My Ceramic Implant Journey

When I was around 7 years old, I was at attending baseball camp in the summer. On one of the mornings, my dad dropped me off at the camp. I was walking down the walkway to join the group, as I approached, one of the other kids pulled a baseball bat out of a bag, swung the bat over his shoulder and it struck me right in the mouth. One of my front teeth broke in half and exposed the nerve. The camp called my dad, and he turned around to pick me up.

Luckily, my dad is a dentist! He took me to one of his colleagues office, an Endodontist, where they performed a root canal on my young tooth, and saved the tooth (a root canal is when instruments are used to clean out the vital structures within a tooth, the nerve and blood supply, and then is sealed back up). My dad fabricated a crown, or cap, to rebuild the tooth. My tooth was saved, and I went on with my childhood like nothing had happened, I believe I was even able to return to the camp the next day!

When I was 15 years old, it became evident that my tooth had developed an infection of the root canal. So I ended up seeing Dr. Rony Dagher, a brilliant Endodontist, with whom I am colleagues with today, for an apical surgery procedure to treat the infection. In this procedure, the tip of the root is accessed through the gum, and the infection is cleaned out, and the tip of the tooth root is re-sealed off. The procedure was a success, and my tooth was saved for another 20 years of service. I am incredibly appreciative of my Dad, Dr. Dagher, and all of the others involved in saving my tooth and having it hold up for all of those years. They bought me sufficient time to allow for the materials and techniques in tooth replacement to advance to the incredible level where they are today. This is a very important point.

My smile - pre-surgery

My Root canaled tooth

I started practicing dentistry in 2016. Over my first few years of practice, I removed many thousands of teeth. Something I noticed, was that the root canal treated teeth were often more difficult to remove, as they would be very weak and brittle after having their vital structures removed. The more time that had passed, and the more time being subjected to chewing forces, the weaker the teeth became. I also noticed that these teeth were very prone to reinfection, and once I removed them, they often appeared dark and stained, and in general did not look healthy.

Image of infected root canal treated teeth

As someone who prioritizes his health above anything else, I made the decision that after 27 years with this compromised tooth, that was long enough and I wanted to electively have it removed.

I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do to replace my tooth. I knew about ceramic implants but I was somewhat skeptical of them at the time. In November 2022, I attended a lecture with Dr. Ulrich Volz of Swiss Dental Solutions and the Swiss BioHealth Clinic. Dr. Volz is the world leading surgeon for ceramic implants, have performed over 20,000 ceramic implant surgeries. His presentation absolutely blew me away, and all of reservations that I had about ceramic implants were alleviated.

What I found particularly convincing, was that Dr. Volz, at 57 years old at the time, was a perfect image of health. Not only did he talk the talk, but he walked the walk! His approach to dental rehabilitation was totally focused on optimal total body health, and this resonated with me.

I decided to attend his multi-day course in Switzerland in May, 2023, where I had the opportunity to have Dr. Volz himself operate on my tooth as a live surgery demonstration for the rest of the 40 or so other dentists in the course.  The entire experience was massively transformational for me, and totally altered the course of my professional life. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Volz for what he did for me.

Dr. Volz and myself - the day after my surgery

My temporary tooth - 5 days post-surgery

X-ray of the implant

If you would like to see my documentation of the whole experience in Switzerland, please watch the 7-minute video at the top of this page.

 

After 7 months in the temporary tooth phase, I met up with another one of my friends from Switzerland, Dr. Tobias Steinherr. Tobias was the prosthodontist who fabricated my temporary tooth for me on the day that Dr. Volz performed my surgery. Tobias removed the temporary tooth, refined the surface of the ceramic implant, scanned it with a digital scanner, and re-inserted the temporary. We sent the scan to my local dental laboratory, 5-Axis Dental Design, for fabrication of the final crown.

Dr. Tobias Steinherr and myself

Image of the implant with the temporary crown removed - note how healthy the gum tissue is around the implant.

I went to visit the team at the lab, where they performed custom shade selection, in order to achieve a natural result for the final crown in terms of tooth shade and characterization.

Ji, the master ceramist at 5-Axis Dental Laboratory performing custom shade selection for me

One day after work, my wonderful assistant, Janvi, and my incredibly talented restorative dental hygienist, Louise, cemented my final crown for me.

Louise, Janvi, and myself in our new clinic!

Final crown cemented in to place

One day after work, my wonderful assistant, Janvi, and my incredibly talented restorative dental hygienist, Louise, cemented my final crown for me.

My new smile!

I would like to express my sincerest thanks to everyone involved in helping me along this journey, as well as thanking you, the reader, for taking the time to read my story.

If you would like to learn more about this treatment, and others like it, please get in touch with our team.

Yours In Health,

Dr. J