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Knee Pain Relief and More

Innovative therapy relieves chronic osteoarthritis pain.

Teresa Carlos has suffered from chronic pain for decades. A retired factory worker, she spent years lifting heavy boxes and cargo while living and working in California. Eventually, Teresa suffered damage to the discs in her back. The weakness in her back subsequently contributed to her developing osteoarthritis in her knees.

Teresa Carlos received injection therapy for osteoarthritis at Synergy Medical in Bradenton.

Teresa can bend much easier now after

“A chiropractor I was seeing for my back years ago in California told me that because of the weakness in my back, my knees had a hard time keeping my body upright, so eventually I developed osteoarthritis as well. My body is just a mess,” she says with a laugh. “I walked with a cane because I could not stand straight, and I needed something to lean on.”

Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. It occurs when the cartilage, or cushion between joints, breaks down, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.

Teresa and her husband moved from the west coast of the United States to Palm Coast in 1997.

“My husband died in 2016, and now I live in Bradenton with my daughter and grandson,” Teresa says.

The nagging pain from the osteoarthritis in her knees kept Teresa from enjoying her retirement. She describes her pain level as a six on a scale of one to ten.

“I had pain pretty much all the time because that’s just how arthritis is,” Teresa explains. “It was especially hard to get out of bed in the morning, and it took me a long time to walk anywhere. I had to use the cane all the time. It was hard to get up out of a chair or up from the sofa, too.”

Teresa’s daughter did some research and referred her mother to Synergy Medical to initially treat her back pain. Once there, Teresa was pleased to discover they offered so much more than back pain relief.


“When Teresa first came in to see us, she had multiple complaints, including back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis in her knees,” explains Dawn Wright, NP-C, nurse practitioner, at Synergy Medical. “We have been treating her for all of those things. She came to us suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis.

“When I first spoke with Teresa, she would tell me, I want to be able to go to church again – to sit and enjoy the service and not be in pain. She said she wanted to walk freely without pain and be able to enjoy her grandchild.

“Initially, I put her in knee braces to help offload the weight from the knee joints,” Dawn continues. “Then, she began a series of the SUPARTZ FX injections for the knee pain from osteoarthritis. SUPARTZ FX along with rehab is part of our treatment program to reduce arthritic knee pain.

“I tell my patients that arthritis is like having a rusty hinge,” Dawn adds. “I describe the SUPARTZ FX as the oil that is going to lubricate those joints and decrease their pain.”

SUPARTZ FX is a nonsurgical injection therapy used to relieve pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The solution is made of highly purified sodium hyaluronate, or HA. This is a natural chemical compound found in the body’s joint tissues. The body’s own HA works as a lubricant and shock absorber to produce healthy and functional joints.

SUPARTZ FX is ideal for patients, like Teresa, suffering from mild to moderate pain associated with osteoarthritis and is recommended for those trying to avoid knee surgery.

Relief can be experienced with the first injection and can last up to six months. The program typically includes three to five injections. The program can be repeated, if necessary.

No More Cane and Able Again

“I love taking care of people’s knees,” Dawn describes. “I think people find that to be an odd thing to say, but I have been doing this for many years, and I just love helping people feel better and move around better. My job is to restore function so patients can live fuller lives.”

Once the therapy is complete, Dawn recommends patients maintain a healthy diet; keep active with low-impact exercise, such as biking or swimming or walking; and incorporate strength exercises into their routines.

“They are fantastic, and I was amazed at all of the services they offer there. They are not just a back pain clinic. They have so much to offer!”Teresa

“These processes will help the injection therapy last longer and only help to continue to strengthen the knee joints,” Dawn assures.

Teresa says she is thrilled with the progress she has made and is amazed at how much better her knees are feeling.

Dawn emphasizes the various services available at Synergy Medical, including trigger point injections, rehab, spinal decompression, B12 injections, physical therapy, weight loss and chiropractic.

“We strive to go above and beyond to find the source of the pain and suggest and implement a solution that restores the person’s quality of life,” Dawn relays. “We believe in the body’s power to heal itself. Our treatment plans revolve around a whole-health mentality, meaning that we treat the whole patient, not just the source of pain. The human body is a complex yet magnificent machine. We treat the body as a whole system, understanding that all of the parts work together.”

Teresa says she is delighted with the service and professionalism she has received.

“Dawn is very supportive and has helped me tremendously,” Teresa attests. “She’s been absolutely wonderful!”

Teresa highly recommends Synergy Medical to anyone needing physical medicine or chiropractic care for pain relief.

“They are fantastic, and I was amazed at all of the services they offer there. They are not just a back pain office. They have so much to offer!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Fred Bellet. Graphic from

Periodontal Perfection

Karyn Zervos has a keen natural instinct, especially when it comes to her teeth and gums.

A few years ago, Karyn began experiencing bleeding and inflammation in the area surrounding a dental implant that was placed years earlier.

Karyn Zervos was treated for peri-implantitis at Periodontal Health Center, with offices in Tampa and New Port Richey.

Karyn is happy to have healthy gums.

“I think a piece of popcorn got stuck underneath it,” Karyn laments. “I eventually dislodged whatever it was and thought all was fine. I went for years never knowing there was an underlying issue. I brush and floss twice a day. I know I need to keep the area clean, and I was religious about doing so.

“A few years ago, my gums started to bleed in that area after I brushed. It was sore, but only if you pushed on the gumline with the toothbrush.

“I knew instinctively that what I was experiencing was not normal,” Karyn continues. “I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but had a feeling it was linked to the implant itself. I was worried.”

Karyn returned to the oral surgeon who placed her implant.

“At first, I was prescribed an antibiotic to see if that would clear it up, but it did not help,” she recalls. “They weren’t sure if it was the bone underneath or the gum itself. That’s when I was sent to Periodontal Health Center.”

What Is Peri-Implantitis?

After an examination and x-rays, Jessica Stilley, DMD, of Periodontal Health Center, diagnosed Karyn with peri-implantitis.

Peri-implantitis is a disease that affects the bone surrounding a dental implant. The condition causes bone loss and infection of the surrounding gum tissue. Peri-implantitis can occur for several reasons, including lack of general dental care, poor oral hygiene, retained cement residue underneath the crown, smoking, diabetes and even the shape of the crown versus the shape of the tooth.

“In Karyn’s case, it was difficult for her to keep the area clean because of the shape of the crown versus the shape of her tooth,” explains Dr. Stilley. “Implants are cylindrical and natural teeth are not. In some cases, the foundation of the crown has a different shape than how the tooth is anatomically built. This is what happened with Karyn. It had nothing to do with her oral hygiene.”

As with traditional periodontal disease, early diagnosis is the key to saving the dental implant and returning the mouth to a complete state of health.

Peri-implantitis can present with swelling of the infected area, bleeding of the gums  when brushing or flossing, and even drainage in the area around the implant itself.

Oftentimes, however, the patient incurs little to no pain and likely has no idea there is an underlying issue, such as in Karyn’s case.

“Most often, the condition is discovered during a routine dental exam,” says Dr. Stilley. “In extreme cases, an implant could become loose, and that can be how a patient becomes aware there is a more serious issue. It really can go on for years, however, without the patient even knowing. This is one reason why annual oral exams are so important.”

LAPIP to the Rescue

Dr. Stilley used LAPIP (Laser-Assisted
Peri-Implantitis Procedure) to treat the infected gums surrounding Karyn’s implant. LAPIP is a noninvasive procedure that uses the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser to target the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. After treatment is complete, the soft tissue around the implant is then able to heal and repair itself.

Prior to her procedure, Karyn was presented with the option of removing the crown, treating the infected area and then replacing the crown, or she could choose to keep the crown in place and clean around it.

“I chose to have the crown removed and redone,” Karyn shares. “Because the area was in the back of my mouth, I felt removing the crown was the best way to proceed.”

While LAPIP is noninvasive, Dr. Stilley notes that more extreme cases of peri-implantitis call for more invasive procedures.

“In some cases, the laser cannot be used,” she educates. “Every case is
specific. As long as the implant itself is not loose, we can likely treat it with one of the available treatment options.”

Dr. Stilley says Karyn’s gums are back to normal now, and she is
completely healed.

“Fortunately, Karyn’s case was typical of what most patients present with when an issue is caught early enough,” she explains. “Her crown is replaced now, and she is completely healed.”

Normal Again

Karyn says she is back to spending her winters in Florida and summers with family in Greece. Now that her oral health is back to normal, she can enjoy her travels, knowing her dental woes are behind her.

She says she highly recommends the professionals at Periodontal Health Center to anyone incurring issues with a dental implant.

“Dr. Stilley is professional and knowledgeable, and I trusted her from the very start,” Karyn says. “She works with the patient to figure out the problem and the best solution. She makes sure that you are involved in all of the decisions that are made. I felt invested in my care.

“They know exactly what they are doing, and you can feel it,” she raves. “I think they are fabulous!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Jordan Pysz. Graphic from

The Struggle Is Real

Medical weight loss program provides the tools for success.

Her battle with weight began long before Stephanie Vause gave birth to her now one-year-old daughter, Faith.

Stephanie Vause struggles with her weight and now follows a medical diet plan under the care of Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, at Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center.

“I had anorexia as a teenager,” Stephanie admits. “The lowest I ever weighed back then was ninety-eight pounds. I was losing weight the unhealthy way then. I overcame it. But, in all honesty, the ups and downs of my weight have been a battle I have fought most of my life.”

At five feet two inches tall, Stephanie gained fifty-five pounds during her pregnancy. After childbirth, she had a hard time losing the extra pounds.

“The added weight post pregnancy was making me tired, too,” she says. “I had absolutely no energy and I had a newborn baby, so I knew I needed to get myself in gear.

“Before the pregnancy, I was already unhappy with my weight, so I started a weight loss program at Citrus Diabetes Treatment Center. It is based on a strict diet plan and appetite suppressants. I stopped the program during the pregnancy, of course, but once I had her, I knew I had to get back on it. I needed that extra help to achieve my goal.”

In the year since giving birth, Stephanie has gone from 235 pounds down to 187 pounds, but strives to lose much more.

“I want to get down to a size ten,” she says. “Right now, I am a size thirteen. I don’t like what I see in the mirror. I need change. I would be comfortable at around one hundred thirty pounds, or close to that.”

Dodging Diabetes

Not only did Stephanie want to lose weight, she knew it was a health necessity, and she did not want to be labeled obese.

Stephanie Vause struggles with her weight and now follows a medical diet plan under the care of Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, at Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center.

Stephanie has lost nearly
50 pounds since beginning the
weight loss program.

Statistically, obesity is defined as an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her body mass index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 30. Too much body fat can lead to a host of distressing health issues.

“During our initial consultation, we meet with our patients and review their medical and dietary histories,” explains Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, a board-certified internist at Citrus Diabetes Treatment Center. “We perform an EKG, take their weight and body fat measurements and prescribe applicable medications, supplements and injections. After the results are reviewed, we design an exercise and diet program tailored to meet their individual needs and goals.”

Vitamin injections and appetite suppressants are other factors.

Adverse health conditions that can arise from being overweight include heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, asthma, sleep apnea and diabetes.

“I know Dr. Tawfik treats diabetic patients, and many of them are on this weight loss program,” Stephanie says. “I am not diabetic, but I certainly am aware of the risks, and I know my weight and age are factors. I need to be aware of those risks.”

Age, family history, low activity level, poor diet and excess body weight, especially around the waist, all increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Unlike Type 1, with Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the body either doesn’t produce enough of it or doesn’t use the insulin it does produce properly. As a result, a high glucose level builds up in the blood, which can lead to serious complications with the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums and teeth.

The benefits of weight loss for diabetics are even greater. Some of those benefits can include increased energy level, reduced blood pressure, reduced aches and pains, improved breathing, better sleep and increased mobility.

“Weight loss for patients with diabetes can make all the difference,” Dr. Tawfik confirms. “In many cases, diabetic patients can often be freed for life from insulin injections or other diabetic medications if the weight loss is significant enough.”

Weight Loss Quickly

Dr. Tawfik notes that his program is based on a combination of appetite suppressant medications, vitamin injections and a diet program specifically tailored to each individual. Therefore, patients notice dramatic weight loss results quickly.Stephanie Vause struggles with her weight and now follows a medical diet plan under the care of Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, at Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center.

“Patients typically lose up to ten pounds in the first week,” Dr. Tawfik says, “with an average weight loss in four weeks ranging between twenty and thirty pounds.

“Our program not only changes our patients’ eating habits, but it also supports the development of a longer, healthier life,” he adds.

According to Dr. Tawfik, the program is a combination of a healthy diet, exercise and the proper dose of appetite suppressants to help control an individual’s metabolism. The eating program begins with five days of very lean protein followed by five days of higher-calorie protein – lean as opposed to very lean – giving patients more menu options from which to choose.

At Citrus Diabetes Treatment Center, non-diabetic weight loss patients, like Stephanie, see Dr. Tawfik’s registered nurse on a weekly basis. She gives them vitamin injections, takes their vital signs and manages their weight loss. The doctor sees his non-diabetic weight loss patients once every four weeks.

“We closely monitor every patient to make sure their overall health is improving,” Dr. Tawfik assures.

Newfound Energy

Today, Stephanie adheres to a strict diet regimen that includes three balanced meals each day and snacks in between.

“The best thing about this process is that you learn how to eat well, and your body gets used to that,” Stephanie shares. “I try to eat around one thousand calories a day. And I take the appetite suppressants, which helps curb my hunger a lot.

“I used to sit down and eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting,” Stephanie admits. “Now, for a snack, I might eat an apple or yogurt with fruit. It’s all about choices and getting your body used to making the right ones. I no longer overdo it when I eat. I have smaller portions, and my body is slowly adjusting.”

Stephanie Vause struggles with her weight and now follows a medical diet plan under the care of Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, at Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center.


Nowadays, Stephanie says she has a newfound energy, thanks to the diet and exercise plan she has implemented into her daily routine.

“I exercise regularly at home, and I have a lot more energy,” she relates. “I can think much faster on my feet now, and I have more energy when it comes to taking care of my daughter. The program has made a huge difference in my life. There is an enormous difference between feeling healthy and not.

“I am thankful to Dr. Tawfik for his help,” she continues. “Without him and his staff, I would not be able to do this. They are supportive and helpful, and they advise me every step of the way. I feel better than ever, and I just want to keep going until I reach my goal!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Vause. Stock photos from

Never Give Up

Dedication to weeks of treatment with the MCU™ machine achieves relief.

As a firefighter, Tyler Caudell endures a lot of physical stress on his body climbing ladders and maneuvering in tight spaces. In addition to his job, Tyler keeps active raising his two sons. He enjoys an occasional game of tennis and spends much of his spare time coaching his sons in various sports.

Dedication to weeks of treatment with the MCU™ machine achieves relief.

As a firefighter, Tyler can now do his job without constant pain.

“My boys play basketball and baseball, so they keep me very busy,” Tyler shares. “I prefer that kind of active lifestyle, and I want to be able to spend time with them and bond through sports.”

But Tyler’s chronic neck pain eventually forced him off the court and onto the sidelines.

“I’ve had chronic neck pain for many years,” Tyler recalls. “I always attributed it to my job. I’ve been a firefighter for twenty-one years now. On a bad day, the pain is a seven or an eight on a scale of one to ten. I wasn’t able to play tennis, pick up a bag of groceries or even throw a ball with my sons.

“I’ve tried massage, physical therapy, acupuncture…you name it, I have tried it. Nothing helped. I was desperate to find relief that would last. My quality of life was really suffering.”

Tyler’s girlfriend read an article in Florida Health Care News about the MCU, or Multi-Cervical Unit, available at Active Health Center.

“She works in the medical field, and she brought me the article she had read, and I thought, I’ve tried everything else, and I might as well go ahead and give this a try. I have nothing to lose.”

Increase Muscle Strength

The MCU works to isolate and strengthen weak muscles in the neck.

“We see patients come in with many different symptoms – pain, headaches, numbness, tingling – but oftentimes these other factors can be stabilized by strengthening the neck,” explains Marc A. Weinberg, DC, of Active Health Center. “When I first met him, Tyler was practically tearing up telling me his story.

“After examining Tyler and taking x-rays, I determined that his problem was neck weakness. I could literally feel it in his neck when I examined him. I just knew the MCU would help him.”

The MCU is both diagnostic and therapeutic, so once an individual has been through the diagnostic testing, the treatment that follows is relatively easy.

“When we do the testing, the patient goes through a series of isometric strength exercises,” Dr. Weinberg explains. “They don’t need to move, but the machine records sixteen different ranges of muscle movement for strength. Once we use the testing functions of the MCU to find the source of weakness, the machine goes to work to fix the problem. There is no guesswork involved. It is called
evidence-based medicine.”

The treatment regimen is typically nine weeks; however, some people can begin to feel the results in just three to five weeks.

“If I came to you and told you I had a treatment plan that would make you better after nine weeks when you have been in pain for years, you would think I was crazy,” Dr. Weinberg says. “But, I assure you that there is specific research that indicates the MCU to be the absolute best way to strengthen the neck over time.”

Miraculous Results

Tyler admits he was ready to give up at one point during the treatment regimen.

“I was on vacation and I called his office and told him I did not think it was working for me at all,” Tyler admits. “I was almost through the first phase of treatments, and I still had soreness in my neck, and nothing was going to frustrate me more than that when I had put so much into it already. I wanted to quit.”

But, Dr. Weinberg reassured Tyler that dedication to the treatments is a large part of what makes them successful.

“You don’t go to a gym for a few weeks and all of a sudden say, Hey, I’m gonna stop going because I’m not losing any weight, or My muscles don’t feel any different,” Dr. Weinberg shares. “Positive results do not present themselves overnight.”

Tyler says looking back on it, he is glad he chose to contine with his care.

“I’m glad I never gave up,” Tyler says. “I don’t think my neck will ever be one hundred percent again. But, the good news is I’m playing tennis, throwing the ball with my sons and lifting weights again.  At work, I no longer have to shy away from lifting heavy things like I used to.”

Tyler says if he had heard of the MCU earlier, he would have tried it first before wasting time with the other treatments he had.

“The MCU and Dr. Weinberg have really changed my life,” Tyler assures. “The staff he has is great, and Dr. Weinberg is a true professional. I am back to enjoying my life now. Saying the MCU worked a miracle for me is an understatement!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Nerissa Johnson. Equipment photo courtesy of Active Health Center.

Minimally Invasive Guided Implant Placement

Revolutionary 3D system improves precision of dental implant surgery.

Nick Copenhaver spends a lot of time each day with his sibling. The brothers own and operate an aluminum installation company in Port Charlotte. In their spare time, when they have any, the two like to be outdoors hunting or fishing.

Nick Copenhaver was first patient to undergo computer-navigated implant placement with X-Guide™; Debi Grover (17A) was treated with LANAP for gum disease.

Nick can smile with ease thanks to Dr. Farag.

“I spend a lot of time with him,” Nick shares. “We’re young, so we work hard and play hard.”

When Nick found himself in dire need of dental care, he turned to his brother for advice.

“I had a couple of bridges in my mouth that were placed there years ago by another dentist,” Nick recalls. “The material wasn’t strong, and one of the bridges broke off. I dealt with it for a while. I had a difficult time chewing meats and other hard foods. I was forced to eat softer foods most of the time. I wasn’t enjoying life like I should have been.

“One day recently, I felt pain in my mouth because the gums were infected underneath the broken bridge. I was complaining to my brother, and he sent me to his dentist, Dr. Farag.”

Implant Innovation

Nick made an appointment to meet with Joseph Farag, DMD, of Port Charlotte Dental Care. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Farag determined that Nick needed bone grafting to prepare his gums for dental implants.

According to statistics from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), by their mid 40s, sixty-nine percent of adults have lost at least one permanent tooth as a result of tooth decay, gum disease, a failed root canal or an accident. By their mid 70s,
twenty-six percent of adults no longer have any of their permanent teeth.

With the advent of dental implants, however, more patients are realizing the potential for healthier, stronger teeth. And given the exceptionally high success rates associated with dental implants, the choice makes sense.

Dr. Farag explains that a dental implant is an artificial replacement for the root of a tooth. The implant, which is made of titanium, provides a foundation on which permanent teeth or removable teeth can be securely attached. Implants can prevent deterioration of the bone beneath the gums, which helps maintain the fullness of the face and provides a good bite. They also stimulate the bone, causing it to strengthen and maintain volume. 

X-Guide™ Precision

Dr. Farag advised that Nick would be an ideal candidate to utilize the X-Guide Dynamic 3D Navigation system, the latest in implant-placement technology.

“Nick experienced some bone loss where the bridge broke off in his mouth,” Dr. Farag explains. “We wanted to build up the bone and repair the tissue first before placing implants to support a new bridge. I determined he was an ideal candidate for the X-Guide because of the accuracy it presents in placing the implants.”

Developed in close collaboration with leading oral and maxillofacial surgeons, the X-Guide system is the latest in digital dentistry. It allows dentists to use  3D information at their fingertips in real time. In collaboration with the X-Guide system, surgeons also use the cone beam  3D image scan to plan and place implants with detailed accuracy.

The X-Guide system is designed to make it easy to be exact by combining the latest software plus new, patent-pending X-Point™ navigation technology, which reportedly is the first single-view guidance of implant position, angle and depth. Compatible with most cone beam 3D systems, the technology allows oral surgeons to place implants in remarkable detail.

“With the X-Guide, visualizing the placement of the implant is done in real time on a computer screen,” Dr. Farag describes. “With this technology, implants are placed with ten times more accuracy than if placed freehand. The precision is within about a half degree, whereas before we had about a five-degree deviation.

“The technological process begins even before we place the implant,” Dr. Farag continues. “When the patient first comes in, we take a 3D x-ray so that we can properly evaluate the bone and tissue in three dimensions and plan for placement based on the measurements we take off of that 3D image. It is done with amazing accuracy and in real time. This is a remarkable advancement for patients and surgeons alike. I am pleased to be able to offer this to my patients.”

Goodbye Gum Disease

Debi Grover knows a smile is the first thing people notice about someone.

As an investment REALTOR® and design consultant, Debi is face to face with people all day, and her own smile is something she became concerned with.

“With my job, I have to greet people every day, and the first thing we notice is a person’s teeth,” Debi says. “I had suspected for a while that I had periodontal disease. I didn’t have any bleeding or anything like that when I brushed, but I had extreme plaque buildup, and I knew that over time, damage had been done to my gums. I wanted to be able to smile and not feel like I had to hide my teeth. The most important thing to me was saving my natural teeth. I got to a point where I knew I needed to find a dentist who could help me do that.”

Nick Copenhaver was first patient to undergo computer-navigated implant placement with X-Guide™; Debi Grover (17A) was treated with LANAP for gum disease.

Debi is no longer embarrassed to smile.

After researching LANAP® laser-assisted gum treatment online, Debi 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 order to gain additional knowledge about it.”

Debi met with Dr. Farag to discuss this option and decide if it was the right treatment for her.

LANAP to the Rescue

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process that can be a chronic or an acute problem. 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.

“Debi had moderate to advanced stages of periodontal disease,” describes Dr. Farag. “We offered her the option of conventional surgery to repair the gums or the LANAP laser-assisted treatment option. Because Debi had already researched LANAP, she knew right away she wanted that procedure done.”

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. If the gum tissue recedes too far, it can leave the sensitive tooth roots exposed.

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 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 Dr. Farag. “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 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, I use an ultrasonic instrument. Its fine tip 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 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.”

Debi’s procedure was completed in one day.

“That is the other advantage of this procedure, as opposed to the conventional surgery,” Dr. Farag educates. “Debi’s gums were treated in about three hours, as opposed to multiple visits with the conventional surgery. This is faster and there’s less discomfort afterward.”

Nick Copenhaver was first patient to undergo computer-navigated implant placement with X-Guide™; Debi Grover (17A) was treated with LANAP for gum disease.

Dr. Farag uses the X-Guide Navigation system to place Nick’s implant.

Keeping it Healthy

Dr. Farag emphasizes the importance of follow-up dental care after having extensive dental care.

“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,” he 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.

Debi says she has a renewed desire to maintain a healthy mouth now that the procedure is complete.

“Dr. Farag and the entire staff are personable and knowledgeable, and they make me feel confident. I know my teeth are healthy once again, and I want to keep them like that!”

Nick says he was amazed at the accuracy and ease of having his implants placed.

“I can chew again, and that makes such a difference,” he shares. “I’m no longer in pain or discomfort. Dr. Farag is really skilled, and I felt at ease with him. I feel confident in his care. I am really pleased with my results.”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photos by Fred Bellet & Jordan Pysz. Surgery photo courtesy of Port Charlotte Dental Care.

Stimulating Pain Relief

Spinal cord stimulator provides relief from sciatic nerve pain.

An injury following hip replacement surgery left Judy Slepsky with chronic sciatic nerve pain. She experienced a constant throbbing, burning pain in her lower left leg and foot.

Judy Slepsky underwent spinal cord stimulation to relieve hip pain.

Judy can take leisurely walks with her dog without pain.

The pain was so severe that she used a walker to get around most days, but says she found ways to work through the pain.

“I never let the pain stop me from living and doing the things I wanted to do because it was constant,” Judy recalls. “I would have literally been sitting around doing nothing all day every day if I let it impact my daily routine. Instead, I just kept on moving as best I could. I wore an ankle-foot orthosis [brace], which helped me a lot during the day when I would walk around. There were moments I would scream and cry in pain.”

Judy endured months of physical therapy to help relieve the chronic ache, but nothing provided the relief she desperately needed. A friend referred her to Advanced Orthopedic Center where she met with interventional pain specialist Lee James, DO.

“After examining Judy, it was determined that she did, indeed, have a sciatic nerve injury, which is a known complication, of hip replacement surgery,” Dr. James assures. “Sometimes, these complications occur, and there’s no concrete explanation as to why it happened. My job is to find a solution to the pain associated with it.”

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It begins with several nerves in the lower back and travels down the legs to become the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is irritation that can stem from a herniated disc, inflammation, bone spurs or incorrect stretching. The pain occurs when any of these conditions compress the nerve roots in the spine or nerves in the leg.

“Judy came to me in very debilitating pain. She had difficulty even having a blanket covering her lower leg and foot. So, sleeping at night was almost unbearable.

“She was literally wheeled into my office in a wheelchair. I knew that interventional pain management techniques could help her find the relief she needed. I just had to surmise which approach was best for her.”

Outside the Box

The approach of interventional pain management goes beyond relying on one or two methods to treat most people, emphasizes Dr. James. Instead, it is multidisciplinary with multiple modalities.

“Interventional pain management is used on patients with a variety of orthopedic pain complaints in areas of the body including the neck, legs, arms, hips and back,” Dr. James relays. “In Judy’s case, she tried conservative treatments, including pain medications and physical therapy, but those all failed. I needed to think outside the box, so to speak, to find the best mode of treatment for her situation.”

Nonsurgical pain management treatments Dr. James specializes in include epidural injections, diagnostic nerve root blocks, peripheral nerve blocks, joint injections and cervical epidural injections, and radiofrequency nerve ablation to name a few.

Since Judy was experiencing chronic and debilitating sciatic-related nerve pain, Dr. James decided she would be a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation.

The procedure is widely used to treat back pain, pain down the leg from nerve damage, neck pain, pain down the arm from nerve damage, diabetic neuropathy, crush injuries and even angina.

Spinal cord stimulation, also referred to as dorsal column stimulator, was first introduced approximately 40 years ago. Since then, it has constantly been evolving and improving. It has improved significantly over the past five years. It’s been shown to be effective, especially in patients who have already undergone spine surgery. It can also reduce the patient’s need for long-term narcotic medication and improve daily living.

The device, which is barely noticeable once it is put into place, delivers stimulation to the spinal cord or to peripheral nerves. This interferes with the reception of pain sensations and interrupts the transmission of the pain information as it travels from its place of origin up to the brain. Rather than receiving the information as pain, the brain perceives it as simply a tingling or massaging sensation, which most patients prefer to the pain sensation they have been experiencing.

“It essentially blocks painful signals to the brain and is a great option to treat chronic pain,” educates Dr. James. “The procedure is minimally invasive and can be done as outpatient.”

Patients first try a temporary spinal cord stimulator to test the effectiveness of the therapy.

“It’s a trial period that lasts about five to seven days,” Dr. James explains. “If the patient is happy with the results, we wait a few weeks and then implant the permanent stimulator. Judy had such an immediate, positive response to the stimulator during her trial period that I knew it was the best solution for her.

“Now, she can turn it off and on again as she needs pain relief. She adjusts it as needed. So far, this has been the best thing for her.”

Judy Slepsky underwent spinal cord stimulation to relieve hip pain.

“It’s Like a Miracle!”

Judy says once her pain was controlled, she had to regain her balance and learn to walk again.

“I feel like I have been to hell and back again,” Judy says. “I had to lean on the walker before because I could never put full weight on my leg and foot, but now I can again.

“I learned to live with the pain before, and I forgot what it is like to not be in pain. This is a welcomed change. I went through a lot from the surgery up until now, and I am thankful that Dr. James was able to recommend the spinal cord stimulator. I admit I was skeptical at first, but that was because of everything I went through to get to that point.

“Now, I can walk and live without pain. It’s like a miracle!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Fred Bellet. Graphic from

It’s Worth a Shot!

From the O-Shot® to hormone replacement therapy, you can achieve optimum health.

Carla Taylor, 60, knows what it’s like to experience a brush with death. In January 2008, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor at the base of her brain stem.

Carla Taylor received the O-Shot® to treat her urinary incontinence. Darlene Freeman underwent BHRT pellet therapy to help treat her depression and lack of hormones after menopause.

Carla can play golf for hours now after receiving
the O-Shot.

“I was having really bad headaches to the point that they were ruining my daily life,” Carla recalls. “I was in constant pain, it seemed. They were so intense I ended up going to the emergency room and doctors discovered I had a colloid cyst on the base of my brain, which was causing the headaches.”

A colloid cyst obstructs cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) movement, resulting in elevated brain pressure. If left undetected, a colloid cyst can block proper blood flow to the brain and slowly shut down bodily systems.

To remove the cyst, Carla underwent five surgeries and was hospitalized for six weeks.

Not long after the surgery and while hospitalized, Carla had a mini-stroke, which left half of her body paralyzed. As a result, she underwent physical rehabilitation for nearly a year. Carla was on the road to recovery and regaining mobility when yet another life-altering episode occurred several years later: She started having epileptic seizures.

“They just started one day out of nowhere,” Carla recalls. “I was a school teacher for twenty-three years and one day I had a seizure in front of my students. That forced me into retirement because I never knew when they would come, and I just did not want to scare the kids like that. The seizures, though, left me with an even bigger problem, which is urinary incontinence.

“The incontinence got so bad that I was going through eight adult diapers a day and six at night,” she continues. “It took over every aspect of my life. My husband, Dennis, and I have a boat that I wasn’t able to enjoy because I couldn’t be far from a bathroom. I couldn’t go to eat in a restaurant because I had to get up from the table too often. We play cards with friends and I couldn’t do that, either. I had no social life, no life outside my home. It was really, really extreme.”

Carla says she was sitting in the waiting room at a doctor’s office one day when she picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News and read about the O-Shot, offered at Infinity Medical Institute.

“The article was on the front page, so it caught my eye,” she recalls. “It talked about a woman who got the O-Shot to help control her urinary incontinence, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I told my husband about it and he was encouraging. He thought it sounded like something I should try. The more thought I gave to it, I convinced myself to go. I told my husband, This could be a game changer for me! I have to go see them!

O-Shot Liberation

Michael Montemurro, president of Infinity Medical Institute, confirms that the O-Shot can, indeed, help reverse the symptoms of urinary incontinence in patients like Carla.

Carla Taylor received the O-Shot® to treat her urinary incontinence. Darlene Freeman underwent BHRT pellet therapy to help treat her depression and lack of hormones after menopause.

Darlene loves spending time with horses and enjoys the outdoors.

“Carla’s case was extreme and unlike any we have seen here before,” Michael shares. “Her incontinence was affecting every aspect of her life, from her sleep pattern to her personal interactions. She came to us knowing exactly what she wanted, and we were confident we could help her attain that.

“In the past, we’ve found that of the women who have received the O-Shot to treat their urinary incontinence issues, the majority have experienced vast improvement,” he continues. “The O-Shot helps to tighten, or strengthen, the bladder muscles and stop the leakage. As I said, Carla’s case was very extreme, but there are far too many women experiencing incontinence issues when they cough, laugh or sneeze, and we want them to know there is help available.”

According to Michael, on occasion some women may require an additional shot to receive maximum relief. Typically, most women experience a vast improvement with their first treatment.

Carla confirms she experienced relief from the first day she got the shot.

“After it was over, we left the office in Tampa and drove all the way home to New Port Richey, and I was fine,” Carla shares. “Before, I would have had to stop to go to the bathroom. That night, I slept all night long without having to wake up to use the restroom. It’s been an amazing breakthrough for me! I still have to wear the adult pads, occasionally, but not nearly as many.”

Today, Carla says she is back to enjoying weekends on the boat, taking her dogs on long walks and playing cards with friends.

“I have my life back. You don’t realize you’ve lost it until you go through what I have been through. The improvement is like night and day.”

Menopausal Mayhem

Darlene Freeman has battled depression for half of her life. The retired nurse says her condition got so bad in recent years that it was hard getting out of bed and dressed each morning.

“I was severely depressed; it seemed like I was in a fog,” Darlene says. “I was going through menopause at the time and that made it worse. Along with the depression, I was gaining weight and I hated that, too. I gained over forty pounds in two years. I just felt run down, tired and out of sorts. The depression was taking over my life, it seemed. I would look in the mirror, and I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me.”

At one point, Darlene was taking four different anti-depressant medications.

“I was already on those medications, but going through menopause, I felt worse, even when I was taking them,” she recalls. “I had an absolute feeling of hopelessness.”

One day, Darlene read an article in Florida Health Care News that gave her hope.

“I get the paper in my mailbox, and I read an article in it about hormone replacement therapy at Infinity Medical Institute. So, I showed it to my husband, and he was very open to me going in for an appointment.

“I called that day and got an appointment pretty quickly. It’s been a life changer for me!”

What Are Bio-Natural Hormones?

Through Infinity Medical Institute’s bio-natural L3 pellet hormone replacement therapy, patients like Darlene can achieve consistent absorption of the proper, predictable levels of hormones their bodies require for optimum health through the simple insertion of a pellet approximately every three to five months.

These bio-natural hormone pellets are made from wild yam plants, a natural plant material that is molecularly changed in structure and function for a 98 percent bio-identical match to the body’s own composition, whereas synthetic hormones can be as little as six to eight percent bio-identical.Carla Taylor received the O-Shot® to treat her urinary incontinence. Darlene Freeman underwent BHRT pellet therapy to help treat her depression and lack of hormones after menopause.

“Hormones affect everything, including our growth through childhood, our sexual development, our moods, how we break down our food, sleep patterns, stress, how much weight we gain – just about every function in the body, big and small,” educates Moriah Moffitt, MD, of Infinity Medical Institute. “They also play a role in many health conditions such as diabetes, an over- or underactive thyroid, osteoporosis, obesity, anxiety and depression.”

The bio-natural L3 pellet hormone replacement therapy is the most natural and effective solution for hormone-related issues.

Michael emphasizes that patients appreciate the all-natural products used at Infinity Medical Institute.

“The body can never restore lost hormones again unless it is done endogenously, like we do here with the bio-natural L3 pellet therapy,” he explains. “Our bio-natural L3 pellet hormone therapy really helps to give us an edge as we provide patients with a product that is all-natural, and we stand behind it,” Michael says. “It’s the most effective hormone treatment on the market. It is extremely safe because it is replacing natural, normal hormones with biologically identical hormones that the body is used to seeing, rather than synthetic versions of the hormones.”

To be sure the patient is receiving the proper amount of hormones, thorough evaluations of overall health are performed prior to the pellets being administered.

“We want to be sure that the treatment we administer is going to be the overall best course of action for that patient,” Michael explains. “We’re very thorough with the labs at every visit in order to see what has changed, what needs to be altered, to be sure that patient is feeling the best they possibly can. We not only look at their labs, but we look at their overall health because other issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure, can affect how treatment is administered.”

Darlene says the treatment has changed her outlook on life.

“I have more energy than ever before, the fuzziness is gone and I feel magnificent! On top of everything else, I’ve lost twenty pounds without dieting at all, so I am very pleased when I look in the mirror now. I started going to the gym a few months ago, which is a huge step in the right direction.

“Before, I had absolutely no desire to be intimate with my husband, but now that desire is there once again. It’s been wonderful!”

Best of all, Darlene says, she is completely off all the anti-depressant medications.

“Now that my hormones are balanced like they should be, I no longer need to take any of those medications,” she says. “Hormone therapy has been the best thing I have done for myself. I encourage anyone in a situation like I was in to visit Infinity Medical Institute. They are knowledgeable, helpful and very thorough. They gave me back my zest for life.”Carla Taylor received the O-Shot® to treat her urinary incontinence. Darlene Freeman underwent BHRT pellet therapy to help treat her depression and lack of hormones after menopause.

Getting to Know You

Michael and the staff at Infinity Medical Institute truly care about each patient and take the time to get to know the person they are treating.

“Every patient is unique and we understand that,” Michael says. “We get to know the person and understand their lifestyle so that we can treat them appropriately.”

Michael says it makes it all worthwhile to see patients like Darlene and Carla make such vast improvements.

“We see a transformation of our patients from the first time they come through the door and then throughout their treatment,” Michael adds. “Patients come in saying that they’re not feeling vibrant, energetic, or perhaps they have other various symptoms. After specialized treatment, they come back in and they’re smiling and feeling great again. They get that confidence back.

“Our overall goal is for our patients to look and feel good from the inside out.”

Both Carla and Darlene are testaments to the overall improved quality of life patients experience after treatment at Infinity Medical Institute.

“They are wonderful people and they really do care about how you feel, and they want to improve your situation,” Darlene says. “I feel as great as I do now because of them. I’m content once again.”

Carla says she can now live an active, carefree life without having to worry about going to the bathroom constantly.

“Without going through it, people have no idea what a toll urinary incontinence can take on a person’s life,” she says. “The doctors at Infinity Medical Institute are miracle workers, as far as I am concerned!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Subtle Shifting Change

Realign crowded teeth to achieve a beautiful, straight smile once again.

As a dental hygienist, it’s always been important to Rachel Delgado to maintain a healthy, attractive smile.

Rachel Delgado had her teeth straightened with Invisalign®.

Rachel (left) is thankful Dr. Higham (right) gave her the smile she always wanted.

Although her siblings all had orthodontics, dentists never suggested traditional braces on Rachel.

“My teeth were always in good shape,” Rachel recalls. “I was fortunate not to need braces as a teen. I have always taken great pride in brushing and flossing and taking care of my teeth. As a result, I never had many problems or issues.”

Although they were healthy, Rachel admits that her canine teeth were never positioned properly and always stood out to her.

“I didn’t like the way they looked,” Rachel admits. “I worked for an orthodontist many years ago, and they tried to get me into traditional braces, but I just did not want to go that route. I wanted to straighten the teeth out, but never took the initiative to do it because traditional braces were not my choice.”

Rachel was able to turn to the dental practice she currently works for, Debra A. Higham, DMD, and Andrew A. Sauchelli, DMD, a husband-and-wife team that offers comprehensive family, cosmetic and implant dentistry in Jupiter.

“After Dr. Higham evaluated the position of my teeth, she informed me that my bite was also misaligned, which I never realized.”

“When your bite is off, it can cause long-term issues with your teeth,” Dr. Higham explains.

Specific cases typically treated with Invisalign® include gapped teeth, overbites, underbites, overcrowding and crossbites.

Why Invisalign?

“Invisalign is more comfortable to wear than traditional metal braces; the trays are removable and people rarely notice when a person is wearing them,” confirms Dr. Higham. “They are very discreet, which is one reason why people like them so much.”

Invisalign can help patients in a variety of circumstances. While some cases are complex and treatment can last for a year or more, many cases are just a simple fix.

Invisalign can return that perfect smile a patient once had, and the treatment time is minimal in most cases. The main prerequisite to undergo treatment is that a patient’s bone structure is healthy.

“A lot of cases are a result of patients who simply didn’t wear their prescribed retainers properly when they had braces removed when they were younger,” Dr. Higham says. “That is a very common reason why people turn to Invisalign to realign their teeth. This was not the case with Rachel, however, as she had never had orthodontics before.”  Treatment with Invisalign is appropriate for patients of all ages, from teenagers to mature adults. “There’s no age restriction on doing Invisalign,” she emphasizes. Correctly aligned teeth can alleviate other issues caused by an improper bite, including: speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems and increased wear on the tooth enamel.”

Invisalign typically involves a shorter treatment time than traditional braces, and fewer office visits.

What To Expect

Once it is determined that a patient is a good candidate, x-rays and impressions of the teeth are taken in order to create a series of aligner trays. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that are worn over the teeth.

Each tray gradually and gently shifts the teeth into place. The teeth move incrementally, millimeter by millimeter, just as traditional metal braces do.

“The patient comes in every few weeks so we can monitor their progress and give them their next sets of aligners,” says Dr. Higham.

Invisalign is typically a much faster treatment method than traditional metal braces and offers several advantages over traditional braces. For instance, there are no metal or porcelain brackets or wires, which can irritate lips and gums. The aligners are also removable, so patients can continue to eat their favorite foods and practice proper oral hygiene.

“It’s easier to take care of your teeth with Invisalign because you don’t have the wires to clean around or brackets that are collecting plaque,” she emphasizes. “There are no diet restrictions and food does not get stuck in brackets. And there is no discomfort as a result of getting wires tightened every few weeks, as with traditional braces. Young kids really like it, too, because they are no longer shy about school pictures or worry when playing sports. It’s a wonderful option for all ages.”

Straightened Out

Rachel says her treatment plan lasted about a year. Today, she is more pleased than ever before with her new smile.

“Not only are the teeth straight, Dr. Higham also widened my smile, so it really looks amazing,” she says. “You don’t really notice when your smile is narrow, but if it is widened, like mine is, you really see a huge difference.”

Rachel says she is thankful that her job led her to competent dentists who were able to give her the perfect smile she always wanted.

“Drs. Higham and Sauchelli are great people to work for, and they do amazing work,” she raves. “I feel like I have a Hollywood smile now. It’s wonderful!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo courtesy of Rachel Delgado.

More Than Dentistry

Improve your look with medical aesthetics at this Boca Raton dental office.

A lifelong aesthetician, Elsa Vasquez found the perfect place to serve clients thanks to her trusted dentist, Naved Fatmi, DMD, at Regency Court Dentistry.

Elsa Vasquez joins Regency Court Dentistry as their medical aesthetician.

Elsa loves to provide aesthetic services to Dr. Fatmi’s patients.

“I have been a patient of Dr. Fatmi’s for about five years; in fact, my entire family goes to him for our dental care,” Elsa says. “He is wonderful, and his team members are fantastic! Several years ago, I was talking to him about aesthetics, and we started a conversation about his desire to add those components to his practice. One thing led to another, and I started to provide the services to his patients.”

For patients seeking a bit of facial rejuvenation to go along with that smile, Regency Court Dentistry offers JUVÉDERM® and BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments, pregnancy and hydro facials, microdermabrasion and skin hydration therapy, as well as treatment for acne, rosacea and other skin conditions.

“When treating a patient with acne, for example, the treatment regimen will focus on controlling the spread of bacteria, while at the same time regenerating the skin and making it healthier,” Elsa explains. “For a patient with rosacea, I help the person control the rosacea and treat the inflammation because there is currently no cure. It’s a very rewarding job for me to help people feel and look better.”

Elsa feels she is fortunate to be able to share her knowledge and expertise with Dr. Fatmi’s patients.

“I am thrilled and feel fortunate to be working with Dr. Fatmi, his staff and his patients to provide a full line of medical aesthetics to enhance the beautiful smiles Dr. Fatmi helps his patients achieve,” Elsa shares. “It is very satisfying for me to see a person’s entire self-image change because they have a beautiful smile and look great cosmetically. It’s rewarding to make
people feel good about themselves!”

More Than Just Teeth

“Aesthetic services are becoming more readily available at many dental offices as an additional treatment option,” Dr. Fatmi explains. “Who knows your facial structure better than your dentist?

“I love the aesthetics part of dentistry,” he continues, “because it provides positive change for the patient, sometimes in just one day. JUVÉDERM results are evident the day they leave my office. BOTOX Cosmetic results are apparent within three or four days, in most cases. For someone who may be more introverted or shy about their appearance, this is a huge boost to their self-esteem.”

Elsa says she takes great pride in her role in restoring patient’s skin and making them feel good about how they look overall.

“Patients will come in and have their teeth straightened, repaired, whitened, and when they look in the mirror, they still may feel something is missing,” she explains. “I am here to help them diminish facial lines, get rid of acne scarring and whatever other issues they feel are bothering them with their face. People want the whole package now and by offering medical aesthetics here in the dental office, they can get all of their needs met under one roof.”

“The most important thing I want people to understand is that it doesn’t matter how old a person is, and it doesn’t matter what the problem is or where the problem came from,” says Dr. Fatmi. “Regency Court Dentistry gives people the solutions they seek in order to restore their confidence.”

From Beginning to End

Dr. Fatmi and his staff work hard to ensure that the experience in the office is pleasant and relaxing. “We treat people comprehensively, from beginning to end,” he assures.

“We treat people with care and compassion. We want everyone to feel comfortable and at ease throughout their experience. We work hard to eradicate any fears and build a relationship with every patient.”

Dr. Fatmi says an important part of the reassuring process is to be forthcoming with patients about the procedures and processes involved in their care.

“We are very open with patients and explain what their options are and how we can proceed to help them achieve a healthier smile. Our ultimate goal is to work closely with each individual to achieve good oral health.”

Regency Court Dentistry provides that comprehensive care in a comfortable, non-judgmental, relaxed environment. Dental services available at Regency Court Dentistry include crowns, implants, Invisalign®, veneers, inlays and onlays, whitening, and emergency services.

In Case of Emergency, Call

Regency Court Dentistry prides itself on its emergency dentistry services. Visitors to an emergency dental practice have often waited longer than needed, until an easily fixable problem has escalated to an emergency.

“We also see patients on the weekends and after hours,” notes Dr. Fatmi. “If someone is in pain and calls the office and presses option two, it goes directly to my cellphone. When someone is visiting South Florida – and we do have a lot of snowbirds – many of these people are in town on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and we’re able to see patients on the weekends, take care of their issues and get them back to their general dentists up north.”

In addition to offering complete dental services, Regency Court Dentistry is a true citizen of the Boca Raton area. Dr. Fatmi and his staff participate in many local events and outreach programs such as Head Start dental exams conducted at Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, and The Arc of The Glades program on behalf of the Dental Home Initiative for people with developmental disabilities.

“Giving back to the community that supports our dental practice is extremely important to us,” Dr. Fatmi assures. “We partner with local schools, foundations and religious organizations to provide free dental clinics and screenings to those in need. We are proud of the results we provide the residents in our community.

“We want people young and old to feel secure and know that going to the dentist should not be a scary or traumatic event, and we invite even those who are nervous about needed dental work to come in and let us help them. Rest assured, we will work hard to relieve your fears and help make going to the dentist a pleasant and sought-after experience.”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

More Than Meets the Ear

A diagnostic hearing evaluation saved this woman’s life.

Nora Drown’s mother, Betty, proved the age-old adage that “mother knows best.” Two years ago, frustrated by Nora’s inability to hear clearly, Betty encouraged her daughter to undergo a hearing evaluation at EarCare in Melbourne.

A hearing exam was the difference between life and death for Nora Drown.

Nora says she can hear her mom, Betty,
much more clearly when she’s driving.

“Mom was already a patient there,” Nora explains. “When I took her in for her annual hearing exam, she told them, My daughter can’t hear very well at all. Can you check her hearing, too? Of course, I told them I was fine and that I could hear. I was reluctant to do it, but I went ahead and did so to appease my mother.”

Nora was given a complete diagnostic evaluation conducted by Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD, owner and Doctor of Audiology at EarCare.

What Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck uncovered was far more than the average hearing loss.

For starters, Nora was surprised to find out she had a profound hearing loss in her right ear.

“I honestly had no idea because my left ear would compensate for the loss in the right ear, so to me, it was balanced when it really was not,” Nora recalls. “I never had to turn the television up really loud, and I don’t recall asking people to repeat themselves, although my mom would disagree. The fact that I was completely deaf in that ear and had no idea really raised concern with Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck. She sent me to an ear, nose and throat specialist and that decision saved my life.”

Life-Saving Diagnosis

“Nora had some off and on dizziness that she complained of as well,” Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck explains. “I found that her hearing was severely asymmetrical, with a profound hearing loss in the right ear. So, I recommended she have an MRI. The results showed that she had a schwannoma tumor growing on her eighth cranial nerve, which is the nerve that sends hearing information to the brain.”

Common symptoms of a schwannoma tumor are what Nora experienced: one-sided hearing loss and buzzing or ringing in the ear. Dizziness may also occur.

The exact cause of the acoustic schwannoma was unknown.

“The doctors said it probably took fifteen years to get to the size it was,” Nora explains.

She underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove the tumor, followed by four days in the hospital.

Don’t Delay Screenings

The hearing professionals at EarCare emphasize the importance of starting annual hearing screenings around age 50 in order to establish a hearing baseline and to accurately detect hearing loss. Hearing healthcare should be part of everyone’s overall health regimen.

“Too often, there’s a stigma attached to having hearing aids,” Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck says. “Some people think hearing aids make them look or feel older than they are. We have patients from all walks of life and various ages. Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age, so screenings are vital.”

The personal consequences of vanity can be nearly life altering. Untreated hearing loss means giving up some of the everyday sounds you are used to enjoying. Vanity could severely reduce the quality of your life. Research now shows untreated hearing loss  contributes to reduced brain function, social isolation, depression and balance issues.

Balanced Hearing

Because Nora had a total hearing loss in the right ear, her left ear had been overcompensating for several years.

To assist with her hearing, Bea McCabe, a hearing aid specialist at Earcare, recommended a CROS type hearing aid, ideal for those suffering from single-sided hearing loss. A microphone positioned on the weaker ear picks up information (sound) and sends it to the better ear.

“It’s really a wonderful improvement for Nora,” Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck says.

Today’s hearing aids come with advanced technology and longer life spans.

The average life expectancy of a hearing aid is about five years. After that, the electronics within the device begin to wear out, affecting its performance. It is no longer as reliable, and the acoustic response is not as accurate.

“An important reason that people choose to upgrade their technology is that the hearing aids they’re currently wearing are not performing up to the standards or meeting the performance levels that are expected for best hearing,” explains Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck.

The capabilities of today’s hearing aids are another reason to upgrade technology. The most significant change is wireless connectivity: the ability to wirelessly pair hearing aids with external devices, such as televisions, telephones and computers.

Because the advanced technology can initially be intimidating to patients, the audiology professionals at EarCare set up strategic appointments for training. These allow the hearing aids’ capabilities to be introduced, practiced and expanded upon as the patient becomes more familiar and comfortable with the technology.A hearing exam was the difference between life and death for Nora Drown.

“Manufacturers are always coming out with new technology, and it is important to us to be able to provide those advancements to our patients and for them to understand how to use them properly,” Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck says. “We take our time when we meet with the patient to thoroughly explain the hearing aids and how they work.”

Patient for Life

The EarCare staff wants people with hearing loss to know that once they become a patient, they will never need to go elsewhere for adjustments.

Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck emphasizes the clinic’s Patients For Life program, where they service a patient’s hearing aids for the life of those hearing aids. This includes regular maintenance and adjustments every few months and annual hearing evaluations.

Every one to two years, a patient’s hearing is evaluated in depth to ensure the hearing aids are working properly for them. Nora says she is amazed at what she thought she could hear before compared to what she can hear now.

“I had an ambulance drive up alongside me the other day, and I was amazed at how clear that sound was and how I could hear it from both sides,” Nora shares. “Even in a noisy restaurant, the sound is so much better than before, and I thought it was good then.

“I can’t tell you how thankful I am to my mother for pushing me to have my hearing checked and to Dr. Cowan-Oberbeck and everyone at EarCare. They saved my life!”

FHCN article by Judy Wade. Photo by Nerissa Johnson. Graphic from
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