Frequently Asked Questions

General information about  dental health can be found at

What if I have a dental emergency?

If it is during business hour M-Th 9-5, please contact our office ASAP.  If you are in pain, we will do our best to see you the same day without disrupting the pre-scheduled patients who deserve the courtesy.  Please be understanding of that issue.  It is not uncommon for Dr. Nguyen and her staff to skip lunch to help someone in pain. If your emergency happens after hours, please call Dr. Nguyen’s mobile, 408-506-5029.  Please be aware that we reserve the right to charge $50 in addition to treatment rendered if it takes place after 6 pm Fri-Sun.

Why does dentist freak out about grinding/clenching?

Grinding is when you slide your teeth back and forth over each other. Clenching is the act of tightly hold your top and bottom teeth together and squeeze. Overtime, both conditions (aka bruxism) will cause excessive wear to your teeth causing more sensitivity with chewing, breaking your fillings and crowns, and even causing bone loss and gum recession. It can get very expensive to restore worn out teeth because you would have to fix the whole arch and not just one tooth. It is best to be proactive about grinding.

People can clench and grind without being aware of it during both the day and night, although sleep-related bruxism is often the bigger problem because it is harder to control. The cause of bruxism is not completely agreed upon, but daily stress may be the trigger in many people. Some people probably clench their teeth and never feel symptoms. Whether or not bruxism causes pain and other problems may be a complicated mix of factors: stress, duration of stress, posture, sleep deprivation, misaligned teeth, or even your diet. Let your dentist help you find the sources of your grinding/clenching habit. Together, we can minimize the damages caused by this habit.

What kind of insurance do you accept?

We accept all traditional or PPO dental insurances. Because there are so many insurance plans even under one carrier, it is best to have our staff call the insurance company on your behalf and check it for you.  If there is a particular dental need and you want to know if your insurance would cover it, please mention to us and we can inquire for you.

How often should I see a dentist?

An average healthy individual should be seen 2 times per year for his/her regular check-up and cleaning. However, if you have existing gum problem, it is probably better that we see you every 3-4 months.

At what age should I take my kid in for his/her first dental visit?

The American Dental Association recommends parents to take children to the dentist at age one.

Realistically, that is more of a visit for the parents to learn how to take care of their kids’ mouth and implement proper nutrition to prevent  cavity.   It is also a chance for a child to get familiarized with us and our environment.  When and how much we can do depend on the child.

It is our philosophy at Cherry Chase Dental is to give a child a loved and secured environment.  We do not want to force a treatment on any child. We do not want to create children with dental phobias who grow  up so fearful of dental work that they would avoid even a cleaning. For that reason, we can start cleaning a child as early as  1 ½ to 3 years old, progressing at their own pace. Often at their first visit, they get to sit on their parent’s lap and we would get to know each other. If we see issues that would need immediate attention, then we would refer the child to a specialist who can treat the child under sedation.

How and when to brush and floss?

When: It is best to brush and floss after each and every meal. If time is a factor, then at least 2 times a day, after breakfast and after dinner. We also recommend using an electric toothbrush which is much more efficient at removing plaque without causing enamel damage. Our favorite electric toothbrush is the Braun Oral-B. Some of the models come with timer which makes keeping track of your brushing time a lot easier.  Our favorite floss is made by Johnson & Johnson, lightly waxed – smooth enough to get in and rough enough to re move plaque easily.
How: Dr. Nguyen personally likes to floss before she brushes to remove all the food chunks.  This way when she brushes, all the fluoride in the tooth paste can reach more surfaces and protect her teeth’s enamel better.  However, flossing before or after is all good as long as it is done while looking at a mirror, with the intent to slip the floss under the gum and remove the plaque hiding in between the teeth. Lift the floss up and down along the neck of the tooth a few times  and rub it until it feels smooth.   As for brushing, we recommend to spend at least 2 minutes if using electric toothbrush and more if doing with the regular toothbrush.  At the nightly brush, we recommend at least 3 minutes, with the extra minute on the tongue side of the lower arch and upper arch.  Brushing effectiveness is really all about ‘divide and conquer’. Divide your teeth into 4 areas: upper outer wrap, upper inner wrap, lower outer wrap (lip side) and lower inner wrap (tongue side). Each area should take at least 30 seconds or more to clean properly.  Aim your toothbrush’s bristle toward the gum and let it brushes in place for five second then move on to the next spot. Common mistakes are: bristles not at the gum line, moving too fast, cleaning the outer/front lip area more than anywhere else, and doing way less than 2 minutes because we don’t keep track of the time.
Also, please don’t forget your tongue. It needs to be cleaned too. A brush is fine but a tongue scraper is best for cleaning the tongue.

How do I take care of my child’s teeth?

For children under 1 1/2 years old who  generally doesn’t know how to spit out yet and therefore cannot safely use fluoride toothpaste, we recommend wrapping a terry wash cloth around  the index finger and rub over the child’s teeth after meals and before bed. You can put a pea-sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste for its detergent action. With your finger, you can feel the scrubbing better than you would with a brush.  This is especially helpful when the child is squirming away from you.
Most importantly, please do not put a child to bed with a bottle of milk in his mouth which would lead to severe caries (bottle mouth syndrome).

For children 1 ½- 5 years old,  we recommend parents to continue brushing for a child but graduating to a brush and regular fluoridated toothpaste. Also please start flossing the child as well.

For 6-9 years old, we  recommend the child to start brushing and flossing with some supervision from the parent, just because we know how fast they really do it when you are not looking. Electric toothbrush is very handy for kids because it applies enough pressure and can come with timer for the child.

What is a deep cleaning?

There will be time that a regular cleaning is not enough to keep our patient gum healthy.  When there is so much deposit under the gum for a long time, the deposit/calculus would irritate the gum and causing it to bleed and eventually destroy the gum fiber that holds the teeth firm.  As a result, you will see deeper gum pocket and bone loss around the teeth.  Deep cleaning of the gum is usually done under anesthetic so we can slip below the gum and remove the deposit that infected the gum.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
Gums that bleed easily, red, swollen, tender , gums that have pulled away from the teeth, persistent bad breath or bad taste, permanent teeth that are loose or separating, any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, any change in the fit of partial dentures.
Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease:
Poor oral hygiene, smoking or chewing tobacco, genetics, crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean, pregnancy, diabetes, medications, including steroids, certain types of anti -epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives.

Why don’t I feel pain even though I have cavity?

A cavity is basically a hole in your tooth. It occurs because the presence of food/dental plaque was consistent and prolonged enough to allow bacteria to grow and release acid destroying the tooth’s enamel.  Often when the cavity is small, we don’t feel the pain because the hole is still hidden. That is why dentists use dental x-rays to diagnose caries. It is definitely always better to fix the cavity when it is smaller than larger.  The bigger the cavity, the chance for root canal is higher and there is a possibility that a crown is needed.

Why do I have bad breath?

Bad breath can be caused by what you eat, not cleaning your mouth, dry mouth, smoking or other medical conditions.

Persistent bad breath can also be one of the warning signs of gum disease. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are essential to reducing bad breath and preventing gum disease. Brushing your tongue can help too.

How do I schedule an appointment?

If time is a factor, calling us at 408-735-7535 is probably fastest. If it is after hours and it is not an emergency, email us at Either way, calling or email, we will do our best to response within 24 hour.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cherry Chase Dental has a 2 business days cancellation / rescheduling policy. If you miss your appointment, cancel or change your appointment with less than 2 business day notice, you will be charged $25 per 30 min appointment scheduled. This policy is in place out of respect for our Doctor and our Hygienist. Cancellations with less than 2 business day notice are difficult to fill. By giving last minute notice or no notice at all, you prevent someone else from being able to schedule into that time slot. We look forward to seeing you at your upcoming appointment.