Surgeon’s Warning:

Smoking can smolder your smile.

When war broke out in Europe in 1939, the US Navy took the Naval Operation Base in Norfolk, Virginia off “standby mode,” bought up 400 acres of nearby land and launched an expansion project that turned the base into one of the Navy’s central operational hubs.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Chris has found a new dentist at Regency Court Dentistry.

Shortly thereafter, Chris Olivieri’s grandfather began an expansion project of his own.

After vacationing there as a child for many years, Chris’ grandfather began buying and developing land around neighboring Virginia Beach, where he slowly built a small empire by building mostly single-family homes for the soldiers working at the base.

“We now have properties in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Williamsburg and York County,” says Chris, one of three brothers who took over the family business from their father, who took it over from his father.

“Virginia Beach has been very, very good to us, and I still spend about half my time there,” Chris adds. “But I call Florida home now because I consider myself semi-retired. It’s a great place to play golf and fish, which I love to do.”

Chris’ move to Florida came in 2010. Shortly thereafter, a dental problem developed that forced him to find a local dentist. He found Regency Court Dentistry, the practice of Naved Fatmi, DMD.
Following his initial visit, Chris visited Dr. Fatmi regularly for a year or two, but then came a stretch of years where business and family matters kept Chris from visiting any dentist at all. The consequences of his absences proved grave.

“My family has always had bad teeth, and I’m the kind of person you really have to push to go see a dentist anyway,” Chris reveals. “Well, add it all up, and in the time away from seeing Dr. Fatmi, some serious problems developed.”

Root Cause

A lot of those problems stemmed from the fact that for years, Chris had been a very heavy smoker. The habit contributed greatly to his dental issues, which included severe periodontal disease and several failing teeth, a few of which could not be saved.

“He also had a lot of stained teeth from his smoking, which directly influences the entire oral cavity,” Dr. Fatmi educates. “A lot of people think smoking only stains your teeth, but it affects so much more than that.

“It affects the gums, the tongue, even the salivary glands and saliva flow. A person who smokes a lot doesn’t produce as much saliva as a person who doesn’t smoke, so therefore that person who smokes a lot has fewer enzymes and proteins in their mouth.

“Anytime you have a situation like that, where there’s a lack of saliva, even if it’s a result of prescribed medications, that can lead to decay and also slow any healing that needs to take place after treating anything from a cavity to gum disease.

“A lot of people think smoking only stains your teeth, but it affects so much more than that.” – Dr. Fatmi

“All of the dentistry that we do, whether it’s a filling, a crown or implant, or even a treatment for gum disease, it will last. But if you continue smoking, then it’s not going to last, and that was something we had to explain to Chris.”

Chris says he heard the message loud and clear and worked hard to cut back on his smoking before returning to Dr. Fatmi, who began his restoration by first attacking the periodontal disease that was at the root of many of Chris’ dental problems.

Once that was completed, Dr. Fatmi took on the task of replacing Chris’ irreparable teeth, which were a premolar and molar on the top arch and a premolar and molar on the bottom arch. In each case, Chris chose dental implants as his replacement option.

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. A single implant supports an abutment, and a crown is attached to the abutment, creating a new tooth. Two or more implants can support a fixed bridge or full denture.

Once they’re placed into the jawbone, dental implants typically require between four and six months to heal. It is at that point that the abutment and crown can be added. During the waiting period, patients typically wear temporary crowns or bridges.

In some cases, the placement of the implant is preceded by a bone-grafting procedure to ensure there is enough bone to support the implants. Chris was one of those who required a bone graft before receiving his implants.

While Chris healed from the extractions and bone graft, which can take anywhere from three to six months to fill in, depending on the amount of bone that has been lost, Dr. Fatmi did the restorative work necessary to repair Chris’ remaining teeth.

“You always want to take care of the base, which are the gums and bone, and get all the infection out first,” Dr. Fatmi explains. “Once that’s done, then you can move forward with the restorative implants and crowns, which is what we did with Chris.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Chris Olivieri

All Is Well

Chris received his implants in March. After wearing temporary crowns for several months, he was fit with his permanent crowns in the early fall. He says the process is “very involved,” but he raves over the outcome.

“Everything went very well,” Chris exudes. “And my teeth feel great. I’m telling you, Dr. Fatmi is really good. He’s very professional, and he’s so accommodating, which is important to me because I’m on blood thinners.

“That means that whenever he did the surgery for the implants, I had to come off the blood thinners for a few days, then have my blood checked again to make sure it wasn’t too thin before I went in to have the surgery. But he was great about that.”

Many dental problems require immediate fixes, and in most of those cases, the repair can be made immediately. But Dr. Fatmi points out that some treatments simply require more time than others, and it’s not unusual for patients to require more time as well.

“There are times when a patient simply cannot have all the work done at one time, and we understand that,” Dr. Fatmi says. “In cases like that, we often work in steps so as not to overwhelm the patient.

“We especially do that with patients such as Chris who are receiving multiple implants, because not everything happens overnight in that process. As long as the patient is okay with it, we’re okay with taking small steps to reach the ultimate goal.”

Chris’ ultimate goal in seeking help from Dr. Fatmi was to get ahead of a dental situation that had slowly spiraled out of control. He has achieved that objective, and in the process, he says, he found a dentist for life.

“Dr. Fatmi is definitely my dentist now,” Chris confirms, “and one of the reasons for that is because his entire staff is very nice, and they do a great job reminding you that it’s time to get in there. They stay on top of things, and I appreciate that.

“Another thing I really like about Regency Court Dentistry is that if you have an appointment at eleven o’clock, they get you in there by eleven-o-five. I’m kind of an impatient guy and very busy. Sitting around isn’t my thing.

“They’ll even see you on weekends if necessary.

Dr. Fatmi has always been there for me, and I want to point out that during this whole process with the implants, not once did I ever feel any real pain.

“Before he did anything, he showed me the x-rays and explained why he was going to do what he had planned and how he was going to do it. He did that throughout the entire process, and did a great job, which is why I recommend him to anybody.”

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    • Regency Court Dentistry

      Regency Court Dentistry understands the importance of maintaining the health of your smile. This is why they offer a number of comprehensive general health and restorative dentistry services. From regularly scheduled teeth cleanings and den... Read More

    • Naved Fatmi, DMD

      Naved Fatmi, DMD, is a highly trained general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville. He founded Regency Court Dentistry in 2012 an... Read More

    • Aurelie Huyghues-Despointes, DMD

      Aurelie Huyghues-Despointes, DMD, is a native of the Caribbean island of Martinique who received her undergraduate degree from Florida Atlantic University and her master’s degree from Barry University in Miami. She earned her dental degree fr... Read More