Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anxiety is the Enemy of your Teeth

Anxiety and Tooth Wear

Busy schedules, anxiety and stress can be the enemy of your teeth. "Most patients don't even realize they are damaging their teeth," Dr. Judith Ko says from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice, "until it's too late."

Too late is when the teeth are worn, have started breaking and fracturing, or the jaw joint is painful.

The culprit is grinding, bruxing or clenching. "We see the effects when patients have been under significant stress - during college finals, the holidays or when work deadlines are looming," Dr. Ko adds.

To help with the habit you can:

1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both seem to increase grinding patterns.

2. Stop chewing on things that are not food.

3. Be present in your life. Notice during your day if you are clenching or grinding. If you find you are, reposition the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This trains your muscles to relax.

4. Have your dentist fit you with a custom made mouth guard. This will protect your teeth while you are asleep.

Of course, reducing your stress may also help!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cosmetic Dentistry in Hemet, California

Ever wondered, what is a Cosmetic Dentist?

Cosmetic dentistry is generally done to improve the color, shape or alignment of the teeth. "Cosmetic dentistry can improve self confidence and even your health," Dr. Judith Ko says from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice

Cosmetic procedures can be any of the following:

1. Whitening. When teeth are stained, whitening is a easy and affordable way to restore a smile to its whitest.

2. White Fillings. Composite material is generally used to create white fillings that can be matched to natural teeth. This material also has an additional benefit, it does an excellent job of bonding to the tooth and can prevent future breakage, unlike a silver, or amalgam filling.

3. Porcelain Inlays or Onlays. These lab fabricated fillings are also a great way to restore tooth structure and at the same time keep a smile at it's best.

4. Porcelain Crowns & Fixed Bridges. These are lab fabricated and can be created to change the shape of a tooth to form a lovely and natural smile.

5. Porcelain Veneers. Veneers are thin wafer-like porcelain facings that can be placed to change the shape of a tooth.

6. Tissue re-contouring. The gum tissue creating a frame around your teeth can be modified and evened out to really showcase beautiful teeth.

7. Orthodontics. When the teeth are not in alignment, seeing an orthodontist might be the best fix. Misaligned teeth can cause not only a poor smile, but also create challenges for eating.

"Cosmetic dentistry really covers a large range of procedures," adds Dr. Judith Ko. "All of them designed to create a more youthful look and a brighter smile."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What To Do About Stained Teeth

Why are my teeth stained and what can I do about it?

In the previous post, the causes of tooth staining was discussed. Unfortunately, many times the offending stainer was a food or beverage and sometimes one that contained beneficial antioxidants. While you can reduce the amount of blueberries you eat, moderation and balance in your diet is probably a better answer, according to WebMD

So what can you do?

1. When drinking any of the foods that can stain, use a straw. These would include: colas, juices, tea and wine. 

2. Swallow promptly instead of allowing the food or drink to linger will also help to reduce the amount of staining to your teeth.

3. After eating and drinking any of the foods, rinse your mouth with water. Brushing and flossing is always recommended after a meal, but it isn't always convenient. Swishing with water will at least remove some of the damaging elements from your mouth.

4. Chewing sugarless gum may also help with reducing stain.

5. Finally, see your dentist and/or hygienist on a regular basis.

"Keeping your smile bright is important to us," says Dr. Judith Ko, from her Hemet, California cosmetic dental practice. "Let us know if we can help."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stained Teeth

How Do Teeth Become Stained?

While we recognize that our white smiles are what create a good first impression, we are often thwarted by teeth that become stained. Regularly seeing your dentist to remove the stains is one way of dealing with the problem, but why do teeth become stained in the first place?

"Most people know to avoid smoking to keep teeth at their whitest, but unfortunately many of the foods you may enjoy, and some that are good for you, can stain your teeth, too," Dr. Judith Ko says from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice.

Fruits such as apples, blueberries, blackberries and pomegranates.
Beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine.
Even beets, soy sauce, curries and popsicles with bright colors can do damage to your teeth.

According to WebMD, the reason is that these foods tend to be acidic in nature, and the acid temporarily softens the tooth allowing the chromogens, the color pigments in the foods and beverages, to stain. A good rule of thumb is, if the offending food or beverage would stain a napkin or tablecloth, it will probably stain your teeth. 

With many of the offending foods being excellent sources of antioxidants, rather than remove them from the diet, it might be best to limit them and take additional steps to ensure your smile stays its brightest.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smiles Make a Difference!

Yes! It's true.

A study published in the journal, Psychological Science says that a true smile, one that reaches your eyes, not only brings a smile to others, but also lowers your heart rate. 

Smiling young woman

In fact, according to Medical News Today, just holding a smile on your face when you are stressed can be helpful to your heart. Two psychological scientists, Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman, were exploring the adage, "grin and bear it," to see if it had any truth to it. Surprisingly enough, it does. 

The findings showed that even if the smile doesn't reach the eyes, it still creates a benefit for the wearer.  So, the next time you find yourself stressed, paste a smile on your face.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dental Care and Athletes

Most of us think that athletes, especially those who compete at the olympic level, as being the ideal of health. Imagine the surprise when Professor Ian Needleman, of the University College London Eastman Dental Institute, conducted a study and found differently. His findings have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

A total of 302 athletes from London's 2012 athletes' village took part in the study, which consisted of an examination and personal assessment. These athletes were asked about how their oral condition impacted their quality of life, training and finally, performance. The athletes, mostly from Africa, the Americas and Europe, represented 25 sports, with the largest percentage representing track and field competitors. 
These researchers found that more than half of all the athletes had dental decay and 3/4 had gingivitis.  And the athletes admitted to having pain that affected their ability to do their best in competition. "If we are going to help them optimize their level of performance, we need to concentrate on oral health promotion and disease prevention strategies to facilitate the health and wellbeing of all our elite athletes," Needleman said. 
We agree. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dental Crown

A dental crown is generally recommended when a tooth has sustained significant damage due to decay or impact. "A crown is the best restorative procedure your dentist can provide for a tooth," says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet, California general and cosmetic dental practice. 

A filling is recommended when the decay is limited in scope, but once several surfaces of the tooth are involved, there may be little structure for a filling to adhere to. "Not only that, but with so much damage many times the nerve of the tooth is impacted or could be if additional tooth is lost due to breakage," Dr. Ko adds. Placing a crown may actually prevent the need for a future root canal treatment.

To have a crown done means a couple of appointments. At the first appointment your dentist will carefully clean out all the decay. A build-up may be recommended if there is very little tooth left to create something for the crown to fasten to. An impression will be taken of the tooth, which will be sent to a laboratory for the custom creation of your crown. A temporary or provision crown will then be created in the office to provide you with protection while the permanent crown is being fabricated. Two to three weeks later, your final crown will be ready. At this second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed and the final crown cemented in place. 

After that, its ready to be brushed and flossed, just like all your other natural teeth.