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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Preventive dental care proves key to a healthy smile

For those who aren’t invested in periodic dental maintenance and disease prevention, pain may be the ultimate motivator to initiate a dental relationship.

However, pain tends to reflect that the disease is in its advanced stages with a less favorable prognosis and a more invasive, expensive treatment option. I often hear from new patients that they’ve postponed scheduling an appointment because they didn’t have dental insurance and were awaiting this benefit.

I would like to present a realistic picture of what dental insurance is and what it is not. Unlike typical medical insurance, dental insurance is not “coverage.” It is designed to offset the costs of dental treatment, and for people requiring extensive dentistry, it is nothing more than a “dental coupon.”

Many of these dental co-payment plans allow the same maximum benefit per year they allowed when they began in the early 1970s. In other words, reflecting inflation, a typical $1,500 benefit is equal to approximately $140 in today’s dollars. Had insurance companies increased their benefits on a year-by-year basis, reflecting inflation, this $1,500 benefit would be equivalent to more than $5,000 today.

Some patients who come in for an initial examination after many years of neglect expect that now, equipped with dental insurance, they will get healthy. Depending on their state of disease, there often is not enough benefit in the plan to get them beyond the disease and back to health. There’s no doubt that dentistry can be costly, especially when there’s a lot of disease to treat.

Unfortunately, I often find patients quickly hitting their insurance maximum and then waiting an entire year to pursue further treatment. Of course, the disease itself doesn’t delay in causing more damage. For patients with higher dental risk, this behavior can make achieving dental health an impossibility. They remain in a perpetual state of disease.

The power of protecting you against this negative cycle, whether you have dental insurance or not, lies with prevention. Most dental disease is caused by the presence of bacterial plaque. It degrades tooth structure in the form of cavities but also leads to the inflammatory processes in the gums and bone, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Understanding what you personally can do to remove plaque is the key to prevention. Just going to the dentist for periodic maintenance is not enough. It is what you’re doing every day out of the dental chair that matters the most.

In my experience, the majority of patients (adults and children) could benefit from and are receptive to receiving toothbrushing and dental-flossing coaching techniques from their dental professionals. People are not born with this knowledge. Many dental offices are so busy treating disease on a large volume of patients that they cannot or do not devote any time to preventive education.

It seems that today’s dentistry continues to place a heavier emphasis on technical treatments to “fix” disease and market impressive gadgetry. There’s no question that providing the best treatment available and a commitment to constantly better technical skills is critical for every dental professional’s growth. It’s also true that many modern technologies enable us to provide better treatment.

However, when I sit down with my new patients face to face and ask them what they want for their dental future, it never includes, “I want more fillings, crowns or root canal treatment.” Unanimously, people want to avoid tooth loss, avoid problems, avoid pain and maintain what they have.

In my experience, people want no dentistry and more freedom from the dentist. If you are receiving ongoing treatment for dental problems with no sense as to why the problems occurred and what to do to prevent them in the future, the most significant aspect of your dental care isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Prevention is power.

Dr. Ken Schweifler practices dentistry at 802 Altos Oaks Drive in Los Altos. For more information, call 941-2166 or visit www.dentistlosaltos.com.

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