Happy and Healthy

Implant-secured bridges make for glowing new smiles.

It doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to, but the tradition of students giving an apple to their teacher hasn’t completely died. Tyla, who has been teaching in private schools for more than two decades, can attest to that.

Tyla’s photos courtesy of Tyla.

Tyla

Tyla has received more than a bushel full of apples over the course of her teaching career. However, for Tyla, eating an apple or just about anything else was, for many years, painful and truly difficult.

“About seven years ago my dental problems really escalated due to many years of neglect,” Tyla explains. “I had a lot of decay in my lower back teeth. The decay in my molars had become so bad, they all had to be pulled.”

After having the extractions, Tyla visited an oral surgeon who fit her with dental implants. Implants are root-shaped structures that are surgically placed in the jawbone to serve as the foundation for replacement teeth.

An implant supports an abutment upon which is placed either a crown for a single missing tooth or a partial bridge or full denture for several missing teeth. Following the extractions, Tyla was contemplating receiving two implant-supported bridges, one for each side of her lower jaw.

“But the bridges would have cost over twenty-five-thousand dollars!” Tyla exclaims. “I’m a teacher with three children. At that price, I just couldn’t afford it.”

Tyla eventually settled for a one-piece partial denture as the replacement for her missing molars. It wasn’t long, though, before she began to regret her decision.

“I learned that if you lose your teeth like I did, you eventually lose bone in your jaw, and what happened with me was that I lost so much bone that the partial no longer fit right,” Tyla says. “So when I spoke, the partial would actually wiggle.

“Out of habit, I just kind of put my hands over my mouth whenever I spoke to someone face to face. Looking back, meeting new parents every year was embarrassing. I was so ashamed of the condition of my teeth.

“Eating was hard for me, too. The partial made it impossible to bite down and chew my food properly, and I’m a vegetarian, so I had to juice and cut most everything I ate. It was just awful.”

After suffering with her dental problem for seven years, Tyla eventually visited another dentist in the hopes of finding an affordable solution. That proved to be even more discouraging as the dentist told her she would need to have her previous implants replaced.

Frustrated, Tyla was ready to abandon the venture entirely until one day late last year, when she saw the St. Lucie dental office sign that read “Affordable Implants.” The office was Tradition Dental, where a tradition of excellence has been the standard for years.

Crowns, Bridges and More

“We provide the usual array of services one would expect from a dental office, including the placement of crowns and bridges, root canal therapy and extractions, but we do much more than that,” says Edward A. Spector, DDS, of Tradition Dental.

“In addition, we subspecialize in the care of individuals who require replacement of dentition. By that I mean, we have received the additional training required to provide dental implants and implant-retained crowns and dentures.

“That enables us to help all patients develop not only healthy smiles but smiles that are glowing in terms of appearance and biology. That way, patients are not only proud of their smiles, but they can function properly in terms of chewing and speaking well.”

This teacher gives her visit at Tradition Dental an A-plus!” – Tyla

“We provide all of that under one roof, and it’s critical to know that we stand behind our work and will not stop until we satisfy the patient no matter what we have to do, and if necessary, no matter what we have to redo.

“We want our patients to be satisfied. That has been my credo for forty-plus years as a dentist. As long as we get cooperation from the patient, we will achieve our goals, because we truly do care for and about our patients.

“We also recognize that going to the dentist can be a fearful experience and that many people go to the dentist as a last resort, when it’s absolutely, positively necessary because they’re in so much pain that they can no longer ignore it.

“That’s why our goal is to put the patient through the experience with the least amount of discomfort, trauma and displeasure as possible and eliminate all the phobia that is associated with going to the dentist.”

Tyla’s photos courtesy of Tyla.

Tyla had her ill-fitting partials replaced by implant-supported bridges.

Immediately Wowed

Because of her previous bad experiences, Tyla admits she was skeptical when she first walked into Tradition Dental to inquire about their claim of offering “Affordable Implants.” She was immediately wowed, however, by the staff’s response.

“I marched up to their desk and said, Are you guys really affordable and offering a free consultation and x-rays?” Tyla relates. “I had just paid five-hundred dollars for the same service elsewhere. I could tell they were being sincere when they kindly smiled and said Yes, we offer both quality and affordability.

“So then I asked them, Well, how long before I can get an appointment? I just knew I’d have to wait at least three weeks or more like the last dentist I visited. But they said, We can see you tomorrow afternoon if you’d like, so I made an appointment.”

Tyla was overjoyed when she was told during her initial appointment that her older implants did not need to be replaced. And with just a few additional implants, she could have an implant-supported bridge at an affordable price.

Thrilled by the honest evaluation, Tyla agreed to begin her dental work immediately. She was further surprised by how quickly and easily that work was done. After wrestling with her ill-fitting partial for years, Tyla walked away from Tradition Dental that very day with two new bridges.

“They were temporary, but they were so much better than that partial I was wearing,” she enthuses. “I was so thankful that I honestly just cried and thanked God.

“It was like a celebration for me, for the first time in many years I had something on my bottom teeth that wasn’t stained and wiggling when I spoke. I was so happy! I literally got out of the dental chair and threw that old partial into the trash.”

Tyla did have a short wait for her permanent bridges to be made, but she says she didn’t mind the wait because the temporary bridges fit and worked so well. That convinced her that the permanent bridges would fit and work well, too, and so they did.

“My back teeth look really pretty now,” Tyla raves. “And they feel like real teeth. I can talk and chew food. I left this dentist with a new smile and at price I could truly smile about. This teacher gives her visit at Tradition Dental an A-plus!”

Goin’ Up the Country

When her boyfriend of about six months asked her some fifty years ago if she wanted to go to a concert, Bonnie* responded with an emphatic “yes” without even asking who was performing or where the concert was.

“That’s how into that boy I was,” the Binghamton, New York native remembers. “We’d met late in our senior year in high school, and he was really into folk music like I was, so I figured it was going to be a folk concert.”

Bonnie was partially right. Several folk artists, including Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and John Sebastian played at that concert, which lasted all through a rain-soaked weekend in nearby Bethel, New York and has been remembered ever since as Woodstock.

Fifty years later, Bonnie has little more than a pocketful of memories left from her experience at Woodstock. She lost her ticket stub before Saturday morning and her clothes were ruined by the rain and mud.

Then a college student who went on to spend the better part of the next 35 years teaching English and drama near her Binghamton home before retiring to Florida five years ago, Bonnie recently lost something else she had with her at Woodstock.

“I lost my teeth,” she says rather frankly. “Okay, so I didn’t really lose them. I needed to have them pulled because of a bad gum disease that runs in my family. My father and brothers used to have problems with their gums and so did I.

“I first noticed it when I was in my thirties. I was always pretty good about brushing and flossing, but it got to a point where just about every time I brushed my teeth, my gums would bleed. They were sore a lot, too.

“I eventually went to a dentist back home who did a series of routine cleanings. They helped a little bit, but over time the bleeding and soreness only got worse. When it got so bad it started to hurt to chew my food, I knew I had to do something else.”

The pain Bonnie experienced while chewing began shortly after she retired and moved to Florida. It wasn’t long thereafter that a friend she’d met suggested she visit Tradition Dental in Port St. Lucie, where a tradition of excellence has been in place for decades.

Skill and Expertise Required

Bonnie, 68, has never had a fear of dentists, but after an initial consultation at Tradition Dental, she was placed in the care of Dr. Spector, who informed her she was in need of his skill and expertise in the area of placing dental implants.

“When Bonnie first came to us, she was suffering from moderate to severe periodontal disease, which is a disease of the gums,” Dr. Spector reports. “She had a full complement of teeth, but their supportive structure was diseased, and her teeth were failing.

“Now, part of the concern there is that when you have an infectious mouth whereby that infected blood travels from your mouth and into your organs and through the rest of your body, that’s creating an unhealthy state.

“In fact, a correlation has been made between periodontal disease and heart disease and obviously, the consequences are very grave in many cases. It’s imperative then that the infection be resolved, which was the first thing we did with Bonnie.

“The next thing we did was remove her entire dentition, meaning all of her remaining top and bottom teeth. To replace those missing teeth, we fit her with multiple implants and performed bone grafts to further secure the implants.”

After an implant has been placed in the jaw, bone naturally grows around it over time to create a solid foundation for replacement teeth. As was the case with Bonnie, patients often need to undergo a bone grafting procedure prior to receiving the implant. This procedure is designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone so that it can support the implant.

“We do a bone-graft whenever there is insufficient bone in the site where we want to place the implant,” Dr. Spector educates. “During the procedure, we add calcium crystals to close the space around the implant and provide a scaffolding for future bone regeneration.

“In the case of a full-mouth rehabilitative procedure, some bone grafting is usually required. And there are times when we can do a bone graft and place the implant all at the same time, but there are other times when we can’t. Cases vary.”

In cases where the bone graft and the placement of the implant cannot be done simultaneously, the patient must wait between three and six months for the jaw bone to develop the volume necessary to support an implant.

All-on-Four

Once the implant is placed, it also needs between three and six months to heal and fuse with the bone before the abutment and either the crown, bridge or denture can be placed on top of it. Bonnie was one of those who was able to get both procedures done at once.

She underwent the bone grafting procedure where necessary and through the All-on-Four dental implant technique that is practiced regularly at Tradition Dental, she received four implants each in both her upper and lower jaw.

The All-on-Four implant technique is an innovative, technologically advanced approach to providing dental implants that offers maximum proper function while reducing the number of implants a patient is fit with by as much as half.

Using the All-on-Four technique, some patients can be fit with implants and receive their new permanent implant-retained denture the same day. Others, such as Bonnie, wear a temporary denture until the implants are ready to receive the permanent denture.

Bonnie wore her temporary dentures for about three months. She was then fit with the permanent dentures, which she likens to real teeth in terms of aesthetics and function, noting that she is no longer experiencing pain when chewing or bleeding when brushing.

“No one can tell that I’ve had implants put in or that I’m wearing dentures,” Bonnie raves. “I really could not be happier with the outcome. The process was a lot easier than I thought it would be and it was painless as well.

“This is the healthiest my mouth has been in forever. It’s really a joy to be able to eat without pain and to be able to brush my teeth without my gums bleeding. Those days are over thanks to Dr. Spector and Tradition Dental.

“Everyone there is so nice and professional, and they really do go out of their way to make sure you feel comfortable. That’s something they really emphasize and even though I’m not one who is afraid of dentists, I appreciate that.

“The other thing that’s great about Tradition Dental is that they treat you like you’re a member of the family. I’m so glad that my friend suggested I visit them. Just like her, I’ve been recommending them to everyone I know who has a dental problem.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
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    • Tradition Dental

      At Tradition Dental they have four doctors that each have over 35 years experience. Their doctors are highly trained in cosmetic dentistry, specializing in implant dentistry and in general dentistry.... Read More

    • Edward A. Spector, DDS

      Edward A. Spector, DDS, earned his undergraduate degree with honors from University of Florida. He received his dental degree from The Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He completed a dental i... Read More

    • Salvatore V. Melita, DDS

      Salvatore V. Melita, DDS, earned his dental degree in 1977 from University of Buffalo School of Dentistry, He then completed a two-year general practice hospital residency in Schenectady, New York. Dr. Melita was in private practice in West P... Read More