Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Which Crown is Best For You?

A crown is a covering that is placed over a damaged tooth to restore natural function. While the word crown seems to mean they are all the same, this is not true and it’s important for you and your dentist to determine which crown is the best for your unique circumstance.

“Determining what type of crown is best for you is something that should be discussed with your dentist as a number of factors play a role,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her HemetValley Dental Practice.

Things your dentists will keep in mind when making his or her recommendation:

1.   The position of the tooth in which the crown is being placed.
2.   The way the teeth bite together
3.   Your natural smile and what teeth show
4.   Whether you might have a metal allergy or sensitivity

For front or anterior teeth, cosmetics play a role. “Your dentist will weigh the factors to choose the best crown for your mouth thinking about how the teeth come together and determining which will show the same translucency as your natural teeth to give you the best esthetic result,” adds Dr. Ko.

When the tooth being crown is a posterior tooth, strength will be a factor. These teeth need to stand up to the intense biting, chewing and grinding of food.

Sometimes when a patient smiles they have a naturally toothy smile which means that molars may show and so both strength and cosmetics will need to play a role in the final product.

Finally, if the crown is going to have a metal substructure, your dentist will want to ensure that the metal used will not create problems with the surrounding gum tissue.

When your dentist recommends a crown, ask questions. Not all crowns are created equal.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is The Dental Bridge Becoming Obsolete?

Well, maybe not obsolete, but certainly it is recommended less frequently as a first option than before.

Implants have come a long way. “We are seeing they provide a strong foundation for placing crowns, which makes them in most situations the optimal choice for restoring a missing tooth,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice.

A dental bridge for a number of years was the only option for patients. Having a dental bridge meant that to replace a missing tooth for cosmetics or to restore chewing ability, the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth would be modified and crowns would be placed over them with a pontic (false tooth) suspended between. “Bridges work, they are not bad, but they do impact the teeth on either side of the missing one,” adds Dr. Ko.

With implants you are able to restore the single tooth without impacting the ones surrounding it. “Initially the cost of a surgeon placing an implant made the difference in which option many patients chose, as the cost of an implant was slightly higher, but now that is no longer a factor.”

And many more people than once thought are candidates for implants. “We now have more options in the type of implants that can be placed and restored, which means more patients have an implant as an option.”

If you are wondering about implants, give us a call. We’d love to help you determine if an implant is right for you.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sensitivity & Whitening

A dazzling smile is something most of us want. After all our smile is part of the first impression we present to people. A beautiful smile can improve self esteem and create good feelings in those we bestow are smile on. Getting your brilliant smile it's whitest can be easy. 

"Who is a candidate for whitening? Well, almost anyone who has their natural teeth can whiten," says Dr. Judith Ko from Hemet. "And there are a variety of products that can help."

Over the counter whitening products abound. They generally provide a small amount of the ingredient necessary to whiten your teeth. For years dentists have provided an alternative - whitening trays. These are taken home and used periodically has needed. Finally there is the whitening that is done in the dental office. "When whitening under the supervision of a dentist, you are able to receive a higher concentration of the active ingredient. This allows us to provide patients with a white smile many shades lighter than when they first began treatment," Adds Dr. Ko

The down side? Some patients complain about sensitivity following whitening. If you are one of those who experiences sensitivity here are some ideas for what may help:

1. Reduce the amount of product you are using at one time.
2. Reduce the amount of time you spend at home with your trays in your mouth.
3. Use Fluoride regularly and brush on your teeth, or use a toothpaste especially designed for sensitivity.
4. Limit your intake of cold drinks and liquids.
5. Speak to your dentist and let her know that you are having discomfort, many times she may have an alternate solution.

This year smile and be proud of your pearly whites.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Insurance & Prevention

For years dentists have promoted oral health through prevention. They knew something: "Regular visits to your dentist is more affordable and gives you a better result," says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley California Cosmetic dental practice. The math is easy, visits even four times a year with exams and x-rays is still significantly less costly than if you have one tooth that needs repair with a root canal and crown - and it's better. 

"When we see patients on a regular basis, we can catch what decay we find when it's small. This allows us restorative options that are also small - a filling," Dr. Ko adds. 

And dental insurance companies have figured this out. Many plans now provide an incentive to patients who are coming in for regular maintenance. "It just makes sense. It also saves them money," Dr. Ko says. 

So don't wait another moment and lose out. Call today and schedule an appointment with your hygienist - both you and your pocketbook will be pleased you did!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Differences Between the Types of Crowns. Which One Should You Choose?

Not all crowns are created equal. And making the decision as to which crown is the best for you is something that you and your dentist should discuss together.

“A crown is a fabricated covering that, once a tooth is reduced, is placed over the tooth to protect it from further breakdown,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice. As mentioned in a previous article: The Crown: A Great Restorative Procedure, crowns are placed when a tooth is severely decayed, broken or endodontically treated (has a root canal). 

But which crown will be right for your tooth is something that you should carefully consider. “There are many options available to patients today and so it is important for you to be involved in the process of choosing your new crown,” adds Dr. Ko.

Base metal crowns – silver in color – are generally the least expensive option available. Sometimes these crowns are then covered with porcelain for a more cosmetic appearance. If you have had any challenges with metal allergies, these types of crowns may not be in your best interest. “Metal allergies from jewelry and watches can create problems that will also be seen in the mouth if the same type of material is against the gum tissue.

Noble metal crowns contain gold. These can be solid gold or, again, porcelain can be placed over the gold to provide a more cosmetic appearance. These gold crowns tend to be better for gum tissue.

Another choice is the new all porcelain options. Many of these provide the patient with a cosmetic look that mirrors their own natural teeth and can also be quite strong at the same time.

When discussing options with your dentist, make sure to ask any questions about the material and why it is being recommended. At the same time, talk about what is important to you – cosmetics or gum health.  “Collaboration with your dentist is the best way to attain an excellent result!” Dr. Ko says.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Crown: A Great Restorative Procedure!

Is a crown the right choice for you? Why can’t a filling do the job?

“A crown is the correct option when the majority of the tooth structure has been damaged due to decay or through injury,” says Dr.Judith Ko from her Hemet California Dental Practice.

Your dentist will generally recommend a filling when the tooth decay is minimal – which is why dentists are always talking about coming in for regular visits – but when decay has been left untreated for a period of time, the only choice is for a full protective covering.

In addition, when nerve damage has compromised a tooth, and endodontic treatment has occurred, the tooth will become brittle and be more susceptible to breakage. With this in mind, your dentist will generally recommend a crown, especially when the tooth affected is a back tooth that is used for grinding and chewing food.

Sometimes the tooth has no symptoms – is not causing any discomfort – but your dentist can see lines showing that the tooth is fracturing. In this case your dentist may recommend a crown to prevent pain in the future or a broken or fractured tooth that cannot be saved due to the breakage occurring so close or even below the gum tissue. 

As with any procedure recommended, ask questions.  Your dentist will be happy to share the reasons for the recommendation and explain the process thoroughly with you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bad Breath - What Can I Do?

Halitosis or bad breath can come from a multitude of habits and other problems. First smoking or other types of tobacco use can result in bad breath, as can eating food such as garlic and onions. With garlic and onions, you can mask the odor temporarily by using a mouthwash, but the odor will not leave completely until the offending food is gone from the body. Once a food is eaten, it is digested and then goes into the bloodstream. Once in the blood stream it is carried to the lungs where the odor will once more be expelled in your breath.

Often, though halitosis or bad breath is the result of poor dental health. Brushing and flossing daily removes food particles and debris that promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth. When this is not done on a regular basis, bacteria multiply. A persistent bad odor or taste can be a warning of disease, periodontal disease,” says Dr. Judith Ko, from her Hemet, California CosmeticDental Practice.

Other causes of bad breath can be dry mouth. A condition called xerostomia where there is a reduction of saliva created can reduce the normal cleansing ability of your mouth and result in bacteria growth. Also, poorly fitting dental appliances, decay and yeast infections.

To prevent or reduce bad breath:
1. Brush twice a day and floss daily, remembering to get your tongue
2. Drink plenty of water.
3.  Keep track of the foods you eat that may be contributing to your bad breath.
4. Stop smoking or using tobacco based products.

Your dentist is the one to speak to about your bad breath. They can quickly determine the cause and work to help you get it under control.