New Perspective

Teeth and trust restored with implant-retained overdenture.

Joseph Klucsarits spent his working years as a supervisor in the data center for Con Edison in his native New York. Not long after he retired in 1999, he relocated to Florida, in part because of the warmer weather but also because his wife has friends here.

Dr. Alfons Bucaj of Dental Implant Center of Vero Beach treated Joseph Klucsarits with an implant-retained overdenture to reconstruct his lower arch.

Joseph says his experience with Dr. Bucaj has alleviated his fear of dentists

Among the many possessions Joseph brought with him to the Sunshine State were some lingering dental problems and the deep-seated fear of dentists that fueled those problems in the first place.

“My teeth have been bad since grade school,” Joseph acknowledges. “They were terrible. The fact is, I was negligent about my teeth because I’ve feared dentists since I was a kid. Going to one has always been a trying experience for me.

“I came from a family that didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t have a personal dentist. We went to a dental school in Manhattan, and the students worked on us. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Because I was negligent about my teeth, they started rotting away.”

Joseph’s teeth eventually deteriorated to the point where many of them had to be pulled. He ended up with a full denture for his upper arch of teeth and a partial denture supporting his lower arch, which still had some natural teeth. Recently, those remaining lower teeth also began to fail, forcing Joseph to find a dentist to treat the problem.

“I was afraid,” he shares. “Just the mere fact of thinking about a dentist really turned me off. Then, a friend of my wife recommended Dr. Bucaj.”

Alfons Bucaj, DMD, is a skilled and experienced dentist at Dental Implant Center of Vero Beach. He treats many fearful patients and knows exactly what to do to ease their stress. He helped Joseph feel reassured about being in the dentist’s office. Joseph became comfortable enough to discuss options for his treatment.

“Dr. Bucaj was very pleasant and always had a smile on his face,” Joseph relates. “He was very nice, and he explained everything to me. He put me at ease. I felt good knowing what had to be done.”

During his examination, Dr. Bucaj noted that the remainder of Joseph’s bottom teeth were failing badly. He described several options to reconstruct Joseph’s lower arch, including a traditional lower denture and a dental implant-retained fixed or removable overdenture. Joseph agreed on a removable, implant-retained overdenture.

“After I described the options, Joseph knew that a traditional lower denture would limit his chewing capabilities because it’s only secured by adhesive,” notes Dr. Bucaj. “An implant-retained overdenture would allow him to chew efficiently and not worry about the denture becoming dislodged while eating or speaking. That’s why I recommended a simple, two-implant overdenture system with the dental prosthetic snapping on top of the implants with a series of gaskets.”

Intermediate Option

One of the benefits of an implant-retained overdenture is the implants themselves are made of titanium. They don’t decay like natural teeth and will never require endodontic treatment, or root canals.

“Implants also have a decades-long survival rate,” adds Dr. Bucaj. “In ninety-nine percent of cases, they last for a lifetime supported in the jaw. The forces of the bite are much better as well. Implant-retained overdentures increase chewing ability by nine times compared to conventional dentures. That can make a big difference in quality of life.”

Dentists can reconstruct an arch with a prosthesis that is fixed and never comes out or a traditional denture that is taken out nightly for cleaning. A removable, implant-retained overdenture is an intermediate option for restoring a lower arch.

“The removable overdenture is a hybrid,” reports Dr. Bucaj. “It’s partially fixed because of the implants and partially removable. It provides the flexibility of coming out for cleaning, but the security of staying in place during eating and speaking.”

When it comes to fearful patients, Dr. Bucaj and his staff are specialists. They see patients with dental phobia throughout the day. Dr. Bucaj has a strategy to address their fear.

“We expect fear in the older population,” he observes. “They’ve experienced dentistry before the advancements, when there were fewer things to offer for sedation, and principles and techniques weren’t so modern. Those things have evolved significantly over the years.

“To help these patients, we get to know them. We talk with them at length and discuss the processes and procedures, and how the experience is going to be. We gain their trust.”

In many cases, dental patients are fearful in anticipation of any needed procedures, and the preoperative and postoperative pain they think will come with it.

“It’s important to know the patients and determine their needs and fears right from the beginning,” asserts Dr. Bucaj. “Then, we can design a custom treatment plan that meets those needs and addresses those fears.

“Today’s advanced techniques and technology make dentistry relatively painless. Even so, we have newer methods of sedation to help make patients comfortable before and during their procedures.”   

Form and Function

Joseph says his new, implant-retained overdenture is working great because he can eat anything he desires now without difficulty. He also likes that the denture is removable yet stays firm in his jaw.

“I even eat walnuts, which I really like,” marvels Joseph. “They have a tendency to get under the denture, but that’s one of the reasons I take it out, to remove things like that. Now, I can eat just about everything. There’s nothing I like that I turn down.

“The denture is pretty solid. There’s got to be a little movement or else I wouldn’t be able to get it in and out. It’s not a noticeable amount of movement, just enough to remove and replace it.”

For Joseph, the denture’s appearance is more than satisfactory, but that wasn’t an important consideration for getting the job done. He’s amazed by the way the dental work turned out, but stunned that he got through it despite his fear of dentists. He gives Dr. Bucaj and his staff credit for that.

“The denture looks good to me,” Joseph says. “I wasn’t really worried about how the denture looked. I was more concerned about how it worked, if I would be able to enjoy eating, and I do. The look didn’t really matter to me, but they do look good. They look like real teeth.

“One of the best parts of this whole process is that I had no apprehension about getting the work done. Dr. Bucaj made me feel at ease. The whole crew at Dental Implant Center of Vero Beach was very courteous, and I never had a problem with going to the office. The whole thing was a great experience. Now, it’s very nice to go there.

“I wouldn’t hesitate for one second to send somebody to Dr. Bucaj and Dental Implant Center of Vero Beach.”

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    • Dental Implant Center of Vero Beach

      Dentist Al Bucaj, DMD, in Vero Beach, Florida practices a full scope of general and cosmetic dentistry with expertise ranging from porcelain veneers to dental implants, crowns and bridges. Dr. Bucaj can now correct a wide variety of what were... Read More

    • Alfons Bucaj, DMD

      Alfons Bucaj, DMD, is a diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and the American Board of Oral Implantology. He is also an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dr. Bucaj graduated from Nova So... Read More