Never Too Late To Improve Oral Health

Long-term teeth deterioration resolved with dentures and dental implants.

A native of New York state, Nicole Chambers relocated to Florida more than 25 years ago. She’s a staff-end coordinator for a home care company, a position she’s held for a little more than two years. Before that, she worked in the hospice field.

Nicole Chambers & Jordan Robbins, DMD

“I was a CNA, a certified nursing assistant,” elaborates Nicole, 50. “CNAs provide the daily care for patients. We help them bathe, help them eat, provide whatever assistance they need. I loved helping.”

Unfortunately, Nicole was forced to give up the job and let her CNA license expire.

“After undergoing knee surgery, I was no longer able to perform the duties of a CNA,” she explains. “So, I transitioned into the staff-end coordinator position, where I schedule the nurses and home health aides who go out and care for individuals in the community.”

Nicole was inspired to work in health care by her mother, a nurse whom she calls her mentor. Nicole acquired more than just her mother’s altruistic mindset. She also inherited her mother’s susceptibility for weak teeth.

“I’ve had problems with my teeth and gums pretty much my entire life,” Nicole reveals. “The other issue is that I’m terribly afraid of dentists. The dentist’s office is not my favorite place, so I let my teeth go for years, and they’ve just deteriorated over time.

“Then I broke a tooth that a partial bridge was affixed to. There wasn’t really any pain, but sometimes my teeth were a little sensitive when I bit down on something. I was nervous that the broken tooth wasn’t strong enough to hold the partial anymore, so I decided it was time to get some help.

“Many years ago — 10, 12, at least — I visited Implant Dentistry of Florida. Dr. Brown was the primary doctor at the time, and he took care of me by making me the partial bridge I have to replace some teeth I lost.”

Clark F. Brown Jr., DDS, owns Implant Dentistry of Florida in Melbourne. He is retired now, but associates Jordan Robbins, DMD, and Alejandro Martinez, DMD, provide a range of services, including cosmetic and general dentistry.

Dr. Robbins and Dr. Martinez also perform all phases of dental implant surgery and all options for implant restoration. When Nicole returned to Implant Dentistry of Florida, she met with Dr. Robbins.

“Nicole came to us about 10 months ago,” Dr. Robbins recalls. “She was already missing some of her teeth and wore a partial, which was failing. She also had periodontitis, or gum disease, and active infection around her remaining teeth.

“My recommendation was to extract all her remaining teeth and create a full set of dentures for both the top and bottom. I also recommended using dental implants on the bottom to fasten the lower denture in place.”

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 restoration.

The restoration can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto the abutment to replace a tooth, a bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants to replace several teeth, or a full denture that can be fastened to a series of implants or made to snap on and off the implants.

Treatment Process

Dr. Robbins endorsed using dental implants to secure Nicole’s lower denture but not the upper because the palate, or roof of the mouth, usually creates enough suction to hold the appliance firmly in place.

“When people talk or eat, the movement of the tongue and muscles in the bottom jaw and cheeks makes it difficult for lower dentures to stay in place without implants,” Dr. Robbins observes. “Nor is there as much suction on the bottom of the mouth as on top.

“I’m very happy with my teeth. …They’re nice and white and look very natural.”
– Nicole

“That’s why dental implants are recommended to secure a lower denture, and in Nicole’s case, we used four dental implants to secure her lower denture, which is standard. We can use as few as two implants, but four gives the denture more stability and a tighter fit.”

As part of Nicole’s treatment process, Dr. Robbins extracted her teeth and placed the implants during the same appointment.

“We also performed a procedure called alveoloplasty, which is a recontouring of the bone where teeth have been extracted or lost,” the dentist explains. “We took a 3D CT scan and used our implant planning software to digitally place the implants where the bone is most abundant. That way, we did not have to perform bone grafting on Nicole.

“During one visit, we placed Nicole’s implants, covered them with gum tissue and fit her with a temporary denture that sits on the gums. We then waited three months to allow Nicole’s implants to integrate with her bone and let her gums heal. At that point, we fit her with a permanent lower denture that snaps onto the implants.”

“Like Night and Day”

Nicole is thrilled with her dentures. She’s especially happy with her lower, implant-secured appliance.

“It’s a huge difference, like night and day, from the temporary denture I received on the day of implant surgery,” she raves. “I’m able to eat real food now. I ate my first steak a couple of weeks ago, and it was just delightful.

“I’m very happy with my teeth. They’re beautiful. They’re nice and white and look very natural. I’ve never been one to smile very much, but I smile a whole lot now. My husband actually commented on that. He said, You look very nice when you smile.”

The former CNA is just as pleased with the dentist who gave her that smile.

“Dr. Robbins is terrific in every sense of the word,” Nicole enthuses. “She’s very attentive, sweet and upbeat. She never made me feel bad because my dental issues were kind of my fault because I let my teeth go for so long. She’s a delightful young lady.

“And the staff is terrific, very helpful. They always listen to me and ask questions to be sure they understand what’s going on. I highly recommend Dr. Robbins and Implant Dentistry of Florida. They’re great.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. Before and after images courtesy of Implant Dentistry of Florida. mkb
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    • Implant Dentistry of Florida

      The 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 dentistry, as well as sta... 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

    • 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