Mighty Minis

Thinner implants have wide range of benefits.

New York native Michael Gallagher moved to Florida in 1990 and began a construction company. He and his crew specialize in custom carpentry and finishing quality kitchens, bathrooms and interior remodels. Michael is a natural leader, having been in construction for nearly 30 years. He knew what he wanted when it came to building up his teeth as well.
“I’ve had problems with my teeth over the years, mostly decay, cavities – just nuisance stuff,” Michael describes. “More recently, I became embarrassed of my teeth because of all the cavities, and I was uncomfortable with my smile because I was missing a tooth. I got tired of all the problems with my teeth, so I started shopping around for a dentist to fix them.”
Though Michael considered his dental issues to be a nuisance, he found his search for a dentist to be equally, if not more, annoying.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Michael is happy to show off his new smile.

“I shopped quite a few dentists, at least six or seven,” he reports. “It was like buying a car; it was all about price. The dentists’ prices were ridiculous. Affordable dentures were not affordable. To make matters worse, these dentists threw out a lot of terminology I didn’t understand.”
Despite his frustration, Michael refused to give up on his search. Eventually, after hearing about Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, of Siesta Dental, he decided to give that dentist a chance. Michael soon learned that Dr. Gaukhman is a skilled and experienced dentist who offers exceptional and affordable general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry at his offices in Sarasota, Venice and Osprey.
“Half of my life, I drove cars for General Motors, and the other half, I spent building houses, so I’m no schmuck,” Michael stresses. “I did a lot of research. Plus, Siesta Dental is right on Siesta Key where I live, so they’re close to me.
“When I got to their office, I was very happy with what I perceived as a very efficient and professional operation. Dr. Gaukhman was really good about explaining things and answering my questions. He recommended a complete set of upper and lower dentures, and he was willing to negotiate the price.”
“When Michael came to see me, he’d just broken a tooth on the lower left side of his jaw,” notes Dr. Gaukhman. “He also had abscesses in several teeth on both his upper and lower arches. I recommended dentures because the teeth he had were not worth saving.
“Some dentists believe you shouldn’t extract teeth while they’re infected, but while the teeth are in the jaw, they act like splinters in the fingers. The infection will never go away until the source of the infection is removed. I believe in extracting the teeth, the source of the infection, then putting patients on antibiotics. That’s what I did with Michael.”

Secure Benefits

Dentures are often used to replace natural teeth that are lost due to tooth decay, gum disease, infection or injury. In most cases, upper dentures fit securely because the palate enables the creation of sufficient suction to hold the appliance in place.
“Lower dentures are often more difficult to keep stable,” observes Dr. Gaukhman. “This is because there is no palate in the bottom jaw, due to the location of the tongue, and less suction is produced. Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it.
“I recommended four implants to secure Michael’s lower denture. I generally don’t encourage implants for upper dentures unless there’s an issue with the denture covering the palate, which can affect taste, speech and overall comfort.”
Dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone and serve as the foundation for replacement teeth. Implants are made of a titanium alloy that fuses with the patient’s bone to become a solid unit. When secured by implants, dentures don’t rock or move; they stay in place when wearers speak and eat.
At Siesta Dental, implants are often placed on the day of tooth extraction. The dentures are also created at that time.
“Once the patient’s problem is diagnosed and the treatment is determined, I take the impressions,” relates Dr. Gaukhman. “When the dentures are ready, which is usually on the same day or the next day, I extract the teeth and put the dentures in right away. The dentures act like a bandage. They stop bleeding and limit swelling.
“For the next three to six months, the patient wears temporary dentures until the implants fuse with the jawbone and the gums heal. Then the temporary dentures are replaced with the permanent appliances. In Michael’s case, I recommended mini implants, rather than standard implants, to secure his lower denture.”
Mini implants are like standard implants in almost all ways. They differ from standard implants, however, in that they are smaller in diameter; they are slightly thinner. This offers a number of advantages to patients.
“With mini implants, patients heal faster, so treatment can be finished quicker,” Dr. Gaukhman explains. “We can use mini implants in medically compromised patients and in patients who don’t have sufficient bone to secure standard implants. In general, mini implants are also more affordable.
“Michael wanted to shorten the time of his treatment, and his bone was slightly compromised, so I chose to use mini implants with him.”
Because mini implants can be used when less bone is available, they reduce the need for time-consuming and costly bone grafts before implants can be placed.
“Another benefit of mini implants is that surgery to place them is less invasive, so there’s less disturbance of the bone and surrounding tissues. That translates to less discomfort,” informs the dentist. “In addition, there are fewer complications with mini implants due to improved surgical techniques.”

Happy Hook-Up

When Michael’s permanent lower denture was ready, it required several adjustments to fit correctly over his mini implants. Fortunately, Siesta Dental has a dental lab on site that made the slight adjustments as needed. Michael didn’t mind the brief delay in getting the results. He says he was made to feel very comfortable by the dental staff.
“Eventually, we got the denture all straightened out, and now, everything’s fine. It took a little longer than expected to get the outcome, but it’s fantastic,” Michael raves. “They did a great job. I’m very happy with my dentures.
“The staff at Siesta Dental is fine. Every question I brought up, they had an answer for me. They took care of all of my concerns.”
Michael has positive things to say about Dr. Gaukhman as well. He’s grateful to the dentist for explaining the entire process in terms he could understand and for giving him a smile he’s proud of.
“The bottom line is, I had problems with my teeth, Dr. Gaukhman hooked me up with a set of dentures, and I’m happy with them,” Michael enthuses. “He did everything he said he was going to do, and I understood everything that was going to happen because he explained it all to me. Dr. Gaukhman did a great job.
“I’m happy with my smile now, and I’m happy with Dr. Gaukhman and Siesta Dental. I have no problem recommending them to others.”

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    • Venetian Dental

      Venetian Dental is devoted to restoring and enhancing the natural beauty of your smile. Their state-of-the art dental offices offer the latest in dental technology and patient amenities. They provide comprehensive treatment planning, and use r... Read More

    • Alexander Gaukhman, DMD

      Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, earned his dental degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Dentistry, Ft. Lauderdale. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton. Dr. Gaukhman is a diplomate of the Inter... Read More