Hi-Tech Smiles

Leading-edge technology allows for comprehensive dental care.

Matilda Cox spent nearly 50 years serving a variety of physicians as a medical secretary. During that time, she regularly took advantage of the opportunity she was given to observe countless surgical procedures and operations.
Matilda, 73, recently had those tables turned on her. This time, instead of being one of those observing a medical procedure, she became the star in an instructional video produced for post graduate dental studies.
And it was all because of a strawberry seed.

Matilda’s photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Matilda starred in her own dental restoration.

“It was sometime last spring that I was eating strawberries, and one of the little seeds got stuck in the gap between my gum and one of my teeth on the right side down there on the bottom,” Matilda recalls.
“I thought I’d brushed or flossed it out, but after a couple of days, the area around that tooth began to swell, and the swelling just wouldn’t go away. No matter how much I brushed or flossed, that area remained swollen and very tender to the touch.”
Matilda wrestled with the problem for several months, partly because the pain and swelling occasionally disappeared for brief periods. Finally, after the pain returned with a vengeance last summer, she decided to seek professional help.
As she has since 2011, when his sterling reputation and the location of his office near her place of work in Melbourne made him a convenient choice for a routine checkup, Matilda sought the aid of Richard Leong, Jr., DDS.
Dr. Leong is a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstruction. He is also a teacher who often videotapes his work so it can be used as a guide for students at The Atlantic Dental Research Clinic in West Palm Beach. He teaches a three-year curriculum for post graduate students.

Seeds of Infection

It was in that dual role as both dentist and teacher that Dr. Leong took on the challenge presented to him by Matilda, who had already seen Dr. Leong for help with that tooth five years earlier after a portion of the tooth had broken off at the gumline.
Presented with a series of options that included removing the tooth and having a bridge made or removing the tooth and replacing it with an implant, Matilda opted at the time to try to save the tooth by having it restored from the spot where it had broken off.
The job was an extensive one that required the use of a laser to do a crown-lengthening procedure where Dr. Leong had to remove some of the bone around the edges of the tooth to create the structure needed to place a crown over it.
The procedure was a success; however, the tooth began to break down yet again five years later. Both breakdowns came as a result of a root canal done years earlier by another dentist who didn’t go as deep into the root as necessary.
The result of the second breakdown was an infection that again weakened the tooth, this time to the point where Dr. Leong was left with no other choice but to remove the tooth and replace it either with a bridge or an implant.
Building a bridge was the safest option, but in order to create a secure setting for the bridge, Dr. Leong needed to replace the crown on the tooth behind the infected tooth and build a crown for the tooth in front of the infected tooth.
Matilda opted for the implant, which had some challenges of its own. The most difficult was installing the implant, which needed to be placed at just the right angle to avoid hitting a major nerve resting underneath the infected tooth.
The procedure was one that required Dr. Leong to make use of several of his most technologically advanced instruments, including a CT scan to determine the proper placement of the implant, as well as a special blood treatment for the bone grafting.
“Anybody that does a lot of implants has to have a CT scan because you have to know the volume and density of the bone as well as the width and height of it,” Dr. Leong educates. “If there are any insufficiencies, you need to graft in more bone, or the implant won’t last as long as it should, or it may be a failure.
“As for the blood technique, that’s a new procedure in which we draw blood from the arm and centrifuge that blood down to make a blood product called platelet-rich fibrin, which is a product high in growth factors. We then mix that with the bone grafting material so the bone heals faster and stronger.
“It’s because of all the equipment that I’m able to know exactly what I need to do to place the implants properly. Because of the CT scan, for example, we know we can place the implant in the bone at exactly the right angle to avoid certain areas where we could have problems. The best is that it all turned out very well for her. She’s utilizing the tooth now and she’s very happy, which makes me happy.”

Ecstatic Patient

Matilda is more than happy with the results. She’s ecstatic that the underlying problems that twice caused the tooth to break down have finally been resolved and that she has a dentist whose techniques are always on the leading-edge of technology.
“He’s really on top of things as far as all the different techniques,” Matilda expounds. “I think he’s a pioneer. He’s ahead of the field with all that he does, and he’s really thorough. I just think he’s wonderful.
“I like that he’s a teacher and is passing his knowledge along to the next generation of dentists. Being in the medical field myself, I know that’s important, and I have to admit, it was kind of neat to be in the training video.
“I’ve been working for doctors since I was twenty-two years old, so I’ve always been interested in things like that. And when you consider the work that had to be done in my situation, well, it made a lot of sense to use me as an example for the students.”

Heaven-Sent

Barbara Farley says faith brought her and Dr. Leong together many years ago. She and her husband, Mike, first met Dr. Leong through the church they all attend, and they got to know each other better while part of a mission trip to Israel.

Barbara’s photo by Jordan Pysz.

Barbara is able to participate in Sunday
readings at her church once again.

“Mike was actually the first one of us to go to see Dr. Leong,” Barbara explains. “That was several years ago, and he was very pleased with the work that was done, so he encouraged me to give Dr. Leong a try as well.
“I was going to a periodontist before that because my husband and I have both had periodontal disease, but he was only a periodontist. We both wanted a dentist who could do a little more for us if need be.
“That’s one of the great things about Dr. Leong. He does everything. You don’t have to go from one doctor to another if you have a problem. And because I already knew him through the church and knew what a wonderful human being he was, the choice was easy.”
That choice quickly proved to be the right one. During one of her first visits to
Dr. Leong, Barbara was undergoing a deep tissue cleaning in an effort to keep her periodontal disease in check when Dr. Leong noticed a hole in her bridge.

Quick Fix

Dr. Leong managed to fix that problem quickly and easily. He was also quick to repair a problem that arose for Barbara a few years later, on the day before she was about to leave for a vacation.
“On that occasion, he was able to go in and extract my tooth, place two implants and do a root canal, all in one day,” Barbara says. “Dr. Leong is right there to take care of any problem you have with your mouth.”
Barbara’s most recent dental issue proved to be a little more problematic, in part because of neglect. After a tooth broke off on the lower left side of Barbara’s mouth, she allowed it to go untreated for a while. As a result, the surrounding bone disintegrated.
“The tooth had broken off and was lost, but she still wanted that tooth replaced,” Dr. Leong relates. “That’s a difficult process because when there’s no bone, there’s nothing to support either an implant or a partial denture.
“We considered all her options and because the partial denture option was not amendable to her, we decided that in this case the best option was a specific type of implant that requires less bone but also requires quite a bit of surgery.”
Dr. Leong started his work by first removing the broken tooth. He then utilized the platelet-rich fibrin technique he used with Matilda to graft new bone into that space in an effort to create a structure that could hold the implant.
As was the case with Matilda, the process of placing the implant was a risky one that required great skill because the area Dr. Leong was working on was very close to a major nerve. As with Matilda, he achieved his objective.
“We managed to do what was necessary by placing into that space a blade implant,” Dr. Leong confirms. “A blade implant is an implant that works well where there is a small amount of bone present. That implant was later crowned.
“After that work was completed, I provided further support along the right-hand side of the bottom jaw by placing a bridge and crowns there. Now, she can chew normally on both sides of her mouth, and her teeth no longer wiggle.
“Barbara has had quite a bit of work done over the years, and it has all been very successful for her.”
Because of the impact he is able to have on his patients’ health and comfort,
Dr. Leong says that comprehensive care is a cornerstone philosophy of his practice.

Everything Under One Roof

“We provide a comprehensive service so that, when patients come into the office, I am able to help them in all areas,” he explains. “As a result, they don’t have to travel to many different places to have their dentistry completed. The protocols keep improving, so techniques become faster and better.”
Dr. Leong utilizes many of today’s leading-edge advancements in implantology in his own practice, as well as personally developing new techniques. Before and after images courtesy of Dr. Leong.
“My office is equipped with all of the latest technology. We are very high-tech, and I want others to know 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.”
For Barbara, the combination of excellent care and technical skill has proven to be exactly what she was looking for in a dentist.

Twenty Years of Trust

“I would say my husband and I have been going to Dr. Leong for over two decades now,” Barbara says. “Everyone in that office is so personable and caring. Most people dread going to the dentist, but I never feel that way.
“Dr. Leong stays on top of every new skill, and he’s just a very giving person in everything he does,” she adds. “He’s a very caring person who loves helping people with their teeth.”

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