Put a Smile Back On Your Face

Simple restoration plan greatly improves function, aesthetics.

Itone thing to buy a new pair of shoes, a new dress or even a new sofa on a whim. But a new home? In a state thousands of miles away from where you live? 

Michelle Arterton

Michelle Arterton

 

That’s a whole different level of impulse buying. That’s the level that Michelle Arterton and her husband went to a few years ago.

“We were vacationing here in Florida, and a friend who lives in Maple Leaf Golf and Country Club invited us over for a visit,” Michelle relates. “We were actually thinking of renting a place there for a few months in the winter, and while we were visiting, my husband said, Why don’t we go look at the model homes? 

“Well, the first one we walked into we both loved. He said to me, You really like this one? I said, I do, and just like that we bought it on the spot. A couple days later on the plane ride home, we said, What did we just do? We bought a house in Florida and we’re not even retired yet. My husband said, Don’t worry, we’ll figure it all out.”

In time, Michelle and her husband did just that. After they sold their home in Massachusetts, Michelle quit her job and her husband sold his share of the body shop he owned to his business partner. The couple then spent the next four years snowbirding between a home in Maine and their new home in Florida.

The couple “celebrated their first full year as Florida residents in August 2020,” according to Michelle, who began her third full year here flashing a bright new smile. That smile came courtesy of Joseph H. Farag, DMD, of Port Charlotte Dental Care. It’s a smile she had long wanted but, unlike her Florida home, was slow to commit to.

“I had been missing an upper left molar for a while and had another tooth that was a bit shaky,” Michelle explains. “It was actually a crown that was put on when I was living in Massachusetts, and it had been giving me some problems. It had fallen off a couple of times, and I was worried it might happen again.

“My dentist in Massachusetts glued the crown back on, but I was afraid to bite into anything like an apple or even a sandwich because it was loose, and I didn’t want it to break off again. When I first went to see Dr. Farag, he offered to fix that tooth and the one that I was missing, but I always said, Let me think about it.”

What Are My Options? 

Michelle first visited Dr. Farag in 2019, shortly before she and her husband became permanent residents of the Sunshine State. She mulled over Dr. Farag’s offer for almost a year. Finally, after making the move to Florida, she saw Dr. Farag again and asked him about the options for repairing her teeth.

One option involved replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant, a screw-like post placed in the jaw to serve as the root of a replacement tooth. Michelle wasn’t too keen on that idea, in part because it takes a few months for implants to fuse with the jawbone and become strong enough to support the crown.

She was more interested in a second option, one that called for a complete restoration of her upper arch, which had other pressing issues that needed to be addressed, according to Dr. Farag.

“She had some new cavities as well as a fracture in a tooth where a root canal had been done many years ago,” Dr. Farag details. “That fractured tooth, her right lateral incisor, was split and there was no restoring it, so she said, Well, we might as well just fix everything then.”

For that repair, Dr. Farag would create two bridges, one to replace the missing molar and another to replace the fractured incisor, which needed to be extracted. Several failing crowns would also require restoration.

Dr. Farag began the project this past May, when he created a healthy periodontal foundation by cleaning Michelle’s gums. He then used a 3D scanner to create a digital model from which the restoration pieces would be created.

“We start that process by doing a diagnostic wax-up, which is basically a mock-up with the lab technician,” Dr. Farag educates. “This is all done digitally, and we go through a couple of iterations on the computer to see what we like best.

“Once we’re happy with the color, size and shape, we give the lab the final go-ahead to prepare temporary teeth. In Michelle’s case, we started by creating a temporary bridge that she wore for a few months while the site of the extraction healed.”

Something New 

After healing from the extraction, Michelle returned and Dr. Farag began his work on the teeth that needed new crowns. He determined that all but two of the teeth that had previously been crowned needed to be redone.

“I smile all the time now because my teeth look great.” – Michelle

“I smile all the time now because my teeth look great.” – Michelle

Depending on the tooth and color desired, a variety of materials, including lithium disilicate and zirconia, can be used to create crowns. 

In all cases, though, the new crowns are monolithic , meaning they are formed from a single block of one material. That creates several natural advantages over older crowns made of porcelain fused to metal. For starters, monolithic crowns are stronger. They are also more aesthetically pleasing, in part because there is no metal collar at the top.

“These new materials also mimic the enamel translucency of natural teeth because they allow light to transfer in and out of the tooth,” Dr. Farag notes. “And people like that because it looks more like a real tooth, even close up.

“With the old porcelain fused to metal crowns, your teeth might look good from far away. But if you get up close you start to notice that there’s something different about them. They don’t look as real or as good.”

Michelle was initially fit with temporary crowns and a temporary bridge that filled the gap created by her missing molar. After a couple of weeks, she returned and was fit with permanent crowns and bridges that were adjusted to her liking.

Michelle now has a restored upper arch that is aesthetically appealing and provides greater function when she’s eating and chewing. She says the changes have also restored her confidence.

“I love to smile, but it had been a while since I really felt confident about smiling,” Michelle says. “It had been years, really. But I smile all the time now because my teeth look great. And I can eat anything I want and not have to worry about a tooth breaking.

“Dr. Farag did a great job, and he’s so nice. Now I go back to him for regular cleanings. I’m thrilled with what he’s done for me. I really appreciate his work, and I gladly recommend him to anyone. He’s a great dentist, the best.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. Before and after images courtesy of Port Charlotte Dental Care. mkb
Print This Article
    • Port Charlotte Dental Care

      Dr. Farag provides a full range of quality, caring dental services to the Port Charlotte community. He looks forward to hearing from the viewers of the Florida Health Care News website. For more information or to schedule an appointment, pl... Read More

    • Joseph H. Farag, DMD

      Joseph H. Farag, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Farag served an implant residency at the Misc... Read More