June Is Coming Which Means Weddings

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June is the most popular time for weddings. Most brides are excited that their wedding day is approaching. If you’re thinking of something to give as a wedding gift, why not give the bride a whitening procedure done at a dental office. They will appreciate it and their smile will look bright and beautiful for her wedding day.

Whitening teeth is the least expensive and least invasive procedure you can possibly do to aesthetically enhance your smile. Most whitening procedures done in the dental office can be completed in about an hour while a whitening procedure done at home takes a few days to complete. There are pros and cons to doing in-office or take home versions but the results can be fantastic.

For both methods, sensitivity is the number one side effect. The teeth are made of dentinal tubules (microscopic tubes that line the teeth and take in water and other environmental factors from the mouth). When a tooth goes through a whitening procedure the dentinal tubules are essentially scrubbed clean and the ends are opened up to let light in, thus the tooth looks whiter. However, since the ends are opened up, water and other stuff can get inside the tooth causing the tooth to become more sensitive than usual. If sensitivity is really bad patients should stop the whitening, rest and take ibuprofen. Patients can continue with the whitening but use a less concentrated whitening formula and the teeth should have less time contact time with the whitening gel.

I actually like the combination of whitening the teeth in the dental office with the take home method as a backup. The nice aspect of whitening at home is that the patient can control how much whitening he/she wants. It’s not as sensitive too because the whitening gels are less concentrated than the in-office gels. The in-office whitening procedure’s true advantage is that it’s fast and instant.

For brides and anyone else who wants to whiten their teeth be aware of the time involved in doing a whitening procedure. The ideal is to do the in-office procedure about a month from your wedding day and then do touch ups after a couple of weeks. Your smile will look fabulous. Talk to your dentist about teeth whitening and schedule an appointment for a beautiful smile.

Dental Students Rapping About Dental Hygiene

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Dental school was stressful and I remember coming up with entertaining ways to study. I also taught dental students for a few years after I graduated and one year my group of students wanted to win a contest to be able to attend an exclusive aesthetic dentistry seminar. So, they came up with a rap and performed it in front of their entire class. Needless to say my group won and we were able to attend the seminar. I still have fond memories of that group and I got a chance to learn valuable lessons and tips of aesthetic dentistry and smile design during the seminar.

Click here to view a couple of dental students rapping about dental hygiene. The funny aspect of the video is that they recorded the video in the library so they pretty much whispered the whole rap. Talk about studying. Dentistry and brushing your teeth can be fun!

Why Refer To A Specialist

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Dentistry has many disciplines, from pediatric dentistry to endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery and prosthodontics. For most of us general dentists we limit our practice to what we feel comfortable performing. As an example, I like doing root canals for patients because I want to relieve them of their pain and/or I want to make their tooth last longer in their mouth. There are certain teeth I prefer to treat and the teeth that I think will be more difficult, I refer to a specialist.

Why do I refer? Because sometimes the treatment plan needs extra eyes to help guide it and also the situation may call for more expertise so as to not harm the patient. There is a reason I refer impacted 3rd molars because oral surgeons are better trained at performing the surgery and I want to limit the discomfort a patient can feel during the procedure.

But it’s more expensive to see a specialist. Yes it is but it’s also better for your overall health and treatment in the long run. Most specialists take dental insurance and will work with the patient in terms of payment plans.

Why can’t I just go to a general dentist that will do specialty work? You can but in a lot of cases the work has be redone by a specialist. Again in the long run seeing a specialist is better for treatment and overall health.

Click here to see a list of recognized American Dental Association dental specialties.

If you have any questions you can email me at drjane@janevaldedds.com

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

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Oral cancer has been associated with smoking and drinking but recently is on the rise due to the human papilloma virus. Visit your dentist regularly to receive head, neck and intraoral examinations so you can spot and treat any disease early. Click here to read more about oral cancer and what you can do to safeguard yourself from the disease.

Happy New Year!

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As we get underway with the new year many people resolve to better their lives for the new year. Instead of dwelling on the past let’s look to the future when it comes to oral health. If you’ve already been hit with bad oral health, i.e. had a tooth pulled, cavities fixed and periodontal work done, etc., let’s move from there and look to a future filled with long lasting teeth.

If you’ve had a tooth pulled it’s not the end of the world. You can always replace the space with some sort of prosthetic to make you smile and function again. If you’ve had periodontal work just think of it as a step to make your teeth last longer in your mouth. If you’ve had cavities fixed then it’s a step in keeping your teeth functioning for a long time.

What’s important is to educate yourselves on the importance of keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. The mouth is the first to overall health. If you can’t eat you aren’t healthy. The condition of the gums can be the first indication of how healthy a person is.

So take a look at your teeth and decide how healthy you want to be in 2014. Take advantage of medical health programs if you don’t have insurance. Visit the dentist twice a year. For  a lot of dental practices they can work with you in terms of a payment plan if you can’t afford dental work or don’t have dental insurance. It’s more important to spend on your health than clothes, home accessories, or cake and ice cream. And that’s my two cents for the day.

Here’s to your health in 2014!

Dental Insurance for Medicare Patients

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For those medicare patients trying to obtain dental insurance you may be able to do so through the Affordable Care Act. Certain states do not allow just buying dental insurance without buying health insurance first but as Medicare recipients you are allowed to purchase dental insurance through federal laws. Please read the insurance exchanges website for further information. You can read a summary of buying dental insurance at the New York Times Health section here. If you know of a good deal with purchasing dental insurance please tell us.


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One thing I like to do is educate patients on dental issues they read or saw in a newspaper, magazine and news program. This week’s NY Times dental article has to do with dealing with a diastema. You can read the article here.

A diastema is a gap between teeth. People who have a diastema between their two front teeth are confronted with esthetic issues. Some people choose to fix their diastema while others like to leave it alone. I have no problems with keeping a diastema alone just as long as it wasn’t caused by periodontal issues. Some people do look good with a small gap (Madonna had a diastema that was noticeable) but I do find myself staring at ones that are Grand Canyon wide (think Michael Strahan the former NY Giant Defensive Back). But if a patient were to ask me to correct a diastema I need to know what caused the diastema and what are the options of treating it. For a lot of diastemas cosmetic bonding is not the solution because the gap is too wide. So braces have to be considered at that point and then what happens after the braces is another issue.

People with diastemas embrace your unique smile just remember to brush and do regular checkups at the dental office. If you saw or read any dental articles that you find interesting and want to share them with me you can email me at drjane@janevaldedds.com

Orthodontics for Children

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Parents always ask me when is a good time for orthodontics, or braces. First, a consultation is needed to assess the condition of the mouth and how much crowding and growth can be predicted.

Usually braces are placed when the child is just about to lose his baby molars (around 10-11 years old). This makes for better control and movement of the teeth and the child is more compliant socially to wear braces. Orthodontic treatment can start even younger to guide the growth of the child’s dentition. In some of these cases orthodontic treatment may result in two phases. Also as the child ages into his/her teen years it becomes harder to influence him/her to wear braces because of the social implications.

If you suspect crowding please contact your dental office for a consultation. Braces are not just to perfect a smile but well aligned teeth makes for a cleaner mouth because bacteria bugs don’t adhere to the teeth as much as in a crowded mouth.

If you have questions you can email me at drjane@janevaldedds.com

Welcome Back to School

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This is a pretty good article on how to care for children’s teeth. It’s from Colgate.com. To read the full article click here.

Start kids on the healthy path of oral health.  With education comes the power to lead a healthy lifestyle. Make sure they brush at least two times a day, visit the dentist twice a year for checkups and eat a healthy diet. They will thank you later.

If you have questions or comments you can reach me at drjane@janevaldedds.com

Tooth Abscess Leads to the Emergency Room More Than We Think

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From the NY Times:

Tooth Abscess leads to the emergency room more than we think and sometimes it can lead to death. Read the full article here.

Emergency rooms are seeing an increase in patients with tooth pain. Tooth pain can easily be treated if caught early enough. Unfortunately patients especially those without dental insurance wait until the pain is unbearable or massive swelling occurs before they seek medical help. The fact that more people are willing to wait before seeking help raises serious questions regarding dental insurance and the cost of dental care. If you have dental insurance be grateful you have it and take advantage of it by staying healthy. If you don’t have dental insurance most dental offices can help with finances to cover the cost of emergency care. All you have to do is ask. Please be respectful for the work and training that dentists do to keep patients out of pain and honor your agreement with them if you do sign a financial contract. Plus keep a healthy lifestyle and regularly brush your teeth and get twice a year checkups  so that you don’t get into trouble with tooth pain.