Mid-Year Check In!

We are about half-way through the year and by this time, most people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of those people, you’re not alone. The good news is that you still have about 6 months to make good on those resolutions and improve your daily habits. Whether you want to lose a few pounds, be better about staying in touch with friends, or…drum roll pleasefloss daily, now is a good time as any to start!

Here are some tips for establishing and maintaining good habits (dental and otherwise):

  • Start small. Have you ever heard the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”? Don’t get too hung up on looking a month or a year ahead. Simply do the thing you need to do on a daily (or hourly) basis to accomplish the goal.
  • Be consistent. If following a better dental hygiene routine is your aim, set a specific time of day and/or night to brush and floss and try to stick with that time. Set an alarm on your phone and don’t ignore it. This tactic is especially important for establishing a healthy sleep routine.
  • Plan for obstacles. Particularly in the summertime, travel can get in the way of sticking to healthy habits. In relation to dental hygiene, it’s smart to keep an “emergency” travel kit handy and separate from your main toothbrush and other dental appliances. Going out of town is not an excuse to forgo flossing!
  • Reward yourself. When you set goals, don’t forget to set rewards as well! For example, say your goal is to floss every day for a month. When you make it to that milestone, promise yourself the gift of an electric toothbrush (or something equally exciting).

Do you feel like your habits keep you in control of your dental health? If not, it may be time to visit the dentist for a checkup. The team of professionals at Vacendak Dentistry can help set your mind at ease and give you the tools you need to feel good about your oral health and routine. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of a Dental Visit

While we here at Vacendak Dentistry try our best to make going to the dentist a pleasant experience for our patients, we understand that it can still feel like a chore. Many people see dental visits as necessary evils. If you are one of those people who hates the dentist but loves the peace of mind that comes with a healthy mouth, you may be wondering what you can do to get all you can out of the appointment (so as not to have to return early thanks to a toothache or worse). Here are some tips.

  • Practice good oral hygiene outside of the dentist’s office. Taking care of your teeth on a daily basis by brushing and flossing allows the hygienist to give the most thorough cleaning possible without pain or extra time in the chair. It also makes it more likely that you’ll receive a clean bill of health from the dentist.
  • Ask questions. If you’ve been experiencing bleeding gums, persistent tooth pain, or other oral irregularities, don’t be afraid to let your dentist know and ask about the source! If things in your mouth are looking great, be sure to ask what you can do to keep it that way. Good dental health requires a conversation between you and your healthcare professional That is why it is so important to choose a dentist that takes more than five minutes per appointment to get to know you and your oral health.
  • Take the time for in-office preventive care. Biannual dental checkups are meant to help maintain optimal health and get ahead of any potential problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. In addition to routine cleaning, each checkup should include a complete examination of all dental work like crowns and appliances, an oral cancer screening, and periodic x-rays. These measures make it less likely that you will experience painful and costly issues in the future.

Drs Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care a positive experience! We are conveniently located in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake and serve patients all across Hampton Roads. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Why Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?

Dental care is “whole body” care. The health of your teeth and jaw impact your overall health, so dentists do everything we can to prevent and diagnose potential issues before they become obvious and painful. Dental X-Rays are one tool we use to give the best possible care.

There is only so much a dentist or hygienist can see with their eyes alone when examining a mouth. X-rays allow us to see the “unseeable” and use that information to proactively treat the mouth. Some of the things X-rays enable us to do include:

  • Detect cavities
  • Find and predict gum disease
  • Diagnose jaw issues
  • Check the health of the bones around teeth
  • Make sure the roots of teeth are healthy
  • See teeth that are coming in but have yet to erupt

X-rays are an important part of any dental treatment plan for people of all ages. We like to take pictures of all parts of the mouth, though not necessarily all during one routine exam. Bitewing X-rays show the tops of teeth and indicate early signs of dental decay. Periapical X-rays show the entire tooth from crown to supporting bone. Panoramic X-rays are taken from the outside of the mouth and provide a full view of the oral cavity.

How Often Do I Need X-Rays?

When visiting a new dentist you can expect them to order a full set of X-rays in order to provide a complete view of your oral health. After that, the dentist probably won’t need new images at every routine appointment and will instead make an individualized schedule based on your age/needs.

Are Dental X-rays Safe?

In short, yes. Today’s digital imaging technology minimizes radiation exposure. That, combined with the use of leaded covers for the abdomen and neck, make any worry about radiation negligible. This also assumes that you are in good health and not pregnant or breastfeeding. Your dentist will adjust if your medical history requires.

Know What to Expect

If you or your child have never had dental X-rays before (or if it’s been a while), don’t hesitate to ask your dentist to walk you through their reasoning for administering them and what the process will be like. At the end of the day, X-rays help the dentist provide personalized care and help you have a better sense of the parts of your mouth you can’t see!

Vacendak Dentistry uses the latest digital imaging equipment to prevent and diagnose dental issues. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

The Relationship Between Dental Phobia and Tooth Decay

Fear of the dentist, technically known as odontophobia or dentophobia, is one of the most common fears of people of all ages. Just the thought of walking in the door of the dental office is enough to make some quake in their boots. Whether they’ve had a bad experience in the past, apprehension about the “drill,” or another root cause, fear of the dentist can make taking good care of teeth much more difficult.

A new study from the Kings College of London Dental Institute found that people with dental anxiety are more likely to experience tooth decay, cavities, and tooth loss. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as dental phobia sometimes influences its sufferers to skip routine dental appointments or choose short-term solutions (tooth extraction) over more invasive long-term solutions (tooth restoration over several visits).

The study, published in the British Dental Journal,  noted that previous research has found that “individuals with dental phobia express negative feelings such as sadness, tiredness, discouragement and general anxiety, less vitality, and more exhaustion. Embarrassment (a combination of guilt and bad conscience) of their poor teeth will prevent them from smiling and showing their teeth because phobic people rate their oral and general health as poor and frequently perceive that they would require dental treatment upon a dental visit.”

If you are scared of the dentist, you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to overcome the fear, whether through therapy, bringing a loved one to the office with you, or by coming in to talk to a new dentist before your first appointment. At Vacendak Dentistry, we make every effort to put our patients at ease. Our comfortable exam rooms, peaceful environment, and friendly, knowledgeable staff, can make the whole experience much more pleasant.  Routine dental appointments are generally painless and prevent more painful procedures in the future!

Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Do I REALLY Need a Dental Check Up Every 6 Months?

Answer: If it’s been more than six months or you’ve experienced any oral pain, then yes!

Too many people assume that if their teeth look and feel ok, routine dental appointments are less important. The generally recommended twice-yearly dental visits slide to once a year or every other. Some even wait till they have issues like loose teeth, toothaches, or bleeding gums to call the dentist. This is ill-advised because proper preventative care does exactly what it sounds like–helps prevent more serious dental problems in the future.

Like we say again and again, oral health impacts overall health. This means that a dental checkup isn’t just about teeth and gums. At Vacendak Dentistry, every visit involves a significant amount of time with the dentist, during which we address concerns you may not even know you had. For instance, each visit includes an oral cancer screening because the signs of such cancers are not always obvious, and of course, better caught early. That’s just one of the ways a visit at our office can improve your health and self-knowledge.

We make an effort to help our patients understand the importance of daily routine oral hygiene. As part of that, there is a caveat for some individuals. Depending on your unique teeth and overall health, you may need to see us more OR less often. In order to know what is best for you, you’ve got to talk to the dentist.

Get excited about your oral health! Maintaining it doesn’t have to be a chore. The doctors at Vacendak Dentistry can help. We are convenient located near the Kempsville area of Chesapeake and are accepting new patients every day. Call us now at (757) 609-3510 or contact the office online. We take most dental insurance plans.

 

What Should I Do After I Get a Tooth Pulled?

There are several reasons a dentist may recommend a tooth extraction, including impacted wisdom teeth, advanced tooth decay that leaves a tooth unsalvageable, an orthodontic need to make room in the mouth, or other more complex dental issues. No matter the reason, most patients are nervous about getting teeth pulled, especially if it’s their first time.

Thanks to gentle sedation and improved extraction techniques, all you need to do is trust the dentist or oral surgeon doing the procedure, alert them of concerns and anxieties before the extraction and of any shooting pain during (if you choose to be awake). We know you’ll get through it with flying colors! The most important part of any tooth extraction is the aftercare. Be sure to follow all surgical instructions provided by your doctor and keep the following tips in mind:

  • Have a trusted person drive you home post-extraction even if you weren’t fully sedated. You may feel nervous or lightheaded and it is safer to get a ride.
  • Directly following the procedure, you will be instructed to bite down on gauze to stop the bleeding. Keep the gauze in place for at least 30 minutes and replace it with fresh gauze after 30 min if still bleeding. You may bleed minimally for up to 24 hours, but if bleeding seems excessive, be sure to call your doctor.
  • Take your medication! If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or painkillers, get your trusted person to make a stop at the pharmacy before you head home to rest. Once you have it, take it faithfully. This will minimize pain and keep you comfortable.
  • Eat soft foods and avoid anything hard, sticky or crunchy for at least a week.
  • No straws or smoking for 72 hours after surgery. Your mouth will thank you as this helps avoid disrupting the very important blood clot that needs to form in order for gums to heal.

These are all things to keep in mind that will help shorten recovery and minimize pain. If you’re facing a tooth extraction, make sure you talk in depth with your dentist and closely adhere to all post-procedure instructions and recommendations. Getting a tooth pulled may feel scary, but it isn’t so bad when you have the facts you need to feel at ease.

Resolve to Enjoy Taking Care of Your Teeth

New Year’s resolutions are pretty silly, aren’t they? We make them on January 1 only to abandon them when life gets in the way, sometimes as soon as February. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. It’s all in the attitude. No one is perfect and little by little, we can integrate positive habits with just a little extra self-discipline. Whatever you “resolve” to do this year, whether it’s getting fit, saving money, or taking more time for self-care, consider adding a special focus on improving your oral health. There are plenty of benefits of taking care of your teeth consistently.

  • Helps prevent gum disease. Gums may seem like a small part of the body comparatively, but they really pack a punch when it comes to overall health. Gum disease correlates with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as diabetes. Brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular dental appointments all contribute to lower chance of periodontal disease.
  • Saves teeth. Dentures are not an inevitability. You can keep your teeth by following the dental advice you know well.
  • Promotes early detection of oral cancer. While good dental hygiene habits cannot prevent cancers of the mouth and throat, they can help reduce risk and regular dental visits help ensure that any cancer is caught early. At Vacendak Dentistry, we include an oral cancer screening as part of each routine appointment.
  • Boosts your confidence. Strong, beautiful teeth are true assets to your self-esteem and can help you get far in your personal and professional lives. Good habits and regular dental visits work together to keep your teeth looking bright, white and beautiful.

What’s stopping you? Get a jump on the new year and your new healthy habits! Call Vacendak Dentistry today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment for January. Our compassionate, professional staff will help you achieve your goals and make sure you leave with a smile on your face.

Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Expire!

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? This year has flown by, and if you’re like many people, remaining dental insurance benefits are the last things on your mind. If your dental insurance “resets” on January 1, 2017, you may lose the benefits you earned this year by faithfully paying your monthly premiums. The good news is that you still have time to schedule a dental appointment and take advantage of the care to which you are entitled.

Whether you have a flexible spending account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or have a plan with a deductible, it’s important for you to know whether the money/benefits roll over into the new year. If you’re not sure, we recommend you go ahead and use the funds for dental work or routine care that you may have put off in 2016.

Vacendak Dentistry works with a number of dental insurance companies and our office works to make sure patients receive care that is as affordable as possible. Call us today at 757-609-3510 to schedule an appointment or talk to someone about your dental insurance. You still have time before December 31. Happy Holidays!

 

 

What’s Not Working With Your Kids’ Dental Hygiene Routine?

Child little girl brushing teeth in bathEstablishing a dental care routine for young children can be a real challenge. As a parent you have a hundred things going on (today alone) and sometimes you’re lucky to get the kids out the door with all their shoes on, much less with their teeth brushed and flossed. No judgment here. As dental professionals, we have some tips for some of the most common pitfalls of children’s daily dental habits:

They Don’t Want to Brush

Let’s face it: brushing teeth is one of life’s most mundane but most necessary activities. This fact is not lost on children, but there are ways to make brushing a little more exciting. First, let them pick out their own toothbrush. It may be superhero themed and have sound effects or as simple as can be. Either way, it gives them some ownership over the task. You can also develop a rewards system. A whole week of brushing twice a day means a little more screentime or a family outing for ice cream. A little bribery is ok when dental health is at stake. 😉

They’re Not Brushing Thoroughly Enough

So your kid is picking up the toothbrush and brushing for only 10 seconds? Maybe they seem to be brushing for the full recommended two minutes but your dental hygienist has noted plaque buildup on those hard-to-reach places? Consider setting a fun timer in the bathroom that buzzes after two minutes, playing a two minute long song, or getting a toothbrush like this one that lights up when it’s time to move from the upper teeth to the lower teeth or vice versa. Note: Many adults aren’t brushing for as long as they should, either, so this could be a learning experience for the whole family!

They Find Flossing Difficult

Flossing requires a certain amount of dexterity that some little hands just do not have. Once teeth are close enough together to require floss, make sure that you are flossing for them and modeling good flossing technique yourself. Handheld floss picks are easy to use for older kids.

They Keep Getting Cavities

So you feel like the brushing and flossing have been going well but each trip to the dentist reveals another cavity? Dental sealants are a smart (and recommended) choice for kids between the ages of 5 and 7 as they provide another layer of preventative protection for molars.

They’re Afraid of Going to the Dentist

Odontophobia, or fear of going to the dentist, is one of the most common reasons for missed routine dental appointments. Some scientists say it even runs in the family! That’s why it’s so important that parents make a point to keep their own dentist appointments and treat them as positive experiences rather than necessary evils. It’s also important to find a “kid-friendly” dental office with a team that will do all they can to put your child at ease from the moment they walk in the door.

If you’re searching for an excellent pediatric dentist, look no further than Vacendak Dentistry. We partner with you, the parent, to make dental health a  positive priority in your family’s life! Our office is conveniently located in Chesapeake and we accept most insurance plans. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment or contact us online.

How Teeth Affect Speech

 

Teeth are for more than just chewing. They also play a big part in speech development and confidence.

Young attractive African woman with short haircut talking on cell phone to her friend looking cheerful joyful and happy sitting at the window touching her chin. Human emotions and feelingsWhile talking comes naturally to many of us, we sometimes forget how complex speech actually is. Humans typically learn how to talk by listening and imitating those around them. This process involves a number of physical and neurological structures that work together to form words. These physical structures include mainly the lips, the tongue, the jaw, the vocal cords and the teeth. When one of the elements of successful speech is not functioning properly, people may develop delays or impediments.

Functional

Teeth help us produce all kinds of sounds, including /f/ (“found”), /v/ (“virtue), /s/ (“sew”), /z/ (“zip”), the “ch” in “china,” the g sound in “gym,” and the “sh” sound in “shoe.” Teeth are also partially responsible for the voiceless” sounds like “th” (“thirst). Think about all the words that use these sounds and imagine how missing or misaligned teeth might make speaking more challenging.

People who face these issues can benefit from visiting a dentist and/or orthodontist and in some cases working with a speech therapist.

Aesthetic

A confident and warm smile can brighten someone else’s day and put them at ease. When a person’s teeth are jumbled, discolored, or missing, they may be less likely to offer that smile or speak clearly.

Talking quietly and mumbling are common in those with more “obvious” dental problems. This lack of confidence can be limiting both professionally and socially. Sometimes a teeth whitening treatment at the dentist is all a person needs to give them the courage to speak out loud and proud!

We here at Vacendak Dentistry talk all the time (loudly and proudly might we add) about how dental health impacts all areas of a lifestyle. Let us take care of your teeth and hopefully help you feel more confident about the way you talk. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.