Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fluoride – Good Or Bad?

That depends. According to WebMD.com the optimal fluoride amount in drinking water is 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. (Link to WebMD Web MD fluoride amount: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment?page=2)

You can check to see what your local water supply has, but if most of your drinking water is bottled you may not be getting enough fluoride to protect your teeth.

While most understand how important it is for children to have additional fluoride, many are surprised that adults can also use an additional boost.

“More and more we see adults with periodontal disease and/or people who are taking one or more medications,” says Dr. JudithKo from her Hemet Cosmetic Practice. “This is an issue because when patients have periodontal disease their gums often recede, leaving more tooth structure exposed. And for patients who are taking medication, the number one side effect of most prescription drugs is dry mouth, which also contributes to decay.”  

Fluoride can be given in several ways. You can get the additional decay-fighting benefit when you are in your dental office through a rinse or foam gel. You can also get additional fluoride in both over the counter and prescription products.

“The best type is the one that you will use,” adds Dr. Ko.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Root Canal Versus Extraction - Which One is Right For Me?

For many, the prospect of having to have a root canal is frightening. “Mostly because of the myths associated with the treatment,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice.

Root Canal Treatment or Endodontic Treatment removes the live tissue from the tooth. This is generally done when the tooth is infected and can be saved. “Once the tooth is successfully treated, a crown will be placed to add strength,” adds Dr. Ko. This process is done with a local anesthetic and treatment need not cause one to quake in fear.

So where do the horror stories come from? When patients elect to wait to have treatment it will inevitably mean that the infection will proceed and cause swelling and pain. Once the area is swollen there is little that can be done to reduce the pain until antibiotics kick in – a day or two.

An extraction can result in immediate relief, but then there needs to be the discussion of the replacement of the tooth. Replacement of an extracted tooth generally means implant or bridge. While these are both satisfactory options, caring for the tooth by having endodontic treatment is actually the least expensive and most conservative option.

With all that being said, when your dentist diagnoses a Root Canal and sends you to the specialist, don’t delay.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gum Recession – What Can Be Done?

You may have noticed when you last brushed and flossed that your teeth seem to be either getting longer, or your gums are receding. “Gum recession occurs when the tissue surround the teeth wears away and pulls back from the tooth, exposing more structure,” says Dr. Judith Ko a Cosmetic and Restorative Dentist fromHemet Valley, California.
This process can occur due to a number of factors. “Many times it is the result of aggressive brushing – remember, use a soft bristled brush and brush in a circular motion,” adds Dr. Ko. “Sometimes it is due to hormonal changed, or uncontrolled periodontal disease which can be exacerbated by hereditary factors.” 
In the early stages, mild gum recession can be treated by non-surgical methods. “Your dentist may recommend root planing and scaling,” says Dr. Ko. During this procedure your hygienist will numb the affected area and then using specialized instruments, will clean all the way to the root of your teeth. This procedure allows your hygienist to remove bacteria that have attached to tartar below the gum line.
If the damage is too extensive, a surgical procedure might be the only option. When this is done your dentist or periodontal specialist will pull back the tissue and remove the harmful bacteria. They may recommend bone and tissue grafting.
Bottom line: when you see signs of recession – increased sensitivity, elongation of teeth and/or reduction of tissue surrounding your teeth you should see your dentist immediately to determine what can be done.

And the best way to prevent gum recession? “Brush twice a day and floss daily,” says Dr. Ko, “Oh, and see your dentist on a regular basis. We look for signs of recession and measure to make sure we know if it starts so it can be treated early on.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Should I Treat My Gum Disease?

Gum disease, left untreated can not only be painful and cause you to lose your teeth, it’s also not good for your overall health.

Periodontal disease or gum disease occurs when bacteria collects in the mouth in pockets that surround the teeth. This bacterium can be kept in check by brushing and flossing when the mouth and body is healthy.
Periodontal disease has been found to be connected to systemic issues such as low birth weight babies, pancreatic cancer, respiratory problems and diabetes to name a few. Patients with periodontal disease also often report a sluggishness that disappears once the bacteria has been removed.
“We are dealing with an infection,” Dr. Judith Ko says from her Hemet,California dental practice. “This infection can cause redness, inflammation, bleeding, soreness, swelling and pain when untreated.”
There are other reasons you may want to consider treating your gum disease:
1.     The bacteria causes persistent bad breath.
2.     The bacteria eat away at bone causing tooth loss.
3.     The bacteria form deep pockets between the gum and teeth that causes bleeding during normal brushing and flossing.
4.     Teeth will shift as bone level recedes.
5.     Gum tissue will recede as bone level recedes.
6.     Teeth will move and shift.
7.     The biting function of your teeth may change.

So don’t delay. Get evaluated for the disease and begin the process of returning to health!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Gums Are Bleeding!

“Almost on a daily basis we are asked about bleeding gums,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic and General Dental Practice.
Bleeding of the gum tissue, and the swelling that is sometimes associated, is the first sign of periodontal disease. While not all bleeding is caused by disease, you should see a dental professional immediately when you notice signs of bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Bleeding and swelling can indicate infection and this is not normal. If caught early on, the prognosis can be great, but even allowing a little time to pass can mean that bone loss will occur. “When bone is lost, it makes it that much harder to not only keep the teeth, but to also get a good result long-term from the disease,” adds Dr. Ko.
More than 75% of adult Americans over 35 have some signs of periodontal disease. This can range from gingivitis to the more severe periodontitis. And periodontal disease has been linked to other systemic health conditions.
So what can be done?
At the first signs of bleeding, call your dentist. Getting in and being evaluated is the first step.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a circular motion and a soft bristled brush.
Floss daily using whatever floss is most comfortable to you.
Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
Reduce your stress. Increased amounts of the hormone cortisol, raises the risk of inflammation.

Avoid tobacco products.