Dental Lasers

While there have been many miraculous advancements in dentistry over the past few decades, including digital x-rays, HealOzone and the DIAGNOdent, none has made as significant an impact as laser dentistry. Gone are the days of uncomfortable dental procedures; laser dentistry has made oral health care easy and even…pleasant.

There are numerous uses for lasers in dentistry—both hard and soft tissue procedures. Dentists can use laser dentistry to remove decay, fill cavities, perform root canals, whiten teeth, reduce tooth sensitivity, as well as a variety of gum and bone surgical procedures. While it is a very versatile instrument, probably the greatest benefit of using a laser is that it is painless—a plus when having any sort of dental procedure! A laser can also eradicate any bacteria that have formed in your mouth, saving you from additional treatments down the line. They also reduce the amount of time you spend in the dental chair; another huge plus, especially for those that have anxiety about seeing a dentist. Most people who are apprehensive about seeing a dentist are not fond of the dentist’s drill—the noise, the smell, and the pressure of the traditional drill are enough to make some people avoid the dentist altogether. The introduction of lasers in dentistry alleviates all those issues. The laser can be used for both the teeth and the gums and doesn’t produce heat, vibration or pressure, making the procedure virtually painless. By utilizing a laser in dentistry, there is less need for anesthesia and its use reduces bleeding, swelling and post-operative pain. It also reduces the need for pain medication after the procedure, as well.

A dentist can use the dental laser to remove tissue from the tooth, or the gum while leaving the surrounding tissue untouched. Less of your tooth structure is affected, which helps you maintain your natural teeth for a longer period of time.  Using the traditional, high speed drill can cause small cracks in the teeth and can damage the healthy parts of the teeth. The laser’s precision helps to minimize any hairline fractures in teeth and reduces trauma in the gum area, reducing the bleeding and pain. This means fewer trips to the dentist, too; it is a much more precise way to provide less invasive dental care than traditional dental drills.

If you are suffering from gum disease, you will love the new dental laser. When plaque and tartar build up under the gums, they become swollen and inflamed. Previously, metal dental tools were used to scrape underneath the gums to remove this built up tartar. Needless to say, this process can be uncomfortable, but laser dentistry can eliminate this discomfort. The laser can break down the tartar without having to insert anything underneath the gum line, and a laser will cause less irritation but still provide a thorough cleaning.

Lasers can also improve the appearance of your smile and had even has uses in cosmetic dentistry. For people who need a ‘smile makeover’ the laser can be used to fix imperfections, reshape the gums, removing excess gum tissue from a ‘gummy’ smile and re-contouring the look of an imperfect smile. The laser can finely sculpt the gum line in a short period of time and with little discomfort. Not only is laser dentistry an effective and precise way to re-contour a smile, it also provides the most attractive results and a quick healing process. Ask your dentist about your desired smile requirements and laser dentistry options.

Dental lasers also work well on hard tissue, like tooth decay. The dentist can limit the laser’s scope, concentrating on the decayed section of the teeth and curbing the invasiveness of the process. Lasers can assist in more complex procedures, like placing dental implants Okc or extraction of a tooth, by curbing the amount of bleeding. The laser can even promote healing by stimulating your gum tissue, which results in less irritation and less bleeding.

Dental lasers are changing the face of dentistry. They offer many benefits to patients in addition to gum contouring and the removal of decay; the help to preserve the natural gum and teeth due to the precision of the laser. This results in a faster recovery time, less scarring, fewer anesthetics and less bleeding, swelling and discomfort. If this isn’t enough, including tissues can be regenerated, surgery times are faster and infection is minimized due to laser sterilization. Lasers can be used for many purposes, like the detection of cavities, the filling of cavities, and even teeth whitening treatments. Best Dentist in Okc can also utilize them to remove tumors, cold sores and even seal nerve endings, creating the least amount of pain for the patient.

Laser dentistry is so gentle; many dentist Okc use it as an option to traditional dental methods, even when treating expectant mothers. Pregnancy creates hormonal changes that leave the gums sensitive and tender and many women don’t see the dentist during pregnancy due to tooth sensitivity. Those same hormones can also make the expectant mom more susceptible to gum disease and cavities. Laser dentistry eliminates any apprehension because it is fast, accurate and comfortable, as well as perfectly safe during pregnancy for both the mother and her unborn baby.

While dental lasers are more expensive for the dentist initially, the investment is well worth it. The quality of oral health care is elevated, time is saved and the ability to service patient’s faster means a dentist can see more patients, and the patients are happier, too! The advanced technology of the laser allows the regular dentist to provide services that were previously referred to specialists. This saves you the additional time and expense of seeing another dentist. Less discomfort means more satisfied patients, one that is more likely to maintain their oral health care on a regular basis. New technology, like revolutionary lasers are making dental offices all over the country safer, more efficient and more comfortable for the patient. If you were once hesitant about scheduling a dental procedure, there’s no better time than now!

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Free Overdose-Reversal Kits and Training on Sept. 28

People in Central Indiana will be better equipped to reverse an opiod overdose thanks to a naloxone giveaway and training available throughout Indianapolis on Sept. 28, 2018.

Indiana University Health and Indiana University Health Foundation have partnered with Indiana University, Overdose Lifeline and the Indianapolis Public Library to host naloxone training and distribution sessions at IUPUI and four Indianapolis public library branches.

Free intranasal kits containing the drug naloxone will be handed out to the first 1,000 attendees across all locations. Naloxone is often called by its brand name, Narcan, and can be administered by anyone.

Attendees at the sessions will learn how to identify signs of overdose and how to administer the drug. Training takes approximately 20 minutes. IUPUI will also host a panel of experts who will discuss the ongoing crisis and address the stigma surrounding addiction.

The schedule for the Sept. 28 events is:

  • 8 am: panel discussion at Hine Hall, IUPUI, 875 W. North St.
  • 9 am and 10 am: naxolone distribution and training, at Hine Hall, IUPUI, 875 W. North St.
  • Starting at 9 am and continuing every 40 minutes: naxolone distribution and training at four library branches:
    • Decatur, 5301 Kentucky Avenue
    • Glendale, 6101 North Keystone Avenue
    • Haughville, 2121 West Michigan Street
    • Irvington, 5625 East Washington

Reservations are not necessary, but can be made via Eventbrite.

“Responding to the addictions crisis” is the third of Indiana University’s Grand Challenges initiatives, which bring together community partners and IU researchers to solve Indiana’s biggest problems. The $50 million project aims to prevent and reduce addictions in Indiana, in part by educating Hoosiers on the causes and consequences of addiction, and by offering tangible solutions that will stem the flow of opiates through our communities and reduce the deadly impact of these drugs. 

For more information about how you can contribute to fight the opioid epidemic and other health concerns, visit

Myeloma – Treatment Mile by Mile

Pam Taylor, a founding committee member of the Miles for Myeloma fundraiser and education symposium talks about her treatment for the second most common cause of blood cancer.

As she sits with her husband and sister, wrapped in a blanket receiving infusion, Pam Taylor talks about a two-day cycling event that has raised millions of dollars for a disease her body is fighting.

For the 14th year, myeloma patients, family members and IU Health practitioners have taken part in the 200-mile bike ride – “Miles for Myeloma.” This year’s event – September 21 and 22, culminated with a dinner and education symposium. Started by IU Myeloma researcher and IU Health physician Dr. Rafat Abonour, the event has raised more than $5 million toward increasing patient care, support and advocacy.

“This event is important for several reasons. First, raising awareness about the disease and obviously raising money for research which is the only way they are going to find a cure,” said Taylor. She was diagnosed in November of 2002.

“I had a couple of broken ribs and persistent low hemoglobin,” said Taylor of her symptoms. She visited several specialists and eventually became a patient of Dr. Abonour. “Since 2002 I have been on just about every drug available to treat Myeloma. I’ve had two stem cell transplants, several rounds of chemotherapy including a four-day hospital admission for a continuous drip. My life has changed and I guess I feel like my new normal.” For someone who once enjoyed fishing with her husband of 25 years, William David “Dub” Taylor, she now feels tired and experiences shortness of breath and nausea.

When she was at her best Taylor was able to join her niece Sarah Honchul for a portion of the relay – a memory that still makes her smile. She speaks highly of the man who started the two-day ride and continues to participate – Dr. Abonour.

“He’s the best. He’s compassionate; he’s very knowledgeable and is renowned in the professional world traveling all over talking about myeloma. He doesn’t make decisions for me, he makes decisions with me,” said Taylor. Her sister Tamra Honchul added: “He focuses on the patient’s quality of life not just the treatment. He encourages patients to take trips, visit family and see the world.”

From 2005 to 2015, Miles for Myeloma raised $3 million for Multiple Myeloma research at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Since 2016 Miles for Myeloma has been a joint effort, supporting both myeloma research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and enhanced Myeloma patient care at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. 

While Myeloma is an incurable disease, laboratory researchers are focusing on connecting the relationship between Myeloma cells, the bone marrow and the bone in order to prescribe therapies that target characteristics of the disease. Additionally new drugs and treatment options are being explored through clinical trials.

“Every day I hope is a day closer to finding a cure,” said Taylor. “Right now we’re having a big problem because a lot of the treatments have stopped working which is why it isn’t curable. I’m hopeful and holding out that I’ll get into a clinical trial.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

Co-workers Support Mom of Two Young Sons

When an IU Health Arnett certified nurse anesthesiologist was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) her co-workers came out in force to show support.

“My mom saved my life.”

Jing Yang speaks the words slowly but sincerely as she describes her diagnosis. At 37, Yang was busy raising her two sons – ages 9 and 23 months – and enjoying life with her husband, Allen Garner.

“When you have young kids, you just keep going. You don’t stop to think about what might be wrong. You focus on your family,” said Yang. But it was her mom who noticed Yang was more pale than usual and suggested she see a doctor.

“I felt healthy. I like to go swimming, play Badminton. I take my son to tennis and soccer. We like to read and play basketball. I was busy and couldn’t imagine being sick,” said Yang.

A certified nurse anesthesiologist, Yang is the third generation of nurses – both her mom and grandmother pursued the profession. “I didn’t feel any different and I didn’t think I looked any different but my mom thought better,” said Yang. She also had several bruises on her legs.

“I was almost embarrassed to go to the doctor because I didn’t feel sick. I just had bruises and I didn’t know how I got them,” said Yang, who was born in China, the only child of Shanmin Yang and Guanghua Wang. Her parents moved to the States in 2000 and have moved in with Yang and her family since her diagnosis. A graduate of Albany Medical College in New York, Yang joined IU Health two years ago.

It was the evening of July 24 when she received the news. She had just finished giving the boys a bath. Her husband was on active duty with the Navy and was in Washington, DC. He returned home immediately and they began lab work to confirm the diagnosis. Chemotherapy followed and now Yang is awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

Her co-workers at Arnett have said Yang is always smiling. They love her laugh and her upbeat personality. They describe her as a sweet caring team member and practitioner.

On September 29, her co-workers will host a bone marrow registry at the Arnett Family Fun Day 5K Run/Walk. Anyone in good health between the ages of 18 and 44 can be tested with a simple cheek swab. Registration can also be completed online at The best match for Yang will be someone of Chinese or Asian decent. 

“Oh my gosh, my co-workers have been amazing,” said Yang. “I was not expecting it at all. They are so supportive mentally and physically.” They have volunteered days off to be with her during her hospital stay, helped raise funds, donated their time off, connected her with support groups, and assisted with researching treatments and providers.

“So many days they let me know they care just by sending me a text or calling me to Face time and say, “Hi.’ I am so grateful for their support,” said Yang. “ One of the things I like best about nursing is helping people – making them feel safe and comfortable, and becoming a patient advocate. Now I’m seeing that from a different side.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

Animal Lover Fights Ovarian Cancer

When pelvic pain forced Michelle Cannava to the emergency room, doctors discovered a tumor the size of a baby’s head. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 

It’s hard to believe that her deep brown eyes and her smile were once distracted by something else – something physically out of place. But Michelle Cannava shows pictures and explains that there was something wrong – something that she ignored.

She was 49, the mother of three adult children and yet, her stomach was extended well beyond the surface of her slender frame.

It was 3 a.m. in early April when she headed to the emergency room of a hospital near her Brazil, Ind. home.

“I knew going in whatever was happening to my body was bad. It was time to face it but I still hoped it was something less scary than cancer. Cancer was the thought I couldn’t shake,” said Cannava.

Her fears were confirmed. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the fifth in cancer deaths among women. The American Cancer Society estimates a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108. About 22,240 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Month – a time to remind women of signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. The most common symptoms are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms such as urgency and frequency.

The American Cancer Society warns that these symptoms may be linked to other conditions but if a women experiences them more than 12 times a month, she should contact her physician.

“I know they call ovarian cancer the ‘silent killer’ because sometimes the symptoms are subtle, and it’s more difficult to detect, but in hindsight I knew there was something wrong for a long time and I had been ignoring the symptoms,” said Cannava, a patient of hematologist/oncologist Dr. S. Hamid H. Sayar.


With three adult children, Cannava and her husband Mike Pendley had just made some changes in their life. She left a demanding career in search of what she calls a simpler life.  They sold their large home in an Indianapolis suburb and moved to a 30-acre farm in historical Brazil, Ind.

“We were doing what so many people yearn to do – leaving the rat race to live out the next stage of our lives somewhere tranquil where we could submerge ourselves in what we loved to do rather than what we had to do to make a living,” said Cannava. They downsized to a 1,200-square-foot log cabin and built doggie condos for their five Labrador retrievers. They planted a garden and spent their free time shopping at local flea markets and taking in small town festivities such as horse pulls, tractor demolition derbies and chicken and noodle dinners. Cannava joined the Rotary Club and began volunteering at the local Humane Society. In short, she was enjoying life to the fullest. But she was also working hard to reject the idea that she might be sick.

“I would glance at the pot belly that I had started to struggle with and call it a ‘middle-aged pooch.’  At the same time my brain was saying ‘you know Michelle, sometimes woman suddenly get a belly and discover they have a large tumor.’ Then I would dismiss it because it scared me,” said Cannava.

In November 2017, her volunteer role with the Humane Society changed to a staff position. She was busy managing the shelter, loving on animals, making media appearances and promoting a cause that she was passionate about. But five months into her new position, her symptoms increased – including back pain and reoccurring headaches. She ended up in the emergency room.

“That night they discovered a tumor the size of a baby’s head in my pelvic region. The tumor had pushed my colon to the opposite side of my body, was putting pressure on my bladder and displacing other internal organs,” said Cannava. Surgery followed to remove the mass, along with a full hysterectomy. Two days later, doctors at her local hospital told her she had Stage II Ovarian cancer. She began chemotherapy.

“After my first infusion I began to doubt my choice to be treated at that cancer center. I left every appointment confused and didn’t feel like I was being heard so I started the process of researching other cancer centers in the Indianapolis area and found IU Health Simon Cancer Center,” said Cannava. She began her second infusion within a week and was scheduled for surgery to repair a surgical hernia.


“The difference has been incredible. I literally cried my first appointment and felt like I was ready to fight this and had a true team behind me,” said Cannava, who is more than halfway through her treatments. 

“My advice to woman is to not ignore symptoms. I believe there are others out there like me who know something scary is happening to their bodies but are too afraid to face it. Woman have an intuition that more often than not is accurate. I was lucky that the pain became bad enough that I was forced to face it before the cancer progressed to a later stage,” said Cannava. “It would be easy to say that after all the steps we took to simplify our lives that this is unfair but I prefer to believe that God set it up to happen exactly that way. I believe that we needed to be in a more serene setting and I needed to be doing something I loved in order to fight this. The animals I work with seem to sense my illness and have a way of gazing into my eyes and letting me know it’s ok. Together we are saving each other.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

The Art Of Caring

Shirley Hottman has dedicated countless hours to making quilts and organizing fundraisers for others in need. Now, as a patient at IU Health, she is using art to express her gratitude to others. Her work will be part of the CompleteLife Art Show and will be displayed at IU Health Simon Cancer Center this month.

Purple – it’s her favorite color and it’s also a color associated with strength and healing. As she dips her brush into the vibrant acrylics and spreads the purple paint across a canvas, Shirley Hottman talks about her path to healing.

It was the last day of May when Hottman was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) – a type of cancer that can occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal. She and her husband Doug were celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary when she got the call that she needed to see an oncologist/hematologist. Two days before her 60th birthday she went in for a bone marrow biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis. Under the care of IU Health oncology doctors Sridhar Bolla and Robert Nelson, she began chemotherapy. On August 27, with her sister Lynda Lowery serving as her donor, Hottman received a bone marrow transplant.

A former letter carrier, Hottman grew up in Iowa the daughter of Ken and Sharon Hanna. In addition to her sister, she has a brother Randy Hanna. She and her husband go back to junior high where they first met in Iowa. Years went by and they reconnected on Facebook and were married a year and 10 days later.

“Our kids met the night before our wedding and we knew we were in trouble. They got along swimmingly,” said Hottman. Two daughters and their spouses work at IU Health – Matt and Lauren Wolford and Dr. Alyson Craig and Dustin Craig. She’s “Nana” to three grandsons ages 7, 4 and one.

As she talks, Hottman shares pictures of some the quilts she’s made over the years. Deep purple patterns with hints of pink – 30 different pieces of fabric. Quilting is a one of many hobbies. She also knits and crochets.

“There’s probably not a craft I haven’t tried,” said Hottman. Over the years, she’s used her talents to help others. She helped raise more than $280,000 for breast cancer patients through the “Angel Ride to Save the Ta-Tas,” that included an auction of her quilts. Another benefit for childhood cancer, “Journey of Hope,” raised more awareness and funds. For that event in August, Hottman made good on a promise – if they raised $6,000 she would shave her head. She worked alongside her children on a Habitat for Humanity build with IU Health employees, has volunteered with St. Mark’s food pantry and the Gabriel Project that provides assistance to pregnant women.

Life has been a little different since her diagnosis. As she paints, she talks about being on the receiving end of support. The painting includes the phrases: “Being loved deeply gives you strength; Loving deeply gives you courage.” The canvas will be one of several painted by patients and caregivers as part of the CompleteLife Art Show at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. The theme for the show is: “Strength. Courage. Creativity.”

With art therapist Lisa Rainey at her side, Hottman pauses and tries to put into words her inspiration. This is a woman who loves ballroom dancing, hosting an annual shrimp boil for family and friends, traveling to the Florida beaches and mostly helping others.

“It’s very humbling to be helped by others,” said Hottman. “When I got my first chemo treatment goodie bag with blankets and footies, it hit me hard. That’s what we used to give to women going through breast cancer treatment. The only thing I can say is it’s important to stay positive, rely on your faith and support system and take it one day at a time.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health. 
   Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

Writing Through Cancer

Her blogs have appeared in the New York Times under such headings as: “Sex After Cancer,” “Living With Cancer: The Lure of Alternative Remedies,” and “Lessons on Dying from David Bowie and my Friends.”

Susan Gubar, American author and distinguished Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies at Indiana University recently spent time visiting patient Emma Douglas-Roberson at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. As she walked the hallway to the patient’s room, Gubar commented that the visit brought back memories of her hospital stay. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2008, Gubar remains in the care of IU Health’s Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month a time to remind men and women of signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. For years, it has been called the “the whisper” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the cancer had advanced. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population.

The most common symptoms are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms such as urgency and frequency.

IU Health CompleteLife music therapist Emily Caudill met Gubar at one of her writing workshops. Caudill who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 had read one of Gubar’s books about her ovarian cancer diagnosis “Memoir of a Debulked Woman.”  After her recent doctor’s appointment Gubar joined Caudill for a music therapy session with Douglas-Roberson, undergoing treatment for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Gubar, is widely known for the 1979 book “The Madwoman in the Attic,” co-written by Sandra Gilbert. The book examines Victorian literature from a feminist perspective. In all, Gubar has authored 20 books including two about her cancer diagnosis.

Sitting at the patient’s bedside, Gubar signed a copy of her book “Reading & Writing Cancer” and wished the patient well. Gubar donated several copies of the book available to patients through the Cancer Resource Center. In the book’s cover, author Joyce Carol Oates is quoted: “In the intimacy and forth-rightness of her prose, Susan Gubar provides a model for writing that is therapeutic for both the writer and the reader.”

In her books about her diagnosis, Gubar talks about the importance of journal writing as an alternative form of therapy.

“Writing can help all kinds of patients especially cancer patients,” she said. “It’s a great way to remember and go back and reread thoughts. It gives people a sense of monitoring what they are doing and to recognize that it’s not all a nightmare. There are moments of levity and human contact.”

— T.J. Banes,

Now That Deserves A Parade

Lynn Livingston and her daughters are taking advantage of every opportunity to promote organ donation.

The parade isn’t exactly for her but Lynn Livingston is making every opportunity count. It was at an annual parade where her story actually began.

“I donated blood to get a Colts t-shirt and then I got the letter,” said Livingston, a resident of Plainfield. She was attending the community’s annual Quaker Day Parade. A week later she got a letter from the Indiana Blood Center informing her that her liver enzymes were elevated. A doctor’s visit followed, along with months of testing. In October 2001 Livingston was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. (PSC). The chronic disease is known to damage the bile ducts – the digestive liquid made in the liver. On May 27, 2008 she received a liver transplant.

Married to Dave Livingston, the couple has two adult children. Brooke is a fourth-grade teacher in Plainfield, and Britton, is a nurse who works in the same unit at IU Health University Hospital where her mother received her transplant.

Fast-forward to September 22, Livingston will again attend her annual hometown parade. This time, she will display a sign that reads: “I receive a liver. 5-27-08.” Her daughters will carry signs that read: “My mom received a liver. 5-27-08.”

“Lynn has been a dedicated advocate with the Indiana Donor Network for nearly a decade, volunteering hundreds of hours to raise awareness about this importance of organ, eye and tissue donation,” said Corinne Osinski-Carey with the Indiana Donor Network. “Each year, she spearheads organizing participation in the Quaker Day parade. Her enthusiasm for this event has helped us touch thousands of Hoosiers throughout the year.”

In addition to the parade, Livingston is known for volunteering countless hours at events creating awareness for the importance of organ donation. She speaks to high school and college students, community organizations, church groups and concert crowds. At one event she helped register more than 100 new donors in a single evening (the state average is 71 percent of licensed drivers are registered organ donors).

“I would say the highlight for me and one of my favorite things is mentoring and helping others going through the transplant process, said Livingston, who maintains a social media page called Lynn’s Transplant Groupies.  “I have helped so many patients and their families before, during and after transplant, be it what they should expect right after transplant, or things that can help them at home to make their healing process easier.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email