A Berry, Berry, Good Dentist

Properly placed implant allows summertime farmer to better enjoy the fruits of her labor


 In its purest form, farm-to-table dining is experienced at a table on the very farm where the food is produced, a table like the one Shirley Eisenhauer and her husband eat from every day during the summer. 

“We spend our summers on a 22-acre farm in the North Carolina mountains, where we grow all our own vegetables,” Shirley confirms. “We grow just about everything you can think of — tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, peppers, you name it. 

“We even grow strawberries and blueberries, and what I do is go out each morning, find what’s ripe and ready for picking and bring that into the house. Then I go online and find recipes for all the things that were ready that day. It’s a lot of fun.” 

It’s not just on their North Carolina farm that Shirley and her husband literally eat the fruits and vegetables of their labor. They can and freeze a lot of those items and bring them to Florida, where they spend the winters. 

 “I didn’t have to buy hardly any fruits and vegetables the last time we came down, which was good because when I got to Florida and saw the prices at the grocery store, I was shocked,” Shirley offers. “I was really glad we brought most of what we needed.” 

Shirley, 68, has been canning and freezing fruits and vegetables and bringing them to Florida for more than a decade. During one of her first trips to the Sunshine State, a dental issue temporarily forced her to alter her eating habits. 

 “I broke a tooth,” Shirley explains. “It was an upper right molar, and I obviously needed to get it fixed, so I started calling around, looking for a dentist who could see me right away. That’s how I wound up at Port Charlotte Dental Care.” 

Remove and Replace 

Port Charlotte Dental Care is the practice of Joseph H. Farag, DMD. The work he did in reshaping Shirley’s broken tooth and placing a crown on it prompted Shirley and her husband to become regular patients of the practice. 

Shirley says that since her first visit there, she and her husband have turned to Dr. Farag for all their dental care. For Shirley, that recently included another issue with the same tooth, a second premolar that prompted her initial visit. 

“Shirley came back in October 2022 and that same tooth, tooth number 4, had broken off completely,” Dr. Farag reports. “Given the situation, I explained that the best thing I could do for her was to extract that tooth and replace it with a dental implant.” 

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once the implant is in the jawbone, new bone naturally grows around it to form the foundation for an abutment and replacement teeth. 

The replacement teeth can be a crown cemented or screwed onto the abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a full denture that can be fastened to a series of implants. 

Prior to seating an implant, some patients require a bone graft designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone. By using autologous bone or a synthetic bone substitute, the graft gives the jawbone the strength to support an implant. 

Bone grafts are not always necessary, but for patients who have been missing teeth for many years, they are often required because bone mass deteriorates when there is no pressure from chewing to stimulate natural bone regeneration. 

 X Marks the Spot 

Though Shirley had her tooth extracted, Dr. Farag determined through a CT scan that she would still require some grafting prior to seating the implant, which was done with the help of a digital 3D planning platform called X-Guide®. 

“The X-Guide system is a tremendous tool that allows us to do all the planning for a dental implant virtually on a computer,” Dr Farag states. “It also helps us determine the precise size of the implant that’s needed and how to place it. 

“It gives us all the angles that we need for proper alignment of the implant and even shows us how the implant will line up with the opposing jawbone and teeth that we’re keeping. Like I said, it’s an invaluable tool.” 

In Shirley’s case, the X-Guide system helped Dr. Farag determine that the root of the damaged tooth was so similar in size to the required implant that Dr. Farag was able to remove the tooth and place the implant on the same day. 

“That’s not very common, but when it happens it’s great because it saves a lot of time,” Dr. Farag educates. “We usually need to wait about three months for the extraction area to heal before placing the implant, but with Shirley, that was all done at once.” 

Following placement of the implant, patients typically need to wait three to four months for new bone to grow around the implant and provide the strength it needs to support the abutment and crown that finishes it off. 

During that time, patients are sometimes fit with temporary crowns, but Shirley was not. She returned to Dr. Farag in February for placement of her permanent crown. 

Crown Jewels 

Depending on the tooth and color desired, a variety of materials, including lithium disilicate and zirconia, can be used to create crowns. In all cases, though, new crowns are monolithic, meaning they are formed from a single block of material. 

That creates several natural advantages over older crowns that were made of porcelain fused to metal. For starters, monolithic crowns are stronger. They are also more aesthetically pleasing with no metal collar at the top. 

“These new materials also mimic the enamel translucency of natural teeth because they allow light to transfer in and out of the tooth,” Dr. Farag notes. “And people like that because it looks more like a real tooth, even up close. 

“With the old porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, your teeth might look good from far away. But if you get close, you start to notice that there’s something different about them. They don’t look as real or as good.” 

Shirley says the match on her replacement is so perfect that she can’t tell the difference between that tooth and the one she lost. She also says there was “no pain whatsoever” during the implant placement process. 

“The work that Dr. Farag does is just amazing,” Shirley enthuses. “He’s so gentle. I lived in Dallas for 20 years and in Dayton, Ohio for a while, so I’ve been to dentists all over, and I’ve never had a dentist who is as good and efficient as Dr. Farag. 

“He’s really special, and I have absolutely recommended him to others. I’ve sent a lot of people his way, and I’ll keep doing it. 

“Dr. Farag is a great dentist, and his staff is exceptional. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else for my dental care.”  

Florida Health Care News


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    • Port Charlotte Dental Care

      Dr. Farag provides a full range of quality, caring dental services to the Port Charlotte community. He looks forward to hearing from the viewers of the Florida Health Care News website. For more information or to schedule an appointment, pl... Read More

    • Joseph H. Farag, DMD

      Joseph H. Farag, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Farag served an implant residency at the Misc... Read More