Long-Distance Dentistry

New upper, lower dentures produce a smile that’s worth the drive.

As a high schooler, Doris Atkins prepared herself for the workforce by taking a variety of general business courses. At every turn during her career, however, employers steered her in one direction.

“When I got out of high school and went to work, I became a bookkeeper,” Doris, 83, remembers. “As I went into each job, they pushed me into bookkeeping and I just went along with it and stayed with it over the years.

“Up north, I worked for St. Christopher Hospital in Philadelphia and in private industry. We didn’t have computers then. We worked with ledgers and everything was entered manually. Still, it was a good job.”

Doris’ husband had a long career in law enforcement. He served on the highway patrol with the Philadelphia police for many years. Following his retirement in 1982, the couple relocated to Florida and bought a home in Venice.

“After we moved to Florida, I got a job with a home builder,” Doris recounts. “I worked for them full time for a while and eventually retired myself. About seven years ago, I sold my home because it was just too big for me. It had a pool and a lot of property, so I moved to Bradenton to live with my daughter and son-in-law. But I liked living in Venice. It was a great town.”

Doris still likes Venice, so much so that she recently returned to the seaside city to find a dentist to solve an ongoing issue with her teeth. Her problem involved existing dental work, which was failing and required replacement.

“I had a partial on the bottom for years, but it wore down the teeth it hooked onto,” Doris describes. “I was very self-conscious about that partial. I wouldn’t go anywhere without it. I had a full plate on the top as well, but it was old and cracked. Still, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my teeth.

“Finally, I visited two dentists. I went to one dentist further down in Venice and got an estimate. Then, I went to Dr. Gaukhman, and he took very good care of me.”

Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, is a general, cosmetic and emergency dentist at Venetian Dental, which has offices in Sarasota, Venice and Osprey. Dr. Gaukhman evaluated Doris’ dental situation and determined that she needed all new upper and lower dentures.

“The teeth that Doris had left on her bottom jaw were decayed and affected by periodontal disease and could not be saved,” Dr. Gaukhman recalls. “Another partial was not an option because there would be no teeth left on which to attach it.

“So we agreed that we should extract all of her remaining lower teeth and create a lower denture for her. At the same time, we created a new upper denture for her as well because her existing upper denture was old and worn and needed to be replaced.”

Screw-Like Security

In general, upper dentures fit securely in the mouth because the palate creates sufficient suction to hold the appliance in place. That was the case with Doris. The new upper denture Dr. Gaukhman made for her fits perfectly and does not wobble or move.

“Lower dentures are often difficult to stabilize because the lower jaw is not designed for dentures,” the dentist observes. “There’s no palate due to the location of the tongue, and because of that less suction is produced. As a result, 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. That’s why securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it and why I recommended two implants to secure Doris’ lower denture.”

Dental implants are screw-like posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for replacement teeth, such as crowns and dentures. When secured by implants, dentures don’t slip or move; they stay in place when people speak and eat. There are other advantages of implant dentures over traditional dentures, Dr. Gaukhman notes.

Implant Dentures

“Implant dentures provide added strength for biting and chewing,” he elaborates. “And because the dentures are stable, the patient experiences better speech, better aesthetics and greater self-confidence. They do not have to worry that the denture will come out during dinner, conversation or activity.”

“My dentures look really good. Nobody knows that my teeth are dentures.” – Doris

For patients who still have their natural teeth, Dr. Gaukhman can place the implants on the day he extracts the teeth. In most cases, temporary dentures are also created at that time in Venetian Dental’s on-site laboratory.

“Typically, once the patient’s problem is diagnosed and the treatment is determined, impressions are taken of the teeth,” Dr. Gaukhman explains.

“When the dentures are ready, which is usually the same day or the next day, the teeth are extracted and the dentures are placed right away. When done this way, the dentures serve as a bandage to minimize swelling and bleeding.

“For the next three to six months following that procedure, the patient wears temporary dentures until the implants fuse with the jawbone and the gums heal. Then the temporary dentures are replaced with the permanent appliances.”

Aim for Excellence

It’s been almost 13 years since Doris received her new traditional upper denture and lower implant denture from Dr. Gaukhman. She is still pleased with their look and feel.

“Dr. Gaukhman did a great job because my dentures look really good,” Doris raves. “Nobody knows that they’re not real teeth. I have no complaints at all. My denture on the top stays put, and my lower denture doesn’t move because of the implants.

Dr. Gaukhman used two implants, and when I put in my denture it snaps right in place. It doesn’t go anywhere.”

Doris had been very uncomfortable about her smile, even with dentists, but she found a provider she trusted completely in Dr. Gaukhman.

“I used to be very self-conscious when I sat in a dental chair,” Doris reminisces. “I would put my hand over my mouth – and those were dentists looking at me! But I’m very comfortable with Dr. Gaukhman. I’m so comfortable that I gladly drive from Bradenton all the way to Venice, which takes an hour and 15 minutes, just to see him. I do that because he’s so personable, kind and caring.

“He knows what he’s doing and makes me feel at ease. He works with me and does a very good job. I praise him for that. And his staff is excellent. They’re very nice and good at what they do. They’re also very accommodating and want to please you.

“If you call the office, you don’t have to wait to get an appointment. They get you in right away. But they don’t rush you; they want you to be comfortable. That’s their aim. I have no idea why anybody would want to go anyplace other than Venetian Dental.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. mkb
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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