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Great Gifts For Teeth

If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this year, we have some great ideas. That’s right — Gifts for teeth!

You might not think dental products make good gifts, but they’re actually very helpful! Many of us don’t want to spend the money or don’t have time to replace these items as often as needed. By giving tooth-related gifts, you can take something off the plate of a loved one and help them stay healthy at the same time.

If you have family members who never seem to spend money on themselves, or you’re finally ready to give yourself a gift for your health, here are a few exciting items to try:

  1. An electric toothbrush subscription. Some of the best electric toothbrushes can be awfully pricey, and the replacement heads drive up the cost. However, there are many subscription services that are inexpensive. Take a look at Quip! It’s an affordable plan that ships toothpaste and new brush heads every three months.
  2. A water pick. Water picks aren’t just for braces! A water pick is often the most recommended dental product by professionals outside of the normal dental gear. This makes flossing fun by using a stream of water to dislodge food debris and easily removing the plaque that builds up around gums.
  3. A travel kit. Do you have a family member or friend who is always traveling? We do too! Build or buy them a travel kit with all of the essentials they will need to keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh after a long flight or drive. Include quick fixes like sugar-fee whitening gum and a small bottle of mouthwash! That way, they will never forget to pack their toothbrush when visiting for the holidays! They will always thank you.

Remember, 2020 is almost here. While you may be gifting your friends and family with useful items, it’s also time to start thinking about your own resolutions. If you’re reading to take control of your oral health, Vacendak is here to help! Contact our Chesapeake office today or call us at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Reasons to Give Thanks for Your Teeth

Reasons to be Thankful for Your Teeth 

November is the month of giving thanks! This year we want to give a special thanks to something we use every day but may never truly appreciate: our teeth! 

We know it may sound silly to give thanks for your pearly whites, but trust us, after we list our  top reasons, you’ll be praising them in no time.

  1. Teeth are one of your most defining features. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you. The same AACD study concluded that 74 percent of those who took the survey believe an unattractive smile can negatively affect someone’s career. But don’t worry, if you’re not proud of your grin, cosmetic dentistry from Vacendak Dentistry will transform your smile.
  2. They help you communicate. Teeth are an essential part of speaking. Without them, we’d have difficulty pronouncing certain letters and sounds such as ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ and so many more. Go ahead and give it a try! Can you say a full sentence without touching your teeth with your tongue? It’s pretty challenging. In a previous post, we explore the numerous ways your teeth affect your speech, but you don’t need to know them all to be thankful for these great communicators. 
  3. 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 losing 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!

The doctors at Vacendak also want 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 before the busy holiday season begins. 

Encouraging Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home

Proper at-home dental care is an important childhood lesson. Teaching children when they are young helps maintain the healthy habits into adulthood. In deciding what to show them and when, try to go slow. Many kids don’t know how to hold a toothbrush, much less correctly brush or floss without supervision. By teaching age-appropriate skills and staying involved, you make sure that children develop proper techniques over time.  

As with any childhood lesson, it isn’t easy knowing when to let kids do it themselves or if you should step in, so here are some of our favorite tips for every age:  

 Ages 6 and Under 

Until they have a firm grip on the toothbrush, keep brushing for them. Explain what you’re doing and why. Eventually, your young child might want to do the brushing themselves but stay close. Kids in this age range don’t have the fine motor skills needed for a thorough job. Young mouths change quickly, so children at 6 will brush the same way they did at 2 or 3 and miss new teeth. It’s up to guardians to help reach those teeth as they pop in. The best course of action is letting your child begin on their own and helping out when needed. For  flossing, get them started as soon as two teeth are touching.  

 Ages 7-12 

By now, children know what to do, but they might not want to do it! Many tasks become a battle during this age, so they’ll need active encouragement to take on their brushing and flossing responsibilities and do it correctly. Set a timer to help demonstrate what two minutes of brushing feels like and be aware that you may need to stick around so they don’t cut corners.  

 Ages 12-18 

Research shows that cavities are more likely to appear in early adulthood. That’s because many teenagers go years without a cavity and never grasp the consequences of missing a night of brushing. As a result, their oral hygiene takes a back seat. Don’t let your teen’s habits fall to the wayside. Now that they’re older and their bones weaker, getting cavities is easy. If you notice them slipping, try asking their dentist to remind them of the long-term effects of poor oral hygiene.  

 The best preventative habit to instill in your children is a twice-yearly visit to the dentist. By maintaining this schedule throughout their lives, it becomes second nature when they go off on their own. Contact us today to schedule their next 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.

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.

The Effects of Stress on Teeth

The holiday season can be the most stressful time of the year for many people, particularly those busy wrapping up projects before the new year at work and organizing family travel and gatherings. We all know that stress can have certain effects on our health, and take measures to relax, but did you know that stress can also be harmful for your teeth?

If you wake up and find that you have pain in your face or jaw, frequent headaches and earaches, you may be seeing the results of stress! Stress is suspected to contribute to bruxism, which is the clenching or grinding of teeth. This may not seem like a big deal, but over time it can lead to a number of other issues including Temporomandibular (TMD) disorders, increased tooth sensitivity and broken teeth. Taking care of the problem early will save you time and money at the dentist!

So, what should you do if you suspect that you are clenching or grinding your teeth? Scheduling an appointment your dentist is the first step. Our doctors can examine your teeth and determine if you have been clenching or grinding your teeth, and help you find the best solution! We can even fit you with a custom-made mouth guard to wear at night to prevent future teeth-grinding. If you have already experienced the effects of bruxism, we can help you correct the damage.

Other ways you can combat oral health problems occurring from stress are by looking for the sources. Reduce caffeine consumption, be sure you are getting adequate hours of sleep per night and remember to take time for yourself to relax this holiday season!

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.

Take The Scare Out Of Your Dental Routine

October is here and though we have the spookiest holiday of the year coming up, nothing is scarier than a dental routine that isn’t helping your teeth. A routine that misses steps or isn’t getting the reach you need can create a nightmare check-up and frightening long-term problems. Check out these tips to be sure your teeth don’t end up like Frankenstein’s!

  • Make sure you have the right toothbrush for you, and good brushing technique. If you are a hard brusher, a toothbrush with tough bristles can be damaging to your gums. If you have gingivitis or plague build-up, opt for an electric brush for a detailed cleaning.
  • Brush your teeth for two minutes. Did you know that most people brush their teeth for only around 40 seconds? Getting to the full two minutes will ensure you’ve reached every spot!
  • Brush three times a day. We know this can be difficult to remember with a busy schedule, but brushing after each meal helps to rid of food debris and prevent plague build-up. It also helps freshen breath after eating! Keep an extra toothbrush at work for an after-lunch cleaning.
  • Don’t skip the floss – flossing is one of the best allies against gum disease and tooth decay, and should be done at least once a day. For best results, use 18-24 inches of floss and slide the floss between teeth in a “C” shape and move it up and down gently, repeating for each tooth.
  • See your dentist every six months for a checkup. Don’t wait until you’re having issues with your teeth to see the dentist. Your dentist will likely catch any problems early on, helping you prevent further damage and save money!

Get excited about your oral health! Maintaining it doesn’t have to be a chore. The doctors at Vacendak Dentistry can help. We are conveniently located near the Kempsville area of Chesapeake and are accepting new patients. Call us now at (757) 609-3510 or contact the office online. We accept most dental insurance plans.

Back To School

Going back to school means many different things for kids, parents, and teachers. Now that it is August, it’s time to think about any dental visits you might need before the busy school season starts!

Parents: We know you want your kids to have a great smile for their annual school pictures. These are the images that relatives will receive and that you and your children will look back on when they grow up, and showing off those teeth in a genuine smile will create fond memories. We also know that your schedule is about to be packed with work, homework help and after-school extracurricular activities. 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!

Teachers: Though it seems easy enough to take a few hours or the day off to go to the dentist, we know it isn’t that simple. If something unexpected comes up that requires a more thorough procedure, you might end up needing more time off than you had planned for. Getting to know your students at the beginning of the school year is important, and every missed day counts. If you haven’t had your routine checkup in a while, August is the perfect time!

 

Back to school season is also a great time to get back into daily dental routines! Later summer nights and vacation time can often distract us from our usual brushing and flossing practices, and starting early in the school season can get us back into healthy cleaning habits. Check out some of our other blog posts for tips and tricks about getting your kids into good dental habits and routines.

Start the school year off strong with a clean and healthy smile! Call Vacendak Dentistry today to schedule an appointment or fill out the form.

 

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!

 

 

All About Root Canals

Have you ever heard the expression, “I’d rather have a root canal than…(insert undesirable thing here)?” Because of the commonly accepted idea that root canal treatment is one of the most painful dental procedures, many people are apprehensive when their dentist or endodontist recommends one. Know that the purpose of a root canal treatment is to save a tooth and relieve pain, not cause it!

Though the procedure is commonly called “a root canal,” you may be surprised to learn that this name actually refers to the part of the tooth the procedure focuses on, rather than the procedure itself. As you can see in the diagram below, the root refers to the area within the dental cavity that surrounds the nerves and blood vessels and holds the tooth’s pulp.

Labelled diagram of the structure of tooth.

Labelled diagram of the structure of tooth.

Modern dental technology has made the actual root canal procedure fairly painless. So if your dentist recommends a root canal to relieve an infection or abscess, don’t worry. Read on for a better understanding of what you need to expect.

 

Why Might I Need a Root Canal?

Since root canal treatment clears out infected or inflamed pulp in the tooth, the reason for needing the procedure comes down to the reason for infection or root damage. Gum disease, a chipped or cracked tooth, repeated dental procedures and advanced tooth decay can all contribute to the need for root canal treatment. If the root of the tooth is infected, the entire tooth is at risk.

What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?

In order to save an infected tooth, the dentist numbs the gums and mouth with a local anesthetic. If the patient is particularly anxious or sensitive to pain, the doctor may also use nitrous oxide. Once the mouth is numb, the dentist will begin the procedure.

  • The dentist enters the tooth through the crown with the dental handpiece.
  • Once access to the root canal space is established, the doctor cleans the infection out of the tooth, irrigates the canal, and reshapes the space to prepare for the permanent filling.
  • Using a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, the dentist fills the root canal in order to replace the diseased pulp.
  • A temporary filling is placed in the access space.
  • In most cases, the crown (or cap) is placed at a separate visit so that the tooth has time to heal. The crown looks much like a natural tooth and protects the newly restored tooth.

Take a look at this illustration to get a better idea of the process.

root-canal-treatment 

  What Should I Expect During the Healing Process?

Since most teeth that require a root canal were already causing pain, many people find that temporary discomfort during root canal recovery is very manageable. Basic over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are usually sufficient for easing pain. Some people also experience “ghost pain” after a root canal, despite the nerves being removed during the treatment, but this typically goes away within a week or two. Important: Avoid hard, sticky or crunchy foods until the final crown is placed. This will help you avoid feeling excess discomfort and damaging the temporary filling.

Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

If you are experiencing tooth pain or have recently experienced some kind of tooth trauma, schedule an appointment with a dentist. It’s possible that root canal treatment may be the answer to heal your pain. If you are in the Hampton Roads area, call Vacendak Dentistry at 757-609-3510. We are conveniently located near both Chesapeake and Virginia Beach in the Greenbrier/Kempsville corridor. You can also request an appointment online.