Lasting Impressions

Commitment to providing expert dental care.

While still living in her native New England more than 30 years ago, Jeanne Miller had a cyst removed from her mouth and lost five good teeth in the process. She later had a partial denture placed in her mouth to take the place of the teeth that were removed.

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne.

Jeanne has been a loyal patient of Dr. Leong’s for years.

That partial never really sat well with Jeanne, however. The fit was off ever so slightly and over the years, it caused the roof of her mouth to become inflamed and red, which resulted in a lot of pain and discomfort.

“I never felt secure with it,” Jeanne recalls. “Eventually, I started researching dental implants and was intrigued by everything I read about them. After my husband and I moved to Florida in 1986, I started looking for a dentist who placed implants. That’s how I found Dr. Leong.”

Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, is a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstruction. When he initially examined Jeanne,
Dr. Leong discovered more than just an ill-fitting partial.

In addition, Dr. Leong learned that Jeanne had developed some gum disease, had several crooked teeth that needed to be straightened and was suffering from temporomandibular joint disease, or TMJ.

“TMJ occurs where the joints connect to the jaw,” Dr. Leong explains. “There was clicking where her upper and lower jaws met. If I did not correct that first, she would have continued to have jaw issues and eventually even gum issues.”

Dr. Leong says that before he could proceed to place the implants that Jeanne wanted, he first had to correct the problem he found with her jaw joint and her crooked teeth because her teeth needed to be in the correct position for the implants to work.

Dr. Leong attacked the problem by first treating Jeanne with dental splints to correct her TMJ and braces to straighten and properly position her teeth. In addition, he treated her gum disease with laser therapy in preparation for the implants.

“The bone had to regrow around those implants, so while that was healing, we did orthodontics on her to get her teeth straight and to help get them into the proper
position,” Dr. Leong reports. “Now, her bite is stable and much more functional.

“Once we had the teeth in the proper position and the gums were healthy, I was able to move forward in determining her probability of receiving dental implants.”

Implant Options

Dental implants are metal anchors implanted in the jawbone to hold replacement teeth. The root sits in the jawbone, below the gumline, and either a crown (for a single tooth) or another dental device such as a denture (for multiple teeth) is attached to it.

Dental implants come in two sizes: standard and mini, the latter of which is a smaller-in-diameter implant that can sometimes be used when a patient no longer has enough bone left to support standard implants.

“If all a patient needs is to get the denture to stay in place, smaller implants are ideal,” Dr. Leong continues. “They are typically for patients who do not need bone grafting done.”

The smaller implants can support single crowns as well as a small bridge or partial denture. There are a lot of uses for these smaller implants if used correctly and if there is a sufficient amount of bone intact.

“When the process is completed with precision, people can retain the denture immediately,” Dr. Leong educates. “They can walk out of an appointment and the denture is securely in place. It’s really amazing.

“But there needs to be adequate bone, healthy gums and a proper bite first. Patients need to have a proper overall environment in their mouth in order for implants to be successful.

“They also need the proper overall attitude about taking care of themselves and their teeth. They can’t just think that they can come in, get implants and never think about those teeth again.

“Furthermore, their medical health needs to be in check. They may have medical conditions that could preclude them from having long-term success with their teeth, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

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

Once Jeanne’s teeth were properly aligned and the implants were secure in the jawbone, Dr. Leong placed implant-supported bridges on both the top and bottom of her mouth. Dr. Leong says he also had to repair some of the prior work Jeanne had done over the years.

“It’s common to have to do some repair work over time,” Dr. Leong says. “Nothing lasts forever. Jeanne later developed acid reflux, which damaged some of her teeth. Because of that, I had to redo her lower right bridge.

“Since I first saw her many years ago, Jeanne has been a real trooper and a loyal patient. She’s had substantial work done to her smile, and she’s really come a long way. You name it, she’s had it done.”

Decades of Service

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Her dedication to Dr. Leong and his practice stems from his commitment to provide top-notch care to his patients.

“I’ve had a lot of dental work done over the years, from bridges to crowns and everything in between,” Jeanne says. “Dr. Leong is like a good friend. He’s reliable, and I can talk to him about anything. We’ve developed that trusting relationship over the years.”

In his many years as a dentist, Dr. Leong has implemented many leading-edge advancements in implantology in his own practice. He has also personally developed new techniques.

“Because I teach other dentists how to perform dental implant surgery, I want to use the latest methods, procedures and techniques in our own offices,” he explains. “My office is equipped with all of the latest technology available.

“We are very high-tech, and I want to let everyone know that I do a lot more than just cleanings or fillings. I specialize in comprehensive dentistry. At this point in my career, I really enjoy helping people in different ways.

“For example, I’ve performed many of these implant procedures in Nicaragua, where people line up to have them done because they want so badly to have their teeth stay in their mouths instead of falling out all the time.

“My job is very rewarding, and whether it’s through my mission work or through teaching dentistry or working directly with the patient, I love having something to give back.”

Dr. Leong strives to provide patients with the latest advancements in dental procedures and technology, and patients are quick to notice.

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne.

Dr. Leong strives to provide patients with the latest advancements in dental procedures and technology.

“In all of the surgeries and procedures I perform, I use the latest techniques to improve healing by decreasing the amount of time it takes for a patient to heal and by minimizing any pain during the recovery period,” he notes.

“I do a lot of research on the most advanced procedures, and I strive to incorporate those advancements into my practice every day.”

All In One Place

Because of the impact he is able to have 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.”

Jeanne says she is a good example of the commitment to excellent patient care that
Dr. Leong has made. She says her teeth are in the best shape they’ve ever been in, and she is appreciative of Dr. Leong’s expertise.

“He’s the best there is, hands down,” she says. “He’s not just a dentist, he is a true friend.

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