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Catalina’s story: Dental implants help her chew again

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Catalina Jack received dental implants with Dr. Brandon E. Newell, oral surgeon at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons BayCare Clinic

Almost 90 percent of chewing function happens with the first molar and bicuspids, says Dr. Brandon E. Newell, oral surgeon at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons BayCare Clinic.

So, when Catalina Jack had several teeth extracted from one side of her mouth, she knew she’d eventually need a solution.

Jack, who is in her 60s, worked with her dentist who provided her with a list of options, she says.

“(We) researched a lot of doctors and settled on Dr. Newell,” Jack says. “We had a good feeling about him.”

After meeting with Jack, Newell worked closely with her dentist to come up with a treatment plan that worked for her.

“She didn’t want extensive implants, but also didn’t like the idea of wearing partials,” says Newell. “We were able to put in three implants that minimized (the amount of surgery needed), but also helped her regain function and the ability to chew.”

Dental implants are long-term replacement teeth that are anchored to the jawbone with a small titanium post. They look and feel like natural teeth.

During the procedure, titanium posts are placed into the patient’s jawbone.

Overtime, the implant becomes fused to bone, replicating a natural tooth root and then a restorative dentist places a crown over the implant to act as a permanent replacement for the missing tooth.

The length of time it takes for the implant to fuse with the bone varies by patient, says Newell. For Jack, it took about three months.

“In her case it was really about regaining functionality,” Newell says. “We’re not here to treat everybody the same. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in these cases. We do a diagnostic workup and communicate fully with the referring dentist and really try to do what we feel is best.”

According to Newell that often depends on specific situations. Cost, time, recovery, and desired outcome are all factored into the final decision.

Prior to the implants, Jack could barely chew on that side of her mouth, and it took approximately two months for Jack to get used to her new teeth, she says.

“I love it,” Jack says. “I felt very little pain and was able to eat shortly afterwards. Now I can eat whatever I want. If you are looking for implants Dr. Newell is very patient and a good doctor.”

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Author: Alysha Schertz