Thanksgiving 2016

This Thanksgiving I am counting my blessings.  From my families to my office and the friends that I keep.  I am humbled daily.  I am a person filled with gratitude.  But this November has been very difficult for almost everyone around me, myself included.  This month’s upset results of the election, the pressure to be merry because of the holiday season, and the financial stress that most people feel, make it hard to be “happy”.   Not to mention, some hearts were broken and my lip got a lopsided injection from my son’s head.  Within two weeks, I had five patients with fractured teeth.  It’s that time of the year when I’m doing more “witchcraft” than any other season.  (I was at a seminar and the speaker considered root canal therapy to be witchcraft.  It then became a joke amongst dentists.)

Even as our president was giving a speech about the sun shining again after Hillary’s loss, Joe Biden was looking upward for the sun.  It’s hard to find that silver lining.  Canadian website for residency crashed after the U.S. election.  But since they need healthcare providers, I was told I had a good chance of getting in almost immediately.  I guess that could be good news for me.  But I have no interest in moving north.  I hear their winters get below zero Fahrenheit.  I get cold at 60 degrees ergo, that’s not a viable option for me.  I can only stand the cold temporarily.  Freezing to death is not appealing.   Maybe I need to research more on hypothermia.

I’ve always thought to be kind to my fellow human beings.  We’re supposed to help one another.  Every year I volunteer or give to charity.  And every year I get something back in one form or another.  We had a sedation patient getting ready to go home.  We were giving his mom instructions on how to take care of him.  Then suddenly behind me, came a groggy voice, “See, I told you they like me here.”  We all turned to the patient and in an echo, my whole office replied, “Of course.”  Truly, he is a nice person, just misunderstood.  We gave him time and space to get to know and respond to us.  Sometimes he is not responsive.  But that was the effects of his medications, not him.  I think people forget their human courtesy to each other.   Maybe they just need one person to extend it to them first.

This month, I witnessed young love.  It’s amazing to see how eyes can communicate so passionately.  Unfortunately, I think I was standing in the middle of them.  A patient gave birth to her baby boy.  Another patient completed his cancer therapy.  This weekend, one will get married.  So much more happiness than sadness.  Today, I will be focusing on my blessings.  I hope you will enjoy yours.  Thank you for giving me plenty of stories to be happy about.  Have a great Thanksgiving break with your families and friends.


“Hot” Lip


American Brexit

I woke up this morning to the news that Donald Trump has won 276 electoral votes.  To say I was sad is untrue.  But I was definitely disappointed.  Amazingly he won with only 46% of Americans voting this year.  (They really should get rid of this electoral college thing.)  According to statistics, most of them were from the rural areas of conflicting states.  They were not “educated”, meaning they did not have a college degree.  They were mostly young white males hoping to succeed as he did.  The stock market went on a roller coaster.  Someone made a comment about all those people losing their pension plan.  But if you think about it, those voters probably don’t have a pension plan.

Donald Trump promised to lower taxes for everybody.  He promised to build a wall.  With whose money?  He believes that grabbing a woman’s “kitten” is okay if you are famous.  I don’t think he’s a complete misogynist.  He loves beautiful women.  He doesn’t put them on a high pedestal, unless you’re Ivanka, but he’s attracted to them.  He takes no responsibilities for his actions as all that he does is reasonable in his mind.  He’s sick and tired of all the political correctness of this country.  He will deport 4 million immigrants.  That’s the whole state of Oregon, Iowa, Utah, Nevada, or even Nebraska.

The stunning results of this election has left millions speechless.  I refuse to think there are that many people who would vote for such a man.  I believe it’s more of a mirage that he presents…no government.  If everyone was to fend for themselves, then we would be “better off”.  But how many deaths by gunshot would have to occur for the law to reverse back?  How many babies have to be born and left behind for the Roe vs. Wade to be appreciated?  These babies need government help to survive.  They didn’t ask to be born.  They were born because this new government took away a woman’s right to her body, even though it was violated.  The idea of populism will backfire as they elected an “elitist” into the world’s highest office positon.  He was born into the wealth.  He only knows of a lavish lifestyle.  Where will he get his understanding of the lower class struggles?  He has demonstrated racism, sexism and all that we teach our children not to be.  A wealthy human being is not an equivalent of a decent human being.  Common courtesy will be a thing of the past.

I live in the Silicon Valley, therefore, I feel like I’m in a bubble.  There were only a handful of people I know who would vote for Trump.  Most were just disgusted by him.  But now we will all have to deal with a new form of government.  For all those less unfortunate who voted for Trump, I sincerely hope he delivers to you what you think will be a better life.  For all the families that he will tear apart, my heart goes out to you.  And finally, for the rest of the world, you are now warned about the new United States.  The American version of Brexit has arrived.


Remembering 9/11

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, we would like to honor all those who lost their lives to the senseless act of terrorism.  We would also like to honor all those whose lives were gravely affected as a result of these attacks.  How can we forget?  9/11 united Americans like never before.  Neighbors came together to donate and help each other, as did strangers from faraway communities. We all banded together to stand tall against those who invaded our land and took innocent lives.

15 years later, we continue to rebuild and reconstruct to be better and stronger.  We are undeterred.


The Twin Towers memorial site in NYC.  It was huge and there were 2 sites, with names of the deceased written on them.  They were beautiful.



How Flossing Brought About Irresponsible Journalism

This week’s big news was reported by the Associated Press regarding the lack of medical benefits from flossing.  So naturally, our office was presented with the printed article multiple times.  Luckily for us, our patients are well dentally educated to disregard the findings.  For me to have to refute it is futile.  Some things are just better demonstrated through photos.

These are pictures of moderate to severe gingivitis and periodontitis.  These conditions will eventually lead to bone loss if it’s chronic.  Then ultimately, teeth loss.  These patients say they brush but not floss.


This 5 y.o patient came to us from a pedodontist’s office.  S/he needed sedation as s/he is too young and immature to understand behavioral management.  Parents state they brush and floss her/his teeth nightly, even restricting sugars from daily diet.  Now, if you look at the x-ray that was sent to us, there are so many white spots (a.k.a. fillings and silver crowns).  The red ink circled the decay that was not treated.  There are also some more spots of recurrent decay, which is decay under the restorations.  Upon further clinical observation, the patient was born at a disadvantage with poor quality teeth.  Can you imagine how much worse this could have been had her/his parents were not diligent in home care?


Medical studies that support facts based on unbiased experts are great.  Medical studies based on patients’ reports and habits are unreliable.  To report that flossing has very little effect on your dental health is irresponsible journalism.  We are living in a time when brushing alone is hard for patients to do even with electric toothbrushes.  Telling them now they don’t need to floss is an equivalent of reverting progress.  We were never the office that forced anything on anyone.  We only aim to educate.  To us, flossing is a supplement to brushing and maintaining proper gingival health.  It is not ineffective.  It is effective.  Very effective.

Don’t stop flossing because of one article.  Keep on flossing, please.  Gingivitis can lead to many other dental issues, including bad breath.  Flossing helps keep gingivitis at bay.  You want your gums to stay healthy and pretty in pink.  Don’t believe everything you read.  It’s a shame because from a dentist’s point of view, I don’t see how the money they spent on this research was meant to benefit patients.  Because in the end, the dentists that were associated with the study said, they still recommended flossing.


Normally I wouldn’t get into politics as I do believe that everyone has a right to believe whatever s/he chooses, independent of the community.  However, recent news that an ex-KKK grand master is motivated to re-enter politics because Donald Trump has inspired him worries me.  How can a potential president of the United States, a RNC candidate, running for the most powerful position in the world, motivate such hatred and discrimination?  This Duke guy said Trump reiterated what he has been fighting for throughout the decades.  His followers rationed that in order for their proposal to be achieved, they would be reasonable and “help relocate these people (Blacks, Hispanics and Jews) to somewhere else…”

Just the thought of them being so calmed and poised when answering the question of immigration scares me.  These are grown men with some form of education and success.   They wholeheartedly believe that America is a better place with mostly “Europeanists”.  I wonder why they didn’t mention Asians being deported as well.  Maybe our skin is not as dark as others.  The sheer stupidity and ignorance of their provocation does not amaze me anymore.  The present time has no tolerance for that.  Maybe in the past when white supremacists scare everybody, even the “whites”.  But not today.

Currently, America is great.  It remains the most powerful country in the world.  I didn’t realize it was “not great”.  India and China have billions more citizens than we do, yet we remain the highest power and most influential.  We are the richest country in the world with the most advanced technologies and philanthropy.  Sometimes we meddle too much for wrong reasons but also for the right.  We are the epicenter for diversity, especially in the Bay Area.  We are all-inclusive.  No one understands that better than Americans.  There is plethora of opportunities here for everyone.  Seek and you shall find.  Slack and you may not.  It’s the land of chances and luck, along with hard work and convictions.

I feel very fortunate to live here in the Silicon Valley.  I always come back to this place.  I can’t imagine what a Trump presidency will do to my beloved home.  I don’t think I will ever have to.  But his daily presence in the media is enough to be alarmed as he incites hatred and prejudices.  He’s an entertainer.  I can’t believe he made it this far.  Hopefully, this is the end of his run.  Enough is enough.  Let’s vote for unity.