Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pulling aside the curtain...

Here's link to see photos of members of my dental family in 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Social Media: a new way to interact with others?

Give it a try and let's see who we know in common and learn abit more about each other. Please practice "safe" social media networking! : )

"friend" me on facebook at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wandering Mind: To Chicago and back again

I'm sitting here in Chicago, sorta listening to the lecturer that's presenting to me and about 70 dentists and key staff members. There's snow all around and it's 18F outside. This is really different weather than what the Central Valley is experiencing right now. Having grown up in the Valley, it's so unusual to me to see snow at pretty much sea level. I'm used to having to travel up to 7000 to 8000 foot elevation before any snow stays around! Fortunately, I do have my down coat that only comes out of the closet when I have travel East of the Rockies during the wintertime!

All the Christmas lights and decorations are up and twinkle brilliantly at night with the reflected lights dancing off the snow. Last night, the hotel shuttle driver making the run between the hotel and the local outdoor mall (it's below freezing, and this Chicago suburban shopping mall is "outdoors". Funny that 100F+ weather warrants indoor shopping malls in the Valley, but not in blustery, ice-cold Chicago in December!)slowed down as we went past an ornately decorated home. The shuttle driver's country of origin is Senegal. He believes in the American Dream. He's living the American Dream. He was remarking on how his 4 year old daughter calls him every day to find out when he gets off work. She won't go to bed until he's home. To me, this is a real slice of what the United States represents. That you are given the opportunity to improve your circumstances. This is way different than just expecting to have your lot in life improve with little effort on your part.

I disagree with a recent politician's remarks that people around the world no longer respect us or that our aspirations are meaningless. We can choose to be successful...yes, we may fail in our attempts to succeed, but nobody is actively stopping us from trying. We have opposing groups and opinions, but the rule of law still plays an active role in this county. You only have to read about countries where there are warlords and tribes based on familial and religious ties and very few societal institutions that protect the less fortunate. Heck, in about 90% of the habitable areas on earth, someone such as myself, an educated, christian woman wouldn't even be allowed to exist!

So as my mind's wandering, I think: I really dislike how the media seems so eager to emphasize the negative. They so love bad news. Look how triumphant they sound the horn about increasing unemployment rates. Hey, newsflash, in our area, traditionally we have a higher unemployment rate due to less seasonal agriculturally based jobs anyway. So how valid is that statistic. How does it compare to previous years' rates? I remember a popular college textbook titled "How to Lie with Statistics". Yep, you can slant numbers anyway you want to support your opinion.

What's my point to my thoughts? 'Tis the season of goodwill. Remember and find the good in people. Seek the best out of the world and you'll attract and receive the best of what the world has to offer. Love your friends and family. Don't have any family or friends...then go make some! Read any of the books in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. Let's make 2009 meaningful and terrific...despite the media doom and gloom. Let's prove those talking heads on TV wrong! Power to the people...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How Can a Fresno-Madera County Resident Whiten a Smile?

Your high school reunion is coming up and you want your smile to be its brightest. Or maybe you have an important speaking engagement? Whatever the reason, tooth whitening isn’t just for movie star celebrities, and it isn’t just a temporary fad. Many people have had their teeth whitened or “bleached”, and probably hundreds more are thinking about doing it. Tooth whitening safely lightens the color of your teeth lasting for up to 5 years(depending on if you smoke, drink double espressos, etc). Many people feeling much more confident about themselves when their smile is no longer a source.

We are pleased to offer and in-office “power” whitening procedure, called Zoom!. You may have seen this system used on the TV show “Extreme Makeover”. Dr. Lee believes this system safely and effectively “jumpstarts” your whitening process. This greatly reduces the frequency you may need to wear custom made whitening or bleaching trays maintain Your new shade with “touch-up” gel applications that you do yourself. This is great for people on-the-go. We will continue to offer the traditional procedure that requires wearing custom made trays 45 minutes twice a day for 5 to 10 days. The non-ZOOM! system is better suited for people with sensitive teeth, ie many fillings or crowns, post-orthodontic treatment or receded gumline areas; or have deeper discoloration due to oral antibiotics.

Dr. Treva Diane Lee would be happy to determine whether you are a candidate for teeth whitening and which system would provide you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Almost Fall and it's Back to School Time!

It' s now been over a month since most of the kids in the local Fresno, Central, and Clovis Unified School Districts( besides the private faith-based schools) have resumed their daily routines and attendance. Oh, but the mad scrambling of schedules to accommodate the after-school activities that are no longer available on campus. Transportation is a big deal. And carpools only work in a limited fashion.

Gone are the days when a school's auditorium or classrooms or playing fields were readily available for use by groups whose members were students at that school. Remember Camp Fire Girls? Girl Scouts? Boy Scouts? Pick-up basketball,football, baseball, and soccer games? No after-school meetings of student groups for extra-curricular activities unless it's a strictly organized rehearsal or practice. or "extended daycare" with an actual teacher or administrator present. Hey, now a days a bunch of kids aren't even allowed to hang around after-school to even kick a ball around on their own. And we wonder why kids aren't getting as much physical play time?

Gone are the overloaded bike racks of yore, when everyone rode their bikes or walked to school. We're too scared to allow our kids the independence that we had. And if we do, and something does happen to them, then we run the risk of being accused of bad parenting. What a "Catch-22". Children must now be promptly picked up...heaven forbid that a parent's vehicle should have mechanical problems! The school has the authority to report such dereliction of parental duties to Child Protective Services. Public transportation? The bus system is so inconvenient. It doesn't go where you want and when you want it. And again, children riding unsupervised? Such an idea!

I know, I know. The schools' cannot assume the liability for what happens to student's once the school day has ended. But they barely want to assume the liability during the regular school day also. Common sense doesn't seem to prevail as regards students and medications. Asthma inhalers are kept locked up in the school office, and the office workers aren't allowed to administer them to the kids. So if your child has an asthma attack on the playground or classroom, that inhaler is really going to do them a lot of good in a locked cabinet? Same thing for diabetes medications. The extra syringes and needles and insulin aren't going to anyone much good if the child cannot keep them in his backpack and readily available. Ditto for anti-bee sting adrenalin pre-loaded syringes. And the zero tolerance policy on medications makes those Pamprin or MIdol tablets that we used to take during "that time of the month" ( especially when adolescent cycles are just establishing themselves with varying degrees of discomfort) totally banned and grounds for suspension and expulsion! Didn't know we were such subversive elements in our youth!

All the legal mumbo-jumbo twists things around to point that those that the rules and laws are supposed to protect, are actually harmed by the threat of legal action based on the very language of those rules and laws. I still maintain that it seems that oftentimes something may be legal, but it's neither moral nor ethical to continue down a certain path to accomplish a goal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dental Insurance, Yes or No?

Question: Does anyone know of a good dental coverage plan??...asked by:hope0806 on health forum

Answer: Unfortunately, a "good" dental plan does not exist for individuals. The best value is those plans bundled together with medical plan premiums (usually only found through large employee groups like school districts, large companies, etc.)which are paid for with "pre-tax" dollars and are not overly restrictive of your choice of dentists. I am really not being self-serving when I inform people that you may want to reconsider plans that only pay a benefit when you use their soon will you be seen? Will the doctor be reachable after hours? Will the plan require that your doctor use the 'least expensive treatment' (not necessarily the best). I really dislike that interference in the doctor-patient relationship and decision making. What happens if you are out-of-town...will the plan still pay a "non-participating doctor"?

I once was a "provider" in a pre-paid discount plan. It was too frustrating for me and my patients. The limitations for treatment and the expectations of what was to be provided were not realistic. The lists of doctors and specialists look extensive, until patients try to see if the office is still accepting new patients on their plan. I quit the plan because there were no specialists within 45 miles on the plan, and people did not understand how little the plan actually benefited them. Plus, I could not ethically allow my patients to receive sub-standard treatment just because it was cheaper.

Rule of thumb that I tell my patients is if you have to pay more than $600 aftertax premiums a year for so-called dental insurance by itself, then you are are better off just paying for routine exams, xrays, and healthy gum cleanings on your own. You won't go over $600. Even with investments in your dental health like root canal nerve therapy or crowns, most plans will max out after $1000-$1500 is used.( The maximum benefit hasn't changed in over 40 years. If benefits kept up with equal value of medical benefits, dental benefits would be about $6400 annually) Dental insurance is useful, but the way it's structured, it will never pay for someone to be brought back to total dental health in a timely manner.

Third party financing, like a separate healthcare credit card (good at ER's, vets, MD's, etc) have really made it affordable for people to get the treatment they need and want. On the interest-free plans, the practice/doctor pays for the finance charges and interest. I know the insurance people don't like me saying this, but: 1. you do get what you pay for, and 2. almost 87 cents for every healthcare dollar(that includes medical plans) goes to the insurance company (its administrators,claims delayers, oops! I mean claims processors, executives, shareholders and commissioned salespeople), only 13 cents actually goes to pay for actual care (labs, hospitals, doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.)

If I ruled the world, we would truly provide monetary incentives for people to stay healthy and figure out ways to make doing preventive stuff profitable. The way healthcare is right now, the more procedures and treatment that is done, the more profitable it is for the providers. By helping my patients stay healthy, I actually "hurt" the profitability of my business. Something's wrong with that business model.

Treva D. Lee, DDS, MAGD
Help for Smiles of All Ages

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer Time Memories

I'm searching for our bug spray, sunscreen, Uno playing cards, marshmallow roasting forks. Into stuff sacks the sleeping bags go. How many spiders did it take to make all those cobwebs on our folding chairs? Do we get a 1 day fishing license or a season pass? In 48 hours we'll be able to see the stars, smell the pines and feel the cool mountain air. And my 2 kids will just have to do without any "screen" time, ie, TV screen, computer monitor screen, or DS Nintendo screen. Our mini-van is too old to have a DVD player built in, and my husband and I have held our ground on making it a-portable -DVD- player-free-zone. The only screen they may see in the coming week is the outdoor movie screen at Pinecrest Lake. It's like a pedestrian's version of a drive-in movie theatre.

It's an unwritten rule with the other families that video devices are verboten! MP3 players for music are ok, but not to view video. Use those eyes to really see what's around you.
We might even have some real conversations that will encourage them to actually express an opinion and defend it. Time will slow down where they'll be allowed to have their adventures sloshing around in the creek, telling ghost stories 'round the campfire, paddleboating on the lake, and getting way too sunburned because they ignored mom's advice. Heck, I'll even let them make and eat gooey, sticky, sweet s'mores!

It's old-fashioned and nostalgic to attend Family Camp...where waiting your turn to use the showers and saying "please", "thankyou" and "pass that platter of food" are the rule and not the exception. Where the kids are allowed to figure out their own pecking order free of parental interference and egos. Where the college-aged counselors are role models and they know it and behave accordingly! A place where I first allowed my children to go to the bathroom unaccompanied by me, their dad, or another relative. And where they learn lessons like mosquitos are especially hungry and fierce at dusk! Or ants are much bigger in the mountains. Or the ground squirrels and stellars jays are aggressive foragers and think nothing of rifling through your belongings.

Here's to making summertime memories!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Have We Forgotten How to Think?

It seems like lately there have been plenty of "doom & gloom" stories of how the United States is lagging behind our European and Asian counterparts when it comes to educating our population about science and technology. Our kids K-12 do not score as well on science and math tests compared to their global peers.

As a society, our US culture has always seemed to hold athletic prowess above academic achievement...traditionally, rallies were held for football and basketball team events, but never for forensic or music competitions. Our entertainment is more important. Tickets for a professional football game can cost more than a visit to the doctor that may improve our quality and longevity of our lives. Are those screwed-up values, or what?

Many of our teachers themselves were taught science and math in boring and confusing classes. No wonder that attitude carries over to when they have to teach their pupils. Have you seen the science and math textbooks currently in use now? In an attempt to seem more interesting, their layouts are colorful, but totally illogical in their presentation of facts. Sometimes rote learning is all that is require and needed...there is no extensive reasoning associated with why 2+2=4. Or why a rectangle has 4 sides! Some of these textbooks seem to fill up their pages with words just so their author can justify their reason for publishing a "new" version. Some textbooks written 40 years ago seem to be more reasonable and give concrete examples of practical problems and solutions. Like, "If you need to pour concrete in a semicircular area with a radius of 10', and each bag of concrete can cover 2.5 sq ft, how many bags of concrete will you need?" None of these silly "if train A leaves the station A at noon and travels 40 mph towards station B, and train B leaves station B at 12:25pm and travels 60 mph towards station A, when will they crash into each other?" Who the heck cares? Who would ever need to make that kind of calculation?

Science helps us describe the world around us, it helps us describe ourselves. It attempts to organize and explain. Science is what provides us sustenance and shelter. It even gives us an appreciation for things on a more spiritual plane as there is so much we still cannot explain.

However, science, math, and associated fields do require you to think! To analyze and form opinions and judgements based on what is seen, on facts...not emotions or conjecture. All too often people really do not want to take the time and effort to really think things through. They are too work, they just go through the motions just to pull a paycheck. At home, they have no interest in improving their minds, and therefore the opportunity to improve their position in society, help their family, or help their community. It would be considered outrageous to request them to read up on something related to work on their own time. TV or computer games waste away a lot of leisure time. It really is a kind of selfish existence. And their kids have these parents as their role models.

We allow the news media to present their version of what is "news". Editors are just that, they edit an article not so much for space reasons, but more so for content. Creative cut & paste can make any article sound totally different than what was originally reported. The Internet is a great medium for exchange of information, but it's a two-edge sword. There is lots of misinformation out there also. And if we choose to not really think about the source or credibility or validity of the information, then we really will find ourselves in "Alice in Wonderland" where the normal rules do not apply. Even this blog is just one person's is not fact, but there has been some thought behind it.

Be skeptical. Challenge people when they express an opinion. Ask them what they think, not what they feel. Encourage questions. Ask why?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Get the Lead Out! by Your Fresno, Central Valley Dentist

Seems like China is having a problem keeping things from where they're not supposed to be. The pet food scandal with melamine contamination, lead in children's crayons and toys, and now lead contamination showing up in porcelain & metal crowns/caps that are placed in people's mouths. Air transport shipping has made it economically feasible to ship dental lab cases off-shore to China where for a myriad of reasons it costs less than if fabrication took place in the United States. Workmanship can be quite good and comparable quality in the best of scenarios. At the worst, you may end up getting what you pay for: cheap materials with compromised quality.

Apparently in China there few regulatory agencies that have much authority to act on behalf of the consumer. It's definitely "let the buyer beware". Some dentists may be unaware that their US based laboratory has shipped their patients lab case overseas. Please be assured that the dental labs I use are very local: 2 are within 2o miles of my dental office, one other is located in Southern California and is adamant about their "made in USA" status.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gold and you, from your Central Valley cosmetic family dentist!

Howdy, this will be a place where yours truly will put random and not so random thoughts down for all the world to see. For starters, usually people will consider how jewelry prices may increase as the cost of gold increases. It's at an all-time high nearing $1000/oz! So all those pretty earrings, rings, bracelets, watches and settings for bling will set you back some dollars ( or euros) at a price much higher than just 6 months ago.

Gold, however, is used in electronics and also less obvious items made for human useage. I'm talking about the gold alloys (gold, mixed with other metals or chemicals to create a stronger metal) commonly found in older fillings and the caps or crowns placed on teeth to preserve and restore chewing function and improve one's appearance. Even many of the porcelain tooth-colored crowns have a gold alloy substructure onto which the porcelain is baked and layered onto. So your local dentist and dental lab technician is feeling the pinch of gold's rising value on the global market. Eventually these costs get passed onto the dental patient. Gold alloys have the unique properties of being easy to shape and polish...qualities admired in jewelry and also in the fabrication of crowns, besides not triggering any immune response from the human body. Ever notice how some cheap earrings or bracelets can cause your skin to itch? It's the non-precious or non-gold metals that are causing an allergic response in your body.

Crowns can now be made out of non-metal materials, but the process is less forgiving to obtain a high quality restoration. And until recently, more expensive than the traditional method of making a crown for a tooth. Also, until recently the esthetics of non-metal crowns left something to be desired. They are however, improving in appearance as newer materials are developed. Ahh, but now there seems to be a backlash about using synthetic materials in the human body, so we may just end up going "back to the future" and using gold.

If you'd like more information regarding possible options for restoring your teeth and smile in a no-guilt, no-lecture environment, then checkout my website: or contact my office at 559-226-3010.