Giving Thanks

November is the month of giving thanks, and this year we want to give a special thanks to something we use every day but may never truly appreciate: our teeth! You may not even think about them until it’s time to head to the dentist or something hurts, but our teeth are pretty amazing. Here are a few reasons to give thanks to your teeth:

  1. They help you scarf down that delicious thanksgiving meal – and the pie after! Having healthy teeth is so important for eating a balanced diet of foods that your body can digest more easily after being chewed.
  2. They give you a great smile. Your teeth are the first thing you notice during that holiday family photo shoot. Taking care of them means you’ll have great photos with an even better smile, and will also be more confident when meeting new people and having a conversation.
  3. They tell you about your history. Teeth can tell us a lot about where our ancestors come from, and even the types of food they ate! Did you know that teeth are also used for DNA identification?
  4. They give you hints about your health. Your teeth can be indicators of your overall health. For example, very pale gums could be a sign of anemia, and loosing teeth could be a symptom of osteoporosis. However, you won’t be able to self-diagnose by looking at your teeth. If you notice anything different, contact your dentist!

You can give thanks to your teeth by taking extra care of them. Brush regularly, floss every day and keep up with your regularly scheduled cleaning.

The doctors at Vacendak would also like to remind our patients just how thankful we are for them! If you haven’t seen us in a while, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 to schedule your checkup.

Halloween Candy: What You Need to Know

It’s every child’s favorite time of year: Halloween. This is the one time of year where kids get all of their favorite candy without having to ask permission or spend their allowance. However, for parents, the scariest part of Halloween is what might be going on with their kids teeth (or their own) after consuming more sweets and treats than usual. Here is what you need to know to have a stress-free Halloween:

  1. Remember, a few days of eating candy won’t ruin your child’s oral health if they have a good routine with regular brushing and flossing. Just be sure they are cleaning their teeth after meals and before going to bed. The only thing you should be worried about is getting them to bed on time after all of that sugar!
  2. If you child has braces, they can still participate on Halloween! Just make sure you know what is safe for them to eat, and clean around the braces well before bed. Stay away from sticky, chewy candy and avoid biting on hard candies. If you still aren’t sure, review the list your orthodontist gave you or give them a call.
  3. Drinking more water can be helpful. Water is great at dislodging food from between your teeth, but fluoridated water can also help prevent tooth decay.
  4. Setting rules is important. Your child is going to want to eat as much candy as they can as soon as they return from making their rounds in the neighborhood. Eating too much sour can hurt their mouth, and too much sweet can hurt their stomach. The best thing to do is set some rules about how much candy is allowed at once, and spread their loot across several days.

The most important thing is for your kids to have fun, and that certainly won’t be the case with cavities! Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Updating Your Dental Routine for Fall

This month, summer is officially over. While the first month back to school can often be a bummer for your kids, the sad feelings quickly pass as Halloween and the holiday season approach. What is more exciting than extra sweets and days off of school?! However, this also means that if you or your family’s dental routine has been slacking, it’s time to update it and provide extra protection against sugar and plaque. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Identify the weaknesses in your routine. The best way to improve your routine is by figuring out your weak areas first. Do you often have bad breath because you aren’t flossing? Do you stop brushing before your two minutes are up? Work on your problem areas before thinking about adding new tasks to your routine.
  2. Have a conversation with your dentist. Do you have questions about your teeth for your dentist that you’ve been too afraid to ask? Questions about services that you might want, like whitening or other cosmetic dentistry? Are you wondering just how much candy your kids can eat on Halloween? It’s time to have a conversation with your dentist about all of your questions and concerns to become more familiar with you and your children’s oral health.
  3. Schedule your routine checkup. If you keep postponing or cancelling your routine six month cleaning, it’s time to make an appointment and stick to it. Starting Fall with a clean slate is the best way to keep track of how well you are sticking to your dental routine throughout the holiday season.

If you’re ready to take control of your oral health and update your dental routine for fall, call or contact Vacendak Dentistry today to learn more the dental services we offer and to schedule a consultation.

Forming Good Habits

They say it takes nearly a month of completing a task to form a habit. Want to wake up at 6 am every day? Want to start running four times a week? Want to read for twenty minutes every day? Stay dedicated and do it every day for a month and it will start to feel normal. The same is true for good dental hygiene habits.

If you find yourself with sore, red gums or receiving a lecture about brushing and flossing at every six-month checkup, it may be time to think about your habits (and forming some new ones). But where do you start?

  1. Identify your goals and start simple. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to improve their lifestyle and form good habits is taking on too many new goals at once. Rather than the “all or nothing” approach, start simple! Identify your goals, but take them one at a time. If you haven’t been brushing three times a day, start there. You can tackle flossing or timing once you’ve gotten used to the basics.
  2. Set reminders. New goals are the easiest to forget, especially when it’s a new addition to your overall routine. Whether it’s a phone alarm, sticky note by the sink, or placing your floss somewhere you’re guaranteed to see it, setting a reminder will help you with the habit-forming process.
  3. Tell someone. If you’re the only person (besides the dentist you see every six months) who knows you are trying to form a new dental hygiene habit, you’re also the only person holding you accountable. If a push from others is what you usually need to complete a task, it’s time to tell a friend or family member about your new brushing or flossing goals!

Remember, even the best dental habits can’t replace your regularly scheduled cleaning. Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health! Call Vacendak Dentistry at (757) 609-3510 to schedule one.

two dogs wearing sunglasses lying in grass on their backs with overhead shot

Summer Dental Care

Though it feels like school just let out, parents, teachers and college students are already thinking about the long list of tasks to complete before August and September come around. Summer is the one time of year that is free to make appointments and actually get to them, without having to worry about coordinating schedules, missing work or classes and taking kids out of school. 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!

Remember, getting an appointment for your six-month checkup or other dental work you need done is not always as easy as it sounds. During the summer, everyone is scrambling to get all of their health checkups done, and you’ll want to call in advance to schedule yours. July is the perfect month – if you can get an appointment soon, you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the summer, and if not, you’ll probably still be able to get one before school starts up again.

In the meantime, be sure you and your kids are keeping up with dental routines throughout the summer. Vacations and trips can distract from your normal routine, and it’s always a good idea to double-check your luggage for all of your toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. We know you’ll want to hit the beach as soon as you get to your destination – not head to the store for all of the items you forgot!

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.

Dental Equipment. Colorful toothbrushes in mug and dental floss on light blue background. Copy space, studio shot.

A Guide to Tooth Tools

Which tooth tools do you need? What tooth tools are a helpful addition to your routine but not important for overall oral health? With so many new products hitting the market to become your best healthy self, deciding what is important and what is extra can be tough. Here is our guide to tooth tools to help you choose the right products:

  1. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Yes! You absolutely need a toothbrush. Whether its electric, or a recycled bamboo toothbrush, this is the most basic thing you’ll need for a healthy smile. Consult your dentist if you want to explore different toothpaste options – sometimes special formulated toothpastes may not be the best choice for your teeth! Use our toothbrush guide (link) if you need help deciding which is right for you!
  2. Floss. We know not everyone has a great flossing routine, but it’s an important habit to pick up before adding any other steps to your oral health. Flossing keeps your breath fresh and prevents plague buildup! Keep some in your office or purse just in case you forget in the morning.
  3. Mouthwash. Though still one of the most common tooth tools, mouthwash isn’t completely necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy. However, this is a great extra step to add to your routine! A good, antibacterial mouthwash can assist in fighting gum disease.
  4. Tongue scraper. If you’re someone who forgets to brush your tongue or feels uncomfortable doing so, this device is great for removing bacteria from the surface. It is also one of the best ways to prevent bad breath!

Remember, no amount of brushing and tooth tools can replace your regularly scheduled cleaning. Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health! Call Vacendak Dentistry at (757) 609-3510 to schedule one.

Tooth-friendly Summer Snacks

Group of homemade mixed berry yogurt popsicles on a rustic wood background

For kids, the start of summer is the most exciting time of the year – It means school is out and it’s time for fun and adventure. However, for parents and dentists, it can be a sugary nightmare. Summer is defined mainly by outdoor fun, but is accompanied by sugary snacks: ice cream, popsicles, fruit drinks, movie theatre candy and more.

Thankfully, with a little creativity, you can create your own tasty summer treats without all of the processed sugar! Here are our favorite tooth-friendly summer snacks that are just as sweet:

  1. Banana ice cream. Yes, we just said that ice cream was a sugary treat, but this ice cream is all natural and just as satisfying! Made with just frozen bananas resulting in a texture similar to ice cream, this snack is so good your kids won’t know the difference.
  2. Homemade popsicles: Store-bought popsicles can be full of added sugar, and making them at home is amazingly simple! You’ll just need a popsicle mold, and can customize them with your child’s favorite natural juices, or even add coconut milk to make them creamy.
  3. Frozen fruit: Easier than a popsicle, but still just as tasty and refreshing, frozen fruit cures a sweet tooth on a hot day. Give your child a bowl of the frozen fruit of their choice, making sure the pieces are big enough to prevent a choking hazard.
  4. Smoothies: Fruit drinks and sodas sound great when water just won’t quench your thirst, but they have tons of added sugar. Smoothies are the perfect sweet, cold drink after a day in the sun, and can even mask the flavor of added spinach for an extra healthy kick.
  5. Fruit kabobs: Fruit is an obvious choice when it comes to summer snacks, but creating a kabob station (using popsicle sticks and the fruits of your choice) and letting your child build their own adds a layer of fun and creativity to an ordinary snack.

Remember, replacing sugar with tooth-friendly snacks doesn’t mean you can avoid the dentist all together! Call or contact Vacendak Dentistry now to schedule a dentist appointment.

What to Do About Chipped Teeth

Spring sports and activities are here, which means that the risk of getting hit and chipping a tooth is increasing by the day! However, even those who don’t participate in soccer or baseball can end up with chipped teeth, especially If your enamel is weak. Whether it’s because you didn’t make that left field catch in time, or you slipped in the kitchen in just the wrong spot, a chipped tooth can be painful and annoying to deal with.

The first thing you should do after you’ve injured a tooth is assess the damage. Is it just a minor chip, or is it a crack down the middle? Is it painless, sensitive to the touch, or does it hurt constantly? The best thing you can do for a damaged tooth is consult your dentist, but these factors will determine the severity of the damage and how quickly you should make an appointment.

For any damage that is painful or sensitive, call us as soon as possible (757-609-3570) – cracks and breaks can become worse over time, and addressing them early on will prevent even more pain and complicated procedures. Minor chips can be painful if they are sharp against your tongue, but there is no need to rush right over to the office. Schedule an appointment and one of our doctors can perform tooth bonding to correct the issue!

If you experience a broken or cracked tooth after office hours, treat the problem like you would any other wound until help is available. Rinse with warm water, apply pressure to bleeding areas, and consider pain reliever and icing on any painful areas.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options to fix your damaged tooth and help it appear like-new! Call or contact Vacendak Dentistry today to learn more about the cosmetic procedures we offer and to schedule a consultation.

Understanding Gingivitis

Gingivitis sounds scary, but it is actually one of the most common dental conditions among children and adults! Unless you’re actively looking for signs of gingivitis, most of the time gum disease will go unnoticed until seen by a dental professional, because the symptoms are so mild.

However, just because the symptoms aren’t painful doesn’t mean that gingivitis should go untreated. When ignored, gingivitis can worsen into later stages of gum disease, including Periodontitis and Advanced Periodontitis. Treating gingivitis early on will prevent these later stages that can often cause loose and damaged teeth.

So, how you do you know if you have gingivitis? The best method for determining if you have the early stages of gum disease is by scheduling and attending your regular 6-month checkups. During your visit, your dentist will be able to alert you at the first signs of gingivitis! You can also look for signs and symptoms on your own, including red, tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, consistent bad breath, and receding gum lines. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to schedule a visit.

If you are diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will want to clean any built-up plaque, and will have the best treatment recommendations based on how advanced it is. If you need a reminder, though, here is what we recommend for treating early signs and prevent future build-ups:

  • Review the proper brushing techniques and make sure you apply them – every single time! It is a good idea to invest in an electric toothbrush for a more detailed cleaning.
  • Don’t forget to floss! Flossing is essential for getting rid of plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash for a complete, thorough routine.

If you are concerned you may have gingivitis or need to schedule your routine checkup, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.

Fall in Love with Your Smile

February is the month of love, centered around Valentine’s Day and loved ones. This year, however, we want to focus on loving yourself – and your smile! Smiles are important for first impressions, making someone happy, and even for your job, but they are also known for their affect on self-confidence!

Those who aren’t happy with the way their smile looks are less likely to show it off and more likely to stay quiet in conversations in order to hide their teeth. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but being happy with the way you look one of the biggest factors for self-confidence and can ultimately affect your ability to feel comfortable in social situations, photos, job interviews and meetings (and of course your health). After all, smiles ARE contagious, and smiling in a social situation can life your mood and the mood of everyone around you, creating a lasting impression and a fond memory.

Why spend time worrying about how your smile looks when you can focus on what is in front of you and live in the moment? Whether you are concerned about stained, chipped or crooked teeth, the doctors at Vacendak Dentistry can help you have healthier teeth so you can fall in love with your smile. We offer services for both general and cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening, veneers, Invisalign, cosmetic fillings, bonding and contouring, all done safely and effectively to restore the natural beauty of teeth and help you reach your smile goals.

Doctors 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.