If you get squeamish during a dental cleaning, a gum graft probably sounds like medieval torture.

Brentwood periodontist Alexandre-Amir Aalam figured there had to be a better way to do the procedure, which involves peeling a tissue patch from the roof of the mouth and sewing it onto a patient’s receding gums.

After looking for an alternative, Aalam adapted a new French technique that uses a patient’s own blood to heal jawbones and teeth extractions. He and his wife, Alina Krivitsky, also a periodontist, brought it to their practice two years ago to regenerate gum tissue.

Aalam draws blood from a patient’s arm, runs it through a centrifuge and then inserts the resulting stem cell and growth factor-rich clot into a patient’s gums. He said it’s less painful, can be done in less time and doesn’t require expensive cadaver tissue for patients who don’t have enough to spare.

Before the new option, only about half of Aalam’s patients needing a gum graft would go through with the procedure. Now, more than 90 percent are willing to get the updated treatment.

“There’s been a really huge bump in the conversion rate because we took the objections away,” Aalam said.

That’s caused revenue to grow by about one-third, allowing the couple to hire more staff and triple their practice’s footprint by moving into a 3,000-square-foot office next month.

“The demand became so big,” Aalam said, “We needed more space.”

– Marni Usheroff

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