Now’s The Time to Schedule Your Child’s Dentist Appointment

Happy Kid Girl SmileFor just about nine months out of the year, 5 days a week, your family’s schedule is non-stop. Work and school, extracurricular activities and the daily grind make it difficult to fit in routine doctor and dental appointments (though we know you do it anyway…parents rock!). Though Vacendak Dentistry offers extended hours on certain days of the week to help families make it work, summer break is the best time to make dentist appointments for your children. You have greater flexibility and they won’t have to miss class. We advocate “getting it over with” before you see us again in another six months!

The Best Pediatric Dental Care in Chesapeake

Vacendak Dentistry specializes in helping kids start a lifetime of healthy smiles and good dental hygiene. Our calm, compassionate staff will take the time to make your child feel totally comfortable and prepared for their visit. In addition to our general dentistry services, we offer:

  • Routine dental checkups for infants, toddlers, kids and teens
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Pediatric dental sealing

If you’re concerned about the cost of care or whether Vacendak will take your family’s dental insurance, give us a call. Our office manager, Terry, will be happy to answer your questions and make it as easy and affordable as possible to get the excellent care you and your children deserve.

Don’t wait until the school year starts! Call Vacendak Dentistry today to schedule an appointment or fill out the form. We look forward to your visit.

Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?

Close up portrait of beautiful little female child in white hat holding huge spiral lollipop having fun while enjoying sweet candy with happy expression against white concrete wall. Selective focus

Sweet things are delicious. From chocolate and soda to juice and cake, we love sugar. Most of us admit to having an active sweet tooth, despite knowing that too much sugar is actually detrimental to teeth! But why is this the case? We’ve got the answer.

First, it’s important to know that sugar in itself is not a bad thing. It’s the chemical reaction that happens in the mouth when you eat it that causes tooth decay and cavities. Certain bacteria in saliva interact feed off of sugar and create acids that eat away at tooth enamel when left unchecked. This ultimately results in cavities, pain and other oral problems.

Preventing the Negative Effects of Sugar Consumption

A healthy diet and good oral hygiene are the best defenses against the harmful effects of sugar. When given the right care, your mouth is quite skilled at repairing itself through the process of remineralization (the opposite of this process, demineralization, occurs when sugar acids attack teeth).

Limiting sugar consumption, making sure that you are getting plenty of calcium (from healthy sources like dairy products and leafy greens), and staying hydrated can all contribute to a healthy mouth free of cavities.

This advice is an important part of teaching smart oral hygiene and health habits to children, who are particularly susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.

Remember that cavities and other signs of tooth decay are not always obvious. That’s one reason why you should make sure you and your family members are visiting the dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist can check for sneaky problems and provide a thorough dental cleaning.

Vacendak Dentistry is here for your family. Call or contact us now to schedule a dentist appointment. We are located conveniently between the Greenbrier and Kempsville areas of Chesapeake and accept most dental  insurance plans.



Options for Missing Teeth

Clean teeth denture, dental jaw model and toothbrush in dentist's office. Dentistry

If you have missing teeth, you are not alone. Many people, especially as they age, lose their teeth to decay, bone resorption, and different types of oral trauma and injuries. Missing teeth not only affect your appearance, they can also make chewing and even speaking far more difficult. Patients come in all the time with concerns about their options for replacing teeth. While every circumstance is different, these are three main solutions.


One tooth restoration option is a fixed bridge. This is placed by the dentist over the course of multiple visits and involves filling the toothless space with one or more new “teeth” by cementing them to adjacent existing teeth. Creating a bridge requires the dentist to grind down the adjacent teeth.

Partial Dentures

Also known as a removable dental bridge, partial dentures have a gum colored base, that attaches to adjacent teeth (no grinding down required) via clasps or precision attachments. Partial dentures are less expensive than other tooth replacement options but don’t always offer the same comfort or aesthetic appeal.

Complete Dentures

For those who are missing most or all of their teeth, complete removable dentures are often the trusted choice.  Since full dentures cover the entire existing gum area, they require quite a bit of getting used to. Learning to insert the dentures properly, clean them, and eat/speak efficiently are challenges that your dentist can help you surmount. A good experience with complete dentures starts with well-fitting prosthetics and a caring dental professional who will take the time to prepare the patient.

Dental Implants

We get many questions from patients about dental implants, which have become increasingly popular for tooth replacement in the past few years. They are an effective long-term option for people who are in good health. The primary part of the implant is the titanium post inserted into the gums. Once the gums and jaw bone osseointegrate the post and healing occurs, the dentist then places a specially formed tooth or bridge (in the case of multiple missing teeth) on top of the implant. Since inserting dental implants is a minimally invasive procedure, you and your dentist should consider the pros and cons of your unique situation carefully.

If you have one or missing teeth, one of these options may be right for you. Avoid losing additional teeth by practicing good oral hygiene, protecting yourself during contact sports, and talking to a doctor about how to ease bone loss. Call Vacendak Dentistry in Chesapeake today to schedule appointment with our caring, compassionate team. We work with most insurance companies to make tooth replacement an affordable, positive experience.

Common Causes of a Toothache

Dental care and toothache. Closeup young woman face worried girl suffering from tooth pain

Uh-oh. You get a twinge of pain in or around your jaw. Maybe you feel it “in” a specific tooth or maybe it just feels like a radiating ache. Either way, your first thought might be that you are suffering from a cavity. This isn’t necessarily the case. There are several possible sources of tooth pain that only a dentist can diagnose:

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

Do you grind your teeth at night? Many people are unaware of this habit until a partner notices and asks them to sleep on the couch! Bruxism is often caused by excessive stress or an abnormal bite. When looking for signs of tooth grinding, a dentist will look for “flat” or worn down teeth. Wearing a mouth guard at night should help fix the issue and ease your pain.

Gum Disease (Gingivitis & Periodontitis)

Gum disease is an insidious problem that is sometimes associated with heart disease and diabetes. In addition to oral pain, people with gum disease suffer from bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, sensitive teeth and receding gum lines. Gingivitis (and later periodontitis)  occurs when plaque builds up on teeth, causing inflammation. While mild gingivitis can usually be reversed with proper oral hygiene habits and visit to the dentist for a cleaning. If the gum disease is advanced, however, it may require antibiotics, dental scaling, and other more extreme treatment measures.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD)

Does your jaw tend to click or pop? Is it difficult to open up and say “AHHH?” If this, along with pain or tenderness on either side of your face and jaw, sounds familiar, you may have TMJ. Some people with the condition also experience headaches, shoulder pain and even ringing in their ears. To diagnose TMJ, the dentist will likely take some X-rays, do a bite test, and refer you to an oral surgeon for follow-up.

Toothaches may seem all too common, but they are nothing to ignore! Make an appointment with a dentist anytime you experience persistent tooth pain, as its source may be more serious than a cavity (which can generally be prevented with routine dental visits and good oral hygiene habits). Call Vacendak Dentistry at (757) 609-3510 to make an appointment! Our dental office is located in Chesapeake, central to both Kempsville and Greenbrier and we accept most insurance plans.

Vacendak Dentistry Has New Hours!


Here at Vacendak Dentistry, we are always trying to make dental care (and daily life) easier for our awesome patients. One way we hope to do this is by switching up our office hours a bit so that it’s more convenient for you to make time for your family’s teeth! The updated hours are as follows (changes in bold):

  • Monday: 8am-5pm
  • Tuesday: 8am-6pm
  • Wednesday: 9am-6pm
  • Thursday: 8am-5pm
  • Friday 8am-12pm

Extended hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are meant to help families juggle school, work and extracurricular schedules without having to take time off for an appointment. Call us now at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment–these after work and school slots fill up fast!

Contact the friendly Chesapeake dentists at Vacendak Dentistry today to schedule a dental checkup for you or a loved one. We accept most insurance plans and make putting you at ease our top priority.

Virginia Commonwealth University Debuts Its Oral Research Ph.D.

1024px-VCU_Seal_sans_logotype.svgVirginia Commonwealth University, where both Doctors Sheila and Daniel Vacendak received their Doctorates of Dental Surgery, is blazing new trails in dental research and innovation. The School of Dentistry made an announcement last week that introduced their Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Health Research, a new program for Fall 2016 and the first of its kind in Virginia. This is great news, especially for us at Vacendak Dentistry, because we are passionate about the way the health of the mouth impacts the health of the whole person.

This program will focus on research of cancers, infections and genetic diseases of the head and neck and will include cross-disciplinary study in other schools at VCU (like the School of Medicine and School of Engineering).

According to David Sarrett, dean of the VCU School of Dentistry, “The importance of good oral health, and its relationship to overall human health, is well documented….The Ph.D. program in oral health research will emphasize these relationships in training future researchers, who will make discoveries and translate them to improved patient care by dentists and oral health care providers.”  Because we place such high value on oral cancer screenings, early treatment and whole-body health, we believe that this program will help revolutionize the field and make the way we do our jobs more effective.

Congratulations to the faculty and students at VCU who have constructed such a wonderful Ph.D. program and good luck to those pursuing the degree!


Dental Health During the Holidays

This time of year is exciting for many reasons. Quality time with family, travel and delicious food all make the holidays special. It’s also a busy season and in the midst of gift-buying, cooking and attending holiday parties, it is easy to let your oral health take a backseat. Just as the average American gains two-five pounds between Thanksgiving and January 1, teeth and gums sometimes emerge from the season in less than perfect condition. Consider these tips for maintaining oral health during the most wonderful time of the year:

Pack extra toothbrushes

We’ve all been there. You make it to grandma’s house only to realize that you left your toothbrush at home. Buy an extra toothbrush for each member of the family (mini, travel style toothbrushes are good options).

Keep the pearly whites white

If your teeth tend to stain easily when drinking wine or coffee, you may face some discoloration during the holidays thanks to parties and family get-togethers where wine is served. To avoid this, limit your intake, try to drink a glass of water in between beverages, and brush your teeth as soon as possible. If the damage is already done, call Vacendak Dentistry for teeth whitening services (we want your teeth to shine in those holiday pictures!)

Avoid chewy foods

As a general rule, stay away from sticky foods and candies like caramel and taffy, as they tend to break down enamel and are hard to clean from teeth, eventually causing decay. Again, being diligent about brushing your teeth (and flossing) after eating sweet foods makes all the difference.

Be on the lookout for the signs of bruxism (teeth grinding)

The holidays can be stressful and some people respond to this stress by grinding their teeth at night. If you notice jaw soreness or headaches upon waking in the morning, you may want to consider visiting the dentist to see if teeth grinding is the cause. If so, you could benefit from wearing a mouth guard while sleeping. This will help prevent the serious consequences of bruxism including cracked teeth and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).

The team at Vacendak Dentistry is passionate about taking care of your teeth all year long, but we’re excited to wish you a very happy holiday season! Contact us today to schedule a dental check up and give yourself the gift of oral health this year.

Dangers of Chewing Ice for Your Teeth

Three ice cubes on white background. Clipping pats.

Habitual ice chewing is fairly common.   Many people use it as a method to alleviate dry-mouth and curb snacking. While this behavior may seem harmless (and rather refreshing!), the truth is that chewing on ice can wreak havoc on your teeth. Here’s how.

  • Broken teeth. Ice may just be frozen water, but unlike water, it is not good for the enamel of your teeth. You wouldn’t nibble on rocks because you know that doing so would definitely cause damage? Ice can have the same effect!
  • Damaged fillings. Repetitively chewing on ice creates a “hot-cold” pattern in the mouth that causes the enamel to expand and contract. This is risky business when you have fillings, because they tend to expand more quickly than teeth.
  • Injured gums. Ice can be sharp and tiny shards puncture gums, causing pain and vulnerability to gum disease.
  • Tooth sensitivity. As ice breaks down the enamel and dentin of the tooth, a person will experience increased sensitivity to very hot and very cold foods and drinks.

How to Stop

Do you have an inexplicable urge to chew on ice?   Contact a doctor and/or a mental health professional to address the source of the problem. Medical attention will preserve the health of your body and your mouth!

If you chew on ice and are experiencing any of the aforementioned ill-effects (broken teeth, painful gums, sensitive teeth or damaged fillings), contact Vacendak Dentistry. We can help reverse the effects, soothe pain and put you on the path to better oral health. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.



Extended Wednesday Hours–Especially for Teachers!

Teachers do an important job in the Hampton Roads community. You work long hours in order to educate and nurture children, and we understand that it can be difficult to find time to take off for routine appointments like doctor and dental visits. That’s why we’ve extended our Wednesday hours with you in mind!

We want to make it easy for you to take care of YOU for a change. Come in after the school day ends for a dental appointment with the Vacendak doctors. Our caring, professional staff make sure that you feel comfortable, get your teeth cared for, and leave the office ready to smile for your students the next day–all without taking any time out of your busy work schedule. Click to download and share this flyer with your colleagues:


Call us today at 757-609-3510 to schedule an appointment or request one online. We accept most insurance plans.

Water and Your Oral Health

bigstock-Winking-Sly-Child-77358794We are all aware of the health benefits of drinking plenty of water—better digestion, clearer skin and weight management number among them. But did you know that drinking lots of water also improves oral health? Here’s how.

Bacteria and Plaque Management

By lubricating the mouth and supporting the flow of saliva, proper hydration helps control the balance of bacteria in the mouth. It also loosens layers of plaque between brushing and flossing.

 Dry Mouth Treatment

It may seem obvious, but the first course of treatment dry mouth is to make sure that you are drinking enough water. If that doesn’t fix the problem over time, these other oral health issues may be underlying causes.

Tooth Decay and Cavity Prevention

All water is not created equal. This is especially true when it comes to the health of teeth and gums. Bottled and certain types of filtered water don’t contain the fluoride necessary to fortify tooth enamel against harmful bacteria and plaque buildup. Drinking enough fluoridated water is particularly essential for young children.

According to the CDC, “Fluoride works by stopping or even reversing the tooth decay process—it keeps tooth enamel strong and solid. Tooth decay is caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. When a person eats sugar and other refined carbohydrates, these bacteria produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth. Fluoride helps to remineralize tooth surfaces and prevents cavities from forming.” The CDC website states that addition of fluoride to community water sources (tap water), also known as community fluoridation, has correlated with a dramatic decline in tooth decay over the past 70 years. While the reduction in overall tooth decay is also associated with better understanding of good oral hygiene habits, there is evidence that people who drink too much unfluoridated water are more susceptible to decay and cavities.

How can you make sure that the water your family consumes contains the dentist-recommended level of fluoride (at least 0.7 mmL)? The easiest way is to drink tap water instead of bottled or filtered water, as the EPA requires water to be fortified with fluoride. Concerned about other chemicals in the tap water? Check your city’s water quality report online. Chesapeake’s 2014 water quality report is available here.

While water isn’t the only source of fluoride (mouthwashes, rinses and toothpaste also contain it), it is the most effective and healthful way to make sure your teeth are protected.

How Much Water Should I Drink for Healthy Teeth and a Healthy Body?

Eight glasses of water day is the commonly accepted hydration standard, but it may not be the answer for everyone. Talk to your primary care physician for a personalized answer.

At Vacendak Dentistry, we’re firm believers that the health of the mouth contributes to the health of the whole body.  Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to request a dental appointment. We accept nearly all insurance plans.