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River Oaks Dental | Blog in Modesto

(209) 538-1010

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River Oaks Dental http://www.philchendds.com Tue, 05 Mar 2013 07:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Treating Halitosis https://www.philchendds.com/blog/treating-halitosis/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/treating-halitosis/#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 07:00:14 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen

https://www.philchendds.com/?p=736 Chewing GumWhether you call it dragon breath, morning breath, or halitosis, persistent bad breath is not only socially embarrassing, it can also be a sign of poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, digestive problems, and even sinus trouble. And all the mouthwashes and breath fresheners in the world won’t solve the problem.

A simple visit to our office is the real answer to finding the source and extent of the offensive odor and treating the cause. We now offer a wide range of diagnostic and preventive services to meet everyone’s needs.

A Personal Approach– Our team of specially trained staff will treat your individual needs with understanding and concern in a comfortable, caring environment.

Initial Analysis– This is the first step of the process and includes a breath gas analysis that measures any odors. Depending upon our findings, you can then decide whether to continue with the treatment program that we recommend.

State-of-the-art Care–We use the most sophisticated equipment and techniques—including periodontal treatment—to provide the best possible results and the least discomfort to our patients.

Don’t suffer with dragon breath any longer. Call for an appointment at our office today!

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If you recognize yourself or someone in your family in this piece, you share a problem with over 500,000 other people. Bulimia.

  • Do you worry about how much you eat—all the time?
  • Do you start a new diet almost every day?
  • Do you perceive everyone else as thinner than you are?
  • Do you make time in the day to eat in solitude—ice cream, doughnuts, pies, cakes, soft drinks—then vomit or take laxatives?

Eating disorders have become so common in this weight-obsessed nation that we’ve been forced to face the facts. Too many young people—and some not so young—are caught up in a cycle of binge eating, then purging, to physically attain some wacky cultural ideal.

“Thin is in.” “You can never be too rich or too thin.” While there may be nothing wrong with thinness, dieting to that end can become obsessive. That’s when your health starts to suffer.

The First Signs

Bulimia is hard to admit. Most victims feel out of control—they want to stop, and can’t. But because bulimia shows in your mouth, your dentist may well be aware of your situation.

Here’s what we see in someone addicted to binge-and-purge cycles.

  • Enamel eaten away on the insides of upper front teeth from daily exposure to stomach acids
  • “Moth-eaten” edges of front teeth
  • Heightened sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Erosion has thinned the tooth enamel so nerves are sensitive
  • Low salivary pH—acidic saliva chemical erosion of enamel around fillings
  • Swollen glands due to vitamin deficiency
  • Soft tissue damage

Bulimia won’t go away in a day. But there is immediate dental help at hand until you get eating patterns under control.

First of all, people who brush their teeth after purging may be making a mistake. Brushing in an acid environment will only embed more acid in tooth enamel. A sodium bicarbonate or simple water rinse may be safer.

Home fluoride treatments can also be prescribed to encourage remineralization of enamel. And there are de-sensitizers to help your teeth stand up to heat and cold.

The reasons for bulimia are many, but can be resolved over time. The important thing: there is help.

Help for Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders
P.O. Box 5102
Eugene, OR 97405

Bulimia/Anorexia Self-Help (BASH)
6125 Claytone Avenue – Suite 215
St. Louis, MO 63139

Center for the Study of Anorexia & Bulimia
1 West 91st Street
New York, NY 10024

National Anorexic Aid Society
1925 East Dublin-Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43229

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Smoking and Still Smiling? https://www.philchendds.com/blog/smoking-and-still-smiling/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/smoking-and-still-smiling/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 07:00:09 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=722 Quit SmokingSay you’ve spent the time and effort to get your mouth and teeth in shape. You’re dentally hale and hearty. And you smoke.

As if there isn’t enough reason to give up smoking, your dental health suffers too. Dramatically. Aside from the tobacco stains on teeth (not to mention the bouquet), serious oral disease can develop. The evidence just keeps piling up.

Gum Disease – Research is showing that the incidence of gum disease is increased in a smoker, even given good oral hygiene and the best dental habits. Nicotine appears to discourage the attachment of tissue to teeth that is vital to healthy gums. Where nicotine is, nothing wants to grow.

Loss of Teeth – If the gums go, can the teeth be far behind? Nicotine seems to have the same effect on the bone that anchors teeth—bone recedes in the presence of nicotine.

Oral Cancer – Smokers, give yourselves 10% more likelihood of inviting an oral cancer into your lives.

Cell Abnormalities – If you’re in an orthodontic program, you can count on lengthier treatment if you smoke. Damage to tissue—on the cellular level—slows down normal response to braces. And you’ll be in more often for replacement of elastic.

Ask us about the Stop Smoking clinics in our community. We care about your whole health.

Dental professionals see firsthand what smoking does to your oral health. The only warmth in your statistics: your chances of disease decrease over time—if you quit.

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Tooth-Colored Fillings—Now You See ‘em… https://www.philchendds.com/blog/tooth-colored-fillings-now-you-see-em/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/tooth-colored-fillings-now-you-see-em/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2013 07:00:05 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=710 Metal Free FillingsFor those of you who feel a mouth full of silver or gold fillings is cosmetically appealing, you need not read any further. However, if you’re like me, and prefer your fillings to look like natural teeth, then I have good news for you.

Due to advances in dental technology, we can place tooth-colored fillings in almost every tooth in the mouth. These synthetic porcelain-type fillings can be a real pleasant surprise; proving to be very strong as well as esthetically pleasing.

After decay is removed from a tooth or a fractured edge is rounded off, the filling is placed somewhat different from the traditional packing of silver into the tooth defect.

Specific solutions are first painted in layers on the part of the tooth to be restored. When the final layer is placed, a special light system with a high-intensity beam is focused on the filling material for about one minute. The energy of these special light waves physically changes the filling material into a rock-hard restorative.

We routinely use this filling material for front as well as back teeth, and (from the response we’ve been getting from our patients) they are definitely a big hit!

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Bonding Your Way to a Beautiful Smile! https://www.philchendds.com/blog/bonding-your-way-to-a-beautiful-smile/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/bonding-your-way-to-a-beautiful-smile/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 07:00:10 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=702 Smiling ManWhat is bonding?

The application of a tooth-like substance to change tooth shape or color, increase size, or repair a defect. Bonding is a multi-layered process in which durable, enamel-like composite plastic is applied to the tooth, then exposed to a special light to harden or “cure” the bond.

Is bonding painful?

It’s usually a painless procedure. Since very little tooth reduction is require (and so, minimal drilling), bonding is often performed without anesthetic. The process is conservative—we leave more of your natural tooth undisturbed.

Do bonded teeth stain or discolor?

Bonding material stains similarly to normal tooth structure. It polishes well and is very natural-looking—so it may show coffee and tobacco stains just like your enamel does.

Does a bonded tooth require extra care?

You should avoid biting into hard object such as ice cubes, candy or similar items. Longevity depends on many factors, including proper home care, diet, and your chewing habits.

How long does it take?

Most bonding procedures are completed in one visit. The length of the visit varies according to the procedure.

We’ve bonded teeth for many satisfied patients. Please call if you have any questions or, if you like, we can schedule a consultation about bonding.

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Fluoride & Your Health https://www.philchendds.com/blog/fluoride-your-health/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/fluoride-your-health/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 07:00:12 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=699 Fluoridated ToothpasteWhat is fluoride, and why is it good for my teeth?

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which is found universally throughout nature in water, soil, air, and in most foods. Fluoride is absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in the growing teeth of children. Once teeth are developed, fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible.

“Systemic” fluoride is ingested when added to public and private water supplies, soft drinks and teas, and is available in dietary supplement form. It is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, and is distributed throughout the entire body. Most fluoride is deposited in bones and hard tissues like teeth.

What’s a “topical” fluoride, and when should I use it?

“Topical” fluoride is found in products applied directly to the teeth, including toothpastes and mouth rinses. Dentists recommend brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day or after every meal, combined with a regimen of flossing and regular dental checkups.

Professionally-administered topical fluorides such as gels or varnishes are applied and left on for about four minutes, usually during a cleaning treatment. For patients with a high risk of dental caries, we may prescribe a special gel for daily home use, to be applied with or without a mouth tray for up to six weeks.

Why is most of the water we drink fluoridated?

Fluoridated water protects against cavities and root caries–a progressive erosion of adult root surfaces caused by gum recession–and helps remineralize early carious lesions. Thanks to these preventive benefits, mass water fluoridation is considered the most efficient and cost-effective dental caries prevention measure available.

What about those “theories?”

After countless studies, tests, and scientific reviews conducted since the 1930s, fluoride used in normal amounts has not been proven to be hazardous to human health.

Can I get too much fluoride?

In general, the use of fluoride is considered safe unless it’s misused or overconcentrated.

Drinking excessively fluoridated water can cause dental fluorosis, a harmless cosmetic discoloring or mottling of the enamel, visible by chalky white specks and lines or pitted and brown stained enamel on developing teeth.

Avoid swallowing toothpaste, mouth rinses or other topical supplements, and take care to only use proper dosage.

If you are concerned about the fluoride levels in your drinking water, call the local public water department. If the source is a private well, request a fluoride content analysis taken via a water sample through your local or county health department.

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Open Your Mouth and Say Ahhh https://www.philchendds.com/blog/open-your-mouth-and-say-ahhh/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/open-your-mouth-and-say-ahhh/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 07:00:43 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=673 Dental InspectionThere’s a lot we can learn from looking into your mouth. Not only is the oral cavity a mirror of your overall health—it’s a sort of early warning system that helps diagnose everything from malnutrition to diabetes to cancer.

If you’re not getting enough Vitamin C or B complex in your diet, there’s a clue: tiny cracks in the lips. Insufficient iron? A burning sensation in the tongue. A painful red tongue is a tip-off to lack of Vitamin B12.

It used to be part of every visit to the family doctor to “Open your mouth and say ‘Ahhh’.” Today, while physicians have highly sophisticated ways of testing for disease, the mouth remains one of your body’s most sensitive indicators.

Routine dental exams could help you get the drop on diabetes—which strikes some 600,000 new Americans every year. Early indicators are a sore tongue and tender gums. Which is why, more often than not, the dentist—not the physician—makes the earliest diagnosis.

Mouths can even signal a celebration: pregnancy evokes significant changes in the mother-to-be’s gums. So it’s possible we can confirm that a blessed event is in your future. Your mouth can tell us a lot about your health without saying a word.

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Diabetes and Your Mouth https://www.philchendds.com/blog/diabetes-and-your-mouth/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/diabetes-and-your-mouth/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 07:00:43 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=670 Diabetic Blood MeterWe could be first to know. Don’t let us be the last.

Diabetes affects the blood chemistry and metabolism of its victims, threatening them with multiple serious disorders. But early detection can ward off the dangers, and we dentists are often the first to notice clues.

Diabetics are more likely than others to develop tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, fungal infections, dry mouth, impaired taste, inflammatory skin disease, delayed healing and infections. Many diabetics have to come in for dental checkups more often than everyone else.

How You Can Aid in Prevention

Schedule dental appointments for mid-mornings. If a local anesthetic is needed, ask how long your mouth will feel numb. We may use a shorter-acting anesthetic so you won’t need to postpone a meal.

Don’t chew anything while your mouth is still numb to avoid injury. If necessary, switch to liquids temporarily. We may prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent infection after a procedure. If healing or glucose level problems arise after your appointment, call us or your diabetes healthcare team immediately.

Tell us…

  • If you have diabetes
  • If it’s under control
  • If your medical history has changed in other ways
  • The names of all your prescription and over-the-counter medications
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Here’s to Health in 2013 https://www.philchendds.com/blog/heres-to-health-in-2013/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/heres-to-health-in-2013/#comments Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:56 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=663 New Years PartyWe care about you as patients and as friends, too. Hopefully these suggestions will help you lead a healthier life for years to come.

1. Make the New Year tobacco-free!

Do whatever you need to quit smoking—seek out a program, a patch, a support group. Half a million North Americans die annually from disease caused by cigarette smoking. It doesn’t have to be!

2. Check your blood pressure and cholesterol.

See a physician annually; a blood pressure reading is part of the program. Ask for cholesterol testing, too.

3. Brush—and floss—after every meal.

Just remember to brush after your last meal and your dental hygiene level more than doubles.

4. Cut the fat—and the sugar.

Too much fat and too little fiber are hard on the entire body. Watch for low-fat and sugar-free foods. And avoid food containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which piles on empty calories and extra weight!

5. Guard against gum disease with regular dental checkups.

Periodontal disease has been revealed as a key risk factor for potential heart attack and stroke. It’s not just a dental thing—it can benefit your overall state of health!

6. Get a mammogram or a prostate exam.

If you’re 40 or over, these exams—one for him, one for her—are essential cancer screens.

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Soft Drinks Pack a Hard Punch https://www.philchendds.com/blog/soft-drinks-pack-a-hard-punch/ https://www.philchendds.com/blog/soft-drinks-pack-a-hard-punch/#comments Tue, 25 Dec 2012 07:00:33 +0000 Dr. Phil Chen https://www.philchendds.com/?p=659 Ice Cold Cans of SodaSoft drinks are bad for your teeth in more ways than one. There’s sugar, and then there’s acidity.

The sugar provides necessary food for the bad bacteria in your mouth. If you’re drinking the national average of two cans of soft drinks a day, you’re giving aid and sustenance to the enemy. Bacteria eat what you eat, and sugar sends them into overdrive.

But sugar isn’t the worst culprit. Fizz is.

The bubble in carbonated beverages comes from carbonic acid. That acid eats through dental enamel, eroding your teeth.

And that acid is just as harmful in diet sodas as in regular. Sugary but non-bubbly Kool-Aid is far better for your teeth than, say, Diet Coke. The exception is root beer, which has far fewer of the tooth-harming acids than other soft drink flavors.

Don’t let the name sport drinks fool you into thinking these drinks promote health. Ironically, because of their acid-buffering ability, they are worse for your teeth than other popular beverages.

Bottom line: Drink Responsibly. Limit consumption of soft drinks. When possible, use a straw positioned to direct liquid away from teeth. Rinse mouth with water after enjoying a soda—or, better yet, drink water.


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Modesto Dentist | Blog. Phil Chen is a Modesto Dentist.