Creating Healthy, Attractive Smiles

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.

Debi Grover had the LANAP® procedure performed by Dr. Joseph Farag. Michael Burrock was a little hesitant to have Dr. Katrine Farag work on him, but through her excellent care, she eventually earned his trust.

Debi is no longer embarrassed to 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 discussed the LANAP procedure as well as conventional surgery with her. Together, Debi and Dr. Farag decided that the LANAP option was the best choice to alleviate her gum disease.

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.

“Just as she suspected, Debi had moderate to advanced stages of periodontal disease,” Dr. Farag reveals. “Because she had already researched the LANAP procedure, she knew she wanted to have that procedure rather than go through a traditional gum treatment.”

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.

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 gum line 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 then 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 gum line with a special laser and some other sonic dental devices.”

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 or the insult that is causing the inflammation and infection is removed from the tissue to the point where it’s sanitary – and 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 the teeth clean. That requires 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.”

A Matter of Trust

Confidence is one thing Michael Burrock doesn’t lack. Though he’s 74 years old, he remains very active and health-conscious, and as a result, the Bokeelia resident says he neither feels nor looks his age.

Michael’s work helps keep him young, too. After all, as a software developer, he’s working in an industry dominated by men and women many years younger than him, and he has proven to be quite the entrepreneur in that field.

Over the years, he has either owned or been a deeply invested partner in three start-up companies, the most recent of which develops hotel reservation software programs for some of the world’s best-known hotel chains.

“Right now, we’re working mostly with Motel 6 and Best Western®, but we’ve also worked with Sandals®, Wyndham® and Westin® hotels,” informs Michael, who admits he’s had some help in maintaining that youthful appearance he’s so proud of.

The help has come from Katrine A. Farag, DMD, the dentist who inherited Michael as a patient when she took over a previous practice and opened Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers.

Dr. Farag first began treating Michael in 2016, and over time, she earned Michael’s trust, first by doing the follow-up work for a laser gum treatment that was performed by his previous dentist and then by doing some general maintenance work.

“We followed up on his gums to make sure they stay healthy so that he would not need the surgery again, and did a filling on one tooth, a filling on a smaller tooth and some minor things on a tooth that had cracked,” Dr. Farag recalls.

“All along, though, his lower front teeth were very misaligned and not really in great shape. It was something he had put off taking care of for a long time, even with the previous doctor, and it was affecting his smile.”

It wasn’t just Michael’s smile that was impacted by the problems he had with his lower front teeth. His ability to eat was eventually affected as well when one of those teeth became loose and the area around it very painful.

Getting Committed

It was about that time that Michael was making a new commitment to proper oral health, so he decided once and for all to have his bottom teeth repaired. Having long since developed a great degree of trust in Dr. Farag, he turned to her to do the work.

“One of the things I really like about Dr. Farag is that before she does any work for you, she always does a great job of explaining all your options and what the pros and cons are of each choice,” Michael exudes. “She, of course, did that in this case as well.

“And what she told me was that because both of the lower front teeth were infected, it made the most sense to pull the front teeth and replace them with a bridge because the bridge would be more structurally sound and have a much better appearance.”

Confident that Dr. Farag’s recommendation would enhance both his oral health and his appearance, Michael agreed to have Dr. Farag pull his lower two front teeth and fit him for a permanently fixed bridge.

The time required for the gums to heal after two infected teeth are pulled is about eight weeks. Michael was given a temporary bridge to wear during that time and was fit for the permanent bridge in July.

“The bridge we gave him is completely fixed,” Dr. Farag explains. “It’s firmly cemented and anchored to other, healthier teeth, and one of the great things about it is that it’s made of ceramic, which allows us to align everything perfectly.

“Now, he has perfectly straight lower teeth. To look at Michael, you would never know how crooked his real teeth were. What I’m happiest about, though, is that he’s happy to have that look, because I know he was unhappy with that crooked smile.”

Debi Grover had the LANAP® procedure performed by Dr. Joseph Farag. Michael Burrock was a little hesitant to have Dr. Katrine Farag work on him, but through her excellent care, she eventually earned his trust.

Michael Burrock

“Ecstatic” might be a better way to describe how Michael feels about the new look of his lower front teeth. The new bridge fits perfectly, has alleviated any eating problems he was having and has greatly enhanced his confidence.

“Dr. Farag did an excellent job,” Michael enthuses. “The procedure wasn’t painful at all, and I’m no longer having any pain or discomfort when I’m chewing. A number of people have told me how great my teeth look now.”

Return Engagement

Michael was so pleased with the work Dr. Farag did to improve the health and appearance of his lower teeth that he recently returned to have her do some aesthetic work on his two upper front teeth as well.

“I call those my ‘bunny’ teeth, and they’re sound structurally; there was nothing wrong there,” Michael explains. “But one was a little discolored and the other one was a little worse than that, so I asked her what could be done about it.”

Dr. Farag determined that capping the two front teeth would be the best option for Michael, who agreed with her assessment. As part of that process, Dr. Farag also matches the color of the patient’s other teeth so they are aesthetically perfect.

“We have a variety of different shades to choose from, and it’s mostly a judgment call we make in making that match,” Dr. Farag informs. “Sometimes, we even step outside to see what the teeth look like in natural light to make sure we’re getting it right.

“Then, once I think I’m pretty close with the match, I let the patient try them, just to make sure they love the color before they’re married to them with permanent cement.”

Michael couldn’t be happier with the results of Dr. Farag’s work. Not only did she improve his oral health, but she gave him the aesthetically pleasing smile he’s always wanted. He adds that he would recommend her to anyone looking for a dentist.

“She’s a very happy, upbeat person, and the office is a comfortable place to go to where everyone is very positive,” Michael says. “And as far as her work goes, she’s very diligent and an absolute perfectionist. Everything has to be exactly right.

“She always does what’s necessary to make you feel comfortable and not experience any pain or discomfort. She’s very considerate, very much in tune with her patients that way, so I would suggest that anybody who has any anxiety about going to the dentist go see
Dr. Farag. She has a way of taking all of your anxiety away and making everything very easy.”

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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

    • 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

    • 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