1317 Oakdale Road, Ste 210
Modesto, CA 95355
9045 Bruceville Rd # 170
Elk Grove, CA, 95758-5951
Fat, John C D.D.S.
7210 S Land Park Dr # A
Sacramento, CA, 95831-3663
Shih, Weilin D.D.S.
1001 Sunvalley Blvd
Concord, CA, 94520-5802
Dr. Barry Vilkin, DMD
9735 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 200
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
Q. Why do you need to have regular dental care check-ups?
A. Regular check-ups are needed to monitor your overall dentistry health. In addition to checking for cavities, your dentist examines the health of your entire mouth and surrounding soft tissues, checking for pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, oral sores, and gum disease.
Your oral health is connected with your general health. General dentistry check-ups can alert the dentist to other medical conditions that have symptoms in the mouth such as diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal irregularities. Regular dental visits are vital to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions affecting your mouth.
Q. What can you do to feel more relaxed during a dental appointment?
A. With the combination of modern anesthetics and new technology and techniques, many procedures only have minimal discomfort or are now entirely painless. Dental care providers want their patients to have maximum comfort and approach their treatments with a relaxed attitude.
There are a number of ways to increase relaxation:
Some dental offices are now offering patients new options for stress-relief: hypnosis, self-hypnosis instructions, relaxation tapes, soft lighting, warm gel-filled eye masks, scented candles, and massaging pillows. These are helpful in reducing stress and anxiety in dental patients. Be sure to avoid the use of stimulants such as caffeine prior to your visit.
Q. Aromatherapy has a relaxing effect for many people. Is this effective for patients undergoing dental treatment?
A. Research studies conducted at Case Western Reserve University have noted that the use of aromatherapy has a significant positive effect on anxious dental patients. Two-thirds of the patients receiving aromatherapy were more calm and relaxed than those patients without exposure to the scented fragrance oils.
Dentists are concerned about your comfort. Ask your dental provider if aromatherapy is available in the office, or if you can bring your own for your dental visit. Essential fragrance oils are available in health food stores, spas, and some grocery and drug store outlets.
Q. Are dental patients who are considered at risk for bacterial infections advised to take antibiotic medication prior to their appointments?
A. Certain medical conditions, such as heart valve problems or a recent total joint replacement, are considered at risk for infection at the site of the cardiac abnormality or joint replacement. This infection results from bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and working its way to these vulnerable areas.
Consequently, dental care procedures likely to result in bleeding from the gums or mucous membranes will require patients to take antibiotics prior to that procedure. Such procedures could include, but are not limited to, extractions, implant surgery, incision and drainage for oral infection, and professional teeth cleaning.
Guidelines have been established by the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association to provide dentists and physicians with information regarding appropriate regimens for antibiotic therapy. It also outlines those situations when antibiotic therapy is or is not indicated.
There also are other medical conditions warranting antibiotic therapy prior to dental procedures. Be sure to update your dentist regarding your medical history. Your dentist and/or physician will advise you of any special needs.
Q. Where can you receive dental services if you do not have the money to cover the related expense?
A. If you do not have eitherdental insurance or the money to pay for general dentistry visit, you should inquire about financial aid from various sources within your community.
You may need to make several calls, but the local dental society, the local public health department, or social service agencies may be able to direct you to sources of assistance. Also, check local hospitals, dental schools, and outreach clinics that may be able to provide dental services at a reduced fee.
The new dentistry brings together a unique complement of skills, knowledge, and capabilities with one primary focus: ensuring your dental health. Working as a team, your dentist and the dental team he or she has assembled wants to recruit you to join them in making sure this focus is maintained. The dental team has two major parts that you may hear referenced during your visits: the "back" and the "front." These terms refer to two very specific functions of your dental team. The front office handles all the administration, scheduling, and financial details, and the back office provides the treatment.
Your front office team makes sure you know about scheduling opportunities, handles finances, and keeps the administrative details under control to provide you efficient services and support. The back office team is thus free to do what they do best: provide the best care and service for you. You'll find the dentist, dental hygienist, and dental assistant ready to assist you during your appointments.
The key component for success of any team is each member's commitment to do their part. As a consumer and team member, your commitment involves three things:
You can maximize the benefits of the skills and expertise of your dental team by deciding for yourself what kind of relationship you want with your dentist and the dental team and how they can help you achieve a positive outcome for your dental future.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a signal that something is not right inside your mouth. It may be as simple as the need to pay more attention to your daily dental hygiene, or it may indicate tooth decay, gum disease, or another medical problem. Whichever it is, bad breath is a red flag: take another look at your mouth!
Bad breath is a social problem; if you have bad breath, you may notice that people actually back away as you talk to them. Mouth odors are embarrassing, and they tell other people that you aren't taking care of yourself. Sometimes people are not aware that their breath smells bad; be alert to how other people react when they're close to you, and be grateful if a friend or family member lets you know about the problem.
Commercial products claim they will make your breath fresher, but the only way to make sure your breath permanently fresh is to practice good oral hygiene. In fact, too many breath mints and hard candies with sugar will lead to tooth decay. If you are constantly using breath mints, breath sprays, or mouth rinses in an effort to cover up your bad breath, realize that you may have a dental or medical problem that needs addressing.
There are a number of reasons you may experience a bad taste in your mouth, and even be able to smell your own breath. Food may be lodged between your teeth if you are not brushing at least twice daily and flossing regularly. Food particles can be very tiny and can wedge themselves between teeth and below the gum line; brushing after meals is important and flossing is imperative to get at the particles that the brush can't reach. Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper. As odd as it will feel at first, bacteria collects on the tongue and can contribute to bad breath. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before you wear them again.
If you neglect your daily dental hygiene over time, bad breath can become a symptom of more serious dental problems. Teeth that are not cleaned properly become a place for bacteria to reside as food particles stay in your mouth and decay. Bacteria attack your teeth and gums and cause cavities and gum disease. If this is happening, gum disease will cause an unpleasant odor.
Perhaps you believe that you are brushing and flossing on a regular basis, but are still experiencing bad breath. If you have teeth that are crooked or crowded, it may be hard for you to clean between them. If you wear dentures that are not fit properly, they may be trapping food or irritating your mouth. Or perhaps your bad breath is caused by another medical problem: drainage from your sinuses, gastrointestinal problems, kidney or liver problems, or other medical conditions.
Here's what you can do to "investigate" on your own. Write down what you're eating and notice whether your breath smells bad because of certain foods. Garlic and onions actually cause odor, but the odor is coming from your lungs as you breathe, not from your mouth itself. The odor from these foods is temporary, and will be gone once the food is out of your bloodstream.
Are you dieting? Hunger can contribute to bad breath, because of the chemical changes as your body turns fat and protein into the energy it needs. Taking prescription or over-the-counter medications? Add these to the record of what you're eating to see whether there's a relationship between your medications and your bad breath. And don't forget to tell your dentist if there's been a change in your overall health since your last visit.
Suffering from dry mouth? Saliva provides constant rinsing in our mouths and washes away food particles. Your dentist may recommend more liquids, sugarless candy to stimulate natural saliva, and perhaps some of the commercial products that are available to combat dry mouth.
If bad breath continues after you have done your best job of regular brushing and flossing, start with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether the odor is caused by an oral problem; if it is not, then your dentist will suggest you see your doctor for a physical check-up.
Regular dental check-ups will help keep your mouth healthy and working well. Your dentist can spot problems before they cause trouble, including problems that cause bad breath.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD