Expert Dental Care

Spend less time in the dentist’s chair with new equipment.

When an on and off pain in one of his molars persisted, Dennis Huff went to the dentist he had trusted for over a decade.Dennis Huff had a dental implant placed by Dr. Richard Leong, Jr. in Melbourne.

“It was a really dull pain that would come and go,” Dennis recalls. “I let it go on for three or four months, thinking it would go away on its own.  When it didn’t, I knew something was wrong.

“I went to my dentist, and they took x-rays of the tooth and told me I had bone loss, and I needed to go see a specialist right away,” he recalls. “I was in shock. I faithfully had my teeth cleaned every six months and had annual x-rays taken, and they never said anything. Bone loss doesn’t happen overnight. I was pretty disappointed.”

The bone loss, that dentist advised, was the result of prolonged periodontal disease.

“I was in even more shock when they told me that because I had no symptoms at all,” Dennis confides. “I felt like I was misled for a long time. That was when I knew I had to find a different dentist.”

Dennis recalled an article he read in Brevard Health Care News featuring the specialized dental work of Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, in Melbourne.

“I remember reading about him, and I was impressed by his knowledge in the field. I knew I had to change providers and made an appointment.”

Educating the Patient

Dr. Leong is a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-
treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstruction.Dennis Huff had a dental implant placed by Dr. Richard Leong, Jr. in Melbourne.

During Dennis’ initial consultation and evaluation, Dr. Leong confirmed the presence of advanced decay underneath Dennis’ molar and said the tooth was beyond repair because it was also cracked. Dr. Leong presented a plan that included removing the tooth, repairing the gum surrounding it and placing an implant with an attached crown.

“Dr. Leong has this machine that takes close-up images of your problem areas,” says Dennis, “and you are able to look at the screen, and he educates you by telling you what is going on in your mouth.  It was really cool.”

“Dennis needed to have the tooth removed because it was infected,” Dr. Leong shares. “I had to take out the tooth very carefully to avoid nerve damage and preserve as much bone as possible. This required a procedure using specific instruments and special techniques.

“It was quite the ordeal to fix the one tooth for Dennis due to the fact that he had so many issues.”

“The procedure was tricky because a nerve was running right near the root,” reports Dennis. “Dr. Leong made very careful measurements to get around the nerve, and used special instruments to preserve as much of the bone as possible for the implant.”

“Once the tooth was removed, the BIOLASE® laser was used to treat the infection in the tooth socket itself,” adds Dr. Leong. “The BIOLASE laser is a remarkable tool that uses a laser beam to decontaminate infected gum tissue.”

Speeding Up the Process

Due to periodontal disease that was left unchecked by Dennis’ previous provider, he did not have enough bone to secure the implant.  With bone grafting, the hole left by the extracted tooth is filled in to provide a solid foundation for the implant.

“Next, we moved forward with bone grafting because there needs to be adequate bone and healthy gums before placing an implant,” explains
Dr. Leong. “Bone grafting, combined with the use of platelet-rich plasma, was used to get that area ready.

“Blood was drawn from Dennis and spun in a centrifuge to separate blood products. One product is platelet-rich fibrin, which is high in growth factors. We mix that blood product with bone grafting material, and it makes the bone grow much faster. Prior to this technique, we needed to wait about three months before we could place the implant. With this newer technique, we generally don’t need to wait that long.”

The final steps are to place the implant, attach the abutment and place a crown over the abutment.

Dr. Leong has a new instrument that measures how solid the implant is in the bone, called an Osstell.  It measures the smallest movement, and it gauges how secure the implant is inside the bone.

With these exciting, new additions, PRP and the Osstell, implants can be placed faster. The PRP accelerates bone growth, and the Osstell reports when the implant is strong enough to place the crown.   

“After the bone grafting healed, they put in what they call an abutment, which is a base for the crown. Then, they make the crown and attach it to the abutment,” explains Dennis. “Dr. Leong made the crown in his office in one day.”

Dr. Leong utilizes many of today’s leading-edge advancements in implantology in his own practice, as well as personally developing new techniques.

Dennis Huff had a dental implant placed by Dr. Richard Leong, Jr. in Melbourne.

Dennis enjoys taking
nature photos as a hobby.

“My office is equipped with all of the latest technology. We are very high-tech, and I want to get the point across that I do a lot more than just cleanings or fillings. I specialize in comprehensive dentistry in order to meet the growing and changing needs of my patients. Their needs always come first.”

Are You a Candidate?

Dr. Leong describes the numerous steps he takes to determine if a patient is a candidate for a surgical dental procedure. Dennis’ situation required extensive expertise and a well-executed plan.

“Patients need to have a proper overall environment in their mouth in order for implants to be successful,” Dr. Leong explains. “They also need the proper overall attitude about taking care of themselves and their teeth. They can’t think that they can just come in, get implants and never think about those teeth again.

“They need to be committed to follow-up care. Routine cleanings and exams are vital to maintaining the implants, as well as their overall oral health. These are an investment, and the patient needs to be invested in it for the long haul.”

Dennis says he recommends Dr. Leong to anyone looking for a dentist with integrity and expertise.

“The entire procedure was positive from start to finish,” Dennis says. “It’s really scary to hear that you have to lose a tooth, or even several teeth. I have a lot of years ahead of me, and I don’t want to continue to face that.

“I feel at home with Dr. Leong and his staff,” Dennis continues. “I am confident with the care I am getting now. I wasn’t able to say that before, but I say that now without hesitation. Dr. Leong is really the best around!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photos by Nerissa Johnson. Implant graphic from mkb
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