Caring For The Community
Marie shows her new smile with Dr. Ortiz, along with dental assistant Patrick Brady, left, and dental hygenist Sophia Zapata, right.

Marie shows her new smile with Dr. Ortiz, along with dental assistant Patrick Brady, left, and dental hygenist Sophia Zapata, right.

Practice newcomer helps restore caregiver’s fading smile.

Whether it’s due to increased awareness, changes in the way the condition is diagnosed or a combination of the two, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is on the rise in the US.

A condition that was found in one in 88 children in 2012 is now found in one in every 68 children. That spike has sparked an increase in the need for people who can teach and work with both children and adults with autism.

For 16 years, Marie Orelus has accepted that challenge. In addition to being a certified nursing assistant, Marie works with adults who have autism, including some who receive care and instruction in their homes.

“In some cases, we actually cook for them and teach them how to clean and shower,” Marie explains. “We help them in any number of ways that are necessary because some cannot help themselves.”

Several years ago, Marie required specialized help herself after an accident left her with four broken front teeth. Those teeth were saved during an emergency trip to her dentist, who performed root canals on her two front teeth on the top and bottom.

But Marie’s dentist, who would soon sell his practice and retire, never recommended crowning the repaired teeth. As a result, those teeth soon became brittle, worn and discolored. Recently, Marie resolved to rectify that problem.

Crowning Achievement 

After a few years of encouragement from Naved Fatmi, DMD, who purchased her former dentist’s practice and made it part of the Health and Wellness Dentistry group, Marie agreed to have those teeth crowned. There was just one problem.

By the time Marie agreed to the crowns, the two bottom front teeth were so worn that they were no longer salvageable. As a result, Dr. Fatmi had to pull those teeth and replace them 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 single crown that is either 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 placing an implant, some patients require a bone grafting procedure designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone so it can properly support the implant. The amount of time needed for the bone development is about three months.

Marie required a grafting procedure, which was performed by Dr. Fatmi. While she waited for the implant to fuse and new bone to develop in her bottom jaw, Marie was placed in the care of Julian R. Ortiz, DMD, a newcomer to the Health and Wellness Dentistry team.

A Miami native who earned his dental degree at Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Ortiz recently “came back home” to South Florida after spending two years practicing in Tampa.

Marie was among the first patients Dr. Ortiz treated as a part of Dr. Fatmi’s Health and Wellness Dentistry group, and one of the first things he did for her was rectify a fast-growing issue with her wisdom teeth.

“She had some inflammation around the gums, and the bone had started to die away around those teeth because of calculus buildup,” Dr. Ortiz relates. “That’s not unusual because it’s hard to keep those back teeth clean, so we pulled all four wisdom teeth.”

After verifying a healthy foundation and stable gum health,  Dr. Ortiz turned his focus to restoring Marie’s smile. He did that by placing a crown on each of her two top front teeth and a single crown made to look like two teeth on top of the implant on the bottom.

Same-Day Service

All three crowns were created and placed during one visit. Dr. Ortiz made extensive use of the advanced technology available at Health and Wellness Dentistry, which has the ability to create crowns in its on-site laboratory.

That process starts with the dentist taking a digital impression of the teeth, eliminating the need for gooey molds. The digital impression is used as a guide to create permanent crowns, which can be seated immediately.

“We have our own in-house lab manager, and he works side-by-side with us,” Dr. Ortiz explains. “He makes sure that the shape, size and shade of the crown matches all the patient’s other teeth, and the resulting bite is ideal so the smile looks completely natural and has lasting results that will prevent any complications in the future.”

This technology at Health and Wellness Dentistry eliminates the need for temporary crowns, which can fall off or break, and saves time because it allows patients to have extensive damage repaired in one visit.

“What Dr. Fatmi and Dr. Ortiz did for me is absolutely amazing,” Marie raves. “And it was done so quickly. I walked into their office and walked out a couple of hours later with a beautiful new smile that everybody complements.

“The dentists are very, very good, and they are exceedingly kind. Everyone treats you with so much respect that I only have wonderful things to say about them. I recommend them to anybody.

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo courtesy of Health and Wellness Dentistry. mkb
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    • Health & Wellness Dentistry

      Health & Wellness Dentistry has three convenient locations in South Florida and provides a full scope of dental care services that include cosmetic dentistry, comprehensive dentistry, restorative dentistry, emergency dental care, plus muc... 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. He opened Town Square Dentistry in 2019 and is a member of t... Read More

    • Christiane Murillo, DMD

      Christiane Murillo, DMD, is a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her dental degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Murillo perf... 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

    • Julian R. Ortiz, DMD

      Julian R. Ortiz, DMD, is a native of Miami who graduated from Coral Reef High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida. He earned his dental degree from Nova Southeastern University and practiced for tw... Read More