One Patient, Two Solutions

Personalized approach resolves failing teeth and fear of dentists.

A native of Longboat Key, Maggie* lived in many areas of the country before returning to Florida and a home in Sarasota. The jewelry artist was always busy with her craft and cared for a household at the same time. Until a few months ago, she didn’t acknowledge that her dental health had deteriorated into a serious predicament.Stock photo from
“I had some terrible dental issues that developed over time,” she now admits. “I had broken teeth that were failing and had root canals done. I also had most of my molars pulled. I suffered three different dental injuries where molars were actually broken.
“I was also having pain with my teeth all the time because they were infected. Because I had so many issues with my teeth, it limited what I could eat. Without molars, I couldn’t eat salads unless I wanted to eat like a rabbit with my front teeth. I missed eating salads.”
Maggie did have some dental work done over the years, but most of it was patchwork to get her through each crisis as it occurred. However, her condition was now to the point that she needed a permanent solution. Her situation was made more complicated by a disabling fear of dentists.
“I’m actually terrified of the dentist,” she clarifies, “so I put off getting things done out of fear. Then, I had the misfortune of going to two different dentists who were not very confident, and that really increased my fear factor.
“I did finally get my top teeth done, but I couldn’t go back to that dentist. I started looking for someone else and discovered Dr. Gaukhman. My daughter got on the internet and looked him up. He and his staff had rave reviews, so I went for a consultation and haven’t looked back.”
Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, of Siesta Dental is an experienced and accomplished dentist. He provides quality general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry to patients at his offices in Sarasota, Venice and Osprey. To Maggie, Dr. Gaukhman and his staff lived up to their reviews.
“As soon as I walked into the office, a good feeling came over me, and I knew I was in the right place,” she recalls. “Everyone at Siesta Dental immediately made me feel comfortable. They treated me like a million bucks. I couldn’t ask to be treated any better.”
When Maggie was ready, Dr. Gaukhman began his examination of her mouth. He took x-rays of her teeth and evaluated their health. Before the appointment was over, the dentist had determined the best course of action for her and made his recommendation.
“Dr. Gaukhman suggested pulling my remaining bottom teeth,” describes Maggie. “The infection was ongoing, and that’s why he recommended pulling them. He showed me the x-rays, and it was obvious the teeth were abscessed and not in good shape.
“After pulling them, he would place two dental implants so a bottom denture will snap into place. I just wanted to eat like a normal person again and have my smile back. I trusted Dr. Gaukhman to do that for me.”

Fear Eliminated

Dr. Gaukhman remembers the condition of Maggie’s teeth when she first arrived at Siesta Dental, as well as her trepidation at being in a dental office. He took special care to ease her fear and give her the most appropriate solution to her problem.
“When she came to see me, she already had an upper denture,” he reports. “She was trying to hold onto her lower teeth as long as she could and had been doing a good job with that. However, now, those teeth were hopeless. I recommended removing them and fabricating a denture retained by dental implants. She decided to go ahead with that.
“She was also very fearful, so we were extra gentle in our care for her. Also, during one of her procedures, she opted for sedation. That way, she felt nothing during the procedure and remembered nothing afterward.”
For Maggie, as with most patients receiving lower dentures, Dr. Gaukhman recommended the implant-retained denture. In most cases, upper dentures don’t require implants to keep them stable. They generally fit securely because the palate enables the creation of sufficient suction to hold the appliance in place.

“I’m no longer terrified of the dentist, thanks to Dr. Gaukhman and his great staff at Siesta Dental.” – Maggie

“Lower dentures are often more difficult to stabilize. This is because there is no palate in the bottom jaw, due to the location of the tongue, and less suction is produced,” explains Dr. Gaukhman. “It is rare when people can wear lower dentures that do not bother them or stay tight without help.
“Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it. I recommended two implants to secure Maggie’s lower denture.”
Implant-retained lower dentures can be fabricated to fit one of two ways: to be fixed or removable. There are pros and cons to both options, notes Dr. Gaukhman.
“Removable dentures snap on and off the implants,” he informs. “They can be made and fit relatively quickly. The patient can remove the teeth, clean them with a toothbrush and put them back in the mouth within minutes. They are easier to maintain than fixed dentures.
“Fixed dentures stay in the mouth at all times. They take much longer to fabricate and are harder to clean. They must be cleaned by professionals. But because they can only be removed by a dentist, they are more secure in the mouth.”

Journey’s End

Maggie is currently waiting for the finishing touches to her dental work. Right now, her implants are still healing and, in the meantime, she’s wearing a temporary lower denture. She no longer has pain because her infected teeth have been removed, but she’s still limited in her eating because the temporary denture is not secured.
“I cannot wait for this procedure to be completely done,” she relates. “I’m almost at the end of my long journey. Next week, Dr. Gaukhman is taking impressions for my permanent denture. The first thing I’m going to do when I’m able is eat a salad.”
For years, Maggie put off her dental health due to fear. The neglect caught up to her, however, and she found herself with a serious problem. With the gentle care and kind attention of the dentist and his staff at Siesta Dental, Maggie overcame her fear and found a dentist she could trust.
“I’m no longer terrified of the dentist, thanks to Dr. Gaukhman and his great staff at Siesta Dental,” she states. “Dr. Gaukhman is a very calm person. I feel comfortable with him and in his office.
“Not only is Dr. Gaukhman a wonderful and passionate dentist, but all of his staff are absolutely wonderful and do a great job. I’m so pleased with them, my husband is now a patient there. I’ve told friends about them, as well. I recommend Dr. Gaukhman and Siesta Dental, and already have.
“I can’t wait to get my permanent denture,” she adds. “I’m almost at the end of my journey, and it’s going to be wonderful!”

*The patient’s name has been withheld at her request.
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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