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.”

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    • Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers

      Dr. Farag looks forward to hearing from readers of Florida Health Care News. Their office is conveniently located  at 16601 San Carlos Blvd. in Fort Myers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (239) 466-3131.... Read More

    • Katrine A. Farag, DMD

      Katrine A. Farag, DMD, earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Nova Southeastern University after completing her undergraduate studies in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the Florida Academy of Cosmetic D... Read More

    • Joseph H. Farag, DMD

      Joseph H. Farag, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL after completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. Dr. Farag served an... Read More