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.

To Floss or Not to Floss?

Beautiful woman with dental floss.If you’ve been on social media at all in the last week, you’ve probably seen a new report that suggests that flossing may not be medically necessary. According to the report published by the Associated Press, flossing, a dental hygiene mainstay since the early 20th century, has little scientific evidence of having health benefits. They note the lack of established scientific research behind the practice of flossing and its relation to incidences of gingivitis, plaque build-up and tooth decay. This has led many people to celebrate with relief: No more pressure to floss, right? Not so fast. 

A Case for Flossing

While we agree that there should be independent long-term studies to assess the effectiveness of flossing, we also think that people should consider on the practice’s intention–removing plaque from tight spaces toothbrushes can’t reach–and the knowledge of experienced dental professionals before choosing to stop flossing. The American Dental Association released a statement this week:

“According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.

More than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque; some are good and some are bad for your mouth. Together with food debris, water and other components, the plaque buildup around the teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums.

Whether you use floss or another interdental cleaner is a personal preference, but it’s very important to understand the proper technique for each tool so that it is effective. Patients should talk to their dentists about how to use interdental cleaners to ensure efficacy.”

The important thing to note is the ADA’s emphasis on using floss and other interdental cleaners correctly in order to receive the benefits.

How to Floss Correctly

First things first: choose the floss that’s right for you. Waxed or unwaxed, think ribbon or thin thread, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you follow these basic guidelines when using it.

  • Pull out 18-24 inches of floss
  • Wrap the ends around your middle fingers and hold both sides with your peace fingers
  • Slide the floss between teeth in a “C” shape and move it up and down gently
  • Repeat for each tooth

Sidenote: Handheld interdental cleaners are also just as effective as traditional dental floss!

If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. Don’t pay too much attention to the trendy buzz surrounding the questionable merits of flossing. Take it from these dentists: Along with brushing and regular dental visits, flossing is one of the best allies against gum disease and tooth decay!

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.

Bridges

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!

vacendak-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!