Karen’s Brand New Smile

I recently met Karen; a beautiful lady in her 50’s, who never smiled. She described a consistent decline in her teeth over the past 20, her teeth were moving, becoming wobbly, and her gums had started disappearing, giving her the appearance of terribly long and gangly teeth.
Many of her teeth have been removed, resulting in a gappy unpleasant smile. Unfortunately, Karen had taken to putting her hand over her mouth when she spoke; leading to difficulties in her work and social life. She used her remaining front teeth to chew, so they were also wearing down and chipping.
After a thorough examination and history, we were able to ascertain the main problems. Karen suffered from periodontitis. Periodontitis is a disease of the gums. Most often, we see it in patients with poor oral hygiene, who eat an inflammatory diet, diabetes, smokers or a combination of the above.
Periodontitis is a severe condition which affects the bone and gums around the teeth. The tissues react to the bacteria in your mouth, as the bacteria builds up, you develop plaque and tartar, which sticks to the teeth like barnacles to a boat. The more bacteria, the more severe the reaction. The gums and bone, which are the support structures for teeth, begin to disappear. Your teeth will become wobbly and sore, need to be removed.
If caught early, periodontitis can be treated and managed. This involves daily brushing and flossing at home as well as regular dental visits to remove the plaque and tartar which you can’t reach on your own.
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums which has been linked to heart disease and many other inflammatory diseases of the body. In short, we know that a diseased mouth will lead to an unhealthy body.
Unfortunately for Karen, her condition had never been diagnosed, and she had never had a regular dentist. Karens condition had deteriorated to the point where she only saw a dentist when she was in pain. She was too scared to get checkups and had not had her teeth professionally cleaned in over 10 years.
A very kind friend of Karens had referred her to Smiles of Ryde to see either myself, Dr Josine Ferlito or my husband, Dr Danilo Strumendo. Karen had made the best decision of her life the day she made an appointment with us. She had taken the first step in the direction of a healthy mouth and body. We are always so pleased when patients take that first step, it is the most difficult one. Once we understand the concerns you have, we can come to a solution together.
Karen’s main concerns were that it was becoming more and more challenging to speak and eat. She was having problems at work and could not go out and have a meal. She wanted to resume her active social life, but her teeth had become her limiting factor.
Karen did not have any back teeth left, the front ones were wobbly, and she hated their appearance. She wanted a brand new smile with realistic teeth that would not need to sit in a glass at night. After a thorough analysis, we found that though Karen has lost her back teeth, she still had a good quality and quantity of bone remaining.
The next few months will involve placing implants and making her a temporary smile. The temporary smile is made out of durable interim material; it is like training wheels for new teeth. They allow us to be sure that Karen is happy with the size and shape of her teeth. We can make sure that the teeth will function in Karen’s mouth. The interim material can be adjusted until we are sure that the final product will work long term. Once we are confident that the implants are strong and we are happy with the final design and fit, we will upgrade Karen to porcelain teeth.
The interim teeth ensure there is no guesswork for the final product. We can be confident that the porcelain teeth will work harmoniously for Karen and be the teeth she always wanted.
Karen is excited, and we are thrilled! Together we are going to create a smile which looks natural, is comfortable and will make Karen smile.

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Lizzy wants to Smile

We have decided to start writing a blog for Smiles of Ryde, a place where we can share updates and changes at the surgery and also some helpful information. Mostly though because we enjoy what we do and our kids are sick of hearing about it.

When people think dentist, it often comes with fear and anxiety, not so for us. Probably because we are the dentists, but more so because we get to see how peoples lives can be changed and the joy it can bring. I love my job and I love when my patients are happy and leave with a smile. That’s why we called it “Smiles of Ryde.

My favourite part about dentistry is giving people back their smiles. Too often I meet patients who have been living with an old denture, worn down and patched up for years on end. Loose and uncomfortable denture are not normal and definitely not something you should just put up with.

I’ve had a lovely woman in over the past few weeks, for the sake of anonymity and because she would get a wild kick out of having a fake name, let’s call her Lizzy. Lizzy has had the same lower denture for over 20 years, it has been patched and adjusted more times than she can remember. Her upper teeth are all loose and she no longer smiles.

Lizzy wants to smile!!

She wants her grandkids to stop giggling at her wobbly teeth and she wants to stop worrying that she has bad breath. Lizzy feels like she can’t go out in public, Lizzy’s teeth are having a dramatically negative impact on her life and she is now depressed.

We discussed her options and the need for a long term solution rather than a band-aid solution.

Lizzy considered Implants and a full mouth bridge or complete dentures. Lizzy would rather have the bridges and implants, but it is not a financial option at this time. She wants an immediate solution and plans to transition to Implants and full mouth bridges in the future.

Lizzy is looking forward to her dentures.

We went ahead and took detailed photographs, measurements and records of her teeth, mouth, jaw and face. It is very important to match the correct tooth shape and size to a patient, otherwise, it will always look just a bit wrong. Even though Lizzy is a slight small woman, she has very large teeth and they look lovely and natural on her. We know this because she still had the upper wobbly teeth. If we don’t have these then the next step would be to obtain some photographs from when she was younger and also take measurements of her nose. Hard to imagine it but God created us in proportion, so with a bit of maths, we can calculate the perfect set of teeth.

We were able to obtain beautifully matching denture teeth for Lizzy in the exact shade of white that she desired. Sometimes we think the whiter the better, but often when it comes to a smile nothing looks faker than Hollywood White or as I like to call it “Kelvinator White” (children of the ’80s will appreciate this reference).

The big day came, I’ll spare you the pointy details, the wobbly teeth came out, the 20-year-old denture took a flying leap into the bin. A few stitches and a gauze swab latter, Lizzy had a brand new set of choppers. Though she was numb from ear to ear, she couldn’t stop smiling. “They look so real” was her first reaction.

So as I said at the beginning of my post, my favourite part about dentistry is giving people back their smiles. Lizzy walked out with a smile and then straight back a week later for her review with an even bigger one. Lizzy feels like she can go out in public, Lizzy’s teeth are having a dramatically positive impact on her life and she is now excited to take on the world.

I love her joy and I love that I could be a part of making it happen for her, we did it together. Lizzy put her trust in me and I helped her dream become a reality.

Smile because it’s infectious.

Dr Josie

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