Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

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.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why is Water Important to Your Teeth?

Tooth decay is one of the most common conditions experienced by Americans and children in particular. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that more than 19% of children have untreated decay and 41% have decayed primary, or baby teeth. Why are these statistics so bad? Mainly because decay is an easily treated disease. After children, the most frequently seen patient with decay is the older adult.

“As we age we frequently are prescribed medications and a large percentage of the medications we take have a side effect of dry mouth, which contributes to tooth decay,” says Dr. Judith Ko, your Hemet Top Dentist according to the Inland Empire Magazine.

The CDC considers the fluoridation of water in the 1950-1960’s as one of greatest achievements in public health and those with access to fluoridated water and toothpaste reaped the benefits of reduced decay. These trends have reversed as more and more people are drinking bottled water.

Water is critically important for the body. It hydrates and detoxifies us. And saliva, which is 98% water adds in the reduction of bacteria growth in the mouth. So what does all this mean? “Drink more water, not juice, or acidic beverages, like soda,” says Dr. Ko from her Cosmetic dental practice. “It’s best for your mouth and teeth.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Experience a New Patient Dental Visit

New patients are always surprised by the experience they have when they arrive at Hemet Valley Dental Care, voted by patients and peers as one of the Top Dental Practices in Inland Empire Magazine.

“It’s been an honor each year to be recognized by patients. It means a lot that they notice the difference in care we provide,” says Dr. Judith Ko.

Most patients are struck immediately by the caring attitude of the entire team. “We are here to provide a service in a calm and gentle manner,” says Natalie, Dr. Ko’s scheduling coordinator. “And we aim to please.”

“Patients with fear of the dentist seem to gravitate to our office,” adds Amber, Dr. Ko’s patient care coordinator. “We don’t mind. We specialize in one on one care.”

Your first visit will include an exam with Dr. Ko where she will evaluate the health of not just your teeth, but also your gum tissue and bone. “Every visit also includes an oral cancer screening,” adds Dr. Ko. “This is very important as 1 in 4 cancers are found in the mouth.”

“Our commitment to our patients sets us apart from other dental practices,” says Natalie. “That’s why I’m so pleased to be a part of Dr. Ko’s team.”

Come in and discover the difference yourself!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Is Periodontal Disease Contagious?

Is periodontal disease contagious?

“Not really, but it is infectious,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet Valley Cosmetic and General dental practice. “Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth, and yes this bacteria can be spread person to person through kissing or the sharing of a toothbrush. While these are some ways in which you could be infected, there are other things that could cause the disease.”

Diabetics or those with other chronic systemic diseases have difficulty in general fighting infections and so they are more prone to periodontal disease.

People who use tobacco also have a greater chance of having the disease. Smoking inhibits the ability to fight the disease and increases inflammation.

Genetics can play a role, especially when we see the disease in younger adults.

“Another factor is oral hygiene or home care,” adds Dr. Ko, voted one of Hemet’s and the Inland Empire’s Top Dentists by her patients and peers. The bacteria establishes in the mouth and these colonies need to be disturbed frequently so as not to increase in numbers and do significant damage to the tissue and bones of the mouth. This can be done with regular brushing and flossing.

Finally, irregular or non-existent visits to your dentist could cause you to have the disease. No matter how well you brush and floss, being seen by a professional is important to controlling the oral bacteria.

Periodontal disease is thought to affect between 80-90% of the adult population. If you have not been evaluated for periodontal disease, set your mind at ease and call today for an appointment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Visit to Your Dentist is More Than Just A Cleaning

A routine visit to your dentist should never be for “just a cleaning.”

“When a patient is seen in our office for a routine visit we are checking for a wide variety of things,” says Dr. Judith Ko. Voted one of the Inland Empire’s and Hemet’s Top Dentists by her patients and peers, Dr. Ko wants to make sure each patient is healthy. “The mouth is the window to the body’s condition. So not only are we checking for periodontal disease, oral cancer, bite issues, mandibular joint problems and decaying teeth, we are also looking at a patient’s blood pressure, checking their medications to see if they may be contributing to dry mouth or xerostomia, and also looking for other conditions that may present first in the mouth.”

That’s why a visit to your dentist is so important to not just your oral health but to your body health.

“And yes, the visit may include a cleaning, but that is also not just a polish,” adds Dr. Ko. “During your hygiene procedure the hygienist is working to disturb bacteria that can cause periodontal disease.”

So in other words, your routine visit to the dentist is one of the most important appointments you can make. To schedule yours, call us today.