Back from the Brink

Noninvasive laser procedure strengthens gums, saves failing implants.

Randall McCrory had the misfortune of being born with a propensity for bad teeth.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Randall McCrory

“That’s what my dentist told me when I was twenty-two years old,” the 72-year-old retired mechanical engineer states.

Randall worked for 20 years in an upper management position for the DuPont™ company. Though he loved his job, Randall’s happiness was tempered by dental problems that initially resulted in the loss of several upper teeth.

Those teeth were eventually replaced with dental implants, but years later, while he was being fit with implants for four lost bottom teeth, Randall was told significant bone loss was causing the upper implants to fail.

The distressing news prompted a search during which Randall went to five or six dentists seeking help for the problem. One recommended he visit Stuart Periodontics and meet with C. Nicholas DeTure, DMD, who specializes in periodontology and implantology.

“Game-Changer” Laser

“Over the years, Randall developed a gum infection around his implants, a condition we call peri-implantitis,” Dr. DeTure reports. “He was losing bone around the implants, and his gums were so sensitive that we couldn’t do the typical periodontal probe on him.”

Peri-implantitis is a progressive, inflammatory disease that affects both the hard and soft tissue surrounding an implant. Symptoms include gum bleeding and/or swelling, gum redness and/or tenderness and, in some cases, suppuration, which is the formation of pus.

Randall was experiencing some of these symptoms, but he was fortunate to have found Dr. DeTure, who describes his practice as a “save-teeth-and-save-implant-first kind of office” and recommended a treatment called laser-assisted peri-implantitis procedure, or LAPIP.

During the LAPIP procedure, a laser removes bacteria, diseased tissue and any other contaminants from around the dental area being worked on. Ultrasonic scaler tips are then used to further treat the gums, which promotes new tissue growth.

“The laser is a game-changer because in years past, treating infected implants required difficult surgery,” Dr. DeTure says. “We had to cut the gums, reshape the implants, pack bone in around them and then close things up.

“This is a much better way of doing things, and it’s much easier on the patient because there’s less work that they have to recover from, so there’s less discomfort and the recovery period is very short, about a day or two.

“Our ability to treat the gum infection with the laser and get bone to regrow around the implants without having to do bone grafts has been pretty incredible. And we did all of that with Randall.

“We treated his gums once with the laser and did some reshaping of his bridge to allow him to clean his teeth better. We also did some reshaping of the implants themselves because his infection was so bad that the implants were exposed above the gums.”

Once Randall healed and stabilized, Dr. DeTure performed a gum-grafting procedure around the implants to create a better seal and stronger connection of the gum to the implants.

The two procedures were a success, as Randall’s gums are now cleaner, stronger and pain free. That’s why Randall highly recommends Dr. DeTure for anyone having dental problems similar to his.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Dr. DeTure and his practice,” Randall raves. “The people there are friendly, and Dr. DeTure is the best dentist I’ve ever been to in my life. I can’t believe what he’s been able to do for me.”

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    • Stuart Periodontics, PA

      For a healthier mouth and a more beautiful smile, visit a respected periodontist in Stuart, FL. Dr. DeTure and his caring staff of professionals are dedicated to keeping you feeling and looking your best. Their team offers first rate dental c... Read More

    • C. Nicholas DeTure, DMD

      C. Nicholas DeTure, DMD, is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry and completed three years of graduate training in periodontology and implantology at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. He is a Diplomate of the Amer... Read More