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A Common & Expensive Mistake You Can Easily Avoid

December 1st, 2017

2017 IS ALMOST OVER Have you used your dental health benefits? Most dental plans don’t let the benefits roll over into the next year if they go unused. Funds left in your health savings plan may not ring the new year with you. You risk losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in benefits. It's a common and expensive mistake we see many patients make every year. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of all your benefits, then now is the time to do so!

Most insurances cover regular exams, x-rays and cleanings up to twice year. If you haven't come in for your regular check-up in the last 6 months, contact us today. Regular exams with your dentist not only helps ensure that your teeth are in good health but also helps us catch problems before they progress any further.

Don't Wait Any Longer!

We’re always looking out for our patients and want to make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your benefits! If you have any questions regarding dental insurance, stop by or call us today and we can help!

We're Going Paperless!

November 9th, 2017

We are excited to announce that we have started the process of becoming a paperless dental office! The first step is yours to take. Next week  you will receive an invitation by e-mail to enroll in our new and improved patient communication system and patient portal. Please sign-up to not only to continue receiving appointment reminders and special offers, but also to use new features that will make managing your account easier. With our new patient portal, you will be able to

  • Make Payments Online
  • Keep Account Info Updated
  • View Your Treatment History & Appointments
  • Reduce Paper Waste with Digital eForms

In the next couple of months, you may experience slower than average service and accuracy as we make this upgrade. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to bring the best modern dental experience to you as smoothly as possible.

Baby Teeth Myths Debunked

June 20th, 2017

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there that need to be stopped, so we’re going to set the record straight: here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly.

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Bonus Myth? We Don't Have a Pediatric Dentist

You now have a reliable source of pediatric dentistry with our in-house pedodontist, Dr. Amanda Tsoi. An accomplished dentist and professor, Dr. Tsoi knows how to keep your kids smiles happy and healthy. Call (650) 262-6136 to schedule their first exam & x-ray today. Mention this post and it'll be complimentary! Save $225. Offer expires August 31, 2017.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

Popping 6 Myths About Gum Disease

March 28th, 2017

With nearly half of American adults suffering from gum disease*, we felt it was important to pop some myths that tend to stick around. Patient education is central to our practice, because the more educated you are about dental health issues, the better you'll be able to prevent them and seek treatment as early as possible. When the risks include permanent tooth loss, you definitely want to stop gum disease before it get out of control. The following are the most common misunderstandings about gum disease:

Myth #1: Bleeding Gums Are Normal

This is probably one of the most perpetuated dental health myths. The truth is, bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. Gums swell, bleed and become tender when plaque accumulates on the teeth and around the gum line. Keep your gums healthy by removing plaque and food debris with daily brushing and flossing.

Myth #2: People Get Gum Disease Because They Don’t Clean Their Teeth

While poor oral hygiene definitely contributes to the development of gum disease, there can be many other factors involved. Tobacco use, stress, a bad diet, genetics, and certain illnesses such as diabetes can all increase your risk of developing gum disease. And as we’ve explained before, even being pregnant makes you more susceptible!

We also don’t want our patients to think that if they are cavity-free they couldn’t possibly have gum disease. Gum disease is painless in its beginning stages and many people don’t know they have it. That’s why proper oral hygiene and twice-yearly visits to your dentist are essential for your oral health, even if you don’t have a cavity!

Myth #3: Gum Disease Is Irreversible

What we really want our patients to understand is that gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage: gingivitis! The earlier gingivitis is caught, the easier it is to eliminate it before it advances to full-blown periodontitis. Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis and stop gum disease in its tracks.

Your hygienist and dentist can monitor your gum health at your regular cleanings and  exams. The reason it's important to come in at least every 6 months !

Myth #4: Only Adults Can Get Gum Disease

Gum disease is much more prevalent in adults, but that doesn’t mean that our children are invulnerable. Children can be more susceptible to gum disease if they are genetically predisposed or have certain illnesses such as autoimmune disorders or diabetes. Even puberty, with all its hormonal changes, can put your child more at risk. Their best defense against any dental disease–gum disease and tooth decay included–is to take care of their teeth at home and visit the dentist on a regular basis.

Myth #5: Everyone With Diabetes Has Gum Disease

If you have diabetes, developing gum disease is not inevitable, although you are certainly at a higher risk. Now more than ever you’ll need a good relationship with and frequent visits to your dentist. A rigorous oral hygiene regimen as well as frequent cleanings can help stave off the onset of gum disease. Proper blood glucose control can also help you lower your risk.

Myth #6: Treating Advanced Gum Disease is Difficult

The latest  treatment for moderate and severe gum disease  is faster, gentler and more convenient today. Many people often avoided  treating advanced gum disease because it required  invasive treatments and long recovery periods. Our in-house periodontist specializes in the latest gum treatments that require no scalpels or stitches that you recover from in days instead of weeks. If you or someone you know is dealing with gum disease, call us today to schedule a consult to go over your treatment options.

Gum Disease Myths… Busted!

Now that you know more about gum disease, keep up the good work avoiding it! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Thanks for reading!

*https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

Making This Common Insurance Mistake Will Cost You

September 21st, 2016

At end of every year, we see many of our insured patients make the same costly mistake. They wait until the last few months to use their insurance benefits or flex spending account that are about to expire. The lucky few can squeeze into the remaining spots in our packed schedule. The rest find that it's already too late - we're booked out until the next year and they just lost hundreds of dollars in dental care.

Will you ignore this early reminder or will you beat the crowd and save your remaining insurance benefits in time?

Don't wait,  click here to request an appointment or call (650) 272-0880 today!  As a reward, the next eleven patients who schedule their next appointment will receive a Bluetooth headphones.*  While everyone else will be in a rush come December, you'll be humming along to your favorite tunes.

*Qualifies for new appointments scheduled between September 22 and October 31 only. You must mention this offer when scheduling on the phone or type BLUETOOTH in the comment section of our appointment request form. If you already have your next appointment scheduled, you can receive a chance to win a teeth whitening kit ($400 value). No raffle entry needed. All patients who came in this year are entered!

The Top 10 Things to Avoid to Keep Your Teeth Bright

September 8th, 2016

WE OFTEN TAKE STEPS to achieve that sparkling white smile when we brush in the morning and before we go to bed. The truth is, what we consume throughout the day is often the largest contributor to whether or not our smile will light up a room.

Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.

Food And Drink Are Large Contributors To Surface Stains

Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel—the outer layer of the tooth—becomes stained. These stains are caused by pigments, acidic content, and other chemical factors (natural or artificial) present in things we enjoy eating and drinking. If it can stain a white t-shirt, it'll stain your teeth too.

The top ten culprits for tooth discoloration include:

  1. Wine
  2. Coffee
  3. Tea
  4. Cola
  5. Sports drinks
  6. Hard Candy
  7. Berries
  8. Tomato Sauce
  9. Curry
  10. Chocolate

Most of these items won’t have an immediate affect on the color of your teeth, but over time, they can begin to wear away and cling to enamel causing unsightly stains. Try to consume these in moderation and always remember to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after meals.

Trauma Can Discolor Teeth From The Inside Out

Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth—the dentin—begins to darken or develop a yellow tint. This type of discoloration can develop because of a trauma sustained to the tooth. Sometimes when a tooth sustains trauma during childhood, it can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it, affecting the tooths color. If a trauma is sustained during adulthood, internal bleeding can potentially discolor the damaged tooth.

Other causes include uses of medication at certain stages of life or being born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta which can cause gray, amber, or purple discolorations. If you have questions about intrinsic discoloration, come in and see us and we can help answer your questions.

Your Smile Can Change Color With Age

Age-related tooth discoloration is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The dentin inside our teeth naturally yellows as we age. Enamel on the outside of teeth also thins as we get older, allowing the yellow pigment of the dentin to show through. A lifetime of consuming certain foods or smoking cigarettes will also contribute to deep-set stains on the enamel’s surface.


We Can Help Brighten Your Smile

We know just how important it is to provide our patients with bright, healthy smiles. That's why we offer a Whitening for Life program for all of our patients.

How the Whitening for Life Program Works
For one low enrollment fee, we will create a custom-fit whitening tray in office and give you a set of bleaching gels to get your started. You wear the trays for several nights while you sleep until you reached the desired brightness. To maintain your radiant smile, you receive a new bleaching gel every 6-months at your regular exams and cleanings.*

Get Started Today & Save!
Membership fees are regularly $300 but for a limited time you can enjoy the confidence of a healthy bright smile - for life - for just $150! The first 7 patients who start this program before Friday, September 30 will receive this special 50% discount. You must call (650) 273-4309 and mention this offer when scheduling your free Whitening for Life consultation.

*Rules & conditions apply. Call for details.

The Truth About Those Flossing Headlines: Dentists vs Reporters

August 18th, 2016

Recent headlines have popped up in the news making it sound like you don't have to floss anymore. You may have felt shocked, confused, relieved or maybe even ecstatic after years of being guilted into flossing. But before you toss your floss and the confetti to celebrate, know what you're actually throwing away. As your dental health providers, we want to make sure you're not misled by these headlines.

How Did This Become News?
In short, the Associated Press (AP) noticed a US government agency dropped flossing from its dietary report last year, and took it to imply that flossing is no longer recommended.  They looked closer at past research, and according to the AP, there have been no reliable scientific studies devoted to the efficacy of flossing. The evidence they found was slim, because the few studies that were done used outdated methods or were too short to make any real conclusions. When they pressed the government to provide scientific evidence, they were not able to provide any.

Does that Mean Flossing Doesn't Work?
Far from it. A lack of good scientific research doesn't prove something is ineffective. Dr. Matthew Mesina from the ADA described the hole in this logic best when she said: "Nobody's done a study to say that using a parachute jumping out of an airplane is safer than not using a parachute. I'm still going to use a parachute, because we just know that that's going to work." Flossing is not a priority for research funding simply because it's been commonly understood to work.

Why Is There No Scientific Evidence to Support Flossing?
Cost, time and common sense. It is estimated that it would cost the government tens of millions of dollars for a decades-long study of flossing. That is money that would be better spent on other pressing health concerns facing our nation. Aside from financial reasons,  there are also ethical and practical issues to consider. Is it morally sound to prevent test subject from flossing at the very high and known risk of developing gum disease and tooth loss? How do we make sure those assigned to floss do so every day in their homes for years on end? If we already know it works, why spend all these resources?

But What's the Worst That Could Happen?
Losing your teeth for one. As dental health professionals, we already know firsthand what happens when you don't floss.  Although we may politely nod when you claim you floss your teeth every day, your mouth betrays you. Brushing removes plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, from only 60% of the surfaces of your teeth. Flossing cleans the rest - the spaces in between and below the gum line. We can immediately see significant stains and tartar buildup as well redness from the inflammation of gums. Overtime this puts you at high risk of developing gum disease. Symptoms include gum bleeding, bad breath, gum recession and eventually tooth loss.

Is It Really Worth It?
Absolutely. Don't let bad journalism put your smile in danger. Flossing is a low-cost and low-risk way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The ADA, Surgeon General and CDC reiterated that they continue to recommend it. Rest assured that the few minutes you spend every day to floss will help keep your breath fresh, gums healthy and teeth intact  - and that's worth holding on to.

Say Yes to The Filling: Why Saying No Will Cost You More

April 20th, 2016

If you're ever been tempted to postpone a filling to try to save time and money, you could be doing just the opposite.

Consider this:

Decay Leads To More Decay... Until It’s Stopped

When decay erodes part of your tooth, fillings help us seal off and protect the vulnerable area. We place fillings because once a tooth starts to get decay, it’s almost certain the decay will only progress.

  • A cavity indicates that the area is decay-prone, whether that’s due to chewing habits, cleaning habits, or the bacterial climate.
  • Cavities can create crevices in your mouth that trap plaque and food particles, encouraging further decay.
  • The tooth’s outer enamel layer is much stronger than the inner, dentin layer. If decay breaches the enamel, it can progress dramatically, leading to severe pain and permanent tooth damage.

Be Proactive In Your Dental Care

Save time and money by fixing the problem while it’s still small. What a filling could have easily fixed could end up needing a crown or worse - a root canal. Don’t postpone getting a filling if it’s recommended. Protect your oral health by being proactive.

Fillings Need To Be Maintained, And Sometimes Refreshed

Occasionally, we may recommend that you replace a filling. The materials used in fillings can break down and weaken over time, which can lead to further decay and damage. During a replacement, we make sure that there’s no decay under the filling, and that the area is not compromised.

How We Help You Get Treatment Today

To help you get the dental care you need, we are open 6 days out of the week and have affordable payments options. Scheduling an appointment is easy when you have a team of dentists available nearly every day. If you need a same day, next day or even a Saturday appointment, we're here for you!

We know that saying yes, can be financially difficult. We try to be as flexible as possible by accepting most credit cards and dental insurances, as well as helping you secure financing through CareCredit or Lending Club. With healthcare financing, you can break down your treatment into smaller more affordable monthly payments so you can accept treatment now.

Apply for Financing for a Chance to Win a $100 Credit!

New applicants for CareCredit or Lending Club can enter our raffle for a chance to win a $100 in-office credit. If you get approved for $1,000 or more and start treatment by May 15, 2016, we will enter you into our drawing. Call (650) 262-6136 to discuss all your payment options and we will set you up with the best plan. Don't forget to mention you saw this blog!

Image by Flickr user MOVED! used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image modified from original.

A Day of Free Dental Care - Smiles for All

September 11th, 2015

The sun will shine a little brighter on Sunday, October 18th, when we hold our fifth day of free dental care, Smiles for All. From dawn til dusk, we will work with our team of volunteers to give the under-served in our community - many who lined up before dawn - a free examination followed by a cleaning, filling or extraction.

“We want our community to know that we're here for them - whether they’re out of a job, or just don’t have dental insurance. To us, dentistry is much more than just fixing a person's teeth. It's also about restoring their sense of dignity, and hope. ” said Dr. Kelvin Choi.

After four years hosting this event, we have donated $200,000 worth of dental treatment to over 400 neighbors in need. Our efforts have been recognized by the South San Francisco Mayor's office, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Please help us bring Smiles for All to your community:

To learn more about Smiles for All, visit http://www.southsanfranciscodentalcare.com/smiles-for-all

Mahalo! Patient Appreciation Event

July 2nd, 2015

Mahalo!

Patient Appreciation Party

Sunday, August 9th

Raffles, Bowling and Food!

Lei out your best strike, and win some tiki-rific prizes at our bowling luau, Mahalo!

How To Get Tickets

Due to popular demand, we will be raffling off tickets to select patients. To be added to our guest list,  your account must be in good standing and your contact information updated. Call (650) 273-6973 today to update your contact info!

Meet Dr. Anthony Nguyen

May 14th, 2015

Meet our new orthodontist Dr. Anthony Nguyen. A former chess champion, Dr. Nguyen is always thinking two moves ahead when it comes to your smile. He once had a taste for the culinary arts, but after seeing how dentistry changed his smile and brought this once shy kid out of his shell, it was checkmate. He found his true passion in helping others find their confidence and self-esteem.

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Stockton, CA

What brought you out here?
I attended dental school at University of California San Francisco and met my wife during dental school.  We grew to love the San Francisco bay area and settled here.

What do you enjoy most about living in the San Francisco Bay?
I enjoy the great weather, restaurants, and the eclectic dynamic people that make up the San Francisco Bay area.

Why did you decide to become an orthodontist?
I became an orthodontist because I was a shy introverted kid with bad teeth.  After receiving braces and seeing my smile transformation and my increase in confidence, I wanted to be able to impact others the same way I was impacted.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy getting to know my patients through orthodontic treatment and seeing them grow and improve personally with their improved smile.

If you didn't become a dentist, what would you have been instead?
If I didn’t become a dentist, I would have been a chef.  I enjoy trying to experiment with new ingredients and flavors and the joy that comes with others appreciating your creations.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
I was a chess champion growing up and enjoy playing tennis.

What's the latest in orthodontics that your patients should know about?
If you're self-conscious about wearing traditional wire braces, you should consider Invisalign. We use removable clear aligners, to move your teeth. You can eat the foods you want, and people barely notice them. You can even take them off for a selfie.

Finally, if you could remind your patients to do one thing, what would it be?
I would remind them to take the extra few minutes to brush and floss their teeth.

Dr. Nguyen would also like to remind you that he is offering complimentary no-obligation consultations. Save $150! Make your move, call 650-273-4309 or schedule online today!

Dr. Al's Mission Trip to Thailand

March 9th, 2015

When my college roommate, now a pharmacist, invited me on a medical missions trip to northern Thailand, I had some initial reservations. I knew the medical and dental needs were great and access to care was difficult and sometimes non-existent for the people we would be treating, but I was fearful of "jungle dentistry" as some of the more seasoned missionaries on my team jokingly called it. And jungle dentistry it was! No x-rays, no suction, no adjustable, cushioned dental chair. After much consideration and prayer, I decided to go for it.

Fortunately there was another dentist joining our team, Dr. Philip, so I wasn't completely on my own, but unfortunately, all the supplies Dr. Philip brought were confiscated by customs when the rest of the team arrived in Chiang Mai. By the grace of God, me and my friend had done some traveling before the missions trip and came through a different airport so all the supplies I brought were allowed through. This presented a bit of a challenge nonetheless as Dr. Philip and I had coordinated what we were bringing to minimize redundancy in our instruments. Thankfully, Dr. Sun and Isabel had helped me gather my supplies and encouraged me to bring a few extra things so we had enough tools to get the job done and plenty of the important stuff - local anesthetics! Dr. Choi also generously donated all the supplies I was able to bring for future use in light of the difficulties we faced at customs this year.

We set up our primitive clinic - a single table for all our instruments and cold sterile area and a raised table for the patients to lay on - in two locations. One was at an orphanage in Chiang Saen (about 5 hours from Chiang Mai) and the other at a local church in Huay Jor. Over the course of our time there we were able to see 97 patients ranging in age from 4 to 71 and extracted 116 root tips, broken teeth, and wisdom teeth. Most of our patients were from the most impoverished people groups of Laos, the Khmu, where there is minimal access to dental care due to geographical and financial hardships. For most, this annual mission trip is the only dental care they will receive. One patient broke my heart - a nine year old girl, the youngest of 12 children, came to have her two permanent front teeth extracted because they were broken and infected. We were able to remove the infected teeth but without access to further dental care, she will likely go around without two front teeth for the rest of her life.

Sincere thank you to Dr. Choi, our associates and our office staff for covering for me while I was gone and enabling me to take the opportunity to go on this trip!