Sat02132016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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