A Better Solution

Fit, feel and taste give implant-secured dentures edge over traditional dentures.

After friends of New Hampshire native Maurice Whipple invited him to Florida for a visit, he decided he liked the state and wanted to retire here. Maurice bought a home and became a permanent Florida resident in the late 80s, but he still spends the hot summer months with his children up north.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Maurice Whipple

These living arrangements work out well for Maurice. Unfortunately, not everything has worked out positively for him. For years, the retired electrical contractor had trouble with his teeth, and it got to a point that he began losing them.

“My dentist told me I had very hard teeth, but they were prone to cavities no matter how much I brushed and flossed,” Maurice shares. “I knew I was going to end up with dentures eventually, but I managed to put it off as long as I could.

“Around 2000, I got my upper teeth pulled and replaced with a denture. Eighteen years later, my bottom teeth started heading south on me, and I knew I would have to have them pulled out as well.”

While Maurice contemplated a denture for his bottom jaw, he also considered replacing his upper denture with an improved appliance. He learned about dentures that are secured by dental implants and thought implant dentures were the better way to go.

“With my upper denture, the plastic covered the whole roof of my mouth to create a vacuum to hold it in place,” Maurice describes. “The denture fit well, but it made me gag a lot, so I knew I needed to get rid of the roof part of my denture. I heard implant dentures don’t have plastic over the top of the mouth, so I looked into them.

“I called three dentists who offer implant dentures, and Dr. Gaukhman was the most experienced. He was also convenient. His office is located close to where I live. He also had the best deal and was very pleasant to work with. That’s the main reason I chose him.”

Maurice’s choice for dental care was Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, of Siesta Dental in Sarasota.

Dr. Gaukhman, who offers exceptional general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry, also has offices in Venice and Osprey. The dentist agreed that implant dentures were a good option for Maurice.

“I told Dr. Gaukhman what I wanted, and he said, That’s what you should have,” Maurice remembers. “I did a lot of research before I made this move. I looked into individual dental implants, but that route was too expensive for me. Implant dentures addressed my concerns and were something I could afford.”

Classic Example

Dental implants are screw-like posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for replacement teeth, such as crowns and dentures. When they’re secured by implants, dentures don’t slip or move; they stay in place when patients speak and eat. There are other advantages of implant dentures over traditional dentures, Dr. Gaukhman notes.

“A drawback of traditional upper dentures is a decrease in taste,” the dentist describes. “The tongue is mainly responsible for discerning taste, but the palate also plays a role. Because traditional dentures cover the palate, patients can be deprived of sensing the full complement of tastes. Implant dentures, on the other hand, are horseshoe-shaped and do not cover the palate, improving taste.”

Another issue that can occur with traditional upper dentures is a gag reflex. Some patients, including Maurice, experience this problem due to the denture being over the palate. By not covering the palate, implant dentures eliminate this gag reflex.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Maurice can relax comfortably now that he has implant-secured dentures.

Traditional lower dentures are generally more difficult to keep stable than upper dentures. Because there is no palate on the bottom of the mouth, less suction is produced to naturally hold lower dentures in place. As a result, they tend to slip while patients are eating and speaking.

“Adding dental implants stabilizes lower dentures, so they do not move around,” Dr. Gaukhman observes. “In addition, dentures secured by implants have stronger chewing capability than traditional dentures. Patients can eat foods they could not eat previously, improving their quality of life.

“Implant-retained lower dentures are generally secured with two implants. We typically secure upper dentures with four implants because they have to work against gravity. Maurice is a classic example of what we offer for implant dentures. We gave him a new upper denture stabilized by four implants and a new lower denture with two implants.”

Perfect Match

Maurice looked forward to getting his implant dentures, but he made it clear he wasn’t looking forward to the dental work that would get him there. Dr. Gaukhman took care of that issue as well.

“I told Dr. Gaukhman I wanted to be put to sleep when he did the drilling and other work, and he did that for me,” Maurice says. “He made me very comfortable. I didn’t experience the slightest bit of pain, not even after Dr. Gaukhman put in the implants.

“I’m very happy with Dr. Gaukhman’s process. When I got my upper denture eighteen years ago, the dentist pulled my teeth and put in my denture before my gums had completely shrunk back to their normal size after being swollen. As a result, I ended up with a loose denture.

“Dr. Gaukhman placed the implants, then waited a few months until the bone adhered to the implants and my gums healed. He gave me temporary dentures to wear during that time. I got my permanent dentures in January, and they fit perfectly.”

As it turned out, Maurice was in New Hampshire during the time his implants were healing, so when he returned to Florida, he was ready to receive his permanent dentures. He’s thrilled with the finished products.

“I love my dentures,” Maurice raves. “The bite is perfect, and they look good. Dr. Gaukhman pretty much copied the look of my old denture on the top, and for the bottom, he showed me sample teeth and let me pick what I wanted. Some were narrow teeth and some were wider, but they matched up really well.

“The dentures Dr. Gaukhman made for me look very natural. People don’t know they’re not real teeth. I’m so lucky. Everything turned out perfectly.”

Maurice is especially pleased that his new upper denture has no plastic covering the roof of his mouth. He points out that one benefit of that is he can better taste his food. But that’s not even the best part for him.

“The main benefit for me is it eliminated the gagging I experienced for eighteen years with my old upper denture,” he says. “And my bottom denture doesn’t move in my mouth at all. I should have done this in 2000 instead of waiting.

“I definitely recommend Dr. Gaukhman and Siesta Dental. They did excellent by me. Nobody could do a better job than they did.”

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    • Venetian Dental

      Venetian Dental is devoted to restoring and enhancing the natural beauty of your smile. Their state-of-the art dental offices offer the latest in dental technology and patient amenities. They provide comprehensive treatment planning, and use r... Read More

    • Alexander Gaukhman, DMD

      Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, earned his dental degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Dentistry, Ft. Lauderdale. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton. Dr. Gaukhman is a diplomate of the Inter... Read More