Your Smile Dental Care blog


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The New Patient Exam

Because there is a doctor shortage in Ontario, most people do not have the luxury of choice once an opening in a practice becomes available. They either accept the physician available or wait further.

Dentists, however, are plentiful in many Ontario cities. Nonetheless, having too many choices can also frustrate your search for a new dentist. Life is busy and, oftentimes, too many choices can be overwhelming.

If finding “the one” is proving to be more difficult than you anticipated, we hope that you will find all the information you are looking for in our blog:

Tips for Choosing the Best Family Dental Centre

Seeing A New Dentist

What is involved in a New Patient Exam?

We get many calls to our office from people asking if we are accepting new patients. At Your Smile Dental Care, we love welcoming new people to our dental family. Your first phone call to our office is the first step in understanding what to expect during your first visit and how to prepare for it.

Record Transfer

Your previous dental history often provides information that may be vital to your future care with a new dentist. As such, your dental records can be transferred from your previous dentist to our office by signing a release form that gives your current dentist permission to transfer your private dental information. Because this is a process that dental offices carry out routinely, records are usually transferred in a cooperative and timely fashion so that they can be reviewed by our staff before you come in for your first appointment.

Alternatively, some people prefer to begin this process at their current dental office. The key point is that this undertaking requires your signature. Some offices simplify this process by sending you the documentation to your mobile device for an electronic signature or for you to print, sign, then photo capture before sending back. The idea is to get the process started quickly and efficiently so that there is no interruption in patient care.

Appointment

Once the records are received and reviewed, a New Patient appointment can be scheduled for a convenient date and time. Sometimes, this appointment can be booked in advance and in anticipation of receiving your dental history records promptly. Knowing what to expect during your first visit depends on your individual dental needs – be they Check-up, Emergency or Consultation.

  1. Check-Up

Because you will be a new patient to the office, you will have a full exam even though you may be due for your periodic check-up exam.

Why do you need a full exam?

Many things can alter your oral health care in between dental visits. As a new patient to our office, it is necessary to evaluate and become familiar with your dental and medical history and current status before we even pick up any instruments to clean your teeth. This initial exam is a very important step and consists of a detailed and thorough exam and information gathering session. It will include:

  • A review of your medical and dental history
  • An examination of all oral structures in your mouth, not only your teeth
  • Your teeth will be checked for things like decay, wear, damage, bite, mobility etc.
  • Your gums will be examined for pocket depths, bleeding, recession, and overall health
  • An oral cancer screening will be performed
  • Your past dental work will be checked for signs of damage, wear, fracturing, looseness, etc.
  • We determine if x-rays will be necessary to help us access and identify areas of concern
  • As we examine we chart of all this data
  • When we move onto the cleaning phase of this appointment, we continue to analyse your dental health
  • We will discuss al findings with yo and recommendations will be made, including any treatment plan going forward
  • Of course, we will encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns with us during this examination

Naturally, all of this takes times and is a crucial step in getting to know you, your health and your individual needs.  The more we know about you and your overall health, the more effective we can be in addressing your dental care needs. Your subsequent dental cleaning will then be tailored to your “specific to you” needs. For any future dental check-ups, we will have a baseline and reference point that allows us to provide continuity of care.

 

  1. Immediate

If your dental concern is of an immediate or emergency nature, then you are likely seeking an appointment as soon as possible. Understand that there is a difference, however, between what is considered an emergency and a non-emergency issue.

A true dental emergency is typically anything that involves any dental issue that requires immediate attention in order to save a tooth, if there has been a traumatic injury involving bleeding of the mouth or if you need relief from severe pain. Most offices can accommodate you into their same or next day’s schedule with the anticipation of providing you with an assessment then determining what form of relief or temporary treatment can be offered immediately. A discussion will then take place concerning what long term remedies may be necessary for your “specific to you” dental issue.

A non-emergency new patient appointment would concern a dental problem that poses no immediate threat to your teeth or life, as in often the case with infections or trauma. Some examples are a lost fillings, chipped tooth, moderate pain/discomfort that you can manage with some pain relief, or the recementing of fixed dental work like crowns, bridge or braces.

 

  1. Consultations

Perhaps you do not have an immediate problem, but are looking to move forward with some elective or comprehensive dental treatment. You may just wish to have a dentist offer you some treatment options or a 2nd opinion. This is especially common with patients who are interested in teeth straightening, implants, cosmetic treatment or complete dental makeovers.

This no-hassle, first New Patient appointment will likely consist of some information gathering and a discussion about your “unique to you” dental situation. A visual exam can only yield so much information. Having current radiographs or other pertinent dental records available for this visit will allow the dentist to assess your current dental status more accurately before offering an informed recommendation. For more complicated issues, sometimes a secondary visit is necessary. Which brings us to…

 

Why do different dentist offer different treatment plans?

No two patients are alike and that is important to understand when you are comparing your dental options with another person. The confusion arises when different dentists offer different recommendations for the same patient. It is important to understand that you are fortunate if you have more than one option available to you. It means you have choices!

Your dentist is there to help you make an informed decision based your dental health, finances, values and your commitment to maintaining a healthy mouth moving forward. Dentists, themselves, come to their conclusions based on a variety of factors including training, occupational experience, office technology, passion, thoroughness of patient assessment, confidence in patient’s future compliance/efforts, prognosis,  and whether they are conservative or progressive in their approach to patient care.

Lastly, it can also be a challenging situation if a person is looking for a quick, inexpensive and long-term solution for rather complex dental issue.

 

Preparation

How can you prepare for your first visit to a new dental office?

There is some information that must be gathered in order to ensure that there is continuity of care and to identify any medical issues or medications that can challenge your dental care going forward. To ensure that all information pertinent to your care is available to your new office, be prepared to bring with you or arrange for the following:

  1. Updated medication list.
  2. Family doctor’s name and telephone number.
  3. Details surrounding any current medical treatment you are receiving.
  4. Your dental insurance information. Most people have a dental ID card that has been issued to them by their employer/school. In the absence of this, be prepared to have your insurance information written down including – Name of employer, Name of Insurer, Policy and ID number
  5. If you are anticipating that your first visit will be an expense covered by your insurer then you will likely want to ensure this. Your new dental office will usually work with you to gather this information and will likely be part of the records release process from your previous dentist in addition to contacting your insurer.
  6. The need to take a prophylactic antibiotic before any dental treatment is a decision that should be made in consultation with your physicians and is a matter that should be reviewed regularly. If you have been advised to continue being pre-medicated before dental treatments, inform your new office in order to ensure that you are prepared for treatment.
  7. Confirm your appointment the day before you arrive to ensure that all pertinent information has been received
  8. Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth!

 

We hope that you now have a clearer understanding of what different new patient visits consists of. To make an appointment at Your Smile Dental Care or to get more information about your first visit, call us at (905) 5SMILES. You’ll be glad you did!

 

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

 


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Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork!

Why does my dentist need to know my health history?

So, you go to the dentist for a matter concerning your teeth or perhaps you’re there for your bi-annual dental check-up and cleaning and your exam begins with a bunch of questions about your overall health.

What gives?
Why does a dentist or hygienist want an update of your medical history at every visit?

This is a very legitimate question. After all, you may be coming in for just a simple visit and do not understand what the rest of your body has to do with your mouth.

We are caring for you – not just your teeth!

20140915_103718_resizedYou may have read somewhere about the “Body – Mouth” connection. There are medical conditions that significantly impact your oral health, determine the course of future dental treatment or explain why a particular problem keeps reoccurring.

When we exam you we are seeing more than just your mouth. We are caring for you, not just your teeth! We are concerned with making accurate diagnoses and following up with individualized treatment.

Obviously, patients with more complicated health histories will require more attention than others. In order to maximize our patient’s time with us we routinely ask that they keep a current copy of their medication list in their wallets for quick reference and let us know in advance of their visit here if there has been any significant changes in their health.

Sometimes, it is necessary to follow-up a health issue with the family doctor. Your family physician may prescribe some medication for you to take prior to your dental treatment, especially if you have recently had a new body prosthetic placed or have had a heart stent procedure. Other times, a medication may have to be temporarily discontinued before a particular dental procedure can begin.

As such, we ask that our patients bring in a copy of their medication list when they see us for their check-ups so that we can up date our records and advise as necessary.

Never underestimate the value of your health history…

MedsWe understand that your time is valuable and that you would like to get to your dental matter at hand rather than filling out forms. Updating your medical information may seem like an imposition to you or you may not want to disclose certain personal health issues to us, but it is important to understand that it is with your safety in mind that we must collect this information and ask any pertinent follow-up questions.

What may seem like an irrelevant health issue to you may turn out to be the essential information we need when diagnosing, treatment planning, using materials in your mouth or prescribing medications. Knowing these details can save your life!

Patient health histories are clearly documented and updated regularly in our office. We need you to be as comfortable with us as you would be with your family physician. We would like to think that our patients appreciate that we hold their health in such high regard and that we do not omit this part of your care.

At Your Smile Dental Care we treat our patients as we do our own family and friends. Keeping current and accurate patient records help us deliver the very best care to you – our valuable patients.

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


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Tips for Invisalign (Invisible) Braces

What you Need to Know

Are you one of the many individuals choosing the option of wearing invisible braces for straightening your teeth?

Known by their brand name, Invisalign®, these popular clear braces are the new modern way for your dentist to rearrange crooked, misaligned teeth.

Although, this modern choice for braces seems like a miracle solution for those who would rather have their teeth straightened discreetly, it nonetheless comes with its own set of complications that we will address today.

Like anything that is accomplished over a period of time, there is a process involved which takes time to become accustomed to. Understanding and dedicating yourself to this process will help you achieve the end results you are looking for.

 

How does Invisalign work?

Patients wear a series of clear, plastic, custom-made trays over their teeth 20 to 22 hours a day. This leaves you with 2 – 4 hours for eating and oral hygiene. Each set of trays are designed to gently exert pressure on the teeth to rearrange their positions. As teeth move, the trays are replaced with new ones every two to three weeks until treatment is complete.

 

Wearing Time

wearing-timeInvisalign are worn almost all day long – 20 to 22 hours – everyday. The trays are changed every 2-3 weeks to accommodate tooth movement depending on the complexity of treatment and wearing time may be evaluated as treatment progresses.  You will be shortchanging yourself in terms of time and money if you neglect to understand the importance of the mandatory wearing time.

Pros: By wearing them for the recommended time, your teeth will move as expected and your aligning trays  will not feel uncomfortable doing movement.

Cons: If you leave your aligners off for extended periods of time, they will feel tighter and more uncomfortable when you put them on your teeth again. If you do not commit to wearing them for the recommended hours per day, treatment time will take longer than initially planned and you may not get the results you were hoping for.

Cleaning

For the health of your teeth, gums and other parts of your mouth, cleaning your aligners throughout the day, especially after eating, is an essential part of treatment.

Pros: The upside to keeping your aligners clean is a healthy mouth.

Cons: Bacteria, plaque, food debris and  staining can easily accumulate unnoticeably if you forget to keep your trays clean. Dirty trays can lead to sore and bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, tooth stains and sore throats. Your dentist will advise you on how to keep your trays clean. One patient told us that they use Listerine to rinse their trays after cleaning as it stains any residue or buildup that was not cleaned off.

 

A higher risk of Tooth Decay is one of the major
drawbacks of Invisalign

Cavities

When you decide that you want great looking teeth, you are making an considerable investment in time, money, and most importantly, in your personal appearance and the health of your teeth. Your journey with orthodontic braces requires you to make a commitment, not only to the process of wearing and caring for your trays, but to being diligent about your oral hygiene.

Pros: Caring for your trays and your teeth during the process will ensure that your new smile is a healthy one!

Cons: If you have found that avoiding cavities in the past has been a challenge for you, wearing clear braces will only complicate your efforts. Saliva cannot get to the tooth surfaces to naturally cleanse your teeth when they are covered with the trays all day long. Tooth decay is one major drawback to these braces and there have been many, many, disastrous cases where patients have not only achieved the straight teeth they were dreaming of, but a mouth full of cavities also! You MUST understand that there is a high incidence of tooth decay that can occur with covering your teeth for upwards of 22 hours a day if you do not have a strict oral hygiene routine.

 

Eating

You have to remove your trays to eat then clean your teeth and trays before placing them back on again.

Pros: Confining your eating to 3 square meals a day will certainly help with the habit of snacking and the consequence of cavities that result from frequent eating. If the idea of losing weight and eating more healthy appeals to you, this will be a good opportunity to arrange how you will implement your plan during the Invisalign process.

Cons: There will be little or no time for snacking when wearing clear braces. The time you take to snack will take away from the mandatory wearing time and you must make time to clean your teeth and the braces properly after eating. This will be a huge adjustment for many people which can result in some weight loss. You may need to adjust your caloric intake accordingly when you are eating a full meal and preplanning is beneficial. People who have medical issues where meals are a significant factor, like diabetes, should discuss the use of Invisalign with their physician before committing to the process. You should also be aware that during tooth movement your bite will likely not line up properly which can make your chewing feel “off.” You may have to get in the habit of chewing slowly and carefully.

Note: Drinking – Some people may tell you that it’s okay to drink any liquids during wearing time without having to remove your braces, but only regular water is safe. Other beverages usually contain the sugars and acids that can break down enamel and over the time of treatment can result in tooth decay. The clear braces also stain and pick up odours easily.

 

Habits

Chewing – Some people have the urge to chew on these clear braces simply because there is something new and constant over the teeth. Chewing can roughen up the surface material, but the trays are replaced every couple of weeks so it usually doesn’t damage or affect effectiveness of the trays. In time, you may become used to wearing them and this adaption may help reduce this chewing habit.

clenchClenching and Grinding  Again, if you suffer from clenching and grinding, it will likely not damage the trays before they have to be replaced again, in fact, some orthodontists say that the constant pressing down on the trays can actually help the teeth move more efficiently. However, some people exert such heavy forces during this habit that it may affect the trays somewhat. While others with existing TMJ issues say that wearing the trays tend to aggravate the condition. Speak to your provider about this before deciding on this type of orthodontia. If you typically wear a night guard for your grinding habit, you will not be able to during your Invisalign treatment.

Note: If your trays begin feeling loose towards the end of each two week period, it is usually not an issue and is actually a sign that your teeth have moved into their new positions. Habits like chewing, grinding and clenching may make them feel looser, but usually not to the extreme that it could affect the effectiveness of the trays.

 

Oral habits – Feeling and probing the retainers with your tongue or heavy muscular action using the insides of your mouth can cause tissue irritation. Resist the habits of developing any oral fixations and before long you will not even notice the trays in your mouth.

Drooling – Some patients report excessive saliva when wearing the trays. This can be difficult especially since the urge to suction the saliva using the mouth muscles then swallowing or spitting out can become annoying. If you find yourself drooling at night, just place a towel over your pillow. It is normal for your mouth to treat the trays as something foreign and produce excess saliva to dispel the object. Overtime this should become less of an issue

Lisping – Speaking can be difficult when you are first becoming accustomed to the new trays. This will subside within time if you try hard to be deliberate and slower with your speech and become conscientious every time you notice yourself slipping into this lisping habit.

 

Movement

r23-jessicaPros – Teeth tend to move more quickly with Invisalign than with traditional braces. This shortens the overall treatment time so that you can enjoy the benefits of straight and aligned teeth sooner.

Cons – There is a balance that must be considered when moving teeth so that the roots of the teeth do not shrink away. The roots of the teeth are important as they anchor and hold your teeth in your jawbone. If they wear away, your teeth will become loose and mobile. Your dentist may suggest that you have x-rays taken periodically so that the health of your roots can be monitored.

 

Other Considerations

headache-14344661Tension – Some people develop sore jaws and tension headaches since the jaws do not match up during tooth movement and their teeth are not settled into the bite they have become accustomed to over the years. You can massage and/or place ice packs wrapped in a towel over the affected areas in a 20 minute on/off cycle to help reduce aches and inflammation. Switching to your new trays before you go to bed along with an ibuprofen is also a good idea. Speak to your dentist if the aches persists so that a pain relief can be suggested and treatment can be re-evaluated.

Locked jaws – Again, because the bite is ever changing, your jaw muscles and joints can become affected – even locking sometimes. Invisalign treatment can also aggravate a pre-existing TMJ issue. Massages and ibuprofens can reduce the tensions and inflammation that can cause this to occur, but you need to bring this situation to the attention of your dentist for evaluation.

Dry Mouth/Chapped lips – While some people develop excessive drool, others find their mouths have become dry and irritated. This can cause mouth sores, chapped lips and increase the likelihood of tooth decay. Using a lip moisturizer, drinking a lot of water and/or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

Mouth sores – The mouth can become irritated and develop sores if your oral hygiene is poor, your mouth is dry, your trays are dirty or from tissue action against the trays. Sometimes the trays need to be trimmed if there is some excess material that is irritating your mouth tissues. You can file these area down at home if you are careful and don’t overdo it. Bring it to the attention of your dentist so the source of your irritation can be addressed or oral hygiene instructions can be reviewed.

Lastly…

The great thing about Invisalign is that you can get great looking teeth without anyone knowing that you’re wearing braces, but you must do your homework and be truthful with yourself about your ability to commit to the treatment recommendations. Nothing worth having comes easy! Weighing the above pros and cons will help you decide if you are a good candidate for these types of braces.

It is also important to choose your healthcare provider carefully. The movement of teeth is very complex in terms of the physical, biochemical, and cellular processes that take place. Treatment requires the care of a competent dentist who has the education and experience to move things along with careful planning and consideration of all the likely variables.

 A lot can go wrong in a short time if you are tempted by a quick fix with a cheap price tag!
Educate Yourself!

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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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Dental Spot Remover


I just got my braces off and my teeth are straight, but now I have white spots on my front teeth!

 

Unfortunately, these spots are permanent damage to your teeth and are areas of decalcification where bacterial acid have dissolved the enamel during orthodontic treatment.

Did your dentist alert you to these  spots during treatment?

Typically, they do, when these spots initially begin to appear. They may warn you to start brushing better and may have mentioned the word “decalcification.” They obviously become more visible once ortho braces are removed and the look, texture and size of these spots will depend on the degree of severity.

 

The Battle

14-02-2017-3-27-12-pmWhen bacteria metabolize the sugars you ingest they excrete an acid onto your tooth surface. This acid is capable of breaking down the tissues that make up your tooth. Your saliva is rich in essential minerals and is the body’s natural way of repairing the damage from these “acid attacks”, but sometimes, the demineralization far outweighs any remineralization that the saliva can accomplish.

 

When this occurs, the tooth area in question begins to lose it’s shine and takes on a chalky, rough look due to surface etching.  The amount of enamel surface lost over time can be considerable enough to not only cause a very defined white spot, but it can eventually become deep enough to result in an actual cavity. Tooth decay after braces is not uncommon; it occurs far more often than you would think. Some patients have to have their orthodontic treatment stopped and the braces removed because their poor oral hygiene is causing so much damage!

 

2017-14-322Brushing your teeth effectively when you have braces on can be a challenge because food debris and plaque accumulate in, around and under the orthodontic bands and brackets making removal difficult. Extra effort is needed to make sure you are getting your toothbrush into all the nooks and crannies where food and plaque can hide.

Your orthodontist will recommend various orthodontic tooth brushing aids to help you accomplish this more easily. And since braces are typically worn for several years, this extra care is essential to keep teeth and gums free from the harmful effects of dental plaque.

 


“If you were not diligent about brushing your teeth before braces, you may find the new dental hygiene routine with braces very demanding”


 

 

20170214_110957You Get What you Give

 

A frank and honest discussion with your orthodontist before treatment begins is a very important step. Knowing and understanding the pro and cons of treatment will help equip you with all the information you need to make an informed decision before considering braces.

Cleaning your teeth will not be the only battle you may face with braces, but like anything in life – the effort you put forth is an indicator of the value you place on your smile and your interest in having healthy teeth.

 

Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy…

Having nice straight teeth with an ideal bite makes for a beautiful smile. However, if they are marred with these permanent white spots or riddled with cavities it can affect your smile for years to come, so you’ve really just traded one dental problem for another.

Treatment Options?

Getting rid of these white spots depends on the severity and can include one or a combination of these options:

20170214_125410.

 

Remineralization – Your dental professional can place a mineral rich solution on the affected areas to try to minimize the damage, strengthen the weakened area and restore some of the essential minerals back onto the tooth surface. This is only effective when the damage is not severe.

 

Whitening – The white spots are noticeable because they are whiter than the normal colour of enamel. Tooth whitening procedures can help lighten your natural tooth colour to a shade that is closer to that of the white spot. The long term effectiveness of whitening depends on how easily your tooth picks up staining. It is considered a temporary solution because it usually has to be repeated as needed and you will come to know how often your situation demands.

 

Microbrasion – If the surface damage is very minimal, there is a procedure that essentially “sands”  or rubs away the white spot with a fine rock/acid mixture until the underlying natural enamel is exposed. Different people have different variations of thickness to their tooth enamel, so this technique depends on how deep the dentist must go to reach new enamel.

 

Fillings – If the white spot is too deep then your dentist can “scoop it out” using the drill and replace it with a white filling material that most closely matches your natural tooth shade.

 

Dental Veneers – Dental veneers are very thin porcelain coverings for the front surface of your teeth. They are a quick and easy way to hide marks and discolouration of the enamel. This procedure is generally advised when the other options have been tried already or the spotting is too widespread.

 

Straightening Things Out

Your home care can dramatically minimize your health care risks during orthodontic treatment. Following the tips below will help ensure that when your braces are removed you are putting your best SMILE forward!.

 

  • Brush 3 x/day carefully and effectively
  • Use orthodontic cleaning aids
  • Choose water over sugary/acidic drinks
  • Stay away from highly acidic, sugary and sticky foods
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse once/day with an antiseptic mouth rinse
  • Maintain regular dental checkups
  • Ensure that your orthodontist is examining your teeth for signs of decalcification
  • Avoid snacking in between meals

 

 

At Your Smile Dental Care, we cannot stress enough the importance of proper home care for everyone. This is especially true when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and have braces that can trap food and plaque easily. By raising your awareness and taking the time and effort to implement the tips above into your daily routine you will be making a great investment in your future SMILE!

14-02-2017-4-2

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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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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Sore teeth after a Dental Cleaning?

Q: I wasn’t in any pain before my dental cleaning and now my teeth are sooo sensitive.

A: Lets review what happens with some dental cleanings.

04-04-2016 3-08-02 PMNo one likes surprises, especially in connection with something you were not expecting to be painful. Most everyone would also like to have a pain-free visit when they visit their healthcare providers, but this depends on the state of your health, the level of care required, your own pain tolerance and most importantly, expectations. Tips for a Pain-free Dental Cleaning visit can be found here.

This is why communication is a crucial aspect of the dental care experience. Building a trusting relationship relies on open, honest and effective communication. This requires the efforts of both parities.

If you were experiencing discomfort during your visit or required the intensity of cleaning that would leave you in pain afterwards, it sounds like there was something missing in the communication process between you and your provider.

Let’s take a look at how this could have been avoided…

Scheduling Your Appointment

Ideally, effective communication takes place before, during and after your cleaning. It begins with the first phone call to schedule your appointment when the administrative staff gathers as much information as possible to determine the type of appointment necessary and the appropriate time required. The questions they ask you will help them determine what information both you and the dentist should have so that everyone will be prepared for the visit.

 

Established Patients – If you are already a regular patient at a dental office, make it a habit to come in for your regular check-ups and cleaning and are not having any 04-04-2016 11-57-58 AMcurrent issues that you anticipate will have an impact on your appointment, then you can probably expect the kind of visit that you have become accustomed to at your dental office. If you have more tartar on your teeth than what is normally typical for you then your hygienist will let you know that your cleaning will probably be more involved than usual and suggest ways to help prevent future buildup.  Your cleaning appointment may be longer than anticipated or spaced out over two visits. Communication should be ongoing throughout the appointment as the hygienist gauges your comfort level.

 

New Patients – If you are a new patient to a dental practice then it is difficult to anticipate the level of tartar buildup and the condition of your teeth and gums. The administrative staff scheduling your appointment will let you know what to expect your first appointment. It is at this time that you may feel comfortable discussing any sensitivities, anxieties or dental problems you may have so that your dental provider will be aware beforehand and as many comfort aids as possible can be made available to you. A better idea of how much time and effort is needed for your cleaning will be determined during your first exam and you will be advised of what to expect at your next appointment. At Your Smile Dental Care, we try to get your cleaning started during your first new patient visit, if time permits. Again, during your actual cleaning procedure, your provider should let you know what is happening at all times and assessing your comfort level should be an on-going process throughout your visit.

Pre-Treatment

04-04-2016 11-09-47 AMIt is important to understand that there are different levels of cleaning depending on your dental health, the amount of tartar build-up in your mouth and when your last cleaning was. A proper assessment by one of the dental team members will determine how best to proceed with the safest, most comfortable and thorough cleaning they can provide. If you have a lot of tartar accumulation, then naturally your cleaning will probably be deeper and longer than a routine cleaning. You may even require several visits to complete your cleaning. All of this will affect your level of comfort, in addition to any dental sensitivities and anxieties you may already have.

There are times when a patient calls for a cleaning appointment and/or price, but has not had a dental visit in a very long time. This is where the communication begins. An experienced and thorough administration team will gather as much information as possible before discussing prices and scheduling the patient’s appointment. They will advise the patient that only a proper assessment by the dentist or hygienist can accurately determine the health of their mouth, the level of cleaning required and the associated price. Equipping the patient with this information beforehand will certainly avoid disappointment later.

The Stages of a Dental Cleaning Appointment

1. Pre Appointment – Before you even visit your dental office you should take note of anything that may directly impact your experience. Are you anxious? Do you have any sensitivities or sores in or about the mouth area such as cankers or cold sores? Are you in any pain or having a dental issue that could affect you during or after your cleaning? Letting your dental team member know these things beforehand will help them determine if they should modify or postpone your appointment.

09-02-2015 8-14-23 PM2. Pre-Operative Assessment – Before the hygienist even begins cleaning your teeth, a medical and dental assessment is done. During the medical portion, you are asked a series of questions pertaining to your health. This is very important step since your current health and medications can have a direct impact on your dental health and level of sensitivity in your mouth. As the hygienist is evaluating your health, they are also determining how best to proceed with the safest, most comfortable and thorough cleaning they can provide. If it has been a number of years since your last cleaning and you have quite a lot of tartar build-up, a separate appointment may have to be scheduled to complete your cleaning. The hygienist will tell you what to expect at your cleaning appointment so that you will have no uncertainties.

3. Cleaning Stage – There are also different levels of cleaning depending on your dental health, the amount of tartar build-up in your mouth and when your last cleaning was. Sometimes your x-rays and the visual exam is all that is needed to determine the amount of build-up on your teeth. While other times, it’s not until the cleaning is underway that the amount of build-up is evident.

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMThe hygienist will ask you to tell them if you experience any discomfort during the cleaning. They will also ask you periodically throughout the visit so that they can evaluate your level of comfort during your cleaning. Some people are sensitive to the water-spraying ultra-sonic cleaner, so the hygienist will switch to hand-scaling only. Others may not like the device that squirts air and water into their mouths. While still others are so sensitive or have so much cleaning to be done that they need a periodic break , laughing gas, pre-cleaning pain reliever or anesthetic.

A conversation about your concerns, fears or level of  anxiety should take place before the cleaning actually begins, so that you can both come up with a solutions for a more comfortable visit. As mentioned, some local aesthetic or conscious sedation (laughing gas) or a pre-cleaning pain reliever can be offered beforehand. If the patient has no prior history of discomfort during dental cleaning and begins to experience pain, then an entirely different conversation has to take place to determine the cause. Sometimes, it is the provider’s technique, an unexpected level of tartar build-up or another underlying health/medication issue in the mouth/body.

Provider Technique This is subjective issue and let’s be honest, most patients, who have had experience with dental cleanings have preferences that take shape over time and would like to have a choice when it comes to who will be providing their services. It’s important they be comfortable with the person who will be cleaning their teeth. When it comes to carrying out deep cleanings in a relatively gentle and thorough manner, some providers will do all they can to help accomplish this. Although the dental staff booking appointment will not make provider judgments to patients, it doesn’t hurt to let them know what your preferences, expectations and concerns are. In doing so, they may steer your appointment towards a provider that can best suits your needs. Unless a specific recommendation has been made by your family or friends to you, it is difficult to know what to expect at a new office. Being upfront is useful to the dental team and begins the open and honest communication relationship that helps make your healthcare experiences more predictable.

Toothpaste


4. Post Operative Assessment –
After your cleaning, the hygienist will tell you what you can expect in terms of post-cleaning discomfort, if any. Most people, who come in for regular cleanings, have no post-cleaning discomfort – in fact, their mouth feels clean and refreshed!  If there was a lot of accumulation on your teeth and the cleaning was more involved, then they will recommend the use of a pain reliever/anti-inflammatory, like ibuprophen, to get you through the day. There should be no surprises after your cleaning, if you are kept informed. If there was any uncertainties during the appointment, then your dental office will usually recommend that you call them if you have any questions over the next few days after treatemnt.

Home Care

10-03-2014 2-45-27 PM - CopyIt’s difficult to remove all of the plaque that builds up on your tooth surfaces even if you’re paying extra close attention. There is a small, free space between your teeth and your gums where you would insert your floss during home cleaning. You’ll notice, as you floss, that you are removing food and some soft, sticky plaque. The plaque that remains on your teeth in this space can become hard within a matter of days as your saliva begins to deposit minerals into it.

This hardened plaque is called calculus, commonly known as “tartar.” Calculus can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning using special scaling instruments. When a lot of tartar has built up on your tooth surfaces, especially below the gum line, it’s removal can sometimes lead to increased tooth sensitivity.

04-04-2016 5-11-26 PM modifiedIn order to understand why, you have to know that the hard tissue that covers the root is much less calcified than enamel is, making it more sensitive to irritants and temperature changes in the mouth. In order to protect the sensitivity anatomy of the root, your gums and underlying bone closely “hug” and insulate it from these sensations.

Much like your pant pockets that you may fill with stuff, the tartar accumulating under the gums is widening and deepening this free space between your gum and your root surface. It destroys the fibers that attach the gums to the tooth, and, if left long enough, will begin destroying supporting bone. Unfortunately, this destruction is usually a silent process that most people do not even realize is happening.

When your dental team member has removed this toxic tartar, you are now left with an enlarged pocketed area which is the space where the tartar use to be. This space is open to the mouth and the root surface is exposed to the hot and cold sensations, bacteria and other irritants it would otherwise have been covered with by tartar or protected from if the gum tissue was attached to it more snugly as it used to be.

Sometimes, there is so much tartar that has built up over time and is so far deep under your gums that it can not all be removed in one appointment Your hygienist will then ask that you make another appointment is a few weeks time. During this time your gums may be a little swollen from the scaling treatment, much like any wound would swell after being treated. The swelling will go down and shrink back to a level that will allow your hygienist to revisit the area in order to remove the remaining tartar safely and with less sensitivity.

Given time and proper home care, this pocketing of the gum can be reduced in size. However, destroyed gum tissue and attachment fibres are much more difficult to repair as they do not grow back once damaged.

We can not emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene at home. Your body has amazing
healing capabilities, but you must be patient and follow your dentist’s instructions.

 

Healing

20160425_132936_resizedMany people are quick to think that the dental team has done “something wrong” and this is why their teeth are now sensitive, yet were not before their appointment. It is important to remember that your teeth and gums are like any other part of your body. Damage can be occurring silently, without you ever having symptoms. When you visit us, we see the signs; we notice the damage that is already occurring.

We assume that you are here to see us for the care and attention that you deserve. Oftentimes, this requires more involved treatment that may leave you feeling some discomfort and tenderness afterwards. As one would expect after their family physician or surgeon has performed some invasive procedure, there will be a time of healing. Depending on the level of care needed, healing may be slower than you anticipated, but if you follow our instructions and the prognosis is good, we would expect your healing to be progressive.

Understand that disease and damage can occur in your mouth without you even realizing it. There are lots of people who lead very active and healthy lifestyles, who still have unhealthy conditions or diseases of the body. We have patients who are surprised to learn that, even with diligent home care, there is still room for improvement. Neglect is usually not intentional.

Lastly…

22-10-2015 10-15-17 AMWe often find ourselves back on the topic of communication. Open and frank conversations have to take place between you and your healthcare provider and you should expect nothing less. We assume that when you walk through our door you expect care and attention. It is with this in mind that we offer our patients advice or suggest improvements without the need for scolding or shame them. You should expect the type of partnership with your healthcare providers that is built on mutual respect and that allows you to speak freely and have these frank conversations.

Professional dental cleanings are important. The health of your teeth and gums depend on them. Neglect is not noticed so much when you are young, but as you age the warning signs and damage become increasingly more evident.

If you would like some tips on how to make your next cleaning more comfortable, see our blog: Tips for a Pain Free Dental Cleaning.

 

 

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

 


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Tips for a less Painful Dental Cleaning

Not everyone SMILES when having their teeth cleaned!

04-04-2016 3-25-58 PMNothing costs more in the long run like neglect.  This is why we promote regular dental re-care visits and cleanings so passionately. But for some people, cleanings are not exactly routine – they are painful!

A visit to the hygienist can be a real deal breaker when it comes to professional dental visits with some people avoiding cleanings at all costs. Technique is a learned skill. For some, it comes naturally, while for others it takes time to really hone their craft.

A good hygienist will be both thorough in their technique and gentle, but understand that dental scaling is often a tedious and time consuming process. The more build-up you have, the longer and more involved the procedure.

You can help predict your next cleaning experience by following some, if not all, of the following advice.

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1. The more frequent you have your teeth cleaned professionally, the less buildup there will be and the less tender and sensitive your gums will be.

2. Good home oral hygiene (especially flossing) helps to reduce the tartar accumulation. Oftentimes, using an electric toothbrush will do a more thorough job.

3. Take an anti-inflammatory before and after your appointment to reduce any discomfort during and after the cleaning.

4. Ask if you can have topical numbing spray/gel or have your teeth frozen (anesthetic) during the cleaning.

5. If your teeth are sensitive or you have gum recession, try switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth to build up some resistance in the sensitive areas.

6. You can reduce the chance of sensitive gum recession by not wearing them away with harsh toothbrushes, toothpastes or scrubbing action.

7. If you can identify exactly what exactly causes you discomfort during the cleaning (water-sprayer, ultrasonic cleaner etc…), perhaps your hygienist can offer an alternative cleaning method.

8. If you have a lot of tartar buildup, break up the cleaning over 2 or more appointments

9. Sometimes, an earlier appointment in the day will help if you find yourself more fatigued as the day wears on. Worth a try!

10. Ask around. Like any professional skill, it takes time to hone your craft, so to speak. If you feel that you need to switch hygienists, perhaps the office employs more than one or ask your family and friends for a good recommendation.

11. A scolding, judgmental hygienist can also be a painful experience. Advice can be given in a compassionate tone without reducing it to a lecture. Never be intimidated to the point where you let this type of conduct go unanswered. Let the hygienist AND the dentist know how you feel.

12. Do not judge the quality of dental treatment based on the absence of pain afterwards. If it has been a long while since you’ve had your teeth cleaned last, a good, thorough cleaning can leave gums swollen and sore. Your hygienist will tell you what to expect after your cleaning and what you can do to relieve post-cleaning discomfort.

 

There’s a saying – “A toothbrush can’t remove 6 months worth of tartar 30 minutes before your dental appointment.” Our goal is to help you have the best patient experience possible. Being an engaged advocate for yourself and taking responsibility for a healthier you by using the techniques described above will go a long way in improving your future dental cleanings.

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