Dentist Newport News | The Truth About Dental Anxiety

23608 Dentist

newport news dentistIs anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.

Dental Anxiety Is Common

Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20% of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.

In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.

Our Team Can Help

The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.

We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable.

If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-7155

Dentist 23608 | Post-Extraction Care: Dry Sockets

Newport News Dentist

newport news dentistWhen a tooth is extracted, your blood cells clot over the site of the tooth to protect your bone, nerves, and tissue. However, some patients experience dry sockets, a condition where blood clotting does not occur. Here’s what you need to know about dry sockets after tooth extraction.

What are Dry Sockets?

Dry sockets are the result of your blood failing to clot, or when an existing clot is removed. They leave the area previously protected by your tooth exposed, which includes bone and nerves.  Symptoms often include significant pain and discomfort where your tooth was extracted. Pain often lasts beyond the first three days following your procedure. Further symptoms can include having a bad taste in your mouth, pain on the same side of your face as the extracted tooth site, and visible bone where the tooth was removed.

Who Is At Risk for Developing Dry Sockets?

In most cases of extraction, your mouth will heal normally. Dry sockets have been noted to occur at a higher rate in individuals who smoke, chew tobacco, practice poor oral hygiene methods, or suffer from an infection impacting the gums or teeth. Additionally, it is important that you follow all directions provided to you following extraction. Patients who fail to do so, and choose to do things such as drinking with a straw after treatment, have a higher risk for developing a dry socket.

Treating Dry Sockets

If you experience a dry socket, contact our team for an appointment. It is essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Removing debris is the first step to keeping the site clean. Additionally, our team may provide you with pain medication suggestions as well as gauze or medicated dressings to protect the site. Avoid touching the area before coming in to our office.

The direct cause of dry sockets is not widely understood. However, it is a temporary condition that can be managed and treated by taking the proper precautions.

If you develop a dry socket following the extraction of a tooth, please contact our team. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible to ensure your mouth is able to heal properly.

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-7155

Newport News Dentist | Oral Cancer Awareness

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Oral cancer takes lives of more people than testicular and cervical cancer combined.  By knowing more about risk factors, living healthier lifestyles and getting proper screening, we can help reduce the risk and lower the number of lives that oral cancer effects.

For the month of November, we are aiming to get more oral cancers diagnosed at an early stage.  We encourage everyone to discuss them with their dental professionals.

Do not leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks. Do not ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.

Early detection could save your life. If you notice any changes in your mouth please speak to a dentist or doctor immediately.

Peninsula Dental Care can be reached at 757-874-7155

Newport News, VA Dentist | Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

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What makes teeth sensitive?

If the idea of biting into an ice cream sandwich makes you cringe, you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from sensitive teeth. This is often caused by movement of fluid in the dentin – the soft inner tissue beneath the enamel of your tooth. This motion irritates the tooth nerve, creating a tingling sensation and sometimes pain.

Another common cause of tooth sensitivity occurs when the tiny tubes of fluid in the dentin become exposed. This can happen due to tooth wear, receding gums, or damage to the tooth. When this occurs, pain is triggered by eating or drinking foods that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic, and even through contact or exposure to air.

Whitening and orthodontic treatment may cause temporary teeth sensitivity. In most cases, this type will disappear within a week or two. In severe cases of sensitivity, the tooth nerve itself may be exposed, causing severe pain and irritation and requiring immediate treatment.

What can you do about sensitivity?

If you are suffering from sensitivity in your teeth, tell your hygienist or dentist at your next dental visit. They may need to screen for more serious underlying causes that could need treatment. They will also be able to recommend your best method of managing your discomfort.

Is sensitivity preventable?

Some forms of sensitivity are preventable. Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and do not brush aggressively. This can cause higher levels of wear that lead to sensitivity. If you participate in sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma. Chipped and cracked teeth often become sensitive.

Once serious underlying issues have been ruled out, you can help to manage mildly sensitive teeth with special toothpastes that are designed to decrease your sensitivity. If these do not provide sufficient relief, ask whether a prescription product may be needed.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can help.

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-7155

Newport News Dentist | National Dental Hygiene Month

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National Dental Hygiene Month

October is a month of many celebrations, Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but most importantly National Dental Hygiene Month! This October, Peninsula Dental Care is dedicating this month to our amazing dental hygienists, Jessie and Torey.  Our dental hygienists are your first line of defense for good oral health.  They understand the importance of keeping a regular dental health regimen and can help you perfect your technique.

This year’s message is “The Daily 4”.  These are the most important steps in proper oral hygiene habits:

1) Brush your teeth twice daily for at least 2 minutes each time. This reduces the amount of plaque which help prevent tooth cavities & gum disease.

2) Floss in between your teeth and gums once daily. This will remove food debris & plaque in those places where the toothbrush can’t reach.

3) Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash once daily helps to reach bacteria where brushing and flossing cannot.

4) Chew sugarless gum. This helps to stimulate salivary glands in your mouth that neutralize acid and clean out food.

The staff at Peninsula Dental Care can help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease with regular cleanings, fluoride treatments and education about maintaining a healthy smile. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning, please call our office at 757-874-7155.

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608

Dentist in Newport News, VA | The Dangers of Grinding

23608 Dentist

Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

12821 Jefferson Ave.
Newport News, VA 23608
(757) 874-7155

Dentist Newport News VA | Gum Health Month

Newport News Dentist

Family Dentist Near MeAt Peninsula Dental Care, we know that gingivitis, which is the early stage of periodontal disease, can be difficult to recognize. Most patients do not recognize bleeding and swollen gums as precursors to gum disease. This month, September 2017, a national campaign is under way to raise awareness about gum health and periodontal disease.  Peninsula Dental Care wants to help spread the word.

Per Dr. Pham and Dr. Becker, early recognition and action are the most important steps to health gums and ultimately a health body. Dental studies are published every year, linking oral health, including the gum health, to other areas of the body such as your heart and blood vessels.  One of the most important steps to improving the care of your gums is recognizing the warning signs for gum disease.

Here are the signs that you can watch for:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or halitosis
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If you happen to notice any of these signs with you, your child or family members, please schedule an appointment at our convenient Newport News office.  Dr. Pham, Dr. Becker and our team can take proactive steps to prevent gingivitis and gum disease, while showing you how to improve gum care in your daily oral hygiene habits.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport NewsVA 23608

23608 Dentist | Diabetes and Oral Health

Dentist Newport News

Newport News, VA DentistDid you know that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Diabetes affects your entire body including your mouth and teeth. Here are a few ways diabetes can impact your oral health:

Gum Disease

An early warning sign of potential gum disease is bleeding while you brush or floss. At this stage, gum disease may still be avoided by maintaining proper oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Research suggests that if your blood sugar isn’t under control, it can worsen gum disease. When gum disease becomes severe, it can break down the bone that supports your teeth and lead to tooth loss.

Dry Mouth

According to studies, people with diabetes have less saliva. Symptoms may include a dry tongue, cracked lips, and constantly feeling thirsty. Medications and higher blood sugar levels can also contribute to dry mouth. You can manage your blood sugar levels to help improve these symptoms. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy, crunchy foods to get the saliva flowing.

Change in Taste

Diabetes can alter your sense of taste and certain flavors may not feel as rich to you as they once did. Try considering this as an opportunity to explore new tastes, spices, and textures to your food. Be cautious of adding sugar to your foods, as this could negatively affect your diet. Make sure to see our dentist if you have persistent issues with taste.


Diabetes affects your immune system and can cause you to be more prone to infections in the mouth. Oral thrush is one common infection among many who have diabetes. It will look like a white layered coating on your tongue and on the inside of your cheeks. This is a reaction to the yeast thriving on high levels of sugar that can be found in your saliva. Oral thrush may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it can be treated.

Slow Healing

Diabetes can slow down the process of healing any injuries, cuts, or sores in your mouth. Poor blood sugar control can prevent sores from healing quickly and properly. Be sure to see our dentist if something in your mouth hasn’t healed properly.

If you have diabetes and want more information on its impact on your oral health, schedule your next visit and talk to our doctor.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport NewsVA 23608

Newport News Dentist | Dental Anatomy

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

newport news dentistDental development starts from approximately the 6th week in pregnancy through late adolescence. It involves the formation, eruption, and shedding of the 20 primary deciduous teeth, as well as the formation and eruption of the 32 permanent teeth. Throughout this development, the teeth are subject to both genetic and environmental influence.

In addition to their role in speech and facial aesthetics, the teeth provide a system of mastication with incising, tearing, and grinding capabilities. The structure of teeth allows them to survive the forces and wear of mastication.  Therefore, changing in the composition or structure of the teeth affects their durability and resistance to fracture.

Each tooth has a visible crown that projects above the gum, with one or more roots extending into the alveolar bone of the maxilla or mandible. The crown and root meet at the neck of the tooth. The tooth forms a peg and socket joint with the alveolar bone and is held in place by a membrane that allows slight movement of the tooth.

Four components of teeth are:

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • Pulp
  • Cementum


Dental enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body.  It protects the tooth crown from fracture and wear. The enamel is produced by cells called ameloblasts.  Because the ameloblasts are no longer present once the tooth is fully formed and erupted, dental enamel has no regenerative capacity.

By weight, normal dental enamel is 96 percent mineral, 2 percent water, 1 percent protein, and 1 percent other components.  The structure of enamel provides its strength and resistance while making it less brittle.  Changes in the mineral, water, or protein content of enamel alter its appearance, strength, and resistance to wear and caries.


Dentin is the most abundant dental tissue. It functions as the substructure for the enamel and largely determines the size and shape of teeth. Dentin is produced by the dental pulp. The production of dentin is increased in response to environmental stimuli such as trauma, tooth wear, or caries.

By weight, dentin contains about 60 percent mineral and 20 percent organic components, including protein.  The structure and composition of dentin give teeth the ability to flex and absorb tremendous functional loads without fracturing.


The dental pulp is a specialized tissue made of odontoblasts, which are dentin-producing cells, fibroblasts, blood vessels, nerves, and a complex matrix. It provides the neurosensory function.  The pulp continues to produce small amounts of dentin throughout the life of a tooth.  Maintaining a healthy dental pulp until the root of the tooth is fully formed and has walls thick enough to sustain the forces transmitted from the crown during mastication is important.  Prompt and appropriate treatment of dental trauma and caries in children is critical to the sustenance of oral health.


Cementum is made of type I and other collagens, proteins, and a mineralized matrix. It covers the root surface and helps to prevent the tooth from becoming fused to the adjacent alveolar bone. It is structurally similar to bone. In addition, cementum provides the tissues by which the tooth is anchored to the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. These structures form a flexible sling that holds the tooth in place while allowing the movement necessary under the forces required for chewing.

Contact our office today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608

Dentist in Newport News VA | 6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

Family Dentist in Newport News, VA

Newport News DentistNearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office today.

12821 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23608