Author Archive

Expert Care in Any Situation

A longtime tooth grinder and clencher, Rebecca Rockholt learned first-hand what that nighttime habit can do to your teeth.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Rebecca loves her new crowns and spending time with her dog, Romeo.

“I had a feeling I was a grinder, but my dentist at that time never told me I was,” Rebecca recalls. “Eventually, I determined that I must be a grinder because I damaged a couple of crowns. I needed them replaced, but I never sought treatment. I just lived with it.”
In recent months, Rebecca and her family relocated from their home in
St. Cloud, Florida to Palm Coast, Florida. Once they were settled in, Rebecca began looking for a family dentist in the area. She soon found Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, of Palm Coast Family Dentistry.
“I did my research, and I liked everything I read about him online, so I made an appointment,” Rebecca shares. “It had been several years since I had seen a dentist, so I was unsure of what I was facing.”
At her first appointment at Palm Coast Family Dentistry, Rebecca underwent a comprehensive evaluation.
“Our philosophy is to provide comprehensive care. In order to do so, we need to perform a comprehensive evaluation,” Dr. Patel explains. “As with every new patient, we did a full mouth of x-rays for Rebecca and then performed an oral examination. I determined that she had some bacteria living underneath her gums. She also needed a couple crowns replaced.”

Treating Gum Disease

Rebecca was in the very early stages of periodontitis, according to Dr. Patel.
“Rebecca experienced minimal bleeding in certain areas of her mouth,” Dr. Patel explains. “We often refer to periodontal disease as a silent killer because more often than not, patients experience no related symptoms.”
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that can become an acute or chronic problem. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates between 50 and 75 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal disease, some though are of no fault of their own.
The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, which is reversible with professional cleanings and good oral hygiene including proper brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash. As the disease progresses, however, bone structure is lost around the tooth, and the pockets become deeper. This more serious stage is called periodontitis.
Based on the patient’s needs and desires, they are presented with different treatment options to help them make an informed decision about the treatment they want to receive.
“I feel it is imperative to educate the patient and have them involved in the decision so that they feel confident as we move forward,” Dr. Patel explains. “The first order of business with Rebecca was addressing the gum disease in her mouth.
“The gum treatment therapy we recommended for Rebecca included scaling and root planing, also known as deep cleaning,” Dr. Patel continues. “She responded very well. Once we removed all of the bacteria underneath the teeth and irrigated the gums, we proceeded to the second stage of restorative treatment.”
Rebecca says she never realized she had periodontitis, even with the minimal bleeding she had when she brushed or flossed.
“I knew I had not had a cleaning in a few years, but had no idea my gums were infected like they were,” Rebecca says. “I never felt any pain during the deep cleaning. The hygienist was very gentle and did a great job.”
Dr. Patel says an important aspect of treating periodontal disease is to educate patients on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums moving forward on a daily basis.
“We educate patients about maintaining a healthy mouth because without that knowledge, nothing else we can do will matter,” he adds. “Patients must maintain healthy mouths in order to return to full function.”

In-House Crowns

During the next phase of treatment,
Dr. Patel replaced two crowns for Rebecca and placed a bridge on the upper left side of her mouth.
Dr. Patel utilizes CEREC® Omnicam technology to design and contour crowns and porcelain restorations in his office. With the CEREC 3-D, every integral part of the restoration is seen in three dimensions.
“Using a computer, I am able to shape and form every fraction of each crown and restoration with 3-D software while the patient watches,” Dr. Patel says. “The CEREC computer gives a good representation of the tooth based on several factors: the shape of the other teeth, the size of the jaw, the angulation of the other teeth in the mouth and the anatomy of the teeth. The opposing teeth are also taken into consideration.”
The crowns Dr. Patel creates with the CEREC machine are made of e.max® porcelain.
“These crowns not only last a long time, but are also aesthetically pleasing,” he describes.
In addition to crowns, CEREC Omnicam fashions all types of porcelain restorations, including onlays, inlays and veneers. An onlay replaces part of a tooth, including one or more points, or cusps. An inlay is a custom-made filling, and a veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that fits over the front of the tooth.
CEREC Omnicam eliminates the need to wear a temporary crown, expediting care within a single appointment for the patient.

Emergency Care

One day, Rebecca was faced with an unexpected situation.
“I was cleaning my teeth, and a crown came off of my tooth,” Rebecca recalls. “Dr. Patel knew exactly what to do.”
“That tooth was non-restorable in her situation because she is a very strong grinder,” Dr. Patel says. “The tooth had a previous root canal done and the crown fractured off with underlying tooth structure. So, I offered her the option of extracting the tooth accompanied by grafting to preserve the area for future replacement of the tooth via an implant or a bridge, or a partial denture. In the end, she opted for the bridge.”
Rebecca says the procedure to get the bridge was painless, and she is happy she can now eat food without a missing tooth.
“Dr. Patel is awesome,” Rebecca raves. “He can fix anything in any situation and make it a rewarding experience.”
To help resolve Rebecca’s grinding, Dr. Patel recommended a night guard to protect her teeth.
“The night guard has helped me a lot,” Rebecca says. “I want to keep the work I have had done in good condition.”
Rebecca’s experience at Palm Coast Family Dentistry has exceeded her expectations.
“I have been very happy there,” she says. “Dr. Patel is great, and his staff is wonderful, too. They welcome you by name and make you feel at home and at ease. They are all great!”

Hear Better in Any Environment

Mary Ruth Horn refuses to let age slow her down.
At 73, Mary Ruth is an avid cyclist, riding 50 to 60 miles three days a week.
She once rode on a daily basis but has since had to scale back.
“I normally ride thirty to thirty-five miles every day, but the summer heat is pretty hard on me, so I cut back a few days this time of year.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Mary Ruth Horn

“I started cycling seriously back in 1993,” Mary Ruth continues. “It’s something I really enjoy. It keeps me active and fit. I absolutely love it.”
One year, in fact, Mary Ruth logged more than 13,643 cycling miles.
“It was a good year,” she says with a laugh.
While age may not slow her down, Mary Ruth’s struggle to hear became a growing issue.
“I couldn’t understand everyday conversations,” she describes. “My daughter and my husband both speak softly, and I had a difficult time understanding what they were saying. I found out that it was the consonants I couldn’t hear. I would hear somebody say bed, and I would think they said red.
“I grew frustrated with this, and they say that when a person has difficulty hearing, they begin to withdraw, and that is exactly what I did. I was tired of asking people to repeat themselves.
“I had this fear that I was going to stop biking, stop doing all of the things I enjoy so much, and I didn’t want that to happen. My husband and daughter urged me to go to a hearing aid clinic, so I started looking for one near the house.”
Mary Ruth came upon First Coast Hearing Clinic in Palm Coast, where she met with Femi Coo, AuD, a certified audiologist.

A Detailed Assessment

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Mary Ruth can hear safely now when she takes her long bike rides.

First Coast Hearing Clinic is a founding partner of Audigy Group, LLC, the largest member-owned organization in the hearing care industry. The clinic follows best practices based on Audigy core values. It ensures patients are fitted with hearing devices that meet their lifestyles, needs and budgets.
In Dr. Coo’s evaluation of Mary Ruth’s hearing, he completed a detailed assessment of where she had trouble with communication and asked questions about her overall lifestyle. The information helped him recommend the technology that would fit Mary Ruth’s goals and needs.
“At First Coast Hearing, when we are testing someone for hearing aids, we spend a lot of time talking about their lifestyle,” Dr. Coo adds. “For example, someone like Mary Ruth will not need the same hearing aid as someone who lives in an assisted living facility because Mary Ruth is very active.
“I spend a lot of time before the hearing test talking to the patient, finding out situations where they have the most difficulty and then areas in which they want the most improvement. For every patient, we set at least three goals of what they want to accomplish with the hearing aid. For Mary Ruth, she wanted to hear better outdoors, hear her family better and hear better in social situations.”
Mary Ruth was impressed with the accuracy and attention to detail involved in her examination.
“Dr. Coo did an awesome exam,” Mary Ruth confirms. “He was thorough and never rushed. I spent over an hour taking different hearing tests. The extent of his exam was quite impressive.”
Based on the results of Mary Ruth’s exam, Dr. Coo recommended Starkey behind-the-ear or receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids for Mary Ruth.

Hearing aid graphic courtesy of First Coast Hearing

Receiver in Canal Micro-Hearing Aid

“She has normal hearing at low pitches that slopes into a hearing loss,” Dr. Coo explains. “Based on this, we want her to be able to use that normal hearing as much as possible. We took the behind-the-ear approach so that her ear was open to use the normal part of her hearing as much as she could.”
Dr. Coo emphasizes that hearing aids make things louder, but they do so specific to frequency.
“A good example of this frequency technology occurs when she’s riding her bike,” Dr. Coo adds. “The technology in these particular hearing aids has a wind guard in it, which can identify wind noise and nearly eliminate it. At the same time, the devices can identify and amplify speech from other cyclists around her.”
Dr. Coo says the ability to hear better doesn’t come from simply purchasing hearing aids. It requires a period of rehabilitation for the brain to adjust to renewed sounds.
“A lot of people think hearing aids are like glasses or some other device you can purchase and everything is fine, but that’s not the case at all,” says Dr. Coo. “You are retraining your brain to hear sounds you haven’t heard in a long time, so it does take some work. But for patients willing to put in the work, it’s a very happy process. They end up being happy with all the things they can hear again.”

Second to None

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.At First Coast Hearing Clinic, patients work with their audiologists through a rehabilitation protocol during their 75-day trial period. They have incremental follow-up appointments to provide feedback about how the devices are working.
During the 75-day trial, patients are seen every two weeks, or more often when necessary, to give audiologists feedback about how their new devices are working. Digital programming can be fine-tuned to overcome any challenges that patients may experience.
The trial period exceeds the standard 30-day trial period the State of Florida requires for hearing aid purchases.Graphic from Pixbay
Mary Ruth says the overall experience she had at First Coast Hearing is second to none.
“Their customer service is excellent,” she says. “I worked at a hospital as the chief financial officer, so I was involved in customer and patient complaints, and being able to deal with the public is so important nowadays, especially in the medical field.”
Mary Ruth says she is amazed at the improved quality of life she now experiences.
“These hearing aids have made an amazing difference in my life,” Mary Ruth raves. “And I have to tell you, Dr. Coo is the nicest young man, and the people in his office are wonderful.
“Now, when I ride my bike, I can actually hear the cyclists in front of me. I can hear what they’re saying.
“We were riding through a very wooded area recently, and I could hear birds chirping! I had never really heard the sound of birds chirping like that while I was riding. It’s kind of like somebody who gets glasses for the first time and all of a sudden realizes that they can see.
“These hearing aids have been a real game-changer for me!”

Eyeing Acupuncture

The Chinese medical treatment is now used as an adjunctive treatment for various eye diseases.

Alexandra Kostick, MD, of Atlantic Eye Center, is pleased to announce the incorporation of Chinese acupuncture into her Palm Coast ophthalmic practice.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.
“I became interested in acupuncture because of a personal issue. I had some sports injuries, and I wanted to treat them with an alternative approach versus the traditional Western medicine of steroid injections and non-steroidal pills that can have side effects,” Dr. Kostick explains. “I had acupuncture performed on those sports injuries, and after several weeks of treatment, I was amazed by how quickly it improved the injuries. I was back to normal.”
The theory behind acupuncture focuses on an energy flow (Qi – pronounced “chee”) along specific channels throughout the body. According to this theory, disease occurs when there is too little or too much Qi, or when the flow is blocked or interrupted.
The ultimate goal of acupuncture treatments has been described as a means to restore balance, and therefore health, by manipulation of the flow of Qi through invisible tracts running from head to toe. These pathways, commonly referred to as meridians, are distinct from anatomical networks such as nerves or blood vessels.
“The goal of acupuncture is to return one’s body to its natural state,” Dr. Kostick explains. “Chinese medicine has been doing this for over five thousand years, and to this day, acupuncture remains a very prominent treatment in the Far East. I was amazed to hear that some of the professors who taught me went to Asia and China and did several years of training there. Many of them used acupuncture as the anesthetic when performing surgeries. It is truly remarkable.”
Acupuncture is currently used most often for back pain, joint pain, neck pain, recurring pain and migraines. However, it is garnering more attention within ophthalmology.
“I had to ask myself, What else could acupuncture do? In fact, over the past few years, I’ve had several of my patients ask me, Do you know anything about ophthalmic acupuncture? This encouraged me to start researching the topic. In doing so, I discovered that there are a few pioneers in the ophthalmic community, including ophthalmologists and a few optometrists, who are performing acupuncture on their patients.
“I’ve completed two years of study and clinical practice,” Dr. Kostick says. “I am excited to say I am now offering ophthalmic acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment option.”

Positive Points

Dr. Kostick notes that not all ophthalmic conditions can be treated with acupuncture. The top diagnoses being considered are retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, glaucoma and dry eye disease.
For example, age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of severe, irreversible vision impairment in developed countries. Approximately 1.75 million people in the United States have advanced macular degeneration.
“From a Western medicine perspective, we may have hit a roadblock in treating the dry form of macular degeneration, so this could be a breakthrough, eventually.”
Acupuncture usually involves multiple treatments, two to three times a week, for at least a four-week period before noticing improvement.
“We leave the needles in anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, so the patients are usually in the office for about thirty minutes total.”
According to Dr. Kostick, there are several hundred acupoints that can be found from head to toe. A lot of the points used for ophthalmic conditions are around the eye; however, some are in the foot, some in the hand, and others are in the back.
Dr. Kostick stresses that the needles used in acupuncture are extremely thin and there is no pain involved.
“The needles are about as thick as a strand of hair,” she describes. “There is absolutely no discomfort involved. It is very safe and effective.”

Becoming a Believer

When she first began practicing acupuncture, Dr. Kostick says she experimented with staff members, friends, even family members to see how well it worked.
“I was on a cruise with my parents recently, and the first day out, the seas were really, really rough, and my mother was seasick,” Dr. Kostick shares. “She was extremely nauseous, and I said, “You know what? There are a couple of really good acupuncture points for nausea and for dizziness. I actually carry a little acupuncture kit that I use for myself for various aches and pains and some migraines, so I got my needles out and I put a couple of them in my mother in specific points that control the nervous system and the nausea system. Believe it or not, her nausea was gone fifteen or twenty minutes later.
“I really had to change my way of thinking,” she admits. “I could not go into this thinking as a medical doctor. I had to leave that at the door and totally change the way I think about medicine and how you treat the body. Chinese medicine is a totally different approach.
“Is it going to replace Western medicine? Absolutely not. Will it replace the care that I’m giving now? Absolutely not. But can it be added as a benefit? Absolutely yes.”
Dr. Kostick says she is pleased to be able to provide Chinese acupuncture to patients and is looking forward to seeing how it continues to progress in treating ophthalmic conditions.
“This is definitely a work in progress on many levels, but I think how far the use of acupuncture has come is incredible,”
Dr. Kostick says. “I think many of my patients will benefit from this, and I cannot wait to talk with many of them about this option.”

A Heartfelt Home

Retirees and seniors looking for great places to live and age successfully need to look no further than Symphony at Stuart Assisted Living and Memory Care.

 Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Ed Trotta welcomes people to their new home.

Opening in late August, the 99-apartment community offers assisted living and memory support for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Symphony at Stuart is a community designed to support successful aging and make life feel secure and meaningful.
Symphony at Stuart is a stimulating and pleasant environment for people who want the comforts of home with all the extras. Some of the services offered include medication management, an emergency call system, 24-hour staffing; an abundance of personal care services, including bathing, dressing and grooming; and three specially prepared meals per day. The Director of Food Service and Chef prepare all meals in-house with fresh ingredients.
The community also provides transportation to doctor appointments; weekly housekeeping, including personal laundry service; a library and a full-service salon and spa, all in a country club-like setting.
Each resident has his or her own apartment within a community that meets their unique needs. Symphony at Stuart offers a range of floor plans, from smaller studio apartments to one- and two-bedroom units.
Studio apartments feature a spacious bathroom with a wide, walk-in shower and elevated commode. The bathroom floor flows seamlessly into the shower, reducing the risk of falls.
Apartments are unfurnished. Residents are encouraged to decorate their spaces with furniture and items that help them feel at home.
“We want our residents to decorate their space in any way that makes them feel comfortable and brings joy,” explains Executive Director Edward Trotta. “This is their home, and we want them to embrace it.”

Personalized Care

“We specialize in personalized care,”
Mr. Trotta continues. “This is a close-knit community where residents feel at home. We want families to be assured their loved ones are receiving the best care while maintaining an active role in that care.”
Mr. Trotta knows that each resident has specific needs, and the staff goes the extra mile to recognize and meet those needs.
“People have various physical and emotional needs, and the key to assisted living is a caring staff and caregivers who are truly committed to serving the senior population.
“Each resident is given a personal assessment to determine their needs because everybody is different, and the company does its best to support them in every way it can while offering as much independence as possible. This is a quality lifestyle community. I’ve always said if you combine a hotel, cruise ship and country club, then add our care component, you have Symphony at Stuart,”
shares Mr. Trotta.

“Our residents are all unique people who have built vibrant, meaningful lives along the way. Helping them maintain a sense of individuality is at the heart of what we do.” – Edward Trotta

“In addition, we really take the time to get to know each resident and interact with them in a way that makes them feel like they have a purpose here. We want them to know that this is where they belong.
“Our main goal at Symphony at Stuart is for our residents to live a fulfilled life,” Mr. Trotta adds. “This community provides an opportunity for people to age successfully and is also suitable for those who are still independent.”
Mr. Trotta emphasizes that assisted living is particularly beneficial for people whose children have moved out of the area because of school or work. It also eliminates the burden of home ownership and the difficulties that can arise when elderly people live on their own.
“We provide families the peace of mind that Mom and/or Dad are in a safe environment that offers that quality lifestyle they want for their parents,” Mr. Trotta says.
“We have a full calendar of activities each month and include outings where residents can enjoy themselves outside our community.
“Many of our residents spent their entire lives involved in clubs, volunteering and contributing to their neighborhoods,” Mr. Trotta informs. “Caring about your community shouldn’t stop when you age or when you are living in a senior community.”
A variety of monthly entertainment includes live music, local artists who assist in art classes, and day trips. A team is on staff whose only job is to engage residents.
“There are speakers and presenters and various social activities for residents to enjoy,” Mr. Trotta adds. “We always have something going on here.”

 Photos by Nerissa Johnson.“In the Moment”

Symphony at Stuart has 23 memory support apartments available for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
“We don’t see dementia as a disease,” says Andrea Abbott, regional director of sales and marketing. “We see it as a journey, and we’re along for the ride. Our residents are not alone in this journey; we are in it together.”
At Symphony at Stuart, every staff member is trained to interact with residents based on the community’s In the Moment® memory support approach. The approach is designed to help residents feel engaged and valued throughout the day.
In the Moment is based on six principles. The principles are designed to meet residents in the moment they are experiencing for kind and compassionate engagement to guide them through their day.
“It’s our signature approach to memory support that really sets us apart,” Mr. Trotta boasts. “The approach is divided into six elements called the Principles of Well-Being. Those elements include artistic expression, physical engagement, spiritual support, community connections, continuing education, and lifestyle and leisure.
“When family members hear about the six principles, they sometimes get intimidated and fear that it will be overwhelming for their loved ones,” explains Mr. Trotta. “But that’s not the case at all. The six principles are simply a guidebook to make sure we learn enough about each resident so we can engage with them in the proper ways.
“For example, if we know that a resident is a retired school teacher, we might bring him or her to the library and have them read to children. In doing so, we are assisting that resident in remembering what she once loved to do and getting her involved in the community. Residents really want a sense of purpose, and we help them find that.”
In the Moment memory support also features life skill stations, which are areas where residents can participate in purposeful activities, from organizing a fashion station to working in a small garden.
“This is critical for memory support residents because it often triggers memories of their youth, which thereby stimulates the mind and keeps them motivated and moving,” informs Mr. Trotta. “It is very rewarding and improves their quality of life.”
Other life skill stations include an office station, and a “gentleman’s” station that features sports memorabilia and clothing, like a top hat and dress coat.
Peace of Mind for Families
Knowing loved ones are being cared for in a way that keeps them engaged and safe can offer families peace of mind.
“The domino effect of dementia is how it can affect the health of family members and caregivers,” Mr. Trotta notes. “Caregivers are often under tremendous stress trying to manage the care of their loved ones, from giving medications to being up at all hours.
“With their loved ones living at Symphony at Stuart, they will no longer need to fear leaving a parent by themselves at home because they might turn on the stove and forget to turn it off. They don’t need to worry about a parent wandering out in the middle of the night, even though they have taken various steps in securing their home.”
The secure grounds include landscaped courtyards and common areas where activity centers are part of a holistic approach to memory support.
“By specializing in memory support,” says Mr. Trotta, “we have a staff that is very well trained to help residents with these types of struggles. We want them to feel secure and engaged despite their memory loss.”
The mission of Symphony at Stuart is to create the safest environment and best personalized care for all residents.
“Our residents are all unique people who have built vibrant, meaningful lives along the way. Helping them maintain a sense of individuality is at the heart of what we do. That’s why we are here.”

Walking in Strides

A leading-edge procedure helps patients with PAD walk pain free.

The pain in Virginia Young’s legs seemed almost constant when she walked or even sat in a chair.
The St. Lucie County resident says the short distance to her mailbox would have her nearly in tears every day. She dreaded trips to the grocery store because she could never finish her shopping before the pain would set in.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.
“My legs would ache really badly,” Ms. Young describes. “I would start out okay, then the pain would settle in, and I would get to a point where I had to sit down. And sometimes, they even hurt when I was sitting. I often got no relief whatsoever unless I was lying down. It was really affecting my quality of life. I was afraid to go anywhere that required me to walk long distances.”
The situation escalated for several years until Ms. Young sought help from her family doctor.
“I went to my doctor. He took x-rays and an ultrasound, and said I needed to see a vein specialist right away. He referred me to Vascular Interventional and Vein Associates.”

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Pranay T. Ramdev, MD, is a board-certified vascular surgeon at Vascular Interventional & Vein Associates (VIVA). He diagnosed Ms. Young with peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Peripheral arterial disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. Risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, among others.
“This condition is not characterized by cramping at night when you are lying down,”
Dr. Ramdev explains. “PAD symptoms only occur with activity, like walking. And the pain usually develops in the calves or thighs. Many times, this occurs in older patients and is caused by a lack of circulation.”
In patients with PAD, the legs don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with the demand, and this causes claudication, which was the case with Ms. Young.
“When claudication starts, people usually develop discomfort in their calves when walking caused by blockages in the arteries,” educates Dr. Ramdev. “We test for claudication by checking for a pulse in the foot. When we can’t feel a pulse there, we know the ‘plumbing’ is blocked up. We use ultrasound to identify the exact areas of blockage in the circulation.
“Twenty years ago, a condition like this would require a surgical bypass procedure. Today, we can treat the problem without major surgery.”

“I’m thrilled to be pain free now!” – Ms. Young

Dr. Ramdev recommended an outpatient, nonsurgical procedure for
Ms. Young that involves placing stents in the iliac arteries – the arteries that run down both sides of the aortic valve. The iliac arteries provide blood flow to each leg. The stents are placed to open up those arteries and allow blood to flow properly.
“I admit that I was really afraid of the procedure at first,” Ms. Young says. “But, Dr. Ramdev is very reassuring, and he explains everything in detail. His staff is really great at his surgery center, too. They make you as comfortable as possible.”
Dr. Ramdev says he was pleased to have been able to perform Ms. Young’s procedure in his newly built, in-office vascular interventional suite. The suite is designed to provide patients with a comfortable, relaxed surgical atmosphere combined with the latest medical advancements.
“Instead of sending patients to a hospital for procedures that require extended stays to recover, I chose to build a suite here in my office where I can perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures,” shares Dr. Ramdev. “Patients love it because it is small, comfortable and relaxed. No one likes having to go to a hospital for surgery.
“Our surgical suite is much more convenient for the patient, who is then able to go home and begin their recovery that same day.”

Stock photo from istockphoto.com.

Peripheral Artery Disease

No More Leg Pain

Dr. Ramdev says getting to know his patients and understanding their needs is important to the success of his practice.
“In addition to providing patients with the latest technological advancements in arterial procedures, it is just as important to me that I connect with them,” assures Dr. Ramdev. “I treat all my patients like family because kindness and compassion are so important. You can have technical success with a procedure, but the patient’s experience is enhanced by the excellent care they receive.”
Dr. Ramdev goes out of his way to spend quality time with his patients, ensuring they have a thorough understanding of the disease process and the treatment options.
“I want people to feel they have full knowledge of what is going on inside their bodies,” Dr. Ramdev educates. “The more they know, the less daunting the process seems.”
Ms. Young says that, looking back, the procedure was much easier than she had anticipated. She credits Dr. Ramdev for her newfound, pain-free lifestyle.
“I can walk much farther distances now without being in pain,” she confirms. “I work as a secretary at the Elks Lodge, and I can walk around in the office all day now and not be in pain, like I was before.
“Dr. Ramdev is professional and thorough and a very skilled doctor. He knows what he is talking about and makes you feel very comfortable and relaxed. I am very pleased I was referred to him. I would send others to him as well.
“I’m thrilled to be pain free now!”

Smile Makeover

A small change can make a big difference.

A retired nurse, Frances Allen knows what qualities to look for when it comes to finding a reputable and skilled dentist.
“My local dental office changed hands, and I was no longer satisfied with the care I was receiving,” she explains. “I wasn’t happy with my smile. I had some discoloration along the top in the front, and I grew tired of looking at it. I was always smiling with my lips, never showing my teeth. When I asked them for a plan to fix things, they always put me off.”

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Frances no longer hides behind her smile.

In addition to the discoloration of her teeth, Frances says she was waking up with jaw pain almost daily.
“I was grinding my teeth at night, which was causing other issues with my bite,” Frances adds. “I decided I needed to find a dentist who could create the makeover I always wanted.”
Frances read an article in Florida Health Care News about Stephen G. Blank, DDS. Dr. Blank practices cosmetic and functional dentistry in Port St. Lucie.
“From everything I read in the article, his patients seem to love him, and that was important to me,” Frances relates. “I want a dentist I can talk to and who truly cares enough to listen.”
She made an appointment to see him. Initial Exams
Dr. Blank conducts a thorough examination on new patients to determine their dental needs and develop a custom treatment plan, just as Frances had wanted.
The 1.5-hour exam includes a complete oral examination, including TMJ, bite and soft-tissue evaluations; computerized periodontal measurements, digital x-rays, an intra-oral video tour that allows the patient to see what the dentist sees, an oral hygiene evaluation and more.
“The goal is to build a solid dental relationship that allows each patient to achieve the best oral health possible and, with proper care, maintain that level of health for a lifetime,” assures Dr. Blank. “It’s not your typical five-minute dental exam.”
“It was the most thorough dental exam I have ever received,” Frances confirms. “I had a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Blank in a very relaxing atmosphere. He discussed my x-rays, talked about what I was facing and presented all of the different options. He made me feel comfortable. He wanted me to be sure about the decision I was about to make.”
Dr. Blank says crowns were the best option for Frances, given her history with grinding.
“I hated the shape of my teeth and the discoloration,” Frances continues. “A lot of them were uneven because of the grinding, so after talking with Dr. Blank, I took his recommendation and chose to proceed with crowns.”

Crowning Achievement

During Frances’ diagnostic visit for the crowns, Dr. Blank designed the size, shape, color and position of the restorations. Models of her teeth and photographs of her mouth were taken and sent to the lab for a wax-up.
“With Frances, we did what we call a smile design visit where we take measurements of the teeth and follow that with a full series of photographs. We then did a mock-up of the teeth with some temporary resin so we could guide the lab to create the results that we wanted.
“From that smile design visit, we ordered a wax-up of the teeth that fulfilled Frances’ cosmetic need. That way, Frances was able to see how her teeth would look in the end.”
On her next visit, her teeth were prepared for the placement of the new restorations. Impressions were then made for the lab, and temporaries that match the wax-up were created.
Following that second visit, Frances left Dr. Blank’s office with resin temporaries. This allowed her to wear an example of her new smile home, like a test drive.
“The temporaries give patients the opportunity to see how their new smile will look,” educates Dr. Blank. “At the temporary stage, changes can be made, such as adding a bit of length or a little curvature or a slight reduction. We give the lab instructions on coloring, translucency and brightness. Then, the teeth are scanned and digital images are sent to the laboratory. In most cases, scanning has replaced the need for the gooey rubber impressions.”
Dr. Blank assures that today’s products provide durability and longevity to patients, with great aesthetics for a natural smile.
“Dental aesthetics have come a long way from when I was in dental school,” Dr. Blank says. “Today’s crowns are made of all-ceramic porcelain materials, so ten years from now, if the gumline shrinks at all, Frances will not see a dark area above the top of the crown, which often occurs with crowns made with metal components. Today, products are created for longevity and with better aesthetics than ever before.”
A final aspect of Frances’ treatment plan was the creation of a bite guard to protect her teeth from further damage from her nighttime grinding.
“The bite guard takes the beating, so to speak, so that her new crowns do not suffer any damage,” Dr. Blank explains. “And her jaw will no longer ache when she wakes up each morning.”
Frances says she is pleased with how well her bite guard has improved how her jaw feels.
“No other dentist ever recommended a bite guard before,” Frances says. “That is just one example of how Dr. Blank goes the extra mile to make sure all bases are covered. The bite guard works great, and I have no more morning jaw pain.”

Connecting with Patients

Dr. Blank emphasizes that an important aspect of his success as a dentist is his relationships with his patients.
Dr. Blank, who has been practicing in Port St. Lucie for more than 32 years, stresses the importance of delivering customized, personable care to all of his patients.
“I want people to understand all of their options and be educated before making any decisions,” he emphasizes. “Every patient is different, and not every option is going to fit well with every person. I do my very best to understand a person’s long-term wants and needs.
“I give them eye contact and explain to them from start to finish what to expect, and I hold nothing back,” he says. “I’m honest because I know that is what people want in a dentist. Honesty and integrity, both of which I strive to bring to the table.”
Frances says Dr. Blank is more than a dentist; he’s a true professional.
“He’s not just a stuffed shirt,” she says. “He’s very personable and is interested in you as a person. His staff is very professional, also.
“I don’t hide my smile anymore!”

Working It In

Slow-cadence weight training once a week benefits those with busy schedules.

As a mental health therapist, Jason Quintal is a professional at helping others work through their emotional, and sometimes physical, wounds.

Jason Quintal reaps the many benefits of a twenty-minute workout at 20 Minutes to Fitness.

Alex assists Jason as he uses the slow-cadence equipment.

“I’ve been in private practice in Lakewood Ranch since 2006,” Jason describes. “I spend a lot of time at the office with patients, and I have two young children who also take up a lot of my time, so work and home balance can be challenging.

“In my spare time, when I have any, I like to stay active. While family life does provide me that opportunity, I also like to exercise and stay fit.”

In his younger years, Jason spent a lot of time doing cardiovascular exercise, including running, bicycling and time on the basketball court.

“I used to do triathlons,” he says. “I enjoyed those extreme physical challenges, but I wasn’t working on any strength training. I got to a point where triathlons were becoming too difficult on my body, so I had to look at other ways to push myself. At the same time, I wanted to find a way to increase my muscle mass and muscle strength. I wasn’t looking to be a bodybuilder by any means, I simply wanted to find a routine where I could measure the results.”

Jason says going to a traditional gym became boring, so he sought other options.

“I got bored with the routines at the gym pretty quickly,” he explains. “It wasn’t enjoyable to me.”

Looking for a change, Jason heard about 20 Minutes to Fitness® through his parents.

“My parents started going to the Sarasota location and told me about their experience,” Jason recalls. “I was really skeptical at first because I did not understand how a twenty-minute workout could be beneficial. But, with my time constraints with work and wanting to get away from a traditional gym, I decided to give it a try.”

Unique Training Method

At 20 Minutes to Fitness, clients work out under the guidance of their own certified personal fitness coach who is by their side at each and every piece of highly specialized equipment. Remarkably, they achieve outstanding results through once-a-week sessions that last only 20 minutes.

“I was super impressed once the program was explained to me,” Jason shares, “and I was also impressed by what I saw in the trainers and the staff. They’re helpful, and they all are experts at what they do. Every workout is customized for each individual, which makes it great. The trainers are informative and excellent motivators. They push you in order for you to achieve your maximum workout.”Jason Quintal reaps the many benefits of a twenty-minute workout at 20 Minutes to Fitness.

The type of training at 20 Minutes to Fitness is known as slow-cadence training and has years of research and plenty of science behind its success. The equipment is highly specialized and was originally designed for use in physical therapy. It features a patented double-stacking system and is calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting stress on joints or ligaments. Double stacking means that one of the system’s weight stacks is composed of weights that increase in increments of only two pounds instead of the traditional ten- or 20-pound increases.

Weights are lifted in a series of ultra-slow movements, with targeted muscles doing all the work. Clients are guided by coaches to achieve the right pace and proper form; with each repetition lasting a full 20 seconds.

“Slow cadence literally means slow movements,” explains Alex Rufin, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes to Fitness. “Weights are lifted in a series of ultra-slow movements, with all the work done by the targeted muscles. It is challenging for them, right from the start.”

20 Minutes to Fitness coaches maintain logs for each client and know when to increase or decrease weights The combination of slow movements and specialized equipment eliminates the chance of relying on gravity and momentum to do part of the work in strength training. Because each repetition lasts a full 20 seconds, in just 1½ to 2½ minutes, the specific muscle group being worked reaches a point of peak performance – which is the goal of the workout. No repetitions are counted.

“I love the fact that I can go in and I don’t have to do any of the thinking,” Jason says. “They put the weights on for you. I feel like at the end of that twenty-minute period, I got in a good workout.”

As muscle fatigue is achieved, the body recovers over a period of three to six days. While the body is recovering, a series of physiological changes takes place that supercharges the body to burn fat and rebuild muscle.

“20 Minutes to Fitness has a skilled staff that understands what is happening, and we watch the client’s form very closely,” emphasizes Alex. “Some people with a condition, such as arthritis, don’t want to exercise. But arthritis is much more painful if you stop moving. That’s why exercise and strength training, in particular, are so important – they keep synovial fluid moving in the joints and make ligaments and muscles stronger.”

Total Body Challenge

According to Alex, a plethora of benefits is achieved from 20 minutes of slow-cadence training. Research has shown weekly sessions markedly improve strength, increase energy, control arthritis, fight symptoms of diabetes, reduce back pain, increase bone density, improve balance and much more.Jason Quintal reaps the many benefits of a twenty-minute workout at 20 Minutes to Fitness.

“As people age and become less active and more sedentary, they not only lose flexibility and strength, but also muscle mass,” Alex explains. “After age thirty, it’s typical to lose an average of eight to ten percent of muscle mass per decade. Bones can decline in density and, in worst cases, develop osteoporosis, in which bones become brittle and susceptible to fractures.

“When people come in and they’re not familiar with slow-cadence training, it really blows them away. We have to slow them down because they want to do everything fast,” notes Alex. “We customize individual training programs for each person based on their level of strength and the goals they want to achieve.”

The strength-training sessions never get monotonous because clients are continually challenged. If the weight level on a machine feels easier due to the client gaining strength, coaches adjust the weights to be more challenging in order for targeted muscles to reach peak performance and continue to increase in strength.

Jason says he wants others to know 20 Minutes to Fitness once a week has been very beneficial for him and can help people of all ages.

“To all the naysayers, I would stress that this is an incredible program,” he says. “Slow cadence is amazing, and it works for all ages. I’ve been really happy with my results.”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photos courtesy of 20 Minutes to Fitness. mkb

One Pill at a Time

A progressive, noninvasive weight loss procedure helps mom lose post-pregnancy weight.

After delivering her second child six years ago, Sarah* admits she had a difficult time losing the weight she gained during pregnancy.A mom looks to lose 50 pounds through a noninvasive weight loss procedure offered at Manatee Weight Loss Center.

“I have two daughters,” Sarah shares. “After the first pregnancy, I was able to lose the weight pretty quickly, but the weight from the second pregnancy was much more difficult to take off. I tried every diet I could think of. I would lose ten pounds, then turn around and gain it back.

“As a wife and a mother, I was trying to do it all and carried a lot of stress. I think that affected my metabolism to a certain point. But, I was also making the wrong food choices. I ate a lot of sweets and unhealthy foods.”

At five feet three inches and 190 pounds, Sarah says she became desperate to make a change. She set a goal to lose around 50 pounds.

“I wanted to look and feel better about myself,” she says. “I am raising two girls, and I want them to see their mom healthy and active.”

Sarah says she talked with a friend who underwent gastric sleeve surgery, but she did not feel that was the best option for her.

“My husband wasn’t on board with that either,” Sarah shares. “So, we went online and did some research and read about the Obalon® Balloon System, and it sounded interesting to me because it did not require any kind of surgery. I started searching for doctors in our area who offered the procedure, and I found Manatee Weight Loss Center at Manatee Memorial Hospital.”

Are You Overweight?

For people like Sarah who haven’t found success with conventional forms of dieting, weight loss procedures to reduce stomach size are often a proven method for overcoming obesity.

The Obalon Balloon System is available at Manatee Memorial Hospital, performed by Stelios Rekkas, MD, FACS, a fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon. The procedure is ideal for patients who are overweight.

“The majority of weight loss procedures we offer here have traditionally been for people who are about one hundred pounds above their ideal body weight,” explains Dr. Rekkas. “Those surgeries involve general anesthesia and a brief stay in the hospital. This is the first outpatient, noninvasive procedure we offer that provides significant weight loss, between forty to sixty pounds.

“Sarah is our first patient to undergo the Obalon balloon procedure, which I think is a game changer when it comes to weight loss,” he continues. “She was an ideal candidate, as she was about fifty pounds above her ideal body weight. She just needed the right tool to help her find success.”

Obalon Balloon System

“With this new system, the patient swallows a pill containing a small balloon,” Dr. Rekkas explains. “We then take an x-ray to make sure it is in the right position, and then the balloon gets filled with a gas similar to nitrogen gas. Patients come back in three weeks and get a second balloon, and at nine weeks, they get a third balloon.

“Each balloon shrinks the space available in the stomach and as a result, they eat less. On average, weight loss is about three times what patients would normally lose on their own.

“The beautiful thing is there are no incisions, no general anesthesia, no scarring and the balloons are removed through endoscopy after six months,” concludes Dr. Rekkas. “With these balloons, patients eat a little bit of food and get full much faster.”

Sarah says she no longer craves sweets like she once did.

“I always wanted candy or dessert before, and now, I no longer want sugar. It’s really amazing the way your body reacts to it and how that in turn changes how you think and feel.”

“We are the first hospital in the state to offer the Obalon Balloon System,” shares Dr. Rekkas. “This is a revolutionary, new product, and we are proud to offer it at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Manatee Weight Loss Center.”

Dr. Rekkas emphasizes that the program is about more than a pill.

“I want to stress that what we do here is not just about a specific weight loss procedure,” he explains. “We educate every person about diet and exercise. It is an all-encompassing program. They each receive a customized plan, including diet and exercise. The balloons are the training wheels. It is a game-changing tool to help them get started. As long as they incorporate the diet and exercise long term, they will keep the weight off.”   

Look Good, Feel Great

Weight loss carries with it profound benefits for better health.

A mom looks to lose 50 pounds through a noninvasive weight loss procedure offered at Manatee Weight Loss Center.

Patients swallow three capsules each containing a small balloon, which are filled with a gas similar to nitrogen.

“We see really good improvements in sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Instead of just giving medications to lower blood pressure or control diabetes, a lot of these problems go away or improve markedly through weight loss,” says Dr. Rekkas. “We’ve seen patients get off their diabetic and hypertensive medications and sleep apnea machines. Also, great improvement is seen in patients with arthritis.”

Sarah says she has taken an important step toward achieving her weight loss goal of 50 pounds, and she feels confident she can keep the weight off. She has already noticed a slight change in how her clothes fit.

“I am on my way to a smaller size; I can feel it,” she says. “With the diet and proper exercise, I know I can maintain the weight loss. This has been a good decision, and I am really happy with Dr. Rekkas and all the staff at the center.

“This is changing my life!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Graphic courtesy of Obalon® Balloon System. Stock photos from istockphoto.com. mkb
*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

Repair Bone Loss

A once weekly, 15-minute strengthening program can rebuild bone.

After suffering for years with endometriosis, Shelley Ebel and her husband turned to infertility treatments to help them conceive.

Shelley Ebel benefits from once-a-week, 15-minute strength training to combat her osteoporosis.

Shelley works out on Osteostrong’s unique equipment.

While those treatments were not successful, Shelley and her husband still got the child they always wanted through adoption.

In the aftermath of the infertility treatments, however, Shelley was left with a serious side effect resulting from prolonged use of infertility drugs – osteoporosis.

Bones are made of tissue that is constantly broken down and replaced. But when new bone creation does not keep up with degeneration, osteopenia and osteoporosis can occur.

About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, especially as we get older. Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, spine or wrist, but other bones can break too. In addition to causing permanent pain, osteoporosis causes some to lose height. When osteoporosis affects vertebrae, or the bones of the spine, it often leads to a stooped or hunched posture.

“I had a friend of mine, who was a nurse, advised me to get a bone density screening because she knew that many women on the same infertility drug had severe bone loss,” Shelley recalls. “So, I had my first bone scan performed when I was thirty-eight.

“The results indicated I was osteopenic, which means I had early onset of osteoporosis.”

That was 13 years ago.

“At that time, doctors told me to do weight-bearing exercises and increase my calcium and Vitamin D intake. They had no answers and no real plan.”

When a friend’s mother died of osteoporosis, Shelley vowed she would not succumb to the condition herself.

“I have a child, and there is just no way that after everything I’ve been through I will allow osteoporosis to win,” Shelley says. “It isn’t going to happen like that for me.”

Despite joining a gym and following a rigorous exercise regimen, she continued to see her bone density scans get worse each year.

“My numbers kept going down,” Shelley recalls. “I felt like there had to be something out there that would help.”

In 2015, through online research, Shelley found a unique program called OsteoStrong that helps rebuild bone through once-a-week, 15-minute sessions using specialized strengthening equipment.

A Proven Solution

“Osteoporosis is a silent disease that most people are unaware they have until they fracture a bone,” educates Greg Bennett, president of OsteoStrong in Tampa. “Statistically, one in two women and one in four men over age fifty will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.”

Greg says OsteoStrong is a proven, effective, natural solution to reverse bone loss for all age groups. “This is an amazing concept that culminated after twelve years of research that looked into the body’s own adaptive response to growing new bone and muscle structure and improving the density of the bones we have.”

Greg loves to share stories that highlight the program’s long-term value.

“I met Shelley at an OsteoStrong conference in Albuquerque and after hearing her story, we connected instantly because in my view, her story is a success,” Greg says. “The program utilizes a concept called osteogenic loading, which is a fifteen-minute, once-a-week, resistance-based session that increases bone density, prevents fractures and strengthens muscle tissue.”

Shelley admits that initially, she was uncertain about how well a 15-minute workout, once a week, could rebuild bone.

“At first, I was skeptical, but after I read a lot about it and researched its success, I was convinced,” she says. “The patient applies pressure on the patented equipment through short, acute activities that stimulate the body’s natural impulse to rebuild bone and tissue loss. Once the tissue growth process has been triggered, the body will naturally rebuild tissue and bone.”

Sessions are deliberately scheduled once a week.

“Studies have determined that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week doesn’t promote any additional benefit,” Greg explains. “Overall, studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density by about seven percent a year.”

Better Late Than Never

Shelley says she knows that had she found OsteoStrong years earlier, her bone loss would not have been as substantial.Shelley Ebel benefits from once-a-week, 15-minute strength training to combat her osteoporosis.

“I’ve already lost twenty percent of my bone in my hip and twenty four percent of bone in my arm,” Shelley explains. “If I were to lose another twenty five to thirty percent, I would have the bones of a significantly older woman who could  have a fracture at an early age.

“In the first six months, I had a significant bone increase in my hips because of the OsteoStrong program,” she continues. “I was in tears when my latest bone scan results showed that increase. I had not had a gain in twelve years.”

Shelley says her life has been so dramatically improved because of OsteoStrong that she and her husband invested in a franchise.

“My husband and I were looking for a business venture, and after experiencing OsteoStrong, and with my own personal situation, we decided to buy a franchise ourselves.

“The important thing is, my numbers are increasing now, and I owe it all to OsteoStrong,” she says.

Because of her significant improvement in her bones, Shelley says she likely will start having bone scans every other year once she turns 55.

“We’ve already had success stories in our center even though it’s been open for a short amount of time,” Shelley shares. “I tell women who come to our center here – we can reverse bone loss and you don’t have to be in fear of having a fracture.”

Shelley says an important note she wants those who suffer from osteoporosis to consider is that OsteoStrong is a program that caters to all age groups.

“Osteoporosis is not just something that happens to old people. We have clients from young to old and everything in between. We have a lot of women in our center that are younger than I was when I was diagnosed.

“Men aren’t immune either,” she adds. “When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

“OsteoStrong wants to help educate people about bone loss. The framework is the most important part of your body and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”

Shelley says that while there are many factors in a person’s life that can cause osteoporosis, thankfully programs like OsteoStrong can help a person reverse the damage.

“OsteoStrong has been a miracle for me and has changed my life!” Shelley raves.

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo courtesy of Shelley Ebel. Graphic from istockphoto.com. mkb

Crowning Achievement

Fear turns to trust and a new smile.

deep-seated fear of the dental chair kept Cameron Rivera, 27, from maintaining a healthy, radiant smile for most of his young life.

Cameron Rivera had all of his teeth crowned at Shuayb Dental in Spring Hill.

Cameron is proud to flash his bright, new smile.

“I’ve hated dentists ever since I was a kid,” Cameron confirms. “I fell into a trap where I let my teeth go because of it. It seemed like every time I went to a dentist, something hurt, so I stopped going. Eventually, I built up a lot of decay. My teeth ended up in pretty bad shape.”

But, even that situation didn’t prompt Cameron to make an appointment. Instead, a sudden dental emergency found him sitting in the dental chair he loathed for so many years.

“This sounds like something I made up, but my dog head-butted me one day, and my front tooth broke off,” Cameron shares. “There was no way I could let that go.

“Friends of mine recommended Dr. Shuayb, and I made an appointment.”

Cameron’s dental emergency was resolved with a crown, but in the long run, Cameron received much more than he expected. He found a dentist he could trust in Mohammad A. Shuayb, DMD.

“Dr. Shuayb took the fear away from almost the minute I sat down in that chair,” Cameron says. “He is gentle and never pushes anything on you that you do not need. He’s honest and I like that.”

Comprehensive Plan

At Shuayb Dental, a major benefit is comprehensive care under one roof, from routine cleanings to same-day crowns, so there is no need to go from specialist to specialist.

“We take pride in the fact that we have the equipment and knowledge to provide various services to our patients,” Dr. Shuayb says. “It’s comforting for our patients to know this.”

Once Cameron’s dental emergency was resolved, Dr. Shuayb consulted with him to develop a long-term treatment plan.

“First thing we needed to do was to get his gums healthy again,” Dr. Shuayb explains. “He had extreme periodontal disease, so we treated that first.

“Once the gums were healthy, we moved forward with crowns on most of his teeth. That was my recommendation. Because he had let his teeth go for so long, crowns were his best reconstructive option.”

Co-owner of American Car Craft in Spring Hill, Cameron says he comes face-to-face with clients on a daily basis.

“We design and fabricate custom stainless steel car accessories,” Cameron explains. “I’m always talking with customers and meeting with people. My smile quickly became important to me. I didn’t realize what I was missing.”

Cameron says he initially wanted a “Hollywood” smile, but Dr. Shuayb recommended against it.

“He talked to me about my options and told me that having a smile that looked more natural would be best in the long run, and he was right. He never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do, or to do the first thing that came to my mind. He educated me and he listened. Those are important qualities in a good dentist.”

No More Waiting for Crowns

Cameron says he was impressed that Dr. Shuayb’s office is equipped with the CEREC® technology that can create crowns in a single visit.

“Leaving the office with the crown made and placed the same day is the case with most patients, but seeing as I was having so many teeth crowned, I did just a few at a time,” says Cameron. “Dr. Shuayb’s crowns matched my teeth perfectly.”

CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It allows permanent crowns to be made right in the dental office: Digital impressions and fabrication of the permanent crown are completed in the same appointment.

The practice is known for the high quality of its crowns and other dental restorations made through CEREC technology and how much they look like natural teeth.

Crowns are created in an on-site milling machine after Dr. Shuayb designs a 3-D, virtual model with CEREC software. The shape and size are fine-tuned for the most natural result. Also, with approximately 40 shades of crown material in stock, the finished crown can be precisely matched with the patient’s natural teeth.

“On average, we are able to produce a crown in one hour and seven minutes,” observes Dr. Shuayb. “For the past four or five years, my staff has traveled extensively to get comprehensive CEREC training. Their knowledge is above and beyond any staff in the area.”

In addition to CEREC technology, the office is equipped with other advanced dental equipment. One example is a cone beam CT scanner which creates high-resolution, 3-D images. Dr. Shuayb also uses the same type of high-power microscope that ophthalmologists use for eye surgery. It allows for close-up work that is the equivalent of microsurgery, to create dental restorations with a precise fit and finish.

“Dr. Shuayb educates himself, and you can just tell he is up-to-date with the latest technology and products,” states Cameron. “I feel more secure when I see that kind of commitment put into a practice.”

Part of the Family

Dr. Shuayb’s chairside manner is to carefully listen to patients about what they want and what would make them happy.

“We’re very conservative, and we don’t overwhelm people,” he notes. “Something we live by daily is, If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We don’t forecast that a tooth is going to eventually need a crown, so go ahead and crown it. If your fillings have been in for thirty years and they’re working fine, then leave them alone.”

Another quality of Shuayb Dental remains a hallmark of the practice: The atmosphere is warm and friendly. Staff members go out of their way to help patients feel at home. They take the time to know people on a personal basis, which creates trust and confidence.

Turnover of the staff is minimal; the “newest” staff member has been working at the practice for a decade.

“When a patient comes in, helping him or her feel comfortable starts at the front desk,” explains Dr. Shuayb. “All of my staff have been with me for a long time, and we have a tight-knit family atmosphere that makes patients feel welcome.”

“I’ve been going there for over seven years,” says Cameron, “and I love the guy. He’s really great!” His two brothers, his wife and his mother all go to Dr. Shuayb for their dental needs.

“We trust him and know that he does excellent work,” Cameron adds. “They make you feel like family, not a number or someone they are just trying to get money out of. They care, and it really shows. I recommend
Dr. Shuayb to anyone. They won’t regret it.”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Graphic from istockphoto.com.mkb
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