Dr. Sonia Chopra

Dr. Sonia Chopra: A Journey from Pediatric Dentistry to Endodontics - episode 235 The Art of Living Proactively (Harnessing the Power of Your Choices) podcast

In this episode of “The Art of Living Proactively,” host Tony Winyard interviews Dr Sonia Chopra, an experienced endodontist, who shares valuable insights into the world of dentistry. Dr Chopra discusses topics like the controversial use of fluoride, the importance of flossing, and the myths surrounding root canals. They delve into the fascinating process of bone regeneration and highlight the significance of accurate diagnosis in dental care. Dr Chopra also shares their personal journey in dentistry, overcoming challenges in starting their own practice, and the importance of saving natural teeth whenever possible. This episode provides listeners with practical tips for maintaining optimal oral health while debunking common misconceptions in the field of dentistry.


1. The Effectiveness of Fluoride:

One of the key topics we explored with Dr Sonia Chopra is the effectiveness of fluoride in dental care. According to Dr Chopra, the effectiveness of fluoride varies from person to person, depending on their personal microbiome. Some individuals may benefit greatly from fluoride to prevent cavities, while others may not require it as much. It’s best to consult with your dentist to determine if fluoride is right for you.

2. Controversies Surrounding Fluoride and Toothpaste Brands:

Dr Chopra acknowledges the controversy surrounding fluoride but advises that people who tend to get cavities would benefit from its use. As for toothpaste brands, she emphasizes that there is no specific brand that is superior to others. It is important to read the ingredients and consult with your dentist to ensure you are using a toothpaste that suits your needs.

3. Mouthwash and Oral Health:

Dr Chopra cautions against excessive use of mouthwash. While it can be beneficial, using it excessively may strip away the beneficial bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, the speaker does not prefer the blue mouthwash commonly found in stores. It’s important to find the mouthwash that works best for your oral health needs and consult with your dentist.

4. Flossing: The Key to Maintaining Dental Health:

Dr Chopra emphasizes the importance of flossing as a crucial component of oral hygiene. She believes that flossing is more important than toothpaste or mouthwash. Flossing helps remove hidden bacteria and prevents decay between teeth. Make sure to incorporate regular flossing into your daily dental care routine.

5. Dr Chopra’s Journey:

Dr Chopra’s interest in dentistry was sparked by being born without eight teeth. This personal experience instilled a passion for understanding the intricacies of dental health. She also shared her personal journey of enduring a nine-month-long toothache and visiting multiple dentists and doctors who couldn’t identify the source of the pain. It was through the help of an endodontist that she finally found relief and restored her trust in her body’s signals.

6. The Path to Becoming an Endodontist:

Dr Chopra’s interest in medicine was influenced by her family background. However, she chose dentistry for its more controllable schedule and a better understanding of the patient’s perspective. After completing dental school, she initially explored general dentistry but eventually discovered her true passion for endodontics. She went back to school, completed a residency, and became an endodontist.

7. The Role of 3D Imaging in Dental Diagnosis:

Dr Chopra discusses the limitations of traditional dental imaging methods and highlights the advancements of 3D imaging. This advanced technology allows dentists to discover impacted wisdom teeth or root canal infections that may not have caused any pain. Traditional 2D X-rays may not always show infections, but with 3D imaging, these issues can be detected and addressed promptly.

8. Bone Regeneration and Root Canals:

Dr Chopra finds the human body’s ability to naturally regenerate bone without external assistance to be impressive. She explains how after performing a root canal and removing bacteria, the bone can regenerate without the need for synthetic or grafting materials. This natural regeneration of bone is a testament to our body’s incredible “superpower”.

9. Debunking Dangerous Myths About Root Canals:

Dr Chopra addresses the existence of dangerous myths surrounding root canals that contribute to a negative perception. She disputes the belief that root canals are toxic by explaining the bone regeneration she observes in her patients. She highlights the importance of patients receiving adequate anesthesia during the procedure to ensure comfort and the successful healing of the tooth.

10. The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis:

Dr Chopra emphasises the significance of accurate diagnosis in her practice, as she has personally experienced the consequences of a misdiagnosis. Taking the time to properly diagnose dental issues can prevent unnecessary procedures and save natural teeth. She mentions that approximately 25% of patients referred to her office do not actually require root canal treatment.

11. Dental Health and Nutrition:

Dr Chopra sheds light on the correlation between diet and dental health. Our modern diets, with their preference for softer foods, have impacted our teeth and oral health. Dr Chopra explains how eating crunchy foods helps keep the airway open and prevents collapse. While softer foods may be healthy, they lack the necessary crunch for our teeth. Incorporating a good, fibrous diet with crunchy elements is key to maintaining dental health.

12. Recognising Dental Issues:

Dr Chopra explains that bacteria can enter the nerve through a cavity, leading to the need for a visit to the dentist. Deep decay can introduce bacteria to the inside of the tooth, called the pulp, which can cause infection and pain. Trauma, such as a blow to a tooth or grinding, can also kill the nerve and require dental assistance. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking prompt treatment is crucial to preventing oral health issues from worsening.

13. The Importance of Oral Hygiene Practices:

Dr Chopra highlights the importance of regular brushing, especially before bedtime. Brushing twice a day helps maintain oral health, and brushing before bed is particularly crucial as saliva production decreases at night. Flossing at the end of the day is also recommended, as nighttime flossing is especially important for removing plaque and preventing decay. Regular dental checkups are necessary, even without pain, to address any plaque buildup and identify potential dental issues with X-rays.


We explored a wide range of topics related to dental health and the truth about root canals. We hope you gained valuable insights into maintaining your oral health and making proactive choices. Join us in our next episode as we continue to delve into the art of living proactively. Remember, your choices have the power to shape your wellbeing!


[00:02:29] Tooth pain led to passion for dentistry.
[00:07:36] Dentist in England removes teeth painlessly.
[00:09:03] Bacteria enters tooth causing pain and infection.
[00:14:05] Importance of checkups, identifying hidden dental issues
[00:15:18] Root canals often have negative perception
[00:19:43] Some believe root canals are toxic, but education is key
[00:23:01] Soft diets negatively impact teeth; eat crunchy.
[00:28:24] Brush twice, floss, visit dentist, don’t ignore symptoms.
[00:32:45] Dentist overcomes challenges and becomes better leader.
[00:37:52] Sleep specialist Angela Bell discusses importance of sleep.

Guest Bio:

Dr Sonia Chopra is a dentist from a young age, as she was born without eight teeth and was always a dental patient. At 17, she suffered from a severe toothache for nine months, and despite visiting several dentists and doctors, the cause of her pain could not be identified. Eventually, she had an abscess and a wrong tooth extracted, leaving her without nine teeth. However, her experience changed when she was referred to an endodontist who had a great bedside manner and taught her to trust her body’s signals. This experience inspired her to pursue a career in dentistry. Although she came from a family of physicians, she did not want the demanding lifestyle they had. Dr Chopra empathised with her patients due to her own dental procedures and realised that endodontics was her true passion. After completing a residency, she became an endodontist.

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235 – Dr Sonia Chopra


Welcome to episode 235 of The Art of Living Proactively. And this episode, endodontist. Dr. Sonia Chopra, discusses dental health and root canals. She explains that endodontists specialize in root canals and saving teeth while most general dentists only receive minimal root canal training. And root canals become necessary when bacteria infects the tooths nerve through, cavities, cracks, trauma, and so on. And she debunks the myths that root canals are toxic or ineffective. Explaining when they’re done properly they allow natural bone regeneration. So we go into a lot more areas around sort of dental checkups and how to catch issues early and other areas around being proactive with your or dental health. So that’s this week episode 235. hope you enjoy this week’s episode please do subscribe leave us a review and here’s Dr Sonia Chopra.

[00:00:57] Tony Winyard: Welcome to another edition of The Art of Living Proactively. My guest today is Dr. Sonya Chopra. How you doing, Sonya?

[00:01:06] Dr Sonia Chopra: I’m doing very well. Thank you for having me today.

[00:01:09] Tony Winyard: And we’re speaking with a, a New Yorker who’s relocated to North Carolina.

[00:01:15] Dr Sonia Chopra: That’s exactly right.

[00:01:17] Tony Winyard: So, which do you prefer New York or North Carolina?

[00:01:20] Dr Sonia Chopra: You know, you just can’t get the New York outta me, that’s for sure. So that, that’s really like my home base. And eventually I’ll become a little bit more country, but I think my core is will always be New York.

[00:01:35] Tony Winyard: Well, your, um, I was fascinated by your description because I’m gonna read it out here Sunday. Chopra DDS is a healer and tooth saver. She’s a board certified Endon Endodontist, sorry. TEDx Speaker, Forbes contributor, author, endodontic instructor and founder of Valentine Endodontics in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now I have no idea what an endodontist is. I, I presume it’s similar to dentistry in some way, but please tell me more.

[00:02:08] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah, I’m a root canal specialist, so I do whatever it takes to save people’s teeth. I, I really believe that these little white temples that we have in our mouth are, are here for a reason, and I’ve made it my mission to, to be a tooth healer.

[00:02:26] Tony Winyard: And so how did that come about?

[00:02:29] Dr Sonia Chopra: So, I had my own tooth story as a young, young girl when I was 17. Um, well, I was born without eight teeth, so I was kind of always born to be a dentist. I was always the dental patient. And when I was 17, I developed a really bad toothache and I went to several different dentists and doctors, and they couldn’t really figure out where my pain was coming from and.

The saga went on for about nine months, and so it really had an impact on me at that time in my life. I was, I was in a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort, a lot of lack of sleep, and it, it changed me. And I went from dentist to dentist and they really couldn’t find what was happening to me. And then I eventually, I had this giant abscess that had to be treated.

I was sent to an oral surgeon, they extracted a tooth. I felt good for the time being cuz I was numb. But then once the anesthesia wore off, I still had my toothache, so the wrong tooth came out. So now I’m without nine teeth. And that really, that really hit me hard. And then I was finally referred to an endodontist, and that guy was the coolest guy I had ever met.

He had this long ponytail, he was like this little surfer dude. And he had the best bedside manner I had ever witnessed. And he told me what to. How to really acknowledge the, the signs and the symptoms that my body was giving me and made me feel like I was okay, made me trust those signs. And, uh, because a lot of times people were telling me, all my pain was in my head.

They told me I was crazy and, and I knew what I was feeling, but I lost trust in that and this guy restored that trust and that was a huge experience for me. He alleviated my pain. He saved my tooth and sent me along my way. And medicine was really a big like piece of my life cuz my mom’s a physician, my brother’s a physician.

So I always knew I was gonna go down that path. But, I didn’t really want that lifestyle of being on call and stuff like that. Like my mom had, she would always miss my dance recitals. And so I knew I wanted something different where I had a little bit more, um, control over my schedule. And so I looked around at the dentists that were, you know, around me, and I felt like that was really where I should be, not just from, you know, a lifestyle perspective, but also from the patient perspective.

I really could empathize with my patients because I’ve been through every dental procedure possible. So when I went to dental school, I finally got in and, um, while I was there I was really intrigued with my own tooth story. It just kept on coming up. Every time I would study, I’m like, why did this happen to me?

And I just kept on studying endodontics and then I gave general dentistry a chance. But I decided after about three years of being a general dentist that really ended Onyx was my one true love. And I went back to school. I completed a residency and became an endon.

[00:05:28] Tony Winyard: So from what? Yeah, from what I heard. Heard you just say, so endodontistry is, is just specializing in root canals or is there more to it than that?

[00:05:36] Dr Sonia Chopra: Basically it’s just root canals or another procedure called apicoectomies. So root canals have a really high success rate, but there are some things that. Will prevent the root canal from being, um, 100% successful. So there’s also a surgical procedure that goes with it, um, which is called the apicoectomy, which you kind of remove the back end of the root as opposed to going through the crown, you go in from the back of the root.

Um, so those are typically the two procedures that an Endon will do.

[00:06:07] Tony Winyard: But don’t many dentists do root canals as well.

[00:06:11] Dr Sonia Chopra: You can definitely see your general dentist for root canal, but we’re a specialist and we go to an additional two years of school. So we have to, when we graduate, we do about 250 root canals, um, to make that accreditation. But in dental school, you will, depends on the school. Sometimes you only have to do two or four and, and really, in my opinion, it’s, it’s a little bit technique sensitive that.

There’s definitely some teeth that are pretty straightforward and can be done, you know, very easily. But there are some complex root canals as well that do require a specialty trained, uh, dentist.

[00:06:49] Tony Winyard: And you mentioned about the, this guy that you saw who was just so different from other people you saw, and he had. In, in your words, an amazing bedside manner. So was that part of the, your, what you learned when you, when you did the extra extra years as well?

[00:07:03] Dr Sonia Chopra: No, you never learned that. That just comes from, you know, kind of curating your own personality, right? Um, and your own life experiences. And his patience was amazing. His, I just love what my favorite part was, how he educated me through every step of the way. And since that point, like that has, What I wanted to emulate, and that’s what I’ve brought into my practice, but I had, I believe I had to have that experience to really appreciate that and know that that’s how I wanted to live my life.

[00:07:36] Tony Winyard: All right. I, I saw a dentist a few years ago here in England and my whole life, my experience of dentists, like many people, there’s kind of fear, there’s gonna be some pain, it’s gonna hurt, and so on. And this guy, and I’ve stayed with him ever since, probably about five or six years now. I couldn’t believe it in everything that he did and in all the times I’ve seen him since, cuz he, he had to remove a tooth, he had to remove a crown and replace some, some fillings that, that I’d had as a kid.

And in all the things that he did, he replaced all these fillings, like took all the mercury out and all that sort of stuff. I didn’t feel a thing. It was amazing. He was just so unlike any dentist that I’d I’d ever been to before.

[00:08:21] Dr Sonia Chopra: He is good at giving anesthesia. That means. Cause really dentistry does not have to be painful. It is all about giving good, adequate anesthesia. I mean, I do root canals and I do about nine or 10 a day. And you just need to have a deeper level of anesthesia. And this is all local anesthesia. It’s not general anesthesia, it’s just local anesthesia.

But you have to have a good level of anesthesia. Everybody’s gonna be different, and you have to know how to gauge from person to person. And know, know what that particular person needs.

[00:08:57] Tony Winyard: So why would, well, why do people require root canals? What happens?

[00:09:03] Dr Sonia Chopra: So essentially bacteria gets into the nerve, and this can happen from a cavity. You know, a lot of people feel like you need pain to need to go to the dentist, which is unfortunately if you need pain, you’ve kind of, or if you have had pain, you. Or past that point of no return where you probably need to see me so I can be very preventable.

Okay, so deep decay, which is bacteria, can definitely introduce bacteria into the inside part of the tooth called the pulse. That’s one reason. Another reason could be trauma. A lot of times just from the traumatic blow to a front tooth that can kill the nerve and then need my assistance and also people crack their teeth.

We clench, we grind, we are stressed out and we put a lot of force on our muscles and, and then we crack our teeth and those cracks become doorways for bacteria to get in. And then again, the nerve gets in infected, so it’s always bacterial and we gotta get that bacteria out, and that’s what the root canal does.

[00:10:10] Tony Winyard: And so would, if someone is a mouth breather, would they be more likely to have bad bacteria?

[00:10:17] Dr Sonia Chopra: I don’t know if that’s really the case. So just for full clarity, like I’m an endodontist, right? So my specialty is root canal therapy. Um, not really airway management, but you can definitely dry out your mouth a little bit more, um, when you’re a mouth breather. Um, But everybody’s bacteria is different.

That’s really the thing, and you need to know what kind of. Microbiome you have what kind of oral microbiome you have? Do you have one That’s cariogenic, because I know so many people, including my parents that have never had a cavity, but when I went to the dentist, I had eight. So some people have cariogenic bacteria where the bugs in their mouth actually cause decay.

Other people have more of the periodontal. Bacteria which caused the, the gum disease and the bone loss and, and no decay. So everyone is gonna be unique and so we need to understand our own mouths and come up with customized treatment plans.

[00:11:17] Tony Winyard: And so is there, is this a a problem many people? Well, from what you were saying before about people tend to leave it too late.

[00:11:25] Dr Sonia Chopra: Mm-hmm.

[00:11:25] Tony Winyard: I’m guessing, well, actually I can give you a story cuz my, I had a root canal many years ago in my late twenties. I was living in Indonesia and I happened to go along to a dentist for a checkup and I hadn’t been to a dentist for years.

And I dunno why I went for a checkup, so I wasn’t in any pain. However, I went for this checkup and then this dentist told me, You’ve got an impacted wisdom tooth and the, the nerve is inside your canal. Your root canal, I think, no, inside the nerve. That was it. No, sorry. The nerve of the tooth was inside a root canal.

I, I forget exactly what you said.

[00:12:00] Dr Sonia Chopra: May, maybe your wisdom tooth was growing close to your nerve.

[00:12:05] Tony Winyard: It was so it was, no, I think it was growing inside the nerve or something. Anyway, he said, you need an emergency operation. I said, well, how bad is it? He said, well, if we wait another week, I’m gonna have to break your jaw to do this. It’s like, this is an emergency. And at the time I didn’t feel anything.

And so they did the operation and I, I actually had two impacted teeth on both sides. And, and then there was a big hole there from where they, you know, from the, oh, there was an abscess there as well. I think that was that, and it, my mouth is still numb decades later. Yeah.

[00:12:39] Dr Sonia Chopra: Well it sounds like you had an extraction, which is a tooth removal, which is the opposite of what I do. So I saved the teeth to preserve what Mama gave you and instead of removing, so it sounds like you had a wisdom to removal, which is completely different than the root canal.

[00:12:57] Tony Winyard: and I presume he wasn’t an endodontist, he was just a, a dentist, so,

[00:13:03] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah. It’s easy. It would be easy for me to, um, I can imagine your story many different ways because I don’t, I, I’m, I’m trying to think that, Maybe you didn’t actually have a root canal in this story. It sounds like you just had the extraction.

[00:13:20] Tony Winyard: I, I can’t remember cause it was so long ago, but I do remember there was something about the impacted wisdom tooth was growing into,

[00:13:28] Dr Sonia Chopra: So there’s a nerve that travels this way and a lot of times impacted wisdom. Teeth can be in close proximity to that nerve, and as the tooth develops, it can actually approach the nerve and make that extraction dangerous, where you do have paraesthesia and numbness. But again, just a completely different procedure than the root canal.

[00:13:49] Tony Winyard: Well, and the only reason I mentioned it really is because as I said, I, I didn’t have any pain and he, and he said, well, if you leave this another week, you’re gonna have some serious pain. So I was just very lucky. So is that a common situation? Do many people have sort of things like that?

[00:14:05] Dr Sonia Chopra: Um, well your checkups are really important cuz that’s where we find things, especially like little decay in between the teeth where you can’t see, there’s a lot of things you can’t see without imaging. And now we’re finding that imaging, the regular imaging is also limiting. And now there’s 3D imaging, which is even more advanced.

Um, But yes, we find things all the time, especially impacted wisdom teeth, um, that don’t cause pain. I see root canal infections that have been living. Like hanging out in people’s mouths for years and they’ve never had pain and it sometimes doesn’t show up on the traditional 2D X-rays that everyone has.

But then you take a 3D image and you find that bone infection, and then once you do the root canal and you remove all the bacteria, then that bone actually regenerates, which is. Probably the coolest part of my job is how well we can regenerate our own bone without any grafting, without any synthetic bone, we recreate our own bone.

I think that’s one of the coolest superpowers that humans have.

[00:15:14] Tony Winyard: Because you referred sometimes to root canals as a form of biohacking, don’t you?

[00:15:18] Dr Sonia Chopra: It sure is because we can regenerate our own bone and there’s so many, I think, dangerous myths out there that people really believe. And you know, this is a perfect example. I’m glad you gave the story, right, because you think that it’s a root canal, right? So, but your perception of the story is, Yours, right.

But maybe what actually happened at the dentist’s office is, is different. And I think that can play in the role of why like root canals have kind of delivered to the, to society in such a negative way. Cuz people have had bad experiences, maybe they didn’t get numb, right? You’re so lucky you got a dentist that actually gives you good anesthesia.

There are some cases where patients didn’t get adequately numb. Um, and so that kind of plays into that fear and whatnot. But then there’s this whole other layer that root canals are toxic, but they’re not, because if they were, they wouldn’t create this bone regeneration that I see time and time again.

You’ll see these like shadows in the bone. On the x-ray. And then once you do the root canal and you wait, you give the bone time to heal. Cuz bone is super slow, so it’s gonna take six months minimum to show up as if it’s regenerating and redeposit on the, on the imaging. So I usually wait about a year, call my patients back after doing their root canal and I watch how beautifully restored their bone becomes.

It is, it’s, it’s insane actually, when you see how much, like some areas. Are huge. They’ve lost so much bone and people look at it. Even the provider will be like, that’s, that is too much bone to have lost. This tooth has to come out. But no, when you give teeth a chance and you actually do the procedure and the way it’s meant to be done, you can regenerate people with what they were given naturally.

And you don’t have to give them anything. Anything else. You don’t have to take supplements. You don’t have to get injections. You, you can just let the bone grow naturally.

[00:17:23] Tony Winyard: So you mentioned there about the importance of checkups. So is it a case of you’ve got relationships with certain dentists and when they have their checkup, when their patients come in for checkups, and then if they feel someone does need a root canal, then they refer ’em to you? Is that, is that what would generally happen?

[00:17:40] Dr Sonia Chopra: Typically, um, most dental specialists are like a referral based practice, so we work with certain, um, Certain dentists and then they, they will refer us patients. Yep.

[00:17:53] Tony Winyard: And is there any cases where maybe they, they don’t need a root canal?

[00:17:58] Dr Sonia Chopra: Oh, absolutely. I’ll tell you, I’ve been tracking in my practice how many patients get referred to me. 25% of the patients referred to me actually don’t need me. Sometimes, you know, they recently had a crown and their tooth is now a little bit sensitive cuz usually the signs when you need a root canal are sensitivity to cold.

That lingers, so not something that like goes away in a few seconds, but it actually lasts longer than 30 seconds. That’s one sign that you could need a root canal or pain to heat or pain to biting. Those are the three main symptoms. It’s hot, cold, and biting, but sometimes after you get like a crown, right?

Just getting a cap on the tooth. And the anesthesia wears off, you’ll have a little bit of normal postoperative sensitivity, and sometimes that can be pretty high for some people, and the patient will bring it, bring that symptom up to their dentist attention, and then the referral will be made. Sometimes time is a great medicine.

Just give that patient a little bit of time, maybe one week, two weeks after that crown is done, and then all those symptoms reverse. So it’s really important. To understand the diagnostic phase, and I’m very sensitive to that because the wrong tooth got diagnosed on me and the wrong tooth got extracted.

And so that’s really my, my, like, my niche within my own niche is the diagnostic part. You’ve gotta get the diagnosis right so that, you know, it’s, it’s like the quarterback for every part of your procedure. And 25% of the time, I’m not doing the root canal.

[00:19:35] Tony Winyard: So you, me, I think you alluded to myths just then, are there, are there any other myths around root canals and so on?

[00:19:43] Dr Sonia Chopra: So the main one is that some people do believe that they’re toxic. Um, some people do believe that they don’t work, and I will say that there is a difference between a good root canal and a bad root canal. And it comes down to the education. We only get about two weeks of an endodonic education in the four years of dental school.

And I hope that one day that that changes, but it doesn’t look like it’s gonna change anytime soon. So I give the analogy, if somebody delivered two babies in med school, would you let them deliver your baby or would you want them to do a little bit more continuing education? Same thing with the root kns, just as technique sensitive.

If you ask me maybe even a little bit more, cuz we’re working in a teeny tiny hole. And, and millimeters. So there’s a lot of, um, you know, precision that that’s required. Um, that’s one thing. Another thing is, you know, mainly in the, in the dental world when I lectured a dentist, they have a lot of beliefs that a lot of teeth are cracked. And they’re not really cracked. It’s just you have to go back in and reclean the tooth and it’s okay to, to reclean the tooth. It’s okay to do a revision of a treatment. Just because the root canal didn’t work once doesn’t mean that another one isn’t gonna work. Nothing is a hundred percent. In medicine. I, you know, I see the orthopedic surgeons all the time. Having to revised knee replacements, but nobody is saying that that knee replacement is toxic. It just needs a revision. Sometimes it’s because of the host response. Sometimes, you know, um, The procedure itself just needed a little bit more. So I would love people, I would love to encourage more people to try to save their natural teeth instead of just rushing for the extraction.

Yes, implants are a great replacement option, but they’re also not a hundred percent, and that implant can fail. And then what happens when the implant fails? Then what? Then you’re left with the missing space, and sometimes that can be aesthetic. Annoy you, but what it also can decrease your function. And now you’re, you’re messing with your nutrition and your hydration and that has a, a ripple effect.

So really understanding how removing one tooth or just having a deeper appreciation for that one tooth, and it may be in the back, but it has such an impact on how you nourish your body, hydrate your body, and even take in breath. Those teeth are there to house your tongue, to maintain your airway.

There’s so much more importance in them than I feel like sometimes we give it, you know, it’s just easy to take out a tooth because we have 32 of them, yet we don’t chop off our fingers when we inf infect one of them. Right? So just treating the teeth with the same amount of respect and really knowing that sometimes we can try again and, and probably fix it.

[00:22:45] Tony Winyard: You touched upon education just now of sort of general dent dentists, and you also talked about nutrition. I just wondered what your thoughts are regarding nutrition and how you know people, how that affects our, our mouths and teeth and so on.

[00:23:01] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah, actually, if you look at, you know, just how we’ve evolved as a species and our diets, And how nowadays our diets are a lot softer than they used to be. We now have the ability to cook foods, we have processed foods. There’s so many things that have impacted our teeth, and the main thing is really soft food.

But we, we need to eat crunchy things to keep a Peyton airway, to make sure the oral pharynx doesn’t get lazy to make sure like our muscles are moving. Cuz again, we wanna. We want a broader airway and not a collapsed one. And as the more we eat, that’s mushy. Even though an avocado may be healthy, when you mash it up, it’s really soft.

And our teeth want something crunchy to go along with it. Um, that’s really the best way to really, in my opinion, to, to stay healthy is to really have like a, a good. I don’t know if the word is fibrous, but just something where you got something to crunch on to really give these teeth some function.

[00:24:08] Tony Winyard: So what do you think of, you know, you get these sort of special types of gum now to, that you are encouraged to chew on, to strengthen the, the, the jaw.

[00:24:17] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah. I haven’t gone down the chewing gum path, so I don’t know if I know enough about that topic.

[00:24:23] Tony Winyard: right.

[00:24:23] Dr Sonia Chopra: So, Just make sure it’s sugar free. I, you know, we don’t wanna be introducing too many sweets too frequently in our mouth because when we do that, every time we introduce some sugar into our mouth, we’re gonna drop the pH in our mouth.

And when we do that at an increased frequency, we’re gonna have a chance of having more decay and bacteria in in the mouth.

[00:24:48] Tony Winyard: Um, is there, um, many people, well, I dunno the percentage of stats, I’m guessing you’d have a much better idea than I do, but I would presume that many people now have an electric toothbrush. Is there a wrong way of using an electric toothbrush?

[00:25:06] Dr Sonia Chopra: Well, the electric toothbrush is gonna do the work for you, and so you don’t need to be heavy handed or really move it. So if you’re using something like as Sonicare, which just happens to be my favorite, that sonic action actually has purpose, and that’s what’s actually gonna be lysing the bacterial cell walls of.

You know, of those bugs, and so allow it to do its thing. You don’t have to press hard, you don’t have to stroke it too much. Just allow that vibration to do its thing. And then when you’re, you’re not just brushing your teeth, but you’re also being gentle to your gums to prevent things like recession.

[00:25:39] Tony Winyard: So you don’t need to be moving it up and down. It just does that itself

[00:25:42] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah. You just kind of slowly move it for quadrant by quadrant, wait for the beep and then switch your quadrant. It, it’s, they really made it easy for us.

[00:25:52] Tony Winyard: And what and what are your thoughts on sort of toothpaste and mouth washes and so on?

[00:25:58] Dr Sonia Chopra: I’m you. It, it’s gonna depend on, again, your own personal microbiome because some people are gonna need fluoride and some people probably don’t need it because they don’t really tend to get cavities. But people who do would benefit from some fluoride, even though again, there’s some controversy behind fluoride.

Um, so really get to know your mouth. I don’t know if there’s any one brand that’s better than the other. Um, there’s probably always something in the toothpaste, um, that could be, you know, controversially, good or bad. I would say mouthwash is probably something you don’t wanna make it too much of a habit on because then you’re kind of wiping out all of the bugs and you need your bugs.

You don’t wanna get rid of them. So the blue stuff is probably not my favorite. Um, I have, I’m a typical Crest girl cause it’s what’s worked for me in my mouth. But I think more importantly over toothpaste or mouthwash is my favorite floss. I always say flossing is life because that’s where the bugs are hiding.

Your toothbrush can’t get in that little click. Spot, and that’s the spot where the bugs like to start the decay. And those are the ones that you can’t see and then you don’t know you have a problem until you feel the pain. So the best way to get rid of me is to floss every day.

[00:27:29] Tony Winyard: Now, sorry, is would you say many of the problems that people have with their teeth is because of lack of flossing?

[00:27:37] Dr Sonia Chopra: I can definitely tell when people are not flossing, and I would say a whole lot is preventable when you do floss and it’s, it’s way cheaper than going to the dentist. That little spool of of thread is so much cheaper than coming to see me, so. If you really wanna be economical and you really want to, um, instill great daily habits, I know we’re, we’re all about those morning habits, daily habits flossing should be added to that list.

[00:28:11] Tony Winyard: Well, I mean, this podcast is all about being proactive around health, so sounds like flossing is definitely something that you should be proactive about. What other, are there any other proactive habits that would help people?

[00:28:24] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah. So, Definitely brushing twice a day. Okay. And it’s so important to not to skip that nighttime brush because that’s when. Most of the havoc happens because we may breathe through our mouth more. We may, you know, our mouths dry out. We lose that salivary buffer. Saliva’s, very, very, very important to diminishing decay in the mouth and saliva function drops at night.

So making sure you’re breaking up the bacterial colonies before you go to bed. Super important. That’s also when I like to floss. I like to floss at the end of my day. Sometimes I do it multiple times a day, but I will always be religious about my nighttime thoughts. So that’s step one. Number two is always going to the dentist, even when you don’t have pain.

So making sure you’re diligent about your twice a year cleanings, cause the plaque and, and that buildup will really accumulate over time. You know, actually as soon as you’re done brushing your teeth, bacteria starts colonizing within one minute. So if it accumulates for six months, sometimes you’re brushing and you’re flossing, can’t get to certain deeper parts and some damage could be happening because these bugs are very smart.

They do their job silently cuz they’re creating a happy home and they don’t want anyone to take care of their take away their home. So they’re gonna do everything silently. So not only are you gonna get your checkups, but you should. Not dismiss imaging because a lot of the decay can be in between the teeth.

And nowadays with digital radiography, it’s, there’s very minimal radiation. You actually get more radiation flying from New York to California. So don’t say no to your X-rays either. Um, and be mindful that in the US. Sometimes the insurance companies will only pay for a certain amount of x-rays, so sometimes there are gonna be times where you’re gonna wanna invest a little bit into some additional x-rays to make sure there’s, there’s nothing hiding cuz we cannot see anything without them.

So rushing twice a day, flossing once a day, regular checkups, and then being mindful of symptoms. If you feel like you had something, like maybe you saw you had some swelling and then it went away, there’s a reason why it swelled in the first place. Don’t really put it off. Acknowledge that sign that your body so graciously gave you and get it checked out because things can get really bad and you don’t wanna leave it, you know, untreated.

[00:31:07] Tony Winyard: Are there any, um, things. Generally, uh, maybe best to be avoided in terms of eating or drinking just before or just after brushing teeth.

[00:31:21] Dr Sonia Chopra: Um, you know, I just, I like to brush my teeth after I eat some sweets, so sometimes I’ll time it, um, But I think if you’re, you know, if you are like a high cariogenic bacteria kind of environment and you do have some extra fluoride, you just wanna kind of give space between actually eating anything and even drinking water.

So sometimes it’s just gonna be specific to what your regimen is as well. So that one’s a hard one to answer, but no tacky stuff. How about that?

[00:31:58] Tony Winyard: And, and I guess. And I guess one of the things I, in mind, I know some people drink sort of like water with apple CI or vinegar or with lemon juice. And, and from what I know they can be, they

[00:32:12] Dr Sonia Chopra: A little abrasive they can, so you probably don’t wanna actually brush your teeth right away. Again, giving some space either before the brush or after the brush, should, should do fine.

[00:32:25] Tony Winyard: And space would be 10 minutes. What, what

[00:32:27] Dr Sonia Chopra: I think 30 minutes is a good timeframe.

[00:32:33] Tony Winyard: so as well, I mean your, so you’ve got your own practice, I believe. That’s

[00:32:39] Dr Sonia Chopra: do. Yeah.

[00:32:40] Tony Winyard: And how, how easy your difficult was it to, to set up on your own?

[00:32:45] Dr Sonia Chopra: Ooh, that was a huge challenge because, You, you are only focusing on the clinical dentistry when you’re in your dental school years and they don’t teach you anything about business. They don’t teach you anything about leadership. I had no idea how to even send a dental insurance claim when I opened my practice, let alone the construction piece cuz I was a true startup.

I, I found, A piece of property, it was a shell. I had to figure out how I wanted to set it up. Luckily there’s like experts in the field, so there was somebody who could help me with the construction, really help me with the design and the flow of how I wanted things, um, to be. Um, but that was step one. And then I had to find a team and then I had to learn how to manage the team, which was also interesting.

Um, so. I’ve definitely evolved as a leader over the last 15 years of being in practice. I wasn’t a very good leader at all until about 2016 where I feel like I hit my rock bottom, and now I feel like I have a really great team that really jives and I can’t tell you how much that helps me be a better practitioner and a better healer for my patients.

[00:34:09] Tony Winyard: So how do you see your business progressing in the next sort of five, 10 years?

[00:34:17] Dr Sonia Chopra: So my business is kind of pivoting because I do more in the education space now. I, I really felt like I had hit a ceiling in my practice and I love treating patients and I love, you know, providing that care. Like I’m a damn good endodontist and I love doing it, but I also. See that there’s such an education gap in dentistry, and one of my biggest passions is making general dentists really understand our field in a way that they’ve never thought that they could.

And so that’s where I spend a lot of my time. I kind of split my time between practicing and my practice and actually educating dentists to do better root canals.

[00:35:00] Tony Winyard: And, and how do you do that? How do you go about the education part?

[00:35:03] Dr Sonia Chopra: So I created an online education platform all about endodontics for general dentists because they really are starving for this type of education and they really are capable of, of doing many root canals. So, um, yeah, that’s kind of been my, my passion project over the past few years.

[00:35:25] Tony Winyard: If, um, well, we’re gonna can move, change the subject slightly. A question that I always ask everyone and I’ve, I’ve prepped you for this is, is cuz I, I always find these answers fascinating. Is there a book that’s moved you for any reason in your life at any point?

[00:35:41] Dr Sonia Chopra: Yeah. Um, it’s called A Return To You by Shannon Kaiser. It is one of those, it came late in my life as I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger, so, Um, but as I am growing up, I learned to read it. I read a lot of self-help stuff, but this really, um, really hit home from just a spiritual place and the things that I was going through at the time with relationships, with others and with myself and the, the type of.

Spiritual and personal growth that I was really needing in that moment. Um, it’s such a beautiful book. I I highly recommend it. I feel like maybe women may appreciate it more than men, but, um, it is really a lovely book to really understand yourself a little bit better.

[00:36:37] Tony Winyard: And is it a book you’ve come back to at any point? Have you read it like a sort of second time?

[00:36:41] Dr Sonia Chopra: I haven’t yet. I haven’t yet.

[00:36:45] Tony Winyard: If people wanna find out more about you, where, where would they go?

[00:36:48] Dr Sonia Chopra: So I have a website called sonya chopra dds.com. It’s Sonya with an I. I’m also on Instagram at Sonia Chopra dds. Um, that, those are the two main places I hang out. I have a lot of, um, Free resources and, um, fun dental blog, all about root canals, if that interests you. So there’s some good stuff on there.

That’s kind of my intention was actually to just only talk to dentists with that blog, but I, I can’t believe how many patients I’ve organically attracted through that blog. So I know that more people wanna hear about this topic, which is great.

[00:37:26] Tony Winyard: Well, well finally, Sonya, is there, um, do you have a quotation that you like?

[00:37:31] Dr Sonia Chopra: I think I said it earlier, flossing is life. Don’t forget to floss. It really is life.

[00:37:42] Tony Winyard: Sonya, I really appreciate your taking your time to, to, to help my audience with understanding how they should look after their mouths and their teeth a little bit more. So thank you.

[00:37:51] Dr Sonia Chopra: Thank you.

Next week episode 236 with Dr. Angela holiday bell. And she’s board certified physician and sleep specialist. And we discussed the importance of prioritizing sleep for overall health and wellbeing. Including how lack of sleep is linked to chronic diseases like outsiders. She provides science-based advice for improving sleep, such as maintain a consistent wake up time, seven days a week. And limited exposure to blue light from electronics before bedtime, avoiding large meals, too close to bedtime. And establishing a calming pre bed routine. And we talk about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or known as CBT. Which is a very effective long-term treatment for people with severe health, um, sleep problems. So that’s next week episode 236. We have dr angela holiday bell Hope you enjoy this week’s episode please leave us a review share the podcast with anyone who might enjoy it and hope you have a good week