Local periodontist uses water laser in his practice

"He's a specialist who does care what people think about them," he said of Ference. "He's definitely an innovator, definitely a nice breath of fresh air."

Waterlase is only used by a few practitioners in the Capital District, but it's been in use overseas for some time. Its established history and performance makes Ference comfortable dropping $60,000 on the system.

"I'm not a gadgeteer. I don't adopt a technology unless it's proven," he said.

Still, the tool is just the latest addition to the periodontist's high-tech arsenal. Doctors can now grow bone grafts for teeth and genetically engineer gum tissues, for example.

But in some cases, advances in technology have not helped everyone. Generally considered a treatment for the old, Ference has been seeing more people in their late 20s and 30s in his periodontics practice. Many of them have not maintained proper teeth and gum health, in part because they believe more widespread fluoride use and advances in over-the-counter dental care products protect them from seeing a dentist regularly.

"I'm seeing a lot of younger people that need implants," Ference said. "Some patients have been lulled into a false sense of security."

Like heart disease, he continued, your teeth and gums can degrade without major symptoms. And if it doesn't hurt, most won't go out of their way to get it fixed.

As a periodontist, Ference is usually referred by other dentists, and sees about 35 to 40 patients a month. He has had offices at his Western Avenue location for three years, having previously practiced at St. Peter's Hospital, and resides in Bethlehem.""

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