One And Done Right

Smiles restored in a single visit with Dentures in a Day.

Denise Azzaro’s career with the state of New Jersey began when she was 17 and a high school senior. As part of a work-study program, Denise took classes at the school during the first half of the day and spent the rest of the day on the job with the state. She received a grade for her performance at the worksite.

“While I was still in high school, I took two civil service tests, one for stenography and one for typing,” recalls Denise, 67. “When I got the results back, I was No. 1 in the entire state in typing. I typed 70 words with no errors. My stenography score was a little bit lower, but I still took 180 words per minute.”

Denise is all smiles while playing with her cat, Lucky

Denise is all smiles while playing with her cat, Lucky

Over the years, Denise worked her way up in New Jersey’s municipal system. She sat for additional civil service exams to achieve higher positions. Ultimately, she became an administrative assistant in the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste. She worked for an assistant director and oversaw eight employees.

“My boss was already an engineer, but he went back to school to become a professional engineer,” Denise discloses. “After that, he was put in charge of permitting every transfer station, recycling facility and landfill in the state. It was interesting work, seeing what and how much could be brought into those facilities. I learned a lot on the job and from my boss.

“Most of my career, I held two jobs. In addition to working for the state for 27 years, I also worked at times as a nail technician and a waitress. Then I got ill and underwent multiple surgeries. That put a quash on a lot of things. I’ve since bounced back health-wise and am now retired. September marks two years since I relocated to Florida.”

Like her working career, Denise’s dental issues are rooted in her youth.

“When I was 4 years old, a gentleman opened up a dental office right behind our house,” she relates. “He was just starting out, but my mother knew his family. He said, Are you sure you want me to work on your girls? I just got out of school. My mother didn’t have a problem with that, so he worked on us. I went to him all the time.

“By the time I was 19, my teeth were very soft and beyond filling. I started getting root canals and crowns. Everything was great until 2000 or 2001 when I cracked a few bottom teeth and lost a couple of the crowns. I put off having anything done because I couldn’t afford it. I was living off my pension, which wasn’t a lot.

“When I moved in with an aunt and no longer had to pay rent, I decided to go to the dentist and have my teeth worked on. My dentist said it was impossible to do anything with my top teeth. He said, Denise, all those teeth will have to come out. In 2007, the dentist pulled all of my top teeth and made an upper denture for me.”

At the same time, Denise’s bottom teeth were beginning to deteriorate. By the time she moved to Florida in 2019, she was experiencing recurrent infections in her bottom teeth, particularly in the exposed teeth that had lost crowns. Her upper denture was wearing out as well.

“On a Saturday last November, two teeth fell out of my denture,” Denise recounts. “I have an ego. I’m not going to run around looking like a crazy woman with missing teeth. I did some research and called several dental practices, but nobody could be bothered. Then I called Venetian Dental. They said, We can see you today.”

Venetian Dental is the practice of Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, a skilled general, cosmetic and emergency dentist. In addition to the office in Venice, Dr. Gaukhman has offices in Sarasota and Osprey.

Dr. Gaukhman examined Denise and suggested a new upper denture. He also suggested replacing her failing lower teeth with a denture.

“Denise initially came to us with a broken upper denture,” Dr. Gaukhman remembers. “We repaired it for the short term but recommended replacing it with a new denture for a long-term solution. 

“She also presented with gum disease, failed root canals and infection in her lower teeth. Those teeth were not salvageable, so we recommended extracting the teeth and creating a lower denture supported by two dental implants.”  

Implant Benefits

Dr. Gaukhman’s treatment plan called for the placement of dental implants to secure only her lower denture, not the upper denture. The reason has a lot to do with anatomy.

“Typically, upper dentures fit securely in the mouth without dental implants because the palate, which serves as the roof of the mouth, creates sufficient suction to hold the appliances in place,” Dr. Gaukhman observes. “Lower dentures are a different story.” 

Lower dentures are often difficult to stabilize because the lower jaw is not designed for dentures. There’s no palate in the lower jaw due to the location of the tongue. Because of that, less suction is produced. As a result, lower dentures tend to slip and slide.

“It is rare when people can wear lower dentures that don’t bother them or stay tight without help,” Dr. Gaukhman explains. “Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it. That’s why I recommended using implants to secure Denise’s lower denture.”

Dental implants are screw-like posts made of a titanium alloy that are surgically placed in the jawbone. They serve as the foundation for replacement teeth, which can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto a connector piece called an 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.

Dentures secured by implants don’t slip or move; they stay in place when patients speak and eat. There are other functional benefits to securing dentures with implants as well.

“Implant dentures provide added strength for biting and chewing,” Dr. Gaukhman educates. “And because the dentures are stable, patients experience better speech, better aesthetics and greater self-confidence. They don’t have to worry about the denture coming out during dinner, conversation or activity. And while teeth decay, dental implants never do.”

In most cases, Dr. Gaukhman treats his denture patients using Dentures in a Day, Venetian Dental’s single-visit smile-restoration technique. As part of the Dentures in a Day process, Dr. Gaukhman places the implants on the same day he extracts the teeth. Typically, temporary dentures are also created that day in Venetian Dental’s on-site laboratory.

“We begin the process by taking impressions of the patient’s teeth,” Dr. Gaukhman explains. “It takes a few hours for the lab to fabricate the dentures, but once they’re ready, we extract the teeth, put in the implants and place the dentures right away. This way, the dentures act as a bandage to minimize swelling and bleeding. Moreover, patients do not need to walk around without teeth.

“The patient wears the temporary denture for three to six months following the implant procedure. The time allows the implants to integrate with the jawbone and for the tissues to heal. At that point, the temporary denture is replaced with a permanent appliance that attaches to the implants. Once the permanent dentures are placed, we make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.”

Denise recalls Dr. Gaukhman discussing the Dentures in a Day process with her.

“I said, Well, I’ve got to have it done. That was on a Wednesday, and on Friday morning he performed the implant surgery,” she remembers.

“Dr. Gaukhman’s plan was to place two implants, one on each side of my lower jaw, so that my denture would snap in and stay put, and it worked out perfectly. His system is nothing like what they used to do years ago, when dentures were loose and you could actually hear them clicking. 

“I know people who would get food stuck underneath their dentures, and they had to use that stupid glue to hold them in place. I never wanted that to happen to me, and thanks to Dr. Gaukhman and Dentures in a Day, it didn’t.”

Denise underwent the Dentures in a Day process in February. She wore temporary upper and lower dentures until late August, when she was fit with her permanent teeth.

“I now have brand new top and bottom dentures, and they’re beautiful,” she reveals. “They’re a shade lighter than the upper denture I had before, and they look fantastic. I’ve received so many compliments on them, and they function perfectly.

 “The lower denture doesn’t move at all and I don’t get food underneath it, so I can eat anything I want. Everything went very well. They did a great job.”

“In Good Hands”

For 35 years, Ronald Gesell was an outside plant engineer for Illinois Consolidated Telephone Co., now Consolidated Communications, based in Southeast Illinois. Ronald’s job usually involved constructing telephone lines to service rural customers.

Connie and Ronald are pleased with Dr. Gaukhman’s solution to Ronald’s denture issues.

Connie and Ronald are pleased with Dr. Gaukhman’s solution to Ronald’s denture issues.

“I retired from the telephone company in 1994, then worked for the state of Illinois for three years,” Ronald recounts. “I provided buildings in Chicago and other places with TV service and security monitors. I traveled to all of the prisons in the state and set them up with security cameras and video equipment.”

For most of his life, Ronald, 79, resided in Illinois, although he and his wife, Connie, dreamed of living in the Sunshine State. The bug first bit in 1965 after the couple visited Daytona Beach for their honeymoon. For years, they returned to Florida’s east coast for summer vacations. 

“After Connie’s brother moved to Sarasota, we starting vacationing on this side of the state,” Ronald discloses. “We finally moved to Florida in 1997. We got tired of the snow and ice all winter in Illinois. Besides, it’s gloomy up there most of the time.”

The gloom of Midwestern winters often put a damper on Ronald’s mood. But a negative experience from his past had already cast a pall on his emotional state. The trauma stems from his Army service in the Vietnam War. Ronald rarely talks about those days except to note their deleterious effect on his health.  

“I was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam,” Ronald reveals. “I developed diabetes as a result, and it’s affected my overall health. I’ve had two strokes due to the diabetes, and the medications I take for it have ruined my teeth. 

“One morning, I was sitting with Connie having a bagel, and my front tooth just broke off as I chewed. At that point, I had only 19 teeth left, so I decided to have them all removed and replaced with dentures.”

Ronald and Connie spent several weeks searching for a dentist to perform Ronald’s total mouth restoration. They visited multiple practices but were taken aback when the dental providers quoted prices for Ronald’s treatment without examining him.

“When we got to Dr. Gaukhman’s office, the first thing he said was, Let’s go take some x-rays and see what we have,” Connie reports. “No one else even asked to see what’s going on. They just gave us a quote right off the bat. That’s why we liked Dr. Gaukhman the best and chose him to do the work.”

After the exam, Dr. Gaukhman agreed with Ronald’s solution for his dental issues.

“By the time I saw Ronald, he had already lost multiple teeth to decay and gum disease,” Dr. Gaukhman reports. “His remaining teeth were full of infection and unsalvageable. My recommendation was to extract the teeth and create new upper and lower dentures. As I did with Denise, I further recommended securing his lower denture with two dental implants.”

Connie was impressed with the efficiency and safety protocols of Venetian Dental’s staff.

“Because of COVID-19, I wasn’t allowed to go back to the exam room with Ronald,” she relates. “Dr. Gaukhman and his staff got right on Ronald’s case, and they relayed to me what needed to be done. I knew what was going to happen before one tooth was removed. I knew Ronald was in good hands.”

Dr. Gaukhman performed Ronald’s Dentures in a Day procedure in May. Since then, he has been wearing temporary upper and lower dentures as he awaits his permanent appliances.

“We’re getting close,” Connie says. “During our next appointment, they will take the impressions for Ronald’s permanent dentures. After that, Dr. Gaukhman will uncover the implants and fit Ronald’s dentures.”

“Perfect” Dentures

Ronald says he has been pleased with the Dentures in a Day process.

“My treatment went very well,” he enthuses. “Everything was well planned, and there was no pain whatsoever. The dentures I have now are perfect. They look nice and fit well, and I have no trouble chewing. I have no problems with these dentures, but I’ll be happy to get my permanent ones.”

Connie is equally pleased with the treatment her husband has received.

“Dr. Gaukhman cared enough to give us the right opinion about what needed to be done for Ronald’s treatment, and that was important to us,” she relates. “We both felt very comfortable because they had everything planned out, right down to the date of surgery.” 

Like the Gesells, Denise initially looked to other dentists for help when her upper denture broke on a weekend. And no one would see her. Only Dr. Gaukhman made time for her emergency, and she is very appreciative. 

“Dr. Gaukhman and his staff are very good to me,” Denise observes. “I especially like his receptionist, Joy (Barber). She’s sweet. And Sergei (Chernomorets), who took the impressions, is outstanding. They told me if I needed to make any adjustments, I should just call them and they would see me right away. 

“They’re good people at Venetian Dental. They couldn’t have been nicer or more sympathetic if I had a problem. They did wonders for me.”

Connie has kind things to say about the practice as well.

“Venetian Dental is a well-oiled machine,” she describes. “And Dr. Gaukhman is a very polite young man. I recommend him.”

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