Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brighten Your Smile With Veneers!

For many the idea of a bright smile includes dental veneers. Dental veneers are a thin slice of porcelain that is affixed to the front surface of a tooth. “Veneers can be used to change the color, shape and sometimes the alignment of teeth,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice.

Porcelain is a great material as it is generally well tolerated by the gum tissue and also because it allows your dentist to get a natural appearing result. For some patients, if the desire is to replace existing fillings on front teeth, a porcelain crown may be a better alternative, but for patients who just want to brighten an existing smile, veneers might be the best bet.

“Dental veneers are a very conservative option when whitening does not quite provide you with your desired color shade, or if you have some oddly shaped or misaligned teeth,” adds Dr. Ko.

The process begins with the dentist carefully shaving off a very thin amount of tooth structure from the front surface of your teeth. An impression will be taken and a lab will create your porcelain veneers, which are then bonded to your teeth. In general, dental veneers last between five and ten years and you can expect to pay somewhere between $900-1200 a tooth depending upon where you live. When considering dental veneers, or any other cosmetic procedure, it is in your best interest to ask your dentist to show you photos of other patients who have benefited from the treatment to get an idea of what to expect as an end result.

Veneers are a great way to conservatively brighten your day and your smile. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Love Your Teeth? Eat Chocolate!

Finally good news!  You can eat chocolate. The studies show that chocolate can help prevent tooth decay. Okay, maybe not all chocolate is the greatest, but it is still wonderful for those of us with a sweet tooth.

“Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that benefit teeth and gums,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her HemetValley Dental Practice. Tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, all contained in chocolate, have been shown in studies to inhibit bacteria from sticking to teeth and to prevent gum infection as well.

While chocolate is good, the best chocolate is that which is closest to the natural form – which is the cocoa bean. This means that dark chocolate provides you with the most tooth protection. Look for dark chocolate that is 70 percent or more cocoa. Typically this is also the chocolate that contains a bit less sugar – another great reason to sweeten your day. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What Makes A Great Smile?

When you smile, the world smiles with you, is so true. Most of us have had the experience of smiling at a stranger and receiving one back. “Your smile is part of what creates that first impression that is so important,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Dental Practice. So what creates a beautiful smile?

“We are generally attracted to smiles with teeth that are white, straight, well framed and go all the way to your eyes,” adds Dr. Ko.

To get whiter teeth may be as easy as brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist on a regular basis. For some, though, the process might include needing a little extra help. Bleaching or whitening your teeth can boost the brightness of your teeth. There are three main types of whitening:

     1.     Whitening at home with an over the counter product
     2.     Whitening at home with a product that your dentist can prescribe
     3.     Whitening at your dental office

For straighter teeth there are two options:

     1.     See an orthodontist. An orthodontist specializes in straightening teeth and correcting alignment issues that may cause jaw pain or headaches.                           
     2.     If you are looking for a quicker option, perhaps you may wish to consider veneers. “Veneers can not only straighten your teeth, they can also change the shape of your teeth if you so desire,” says Dr. Ko.   

Your gum tissue is what frames your teeth. “If you tend to have a gummy smile, you may wish to consider cosmetically contouring it.” The process can easily be done surgically or by using a laser.

Finally, smile all the way to your eyes as this shows confidence. Now, go out and use that smile to brighten someone else's day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whiter Teeth for Men

It’s not just women that want to have a bright smile these days. Men too, want to make a splash. “Your smile is part of the first impression you present in business and life, which is why it’s so important to make sure yours shows well,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic Dental Practice. While traditionally, men have been less likely to see their dentist on a regular basis, this trend is changing as men become more focused on health and the benefits of a more youthful appearance.

The first step to getting a brighter smile is to visit your dentist,” says Dr. Ko. Your dental office will spruce up your smile by removing plaque and calculus. Once you have been checked for the health of your teeth and have cleaned up a bit, then it is time to discuss which whitening option is most appealing.

In general, whitening toothpastes sold over the counter provide little if any benefit. The same holds true for many of the other over the counter whitening products. “To get the best results you will most likely need to have a prescription strength whitening product which you can get from your dentist.”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dental Infection

Infections in the mouth can be so difficult. “Not only do infections cause pain, there is the fear of what it means that goes along with it,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley, California dental practice.

Oral infections are currently generating more hospitalizations in the United States than ever before, ()
And many times a trip to see your dentist is a better option. Generally speaking there are two types of dental infections: infections of the gum tissue and infections of the teeth.

A patient who is experiencing an infection of the gum tissue may notice bleeding, swelling, pus and in some instances acute pain. This type of infection is caused from bacteria in the mouth. “Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection that can be treated by your dentist,” adds Dr. Ko. “Several visits may be necessary to remove the calculus and other debris from the pockets that form around the teeth, but if treated early and maintained, the prognosis can be quite good.” Which means that tooth loss can many times be prevented.

An abscessed tooth is also caused by an infection. It affects the root of the tooth and the result is pain and swelling. “The key is to catch things before they progress if at all possible. When a tooth is sensitive to hot beverages and foods like tea, coffee or soup it may be a sign that the nerve is damaged,” says Dr. Ko. “Call your dentist immediately as the sooner the problem is identified the more likely it can be treated relatively easily.”

Infections of the oral cavity should not be ignored. While not often, they have been known to cause death. “Your dental provider wants to help keep you healthy,” Dr. Ko adds. “See them on a regular basis.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spreading Decay to Others. Are You Guilty?

While everyone knows eating candy and other sweets can increase your likelihood of decay, many might not realize that decay is caused by bacteria that can be spread.

Decay is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth. The bacteria feed on the food debris that is ingested, and produce an acid, which then combines with the remaining food debris, and saliva to create a filmy substance known as plaque. It is this plaque that can cause cavities to form.

“No matter what you eat,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet, California cosmetic dental practice, “cavities can only form with the help of bacteria.”

And that bacteria can also be spread to others. “Most of the time by sharing food, utensils, or kissing,” adds Dr. Ko.

What can you do about it? Regular visits to your dentist are the first step to keeping bacteria in check. Another help is chewing sugar-free gum between meals, especially one with xylitol. Xylitol is well known to reduce decay in patients who use it on a regular basis. Drink plenty of water, especially water with fluoride.

Keep your smile and your family’s smile healthy and happy. This is one time when you don’t want to share.