Author Archive

Dental Duo

A tale of two approaches to restoring smiles.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Robin is thrilled with Dr. Lester’s work.

Robin Black’s 15 minutes of fame came when she was offered a position on then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy’s personal staff as he prepared to run for President of the United States.

“My uncle was a Capitol Hill photographer, and I often went with him to big dinners and luncheons to write down the order of the politicians and celebrities in the photos and to gather any other information he needed,” Robin recounts. “It was my uncle who found out that JFK was looking for a secretary, and he told me.

“I went to the Senate Office Building and was interviewed on four occasions. They wanted me to be his private secretary. He was getting ready to run for president, and his current secretary couldn’t handle all that went with that. They wanted me to work with her and ultimately replace her, but I turned them down.

“Almost being JFK’s secretary is my claim to fame.”

For most of her adult life, Robin, 86, a North Carolina native, resided in the Washington, DC–Maryland area. But her family owned a business in Florida, so for years, she regularly visited the Sunshine State. Then in 2001, she made Florida her permanent home. After she relocated, she transitioned her health care to Florida providers, except for her dental care.

“As a youngster and into my thirties, I had horrible dental experiences, so I was traumatized when it came to going to the dentist,” Robin shares. “In Silver Springs, Maryland, I finally found a wonderful dentist who took away all my fears and apprehensions.

“When I moved to Florida, I changed over all my doctors, but I continued to go up to Maryland a couple times a year to see that dentist. Then a few years ago, going there became more difficult due to scheduling conflicts and getting older. I knew I needed to find a local dentist. I thought it was going to be an impossible task to find a substitute for my exceptional Maryland dentist.”

One day, Robin’s partner heard about the teeth whitening service offered by Stephen P. Lester, DDS, at Park Avenue Dentistry in Edgewater. He said, “I’ve always wanted to have that done. I’m going to try this dentist.” Robin’s partner had an outstanding experience at Park Avenue Dentistry and encouraged Robin to visit Dr. Lester as well, which she did.

“No one’s ever recommended their dentist to me, but I recommend Dr. Lester, and now, seven or eight of my closest friends go to him as well.” – Robin

“Right away, I was impressed,” Robin recalls. “And after two appointments, I realized that the impossible had become possible. Dr. Lester was wonderful to me. He allayed all the apprehensions I had and made me feel very comfortable. His manner and expertise were top-of-the-line and state-of-the-art. He’s exceptional himself, and I felt I could trust him.”

Dr. Lester began his care of Robin by replacing a failing lower bridge with a new porcelain bridge that runs all along the front of her lower arch. He recently turned his attention to her upper arch, where Robin had some old bridgework that was failing as well as some decay on the teeth that were supporting that bridge.

“That upper bridge began falling apart piece by piece,” Dr. Lester explains. “My recommendation to Robin, and she committed to it, was to replace that bridge with a single piece, a full upper arch of teeth resting on and retained by a half dozen dental implants.”

Hybrid Prosthesis

The process of replacing Robin’s failing upper bridge and teeth began with Dr. Lester examining Robin’s jawbone three-dimensionally with a CT scan to ensure there was enough bone mass there to secure her dental implants.

“We use the CT images to determine where to place the dental implants as well,” explains Dr. Lester, who also took impressions of Robin’s teeth to make molds to follow when creating her replacement teeth.

During the next phase of the treatment plan, Dr. Lester plans to pull the remaining 14 failing teeth in Robin’s upper jaw. While she’s being treated, Robin will continue to wear half of her existing bridge, so at no time during the treatment process will Robin be without teeth in her mouth.

“There are many dentists who advertise under various trademarked and brand-names what are essentially teeth in a single day services,” Dr. Lester points out. “We offer a similar service at Park Avenue Dentistry.

“As part of our service, we first fabricate a denture. When the denture is ready to be placed in the patient’s mouth, we extract the teeth and put in the denture. Shortly thereafter, it could be the same day, we place the implants. If the implants are nice and sturdy, we screw the denture onto the implants, fixing it into place.

“I do not market this service as teeth in a single day because there are several preparatory appointments. Those appointments are necessary for designing and creating the dentures prior to the day of tooth extraction and implant placement.”

Once patients receive the fixed dentures, they wear them for approximately three months. During that time, the jawbone grows around and fuses with the dental implants to become a strong, solid unit.

“At the end of the three months, we throw away the initial, temporary denture and create a really nice, strong and very aesthetic permanent denture that goes the distance,” Dr. Lester says. “The technical term for this is an implant-supported hybrid prosthesis.

Partial Possibilities

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

James says Dr. Lester went “above and beyond” with his care.

For more than 40 years, James Carver, 64, worked in various creative capacities in the marketing field. He served as creative director for ad agencies in North Carolina and South Carolina and did copywriting in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’ve been around quite a bit in the south doing marketing,” James verifies. “Now, I’m doing things that are creative but also fun and relaxing. I’m mostly sculpting and writing, but I also do some volunteer work. I love golfing and enjoy exploring the woods
with my dogs.”

Not long ago, a medical issue forced James into a long hospital stay. He says he made it through the critical periods with his family’s support and well wishes, but he also had a frightening experience while in the hospital.

“I was eating grapes, and I ended up inhaling one of the grapes,” James explains. “It went into my lung, and I couldn’t breathe. It was such an emergency that the hospital staff had to shove a tube down my throat very fast, and a couple of my front teeth got knocked out in the process.

“When I got home and started feeling better, I looked at myself, saw my teeth and didn’t like what I saw. I looked like a person who had never taken care of his teeth. Since I was feeling better, I wanted to look better as well, so I decided to go to Dr. Lester.”

James met Dr. Lester previously when a family friend recommended the dentist. Like Robin, James was impressed by Dr. Lester as soon as he met him.

“Dr. Lester is a very down-to-earth person, and he’s got so much experience,” James reports. “He really knows what he’s doing, and he actually listens to his patients. I like that. He also enjoys a joke now and then, which makes my visits to the office more relaxing.”

When James went back to Park Avenue Dentistry with his broken front teeth, he expected Dr. Lester to recommend replacing them with dental implants. He was surprised by Dr. Lester’s actual recommendation.

“James’ upper front teeth were broken and ground down even with his gumline, so all that was left were the tooth roots,”
Dr. Lester remembers. “My initial suggestion was to crown all of the roots, so he would have multiple crowns on his upper arch. But that did not work for James financially.

“He asked me what his other options were, and I recommended a partial denture instead, and that worked for him. We were able to give James a partial denture for significantly less cost than if he chose the multiple crowns option.”

Tooth Banking

In addition to his broken front teeth, James had other upper teeth in his mouth, but they were whole or could be repaired. Those included teeth in key positions around his upper arch that would serve to hold the partial in place. Dr. Lester began James’ treatment by preparing the teeth near his front teeth that would be masked by the partial.

“My new partial didn’t turn me into a movie star, but I sure feel better about myself. I don’t cover my mouth with my hand anymore because now I have a nice smile to show people.” – James

“To prepare those teeth that were not level with James’ gumline, we ground them down so they were level with the gumline, leaving just the roots,” Dr. Lester describes. “Then, we essentially pretend the teeth are not there. There was only James’ gum, and we made a partial denture to replace the teeth that were ground down.

“We leave the roots for a reason. It is called tooth banking. If James were to change his mind in the future, we can use those roots to make legitimate teeth with crowns and get rid of the partial denture.”

There is another important reason to keep the tooth roots in the jaw. That is to keep the bone under the gums stimulated so it does not deteriorate and shrink away. When the bone in the jaw deteriorates, facial features can change. The face can develop a sunken look that makes people appear older than they are. People with low bone mass may not be candidates for dental implants as well.

“When the root stays in the gums, even if there is no tooth on top, the bone will remain,” Dr. Lester assures. “The bone exists for the purpose of supporting the root, so if the root is removed, the bone simply melts away over time. Keeping the root ensures patients’ bone mass will not change and they will maintain strong, well-shaped jawlines.”

Pleasurable Visits

Dr. Lester fashioned a partial denture for James and adjusted it several times to ensure a good fit and aesthetic appearance.

“At first, the partial was loose, but Dr. Lester adjusted it. Then, one of the teeth fell out,” James relates. “Dr. Lester sent the partial back to the dental lab he works with, and they fixed it. I like that Dr. Lester was willing to work with me until the partial was right.

“The teeth in the partial look very close to the teeth that were there before. Dr. Lester made sure the color of the teeth was just right, and they looked good. My new partial didn’t turn me into a movie star, but I sure feel better about myself. I don’t cover my mouth with my hand anymore because now I have a nice smile to show people. And I can eat pretty much anything I want with this partial.”

Dr. Lester is just getting started with his treatment plan to replace Robin’s failing upper bridge with an implant-supported hybrid denture. With Dr. Lester doing the work, she’s confident the process will go well.

“One of my friends from Sugar Hill has been going to Dr. Lester for a couple of years,” Robin explains. “He just had implants placed, and he told me all about the process, so I feel comfortable about getting them. And I absolutely won’t be without teeth while the work is being done. Dr. Lester guaranteed me that.”

Dr. Lester is using two different approaches to give his patients the same outcome, a restored smile using an aesthetic and functional dental appliance. For James, he chose a partial denture covering existing tooth roots because he did not extract any of James’ teeth.

But for Robin, Dr. Lester plans to remove all of her failing upper teeth and replace them with an implant-supported hybrid denture. Both patients are happy with their experiences with Dr. Lester and his staff at Park Avenue Dentistry.

“It’s a pleasure to go to Park Avenue Dentistry,” Robin raves. “I can’t sing Dr. Lester’s praises enough, and I totally trust him. He and his staff give me excellent care, so I don’t mind going to the office at all. No one’s ever recommended their dentist to me, but I recommend Dr. Lester, and now, seven or eight of my closest friends go to him as well.”

“It’s always a pleasure to go to Dr. Lester’s office,” James agrees. “He has a really nice and efficient staff, and they always take good care of me. They joke around with me and have fun when I’m there, which makes me feel comfortable. Dr. Lester likes to make his office comfortable for people.

“And when it comes to good care, Dr. Lester went above and beyond with my partial. He really wanted to get it right. When that tooth fell out, it was the dental lab’s problem, not his, but he made sure they fixed it correctly. It was important to him. He was on my side. I’m very satisfied with Dr. Lester’s work and definitely recommend him.”


America’s Suicide Crisis

January 20th, 2020

The United States is in a suicide crisis. America’s rate of suicide, now its 10th leading cause of death overall, has increased by more than 33 percent since 1999. That was among the findings of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics research study. The results of the study were released in June.

The worst thing you can do for someone dealing with suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts is remain quiet. Speak up, reach out, learn the best way to offer support.

The Center for Health Statistics’ research discovered that suicide among Americans ages 15 to 64 rose from 10.5 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017, the most recent year with available data. That number represents the highest suicide rate in the US since World War II.

Federal data released in October showed that suicide rates are climbing in nearly every state and across age groups and ethnicities. The suicide rate for young Americans ages 10 to 24 increased 56 percent from 2007 to 2017. It’s at its highest rate this century. Suicides by active-duty military and veterans are also on the rise.

According to one study, 10 million Americans seriously considered suicide in 2018. That certainly sounds like a crisis to me.

All of these studies confirm that suicide is a significant public health problem. The CDC also reports that on average, 129 Americans die by suicide each day. Suicide claims 47,000 lives each year. That number is probably much higher considering not all suicides are reported. Men die by suicide three and a half times more often than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide.

It’s also been determined that 90 percent of people who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. And if it’s diagnosable, it’s most likely treatable. Suicide affects us financially as well. It costs this nation at least $69 billion per year in medical costs and lost work productivity.

Suicide is an equal opportunity problem. Anyone can be at risk, and those risk factors are varied. They include depression, substance abuse disorder, mental health disorder or a family history of such disorders. Other risk factors include previous attempted suicide, a family history of suicide, a history of physical or sexual abuse, the presence of guns in the home or an experience with a painful medical illness.

The reasons people die by suicide are complex. In general, they react to, think, and make decisions differently than people who are not suicidal. One researcher suggests there are six main reasons people kill themselves.

In many cases, people who attempt suicide or succeed at it are depressed, which typically comes with a pervasive sense of suffering, as well as a belief that their situation is hopeless. Some people who commit suicide are psychotic, some are impulsive, some are crying out for help, and others have a philosophical desire to die. This desire can develop when people have a painful, terminal illness.

Whatever the cause, it’s imperative to know the warning signs for suicide, especially if you or a loved one has any of the risk factors. Most people who take their lives by suicide show one or more warning signs in the way they talk and behave.

Be alert if someone you know starts talking about killing themselves, or about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Other verbal warning signs include talking about being a burden to others, feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain.

Certain behaviors may be warning signs as well, especially if they are linked to a painful event, loss or major change. These behaviors include increased use of drugs or alcohol, looking for methods to end their life, withdrawing from activities and becoming isolated socially, visiting or calling people to say goodbye and giving away prized possessions.

Preventing suicide is the goal, and help is available. If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.  For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

In emergencies, call 911 or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider. Today, many hospitals and mental health providers have redesigned their practices to include research-backed tools for determining a patient’s risk for suicide. These providers then use proven interventions to prevent suicide and initiate the patient’s recovery.

Feel Younger, Stronger, Sexier!

Reveal a more youthful you.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Tami specializes in cosmetic and BHRT treatments.

Infinity Medical Institute recently welcomed Teresa “Tami” McGarry, PA-C, to its Tampa location. Tami was brought on board to perform bio-natural hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT, and to expand the institute’s cosmetic services. She is excited about all the services added at this premier medical clinic that was voted number one in the greater Tampa Bay area.

“I earned my physician assistant degree through a program at Kettering College in Kettering, Ohio, and I have twenty-eight years of experience as a PA,” Tami relates. “I started working in facial reconstructive neurosurgery and did that at a Level One trauma center in Ohio for nineteen years.

“I’ve always loved the art of aesthetics. I love the creative aspect of it, so I wanted to take the skills I learned in the surgical arena and apply them to the cosmetic field. In 2012, I made the decision to train in aesthetics, and I’ve been practicing aesthetic health and wellness medicine in Florida and Ohio ever since.”

Tami describes Infinity Medical Institute as “one of the premier BHRT centers with a very large, satisfied client base that comes in every three months to get their hormone pellets.” She adds that during that visit, patients can also receive cosmetic services such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, fillers, platelet-rich plasma (PRP or PRF), PDO ThreadLift, and peptide therapy.

“One of the major goals of the leadership at Infinity Medical Institute,” Tami points out, “is to provide a variety of services that help patients look and feel younger as they live longer.”

“We’ve expanded our cosmetic services to provide a one-stop shop for whole-body wellness and youthfulness,” elaborates Michael Montemurro, president of Infinity Medical Institute. “This way, we can help our patients look more youthful to match how they’re feeling on the bio-natural hormones.”

BOTOX Cosmetic and XEOMIN® are examples of popular neuromodulators available at Infinity Medical Institute. Neuromodulators relax muscle contractions to smooth fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

“IPL [intense pulsed light] is very good for taking care of three major problems: deep wrinkles, age spots and muscle laxity in the face.” – Tami

The practitioners at Infinity Medical Institute also offer a variety of fillers for cheek, chin and lip augmentation. Some of the fillers available include RADIESSE® and the entire JUVÈDERM® collection: JUVÈDERM Ultra, JUVÈDERM Ultra Plus, VOLBELLA® XC, VOLLURE XC and VOLUMA® XC. All cosmetic fillers have unique properties that perform best in different areas of the face and last for different periods of time.

“As people age, they start to lose volume in the face,” Tami explains. “The cheeks begin to sag; the lips begin to lose fullness, wrinkle and turn in; and people get that natural aged appearance. Fillers restore volume to the face.”

Fillers placed in the cheeks elevate the cheekbones and eliminate the drawn-out look of the face. Fillers applied to the lips give them a full, soft, pouty appearance. Fillers can be used in men along the jawline to give them a more masculine jaw or around the brow and temple area to square out the male face.

“RADIESSE is different than the other fillers,” Tami asserts. “It’s a volumizing filler for deep wrinkles, and we use it primarily in the cheeks and marionette lines. It’s one of my favorite fillers because it lasts from eighteen to twenty-four months. It also initiates collagen production, so it lays down a more permanent base. And it’s the only filler that’s calcium-based, which provides the long-lasting effect.

“In the skilled hands of a trained practitioner, all of these products are safe. We’ve been using them for years and achieving very rewarding cosmetic effects. The key is for the artist to know which product to use on which patient in which area to give the patient the best look. The products are different and have different uses, and no two faces are the same.”

New Horizons

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Tami McGarry, PA-C

Infinity Medical Institute also offers PRP, which can regenerate and tighten skin as well as change skin tone, and recently expanded its cosmetic services to provide a nonsurgical facelift called the PDO ThreadLift.

“The PDO ThreadLift is an FDA-approved procedure using absorbable polydioxanone sutures to lift, tighten and smooth skin, improving texture,” Michael informs. “There are various types of threads used to achieve the desired results. They are safe and used in cardiothoracic surgery.

“Smooth threads are used for fine lines and improving overall skin texture, twisted threads are used for deep folds or wrinkles and barbed threads are used to visibly lift the skin around the face, eyes and neck, commonly referred to as a mini facelift.”

“The PDO ThreadLift is performed in the office and the results are immediate,” Tami adds. “During the procedure, we pass the threads through the areas of the face to be treated. As we withdraw the threads, they tighten the skin. It’s similar to the effect that occurs with a facelift, but without the surgery.”

Results of the PDO ThreadLift are immediate using barbed threads, but all three threads force the skin to produce collagen, which lifts the skin and fills in lines over the following three to six months. Threads are absorbed throughout that time as they are replaced with new collagen.

“Microneedling is another procedure we offer that results in collagen production to smooth the skin and improve its appearance,” Michael observes. “Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that causes microscopic punctures to the skin’s surface, which initiates the production of collagen.”

Although not a cosmetic service, Infinity Medical Institute is also offering peptide therapy to help patients feel younger, stronger and sexier.

“Peptides are amino acids that are essential for the body to function properly,” Tami educates. “They keep the body healthy and operating efficiently. Peptides are helpful for weight loss, vitality, energy and overall looking and feeling younger.

“It is sometimes difficult for people to obtain enough peptides through food products, so Infinity Medical Institute now offers peptide programs tailored to address a multitude of concerns such as weight, hair loss, low immunity and muscle loss.

“Michael and his team of professionals also plan to offer stem cell therapy in the near future,” Tami adds.

Tailored Game Plan

Illinois native Donna Turner spends her days juggling two demanding careers. She’s a landlord for the eight rental properties she owns but also manufactures swimming pool and spa accessories.

With her busy schedule, Donna can’t afford to be slowed by the nagging, tiring symptoms of perimenopause. Those symptoms recently began to take a toll on her nonetheless.

“Being a woman of a certain age, I began having hot flashes, which were miserable, and I was fatigued,” Donna shares. “I was also achy and overweight. I felt like I was aging at a rate faster than I wanted.

“Sleeping wasn’t that much of an issue, except for when the hot flashes woke me up at five o’clock in the morning. My biggest problem was that feeling of fatigue that sat me down in a corner and knocked me out. My energy was really low.

“I continued to exercise, but I wasn’t experiencing any of its benefits. I wasn’t losing weight or gaining muscle. It was like I hit a plateau. I was stagnant in my workouts.”

When Donna’s friend told her about a seminar on hormone therapy held by Infinity Medical Institute, she decided to attend. The presentation left a positive impression.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Donna is looking and feeling better and gives Infinity Medical Institute an A+ grade for making that happen.

“The people from Infinity Medical Institute were very knowledgeable, upbeat and positive,” Donna describes. “I was impressed because Infinity Medical Institute’s program has a medical basis to it. Many other places are more like spas, so you don’t know how medically sound their programs are.”

Following the seminar, Donna decided to visit Infinity Medical Institute and undergo an examination. The staff’s testing of Donna’s blood revealed that her hormone levels were quite low and were therefore the cause of her unpleasant symptoms.

Donna’s low hormone levels also made her an ideal candidate for Infinity Medical Institute’s BHRT, notes Moriah Moffitt, MD, a physician on staff at the institute.

“When I first went in and met with Dr. Moffitt, she went over my blood tests,” Donna remembers. “She was very knowledgeable, and I felt very secure with her. And again, that medical component is one of the reasons I chose Infinity Medical Institute over other places.

“Another reason I chose Infinity Medical Institute is that before they inject the pellets every three months, they do a blood test to measure your hormone levels. Other places only do blood tests once a year.

“The staff at Infinity Medical Institute treat me as an individual, and they adjust my pellets to what my blood tests show. They don’t just follow a standard game plan.”

Bio-Identical Match

The bio-natural L3 hormone pellets used by Infinity Medical Institute are derived from plants, a natural material that is molecularly changed in structure and function for a 100-percent bio-identical match to the body’s own hormones. Synthetic hormones, by contrast, can be as little as six- to eight-percent bio-identical, therefore leading to known high risk factors.

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

“The staff at Infinity Medical Institute treat me as an individual, and they adjust my pellets to what my blood tests show. They don’t just follow a standard game plan.” – Donna

“Our bio-natural L3 pellet hormone therapy helps to give effective results as we provide patients with a product that is all natural, and we stand behind it. It’s the most effective hormone treatment on the market because it’s replacing natural, normal hormones with biologically identical hormones that the body is used to seeing, rather than synthetic versions
of the hormones.

“Through our bio-natural hormone replacement therapy, patients such as Donna achieve consistent absorption of the proper, predictable levels of the hormones their bodies require for optimum health,” Dr. Moffitt continues. “This is done through the simple insertion of a pellet approximately every three to five months.”

Hormone pellets are about the size of a grain of rice and are typically injected under the skin in the hip or buttocks. To ensure the patient is receiving the proper amount of hormones, comprehensive evaluations of overall health are performed prior to the pellets being administered. Hormone levels are measured before each new pellet is inserted as well.

“We want to be sure that the treatment we administer is going to be the overall best course of action for that patient,” Dr. Moffitt notes. “We’re very thorough with the labs at every visit in order to see what has changed, and what needs to be altered.

“We want to be sure every 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 such as diabetes and high blood pressure can affect how the treatment is administered.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Donna Turner

A-Plus Rating

Infinity Medical Institute provides customized treatment because people respond differently after beginning BHRT. Donna experienced a quick reaction to her hormone therapy, and the benefits remained evident months after her initial pellets were inserted.

“After the first treatment, my hot flashes were gone, and I started getting more energy,” she raves. “A couple of months later, I began to feel like I wanted to work out instead of like I had to work out.
“And once I did start working out again, I started building muscle and losing weight. Now, I feel like I’m in my forties, not my fifties. It’s amazing. Now that my hormones are consistent, my moods are level, I’m sleeping well and I’ve got my energy back.”

Donna is excited by her BHRT results, but its success highlighted another concern for her. While she felt much better about her body, she felt less comfortable about her face. She believed it needed a little lift to give her a more youthful appearance to go with her renewed energy.

Even though I felt great, I thought my face made me look tired all the time, like I just woke up,” Donna confirms. “I thought it could use a little tweak. First, I was treated with XEOMIN, which is a neuromodulator like BOTOX Cosmetic. I got the treatment in my forehead and around my eyes to soften the lines and wrinkles.

“My face was also a little saggy because the tissue starts to break down as people age. I recently had a filler injected into my cheeks and chin to build up that tissue again. I underwent a PDO ThreadLift to tighten up my cheeks as well.”

Donna took advantage of several cosmetic treatments available at Infinity Medical Institute. She says the results appear very soft and natural. They make her look as good as she feels on the bio-natural hormone therapy.

“It’s not like a facelift, where people look like the Joker, with their skin stretched tight like a balloon,” she elaborates. “Instead, most people don’t even realize I had anything done. They just say I look well-rested and happier.

“The woman who injected the filler started me off with a little bit, just enough to fill in some creases but not enough to change the shape of my face. It tightened up around my cheeks and neck because those are the areas that bothered me most.”

Donna says she began to see a difference in her face and neck within a week of receiving the filler and PDO ThreadLift. That and the results of her other treatments earned Infinity Medical Institute’s staff a perfect score from the entrepreneur.

“The treatments are slowly tightening and taking away the waddle under my neck and the creases in my cheeks,” she enthuses. “Now, I look like I’m smiling instead of grumpy. And I know there’s going to be even more tightening.

“I can’t say enough good things about the people at Infinity Medical Institute. There’s a doctor who treats me, a nurse who works with me and owner/managers who check on my progress. It’s so good to know they actually care about me and care that I’m getting good results.

“My experience at Infinity Medical Institute rates an A-plus. On a scale of one to ten, I give them a ten.”

Lifetime Commitment

Advanced hearing aids keep couple communicating.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Upgraded hearing aid technology is helping Roger and Suzanne live a better life together.

Long before online dating was invented, couples often met through personal ads purchased in a local newspaper. That’s how then-Connecticut residents Roger and Suzanne Cornwell met some 30 years ago.

Upon meeting her in person for the first time, Roger was immediately impressed with Suzanne. So much so that after dating her for ten months, he asked her to marry him. Suzanne said yes, but on one condition.

“Before we got married, we were having such difficulty communicating, and I was so tired of repeating myself, that Roger getting hearing aids became somewhat of a condition of our marriage,” Suzanne says. “If we were going to plan a life together, he needed to be able to hear me.”

Roger, who worked as an engineer with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, understood Suzanne’s request. As far back as high school, he had been told that he would eventually need hearing aids.

“By the time I was forty, I had reached that point,” he says. “So I’ve had hearing aids for about thirty years now. But my hearing has gradually decreased over the years.”

So has Suzanne’s. A former administrative assistant at Choate Rosemary Hall, a private prep school that has produced graduates such as John F. Kennedy, Ivanka Trump and Glenn Close, she recently found herself in the same predicament as Roger.

“I wanted to be able to hear Roger, so I started wearing hearing aids when we lived in Connecticut, and I continued after we moved to Florida,” she says.

Roger and Suzanne’s move to Florida came three and a half years ago. When they began looking for a hearing care provider, they didn’t have to look far. Two doors down from their primary care physician in New Port Richey was Trinity Hearing & Balance Center.

Trinity Hearing & Balance Center is the practice of Kelly Hansen, AuD, who, with her colleague Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, treats all types of hearing loss and hearing-related conditions. They also treat a host of balance disorders.

“I went to Trinity Hearing and Balance Center because my hearing aids were giving me trouble and were due to be replaced,” Roger reports. “They were seven years old, and one of them had almost stopped working entirely, so I needed to get new ones.”

“I wasn’t having so much trouble with mine,” Suzanne says. “But when Roger came home with his new hearing aids and was so thrilled with them, I thought, I want to be thrilled with mine, too. We ended up getting the same advanced hearing aids.”

Thorough Evaluation

Dr. Hansen’s examination of Roger and Suzanne extended beyond their hearing tests and surveyed their lifestyles and daily living environments. She also did some physical examinations to determine the root causes of their hearing loss.

“I checked to make sure they didn’t have wax in their ears, then did testing to rule out a functional problem with their middle ears, such as fluid in the ear,” Dr. Hansen explains. “I also made sure there was nothing medically going on.”

Dr. Hansen determined that Roger’s and Suzanne’s hearing losses stemmed from nerve damage and that they would benefit from one of the state-of-the-art hearing aids now available at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center. The hearing aids, she noted, would improve not only their hearing but also their overall quality of life.

“When people with hearing loss are missing out because they’re not hearing family members and friends, they tend to withdraw, which is especially devastating to married couples,” Dr. Hansen observes.

“It can make them depressed, and they may give up doing things they enjoy together because they can’t hear. Fitting these people with hearing aids restores their lifestyle and, as a result, improves their quality of life.”

Expertise Measured

Trinity Hearing & Balance Center’s philosophy and dedication to patient care set them apart from other hearing centers.

“Trinity Hearing and Balance Center is proud to be an AudigyCertified™ practice,” Dr. Hansen notes. “We are one of only two hundred and fifty clinics in the nation to hold this certification.

“AudigyCertified professionals are among the country’s most experienced hearing care professionals, with its members possessing some of the industry’s highest credentials. Our expertise is measured by our commitment to patient satisfaction, continuing education and the expert application of current technologies.

“We work side by side with our patients to help find a solution to their hearing problems,” Dr. Hansen continues. “Many patients who have gone through our Patient for Life® program experience greater satisfaction with their hearing technology and a greater quality of life.”

Exceptional Service

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Roger and Suzanne Cornwell

Roger and Suzanne received identical, state-of-the-art hearing aids from Trinity Hearing & Balance Center. They’re both extremely pleased with their decision to explore the advanced technology.

“Our hearing aids have technology that allows us to hear sound, like that from our phones or the television, directly through the hearing aids so we hear it clearly,” Suzanne describes. “For example, I can listen to an audiobook while working in the yard, and I can still hear it when Roger walks past me with the lawnmower.

“Before we got the hearing aids, Roger had trouble controlling the volume on the TV so he could both hear and understand the words. Now, we both hear and understand everything perfectly.”

“We can use our phones to easily adjust our hearing aids as we go into different environments,” Roger reports. “They have a setting for restaurants, so I can go into a restaurant and adjust them for that. Then they help tone down background noise, yet allow me to hear the conversations going on close by.”

Suzanne and Roger are also very happy with the exceptional service they receive from Dr. Hansen and her staff at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center.

“Both of the audiologists at Trinity Hearing and Balance Center are very educated and dedicated to their patients,” Suzanne relates. “They look us in the eye when we’re talking and respond, even if their fingers are on the keyboard at the same time. They’re still listening to us.”

“We will absolutely go back to them for any hearing aid upgrades,” Roger says.

“We’ve already been back a few times,” Suzanne adds. “They offer free cleanings, and they check out our hearing aids to make sure there’s no earwax in them and that all the wires are still where they belong and are working to capacity.

“They’re really good to us. I never want to go back to not having Dr. Hansen and Dr. Goldowski-Richa take care of us. They’re great!”

Sound Exchange

Tinnitus masking stops maddening ringing in the ears.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Arry says the hearing aid technology that relieved tinnitus has been a blessing

For the past 30 years, Arry Housh and his wife have owned and operated Arry’s Roofing Services, a fast-track, busy company in Tarpon Springs that specializes in roof repairs and reroofing.

“I got into roofing when I was younger and saw there was a need for good workmanship in the Tampa Bay area, so my wife and I started our own roofing business,” Arry recalls. “We now have two adult sons who manage the business with us.”

But as he got older, Arry developed a maddening condition that progressed over time and eventually interfered with his daily life and his happiness.

“About two years ago, I started hearing ringing in my ears,” Arry describes. “I actually had ringing for the past five or six years, but back then, the sound was on and off. If I was stressed or if my blood pressure was slightly high, it would act up. But two years ago, it became a permanent ring. The sound in my ears was a high-pitched ringing, and it was always there.

“It took me forever to fall asleep, and if I woke up in the middle of the night, it took me just as long to fall back to sleep. Because I was tired, I was becoming depressed. The ringing totally disrupted my life. Thankfully, one of my managers told me about Dean Knoblach, who helps people with this condition. I immediately made an appointment.”

Dean M. Knoblach is a nationally board-certified Hearing Specialist and the founder of Knoblach Hearing Care in Largo. During his initial evaluation of Arry, Dean uncovered the source of Arry’s problem.

“For decades, Arry has routinely been exposed to many high-volume tools such as air hammers and circular saws which, over time, can permanently damage cilia, the tiny hair cells in the auditory nerve,” Dean explains. Most of the time, this becomes a hearing loss, but sometimes, the damage can become more.

A Johns Hopkins study on tinnitus concluded that of the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer with tinnitus (15 percent of the general population), 45 million of those cases will reveal some level of damage to the auditory nerve at the center of it all. That means most cases of tinnitus are irreversible and inoperable, and medications won’t help.

Tinnitus “Flavors”

“Tinnitus comes in a variety of flavors,” Dean notes. “It can sound like cicada bugs, crickets, electricity through a high line wire, a motor running, fans blowing or, in Arry’s case, the ting of a wineglass that never stops.

“In Arry’s case, the volume of the wineglass tinging was an eight, meaning it was roughly thirty-percent louder than anyone he spoke to during the day. But at night it was worse. In a quiet room, with little else to focus on, the wine glass was constantly tinging right in his face.

“Tinnitus masking is not a miracle cure, but for the 90 percent of patients it works. It can make a miraculous difference.” – Dean

“And the louder it got, the more it invaded Arry’s life. It can eventually become the 800-pound gorilla that continually interrupts everything day and night. And no matter where you go, it’s always there. It’s easy to see how this condition can quickly lead to depression.”

While blood pressure and medications can sometimes cause tinnitus as well, “in most cases, it’s caused by some level of acoustic trauma to the auditory nerve that finally hit a breaking point. Since the nerves don’t heal themselves, in most cases the best option for relief is tinnitus masking,” Dean asserts.

The Silver Bullet

How do tinnitus maskers work? In a nutshell, the patient receives a hearing device that can be individually programmed to produce its own masking sound. It could sound like a waterfall in the distance, a babbling brook or waves on a soft sandy beach.

Like a blanket of comforting sound that can effectively cover up the tinnitus, tinnitus maskers push the annoying sound way off into the distance. This in turn helps to trick the brain into not noticing the tinnitus.

“My job is to find the option that works best for each individual case,” Dean says. “In Arry’s case, none of the water options worked. What did work was a binaurally-synchronized internally-generated customized pink noise.

“To other patients, it has sounded like just another noise in their head, but in Arry’s case, it became an invisible force that could push his never ending ting from in front of his face, to feeling like it was across the street behind a closed window.”

Arry reports, “If I really focus hard, I can sometimes hear a little bit of ringing, but most of the time, I don’t even pay attention to it anymore.”

Tinnitus maskers can’t miraculously repair the damaged cilia deep inside the auditory nerve. They can just cover-up the sound that the damaged nerve is always making.

Tinnitus masking is not a miracle cure, but for the 90 percent of patients it works on, it can make a miraculous difference.

“Doing Great”

“I’m doing great now,” Arry raves. “I put the hearing aids in in the morning, take them out before I go to bed and sleep well.

“These hearing aids have been a blessing. I have no more ringing in my ears. They’ve really changed my life for the better. With all the ringing gone, my old happy self came back out.

“To others who have this problem, I recommend seeing Dean. This treatment will really change your life.”

Correct the Cause – Relieve the Pain

Lose pain, gain flexibility with stretching protocol.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Coral Thorsen

Coral Thorsen, 67, is on her second career. She began as a school teacher, but compounding health problems and the inability of traditional medicine to provide solutions to those problems pointed Coral in another direction. She began practicing alternative medicine. Coral wanted an alternative to medication to deal with chronic back and neck pain.

“I had a bad car accident forty years ago, and my back got pretty locked up from that,” she says. “My discs were compressed, almost fused in areas, and I had very limited range of motion.

“If I moved a certain way when I slept, there’d be so much pain, it woke me up. I had to be careful how I moved at any time, or I’d be in pain. My whole spine was really fragile. I had to watch how I sat and how I turned my neck.”

If that pain wasn’t bad enough, Coral suffered with a series of medical disorders as well.

“I had lupus, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia,” she shares. “I was really miserable and tried to fight my way back. Standard medicine works for some people, but it didn’t work for me, so I had to try something else.

“I realized I needed help, so I put out feelers to see who would be the best person to visit to see if they could really get to the bottom of my problem. It was a unanimous referral from my community to go see Dr. Johnson.”

Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, of Johnson Medical Center in Venice, specializes in a treatment protocol for back and neck pain called Sedative Stretching, which is an expanded and comprehensive form of Manipulation Under Anesthesia, or MUA.

“When I first met Coral, she had been suffering with neck pain on and off for years,” Dr. Johnson states. “She described it as an aching, dull and tingling feeling and said her neck always felt stiff and tight. Coral’s neck pain also radiated into her left and right collarbone areas, but she was able to alleviate it with stretching.

“Coral also had a slow onset of low back pain on both sides that was aggravated by lifting, bending and twisting. As with her neck pain, her back pain improved with rest and stretching. The fact that Coral’s back and neck pain responded to stretching meant she was a good candidate for the Sedative Stretching procedure.”

Ideal Candidates

Many people with painful muscle and joint conditions can benefit from Sedative Stretching. Ideal candidates are those with conditions such as unresolved neck and back pain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica, frozen shoulder, acute and chronic muscle spasm, headaches and failed back surgery syndrome. The procedure can also benefit people who want to regain lost flexibility or those who are “sick and tired of being stiff and sore.”

“It’s best for people to address the cause of their condition as early as they possibly can,” Dr. Johnson observes. “The chronic stiffness, tightness and pain cause excessive wear and tear on the joints of the spine and extremities, resulting in permanent degeneration and arthritis.

“People start losing flexibility after minor injuries incurred during their typical daily activities result in chronic, low-grade inflammation. Many times, this occurs in early childhood and is a long-forgotten event. Over time, these injuries develop into severe and sometimes debilitating conditions.”

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, which lays down a mesh of connective tissue, commonly known as scar tissue. Over time, layer upon layer of scar tissue can form in the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joints, restricting the joints’ ability to move properly. These layers of scar tissue are called adhesions.

The symptoms and warning signs generally associated with adhesions include the slow and insidious loss of flexibility, as well as an increasing achiness and soreness. Most people will attribute this to normal aging. While it’s very common to become stiff and sore with age, it’s not normal.

“While they don’t always realize it, people will compensate how they move their bodies when this occurs,” Dr. Johnson informs. “This is evident everywhere while watching the way people walk, bend, twist and turn.

“Regrettably, many people wait until significant damage from excessive wear and tear has occurred before seeking appropriate care. Often, people will utilize over-the-counter and prescriptive medications, which help alleviate their symptoms.

“Unfortunately, this gives the patient a false sense of being cured while the underlying scar tissue continues to cause excessive damage.”

Freeing Adhesions

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Sedative Stretching alleviated Coral’s neck and back pain

During Sedative Stretching, the patient is put under light sedation, often called twilight sedation. With the patient relaxed, the affected joints are brought through their normal full range of motion, freeing the adhesions that have developed between the joints, causing pain.

“While the patient is sedated, we use light, comprehensive stretching techniques,” Dr. Johnson describes. “Since we don’t have to contend with tense, guarded muscles, we are able to free up the scar tissue and mobilize the joints without causing the patient any discomfort. This would be impossible to do without the use of sedation.”

A highly trained team of medical professionals coordinates the Sedative Stretching procedure. Generally, there are multiple health care providers present, including an anesthetist and several nurses. Patients usually require only one procedure. It is very rare that patients require a second procedure to fully address their condition.

Dr. Johnson recommends that patients follow up the procedure by spending about two weeks in a rehabilitation program designed to reinforce the increased movements obtained from the treatment. During this time, patients are taught stretching exercises that prevent the condition from recurring.

“By following the recommended exercises, patients regain the flexibility they had decades before, and they generally return to activities they haven’t done in years,” Dr. Johnson affirms. “This is truly correcting the original cause of their conditions.”

It corrected the cause of Coral’s condition. She agreed to the Sedative Stretching procedure shortly before leaving for a trip to China, which she wound up enjoying immensely, thanks in large part to Dr. Johnson’s treatment protocol.

“I was leaving for China a couple of weeks after I first saw Dr. Johnson, and I debated rescheduling the Sedative Stretching procedure until after I came back, but I didn’t,” Coral confirms. “I had the procedure in late October and left for China two weeks later, and I was amazed by how Dr. Johnson’s work turned me around so quickly.

“My trip to China was not an easy one. It was a very rigorous, fast-paced, ten-day trip by plane, train, bus and rickshaw, carrying all my stuff, but I did great. I got such pain relief from Sedative Stretching that a few days after I got to China, I climbed all those stairs and walked the Great Wall of China with no trouble.

“I really appreciate Dr. Johnson and what he’s doing. He’s one of those doctors who goes for the hardest issue instead of covering up the problem and having you come back forever. He did a better evaluation on me than a lot of neurologists have done. He really pinpointed where the impingements were and
corrected the problem.”

Failing Flexibility

Photo courtesy of Lori Falcone.

Lori Falcone

Two years ago, Bronx, New York native Lori Falcone, 55, and her business partner expanded their trash bin cleaning company to include a power washing and paver sealing division.

Being a business owner can be stressful, and Lori tends to hold stress in her neck and shoulders, which caused severe neck pain and intense headaches. Lori also believes her genetics are partly to blame for the pain in her neck, shoulders and head.

“I’m short and I’m Italian, so I have no neck to begin with,” she states. “That’s always been a joke with me. I went to a chiropractor regularly, and every time I went, I asked them, Can you please pull my neck out of my shoulders? It looked like my shoulders were sewn to my earlobes.

“I got migraine headaches three to four times a week, and that’s a good week. When some people get migraines, they get nauseous or sensitive to light. When I got one, I couldn’t think or function. They were very debilitating. I went to neurologists. I got massages every week, and I went to a chiropractor. I got some relief, but it was never long-term.”

After taking up yoga a few years ago, Lori discovered she had a significant decrease in flexibility in her lower back as well. She didn’t have pain in her back per se, but she did have soreness and stiffness, especially first thing in the morning. Lori says that over time, she simply became accustomed to the discomfort in her lower back, unlike the pain in her neck and shoulders. Lori’s yoga instructor was surprised by her lack of flexibility.

“There’s one yoga pose where you put your knees up to your chest, then roll to the left and hold out your right arm,” Lori describes. “My arm was a foot off of the floor. It wouldn’t go down any farther. My yoga instructor said, That’s not where it’s supposed to be.

“I also couldn’t touch my toes when I bent over. The instructor said, When you bend over, you’re bending from the middle of your back instead of from your lower back, where you’re supposed to bend. I didn’t know I was doing that.

“But there was never as much pain in my lower back as there was in my neck and shoulders. That pain was debilitating. There were many times at bedtime when I’d be in tears because my neck and shoulders hurt so much. Sometimes, I cried myself to sleep.”

Lori was not achieving results from the treatment she was undergoing at the time. Her best friend, however, had visited
Dr. Johnson and undergone Sedative Stretching. She told Lori about her experience.

“My friend had been telling me about Dr. Johnson for a while, but I didn’t go right away,” Lori recalls.

“Life just got in the way. But finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to Johnson Medical Center for an exam.”

“When Lori originally came to our office, she was suffering with chronic, moderate-to-severe lower back pain that radiated into both of her hips,” Dr. Johnson states. “She attributed the cause of her back pain to a basketball injury she sustained when she was thirteen years old.

“Additionally, Lori was suffering with significant chronic neck pain and stiffness that radiated into both of her shoulders. On examination, she had a tremendous loss of range of motion throughout her neck and more severely in her lower back and sacroiliac regions.

“Because of the long-term effects of restricted spinal movement and function, Lori was also experiencing accelerated disc degeneration throughout her neck and lower back. Due to her medical history and previous care, I believed she was a good candidate for the Sedative Stretching procedure.”

“Dr. Johnson told me he’d have to work on me every day for a year to get the same benefit I’d get with one Sedative Stretching procedure,” Lori comments. “I did the math and compared one procedure to how much it would cost to go every day for a year to get the same benefit. I decided to give Sedative Stretching a shot.”

Immediate Relief 

Photo courtesy of Lori Falcone.

Lori keeps her migraine headaches at bay by using her stretching ball.

Lori underwent Sedative Stretching on May 9, 2019. She was amazed by how quickly she experienced positive results from the procedure. Others noticed a change in her as well.

“I felt a difference immediately,” Lori reports. “About a week after the procedure, I had my yoga instructor watch while I performed the pose where my arm was a foot off of the ground. I could put it down completely. When I bent over, she couldn’t believe the difference. She was absolutely floored by my increased flexibility.

“Then a month after my Sedative Stretching procedure, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while. She looked at me and said, Oh my God! You have a neck.”

“My pain relief was immediate,” Coral agrees. “Dr. Johnson gave me a prescription in case I felt pain afterward, but I didn’t take it. I don’t take drugs anyway, but I didn’t use the prescription that was offered because I just didn’t need it.

“I have no pain now. I have absolutely no problem with my neck and back.”

As part of Dr. Johnson’s follow-up care, patients are taught specific stretching exercises to prevent their conditions from returning. Lori performs her prescribed stretching routine religiously, and it’s helped maintain the benefits she received from her Sedative Stretching procedure. Together, the procedure and her routine stretching have significantly improved Lori’s quality of life.

“I feel fantastic now,” she raves. “I don’t get the debilitating migraine headaches, and if I feel one coming on, I can get rid of it by stretching. I don’t have the tension in my shoulders anymore. I’m feeling great now. I don’t wake up with pain, and I don’t go to bed with pain.”

“When people meet me now, they find it hard to believe I ever had a problem,” Coral adds. “I really feel better now than I did twenty-five years ago. I’m younger than I was twenty-five years ago. I’m not ready to give up now. It’s great that Dr. Johnson came in and helped with the areas of my spine that I couldn’t reach with energy medicine.”

“I’ve already recommended Dr. Johnson and his Sedative Stretching,” Lori says. “My husband has had it done. I recommend this procedure to anyone who goes to a chiropractor and hasn’t been evaluated for Sedative Stretching. They should speak with Dr. Johnson to determine if they’re a candidate for it. It was absolutely life-altering for me.”

Adds Coral: “Dr. Johnson is a good man who does good work. I appreciate him and everything he’s done for me. He’s made a huge difference in my life.”

Quality Assurance

Retiree’s smile, chewing function restored.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Daniel Innes

When Daniel Innes, 68, was attending Eastern Michigan University, he thought it was a good idea to work for a while at Ford Motor Company to earn extra cash while going to school. His temporary job turned into a career that spanned 30 years.

“It was one of those things where I was going to school and thought I could make a good income in the meantime and then move on afterward,” Daniel elaborates. “But it just continued. Ford kept offering me more positions and putting me through more college, so I stayed.

“I started out in the Ypsilanti, Michigan plant working on the assembly line and eventually got promoted to supervisor. In 1976, I helped build the Milan, Michigan plastics plant, which is one of the most automated plants in the world. While there, I got a job in management overseeing quality. I retired from the Milan plant.”

Retirement doesn’t include sitting still for Daniel. He spends most of his time now helping out an old friend who is a licensed contractor and has his own construction business.

“I love building things,” states Daniel, who hails from a suburb a few miles outside of Detroit. “Even while I worked at Ford, I built my own homes and friends’ homes, as well as decks and anything else outside that needed to be built.”

As a person who appreciates building, Daniel isn’t very tolerant of things that fall apart. So when he began having trouble with his teeth and existing dental work, he was both frustrated and discouraged.

“I always took care of my teeth, but they just began to get bad,” he recalls. “At first, I thought it was something I had done wrong, but my doctor said he thought it was a hereditary problem. My father had bad teeth, and so did my brother.

“Some of my teeth were quite sensitive, so I was unable to eat or drink certain foods. Anything cold would set them off. And I was embarrassed of my smile. I hadn’t smiled in public for quite a while. Then, all of a sudden, a lot of my old dental work started collapsing, and I needed new dental work as well.”

What forced Daniel into action was a serious tooth infection he developed while on vacation in Maine. He was staying in a very rural area with little access to medical care. He was able to locate a dentist, but the dentist was unable to pull the tooth. The dentist gave Daniel medication for the infection, which took care of the problem for the time being.

“When I returned to Florida, I reached out to Dr. Gaukhman,” Daniel says. “I went to him a couple of years ago for a previous dental issue, and he was great. When this occurred, I decided it made sense to go back to him. He recommended removing my bad teeth and replacing them with complete upper and lower dentures.”

Daniel’s choice for dental care was Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, at Venetian Dental in Venice. Dr. Gaukhman, who offers exceptional general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry as well as emergency dentistry, also has offices in Sarasota and Osprey.

“When Daniel came to see me, his remaining upper and lower teeth were seriously failing, and he had significant periodontal disease,” Dr. Gaukhman reports. “His teeth and dental work were not salvageable, so I extracted his teeth and created new upper and lower dentures for him.”

Never Toothless

Dentures are often used to replace natural teeth that are lost due to tooth decay, gum disease, infection or injury.

“In most cases, upper dentures fit securely in the mouth because the palate enables the creation of sufficient suction to hold the appliance in place,” Dr. Gaukhman observes. “That was the case with Daniel. His upper denture fits just fine and does not wobble or move.

“However, many people with lower dentures have difficulties keeping them secure. This is because there is no palate in the bottom jaw due to the location of the tongue; therefore, less suction is produced. As a result, lower dentures tend to slip and slide. In these cases, I often recommend placing dental implants to secure lower dentures. That is what I did for Daniel.”

“My dentures are great. I can finally smile again.” – Daniel

Dental implants are screw-like posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for replacement teeth, such as crowns to replace single teeth and dentures to replace an entire arch of teeth. When they’re secured by implants, dentures don’t slip or move; they stay in place when patients speak and eat.

Implants are made of a titanium alloy that fuses with the patient’s bone to become a solid unit. For most patients at Venetian Dental, implants are placed on the day of tooth extraction. Temporary dentures are also created at that time.

“In general, once the patient’s problem is diagnosed and the treatment is determined, I take impressions of their teeth,” Dr. Gaukhman describes. “When the temporary dentures are ready, which is usually on the same day or the next day, I extract the teeth and put the dentures in right away.

“The dentures act as a bandage to stop bleeding and limit swelling, and for the next three to six months, I keep the patients in temporary dentures until the implants fuse and the gums heal. Then, I replace the temporary dentures with the permanent appliances. Using temporary dentures means patients are never toothless while waiting for their finished dentures. All in all, it is a relatively easy, painless process.”

Daniel agrees.

“As anyone could imagine, I was nervous going into the procedure,” he relates. “But I was shocked to find out that I had virtually no pain from the time Dr. Gaukhman removed my teeth to when he put in the posts for the implants. I never had any pain and never took any medication. It couldn’t have gone any smoother.”

To use dental implants, patients must have enough bone mass in their jaw to hold the implants securely. But bone mass can become depleted when teeth are missing because there is no longer pressure on the jaw from chewing to keep it actively building new bone. For some patients with depleted bone, Dr. Gaukhman can use bone grafts to supplement the remaining bone.

In some cases, Dr. Gaukhman recommends mini implants, rather than standard implants, to secure his patients’ lower dentures when there’s not enough bone available.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Daniel Innes

“Mini implants are like standard implants in almost all ways,” he explains. “They differ from standard implants, however, in that they are smaller in diameter. This offers a number of advantages.

“With mini implants, patients heal faster, so treatment can be finished quicker. We can also use mini implants in medically compromised patients and in patients who don’t have sufficient bone to secure standard implants.”

Adding dental implants, standard or mini, stabilizes lower dentures, so they do not move around in the mouth. In addition, dentures secured by implants have stronger chewing capability than traditional dentures. Patients can eat foods they could not eat previously, improving their quality of life.

“Implant-retained lower dentures are generally secured with two implants,” Dr. Gaukhman adds. “When we secure upper dentures with implants, which we recommend in certain cases, we typically use four implants because they have to work against gravity.

“We may recommend securing upper dentures with implants in cases where the plastic covering the roof of the mouth interferes with the denture’s fit or the patient’s ability to taste food, or if it causes a gag reflex. This was not necessary in Daniel’s case.”

“Extremely Successful”

After waiting for his dental implants to fuse and his gums to heal, Daniel finally got his permanent dentures, and he’s very happy with the finished products.

“My dentures are great,” he raves. “I can finally smile again. And they must look natural. A lot of people have never seen my natural teeth, but no one’s come up to me and asked whether my teeth are real or not, so they must come across pretty good.

“I’m chewing fine now,” he adds. “I went through a process of learning to chew with dentures, but everything’s just fine now. Getting dentures was the way to go for me. I’m very pleased with my treatment from Dr. Gaukhman and his staff at Venetian Dental.”

Daniel makes a point to credit Dr. Gaukhman for his skill and expertise, as well as his kind and compassionate patient care. Daniel commends the dentist for the quality of his work through Daniel’s willingness to share his experience with others.

“Dr. Gaukhman is fantastic,” Daniel enthuses. “He’s nice and polite. He’s very knowledgeable and answered all my questions. He explained the entire procedure to me, what he was going to do and how he was going to do it. And everything turned out exactly like he said. His whole staff is very nice and polite. I have no complaints.

“I recommend the denture procedure Dr. Gaukhman performed for me. I haven’t run across anybody yet who needs it, but I would recommend it, without a doubt. And I absolutely recommend Dr. Gaukhman and Venetian Dental. My procedure was extremely successful. I wish I had done it sooner.”

Beyond Tremor

Clinical trial to study drugs for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Each year, about 60,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, the most common symptoms of which include tremors, which are involuntary movements in the hands, arms, legs or head.

While difficulties with motor movements are the most common and well-recognized symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, some patients with the disease also suffer with certain neuropsychiatric symptoms.

“About thirty percent of Parkinson’s patients develop delusions, hallucinations, depression, impulse control problems and other behavior and mood changes,” states Stuart J. Shafer, MD, president of Vero Beach Neurology and Research Institute.

“It is not well-understood why some patients experience these symptoms, but they may have more abnormalities in their temporal lobes and possibly their frontal lobes than patients who do not experience these symptoms.”

Dr. Shafer is the principal investigator in a clinical trial his institute is conducting in collaboration with Geodyssey Research, studying two drugs for treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease other than tremors.

Geodyssey Research is a research organization in Vero Beach founded in 2002. Its staff are well-versed in all aspects of conducting clinical research, from the patient level to the sponsor level. Geodyssey Research began with two clinical trials in 2003 and has now completed more than 140 research studies.

Vero Beach Neurology and Research Institute has been conducting clinical research since 2000 and has been involved in 60 national and international clinical trials. Among them are several studies researching aspects of Parkinson’s disease. The institute also does research on multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy and other neurological disease processes.

The clinical trial Dr. Shafer and Geodyssey Research are initiating will investigate the safety and effectiveness of two medications for treating delusions, hallucinations and other neuropsychiatric symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They are currently enrolling patients for the study.

“Some Parkinson’s patients who experience delusions have what are called friendly boarders, which are essentially beings that live in their homes with them,” Dr. Shafer explains. “The patients know these beings are not real, but they see them as though they are as real as day. I have had patients who have groups of these boarders that they live with and interact with, but they don’t bother the patients. These delusions are also called peduncular hallucinations.

“Again, we do not know why these hallucinations or the other neuropsychiatric symptoms occur,” Dr. Shafer continues. “But we believe it has to do with an imbalance of dopamine as well as other neurotransmitters in the brain. Our goal with the clinical trial is to research ways to mitigate some of these neuropsychiatric symptoms, not just the slowness and tremor of Parkinson’s disease.”

Traditionally, doctors have used medications called atypical neuroleptics to treat the neuropsychiatric symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Atypical neuroleptics are sometimes used in psychiatry to treat delirium, agitation and hallucinations.

“Neuroleptic medications help some of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as delusions,” Dr. Shafer notes. “But they are not effective on other symptoms and are not an ideal treatment. This is the main reason we are conducting a clinical trial of new medications.

“The first medication we are studying is low-dose pimavanserin. The second medication is quetiapine, which is already on the market as SEROQUEL®. That is a neuroleptic medicine that is often used in psychiatry for behavioral problems, but it has not been specifically compared against similar investigational medicines or for Parkinson’s disease.

“During the trial, we will be evaluating the safety and tolerability of these medications. We will compare them against placebo, which means some patients in the study will not receive the study medication. We will also be looking at the impact neuropsychiatric symptoms have on patients with Parkinson’s.”

Dealing with the neuropsychiatric symptoms is very important for the overall management of patients with Parkinson’s disease, for both the patients and their caregivers, Dr. Shafer observes.

“It’s one thing if patients are slow and shaking, but when they have delusions or hallucinations, are depressed or have other cognitive issues, then it becomes much more difficult to manage their care,” he says. “It is also more difficult for patients to manage themselves because they are not in a good place mentally.”

Study Specifics

To participate in the study, patients must meet certain criteria. They must be between 50 and 85 years old, have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease for at least one year, have one or more of the neuropsychiatric symptoms described below and have a reliable person to be with them during the study period. There are other requirements that will be discussed with them by the study staff.

“The staff will go over all the risks and benefits of participating in the trial in detail,” Dr. Shafer assures. “Those patients who meet the requirements will enter a four-week treatment period and will be assigned to take either one of the two investigational drugs or placebo.

“Medication assignments are made randomly. One-third of the participants will be assigned to take placebo, and two-thirds will be assigned to take one of the two investigational drugs.”

All medical exams, study procedures and study drugs are provided to qualified participants at no cost. Reimbursement of travel expenses incurred while taking part in the study may also be available.

Most Wanted Treatments for Pain Relief

SoftWave® therapy heals painful conditions.

Through his television series, America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh has helped law enforcement capture 1,244 fugitives in 45 countries and recover 61 stranger-abducted children. At the age of 74 and after filming 51 shows a year for 25 years, John was hoping to retire, but the FBI and US Marshals weren’t done with him yet.

John Walsh's photos courtesy of Gail Daman.

John is back in the saddle after TRT OrthoGold™ SoftWave® therapy eased the pain in his right knee.

“They came to me in the beginning of 2018 and said, We suspect 2018 is going to be the most violent year in American history as it relates to homicides and violent crimes,” John recalls. “They said, You have the trust of the public, and your concept of having the public call you with tips works. They needed my help, so I agreed to try a couple of shows with Investigation Discovery, a popular crime channel. We premiered last January.

“We caught an FBI Top Ten fugitive who for years was hiding in a shelter near the FBI Building in Washington, DC. We then caught a US Marshals’ Fifteen Most Wanted, who they had been looking for five years. I’m currently filming season two of In Pursuit with John Walsh, which will air on Wednesday nights on Investigation Discovery beginning in January.”

When he’s not working, John can often be found playing polo. An avid player, he has suffered his share of injuries from competition, including a torn ligament and cartilage in his knee. He had surgery to repair the damage, but the pain persisted, so he turned to longtime friend and physician Mel Richardson, MD, for help.

“Polo is a tough sport,” John acknowledges. “We play hard, and sometimes, we crash and fall off the horses. In one of those instances, I tore the meniscus and ACL in my right knee, and even after surgery, I was unable to ride. I could walk, but once I got in the saddle, bent my knee and started riding, my knee would start throbbing so badly, I could barely make it through the game.

“Orthopedic surgeons were saying I needed to get the injury repaired, but then I went to Dr. Richardson. He said, Maybe you won’t need surgery. He treated me with a new device, and the results were fantastic.”

The unique treatment Dr. Richardson used on John’s knee is SoftWave therapy. It has shown tremendous success at relieving pain and promoting healing.

“I use a leading-edge SoftWave therapy device called TRT OrthoGold that is changing treatment for pain and has proved to be useful. In fact, it is highly effective in treating many pain syndromes and health conditions,” Dr. Richardson announces.

“I’ve been a pain management physician for more than thirty-five years and used various techniques, including epidural steroid injections and other invasive procedures. But the TRT OrthoGold is the most remarkable device I’ve seen for treating pain. It actually accelerates healing.”

Childhood Activity

At the age of three, McKenzie Flinchum began training in gymnastics, and that activity nearly consumed the next decade and a half of her life. Gymnastics still plays an important role in her current training as a CrossFit® athlete.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

McKenzie Flinchum

“CrossFit can include anything,” McKenzie reports. “In competitions, we’ve seen swimming, rope climbing and walking. During my training, I do strength and conditioning work as well as gymnastics-type activities, including handstands and exercises on the bar. That’s where my gymnastics background really helps me.

“CrossFit is about being as well-rounded and fit as possible. I have to get my body trained to be good at any type of activity that could be thrown at me.”

But at a CrossFit competition earlier this year, McKenzie suffered a freak injury that left her in excruciating pain and nearly immobile.

“There was a rib out of place on my left side, and I had issues with some muscles,” she describes. “It was very painful, like a muscle spasm. It was a grabbing, debilitating pain, so it wasn’t a pain I could work through.

“The pain came on gradually leading up to the competition, then during the competition, I kept pushing myself, which set it off. It made the pain worse, so I knew I needed to do something about it. I saw Dr. Richardson at the gym, and he told me he had a treatment that might help.

“At that point, I couldn’t lift my arm over my head. I was ready to do anything to return to doing all my movements and get back to training. I decided to give Dr. Richardson’s treatment a try.”

Counting on Sound

As he did with John, Dr. Richardson treated McKenzie using TRT OrthoGold SoftWave therapy, which is similar to that used to break up kidney stones. It is a noninvasive treatment that utilizes specific frequencies of acoustic waves to initiate improved blood flow to an injured area of the body. The additional blood flow results in profound changes at the cellular level.

“First, the acoustic waves enter the injured tissue and trick the cells into releasing the anti-inflammatory chemicals and proteins the body naturally produces,” Dr. Richardson describes. “These chemicals decrease inflammation in the injured area, which relieves pain.”

This benefit occurs quickly, when the treatment is performed. The second thing the sound waves do is attract stem cells from around the body to the injured area.

“The stem cells heal and regenerate damaged tissue,” the doctor adds. “But they take time to fully regenerate, so the maximum benefit of the treatment occurs anywhere from six to twelve weeks following therapy, even though the pain may disappear completely before that.”

A typical course of TRT OrthoGold SoftWave therapy is one treatment a week for three weeks, although some injuries require additional treatments to obtain maximum benefit.

“McKenzie was training for a CrossFit competition when she injured her muscles,” Dr. Richardson reports. “She was in a great deal of pain and was unable to perform her exercises. She would have been out of competition if we did not treat her with TRT OrthoGold SoftWave therapy. She received four treatments.

“John was traveling, so he received only one treatment on his knee, but it was successful. He was pain free after that one treatment.”

“Dr. Richardson’s treatment didn’t have an immediate effect, but he told me it was going to take several sessions,” McKenzie recalls. “I think his treatment, along with the chiropractic care I received to put my rib back into place and some additional body work on surrounding muscles, really sped up my healing process.

“Within a month, I was almost back to training full-time, and when the CrossFit Open came around, I did the best I’ve ever done and punched a ticket to the CrossFit Games. I’m super grateful for the treatment, which got me back to one hundred percent and allowed me to qualify for the games.”

Total Turnaround

TRT OrthoGold SoftWave therapy was successful for John as well.

“Before Dr. Richardson’s SoftWave therapy, I couldn’t ride and I couldn’t stand the pain in my right knee,” John notes. “Now, I’m back in the saddle. I can use my leg and ride my horses, and I didn’t have to have another surgery.

“It’s really important to have a physician who stays on top of medical advances and knows about new treatments, and that’s Dr. Richardson. His SoftWave therapy is pretty amazing. I wish it had been around years ago.”

Who Would Your Doctor Go to for Pain Relief?

Physicians really do know who the best doctors are.

When it comes to pain management specialists, few attain the level of expertise and respect throughout their communities that Harold J. Cordner, MD, of Florida Pain Management Associates in Sebastian and Vero Beach has.

Eugene A. Melvin, Jr., MD, has battled back problems for years. The excruciating ache in his lower back led to burning pain that ran down his left leg. In 2014, he had a discectomy that provided significant pain relief, but a recent injury caused the pain to return with a vengeance.

Looking for quick relief, Dr. Melvin first visited several pain management physicians in the Orlando area, where the interventional pain management physician has a practice of his own. He underwent various injections and ablations – procedures that destroy affected spinal nerves using heat energy – but those treatments provided only minimal relief. As a result, he turned to Dr. Cordner, whose skill and expertise, Dr. Melvin says, set him apart from others in his field.

“These individuals in Orlando were good doctors, but they just did not have the skills and techniques Dr. Cordner has,” Dr. Melvin observes. “Dr. Cordner performed a unique type of injection on me that really relieved a lot of the pain I was experiencing.

“He used a special technique called a Racz catheter procedure, during which he advanced a catheter into the spinal canal through the sacrum. Once he arrived at the correct location, he broke up some of the scar tissue that was in there causing pain.”

The Racz catheter procedure proved more effective than any of the other pain-relieving techniques Dr. Melvin had tried previously. Should his pain return, Dr. Melvin says he will likely opt for spinal cord stimulation and will certainly have Dr. Cordner perform this surgery.

“If I need it, I will absolutely, hands down ask Dr. Cordner to do the spinal cord implant procedure,’’ Dr. Melvin exudes. “He is my pain guy!”

“Always Satisfied”

Much like Dr. Melvin, Michael Venazio, MD, has a history of back pain radiating into his legs. Several years ago, when the pain became too severe, he too consulted Dr. Cordner, whom he has known for more than 15 years.

“I refer a lot of my patients to him, and they’re always satisfied,” Dr. Venazio says. “He’s very highly respected in the field, so when I suffered a significant herniated disc at the L4/L5 level, I went to see Dr. Cordner.

“He gave me a series of epidural steroid injections, followed by a nucleoplasty procedure, which really helped my pain to where it’s minimal to nonexistent at this point.”

The same can be said for internal medicine practitioner David DePutron, DO.

“I have cervical spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves,” Dr. DePutron explains. “I also have a problem whereby arthritic changes of the lower part of the cervical spine intermittently result in pressure on my spinal cord. That causes discomfort and numbness in the fourth and fifth fingers of both hands.

“Dr. Cordner treats me periodically to alleviate that intermittent problem. I’ve had this condition since 1996 and have not had a need for any therapy other than what Dr. Cordner has provided. I have literally referred hundreds of patients to him and consider us lucky to have him in our community.”

Getting the Best Results

Scott Glaser, MD, agrees. Dr. Glaser first got to know Dr. Cordner through the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Dr. Glaser became so impressed by his expertise that he called on Dr. Cordner when his father was struggling with a serious pain issue.

Dr. Glaser’s father suffered with significant spinal stenosis. He was living alone at the time and was in so much pain that it became difficult for him to get out of bed or even walk to the bathroom.

“I wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Cordner. . . . I recommended him to my dad. If I trusted him with a family member, I would trust him with anybody.” – Dr. Glaser

Dr. Glaser knows of many excellent pain physicians closer to Palm Coast, where his father resided, but none, he says, were as good as Dr. Cordner. That’s why he didn’t mind making the two-hour drive to Florida Pain Management Associates to see him.

“Dr. Cordner’s subspecialty of interventional pain medicine teaches him just where to put that medication to get the best results,” Dr. Glaser educates. “Using x-ray guidance, he injected that medicine right next to the irritated nerve in my father’s back, and it worked. It worked quite rapidly in fact, within a few days.”

As an orthopaedic surgeon, Kirk Maes, MD, is well aware of Dr. Cordner’s reputation, and just as Dr. Glaser did, he recently referred a family member struggling with pain to Dr. Cordner.

“Dr. Cordner gave my family member a series of injections, and she was able to run a marathon afterward,” Dr. Maes explains. “She’s done really well.”

So has the uncle of Carlos Vizcarra, MD. A resident of Peru, Dr. Vizcarra’s uncle has suffered for many years from intractable pain from shingles. Unfortunately, physicians in Peru do not offer some of the treatments available here.

Dr. Vizcarra felt so strongly about Dr. Cordner’s expertise in pain management that he encouraged his uncle to fly to the United States to get the best possible care available and saw to it that he was treated by Dr. Cordner.

“My uncle came here and underwent two treatments with Dr. Cordner and had a great response,” Dr. Vizcarra says. “Dr. Cordner was excellent.

Common Conclusions

Dr. Cordner stays on the leading edge of interventional pain medicine, so he always has the latest treatment advances for his patients.

“There’s not a second thought in my mind that if you need a pain specialist, it should be Dr. Cordner,” Dr. Venazio states. “He’s one of the best pain physicians in Florida. He’s intelligent and well-versed, his pain knowledge is excellent, and his technique is stellar.”

“I wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Cordner,’’ Dr. Glaser adds. “Think about it. I recommended him to my dad. If I trusted him with a family member, I would trust him with anybody.”

“My patients come to me, and they are very happy with Dr. Cordner’s approach, his manners, and his knowledge about pain management,” Dr. Vizcarra says. “I refer at least ninety percent of my pain patients to him.”

“He is without a doubt the most skilled and insightful pain management doctor within two-hundred miles,” Dr. Maes assures. “He is the go-to guy around here.”

Page 1 of 27
1 2 3 4 5 6 27