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Published on November 17, 2017

Marilyn Johsnon

Teeth in a Day takes dental exhaustion away

Southern California native Marilyn Johnson suffered from advanced gum disease for longer than she cares to remember. The 59-year-old, who moved to West Salem with her husband 10 years ago, says her dental problems started with a toothache.

"I thought I needed a filling or had an infection. My dentist discovered I had deep gum pockets," says Marilyn.

As her gums receded over time, the root surfaces of her teeth become exposed. "I couldn't chew on anything that was hard. I had such sensitivity to hot and cold foods. The pain was just excruciating," she says.

For nearly 20 years, Marilyn visited a periodontist (a dentist specially trained in treating patients with gum disease) every three months for deep cleanings. She underwent two pocket reduction gum surgeries, and was told it wasn't a matter of if she would lose her teeth but when.

"I literally became a poster child for dental hygiene. The fact that I went to the dentist so often was exhausting!" she notes.

In 2016, an advertisement for Teeth in a Day® dental implants by Gundersen Health System Dental Specialties caught her attention.

Smiling made easy

Carl Drago, DDS, MS, FACP

Carl Drago, DDS, MS, FACP

As its name implies, the Teeth in a Day protocol provides a new, full set of teeth with four to six dental implants in the top jaw and/or four to six implants in the bottom jaw—in a single day! Traditional dental implants have required a number of office visits with multiple specialists over several months.

Gundersen board-certified prosthodontist Carl Drago, DDS, MS, FACP, who treated Marilyn, explains, "Once the Teeth in a Day implants have completely healed and fused to the jaw bone (about four to six months later), the temporary teeth that were screwed into the implants on the day of surgery may be replaced with a permanent set of teeth that are screwed into the implants."

Teeth in a Day dental implants provide the look, stability and function of natural teeth, which is why Marilyn found the concept so attractive. "Because the prostheses are permanent, patients never have to worry about their teeth falling out or future bone loss in their jaw. Plus, patients can enjoy foods they once had to avoid," adds Dr. Drago.

Another reason to smile

If anyone knows how painful and debilitating gum disease and gum surgeries can be, it's Marilyn. Not surprisingly, pain was her biggest fear of Teeth in a Day. "I chose to be put under during the procedure, although it is optional. Dr. Drago assured me that I'd receive pain killers afterwards, but said some patients don't need them. I left Gundersen with a full set of teeth in my mouth; no pain. It's almost mind boggling," she says.

Today, the pain that Marilyn once experienced is gone. "With these permanent teeth, I can eat and drink anything. I can have coffee as hot as I want or soda as cold as I'd like. I went from awful pain in my mouth—and years of problems—to perfection."

Dr. Drago and fellow board-certified prosthodontist Nate Farley, DDS, MS, FACP, have restored more than 400 patient smiles through Teeth in a Day. To see if you are a candidate, call (608) 775-2858 for a consultation.

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Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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