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Woman gets 1st lower set of prosthetic teeth in state
Placed by : Looking for Dental 10-04-2007
ANNA VELASCONews staff writer
Donna Hamilton got a reason to smile Friday. And a new smile, too.
Hamilton, 53, became the state's first person to get a full bottom set of prosthetic teeth implanted during a minimally invasive, 90-minute surgery, according to the maker of the new technology.
The Tuscaloosa mother of three and grandmother of five, plagued all her life with tooth problems, has been without her top teeth for eight years and bottom teeth for three. She has worn dentures since then, but the bottom set doesn't work well and pops out easily, which is a common complaint.
She has lived with sore gums and having to use a sticky glue to affix the bottom dentures. Even so, the dentures move or fall out when she eats.
With her new, permanently installed prosthetic teeth, Hamilton said Friday, she is looking forward to biting into an apple without having to cut it into small pieces. But mostly, she just wants to feel good when she smiles.
"I feel like I'll be more confident, have more self-confidence," Hamilton said. "With dentures, I don't like to have an open-mouthed smile. These new teeth look so real. They're just beautiful."
Dr. Kevin Sims, a periodontist, did the surgery in his Hoover office and Dr. James Sanderson, a general dentist, installed the prosthesis with the help of Dr. Holt Gray, a prosthodontist.
Hamilton had been considering teeth implants for some time. But the traditional implants are for one or a few teeth, and she said a full set would be prohibitively expensive. A single implant can cost up to $3,000.
An arch of prosthetic teeth like Hamilton's runs about $12,000 to $15,000, although she got a discount because she is the first Alabama patient to get the device made by Nobel Biocare of Sweden. (The parties involved wouldn't disclose the cost to Hamilton.) Insurance typically does not cover the cost.
The standard technique for installing a tooth implant takes six to 12 months, and often involves peeling back gum tissue for dentists to see the patient's jaw to determine how to proceed.
Sourcr: The Birmingham News www.al.com