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Back to School Dental Care

Making a list and checking it twice?

22-08-2016 4-19-56 PMThis is the time of year that we begin turning our attention away from the lazy hazy days of summer and back towards the upcoming new school year. Getting back into routine in terms of sleeping, eating and grooming is the perfect time to remind your children about the importance of oral care.

And although a dental check-up may be the last thing on your mind as you go through your child’s back-to-school checklist, you may want to reconsider. We now know that dental problems, including cavities, leads to more absences from school which can result in poorer academic performances.

Many parents do not realize that dental decay spreads through baby (primary) teeth much more quickly than in permanent teeth. Early detection can help prevent small issues from growing into much larger and more painful problems.

 

Prevention Tips:

Implementing just a few changes in the way we approach our children’s oral health can go a long way in preventing cavities.

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  1. Frequency – This is the #1 most important cavity prevention tip. Teeth need 4 to 5 hours to heal after an acid attack caused by eating/drinking. Mineral rich salvia is our body’s natural defence against cavities, but you have to allow it the time it needs to remineralize affected enamel.
  2. Diet – Any food that has natural or added sugars and starches in it can be used by bacteria in the mouth that then excrete damaging acid onto tooth surfaces. Highly acidic foods will also eat away at enamel. Decreasing the amount of sugars in your child’s diet, choosing water as their preferred beverage, eliminate snacking and choosing foods that help buffer against the acidic nature of other foods all go a long away in helping to prevent cavities.
  3. Xylitol gum – Chewing gum in school is probably still a no-no, but perhaps you can speak with your child’s teacher and explain the benefits of xylitol. It is found in some sugarless gums and is effective in controlling the amount of acidity in the mouth. This, in turn, helps to reduce the bacterial population and their damaging activity.
  4. Cheese – Pack some cubes of cheese in your child’s lunch and encourage them to eat if before and after their meals. Cheeses not only coats and protects enamel during meals and helps to balance the ph-levels in the mouth during acid attacks, but also contains minerals and casein which have anti-cavity properties.
  5. Water – Water is the preferred beverage of choice for a healthy mouth. Encouraging your child to also rinse with water following a meal when they cannot brush will help dilute acids in the mouth and wash away food debris.

 

Other Tips to Consider:

  • 22-08-2016 4-03-23 PMNo Snacking – The health of the oral cavity depends on the spacing out of meals. Hunger is the body’s way of letting us know that it’s time to eat, but snack time during school is now deeply entrenched in our school system. Educating yourself about the correlation between meal frequency and tooth decay will help you begin an open and honest conversation with your school’s administrator about the harmful effects of recess snacks not only on teeth but on classroom behaviour also. Good Luck!
  • School Insurance – We have seen many dental emergencies over our 30+ years in the dental business. Many of these accidents occur at school. We have a number of patients that benefitted from having had enrolled in the school insurance program that is offered. One patient, in particular, is still having ongoing dental treatment 20 years after the initial injury to his tooth. His parents certainly did not expect to ever have to use the policy, but are now glad that they enrolled in the program. The long-term prognosis for this particular tooth suggests that this patient will have ongoing maintenance costs for the rest of his life.
  • Sports guard – We can never emphasise enough the importance of protecting teeth during sports and playful activity. Again, we see many accidents caused during activity and the school ground is the most popular place for injury. No child probably wants to be the only students wearing a sports guard, but we do encourage it’s use.
  • Oral Hygiene at School – You may want to consider buying a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste for your child to use at school. Perhaps you can approach like-minded parents with children in the same classroom about this idea to help make this in-school routine more appealing to your child.
  • Plan Ahead – Life is busy we know, but setting sufficient time aside to plan healthy meals will help you avoid scrambling during the precious minutes in the morning to pack your child’s lunch.

 

Attending Post Secondary School?

Even young adults beginning their post-secondary studies should take the time now to see their dentist before school begins, especially if they are still on their parent’s dental benefits. With so many new changes happening during this exciting new academic experience, the stresses can build up.

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During exam time we get an increased number of emergency calls to our office from students complaining of pain, not only throughout the oral cavity, but also around the jaws, ears, head and neck. Oftentimes, it is due to the increased forces of grinding and clenching (a side effect of stress), while other times it is due to the swelling associated with the emerging wisdom teeth.

Another common problem is a sudden increase in the rate of decay amongst young adults in post-secondary school with no past history of serial cavities. Most times we can attribute this to a change in diet, especially the frequency at which snacks and beverages such of coffee/tea/sodas are consumed. Our recommendation is to always be vigilant when it comes to oral hygiene care and the numbers of meals/snacks/beverages eaten throughout the day. Give you teeth the healing time it needs!

A thorough check up before going away to school will help to take care of any dental issues that may arise during the school year.

Lastly, if you are thinking about having a check-up when you come home during winter break, it is important to reserve your check-up appointment well in advance as many students are thinking the same thing you are!


If it’s been a while since your children have had their teeth checked and cleaned, give us a call today.  We’ll make sure your child’s teeth are looking sharp and ready for school!

 

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 


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Aging Well

Top 10 Aging Smile Solutions:

Aging can affect your oral health just like it can your overall health. Even if you have taken care of your teeth meticulously over the years, your teeth can show the signs of aging and can make you look older than you are or feel!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to correct or at least minimize these changes.

1. Dark Teeth – As you get older your teeth can appear slightly darker or dull looking. This is usually because the outer, whiter enamel begins to wear as the inner yellow dentin begins to thicken. Staining foods/drinks and previous injuries to your teeth can also cause discolouration. Solution: Tooth whitening or veneers can brighten your tired smile. Avoid foods/drinks that stain which can compound the natural darkening of your teeth.

Whitening

2. Dry mouth – Some medications can reduce the amount of saliva your body produces leaving you with a drier mouth. This interferes with chewing and increases the likelihood of gum disease and cavities. Solution: There are sugarless gums and oral products that you can find at your local pharmacy which can help increase saliva stimulation and fluoride rinses to help strengthen enamel. Speak with your family physician to find out if one of your medications is causing your dry mouth. Perhaps there is an alternative medication that can be prescribed.

3. Longer teeth – Ever heard the saying, “Long in the tooth?” If you are losing gum tissue (recession) more of your tooth begins to show. If this gum disease process continues, eventually the softer, more sensitive root portion of your tooth will become exposed. Solution: Fluoride varnishes/rinse and sensitive toothpastes can be used to decrease discomfort. Avoid hard, abrasive toothbrushes and toothpastes. Use lighter force when brushing. Consult your dentist to find out if you are experiencing the effects of gum disease. Therapy can be started to slow down this gum loss.

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4. Smaller Teeth – Teeth naturally wear over time, making them appear shorter and flatter. Clenching and grinding can also cause the biting surface of your teeth to wear down. Solution: A night guard can slow down this process and prevent further tooth loss. Filling and dental crowns can be placed to repair more extensive damage.

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5. Smaller jaw – Bones change over time and forces are constantly remodeling your facial bones. As the years pass, you will eventually lose volume in the size of your jaws. Losing one or more teeth without replacing them will also cause the jaw to shrink. Solution: Replace missing teeth as soon as possible to maintain jaw strength and size. Eating a well-balanced diet will help to ensure that you are receiving the nutrition necessary for bone growth and maintenance.

6. Sagging Facial Skin – If your jaws and surrounding facial muscles are shrinking and losing definition, the overlying skin may begin to sag causing you appear older than you really are. Solution: Aside from cosmetic facial surgery, proper nutrition, chewing and replacing missing teeth sooner than later are beneficial in reducing bone loss. We now know that replacing a missing tooth with a bridge or denture will restore chewing, but will also accelerate bone loss in the jaws. A dental implant, however, takes the place of and functions like the missing root while maintaining the valuable facial bone.

7. Tooth Sensitivity – The tissue that surrounds the root of your tooth is not as naturally calcified as enamel, is more sensitive to chemical and thermal changes in the mouth and is less decay-resistant. If your gums are receeding then more of the root will begin to show increasing the likelihood of decay and discomfort. Solution: Fluoride can be applied to these areas to strengthen the root tissue and the use of sensitivity toothpastes usually provide effective relief. It is important to keep plaque away from the weaker root surfaces in order to reduce the chance of cavities. Never use a hard toothbrush, abrasive toothpastes or forceful scrubbing tooth brushing action.

Muriel8. Chipped Front Teeth – Your broad, multi-rooted molars are designed for forceful chewing and grinding not your slender, smaller front teeth. If you have had several molars removed in the past and are now using your front teeth to chew your foods, you run the risk of breaking/chipping your front teeth, fracturing your root and/or loosening these teeth. Solution: Most chipped and broken front teeth can be repaired, but a permanent solution to restore proper chewing function must be undertaken to avoid continued breakdown and eventual loss of the front teeth. High quality dentures and implants can be made to replace missing molars. Loose or ill-fitting dentures are now a thing of the past now that they can be supported by an implant.

Note: Filling do not last forever. Maintain regular dental exams so that fillings can be checked and replaced/repaired if necessary.

9. Poor Mobility – Dexterity can become a serious issue as one ages. Arthritis, strokes and Alzheimers are just a few conditions that can making tooth brushing and flossing difficult. Solution: Caregivers must be diligent in their efforts to help Seniors with their care to prevent plaque and calculus build-up that can cause cavities and gum disease. Using less toothpaste and a toothbrush with a larger grip or an electric toothbrush can make tooth care easier.

10. Nutritional Deficiency – Missing teeth, tooth sensitivity, poor-fitting dentures and impaired taste can compromise the ability and desire to eat a well-balanced diet leading to nutritional deficiencies and a decline in overall health. Solution: Food may be easier to consume if they are softer, cut into smaller pieces, and more flavourful. Ill-fitting dentures can be modified or replaced and sensitive areas of the mouth repaired or protected with dental materials.

While we may be living longer, healthier lives, we are also facing many challenges in attending to and prioritizing all of our health care needs. Unfortunately, dental issues are among one of their most common health problems experienced by the aging population. With almost over 30 years of experience, we know first hand the frustrations, challenges and barriers that can hinder a person’s access to care. Whether you are someone who is looking to obtain optimal oral health as you begin to age or are someone who is looking to bring in your elderly parent/s for a long, overdue examination, at Your Smile Dental Care we are here to team up with you and offer you support and solutions while maintaining a strong focus on prevention.

Dr. Sam Axelrod offers a wide range of dental services to make it easier for you and your family to receive the care they need. Call us today at (905) 576-4537.

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Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team


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Tips for Choosing the Best Family Dental Centre

Looking for a new dentist?

22-12-2014 12-10-03 PM - CopyWhile there is no shortage of dentists in our part of Ontario, perhaps finding “the one” is proving to be more difficult than you anticipated.

Realistically, most people do not want to be hopping from dentist to dentist. Not many people have the time nor the money to schedule a series of new patient exams with dentist after dentist until they find that one special office that best suits their values, needs and expectations.

Let’s discuss some of the research you can do ahead of time to bring you one step closer to your ideal dental family:

1. Expectations

You probably already have a good idea of the kind of dentist and office you are looking for. Making a list of your expectations and questions will be handy when you begin to make your inquiries. If your community has many dentists, you can narrow down your choices to those who meet your criteria in terms of location, hours of operation, payment policies, services etc. You may be able to accomplish this using the advertisements in the your telephone book or online. Record your information in a table-like format so you can review your information easily.

2. Word of Mouth

SHaring - CopyThe advice of trusted family and friends should not be overlooked as it’s usually one of the most credible forms of recommendations. Not only are they concerned about your well-being, but they put their own reputation on the line when they endorse a dentist. They will be able to answer many of your questions beforehand and relate the experience they have had. Perhaps, they won’t mind coming along with you to visit the office and “meet” the dental team.

3. The 10 Thousand Hour Rule

We have great dental schools in Canada where dental students complete years of intense study including extensive, clinical work on patients. Patients have the right to a standard of care concerning the knowledge, care, skill and judgment of a practitioner. With that being said, many hours go into refining one’s technical and human relation skills with true mastery sometimes taking years to perfect. It is important to understand that, while there are 06-05-2014 9-56-15 AMcertain standards of care that we can and should expect all dentists to possess, their styles of communication and personality will vary as could treatment options.

Knowledge, care, skill and judgment evolves over a professional’s life. If the number of years a dentist has been practicing is an important issue for you, then make that enquiry when you call the office. Some offices have a team of dentists providing care and patients may rotate among those dentists. Aside from emergency care, if you would like to see one particular dentist only, then make this clear to the staff and dentist upfront to avoid any surprises.

4. Communication

29-12-2014 6-30-52 PMOne can never underestimate the power of communication, especially pre-treatment communication. Never be satisfied to be only  handed a dental brochure to detail recommended treatment. You are unique and the information provided to you must contain specific-to-you risks, benefits and alternatives. Over time, we have learned that most patients appreciate when a dentist uses plain language with familiar words and short sentences. The use of good, clear communication should never be an afterthought. Most misunderstandings arise when there is a difference between what the dental team is intending to say and how a patient interprets the information.

Informed Consent

In the province of Ontario, patients should expect that dental treatment be performed only after they have received enough facts to make an informed decision, have had the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers, have had challenging information clarified and then have consented to the recommended procedure.

5. Trust and Compliance

The relationship you establish with your new dentist and team will hopefully be a long and healthy one, so your level of trust and comfort is essential in creating a bond that will help you obtain and maintain good oral health for life. You must feel comfortable to ask questions and trust that the dentist is listening, explaining things well and delivering dental care to the best of their ability.

If there are trust issues between you and your dentist you may end up always questioning the care you receive and be unlikely to follow through with agreed-upon home care directions or any treatment recommendations. This can compromise both your current and future oral health.

 

The 3 Phase Visitation Process

Your First Visit

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-mYour first visit should not be an appointment. Instead, visit the office by telephone then follow-up with an in-office inspection. It should always be okay to approach a new dental office with your inquiries. How else are you going to get the answers that you are searching for?

You can begin with a telephone call asking if they are accepting new patients and then ask about their office policies with regard to payments, dental insurance, hours of operation, services provided and transfer of records. What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? Are children welcomed?

How did you feel about this first encounter? Did you feel welcomed or rushed? Were they enthusiastic and informative or reserved and vague. Perhaps they have a website you can visit.

The Second Visit

Prepare some questions and follow-up next with an office visit. A good office will be proud to show off their office and look forward to answering your questions.

How did you feel when you walked inside? Did you have the sense of comfortable surroundings and cleanliness? Were they willing to show you around and were they patient and knowledgable when answering your questions? Was the staff excited to meet you? Consider it a bonus that, if time and schedule permits, you are able to meet one of the dentists. Take home some office brochures, their business card and hopefully, a positive feeling about your overall experience so far. 29-12-2014 6-35-38 PM

If you feel that this may be the dental team you’ve been searching for, you are now ready to make your New Patient appointment. Your new office may have you sign a “Record Release” form so that they can retrieve your dental history and any pertinent x-rays from your former dentist. Records are transferred back and forth between dental offices everyday, so this should be a routine procedure.

Since the new dentist will likely bill for a new patient “complete exam” on your first visit, ensure that you know the limitations of your dental benefits. Some insurance companies will only pay for a complete exam every 3-5 years, so you may want to make sure. Have your insurance information ready when you call to schedule your first appointment in case they ask you for this information ahead of time. As a courtesy, some offices will call your insurer to get an overall summary of what your plan covers so that they will have some idea of your level of dental coverage.

Third Visit

09-02-2015 8-14-23 PMThis is your “New Patient” appointment and is the information gathering visit! Try to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time just to get any paper work out of the way such as insurance information and the completion of your medical/dental history form. During your first visit,  your medical/dental care history will be reviewed. You may have already discussed some of your current medical/dental health with the staff/dentist already, but you will now have the opportunity to elaborate further. During the clinical exam your mouth and teeth will be inspected and the information gathered will be recorded in your patient chart. X-rays may be necessary in order to examine the parts of your teeth and bone that the eye cannot see.

If any treatment is advised, recommendations will likely be presented to you at this time. Your dentist will educate you on your current oral conditions and treatment options. Establishing open and honest dialogue right from the beginning is mutually beneficial for you and the dental team. If there is something specific that you would like to discuss, express your concerns as clearly and as truthful as possible. Informing the dentist about why you chose to switch offices is equally important so that expectations can also be discussed.

Hopefully, this first appointment has reaffirmed your choice and you are happy to be finally part of your new dental family. There is one last thing we should discuss ~ Commitment!

The Final Commitment
Commitment is a two-way street. In order for a good dentist/patient relationship to work, there has to be mutual respect where both parties accept certain obligations or duties. If you are receiving outstanding service and you value the care that your dentist is providing you can honour this commitment by:

  • Being respectful to staff and other patients
  • Arrive on time for your reserved appointment or give sufficient notice to change an appointment in order that this time can be offered to another patient in need.
  • Provide accurate and complete information about your health, including medications and past or present medical problems and to report any changes in your health status.
  • Inform the office of any changes to your dental insurance.
  • Follow mutually agreed-upon treatment recommendations given by your dental care provider.
  • Let your dentist or team member know when you do not understand information about your care so that they can have an opportunity to explain further.
  • Inform your dentist if you are not satisfied with any aspect of your care.
  • Pay promptly for treatment you have already received.

At Your Smile Dental Care, we encourage our patients to take a partnership approach with us to ensure that their dental experiences are always of mutual respect, trust and commitment. We hope that the relationship you establish with your new dentist and team will be a long and healthy one ~ after all, your teeth are for life!

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Yours In Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team