Laser Your Way to the “Root” of the Problem

William Manhard says quarterly trips to the dentist were part of his normal routine when he and his wife, Beth, were living in Michigan.Photo by Jordan Pysz.
“I had my teeth cleaned every three months like clockwork,” William says. “I have always had periodontal disease, so I would go in more often than most people to keep my gums and teeth healthy.”
But, over the years, William began to question the quality of care he was actually receiving.
“I had one of my molars pulled, and I thought it was really odd that I would get an infection underneath it when they were allegedly treating me for gum disease at the time,” William explains. “Then, I lost an additional four teeth on the bottom and had a bridge placed there, so I became more suspicious when that happened, too.”
About a year ago, William and his wife retired to Florida. His wife read about a procedure to treat periodontal disease in Florida Health Care News.
“Beth read an article about Dr. Farag and the LANAP® procedure to heal infected gums,” he says. “I was intrigued by the information and made an appointment at Port Charlotte Dental Care.”

Repair with LANAP

“When I first saw William, I did a complete oral examination on him, as I do on all of my new patients,” explains Dr. Farag. “This includes x-rays, an oral exam and a personal consultation. I determined through those x-rays that William had advanced stages of periodontal disease.”
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory progression that can become a chronic or an acute problem. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates between 50 and 75 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, some through no fault of their own.
“Being a smoker, William was already at a high risk of developing periodontal disease,” notes Dr. Farag. “Based on the severity of the pockets and the bone loss he had along his gumline, he was the perfect candidate for the LANAP [laser-assisted new attachment procedure] treatment option.”
Healthy gums adhere closely to the teeth, supporting them so they don’t become loose in the jawbone. When people develop gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease, it causes irritation, redness and swelling. As periodontal disease progresses, the bone is lost around the tooth and the pockets around the teeth get deeper. If left untreated, gingivitis may lead to a second, more serious stage called periodontitis.
Research studies show that laser-assisted dental gum therapy is superior to conventional surgery in a number of ways. “The goal is healthy gums that reattach naturally to the teeth,” Dr. Farag says.
“During the first laser pass,” he continues, “three goals are accomplished. First, the energy vaporizes the diseased lining, leaving the healthy tissue intact. Second, it dehydrates the tartar on the tooth, making it very brittle and easy to remove from the tooth. Third, it kills the bacteria on the gum that is exposed to the laser.
“During the second step, an ultrasonic instrument is used with a fine tip that vibrates and removes the tarter, breaking it away from the tooth. We then flush with an antimicrobial substance that stops the growth of new bacteria. In this step, we affect the bone around the tooth and remove the diseased lining of the tissue.
“The last step stops any bleeding and creates the best antimicrobial seal possible, preventing re-infection and releasing growth factors from the blood cells to regenerate the attachment.”
William’s LANAP procedure was completed in one day.
“The gums are treated in about three hours, as opposed to multiple visits with conventional surgery,” Dr. Farag describes. “This is faster and there’s less discomfort afterward.”
In the past, traditional gum treatment involved cutting away the infected gum tissue and placing sutures to hold the reduced tissue in place during the healing process. During conventional gum surgery, the scalpel cannot differentiate between healthy and diseased gum, so the patient loses healthy tissue as well as diseased tissue.
“This approach always results in recession of the gums – a lowering of the level of gum tissue,” Dr. Farag explains.
“LANAP is a much faster, more effective and safer method in treating gum disease.”

Follow-Up to Good Health

“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,” Dr. Farag describes. “Patients need to be committed to keeping the teeth healthy long term in order for any treatment 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. “Otherwise, the treatment we provide is not going to be effective long term.”
Dr. Farag adds that many times, such as with William, patients are diligent about home care, yet have no idea of the extent of their situation.
“I have patients tell me they brush and floss at home and still get the pockets where the bacteria sit. This was the case with William. He thought he had it under control, but sadly, this was not the case.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

William is no longer hesitant to smile now that his teeth are on the way to recovery.

Getting Back to Normal

Dr. Farag advised William that periodontal disease is not something that just goes away without proper treatment and then follow-up care.
“He has to maintain good brushing habits at home and keep his appointments, or it will recur,” Dr. Farag stresses. “He seems committed to doing that.”
Part of William’s treatment plan includes wearing a night guard in order to preserve his bite.
“His teeth were shifting position due to significant bone loss,” Dr. Farag explains. “Once we hold those teeth in their proper position, they will all heal as a unit. We stabilize the teeth by doing this.”
William says he is more than pleased with the care Dr. Farag and his staff have provided.
“Dr. Farag is really informative, and he knows what he is doing,” William asserts. “I know that he is not lying to me, and I trust him. That goes a long way compared to the care I used to get in Michigan.
“I recommend Dr. Farag to anyone. The LANAP is really great, and there was no pain at all involved. I’m happy with my results!”

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    • Port Charlotte Dental Care

      Dr. Farag provides a full range of quality, caring dental services to the Port Charlotte community. He looks forward to hearing from the viewers of the Florida Health Care News website. For more information or to schedule an appointment, pl... 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

    • 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