Author Archive

A Gut-Wrenching Feeling

Tension-free repairs for painful inguinal hernia include laparoscopic surgery


For 39 years, David Napoli, DC, has been providing chiropractic care at his Broward County practice, where he specializes in treating

sports injuries, personal injuries and injuries suffered by workers on the job.

It was his personal experience with chiropractic that influenced Dr. Napoli’s decision to pursue a career in the field.

“In high school, I injured my back playing football,” the Pittsburgh-area native relates. “I was told I needed surgery on one of my discs, but I ended up seeing a local chiropractor instead. Within four or five months of treatment and rehab, I was playing ball again.”

“After high school, I attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and earned my doctorate in 1982. That’s the original chiropractic college in this country. It’s considered the Harvard of chiropractic educational institutions. It was founded in 1897 by Daniel David Palmer, and I had the pleasure of graduating from there.”

Dr. Napoli, 63, also enjoyed the pleasure of never needing any type of surgery — until a couple of years ago, when he was injured during an automobile accident.

“My car was hit, went off the road and landed on its side,” Dr. Napoli recalls. “I tried to open the driver’s side door to get out, but the doors are very heavy when the car is on its side. I strained to get the door open, and I felt a pop in my left groin. Then I felt pain on my left side.

“The pain wasn’t excruciating, but after a while it started to really bother me when I was on my feet for extended periods of time. Gradually, it got worse to where I was experiencing a throbbing, aching pain at night. When it got bad, it was an eight or nine on a scale of one to 10.”

Dr. Napoli soon learned that the cause of his pain was a hernia triggered by his attempt to open the car door. A hernia occurs when an internal organ or other body part protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue that normally holds it in place.

Seeking a remedy, Dr. Napoli began interviewing local physicians about the surgical interventions available. He came away quite discouraged.

“I know many doctors on the state’s east coast because I practice there, but I wasn’t very impressed with any of the doctors I visited,” he laments. “So, I went on the internet and Googled doctors who did hernia surgery and the techniques they use. I picked three physicians on the west coast to interview. One was Dr. Napoliello.”

David A. Napoliello, MD, is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has offices in Bradenton and Venice.

“When I first called Dr. Napoliello’s office, I talked to his staff and left a message,” Dr. Napoli explains. “Unbelievably, Dr. Napoliello called me back and spent an hour and 15 minutes on the phone explaining the procedures he offers. I was very impressed.”

Bulging Tire

Dr. Napoliello explained that hernias can develop in adults and children as a result of heavy lifting, straining, coughing or any unusual stress that causes a sudden increase of intra-abdominal pressure.

Some hernias are congenital, meaning they are present at birth, whereas others develop as a result of a predisposition for hernia. Also, anyone who has had surgery may experience a weakening of tissue at the incision site that could result in a hernia.

“Dr. Napoli had an inguinal hernia, which is the most common,” Dr. Napoliello reports. “Inguinal hernias occur due to a defect or weakness in the abdominal muscle wall through which intestine and fat layers protrude and form a visible bulge in the groin area.

“To visualize the dynamics of it, think of an automobile tire. The abdominal wall is like the thick outer wall of the tire. Should the tire get damaged, the inner tube can push through the weakened area or crack, forming a small bubble.

“If the abdominal wall becomes weakened, the tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen and holds the intestines in place, called the peritoneum, can bulge into the outer wall. In the tire, the inner tube can become strangled by the pressure of the edges of the crack through which it protrudes. It’s the same with a hernia.”

The first sign of a hernia is a bulging under the skin. Additional symptoms may include discomfort while lifting heavy objects, sneezing or coughing, straining while using the toilet, or pain while standing or sitting.

Because delayed treatment can sometimes lead to the intestine being trapped inside the hernia sac, resulting in gangrene, any bulge should be brought to a physician’s attention immediately so that diagnosis and treatment can begin. If left untreated, certain complications from hernias can be fatal.

Repair Techniques

To repair hernias, surgeons have the option of several techniques. Surgeons typically choose the best option depending upon the patient and the size of the hernia.

“Formerly, the only hernia repair option available was an open surgical procedure called a tension repair,” Dr. Napoliello observes. “The physician makes an incision, pushes the protruding tissue back into place and stitches the tissue layers together. The potential disadvantages of this type of surgery include relatively long recovery periods, high recurrence rates and discomfort following surgery.

“Today, we can offer a variety of minimally invasive open procedures, as well as laparoscopic and robotic procedures. Unlike a tension repair, these are tension- free because the stitches or sutures that are used do not put tension on the sides of the defect to keep it closed.

“Instead, we use special mesh patches that limit the size of the required incision. These procedures offer lower recurrence rates, quick recovery and only minor discomfort. The minimally invasive open approach can also allow the patient to avoid being placed under general anesthesia.”

There are two main options for robotic and laparoscopic surgery, the skilled surgeon continues. “In the transabdominal approach, the physician makes a small incision and slides a laparoscope, which is a thin telescope, through the abdominal wall. For the preperitoneal approach, the laparoscope slides between the tissues of the abdominal wall, never entering the abdominal cavity. With both approaches, surgeons view the hernia and surrounding tissue on a video screen.

“I Feel Fantastic”

Dr. Napoliello repaired Dr. Napoli’s inguinal hernia using the preperitoneal laparoscopic approach in February 2021.

“He made three small incisions and performed the surgery through those,” Dr. Napoli describes. “He inserted air around the hernia and worked within that space. He did a great job. It took care of my problem, and I healed up nicely.

“I have a clean bill of health. The pain is gone, and I feel fantastic. I’m playing golf again, swimming and even doing some light weightlifting. I couldn’t do those activities before the procedure; the pain was too great.

“My hernia surgery was one of the smoothest procedures I ever went through as far as my health is concerned.”

The chiropractor says the surgeon is a fantastic medical colleague.

“He’s very cordial and professional and knew exactly what needed to be done,” Dr. Napoli raves. “He’s also very efficient and did everything correctly.

“I drove three hours from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota to have my hernia procedure done. That’s how confident I was in Dr. Napoliello. And it was a great experience.” 

Florida Health Care News 

Floor Exercises

Working mom achieves relief from pregnancy-related pelvic pain

 Yocasta Guzman-Mendoza moved to Florida from Philadelphia a year ago to be closer to her fiancé and his family. The couple and Yocasta’s 6-year-old child had visited the Sunshine State for vacation and loved it, so they decided to make Florida their permanent home. 

“In Philadelphia, I was a stay-at-home parent,” shares Yocasta, 27. “Here in Florida, I’m a full-time working parent. I’ve been a bank teller for about a year.” 

Shortly after relocating, Yocasta learned she was expecting another child. Wedding plans were put on hold while she and her fiancé concentrated on preparing for the baby. 

Yocasta became worried, however, when she began to experience intense pain in her pelvic region. 

“I suffered with pelvic pain during my first pregnancy, but not until Iwas near the end of that pregnancy,” Yocasta reveals. “This time, I was having pain early in the pregnancy, and it was interfering with my work and normal daily activities. 

“I felt sharp pain when I sat down and then stood back up. The pain, which was a 10 on a scale of one to 10, made it difficult to walk.” 

 Unable to properly address the issue, Yocasta’s OB-GYN referred her to Back in Motion. It was there that Yocasta met with Rebecca Chamberlain, DPT. 

Expanding Pelvis 

“Yocasta was dealing with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain,” Dr. Chamberlain reports. “She also had low back pain as well as pubic symphysis pain. The pubic symphysis is the joint connecting the left and right pelvic bones, and are all part of the pelvic girdle. 

“A hormone called relaxin is naturally secreted during pregnancy. It increases laxity of the tissues that allows the pelvis to expand to accommodate the growing fetus. It is very common for women to experience pelvic girdle and pelvic floor pain as their bodies shift and change during pregnancy.” 

Yocasta’s treatment was focused on decreasing the sensitivity of her pelvic girdle and pelvic floor muscles and improving stability of those areas, Dr. Chamberlain notes. 

“We performed gentle strengthening of the muscles that attach to the pelvis and share attachment points with the pelvic floor,” the doctor describes. “We also did gentle strengthening of the adductor and glute muscles. We discussed ways to modify her activities to decrease stress on the joint, such as different ways to get in and out of bed. 

“Yocasta also used the birthing ball quite a bit. She worked on various stretches and stabilizing exercises while sitting on the ball, and she achieved additional lumbopelvic (lower back and pelvis) mobility. We have been talking about using the ball as a labor tool as well.” 

Yocasta did well with the treatment at Back in Motion. 

“I’m feeling 80 to 90 percent better,” she enthuses. “The pain is a three instead of a 10, so I’m better able to deal with it. And it’s not as frequent as before, when it was almost an everyday thing. My walking has improved a lot as well.” 

Yocasta is also pleased with the pelvic health specialist who helped ease her discomfort. 

“I love Dr. Chamberlain,” she enthuses. “She’s the best. She’s very knowledgeable and understanding. 

“I explained to her what I was experiencing, and she found a solution. I highly recommend her to other pregnant women with pelvic pain.”  

Florida Health Care News 

Weight To Go

Importer slims down, improves health with Ideal Protein weight loss plan

Rick Correnti plays an essential role in greasing America’s supply chain. For 40 years, he’s worked for a Boston-based company that imports commodities into the country. 

“I’m responsible for bringing in the goods, getting them cleared through customs and delivering them to the appropriate facilities,” describes Rick, 61. “My company works with importers of all kinds, from chemical companies to furniture-makers to producers of household goods.” 

While his company is based in Beantown, Rick works remotely from his Florida home. He loves the weather in the Sunshine State but has long been dissatisfied with his weight. And while he has tried several diet programs, none worked for him. 

Recently, he sought a better way to rid himself of the excess girth. 

“I did a Google search and found the diet clinic at Back in Motion, which offers the Ideal Protein® weight loss plan,” Rick recounts. “I had already read a lot about that program, and I was interested in trying it. My goal was to lose 20 pounds.” 

Back in Motion is a full-service physical therapy and pain treatment practice with locations in Sarasota and Bradenton. The Diet Foods & Weight Loss Clinic, located within Back in Motion, is directed by Timothy Burnell, PT, a certified Ideal Protein coach. Timothy has also specialized in auto injury recovery and whiplash treatment for more than 20 years as a physical therapist. 

Under the Ideal Protein program, weight loss is achieved with a low-carbohydrate, adequate-protein, low-fat diet. There are no medications or injections. 

“Our primar y source of energy is glycogen, or carbohydrates, which is essentially sugar,” Timothy educates. “Our secondar y source of energy is fat, and the third source is muscle. Ideal Protein uses specific foods to limit the use of glycogen for energy and instead uses fat. 

“Ideal Protein helps limit the amount of sugar and dietary fat people consume while providing a high-quality form of protein that is easily absorbed. Some other weight loss plans merely restrict caloric intake, so the body burns muscle as well as fat. Ideal Protein burns stored fat while preserving lean muscle.” 

One-on-One Coaching 

What really sets Ideal Protein apart from other weight loss plans is the one-on-one coaching and support system. 

At the Diet Foods & Weight Loss Clinic at Back in Motion, Timothy meets individually with each participant. 

“Our dieters keep a journal of everything they eat and drink,” Timothy notes. “Each week, I review that journal with them and look for any problem areas or mistakes in their food choices. The goal is to keep them moving forward with their weight loss.” 

Timothy recommends Ideal Protein over other diet plans largely because it is more than just a diet plan. Ideal Protein fosters changes in eating habits that allow people to keep the weight off long term and get healthier. 

Once dieters meet their weight loss goals, Timothy sits down with them and develops a customized meal plan to keep the weight off and eliminate “yo-yo” dieting. 

This customized plan limits hunger and cravings, and keeps the dieters satisfied. A successful dieter is someone who loses the weight and keeps it off. 

Rick is one of the program’s success stories. 

“Not only has Rick lost a significant amount of weight on the Ideal Protein plan, but his cholesterol has been lowered more than 60 points since he started the program,” Timothy reports. “In addition, his blood pressure when he began was 145/100, which is high. Today, it is 122/78, which is in the normal range.” 

“Ideal Protein is working well for me,” Rick confirms. “The proof is in the pudding: I lost 25 pounds in five weeks, so I even surpassed my goal. 

“I’m very happy with my results. I highly recommend the Ideal Protein program at Back in Motion — with Tim’s coaching. That’s the key to success.”  

Florida Health Care News 

Leader In Disc Management

Computerized VAX-D’s powerful vacuum unmatched for taming spinal pain


Ever since he was a teen, Brian Hinkley has wanted to help people. As an adult, he got his wish. He became a patient services liaison for a hospital’s behavioral health center. 

“I help people who are hurting and broken,” acknowledges Brian, 47. “Mine is one of the first faces the patients see when they come in. They’re in a psychiatric crisis, so they’re extremely emotional. 

“Our center’s treatment program is very structured. Patients attend groups throughout the day. They also engage in activities that stimulate their mind and their senses, which gets their mind off their crises. 

“And for me, there’s no greater feeling than the one I get when I’ve successfully seen someone through their problems and they’re no longer depressed, suicidal or in crisis. I don’t think there’s any greater endeavor than helping somebody change their forever. 

“And that’s what I get to do. My favorite word is encourage because it literally means to put courage into people. I get to encourage and help people, and I love it. This work is more than a job for me. It’s a calling.” 

Once a month, Brian puts on his instructor hat. He and a co-worker teach other hospital employees how to handle difficult situations with patients who are highly emotional and “acting out.” 

“We teach non-violent crisis prevention intervention, or CPI,” Brian elaborates. “We give the staff all the tools they need to successfully deescalate a situation and keep patients safe at all times.” 

 Last October, a situation outside of work endangered Brian and his girlfriend. 

“We had driven to Lakewood Ranch, which is about five or six miles from my house, to a pizza buffet,” Brian recounts. “On our way home, we were driving through an intersection that’s only a couple of blocks from my house. 

“The next thing I know, there’s a car right in front of us. It flew through a red light and hit us head-on. It was very scary. Seven airbags exploded, and in my head I thought, This is it. I’m going to die.” 

Brian and his girlfriend survived that crash, but Brian suffered a neck injury that began to affect him almost immediately and soon became chronic. 

“It was like my neck took the entire impact of the crash,” Brian laments. “There was constant stiffness in my neck. I couldn’t turn it freely to the left or right. It was locked up. When I looked over my shoulder to see my blind spot while driving, I’d feel extreme pain in my neck. It was definitely a nine or 10 on a scale of one to 10. I was constantly popping pain pills, especially to sleep at night. The pain was unbearable. 

 “Then I remembered my ex-wife telling me about VAX-D® therapy and how successful it is at relieving back and neck pain.” 

His ex-wife previously worked for Craig S. Aderholdt, DC, the founder of Back Pain Institute of West Florida and one of the few providers in the country to offer VAX-D, or vertebral axial decompression, a patented, FDA-approved technique for alleviating spinal disc pressure. 

“I knew I had to do something to get rid of my neck pain because medication wasn’t going to do it,” Brian says. “It was either surgery or VAX-D, and to me the solution was simple. VAX-D therapy was what I needed.” 

So, he made an appointment with Dr. Aderholdt. 

Powerful Vacuum 

During their initial meeting, the doctor ordered an MRI that revealed a herniated disc and several bulging discs in Brian’s cervical spine. 

Those disc issues were causing Brian “a great deal of pain,” according to Dr. Aderholdt, who recommended VAX-D therapy to treat the problem. 

“Chiropractic adjustments alone can relieve the pain for many patients,” Dr. Aderholdt asserts. “However, for select people with conditions such as sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, VAX-D therapy has proven extremely successful.” 

Dr. Aderholdt emphasizes that VAX-D is not a traction device. It works differently and achieves substantially better results in patients with low back and neck pain. It also helps with numbness, tingling and pain that radiates down the arms and legs. 

During a typical session, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, and is secured by a pelvic belt or patented cervical collar, depending on the area being treated. 

Carefully specified tension and pressure changes guide the use of VAX-D, allowing the therapist to focus decompression at the levels of dysfunction. The computer program enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements that create a powerful vacuum within the disc space. This vacuum gently draws the disc back to its proper orientation, pulling in nutrient-rich spinal fluid and stimulating repair cells that effectively mend the disc. 

“No other treatment can create such a powerful vacuum,” Dr. Aderholdt contends. “There are imitators, but VAX-D’s vacuum effect is the most powerful. That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. Further, VAX-D doesn’t allow the muscles to contract the way other machines can. In fact, it is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels. 

“In my opinion, VAX-D is one of the most effective nonsurgical medical treatments for low back pain, neck pain and sciatica. This innovative technology is one more tool I can offer patients as we work toward relieving pain and maintaining the health of the lumbar and cervical spine.” 

Studies show that VAX-D has been effective in treating more than 88 percent of patients, Dr. Aderholdt professes. Many patients report a significant reduction in their back or neck pain after only a few treatments. Dr. Aderholdt stresses, however, that actual healing takes longer because repositioning bulging or herniated discs requires a full series of sessions. 

“Some patients think they will get relief after a handful of sessions and they can just quit, but that’s not the case,” he maintains. “Patients must follow through with all of the required treatments to get the full benefit.” 

Another advantage of VAX-D is that it can eliminate the need for surgery. 

“Many patients with severe back or neck pain, including Brian, want to avoid surgery, and that is something VAX-D allows them to do,” Dr. Aderholdt notes. “With surgery, there is the potential for serious complications, including bleeding and infection. Because VAX-D is noninvasive, those complications are avoided.” 

“Like a Miracle” 

Brian is about halfway through his VAX-D protocol. Like many patients, he noticed a significant decrease in his pain early in his therapy. 

“After the third week, or the ninth treatment, I looked at Dr. Aderholdt and his staff and said, I can’t believe how good I feel. This is like a miracle,” Brian enthuses. “My pain now is a three or four, and it’s continuing to get better. It’s night and day compared to how I felt when I first came to see Dr. Aderholdt. 

“And thankfully, I don’t have to take painkillers anymore. In fact, within the second week of going to Back Pain Institute of West Florida, I stopped taking pain medication. And I’m sleeping better than I was before starting this treatment.” 

Brian heard good things about Dr. Aderholdt from his ex-wife. Then he experienced the pain specialist’s expertise and compassion firsthand. 

“Dr. Aderholdt is fabulous. I give him five stars,” Brian raves. “He has a real gift. He’s a man of honesty and integrity. He treats everybody the way you want yourself or your family members to be treated. He gives it his all and goes above and beyond to make sure you’re OK. He’s passionate about what he does, and he’s in this to heal people. 

“Just like me working in a behavioral health clinic, Dr. Aderholdt is called to do this work. It’s refreshing to meet a doctor who really is concerned about helping people. I highly recommend him, and I would recommend VAX-D therapy to anybody in pain.”  

Florida Health Care News 

From Fargo to Largo

Meningitis patient travels 1,800 miles for innovative procedure to correct hearing loss and tinnitus challenge

Dr. Anastasia Knoblach and Kristie Myers

On March 21, 2008, Kristie Myers stayed home from her job in the financial aid department at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Something was wrong, very wrong. She just knew it. A headache – unlike any she had ever experienced – told her so. 

“I called my aunt and said, I don’t think I can drive to the emergency room. Could you come and get me?” Kristie recalls of that Friday morning. “She took me to the emergency room, where they ran a bunch of tests. 

“The doctor said, It’s probably just a terrible flu or other virus. The only other thing it’s consistent with is meningitis, but that’s extremely unusual and rare. 

He then told me that to make a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, he would have to do a lumbar puncture. I was told I could do the lumbar puncture or I could go home, and if I wasn’t better in 24 hours, I could come back. 

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, is a procedure during which a needle is inserted into the spinal canal to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. 

Initially, Kristie decided to return home and rest. But as she waited to be discharged, something inside her told her to stay for the lumbar puncture, so she did. That test was positive for meningitis. 

“They have to grow a culture from the CSF, so they don’t know for 24 to 48 hours whether you have bacterial meningitis or the viral or aseptic kind,” Kristie describes. “Meantime, standard protocol is to treat you with four powerful antibiotics; otherwise, you’re not likely to live.” 

Despite the treatment, Kristie suffered respiratory failure. She was placed on a ventilator and fell into a coma for 10 days. When she awoke, she struggled to regain control of her muscles. She also noticed an issue with her hearing. 

“One of the antibiotics they gave me was vancomycin, which is known to cause hearing loss,” Kristie relates. “That’s exactly what happened. I lost most of the hearing in my left ear. 

“The doctor also told me that nothing could be done for my hearing loss because it’s permanent and too significant. He said there was no surgery or anything else that could be done to help me.”

Kristie’s hearing impairment disrupted her everyday life. Eventually, though, she discovered some simple hacks for hearing better in certain situations. 

“I always sat at the end of the table so everybody was to my right; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to hear them,” she says. “As a passenger in a car, I had to face whoever was speaking and basically try to half read their lips or I couldn’t understand what they were saying.”


As Kristie adjusted to the circumstances associated with her hearing loss, another troubling hearing issue developed.

“I started hearing ringing in my damaged ear,” Kristie relates. “I couldn’t hear anything else out of my left ear, but I could hear constant static and ringing, and it was very distracting.”

Also known as tinnitus, ringing in the ears is a perception of sound when there’s no external source. It can manifest in a number of ways, including hissing, whistling, roaring, pulsing, screeching, buzzing or the static noise that plagued Kristie.

Tinnitus is not a disease but rather a symptom of  underlying condition. While the cause is typically an acoustic trauma to the auditory nerve, genetics and medications can also be the culprit. 

Tinnitus cannot be cured, but as Kristie learned three years ago from Anastasia Knoblach, AuD, it can be treated.

“I met Anastasia online in a group chat,” Kristie explains. “As we got to know each other better, she told me she was an audiologist in Florida and that she also had tinnitus. She later told me that her ex-husband is a hearing instrument specialist who made an adjustment to her hearing aids that alleviated her tinnitus. When I told her that I had tinnitus, too, she suggested I contact Dean and ask if he would look at my situation.” 

Dean Knoblach, BC-HIS, the founder of Knoblach Hearing Care in Largo, was delighted to take on the challenge Kristie presented. 

“So, I traveled from Fargo to Florida to see him at the beginning of March,” Kristie says.

According to Dean, Kristie has a severe unilateral  sensorineural hearing loss in her left ear. The loss  likely developed as a side effect of the vancomysin, which was administered to save Kristie’s life, but it can also cause profound hearing loss.

“The challenge was matching Kristie’s left ear with her very normal hearing right ear,” Dean explains. “If they don’t match, it’s like wearing two different shoes at the same time, it would never feel quite right. We booked an entire afternoon to test fit, and adjust the powerful amounts of amplification necessary to balance Kristie’s left ear with her right. When we finally got them to sound balanced and comfortable, the ringing was almost gone, making the masking part of the equation quite easy.

Tinnitus masking is a feature available in some hearing devices. For Kristie, Dean created a customized masking sound that softly covers up the static in her left ear. 

“A lot of the technology I used in treating Kristie was not available 15 years ago,” Dean notes. “But every day is a new day, and new technologies are emerging rapidly. That’s why people with hearing loss and tinnitus should never give up hope.”

“It’s Life-Changing”

Kristie flew from Fargo to Florida after Dr. Knoblach, suggested she could find answers for her hearing issues at Knoblach Hearing Care.

Knoblach Hearing Care participates in multiple clinical trials of new hearing devices and software.  As a result, Dean always has access to the most up-to-date technology in hearing care. Kristie traveled more than 1,800 miles in the hope of finding a solution for her tinnitus. 

“The results were better than expected because I didn’t think Dean would be able to enhance my hearing as well,” Kristie says. “I was only expecting him to get rid of the ringing in my ear. He was able to do both.”

After 15 years of hearing nothing out of her left ear, Kristie says she became quite emotional when Dean first fit her with the device.

“The first voice I heard through my left ear was Dean’s,” she relates. “And the really exciting part was when he had me answer the phone, and I could hear it clearly.

“I haven’t been able to use a telephone with my left ear in 15 years. It’s always been my right ear or speakerphone. Now, I’m able to hear things in the environment and other people talking.

“And I don’t have that constant, annoying ringing and static in my ear. What Anastasia, Dean and Knoblach Hearing Care have done for me has been life-changing.”

Kristie gives the credit for her success to the board-certified hearing instrument specialist who found a way to mask her tinnitus and restore her hearing.

“Dean is great,” she enthuses. “He’s very knowledgeable and very personable. He kept me informed, explained the process the entire way and wouldn’t quit until both ears sounded balanced again.”

Florida Health Care News 


Best Lens Ever

Lifelong good vision? It’s possible with this surgical option to glasses, contacts, LASI

Deborah is thrilled she can see clearly, near and far, without glasses or contact lenses.

After graduating from Texas A&M University some 40 years ago, Deborah Hrab took a position at NASA. Her father had worked for the space agency, so it was an easy choice for her. Ultimately, she left NASA to work for a defense contractor. She stayed within that field and thrived with several employers for whom she created proposals to attract new business. 

“Currently, I work for a defense contractor in Reston, Virginia,” Deborah discloses. “My job is to take care of all the business development work for some of our upcoming contracts. But I live in Gulfport. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home.” 

Even after four decades, Deborah, 62, finds her work stimulating. 

“My job is very interesting and challenging,” she elaborates. “It’s also given me all kinds of opportunities. I think the beauty of it is I’m constantly learning, so there’s a big mental challenge. I’m definitely not ready to retire yet.”

Living in Florida, Deborah devotes most of her free time to outdoor activities such as kayaking and going to the beach. She also enjoys attending various festivals in St. Petersburg. 

“I also like to do yoga,” Deborah expounds. “And I’m a big foodie. I love going out to eat and am always ready to try something new. I also have another home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and I go back and forth between the houses. I’m very fortunate.” 

Deborah was also fortunate to have good vision for most of her life. She didn’t require glasses until she was almost 50. But she didn’t like how she looked in glasses, so she tried contact lenses. That didn’t go so well, either. 

“When I wore the contacts, they would pop out constantly, and I couldn’t find them half the time,” Deborah laments. “I just didn’t like wearing contacts. When COVID happened, I quit wearing contacts altogether, so I was always wearing my glasses. But being outside a lot, I didn’t like wearing the glasses. I had no choice, though, because my eyes were getting worse. 

“Then I thought about getting LASIK, so I went to The Eye Institute of West Florida to talk about it.” 

LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, is a refractive surgery that uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea, the clear window on the front of the eye. This surgery is done to correct vision problems caused by refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, which is an irregular curvature of the cornea or lens that causes blurred vision. 

“When I first went to The Eye Institute of West Florida, we started talking about my options for getting rid of my glasses, but the ophthalmologist I met with said I had the beginnings of cataracts,” Deborah recalls. 

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens caused by a buildup of protein deposits. The only treatment is surgery to remove the affected lens. 

Typically, the doctor operates on one eye at a time, with a break of a week or two in between. Each procedure takes only a few minutes and starts with the breakup and removal of the lens. Then, a synthetic replacement known as an intraocular lens, or IOL, is implanted. IOLs come in various focusing powers to correct a variety of vision issues. 

IOLs are typically made of a flexible plastic such as acrylic or silicone and are coated with a special material to help protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

“I have a family history of cataracts, so the ophthalmologist said I would probably end up needing cataract surgery within the next five years,” Deborah adds. “As such, the results of LASIK surgery wouldn’t last long, so I opted to have another type of surgery.” 

The Aging Eye 


Following her initial appointment at The Eye Institute of West Florida, Deborah met with the practice’s director of cataract and refractive surgery, Robert J. Weinstock, MD. 

“Ms. Hrab is a 62-year-old healthy woman who began having vision problems in her late 40s and needed glasses to correct her hyperopia,” Dr. Weinstock reports. “Hyperopia and presbyopia are conditions that commonly develop in people who have had good vision most of their life, like Ms. Hrab. 

Presbyopia is the natural, gradual loss of the eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. 

“There are people who did not need glasses as kids, but when they are about 40 to 45, they start to have trouble with near vision and need reading glasses from the store. That change in vision is presbyopia. 

“Then, as these people get into their 50s and 60s, the lens starts to become larger and layers develop like layers on an onion. This condition is actually the earliest formation of a cataract. That’s why people in this age group begin to rely more on glasses for clear up-close vision. 

“But some people do not want to wear glasses, so they get fit with contact lenses. If the person is having trouble seeing up close, we may correct them with what is known as monovision.

 “With monovision, we put a contact in one eye only and purposely create nearsightedness so the person can read without glasses. Many people’s brains can tolerate and adjust to having one eye seeing better at a distance while the other eye reads. That is monovision. 

“When Ms. Hrab started wearing contact lenses, one contact was for distance and the other was for near vision, so when she woke up in the morning she could put in the contacts and run around all day without having to wear glasses all the time. 

“But when COVID hit and for a variety of other reasons, she decided she was tired of wearing contacts. She did not want to have to put them in and take them out every day, and she did not like wearing glasses. 

“So, she asked if there was a surgery that would make it so she could wake up every day with good vision and not have to deal with glasses or contacts. There is. It’s called a clear lens replacement.” 

Light-Adjustable Lens 

A clear lens replacement is generally performed on people older than 40 who don’t have symptomatic cataracts but want to get out of glasses or contacts. The procedure involves removal of the clear natural lenses and replacing them with artificial lenses. 

“The procedure is the same we use for cataracts. We are simply performing it on people a little younger.” Dr. Weinstock informs. “Then, the person never develops cataracts, and the new lenses will last the rest of their lifetime. 

“In Ms. Hrab’s case, because she had monovision with her contact lenses and her brain was used to it, I recommended a very special IOL that is the best lens for monovision correction. It’s called the light-adjustable lens.” 

The light-adjustable lens can be adjusted postoperatively to ensure the best possible vision outcomes. About a month after surgery during a relatively routine appointment, the lens power is customized using ultraviolet light. 

“We take the best numbers and visual measurements before and during surgery,” Dr. Weinstock explains. “Then, we put the lens in the eye, we let the eye heal and we review the results at the follow-up visit. 

“If the patient’s vision is not perfect, we can adjust the lens inside the eye. To do that, we dilate the eyes and have the patient look at a blue UV light. The new prescription is then programmed into a laser, which makes the adjustment. When the vision is where the patient wants it, the lens power is locked in. 

“The adjustment is made in about 30 seconds to a minute, and we can do it up to three times over the course of the first few months after surgery. The adjustments can be done on each eye, so it is a much more customizable approach than we have ever had before.” 

Dr. Weinstock encourages people ages 40 to 70 with poor vision to consider clear lens replacement. 

“People who are wearing glasses all the time do not have to wait until their vision becomes so bad that they require cataract surgery,” he asserts. “With the technology we have, these people can pursue the same surgery as they would get down the road for cataracts. They just do it sooner so they can enjoy more years of good vision without glasses.” 

“Awesome” Vision 

Deborah’s clear lens replacement surgery was scheduled for early January. 

“I went to The Eye Institute of West Florida and had one eye done on a Tuesday. The next day, on Wednesday, I had the other eye done,” she remembers. “There were no problems. It was a very easy surgery. I think for me, the worst part was getting the IV. 

“Nothing about the procedure was uncomfortable. I had no side effects and felt no pain. I followed Dr. Weinstock’s directions to a ‘T.’ I followed the full protocol, and I think that’s why everything worked out so well.” 

Deborah is thrilled with the outcome of her surgeries. 

“My vision is awesome now,” Deborah enthuses. “It’s perfect, better than when I wore glasses. I don’t have to wear readers or anything. I’m glasses-free now. On a scale of one to 10, I would rate my happiness with my outcome a 12. 

“My eyesight is 20/20 in one eye, and the other eye is even better. Right after surgery, I saw clearly. I had no vision problems; nothing was blurry. Since then, I’ve had three adjustments on the lenses and never felt anything during those adjustments. 

“Immediately after each adjustment, my eyes were very sensitive to light for about the first hour, but I was fine after that.” 

Deborah is also impressed by the surgeon who performed the procedures as well as his team. 

“Dr. Weinstock is incredible,” she raves. “He’s very professional. He laid out everything that would happen, and it was exactly as he described. He’s great to work with. He explains things and breaks them down so that I can understand. His staff is awesome as well. 

“I would tell anybody to get this procedure done. I would say, Don’t wait until you’re 65 and have cataracts. If you have problems with your eyes and you want to get rid of your glasses, I strongly recommend Dr. Weinstock and this procedure. 

“I’m going to The Eye Institute of West Florida for all my follow-ups now and my yearly eye appointments, too. I think that much of the staff.”

Florida Health Care News


‘The Only Good Solution’

Same Day Teeth® protocol in the way to go for fixed permanent replacements

Suzanne before and after dental implants gave her teeth she is happy with “for the first time in (her) life.”

A native of Staten Island, Suzanne Maidhoff relocated to Florida in 2005 when the cost of living in New York became prohibitive for her. After a year of searching for a job in the Sunshine State, Suzanne finally found work at a bank. 

“With a friend’s recommendation, I got the job with what was then World Savings Bank,” Suzanne elaborates. “World Savings was bought by Wachovia, which was bought by Wells Fargo. I always had the same manager; the bank names just changed. 

“I held a variety of positions at the bank. I started as an administrative assistant and wound up as an REO (real estate owned) remediation specialist. I was hired in 2006 and retired in August 2017.” 

Suzanne enjoys retirement. She belongs to a book club and stays busy by going to the movies, shopping and visiting with friends from her housing development. But in 2021, a dental issue put a damper on her amusement by spoiling her smile. 

“The people in my family have bad teeth, so I think my teeth were bad as well,” Suzanne laments. “I took good care of my teeth over the years and spent a fortune on caps and bridges, but that dental work all rotted away. 

“At one point, I asked my dentist about a bridge that was loose, and he said, There’s nothing holding it underneath. It’s completely rotten. He recommended I visit Coastal Jaw Surgery.” 

The dentist referred Suzanne to Coastal Jaw Surgery’s Trinity office, where she consulted with Nicole Hernandez, DDS, MD, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon. 

“Originally, Suzanne came to us with failing upper teeth,” Dr. Hernandez recalls. “She was missing several good anchor teeth for her bridges. I asked her if she was interested in something removable, such as a denture, or something fixed. She said, Absolutely not a denture! 

“Because the teeth that were left in her mouth were failing, the only good solution for Suzanne was our practice’s smile-restoration protocol, Same Day Teeth®. That protocol provides patients with a fixed hybrid prosthesis — permanent teeth screwed onto dental implants.” 

Identical Protocol 

Developed by Coastal Jaw Surgery’s founder, Michael A. Pikos, DDS, a global leader in dental implants and surgical reconstruction, Same Day Teeth rebuilds smiles through the placement of dental implants and new teeth during the same appointment. 

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once in the jawbone, implants become the foundation for abutments and replacement teeth. 

The replacements can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto the abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a full-arch prosthesis that can be fastened to a series of implants. 

As part of the Same Day Teeth protocol, Dr. Hernandez works alongside Coastal Jaw Surgery’s prosthodontist, Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS, who designs the patient’s smile. 

“Dr. Hedger met with Suzanne for an initial design consultation,” Dr. Hernandez confirms. “During the smile evaluation, they looked at factors such as tooth shape, color and position. They developed a plan for the prosthesis’s aesthetics. Dr. Hedger then took impressions, created models and sent all the information to the lab, which fabricates the teeth.” 

Surgery was scheduled for late 2021. During the procedure, Dr. Hernandez removed Suzanne’s remaining teeth and performed an alveoloplasty, a procedure to smooth out any irregularities in the jawbone in preparation for seeding implants. Dr. Hernandez placed five standard implants in Suzanne’s upper jaw, and Suzanne received her initial teeth from Dr. Hedger shortly thereafter. 

“Suzanne loved her new smile, but all she kept noticing was her lower teeth,” Dr. Hernandez reports. “Not only was it an aesthetic concern, but her dentist also told me her lower teeth were starting to fail with many areas of recurrent decay. Suzanne indicated that she wanted to proceed with the Same Day Teeth protocol on her lower arch as well.” 

Five months later, Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Hedger used the Same Day Teeth protocol to restore Suzanne’s lower arch. Following a design consultation with Dr. Hedger, Suzanne’s failing lower teeth were removed and she was fit with implants. 

“We used four standard implants in her lower jaw, and she received her initial teeth soon after,” Dr. Hernandez reports. “It’s been nearly a year since Suzanne received her final prostheses, and by her own account she’s ecstatic about her decision to move forward with our Same Day Teeth protocol.” 

“I Smile a Lot” 

“I love my new teeth,” Suzanne confirms. “They’re straight and white but not glaringly white because I was able to choose the tooth color and shape I wanted. For the first time in my life, I’m happy with my teeth, and I smile a lot more now because of it.” 

Suzanne is just as thrilled with the providers who restored her smile. 

“Dr. Hernandez is fabulous. I love her,” she raves. “She’s warm and friendly, and she listens to your concerns. She has a great bedside manner and everything else you would look for in a surgeon. Dr. Hedger is very friendly and knowledgeable; he’s able to answer any questions. 

“I’m very pleased with everyone at Coastal Jaw Surgery. They’re very accommodating and pleasant. I highly recommend them.”  

Florida Health Care News 

Weeping No More

Laser techniques seal leaking leg veins and heal “giant” venous ulcer

Raymond developed painful ulcers on his right ankle due to venous insufficiency. Dr. Joyce’s ablation proceduresclosed the leaking veins and healed the wounds. Other doctors said the condition wasn’t treatable.

Raymond Lydale Campbell served in the Army from 1968 to 1970. Instead of deployment to Vietnam, however, he was pegged for a special project. 

“I was on order for Vietnam, but the general pulled me off for what he called a critical MOS (military occupation specialty), a crucial job assignment,” elaborates Raymond, 73. “I was sent to a missile silo, where I worked on anti-ballistic missiles and similar projects. The work was very interesting. I got a chance to see many things.” 

After Raymond was discharged, he became an engineer with AT&T in Fort Myers. He retired in 2002 after 30 years of service, then spent 10 years with the Lee County School District as a teacher’s assistant with exceptional student education. ESE programs provide services to children with special learning needs. 

Asked which job he liked best, Raymond wavers. 

“I liked working for the telephone company because nobody talked back to me or yelled at me,” he reveals. “However, I also liked the school system and helping the kids when they had issues.” 

Raymond has been dealing with an issue of his own since 1996. That’s when he was diagnosed with lymphedema in his legs. 

Lymphedema is a chronic condition marked by swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the tissues. It is often associated with venous insufficiency, which occurs when leg veins are damaged and don’t allow blood to flow back toward the heart. Ultimately, the affected veins leak and blood collects in the legs, causing swelling and discomfort. Non-healing venous ulcers are a complication of untreated venous insufficiency. 

“I went to the VA complaining that my legs were achy and swollen and had painful sores on them that wouldn’t heal,” Raymond recalls. “They told me there was nothing they could do except wrap my legs because the sores were weeping. I had to change the dressings often or my pants leg would get soaked with the fluid draining from the sores. There was one really big sore that went all the way around my right leg. 

“Over the years, I went to multiple doctors. I always asked why my legs wouldn’t heal, and they said they didn’t know. They told me to just wrap my legs and wear compression stockings. They all said there was nothing more that could be done. One doctor put a stent in my leg, and it still didn’t heal.” 

The ulcers on Raymond’s legs caused intense pain that often kept him awake at night. After one such sleepless night last year, Raymond found Douglas H. Joyce, DO, a board-certified cardiovascular surgeon at Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute in Punta Gorda. 

Dr. Joyce specializes in treating venous insufficiency with minimally invasive procedures. He treats all stages of venous disease from spider veins to venous ulcers. 

“After I heard about Dr. Joyce, I called and made an appointment,” Raymond remembers. “He told me what was wrong with my legs; it was leaking veins. He recommended laser surgery. He said it might take multiple procedures, but he could fix my legs, and I believed him.”

 Fixable Condition 

“If I was grouping legs by the worst I ever saw, Mr. Campbell’s right leg would be in that group,” Dr. Joyce proclaims. “The skin on his leg was so thick it was like alligator skin, and he had large open wounds that were the size of my hand. There was an ulcer on the front, side and back of his ankle; it was one giant wound. One wound was infected and was draining. It smelled terrible. And the color of his legs was horrible. 

“Mr. Campbell’s condition had been ongoing for decades. He was treated with the typical therapy: putting zinc oxide on the ulcers and wrapping the legs in compression dressings called Unna boots. He visited multiple wound care clinics, and pretty much everybody threw up their hands and said, There’s nothing we can do. It’s not fixable. 

Dr. Joyce was not deterred. He understands the root cause of venous insufficiency, leaking veins, is fixable. He was determined to help Raymond overcome his circumstances. The cardiovascular surgeon began by ordering an ultrasound examination of Raymond’s legs, which showed numerous veins weren’t working properly. 

Once the incompetent veins were identified, Dr. Joyce performed two minimally invasive procedures to close them: standard laser ablation and single-needle laser ablation, the latter a technique developed by Dr. Joyce. 

“We used standard ablation on Raymond’s long leg veins, the saphenous veins,” Dr. Joyce details. “During this procedure, we slide a laser fiber along the length of the vein and use laser energy to seal the entire vein. Blood flow is then rerouted to other, healthy veins. 

“During single-needle laser ablation, we take a specifically designed needle and, using ultrasound guidance, place it into the target vein. We apply anesthetic, then turn on the laser for 15 to 20 seconds, which spot-welds the area of vein being treated.” 

Dr. Joyce used single-needle laser ablation to treat the small, deep vein branches compromised in Raymond’s right leg. Those veins are not treatable with any other method, the doctor contends. 

“Using the single-needle technique, we closed all of Raymond’s incompetent veins, and there were many,” Dr. Joyce reports. “We closed every problem vein we saw until we got an ultrasound result that showed no more leaking veins.” 

Painful Sores Heal 


The treatment results proved Raymond’s faith in Dr. Joyce was not misplaced. 

“The painful sores on my leg have healed,” Raymond enthuses. “Dr. Joyce’s laser procedures fixed my leg and helped improve my circulation.” 

Raymond’s legs still swell due to the lymphedema, for which there is no cure. He manages the condition, though, with the help of a compression pump, which moves the excess fluid out of his legs and into his circulatory system to be eliminated. 

“My doctor said I’ll probably have swelling for the rest of my life because of the lymphedema,” Raymond relates. “He recommended getting the pump and using it on my legs twice a day. The pump works fine.  but my legs go back to being swollen again the very next day. So, I still have a few issues with my legs, but I’m 95 percent better. 

“The good news is that I don’t have weeping sores anymore. And I don’t have to buy all the gauze pads and elastic bandages I had to buy before to dress the wounds. I’m very happy about that.” 

Raymond says he is extremely satisfied with the treatment he received at Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute. He’s also impressed with the cardiovascular surgeon that performed the treatment. 

“Dr. Joyce is fantastic. He’s knowledgeable and clearly explained everything,” Raymond raves. “He’s the only doctor out of all the physicians I’ve been to that was able to help me. His staff is fantastic, too. They’re kind and compassionate. I highly recommend them all.”  

Florida Health Care News 

So Nice To Hear

Audiologist provides expertise, personalized solutions to correct busy worker’s hearing loss

Mary is “amazed” at the difference hearing aids have made in her life.

 As of March, the US labor participation rate was 62.6 percent, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only is Mary Manos among that population of workers, but she also has four jobs. 

“I work as a hairdresser,” Mary shares. “I’ve had my own hairdressing business since 2008, but I’ve been doing hair since the 1980s. I’m also a partner in a startup business selling cyber and physical security. I’m a creative person; I do photography. And, I work part time at Lowe’s. 

“Then last year, a close friend was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve been her caregiver since late December. With all the work and everything else, I’m always running. I get my work done, but I’m just running all the time.” 

Something Mary can’t run from is a lengthy battle with hearing loss, a condition that became progressively worse as years passed. She has a strong suspicion about what caused her hearing to deteriorate. 

“Some of it is genetic,” she reveals. “My dad and my uncles, that whole side of my family are all hard of hearing, And I was a concert photographer for many years. I think what genetics didn’t take away, the loud music did. 

“I’m not completely deaf, but I’m deaf enough that it really impacted my life. I struggled with it as a hairdresser because my clients face away from me, so conversations were awkward. My co-workers were often angry with me because I couldn’t hear them, and they thought I was ignoring them. I wear a deaf vest when I work at Lowe’s. 

 “One of my hair clients suggested vocational rehab, so I looked into it. The folks there sent me to Dr. Hansen at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center. That was back in 2005 or 2006.” 

Comprehensive Testing 

Trinity Hearing & Balance Center is the New Port Richey practice of Kelly Hansen, AuD. Dr. Hansen and fellow audiologists Nikki Goldowski-Richa, AuD, and Kayla Dub, AuD, CCCA, specialize in hearing care, including the fitting of hearing aids. They also treat balance disorders. 

When Mary first visited Trinity Hearing & Balance Center 17 years ago, Dr. Hansen performed a comprehensive hearing test that revealed some details regarding Mary’s hearing loss. 

Her visit began with a Video Otoscopy, which provides a clear visual image of the ear. This enables the doctors to assess the ear’s overall health and diagnose conditions such as ear infections, ear wax build up, and other abnormalities. 

“I discovered that Mary has a sensorineural hearing loss, which means damage to the inner ear,” Dr. Hansen reports. “This is the most common cause of hearing loss.” 

Dr. Hansen recommended hearing aids, then sat down with Mary to discuss her lifestyle and work environments to determine what hearing devies would work best for her. 

Following that discussion, Mary was fit with hearing aids that day, and they made an immediate impact on her life. 

“My first pair of hearing aids changed everything,” Mary remembers. “The first thing I noticed was the blinkers in the car made a sound. And at the salon, I could hear the pinging of the cash register and the bells when people came in the door. I was amazed at how much I wasn’t hearing before.” 

In the years since, Dr. Hansen has upgraded Mary’s prescription several times. The most recent change was in 2021, when Mary received state-of-the-art digital hearing instruments with Bluetooth capability. 

“The devices we recommended are the newest technology for processing speech in background noise,” Dr. Hansen details. “These specific aids will help Mary hear more clearly in challenging listening environments such as restaurants, group situations, and all of her social gatherings. 

“She uses an application on her smartphone to adjust the hearing aids as well as stream phone calls directly into her hearing aids, which she really likes.” 

At Trinity Hearing & Balance Center, the audiologists understand that every person is different and hearing loss is unique to the individual. 

“Correcting hearing loss is not a one-size-fits-all affair, which is what people get with over-the-counter and nonprescription hearing aids,” Dr. Hansen asserts. “If they simply walk into a big-box store, pick hearing devices off a shelf and puts them in their ears, they miss out on the exceptional hearing care our audiologists provide. We offer personalized hearing solutions that are tailored to an individual’s needs, which result in greater satisfaction.” 

Singing Praises 

Though she has had her current hearing aids for nearly two years, Mary is still amazed by the impact they have made on her life. 

“I didn’t fight getting hearing aids. In fact, I was very excited about it,” Mary discloses. “And, it’s been so worth it. 

“To hear birds singing, to understand the words of a song and go to the movies and hear everything clearly is amazing to me because those are things I was missing before.” 

Mary is even more pleased with her ability to clearly hear co-workers and carry on casual conversations with them. 

“I just can’t live without these hearing aids,” she exudes. 

She feels much the same way about her audiologist. 

“Dr. Hansen is amazing,” she raves. “I consider her not just my doctor, but also my friend. She’s so awesome. I can’t say enough about Dr. Hansen and Trinity Hearing & Balance Center. Dr. Hansen completely changed my life.”

Florida Health Care News 

Long And Winding Road

Two-year oral odyssey ends with implant-secured denture and a super smile

Since being fit with a full upper denture, Donna received lower implants and a temporary lower denture.

 Donna Wallace turned her affinity for numbers into a career. After earning a two-year degree in accounting from Oakland University in suburban Detroit, Donna held accounting positions at several companies in her native Michigan. 

“I chose accounting because I like numbers,” explains Donna, 82. “I like math and did very well in math in high school. I retired from the corporate office of a child care organization with a group of 357 centers across the country. 

“I was a cash management accountant there for 12 years. I moved money from the bank when needed and pulled in funds from the 357 centers. When I retired in 2001, I moved to Florida to get away from the cold weather. I don’t like the winters in Michigan.” 

Despite her disdain for the Midwest chill, Donna often travels back to the Great Lakes State to visit family and friends. During one such trip a few years ago, Donna experienced a worrisome dental predicament. 

“My daughter was driving me home to Florida when a tooth broke off underneath the gum,” Donna reports. “I went to my dentist, who told me I needed to visit an oral surgeon. He arranged an appointment with one who was supposedly covered by my insurance, but that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t believe it.” 

Before Donna could find another dentist, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Then she developed another dental problem: a severe gum infection. Donna is convinced the broken tooth was responsible for the infection. 

“The infection got really bad and caused me a lot of pain,” she recalls. “I could eat soft food and soups, but I couldn’t chew anything hard.” 

Several weeks later, her dentist’s office reopened, but that came with a surprise. 

“My dentist didn’t come back. He retired,” she laments. 

Soon, the pain became unbearable. 

“I woke up on a Saturday morning and just couldn’t handle it anymore,” Donna says. “My sister-in-law searched online for emergency dentists and found Siesta Dental. We got an appointment that day.” 

Siesta Dental is the practice of Alexander Gaukhman, DMD, a general, cosmetic and emergency dentist who has offices in Sarasota, Venice and Osprey. After evaluating Donna’s situation, Dr. Gaukhman recommended a treatment plan to solve her problem. 

“Donna’s existing dental work, which included partial upper and lower dentures, was compromised due to the gum infection,” Dr. Gaukhman recalls. “The condition also caused her remaining natural teeth to fail, and they were not savable. 

“My recommendation was to extract her remaining teeth and create full upper and lower dentures, with the lower denture secured by dental implants. Donna chose, however, to proceed with traditional dentures on the top and bottom.” 

That became problematic for Donna over the ensuing months. 

“My bottom denture wouldn’t stay put,” she says. “Whenever I chewed, the denture came loose. One day, I was eating chicken salad. The denture came loose and went sideways in my mouth. If it wasn’t so big, I would have swallowed it.” 

Following that mishap, Donna returned to Dr. Gaukhman. This time, she accepted his recommendation that her lower arch be fit with a denture secured by dental implants. 

Stabilizing Lower Dentures 

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone, where new bone naturally grows around them to form the foundation for an abutment and replacement teeth. 

The replacement teeth can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto the 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. 

Unlike upper dentures, which fit securely in the mouth because the palate creates sufficient suction to hold the appliances in place, lower dentures often require implants. 

“There’s no palate in the lower jaw due to the location of the tongue, so less suction is produced,” Dr. Gaukhman asserts. “Consequently, lower dentures tend to slip and slide if they’re not supported by dental implants. 

“It’s rare that someone can wear lower dentures that don’t bother them or stay tight without help. Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it. That’s why I recommended implants to secure Donna’s lower denture.” 

In addition to staying in place when patients speak and eat, dentures secured by dental implants provide added strength for biting and chewing, according to Dr. Gaukhman, who notes other advantages of implant-secured dentures. 

“Because the dentures are stable, patients experience better speech, better aesthetics and greater self-confidence,” he says. “And they don’t have to worry about the denture coming out during dinner, conversation or activity. Also, while teeth decay, implants never decay.” 

End-Result Anticipation 

In most cases, Dr. Gaukhman offers patients Dentures in a Day, Siesta Dental’s single-visit smile-restoration technique. This process allows for the placement of implants on the same day the teeth are extracted. Typically, temporary dentures are created that day in an on-site laboratory. 

“We begin the process by taking impressions of the patient’s teeth,” Dr. Gaukhman describes. “It takes a few hours for the lab to fabricate the dentures, but once they’re ready, we extract the teeth, seat the implants and place the dentures right away. This way, the denture acts as a bandage to minimize swelling and bleeding. Moreover, patients do not need to walk around without teeth. 

“The patient wears the temporary denture for three to six months following the implant procedure. The time allows the implants to integrate with the jawbone and for the tissues to heal. The temporary denture is then replaced with a permanent appliance that attaches to the implants. Once the permanent dentures are placed, we make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.”

 Dr. Gaukhman didn’t use the Dentures in a Day technique with Donna. Following the extraction of her remaining teeth, she was fit with a full upper denture. Since then, she has received the lower implants and a temporary lower denture. 

“My upper denture works very well, and it looks very natural,” Donna relates. “I’m very happy with the work Dr. Gaukhman did.” 

Prior to the pandemic, Donna spent many evenings singing karaoke. Now, she enjoys the activities arranged by her senior living community, including playing a card game called Hand and Foot. She’s also involved in making blankets for the homeless. 

“I’m 82 years old. I feel that it’s time for me to give back for all the wonderful things that have happened to me in my life,” Donna shares. 

She includes meeting Dr. Gaukhman among those good things that have happened to her. Donna has great respect for the dentist who answered her call in an emergency. 

“Dr. Gaukhman is a very good dentist,” she raves. “He was very reassuring and took good care of me. I highly recommend him and Siesta Dental. In fact, I recommended the practice to my brother, who’s a patient there now.”

Florida Health Care News 

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