Answering the Call

Holiday emergency dispatched with Dentures in a Day.

Robert Brown had already decided on a career in law enforcement, but before he could start his first job, the US military drafted him and asked him to spend two years serving and protecting a much larger constituency.

Robert is thrilled with the
comfortably snug fit of his new dentures

“It just so happens that they offered a three-month drop from my enlistment if I joined the police department when I got home, which was my intent anyway,” Robert shares. “So, instead of serving 24 months, I served 21 months.”

Robert’s military service included a year in Vietnam, where he fought with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Afterward, Robert worked in law enforcement for 47 years, first as a patrol officer and later as a detective for the city of Baltimore and state of Maryland.

“In Baltimore, which is where I’m from, I became a detective in narcotics and violent crimes,” Robert elaborates. “Then, I was a detective in the state capital in Annapolis, where I did criminal investigations. I chose law enforcement because I wanted to help people. That’s the reason most people go into it, to serve the public.”

Robert, 74, retired in 2017 and relocated to the Sunshine State. He now spends most of his time woodworking, fishing and visiting the beach. Although he enjoys retirement, Robert continues to battle major dental issues that stem from his days on the police force.

“My teeth were damaged several times over the years in work-related incidents,” Robert discloses. “I was hit in the face with a wrench and kicked in the teeth on the job. My teeth were also damaged in car accidents, and I didn’t really take care of them the way I should.

“My dentist didn’t do proper dental work, and I eventually had to get a partial upper plate. But the teeth it was attached to rotted away, and I had all my upper teeth removed and got a full upper plate. My lower teeth were all capped, but my molars eroded under the caps, and I ended up with only four teeth left.”

Robert’s dental situation got worse this past Thanksgiving, when he developed a severe toothache resulting in intense pain.

“It was a piercing, throbbing pain, and nothing I did for it helped,” Robert states. “I used aspirin and Orajel, but nothing took the pain away. I started looking for dentists with after-hours appointments trying to find one who would see me on Thanksgiving night. Dr. Gaukhman was the first to answer my call.”

Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, is a skilled general, cosmetic and emergency dentist at Venetian Dental, which has offices in Venice, Sarasota and Osprey. He immediately identified the retired detective’s problem.

“Robert’s teeth were badly infected and could not be salvaged,” Dr. Gaukhman recalls. “My recommendation was to extract the teeth that night and immediately place two dental implants into his lower jaw. We would then create an implant-supported lower denture to replace his lost teeth.”

Robert agreed to proceed with Dr. Gaukhman’s treatment plan.

“Dr. Gaukhman told me that all four of my remaining teeth were infected, and the infection was causing the severe pain,” Robert recalls. “He said that my best option was to remove the teeth and go ahead with the implants.”

Stabilizing Dentures

While treating Robert, Dr. Gaukhman noticed that Robert’s existing upper denture was old and deteriorating. The dentist recommended replacing the appliance, but unlike Robert’s lower denture, Dr. Gaukhman didn’t suggest implants to secure his upper denture.

“Generally, upper dentures fit securely in the mouth without dental implants because the palate creates sufficient suction to hold the appliances in place,” Dr. Gaukhman acknowledges.

Lower dentures are a different story.

“These are often difficult to stabilize because the lower jaw is not designed for dentures,” Dr. Gaukhman maintains. “There’s no palate in the lower jaw due to the location of the tongue, and because of that less suction is produced. Consequently, lower dentures tend to slip and slide.

“It’s rare when people can wear lower dentures that don’t bother them or stay tight without help. Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it. That’s why I recommended using implants to secure Robert’s lower denture.”

Dental implants are screw-like posts made of titanium alloy that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They serve as the foundation for replacement teeth, such as crowns and dentures. Dentures secured by implants don’t slip or move; they stay in place when patients speak and eat. There are other benefits to securing dentures with implants.

“I’ve never encountered a staff that’s as nice and as accommodating as the people at Venetian Dental.” – Robert

“Implant dentures provide added strength for biting and chewing,” Dr. Gaukhman contends. “And because the dentures are stable, the patient experiences better speech, better aesthetics and greater self-confidence. They don’t have to worry about the denture coming out during dinner, conversation or activity. And while teeth decay, dental implants
never decay.”

Robert’s situation was an emergency, which made him a perfect candidate for Dentures in a Day, Venetian Dental’s single-visit smile-restoration technique. As part of the Dentures in a Day process, Dr. Gaukhman places the implants on the same day he extracts the teeth. Typically, temporary dentures are also created that day in Venetian Dental’s on-site laboratory.

“We begin the process by taking impressions of the patient’s teeth,” Dr. Gaukhman details. “It takes a few hours for the lab to fabricate the dentures, but once they’re ready, we extract the teeth, put in the implants and place the dentures right away. This way, they act as a bandage to minimize swelling and bleeding. Moreover, patients do not need to walk around without teeth.

“The patient wears the temporary denture for three to six months following the implant procedure. The time allows the implants to integrate with the jawbone and for the tissues to heal. At that point, the temporary denture is replaced with a permanent appliance that attaches to the implants. Once the permanent dentures are placed, we make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.”

“Like Natural Teeth”

By the time Robert’s treatment was completed, he had received a new traditional upper denture and an implant-supported lower denture. He’s thrilled with
the outcome.

“The teeth in my dentures are fantastic,” he raves. “They look great, like natural teeth. My treatment at Venetian Dental was absolutely successful, and I’m happy with the results.

“I’ve now got a removable upper denture and a lower denture that snaps down over the posts and stays in place. I don’t need to use Polident® or any other adhesive. I take my dentures out at night, but otherwise they fit snugly and are comfortable.”

Robert gives kudos to Dr. Gaukhman and his staff for their excellent care and kind treatment. He’s especially thankful they took the time during a holiday to see him and rescue him from his pain and misery.

“Dr. Gaukhman is a very concerned gentleman,” Robert describes. ”He’s a good, thorough dentist and treats me with care. I’ve never encountered a staff that’s as nice and as accommodating as the people at Venetian Dental.

“Anytime I call, they get me in as soon as possible. They work around my schedule and are very helpful. If I had to, I would have the same treatment done all over again by them. They’re that good.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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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