Creating Healthy, Attractive Smiles
Photos by Fred Bellet.

Debi Grover

As an investment REALTOR® and design consultant, Debi Grover works face to face with people all day long. She knows all too well then just how important it is to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

“When you greet someone, one of the first things they notice about you is your teeth,’’ Debi says. “I’ve known that for years, and there was a time not long ago when that became a concern for me because I suspected for a while that I had periodontal disease.

“I wasn’t experiencing any bleeding or anything like that when I brushed, but there was a lot of plaque built up on my teeth, and I knew that over time, some damage had been done to my gums.

“I wanted to be able to smile and not feel like I had to hide my teeth when I smiled, and because I really wanted to save my own natural teeth, I got to a point where I knew I needed to find a dentist who could help me do that.”

Debi began her search for a dentist by doing some homework, researching gum treatments such as the laser-assisted LANAP® procedure. That’s where she came across Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers.

“I read that they are very skilled and knowledgeable in treating gum disease with this laser, so I made an appointment in the hope that I would gain some additional knowledge about it,” Debi explains.

During her first visit to the practice, Debi met with Joseph H. Farag, DMD, who confirmed Debi’s suspicions. “Just as she suspected, Debi had moderate to advanced stages of periodontal disease,” Dr. Farag reveals.

Breaking with Tradition

Simply put, periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports the teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that between 50 and 75 percent of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease, some through no fault of their own.

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a second, more serious stage called periodontitis that can lead to bone loss around the teeth and cause the pockets around the teeth to get deeper.

Traditional gum treatment involves cutting away the infected gum tissue and placing sutures to hold the reduced tissue in place during the healing process. One of the problems with it is that the scalpel cannot differentiate between healthy and diseased gum, so the patient loses healthy tissue as well as diseased tissue.

“The great thing about the LANAP procedure is the speed of recovery and the tissue response. It doesn’t take weeks or months for that to happen. It literally takes just a couple of days . . .”– Dr. Farag

That’s why the traditional surgical approach often results in a recession of the gums, or a lowering of the level of gum tissue. If that tissue recedes too far, it can leave the sensitive tooth roots exposed, which can lead to other complications.

Research studies show that LANAP, which stands for laser-assisted new attachment procedure, is superior to conventional surgery in a number of ways, the most notable being that it allows the patient to retain a healthy gumline that supports the teeth.

“We don’t want the gums to recede, because that can make the teeth appear longer,” Dr. Farag explains. “Our goal is to leave the patient with healthy gums that reattach naturally to the teeth. And when doing the LANAP procedure, we achieve that goal by making three passes along the entire gumline with a special laser and some other sonic dental devices.”

He discussed the LANAP procedure as well as conventional surgery with her. Together, Debi and Dr. Farag decided that the

Photos by Fred Bellet.

Debi is no longer embarrassed to smile.

LANAP option was the best choice to alleviate her gum disease. “Because she had already researched the LANAP procedure, she knew she wanted to have that procedure rather than go through a traditional gum treatment,” shares Dr. Farag.

During the first laser pass, the energy from the laser kills any bacteria in the gums, vaporizes the diseased gum tissue and dehydrates any tartar on the tooth, making it brittle and easy to remove. This is also the step during which the diseased lining of the tissue is removed.

During the second pass, the tartar is removed with a vibrating, fine-tipped, ultrasonic instrument, and the pockets are flushed with an antimicrobial substance that stops the growth of new bacteria.

Finally, during the third pass, an antimicrobial seal is created that prevents re-infection and releases growth factors from blood cells that help regenerate the attachment between the gums and the teeth. The entire procedure, Dr. Farag emphasizes, is painless. So is its aftermath.

“The great thing about the LANAP procedure is the speed of recovery and the tissue response,” Dr. Farag educates. “It doesn’t take weeks or months for that to happen. It literally takes just a couple of days, which is truly amazing.

“When the bacteria or the tartar that is causing the inflammation and infection is removed from the tissue to the point where it’s sanitary – that is what the laser does – the tissue heals ever so quickly.

“The analogy I use with patients is, say you cut yourself while working in the garden or because you work with your hands a lot. You get that cut and if you don’t clean it and don’t put NEOSPORIN® on it, you’ll go for days and it will burn and get irritated.

“It will eventually heal, but it will take a lot longer and you’ll feel it. But if you get a cut and you clean it, sanitize it, disinfect it and routinely put an antimicrobial on it and keep it clean, it will heal very quickly without pain and without scarring.

“That’s what LANAP does. It cleans, disinfects and sanitizes, and the body just heals up really quickly afterward, which is something that is very hard to do in the mouth because our mouths are not a very clean environment.

“Our mouths are filled with bacteria, and when you have that constant flow of bacteria in the mouth, it just makes it harder for the gums to heal. However, when you remove the bacteria and tartar and plaque, the gums heal quickly.

“Another advantage of this procedure is that it’s quick. Debi’s gums were treated in about three hours. Had she opted for conventional surgery, she would have had to make several visits to complete the process. LANAP is much faster, and there’s less discomfort afterward.”

Long-Term Commitment

Dr. Farag’s treatment of Debi didn’t end with the LANAP procedure. As he does with all of his patients, he took time to emphasize the importance of practicing proper dental care at home after the procedure is completed.

“When we sit down and discuss treatment options for gum disease, I want to be assured by that patient that they are committed to taking care of their teeth afterward,” Dr. Farag notes. “The laser treatment is the first step in getting the teeth healthy, but the patient needs to be committed to keeping the teeth healthy long-term in order for it to be effective.”

Patients are encouraged to have their teeth cleaned regularly, brush and floss daily and be aware of any sudden changes to their oral health.

“In order to keep the gums healthy, people need to keep their teeth clean. That requires a daily commitment,” Dr. Farag reiterates.

Debi has a renewed desire to maintain a healthy mouth now that the procedure is complete. She looks forward to continuing her care with the team at Advanced Dentistry of Fort Meyers.

“Dr. Farag and the entire staff are personable and knowledgeable, and they make me feel confident.”

 

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    • Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers

      Dr. Farag looks forward to hearing from readers of Florida Health Care News. Their office is conveniently located  at 16601 San Carlos Blvd. in Fort Myers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (239) 466-3131.... Read More

    • Katrine A. Farag, DMD

      Katrine A. Farag, DMD, earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Nova Southeastern University after completing her undergraduate studies in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the Florida Academy of Cosmetic D... Read More

    • Joseph H. Farag, DMD

      Joseph H. Farag, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. Dr. Farag served an... Read More