By Hannah Wallace May 1, 2011

Dental Laser Fallacies

Recently, Dr. Thomas G. Rubino has been asked by many colleagues and patients about lasers and their use in treating periodontal disease. “Understanding that there are a lot of claims made by the manufacturers and dentists about lasers and their practicality,” says Dr. Rubino, a recently published paper in The American Academy of Periodontology points out that there is no evidence to support laser treatment to be any more effective than scaling and root planing. “However, in the future if long-term, unbiased research supports a measurable benefit in the treatment of periodontal disease,” Dr. Rubino adds, “I will be at the forefront of using this technology.”

In addition to questions regarding the efficacy of laser treatments, there have been questions as to whether or not lasers can grow bone. The literature is full of evidence that bone growth can occur from scaling and root planing, but none from laser treatment. “Claims of this type should be repeatable and predictable; they should not be anecdotal in nature,” says Dr. Rubino. Dr. Charles Cobb, who authored the The American Academy of Periodontology’s review of laser literature, concludes that, “at best, limited evidence suggests that lasers may provide an additional benefit when used as an adjunct to scaling and root planning. I would also tell patients to beware of advertising that sounds too good to be true.”

Click here to read the recent American Academy of Periodontology laser statement, then check with Dr. Rubino, who welcomes any questions regarding this information. Visit or call (941) 729-0029.

Dental Implants

Every year, more and more Americans are enjoying the benefits of dental implant treatment. In fact, in many cases implants have become the preferred way to replace failing and missing teeth, according to Sarasota oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Craig Misch. “Advances in implant treatment have made this a more comfortable process with high success rates,” he says. “However, some patients may have been told they are not candidates as they lack adequate jaw bone for implants.” Recently, new products and techniques have been introduced that simplify the body’s ability to regenerate bone and improve bone healing. “The use of a laboratory-made growth factor (rhBMP-2) mimics the way our bodies normally signal the need for bone repair,” Dr. Misch explains. “This approach stimulates bone growth and can eliminate the need to use the patient’s own bone.” Plus, implants are being designed to reduce the need for complex bone graft procedures.

preop-smile.jpg   final-smile.jpg

The above photos show a patient with bone loss in the upper jaw due to gum disease, before and after treatment.  “She was displeased with her smile and could not properly eat and chew,” Dr. Misch says. “She was treated with bone grafting and dental implants to provide a new smile and the ability to function without pain or embarrassment.”

Periodontal Disease Risks

You may have seen stories in the news about the connection between gum disease and heart disease, stroke and diabetes. However, those aren’t the only health conditions that are related to periodontal (gum) disease. Research has shown that having periodontal disease can put you at risk for a few surprising conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and even kidney disease. Scientists believe that inflammation may be the link between periodontal disease and other chronic disease conditions, explains Dr. Lindsay Eastman, a Bradenton-based periodontal specialist. Untreated inflammation like gum disease can lead to the destruction of affected tissues, which can lead to more serious health conditions.

According to a 2010 study by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the prevalence of periodontal disease in the United States may have been underestimated by as much as 50 percent. This means that more Americans than previously thought may be susceptible to these other chronic inflammatory diseases. If you think you may have periodontal disease, talk to a periodontist. Call Dr. Eastman at 941-792-3899 or visit

Safeguarding Seniors

When seniors in need of in-home care are often at their most vulnerable. Taking safeguards to ensure safety and the best of care requires following the right steps and asking the right questions, as explained by Nicci Kobritz, owner of Youthful Aging Home Health Care:

1.    Include at least three agencies in your search.

2.    Determine how long they’ve been serving this community.

3.    Ask for their Florida license to ensure State certification and surveying.

4.    Ask if employees are direct hire. Independent contractors are not covered by workers compensation insurance.

5.    Require and check references.

6.    Learn procedures for emergencies.

7.    Ask how the agency protects client confidentiality.

8.    Determine how often caregivers are supervised in the home.

9.    Ask how care documented.

10.    Call Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration at (850) 414-6010 and ask about any complaints or infractions of concern.

Following these steps will help you to make the best decision, says Kobritz, adding “And good luck!”

Weight Loss Surgery Can Reverse Diabetes

Doctors have discovered that gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding may reverse Type 2 diabetes—even before a patient loses weight. In a statement March 29, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recommended weight-loss surgery as a front-line treatment for obese patients with diabetes, rather than a last resort. A major study presented by IDF shows a 70 to 80 percent remission of diabetes following gastric bypass, providing the duration of the diabetes was less than 10 years (those with diabetes for more than 10 years would probably see a 30-40 percent remission). At the current rate of obesity, projections reveal that one in three Americans could develop diabetes by 2050. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System offers free evaluations and advice to people considering weight-loss surgery. Call (941) 917-4571, attend a free education and support group for people who have had or are contemplating weight loss surgery or visit (keyword: bariatric) to learn more.

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