Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Friday, September 19, 2014

This year is coming to an end!

Is your Dental Insurance going to keep your Money this year?

As health care professionals and your dental team, Hemet Valley Dental Care would like to remind you how important it is to see your dentist!

Of course we know the days are packed solid with work, school, errands, other appointments, homework, cooking.... and the list goes on and on....

What happens when you have all of those tasks to complete and you wake up with a toothache?
Some people would say nothing would get done, or the day will be miserable, or if you choose to call the dentist and you fortunately get seen, you spend the day in the dental office....

Dr. Ko is a firm believer in preventative dentistry!  If you are a current patient of Dr. Ko, then you know her first goal is educating her patients on how to prevent emergency visits and toothaches.  Her second goal is providing comfort to those who are in pain, and in need of dental treatment.

Lets keep those smiles healthy and your earnings in your pocket!!! If you have not been seen this year do your Smile a favor and make the call today.

Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Facial Pain – What Could Be Causing It?

Facial pain may or may not be something your dentist can assist you with. “It all depends,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Inland Empire’s Top Dentist in Hemet, California. While your dentist can assist you with facial dental pain related to decaying, abscessing, fracturing or breaking teeth, or if the pain is associated with bruxing and grinding and the temporomandibular joint, there can be other causes for facial pain.

1. Cluster Headaches – as these headaches are often felt on one side of the face, they are thought to be caused by tooth or mouth issues. Instead they are an allergy response.

2. Shingles – A tingling pain or burning, it is generally felt on one side of the body.

3. Migraines – These headaches can also present on one side of the head and mimic an infected tooth.

4. Blows or injuries to the face

5. Sinusitis – and infection of the sinuses is often mistaken as an infected tooth.

6. Myofascial pain syndrome – is a chronic pain disorder and is generally associated with repetitive motions.

If you are unsure what is causing your facial pain, a trip to your dentist may be in order to rule out dental concerns before you seek medical help.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When is a Crown Necessary?

Dental crowns are generally placed on teeth that have had severe wear and tear. “It is many times considered the best restoration in that it completely covers the entire top of the tooth,” says Dr. Judith Ko of HemetValley Dental Care in California.

But how do you know if a crown is the right restoration for you? Here are a few things to ask and consider when discussing your treatment with your dentist.

     1.    What percentage of the tooth has been impacted? Most of the time a crown is recommended when a substantial part of the tooth structure is decaying or fracturing. “A fracturing tooth can many times impact the nerve, resulting in endodontic or root canal treatment,” adds Dr. Ko.

     2.    What other options exist? Generally your dentist will thoroughly discuss all options for treatment with you prior to beginning your crown. They may discuss the option of a filling, inlay or onlay and should explain why they do not believe they are the best options for you.

     3.    If the tooth is so damaged, will the tooth need a root canal? As mentioned above, teeth where crowns are recommended are generally in trouble. This could mean that your dentist will advise you to have endodontic treatment immediately, or they may wish to wait and see how extensive the damage is before taking any further action.

     4.    How soon should the crown be done? Almost always the answer to this question is now. Teeth requiring crowns for treatment are in serious trouble – how serious may be unknown, but they will never get better by waiting.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Will Dental Insurance Pay for My Night Guard?

We don’t always understand it either – and by it, I mean your dental insurance policy.

A night guard or occlusal guard is a custom-made appliance that your dentist may recommend when it appears that severe wear due to bruxing and grinding is occurring. While the cost of a night guard is generally ¼ to ½ the fee for a single crown, insurance plans rarely will cover the cost.

“This makes no sense,” says Natalie, the financial coordinator at Hemet Valley Dental Care, your dental office in Hemet California. “We know that by providing patients with night guards we are saving them and the insurance companies money. Teeth that are broken many times have occurred due to bruxing and clenching. The fact that we can reduce the number of broken teeth by the wearing of a simple appliance means savings.”

“The only time we sometimes see insurance companies pay for night guards is when the clenching and bruxing has now impacted the tooth’s stability – this means the periodontal ligament is now impacted.”

While it would be nice if dental insurance companies paid for custom night guards, know that as a patient you will still be ahead of the financial game if you pay in full for your appliance.

“One less crowned tooth more than covers the cost,” adds Natalie. “And it also means better dentistry for you, the patient.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cost of a Dental Night Guard

For many, their first crown comes due to a broken tooth. “And too often, the cause of the breakage is bruxing and grinding,” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet Valley Dental Care.

“One of the results of nighttime clenching and grinding is broken teeth, and one of the best ways to avoid breaking and fracturing teeth is to wear a night guard or splint,” adds Dr. Ko.

Not only will an occlusal night guard help with your bruxing and grinding but it also saves you money.

In general, a night guard will cost somewhere between ¼ and ½ of a single crown. “Not only that, but teeth that are damaged and in need of a crown often also suffer from nerve damage that could result in the recommendation of root canal treatment,” says Dr. Ko.

So why wait? If you think you are someone who grinds or clenches their teeth, or if you’ve been told by a spouse that you grind at night, don’t delay. Call today and learn more.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clenching – How Can You Tell If You Are Guilty?

Most people at some point in their lives will probably clench or even grind their teeth. Occasionally clenching or grinding will usually not cause significant long-term damage, but repeated acts will.

Generally clenching and grinding occurs when a person is under stress or is anxious, has bite issues or missing or crooked teeth. Unfortunately, clenching and grinding often happens during sleep and so you may not be aware you are even doing it unless a partner informs you, or you wake with face or joint pain.

“Sometimes the issue first presents itself as a broken tooth or filling. Chronic grinding damages teeth,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Inland Empire’s Top Dentist in Hemet, California. “You may even see the results when you brush and notice the wear on the surfaces of your teeth.”

While there are a few things you can do to reduce the discomfort – apply ice to the joint, learn relaxation techniques and avoiding foods and drinks that contain caffeine, the best solution is often a night guard.

“Night guards are custom fit appliances that will allow your jaw to move freely without damaging teeth or joints,” adds Dr. Ko. Your general dentist is the person to ask if you may be a candidate for an appliance to help with your clenching. Call us today to learn more about how you can be fit with a night guard to protect your teeth and joints.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Difference Does a Correct Bite Make?

Bruxism – the clenching of teeth, and grinding – the side-to-side motion can damage otherwise healthy teeth. Estimates of people affected range from 8-30% of the population. For many the symptoms are mild and they may be unaware they even have the condition, but for others the pain and discomfort are severe enough to cause facial and jaw joint pain.

Occlusion or the way your teeth fit together for eating and chewing can sometimes be thought to be the culprit.

Bruxism isn’t the only challenge that can occur when a bite issue is present. “When teeth do not fit together properly, chewing and eating foods can become an issue,” reports Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet, California. “Often patients have no idea that their bite may be why they often choke on their favorite foods. I once had a woman who informed me after having done extensive dental work, that she could now eat without fear.”
When occlusion is wrong a number of other problems may also present themselves including:

1. crooked teeth
2. gum problems
3. jaw joint problems
4. broken fillings
5. broken teeth
6. broken crowns

Occlusion problems can also cause migraines, headaches, facial pain, and even pain in the neck, upper back or shoulders.

“No one should live with discomfort due to an occlusion issue,” adds Dr. Ko.
Call today to make your appointment for an evaluation.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Headaches – Are Your Teeth the Culprit?

Bruxism, or the grinding of your teeth, can many times lead to tension-type headaches, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Bruxism, the clenching of upper and lower teeth together, and grinding – the side-to-side motion of teeth, often occurs when a person is under undo stress or tension. “However, not everyone who grinds or clenches is even aware they are doing this as many times it occurs during sleep,” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet Valley Dental Care in California, your Inland Empire’s Top Dentist.

While the causes will vary from person to person, the end results are you will be putting additional pressure on the muscles, teeth and other tissues of the mouth and face, which can result in teeth wear, broken teeth and face or jaw pain.

“You may be bruxing and grinding at night if you wake with a dull, deep headache,” adds Dr. Ko.

So what can you do?

Most recommend the reduction of stress – you may be able to do this by just learning relaxation techniques.

Get plenty of sleep – sleep loss is one factor that seems to increase the likelihood that a person will grind or brux their teeth.

Avoid eating hard foods such as nuts, candies, steak and stop chewing gum – all of which can exacerbate a sore jaw joint.

If you are having facial or jaw pain, apply ice to the muscles.

“And get in to see your dentist to determine if you are going to be best helped by wearing a night guard or splint,” says Dr. Ko.

Don’t let headaches prevent you from enjoying life, call today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?

Bruxism is the term used for when people grind their teeth. It occurs generally a night when a person is asleep and often unaware they are even doing it. But what causes grinding or bruxism? According to Dr. Judith Ko, your Inland Empire’s Top Dentist, “Bruxism is often caused by anxiety, stress or tension. It’s why we often see college students suffering during mid-terms or finals, or why when a business professional has an important deadline they also present with a broken tooth.”

While anxiety and tension lead the list of reasons for bruxism, grinding can also occur when a person has suppressed anger or rage issues, or is someone who is aggressive, competitive or hyperactive in nature.

“And sometimes grinding can be the result of bite or occlusion issues with how the upper and lower teeth fit together,” adds Dr. Ko.

Why is this an issue? “When your teeth do not fit together correctly and when you are grinding due to anxiety, it produces unnatural wear to the teeth and too often results in the cusps of teeth being broken,” says Dr. Ko.

What can you do? A first step is to be evaluated. A comprehensive exam will generally give your dentist an idea of what is going on. Most times bite issues can be corrected with some adjustment, or a night guard may be recommended to protect the teeth. “While the fix is relatively easy and affordable, doing nothing is just not the smart option. Teeth that are damaged enough to need a crown are often also the ones that need root canal treatment. Excessive bruxing and grinding can loosen teeth and the wear can prevent you from enjoying your food,” adds Dr. Ko.

Don’t wait. If you think you may be someone who should be evaluated, call today and schedule an appointment!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Remove Stains From Teeth

As the summer gets fully underway, we are all conscious of our smiles. The more our skin takes on a healthy summer glow, the more our smile stands out. How can you make the most of yours?

“If you have minimal staining you may want to try any of the numerous over-the-counter whitening products,” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet Valley Dental Care in Hemet, California. There are strips that can be applied or gel that can be painted on. While these products are not super strong, they may provide the little life you are looking for.

With significant staining you may want to consider an in-office whitening system, sometimes referred to as a 1-hour whitening procedure or whitening done with customized take-home trays. This has been proven to be the most effective when significant staining is a challenge.

Of course, your best bet to keeping your teeth their brightest is to brush, floss and see your dentist on a regular basis. Brushing and flossing removes plaque that accumulates with each meal. Focusing on good oral home care reduces the amount of stain that is accrued and that stain can easily be removed during your routine visits to the dentist.

And the adage an apple a day, not only is good for keeping the doctor away, it can also keep your smile whiter! This summer don’t let your smile hide.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fluoride – Good or Bad?

If only the answer was easy. Fluoride is a chemical that has been used in toothpastes, some rinses, applied by your dentist and is many times added to water. Studies show that fluoride does prevent dental decay – and that is a good thing. But we also know that fluoride is considered a toxic substance and since the late 1990’s, the FDA has required toothpaste to carry a warning stating that fact.

While ingesting fluoride is now in some circles considered questionable, the use of fluoride in toothpastes, and oral rinses is still seen as posing a reduced risk while providing a larger benefit.

You may find that when you visit your dentist, she will make the recommendation for additional in-office fluoride. This fluoride can be given to the patient in gel form, an oral rinse or in some instances as varnish. When you are given a fluoride treatment in the dental office, your care provider will be careful to make sure that all excess fluoride is removed from the teeth and mouth. All fluoride applied or given in the dental office is done so with recommendations for withholding food and drink for a period of time after application. This ensures that the fluoride adheres to the teeth and is minimally ingested.

“Fluoride along with brushing and flossing is the best way to keep your smile its brightest for a lifetime,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Top Dentist in the Inland Empire.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dental Flossing. Should You Choose An Alternate Method?

Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet, California is adamant, “The best type of floss is the one a patient will use.”

Floss resembles a piece of thread. It is passed between teeth to remove plaque a toothbrush will miss. Flossing is best when it is a daily habit and is critical to good oral health. Many different types of floss are available from waxed to unwaxed, flavored and unflavored and there is even dental tape, which is almost more like a flat ribbon. There are also special floss holders that make flossing easier and interdental cleaners – picks, sticks or brushes that can help clean between the teeth.

Finally there is the Waterpik and Airfloss. Both are oral irrigators that also work to remove plaque and other debris from between the teeth and below the gumline to improve gum health. Studies have shown that these types of devices may even be superior to floss in reducing bleeding and as effective in removing plaque. “The important thing is that the area between the teeth is cleaned on a regular basis,” adds Dr. Ko. “How you go about it, is up to each individual.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Smiling - What Can It Do For You?

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do,” ~ Mother Teresa

Smiling not only can change the way others view you, a smile can also bright your day. Smiling when you don’t really feel like it, is a way to send a message to your brain that you are happy. Science has shown that facial expressions can create physiological changes that match the emotion expressed. So smile away.

There is also evidence that smiling helps a person to reduce their blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar. Not only that, but smiling – because it tells your brain you are happy, will slow breathing and heart rate which reduces stressful feelings.

Of course, a smile makes you appear more attractive. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes you more appealing and perhaps, more employable.

So why isn’t everyone always smiling? “Many times people come into our office embarrassed about their smile,” says Dr. Judith Ko, voted a Top Dentist by the Inland Empire Magazine. “If their color is darker than what they’d like, we can enhance their smile with whitening. If they have teeth that are shaped in a way they dislike, we can often do some gentle shaping and apply veneers to help. In other words, if someone is unhappy with their smile, there are generally solutions.”

So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Am I a Candidate for Veneers?

Veneers maybe a great option for your smile. These thin porcelain pieces are attached to natural teeth using on a minimum amount of reduction in the tooth structure. Veneers help when patients have staining that isn’t helped by whitening or when teeth are chipping.

While veneers maybe a good option, some patients may not be candidates.

If you have significant tooth structure that has been removed due to decay, a full coverage porcelain crown may be a better option to restoring your tooth to health. This is also true if you want a veneer to correct the positioning of a tooth. “Teeth that are rotated may sometimes require significant reduction to realign, in that case a crown would be the better choice,” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet Valley Dental Care in Hemet, CA.

“When teeth are chipping due to problems with occlusion – the way the teeth fit together – veneers might also not be a good choice, “or at least not until the occlusion problem has been corrected,” adds Dr. Ko. If you are chipping your front teeth, it is a sign of something else going on. See your dentist to determine what.

Veneers, just like crowns and natural teeth, must be brushed and flossed on a regular basis. And also, just like crowns, you cannot expect them to last forever. “As you age, gum recession may very well determine when it’s time to replace your veneers,” says Dr. Ko. To learn more, call Hemet Valley Dental Care and set up an appointment today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Trust Your Dentist?

Many patients report how difficult it is to find a new dentist after moving to a new community. Trust is built over time and finding a new dentist can be a bit daunting. Not only that, but dentists vary in skill and personality as well as in the treatment they recommend. So what should you expect from your first visit to Hemet Valley Dental Care?

“A unique experience,” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet, CA. “One of the things we are most proud of is our ability to really listen to our patients.” Patients often confide they do not feel listened to when they see a dentist. “We listen to your story and then we help and guide you to a treatment plan that will allow you to keep or create the smile of your dreams.”

A first visit to Hemet Valley Dental Care begins by with a review of your overall health.  “The mouth is the window into the body,” adds Dr. Ko, one of your Inland Empire’s Top Dentists. “So we want to know everything that is going on with your health.” Radiographs (x-rays) are taken to see between the teeth and all the way to the roots. “Without necessary x-rays we are left guessing at the health of a tooth,” says Dr. Ko.

Periodontal disease affects more than 80% of the adult population. This means that Dr. Ko and her team will also be evaluating the health of your gum tissue. “Bone loss is a factor when determining future treatment, just like you wouldn’t build a house on a faulty foundation, we do not want to build fillings, crowns or bridges on teeth that have been negatively impacted by disease. However, once periodontal disease is controlled, teeth can be effectively restored.”

Dr. Ko will also be checking your bite. “How your teeth work together is also very important,” Dr. Ko says.

Finding a new dentist can be challenging, but a visit to Hemet Valley Dental Care will leave you feeling cared for. Call for an appointment today!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Keep Your Smile White!

Staining foods
To keep your smile at it’s whitest this summer, remember many food items work against you. Any food that would stain a white shirt also has the ability to stain your white teeth.

This means that wine – both red and white, can create a problem. Red gets significant attention, yet the acids in white wine are just as disastrous to your smile.  Acids etch the enamel of your teeth, which then opens the door to other foods to stain. This is also why sodas and sports drinks should only be consumed only through a straw.

Black coffee and teas also can reduce the brightness of your smile. To minimize the effect, add a bit of water or milk to limit the effect.

While blueberries are great for your health they, along with cherries, raspberries and cranberries, can also change the color of your smile. Be sure to rinse your mouth after eating any berries to keep them from damaging your bright smile. And the same holds true for fruit juices, which can also stain. Drink them through a straw and rinse after consumption.

While the above foods stain, you can also eat foods that help improve the color of your smile. Apples, pears and guavas are great as they increase saliva flow – cheese can also provide the same benefit. Eating foods that increase salivary production means you will naturally flush away the debris that can cause the staining of your teeth.

This summer, keep your smile its whitest! And to get yourself off to a great start, ask us about professional whitening. We’d love to help!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whitening - Is It Right For Me?

Whitening – Can anybody do it?

A bright and white smile is the first thing that people notice about us. Enhancing the whiteness of your smile can be the thing that makes all the difference in the world. It builds confidence. While many people can whiten their existing smile, not everyone is a candidate.

If you have a significant number of crowns, whitening may not give you the desired outcome you are looking for, as porcelain cannot be whitened. If you do have a number of crowns and are disappointed they appear yellow or the coloring of the porcelain doesn’t match your other crowns and/or teeth, your only choice is to redo the existing crowns. Porcelain is a lot like yarn and floor tiles – dye lots make a difference. That’s why your cosmetic dentist will always recommend doing all porcelain work at one time, ensuring all your teeth will match in color.

Some patients with severe staining caused by medications may also have difficulty getting the desired white smile. For those patients, veneers may provide a solution that enhances the smile while reducing the amount of tooth structure lost.

Finally, people who have had significant restoration of their smile due to decay may have fillings with the same shade challenges as mentioned above with the crowns. If you have had a filling here and there done over several years, by many different dentists, you may find you now have a very mismatched smile. For you, the best solution would be to have your existing restorations removed and refilled, again doing as many as possible at the same time.

It is never too late to get the white, bright smile of your dreams. Call today to learn more about how you can gets yours!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bleeding Gums - That's Not Normal

Bleeding of Gums when Brushing or Flossing

It is not normal when gums bleed when brushing and flossing. “In fact, it signals that a disease process has begun,” says Dr. Judith Ko from Hemet Valley Dental Care in Hemet, California. Think about it. If bleeding occurred anywhere else on the body, you’d be concerned. You’d probably visit a doctor to determine what was going on.

For some reason many of us do not consider bleeding in the mouth the same way, but we should. Bleeding of the gums while doing routine maintenance – brushing and flossing – signals infection. We also know that not treating an infection of the body is not in our best interest. Infection causes our body to be depleted of energy – this also rings true when it’s an infection of the gum tissue. “The recommended treatment for bleeding gums is called root planing and scaling. Once this process is completed, many patients remark on how they feel better over all and experience higher energy levels,” adds Dr. Ko.

So at the first signs of bleeding, see your dentist.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summertime Tooth Tips

Summertime Tooth Health

Now that school is out for summer, and the weather is delightful, it’s time to think about how to keep your smile its healthiest.

Dehydration is a concern,” says Dr. Judith Ko, one of your Inland Empire’s favorite dentists. “One of the best things you can do for yourself and your smile is to make sure you keep hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water flushes acids that can cause disease from the surfaces of the teeth and will keep you from having tooth decay. Keep water near your desk, in your purse or in the fridge. Sweeten it with fresh fruit for a delightful and healthy beverage.

Summer is also the time when many resume their outdoor activities. Wear appropriate helmets and/or mouth guards. Be careful and if you have a dental emergency make sure you call and get in to see your dentist promptly.

Finally, choose healthy snacks to pack – fresh berries and cheese help to clean teeth and produce saliva that washes debris from your teeth while providing nutrients that enhance the health of your mouth.

This summer, keep your smiles at its best! Oh, and remember to see your dentist.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tooth Friendly Snacks for Summertime!

We all know that eating sweets is bad for our teeth, but what are some great snacks that will actually improve our smile and keep our teeth at their best?

“There is some truth to the saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’” says Dr. Judith Ko of Hemet Valley Dental Care in Hemet, California. “Apples help cleanse the tooth surface, they do this by stimulating saliva while cleaning the teeth.” Not to mention, they are also filled with nutrients our body loves.

Celery is another snack that can increase saliva flow and cleanse the teeth. “As a vegetable that is high in fiber and water content, it can counteract the effects of foods that are higher in sugar, just make sure to eat celery after,” adds Dr. Ko.

“Of course with summertime here, the best snack for your teeth and your overall health here in Southern, California is water. Water is so vital to keeping the tissues of the mouth from becoming dry and also for flushing away debris,” says Dr. Ko. As one of your TOP Dentists in the Inland Empire, she knows.

If you are wanting to whiten your teeth at the same time as having a delicious snack, think strawberries. (Read more here)

Finally, if you need a snack that can help with saliva and also work to clean the teeth, think sugarless gum containing xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar that can also prevent tooth decay.

Have a great summer and at the same time, remember to keep your smile bright and healthy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Help For Decay Is Here!

Now available: Strawberry and Mint flavored MI Varnish

We are so excited. Finally we have a fluoride varnish available to patients that also tastes great!

Most times when a patient presents with hypersensitivity, they can be helped with fluoride. MI Varnish with Recaldent works by remaining on the tooth surface longer than any other type of conventional fluoride. And now it’s available in mint and strawberry flavor to make your experience that much better. We love this product, and more importantly, so do our patients!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Protect Your Teeth This Summer

With summer right around the corner, it's a good idea to think about how you can protect your teeth.

For many the summer means increased outdoor activity. Wearing a helmet while riding your bike is a good idea, but so is wearing a customized mouth guard when doing any activity that could result in a facial injury, such as soccer, or baseball.

It is estimated between 13-39% of all dental injuries occur when playing sports and most of those will impact at least one front tooth. While minor chips and cracks to teeth can generally be easily repaired, when a tooth is knocked out or severely damaged, the cost to repair or replace can be substantial. 

While helmets are great for activities that involve speed and impact, like football and biking, a custom fit mouth guard is the best way to prevent an injury to your mouth. Teeth, tongue and lips can all suffer after an impact on the playing field. These blood rich areas can also bruise and bleed after a fall or blow. 

A mouth guard is made of a soft plastic and is ideally customized for your mouth - both upper and lower teeth. 

This summer, Dr. Judith Ko, of Hemet Valley Dental Care in California urges you to keep your smile healthy and happy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recommended Toothpastes

Toothpaste is a gel or paste that is used to improve oral hygiene. Most pastes work to remove plaque, food and stains, while suppressing odors of the mouth. Fluoride is a common ingredient, as it works to prevent decay.  "But not all toothpastes are the same," says Dr. Ko.

Dr. Judith Ko, one of your Inland Empire's Top Dentists from Hemet, California, recommends the following toothpastes:

Colgate: Sensitive Pro-Relief Enamel Repair.
     "One of my favorite toothpastes to recommend is Colgate's Enamel Repair. It helps with sensitivity, while protecting against decay," says Dr. Judith Ko. Sensitive Pro-Relief is a great general toothpaste to use.
Sensodyne: For patients with sensitive teeth, Dr. Ko often recommends Sensodyne toothpaste. Sensodyne is especially great for patients who have generalized sensitivity that is not due to decay.

Biotene: If you are one of the many adults who take prescription drugs, you may know of the number one side effect of medication - dry mouth. Biotene toothpaste in a fresh mint flavor helps with dry mouth.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Floss

Brush and floss and floss and brush, but how exactly should one floss?

First, start with a piece of floss 18 inches long.

Wind the end of the floss around your index finger of each hand.

Keep winding . . .

Until your fingers are about an inch apart.

Gently slide the floss between your teeth.

Finally, wrap the floss around the tooth and move it up and down.

Remember, while you're there, to wrap the floss around the tooth next to the one you just flossed and clean that area as well.

Dr. Ko from Hemet Valley Dental Care in California wants to remind you, 
"Only floss the ones you wish to keep!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Choose A Dental Specialist To Help You?

Your general dentist has been trained in a variety of procedures and does a little bit of everything -the key words there are a ‘little bit.’ But when it comes to things like root canals, surgically treating periodontal disease, placing implants, extracting wisdom teeth or doing orthodontics, your general dentist might not be the one to see.

Just like any patient considering heart surgery, you would like the physician who has performed the surgery a number of times, having a dental specialist caring for you generally results in a better outcome for the patient. “You may find a general dentist that has a significant interest in one area, but even so, they probably do not have the same experience treating patients as a specialist,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice.

The dental specialties are:

1. Endodontics: Endodontists treat patients with infected teeth requiring root canals.

2. Periodontists: Periodontists are dentists who specialize in gum issues: surgically treating periodontal disease and gum contouring for cosmetic reasons. Many times periodontists also place implants and do bone and tissue grafting after extractions.

3. Oral Surgeons: Oral Surgeons are dentists who focus on extractions – especially wisdom teeth and other treatment when a general anesthetic is wanted. They also place implants and do bone grafting.

4. Orthodontists: Are the tooth alignment specialists. They move teeth to improve bite and straighten the teeth.

5. Prosthodontists: Dentists who specialize in full mouth dentures and reconstruction.

You may also find dentists who specialize in the following areas
- sleep medicine: these dentists will recommend appliance for sleep apnea.
- TMJ: these dentists work to reduce joint pain.

If your general dentist recommends you see a specialist, listen carefully to the reason for the referral and make sure to keep your appointment. Education is your key to tooth and overall health.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How Periodontal Disease Begins and Ends

Periodontal disease is the term given to an oral infection that occurs when bacteria in the mouth propagate and cause bone loss.

Every one of us has oral bacteria, some good and used for digestion and some bad that may be introduced in the foods we eat. Plaque is formed in the mouth when we eat. If this plaque is brushed and flossed away on a regular basis, many times we can keep the bacteria in check. Sometimes this doesn’t happen due to poor hygiene and sometimes due to health issues that encourage increased formation of bacteria and the creation of tartar and calculus. “Bacteria hide in the irregularities formed by tartar and calculus, providing a place for bacteria to thrive. This is why it is so important to see your dentist on a regular basis,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Hemet Valley, CA cosmetic dentist and Inland Empire Top Dentist. “You want to remove the hiding places.”

When bacteria flourish unchecked, it often results in pockets of infection being formed around the teeth. These pockets of infection cause the bone that supports the teeth to be lost. “Bone is what supports the teeth in their proper position,” adds Dr. Ko. “When bone is lost, many times patients will notice their teeth begin to shift position and become looser.”

If periodontal disease is left unchecked, the eventual outcome will be the loss of natural teeth and the reduction of bone that can help support a denture. “So even if you have decided to have your teeth removed and wear a denture, maintaining the maximum amount of bone is in your best interest.”

If you have not seen your dentist lately, call today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dry Mouth. What Does It Mean To You?

For some the idea of a dry mouth is nothing more than an inconvenience, but for some it is much more.

Xerostomia is the technical term for dry mouth. It is the reduction of saliva in the mouth and is often a side effect of medications, especially in the older population, or is diagnosed in people who tend to be mouth breathers,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Hemet Valley, CA cosmetic dentist and Top Dentist according to the Inland Empire Magazine.

Things to watch for if you are noticing a change in saliva:

1. Decay: “Patients with dry mouth tend to have significantly more dental caries than those with normal saliva,” adds Dr. Ko, “this can be helped by using Xylitol products that naturally protect the teeth and may also increase saliva.”

2. Oral Candidiasis: “Candidiasis is an infection of the oral cavity and is most often seen in patients who have lost their teeth and are currently wearing dentures,” adds Dr. Ko. Be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis, even if you do not have natural teeth.

3. Halitosis: “Bad breath can also be caused by a change in the amount of saliva,” says Dr. Ko. “Saliva is natures way of washing the teeth and when there is insufficient amounts it can result in greater bacteria counts.”

4. Difficulty swallowing: “Eventually, if xerostomia is left untreated a patient may notice difficulty swallowing.”  

Dry mouth is not normal. If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s time for your dentist to evaluate your mouth and make recommendations for treatment.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Smiling Options – Whitening, Veneers, & Cosmetic Dentistry

Many times every day your smile shows itself to others. It is the one thing that we tend to give freely. Therefore, having a white and beautiful smile makes a significant impression on those we meet.

To update your smile and spread cheer, consider some of the following options:

1. Whitening: Whitening can be done at home or in a dental office under supervision. “Generally speaking, you will see some results no matter what type of whitening you do,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Hemet Valley, CA Top Dentist and Cosmetic Dental Professional. “Most people tend to get better results using a method recommended by a dentist only because we can prescribe a higher concentration material.” But no matter what type of whitening you choose, it will not whiten existing dental work or crowns and veneers.

2. Veneers: “Veneers are a great way to improve a smile that has minor chips or more permanent stains like those from medications,” says Dr. Ko. A veneer is a paper-thin piece of porcelain that is cemented to the front part of the tooth and can change the shape and color of a tooth.

3. Cosmetic dentistry: “Cosmetic dentistry includes not only whitening and veneers, but also white-colored fillings, anterior crowns and even tissue re-shaping,” adds Dr. Ko. Your cosmetic dentist will look at your entire smile and base their recommendations on the teeth that show when you smile and even laugh. Many people have large, wide smiles that show many teeth and so recommendation may be made to even back teeth or molars to enhance the patient’s smile. “While the color of your teeth is something that is noticed immediately, the gum tissue frames those teeth and is also noticeable,” says Dr. Ko. “So don’t underestimate the importance of a more shapely frame to your smile design.”

If you are considering any cosmetic dentistry, always ask to see photos of other patients who have had the same procedures done. Then move forward and smile!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dental Implants – You & Your Surgeon. Why That’s Best.

For some dental patients the idea of a ‘one stop shop’ might seem appealing, but before you make that decision, here are some things to think about:

1. “Specialists have a place in the dental community,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Hemet Valley, CA Top Dentist in the Inland Empire. “While general dentists see a few patients a week or month needing specialized care, your dental specialist sees that type of patient every day and all day. Consequently, they are much better at handling the challenges that may arise.”

2. Implants are an amazing service provided to a patient to replace missing teeth. Generally speaking finding the right surgeon to work with your general dentist is the best option for you as a patient – it allows you to benefit from the surgeon who has significant experience placing implants and the general dentist who is the most appropriate to restore the implant. Also having two dentists discuss placement and agree on treatment is always in a patient’s best interest for a final outcome.

3. While many times the placement of an implant seems easy and straight forward, there is more to it than that. “Implants are often recommended to replace missing teeth that may have been lost due to damage or decay,” adds Dr. Ko. This means the implant site might have reduced bone due to infection. This presents a special challenge. When bone is lost, tissue may also be affected and so the need for bone and tissue grafting may become part of the treatment. Using a specialist who frequently handles tissue, means that they understand the desired outcome of a healthy smile and they know how to make that happen.

If you are considering an implant, call us today for a consultation and let us help you repair the smile you love.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Electrical Toothbrush or Manual. Which One Should You Choose?

The best brush is the one you will use, is certainly true, but there may be other reasons to consider the use of either a manual or electric toothbrush.

Brushing is a well-known part of keeping teeth healthy, along with flossing, but the brush you use can make a difference in your ability to remove the plaque that forms into tartar and calculus and then harbors the bacteria that infects and causes periodontal disease. “The best brush is the one that is comfortable to use, allows you to get into every corner of your mouth and removes the plaque without removing enamel,” says Dr. Judith Ko, one of your Inland Empire Top Dentists and a cosmetic dentist in Hemet, California.

“An electric toothbrush tends to be better for those patients who have dexterity challenges, which means they have difficulty accessing parts of the mouth and using motor skills to gently move the brush in circles,” adds Dr. Ko.

When choosing either type of brush look for the following:

1. A brush head that tapers at the end to make accessing those hard to reach back areas of the mouth easier.
2. Soft bristles that will allow for the removal of plaque, but will not damage gum tissue or remove tooth enamel.
3. A handle that feels comfortable in the hand – not too big or bulky or heavy if electric and not shaped strangely if a manual toothbrush.

Remember when choosing a toothbrush comfort means that you’ll probably use it regularly – a benefit for keeping your teeth healthy long term.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tooth Sensitivity

"It is not okay when your teeth are sensitive," says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice. 

In fact, when you notice any of the following it means a trip to your dentist is in order:

1. Cold sensitivity
     "When your teeth are sensitive to cold drinks and foods, it could mean decay or disease is the culprit," says Dr. Ko. "When teeth are brushed aggressively or with a hard toothbrush root surfaces can be exposed that will create general sensitivity. If the occurrence is only one area of the mouth it might be more likely decay. Either way, a visit to your dentist can take care of the problem promptly."

2. Hot sensitivity
     "Teeth that are sensitive to hot foods and drinks are many times in significant trouble, as most times it means that the nerve of the tooth is being challenged in some way," adds Dr. Ko. "Getting in to see your dentist quickly might mean the difference between taking time off of work and the pain and swelling that will come from an infected tooth."

3. Sweet sensitivity
     "If you have a sweet tooth and discover that your favorite items are giving you discomfort, you might want to schedule an appointment to see your dentist. it might be an indicator of active decay," explains Dr. Ko. "Decaying teeth do not get better, they get worse and when they do, it means additional treatment and expense. So seeing your dentist quickly is best."

4. Discomfort when you bite down
     "Pain that comes from biting into hard or crunchy foods generally means a cracking or fracturing tooth," says Dr. Ko. "Getting that treated early means that the nerve might not need to be removed and more tooth structure can be saved."

"Tooth sensitivity is a reason to act," adds Dr. Ko, your Hemet Valley Top Dentist according to the Inland Empire Magazine. "Don't let tooth pain stop you from enjoying your life."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good Bone. Why is it so Important to My Mouth?

You have a lovely smile, your teeth are straight and perfectly shaped. You are good – right? “Maybe,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice, “but straight and nicely shaped teeth are only part of the picture.”

Your teeth are supported by gum tissue and bone, and it’s those two things that will determine whether you will keep your smile long-term.

Periodontal disease affects somewhere between 80-90% of the adult population. The disease is caused by bacteria that settles in the pockets surrounding the teeth. The bacteria damages the bone if it is left too long undisturbed. “That is why we work to make sure you are seen on a regular basis by your dentist,” adds Dr. Ko.  “Once the disease process has begun, only a visit to your hygienist can maintain your health.”

The bacteria that enters the pockets also eats away at the bone that supports your teeth. This bone will eventually erode and the teeth will become unstable, loose and eventually fall out.

“Keeping a healthy bone level for life is important, that’s why when an extraction of a tooth is done, it’s best for bone to be placed in the socket site,” says Dr. Ko, voted one of Hemet’s Best Dentists by the Inland Empire Magazine and her patients. “Whether you decide to replace the tooth with an implant or not, keeping bone levels high will help you maintain a healthier smile longer.”

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Ko today to get an evaluation of your bone, tissue and tooth health.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Are Implant Supported Teeth Right for You?

While the vast majority of taste buds reside on the tongue a few are located in the soft palate. These are the ones that are affected by a traditional denture. For many, the choice to remove their teeth and go to removable dentures is done after careful consideration, for others there is a feeling that I will do this and get it done and then I won’t have to worry about my teeth again.

“That thought isn’t quite true,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Cosmetic and General Dental Practice. Extracting all the teeth and placing a denture does take care of the immediate problems of your teeth, but our mouths are always changing and this means that in a few years, your denture may no longer fit.

For some the change to an upper removable denture is easy, but a good number more miss the taste of foods they used to enjoy. A conventional denture uses suction for stabilization and so the palate is covered. For others the bone that is used to support the denture is inadequate and results in an unstable denture that moves when speaking or eating favorite foods.

An implant supported denture is a good solution to these problems. When implants are used to support the denture stability can be gained without the need for suction, so the palate can be open and allow for the enjoyment of food.

If you are suffering with a denture you are unhappy with, call today and begin the process to see if you are a candidate for an implant supported denture.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where Does Dental Bacteria Come From?

In a normal healthy mouth there are still thousands of bacteria living on each tooth surface, and each day that number may grow.

“Most of the time we are more concerned with the mouth where regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist are not occurring,” says Dr. Judith Ko, voted Best Dentist by Inland Empire Magazine by her patients. “In those mouths the number of bacteria can number more than 100 million.”

Saliva and bacteria are a normal part of the oral environment and when they are both in balance a healthy condition is maintained, but too often things may go wrong.

“In a person who is taking medication with a side effect of dry mouth, they may find that saliva is difficult to maintain. This means that more bacteria can colonize,” adds Dr. Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice. “Which is why we see more than 80% of the adult population has periodontal disease.”

Periodontal disease develops when the bacteria begins to create pockets around the teeth. These pockets are generally too deep for normal brushing and flossing to disturb the bacteria in them. This means that once bacteria gets embedded below the gum line only your dental professional can disperse them. “Which is why it is so critical to see your dentist at the frequency they have determined is best for you. Most patients who have periodontal disease will benefit from a schedule of being seen every three months as that is the amount of time it takes for the bacteria to regrow.”

Call today and schedule your appointment. Don’t let periodontal disease destroy your smile.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Establishing Trust With Your Dentist

For most patients, a visit to the dentist is a bit unsettling. “That can change dramatically if you can establish a relationship of trust with your caregiver,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice. Voted one of the Inland Empire’s Top Dentists, Dr. Ko works hard to establish trust with each of her patients.

“I stand behind the work that I provide,” adds Dr. Ko. “I believe that it is important to the development of a long-term relationship, which is what we strive to create.” Providing reliability is only one-way Dr. Ko and her team work to increase trust.

“We make sure that if we’ve said we are going to do something for our patients, that we follow through,” says Natalie, the scheduling coordinator for Dr. Ko.

Being honest is also important. Each dental practitioner will see a patient’s mouth a certain way. This doesn’t mean they are wrong, just different in their approaches. “My standard is that of what I would do for my family if they presented in my office with the same situation.”

Another way in which Hemet Valley Dental Care works to increase trust is by taking the time to answer each patient’s questions. “I believe that no question is silly. Instead, I work to make sure I think of all the possible questions a patient might have and address them first. We know that dentistry can sometimes be confusing and we want to remove any anxiety,” adds Dr. Ko.

To understand first hand why patients voted her one of the Top Dentists, call today and schedule your new patient appointment.