Rosemarie Blackburn, 73, admits she wasn’t as diligent about caring for her teeth as she got older. She was sure that led to the problems she began experiencing with them.
“I neglected my teeth for a long time,” she confirms. “The problems started when I got into my sixties. My teeth began to hurt, and I had root canals and other dental work done. Then, my gums started receding, and my teeth began falling out.
“I lost a lot of my back teeth, and I only had seven teeth left. I could still eat, and people couldn’t see my missing teeth when I smiled because I still had five teeth in the front. But I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. I had to do something.”
Rosemarie’s dentist at the time started to restore the bottom of her mouth, but she was more concerned about the more visible top. She wore a removable partial denture that no longer stayed in place and sometimes fell out. Rosemarie wanted a dentist with rejuvenation expertise to rebuild her upper teeth.
“I have a friend who had her teeth done by Dr. Clark Brown,” she reports. “She told me I should go to him, so I did.”
Rosemarie is referring to Clark F. Brown, Jr., DDS, at Implant Dentistry of Florida in Melbourne. Dr. Brown is a comprehensively trained and experienced dentist who has practiced cosmetic, general and implant dentistry for more than 30 years.
When Rosemarie arrived at Implant Dentistry of Florida, she met with William S. Vaughn, DMD, Dr. Brown’s talented associate. Dr. Vaughn’s recommendation was to remove all of Rosemarie’s remaining teeth and rebuild an upper arch using dental implants with a fixed appliance, or prosthesis. Rosemarie liked and trusted Dr. Vaughn, and she agreed with his recommendation.
Implants and Prostheses
Dental implants are the best thing next to natural teeth, states Dr. Vaughn. With fixed restorations or prostheses attached, they provide a secure solution to missing teeth.
“Removable prostheses, such as standard dentures and bridges, reduce the patient’s chewing ability,” he notes. “That results in a lower quality of life because they are not able to eat all the foods they want. In addition, many people don’t like the idea of having removable teeth, which can come out accidentally while eating or talking.
“We can circumvent that by using a prosthesis that stays in place and is held securely by dental implants.”
A dental implant is a small, titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone. As the bone heals, it fuses to the implant, creating a secure bond. The body doesn’t reject the implant because it doesn’t recognize titanium as a foreign object. A prosthesis, such as a denture or partial bridge, or an individual crown is attached to the implant.
“With a fixed prosthesis, the dentist can remove it if necessary, but otherwise it stays solidly in place,” explains
Dr. Vaughn. “Because they’re secure, fixed prostheses can withstand greater forces than standard dentures and bridges. This gives the patient greater chewing ability than they would have with something removable, and a higher quality of life.
“When I first saw Rosemarie, she had a partial denture on top that was no longer working for her. Her remaining teeth were infected, so we removed them. She wanted a solution that was secure and couldn’t be taken out. She previously had a fixed prosthesis placed on her lower jaw, and she wanted something similar to replace her upper teeth.”
Start to Finish
The process of restoring Rosemarie’s upper teeth is ongoing. She’s healing now and looking forward to the next step, when she will get her prosthesis. She’s thrilled by how Dr. Vaughn is taking care of her in the interim.
“Dr. Vaughn pulled all of my top teeth,” she relates. “In May, he will start getting the implants ready, but my mouth has to heal first. The new teeth will be screwed in where the implants are, and the appliance will stay in. In the meantime, I have a denture on the top.
“The denture is temporary, so I can go out and not look like an old woman. Also, if I had no teeth on the top, I couldn’t eat.”
Rosemarie is excited about the new prosthesis for her upper arch, but she’s already pleased with the quality of work done on her temporary denture. She’s amazed Dr. Vaughn took the time to make her look good while she’s waiting for the finished product.
“The denture looks like my real teeth,” she says. “In the front, I had two teeth that were whiter than the others, and the teeth in the dentures look just like the ones in my pictures.
“I recommend Dr. Vaughn and Implant Dentistry of Florida. I tell all my neighbors about them. I say, Go to Dr. Vaughn if you have problems with your teeth and need a dentist. He’s one of the best!”