Author Archive

Turning The Table

Advanced treatments alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain.

Deanna Kniola

With a boost from ESPN, which contracted to televise six tournaments a year across a new channel devoted largely to niche sports, the Women’s Professional Billiards Association reached a peak in popularity in the mid-1990s.

Deanna Kniola was among those who rode along on the ride to the top.

A self-proclaimed tomboy who found her niche beating the boys in pool, Deanna joined the WPBA tour in 1991 and, with the exception of one year in 1993, spent the rest of the decade touring the world as a pro.

“I competed in 9-ball on tour,” says Deanna, now 53. “I also played straight pool and 8-ball in one-off tournaments away from the tour and eventually reached the top 20 in the world. It was a pretty good living.”

Was is the operative word there. Deanna was eventually forced to give up her pool-playing career, in part because of the back and neck injuries sustained during a car accident a couple years after she turned pro. She was forced to leave the tour for a year, and while she rehabilitated well enough to resume her career in 1994, the rigors of tournament play and traveling forced her to shut it down for good in 1999.

“I was asked to come back in 2000, but I decided to retire because as a pro the tournaments you’re playing in are five-day, double-elimination events,” Deanna explains. “And, of course, you need to travel to wherever the tournament is.

“So you’re in a different bed each week, which didn’t help, and you’re in different cities with different climates and different humidity levels, and all that affected the areas of my neck and back that were hurt in the crash.”

Deanna says that her neck and back pain often radiated into her shoulders and was sometimes so intense she was left “immobile.” She eventually sought professional help for the problem, but nothing alleviated the agonizing discomfort.

“I tried everything I could think of to remedy this problem,” Deanna laments. “I tried traditional chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation. I even tried acupuncture. Nothing worked. And the older I got, the more the pain increased.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.” – Dr. Hunte

“I reached a point a couple of years ago where I was in acute pain all the time. There were days where I literally could not move without experiencing pain. I couldn’t get dressed or undressed without being in pain and I couldn’t sleep at night.

“One day this past December, I was speaking at a symposium where I met Dr. Hunte. The more he told me about his practice the more fascinated I became with what he does and his approach to rehabilitative medicine.”

Dr. Hunte is Bryan T. Hunte, DC of Advanced Spineworks in Bonita Springs, where he and his staff take “a highly scientific approach” to chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation.

“That’s what makes our facility unique,” Dr. Hunte says. “We don’t just stop at relieving someone’s pain. We focus on the corrective phase of care using equipment that cannot be matched by traditional approaches.

“This corrective phase of care is what restores the musculature around the injured area. When the musculature is restored, the patient experiences relief. And the equipment we use has a unique way of restoring this support even in the most severe of cases.”

Unique, Nonsurgical Device

Impressed by what she learned of Dr. Hunte’s practice, Deanna made an appointment to visit Advanced Spineworks for the first time in February. As he does with all new patients, Dr. Hunte began with a thorough examination.

“She came in with debilitating neck pain, bilateral tingling, and numbness in her arms and middle back pain,” Dr. Hunte reports. “The two areas we needed to address were her neck and middle back, so I suggested we start by testing her on the MCU machine.”

The MCU, or Multi-Cervical Unit, is a nonsurgical device that not only diagnoses weaknesses in the neck but also restores neck strength and balance through a specified workout regimen that is designed around the results.

Used in what doctors refer to as evidence-based medicine, the MCU records 16 different ranges of muscle movement for strength to determine the specific areas of the neck where weaknesses or imbalances are present and where there is a loss in range of motion.

The results of the MCU test done on Deanna revealed that she had several areas of weakness in her neck that were the primary cause of pain.

“Dr. Hunte said, “The pain you’re feeling is because there’s no strength in your neck muscles to hold up your head,” Deanna recalls. “He said my head was actually crushing my neck and that was causing the pain to radiate into my shoulders, arms and back.”

Based on the test results, Dr. Hunte recommended treatment on the MCU machine, which uses the data it produces to create a customized treatment program that strengthens and balances the neck muscles and corrects the underlying cause of the patient’s pain.

A typical course of therapy on the MCU consists of 27 sessions over nine weeks. During that period, the patient is tested three times and the treatment is adjusted based on the test results.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.” – Dr. Hunte

“We needed to stabilize Deanna’s neck and see where that brought us,” Dr. Hunte says. “But because she was also experiencing so much pain and discomfort in her middle back, I treated her using another one of our unique devices, the Eccentron™.

The Eccentron is a negative-resistance device on which a patient performs leg exercises that improve strength, balance and endurance. Like the MCU, it assesses the patient’s progress throughout the course of the workout and provides objective data.

An Eccentron program consists of 30 minutes of strength training. During that time the patient plays a game on a computer screen that results in the patient performing up to 670 repetitions that stimulate atrophied muscles and reconnects them to the nervous system.

The Sooner the Better

With the Eccentron workouts building up her middle and lower back and the MCU building up her neck muscles, Deanna began to notice a dramatic change in her physical status after only a few sessions.

Treatment on the MCU machine and Eccentron has allowed Deanna to resume her active lifestyle, which now includes riding motorcycles.

By the time she completed her regimen, Deanna was virtually pain-free. Now, not only is she playing pool again, she’s riding motorcycles, and she has resumed the active lifestyle that she prefers.

“The treatments I received on the MCU machine and Eccentron were amazing,” Deanna raves. “I no longer have any neck pain or pain going through my shoulder, arms and back, so I can work out with weights and resistance bands again.

“These treatments have given me back my life! I have only great things to say about Dr. Hunte and the work he does. I wouldn’t be doing all the things I’m doing right now were it not for him and the MCU machine and Eccentron. I definitely recommend them.”

Dr. Hunte recommends treating issues such as those experienced by Deanna sooner rather than later. People experiencing neck, shoulder, arm and back pain can save themselves years of suffering by addressing their pain issues sooner.

“If you’re someone like Deanna who has been in an accident or you’re experiencing neck, shoulder, arm and back pain, don’t wait a lifetime to address those issues,” he says. “Addressing these kinds of issues when you’re younger is so much easier.

“The sooner you address a weakness in your neck the better your structure is going to be later on. And that better structure will help prevent painful episodes from occurring in the first place. So there’s a preventative element to these treatments.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.”

Don’t Be A Stranger

Regular dental visits, simple home care can give you a winning smile.

David Essel was two years into an uneventful college basketball career at Syracuse University when he realized his skill set wouldn’t earn him regular playing time, so he started focusing more on his studies.

David Essel

To say that was a smart career move would be an understatement.

After abandoning his playing career, David went on to earn a master’s degree in sports psychology and spent 10 years counseling athletes. Since then he has established himself as one of the nation’s leading motivational speakers and life counselors.

“My focus now is on relationships and motivating people to achieve massive goals in life,” says David, the author of 11 self-help books, including a bestseller. “I also help people overcome addiction and rape, so I deal in some very intense issues.

“About the only item I won’t discuss with someone is politics. That’s one topic I don’t touch. But if someone wants to come in and talk about saving their marriage, becoming more compassionate or more understanding, I can help you out.”

In addition to seeing people on a one-on-one basis, David also provides his services to groups through radio and television appearances, podcasts, webinars and a national speaking tour that typically has more than a dozen stops each year.

His heavy public exposure is one reason David works hard at staying physically fit and maintaining a good appearance. He considers himself to be proactive in both areas and is especially fervent about his dental care.

“I’m a motivational speaker, so I have to have the best smile I can,” David emphasizes. “That’s really important to me, so when the dentist I’ve had for 40 years retired a few years back, I was in a bit of predicament.

“I really trusted my old dentist, but his office was a half-hour away, so it wasn’t always convenient to visit. When a new dentist took over his practice, I went to see her, but I was thinking, I’m going to give this dentist one shot to win me over.

“During that first visit, I asked her every question in the book, and she really impressed me, not just with her answers, but with her mannerisms and expertise. I immediately felt very comfortable, and so I’ve stuck with her ever since.”

A Regular Visitor

The dentist is Katrine A. Farag, DMD. She took over the practice from David’s previous provider four years ago and renamed it Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers. Upon first meeting David, Dr. Farag was as impressed with him as he was with her.

“What impressed me was how good a job he does of taking care of his oral health,” Dr. Farag explains. “It was obvious to me right away that he’s really good with his home care, and he understands the importance of making regular visits to the dentist.”

David goes to Dr. Farag at least three times a year for cleanings. That’s in accordance with most dentists’ recommendations, including Dr. Farag, who says it’s a myth that visiting a dentist twice a year is enough.

“Some people can get away with two cleanings a year, but it really depends on the patient’s oral health.” – Dr. Farag

“I think that came to be because two cleanings a year is what insurance covers,” Dr. Farag explains. “But no dentist ever said two cleanings a year is all you need. Some people can get away with two cleanings a year, but it really depends on the patient’s oral health.

“During a patient’s first visit, we analyze overall oral health and gum health, and we do an oral cancer screening, which is really important because you can have great oral hygiene and still have oral cancer. That’s something the dentist will normally need to catch because one of the most common places we find oral cancers in underneath the tongue. And who looks there, right? So that first visit usually determines how often we will want to see you.

“If someone comes in and their gums are super healthy, we’ll probably tell them to come see us for cleanings twice a year. But if you have a lot of recession or bleeding in your gums, I’ll probably ask you to visit us three or four times a year.”

David could probably get away with two visits a year, but he goes three and sometimes four times for cleanings and checkups, because he wants to stay on top of more than just receding or bleeding gums.

“I know people who do not take care of their teeth the way Dr. Farag prescribes, and because of that have run into other major health problems caused by poor oral health,” David explains. “We know now that bacteria in the mouth that’s not taken care of can lead to heart disease. And there are other issues that poor dental hygiene can lead to, so that’s one reason I visit Dr. Farag as often as I do and take care of my teeth the way I do.”

David’s daily routine is not extravagant. It’s simply in line with what most dentists recommend, meaning he brushes at least twice a day – morning and night – and flosses each night.

Stick to the Basics

“I also don’t smoke or drink or do some of those things that can hurt your teeth, but other than that it’s basic oral hygiene,” David says. “It’s truly brushing and flossing. But you do be sure you do it.

“With flossing, for example, I don’t think I’ve missed a night of flossing in 40 years. I think that’s critical. Another thing that is critical is that when I brush, I always use an electric toothbrush. I think electric toothbrushes are absolutely essential.”

So does Dr. Farag. She strongly recommends using an electric toothbrush, in part because most electric toothbrushes have a timer that makes it easier for the user to spend at least 30 seconds brushing each quadrant of their teeth. That way, people are more likely to meet the recommended requirement of at least two minutes brushing. That’s a goal many fail to meet by a wide margin, Dr. Farag says.

“Electric toothbrushes are very effective, but they also have to be used right,” Dr. Farag notes. “You never want to apply too much pressure with an electric toothbrush because that can actually be damaging. You need to let the toothbrush do the work.

“That electric toothbrush is going to brush your teeth with the proper technique, and that’s important because a lot of people come in who brush and floss regularly, but they still have problems because they’re not brushing or flossing with the proper technique. Proper technique is how you get into all those areas where the bacteria hide. If you’re not getting into those areas, you’re wasting your time. And nobody wants to do that.”

Another device Dr. Farag recommends for the fight against gum disease and tooth decay is a tongue scraper. She says tongue scrapers help eliminate a bacteria-filled film on the tongue that can damage gums and teeth, and even alter the way food tastes.

“Once you use it you’ll say to yourself, How did I ever go without this? because food tastes so much better after you’ve used it,” she says. “It’s that extreme.”

Act Fast

David, a motivational speaker and best selling author, has developed an exceptional home dental care routine.

David seldom runs into extreme dental problems because he takes good care of his teeth. There are times, though, when even the best care can’t prevent a problem.

“It was about eight months ago that I was eating something at home one night and I felt a tooth crack,” David says. “Right away, I thought, Oh, my gosh, major surgery. I went to Dr. Farag and she looked at it and says, We can just bond that.

“A lot of dentists in that situation might have said, well that’s going to require an expensive crown. But she was fiscally responsible, and I appreciated that she was honest with me about using Plan A instead of jumping right to a more costly Plan B option.”

Dr. Farag doesn’t take all the credit for recommending the less-expensive fix. She says David had as much to do with that because he was quick to address the problem.

“He wasn’t in any pain, but he came to see me right away,” Dr. Farag says. “And at that point we were able to repair the tooth by bonding it. But a lot of people in a situation like that will wait and not go to the dentist until they feel pain.

“By then, more damage has been done and the dentist might not have a choice but to crown the tooth. That’s why it’s always important to address issues like that early on, before you feel any pain. You can save yourself a lot of trouble and money.”

David could save a lot of time by seeing a dentist closer to his home, but he gladly makes the half-hour drive because he respects Dr. Farag’s skill and trusts her judgement and work.

“Another thing that I like about her is that she’s so personable,” David says. “She’s extremely nice and caring, and she clearly works hard to make sure that you’re comfortable and feel relaxed in her environment. And her staff is the same way.

“They all know me because I’ve been going there for so long, but they always call everyone by their name and treat everyone with such great respect. Everyone there is super, and it’s why I recommend Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers in a heartbeat.”

Masking Agent

Annoying noise of tinnitus blocked out by high-tech hearing aids.

With his 50-year working career as a subcontractor now in the rearview mirror, Sal Munizzi is finally taking time to do the things he and his wife couldn’t when Sal was busy building his business. Travel is at the top of the couple’s new to-do list.

Sal’s hearing aids include a masking program that allows him to effectively manage his tinnitus.

Sal and his wife visited relatives in Italy and saw some other parts of Europe last year, but with the coronavirus compromising travel, Sal now intends to travel domestically in the “new toy” he bought himself this past August.

“I had a second home in North Carolina that I used to travel to in the summer, but I sold it and bought an RV,” Sal says. “We’re in the process of planning some trips with friends. I think we’ll hit the Keys for a little fishing first and take it from there.”

Sal doesn’t necessarily prefer driving over flying, but after what happened to him on his flight across the pond to Europe last year, he’s more than happy to stay on the road and avoid the air for a while.

“On the flight over to Europe I had a little congestion in my nose and sinuses, and when the plane started to descend, I felt a lot of pain in my eardrums,” Sal says. “They felt like they were going to pop, but they never did.

“The entire time we were in Europe, which was about 12 days, my hearing wasn’t right. It was all plugged up. We took a cruise from Rome back to Miami, and it wasn’t until we got back to the States that my ears finally popped.

“After they popped, though, this strange noise started up in my right ear. It was like crickets out in the woods chirping. It got so bad that I actually had panic attacks over it, so I went to see a couple of doctors and was eventually told I needed to see an audiologist.”

Sal conducted his search for an audiologist and based on location and the favorable reviews he read of the practice, he visited Gulf Coast Audiology in Fort Myers. That’s where he was placed in the care of Elizabeth Burns, AuD.

Varying Levels of Annoyance

Dr. Burns began her care of Sal with a comprehensive evaluation that showed Sal had a significant high-frequency hearing loss in both ears. As for the sound of crickets chirping, that was tinnitus. Often referred to as ringing in the ears, tinnitus can present itself as a varying or constant humming, ringing or buzzing sound. It is known to affect between 10 and 15 percent of the population, some severely.

“Tinnitus varies in its levels of annoyance, but a quarter of those who suffer from it suffer to a degree so great that it negatively impacts their daily lives,” says Drianis Duran, AuD, of Gulf Coast Audiology. “When that happens, it becomes necessary to seek medical attention for it. In those cases, the brain becomes so focused on the tinnitus that it causes stress and anxiety. That’s where Sal was when he came to us. He was losing sleep and was so focused on his tinnitus that he was having panic attacks.”

Unless it develops as a side effect from medication or a change in diet, tinnitus usually cannot be cured. It can, however, be treated and is often done so through the use of hearing devices that can be connected to a tinnitus masking program.

“I’m a lot more relaxed and I’m not getting the panic attacks like before, so the hearing aids have helped me a lot.” – Sal.

A tinnitus masking program can be controlled through an app on a smartphone and can generate a wide array of sounds such as ocean breezes, white noise or rustling winds that can block the sound that is causing the annoyance.

Dr. Burns started her treatment of Sal by fitting him with just such a program. For Sal, though, the sounds generated by the external app didn’t provide enough of a distraction to take his mind off the tinnitus.

Dr. Burns then put Sal into an advanced pair of hearing aids, one for each ear.

“The reason for that is because Sal does have a severe hearing loss,” Dr. Burns explains. “Sometimes, when you restore the ability to hear speech and environmental sounds, the annoyance caused by the tinnitus dissipates.”

Center Stage

Sal Munizzi

“Think of it like this,” Dr. Duran adds. “If there’s an absence of sound due to hearing loss, the tinnitus is going to take center stage. So naturally, a person with tinnitus is going to focus on that one sound.

“When you restore the sounds you normally hear, the brain receives those sounds as well, so now, you’re naturally masking the tinnitus. And for patients who still need a little more help, there are hearing aids that come with tinnitus masking programs in them.”

The model of hearing aids Sal received is the Phonak Marvel 90s. They include a built-in tinnitus masking program that can produce many sounds, but they do far more.
They also include Bluetooth technology that allows the wearer to stream sounds from an exterior source such as a TV, phone or computer through the hearing aids and programs that can reduce ambient noises in crowded surroundings.

“They’re quite the instruments,” Sal says. “I’m amazed at all the things you can do with them, but I’m most pleased, of course, with how it’s helped me deal with the tinnitus. It’s still there, but I use a white noise sound to block it out, and it’s working very well.

“The tinnitus doesn’t bother me during the day because I’m so busy, but at night when there’s no noise, I still notice it sometimes. So I play some mellow music, and that helps.

“The tinnitus is only in my right ear, so when I go to bed I usually leave the hearing aid in my right ear and take the other one out. By playing that mellow music in my right ear, that helps me fall asleep. And, like I said, it’s working out really well.

“I’m a lot more relaxed and I’m not getting the panic attacks like before, so the hearing aids have helped me a lot. I can’t thank Dr. Burns and Dr. Duran enough for their help. They’re great, and I absolutely recommend them.”

New Hope For Depression

Therapy using magnetic stimulation brightens her life after meds could not.

Just as it had been for the previous five years, Florida real estate was in a seller’s market when the calendar turned to 2020. Then the coronavirus began to spread and would-be home sellers began taking their properties off the market.

Betsie Welch with a thumbs up and holding a sold sign

Betsie is sold on TMS therapy.

“Now we’re in a hyper-seller’s market,” says Betsie Welch, 61, a Tampa Bay area real estate agent.

Betsie is an engaging sort who has a personality bright enough to light up a dark room. Which is why you’d never know she has struggled with depression for nearly 40 years.

“My battle with depression began when I was 25,” Betsie reveals. “I was engaged to the wrong guy, and after our breakup I went through a real bad bout of depression that lasted about six months.

“I got through that with the help of a good therapist, then got married at the age of 30 and a few years later started a family. I was fine until I was 38, when all of a sudden, the depression hit me
again out of nowhere.

“I don’t know what brought it on. It might have been that I was sleep-deprived because I had three small children under the age of 5, and I was going to bed at 2 a.m. and getting up at 6. But whatever it was, it really threw me.

“All of a sudden, I felt very empty, or like I was falling down a hole I couldn’t get out of. It was the weirdest thing, because no matter how much you cry, you still feel lost. When you have depression, you don’t just feel sad, you feel as if you’re in despair.”

Betsie says it took her two years to escape her second bout with depression, and after that she was fine for about 20 years. Then, about two years ago, her antidepressant suddenly lost
its effectiveness.

That prompted a change in medications, which worked for a few months. What made the situation worse was her psychiatrist retiring during the time between starting the medication and it wearing off.

“At that point I thought, Oh, my gosh, what do I do now,” Betsie says. “But then I found the right medication. And it was helping but not as much as it really should have, so I started reading and asking about TMS therapy. The more I asked about it, the more I thought, I should try this.”

The TMS Era

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008 for people with treatment-resistant depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the parts of the brain that are insufficiently active in people with depression.

The magnetic pulses are similar to those emitted during an MRI, the difference being they are delivered through a cup-shaped device that is placed on the prefrontal cortex while the patient rests comfortably in a chair similar to a dentist’s chair.

TMS treatments last for 18 minutes, 45 seconds, with patients usually receiving a total of 36 treatments, Monday through Friday, over an eight-week period.

Far different than electroconvulsive therapy, which uses an electric stimulus, TMS treatments are administered in the doctor’s office, and considered safe and easy on the body. The most common side effect is some mild to moderate scalp discomfort from the application.

“What TMS does is stimulate blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain, which is where the emotional regulatory centers are located,” says Charles DeVine, MD, of TMS of Central Florida. “By increasing that blood flow, the brain is stimulated to more effectively regulate its own blood sugar, which is what we’re trying to target with medications.

“At its core, TMS is a noninvasive, nonmedicinal therapy that produces a genuine anatomical change, which in terms of regulating blood sugar is different than insulin. While insulin helps somebody regulate blood sugar, you need to keep taking insulin to keep it regulated. That’s not the case with TMS.

“When TMS is successful, there is a true anatomical and physiological change within the brain. The anatomical change is the increased blood flow. The physiological change is the better regulation of blood sugar and brain chemistry that produces a result where people can either come off their medication altogether or function better with it.”

Happy Days

The amount of time it takes for patients to begin realizing results varies. Many notice a change after a few treatments. Others don’t notice a difference in their mood
for several weeks.

In Betsie’s case, it took a few months and a second course to realize the benefits.

“I went through the whole regimen, and it helped me a little but not as much as I hoped it would,” Betsie reports on the first course. “About three months ago, I decided I wanted to try TMS therapy again, and this time it really helped. Now I’m feeling like myself again.”

Dr. DeVine has noticed the change. He says Betsie “is doing fantastic” and further notes that “there is a spring in her step and a light in her eyes that wasn’t there” when they met.

Betsie says prayer and persistence played a big part in her recovery.

“I had so many people praying for me that God was probably perturbed by it all, but TMS really worked,” Betsie says. “What I want people to know is that if TMS doesn’t work for you the first time, don’t give up on it. Try it a second time.

“That second try was when it really kicked in for me and when all my prayers and the prayers of so many people who were praying for me were finally answered. So I highly recommend TMS therapy. And I recommend Dr. DeVine as well.

“He’s very professional and caring, but he’s also very personable and funny. In fact, he’s the funniest psychiatrist I’ve ever been to. He not only helps to heal your brain and get your depression under control, but he has a sense of humor, too.

“With Dr. DeVine, even if you feel like crying, he can get you laughing, because he’s got a great personality.”

Prevention Plan

Ozone sauna therapy a new twist in fight against viruses – and more.

Since retiring 17 years ago, Linda Arce, 70, has devoted a good part of almost every day to improving her physical and mental health. That’s one of the reasons she and her husband chose to move to The Villages®.

Linda Arce

“We were drawn by all the activities they have here,” Linda confirms. “I especially love playing pickleball in the morning, and usually play for about an hour and a half seven days a week. I also play golf and table tennis.

“To keep our minds active, we like to play cards. We play games like double-deck pinochle, cribbage and euchre. But it’s the sports I love the most. I’m not a real crafts type of person. I’m a sports person, and I love staying active in sports.”

A former tournament bowler, Linda’s love of sports is so great that she has remained active even through some health challenges, not the least of which is a respiratory issue she has dealt with since childhood.

“I’ve had chronic bronchitis since I was a little girl,” Linda reveals. “In fact, my doctors have told me that my lungs are actually scarred from all the bronchial attacks and coughing that I’ve been through. On top of that, I now have asthma, too.

“I have a lot of difficulty breathing, especially during allergy season, and my chest gets so congested that my coughing is horrible. It’s so bad that I have to be careful not to go into a coughing fit in front of people because they’ll think I’ve got COVID-19, and I don’t.”

Ironically, it was just after COVID-19 began to spread that Linda learned of a treatment that could not only aid her breathing, but also possibly improve her chances of warding off the coronavirus. She learned about it at a health center in Summerfield called iPulse.

Activated Oxygen

Founded by Peter DeSimone, iPulse is an all-natural technology-based wellness center that offers noninvasive, drug-free remedies for chronic pain, swelling and other maladies. One of those treatments is called ozone sauna therapy.

Ozone Sauna Therapy has helped alleviate some of the symptoms of Linda’s chronic bronchitis.

A new twist on an ages-old idea, ozone sauna therapy uses steam to naturally cleanse and oxygenate the body and strengthen its immune system. That, in turn, has wide-ranging beneficial effects on a person’s health and well-being.

Those effects used to be realized through time spent in steam baths or thermal springs, but they can now be realized by relaxing for about a half-hour a few times a week in a specially designed private sauna cabinet, or pod.

“There are hundreds of years of medical literature showing that viruses cannot live in the presence of ozone.” – Peter DeSimone

The sauna cabinet creates an environment where activated oxygen, or ozone, is absorbed through the pores of the occupant’s skin and into the bloodstream, lymphatic system and fat tissue. Once inside the body, the ozone goes to work detoxifying the lymphatic system, clearing the skin, relaxing the muscles and accelerating blood flow, which can assist the body in killing bacteria,
viruses and microorganisms.

“Ozone literally kills just about everything that’s bad in the body,” Peter explains. “It will kill mold, fungus and bacteria, even cancer and viruses. In fact, there are hundreds of years of medical literature showing viruses cannot live in the presence of ozone.

“So when President Trump was brainstorming out loud a while back and sort of asked if there was a way to put Clorox® or Lysol in the body and kill the virus, he actually had the right idea. He just used the wrong words. If he had suggested putting ozone into the body, that would have made sense because you can safely put ozone in the body, where it will act as a defense mechanism. And it’s better than waiting for a vaccine, therapeutics or something else to come along.”

Linda first visited iPulse a little more than a year ago while searching for an alternative treatment for back and elbow pain. She has been a regular ever since, and when Peter mentioned ozone sauna therapy, she jumped at the chance to give it a try.

“I started in January doing the ozone sauna therapy five times a week, and I did that for the whole month of January,” Linda explains. “Since then, I’ve been going once every two weeks just to make sure the ozone stays alive in me.

“Peter told me that ozone stays alive in the body between two and four weeks, so by going every other week I’m hoping to build up my immune system because with all my respiratory issues, if I get COVID-19, I’m afraid I may not survive.

“So I’m doing it mostly as a preventative measure to protect me from COVID-19. But ever since I started ozone sauna therapy, I feel like I’ve been breathing better. I’ll know for sure when allergy season comes around, but I feel wonderful right now.

“In fact, I recently told Peter that I can’t remember the last time I felt so good because my back pain and elbow pain are pretty much gone, too. I get an occasional flare-up of back pain every now and then, but it’s nothing like it was before, and I thank Peter for that.”

Reverse Osteoporosis

Once-a-week, 15-minute sessions increase bone density.

Building a healthy, satisfying and durable marriage doesn’t require a lot of hard work. It just requires a lot of compromise over issues as important as how to discipline children and as inconsequential as who should control the TV remote.

Linda says her OsteoStrong sessions have helped her regain strength, balance and confidence.

So writes Linda Riley in her latest book, Live a Life of Love.

“It’s not necessarily a marriage book,” Linda relates. “It’s a book about being considerate to others and how putting the two great commandments to love into your life can make you a more loving person. Those two commandments are to love God and love yourself, but a big part of that is loving yourself. I personally feel that it’s difficult to love others to the fullest extent if you don’t love yourself as well.”

Linda, 67, speaks from experience. She has spent most of her adult life caring for others, first as a mother to eight adopted children and then as a caregiver to her parents in the five years before her father passed away.

She also spent the last few years of her husband’s life as a caregiver to him. When her husband died this past December, Linda began focusing on herself again. As part of that refocusing effort, she made a cross-country move from Arizona to Florida.

“After my husband passed, I hit a physical and emotional low that was very tough for me,” Linda says. “I moved to The Villages® to rehabilitate myself because I wanted to be in a pleasant and beautiful place and start building myself back up again.

“That was a rather foreign concept to me, but I slowly figured it out and started doing things like swimming every day, walking my dog twice a day and eating right. I feel that to be right emotionally you need to be right physically, and that was my goal.

“That’s also why I got into OsteoStrong. They opened their new facility near here just after I arrived. I dropped by one day to learn about it and was very impressed. The program made a lot of sense to me, so I decided to give it a try.”

You Create the Force

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis and its precursor osteopenia, two potentially severe conditions that can greatly increase the risk of bone breaks throughout the body.

Found most often in postmenopausal women, osteopenia and osteoporosis develop when new bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

“I have not been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, but I felt like I needed to get involved in a program that would help me strengthen my body and give me more support and balance, and this just seemed right for me,” Linda says.

The OsteoStrong program is designed to not only rebuild bone, but also improve posture, balance and athletic performance through once-a-week, 15-minute sessions that utilize proprietary equipment to achieve osteogenesis.

The equipment includes four biomechanical machines that allow users to be placed in the safest and strongest position. During these sessions, users can safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight.

“The difference between our equipment and that used at a traditional gym is our equipment is focused to strengthen the skeletal system, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscle,” states Bill Atterbury, owner of OsteoStrong near The Villages.

“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the leg press, for example, I’ve had ladies in their 80s who weigh 100 pounds press 1,000 pounds. That’s because the equipment is designed to keep you in a safe position.

“For a person who weighs 100 pounds to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would need to create a resistance of well over 400 pounds. That simply cannot be done for 99 percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights they couldn’t physically move. Or, if they could move them, they’d be at high risk of injury.”

Resistance Yields Results

To understand the difference, Bill invites people to come in and try the equipment, noting that his facility offers a complimentary tour and session.

“What we do at OsteoStrong is help people build a stronger skeletal system, which further allows them to live a healthier, more active lifestyle,” Bill adds. “That’s why I felt it was so important to open an OsteoStrong facility near The Villages.

“I’m a resident of The Villages myself, and I know that the people who live in this area are very conscientious about living healthy, active lives. If I can help give them another 10 or 15 years of that healthy, active lifestyle, that’s a winning situation for all involved. That’s why we are here near The Villages.

“This is an amazing concept based on a century-old theory called Wolff’s Law that looked into the body’s natural adaptive response to growing new bone and improving bone density.

“Through that theory and years of research, we have come to learn that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. That’s a known medical fact. And the results of these short sessions are absolutely amazing.

“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from 7 to 14 percent per year. Also, people will increase their strength by an average of 73 percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.”

Studies also show that having an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote any additional benefit. As a result, the sessions are not only impactful, but time efficient. And their advantages go beyond reversing osteoporosis.

They can also help to alleviate pain and suffering associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, knee and back pain, neuropathy, Type 2 diabetes and vertigo. But that’s just one reason Bill encourages people of all ages to accept his invitation to try out the OsteoStrong equipment.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to old people,” he explains. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between. And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

“In addition to helping them recover from it, OsteoStrong wants to help educate people about bone loss. The skeletal framework is the most important part of the body, and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”

Highly Recommended

The changes the program have made in Linda’s life are dramatic. She says that since she began visiting the facility for weekly sessions in May, she has built up strength throughout her body as well as confidence.

“I feel much better and far stronger all the way around, and my balance is better, too” she says. “When I walk now, I don’t feel like I might fall over at any minute the way I used to. I feel more like I did when I was in my 40s.

“I feel like I’m more competent with my body, as if it’s going to go where I want it to go and do what I want it to do. For me, the very minimal investment in time that you make when doing the OsteoStrong workouts has really paid off.

“I always look forward to my OsteoStrong sessions and seeing all the people there. They’re all so
friendly and engaging.

“I enjoy doing the exercises, too, and when I’m done, I always go into the massage bed and just relax. That’s like the finishing touch of heavenly bliss you get when you’re all done, which is why I always feel so good whenever I leave there. That’s also why I recommend OsteoStrong anytime I get the chance. I just love it.”

Feel It In Your Bones

Innovative once-a-week, 15-minute exercise sessions reverse osteoporosis.

Like a lot of young children, Pam Townsend probably worked harder at getting out of her piano lessons than she did at getting into them. After all, it wasn’t her idea to take up the piano. It was her mother’s. And back then Pam just wasn’t into it.

OsteoStrong has given Pam the strength, balance and confidence to resume her active lifestyle.

She’s into them now, though.

“After several years, my mother finally relented and let me give up the piano lessons,” Pam relates. “But after I retired, I thought, You know, I’d really like to learn the piano now, sort of in honor of my mother.

“So, my husband bought me a really nice piano, and I started learning again just before the COVID thing struck. Now I practice for at least an hour every day, and I really love it. It’s funny sometimes how you appreciate things more after you get older.”

Pam, who lives in North Tampa, gladly squeezes her piano lessons into a busy schedule that is geared, in part, to correcting the effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis, two potentially severe conditions that can greatly increase the risk of bone breaks throughout the body.

Found most often in post-menopausal women, osteopenia and osteoporosis develop when new bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

About 54 million Americans suffer from either osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, all of which place victims such as Pam at an increased risk for hip, spine, wrist and other bone breaks.

Osteoporosis can even cause some to lose height, as it can affect the bones in the spine and lead to a stooped posture. Considered a silent disease by many physicians, osteoporosis often goes undetected until a bone fracture occurs.

“I have both, osteopenia and osteoporosis,” Pam reveals. “I was diagnosed with them about five years ago, and I was originally put on Forteo, which is a medicine you inject yourself with every day.

“But you can only be on that for two years, then you need to do something else. So I was looking at going on Prolia, which is another medication that you get injected every six months, but I really didn’t want to do that because of the side effects.

“Then one day I was at a doctor’s appointment for my husband, and while we were waiting I saw a copy of Florida Health Care News and read an article about OsteoStrong. After reading the article I thought, This is something I should try.”

Revolutionary Program

Located in South Pasadena, OsteoStrong is a revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Statistics show that half of all women and one-fourth of all men will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point. Those odds are among the reasons Pam decided to check out OsteoStrong.

“After reading the article about OsteoStrong, I felt like this was something that I could do for myself and feel comfortable with,” Pam explains. “That was two years ago, and at first I was going to a location in Tampa. I went there for about a year, but then the owner of that one retired and closed it up.

“After that, I started going to the location in Pasadena. It takes me about an hour to get there, but it’s worth it. That’s how much I believe in OsteoStrong.”

The OsteoStrong program is designed to help people rebuild bone through once-a-week, 15-minute workout sessions that utilize specially designed strengthening equipment.

The equipment includes four biomechanical machines that allow users to perform resistance-based pushing and pulling exercises with their arms and/or legs. During these sessions, users can safely exert pressure four to 12 times their body weight.

“The difference between our biomechanical equipment and that used at a traditional gym is that our equipment creates an osteogenic load, which means tension is developed without contraction of the muscle,” states Mark Brady, president of OsteoStrong in South Pasadena.

“There is no force pushing against you, which means you create the force. On the lower body growth trigger, for example, I’ve had ladies in their 80s who weigh 100 pounds produce 1,000 pounds of force.

“For a person who weighs 100 pounds to develop new bone using traditional weight equipment, they would need to lift more than 400 pounds. That simply can’t be done for 99 percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights they couldn’t physically move. Or, if they could move them, they’d be at high risk of injury.”

Resistance Yields Results

To understand the difference in OsteoStrong’s equipment, Mark invites people to come in and try it out, noting that his facility offers a free session that allows newcomers to experience the OsteoStrong workout.

“This is an amazing concept that is the culmination of 12 years of research that looked into the body’s adaptive response to growing new bone and muscle structure and improving the density of the bones we have,” Mark says.

“As a result of that research, it is now a known medical fact that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. And the results of these short workouts are absolutely amazing.

“On average, our studies have found that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from 3 to 7 percent a year.” – Mark

“On average, our studies show that OsteoStrong improves people’s bone density from 7 to 14 percent a year. In addition, people will increase their strength by an average of 73 percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.”

Mark also points out that similar studies show that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote any additional benefit. As a result, the workouts are impactful and efficient.

Mark encourages men and women of all ages to accept his invitation to try out the OsteoStrong equipment. He further notes it’s important to know that osteoporosis is not a disorder that is exclusive to a specific age group or gender.

“Osteoporosis is not something that develops only when older,” he explains. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between. And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.

“In addition to helping them recover from it, OsteoStrong wants to help educate people about bone loss. The skeletal framework is the most important part of the body, and you need to take care of it and be aware of changes to it.”

Routinely Recommended

Pam has not had a bone density scan since beginning the OsteoStrong workouts (she had one scheduled in the spring that was canceled because of COVID-19), but she says she is feeling the effects of the 15-minute sessions.

“I’ve definitely gotten stronger, and my balance is much better since I started doing OsteoStrong sessions,” Pam says.

“For example, I can stand on one foot and tie my shoes now. But there’s something else I’m even happier about. My husband and I are avid hikers. We used to go hiking all the time, but after I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, we stopped taking our hiking trips. Then last year, thanks to OsteoStrong, I suddenly had this new sense of adventure and exploration.

“After two years of doing the OsteoStrong training, I felt like I had the strength and balance to try hiking again. So we went to Bryce Canyon in Utah, and I spent about six hours each day hiking all through the mountains.

“I know that had I not done the OsteoStrong training I would not have made it, and now we’re planning another hiking trip for the spring to Maine because OsteoStrong has given me the confidence that I’m building bone again.

“I can literally feel it in my bones, so I wholeheartedly recommend OsteoStrong. In fact, I’ve already told my daughter about it and encouraged her to try it because at some point she may be facing this problem, too.

“OsteoStrong is a great program and all the people you work with there are great as well. They’re all so nice and accommodating, and I can honestly say that my OsteoStrong sessions are something I literally look forward to doing every week.”

Know Your Options

The best fix for your failing smile is a suggestion away.

In 1974, at a time when riesling was riding a wave of popularity among connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers alike, a 1972 riesling bottled by a small Washington state winery called Chateau Ste. Michelle won first prize in a blind tasting in Los Angeles.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

John Kerry

Six years later, John Kerry went to work for that small winery outside Seattle.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” says John, who had previously worked for a wine wholesaler in Washington, DC. “I was hired to expand the company’s business in the South and East, beginning in Florida, where I moved and set up my base of operations.”

To say that John performed well in his job would be an understatement. In the years following John’s arrival, Chateau Ste. Michelle grew into the largest producer of riesling in the world, turning out more than 500,000 cases a year.

As the label grew, eventually expanding distribution to more than 100 countries, so did John’s reputation within the wine industry. He eventually parlayed his success into a position as the fine-wine manager for the nation’s largest wine importer.

Now 74, John mostly sips wine as part of a relaxing retirement at Westminster Shores, his St. Petersburg seniors community.
Unfortunately, his retirement was interrupted one day a few years ago when a front center tooth suddenly broke, forcing him to make an emergency visit to his dentist.

“My tooth didn’t break off, it was just kind of dangling,” John remembers. “So I went to my dentist right away, but his staff couldn’t help me. Out of desperation, I left and went back home to Westminster Shores, went into a room full of people there and yelled out, Does anybody here know a good dentist? Several people called out the name of Dr. Sherberg, whose office is just down the street from where I live. So, I called, and thankfully Dr. Sherberg was able to take me in right away that same day.”

David Sherberg, DMD, FAGD, is the proprietor of Bayway Dental, where he practices sedation dentistry and has the skill and technology to perform virtually any dental procedure.

“We’re a one-stop shop, so most of our patients don’t need to see a specialist to get the care they need,” Dr. Sherberg says. “We do root canals, crowns, dentures, implants, veneers, extractions, just about everything.

“And we do a lot of that work under sedation. I am certified in IV sedation, which is a claim that only a handful of general dentists in St. Petersburg can make. One of the great things about sedation dentistry is that it allows patients requiring a lot of work to get that work done in just a few appointments.”Before, after and page 4 photos courtesy of Bayway Dental.

John arrived at Dr. Sherberg’s office thinking he only needed a single tooth repaired. During his initial examination, however, Dr. Sherberg discovered that John was missing several teeth in his upper arch, where he was wearing a removable partial denture.

“John told me he hated that partial but was under the impression he would have to live with it because there were no other options,” Dr. Sherberg explains. “So I asked him, Hasn’t anyone ever told you about dental implants or fixed teeth in general?

“He said, No, so I said, Well, how would you like to be able to chew all the foods you used to chew when you had all your upper teeth and not have to take this appliance in and out of your mouth all the time?” He said, “I would love that.

“I don’t know why, but no one had ever explained to him all the options that are available for replacing his missing teeth. So, I went over all those options with him and we quickly agreed on a treatment plan featuring dental implants.”

Immediate Impact

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once the implant is in the jawbone, new bone naturally grows around it to form the foundation for replacement teeth.

The replacement teeth can be a single crown that is either cemented to or screwed onto an abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a full denture that can be fastened to a series of implants.

“There are many options, and it’s important to find the right plan for each patient’s specific needs,” Dr Sherberg notes.

Prior to placing an implant, some patients require a bone grafting procedure designed to enhance the volume of the jawbone so that it can properly support the implant. The bone development requires about three months.

The time usually needed for implants to heal to the point where they can support a prosthetic is between three and six months, but with his Immediate Teeth option, Dr. Sherberg can provide patients with new teeth immediately.

The latter option calls for the patient to receive four to six implants situated so the patient can be fit immediately with a temporary fixed denture that is later replaced by the permanent fixed denture.

“We call that the All-on-Four, -Five or -Six Protocol, and what’s great about it is that someone can literally have all their teeth taken out and then have their implants and temporary teeth placed at the same time, in one day,” Dr. Sherberg confirms.

“Another benefit of this protocol is that it’s rare that we need to do any bone grafting with it. We’re usually able to fit the implants into places where there’s enough bone to support them, which saves the patient time and money.

“When performing implant procedures, we also complete prosthetic planning where we analyze the patient’s jaw in 3D and map the case out digitally. From those digital plans, we make guides that we use during surgery to place the implants in the exact spots they need to be.”

Less than 5 percent of the implants placed in the US utilize this technology, but Dr. Sherberg believes it is such an improvement on the standard process that he provides it at no additional cost.

Rave Reviews

Dr. Sherberg made use of all of those tools in treating John, who had all of his remaining upper teeth extracted and took advantage of the fixed implant option, Immediate Teeth, where one is fit with a fixed full upper denture.

Before, after and page 4 photos courtesy of Bayway Dental.

Dr. Sherberg and John attend a dental education dinner in 2019.

“The only difference between this case and most of the others I’ve done is that we didn’t give John a temporary on the day of implant placement,” Dr. Sherberg notes. “We did a staged approach with him, so he just wore his old partial until the fixed appliance was ready.

“We also did some other work with John, who had some non-restorable teeth on his bottom arch as well. We replaced those failing bottom teeth – three in all – with implants and single crowns and placed new crowns on a couple of other bottom teeth.”

John has been in Dr. Sherberg’s care for a few years now and says his dental health has never been better. He says he greatly appreciates
Dr. Sherberg’s work and the manner in which he treats his patients.

“Prior to seeing Dr. Sherberg, none of the dentists I’d been to had any kind of plan for me,” John explains. “They all just wanted to do more bridges and partials. But with Dr. Sherberg, he offered me several treatment plans with different pricing options.

“And he was very detailed. He explained every step of the process with each of them, including the cost and how long each would take to complete. And in the end, everything went exactly as he planned it.

“That’s why I have full trust in Dr. Sherberg and why I have referred him to several residents in the community where I live. And everyone who has gone to him has come back to me raving about how good he is and how much they like him.”

Triple Play

Revolutionary replacement lens provides clear vision at all distances.

Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are classified as vulnerable, threatened or endangered. Denise Testa is among those working hard to keep the six species in peril from becoming extinct.

The PanOptix lens has given Denise “crystal clear” vision.

From April through October, Denise begins and ends two or three days each week by walking the beaches of Pinellas County in search of nesting sea turtles, which play a critical role in maintaining the marine ecosystem.

Without sea turtles, many of the ocean’s other species would also soon die out. In time, that could affect the existence of humans. So Denise, a University of Florida graduate who worked 35 years for the Social Security Administration, happily devotes a slice of her free time to protecting the environment.

“It’s a great volunteer organization that I work with,” Denise says of Sea Turtle Trackers. “We spend about six months doing the actual tracking, and the rest of the year is devoted to education and training. I really love being a part of it.”

The job of volunteers such as Denise is to search for the tracks of mother sea turtles or their nests just before dawn and after sunset. It’s a job that requires a well-trained eye, but Denise’s vision began to fail her two years ago.

“The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t seeing as clearly at night as I used to, and because of that I was having a hard time driving at night,” Denise says. “And then my distance vision, which had always been my strong suit, started to diminish.”

Denise brought her fading vision to the attention of her eye doctor, David E. Hall, MD, of Pasadena Eye Center, in October 2018.

After conducting a thorough examination, Dr. Hall informed Denise that her problem was being caused by cataracts, which is a clouding of the normally clear natural lens of the eye that occurs as part of the aging process.

Lens Factors

As they did with Denise, cataracts typically develop because of a breakdown of the eye’s lens fibers, a clumping of the eye’s proteins or both. They usually result in blurred vision, an increase in the eye’s sensitivity to light or a reduction in the vibrancy of colors.

There is no known way to prevent or slow the development of cataracts, which mostly affect people 55 and older but can develop earlier. Thankfully, surgery to remove cataracts has become one of the most common procedures in all of medicine.

More than 4 million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the United States. In October 2019, a year after she was diagnosed, Denise learned that she was ready to become a part of that statistic.

“It was during my annual visit with Dr. Hall that he told me my cataracts were ready to come out,” Denise reports. “He then explained in great detail everything that happens during the surgery, including how he removes the cataracts and what happens after that.”

“The nicest thing is that I can see short distances, long distance and everything in between without glasses now.” – Denise

Cataract surgery is typically performed one eye at a time, with a week or two in between. During the procedure, the clouded natural lens is broken up and removed with an ultrasonic device. It is then replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL.

IOLs are made of acrylic or silicone and coated with special material to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. During surgery, the IOL is rolled up and placed in the eye. Once in place, the IOL unfolds and side structures called haptics hold it in place.

Like contact lenses, IOLs are available in different focusing powers. Standard IOLs correct vision primarily for distance, but patients can have one eye fixed for distance and the other fixed for reading, an option called monovision.

A third option is multifocal IOLs. One acts like a bifocal lens to correct distance and either reading or intermediate vision. A more advanced multifocal lens acts like a trifocal lens and corrects distance, reading and intermediate vision.

The trifocal variety, which was not available when Denise was first diagnosed with cataracts, is called the PanOptix® lens. For people who want to be truly glasses-free following cataract surgery, it is fast becoming the IOL most often recommended by doctors.

The PanOptix is “one of the most exciting things that’s happened in cataract surgery in years,” Dr. Hall says. “I’m so happy with the results we’re getting from it that I’ve made it my lens of choice for all my patients who want multifocal IOLs.”

Dr. Hall warns that the PanOptix lens may not work well for every patient. He notes that patients with a corneal condition, macular degeneration or diplopia (double vision) are not good candidates.

But for patients such as Denise, or anyone who may be nearsighted but does not have another lingering vision issue, the PanOptix is now considered the gold standard for replacement lenses during cataract surgery.

“I believe it’s the best option we can offer a patient who wants to be rid of glasses,” Dr. Hall concludes. “There’s no other lens like it, so for patients who are active or no longer want the inconvenience of glasses, I highly recommend the PanOptix.”

Glasses-Free

Dr. Hall did exactly that in recommending an IOL for Denise, who considers herself fortunate that she didn’t have her cataracts removed when they were first diagnosed. Had she done that, she says, she might not be seeing as clearly now.

“I only started wearing glasses about 12 or 15 years ago, but they were always an annoyance,” Denise laments. “And then you have to get sunglasses and switch them all the time, so it was quite a bother really.

“But now I don’t need glasses at all. I don’t need them to read, to see off in the distance or even to look at something on a computer. I can’t tell you how happy I am with the results of my cataract surgery. I’m literally seeing better than I’ve ever seen before.

“And it’s not just at all distances that I see better. Everything is so much crisper, clearer and brighter. And colors are so much more vibrant. That’s something I didn’t realize until after I had the surgery was how much colors had faded for me.

“But the nicest thing is that I can see short distances, long distance and everything in between without glasses. I really didn’t understand how that worked until I got these new lenses, but it’s awesome to see everything crystal clear again.”

Order Up

Since March, when the coronavirus began to spread across the country, online ordering has become the primary source of revenue for many restaurants large and small. David Gallagher plays a critical role in the fulfillment of those online orders.

Denise’s photo by Jordan Pysz.

A two-minute procedure,
performed during cataract surgery, provided David with a long-term fix for his glaucoma.

“I manage an application support team for a software development company in the restaurant industry,” David says. “We’re the integration piece between the restaurant and the application or online service that brings them their customers.”

David’s business has been booming for a while now, but it received an unexpected boost from the fallout associated with the coronavirus. David’s company now serves as “the integration piece” between more than 50 applications and 22,000 restaurants.

That makes David, 53, a busy man. He’s so busy, in fact, that he wears a Fitbit to remind him to occasionally get up, stretch his legs and get his heart pumping a bit. Not long ago, David began taking those breaks for reasons other than his heart health.

“I probably spend 90 percent of my day staring at computer screens, so you get to a point every once in a while where you can no longer read what’s on the screen or the eye strain is just so bad that you have to take a break,” David says.

“Well, that started to happen more frequently. I could feel it in the back of my eye and the back of my head. There was a lot of tension there, so I was having to take breaks more often to relieve the tension and just defocus.”

A glasses wearer since the third grade who “graduated” to bifocals in his 20s, David also began to experience rapid changes in his distance vision. At first, those changes were occurring about once a year, but they soon increased to once every six months.

Concerned about the eye strain and the changes in his glasses’ prescription, David visited his eye doctor, who recommended that he see a specialist. After doing some research, David opted to see Dr. Hall.

Sharp Curve Ahead

Dr. Hall first saw David this past May. During that initial visit, Dr. Hall learned that David was diagnosed two years earlier with cataracts and treated for glaucoma, a condition where increased eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve.

“In examining David, I found that his eye pressure was normal but in the upper range of normal,” Dr. Hall relates. “I also found that he had very significant cataracts and that he had a very large amount of astigmatism in both eyes.”

An astigmatism is an imperfect curvature of the lens that can cause blurred vision. In David’s case, the astigmatism combined with cataracts to create a nearsighted situation in which David could only see clearly if objects were very close to him.

Dr. Hall suggested removing the cataracts and correcting the astigmatism through the insertion of a toric IOL. He also recommended performing a laser treatment to further correct David’s glaucoma.

“I used to see just a blur of color, but now I can make out each flower and leaf because everything is more defined and in focus.” – David

“When you have glaucoma, the pressure in the eye goes up because there’s an imbalance of the fluid flowing inside the eye and out,” Dr. Hall educates. “So all glaucoma treatments are designed to either slow the flow of fluid coming in or speed up the flow going out.

“Eye drops are one such treatment, but David had previously undergone what is known as an SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty) laser treatment that increased the drainage in his eyes and allowed him to get off the drops.

“What I suggested doing is an ECP (endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation) laser treatment, where you aim the laser right at the ciliary body that makes the saline that fills the eye. The laser turns off those cells so that there’s about 35 percent less fluid coming in.”

The difference between the SLT and ECP treatment is that the SLT can be done in a doctor’s office, where the eyes are treated externally. An ECP must be performed from inside the eye, much like cataract surgery.

“It takes less than two minutes, and since I would be in the eye already to remove his cataracts, I recommended the ECP procedure as a way to lower David’s eye pressure long term,” Dr. Hall reports. “Thankfully, David agreed to the treatment.”

As expected, Dr. Hall performed the ECP while completing David’s cataract removal. During that surgery, Dr. Hall followed David’s request and replaced his natural lenses with toric IOLs that only corrected David’s distance vision.

“I elected to have both eyes corrected for distance because I felt that was the better choice for me,” David says. “I still need to wear glasses to read, but that’s fine. I’ve been wearing them since I was a kid and actually feel naked without them.

“But I don’t need glasses to drive any more or to go out fishing, and that’s great, because for the previous couple of years, glasses couldn’t even get me to 20/20 vision.

“Now, my distance vision is 20/20, and it’s like night and day. I used to get a lot of glare when I was outside, especially if I was on the water, but I don’t have that anymore. Now, I can see the fish when I’m fishing and pick out all the flowers in a garden.

“I used to see just a blur of color, but now I can make out each flower and leaf because everything is more defined and in focus. It’s really remarkable what Dr. Hall and everyone at Pasadena Eye Center did for me.”

Pressure Relief

In addition to giving him clearer vision, Dr. Hall’s work also reduced David’s eye pressure. David sees Dr. Hall for an eye pressure checkup every four months, but if his pressure stays low he’ll soon be able to reduce those visits to every six months.

“I feel fortunate that I was able to find Dr. Hall, and I’ve already recommended him to others,” David says. “He’s a wonderful guy and a very pleasant man. He’s very patient with you, and he explains everything and answers every question you have.

“I appreciate that because when you do the same thing every day, your approach can become a bit mechanical. But Dr. Hall isn’t like that. You can tell that he really cares about you and how you’re doing, and I felt that from everyone on his staff as well.”

Denise is also a fan of Dr. Hall. She, too, has recommended the doctor and Pasadena Eye Center to friends, including 10 that she went to lunch with not long after her surgery.

“We were all looking at the menu, and one of my friends said, Denise, I can’t read this menu; can I borrow your glasses for a minute?” I told her, I don’t have glasses anymore because I don’t need them,” Denise remembers.

“They all heard that and said, Wait, what? And I told them all about my surgery and the PanOptix lens and said, You guys just wait; when you get your cataracts out, you’ll see this well, too. You won’t need glasses anymore to read fine print or anything, and you’re going to love it.”

A Beaming Transformation

Regain your ‘best accessory’ with a beautiful new smile.

With the leaves on the trees turning all shades of red, orange and yellow, an autumn afternoon in Norwood, Massachusetts, is a site to behold. For a beach lover like Karen Tenaglia, however, the Boston suburb leaves a little to be desired.

Karen Tenaglia in her garden.

Karen Tenaglia

It’s no wonder then that in 1997, after raising her three children, Karen followed in the footsteps of her father and her sister, and purchased a winter home in Florida that allows her to live the carefree beach life she long dreamed of.

“Massachusetts beaches are really nice, but Florida beaches are beautiful,” the Pompano Beach resident exclaims. “And the water is so much warmer. The water up north is cold, usually about 65 or 70 degrees. In Florida, it’s always pleasantly warm. I just love it.”

As do her son and two daughters. They’re scattered throughout Massachusetts, a couple raising families of their own, but they often fly to Florida for visits with their mother, who typically heads to Florida every October.

The spread of the coronavirus may force Karen to alter her annual plan this year, but she followed it a year ago as usual, and it resulted in a dramatic cosmetic change that was largely inspired by her sister.

“My sister told me before I came to see her that she was having some dental work done,” Karen explains. “I didn’t know the extent of it or anything like that, but I couldn’t believe it when I got there and saw her. She looked 15 years younger. She had this beautiful new smile and her face was filled out. Her teeth were just beautiful.

“I had been toying with the idea of doing something like that myself, and when I saw her I said, I’ve got to have the number of the dentist who did this work for you.

Beauty and Function

The dentist who restored her sister’s smile is Stephen G. Blank, DDS, who practices cosmetic and functional dentistry in Port St. Lucie.

“Your smile is your best accessory,” Dr. Blank explains. “That is the underlying assumption driving all our efforts. With that as our goal, we carefully design a plan that corrects any underlying issues so that the beautiful smiles we create will last.”

Karen first saw Dr. Blank last October for what Dr. Blank refers to as a smile design visit. During an initial consultation with a patient such as Karen, Dr. Blank conducts a thorough examination, discusses the patient’s wishes and prepares a treatment plan.

“Setting up a well-designed treatment plan is always the first step in creating a beautiful new smile,” Dr. Blank explains. “It’s the treatment plan that makes that new smile possible and gives it the beauty and functionality that are so critical to patient satisfaction.

“When setting up the treatment plan for Karen, we started by taking a full series of photographs and a digital scan of her teeth. We then decided how long her front teeth should be and whether we needed to change the position of any of them.

“We also discuss the coloring of the teeth, whether the patient wants a subtle change or wants the teeth to really pop. Karen wanted people to know she’d had some work done. She wanted to look good.”

To obtain Karen’s desired appearance, Dr. Blank started by removing several old crowns. Then, using a diagnostic model as his guide, he prepared 12 bottom teeth and 11 upper teeth for new crowns by reshaping the teeth.

The preparation of the lower teeth was done in a single visit during which Karen’s lower teeth were also fit with temporary crowns. Two weeks later, during one visit, Karen received her permanent lower crowns and had her upper teeth prepared for new crowns.

Karen, who was also fit with temporary upper crowns during that visit, was scheduled to receive her permanent upper crowns two weeks later. Because of the coronavirus, however, she was forced to wait more than two months.

A Winning Team

In addition to giving Karen the smile she wanted, Dr. Blank also improved the functionality of her bite.

“When Karen first came to see me, she had some issues with her right-side molars,” Dr. Blank explains. “Those molars were contacting first, and then she would shift her jaw a bit to the right after she closed her mouth. One of our goals was to even that out, which we did. We also did some bridge work where she was missing a tooth, so she didn’t get all single crowns. We even replaced some old implant dentistry, so everything got modernized.”

The transformation has left Karen beaming. She has a brighter, more beautiful smile that is as comfortable as it is aesthetically pleasing. And it was all done in four appointments.
“I couldn’t believe all of that work could be done in just four visits,” she said. “I thought that was great because, let’s face it, no one really wants to go to the dentist. But that’s not how I felt about seeing Dr. Blank.

“My entire experience with Dr. Blank was so positive that I have only wonderful things to say about him and his staff.” – Karen

“He is the kindest, gentlest man. I don’t like needles, but with Dr. Blank, I never knew he put a needle in my mouth. That’s how gentle he is. My entire experience with Dr. Blank was so positive that I have only wonderful things to say about him and his staff. The girls that work there are very kind and happy to see you. Along with Dr. Blank, they make a great team. They really complement each other, and the office is spotless. It’s so clean and comfortable. And Dr. Blank is so patient.

“He fit me with a snore guard as well, and I know I was kind of a pain in the neck during the fitting because he has to make sure it fits just right, but he took his time with that and I really appreciated it.

“He’s confident in himself and with the work he’s doing, and I like that. It really is a pleasure to be under his care. I was fortunate to have learned about Dr. Blank through my sister, and I’m happy to recommend him to anyone.”

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