Our Mission

In our pursuit of clinical excellence, we prioritize offering each patient a comprehensive understanding of their dental diagnoses, proposed treatment plans, and the objectives of treatment following a thorough periodontal evaluation. Grounded in evidence-based dentistry, our practice places a strong emphasis on continuous education, training, and independent onsite assessments. These endeavors are undertaken to guarantee compliance and the perpetuation of the highest standards of care within the dental profession.

Why Choose Our Practice

When it comes to choosing a periodontist, we know that you have options. Personalized, gentle, comprehensive patient care is our number one priority. Since 1967, Sarasota Periodontal Associates has been proud to offer the highest standard of excellence in periodontal care to our thousands of satisfied & grateful patients.

Here are just a few things that make our practice unique:

Board certified periodontists

Dr. Farris, Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. Sharma, and Dr. Little are all Diplomates of the American Board of Periodontology. Board certification requires rigorous testing after completing a three year residency program. Our practice has a commitment to delivering exceptional patient care that is supported by scientific, peer-reviewed, evidence-based therapy. As board certified periodontists, our doctors remain at the pinnacle in the field of periodontology and implant dentistry. Board certification also requires fulfillment of periodic recertification through testing and education/teaching standards.

Care and Commitment

From the front office to the exam room, our practice is made up of professionals who take your oral health very seriously. Using state-of-the-art equipment designed with safety and efficiency in mind, we are able to offer the highest standard of dental care and treatment.

Honesty and Transparency

We know that dental treatment can be confusing. In addition to reviewing treatment plans in detail with our patients, we also give you up-front cost information on your treatment ahead of time. We are in network with a variety of insurance plans, and we offer dental financing with credit available in time frames that fit your needs. We are happy to help you navigate your dental insurance and alternative payment options through this challenging process.

Easy Access to Dental Care and Information

We know that your time is valuable to you, and that’s why we offer extended office hours on select days, dental appointment reminders, and a quick turnaround time on calls and appointment requests. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns in the office, over the phone or via email. At our practice, you are always surrounded by people that you can trust. We work with the best dental professionals in our community. These are carefully vetted colleagues who apply the same professional principles and standards of care that we do.


We respect and understand that many patients experience dental anxiety. At our office, we do everything we can to make sure that your experience is as enjoyable as possible. By communicating clearly what you can expect during your treatment, we are often able to alleviate dental fear. We encourage you to bring headphones and music to listen to during your treatment and ask us about dental sedation options.

Personalized Service

At our practice, you aren’t just a patient. We take a personal interest in you and your oral health needs. We think you’ll find a friend in your dental care team during and after your dental treatment.

N. Joseph Farris, DDS

Meet Dr. Farris

Dr. Joseph Farris is originally from Danbury, Connecticut and completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Drury College graduating summa cum laude. Dr. Farris received his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1984 with honors, from the University of Missouri, elected to the Omicron Kappa Upsilom Dental Honor Society. As Chief Resident in his periodontal specialty training at LSU, his training included research in bone physiology, which led to publication in leading periodontal journals. His residency also included extensive training at Ochsner Medical Clinic in infectious diseases/immunology and Charity Hospital anesthesia training. Dr. Farris was the first periodontist to obtain Board Certification in the Specialty of Periodontology in Sarasota County. He is also a member of the American Board of Periodontology, American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, and Florida Society of Periodontology.

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Dr. Farris practices in Sarasota and Venice, Florida and focuses on periodontal plastic microsurgery, regenerative procedures, pre-prosthetic periodontal surgery, and dental implants procedures. For the comfort of his patients, Dr Farris provides periodontal surgical treatment with a board-certified anesthesiologist using general anesthesia. Dr. Farris continues to participate in advanced training of various aspects of Periodontology which includes microsurgical procedures and plastic and reconstructive periodontal surgery. As the founding member of the Sarasota Dental Specialty Study Club, he continues to teach advanced treatments and procedures, providing patients with leading-edge dental care.

Dr Farris, along with two local Board-Certified orthodontists, are certified in the Wilckodontics™ treatment protocol. This evidenced-based mutli-disciplanary treatment modality has as its goal, the successful treatment of malocclusion through a combination of accelerate orthodontic and periodontal regenerative surgery. Not only is orthodontic treatment time reduced, supporting bone and gingiva are regenerated to enhance the integrity of the dentition. Orthodontic relapse is also reduced for a more predictable long-term result.

Dr. Farris is married to Barbara and with their daughter, Victoria, they enjoy traveling, skiing, and community service activities.

Javier Gonzalez, DDS, MS

Meet Dr. Gonzalez

Dr. Javier E. Gonzalez was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He is board-certified by the American Board of Periodontology. After graduating top of his class in Dental School, Dr. Gonzalez received two postgraduate degrees in Periodontology and Implantology: one from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and another from the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He received his Masters Degree in Clinical Dentistry from UAB School of Dentistry, one of the top dental schools in the nation, both clinically as well as in research, particularly its Periodontology Department.

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During his training, he received various awards, including UAB Graduate Fellowship given to the top two graduating residents in the country going into a teaching position, the Billy M. Pennel Award, Abram and Sylvia Chasens Teaching and Research Fellowship, and a Balint Orban Competition finalist. Dr. Gonzalez also was part of multiple research studies at UAB, predominantly on the relationship between periodontal diseases and other medical conditions. Upon graduation, Dr. Gonzalez joined the UAB faculty as an Assistant Professor. He later joined Sarasota Periodontal Associates in 2003, and currently holds a position as a visiting assistant professor at UAB School of Dentistry in the Department of Periodontology.

Dr. Gonzalez practices in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, Florida. His practice is geared towards advanced periodontal microsurgery and implant dentistry. His periodontal practice also extends through health-related procedures, pre-prosthetic procedures, as well as cosmetic procedures. Dr. Gonzalez has many years of advanced training in intravenous sedation. His implant practice expands from implant placement, to various grafting techniques.

He works closely with some of the best specialists and restorative dentists in the area, assisting them on creating a strong, healthy foundation by saving teeth through biologic shaping (root reshaping), performing minimally invasive soft tissue grafting procedures (i.e. tunneling technique), or enhancing the supporting structures through various bone grafting techniques (i.e. Periodontally Accelerated Osteogenic Orthodontics, or PAOO).

Dr. Gonzalez is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology. He served on the Sarasota County Dental Association Board for 4 years, completing his tenure as President during the 2007-2008 term.

Dr. Gonzalez has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jessica, since 1994. They have three children, all boys. His oldest son, Juan Pablo, graduated Stanford Law and lives in California with his wife, Julia and two children. His middle son, Andres, graduated from Vanderbilt University and works as a credit manager for Ally Financial. His youngest son, Juan Diego, graduated from Amherst College, and currently resides in New York City working for Deloitte as a consultant.

Pragya Sharma, DDS, MS

Meet Dr. Sharma

Dr. Pragya Sharma was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Spanish from Indiana University. She went on to pursue her dental training at Indiana University School of Dentistry where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) degree. Immediately drawn to the art and precision of periodontal surgery, Dr. Sharma considered the country’s top postgraduate periodontal programs.

She moved to Birmingham, Alabama to complete her residency training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Sharma earned two post-graduate certificates in Periodontics – one from UAB Department of Periodontology and one from the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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Her dual training at UAB and the VA hospital allowed her to gain a unique set of skills and knowledge. In addition to cultivating her surgical skills, Dr. Sharma earned a Masters degree in Dentistry with a focus on bone augmentation techniques and wound healing in preparation for dental implant placement.

Dr. Sharma’s practice philosophy is to serve her patients with a tailored approach to make them feel comfortable throughout treatment. She is dedicated to offering conservative and minimally-invasive surgical techniques utilizing the latest technologies through evidence-based practice. She values having a meaningful patient-dentist relationship and has a passion for reinstating healthy smiles.

In her spare time, Dr. Sharma enjoys traveling, playing tennis, reading, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.

Dr. Sharma is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, Board-Certified in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry. She is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, the Academy of Osseointegration, the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, the West Coast Dental Association, and the Sarasota County Dental Association.

Claire Little, DMD, MS

Meet Dr. Little

Dr. Little is originally from Crystal River, located on Florida’s Nature Coast. Her husband, Chris, is a third-generation Sarasota native and is practicing internal medicine at Sarasota Personal Medicine. Following the completion of her residency program, Dr. Little began practice as a Periodontist in northeast Florida. Now, she and her husband are thrilled to be back on the west coast of Florida where they are close to family, world-class fishing and the beautiful beaches of Sarasota.

Dr. Little is a three-time graduate of the University of Florida, or what we call a “Triple Gator”. She completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a minor in business administration followed by her dental education at the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry. There she discovered her passion for periodontology. She was drawn to the intricacies of periodontal surgery and the opportunity to restore function as well as a beautiful smile. She completed her residency training in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and earned her master’s degree at the University of Florida’s graduate program.

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Dr. Little is committed to providing a gentle and caring dental experience for her patients. She enjoys the teamwork involved in dentistry and works closely with you and your referring dentist. Dr. Little strives to offer minimally invasive treatment options and is trained in the Versah Osseodensification protocols to reduce the need for bone grafting and provide a less invasive approach to sinus augmentation, making dental implants possible for the majority of her patients. She was awarded the BioHorizons scholarship to be trained in Dr. Edward P. Allen’s microsurgical techniques for soft tissue grafting, facilitating a “palate-free” option for gingival grafting. It is her top priority to stay up to date on the newest techniques and technologies through continuing education.

In addition to her work at Sarasota Periodontal Associates, Dr. Little is excited to use her training as a way to give back through volunteer opportunities. She has provided dental treatment at Sarasota’s Project Christmas Smile, the Florida Mission of Mercy, as well as various community clinics. She has trained dental students in the field of periodontics and was a course instructor for “Local Anesthesia for Today’s Hygienist” at the University of Florida.

Dr. Little is Board Certified in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and offers oral and IV conscious sedation. She is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, Florida Association of Periodontists, the Sarasota County Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, and the American Dental Association.

Kathleen Akers, DMD

Meet Dr. Akers

Dr. Kathleen Akers is a highly skilled and experienced periodontist with a rich educational and professional background. Dr. Akers was inspired by her father who was a periodontist; working alongside him was the catalyst to follow in his footsteps. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Vanderbilt University, where she also embraced cultural enrichment through the Vanderbilt-in-Italy program. Her journey in dentistry began at Creighton University, where she was involved in the Idaho Dental Education Program and gained significant experience as a teaching assistant in the Departments of Endodontics and Periodontics. She completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery before advancing to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for her Masters of Science with a Certificate in Periodontics.

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Dr. Akers brings to our practice an impressive blend of clinical and academic achievements. She has been at the forefront of periodontal treatment, soft tissue augmentation, implant treatment, and more since 2008. Her commitment to education is evident from her tenure as a teaching assistant and her active role in research focusing on bone loss around dental implant designs. Dr. Akers’ dedication to her field is further highlighted by her research being recognized as Presentation of the Year by various dental study groups.

Board Certified in Periodontics, Dr. Akers is an esteemed member of the American Board of Periodontology. While in Texas, she was an active member and president of national and local dental study clubs and continues to advance periodontics and implantology through private practice clinical research. Her involvement extends beyond professional achievements to significant contributions to community service through dental clinics and volunteer work. Dr. Akers looks forward to becoming part of local Florida professional organizations.

In her free time, Dr. Akers enjoys running half marathons, traveling, hiking, SCUBA diving, skiing, and spending quality time with family, friends, and her dog. We are excited for our patients to benefit from Dr. Akers’ exceptional skill set, compassionate care, and dedication to advancing periodontal health.

Hear From Our Happy Patients!

“Dr. Farris and his associates are the most professional, caring and dedicated group that I have ever have the pleasure to meet. Yesterday I had my first scheduled cleaning done by Vanessa. It was the best cleaning that I have ever experienced in my life. I was literally shocked at the attention to detail and professionalism I experienced under her care. Thank you very much.”

– R.A.

“I am always met with a smile. I was seated on time and Dr Gonzalez is very efficient and professional. I never felt the injection. It all went very smoothly. The staff is wonderful. Won’t go anywhere else.”

– Betty

“Excelling, caring, service. I had a cleaning with Michelle and she went the extra mile for me and didn’t give up. The doctor, Dr. Sharma takes the time to educate and follow patients. Nice to have a periodontist with these skills. Thank you.”

– Cynthia

“Dr. Claire Little is amazing, and this dental office is the best! They are friendly, professional, compassionate and responsive. I wish all my medical providers were this good.”

– Marty

Learn More About Our Oral Surgery Team