It's Hard to "Just Say No"

Thanks Certifiably Kissable for such a “tasty” article (see below).  Growing up as a kid, with both my mom and dad as dentists, there was NO popcorn in our house, however, I cannot lie, there were times when we were treated to movie theatre popcorn.  That said, I strongly recommend you limit the amount of popcorn you eat, eat in moderation and for those who don’t practice solid dental hygiene or have any type of gum related issues, just say no.  I’ve seen many patients come to the office with a broken or cracked tooth caused by biting an un-popped corn kernel.

Dr. Gerald Bittner, Sr. (Retired)

Dr. Gerald Bittner, Sr. (Retired)

It’s always easier said than done to just say no.  If you just can’t resist the popcorn, and I totally understand, here are my suggestions to maintain your healthy and happy smile:

  1. Stay away from the extra’s (butter, salt, caramel, etc.), eat naked popcorn, it really is healthier
  2. Eat only a couple of pieces at a time and chew slowly
  3. Stay away from the bottom of the popcorn bowl, bag or bucket (that’s where the un-popped kernels live)
  4. Drink water and “swish”
  5. Floss, brush and rinse after your snack

Enjoy the read.

Popcorn:  Friend or Foe?

by Certifiably Kissable

Go to any farmers market these days and you are almost guaranteed to find a line of people waiting for a bag of freshly popped kettle corn.  People love it!  Especially when coated in salt, butter and sometimes, when we are lucky, drizzled with a batch of chocolate, caramel or some other confectionary delight. I’m sure we can all agree that this is the popcorn that makes our mouths water but let’s admit it, we know the extra calories, fat and sugar is just not good for us.


So why is popcorn called the “healthy” snack alternative?  “Naked” popcorn, with no salt, butter, caramel, etc. is what the fuss is all about.  Here are the nutritional facts:

Hands down, this is a very tough snack to beat but you also need to take into consideration your oral health.  From a “teeth” friendly perspective, popcorn has to be one of the top 5 foods to avoid.  Why?  Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. The thin husks from the popcorn can get stuck between your teeth, especially your back teeth and can lead to possible infection.
  2. The bacteria in your mouth that causes acid loves popcorn, especially the little pieces that get stuck between your teeth.
  3. The final and most immediate reason is the number of broken and cracked teeth that result from biting down on un-popped kernels. 

If you have a love for popcorn that won’t quit, be sure to talk to your dentist or hygienist and make sure your gums and teeth won’t be adversely affected by your popcorn choices.  Keep your smile healthy and happy, be sure to brush twice daily, floss and rinse.  And don’t forget to visit your dentist at least every six months.


Complementary IRONMAN 70.3 Training: A Reason to Smile!

If riding a bike for 30 miles, running for an hour and swimming 1500 yards makes you smile then we have the event for you.  The Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz is approaching quickly, September 10, 2017.  There is a complementary training day (no need to be a Bay Club or Breakaway member) this Saturday, August 12, 2017  for all levels, including beginners.  Thanks to for the information.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Saturday (8/12): Open Water Swim and Bike ride

  • 6:30am- Depart SF for Santa Cruz (1 hr. 20 min travel time)
  • 8:30am- Launch Open Water Swim (Swim around the Santa Cruz Municipal Pier)
  • 9:30am- Launch Long Bike Ride (Endurance ride with race efforts. Riders will have the choice to ride the full 70.3 bike course or the Olympic course.) 
  • 2:00pm: Lunch at Pono Hawaiian Grill (Hang out at boardwalk/ beach and stay in Santa Cruz overnight. Long run on Sunday morning and return back to SF after.)

Please remember, since this is a complementary training, there will be no provided SAG support on the swim or bike. Please be advised that the swim is challenging and you should have a solid foundation of swimming to participate. For beginner swimmers, you can do an out-n-back from the beach. Please bring tubes, co2, multi tool and nutrition for bike course. There is a stop to refuel in Davenport.

For the actual IRONMAN 70.3 SANTA CRUZ race day, check out the official ironman website:

According to the organizers, “The race starts on the Santa Cruz Main Beach, east of the wharf. A 1.2 mile ocean swim will kick off the day. Athletes will begin the bike course at Depot Park as they head out on a rolling course providing numerous beautiful vistas along the California coastline. The scenic out-and-back run course traverses the Natural Bridges State Park and Wilder Ranch State Park, with the turnaround on the rugged ocean bluffs. Athletes will return to finish on the beach in front of the main stage at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.”

What an amazing event right here in our own back yard, we hope to be seeing you and your smile in Santa Cruz.

The Secret to Your New Invisalign® Smile

There are three things that make up an Invisalign® smile.  Invisalign®.

The first is the proven Invisalign® technology, which has successfully changed the smiles of over 2,000,000 people worldwide.  There is no question about it, Invisalign® works! 

The second is the experience of the Invisalign® provider.  At Bittner Family Dental Group we have successfully provided more than 1,000 of our patients with beautiful Invisalign® smiles.  We’ve invested in the latest technologies, including the itero scanner, to provide Invisalign® with the highest precision digital scans.  Because of this digital technology, our patients receive the best aligner fit possible.   In addition, we provide our staff with hundreds of hours in Invisalign® training each year, allowing us the ability to offer our patients the newest in Invisalign technology..  We are truly investing in making your Invisalign® smile a reality.

The third and most important piece in achieving an Invisalign® smile is you, our patient.  Based on our experience we believe there are two things you must do in order to get your desired smile.  The first is wear your aligners, 20-22 hours per day.  The second is for you to have access to ask and get the right answers to any of your Invisalign® questions.

Like a three-legged stool, take any leg away and the stool will fall over.  We’ve invested in Invisalign® because we know it works.  We’ve invested in the technology and in our staff, we are proven to deliver.  We love our patients, and for you to be successful, you need the same level and quality of support that Invisalign® provides us.  Our commitment is to provide you with the support you need.  Working together, we know you’ll get the results you want, we’ve seen it over and over again.

Based on our experience, we’ve put together the “Invisalign® Smile Success Guide” to help you understand what you need to know and do, all for one common goal, getting you the smile you desire.

Invisalign® Smile Success Guide: What You Need to Know and Do

The Top 15 Ways to Get More from Invisalign®

  1. Wear your Invisalign® aligners 20-22 hours per day
  2. Only take your aligners out to eat, drink, brush and floss
  3. Properly wear and remove your aligners to help avoid damage to your aligners
  4. Only wear your aligners sequentially, do not skip aligners
  5. Insert aligners properly by starting with the front teeth and pushing with your fingers until they snap into place
  6. Remove aligners properly by starting with the back teeth peeling outward and away from the teeth
  7. When not being worn, always store your aligners in their case
  8. Brush your teeth and aligners after every snack, meal or drink (non-water)
  9. Clean your aligners with a soft toothbrush and Oxyfresh toothpaste
  10. Keep all of your scheduled appointments to keep your treatment on track
  11. SMILE!
  12. SMILE!
  13. SMILE!
  14. SMILE!
  15. SMILE!

The 19 Things You Need to Know About Your Invisalign® Treatment

  1. Always wear your current aligners to your appointments
  2. Skipping or accelerating aligners could cause teeth to move incorrectly and damage the roots
  3. Do not wear your aligners longer than 3 weeks
  4. Complimentary whitening will be provided when you make your regularly scheduled appointments
  5. “Biting” aligners in place may cause them to crack
  6. Your aligner number is imprinted on the molar area along with your Invisalign® ID number
  7. Pet’s love to chew on aligners, please don’t let your aligners be a chew toy
  8. Wrapping your aligner in a napkin during meals increases your odds of having your aligner thrown out
  9. There is a $150 charge per aligner for every replacement ordered
  10. Food trapped in the aligners may cause stains or cavities
  11. Keeping your aligners clean will help prevent plaque build-up
  12. Aligners are not meant for extreme heat, do not leave them in a hot car, they may warp
  13. Never boil or put your aligners under hot water, they will warp
  14. Any cancelled “aligner check” appointment must be rescheduled within 1 week to stay on schedule
  15. Upon completion of your Invisalign® treatment, you must wear a nightly retainer to keep your teeth from shifting back
  16. Invisalign® treatment expires 6 months after your estimated finish date
  17. At the conclusion of your treatment, if you do not wear your retainer and your teeth move back, re-treatment will most likely be required
  18. Re-treatment due to non-compliance will incur additional treatment fees
  19. If you have any questions, at any time, call us (408) 247-8080, we are here to help

We Can't Agree, But We Don't Condone

Thanks Certifiably Kissable for such a "sweet" article (see below).  In all seriousness, we can't totally agree with your perspective, but we don't condone it either.  We are in the business of caring for the health of our patients and in doing so we must support the common medical guidance that says, just say no to sugar.  There are so many health related studies that prove why sugar is bad for you, however, the same as with smoking, sometimes we are not always going to take the healthiest route.  As much as we are proponents for being 100% healthy, we are also human and know the challenges that come with such a proposition.

But for the sake of doing the right thing... We are taking a stand and strongly recommending you stay away from sugar.  It's bad for you.  Don't do it!

Now for those of you who decide to ignore our guidance, we understand and we aren't going to hold it against you but please do take a moment out and read below how cavities are formed.  If you have a sweet tooth, and you aren't alone, please let us know at your next appointment and we will let you know, what if any additional steps should be taken to keep you cavity free.  Enjoy the read.

When You Can't Say "No" to a Sugar Craving

by Certifiably Kissable

When sugar cravings happen they are hard to resist, especially at Lolli & Pops in Los Gatos, CA.  This store is every candy lover’s dream!  They call themselves "Purveyors of Sweetness" and they don't disappoint.  We all know sugar isn't the greatest thing for our health, but if you are going to eat the sweat, this is the place to do it!

Who are we to say sugar is bad for you, don’t eat it, you are going to do what you are going to do.  BUT you can take care of yourself by at least rinsing your mouth out with water and washing away what sugar you can.  Your best bet is to brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash to thoroughly get rid of any leftover sweetness and help protect your teeth. 


Sugar plays a key role in forming cavities.  Here’s a blow by blow of how cavities are formed.

1.    Your teeth are covered by enamel.  

2.    Enamel is a hard mineral substance.  

3.    Mineral can break down when in contact with acid.  

4.    Your mouth is naturally filled with bacteria, some good and some bad.  

5.    Acid is produced when bacteria comes in contact with sugar (and carbohydrates).

6.    This produces plaque, a sticky colorless film that forms on your teeth.

7.    Plaque is the main cause of cavities (and gum disease)

8.    Plaque hardens into tartar if not removed each day by brushing, flossing and rinsing.

9.    Tartar and plaque will eat away at your enamel.  

10. This "eating away" causes tiny holes in your enamel called decay.  

11. Over time the holes get larger and the decay becomes cavities.

If you have a sweet tooth that can’t be tamed be sure to talk to your dentist or hygienist.  They can give you additional guidance on what to do to be cavity free.  It may include increasing the number of your in-office cleanings, but that’s a very small price to pay to live the sweet life.

Do you know cavities are contagious?  Are you cavity free?  Be cavity free, be Certifiably Kissable.  Are you Certifiably Kissable?

Top 9 Questions Our Patients Ask About Invisalign®

There are so many questions that people ask about getting Invisalign®.  We put together the top 9 questions we hear on a daily basis along with links that allow you to dig deeper on some of the topics.  Feel free to call our office or email us with any questions.

Read More

What Are You Smiling About This Weekend?

Complimentary yoga in the Santana Row Park every Saturday this summer gives us a big healthy smile.  All summer long their free yoga series will run every Saturday morning through the end of August, 2017.

Yoga in Santana Row Park

Yoga in Santana Row Park

Class starts at 9am but be sure to get there early to claim your spot.  Registration starts at 8:30 am.  Bring your mat and claim your spot at the west end of the park (near the chess board).

If you have questions call Lululemon Santana Row at (408) 557-8721 or shoot them an email at  The Lululemon address is 334 Santana Row, Unit 1035, San Jose, California.

Make the most of your life, do something fun and smile!

16 Years Later... American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommends NO Fruit Juices

Courtesy of Medical News Today

Courtesy of Medical News Today

Fruit juices have been found to be one of the leading culprits for "dental erosion" and childhood obesity.  It has also been found that fruit juice is "absolutely unnecessary" for children under 1.  After 16 years the AAP has updated their guidance on the amount of juice children should consume.  The new guidelines are:

  1. Children under 1 year old:  No juice
  2. Toddlers 1 to 3 years old:  No more than 4 ounces of juice per day
  3. Children between 4 and 6:  No more than 4-6 ounces of juice per day
  4. Children and adolescents between 7 and 18:  No more than 8 ounces of juice per day

Click Here to Read More

Black Toothpaste?

It may seem like a marketing ploy, black toothpaste, but this charcoal based whitening toothpaste is the real deal.

Looking for an at-home whitening toothpaste that is safe, fun and great for sensitive teeth?  We are now carrying Black is White, an exceptional teeth whitening system without bleaching and abrasive agents.  This at-home whitening toothpaste and toothbrush comes in two flavors, Black is White, a refreshing lime flavor and White is Black, with an extra mild taste.

If you are looking to regain your natural tooth color the safest way possible brushing just two times a day, then this whitening system is for you.  You’ll be able to see results in just the first couple of weeks.  One of the nice things about this toothpaste is how your mouth feels after using this toothpaste, you are left feeling clean and fresh for hours!

This black in color whitening toothpaste safely whitens your teeth by effectively absorbing dirt and discoloration particles.  You can say goodbye to coffee, tea and wine stains!  The charcoal acts as a magnet by “pulling” stains off the teeth to restore a natural white smile.

Black is White contains very low abrasive particles and no bleaching agents, plastic particles, triclosan or SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) – so you can regain your natural tooth color WIHTOUT the danger of breaking down your enamel!

The main ingredient is activated charcoal, which gives the toothpaste both its color and name: “Black is White.”  It removes stains without abrading the enamel or using chemical bleaching agents, instead, the activated charcoal absorbs stain particles and gently eliminates them.  It balances the pH of the mouth while protecting against the growth of pathogens and cavities.  It’s an affordable, safe and effective whitening agent with double protection against tooth decay.

The Doctors: Say Goodbye to The Gagging & Nasty Taste

In the past, we heard from patients all the time, "I hate all the stuff you put in my mouth to get an impression of my teeth, do I really have to do it?"  Before advances in digital scanning technology, the answer was yes.  Today, however, it's a different story.  We've been a long time supporter of digital scanning technologies, and one of our favorites is the iTero Digital Impression Scanner.  

Take a look at the attached clip from the show, The Doctors, and see for yourself how easy it is for you when we take a digital scan of your mouth.  We not only use this scanner for our Invisalign® patients, but we use it for doing crowns and other dentistry that used to require impression materials.  We love what the iTero has done for our patients

When Was The Last Time You Visited The Dentist?

When was the last time you visited a dentist?  Some people go to the dentist religiously while for others life can get in the way and time just passes us by.  If it’s been more than 6 months since your last visit, now is the time to make an appointment.  Regardless of why you haven’t been to the dentist, we can help. 

Following are the top 4 reasons we typically hear from patients in regards to why they avoid dental visits.  Do any of these sound familiar?

Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist.  Some of us have had bad childhood experiences or even a dental procedure that’s gone wrong that has led to our dental anxiety or dental phobia.  Regardless of the reason there are a number of us who just don’t like going to the dentist.

We Can Help.  Prior to coming into the office we’ll do a phone consultation to understand your specific concern, anxiety or fear.  There are many things we can do for you, including but not limited to:

(1)  Visiting the office just to meet the team and discuss your options with the doctor.

(2)  Prescribing an anti-anxiety drug for the night before to ensure you get a good night sleep.

(3)  Providing pain free dentistry using the latest laser and water-jet technologies.

(4)  Providing a variety of sedation options, literally sleeping through the visit.

Cost.  Many people put off their appointments because they have no insurance or they are in no position to take on an additional expense.  The truth is, putting off your cleaning or any potential dental work typically increases your financial risk not to mention your health.

We Can Help.  Each person’s situation is different, we have a number of financial options we can review with you.  In addition, you will always be provided with a treatment plan (regardless if it’s for a filing or just a continuation of your cleanings) and the options associated with that plan.  We will work with you to accommodate the challenges that life sometimes throws at us.

Too Busy.  We do live differently in Silicon Valley; things move at a much more rapid pace and there is a constant competition between our work and family obligations.  Because of the pace and demands, we often put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of the list.

We Can Help.  Our office is known not only for the quality of care but for keeping on schedule.  In fact, we don’t even have magazines in our waiting room.  We have flexible hours and depending upon your treatment needs we will always find a way to accommodate your busy schedule. 

Being Lectured.  Nobody likes to be lectured!  For a lot of us, we know what to do and when we don’t do it, we have our reasons.  The last thing we want to hear is about the importance of flossing or about how if we don’t take better care of our teeth we run a greater risk of gum disease.  We don’t need to take time out of our day and pay someone to lecture us.

We Can Help.  We do not lecture.  We do however spend time to educate you about what’s important to your oral health and lay out your various options.  For those patients who aren’t as vigilant with their flossing or overall home care we can help accommodate those lifestyles by increasing the number of professional cleanings.

We are conveniently located in the heart of Silicon Valley at 890 Saratoga Avenue in San Jose, California.  We are literally just a couple minutes off of Route 280 and Saratoga Avenue.  If you haven’t been to the dentist in the last 6 months, please give us a call, we can help!

Got Dental Anxiety? Get NuCalm®

"A cocoon of loveliness" is exactly how one of our patients described how he felt using NuCalm® during his dental appointment.  The NuCalm® Clinical System, which we make available to all patients, is a drug-free way of lowering stress.  It's not only used in dental offices, but by other medical practitioners.  

NuCalm® allows you to relax by guiding you to deep relaxation,  significantly lowering your overall stress level (cortisol production).  It's easy to use and again, drug-free.  After applying a neuropatch behind each ear a micro-current is used to facilitate relaxation.  There is also a supporting NuCalm app, headphones and eye mask used to round out the overall experience.

If you have severe dental anxiety or dental phobia, NuCalm® will definitely help reduce your overall stress, but ask us about your sedation options as well.  We are here to help and want to make your dental experience now and in the future a positive one.

If you'd like to try the NuCalm® experience please call the office to make an appointment and ask about NuCalm.  We are centrally located in the Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA very convenient to Saratoga, Los Gatos and other surrounding towns.

Invisalign® 8-Point Agreement Comparision

Hate Going to the Dentist?

Do you hate going to the dentist?

Do you hate going to the dentist?

We recognize there are a variety of reasons why you may hate going to the dentist. The Bittner Family Dental group is coming up on 50 years of serving the Silicon Valley, we are using our generational experience to continually improve and help you address potential dental fears and concerns.  

Here’s what we’ve heard over the years.  Do any of these sound familiar to you?

I Hate Needles (e.g., Novocain)

There is no way to sugar coat it, needles can be painful.  At best a needle can be a discomforting prick, even when using a numbing gel prior to administering the shot.  

The good news for our patients is we use a variety of dental lasers that are literally anesthesia-free, this means NO NEEDLE and no numbness!   Additional benefits of our dental lasers are they are faster than your traditional drill, meaning less time we spend in your mouth and as an added bonus dental lasers are virtually noiseless.

I Hate Even Thinking About Going to the Dentist

Just the thought of going to the dentist will send some people into a panic attack.  This is the last thing that anyone should have to experience. If the thought of going to the dentist keeps you up at night or makes you break out in a sweat, we can help.  

Even though our office is open, airy and inviting, we will do a complimentary over the phone dental anxiety assessment with you to avoid that one additional visit to the dental office. Based on our findings and your needs we can offer up a number of anti-anxiety solutions including a prescription for Valium to help you sleep the night before or even the option of putting you to sleep using an IV solution.

I Hate Waiting

We commit to providing the highest level of care to our patients in the timeliest manner possible. Our promise is to do everything in our control to keep your appointment on schedule.

Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

We understand that the one thing in life that you can’t give back is time, we will do everything we can to ensure you have the opportunity to spend time the way you want to spend time, and that won’t be sitting in our waiting room.

I Hate When I’m Told I Need Dental Work

We work with our patients to get on and maintain a cleaning schedule based on their oral health needs.  We understand other priorities happen and people aren’t always able to get to the dentist, it just gets away from us and before you know it a few years have passed.  Although we prefer to focus on preventative dentistry this isn’t always an option.

If you’ve cared for your teeth, even skipping one or two cleanings may still result in the need for some unexpected dental work.  We use the latest digital x-rays and intra-oral cameras to be able to show you what’s going on in your mouth.  We believe in the “show me” philosophy not just “tell me”.  You will be provided with all of your options based on your budget, timeframe and dental goals.  It is your decision as to what dental work gets done and when, we are her to help you be healthy on your terms.

I Hate Being Lectured

We are here to help you care for your dental well-being, we are not here to lecture you.   Our hygienists and doctors are the utmost professionals and understand things come up, people get busy and we aren’t always able to care for ourselves the way we want.  We’ve put a hygiene program in place that is flexible enough to help when additional help is needed, it’s that simple.

I Hate the Cost

There’s no way around it, good dentistry isn’t cheap, in fact bad dentistry isn’t cheaper it’s just bad dentistry which ends up being more expensive in the long run. Our promise to you is to provide the highest quality dentistry for the best value. We’ve built an on-site lab to help keep the material and labor costs down as well as built out an on-site surgical center staffed with our own oral surgeon.  

Before any dental work is done, you will be provided your treatment plan with all of your options. Based on your financial situation and the direction you decide to take, we will work with you to not only maximize your dental benefits (if you are fortunate enough to have dental benefits) but to help you find your best financing options.

Things I hate about going to the dentist.

Things I hate about going to the dentist.

If there is something that you hate about the dentist, please give us a call at (408) 247-8080. We are here to listen and help!