Richard’s Story

Retired New York school superintendent Richard Varriale knows how to get the job done. When one of his upper molars was pulled after it had become re-infected years after root canal therapy, Richard could tell right away that leaving an empty space in his mouth would not be a good idea for the long term.

“It was a little harder to eat,” he said, of the few months when he was missing the tooth. “Anything that involved heavy chewing I had to eat on the other side. It seemed to me I was getting some kind of ache or pain on the other side of my mouth, perhaps from chewing unevenly.”

Guidance from an expert

Shankar Iyer, D.D.S., M.D.S., FAAID, DABOI/ID

Richard, then 76, discussed his options with Shankar Iyer, D.D.S., M.D.S., FAAID, DABOI/ID, in Elizabeth, N.J., an AAID credentialed implant dentist. Richard chose to have the tooth restored with a dental implant and a single crown, rather than a bridge that would attach to his adjacent natural teeth or a partial denture that would not feel as comfortable.

“It was a simpler, cleaner, more finite solution,” Richard explained. “And I didn’t want to involve other teeth. Tooth-supported bridgework would have involved cutting down and latching a bridge onto my other teeth.”

Dr. Iyer handled all steps involved in placing the dental implant and restoring the tooth, a procedure which exceeded Richard’s expectations. “I assumed there would be some pain and to my surprise – really, it was amazing – there was no pain other than the pinprick of the anesthetic into the gum. There hasn’t been a single problem or headache involved,” he said.

Before and after: A world of difference

The new tooth has been in place since mid-2010. Richard says it’s difficult to compare before and after because of the enormous difference.

“The circumstances are so changed,” he said. “I now have a full, equally balanced bite; I can chew on whatever I want, on either side. It feels perfectly natural and there isn’t a worry of over-use of one side of my teeth. It feels as though there’s a whole set of new teeth though it’s really only one. It’s just perfect.”

Richard says he would recommend dental implants to others, with one caveat: “IF you find the right dentist to do it. You want to be sure that you’re getting a competent dentist who is trained in the procedure. You want to make sure you’re confident in the doctor you use.”