – whether it’s about meeting Elvis Presley in Las Vegas and cutting his hair for years or whether it’s about going to the “boats” for an afternoon of gambling.
Her latest stories have been about meeting Shirley MacLaine, Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey while filming the movie “Bernie.”
“Bernie” is a film directed by Richard Linklater about the actual murder of a wealthy 81-year-old widow by her 39-year-old assistant and former funeral home assistant director in Carthage, Texas. Kay Baby was one of a number of East Texans who got parts in the movie, most of them with no previous acting experience.
If you have a chance, get to the theater to see this film. If it doesn’t come to a theater near you, check it out on Netflix. You can read a more in-depth story about the film and Miss Kay Baby at Texas Monthly.
Tyler, Texas Dentist, Rick Coker: Beautiful and Great Smiles
Once you’ve decided you’re ready for a new smile, here is a list of things you will want to think about.
1. What do you want? You will want to discuss with the dental team exactly what you are looking for. Bring pictures. Ask to see pictures of patients they have treated. Discuss your options.
2. What is your “problem?” Are your teeth worn and frazzled? Are they yellow? Do you have a lot of old, discolored dental work? Do you just have one or two crooked teeth? Do you have any missing teeth? Do your teeth fit together comfortably? Do you have any cavities? Are your gums infected? Ask for a thorough diagnosis. You certainly don’t want to build a new smile on a rickety foundation.
3. What’s the plan? At this point you and the dental team need to agree on the end result. You’ll want to develop a plan together so that everyone knows what the steps to completion will be. Make sure you are in agreement with the recommendations. Spend a lot of time with the plan, before beginning any treatment.
4. Where do you start? Get the fundamentals done first. You really can’t do a good job of creating a beautiful smile if you have infection and active disease happening in your mouth. The gums have to be healthy, you need to be free of decay, and the way your teeth fit together needs to be comfortable before you begin the smile makeover or you will be redoing the work a lot sooner than you planned.
5. Why do you need a wax-up? This step is critical. Most of the really good cosmetic dentists use a laboratory to wax up their cases before they start them. This creates a three-dimensional blueprint of the finished case so you will be able to really see the size and shape of the teeth. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint and you certainly don’t want to have cosmetic dental treatment without a clear understanding of what it will look like!
6. What will you need to think about as your new smile is developed? Communication with the dentist and the team is critical. There will be literally dozens of decisions to be made about your case including the type of porcelain used, the shade of porcelain, the staining or customization of that porcelain and the bite arrangement. Be sure your dental team is eager to communicate with you about your case.
7. Where is the dental lab? Insist that the dental lab is located in the U.S. There are too many issues with unlicensed foreign labs using suspect materials. An outstanding dental lab is just as important as the work of the dentist in getting your beautiful smile. It’s not worth saving a few dollars when you will be disappointed with the final result.
8. How involved will you be in the process? For you to get a fabulous smile, you must be part of the team. Your involvement goes beyond showing up and writing a check. You will want to feel good knowing that you have picked the absolute best team and you become totally involved. The whole process can be fun and the results will be outstanding when you’ve done your homework.
Mary and Cindy conferring on a case.
Some beautiful smiles created by Dr. Rick Coker and his team at The Smile Studio in Tyler, TX