Expert Care in Any Situation

A longtime tooth grinder and clencher, Rebecca Rockholt learned first-hand what that nighttime habit can do to your teeth.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Rebecca loves her new crowns and spending time with her dog, Romeo.

“I had a feeling I was a grinder, but my dentist at that time never told me I was,” Rebecca recalls. “Eventually, I determined that I must be a grinder because I damaged a couple of crowns. I needed them replaced, but I never sought treatment. I just lived with it.”
In recent months, Rebecca and her family relocated from their home in
St. Cloud, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida. Once they were settled in, Rebecca began looking for a family dentist in the area. She soon found Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, of Palm Coast Family Dentistry.
“I did my research, and I liked everything I read about him online, so I made an appointment,” Rebecca shares. “It had been several years since I had seen a dentist, so I was unsure of what I was facing.”
At her first appointment at Palm Coast Family Dentistry, Rebecca underwent a comprehensive evaluation.
“Our philosophy is to provide comprehensive care. In order to do so, we need to perform a comprehensive evaluation,” Dr. Patel explains. “As with every new patient, we did a full mouth of x-rays for Rebecca and then performed an oral examination. I determined that she had some bacteria living underneath her gums. She also needed a couple crowns replaced.”

Treating Gum Disease

Rebecca was in the very early stages of periodontitis, according to Dr. Patel.
“Rebecca experienced minimal bleeding in certain areas of her mouth,” Dr. Patel explains. “We often refer to periodontal disease as a silent killer because more often than not, patients experience no related symptoms.”
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that can become an acute or chronic problem. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates between 50 and 75 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, some though are of no fault of their own.
The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, which is reversible with professional cleanings and good oral hygiene including proper brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash. As the disease progresses, however, bone structure is lost around the tooth, and the pockets become deeper. This more serious stage is called periodontitis.
Based on the patient’s needs and desires, they are presented with different treatment options to help them make an informed decision about the treatment they want to receive.
“I feel it is imperative to educate the patient and have them involved in the decision so that they feel confident as we move forward,” Dr. Patel explains. “The first order of business with Rebecca was addressing the gum disease in her mouth.
“The gum treatment therapy we recommended for Rebecca included scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning,” Dr. Patel continues. “She responded very well. Once we removed all of the bacteria underneath the teeth and irrigated the gums, we proceeded to the second stage of restorative treatment.”
Rebecca says she never realized she had periodontitis, even with the minimal bleeding she had when she brushed or flossed.
“I knew I had not had a cleaning in a few years, but had no idea my gums were infected like they were,” Rebecca says. “I never felt any pain during the deep cleaning. The hygienist was very gentle and did a great job.”
Dr. Patel says an important aspect of treating periodontal disease is to educate patients on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums moving forward on a daily basis.
“We educate patients about maintaining a healthy mouth because without that knowledge, nothing else we can do will matter,” he adds. “Patients must maintain healthy mouths in order to return to full function.”

In-House Crowns

During the next phase of treatment,
Dr. Patel replaced two crowns for Rebecca and placed a bridge on the upper left side of her mouth.
Dr. Patel utilizes CEREC® Omnicam technology to design and contour crowns and porcelain restorations in his office. With the CEREC 3-D, every integral part of the restoration is seen in three dimensions.
“Using a computer, I am able to shape and form every fraction of each crown and restoration with 3-D software while the patient watches,” Dr. Patel says. “The CEREC computer gives a good representation of the tooth based on several factors: the shape of the other teeth, the size of the jaw, the angulation of the other teeth in the mouth and the anatomy of the teeth. The opposing teeth are also taken into consideration.”
The crowns Dr. Patel creates with the CEREC machine are made of e.max® porcelain.
“These crowns not only last a long time, but are also aesthetically pleasing,” he describes.
In addition to crowns, CEREC Omnicam fashions all types of porcelain restorations, including onlays, inlays and veneers. An onlay replaces part of a tooth, including one or more points, or cusps. An inlay is a custom-made filling, and a veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that fits over the front of the tooth.
CEREC Omnicam eliminates the need to wear a temporary crown, expediting care within a single appointment for the patient.

Emergency Care

One day, Rebecca was faced with an unexpected situation.
“I was cleaning my teeth, and a crown came off of my tooth,” Rebecca recalls. “Dr. Patel knew exactly what to do.”
“That tooth was non-restorable in her situation because she is a very strong grinder,” Dr. Patel says. “The tooth had a previous root canal done and the crown fractured off with underlying tooth structure. So, I offered her the option of extracting the tooth accompanied by grafting to preserve the area for future replacement of the tooth via an implant or a bridge, or a partial denture. In the end, she opted for the bridge.”
Rebecca says the procedure to get the bridge was painless, and she is happy she can now eat food without a missing tooth.
“Dr. Patel is awesome,” Rebecca raves. “He can fix anything in any situation and make it a rewarding experience.”
To help resolve Rebecca’s grinding, Dr. Patel recommended a night guard to protect her teeth.
“The night guard has helped me a lot,” Rebecca says. “I want to keep the work I have had done in good condition.”
Rebecca’s experience at Palm Coast Family Dentistry has exceeded her expectations.
“I have been very happy there,” she says. “Dr. Patel is great, and his staff is wonderful, too. They welcome you by name and make you feel at home and at ease. They are all great!”

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    • Palm Coast Family Dentistry

      At Palm Coast Family Dentistry, their goal is to provide best possible care to patients in a stress free environment in which patients have the opportunity to communicate with the entire dental team regarding their concerns about oral heal... Read More

    • Jayraj J. Patel, DMD

      Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, has been practicing general dentistry in the Central Florida region since graduating from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. His goal is to deliver comprehensive, compassionate care to his patients in a c... Read More