Gar N. Chan, DDS, INC

Senior Dental Care in Gilroy, CA

Why is Senior Dental Care Important?

Old man pointing at his smile

Good oral health and proper dental care are crucial at every stage of life but are even more critical for seniors.

As you age, your body loses its ability to heal quickly, and wear and tear damages the joints.

You develop health problems that you did not have when you were younger. Dental health is also adversely affected as you grow older.

There are several dental problems that seniors are likely to develop as they age, including:

Gum Disease

Plaque leads to gum disease and is made worse by poor oral care habits, tobacco use, poor diets, diabetes, and improperly fitting dentures.

Older individuals may also develop cancer, diabetes, or anemia, all of which increase the risk of gum disease.

In turn, receding gums can lead to tooth loss and infections.

Root Decay

Receding gums can lead to root decay that is not easily seen or felt until it is severe. Left untreated, root decay can spread to adjacent teeth and may eventually damage the jawbone.

Because tooth roots do not have enamel, they are more prone to dental caries.

Dry Mouth

Saliva helps wash away debris in the mouth and aids in preventing gum disease and cavities. As you age, your mouth produces less saliva.

Dry mouth can also be triggered by radiation treatments and certain medications.

Missing teeth

Missing teeth can lead to problems as the remaining teeth shift to fill the gap. The result is often problems with chewing and speaking.

You may also develop jaw misalignment.

If you are missing two or more teeth, you are less likely to eat well, leading to nutritional deficits. Getting missing teeth replaced is essential to your oral health.

Candida and Thrush

Poor dental hygiene and dentures that slip and shift can lead to overgrowth of the fungus Candida Albicans, which causes inflammation and pain in the mouth.

owth of the fungus Candida Albicans, which causes inflammation and pain in the mouth. Though often thought of as a childhood disease, Thrush often develops in seniors with a compromised immune system or who are taking certain medications.

Discolored Teeth

Many seniors attribute tooth discoloration or darkening to the normal process of aging.

However, multiple contributing factors if your teeth darken significantly, including enamel loss, decades of staining from foods, and smoking

Darkened teeth can also signify a dying tooth or infection beneath the surface.

Oral Cancer

The older you are, the higher your risk of developing oral cancers.

If you smoke or use tobacco of any kind, your risk increases sharply. Regular dental checkups can catch cancer symptoms earlier for more effective treatment.

Your oral health has a dramatic impact on your overall health. This becomes increasingly important as we age.

Certain illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, can worsen if you do not care for your teeth and gums.

Gum disease, in particular, can worsen certain heart conditions and contribute to the severity and incidence of strokes.

Seniors, especially those who smoke, have a higher risk of pneumonia and other bacterial infections.

How Can Seniors Improve Their Dental Health?

Happy elderly woman enjoying her beautiful toothy smile looking to the mirror in the dental office

There are many ways seniors can improve and protect their oral hygiene and dental health.

All seniors should follow these guidelines for healthy teeth and gums:

  • Floss once and brush twice daily.

    • If you have fine motor skill problems, look for an electric toothbrush to ensure you are brushing every surface. A soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste are best.
  • Do not skip denture care.

    • It may be tempting to occasionally skip removing and cleaning your dentures at night, but this leads to rapid bacterial growth
  • Plan to see your dentist at minimum twice a year.

    • Routine checkups and professional teeth cleaning are essential to good oral health.
    • A dentist and/or hygienist can also catch problems such as cavities before you have symptoms, making it easier to address the issue(s).
    • For those with compromising health issues, such as diabetes, dry mouth, or even medication side effects, more frequent maintenance visits may be recommended.
  • Reduce sugar consumption.

    • Sugar tends to stick to the teeth, encouraging acids to attack the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease.
  • Tell your dentist about all medications you take and all illnesses or conditions.

    • Many medications can contribute to dental problems that can be addressed if needed.
  • Dr. Chan can offer several solutions for symptoms, such as a dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking.

    • Smoking can lead to oral cancer, infections, and other problems. It is difficult to stop smoking after years, but your doctor can help.

How Gilroy Smiles Can Help

Dr. Chan and the Gilroy Smiles team

Good senior dental care should be an essential part of every senior’s life.

While there are many things seniors can do at home to preserve their dental health, there is no substitute for routine dental checkups.

Dr. Chan has provided exceptional dental care to seniors in the Gilroy area for forty years, getting to know each patient personally and following their health and wellness over time.

Among the routine services provided by Dr. Chan and his dental care team are dental cleaning, oral cancer screening, and preventive dental care.

He also offers complete restorative, periodontal and cosmetic procedures, including dental implants, dentures, gum disease treatment, and orthodontics.

Dr. Chan’s philosophy focuses on gentle, guided care and patient education, involving seniors in every step of their oral care.

He explains each procedure in clear, easy-to-understand terms and is always available if you have questions or concerns.

Advanced technologies, a calm demeanor, and welcoming, respectful staff make any visit to our office stress-free and pleasant at any age.

Dental problems are likely if you or a senior loved one have not seen a dentist in the past year.

It is time to make an appointment with Dr. Chan for a complete exam and teeth cleaning to protect your health as you age.

Contact our office at Office of Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. Phone Number 408-847-1234 to make your next appointment schedule online. We look forward to seeing you!

Can/Should You Go To The Dentist While Pregnant?

Pregnant woman making a heart shape with her hands on belly

Yes, absolutely because dental visits will help keep you and your baby safe.

Although your life becomes busy with trips to your obstetrician, baby showers, and decorating the nursery, your regular cleanings and dental exams become even more critical once you are pregnant because your oral health impact your overall health and the health of your baby.

Table of Contents

Are You in Need of Excellent Dental Care?

You can trust Dr. Chan for your general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry needs, as well as advanced dental treatments.

Call us: 408-847-1234

Safety Concerns

If you are reading this, you probably already realize the importance of oral care, but is it safe to go to the dentist while pregnant during coronavirus

A study released by the ADA reported that less than 1% of dentists were positive for COVID-19. Although this report surprised many because experts assumed positivity rates would be higher in dental offices, this good news was expected by those in the profession.

Dentists have always practiced impeccable infection controls, even before the pandemic. For years our office staff have worn gloves, masks, and personal protective equipment (PPE), used disposables, sterilized all instruments using multi-parameter indicators, disinfected countertops/surfaces, and employed patient safety glasses.

Although all facilities upped their sanitation practices to comply with COVID mandates, in general even before the pandemic, dental offices practiced optimal infection and safety controls and the low transmission rates reflect this.

Learn more about how our practice handles infection control

What Additional Measures Does the Practice Take to Ensure Safety?

Dentist wearing PPE

Now with the pandemic, dental visits to our office are a little different. Rest assured that the same level of care, skill, compassion, and level of expertise are still present

Dr. Chan and his staff strive to keep patients safe. That is why our office has extra precautions in place to help stop the spread

When you arrive at our office, we ask you to wait in your car to limit the number of patients inside at a time. We request you wear a mask until seated in the dental chair.

All patients must pass a temperature check and respond to a COVID-19 screening before their appointment. Also, we provide hand sanitizer and ask you to wash your hands frequently.

Our staff will be wearing additional personal protection equipment, such as face shields, hair covers. For certain procedures, high volume air filtration and suction HEPA and Ulta units will be utilized to filter out airborne contaminants. You may notice one in the reception room.

Pandemic or not, Dr. Chan wants to make sure you always have a beautiful, healthy smile. Whether you have a specific concern or just want to schedule dental prophylaxis (cleaning), our entire staff will go above and beyond to keep you safe and comfortable at all times.

What Dental Work Should Be Considered During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy dental services can be categorized into three main treatment types:

  1. Routine care: Examples include regular check ups and prophylaxis. If you’re getting an x-ray, let your dentist and staff know you are pregnant. They will use a lead apron to protect your developing fetus and your thyroid.
  2. Fillings and extractions: There is no risk to these procedures. Local anesthetics are safe in pregnancy.
  3. Considerable dental work: It is probably best to do it in the second or third trimester when you aren’t experiencing as much nausea, vomiting or gag reflex.

Dr. Chan will explain and help you to differentiate which cateogory your needs fall into and what will be best for you.

What Anesthetics Are Safe During Pregnancy?

Most local anesthetics are safe for both you and your baby. If there are compromising medical co-factors, ie. high blood pressure, history of allergic reactions, hypertension, anxiety, etc., then Dr. Chan will consider those conditions prior to your appointment and choose the appropriate anesthetic to administer

Mepivicaine HCl 3% with or without vasoconstrictor, is often used for pregnant patients because it is short-acting.

Whenever a pregnant patient presents with the need for dental treatment including providing local anesthesia, Dr. Chan always assesses the individual’s current physiological and psychological status prior to proceeding.

Are X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, x-rays are safe during pregnancy, especially since we utilize digital low dose equipment and employ the use of a lead apron to screen out any scatter radiation; however, when we are aware that a patient is expecting, we usually defer taking a full mouth set of radiographs until after delivery.

Instead, we take only one or two single radiographs to further minimize any exposure to the developing fetus.

As has been Dr. Chan’s philosophy throughout his dental career, he is conservative and conscientious in practice.

How Does Dental Health Impact Pregnancy

Preventative check-ups, including exams and prophylaxis are essential during pregnancy, especially if you are struggling to keep up with your oral hygiene regimen at home due to morning sickness and a more sensitive gag reflex.

Infections in the mother, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can pose a risk to your baby’s health. Current research shows an undeniably strong correlation between the existence of gum disease and inducing early labor, premature births, and underweight babies.

What Oral Health Problems Can Develop During Pregnancy?


Several oral health issues may develop or worsen throughout your pregnancy. Continuing with and/or increasing your visits and/or dental prophylaxis can alleviate many of these problems and allow you and your dentist and dental hygienist to work together to treat any concerns early.


During pregnancy hormone levels increase and can lead to an escalation in plaque levels, resulting in your gums becoming inflamed, tender, and bleeding easily. This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis.

Untreated, this can progress to more severe forms of periodontal disease and can potentially result in permanently losing both supportive bone and gum tissue around teeth, in tooth decay, and eventual tooth loss.

Fortunately, regular brushing, flossing, dental check-ups, and possibly more frequent visits during pregnancy can help you manage this condition.

Stained teeth

During pregnancy, several products are known to cause staining on the new mother’s teeth or the later on the baby’s newly erupted teeth. They include iron supplements, chlorhexidine mouthwash, and tetracycline antibiotics.

  • Although Iron supplements help to support your growing baby, these supplements can cause dark spots on your teeth. Instead, drinking the liquid form through a straw or mixing it with water or fruit juice, or taking it in pill form will help keep the supplement staining your teeth.
  • Chlorhexidine mouthwash is typically prescribed to treat gum disease but can cause brown stains. Avoid consuming other dark foods and beverages while using this mouthwash
  • Tetracycline, a commonly used antibiotic, is absorbed through the placenta to the developing fetus. It can affect developing baby’s teeth and cause permanent dark grey or brown staining when the baby’s teeth erupt later


Dysgeusia is a state of impaired taste. Occasionally pregnant women express having a metallic taste in their mouths

The condition is temporary and is linked to changing hormones and water retention which affect your taste buds.

You may find it helpful to chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless sweets to help with any metallic aftertaste you are experiencing. If you like spicy foods, the spiciness often offsets the metallic taste.


Ptyalism is excessive production of saliva or hypersalivation. This condition is common in women experiencing severe morning sickness.

While the links between pregnancy and ptyalism are still unclear, there are several things you can do to ease any discomfort, including regularly sipping on water, eating a balanced diet, and reducing meal size.

Other ways to alleviate excess saliva include, increasing meal frequency, chewing sugar-free gum, and continuing to follow a dental health regimen.


Research has shown that people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease. This is due to higher blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, which feed the plaque-building bacteria.

In other studies those with diabetes have been shown to have a genetic predisposition to gum disease.

Since pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of gingivitis, careful monitoring of your oral health is particularly crucial if you have diabetes and are, or considering becoming, pregnant.

Food cravings

The increasing frequency of eating and drinking due to food cravings may lead to cavities and gum disease unless you continue to brush twice daily and floss every day.

When Is the Best Time To Have A Dental Visit While Pregnant?

The second trisemester is the most optimal time to schedule your dental appointment(s)


Pregnancy is a time for many healthcare visits. While it is tempting to skip the dentist, that is one appointment you should not put off. It is safe and beneficial for you to keep your dental visits while pregnant.

Going back is certain, but school COVID-19 procedures still unclear

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on June 11, 2021 at 9:43 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Natalia Gurevich. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

Summer is going by fast, and the state’s reopening next week is sure to rev things up even more.

For those who are still in school or have children still in school, it’s still unclear what the fall semester is going to look like.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at UCSF and Associate Division Chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, offered her take on the dilemma. “Fortunately, children are less likely to be exposed as more and more people get vaccinated,” Dr. Gandhi told KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” on Thursday. “Like a child who is less than 12, they are protected by the low rates of community transmission and everyone else’s immunity around them.”

Dr. Gandhi herself has an 11-year-old, she added, and in the city at least she hasn’t been too worried. “We do a lot of swabbing here in San Francisco, and there were 12 cases a day at the most, with a very low test-positivity rate.”

With returning to school, Dr. Gandhi acknowledged that there is a lot up in the air. With more and more vaccinations happening, numbers get adjusted.

“All the past openings, surges and subsequent closings wouldn’t happen now, she said, with all these high rates of community immunity. “When you open schools in the fall, if our community transmission and hospitalization rates stay low,” she said. “Then the way a child is protected is through that.”

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, that reopened schools where children aren’t masked at all, there was no increase in cases among children, she added.

Overall, Dr. Gandhi is excited for the next steps the state is taking.

“We are standing in a very wonderful position because we have these vaccines and we’re very lucky,” said Dr. Gandhi. “June 15 is going to be a great day, I think it’s an important day to say that the state is opening.”

But we aren’t out of the woods yet.

“I think we still need some residual clarity around masking, which is confusing at the moment,” she said.

Globally, COVID-19 vaccine distribution is still far behind in low-income countries, she added. Dr. Gandhi hopes to turn her attention there.

Ask an Expert: Why Are There Varying Reports of How Well Vaccines Work?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on March 2nd, 2021 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

The FDA granted an emergency use authorization to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the weekend after experts concluded that the vaccine is highly effective. But reports of just how well the vaccine works have varied from 66 percent to 72 percent to 85 percent, causing some confusion.
“They had several different endpoints and they had studies going on in different countries. So think of it as a kind of table,” explained Dr. George Rutherford, Director of the Prevention and Public Health Group at UC San Francisco.

Johnson & Johnson tracked how well its vaccine worked at preventing asymptomatic infection, mild to moderate disease, critical and severe disease and death, as well as the results in the U.S. versus worldwide.

“So that’s why you’re seeing so many different percentages,” he said.

The vaccine was found to be 66 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 across the world, and 72 percent effective in the U.S. When looking at severe cases only, it was 85 percent effective.

Importantly, no one in the clinical trial who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has died from the virus.

“I tend to think of this as being between 80 percent to 85 percent effective, and that kind of gives us the benefit of the doubt for looking just at the U.S. data,” said Dr. Rutherford. “Because they recruited a lot of patients in South Africa where these other variants are.

Dr. Rutherford added that people should not worry too much about the varying levels of efficacy reported between the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“You don’t know it until you put them out there together and really race head to head, and so these vaccines were NOT compared head to head,” he explained.

For example, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial was somewhat later in the pandemic after variants started to become more prominent.

He said as the vaccine is distributed widely, more data will be compiled to look at how the vaccines perform under the same conditions.

Many public health experts have said that all three vaccines available in the U.S. will significantly reduce your risk of becoming hospitalized or dying because of COVID-19, and people should take whichever vaccine becomes available to them.

For more information, please contact Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. at Office of Gar N. Chan, D.D.S., Inc. Phone Number 408-847-1234 today!

For Your Protection – The Air Doctor

For the past several weeks  visitors to our office may have noticed a slight humming noise emanating from a white box sitting on our reception room floor.  This unit is known as the Air Doctor and it helps to remove and filter the following:

  • Smoke  (0.1-1 microns)
  • Bacteria (.02-0.2 microns)
  • Viruses (0.1-1 microns)
  • Pollen (10-20 microns)
  • Mold (10 microns)
  • Dust Mite (50 microns)

The Air Doctor Filtration unit is now being used in our dental office to further protect our patients and staff from air borne contaminants.

AirDoctor’s UltraHEPA™ Filter

is 100 times more effective than ordinary HEPA filters, capturing 100% of some of the most dangerous ultra fine particles as small as .003 microns in size.  

Wishing Our Wonderful Staff A Happy Valentine’s Day !

Our staff is deserving of being called “Sweet” because of all the wonderful ways they treat our family, friends and each other.  Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan, Renee, Dayna and Sandra!

And not to forget our very special Cyndi for all that she does to support and encourage our patients towards healthier habits and patterns. Happy Valentines, Cyndi!

Ask An Expert: Should You Get A COVID Vaccine If You Are Immunocompromised?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on January 11th, 2021 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following information was prepared by Jessica Yi. This blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

Ask An Expert

While the FDA has approved both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for widespread use, neither were testing in individuals who are immunocompromised, a normal practice in clinical trials for new drugs.

“Efficacy is the big question,” in deciding whether or not immunocompromised patients should still get the vaccine, explained Dr. David Cohn, chief medical officer at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Cohn told KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” the issue is not whether or not the vaccine is safe for these patients, but if their immune system will mount a response to the vaccine in the intended way.

“It’s that level of immune response that’s going to protect somebody from developing this severe infection if they were exposed to the virus,” he said.

“But here’s the important point: we know that patients that have COVID-19 and cancer or who’ve been treated do develop an immune response. That means that these patients will still develop some level of immunity or protection from the virus.

“What Dr. Fauci has stated – and many have followed – is that some level of protection is better than none.

Patients who are taking medications that impact their immune system in some way should consult their doctors about when to schedule their vaccines.

“We want to time a vaccination, if it’s possible, at a place where somebody has the highest possibility of an immune response,” Dr. Cohn explained.

There are always some risks associated with getting a vaccine, particularly for those with a history of severe allergic reactions, and patients who are on other medications should consult their doctor before getting vaccinated.

However, he said the advice in most cases will be to get the shot.

“There’s very few conditions in which we would not recommend that somebody be vaccinated against COVID-19, and I would just make the comment that this is certainly a time of hope where we can begin seeing some light at the end of what’s become a very, very long tunnel.”

CPR Certification Renewal

Every two years dental professionals are required to be certified in CPR as part of their licensure renewal. This year Dr. Chan requested the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) course be taught on site in our office to all staff members to build consistency, coordination and teamwork. After passing our on-line coursework, Eric Colfer, HeartShare Instructor, observed us as we practiced CPR on AMA approved manikins in both adult and infant sizes with electronic feedback to ensure that we achieved the correct depth and rate of chest compressions for effective CPR.

Saving Lives

What Is CPR?
CPR is short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Everyday CPR saves lives and it can be learned by anybody.
In cases of drowning, choking, heart attack and other instances where a person’s blood supply to the brain is interrupted because of the inability to breathe or when the heart stops pumping every second counts and CPR can afford a person those seconds to keep permanent brain damage from setting in.

Why Would You Need To USE CPR In A Dental Setting??
Those who work in dental offices will rarely (if ever) have to deal with life-threatening emergencies. But sometimes, at-risk patients such as the elderly and those medically compromised will undergo procedures that will aggravate pre-existing conditions, or will have adverse reactions to anesthesia. Among the possible emergencies that a dental staff may encounter, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the among the most likely to result in the death of a patient.

Treating sudden cardiac arrest will require a coordinated effort on the part of staff in order to effectively activate the “Chain of Survival” required to afford the victim the best chance of recovery. For the first responder, this will include rapid activation of EMS personnel, rapid defibrillation, and early application of effective CPR. These steps must be initiated as quickly as possible, and thus requires premium, frequent training for the entire office staff. This means keeping everyone up-to-date on their CPR certifications, and training the staff as a cohesive unit, rather than everyone learning separately.

What Is An AED?
AED stands for Automatic External Defibrillator, an electronic device used for monitoring abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias. It helps in checking heart activity and it can also be used as “defibrillator”.to help restore a normal heart rhythm.

Our office has an AED unit. Our wonderful staff keeps it charged in the event it is needed. Fortunately, throughout the years, we have never had to employ it.

An AED or automated external defibrillator is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and is able to stop the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.

We did it!