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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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It’s 2017: Keep Calm and Floss On

Live Well   |   Laugh Often   |   Floss Much

 

09-01-2017-2-00-05-pmOf all the new and exciting news from the world of dentistry last year, surely the report from the Associated Press report, which found an apparent lack of evidence to support the claim that flossing was effective, generated the most buzz throughout dentistry.

Equipped with their own advisories and statistics about flossing, dental professionals everywhere prepared themselves for the onslaught of patients who would, no doubt, come to their next dental appointments quoting this report and it’s claim of, “lack of scientific proof.”

But surprisingly, the best reply came from the comedian Steve Harvey who basically called the report was, “stupid” and was not going to stop flossing as he had seen some stuff on his string that he knew “full well” smelled bad. We won’t quote the whole thing, but you can listen to his full reply on YouTube.

He’s no dentist or scientist, but he’s certain that he’s coming from a place of knowledge.

You’re probably thinking, “I already brush 3 times a day, why do I need to do anything else?”  The math is simple. With five surfaces to every tooth and the tooth brush only able to effectively reach just 3 of those surfaces, how much are you leaving behind?  Approximately 40% of the plaque remains to continue it’s destructive work and eventually calcify to the hard substance called calculus (tartar).

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And how many times have you taken something out from between your teeth or below the gum line with your floss that had a putrid smell?  We think most people would agree with Steve that it’s usually pretty stinky stuff that is left behind.

We can laugh at Steve, but there’s no kidding aside! Interdental cleaning is a critical component to the oral care routine and a quick experiment at home will demonstrate that you will, most likely, still find foul-smelling plaque between your teeth and under your gums even after brushing effectively for a good 5 minutes. Go Ahead, try it! 

 

How to clean what your toothbrush misses

1) Traditional Flossing

At Your Smile Dental Care, we look to see how effective a patient’s present way of interdental cleaning is before making a recommendation. If they can successfully remove what their toothbrush misses without gum damage or bleeding then there’s no reason for them to change what they have mastered. See instructions here (2:12 minute point in the video)

Some people, however, have difficulty with the use of string floss – finding the technique of wrapping the floss around their fingers and negotiating it between their teeth and under the gums quite challenging and awkward. Fortunately, there are other flossing aids that can be used with ease.

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2) Floss Wands

 

09-01-2017-11-08-14-amAnother method is using a floss holder. Although there are many different types of designs, it is basically a device that holds a small but tight piece of floss making it an easy and simple way to move and manage it around the mouth with just one hand. This is not, in our experienced opinion, the most precise option for flossing, but recognise that it has become a popular choice.

Therefore, we advise our patients to choose a product that allows you to load your own floss so that you can always have a clean segment for each tooth. This is a much more effective solution rather than just using the same piece of string for the whole dentition.


3) No Strings Attached!

 

09-01-2017-11-15-34-amThere are also a variety of electric flossing devices including water and air flossers on the market. Both are designed to clean in and around teeth by forcing debris out with gently pressure.

Water flossing has been around for many years and is often used as an alternative to string flossing. Waterpik is the most common interdental cleaning device that comes to mind, but there are other products on the market as well. A water flosser introduces a steady stream of pulsating water to flush out interdental debris while massaging the gums.

An Air Flosser uses micro bursts of air and water droplets to disrupt and remove plaque.

4) Other Interdental Aids20170109_105017

There are many other tools on the market: picks, sticks, rubber tips, threaders, tuft or conical bristles – all designed for specific uses to assist you in your interdental cleaning efforts.  The recommendation your dentist or dental hygienist makes will depend on your individual dental health needs. These other interdental aids are used in conjunction with flossing or as an alternative to flossing, but are not suppose to replace tooth brushing. While you will  never be able to remove 100% of the plaque from your teeth, cleaning in between your teeth and under you gums will certainly help reduce the likelihood of dangerous plaque buildup.

Effort is a reflection of Interest

Unless you believe in the value of effective oral hygiene, how can we convince you to floss?

One of the most important pieces of advice that we can give to people is that they understand why they need to remove what their tooth brush can’t reach and make certain that they are doing it effectively. It is simply not enough to just snap the floss in between each tooth without taking the time and making the effort to really do a good job. This not only involves proper placement of floss and effective removal of debris, but taking the time to see and smell what you are removing and ensuring you are being gentle with your gums. Likewise, other interdental cleaners are of no value if they are not used with the attention to detail.3-14-2016 2-39-05 PM

Dentists know that guilt and shame doesn’t work  and using scare tactics as a strategy is usually not an ineffective way to motivate patients long term, especially when dental disease or the oral health rewards are not always immediately obvious.

So, while it is true that we cannot force someone to do something they simply do not want to do, we continue to try our best to persuade and help our patients to see the value of flossingWith more than half of the population suffering from preventable gum disease, we can’t, with a clear conscious ignore the benefits of interdental cleaning and patients should expect nothing but the best advice from their healthcare providers.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Smile


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Signs of a Healthy Mouth

Do you know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy mouth?

Our patients at Your Smile Dental Care look to us to keep them up to date on all the advances in modern dentistry and to educate them on how to get their mouths and teeth as healthy as possible. Today, people know that they CAN keep their teeth for a lifetime and want to be aware of the first signs of trouble.

 

Gums

20-10-2014 1-32-21 PMHealthy gums are pale pink and firm. They are not white, red and puffy nor do they bleed when you brush or floss. Healthy gums also are not tender or sore and do not have pus filled pimples on them which may be signs of infection. One way we help patients gain a new perspective on the idea of bleeding gums, is to ask them if they would be concerned if they had persistent bleeding elsewhere on their body? Chances are they would answer yes and bring it to the attention of their physician immediately for a diagnosis and treatment.

There is also a triangular portion of gum tissue that should extend between adjacent teeth that ends in a point and has a free space (depth) of about 2-3 mm where your floss would slide for cleaning. As the gums recede due to unhealthy conditions, this triangular shape becomes more blunt and the space becomes deep, forming a pocket into which more bacteria, plaque and tartar can accumulate. Your dentist or hygienist monitors the health of your gum and will routinely measure the depth of these pockets.


Teeth

04-04-2016 3-08-02 PMObviously, healthy teeth should be cavity free, but when your dentist or hygienist checks your teeth, they are looking for many others signs of health also. They examine for any erosion, staining, chips or cracks, disease, failing dental work, looseness, missing teeth, crookedness, sensitivity, etc.

If teeth have had repair work done on them in the past such as fillings, crowns, or root canal treatments, they are checked to ensure that these restorations are holding up under the wear and tear that the chemical and mechanical forces of the mouth and jaws can place on them. Intact restorations have a good fit/seal against the tooth to prevent bacteria from getting in underneath and causing tooth decay. We look for signs of leakage, cracks, chips, movement and tooth decay.

Healthy teeth also do not appear longer as you age. When gums recede due to disease, the crown portion of the teeth will begin to look longer.

Case Scenerio

A patient comes into the dental office because their cap has fallen off of one of their teeth. The dentist notices immediately that not only has the cap come off the tooth, but the crown of the tooth has broken off at the gumline and is still inside the cap. Upon closer examination, they can see and feel with their instruments that both the part of the tooth that is in the cap and the portion that is still in the jawbone have rotted  from tooth decay. Bacteria has gotten in underneath the cap and diseased the hard tooth structure to the point that it crumbled enough for the tooth to break in half. It had been almost 7 years since their last exam. Maintaining regular dental checkups would have allowed the dental staff to monitor the marginal integrity of the cap and periodic x-rays would have detected signs of tooth decay when the cavity was small enough to be repaired.

 

Fresh Breath

Hidden Smile - CopyA healthy mouth does not have persistent or significant bad breath (halitosis). Early morning breath can have an odour after a long night of  bacterial action and growth when there is very little saliva production.

Most often, bad breath is caused by an accumulation of bacteria and their odours and sulphur smelling gases. It is also one of the first signs of gingivitis that can lead to gum disease, worsening mouth odour, the loss of teeth and other complications for the body. Smoking, dieting, dehydration, illnesses, diseases, unclean denture and appliances, tonsil stones, nutritional deficiencies and foods all can cause bad breath.

Wonder if you have bad breath? If you can’t already taste or smell it yourself then you can smell your floss after use or scrape some plaque off your teeth or tongue to smell. Alternatively, you can ask someone to smell your breath and give an honest answer. Most importantly, do not ignore bad breath or just try to mask it with gums, mints or mouthwash. Your physician or dentist can usually help you get to the underlying cause when good oral hygiene does not solve the problem.


Pink, Clean Tongue

You may not realize this, but we also examine your tongue for signs of health. A healthy tongue is pink and covered with tiny nodules we call papillae that help you perceive taste. The overall surface should be flat, smooth and clean looking. The surface papillae can and do harbour bacteria that, if left to accumulate, can grow to unhealthy levels. Keep your tongue clean with a tongue scraper as part of your regular oral hygiene.
Tongue Scraper

A discoloured or painful tongue can be an indicator of trauma, smoking or canker sores, but can also be signs of more serious conditions including a nutritional deficiency, auto immune disease, allergic reaction, Kawasaki syndrome, anemia, diabetes or even cancer. White coatings, lines, or patchy areas should not go ignored.

There is a condition known as “geographic tongue” whereby the top surface of the tongue presents with a map-like pattern of reddish spots that sometimes have a white border on them. It is usually a benign and harmless condition that requires no treatment except topical medications if it becomes sore or uncomfortable.

Medications and menopause can also cause the tongue to become painful or even drier than normal. Always consult your physician if you notice something unusual about your tongue, especially any lumps or sores that do not go away.

 

Proper Bite

25-04-2016 11-19-29 AMIdeally, in a healthy mouth, your upper and lower teeth fit together in an even manner so that the forces of chewing are equally distributed and shared amongst all teeth throughout the jaw.

Teeth rely on one another for support and uneven bites, open spaces or teeth that are crooked, crowded, displaced or missing can hinder the performance, appearance and health of the teeth and can impact breathing, speaking, digestion and oral hygiene. Misaligned and crowded teeth can make teeth more difficult to clean and keep healthy and can cause jaw problems leading to clenching, grinding, head/neck/ear/sinus aches and TMJ disorder.

Pain Free

A healthy mouth is not painful, dry nor sensitive. Yes, we may temporarily cause it trauma through injury or hot foods or have the periodic canker sore show up, but overall, a healthy mouth is pain free. There are products and treatments to help with minor sensitivities and the source of dry mouth situations can be investigated. However, you should be aware and not ignore any changes, pain or afflictions in the mouth and it’s tissues that can be a sign of breakdown or disease. The rule of thumb is to have anything that lasts more than 7-10 days examined.

Lastly

Just because you may brush and floss everyday, does not mean that your mouth is healthy. The phrase, “Your mouth is the window to your overall health” is a reminder that caring for your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

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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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Extreme Bad Breath

Are you “Nose Blind?”

Bad BreathI heard that phrase on a television commercial today . I can’t remember what the ad was about, but these words stuck with me and made me think of imperceptible breath odour. We’ve had some of our patients tell us over the years that they’ve had close family members tell them that they had really bad breath, something they had not been aware of. They came to us looking for solutions and we were happy to offer them our professional advice.

Interestingly enough, many people do not know that they suffer from bad breath until someone tells them which is why the phrase Nose Blind would be an appropriate description of most people’s perception of their breath.

Why are we usually the last person to know that we have a mouth odor problem? And more embarrassing, is the thought that it has probably been occurring for a long time and we are just finding out now.

This will sound blunt, but how many situations have you been in where you have offended others with your bad breath and they have just been too polite or uncomfortable to tell you? It is certainly a horrific thought, but knowledge is power and recognizing that you have a problem is the first step in finding a solution.

There is something more horrible than your average bad breath.

Although poor hygiene is the #1 cause of bad breath, sometimes it can be more complicated than just that. Medications, illnesses, substance abuse, bulima and other habits can leave your mouth smelling anything but fresh, however, there is a mouth malodour that is so severe that it actually permeates throughout a room and nauseates bystanders causing them to cover their own noses.

Perio Breath

Perio breath is one such breath odour. It is used to describe the foul mouth odour that develops as a result of gum disease. Periodontal disease is a dental disease affects the supporting tissues surrounding the teeth. As the disease advances pocketing and destruction of surrounding gum tissue and bone occurs. The bacteria involved produce a sulphorus, gaseous smell similar to rotting tissue or rotten eggs. It is very distinct in its odour and usually a person can identify a distaste in their mouth, but may not be able to detect what others are smelling.

This is another reason why it  is often referred to a “Silent” disease. It is very important that you see your dentist as soon as possible since this level of bad breath is a good indication that you have been suffering from this condition longer than you may think. Dental treatment with accompanying home care can help you get control of bacterial buildup and their destructive actions and odours. It is important to understand however, that untreated gum disease will advance causing more than chronic bad breath… it can be life-threatening.

Tonsil Stones

Tonsil StonesHave you ever heard of tonsil stones? It is a less known, but not uncommon condition called tonsilloliths. Tonsil stones are small, white deposits of bacterial plaque and food that builds up in the craters of your tonsils and are usually dislodged during eating and coughing.

Tonsils are made up of folds of lymphatic tissue and some people have deeper folds and pockets than others making it difficult to remove this accumulation. Just like facial pores, these crevices can develop into deep openings where buildup continues to collect. The only way that they can be cleaned out is with medical assistance. An ENT physician can extract the deposits and teach you how to eliminate this buildup yourself at home.

For the brave of heart you can search for tonsil stones online. Just a warning though – The extraction of this material can be visually disturbing, but it can be a very seriously embarassing social problem for those suffering from the foul odour it causes.

The Social Implications of Chronic Bad Breath

Nobody wants to hear the hard reality of how people judge one another, but the social consequences of bad breath can be far reaching. The irony is that most people are too polite and would find it awkward to tell you that there’s a odour coming from your mouth. Unfortunately however, it can affect your image and sadly, your opportunities. If you are lucky enough to at least suspect that you have more than just the occasional bad breath ask a close loved one – they’ll tell you the truth. Review your oral hygiene habits and if the problem persists, see your physician or dentist for diagnosis. We’re here to help!

Yours in Better Health,

The Your Smile Dental Team
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You Don’t Need to Fear the Dentist!

 

Avoiding the Dentist?

Covering mouthIf the mere thought of going to the dentist causes your heart to race and your hands to sweat you are not alone. While many people will choose to make dental health care one of their New Year priorities, according to Statistics Canada more than 40% of Canadian will give the dentist the brush-off because of dental anxiety.

Although there has been many significant advances in dental techniques and technology, many people still feel uncomfortable in a dental office. This is because the body is simply amazing! It is designed for self-preservation and is equipped with an incredible internal response system when it senses danger. Even when you brain attempts to rationalize and calm your fears, your body may already be sending you the strong urge to escape.

It’s no wonder people avoid coming to the dentist or cancel their dental appointments. Trying to reason with such a strong fight/flight/freeze mechanism can be challenging. You may not be able to eliminate all of your fears, but you can learn to manage them despite your body’s physical reactions.

If you are determined to make your health and well-being a priority this year here’s what:

You Can Do…

1. Admit your fears – If you are already thinking about going to the dentist you are likely already feeling anxiety. Discuss you concerns with a trusted, empathetic person. Avoid speaking to someone who may intensify and reinforce your fears by recalling their own fears or experiences. We are also here to listen and help make your visits to us as comfortable as possible.

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-m2. Look for a new dentist – If you do not already have a dentist , email or call around to look for a dental office to call home. Convey your fears and concerns to them then review their responses. Did they respond? Did you feel rushed on the phone? Did the staff sound informative and sympathetic? Although time-consuming, this will help you narrow down your search which will save time in the long run. Perhaps you would like to visit the dental office first and meet the staff. If taking a tour will help, a good office will be proud to show off their practice. Finding an office that is willing to help you become more comfortable right from the get go will most likely be there to help you cope with your fears and concerns in the future. If you think you have found the right place schedule an exam then proceed to a cleaning.

3. Know your fear – Let us know what you like or dislike. Is it the noises? Fear of the needle? Water in your mouth? A past experience? Perhaps you prefer to be in control or like distractions. If you can identify the source of your fear or already know what puts you at ease then communicate this to us and together we can find a solution. Everyone prefers anxiety-free surroundings – even us!

4. Know the facts – Although, we always explain what we are doing to our patients, some people need more information in order to feel in control of a situation. If however, knowing too much will aggravate your fears, let us know and we will inform and assure without alarming you further. Everyone has their own comfort level. Let us know yours.

5. Don’t hurry – If you are not in need of immediate dental care then why hurry? You’ve waited this long, so go slow and face your fears one step at a time. Start off with an examination. Once you have completed this stage and are ready you will be better prepared to move on to the cleaning appointment. If all goes well and you are in need of further care then we can take baby steps together!

29-12-2014 6-30-52 PM6. Be realistic – Your dental health is as individual and personal as your are and your treatment will be specific to your situation. Comparing dental treatments with friends is like comparing other health conditions. No two people are the same. Diagnosis and treatment recommendations depend on your pre-existing dental and health conditions. Short and long term prognosis depends on many factors such as severity of conditions, patient cooperation, health history, body response, maintenance, other conditions of the mouth, age and lifestyle. Understanding your current state of dental health will help you make informed decisions moving forward. Your dentist should be open to answering all of your questions, and if possible, offering treatment alternatives.

7. Control your imagination – Our imaginations can both amaze and terrify us and it is easy to conjure up all sorts of scenarios that will likely never occur.  Learning to tame your thoughts so that they do not interfere with your emotions will help empower you so that you can attend to your needs.

8. Find closure – Previous traumatic experiences or conditioning can severely immobilize a person and prevent them from ever moving forward. Speak with your family doctor or regional health department about your situation and ask them to refer you to a professional who deals specifically with these types of fears so that you can begin to take your first steps towards recovery.

04-08-2014 11-54-04 PM9. Bring a friend – Sometimes, bringing along a friend or family member or even a stuffed animal can put you more at ease. If you wish, you can appoint them as your advocate who can help ask questions and communicate your fears and concerns. If having them in the treatment room helps perhaps you dentist will allow you to have this support as long as they do not aggravate an already anxious situation.

10. Bring your own music – Although we have music in our operatories, sometimes people would rather bring their own devices and listen to their own music. Whatever helps!

11. Be a good role model – If you do not want your children living a life of fear you must help them develop positive and responsible attitudes. Studies have shown that most children are more likely to pattern their future choices and behaviours after their parents and carry the habits they learn as children into adulthood and throughout their lives. Your positive remarks and optimistic outlook about dental care will empower your children and help to ensure that they will continue to benefit from your great example!

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We Can…

29-12-2014 6-35-38 PMWelcome you – At Your Smile Dental Care we strive to make you feel comfortable and valued from the warm welcome that greets you at each visit to the high degree of personal attention we offer you throughout your treatment. We understand the importance of gentle dental care and always encourage open communication. Most of our new patients found us by word of mouth. We appreciate the care entrusted to us and consider these referral from family and friends the greatest compliment a dentist can receive.

Provide sympathy – We do more than just work on teeth. First and foremost, we recognise these teeth are attached to a person who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We all have fears. Dealing with patient fears is what we are trained for and being afraid means different things to different people. A person’s true feelings can manifest themselves in a whole host of ways. Some people react physically with tense muscles, rapid breathing or heart rate, nausea, sweating, and dizziness, while others become angry, silent, or talkative. We must always be sensitive to the fact that, in a dental setting, a person may have difficulty conveying their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Patience with our patients is key while we strive to reduce their anxieties and allay their fears while providing painless, quick treatments.

Stay up to date – A good dentist and staff continually strives to provide the best possible care for their patients so that they have the option to choose the best treatments available today. Staying current on all the latest techniques and technologies helps a dentist to obtain and maintain a level of care that meets or even exceeds industry standards. Ask your dentist and staff what they do to stay up to date. They should be proud to tell you!

shaking-hands-1097209-mEstablish trust – We believe that clear and concise communication is the cornerstone of trust in dentistry. The patient/dentist relationship depends on a solid foundation of trust. We know that if a patient has had trust issues in the past with a dentist or other healthcare provider it will influence how likely there are to trust another dentist. These past experiences sometimes makes it difficult for another dentist to gain a patient’s trust let alone form a lifelong partnership. We have seen firsthand that patients are more likely to follow through with advice and treatment and achieve optimal oral health when they trust their dentist.

Communicate – Patients appreciate clear, honest, and straightforward communication. Your dentist should face you when speaking, use plain, everyday language and avoid using terms that are too technical. It is important that you are asked if you understand the information being presented and be given the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification. Most dental offices will have pamphlets or printed material on hand for you to take home for further reading. If you have further questions or concerns once you leave the office, do not hesitate to call your dentist.

Listen – We all know that communication involves being an active listener as well. Oftentimes, being a good listener requires that you pay attention to other cues and signals that a person may be giving. Anxiety and stress can make a person afraid to ask to have information clarified or cause a person to shut down making it further difficult for them to absorb information. We may explain a treatment plan and ensure that a patient has had the chance to ask questions and gather additional information, but we must always appreciate that sometimes information is still being digested by a person long after they have left the office. We aim to make certain that our patients understand their oral health care needs. This may require additional guidance by encouraging our patients to make further inquires if necessary.

Accommodate – We can schedule your appointments at a time and date that is best for you. Early morning appointment usually work best so that you are not worrying about your visit all day long. Perhaps spacing out your treatment over a series of shorter appointments or over an agreeable and suitable period of time will help you cope and manage your visits better. We offer a wide range of services for all ages including cosmetic, implant and emergency dentistry. We are wheel chair accessible and are able to move our dental chairs to accommodate most wheelchairs.

music-to-my-ears-40789-mProvide lifelines – Different people cope and manage their stress in different ways. Some people need distractions such as movies, music and periods of rest, while others need to feel in control at all times and like to watch using a hand held mirror. We allow our patients to stop treatment at any time by raising their hand. Sitting up briefly, going for a short walk or having a responsible and trusted family member or friend present in the room can also be beneficial. We offer conscious sedation in the form of laughing gas to calm fears and we have throat spray to help alleviate gagging.

Professional – As stated earlier, every patient deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We never make our patients feel ashamed or embarrassed about the condition of their teeth or that they have not attended to regular dental care in the past. We are all about moving forward. If you made it through our doors and into the dental chair that is incredible progress which we believe is cause for celebration. We treat all patients equally, while offering personalized, individual care. In return, all we ask is that our patients respect our time  and commitment also by honouring the appointment times we schedule for them or informing us of appointment changes well in advance so that we can care for another patient in need. Maintaining regular oral care visits will also help us to detect problems early so that we can help you avoid repeated crisis situations.

Follow up – Don’t be surprised if we provide some TLC with an after care telephone call just to see how you are managing. It’s our way of letting your know that we care for you and your health long after you have left our office. This also allows you to make further inquires or gage the progress of your recovery.

Offer payment plans – If the cost of your treatment is the source of your stress, you can discuss your payment options with our friendly staff. If you qualify, we can help you set up a committed repayment schedule that allows you to achieve oral health sooner than later.

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Your First Step

The first step to successfully managing anxiety is learning to understand and recognize it. Although your body is designed to become anxious around perceived threats, it becomes a problem when you cannot control your fears when there is no real danger. We understand that your fears are real, but when they prevent you from taking charge of your dental needs conditions will only worsen causing you further grief.

This year resolve to make dental care a normal part of your life. Dr. Axelrod and his team of caring professionals at Your Smile Dental Care have helped thousands of people conquer their dental fears, take control of their oral care and achieve optimal oral health. As you get to know and trust us, you will soon find that your fears will lessen and your anxiety levels will become more manageable.

Remember…you are not alone!

Yours in better health,

The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 5SMILES (576-4537)
(416) 783-3533

24-08-2015 7-24-12 PM


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Sports Guard Care

Ewww! Did you just put that in your mouth?


It’s hard not to have this reaction when we hear of people never cleaning their sports guards and just throwing them into their smelly equipment bags after use, then the next week, retrieving said guard from same bag and popping it in their mouth again.

Sick, sick, sicker…

Many words may come to mind about this gross habit, but thrush mouth, oral lesions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and mold-induced asthma are probably ones you have never thought of.

When we think of dental sports guards we think of the teeth they are protecting, yet the cheapest part of your protective uniform can be dangerous and actually make you sick.

When was the last time you cleaned your dental sports guard?

24-08-2015 6-46-47 PMAt a recent soccer practice this summer, one of our staff members took a survey and asked members of both teams this question. Surprisingly, only 1 of the 33 children routinely cleaned their guard and did it properly!

When questioned further about the care of their guards during other sports throughout the year, the answers were the same.  Although shocking, it was just something they had never thought of. In fact, conversations with other people failed to find anyone who cleaned their guards properly or consistently.

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…and you’re putting it in your mouth!  After only one use, without cleaning, germs will begin to accumulate. So imagine the germ growth over time!

Additionally, during activity you move, bite and grind into the guard’s flexible thermoplastic material causing it to wear down over time. The crevices and cracks that develop in the guard will provide breeding grounds for more bacteria, viruses and fungi which can contaminate your mouth. Even rinsing it in water doesn’t truly get it clean.

If you’re not keen on putting a petri dish-like container full of germs back into your mouth, at Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest that after your activity you rinse it thoroughly before placing it in a well ventilated container until you can clean the guard and container properly at home.  Use one of the methods below to thoroughly clean your guard before storing it until next use.

Cleaning your Sports Guard

There are several methods of cleaning that we suggest:

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Rinse – Always rinse your sports guards with water immediately after use or as soon as you get home.

Soap and Water Method – Using antibacterial soap with lukewarm water in a sudsy mixture along with your toothbrush or fingers to clean your guard is also a common method. Be sure to rinse well with clear water so that you don’t end up with a soapy tasting mouth.

Toothbrush and toothpaste Method – Using a soft toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste as you would to clean your teeth is an easy way to clean your guard. Use a gentle action to prevent scratching the material and make sure to rinse it well afterwards to remove toothpaste that can get stuck in any crevices already present. Allow your guard to air dry before placing it back into it’s clean, ventilated container

Mouth Rinse Method – Another good choice is antibacterial mouth rinse. Use products that boast about being 99.9% effective at killing germs. However, rinsing will not be sufficient enough to rid your guard of bacteria and saliva without using your toothbrush to gently work the rinse around and into all areas of your guard. Again, rinse well with lukewarm water afterwards and air dry the guard before storing.

Final Rinse – Give your sports guard a final rinse before allowing it to air dry.

By using one of, or a combination of methods above to keep your guard clean you can reduce your risk of mouth sores and bacterial infections that can grow to become more serious conditions affecting your heart and lungs.

Not Recommended

We have been told that some patients have been advised to clean their guard using denture cleansers, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, vinegar or with a sanitizing unit. We have found that many of these methods are too strong or abrasive for the guard and can cause them to wear more quickly and their colour to fade.

Just keep it simple and replace the guard as needed.

 

STORAGE

STORAGE

Storage

Placing your sports guard into a clean, well-vented container will protect it from damage and contamination after cleaning. Ensure that your guard is dry before storing and keep it in a section of your activity/equipment bag that is also clean.

Be sure to keep your container clean by using the same methods above. You can also place it in a good quality dishwasher to cleansing.

Replacement

Sports guards aren’t meant to last forever. Be sure to check your protective sports guard regularly for signs of breakage and wear and consider replacing it with a new one if it becomes very worn, warps or you are beginning a new athletic season. Chewed up  guards can pose an even higher risk since that may have sharp edges that can cut mouth tissues  and allow a portal of entry for bacteria into your bloodstream.

Sports Guard Special

Dental sports guards are a wise investment for your oral health, but improper care can have a tremendous affect on your overall health.

Each September, Your Smile Dental Care offers offer a Sports Guard Special where you and your family can get sports guards made that will provide a custom fit for the protection you need.

 

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Play Safe ~ Use Protective Face Gear

A word about the benefits of using protective dental guards, helmets, face shields etc.

Insurance 1Ultimately, we want our patients to have fun, but understand that injuries to the mouth are often severe and costly. Losing a tooth is a common dental injury. Some sports groups/teams offer insurance to their players that include dental. The cost is not usually not too expensive and the benefits of having this added insurance can help you reduce your costs significantly should an accident occur.

Lastly, you may want to decline signing off permanently with your insurer after your injury has been repaired and consider asking your dentist for their advice regarding the long term future care for this tooth/teeth. Oftentimes, an injury will require future maintenance, repair and replacement that can cost much more than the initial repair’s cost in terms of frustration, discomfort and associated fees.

24-08-2015 4-22-44 PMWe have one patient who is very glad that his parents enrolled in his school’s optional medical/dental policy and did not settle permanently with the insurer after he had a playground accident involving his front tooth. Years later, he needs to have the tooth replaced and the insurer will be paying. Another, purchased the insurance offered by his adult men’s team. He got a stick to the mouth and lost his two front teeth. The insurance company is picking the full cost for two dental implants and crowns.


Accidents
~ they’re unpredictable so be prepared,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
http://yoursmiledentalcare.com/
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533

 

 

 

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The Consequence of Missing Teeth

16-03-2015 5-58-09 PMAs dentists, we hate it when we are faced with a situation where a tooth must need to be removed due to disease or injury. We are in the business of saving teeth, so when a tooth must be removed we become concerned for the remaining teeth and how the loss of this tooth will affect them…and it will!

Over time. missing teeth can result in serious complications, if left untreated.

A tooth here, a tooth there.

With the human dentition containing a total of 32 teeth (28 if the wisdom teeth have been removed), it is understandable why some people still believe that it is not essential to replace missing teeth when there are other teeth still left to do the job.

The Domino Effect

The loss of a permanent teeth leads to a whole host of other problems if it is not replaced in a timely manner. If it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words, then let’s look at the one below:

 

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This is a typical scenario when even just one tooth is removed without being replaced.  At first glance, you can see some movement and tipping of surrounding teeth, but it’s the significance of this situation that needs further explanation.

Teeth are arranged in the jaw in such a manner so that they support one another and withstand the chewing forces together as a team. When one is lost without being replaced, it sets into motion a collapsing situation where teeth begin to move out of position and alignment. Convincing patients that are in pain or injured that they need immediate treatment is not difficult because their signs and symptoms are usually sudden and uncomfortable. A situation like this is not often ignored for too long. However, the destabilization that occurs with dental collapse happens over a period of time. The signs are not as obvious and damage is often taking place silently. It is easy to understand why treatment recommendations are sometimes ignored or postponed.

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1. Supraeruption (Over-eruption)

Although the process is more complex, quite simply put, when teeth first appear in the mouth they emerge out of the bone and gum tissue as their roots and surrounding bone grow and push them out. The only reason they stop is because they meet the teeth that are also emerging in the opposite arch. Their biting surfaces fits into one another like a puzzle and an even distribution of contact throughout the entire dentition allows for proper chewing and equalized forces.

When an opposing lower tooth is lost and not replaced it’s upper partner now has no opposition and begins to adapt to this new space by moving downward. In doing so, it loses contact with it’s neighbouring teeth on either side and begins to bite more heavily with the teeth in the opposing lower arch. The bite is thrown off it’s ability to distribute an equal force among all the teeth, and this can cause headaches, jaw tension, root exposure, tooth breakage, grinding, clenching and wear.

2. Tipping23-03-2015 9-44-50 AM

When a tooth is lost and not replaced, the bone shrinks in the space and the teeth on either side now have a vacant area in which to tip and move into. In doing so, they lose contact with their other adjacent teeth. Teeth are designed to touch one another to prevent food impaction that can damage tissue and cause cavities. If enough of the vacant space becomes occupied by tipping teeth then the space becomes too small to make replacement a viable option without modifying other teeth.

Loss of contact3. Loss of Contact

Teeth that are beside one another contact each other at their greatest bulge (curvature).  Think of the place between two teeth where your floss “snaps” through. This is the contact point. Although gum tissue hides the area underneath, there is actually a space between the gum and the tooth. Your floss cleans out any food and plaque that may accumulate here, but one of the reasons for a curvaceous shape of the tooth crown is to prevent too much food impaction by deflecting food away from this area. When teeth are in alignment with one another, this action works well and efficiently.

4. Plaque and Food Impaction

Aside from the first space that was created by the missing tooth, more spaces begin to develop as adjacent and opposing teeth begin to move out of their original positions. These teeth lose contact with their neighbouring teeth and leave spaces and pockets into which plaque and food can gather. Oftentimes food impaction occurs frequently and can be difficult to remove as the space continues to grow. Plaque and food accumulation leads to cavities, gum and bone destruction and gum disease.

5. Bone Loss

During the formation of teeth, bone grows in and around the root of the teeth for support and nourishment. Teeth are necessary to maintain healthy jaw bone. When a tooth is removed there is no longer the need for bone and it resorbs (shrinks) away. Healthy, dense bone is an important factor when considering the placement of implants for replacement. The longer you leave the space, the smaller the height and width of the bone becomes. Bone loss also occurs in the areas where adjacent and opposing teeth have lost contact with their neighbouring teeth because of the destructive nature of the gum disease process. Even the floor of your sinus bone collapses into spaces where there used to be teeth. Bone loss can significantly impact your chances of becoming a good candidate for any future dental implant placement.
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Complications

Chewing/Nutrition – When teeth are missing, we chew in the areas of the mouth where teeth are present. Sometimes, people have to use teeth that are smaller, more slender and not designed for the chewing capacity of large molars. Other times, remaining teeth are loose or uncomfortable to use. As the dentition collapses over time, chewing can become difficult and nutritional deficiencies arise.

Gum Disease – Gum disease is a process that happens over time and is usually silent until a lot of destruction is done. Missing teeth create the perfect condition for gum disease to form and progress. Teeth stabilize one another and protect the gum tissue that surround them. In turn, the gum tissue and ligaments protect and secure the tooth to the bone socket. When teeth move and create spaces, food and plaque begin to accumulate in the spaces under the gum and eventually destroy enough tissue to create a pocket into which more food and plaque can gather. Cleaning out this pocket can be difficult and the space continues to grow destroying gum and bone along the way. When enough tissue is lost the tooth starts becoming loose and you may face the loss of another tooth. Gum disease and tooth loss can be a vicious cycle. Trying to control and correct all of the factors that allow this disease process to progress can be exasperating.

23-03-2015 10-41-47 AMBone level in an unhealthy and healthy mouth

Increased food and plaque accumulation – When teeth lose contact with one another the space that forms between them allows for food to easily collect in the area. Food impaction can injure 23-03-2015 11-32-01 AMgum tissue and cause bad breath. Continual food impaction can cause cavities, destroys gum tissue and surrounding bone creating large pocketing into which more debris can gather. Because this cycle of destruction happens below the gum line, it can go unnoticed for a long time. Only regular visits to the dentist will allow you to get baselines charted and monitored.

Tooth Decay – With increased food impaction comes a higher incidence of tooth decay. Food impaction can become a chronic situation. You will likely feel the need to floss after almost every meal and food can become submerged so far into the gum pocket that it becomes difficult to removed. Decay can go unnoticed until pain or a dental exam.

Sinus collapseSinus Collapse – When an upper tooth is removed, over time, the floor of the sinus begins to collapse into the space where the tooth root used to occupy interfering with the space needed for a future dental implant.

Root Exposure – The root of the tooth is covered with a tissue that is much less calcified and more sensitive than enamel. As a tooth moves out of it’s position when it over-erupts or tips more of the root tissue will become exposed. Patients often notice more sensitivity to hot and cold sensations and a higher incidence of cavities along this softer root portion of the tooth.

Muscle Tension – When remaining teeth move out of alignment the whole bite can be thrown off. Forces may not be evenly distributed among the teeth and some teeth may meet before the others do when chewing. This imbalance causes extra stress on facial muscles and joints (TMJ) that are also compensating. Tense muscles results in headaches, neck pain, earaches, upper back and shoulder discomfort.

TMJ – An uneven bite can quickly become a TMJ issue. Clicking, popping jaw joints, grating sounds, pain in the cheek muscles and uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements are not uncommon side affects of the missing teeth.

Fracture – The uneven bite that can occur with missing teeth often causes a few teeth to bear the biting forces that should ideally be shared by all teeth. This overload of forces can cause teeth to chip and fracture. If a fracture runs through the tooth and into the root surface then the tooth cannot be save. Unfortunately, it will become another tooth that must be removed.

Facial Collapse – Our face shape and size changes as we age and although facial collapse is usually more pronounced in someone who has lost most or all of their teeth, patients who have lost several teeth may begin to notice a “caved” in look to their face compared to others of their own age group who have more teeth.

 

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for missing teeth that will restore the beauty and function to your mouth. It used to be that dental bridges were the most common way to replace missing teeth. Nowadays, thanks to advanced technology, dental implant are the most permanent, long term treatment solution.

Dental Implants are so effective that many of our patients who choose this option tell us that their implant is completely undistinguishable from their other natural teeth in both appearance and function!

Been a while?

Ignoring the certainty of dental collapse now will eventually leave you facing more extensive and expensive dentistry in the future. Your options will also be limited if you experience bone loss and collapse over the years. If it was many years ago that your had teeth removed and are wondering what can be done now, don’t delay any further. Your dentist will evaluate your dentition and let you know if your bite can still be restored and any missing teeth replaced.

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