Implant Perfection

A better solution for missing teeth.

When Joan Stotler, 83, needed a broken tooth pulled, she was dismayed to discover the permanent bridge that was attached to that tooth would need to be replaced.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Joan Stotler

“The dentist I had at the time told me that I needed a partial, and I didn’t want that,” recalls Joan. “I did not want a denture, yet I was lost as to what could be done since the tooth that was holding the bridge in place on one side was now gone. Suddenly, the bridge had nothing to attach to.”
When Joan sought a second opinion, that dentist also recommended a partial and referred her to a specialist to begin the process.
That’s when Joan put the brakes on. “I just refused to go,” she shares. “I never made an appointment.”
Because she had missing teeth in her mouth, Joan was unable to chew and eat the foods she wanted.
“I drank a lot of smoothies and ate soft food,” she shares. “I grew tired of that pretty quickly.”
Joan read an article in Brevard Health Care News about Richard Leong, Jr., DDS. The story talked about dental implants, which piqued Joan’s interest. Both of the dentists she initially consulted told Joan she was not a candidate for dental implants, but after reading the article, she thought otherwise.
“I suddenly had newfound hope,” Joan asserts. “I made an appointment to see Dr. Leong right away.”

What’s the Plan?

When first meeting with a patient, Dr. Leong conducts a thorough dental examination that includes a CT scan, full medical interview, full dental review and full mouth dental radiographs. He then assimilates all the data he collects to determine the optimal treatment plan.
“When I first met Joan, she didn’t have any teeth in the entire upper left-hand side of her mouth,” Dr. Leong recalls. “She also had several abscesses, so several of her lower right teeth needed to be removed. As a result, she didn’t have anything to chew with in the back of her mouth. She could only chew with the front teeth, so she was wearing them down as a result.”
Dr. Leong discovered that Joan needed extensive dental work, including periodontal treatment, sinus surgery and bone creation, and suggested dental implants to replace some of her missing teeth.
During that initial consultation with Dr. Leong, Joan told him she did not want a partial denture and was looking for the best alternative.
“A partial denture is a lot of hardware in the mouth that is very uncomfortable,” Dr. Leong describes. “It has wires on it, so others can see it when the person smiles. It goes across the roof of the mouth, and that’s very uncomfortable. Instead, I recommended implants with crowns placed over them.”
Joan was pleased that Dr. Leong’s recommendation contradicted what she had been told prior to them meeting.
“I was so thrilled that he recommended implants in the long run,” Joan says. “But, I knew he had his work cut out for him before we could get there.”
Before he could proceed with any surgical procedure, he first had to clear up Joan’s gum disease.
“With Joan, I started with clearing up all the infections she had in her mouth,” Dr. Leong assures. “A patient can’t have gum disease and have dental implants. Joan had a lot of infection in her gums. We used a laser to eradicate the infection and get her gums healthy again.”
Dr. Leong then consulted with Joan’s medical doctors prior to the next step, which was sinus lift surgery.
A sinus lift is done when there is not enough bone height in the upper jaw, or the sinuses are too close to the jaw, for dental implants to be placed.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

All smiles, Joan takes a stroll in her yard.

“I needed to perform a sinus lift to create more room to place the implant,” Dr. Leong describes. “I coordinated with her physicians because I wanted to make sure the sinuses were clear enough for that.
“Once that surgery was complete and she healed from it, we moved forward with dental implants.”

Newest Procedure

Dental implants are metal anchors placed into the jawbone to hold replacement teeth. The root sits in the jawbone, below the gumline, and a crown, or other dental device, is attached to it.
In his many years as a dentist, Dr. Leong has implemented leading-edge implantology advancements in his practice, and Joan’s case was no different.
Dr. Leong used PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) when doing a bone graft prior to implant placement.
“When using PRF, we draw blood from the patient and spin that down in a centrifuge and then we end up with a fibrin clot, and that clot has exceptional growth factors,” Dr. Leong explains. “We mix that with the bone graft material so the bone grows faster, and the gum tissue heals a lot quicker as well. Patients don’t have as many postoperative problems when we use PRF, such as swelling and pain.”
Dr. Leong implemented the newest procedure in placing dental implants called osseodensification, a new surgical technique for implant site preparation that enhances implant stability.
“Osseodensification is a paradigm shift in placing implants,” Dr. Leong shares. “Most all implants will eventually be placed using this technique because it allows for faster healing and for more bone depositing into the area where the implant(s) are being placed.
“The implant is stabilized so much faster using this technique,” he adds. “It takes off maybe half the time that would normally be utilized to wait for the implant to be solidified in the bone and for the bone to mature around the implant. We can actually place the implants faster, and patients can be chewing sooner because of this. It’s really remarkable, and patients love it.”
Once the PRF treatment was complete and the bone and surrounding tissue healed, Dr. Leong placed three implants on the upper left side of Joan’s mouth and two on the lower right. He later placed crowns over them.
“I was glad that I was able to give Joan the result she was seeking,” Dr. Leong states. “I take great pride in providing quality dental work and in doing so, working with the patient to meet all of their needs. It really does take a village sometimes.”

All-Encompassing Care

Because of the impact he has on his patients’ health and comfort, comprehensive care is a cornerstone philosophy of Dr. Leong’s practice.
“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. I specialize in comprehensive dentistry in order to meet the growing and changing needs of my patients. Their needs always come first.”
Dr. Leong says because he provides comprehensive dentistry, patients do not have to travel from office to office to have different procedures performed.
“I do everything right here, and it is not only about convenience for the patient, but more about my practice being up-to-date on all of the latest advancements available. I work hard to keep current with technology.”
Now that Joan can smile freely and chew again, she says she is happy she sought that third opinion and listened to her gut feeling.
“I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t and with patience, I finally got what I wanted through Dr. Leong,” Joan confirms. “He is extremely thorough, very professional and talented. I can finally chew food, and I don’t have to eat soft foods or drink smoothies anymore! I could not be more pleased with my results!”

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