As a public relations and marketing consultant, Peter, has been accustomed to doing research -- yet never on his own dental health.
But one day a few years ago he went on the Internet to investigate a term that he’d just heard from his dentist. What exactly, Peter wondered, is periodontal disease, and what would a specialist in this field actually do to help him address it?
All of this came as a surprise. Peter had never experienced bleeding gums, pain or any other symptoms. But his dentist warned him that there were deep pockets in his gums, and that some teeth were in danger of being lost if he did not start treatment. “I didn’t want to deal with it but knew I had to -- I don’t ignore things like that,” he says.
He learned about the consequences of bacterial plaque and Periodontal pocketing. And he did not want bone loss, tooth loss or the compounding stress this infection was placing on his general health. He read about the technique of the bone regeneration, gum surgery and other capabilities of periodontal specialists who receive three more years of training beyond the basic dental school curriculum and only perform these types of surgeries all day long.
Then Peter set out to find a periodontal specialist, and found Dr. Kevin Purviance’s website. “He seemed to have a good background, and so I made an appointment, though apprehensively. When I got there I found that he had a great bedside manner. He made me feel confident that, even though I had issues that had to be addressed, it was something he could fix. And, as it turned out, he was right.” He knew he was in the right place then and now after many years without problems or issues with his mouth he is certain it was the right choice.
Peter had two sessions of gum surgery. “Kevin was working on the gums, scraping and cleaning. I don’t want to say it was pleasant, but looking back it was easy to get through it. You’re in the chair for a long time with your mouth open. But he was working hard, you could tell it was a through and complex procedure. But Kevin made it so comfortable for me, all the time reassuring me, and making me as comfortable as possible.” Peter was also impressed by the warm and caring staff how they helped support him, understood his situation, listened to his concerns and how we reassured him that this is what we do all day and our patients end up with amazing outcomes.
He was so pleased by the eventual result -- years of great checkups afterwards, healthy gums, and the satisfying feeling that he can now tell a dental health story that has a happy ending.
What was a summer visitor to Connecticut to do? Sara Mullens, a resident of West Palm Beach, hadn’t imagined ever being in such agony. As she later recalled, “I’d rather give birth to five children than have this kind of toothache -- in 59 years of life, it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.” But she was about 1,200 miles from her dentist’s office.
Sara found temporary relief -- a general practitioner in Sharon gave injections of Novocaine, and suggested visiting an endodontist in Torrington. So she drove there, only to learn that there was nothing he could do for her. An x-ray revealed the tooth had to be removed, but he didn’t feel qualified to do the work. To boot, it was 4 p.m., on a Friday, and other nearby dental practices were closed for the day and the week. Sara thought, “I want to jump off a bridge.” But the endodontist said he had friend who might help. He got Dr. Kevin Purviance on the phone and said, “I have a lady in distress.”
What happened in the next few hours is a story that Sara Mullens, who is a retired lawyer, is happy to tell to all her Florida neighbors, and to everyone in Connecticut.
“It took me more than an hour to get to West Hartford, but Dr. Purviance waited. I was crying when I walked into his office.” As she explained, Dr. Purviance told her he could fix the problem but moreover made her feel at ease. “I’d never been in a dentist’s office that has this kind of welcoming”-- a dentist who could make her laugh -- when laughing was the last thing she thought she’d be doing.
He worked for two hours into the evening. He removed the broken tooth, cleaned out the infection, installed a dental implant and then fabricated a new temporary tooth. It is awful to think about losing a tooth, but to have this type of treatment where the pain the infection, the tooth is remove in a matter of minutes and then to have the implant and temporary. You walk out of the office with a new tooth, same as you walk in with but the pain and infection is gone. She left the office grateful and greatly relieved. “The fact that he’d do this for a non patient, someone he’d never seen before -- I’m amazed.”
Toni knew something was wrong. Her jaw didn’t feel right. Sometimes she had to snap it back into place. But she thought, “Well, I can live with this.” Her dentist, however, had a different message. “When he looked during a routine cleaning,” she recalls, “he said two words you never want to hear when you’re being examined by a medical professional -- ‘Uh oh.’ ” There was major bone loss, and Toni’s self-treatment was doing “irreparable harm.” He urged her to see a periodontist. The very word gave her shivers.
Years earlier, she had visited one such specialist, and walked out that office shaking and untreated -- outraged by the doctor’s rudeness and aggressiveness. And yet she well understood her medical predicament, and, as a person who trained as a lawyer and worked many years for health care organizations, she was aware that ignoring the diagnosis would be foolish.
Her dentist recommended she see Dr. Kevin Purviance, near her West Hartford home. “I thought, well, here we go again.” But when she walked in, she was taken aback -- how could a periodontal office be so pleasant, such nice people working there? “And Dr. Purviance was so calm and reassuring. He never made me feel like Patient Number 452. He was so charming-- he doesn’t throw big terms at you, or even wear the garb of a dentist.” And yet, at the same time, he was very clear about what needed to be done -- surgery that included bone grafting. Even now, when she tells friends about what was necessary, “their shoulders come up and they get weak-kneed.” And, yet, Toni quickly follows up in her narrative with not only the successful result but the way she was cared for during the process.
The procedure took nearly four and a half hours and involved her entire mouth. This treatment was not offered at the other office, and was a great solution to treat her very complex and multifaceted dental problems. With this one surgery, we are able to increase support and repair the damage done in the past. It creates a more stable platform which allows the her to prevention and better control of her periodontal condition in the future. At the same time we are able to aid in her orthodontic treatment plan that allowed Toni to not only complete her orthodontic treatment faster, safer but address her other compounding dental problems of an incorrect bite.
She says, “During that time, Dr. Purviance often asked how I was doing. He wanted me to be as comfortable as possible, and I was. He is so proficient and well trained, and as horrible as that procedure sounds, he makes it as easy for the patient as it can be.
“In case you haven’t been getting the message here -- this is certainly the office you need to go to if you need any periodontal work done.”