When two of Hugh Morton’s teeth decayed several years ago, he never dreamed the problem would be potentially life-threatening.
Morton, a 77-year-old retired communications specialist who lives in Beverly Hills, Florida, with wife Margie, lost several teeth in his youth, necessitating a replacement with a bridge. When the bridge failed around 10 years ago, Morton learned that a couple of teeth underneath had decayed. “Before I knew it,” he says, “one of the teeth was infected, and the infection went to my hip prosthesis.” Three hip surgeries followed, and Morton was left with a noticeable gap in his teeth.
A retired friend of his, Dr. Joseph Konzelman, recommended that Morton seek treatment from Dr. Mike Pruett, his former colleague at The Dental College of Georgia.
Morton was willing to travel the 400 miles to Augusta to seek relief.
Pruett changed Morton’s smile – and his life – with implants, titanium posts positioned beneath the gums to support fixed replacement teeth. “They’re almost like my real teeth,” Morton says. “I eat anything I want, and I’m extremely pleased with my smile and the function.”
Pruett, director of the DCG General Practice Residency, is thrilled that his expertise proved such a turning point for Morton. “I enjoy managing challenging cases,” says Pruett, who has lectured worldwide about implants and other advances in oral rehabilitation. He is also gratified that his discipline has so much more to offer his patients than was true when he graduated from the DCG in 1992.
“Things have changed so much,” he says, citing innovations such as bone grafting and computer-aided design and manufacturing – software used to both design and manufacture implants. “CAD/CAM enables patients to come in with a tooth and leave with a tooth” rather than wait for a crown after a tooth has been pulled, Pruett says. “If the patient had to wait, the gums could shrink or more bone could be lost. This is a great way of preserving what’s already there.”
“I’m just so pleased with my treatment,” says Morton. “Dr. Pruett’s skills, his humor, his dedication to his work – it’s just been a wonderful experience.”
Says Pruett, “I really enjoy the opportunity to make such a dramatic difference in people’s lives.”