Come Up Smiling

Lifelong dental problems remedied in a day with unique implant protocol.

Mari Guarneri always wanted to help others. She achieved that goal by pursuing a career in mental health. In Mari’s eyes, mental illness was stigmatized, and people suffering with mental illness weren’t getting the services they required.

Mari enjoys the blooms that flourish in her yard and garden.

“That’s what drove me into mental health as a career,” Mari shares. “Also, the brain is a fascinating organ. I entered the field in the early 1980s as a secular clinician. I earned a PhD from Columbus State University in Georgia and worked as a secular counselor for 25 years.”

During those years, Mari worked with at-risk youth facing social and legal challenges due to their behaviors, addictions and mental illnesses. She assisted her patients as best she could, but she was convinced something was lacking.

“I felt there was a component missing,” Mari confirms. “So, about 10 years ago, I went back to school at Omega Bible Institute & Seminary in Monroe, Louisiana, and earned a second PhD in Christian counseling. As a Christian counselor, I can use my therapy skills but add faith-based approaches as well.

“I retired from the South Carolina Department of Mental Health before moving to Florida five years ago. I’m currently a Christian counselor at my church, Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal in Lecanto.”

Mari wanted to help people with mental illness since she was a young girl. She also suffered with dental complications from a young age.

“I’ve had problems with my teeth since I was 15,” Mari elaborates. “My jaw was unstable, so my teeth were prone to breaking and chipping. I’ve been in and out of dental offices almost my entire life. I’ve had root canals, extractions, oral surgeries, crowns, bridges, you name it. I’ve had multiple abscesses and been on antibiotics many times.

“During the past three years, my teeth started getting really unstable and breaking even more, which caused significant pain. I carried Orajel® and ibuprofen around with me everywhere. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t go to restaurants because I never knew when one of my teeth was going to snap off. The situation with my teeth impacted my health and my self-esteem. I was embarrassed to smile.”

Her dentist in Lecanto suggested that she see Michael A. Pikos, DDS, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and the founder of Coastal Jaw Surgery.

“My dentist attends many seminars led by Dr. Pikos and is very knowledgeable about his work,” she points out.

Better Option

Dr. Pikos is a global leader in dental implants and surgical reconstruction known for developing the smile restoration process called Same Day Teeth®.

Same Day Teeth is an innovative treatment that allows for the placement of dental implants and new teeth on the same day, he details. It restores the aesthetic appearance of the smile and provides optimal functionality.

“When patients like Ms. Guarneri come to us, they typically have ongoing problems with their teeth, such as decay and gum disease,” Dr. Pikos explains. “As a result, it is often not practical to save the teeth. Whenever possible, we try to save the teeth, but many times, the better option is to extract them, and at the same time place implants and permanent teeth, which is the Same Day Teeth protocol.”

That was the case with Mari.

“Dr. Pikos recommended I undergo the Same Day Teeth process,” Mari recalls. “He felt very confident it would solve my problems and I would be healthier and happier afterward.”

During her evaluation, Mari also met with prosthodontist Philip J. Hedger, DMD, Coastal Jaw Surgery’s tooth-replacement specialist and “smile architect.” Dr. Hedger creates the permanent teeth that patients receive as part of the Same Day Teeth protocol.

“I’m very happy with my new teeth.” – Mari

“Dr. Pikos and Dr. Hedger did a good job explaining what they wanted to do, what the results might be and some alternative treatments as well,” Mari reveals. “After considering everything, my husband and I decided to move forward with the Same Day Teeth process.”

As part of his initial evaluation, Dr. Pikos thoroughly examines the patient’s mouth, head and neck area. He also takes a cone beam CT scan to assess the quantity and quality of the existing jawbone. Sufficient bone is necessary to accommodate dental implants.
Along with measurements of the teeth taken by Dr. Hedger, the data gathered from the evaluation and CT scan are then sent digitally to a dental laboratory. The lab uses complex computer software to help Dr. Pikos create a customized treatment plan for each patient.

“Using the information returned to us from the lab, we can determine exactly where to place the implants in advance of the surgery,” Dr. Pikos discloses. “We can simulate the exact surgery to be performed on the patient. This is called guided surgery.

“We customize all aspects of the treatment, including the number and types of implants to use. There’re two main types of implants. Axial implants vary in length from 10 to 12 or even 13 mm in height. Zygomatic implants are anywhere from 40 to 55 mm, or approximately two inches.”

Zygomatic implants are anchored in the cheekbone. They are generally used for patients that don’t have enough bone in their upper jaws to support axial implants.

“My Life is Great”

Dr. Pikos and Dr. Hedger worked as a team to give Mari a new smile using the Same Day Teeth protocol, and Mari is thrilled with the results.

“My new teeth are very bright and straight,” she enthuses. “They look very natural. People can’t tell that they aren’t real teeth. They look great, so I’m smiling with an open mouth again, which is something I hadn’t done in quite a few years.

“I’m very happy with my new teeth. I can eat whatever I want. I can smile and I can sing in the church choir. I can be out in public and I don’t have to worry about my teeth at all.”

Mari also isn’t worrying about her teeth hurting or becoming infected anymore. Since receiving her new teeth, she has consistently followed an oral hygiene program that was designed by Dr. Pikos to eliminate those concerns.

Mari Guarneri

“I don’t have pain or get abscesses or breakage,” she raves. “I don’t have any of that. I just have to continue with good oral hygiene to keep my gums and the implant posts healthy, and that’s no problem at all.

“My self-esteem is really high now. During the last year, I took off some weight, so now I’ve got a new smile and a new figure. And I’ve become very active. I’m swimming a lot and trying to keep up with my 13-year-old. My life is great.”

Mari is impressed by the Same Day Teeth protocol. She’s also impressed by the providers.

“Dr. Pikos, Dr. Hedger and the Coastal Jaw Surgery team were with me every step of the way, even after I healed from the procedure,” she states. “They called to check up on me to make sure there were no problems.

“And Dr. Pikos and Dr. Hedger are perfectionists. They make sure you have exactly what you want and exactly what you need. I highly recommend them.”

1© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz.Before and after images courtesy of Coastal Jaw Surgery. js


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    • Coastal Jaw Surgery

      With more than 30 years of extensive experience, their mission at Coastal Jaw Surgery is to provide excellent surgical care for their patients in a safe, efficient and compassionate manner. Their team of oral surgeons is unmatched in ex... Read More

    • Michael A. Pikos, DDS

      Michael A. Pikos, DDS, is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry and the International Congress of Or... Read More

    • Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS

      Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS, earned his undergraduate degree in nutrition from the University of Florida. He received his dental doctorate from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Dr. Hedger then completed an advanced pros... Read More