Third Dentist Is a Charm

Minimalist approach proves more effective to end dental odyssey.

The travel bug first bit Angie* some 20 years ago after she visited London, England for the first time. Since then, she’s been back to London several times and toured most of the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe.

Her latest excursion was a return trip to Venice, Italy and a cruise to the Greek Isles. The latter stop is one that had long been on Angie’s bucket list. She only wishes that she could have begun checking items off that bucket list a little sooner.

“I was probably fifty years old before I got the chance to really travel and see a lot of Europe,” says the 70-year-old former advertising sales representative. “Before that, I mostly traveled locally and to the Caribbean and Mexico.”

Among Angie’s “local” trips were moves from South Florida to Atlanta and back again. It was shortly after she returned to South Florida three years ago that Angie suffered a nasty fall at home that sparked yet another journey.

“I slipped and fell on my balcony and hit a table,” Angie explains. “When I fell, I knocked some teeth loose on both the upper and lower right side. A few days later, on Easter Sunday, I had the most awful toothache.”

Angie’s toothache prompted a search for a dentist who could treat her immediately. The only one who responded to her call performed a root canal later that same day but somehow performed the root canal on the wrong tooth.

That was just the first stop on a dental odyssey during which Angie finally had a root canal done on her aching tooth five days later and had a lower right premolar that was damaged in the fall extracted.

A few days later, while looking for another dentist, the top teeth that were damaged in the fall began to ache. When Angie presented that problem to the dentist she eventually settled on, the dentist suggested she have those three upper right teeth removed and replaced.

Angie was on board with that. She also agreed with the dentist that dental implants were her best option for replacing the extracted teeth. She became dismayed, however, about halfway through the process.

After pulling Angie’s three upper teeth and performing a bone graft to create a stronger foundation for the implants, Angie’s new dentist told her the price for the remaining work would be more than double what he originally quoted her.

The reason for the increase was the dentist’s plan to replace not only the recently extracted teeth but some already missing molars on the upper arch.

Unhappy with the dentist’s proposal, Angie began looking for another dentist to perform the implant work. It was during that search that she found Naved Fatmi, DMD, of Town Square Dentistry in Boynton Beach.

Strong First Impression

“I learned my lesson and did my research before seeing Dr. Fatmi and found that he was very highly recommended,” Angie says. “I went to him at first just to get a cleaning done, but while I was there, I asked what he could do about the other teeth.

“I was very impressed because he told me a lot of things about dental implants and the process that I didn’t know, that none of the other dentists told me. He spent so much time with me that I felt really confident with him.”

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. A single implant supports an abutment and a crown that creates a single, new tooth. Two or more implants can support a fixed bridge or full denture.

Once they’re placed into the jawbone, dental implants typically require between four and six months to heal. It is at that point that the abutment and crown can be added. During the waiting period, patients typically wear temporary crowns or bridges.

In some cases, the placement of the implant is preceded by a bone-grafting procedure to ensure there is enough bone to support the implants. That is the phase of the process that had just been completed when Angie first saw Dr. Fatmi.

“It’s not unusual for us to see patients who have already been to two or three dentists looking for a second or third opinion, and in Angie’s case, she came to us because she felt she was being pushed into doing something she didn’t need,” Dr. Fatmi explains.

“Like most patients, she knows her mouth, knows what she’s capable of and is comfortable with. When I examined her and got a good feel for her dental history, I was able to come up with a plan that was in line with what she wanted and needed.”

“[Dr. Fatmi] does very good work, is very professional, and I trust him.” – Angie

Dr. Fatmi’s plan was similar to those of the other dentists in that it called for him to complete the work by replacing the bottom premolar with a dental implant and the three missing upper teeth with an implant-secured bridge.

Where it differed was in the plan for the back molars. Instead of replacing those missing teeth, Dr. Fatmi opted to leave that part of Angie’s jaw as it was. He reached that decision while interviewing Angie and assessing her dental situation.

“Dentists can sometimes scare patients like Angie away by telling them they need four implants here and four implants there,” Dr. Fatmi says. “But not every patient needs multiple implants in order to function properly.

“In some cases, you can get away with using just one implant or two implants because that will allow the patient to get the proper bite and function that they need. That’s exactly what we found with Angie.

“She was able to function and chew her food with just two premolars, so there was no reason to go further back and do all that work to replace the missing molars because she had been functioning just fine without them already.”

A Matter of Trust

Elated with Dr. Fatmi’s plan, Angie agreed this past summer to have him complete the implant process.

Dr. Fatmi completed that work in the early fall and even topped it off by whitening her teeth.

Angie says that the long wait for the fix she needed was worth it because she found the right fix through Dr. Fatmi.

“I was really taken aback by what the dentist who did the bone graft told me, but Dr. Fatmi saw things differently and came up with a plan that I really liked,’’ she says. “Now, I know why he is so highly recommended.

“He does very good work, is very professional, and I trust him. After what he did for me, I really want to see Dr. Fatmi succeed. That’s why I’ve already recommended him to some of my friends, and why I recommend him to anybody.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.
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