Filling Open Spaces
Noel is now confident to show off her smile and her best friends, Tally and Hunter.

Noel is now confident to show off her smile and her best friends, Tally and Hunter.

Missing teeth replaced by dental implants and single-visit crowns.

While Noel Tillman was growing up, her parents maintained a Saturday chore list that included assignments for each family member. Noel was responsible for cleaning the house, and she was exceptionally good at it. When time came to get a job as an adult, Noel decided to play to her strengths.

“There was an ad in the paper for a house cleaner, which I answered,” Noel remembers. “And from that one ad, I probably got 30 jobs, all from word of mouth. At one point, I cleaned almost all the houses on one street.

“I went on to operate my own cleaning business in Connecticut for 15 years. Then my brother, who was very ill with diabetes, moved to Florida. We were very close. I knew I didn’t have much time left with him, so I moved to Florida as well. When I got here, Disney hired me right away.”

Noel, 65, worked for the Walt Disney Co. for 22 years, ultimately becoming a housekeeping manager at several Disney resorts in the Orlando area. She retired in January 2020.

“I was in charge of the housekeeping staffs, which involved managing about 30 people and everything that goes with that,” Noel details. “I started at the Yacht and Beach Club resort and then moved to the All-Star Resort.

“I also worked at Hollywood Studios for a few years, then at the Coronado Springs Resort and finally at the Boardwalk Inn, from where I retired. Housekeeping took care of the guests, made sure the rooms were good and clean, and dealt with guest complaints.”

Noel recently had to deal with a complaint of her own. It had to do with her smile. The grievance was rooted in her youth and evolved into a lifetime of dental distress.

“My teeth have always given me trouble,” she admits. “My parents didn’t have a lot of money and we didn’t have dental insurance, so we didn’t go to the dentist as kids unless we had a toothache. By then, it was usually too late. It seemed like every time I went to the dentist, they pulled a tooth.

“More recently, I lost two teeth on the top right side of my mouth. I could barely eat because I could only chew on one side. When I smiled, and I smile a lot, people could see a big hole where those two teeth were missing. It was unsightly. I was determined to do something about those missing teeth because I couldn’t live my life like that.”

At a get-together with friends last spring, Noel mentioned her concerns about her smile as well as her dissatisfaction with the dentist she was seeing to a friend who remarked, Noel, you have to visit Dr. Brown. He’s the best.

The friend was referring to Clark F. Brown Jr., DDS, the owner of Implant Dentistry of Florida. When Noel called the Melbourne practice, she was pleased to learn that Dr. Brown’s associates, Jordan Robbins, DMD, and Alejandro Martinez, DMD, provide a full range of services, including cosmetic and general dentistry. Both dentists also perform all phases of dental implant surgery and all options for implant restoration.

“I thought if Dr. Robbins and Dr. Martinez were trained by Dr. Brown, they must be good, too,” Noel reasons. “So, I made an appointment with Dr. Robbins.” 

Crowning Glory

“Ms. Tillman first came to our practice in March 2021,” Dr. Robbins recalls. “She was missing two premolars on the top right side toward the back and was interested in having them replaced with dental implants.

“Initially, we took a cone-beam CT Scan, which allowed us to evaluate the area around her missing teeth and ascertain if she had sufficient bone to support the implants, which she did.” 

Dental implants are screw-like posts made of a titanium alloy that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once an implant is in the jaw, bone naturally grows and fuses around it to form the foundation for a connector piece called an abutment.

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

“To understand dental implants, think of placing a screw into a wall to hang a picture,” Dr. Robbins relates. “First, you drill a pilot hole, then you place the screw into the hole. With dental implants, we perform the same process in the mouth.

“First, we plan everything virtually using our computerized planning system. We create a surgical guide that allows for the precise placement of the implant exactly where we plan it in the software. When we drill the pilot hole in the bone, the guide directs the exact positioning of the drill. There is no estimating where the implant should go.”

The amount of time usually needed for implants to heal to the point where they can support a prosthetic such as a crown, bridge or denture is between three and six months. In Noel’s case, Dr. Robbins waited three months before attaching the abutments and crowns to the implants.

“Typically, the process of placing crowns requires two visits to the dentist, one to take the scans and measurements for the crowns and a second to fit the finished products,” Dr. Robbins explains. “With Ms. Tillman, we created and fit her crowns in one visit using our in-house CEREC® system.” 

CEREC is a system that uses computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to quickly generate precisely fitting restorations, such as crowns and veneers, in the dentist’s office.

When creating crowns with the CEREC system, impressions are taken using a digital scanner rather than the traditional gooey impression material. The impression generates a virtual model of the tooth on the computer, where the crown is designed by the dentist using specialized software. Once the design is complete, it is forwarded to a milling machine, which fabricates the crown from a solid porcelain block.

“Dr. Robbins took digital images of my mouth with a camera and said, I’m going to go and make your teeth now. It might take a little while,” Noel remembers. “When she came back, my teeth were ready.”

Dr. Robbins  also created a third crown for a natural tooth that had become discolored at the same visit. It matched the implant crowns to the new, brighter shade. 

Noel is smiling wider than she has in years. She says that after a lifetime of dental problems, she was thrilled to have a positive experience with a dentist.

“My results are great,” Noel raves. “The crowns are wonderful. They match my other teeth and look absolutely natural. No one will ever know they aren’t my real teeth. My chewing is much better, too. I can eat everything and don’t have to worry about only chewing on one side of my mouth.” 

A Family Affair

For seven years, Angelica Martinez enjoyed a thriving career as a massage therapist. She chose the profession after receiving the therapy following an injury. 

A stay-at-home mom, Angelica is dedicated to her children (left to right): Carmen Belle, Tristan and Luna.

A stay-at-home mom, Angelica is dedicated to her children (left to right): Carmen Belle, Tristan and Luna.

“When I was younger, I was in a car accident and got massages as treatment,” elaborates Angelica, 30. “I became very interested in massage therapy after experiencing its benefits and wanted to help provide those benefits to others. I also really like caring for people.”

When Angelica’s third child – a son – was born this past June, she gave up massage to take on the more critical role of stay-at-home mom. She isn’t ruling out an eventual return to her career, though.

“I anticipate going back when my son gets a little bit older and it’s a little easier to leave him,” discloses Angelica, who was born and raised in Utah.

Angelica met her husband, Dr. Alejandro Martinez, while the dentist was attending undergraduate school at Utah Valley University in Orem. The couple had already started a family by the time Dr. Martinez earned his dental degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, far away from their family and friends.

“When it came time to look for dental jobs, my husband said, Let’s find a place close to your family,” Angelica recalls. “My father had recently retired and moved to Florida, so we looked for jobs and found Implant Dentistry of Florida. Now, we call Florida home.”

Angelica was fortunate to have a dentist for a husband when a longstanding dental issue became a serious problem last year. As with Noel, Angelica’s issue was rooted in her youth as she carried a baby tooth, a lower left molar, into adulthood. After 30 years, however, that tooth began to fail.

“The tooth was extremely sensitive to hot and cold, which was very uncomfortable; it even caused me some trouble with chewing,” Angelica reports. “There was a cavity in that tooth. It was filled a long time ago, and the filling began breaking down. The tooth started to hurt, and it became infected, so it was time for it to go.”

There was just one complication. A permanent tooth was not present to grow into the same space, so an extraction alone would have left Angelica with a visible gap between her other teeth. 

“Leaving an open space in my teeth would be detrimental because all my other teeth would shift and all the money that my parents spent on braces when I was a kid would go right out the window,” she details.

“So, for about a year, I wore a partial, which was like a little retainer with a tooth in it, to keep my teeth from shifting. But that partial was extremely annoying to take in and out when eating and sleeping. It was very uncomfortable as well, so I decided to replace the missing tooth with an implant.”

Dr. Martinez placed the implant in January 2021. He then waited three months for new bone to grow and fuse to the implant before fitting Angelica with a permanent crown, which was fashioned and placed on the same day using CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics).

When Dr. Martinez created Angelica’s crown using CEREC, he designed the contours to blend in with her existing dentition. Together, they chose a shade for the crown that made it beautiful and natural looking.

“We designed the crown so that it matches Angelica’s other teeth and is the size of the permanent tooth that should have been there. It sits properly and maintains the occlusal plane,” Dr. Martinez reports. “Because we did that, Angelica’s chewing capability on that side has greatly improved.”

“Great” Outcomes

Like Noel, Angelica is happy with the treatment she received at Implant Dentistry of Florida. And she’s beyond satisfied with her outcome. 

“The dental implant is a game changer,” Angelica enthuses. “Now that I have it, I have no more discomfort with hot and cold, no trouble at all. And I can eat anything. Biting into a steak is no problem; the crown doesn’t move. It’s great.

“And the treatment process was so easy. The day I got the implant, I felt no pain, and when I got the crown, I felt no pain.”

While she may be somewhat biased because the dentist is her husband, Angelica has flattering things to say about Dr. Martinez.

“He knows what he’s talking about; and what he does, he does well,” she says. “You can tell that he’s confident about his work. And the staff at the practice is very friendly and kind. Everybody is interested in what my needs are and is willing to help.

“The office is beautiful and very clean. It’s a good and safe environment. You can tell that Implant Dentistry of Florida cares about what it’s doing and about its patients. I recommend the practice 120 percent!”

Noel echoes Angelica’s enthusiasm for her dentist and the practice.

“I immediately liked Dr. Robbins,” Noel reveals. “She’s very nice. She told me everything she was going to do before she did it, and she answered all my questions. It’s really important to me to have everything explained. When I went in for my implant procedure, she assured me that everything would go smoothly, and it did.

“And the staff is great. Whenever I call, they’re always polite. When I go to the office, they know me and always say, Hello. And they’re always very upfront about financial matters. I tell everybody to go to Implant Dentistry of Florida.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb

 

With (front row) Alejandro Martinez, DMD, and Jordan Robbins, DMD, are staff members (left to right) Shauna Brown, Janice Moore, Amy Dop, Emily Rivera, Megan Dunn, Tammy Rickard, Shannon Austin, Misty Robbins, Madison Howington, Angela Villacres, Kathy Pottinger and Stephanie Ayala Vega.

With (front row) Alejandro Martinez, DMD, and Jordan Robbins, DMD, are staff members (left to right) Shauna Brown, Janice Moore, Amy Dop, Emily Rivera, Megan Dunn, Tammy Rickard, Shannon Austin, Misty Robbins, Madison Howington, Angela Villacres, Kathy Pottinger and Stephanie Ayala Vega.

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    • Implant Dentistry of Florida

      Dr. Clark Brown and his team at Implant Dentistry of Florida are committed to providing you with excellent dental care in a warm, comfortable setting. They provide the latest techniques in implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and general ... Read More

    • Jordan Robbins, DMD

      Jordan Robbins, DMD, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in biology in 2012 and earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2017, graduating cum laude from the University of Florida College of Denti... Read More

    • Alejandro Martinez, DMD

      Alejandro Martinez, DMD, graduated cum laude from Utah Valley University and earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at Temple University in 2019. Dr. Martinez also completed the 300-hour American Academy of Implant Dentistry MaxiCourse in ... Read More