Dr. Judith Y. Ko

Dr. Judith Y. Ko
Hemet Valley Dental Care

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.