Reliable Smiles

Dental implants and bridges assure superior function and aesthetics.

Laurent Moriniere is a native of Martinique in the French Caribbean. He relocated to the United States in 1981 and settled first in West Palm Beach. After eight years, he moved to Key Largo, where he owned an Arby’s® restaurant. Eventually, he sold the restaurant and dabbled in residential construction.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

With his new bridge, Laurent no longer hides his smile.

In 2001, Laurent made a home in Merritt Island. Now retired, he finally had a chance to concentrate on his own needs, and he really needed to find a dentist for what had become a shabby smile.
“About four years ago, I was having problems with my two front teeth,” he shares. “They were very bad. They were loose, and the bone underneath was infected. I was having trouble chewing because I was afraid I’d break the teeth. They were almost ready to go as it was because the bone was so rotten.
“With my teeth in that condition, I avoided eating meat. I ate a lot of fish and soft vegetables. I didn’t have any pain, but I was embarrassed by my smile. I sometimes put my hand in front of my mouth to cover my teeth.”
It was one thing to admit he needed a good dentist to repair his teeth and restore his smile, but Laurent also had to acknowledge he didn’t have the slightest idea where to turn to have the work done. Then, serendipity stepped in, and he found a resolution to his problem.
“I was at the eye doctor, and I saw a copy of Brevard Health Care News,” he recalls. “There was an article in it about Dr. Brown and dental implants. It was a very good article, so I went to see him.”
In that newspaper, Laurent read about Clark F. Brown, Jr., DDS, who, with his associate, William S. Vaughn, DMD, provides the full scope of dental services at Implant Dentistry of Florida in Melbourne.
Dr. Brown and Dr. Vaughn perform cosmetic and general dentistry, as well as all phases of dental implant surgery and smile restoration.
At Laurent’s first appointment at Implant Dentistry of Florida, Dr. Brown thoroughly examined his mouth and took x-rays. After his evaluation, the dentist developed a complete treatment plan.
“Laurent’s two front teeth were affected by gum disease, and there was a great deal of root surface showing,” reports Dr. Brown. “The teeth were also a bit unsightly and needed to come out. I suggested an all-porcelain bridge, secured by his natural teeth, to replace the extracted teeth.”
“Dr. Brown told me he had to pull the two front teeth and another tooth on the left side of my jaw,” relates Laurent. “He said he would make a bridge for my front teeth and place a dental implant in the other tooth space.
“During a forty-five-minute meeting, Dr. Brown explained exactly what he was going to do and what my mouth would look like with the bridge. I was satisfied with what he said, so we started the process the next week.”

Ultimate Aesthetics

The bridge Dr. Brown created for Laurent is all porcelain, which provides ultimate aesthetics. Previously, most bridges were made of a mixture of materials.
“In the past, we used porcelain-fused-to-metal or porcelain-fused-to-gold bridges,” verifies Dr. Brown. “With these, the underlying structure was metal, and porcelain was baked over the top of it. However, if there was any gum recession, the metal would become exposed as a little, black line along the gumline where the porcelain thinned.
“With all-porcelain bridges, we use a zirconia substructure with porcelain baked on top. The big difference is zirconia is tooth colored, so if there is any gum recession, there will be no black line. This makes the all-porcelain bridges more aesthetic when patients first get them and also in the long run.”
Dr. Brown also placed a dental implant in the space left by the missing tooth on the left side of Laurent’s mouth. It wasn’t a front tooth, but it was still in his smile line. The dentist topped the implant with an all-porcelain crown made using the practice’s CEREC technology.
CEREC is a computer-based machine that enables the dentist to measure, design and fabricate porcelain restorations right in the office in a single visit.

“The finished bridge is excellent. The color of the teeth matches my lower teeth, and everything is perfect.” – Laurent

“With implants, there is the screw-like body, which is surgically placed into the bone, then the abutment, which screws onto the implant, and then the tooth that is cemented on top of the abutment,” describes Dr. Brown. “With our CEREC, we are able to make what’s called a TiBase, which enables us to improve the crown’s appearance.
“Traditionally, the abutment is made of metal, so if there is any gum recession, the metal can show and be somewhat unsightly. With the TiBase, we can make the abutment out of zirconia or e.max®, which is another porcelain material. Now, we have a tooth-colored abutment, and we eliminate those aesthetic problems that can occur over time.”

Multiple Benefits

Rosemarie Blackburn, 73, a native of Germany, came to the United States in 1968. With a husband in the service, she became very involved in military life. She was less involved in taking care of her dental health, however, and eventually issues arose.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Rosemarie is delighted with her new fixed bridge.

“I neglected my teeth for a long time,” she admits. “The problems started when I got into my sixties. My teeth began to hurt, and I had root canals and other dental work done. Then, my gums started receding, and my teeth began falling out.
“I lost a lot of my back teeth, and I only had seven teeth left. I could still eat, and people couldn’t see my missing teeth when I smiled because I still had five teeth in the front. But I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. I had to do something.”
Rosemarie went to her dentist at the time, and he restored her lower arch of teeth with a fixed bridge. After that, she became concerned about the more visible upper arch. For a while, she wore a removable partial denture on top, but it became loose and sometimes fell out. She started looking for a new dentist, one with rejuvenation expertise to rebuild her upper teeth. A friend recommended Implant Dentistry of Florida.
When Rosemarie arrived for her appointment, she met with Dr. Vaughn. He recommended removing all of her remaining teeth and rebuilding her upper arch using a prosthesis that could be either a removable denture or a fixed bridge, secured by dental implants. Rosemarie liked and trusted
Dr. Vaughn right away and agreed with his recommendation of a fixed bridge, since her lower teeth were also fixed in place.
“Last May, Dr. Vaughn pulled all of my top teeth,” she confides. “He started getting the implants ready, but then my mouth had to heal. I wore a temporary denture on the top so I could go out and not look like an old woman. Also, if I didn’t have any teeth on the top, I wouldn’t have been able to eat.”

Implant Advantages

“Rosemarie wore a temporary upper denture for four months while waiting for her implants to heal,” states Dr. Vaughn. “Her permanent restoration is a fixed bridge that spans from first molar to last molar. Having a fixed prosthesis provides a number of benefits.
“Oftentimes, people do not want to feel like they have dentures. They want to feel like they have their own teeth, and a fixed prosthesis that stays in place helps give them that feeling. It doesn’t have to come out and be put back in or be soaked in a glass in the bathroom. Using dental implants is as close as we can get to replacing natural teeth.”
In addition, traditional dentures tend to move when eating, which greatly diminishes a patient’s chewing function. That can result in a lower quality of life because they are not able to eat all the foods they want.
“Fixed prostheses, however, are attached to the implants, which are integrated into the bone and held firmly,” explains Dr. Vaughn. “They are able to transmit the forces from the jaw to food while chewing, making chewing more efficient and more like that of natural teeth. Patients can go back to eating their favorite foods, and that improves quality of life.”

“I tell all my neighbors about them. I say, Go to Dr. Vaughn if you have problems with your teeth and need a dentist. He’s the best!” – Rosemarie

Dr. Vaughn educates that while some bridges are composed only of white material to replace the teeth, others include a synthetic, gum-colored base to replace the gum tissue that is often lost when teeth are extracted. Rosemarie’s bridge was made this way.
“Sometimes, we have to replace some of the gum tissue as well, and that will be at the top part of the bridge. The lower portion will be where the teeth sit,” he notes. “The gum portion will have a pink shade and will be sculpted to look like natural gum tissue.”
When fitting implant-secured bridges, the dentist must adjust the bite carefully to make sure all the upper teeth are touching the lower teeth in unison. There can’t be any high spots because the implants and prostheses don’t move the way teeth will.
“Natural teeth will shift over time. They also have a ligament that allows them to compress slightly. Implants do not have that,” he observes. “They’re fixed in place, so the dentist needs to make sure the teeth are balanced, and there’s harmony between the upper and lower bridges.”

Remarkable Excellence

Rosemarie was impressed by the quality of her temporary denture. When she received her permanent bridge in mid September, she was absolutely astounded by its excellence. To her, it is far superior to the lower bridge she had done by her previous dentist.
“My upper bridge is made of a different material, a composite,” she reports. “It’s stronger than the lower one, which is good to know because one day I was eating, and a tooth broke off my lower bridge, which was done by a different dentist.”
Dr. Vaughn explains that Rosemarie’s bridge is one solid piece of a porcelain-composite hybrid that flexes and has tremendous strength.
Having a fixed prosthesis instead of a traditional appliance means Rosemarie never has to worry about it becoming loose or slipping, and she doesn’t have to remove it. She simply needs to maintain good oral hygiene to keep it clean. Her finished bridge also gives her added confidence because she knows she’ll always have teeth in her mouth.
“I like knowing it’s fixed, and I don’t have to take it out at night,” she enthuses. “With a denture, you put it in a glass at night. In the morning, you might forget to put it back in and then you look in the mirror and say, Oh my God! Who is this woman with no teeth?”
That won’t happen to Rosemarie. And with teeth in her mouth, her smile becomes more youthful and attractive. She thinks her new dental work makes her look like she did when she was younger.
“The bridge is beautiful,” she comments. “I had a picture from when I was twenty-two, and I showed it to them and asked if they could make the teeth in the bridge look the way my teeth looked then. Now, they look like my own teeth.”
Not only is Rosemarie pleased with the appearance of her new bridge, she’s also thrilled with how perfectly it functions. She’s especially glad to be eating one of her favorite foods.
“I like pork chops,” she says. “When I had my dentures, it was harder to eat pork chops than chicken. Now, I can eat anything I want, even pork chops.
“I am very happy and pleased. I recommend Dr. Vaughn and Implant Dentistry of Florida. I tell all my neighbors about them. I say, Go to Dr. Vaughn if you have problems with your teeth and need a dentist. He’s the best!”

Congratulations in Order

Like Rosemarie, Laurent is very happy with his results. His new bridge is both aesthetically pleasing and fully functional, and he’s proud of his new teeth and restored smile.
Before image courtesy of Implant Dentistry of Florida.“The finished bridge is excellent,” he raves. “The color of the teeth matches my lower teeth, and everything is perfect. Now, I have no problem smiling and showing my teeth.
“I have no trouble chewing, either. I can eat good meat, hard breads, anything hard with no problem.”
The dental implant and crown Dr. Brown placed on Laurent’s left side are also functional and appealing. He’s so satisfied that he plans to have Dr. Brown place another implant in the space that will be left by a molar that now needs to be removed. He shares his good fortune with those around him.
“I’ve already recommended Dr. Brown to my wife. She went to him, and he fixed all of her teeth perfectly,” discloses Laurent. “I also recommended him to two or three of my friends.”
Laurent’s good words don’t stop there. He has a special message for Dr. Brown himself.
“I congratulate him for all the great work he did for me and my wife,” says Laurent. “We are very, very pleased with Dr. Brown and Implant Dentistry of Florida and what they did for us!”

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    • Implant Dentistry of Florida

      Dr. Clark Brown and his team at Implant Dentistry of Florida are committed to providing you with excellent dental care in a warm, comfortable setting. They provide the latest techniques in implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and general ... Read More

    • Clark F. Brown, Jr., DDS

      Clark F. Brown, Jr., DDS, is board certified by the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Geo... Read More

    • William S. Vaughn, DMD

      William S. Vaughn, DMD, earned his undergraduate degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College and his Master of Science degree in Oral Biology and Doctor of Oral Medicine degree from the University of Louisville. Dr. Vaughn has participated in c... Read More