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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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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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Retained Primary Teeth

22-02-2016 1-50-43 PMChildren hit many different milestones in their young lives with some children reaching developmental stages well before others. It’s not uncommon for parents to be concerned and seek our opinion when their child does not lose their baby teeth on time.

While there is a usual pattern and time frame for teeth to emerge into the mouth and others to be lost, as dentists, we begin to become concerned when a tooth/teeth goes well beyond these expected dates and there is a significant delay.

There are several common reasons for what we called “retained” baby teeth. A dental clinical and x-ray examination will determine why the baby tooth is failing to fall out (exfoliate). Afterwards, the dentist will decide whether to extract the baby tooth or keep it in the dentition.

It is not uncommon to find differences in treatment options amongst dentists as there are many factors to consider before deciding on a treatment plan, such as preserving bone, aesthetics, function and maintaining contact with surrounding and opposing teeth be preserved.

Incomplete root resorption

Have you ever wondered why only the crown portion of a baby tooth falls out? This is because the root portion of the tooth dissolves away. Sometimes, the roots do not get resorbed equally or completely. The course of action that the dentist will take often depends on the location and position of the adult tooth. Because the baby teeth are natural space holders, removing them too early can interfere with space that is needed for the eventually arrival of the adult tooth. A dentist may wait for the baby roots to eventually disappear or may help the process along by removing the final portions of the baby tooth to allow the underlying adult tooth to emerge.

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Bone Fusion

22-02-2016 2-19-13 PMUnder normal conditions the teeth and bone do not touch, rather, they are connected by way of tiny hair-like fibers. Think of how a trampoline mat is connected to the supporting steel frame by way of tension springs. In this way, the tooth is free to move slightly so it can withstand the forces exerted upon it during chewing. Sometimes, however, teeth become directly attached to it’s surrounding bone. Treatment depends on whether or not there is an adult tooth present underneath the baby tooth.

a) Adult Tooth present – If the baby tooth is fused to the bone AND has an adult tooth to replace it then your dentist will likely extract the tooth. A space maintaining device will be placed on the adjacent teeth in order to keep this space available for the future incoming adult tooth. The area and adult tooth will then be monitored during it’s own eruption process for any signs of abnormality.

b) Adult Tooth Absent – If the baby tooth is fused to the bone and DOES NOT have an adult to replace it then the decision of extraction versus retention becomes a more complicated issue and bone preservation becomes a very important consideration.

i) Maintain – If the retained baby tooth is of sound structure and is in a good position to function (chew) with the other teeth then your dentist will likely opt to keep this tooth in the dentition and monitor it over the years. It is not uncommon to find many older adults that still have a retained baby tooth. Good oral hygiene is very important as there is no adult tooth to replace this tooth. If the tooth is lost eventually, then a dental implant can be considered.

ii) Maintain with Modifications – This is often the case when the tooth is submerged somewhat and is therefore lower in height and dimensionally smaller than the adjacent teeth. If the dentist decides that that the tooth is viable enough to be kept in the mouth, a few modification may have to be done to the tooth in order for it to function properly and have contact with all surrounding and opposing teeth.  The tooth can be built up and reshaped in order to achieve function, but the tooth and surrounding bone will have to be closely monitored over the years.

 iii) Extraction – If the baby tooth is removed now, the resulting space will have to be preserved with a space maintaining device until a future implant can be considered. The dentist may opt to perform a procedure called decoronation, whereby the crown portion is removed from the tooth and the site left to heal over. It is believed that important supporting fibers will then reconnect with the adjacent permanent teeth present. As these neighbouring teeth advance in their eruption process, the bone height and width can be maintained for many years until an implant can be considered.

Adult Tooth Misalignment

2-26-2016 1-05-43 PMUnerupted – If the developing adult tooth is “stuck” in it’s position underneath, in the bone, the baby tooth may also be delayed in falling out. There are dental procedures that can help move the adult tooth along in it’s eruption process and eventually into position in the dentition. Your dentist may send you to an orthodontist for further evaluation. In consultation with the orthodontist, both short and long term solutions can be discussed that is unique to your child. Today, interceptive orthodontic treatment can go a long way in preventing the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.

Erupted – It is not uncommon to have adult teeth come into the mouth in front of or behind the baby tooth it’s suppose to replace. Removal of the baby tooth will depend on the position of the adult tooth, in which arch (upper or lower) this is occurring and at what stage of “falling out” the baby tooth is in. Although seeing permanent teeth erupt out of position when the baby teeth are still present is an unsettling thing for parents to see occur, it is a common situation. Once the baby teeth fall out or are removed, the adult tooth will eventually move into place naturally or with the assistance of orthodontia.

Lastly,

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular dental check-ups. Dental development and eruption problems are more common than one would think. Missing teeth can be caused by a number of things including genetics, injury, infection and endocrine disorders.

As challenging as some cases may be, with today’s advances in dentistry, there are now a variety of short and long term solutions available for consideration.  Early diagnosis and intervention is often an important consideration in planning for a healthy tomorrow.

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

 

 

 

 

 


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Seal out Tooth Decay

16-03-2015 11-28-20 AMFinding it hard to help your child keep their teeth clean?

One of the most common places where tooth decay develops in children is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. One way that you can help decrease the incidence of tooth decay in these hard-to-reach areas is the placement of Dental Pit and Fissure Sealants.

Groovy Teeth

If you look closely, you will notice that the biting surface of your child’s back molars have all these grooves and crevices. We call these pit and fissures and they can be very deep making our “pick-like” instrument a handy tool when we need to examine these hard-to-reach areas.  Although the shape of these teeth are important for the grinding of our food while chewing, it also makes cleaning these teeth more difficult. Food and bacteria-filled plaque can easily accumulate in these pits and go unnoticed by people which is why most cavities start in these deep hiding places.

Restricted Areas

16-03-2015 11-40-06 AMToday, there are many types of toothbrushes on the market. They have bristles that are designed to reach deep into the areas of teeth and gums to help remove food and plaque. However, some of the areas are so deep and inaccessible that even the best tooth brusher is restricted from being able to remove everything that gathers in these areas. Removing all of the debris that has become stuck in there is almost impossible.

Seal of Approval

One way to eliminate these crevices is to seal them. Your dentist can apply a sealing material, made of resin, that flows into and fills these deep nooks and crannies creating a barrier that not only protects the enamel from plaque and acid, but also provides a smoother biting surface to make cleaning more effective. Once placed, the sealants prevents plaque and food from being able to accumulate in the pits and makes cleaning much easier.

Check-ups are Essential

24-11-2014 2-21-31 PMIt is important to remember, however, that a sealed tooth is not completely resistant to tooth decay. Oral hygiene and diet is still important because you can not rely solely on sealants to prevent cavities. Seeing your dentist regularly is recommended so that your teeth and the bond of the sealants can be checked for any signs of breakdown or damage.

We protect things that are important to us…

Your child’s teeth are important, but they can be easily damaged by cavities if they are not protected.

At Your Smile Dental Care we have been using dental pit and fissure sealants for years as part of our complete preventive care program. They continue to be a cost-effective and safe way to help further protect teeth for both children and adult alike.

If you would like to learn more about dental sealants or other aspects of our Preventative Care Program, call us today at (905) 5SMILES.

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


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You’ve come to right place….

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Golfing, fishing, shopping …. we get it.  Dental offices are not usually the most exciting place to be and we understand that there’s a lot of other things you’d probably rather be doing than coming to the dentist.

As a well established dental office in Oshawa, we work hard to change opinions about dentistry because we spend so many of our own waking hours here. The next time you are preparing yourself for your upcoming dentist visit, it may be helpful to remember that we too are busy thinking about coming to the dental office!

Not only do we spend our days here, we are patients too! And like you, our dental team also wants a pleasant and enjoyable place to come to. Which is exactly why we make sure that our day is filled with laughter and camaraderie.

When you step through our doors, you are not walking into a quiet, sterile-looking office. There’s a real sense of family and community here. Certainly we are busy getting to the many tasks at hand, but we’re also likely sharing stories and photos with our patients, surrounding the TV during an important broadcast such as the Olympics and just generally “catching up.” It’s how we “roll” here and our new patients are pleasantly surprised.

Oh, the connections we make…..

So, it wasn’t surprising last week when a younger patient of ours walked timidly over to one of our elderly patients and struck up a conversation. As it turned out, this boy was busy working on a project about WWII and his new friend was a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. Last we heard, arrangements were being made for this gentleman to speak at this child’s school.

We are fortunate at Your Smile Dental Care to be able to make connections with our patients and establish relationships that are long-lasting and meaningful. We have a number of patients who have started dental careers of their own and it is a wonderful thing indeed to have the pleasure of caring for families of patients who were once children of our practice themselves.

We all are parents at this office. As the father of 6 children, Dr. Axelrod is committed to providing you and your family with the same level of dental care that he would provide to his own family.

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Thank you

We are very passionate about the dentistry we provide to you, our valued patients.

While our goal is to treat you like family and eliminate the fear and anxiety usually associated with going to the dentist, we want you to know just how much you give to us in return. Your kind words of confidence inspires us to the very best we can be everyday.

If you are looking for a child-friendly dentist in Oshawa that your family can grow with, you’ve come to the right place! Your experience starts as soon as you call our helpful staff to book an appointment:

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