The Difference is in the SMILE

By Lisa Bernard
Today’s Chicago Woman, November, 1999

With the unprecedented popularity of Hollywood-white teeth, it seems that everyone is looking for a “quick fix.” Simply visit your dentist, she or he will either power bleach your teeth in-house or send you home with a kit for a couple hundred dollars. But it’s not that simple, according to Benjamin S. Fiss, DDS whose practice is located at 919 North Michigan Avenue. “Dentistry has evolved into an art where technique-sensitive procedures and materials interface with quality and service. An uncompromising commitment to excellence sets the office tone for staff and patients,” he explains.

And this attention to detail and meticulous attitude may be what keeps patients leaving his office smiling. Starting his practice over 20 years ago, Dr. Fiss takes pride in helping patients achieve the exact goal they had when they walked through his doors. “The first instrument I use is my ears. I need to listen to the patient and understand what they expect,” Dr. Fiss stresses. Once a comprehensive exam is completed, a treatment plan is presented and broken down into phases to achieve the patients’ goals.

While he has the technology for it, Dr. Fiss strays from using computerized images to show patients what they’ll look like when he’s finished. Instead, he takes actual models of the teeth and uses wax to accurately create new teeth over the original teeth. That way, he says, he can give the patient a true visual of what they’re not getting, not just sell them a picture. “The models give me a template-a mock-up of what I’m going to build. By the time I’m finished, I’ve already solved any potential problems that may arise.”

Although he believes in what he describes as “form and function,” Dr. Fiss adds that he still understands the power of a photograph. “People rip out pictures from a magazine and say, ‘I want teeth like that,’ and I encourage that because it opens the doors of communication.”

The artwork in his office isn’t your typical landscape or abstract. Dozens of dramatic before and after pictures of patients adorn the walls. “It motivates people to see what’s possible and what can be accomplished,” the dentist explains.

Of course, the challenge isn’t the only thing that should keep a dentist going-there’s always the satisfaction of helping patients feel better about themselves. Dr. Fiss remembers an 18-year-old girl that had gotten in a car accident and had either lost or cracked the majority of her teeth. It was going to take substantial work and a considerable amount of money to fix-but well worth it, to reconstruct that smile that was lost. “This had changed her life,” Dr. Fiss observes. “Now we can’t stop her from smiling.”

Thousands of veneers, implants and bleachings later, Dr. Fiss points out that every case is different. “Some patients desire whitening, other prefer more subtle changes. The techniques involved vary with the degree of improvement desired. “The final result, however, must always look symmetric and natural.”

“A beautiful smile enhances all phases of a person’s life, boosting one’s self-confidence to excel both personally and professionally,” Dr. Fiss explains. “People gravitate to people with great smiles.”

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