Options Exchange

Implants provide solution to longstanding dental problem.

When Marcie Bacon finally decided to do something about the space between her two upper front teeth a few years ago, she learned rather quickly how a bothersome dental situation can sometimes go from bad to worse.

Marcie Bacon finally found a workable solution to her longstanding dental problem after she met with Dr. Patel at Palm Coast Family Dentistry.

Marcie can finally smile
with confidence

“All I wanted to do was correct that space, and another dentist I went to see at the time – not my regular dentist – offered a bridge option as a solution,” Marcie explains. “That was fine, but what I didn’t realize at first was that I was going to have to lose teeth for that.

“That was the first problem. The second problem was that once I got the bridge, it only lasted about five years. That eventually put me right back where I was when I started, and I got a partial. Then the partial turned out to be worse than the bridge.

“The dentist warned me when he put the partial in that it might eventually cause some of my other teeth to loosen, and it did. I kept having to have teeth removed and added to the partial, so finally, I just said, Enough of this, and I got a full denture.”

Marcie, now 64, thought the full upper denture would solve her problem once and for all, but all it did was create a whole new array of issues. Most of the irritation stemmed from the fact that she has an irregular bone structure in the roof of her mouth.

That irregular bone structure forced the dentist to create a thicker and longer base for the denture. Despite those adaptations, the denture never did fit quite right.

“It never felt like it was really tight, so I was always worried that when I bit down on something, it might pop out,” Marcie reports. “That made me very self-conscious, especially when I was in public. The worst part, though, was the gagging and not being able to enjoy the taste of food.

“That denture always felt like it was too long in the back, and when I ate, I could sense that, and it made me gag. The dentist shaved it down, but it really didn’t do much to keep me from feeling like I was gagging all the time. It was just awful.”

These issues were so great that for three years, Marcie spent more time with the denture out of her mouth than in it. She was further frustrated by the fact that two other dentists she visited for help with the matter told her they could do nothing for her.

A Clean Start

After Marcie moved to Palm Coast, she took the advice of her father-in-law to visit Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, at Palm Coast Family Dentistry, that she learned there was a solution for her problem after all. In fact, there were several.Marcie Bacon finally found a workable solution to her longstanding dental problem after she met with Dr. Patel at Palm Coast Family Dentistry.

“Marcie came to me for a regular hygiene of her natural lower teeth, but she made a point of telling me the problems she was having with the denture, which included the fact that she could not taste her food and was losing the joy of eating,” Dr. Patel recounts.

“She told me she had been thinking about getting implants, but had been told she had been wearing the denture for so long that she probably didn’t have enough bone in her upper jaw to support them. I told her that may not be the case.

“I see a lot of patients who have been told by one provider or another that they don’t have enough bone for implants, but that doesn’t mean implants are out of the question. The process of regenerating bone and gums has come a long way in recent years.”

To determine whether Marcie did indeed have enough bone to support implants,
Dr. Patel used a cone-beam CT to produce a single 3-D image of her teeth, soft tissue, bone, sinus and nerve pathways.

The scan confirmed that while some bone grafting was required, Marcie did have enough bone for implants, which could then become the support system for a full upper denture that would snap firmly into the implants.

Foundation for the Future

“After seeing the results of the scan, I offered Marcie a few options, including mini dental implants,” Dr. Patel informs. “My recommendation, however, was for traditional implants because I believe it’s important to build a foundation for any change regarding the prosthesis that the patient wants down the road.

“Implant dentistry has already evolved to where patients can have a prosthesis that never comes out or a prosthesis that only a dentist can take out, besides dentures. So what if a patient such as Marcie, who has a denture, eventually wants to go beyond the denture? You need to lay a foundation for that.

“Mini implants will not do that. Even traditional implants will not do that if you don’t put the right size and kind of those in sufficient amount and appropriate position. I believe it’s important to create that flexibility for my patients, and to get it, you need to lay the foundation for it from the start with the proper implants.”

Marcie agreed with Dr. Patel’s reasoning. She wanted a complete palateless denture and noted that in the future she may want another type of prosthesis. It was decided that in a single visit she would have the surgery to place six traditional implants (three on each side of her upper jaw) along with platelet-rich-fibrin treatment and necessary bone grafting.

That surgery took place last October. While Marcie was healing, she wore her old denture that Dr. Patel modified and reshaped to make it fit and function as well as possible. It wasn’t long, though, before that old, ill-fitting denture was made obsolete.

In January, Dr. Patel placed the locator abutment on her implants and began the overdenture fabrication process in which the patient is fit with a mock-up of the denture they will eventually receive. This stage allows the dentist to make any changes that may be necessary to ensure the final product fits perfectly.

“When I first put my new denture in, I could not believe how great it felt,” Marcie raves. “It literally felt like I had all my own natural teeth back again. And there’s nothing covering the roof of my mouth anymore. That’s the real beauty of it.

“I had reached a point where I stopped eating a lot of foods because I had trouble eating them. Also, on the rare occasions that I went out to eat, I would only eat a little bit and then take the rest home because I was afraid the denture would fall. Now, I can eat anything I want, anywhere I want.”

Marcie says she developed a strong confidence in Dr. Patel’s ability to solve her dental problem during her very first meeting with him. She nevertheless adds that the outcome has proven to be even greater than she first imagined.

“I bonded with Dr. Patel right away, and I knew it was going to be a long process, but Dr. Patel guided me through every step, and it has been an amazing journey,” Marcie confirms. “Finding Dr. Patel has truly been a blessing. He has just been wonderful.”

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    • Palm Coast Family Dentistry

      At Palm Coast Family Dentistry, their goal is to provide best possible care to patients in a stress free environment in which patients have the opportunity to communicate with the entire dental team regarding their concerns about oral heal... Read More

    • Jayraj J. Patel, DMD

      Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, has been practicing general dentistry in the Central Florida region since graduating from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. His goal is to deliver comprehensive, compassionate care to his patients in a c... Read More