George D. Chen, D.D.S. – Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry

Need Lots of Help With Your Teeth? Call Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry Today

Different teeth need different levels of care. Some people have near-perfect oral health, and come in to see our dentists for a cleaning and a brief examination. But others struggle with their oral health, and require dental care that is much more advanced.

We’re here for all forms of dental care, and have many lucky patients that have excellent teeth and gums. But the more complex the dental problems, the more your choice in dentist becomes critical in your ability to take care of your oral health.

Leaders in Complex Cases

Dr. Chen and Dr. Skelton of Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry are more than just Folsom Dentists. They are dentists trained in complex cases – difficult and complex dental care that requires different techniques to better address the smile.

It is why Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry is the most common choice for those that say:

  • “I need lots of help with my teeth”
  • “I haven’t been to the dentist in a long time.”
  • “My teeth need a lot of work.”

Even basic dentistry does require an expert. But the more complex a case, the more it becomes important to find someone that genuinely understands the intricacies of the mouth. Dr. Chen and Dr. Skelton of Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry were specifically trained to help those that have more complicated dental care needs, providing both general and cosmetic dentistry to keep our patients smiling.

No matter where you fall on the oral health spectrum, choose a dentist you can trust for the simplest or most complicated of dental care needs. Call Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry today at 916-983-6051.

Use it Or Lose It – Taking Advantage of Your Dental Benefits

It’s that time of year again. We’re entering the final quarter of the year. It’s holiday season, it’s getting cooler, it’s darker early, and it’s time to remember that on December 31st, any dental benefits you have remaining will expire.

Dental insurance is one of the only forms of insurance that expires at the end of the year and starts fresh the following year. Any remaining benefits that you have now must be used by December 31st, or they will disappear forever.

The Holidays Are Busy for Everyone

Now, you might be saying to yourself: “well, I still have 3 months!”

But don’t forget that this is holiday season. It’s not that uncommon to find yourself with surprise guests, vacations, and distractions that make life too busy to remember your dental care. And because you’ve been paying for your health benefits all year, it is important to make sure that you’re able to take advantage of them before they refresh for the new year.

Use Your Dental Insurance Soon – Contact Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry

Your dental insurance is yours to use. Schedule an appointment before yours expires, and make sure that you’re taking advantage of the benefits that you pay for. Contact Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry today to schedule your appointment.

Fast Dentist Appointments Available

At Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry, one of our goals is personalized service. We take our time, hoping to provide you with the best, most detailed dental care possible. We want to make sure that we know every nanometer on your mouth, and we want to know that you’re genuinely valued as a patient.

But we also know that sometimes you’re in a hurry. There are days when you need dental care fast, because you have to get back to work or have other items on your plate. If you need a quick dental appointment, we can help there as well.

Schedule Fast Dental Care at Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry

On those days when you have somewhere you have to be and only a short time to see the dentist, let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate.

We will never make sacrifices with your oral health. If the work we need to do is going to take time, we’ll take our time to make sure it is completed with the utmost accuracy. But we can also make sure that you’re cared for in other ways:

  • We can make sure you do not have to sit in the waiting room for long.
  • We can make sure that the dentist is ready to see you right away.
  • We can see if it’s possible to reduce the number of procedures per day.

We cannot promise that a fast dental visit is always possible, because your mouth may need more attention and care, and strongly believe your oral health is too important to rush through. But there are little things that we can do to reduce your time in the office so that you can fit it into your schedule and get in and out as fast as possible.

If you need a quick dental appointment and you have limited time available, schedule with us at 916-983-6051 or via our Request an Appointment” form and let us know your schedule and your timeframe, and we’ll let you know what is possible.

Effects of Stress on Dental Health

We are all-too-familiar with stress – and many of the effects it has on us. Stress can lead to increased anxiety, lack of sleep, muscle pain and more – all of which lead to pains, discomfort, and a lower quality of life. 

Yet what you may not know is that the effects of stress can go even further. They can affect your dental health as well. There is significant research that reveals strong correlations between stress and dental problems, and while dental health is just one of many issues caused by stress, it’s one that’s worth paying attention to as you decide when to schedule your dentist visits.  

Dental Health Issues Related to Stress

The following are only a few of the many dental issues that have been linked to stress:

  • Teeth Grinding – Many people tend to start grinding their teeth when under a lot of stress. The grinding occurs at night, often while a person is a sleep. It’s not entirely clear why people grind as they sleep, but it can have a profound effect on dental health. 
  • Dry Mouth – We need saliva to protect our teeth from decay, gum disease, and other dental issues. However, our mouth becomes very dry when under a lot of stress. In addition, the medications designed for depression and anxiety can also lead to dry mouth. 
  • Gum Disease – Many studies suggest that increased stress levels cause our immune systems to start to weaken. With a weakened immune system, we make ourselves more susceptible to develop diseases such as periodontal disease.
  • TMJ/TMD – Temporomandibular joint disorders have also been linked to stress. Tooth grinding and clenching may contribute to worsening of TMJ.

Some of these issues require dental care. Others require a reduction in stress. Both combined are important for maintaining better dental health. 

Self-Care is Important for Dental Health

We often tell you to brush and floss. But you should also take care of your stress levels. Stress is a known contributor to poor dental health, and while it’s easier to brush your teeth than eliminate stress from your life, it is also important to make sure that you consider stress reduction as part of your dental health strategy. 

 

Morning Dental Appointments vs. Afternoon Dental Appointments

It can be challenging to fit a dentist appointment into a busy schedule. At Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry, we try our best to make sure that morning appointments and afternoon appointments are open, to help fit into our patients’ busy schedules. If you need to schedule an appointment, call us at 916-983-6051.

Some patients have wondered if there is a reason to prefer one time to another. As expected, the answer can vary according to your individual needs. But there are advantages that different appointment times can have, at least in terms of what the research says.

Morning Appointments

Even if you’re not a morning person, a morning appointment may be a smart choice, as studies have shown mornings can be a great time for your health and happiness. With morning dental appointments:

  • Less Chance of Complications – Studies have found there’s a lower chance of complications from anesthesia and other procedures performed during morning appointments.
  • Getting It Out Of the Way – For those who are nervous about going to the dentist, scheduling their appointment for the morning can keep them from being nervous about it all day.
  • Clean Teeth Coming In – You don’t have to brush your teeth before your appointment, but for those who feel more comfortable doing so, you’re less likely to have food stuck between your teeth before lunchtime.

If you do have to have a procedure that may create some aches and pain, a morning procedure may allow some of the pain to go away before you need to sleep. For those with early schedules, a late appointment might mean you head to bed a bit later.

Afternoon Appointments

If you just can’t get up early enough for a morning appointment or if your mornings are just too full already, afternoon appointments are still a good option.

  • Anesthesia – Anesthesia has been found to last longer when administered in the afternoon. Two PM in particular is often recommended as the ideal appointment time for patients who need a procedure involving local anesthesia, like a root canal.
  • Recovery – If you’re receiving a more involved procedure, scheduling your appointment in the afternoon doesn’t require using up a whole day recovering like it might if the procedure were scheduled for the morning. Sleep is when you best heal, and you’ll be sleeping much sooner with this type of appointment.
  • Often More Convenient – Most people get the majority of their work done in the morning and have an easier time leaving work early. If this is the case for you, afternoons are the way to go.

Overall, the best time of day for your dental appointment depends on the treatment you need: how long it will take to complete, how urgent your need for it is, and more.

Esthetic Reflections In Dentistry – Offering Dental Procedures For Any Time Of Day

We do our best to accommodate our patients’ schedules while also providing excellent dental care and can recommend specific appointment times for your needs. If you need a general dentistry or cosmetic service, call 916-983-6051 to make an appointment with us today. We provide everything from cleanings to smile makeovers and more.

Study Suggests Increased Liver Cancer Risk Associated with Poor Oral Hygiene

Over the past few months, the amount of news about the connection between oral health and other forms of physical health have only increased. The latest news has linked poor oral hygiene with an area of the body that most people do not think about when they think of their teeth – the liver.

Researchers in Belfast found that patients that showed signs of poor oral health were also 75% more likely to have liver cancer, and while this research is in its earlier stages, there are reasons to believe its accuracy.

Why Liver Cancer?

Traditionally, liver cancer – in particular, hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form) is associated with liver related diseases including Hep B and Hep C. It is also associated with alcoholism and diabetes as well. But a lot of the cases of liver cancer were previously unknown.

Poor oral hygiene and oral health often means that the teeth are filled with bacteria and germs. Every day, all throughout the day, a person is swallowing those germs through their saliva and food. The liver is one of the organs responsible for eliminating bacteria once it has entered the body. It is possible that this is one of the factors that plays a role.

But it’s still early. We’ll learn over the next few years if poor oral health leads to liver cancer and why. Correlation also doesn’t equal causation, which means there may be another factor that leads to both issues.

Nevertheless, the results of the study are promising when it comes to combatting liver cancer once and for all. New research is needed to see how strong the links are and why. Until then, we do know that taking care of your teeth can prevent against:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Aspiration Pneumonia

If those reasons aren’t enough, perhaps the potential to protect against liver cancer can help motivate you to take care of your teeth even more.

Benefits of Dental Sealants

Prevention plays a big part in dental health. It’s easier, less costly, and results in less pain and overall better wellness to take preventive measures against common dental problems like tooth decay and erosion.

Dental sealants are one of the most frequently used and effective ways of preventing cavities. They are usually applied to the premolars and molars. They’re sometimes seen as necessary only for children, who are more likely to have less thorough oral hygiene routines, but cavities can affect anyone regardless of age.

Made of a composite material, sealants act as a protective barrier for the tooth’s chewing surface. With the grooves on the tooth filled in, it’s much easier to clean the tooth and harder for food particles to get trapped there and cause decay. There are many advantages sealants have for your oral health, including:

  • Durable – Sealants are able to stand up very well to the wear and tear of normal chewing and can last for years before new ones need to be applied.
  • Easy Application – It takes little time to apply sealants and only a few minutes to finish drying.
  • Natural-Looking – Sealants aren’t flashy looking. Thanks to their white or clear coloration, they’re invisible whenever you’re talking, eating, or smiling.
  • Affordable – Sealants are much more affordable than treating cavities. Insurance often covers the cost for patients under 18, and may cover some patients over 18.

Sealants aren’t permanent, and may need to be reapplied as they begin to wear away. However, most people agree that their advantages are far more significant. The initial cost of sealants is far less than the cost of repairing tooth decay and they can last up to 10 years before needing to be reapplied.

If you’re interested in greatly reducing your chance of suffering from tooth decay, contact Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry about sealants and other preventive dental procedures.

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Waterpik vs. Flossing: A Comparison

Flossing is an essential part of everyone’s daily oral hygiene routine, or at least should be. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day in order to remove plaque and bits of food from between your teeth that a toothbrush is unable to reach.

However, as many as one-fifth of Americans don’t floss at all, much less as routinely as once a day. There are lots of reasons people skip flossing, such as:

  • Gum or Tooth Sensitivity
  • Braces
  • Difficulty Holding Floss
  • Impatience

If patients have any of these issues, using a Waterpik Water Flosser may be a good compromise. Waterpiks are a type of oral irrigator that shoot a thin, pressurized jet of water between the teeth and along the gum line to accomplish much the same thing regular dental floss does. The water jet also pulsates in order to further clean and strengthen the gum tissue.

Both methods of cleaning between the teeth carry advantages and disadvantages. Standard floss is:

  • Less Expensive
  • Can Be Purchased At Any Grocery or Drug Store
  • Doesn’t Require Access to Water or Electricity

And Waterpiks are:

  • Able to Reach Areas Floss Can’t
  • Easy to Use With Braces, Bridges, and Other Dental Work
  • Proven to Further Reduce Gum Disease and Bleeding

Both methods are significantly better than not flossing at all. They both reduce plaque, gum disease, clean areas toothbrushes aren’t able to, like between the teeth. Ultimately though, traditional dental floss is still considered the superior method of cleaning between the teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The pressurized water jet of the Waterpik can clean away a lot of food particles, and in fact is recommended by some dentists for some patients to be used in conjunction with string flossing and brushing. However it’s not generally an ideal substitute for string flossing, as string flossing is capable of removing far more food and bacteria when performed correctly. Waterpiks should also never be relied on a substitute for brushing.

The main reason string floss wins out over water floss is because of how effective it is at loosening the plaque and food particles that cling to the sides of the teeth. When done properly, the motion of pulling the floss against the side of the tooth and then up and under the gum line is ideal for gently scraping away any particularly stubborn bits. Waterpiks can touch the area, but they do not have the frinction that makes it as effective.

What if I REALLY Hate Flossing?

Flossing becomes more comfortable the more you do it. It also is simply the best way to clean between teeth, and we strongly recommend you floss as it is a critical and effective part of good oral hygiene. But if you refuse to floss, waterpiks can at least provide some of the benefits until you’re ready to start flossing. There are also many other potentially effective alternatives to straight string floss that are capable of providing floss benefits, including:

  • Waxed Floss
  • Dental Tape
  • Floss Picks
  • Interdental Brushes

String flossing is still more effective, but these alternatives can reach some of the harder to hit places.

Still, before making any changes to what your dentist has previously recommended, patients should consult with their dentist. There may be a specific reason these alternate varieties of dental floss haven’t been suggested already, and your dental health may play a role in which choice is best.

 

Why Do Your Teeth Chip?

Your enamel is considered the hardest substance in the body. It is even stronger than bone, and capable of chewing rough foods into mush without so much as a scratch.

Yet teeth chip. It happens to even the best of us. Brushing, flossing, and attending your dental appointments is important, but no matter how much you care for your teeth, it is possible for them to still chip.

Chipped Tooth Risk Factors

There are many situations that may cause your teeth to crack or chip. These include:

  • Trauma – Such as being hit in the teeth with a baseball.
  • Chewing Hard Foods – As strong as teeth are, chewing very hard candies or items can chip them.
  • Tooth Decay – It is possible for your teeth to simply break when not cared for.

But because teeth are so strong, they can often withstand some of these impacts. Hockey players will tell you that even the strongest teeth will chip if they come into contact with a hard surface. But there are risk factors that may also play a role, including:

  • GERD/Acid Reflux – Acids that come up from the stomach to the mouth can weaken the enamel, which makes it softer and more sensitive to hard impacts.
  • Poor Diet – Acidic foods, sugars, and other foods known to break down enamel can weaken your teeth when eaten in high doses.
  • Alcoholism – Alcohol has a known degenerative effect on enamel. Also, vomiting – such as after heavy drinking or a result of an eating disorder – can weaken enamel as well.
  • Previous Filling – As strong as dental fillings are, they are not quite as strong as natural enamel. Teeth with fillings are often most prone to pressure damage.
  • Tooth Grinding – Grinding your teeth at night may be one of the most commonly cited reasons for chipped teeth. Sometimes the grinding itself can chip the tooth.

Finally, poor dental care can weaken the tooth, which is why it is so important to see a dentist before your tooth chips.

What to Do if Your Tooth Chips

If you have a chipped tooth, the symptoms determine your next step. If you are in a lot of pain, you may need an emergency appointment as the tooth may have chipped too far and exposed the root. If you experience no pain, it is likely a bit more of a cosmetic issue, although it helps to have it fixed anyway because chipped teeth may continue to crack over time.

Contact us today to learn more.

So You’ve Chipped a Tooth – Now What?

Teeth are strong. Tooth enamel is the strongest and hardest substance in the body. It is capable of chewing large objects and breaking down even the densest of foods.

But enamel is not unbreakable. Even 100% healthy enamel can chip or crack when it connects with too hard an object, and if your enamel has started to break down because of dental hygiene issues, it may be even more prone to damage.

I Chipped My Tooth Please Help

At some point, you may find that you have chipped a tooth. In this case, a chipped tooth is defined as a tooth where a small piece appears to have broken off.

Luckily, this is something that happens quite often, in fact. As many as 30% of adults over 40 have at least one chipped tooth, and many younger patients chip their teeth as a result of candy, sports, ice chewing, or accidentally bumping into something hard.

Because it is common, there are many potential dental treatments available to help you with your chipped tooth. At your appointment with Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry in Folsom, our dentists will examine the tooth or teeth thoroughly, and recommend the right treatment. Call us at 916-983-6051 to schedule your appointment.

If you are experiencing any pain from a recently chipped tooth, let us know as this may be a dental emergency.

Some of the potential treatments include:

  • Dental Fillings – Dental fillings for chipped teeth are not unlike other dental fillings. If there is only a tiny chip and it is not visible, a filling may be all that is needed to seal the missing piece.
  • Dental Bonding – If the chip is just as small but more visible, such as a front tooth, a filling may not be the right option. Instead, dental bonding may be a better choice. Bonding involves placing a tooth colored resin at the site of the missing tooth, and then hardening it with a bright light so that missing area is filled.
  • Dental Crowns – Larger chips may require something more. In some cases, you may be a candidate for a dental crown. Dental crowns are large, strong dental caps that are placed on top of the tooth to be a perfect fit. The new crown is also designed to look like a natural tooth, and are crafted specifically for your mouth. Usually, crowns require too separate visits, but Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry has the CEREC system which allows for same-day crowns.
  • Porcelain Veneers – Finally, another option is using dental veneers. For most patients, dental veneers are more of an esthetic choice. They completely cover the front of the tooth so that it appears completely healthy to the naked eye. It is better to have veneers across your entire front teeth, however, rather than placing it in front of only one chipped tooth. That is why most people only choose veneers when they have been looking for cosmetic updates to their smile.

If the chip is large enough that the pulp of the tooth is exposed, this may require a root canal to remove the pulp, stop pain, and then seal the tooth so that there is no more discomfort.

Contact Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry Today

Chipping a tooth is almost always a complete surprise. Luckily, there are a wide range of treatments available depending on both the extent of the chip and your cosmetic goals.

If you chipped a tooth, let us know today at 916-983-6051. We make all these treatments available to our patients, serving those in Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Sacramento, Granite Bay, Orangevale, and more.