Let There Be Light

Newcomer expands practice’s use of laser dentistry.

Before COVID-19 crippled the world, H. Gene Steele, DDS, was preparing for an amateur ballroom dance competition. However, in the weeks that followed, his favorite hobby has taken a backseat to his new role at Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center, the practice of J. Terry Alford, DMD.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

H. Gene Steele, DDS with patient

Dr. Steele joined the Bradenton practice in May, and he shares Dr. Alford’s philosophy of care. Both aim to provide patients with necessary dental services while preserving function, increasing comfort and improving satisfaction through results. The partners have a common interest in using lasers in dentistry as well. That’s how they met.

“I’ve been using lasers in my dental practice since 2006 and started using high-technology Fotona lasers last year,” Dr. Steele relates. “I was training with several doctors and heard that Dr. Alford offered courses on the Fotona, so I contacted him.”

Dr. Steele says lasers are not new to dentistry. Many dentists use simple lasers in their practice, but few use lasers the caliber of the Fotona. The advanced technology of these lasers enables biostimulation, a feature that boosts the body’s repair cells and helps healing. This feature provides a host of advantages.

“Biostimulation reduces pain and sensitivity for patients, and improves healing,” Dr. Steele confirms. “It enables decontamination of the affected tooth, killing bacteria completely. Ultimately, the treatment is more conservative. Less tooth must be removed, leading to quicker recovery times.”

Another benefit of the high-tech Fotona laser is that it uses two wavelengths.

“LANAP® is a popular laser procedure in dentistry that is used to treat periodontitis, or gum disease,” Dr. Steele describes. “But LANAP uses a single wavelength to do the job. The Fotona’s dual wavelengths work on more types of diseased tissue.

“In cases of infection, for example, one Fotona wavelength can be used to remove the blood, bacteria, pus and dead cells from the infection. The other can be used to clean out the irregularities in bone and hard tissue on the tooth.”

While lasers are becoming more common in modern dentistry, they don’t replace all standard dental instruments and are often used in conjunction with one another.

“Typically, we start a procedure such as a root canal or dental implant by using mechanical tools,” Dr. Steele explains. “When we go into disinfection and sterilization mode, that’s when the enhanced cleaning aspect of the laser’s light energy comes into play.

“The laser’s light bounces off the water inside the operative area and creates little sonic booms that kill the bacteria. It is a safe power-washing effect, that cannot be done using standard dental tools.”

“Healthy patients are happy patients” – Dr. Steele

For some patients, using lasers reduces the anxiety associated with many dental procedures and increases overall comfort.

“There is a pre-anesthetic treatment mode on the laser that is used with topical anesthetics to minimize discomfort during procedures such as filling cavities and even removing areas of gum tissue,” Dr. Steele notes. “Using this, we can avoid or significantly reduce the need for anesthesia.

“Some patients do not like the whirring buzzing noise and vibration of standard dental instruments. With the laser, however, there is little sound and no vibration, and patients are happier.”
Making patients happier is among the objectives Dr. Alford hopes to achieve by bringing Dr. Steele into the practice.

“Dr. Steele has a motto: Healthy patients are happy patients,” Dr. Alford explains. “He strives to make dental appointments a pleasant experience that end in a healthier more attractive smile. Dr. Steele welcomes new patients with the attitude that an open dialogue between patient and doctor will foster good oral health and allow him and the patient to reach their goals.

“That’s why we are excited to have Dr. Steele join our team. His background and commitment to excellence will foster the trust we’ve built in the Bradenton and Sarasota communities, and we invite new patients to give us a call or just come by and meet our new doctor.”

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    • Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center, P.A.

      Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center's commitment to serving their patients includes providing information that helps those patients make more informed decisions. The center utilizes the most recent and up-to-date technology, which includes mast... Read More

    • J. Terry Alford, DMD

      J. Terry Alford, DMD, practices general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in Bradenton. He received his undergraduate degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, and his dental degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, with ad... Read More

    • H. Gene Steele, DDS

      H. Gene Steele, DDS, is a veteran of the US Army Military Intelligence Corps. Following his discharge from the Army, Dr. Steele attended the University of Toledo in Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Dr. St... Read More