Category Archives: Dental Care Tips

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.

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.

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.

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.

Even More Dental Health Myths!

This week we continue our dental health myth series. You may recall the first of two dental “myths” that are commonly misunderstood as facts: 1) It doesn’t matter if I get calcium from my food or from supplements–it’s all the same. 2) Everyone needs dentures at some point. (Read that post to debunk those myths). Here are two more tooth-related misconceptions to address and correct. Continued from “Dental Health Myths“:

 Myth #3 Infant Teeth Don’t Need Brushing

Because infants have so few teeth, many people assume that those tiny teeth don’t need the same care as older children and adult teeth. This is a huge misconception that can lead to problems throughout a child’s lifetime. A parent should start “brushing” baby teeth as soon as the first one appears (usually around 4 months). At this stage, simply use a wet piece of gauze to wipe the plaque off of the teeth (or tooth) and gums. When the infant gets a little older and has a few more teeth, start using a soft bristled toothbrush made for babies and a tiny dot of toothpaste. Try to brush their teeth twice a day. This will help establish good future oral hygiene habits.

Myth #4  White Teeth Mean Healthy Teeth

When you think of a healthy, beautiful smile, what picture comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you see bright white teeth! While white teeth are attractive, they don’t necessarily signify a healthy mouth. If you’ve whitened your teeth either with an at-home whitening kit or professionally at the dentist’s office, you still need to pay attention to the heath of your gums. Gums should be a light pink color and should never be painful. Gum, disease can ultimately cause tooth loss, and your dentist should check your gums each visit.

Call Vacendak Dentistry at 757-516-0246 for quality dental care in a comfortable environment. Our dentists take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns.

When Is the Best Time to Go to the Dentist?

best-time-to-go-to-dentist

It may be our passion and profession, but we understand that for most people, going to the dentist can feel like a giant chore. It’s important to not let those feelings get in the way of consistent dental care.

At Vacendak, we wholeheartedly believe in the value of preventative dentistry. Thorough checkups can mean the difference between catching a problem early and dealing with a painful, serious oral health issue in the future.  If you can’t remember the last time you went to the dentist, now is the time to make an appointment at Vacendak Dentistry. Otherwise, you and your family should pay us a visit every six months OR if any of the following situations apply:

  • Tooth pain. Sometimes a simple toothache isn’t that simple. Even if the pain goes away after a few hours or days, the cause of the pain may still be a problem.
  • Changes in gums. If you experience redness, inflammation, tenderness or other gum abnormality, you should let your dentist examine your mouth for signs of infection and gum disease.
  • Persistent bad breath. Are regular brushing, flossing, mouthwash, mints and gum not touching bad breath? This could be indicative of a more serious oral issue.
  • You’re a smoker. Smoking can do a number on your teeth and gums. Professionals recommend that smokers visit a dentist every four months to rule out gum disease and the onset of oral cancer.
  • You have diabetes. Since diabetes affects your immune system, your mouth may be more prone to infection. Your dentist can monitor your oral health, as gum disease can sometimes be painless and invisible.
  • Your immune system is compromised. If illness or age have made it harder for your body to fight infection, it’s especially important that you visit a dentist regularly.

Chances are, you or a family member could use a dental checkup in the near future. At Vacendak Dentistry, we make taking charge of your dental health as stress-free as possible. Call us today at 757-609-3510 or online to make an appointment.

Nervous Nail Biting

generations-462134_1280An onychophagist, or more commonly a “nail biter,” is a person who habitually bites his or her fingernails. Nail biting is a common oral habit among children and young adults, and is the most common of the typical nervous habits such as nose picking, hair pulling, tooth grinding or skin picking.

Now you may think it is completely normal and healthy to bite your nails rather than clip them; however, you may be causing more harm than good. Studies have shown that between 26 to 33% of children between the ages of 7 to 10 and 45% of adolescents are nail biters; so you aren’t alone in this endeavor, but studies show that this practice can create a multitude of health risks: damage the cuticles, cause secondary bacterial infections, alveolar destruction, malocclusion, crowding or rotation and attrition of the incisors, and more.

Additionally, people who are seen chewing their nails are often stigmatized or judged by peers to be anxious or untidy. This can also be attributed to the rough edges produced when biting nails. Physicians who ar afflicted with this condition need to take extra care to avoid the habit as it can lead to making patients uncomfortable or disgusted.

If you’re reading this and start to become self-conscious about the appearance of your fingernails from your excessive nail biting, you’re not alone, and there is help. This condition is often related to stress, so finding healthier modes of stress relief can help break the habit. Ways to do this include behavioral modification such as positive reinforcement or taking up another hobby, such as exercise, for distraction. Further, some suggest wearing gloves or replacing the oral habit with another one like gum chewing.