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November 16, 2015

Time to be Thankful and Time to be Smiling

Dr. Sand WallI’m a huge supporter of locally grown produce, and even belong to a CSA (crop share association).   With so much food coming in each week, I’ve learned the domestic art of food preservation, like canning and dehydrating.  My mom’s favorite vegetable is green beans.  I know, not my favorite either, but she loves them.   And I love showing up each Thanksgiving with an arm full of fresh-from-the-farm (canned in my kitchen) green beans.  Walking up to the front door, seeing her standing there with a huge smile on her face melts me into a pool of goo.

This reminds me of the quote by (EK), “ I love when you look at someone with a smile on your face and they break into a smile back at you, not because they know why you’re smiling, but because you’re happy and that’s enough to make them happy.”    When I show up at mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner I feel happy because I’m grateful to be there, I’ve made something she loves, and because I’m excited to see my family (and eat).  I show up with a big smile anticipating a fun day full of love and laughter.

If you were to ask my mom why she is smiling, you would expect her to say because of those delicious jars I’m holding in my arms.   But, the truth would simply be because of my smile at her.  This holiday season, I challenge you to change your thinking.  I believe your smile is an outward expression that your brain is connected to your heart.  So, you have choices.  You can think of the moments that have made you laugh or smile or you can just simply do it (a sort of fake it till you make it approach).   Both end with the same goal which is a smile to share with others and yourself.

October 6, 2015

Welcome Our New CEREC System to the Office!

New CEREC system at Dr. Sand Wall's office!I’ve recently made the decision to upgrade my same-day dental restoration system.   My team, patients, and I are in love all over again!   Using superior quality dental porcelain, I’m able to give patients the high quality restorations they’ve come to expect in just one visit. I’ve been using CEREC Brand for many years, but the new system allows me to feel like a true artist as I craft detailed, custom dental restorations that restore smiles to their natural strength. I love seeing the results, but the best thing about this new and improved CEREC system, besides the cool music it plays while capturing the NO-IMPRESSION image, is hearing how happy my patients are.

June 22, 2015

Summer Smiles

Happy active underwater child swims in pool

The sunshine and warm weather of summer puts a smile on our faces, and makes us all want to go outside and have fun. One of the best summer pastimes is lounging by your local pool, especially if you have children. Taking your kids to the pool and letting them swim is a great way to pass summer hours, get them out of the house, and sneak in some relaxation time for yourself.

Recently, a patient shared a summer swimming experience with me. One summer she took her children to the pool for a relaxing family afternoon. As she lay pool side soaking up the sun, her daughter expertly swam laps. She felt so proud of her little fish. Then, her daughter wasn’t swimming anymore. The patient’s daughter pulled herself out of the pool, holding her mouth and crying. She miscalculated the distance to the wall and chipped her teeth. In the blink of an eye, their relaxing afternoon turned into a dental disaster.

That’s how easily accidents can happen, generally, when you least expect them. Fortunately, dental accidents like these can be repaired. My patient’s daughter has a smile as good as new and you would never know she’d chipped her teeth. If you or your loved ones need help restoring your smile, I will work with you to determine the right fix, and get it done fast. Summertime is for family fun and relaxation. Don’t let fear of a potential dental accident stop your summer fun. Accidents happen, let me worry about how to get your smile back in line.

April 13, 2015

A Successful Smile: Studies Reveal the Surprising Importance of Dental Aesthetics

ThinkstockPhotos-Couple with VeneersCosmetic options like Invisalign, Snap-On Smile, and porcelain veneers have rapidly become some of the most popular aesthetic dental treatments in America, and it’s easy to see why. Teeth that are straight, white, and healthy are coveted and revered not only in the world of celebrity, but at every level of socioeconomic status. This is because, according to recent studies, an attractive smile is considered indicative of various desirable qualities and characteristics. In fact, research has shown that Americans perceive individuals with straight teeth to be up to 58 percent more likely to be wealthy and successful as compared to those with teeth that are gapped, crooked or diseased.

Other characteristics attributed to men and women with beautiful teeth include:

  • Good health
  • Intelligence
  • Friendliness
  • Confidence
  • Active social life and popularity
  • Trustworthiness

In addition to this, believe it or not, research also shows that people with attractive smiles were judged to earn an average of $15,000 more per year than they actually did. They were also deemed 10 percent more likely to land a good job and 57 percent more apt to be asked on a date based upon a picture alone. Even more surprisingly, 87 percent of men and women stated that they would gladly give up something they enjoyed for an entire year – including vacations and dessert – if it meant that they could have a beautiful smile for life.

Of course, a smile is, by its very nature, an expression of happiness and friendliness. We’re inherently inclined to share it freely with those that are closest to us in moments of joy, camaraderie, and humor.  Today, I had a husband of a patient for whom I recently did veneers.  He noticed that she was smiling a lot lately and thought he was the source of her happiness.  Then he realized that she was smiling more because she liked her smile.  It’s just interesting, sometimes, to pause and reflect on what that smile really communicates to the world around us.

March 13, 2015

Feeling Confident in Your Smile: What Does Your Portrait Say About You?

Darlene Sand Wall MarchI feel that the camera brings out my inner critic every time. Having your photograph taken can be a fun experience, especially if you feel confident in the appearance of your smile. However, if you feel self-conscious about how your teeth will look through the exacting lens of the camera, the entire experience may prove stressful and unpleasant. Believe it or not, the way we perceive ourselves just before the click of the shutter makes a huge difference in the end result.

It’s a secret that all great photographers know: it’s incredibly difficult to look good in a photo if you don’t feel great about yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sure, there are digital tools and special lighting techniques that can mask flaws or enhance the image quality, but no amount of Photoshop trickery can produce a radiant glow or a sincere expression. That inner spark and that visible confidence have to come from you.

Some people avoid the camera like the plague, while others love it so much that one wonders if there might be a touch of narcissism at hand. Regardless, one fact will never change: a photograph is a timeless representation of a single moment, captured in an instant. Making the camera your friend is sometimes just a simple matter of acceptance, settling into the knowledge that your healthy, happy smile truly is a treasure for all to see. When you love your smile, it shows. Give the world a real glimpse into who you are, and share your smile openly. Worth far more than a thousand words, your portrait will surely speak for itself.

February 13, 2015

There’s Magic in the Air… and in Your Smile

When I think of February, the first thing that comes to mind is, yea! It’s time to celebrate the love we have in our lives! It’s the month for hearts, flowers, togetherness, and smiles. Lots of smiles.  In fact, did you know that a smile is the single most attractive feature to both men and women, and that its power can be expressed anywhere and at anytime? What better way to get a little magic stirring? I find that we rarely consider how powerful and magical a smile can truly be, and I think February – the month of love – is the perfect time to give this captivating and charismatic characteristic the attention it deserves.

As a dentist, I’m blessed and fortunate enough to receive and return countless smiles every day. I get to witness firsthand what a difference a smile can make, instantly brightening the day of anyone in its path.  From my patients and their families to my staff and even strangers on the street, a simple flash of a smile can completely transform your mood, then radiates out to those around you.

Case in point: One of my patients recently presented me with this plaque:

00001 Sand Wall Smile Plaque


He said he thought of me when he saw it. This incredibly sweet sentiment, naturally, left a smile on my face, and I’m happy to share it now with everyone who comes in to the office. I love knowing that I get to help others smile every day; it truly is the greatest gift, and it just keeps on giving.

As we close for today, I’ll leave you with a little Month of Love trivia, just for fun: What do chocolates and a smile have in common?

Answer: They’ve both been scientifically proven to cause a significant increase in dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, all of which are feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. So share your smile today (and chocolate too, if you want), and make the world a more magical place!

January 21, 2015

Finding Balance & Harmony within Your Smile

A few months ago, I found myself trekking through the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico, enjoying the magnificent scenery and everything the living desert has to offer. Hardy brush, blooming wildflowers, unique cactus formations, and centuries-old rock formations greeted my eyes at every turn. I did, however, come across something completely unexpected during my hike: this astounding structure in the middle of nowhere.

00001 Sand Wall Balance and Harmony

As an avid admirer of balance and harmony in daily life, I was immediately struck by the beauty and composition of what I’d discovered. The stones, meticulously placed, exhibited such harmony within an undeniably intense environment like the desert. Even so, they just seemed to fit so well there, and the experience left me thinking about the concepts and techniques I apply while creating balanced, harmonious smiles.

Crafting Your Perfect Smile

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about straightening your teeth or making them whiter, though these aspects certainly do play an important role in achieving a balanced and beautiful smile. When greeting patients, I naturally take an all-encompassing approach to not only the health of their teeth and gums, but to their overall appearance as well.

I ask myself a number of critical questions, taking into account every facet of each smile as an individual component of a much more significant whole. Does her smile naturally enhance her facial contours, and are her teeth the right shade to complement her skin tone and eye color? Does the shape and size of his teeth improve or detract from his overall image? What can I offer to bring symmetry, strength, and harmony to my patients’ faces so that they can more fully enjoy their lives?

The truth is that there are so many integral factors to consider when you’re creating a beautifully balanced smile, and it’s one of my favorite things to do for my patients. It’s honestly one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable, and I’m newly grateful for the opportunity every day.

December 17, 2014

Ringing in the New Year in a Brand New Way

I can’t believe how this year has flown by! Christmas is right around the corner and, before we know it, the New Year will be upon us. As I spent some time decorating the office for Christmas this week, one decoration in particular made me stop and think for a moment about something I believe is especially important this time of the year.

00001 Sand Wall Christmas Decoration for December blog

This festive little sleigh, adorned with twinkling lights and gingham ribbon bows, has been one of my favorite holiday decorations for more than ten years. Every Christmas, I bring out the sleigh with its smiling snowmen and pine needle boughs, and I have to smile at all of the memories it carries. I love this cheery addition to the office and the unmistakable holiday spirit it contributes to the ambiance of this space.

Even as I marveled at how the sleigh has inevitably found its place here for so many years, I was able to recognize the fact that it is, admittedly, a little dated. Compared to the other, more modern décor around the office, this little basket of Christmas joy doesn’t shine quite as brightly as I initially thought. I love it all the same, of course, even with its little imperfections, but it really got me thinking. This revelation, I realized, can be aptly applied to what we do here every day when we help our patients improve their smiles and their health overall.

I suppose I can sum it up like this: It’s important to remember that you can love the old while still welcoming the new, particularly as the beginning of a brand new year approaches. As you make your New Year’s resolutions this January, I invite you to think of the way you perceive your smile. It isn’t necessarily something you regularly think of improving or changing because it’s a part of you that you’re so accustomed to seeing in a certain light. And while you may be content to accept it as it is, imperfections and all, maybe the New Year is the perfect time to take a second look at how it really makes you feel. If there’s ever been a time to give yourself the gift of a brighter, healthier, more confident smile, it’s definitely now!

While I don’t think I’ll ever part with this adorable little family of Christmas snowmen, I do think I’ll start a new tradition this year. My resolution is to look at the old in a new light whenever possible, to appreciate and love what the past offers while still keeping my eyes open to a tomorrow that’s newer and brighter. I hope you all do the same and enjoy the very happiest of New Years!


November 13, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is: Giving Thanks for Our Dental Family

Our magnetic map, where our patients are invited to place pins showing where they’ve been and how far they’ve come.

Our magnetic map, where our patients are invited to place pins showing where they’ve been and how far they’ve come.

November has finally arrived, and with it comes the season of giving, togetherness, and genuine gratitude. In light of the Thanksgiving spirit, I’d love nothing more than to take this moment to pause and give thanks for each and every member of our dental family. From the precious smiles of your little children as they toddle in for their very first visit to the cherished patients I’ve been serving for years, all of you represent a special place in my heart. That connection is what I’m most thankful for this year and every other year I’m fortunate enough to serve as your dentist.

Every year, all across America, families gather round their dinner tables to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition together, laughing and loving and sharing an inextinguishable sense of community with those who matter most. This is a tradition that is undiminished by the forces of time and distance; no matter how far from home we may stray over the course of our lives, we always manage to come back home, back to where the heart is.

I sincerely hope that each of my patients experiences that unmistakable feeling of unconditional warmth and hospitality every time they visit my office. This is your dental home, and you and your family are a part of ours. For this – and for your beautiful smiles – I am eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

October 30, 2014

Inspiration through St. Apollonia: The Patron Saint of Dentistry

00001 St. ApolloniaNovember 1st is All Saints’ Day, and I can think of no better time of year to recognize one of my favorite saints: St. Apollonia. As the patron saint of dentistry, St. Apollonia serves as a welcome refuge for those suffering from dental pain, particularly toothaches. As a dentist, I often call upon St. Apollonia as a source of continuing inspiration and strength as I provide my patients with the dental care they need.

The account of St. Apollonia’s life was written by Dionysius (then the Bishop of Alexandria) and relayed to Fabian, the Bishop of Antioch. Dionysius recounted the story of Apollonia, an aged deaconess, whose refusal to renounce her faith resulted in her torture and eventual death at the hands of her persecutors. After having all of her teeth forcibly removed, Apollonia whispered a prayer and committed herself to the flames of her attackers.

In her final moments, Apollonia serenely and voluntarily brought an end to the torture inflicted by Emperor Philip’s mobs, even as they continued to demand that she forsake her God. Her martyrdom has since been seen as a testament to her heroic faith, and she is invoked and remembered fondly by millions, particularly those in the field of dentistry.

In my practice, I like to emphasize the importance of maintaining an environment that is balanced, harmonious, and imbued with positive energy. Recognizing and honoring St. Apollonia’s enduring spirit is just one way that I strive to do this every day.

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3505 Dixie Highway, Erlanger, KY 41018 USA
Dr. Darlene Sand Wall Erlanger KY dentist (859) 344-8500 (859) 344-8506