Saturday December 16th 2017

T Day, 2017- the continuing story of “Getting the smile back”


It is now January, 2017. I have had several visits with Dr. Mendez, my new Dentist, and I have been prepped for the big day, Monday, January 9th. This is the day, I refer to as “T-Day”, the day, I will have the remaining teeth on top, removed, the gums sewn up and the install of the new dentures that the good DOC has had made for me. There was a great deal of anticipation about the wait, but as many of you know, I am one of “Santa’s Helpers” during the Christmas season and while the new smile would have been a great benefit, the time taken away from them would have been costly. Also, in come cases, there is a great deal of swelling and even some black and blue marks. That is why we waited until after the holidays!oldteeth2

As it turned out, I had no black and blue marks and the swelling was minimal. Jane and I showed up at the offices of Dr. Mendez in Arlington Heights, on Monday, at the appointment time of 1 p.m.. Dr. Mendez took time to answer any questions either Jane or I had and went over the procedure of what was about to take place. My old partials would be removed first and then my gums would be numbed from left to right. To be honest, the needle sending the Novocaine into my gums was probably the hardest part of the procedure. I could feel the numbing taking its course. The Doc said it would take about 7-10 minutes for this to take hold.

After that period, Dr. Mendez proceeded to go to each of the remaining teeth, one at a time to ensure that I would have zero pain. Those that still felt pain, were given another shot. Those that were fine, were left as is. By this time, we were close to 18 minutes of chair time (as I like to call it). Another 5 minutes and we were ready to go! One by one, I watched the doctor and his assistant remove the sick teeth that I had lived with for many years. The entire process of removing the 8 teeth (root and all) was about 20 minutes, and then the openings were stitched up (stitches that would dissolve over the next 8-10 days) to ensure the bleeding would be minimal.

My new dentures were then placed in my mouth, immediately. This is a procedure that keeps the swelling down to a minimum while allowing the doc to see how the fit works. He removed them several times, making slight adjustments each time, in order to make certain that my first night would be a breeze. It was! Jane and I went home, so I could rest and allow the healing to begin. Nothing was prescribed other than a small dosage of ibuprofen, which did the trick, keeping the swelling down and allowing me to rest comfortably. Monday, the 9th of January, was a success!new-teeth

Tuesday, at the same time, 1 p.m., I made my way to visit with Dr. Mendez. FYI- I did not remove the dentures overnight and did no spitting or rinsing. FYI- the doctor did call me on Monday evening to make sure that I was not in pain. He truly cares about the patients! The doc removed the dentures and rinsed as well as took me to the sink, where I rinsed my mouth . There was some residue of the work that had been done, but very little blood remnants. My comfort zone reached new heights. I then got back in the chair for the further adjustments to my dentures along with being taught the proper care of same.

My next follow-up appointment is Thursday, allowing me a few days more to adjust my eating habits and make sure that the fit is as comfortable as it can be. After, Thursday, based on how easy this all was, I will see if the doctor can fit me into his schedule for the bottom teeth. The bottom is a little different. There are enough teeth that can be saved, allowing for a permanent bridge to be done. This means the lower teeth will be perms and can be brushed as always. One of the things about the doctor is his honesty. He could have easily said that pulling the bottoms would be right, but prefers allowing the patient the opportunity to save what can be saved, and at the same time, educating him or her on the proper way to care for the new teeth. I , for one, appreciated this.

Yes, I will have to learn to eat a little differently. My speech was not affected in any way and I will have to learn that when coughing or laughing hard (something I have been known to exceed at), I must make sure that my mouth is closed so that the dentures will not fly out and possibly hit an innocent bystander. My smile, and my desire to smile, is back and I truly feel as if the pain and aggravation of my previous dentist (that left me with many problems) is over! We are at the half way point, but the uppers were the hardest part, the lowers should be a “piece of cake”, as they say, and I am looking forward to showing you the finished product VERY SOON!


Dr. Mendez is located at 809 West Rand Road (Route 12) in Arlington Heights. His office phone is 847-394-5750  website  If you have had a dental experience that left you afraid to smile, I suggest you call Dr. Mendez. He can change your smile, your attitude and do so , almost painless ( at least for me, it was that way).You will be glad you did!doc-mendez



Over the years, one finds that the teeth we have are not what we had as young people. Often, part of the change is the care we have given (or not given) to them as the years progress. But another reason, one that many never think of, is the dentistry provided by providers that should not be practicing. I have always had a problem with the medical professionals who use the word “Practice”. If they are practicing, don’t let it be on me! I want them to be good at it when they do. My personal problem is that over the years, I used many different dentists. I thought I had found one that I could trust with all my heart and soul. The man I went to seemed to care about me and my tolerance for pain and each time I had a problem, made it go away. OR DID HE?

As it turned out, what he did was what one might call a quick fix! Yes, he made the pain go away, or at least subside. If I had an infection, he would make sure an anti-biotic would make me feel better and reduce the swelling so I could face the world. I was in sales during the day, meeting with advertising clients and at night, attending the theater and talking with other reviewers. How would it look if I could not open my mouth? At many openings, we are invited to receptions after, and being able to eat was part of the evening. As I say, he fixed it, but as it turns out, not really a fix.

After going through many dentists who claimed they could heal my wounds and bring my smile back to where it was, I had given up hope. Then through one of my friends, who by the way is an advertiser on this site, Harold Lebovic, President of Heartland Spa in beautiful Lake Geneva, I was given the name of a dentist who had made him comfortable with smiling again, Dr. Gilbert X. Mendez, located in Arlington Heights. I sent Dr. Mendez my last x-rays taken up in Wisconsin by a franchise operation called Aspen Dentistry, who offered very little hope, and then went in to see him in person.

Driving up to the strip center where his office is located, I was unsure of what I might find. On Rand Road, in an area that is not one where you might find a medical office, I found this small storefront office. From the outside, maybe 20 ‘ wide. I entered the office through the glass door and was met by a plain wooden door. Oh, Oh, what had I gotten myself into? I entered the waiting area/reception desk and found nothing fancy. I then met the doctor- we sat and spoke and then reviewed the x-rays that had been sent to him by a previous doctor as well as those done by my friend, a gum specialist, the late Dr. Harlan Haimes, who had made some notes. After speaking with Dr. Mendez, I no longer was uncomfortable. In fact, I felt that some weight had been taken off my shoulders and I had found the dentist, who would indeed bring back my ability to smile again, and at the same time, get rid of the breath odors caused by the decay that had been buried by previous dentistry.

Let me take this a step deeper. One of the dentists that had worked on my mouth in the past, had left metal rods used to do root canals IN the canal. It is hard to explain, but while he was making me feel okay that day, he was just delaying the pain and magnifying the problems, so that now, I will be losing some teeth, which I know is for the best and at 70 plus years will be able to eat some of the things I could not before. I will also be glad to smile when a photographer is snapping a shot, without turning my head away. I will begin the procedures NOW! I will also keep you informed as to what is happening and how it is going so that when the smile is back, I can show it to you. Dr. Mendez is allowing me full access so I can show you what he is doing and why.

If you have had a bad dental experience and find yourself covering your face when you should be beaming, perhaps this is the man you want to meet. I had fears (let’s face it, almost everyone hates to visit a dentist), but let me tell you, this one is different. His many years of practice (again, that word) or should I say performing his craft has given me new hope and I am more than willing to share my experience with you, my readers. Today, we did the steps to begin the process. In my case, there are not many teeth that can be saved. But we can save and recreate the smile that was mine for years before. Stay tuned.

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