Twenty-five year old Gregory Ras says he is treated differently now than he used to be. Acquaintances and co-workers seem to be friendlier and more outgoing toward him. He thinks it’s because of his new teeth. But Gregory’s mom, Colleen Ras, thinks his overall confidence and self esteem have grown considerably since his smile makeover, and as a result, people respond more favorably than before.
“Hundreds of people like Greg who entered our Smile Makeover contest were unhappy with their teeth and shared similar sentiments– they were too embarrassed and self-conscious to smile or go out in public; or they had lost teeth and always cover their mouth with their hand,” remembers Carlo Ercoli, DDS, chair, Prosthodontist Division at Eastman Dental. “We completely understand that one’s teeth can impact quality of life, either positively or negatively. That’s why choosing just a few winners from nearly 1,000 people who entered our smile makeover contest was a very difficult challenge.”
Gregory had been diagnosed with two congenital conditions where some of his teeth were missing (oligodontia), and the ones he did have were smaller than normal size (microdontia).
Ercoli said they are both common, people can get either one or the other or both, and with varying degrees of severity.
“It can range from affecting one tooth, which can be missing or misshaped, to many teeth as in Greg’s case,” Ercoli explained. “The more teeth affected, the more complex the case gets as the gum and bone structure do not form as well as they should.”
“We had been to a few specialists to get estimates on how to fix his teeth, but without insurance covering most of the work, it was extremely expensive,” explained Colleen. “So when I saw the ad for the contest, I definitely encouraged him to enter.”
“I wanted to get a better smile to look nice, so I entered the contest,” Greg said.
“We were all so surprised and ecstatic when he won!” said Colleen. The specialists in Eastman Dental’s Prosthodontics, Periodontics and Orthodontics divisions collaborated to develop Greg’s treatment plan. He would need a full arch implant-supported bridge in the lower arch and implant-supported crowns and tooth bridges in the upper arch.
“His upper premolars were extracted and four implants were placed,” explained Ercoli, who oversaw Greg’s case over the two years and four months of treatment. “After the implants were placed, Gregory spent six months in orthodontic treatment.”
Orthodontics resident Evan Brown, DDS, who was supervised by attending faculty Edward Sommers, DDS, provided treatment to move his upper left canine and create more space for his upper left bridge.
Next, all of his lower malformed teeth were extracted, except for his permanent molars and six implants placed. After the orthodontic treatment was completed and the healing period for the implant was finished, the final prostheses were delivered. In the upper arch, four implant crowns replaced the missing premolars and two three-unity bridges supported on his central incisors and canines replacing the missing upper lateral incisors. In the lower arch, long span implant bridge supported by six implants replaced all his missing teeth except for his molars.
“It’s been exceptional care,” Colleen said. “So professional, smart and caring through every step of the process. They’ve been wonderful and patient, really thorough and great bedside manner…we couldn’t have asked for any better – Dr. Ercoli was attentive and a pleasure to meet and go through this experience with. We are so lucky to get all this care from him and all his residents.”
“Gregory’s smile looks fantastic, more grown up, and just a perfect fit for him!” she added. “I believe his overall confidence about his looks will help to continue to keep growing as a person at work and in his personal life. I can tell he feels good about it.”
“I’m loving my new smile,” Gregory said, smiling. “Originally, I thought they would grind my teeth down, but they did a lot more work than I thought..the whole process was a learning experience for me. They definitely exceeded my expectations.”
Greg added that they were very considerate, trying to match him with doctors that fit his personality, accommodating his work schedule, and always making sure he was comfortable.
“I definitely smile more than I used to,” Greg said. “My friends and co-workers say my teeth look awesome. My family, aunts and uncles have also complimented me and say I now have the best teeth in my family!”
In addition to Dr. Carlo Ercoli, the prosthodontic residents who were involved in treating Greg include Drs. Berge Wazirian, Kostas Chochlidakis, Dimitri Papadimitriou, and Elyce Link.