Category Archives: General Dentistry

COVID-19 Update:

UPDATED: May 14, 2020

To Our Wonderful Patients,


We are happy to announce Vacendak Dentistry is open again, with some slight modifications to our processes! We have missed seeing your smiles and appreciated your patience as we all worked through the restrictions on non-emergency cleanings and treatments.

Please know, your health is our highest priority, and in addition to the new check-in and check-out procedures, and our already detailed sanitation processes, we have added several commercial grade air purification systems to our exam and treatment areas to provide the safest possible environment.

Over the coming days we will be calling patients that we were unable to see over the past several weeks to reschedule your appointments. If you have an upcoming appointment scheduled, we will also call to either confirm your appointment, or potentially reschedule, as we make adjustments to limit the number of visitors in the building at one time and allow more time for deep cleaning between patients. We appreciate your understanding as we make these changes.

New Check-In Procedures

  • You will receive a confirmation call two days before your appointment. At that time we’ll have a brief health screening questionnaire.
  • We will require everyone entering the building to wear a mask, and will limit visits to patients only, unless the patient needs extra assistance.
  • When you arrive for your appointment, please stay in your vehicle and call 757-609-3510 to check in via phone. We will walk out to your car when we’re ready for you. Our goal is to avoid anyone waiting in the lobby.
  • When you enter the building, we will have some additional screening questions for you and will provide hand sanitizer to use before you fully enter the lobby. We will also take your temperature.

During your visit you may hear our new air purification systems emitting a loud hum. For everyone’s safety, we will no longer provide headphones or music devices. If you wish to listen to music during your visit, please bring your own device and headphones. We may ask you to sanitize your device upon entering the building. 

Our staff will also be wearing extra protective gear, including clear face protectors during your exam, cleaning and treatment.

New Check-Out Procedures

We are also implementing new check-out procedures to maintain social distancing. At the end of your appointment we will escort you to the check-out area and explain the new procedure.

We know this is a lot of change, and appreciate your flexibility and extra patience as we all work through this challenging environment. Please know that every process, every extra step and every request is being made with your safety in mind, along with the safety of our other patients and staff.

If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them when we call to schedule or confirm your appointment. In the meantime, if you have a dental emergency, please call and we will get you in for an exam as quickly as possible.

Thanks again for your patience and support,

Drs. Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the Entire Vacendak Dentistry Team

New Year, New Mouth

With the new year here, you’ve probably already decided your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like us, you may focus on improving your health in the new year. Just don’t forget the importance of improving oral health habits at the same time! Caring for your mouth goes a long way toward overall wellness and is an important element of daily self-care. 

Practicing a consistent and proper routine is not only a worthwhile goal to transform your smile, it’s also easier than many people think! Take advantage of the new year to clean your slate! Here are five easy ways to begin a successful oral health routine, today: 

  1. Conquer Your Fear of the Dentist
    Just like you should consult your doctor before trying a new diet, visiting your dentist is the first step to transforming your oral health. This is your chance to start the year fresh and with personal guidance from a professional! We want to help all our patients succeed, so bring an example of your new daily routine or a list of goals for the year and our office will be your new cheerleaders!
  2. Get the Right Tools
    It’s time to stock up on the right tools to make sure you’re set up for success. Even investing in a new electric toothbrush will encourage you to brush more often! If it’s hard to get to the store for replacements, look at subscription services that ship necessities straight to your door, at exactly the right time. 
  3. Invest in Yourself.
    Is there a certain cosmetic dentistry treatment you keep putting off? 2020 is the year to invest in yourself! Getting the smile you deserve not only transforms your oral health, but your self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Set Reminders
    It only takes around 30 days to form a new habit. So, start treating your daily hygiene like it’s a habit! Make a chart or use a tracking system to countdown the days until your new routine becomes second nature. Setting reminders on your phone or computer is a helpful trick, too.
  5. Drink More Tap Water
    Water is our favorite beverage!  By increasing your daily intake of water, you’ll fast track those new year’s wellness goals. Not only does water help maintain a healthy body, it helps your teeth too. Tap water, specifically, contains optimal amounts of fluoride, which are proven to strengthen teeth and reduce tooth decay in children and adults. Fluoride helps reinforce enamel affected by bacteria and acid. For all those reasons, adding more water to your diet is a win-win!

Drs. Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care in 2020 a positive experience! Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Common Habits Taking a Toll on Your Teeth 

Common Habits Taking a Toll on Your Teeth 

We all have habits that are difficult to break. Whether the result of stress, convenience or because it makes us happy, it’s a good idea to address the impact those habits have on our wellbeing. Especially, our oral health.

From brushing too hard to drinking multiple sodas a day, teeth bear the brunt of common routines. So, it’s important to be vigilant. Take the common habits below and try to implement our favorite solutions to keep your teeth, mouth and gums happy and healthy! 

  1. Brushing Too Hard
    It’s easy to take the stress of the day out on your teeth at night. But, a rough two-minute brush does serious harm to your teeth and gums. Toothbrush abrasion is a leading cause of “notching” along the gum line and of gum recession.
    Solution: Always use a soft toothbrush and avoid harsh scrubbing. It’s easy to remove plaque with meticulous and regular home care: no hard brushing needed. If you find difficulty lightening up, opt for an electric brush. They’re less likely to cause damage.
  2. Grinding and Clenching
    Bruxism (grinding) and clenching, especially at night while you’re asleep, is destructive. Affecting millions of Americans, it causes tooth wear, the fracturing of dental work and muscle soreness.
    Solution: If you clench during the day, try to catch yourself and stop. Remember this rule: Lips together–teeth apart! You won’t have that control while sleeping, though. If you frequently wake up with a sore mouth, invest in a night guard to protect the teeth and jaw muscles.
  3. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Teeth are for chewing food and nothing else! There have been countless emergencies from people who use their teeth for something they weren’t intended for, like opening bags and ripping tape.
    Solution: Don’t do it and find the right tool for the job. 
  4. Sugary and Acidic Drinks
    Sodas and energy drinks are the biggest culprits of tooth decay. The acid eats away at your enamel and promotes an environment that bacteria love.
    Solution: Drink water as often as possible. If you have an occasional soda or energy drink, consume it in one sitting and rinse with water afterward.

If you have questions regarding how to protect your teeth, don’t hesitate to ask us the next time you visit Vacendak Dentistry. Contact us at  (757)-609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Are Veneers Right For You? 

Looking at models in magazines and actors on TV may lead you to believe one thing about teeth: That people naturally have a bright white and straight smile. But that isn’t the case. Often, the perfected grins you see on everyone from movie stars to moms, are the result of cosmetic dental surgery.

If you are unhappy with your smile, you’re not alone. Studies show that over 80% of people think their teeth look bad in photographs and will avoid showing their teeth when they smile. However, thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry, there are easy solutions to getting the look you crave, particularly veneers.

Veneers are one of the most popular procedures to correct cosmetic tooth deficiencies. This minimally invasive procedure corrects small problems like uneven size, color and alignment. Made of wafer-thin, tooth-colored material (porcelain or resin), they cover the front surface of teeth and improve appearance. The result is a bright white smile that patients desire.

How do you know if veneers are the right choice for you? Here are a few major factors that dentists look at when you ask about the possibility of veneers:

1. Healthy Teeth 
Veneers need to attach to healthy teeth – period! It isn’t advisable to place veneers on teeth that show signs of decay or gum disease. Veneers can last twenty years, and when placed on unhealthy teeth, the tooth continues to decay underneath the porcelain cover, leading to bigger problems brewing under the surface. Your dentist will suggest fixing these problems first before they fit veneers.

2. Absence of Bruxism (Tooth Grinding) 
Bruxism or grinding/clenching is a widespread problem which many people knowingly or unknowingly suffer from. Although veneers are durable, they aren’t as strong as our natural teeth. As a result, the amount of force exerted when a person grinds or clenches will damage the coating. In many cases, curbing bruxism is possible with a combination of night guards and relaxation techniques. If you experience clenching, your dentist may recommend treatment first.

3. Good Alignment 
Veneers can fix teeth that are unevenly spaced or slightly crooked, but aren’t beneficial for patients with severely misaligned teeth. The positioning of the jaw in these cases means that excessive pressure is put on the veneers when the wearer bears down. In many cases it can crack, chip, or break the porcelain or resin. Correcting misaligned teeth is done by orthodontic procedures, such as braces.

If you’re not happy with your current smile and you believe that you’re a good candidate for porcelain veneers, then visit our practice and talk to us about your options. Contact us at Vacendak Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Soothing Sensitive Teeth

Are you one of the forty million adults who suffer the symptoms of sensitive teeth? Don’t be shy about it! It’s a common dental issue that creates mild to harsh flashes of pain. Cold, hot, sweet and acidic foods are all triggers for discomfort, making sufferers live in fear of eating or drinking the wrong things.

The enamel in healthy teeth protects another layer called dentin, which connects directly to internal nerves. If tooth enamel wears down or the gum line recedes, then dentin becomes exposed. When it’s exposed, the elements reach the nerves inside the tooth and cause pain. Fortunately, the pain doesn’t have to be permanent. Simple changes to diet, oral care or dental habits are all that’s needed for relief and possible reversal of the pain in many cases.

Follow these tips to fortify your enamel and ease sensitivity tooth pain.

1. Brush With Softer Bristles
The harder you brush, the more you wear away enamel. A good sign of brushing too hard is throbbing or bleeding gums directly afterward. Let your gums heal and invest in a quality toothbrush with softer bristles. Additionally, slow down when brushing and be gentle.

2. Guard Your Teeth Overnight
If you live with chronic stress, your teeth feel it. Many people involuntarily grind their teeth while sleeping due to stress in the waking hours. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, erodes enamel and exposes dentin. Waking up with a sore jaw is a tell-tale sign of the condition. Consult your dentist to recommend a custom-fitted dental mouth guard for nighttime protection.

3. Take Care When Whitening Your Teeth
Everyone wants a pearly white smile, but overuse of whiteners creates worse problems than having off-white teeth.  Even over-the-counter methods contain chemicals harsh enough to remove too much enamel. Take a break from the whitening and consult your dentist to prevent bleaching-related damage.

4. Find the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash
One way to treat sensitive teeth is by using desensitizing toothpaste and mouthwash. These products contain compounds that block the nerve from painful sensations at the tooth’s surface. It usually requires several applications before the sensitivity reduces, but over time, sufferers reclaim their normal eating habits.

If you experience lasting pain, immediately consult a dentist for proper sensitive teeth treatment options. Vacendak Dentistry can diagnose the issue and advise you on the best treatments to combat the pain. If you’d like to schedule a visit, contact us today by calling (757) 609-3510 or by using our online form.

How Maintain Good Oral Health While Traveling

With Spring Break and Summer quickly approaching, those few perfect months for beach vacations, camping trips, and family excursions are near. These are the most exciting times for your families, filled with activities and treats. Unfortunately, all the hustle and bustle can be detrimental to your oral health. Here are a few tips to make sure that everyone is all smiles during time away.

Pack Appropriately

The stress of preparing for a trip means important items can be forgotten, so put oral hygiene at the top of the list. Few things are as important as your health, and even someone who gets regular checkups and cleanings will suffer by leaving their toothbrush at home. If nothing else, make sure to pack the big three: a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

There are a few specifics to consider when packing these items. We recommend having a second  toothbrush for traveling, so that your at-home toothbrush will remain clean and in good condition. There are collapsible toothbrushes that can fit inside limited luggage space and TSA approved toothpaste sizes if you’re only taking a carry-on. Finally,  investing in a toothbrush holder so that your toothbrush stays clean while packed in a bag with dirty shoes and souvenirs.

Schedule a Checkup Before You Go

We always suggest scheduling your preventative appointments every six months. That will ensure your oral health stays in check and nothing will surprise you while you are away. But, if you are about to embark on a journey, it’s especially important to consider seeing us before you leave.  Dental problems can escalate quickly and the last thing you want is emergency care from an out-of-town (or out-of-country) dentist who doesn’t know your history. Making an appointment before you leave will ensure that you get to experience your vacation to the fullest without surprises.

Emergencies Can Happen

Even the most prepared vacationers can experience troubles while traveling. That doesn’t mean they are caught off-guard. There are a few things you can do to make sure dental emergencies go smoothly. Bring a copy of your dental insurance and a list of your regular dental contacts if you need to reach them. Make sure to ask your insurance company about emergency care policies, especially if you are leaving the country. By being well prepared for your trip, everyone will be well taken care of, even if you are hundreds of miles away from home.

Consider Special Obstacles

Many of us like to experience new things when we travel. That can mean late nights, sweet treats or even going off-grid. It’s easy to forget your tooth care routines when your environment changes. Consider the challenges  you may encounter and prepare for them. If you are camping, there is environmentally-friendly toothpaste and mouthwash in times where no plumbing is available. Some people bring handheld floss picks that make it easier to reach without a mirror. Setting a reminder on your phone can help you remember to brush when you are especially tired from a long day of adventure. And in times of minimal space, you can always grab a pre-pasted toothbrush.

Vacation is the most fun time of the year and with a few steps before you leave you and your family’s teeth will be well prepared! By considering these obstacles, packing appropriately and planning ahead, you’ll ensure that everyone will happily flash those pearly whites in all their photos.
If you need special travel accessories or more tips, call us at 757-609-3510 or visit this link to schedule an appointment or with us before you take off. Safe travels!

What To Expect On Your First Visit

Whether you’ve visited the dentist every 6 months for your entire life, or once every few years, an appointment with a new doctor can be stressful. If you have sensitive gums, teeth that hurt or have even had a bad experience with a previous dentist, it can be nerve-wracking to step into an office for the first time. Like any new situation, the best way to alleviate stress is to do your research and come prepared. Here are a few things you might expect on your first visit to a new dental office:

Paperwork and Forms

You’ll likely need to fill out quite a few forms if you are a new patient – your medical and dental history, new patient registration, insurance forms and others, depending on the office. Plan to arrive a little early for your first visit to make sure you have time to carefully review documents. Your dentist may also have forms available online, so be sure to check their website. Locate your identification and insurance cards the night before your visit.

Questions and Concerns

Just like a presentation you haven’t prepared for, it might be difficult to remember any concerns you have about your oral health that your new dentist will want to know. It’s a good idea to make a list with questions and concerns you have–orthodontics, sensitive teeth, pain, etc – and have it handy for your first appointment.

Procedures

If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, you should expect to spend a bit more time at the office. You’ll have your regular cleaning, but will also need to update your x-rays and may talk with your doctor more than you would at a normal checkup.

With these expectations in mind, your first visit to a new dentist will be a breeze! If you’d like to schedule a visit to Vacendak Dentistry as a new patient, contact us today by calling (757) 609-3510 or by using our online form.

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.

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.