Take The Scare Out Of Your Dental Routine

October is here and though we have the spookiest holiday of the year coming up, nothing is scarier than a dental routine that isn’t helping your teeth. A routine that misses steps or isn’t getting the reach you need can create a nightmare check-up and frightening long-term problems. Check out these tips to be sure your teeth don’t end up like Frankenstein’s!

  • Make sure you have the right toothbrush for you, and good brushing technique. If you are a hard brusher, a toothbrush with tough bristles can be damaging to your gums. If you have gingivitis or plague build-up, opt for an electric brush for a detailed cleaning.
  • Brush your teeth for two minutes. Did you know that most people brush their teeth for only around 40 seconds? Getting to the full two minutes will ensure you’ve reached every spot!
  • Brush three times a day. We know this can be difficult to remember with a busy schedule, but brushing after each meal helps to rid of food debris and prevent plague build-up. It also helps freshen breath after eating! Keep an extra toothbrush at work for an after-lunch cleaning.
  • Don’t skip the floss – flossing is one of the best allies against gum disease and tooth decay, and should be done at least once a day. For best results, use 18-24 inches of floss and slide the floss between teeth in a “C” shape and move it up and down gently, repeating for each tooth.
  • See your dentist every six months for a checkup. Don’t wait until you’re having issues with your teeth to see the dentist. Your dentist will likely catch any problems early on, helping you prevent further damage and save money!

Get excited about your oral health! Maintaining it doesn’t have to be a chore. The doctors at Vacendak Dentistry can help. We are conveniently located near the Kempsville area of Chesapeake and are accepting new patients. Call us now at (757) 379-2297 or contact the office online. We accept most dental insurance plans.

Your Toothbrush Shopping Guide

Toothbrushes typically need to be replaced every three months, and it can be pretty intimidating staring at the wall of options available in most grocery stores. Each package claims different benefits: a tongue scrubber, a smaller bristle head, extra soft bristles…the list goes on. Without your dentist on speed dial, the plethora of options can stir confusion. Should you buy an electric toothbrush or a manual? Should you pick extra soft bristles or hard bristles?

Lucky for you we’ve created this handy guide to help you with this decision. Follow along and find out which option is best for you!

1.     Do your gums contain a lot of plaque or gingivitis?

a)    Yes – Go for an electric toothbrush! The oscillating motion helps remove plaque that is tough to reach with a manual toothbrush. Continue to question 3.
b)    No – Go to Question 2.

2.     Do you have sensitive gums and teeth?

a)    Yes – Pick a toothbrush with soft bristles to prevent any pain while brushing. Continue to question 3.
b)    No – Any bristle type will work, but soft bristles are always the best option, especially if you’re a hard brusher. Continue to question 3.

3.     Do you often have bad breath?

a)    Yes – Look for a brush with a tongue scrubber on the back or if using an electric toothbrush, one that specializes in tongue cleaning. This is more effective than just brushing your tongue and will remove more build-up that can cause bad breath. Continue to question 4.
b)    No – You’re all set! Now get brushing and continue to question 4.

4.     Bonus Question: Have you been to the dentist for a cleaning in the past 6 months?

a)    Yes – Great! Make sure you have your next appointment scheduled and call us at (757) 379-2297 if you don’t.
b)    No – Make an appointment! Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health. Call us at (757) 379-2297 to schedule one.

Back To School

Going back to school means many different things for kids, parents, and teachers. Now that it is August, it’s time to think about any dental visits you might need before the busy school season starts!

Parents: We know you want your kids to have a great smile for their annual school pictures. These are the images that relatives will receive and that you and your children will look back on when they grow up, and showing off those teeth in a genuine smile will create fond memories. We also know that your schedule is about to be packed with work, homework help and after-school extracurricular activities. Taking your child or yourself to the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind during school season, so this month is the best time to go!

Teachers: Though it seems easy enough to take a few hours or the day off to go to the dentist, we know it isn’t that simple. If something unexpected comes up that requires a more thorough procedure, you might end up needing more time off than you had planned for. Getting to know your students at the beginning of the school year is important, and every missed day counts. If you haven’t had your routine checkup in a while, August is the perfect time!

 

Back to school season is also a great time to get back into daily dental routines! Later summer nights and vacation time can often distract us from our usual brushing and flossing practices, and starting early in the school season can get us back into healthy cleaning habits. Check out some of our other blog posts for tips and tricks about getting your kids into good dental habits and routines.

Start the school year off strong with a clean and healthy smile! Call Vacendak Dentistry today to schedule an appointment or fill out the form.

 

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.