Referrals Prompt A Pair Of Smile Makeovers

Treatment plan results in shiny restoration. Diligent home care keeps it beaming.

Once the most popular getaway destination for Hollywood stars and the rest of the world’s most rich and famous, Acapulco, Mexico, has slowly deteriorated to a point where it is now considered one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Medardo Vazquez with Dr. Ortiz

Somewhere in the middle of that Pacific beach town’s decline, Medardo Vazquez’s family packed up and moved cross-continent to Lake Worth, an hour’s drive from one of the Atlantic’s most popular beach towns.

Medardo was just a child when his family made that move, so he considers himself a Floridian, one who went on to raise a family of his own. Recently, one of those relatives gave Medardo a life-changing recommendation.

“I needed a teeth cleaning, but I didn’t want to go back to the dentist that I was going to before,” Medardo explains. “I didn’t like the way that dentist cleaned my teeth, so I asked my daughter about her dentist.”

Medardo’s daughter goes to Julian R. Ortiz, DMD, of Lake Worth Dentistry, which is part of the Health and Wellness Dentistry group that also has locations in Boynton Beach (Town Square Dentistry) and Boca Raton (Regency Court Dentistry).

Dr. Ortiz conducted a thorough oral evaluation during his initial visit with Medardo, who soon learned he was in need of much more than a cleaning.

Though he was not in pain, Medardo had a number of cracked or broken teeth along the front of his upper arch. He was also missing two molars, one on top and one on the bottom, which Dr. Ortiz pegged as the cause of the damage to the front teeth.

“When you lose teeth in the back, your body naturally adapts to those losses by using the teeth that are left to do the job of the back teeth,” Dr. Ortiz explains. “So, instead of chewing normally with his back teeth, Medardo had been chewing with his front teeth.

“The front teeth are not built for that purpose, so the pressure he was putting on those teeth by chewing with them had caused several of those front teeth to break down. One of them, a lower right incisor, had broken so badly it was missing.”

Repair and Replace

In addition to that missing lower incisor, Medardo also presented with extensive damage to his upper left lateral incisor and both of his upper central incisors, meaning three of his upper front four teeth were in desperate need of repair.

To correct those problems, Dr. Ortiz recommended a complete smile restoration that would start with the cleaning Medardo came for in the first place. Due to extensive gum disease, Dr. Ortiz explained that what Medardo needed was a deep cleaning.

“I love my smile. My teeth look and feel great.” – Medardo

After discussing the matter with his family, including a niece who is also a patient of Dr. Ortiz, Medardo agreed to the smile makeover. The work began in September 2021 with the deep cleaning.

That cleaning helped develop a strong foundation for the rest of the work proposed by Dr. Ortiz, whose treatment plan called for two of Medardo’s three missing teeth to be replaced with dental implants and the repair of all the damaged teeth.

Dental implants are titanium, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once an implant is placed, new bone naturally grows and fuses around it to form a solid foundation for replacement teeth.

The replacement teeth can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto 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.

Some patients require a bone graft designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone so it can properly support the implant. Following the grafting procedure, it takes about three months for new bone to develop.

Bone grafts are not always necessary, but with patients who have been missing teeth for many years, a graft is often required because bone mass deteriorates when there is no pressure from chewing to stimulate natural bone regeneration.

As with Medardo, the bone grafts can be done when the implants are seated. The graft and implants then need three to six months to heal before they are strong enough to support a prosthetic.

Medardo waited five months to receive his prosthetics, which were crowns placed atop the implants replacing his lower right incisor and a lower left molar. Because of the shifting of other teeth, no implant was needed to replace Medardo’s missing upper molar.

While Medardo waited for the implants to heal and the prosthetics to be placed, Dr. Ortiz concentrated on repairing his other damaged teeth. In the end, he restored and placed crowns on the six upper teeth in Medardo’s smile line.

All Due Credit

Medardo now has a functionally sound smile that is also aesthetically pleasing.

Dr. Ortiz is largely responsible, but he says the bulk of the credit for the positive change has to go to Medardo.

“The biggest change is the change Medardo made in terms of oral hygiene,” Dr. Ortiz explains. “At home, he’s doing everything we instructed him to do regarding proper flossing and brushing. He’s even using an electric toothbrush.

“As a result, the amount of spacing and recession that he had due to his periodontal disease has all been corrected. The restorative work we did is like the icing on the cake because all that work would be for naught without that good foundation.

“We explained that to him before we started. We made it clear that for this treatment plan to work, he would need to do his part. He would need to be very diligent about flossing and brushing twice a day, and he’s done that.”

Medardo is happily reaping the rewards of his commitment to improved oral hygiene. For the first time in years, he can eat anything he wants and smile with confidence, he says.

“I used to have to eat a lot of soft foods because it was hard to chew, and yes, I was very hesitant to smile,” he says. “But now I love my smile. My teeth look and feel great, and I can’t thank Dr. Ortiz enough for all that he’s done for me.

“Dr. Ortiz is a great dentist. Throughout the entire process, I never felt any pain and the results are great. I see now why my daughter and niece see Dr. Ortiz, and just as they did with me, I gladly recommend him to anyone.”

Caring for Community

Whether it’s due to increased awareness, changes in the way the condition is diagnosed or both, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is on the rise. That has sparked an increase in the need for people who can teach and work with autistic children and adults.

For 16 years, Marie Orelus accepted that challenge. In addition to being a certified nursing assistant, Marie works with adults on the spectrum, including some who receive care and instruction at home.

Marie shows off her new smile with Dr. Ortiz, along with dental assistant Patrick Brady, left, and dental hygienist Sophia Zapata, right.

“In some cases, we actually cook for them and teach them how to clean and shower,” Marie explains. “We help them in any number of ways that are necessary because some cannot help themselves.”

Several years ago, Marie required specialized help herself after an accident left her with four broken front teeth. Those teeth were saved during an emergency trip to her dentist, who performed root canals on her two front teeth on the top and bottom.

But Marie’s dentist, who would soon sell his practice and retire, never recommended crowning the repaired teeth. As a result, those teeth soon became brittle, worn and discolored. Recently, Marie resolved to rectify that problem.

Crowning Achievement

After a few years of encouragement from Naved Fatmi, DMD, who purchased the practice and made it part of the Health and Wellness Dentistry group, Marie agreed to have those teeth crowned. There was just one problem.

By the time Marie agreed to the crowns, the two bottom front teeth were so worn that they were no longer salvageable. As a result, Dr. Fatmi had to pull those teeth and replace them with a dental implant.

Prior to receiving that implant, Marie required a grafting procedure, which was performed by Dr. Fatmi. While she waited for the implant to fuse and new bone to develop in her bottom jaw, Marie was placed in the care of Dr. Ortiz.

Marie was among the first patients treated by Dr. Ortiz as a part of Dr. Fatmi’s Health and Wellness Dentistry group, and one of the first things he did for her was rectify a fast-growing issue with her wisdom teeth.

“She had some inflammation around the gums, and the bone had started to die around those teeth because of calculus buildup,” Dr. Ortiz relates. “That’s not unusual because it’s hard to keep those back teeth clean, so we pulled all four wisdom teeth.”

After verifying a healthy foundation and stable gum health, Dr. Ortiz turned his focus to restoring Marie’s smile. He did that by placing a crown on each of her two top front teeth and a single crown made to look like two teeth on top of the implant on the bottom.

Same-Day Service

All three crowns were created and placed during one visit in which Dr. Ortiz made extensive use of the advanced technology available at Health and Wellness Dentistry, which has the ability to create crowns in its on-site laboratory.

That process starts with the dentist taking a digital impression of the teeth, eliminating the need for gooey molds. The digital impression is used as a guide to create permanent crowns, which can be seated immediately.

“I walked into their office and walked out a couple of hours later with a beautiful new smile.” – Marie

“We have our own in-house lab manager, and he works side-by-side with us,” Dr. Ortiz explains. “He makes sure that the shape, size and shade of the crown matches all the patient’s other teeth, and the resulting bite is ideal so that the smile looks completely natural and has lasting results that will prevent any complications in the future.”

This technology at Health and Wellness Dentistry also eliminates the need for temporary crowns, which can fall off or break, and saves the patients’ time because it allows to have extensive damage repaired in one visit.

“What Dr. Fatmi and Dr. Ortiz did for me is absolutely amazing,” Marie raves. “And it was done so quickly. I walked into their office and walked out a couple of hours later with a beautiful new smile that everybody complements.

“The dentists are very, very good, and they are exceedingly kind. Everyone treats you with so much respect that I only have wonderful things to say about them.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos courtesy of Health and Wellness Dentistry. mkb
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    • Health & Wellness Dentistry

      Health & Wellness Dentistry has three convenient locations in South Florida and provides a full scope of dental care services that include cosmetic dentistry, comprehensive dentistry, restorative dentistry, emergency dental care, plus muc... Read More

    • Naved Fatmi, DMD

      Naved Fatmi, DMD, is a highly trained general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Society, Florida De... Read More

    • Julian R. Ortiz, DMD

      Julian R. Ortiz, DMD, is a native of Miami who graduated from Coral Reef High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida. He earned his dental degree from Nova Southeastern University and practiced for tw... Read More