One for All

Complete dental care available in this patient-centered office.

Tucked away deep inside its state’s southern pocket, Beckley, West Virginia sits just a tad north of the Virginia border in the heart of coal-mining country. For as long as Henry* can remember, his father worked that town’s coal mines.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Patel seeks to build long-term relationships with all his patients based on trust, respect and friendship.

“He was a mine superintendent there, and after I got out of high school, I worked there for five or six years, too,” Henry says. “I wasn’t actually in the mines, though. I would have to go in from time to time, but I mostly worked various jobs outside the mines.”

Henry worked those various jobs until he got out of college and became a teacher. After five or six years of teaching, his career as an educator took a turn that, much like his career in the coal-mining industry, left him on the outside looking in.

“I really liked teaching, but I found out there wasn’t a whole lot of money in it, so I eventually started working for a company selling textbooks to schools,” he says. “I did that for probably twenty years. It was an interesting job. I liked it a lot.”

One of the things Henry liked about that job was that it brought him to Florida. His initial stay in the Sunshine State was brief, but when Henry and his wife, Irene*, retired seven years ago, they returned to Florida and made Palm Coast their new home.

In the course of settling into retirement, Henry and Irene began looking for a new dentist. They eventually settled on Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, the owner of Palm Coast Family Dentistry. The couple has been seeing Dr. Patel regularly ever since.
“I started out seeing Dr. Patel for cleanings and fillings, routine stuff like that, but during his first examination of me, he told me there were some problems with some teeth that were going to have to come out or they’d start giving me trouble,” Henry says.

Triple Trouble

The news didn’t come as a shock to Henry. His previous dentist had told him the same thing regarding two teeth – the lateral incisor and the eye tooth – in the upper left side of his jaw. Henry was also missing the first premolar on the upper left side.

“All the teeth were in a row, and they all fell in his smile zone, meaning you can see them when he smiles,” Dr. Patel informs. “The problem was the two that remained were going bad because of poor periodontal health and had to come out.

“They didn’t have to come out immediately. In fact, we first did the cleanings to get Henry’s periodontal health back in order. But I told him that this was a situation where it would be best to take them out and replace them before they became a problem.”

In addition to the two failing teeth on the upper left, Henry also had a problem in his lower left arch, where he had previously lost a back molar and was using a wisdom tooth to chew his food. Mostly, though, he was chewing on the right side of his mouth.

“That’s a situation that’s not good for long-term success either because if you chew on just one side, those teeth are eventually going to fail and then you’ll need treatment for those teeth, too,” Dr. Patel informs.

“The other issue there is that the bite is no longer balanced, and that imbalance can negatively affect the jaw joint. So, this was another problem where it was in Henry’s best interest to have the issue taken care of sooner rather than later.”

Cognizant of the potential for future problems, Henry agreed that the time had come to correct the flaws in his smile and function. He also agreed with Dr. Patel’s suggestion that dental implants would provide the best solution for both issues.

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

Once they have been placed in the jaw, the bone grows around the implant creating 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.

In Henry’s case, Dr. Patel extracted the two failing teeth on Henry’s upper arch, then fit him with two implants. Those implants became the foundation for a three-tooth bridge. He later fit Henry with a single implant that served as the base for a new lower left molar.

In both cases, Dr. Patel pretreated the area where the implants were eventually placed by performing a bone-grafting procedure. The bone graft builds up the jawbone and creates a more stable foundation for the implant.

An “Amazing” Process

The work on Henry’s upper arch began in October 2017. After a brief period, during which he wore a temporary bridge, Henry was fit with his permanent bridge in March 2018. By May, Henry also had a new, implant-supported molar on his lower arch.

“The process is really quite amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Henry says. “I literally cannot tell the difference between the teeth Dr. Patel put in for me and my real teeth. It’s something I will definitely do again if the need ever arises.

“And I would definitely want Dr. Patel to do the work. My wife and I have grown pretty fond of him. He’s very down-to-earth and very personable. With a lot of dentists, you’re kind of in and out. That’s not the case with Dr. Patel. He really gets to know you, and we like that.”

Dr. Patel got to know Irene as well as he got to know Henry after she, too, became a patient of his. He has worked to maintain her good periodontal health, restored a few broken or failing teeth and performed general maintenance on some others.

“Henry and Irene have both been with me since December 2016, and they are emblematic of what we do for our patients here,” Dr. Patel says. “First of all, we are a very family-oriented practice. We want to treat the entire family, and we treat patients like family.”

“The other thing is that we are a comprehensive dental practice. Not only do we perform general maintenance to help you maintain good periodontal health, but we also do fillings and crowns, and we have the equipment here to do same-day crowns.”

“We also have the ability to do more involved work such as what we did with Henry. We’re a one-stop shop, and that’s important because it means fewer visits to the dentist. And we always strive to make sure your visits here are a pleasant ride.”

*Patient’s names withheld at their request.
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