Winning Against Gum Disease

Save teeth and gums and eliminate periodontal disease.

Jim Baker’s battle with periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums, began more than 20 years ago in his native Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Jim Baker

When his gums were swollen and bleeding, Jim turned to his dentist for help. To rectify the problem, he underwent gum surgery to eradicate the diseased tissue.
At that time, 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 both. This approach typically resulted in recession of the gums – a lowering of the level of gum tissue.
“It was quite an ordeal to go through gum surgery at the time,” Jim recalls. “They took care of it, but it kind of left me with bad memories, and I avoided dentists for many years. While that wasn’t the best choice, I didn’t learn that lesson until many years later.”
When Jim and his wife, Kathy, moved to the Sunshine State just over a year ago, Kathy began going to Port Charlotte Dental Care.
“My wife started going there, and she really loves the practice a lot,” Jim shares. “But, I chose a different dentist.”
When a tooth was loose, Jim made an appointment with the dentist he had chosen. At that appointment, he was told that several of his teeth would need to be extracted because the gum disease had returned and was at an advanced stage.
“Well, once again, my gums were bleeding and sensitive to the touch,” Jim recalls. “I figured something more was going on in addition to that one loose tooth I had.
“When I went in to the dentist, they told me the situation was so bad that I needed several of my teeth removed, and I just could not see that happening. I didn’t want that. It really scared me, to be honest.
“Luckily, I read an article in Florida Health Care News about a procedure called LANAP® to treat gum disease, and it was available at Port Charlotte Dental. I made an appointment right away.”

LANAP to the Rescue

Jim met with Joseph H. Farag, DMD, at Port Charlotte Dental Care, to evaluate his mouth and determine the proper course of treatment.
After a thorough exam and x-rays, Dr. Farag confirmed that Jim had periodontal disease. His treatment plan began with extracting two infected teeth and then repairing his gum tissue.
According to Dr. Farag, periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports the teeth. 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.
“Healthy gums adhere closely to the teeth, supporting them so they don’t become loose in the jawbone,” Dr. Farag explains. “As periodontal disease progresses, bone around the tooth is lost, and the pockets around the teeth get deeper. If left untreated, gingivitis, a mild form of periodontal disease, may lead to a second, more serious stage called periodontitis.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Jim is all smiles now that his gums are healthy again.

“In this particular case, Jim had advanced periodontal disease,” Dr. Farag continues. “I chose to educate him about gum disease, which I do not think was done in the past. I showed him some pictures that show how it develops and how it progresses. I discussed what his treatment options were. I advised him that he did not need more than two teeth removed and that we could rectify his issue with an advanced laser treatment called LANAP (laser-assisted new attachment procedure).”
Research studies find that LANAP, a new type of dental gum therapy, is superior to conventional surgery in a number of ways. The most notable to the patient is that they don’t lose their gumline.
“We do not want the gums to recede, which can make the teeth appear longer,” says the dentist. “The goal is healthy gums that reattach naturally to the teeth.
“During the first laser pass,” continues Dr. Farag, “three goals are accomplished. First, the energy vaporizes the diseased tissue, 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 that are causing the infection.
“During the second step, an ultrasonic instrument is used. Its fine tip vibrates and removes the tartar, breaking it away from the tooth. The tooth is then flushed with an antimicrobial substance that stops the growth of new bacteria. In this step, the bone around the tooth is affected, and the diseased lining of the tissue is removed.
“The third step involves another pass with the laser at a different setting. This last pass 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.”

Healthy Gums, Healthy Life

Dr. Farag says that in many cases, patients with the beginning stages of periodontal disease show no signs or symptoms, and it is often ignored for those very reasons.
“A lot of times, people will come in for an appointment, and they will say, I feel great. Nothing is bothering me. And I do my examination, and I tell them that there are much bigger issues going on than they realize, and they are shocked by it.
“This is why it is so important to have regular oral examinations and to make sure that you keep your teeth and gums clean.
“I am glad I was able to help Jim and teach him in detail about periodontal disease – what to look for and how to properly prevent it from recurring.”
Jim says he is thankful that Dr. Farag shared his knowledge with him.
“I learned a lot from Dr. Farag, and I am impressed by his expertise,” Jim says. “His chairside manner is wonderful, and his staff is great, too. I am grateful I didn’t lose any other teeth. I keep them cleaned and flossed much more now than ever before. I really learned a lot from Dr. Farag. I highly recommend him and his practice. They are wonderful!”

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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