Confidence Builder

Life gets a lift with a second-chance smile.

When he was in his mid-20s, Michael Kercher fell off a loading dock while operating a forklift at work. That fall left him partially disabled with nerve damage on his left side.

Photo courtesy of Michael Kercher.

“I’m thrilled with all that Dr. Fatmi has done to give me my smile back.”
– Michael

The next fall Michael suffered was almost as debilitating as the first.

“I fell into a pretty deep depression after that accident,” says Michael, who herniated 11 discs in his neck and back. “With everything I was going through at the time, I pretty much gave up on life after that.”

A native of South New Jersey, Michael eventually pulled himself out of his depression and moved to Florida. Now 47, he’s again working, as a patient liaison at a rehabilitation center in West Palm Beach. But some of the effects of his two dramatic falls linger.

“I can get up and move around, but the nerve damage is permanent from head to toe,” he says. “I do my best to push through it and work because I want to help people who are struggling the way I once did. I can speak to them from experience.

“The other problem is with my teeth. When I got depressed, I stopped taking care of myself. One of the things I let go was my teeth. After a while, I started losing them. I eventually lost about five just on the top alone.”

Along with his teeth, Michael also lost a great deal of confidence. Even after he regained the desire to venture out, he was so embarrassed by his smile that he covered his mouth when he spoke or ate, which had also become difficult.

It wasn’t until he was on the brink of losing yet another tooth that Michael decided to do something about his smile. With the support of his family, he visited a dentist who began a restoration project. The dentist retired
early in the process.

Michael was then referred to Naved Fatmi, DMD, of Health and Wellness Dentistry, which has three locations: Regency Court Dentistry in Boca Raton, Town Square Dentistry in Boynton Beach and Square One Dentistry in Jensen Beach.

“With multiple locations we can better provide the one-on-one care that our patients require,” Dr. Fatmi states. “We have an oral surgeon on staff, which helps us with diagnosis, planning and treatment and increases the options available to all of our patients.”

A Permanent Solution

When Michael first visited Dr. Fatmi, he was missing his left front tooth, the lateral incisors that border the two front teeth and his left eye tooth. In addition, the right front tooth was severely damaged.

Those teeth had all been replaced with a partial that didn’t fit well and was difficult to care for. Michael’s hope was that Dr. Fatmi could offer a more permanent replacement option for his missing teeth.

Dr. Fatmi suggested dental implants.

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.

Michael chose to go with individual implants to replace his missing top teeth. During that process, Dr. Fatmi needed to perform a bone grafting procedure to enhance the volume of the jawbone that ensures its ability to properly support the implants.

Bone grafts are not always necessary, but with patients such as Michael, who have been missing teeth for many years, a graft is sometimes required because bone mass deteriorates when there is no pressure from chewing to stimulate natural bone regeneration.

Bone grafts are typically done at the time the implants are seated. The implants then need three to six months to heal to a point where they can support a prosthetic. During the healing period, patients are usually fit with temporary replacement teeth.

Second Chance

The restoration of Michael’s smile, which included placing a crown on the damaged front tooth that was not missing, began late last year. Michael now has a completely restored and fully functional smile of which he’s extremely proud.

“It’s pretty nice,” Michael says. “I was at work a couple weeks ago and realized for the first time in a long time that I was actually smiling. I look in the mirror now and I actually like what I see. And I can chew again. That had become a problem, and the partial didn’t help because I had to take that out to eat. But now, with dental implants, it’s like I have my own real teeth again. Dr. Fatmi did a great job.

“I obviously wish I had taken better care of my teeth in the first place, but I’m doing that now. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance, and I’m thrilled with all that Dr. Fatmi has done to give me my smile back.”

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    • Health and Wellness Dentistry

      Health and 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 much ... 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