Implant Therapy

The best choice for replacing one or more missing teeth.

Looking for the improved schooling and increased opportunities that would allow him to live a better life, Errol Marshall moved from his native Jamaica to New York City in 1964. It was the first leg on what became a trip around the world.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Errol and Margaret have been patients of Dr. Patel since he took over the practice.

“I really wanted to continue traveling after coming to the United States, and a friend told me I would get to travel a lot if I joined the Air Force, so I did,” Errol remembers. “That was in 1967. I wound up staying in the Air Force until 1971, and yes, I did get to travel.

“I spent a year stateside but was later stationed in Taiwan, Korea and Japan, where I served as an electronics technician. I fixed the radar and autopilot systems on the planes that were flying to Vietnam, but I never had to go to Vietnam myself.”

Following his discharge from the Air Force, Errol travelled back to New York, where another friend introduced him to a fellow Jamaican immigrant named Margaret. Margaret eventually became Errol’s wife, and traveling soon became their hobby.

Their first stop was Hartford, Connecticut, where Errol settled in as a technician with the Xerox® Corporation while Margaret worked as a registered nurse. Trips all across Europe and to South Africa followed before the couple retired to Florida in 2005.

About a decade later, Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, bought the dental practice the couple had been visiting since their arrival in Florida and inherited Errol and Margaret as patients. For Errol, the timing of the change was auspicious.

Comprehensive Care

In addition to general dentistry, Dr. Patel practices cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry, and his skills in the latter discipline were immediately put to the test when Errol showed up in his office one day with a failing upper left premolar.

“He had previously had a root canal done on that tooth, but the supporting tissue around that tooth – the gums and bone – was in very bad shape,” Dr. Patel informs. “We discussed his options and decided to extract that tooth and replace it with a dental implant.”

Dental implants are titanium, root-shaped bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant supports an abutment, and a crown is either cemented to or screwed into the abutment, creating a new tooth.

After the implant has been placed in the jaw, bone naturally grows around it to create a solid foundation for replacement teeth, which can be a crown for a single tooth or a bridge, partial or full denture when replacing multiple teeth.

Prior to placing an implant, patients often need to undergo a bone grafting procedure designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone so that it can support the implant. Errol underwent just such a procedure prior to his implant being inserted.

Once the implant is placed, it needs between three and six months to heal and fuse with the bone before the abutment and crown can be placed on it. About a year after Errol was fit with his abutment and crown in 2016, another problem developed.

“He came in for his annual checkup in 2017 saying that a bridge he had on his upper right side that had six teeth in it was feeling very loose,”Dr. Patel explains. “Upon examining him, I discovered that one of the three teeth anchoring that bridge was failing badly.

“We were able at that time to save two of the teeth that were anchoring the bridge, but the tooth that was failing had to be extracted, so we agreed to replace that tooth with an implant and then add another implant to support a fixed cemented, four-tooth bridge.”

Correcting an issue where several teeth are missing can require the seating of an implant for every missing tooth or the seating of multiple implants to ensure the fixed bridge is properly supported.

What allowed Dr. Patel to minimize the use of implants and use only two to support Errol’s new four-tooth bridge was his choice of two implants that had the length and diameter required to support a larger bridge.

That resulted in a significant savings for Errol, who wound up having yet another issue when his right front tooth failed about a year after receiving the new bridge. Just as he did with Errol’s other failed teeth, Dr. Patel replaced that tooth with an implant.

Advanced Technology

“We were able to pre-plan the surgery and extract the tooth with the least amount of trauma to the bone,” Dr. Patel says. “That allowed us to place the implant immediately, which is like having two surgeries all at once.

“He’ll call you later that day or the next day just to make sure everything is all right. That’s a nice thing that a lot of doctors or dentists don’t do.” – Errol

“We did that in October 2018, and with this one being a front tooth, we gave Errol a temporary retainer to wear so that he didn’t have to live without a front tooth. By late December, that implant had healed, and we put the abutment and crown on it.”

In the midst of working on Errol, Dr. Patel performed some general dental work on Margaret, who required a root canal and a new crown that Dr. Patel was able to fashion right in his office using a CEREC® machine.

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It uses computeraided design and manufacturing technology to create a fitted filling or crown in a matter of minutes while the patient waits.

This technology allows dentists to do in one visit the work that once required two or three visits or the use of an outside lab to create the crowns. It’s one of the reasons Errol and Margaret rave about Dr. Patel’s work.

“He’s very professional, very knowledgeable and very respectful of his patients, and with my background in the health care field, which I was in for fifty years, that’s something that I really look out for,” says Margaret.

“He’s very professional, but what I like most is that he’s very easy to talk to,” Errol says of Dr. Patel. “He explains everything before he does it, so you know exactly what’s going on and what he’s going to do.

“I like that he calls and checks up on his patients after he’s done his work on them. He’ll call you later that day or the next day just to make sure everything is all right. That’s a nice thing that a lot of doctors or dentists don’t do.

“And as far as my teeth go, well, they look and feel great. The bridge fits great, and the teeth where I got the implants are just like real teeth. Dr. Patel does a great job. He’s so good that we’ve already recommended him to some friends of ours, and they like him, too.”

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