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Back To School Check List

Back to school already?  Where did the summer go?

No doubt, the next month will begin the mad rush to get kids, both young and old, back to school again. Ideally, during the earlier summer weeks is the ideal time to schedule dental checkups and finish up with any outstanding treatment well before the end of summer rush. You can help your children get a head start on the school year with these healthy dental choices:

Snacking – Reducing the amount of times throughout the day that your child eats is one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can help them make. This can be frustratingly difficult in the school setting where snacks abound and parents understandably tire of creating new and healthy packed lunches everyday. The problem is that many of our foods contain naturally occurring or added sugar/starches that result in bacterial acid attacks upon the tooth surfaces. It takes saliva 4-5 hours to repair this damage. It is no exaggeration when we say that many children eat 7 times/day including in between beverages. Parents are fortunate that many simple, dentally healthy food ideas can be found readily online that can help reduce the frustration associated with the dreaded “packing school lunches” blues.

Safety – Most injuries to the teeth are unexpected but avoidable. Supervision and protective face/mouth gear should always be an important consideration before the activities and sports begin NOT an afterthought! Dental sports guards significantly reduce the risk of mouth injuries and are available at your nearest pharmacy or you can have a custom one made for your child at your dental office for added protection. Other habits such as chewing on pens/pencils, and using the teeth to “open” containers/packages can result in chipped and fractured teeth.

Dental Care – According to the Canadian Dental Association, an estimated 2.26 million school days are missed by children every year because of dental pain – not to mention the unplanned time parents have to take off work to bring them to the dentist. Maintaining a regular dental checkup routine for your child and helping them to create a consistent schedule for brushing and flossing at home not only introduces healthy habits for life, but helps to reduce the likelihood of unexpected toothaches and subsequent absences that can occur during school time.

Cavities are 100% preventable

Sealants – Bacteria and food can accumulate easily into the grooves and pits found along the biting surface of back teeth. A special dental material can be placed onto these areas to help protect them from bacteria and acids that cause cavities. Usually, sealants are placed on the back adult molars as soon as they emerge into the mouth and are added protection for these teeth during your child’s cavity prone years.

Back to School Supplies – If you can’t remember the last time your replaced your child’s tooth brush then it’s probably time to do so! Replacing last year’s school supplies with new ones is a great opportunity to help your child choose a new toothbrush to replace their old one. Then they will be ready for a new one come the winter holiday time and again when they return to school after March Break!

 

Whether you still have time to schedule your children a dental appointment before the first day of school begins or would rather wait until you have their daily school routines established ~ do not delay. Our schedule fills up quickly this time of year! Give us a call today at (905) 576-4537.

Enjoy the rest of the summer season and here’s to a safe and happy school year!

 

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

 


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Healthy Summer Teeth

Summer is officially here!

 

We’re looking forward to all that Summertime has to offer after one of the wettest Springs on record!

We know that rain is necessary for healthy flowers and crops, we just hope that it limits itself to overnight and the periodic shower during the hot, midday sun.

Speaking of respite from the sun, a cold, refreshing treat goes a long way to help beating the Summer’s heat.

Without raining on your summer fun, we want to remind everyone that it is very important to limit the amount of snacking in between meals to reduce the number of acid attacks that occur in your mouth during the day. Sometimes, in the hot weather, this can be a tall order to fill when you are looking for ways to cool down and stay hydrated.

If sunshine is your 2nd favourite accessory next to Your Smile,  keep in mind the idea of “Smart Snacking” so you can still beat the heat and keep your teeth safe.

 

Here are some tips to protect Your Smile this summer: 

1. Water – Water is still nature’s healthiest choice to help you stay hydrated. Zero calories and zero sugar!

2. Sweetened Beverages – If you are looking for some tasty excitement in your water there are recipes that you can find online made with xylitol as a sweetener. The great thing about using xylitol is that is helps prevent tooth decay by reducing the growth of bacteria in our mouths and blocks acids that can erode our enamel. It occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and once extracted to be used as a sweetener it looks and tastes like table sugar but contains 40% less calories. You can purchase xylitol in most grocery and health food stores, just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure that it does not contain other “sugars.” You may also want to try “infused water” that can be low in sugar is you choose the right fruits, vegetable and herbs. There are lots of recipes online for infused water.

3. Cheese – Eating a cube of cheese before eating will coat your teeth with a special protein called casein for added protection.

4. Low Sugar Fruits – There are fruits/vegetables that are lower in sugar than others like cucumbers, raspberries, guava, cranberries, apricots, rhubarb, and kiwi. Presentation can make all the difference when offering them as a summer treat, so consider arranging them into kabobs, using cookie-cutter shapes or serving them in a melon or fancy glassware to make them more appetizing. Watermelon contains natural-occurring sugars, but because of their high water content it dilutes the affects of these sugars while increasing saliva flow.

5. Smoothies – Blending low sugar fruits/vegetables then freezing them into delicious and healthy smoothies, chilled beverages or frozen popsicle treats is a healthy snack alternative for all ages.

6. Yogurts – can be chilled/frozen or made into delicious parfaits that you can top with other fruits and granolas. You can also coat fruits in yogurts then freeze.

7. Sugarless gum – Chewing gum that contains xylitol promotes saliva flow and reduces bacteria buildup. Saliva goes a long way in neutralizing our mouths and healing the damage of acid attacks that occurs when we eat sugars and starches – even naturally occurring ones.

8. Oral care – Summer can be a busy time with more recreation, vacations and relaxation. Sometimes we become so busy and away from our home that brushing and flossing becomes an afterthought. Remember to bring your toothbrush kit with you when you travel and rinse with water after eating if you can’t get to your toothbrush right away!

9. Junk – Ice creams, popsicles, slushies, soda pops – they all sound like refreshing and tasty hot weather treats, but they can wreak havoc on your oral health. Here are a list of the worst foods for your teeth:

– hard candies
– chewy candies
chewing on ice cubes
– dried fruit
sports drinks
– energy drinks
– soda pop
sipping coffee/tea that with sugar added all day long
– gum with sugar
– highly acidic foods like lemons, pickles and
– chips and crackers

10. Habits – Sometimes, it’s just a matter of habits – some good, others bad. Summertime, and in particular, vacation time, can often turn into a free for all. You can still appreciate all that this fun season has to offer without compromising Your Smile. Oral health isn’t the only thing that will thank you for your wise summer choices. There is an overall health benefit from choosing a healthy lifestyle, so that when you do want to “indulge” a little, you can do so guilt-free.

 

 

 

Have a Great Summer,
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:

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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!

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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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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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Crowns for Baby Teeth

Stainless Steel Crowns

My Dentists wants to put crowns on my child’s teeth. This seems like an extreme measure since they will eventually fall out anyways!

Usually, dentists repair decayed teeth with filling material. However, when teeth are badly broken down by the cavity (decay) process, have had nerve treatment or are weakened by a developmental condition, replacing almost the entire crown portion of a tooth with traditional filling material is not always a practical nor secure solution.

 ss-crown

A remedy must be found that allows the tooth to withstand the forces of biting and chewing  long enough for the incoming adult tooth to replace it – which could be many years.

Replacing the diseased crown of a tooth with a durable stainless steel crown (silver caps) is the most economical and durable solution until the tooth falls out and is replaced with the permanent (adult) tooth. These caps are not made in a lab like permanent adult crowns are. They come ready made in a variety of shapes and sizes, no impressions need to be taken, and there is no additional lab fees associated with their costs.  Additionally, they are categorized under  “routine restorative” so most insurance policies cover them as basic treatment. They are just another way to restore baby teeth so that they can function.

Why not just pull the tooth?

11-16-2016-7-58-51-pmThis is a common question, and sometimes, the teeth are not repairable and must be removed. However, taking out teeth before their natural time is a “last resort” solution. Baby teeth are vital to the dentition as natural space holders for the permanent teeth. Their premature removal will interfere with the eruption of the adult teeth.

Removing a baby tooth before its time is not the end of the problem. The space where the baby tooth was removed must still be replaced with a spacer maintaining appliance so that the adjacent teeth will not start to move into and invade this important place.

The chart below shows the normal eruption pattern of primary and permanent teeth. You will notice that there are many years between the emergence of the baby teeth and the age at which the adult teeth will eventually arrive in the mouth to replace them.

 

Permanent (Adult) Teeth

During a child’s teenage years, The adult teeth continue to develop there is significant growth and development of the dentition and jaws. This needs to be taken into consideration when restoring a badly broken down adult tooth in a child.

If you refer back to the eruption chart, you will notice that the first permanent teeth begin to erupt around 6 years of age.

BGC

From the illustration above, you can see that if a baby tooth becomes badly broken down by decay or a developmental condition when the child is still young, a suitable interim solution needs to be found until the permanent adult teeth are ready to emerge into position. Stainless steel crowns become an effective, affordable and practical semi-temporary measure until then.

Stainless steel crowns have been around for over 75 years and are safe and effective. They are easy to keep clean and rarely allow decay to reoccur. Although, some parents may not like the metallic appearance of the steel crowns,  since baby molars are in the back of the mouth, they are less noticeable.

All of this makes them an affordable and effective treatment solution for an otherwise serious problem.

We hope you have found this article informative. Please visit and subscribe to our blog to learn more about Your Smile Dental Care.

 

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

 

 

 

 


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If I have a cavity why can’t I feel it?

The Battleground

3-14-2016 5-27-20 PMThere is always a battle going on in your mouth! There is bacteria present in your mouth that produce an acid that can attack your tooth and dissolve (demineralize) it away. Fortunately, we also have saliva that is capable of repairing (remineralizing) the early stages of this acid attack on the tooth. This process is natural and a hole begins to form in the tooth only if  demineralization action  far outweighs remineralization.

Once a hole in the tooth become irreversible, there are different stages to the cavity process. As a disease, it is progressive like any other disease of the body. The enamel portion of a tooth has no feeling which is why you are usually not able to feel it. The longer you wait to have a tooth with a cavity repaired, the  larger it will grow until it finally progresses into that portion of your tooth that is more sensitive to the presence of this decay. This is when you may begin to feel some of the discomfort associated with deeper cavities.

3-14-2016 6-05-10 PMIf left untreated, it will eventually reach what people commonly refer to as the “nerve” of the tooth. If a decay is allowed to reach this portion of the tooth, then it can no longer be cleaned out and replaced with dental filling material. At this stage, repair will also involve treatment to the nerve (pulpal) center of the tooth.

What Cavity?

When you attend your dental office for a check-up exam and are told you have some cavities that need to be repaired, it is understandable why you would ask the question, “If I have a cavity, why doesn’t it hurt?”  Some people even decide to put off having the tooth repaired because it isn’t really bothering them now. If your tooth is showing very early sign of decay which is still at a stage where steps can be taken to prevent it from getting bigger, then your dentist will probably give you some oral hygiene and diet instructions and monitor the situation.

We call these areas Incipient Decay (“watches”), and it is important that you return for your regular check-up visits so that the dentist can re-check the decayed area to ensure that there has been no further damage.

Understanding that dental decay (cavities) is a disease process and that is involves the rotting away (decaying) of body tissue will help you appreciate why we take the matter so seriously. If your family doctor told you that you had another part of your body that is rotting away, you would not likely delay treatment until it hurts. No one wants to have a condition in their body that can eventually become an infection. Infections can become so severe that it can lead to the loss of a body part. Untreated tooth decay can eventually lead to the loss of a tooth.

Still, we understand that if you are not experiencing any discomfort and can’t see any damage, then it can be hard to justify immediate treatment.

It’s like…

18-01-2016 3-00-40 PM…going to your physician for your annual examinations hoping for the reassurance that everything is fine with your body and that, overall, you are healthy. Sometimes, however, your doctor may detect an issue of concern and order further tests. Sometimes, these tests  reveal  an underlying condition even though you are feeling quite well and are experiencing no signs or symptoms – ones that you can detect that is!

Clinically (with our eyes), we only see about a third of a person’s dental health which is why, in the absence of pain or signs and symptoms, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. X-rays provide valuable information of that portion of the tooth that is below the gum line as well as the bone that supports it. We also have intra-oral cameras that can zoom into an hard to see area of the mouth and show up on our computer monitor for better patient viewing.

Blind Trust

06-05-2014 9-56-15 AMGone are the days of blind trust when people rarely questioned the recommendation of a health care practitioner. Nowadays, information abounds and patients are “informed consumers.” They also know that communication is key to understanding their state of health and any treatment options offered. No matter the level of trust a person may or may not have, healthcare providers sometimes have to convince patients of the need for treatment. When there is no pain or symptoms, patients can be especially distrustful and may even question the provider’s competence or integrity.

Dentistry is no exception, but we are an evidence-based industry which is why our diagnostic tools are so essential during examination. Being able to show a patient an infection, a broken tooth or a cavity where no symptoms exist helps a patient to see what we see and to understand why intervention is necessary.

One of the cornerstones of our practice at Your Smile Dental Care is trust, but trust is often built up over time as the patient/doctor relationship grows. Some of our most skeptical and suspicious patients have become our most trusting and loyal patients.

So don’t put of tomorrow what you can fix today!

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

 

Parents in the Dental Treatment Room

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We treat many children in our practice. We also have many patients that have “grown up” in our practice. Caring for children can be challenging, but also very rewarding. It is tremendously satisfying to gain a child’s trust after managing their care under trying circumstances.

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It takes a village…

Seeing their confidence grow and knowing that they are leaving our office with a sense of accomplishment and pride makes everyone’s effort worthwhile. And when we say effort, we mean everyone’s – ours, the child and their parents/caregivers.

The influence parents/caregivers have over their child’s attitudes towards dental health and responsibility makes their role very significant to us and our efforts. Although, we may agree on what an ideal child patient may be like, there is not really what you would call a “typical” child patient. That is because the behaviours, needs and temperaments of children differ so vastly. In fact, a child may behave one way one day and entirely different the next visit. At Your Smile Dental Care we are parents ourselves, and as such, will treat you child as we would want our own children treated.

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Our goal is to complete the planned treatment safely and effectively and provide as comfortable and enjoyable an experience as possible. To accomplish this, we need the co-operation of both the child and parent. This brings into mind the question of …

Parents in the treatment room

We believe that you know your child best. You are oftentimes their only advocate. In the best interests of your child, we all must be on the same page when it comes to managing a fearful or difficult situation. Your child’s focus and attention is an essential part of allowing us to delivery safe, quality care. It is with this in mind that we offer the following guidelines to help to ensure the success of your child’s visit:

Anxious Parents
09-03-2015 4-47-39 PMOftentimes, a child’s visit to our office can be more distressing for a parent than the child. Parents can unknowing transmit their own anxieties and fears to their child which, in turn, can affect their attitudes and responses. Sometimes, we find ourselves having to manage both the patient and the parent. You help your child and our team by remaining in control when your child is feeling out of control. If you feel that you are ill-equipped to cope and offer positive support in the treatment room, perhaps you can designate another caregiver to accompany your child in the operatory.  Over time, as trust develops, you may find your own anxiety levels improve to the point where you can be an effective partner during treatment.

Undivided Attention
When we need to give instructions to a child to encourage them to participate responsibly while we care23-11-2015 4-48-30 PM for their teeth, we try to appeal to their age-appropriate sense of obligation, value and logic. However, when there are many distractions in our treatment room, speaking to an apprehensive child and trying to gain their focus and trust can be incredibly difficult. In the treatment room, it is very important that the primary focus and interaction remain between the dental team and the child so that communication and guidance can take place without distractions or interruptions and that confusion does not arise and complicate matters. It is with these consideration in mind that  most dentists will ask for your cooperation in remaining a silent partner in the treatment room unless otherwise asked for asked to your assistance and emotional support.

Coming in and out of the treatment room
During dental care can also be extremely disruptive to both the child and dental team. We offer a chair for you to sit on during the dental procedure. If you prefer to read to pass the time along, we have plenty of magazines in the greeting area or invite you to bring your own material.

One family member only in the treatment room
It goes without saying that more than one family member in the room can be a tremendous distraction for the patient and dental team and the room can become crowded and disruptive. Informal checkup visits may allow for a more playful “family experience” in the treatment room, but the care we deliver during more complex, invasive procedures demands more concentration and order. Designate the parent or caregiver that can best support your child and understand the dental after-care instructions given.

23-11-2015 3-37-08 PMLet us work our magic
We are trained to identify certain behaviours and modify our strategies and techniques accordingly. We are accustomed to anticipating sudden movements or outbursts. Hampering our efforts by distracting your child’s attention with words or gestures can escalate an otherwise manageable scenario. We will certainly call upon you for assistance should your intervention become necessary.

Appreciation
Nothing educates a parent more than having an opportunity to see our efforts and the efforts of their child firsthand. Watching our dental team perform helps most parents gain a new appreciation and understanding for the skills needed to navigate an encounter while still providing their child with a positive patient experience.

23-11-2015 4-37-17 PMNegative words
Although a parent’s intention may be honourable, phrases like, “It’s not going to hurt” can be incorrect or misleading. Your words alone can arouse fear and anxiety where none may have existed. Not all fearful children are uncooperative. Likewise, not all uncooperative children are fearful.

Unaccompanied children
Sometimes, children behave and concentrate better without their parent in the room. If you feel this applies to your child or would like to foster independence, you can always stand just outside the room within ear and eyeshot.

Building Relationships
Appreciate that we are trying to establish the type of trusting relationship with your child that will foster a long term healthy, positive and responsible attitude towards their well being that will hopefully remain with them throughout their lives. To do this we need your support. Your own positive words and attitudes are tremendously infectious.

Other concerns that come to mind

Mood – It has been our experience that young children are much more emotionally 23-11-2015 4-15-11 PMcooperative between the hours of 9am and 12pm when they are rested, alert and have not spent a long, tiring day at school, possibly worrying about their upcoming appointment. This is an especially important consideration when it is a nervous child’s first visit. Nothing is gained when we expect the best from someone when they are at their worst.

Preparation – Parents have the ability to shape their children’s behaviour and how they deal with their feelings. We understand that keeping a positive attitude when discussing your child’s upcoming visit, without giving them any false hope or misleading details, can be challenging. If you suspect that your child is extremely apprehensive about their dental appointment and time permits, perhaps you can “drop by” the office to pick up the medical history form you will need to complete for their first appointment. This way, they’ll be able to meet some of the staff and leave with a prize from the treasure box. The encounter will be short and sweet and create a sense of familiarity for their next visit. In the meantime, keep conversations brief and simple. We find that the less said, the better, so try not to include too many details. If you are unsure of something, just say so and tell them they can ask us at their appointment.

23-11-2015 3-51-07 PMDental Language – We all appreciate when complicated, unfamiliar or fearful matters are simplified and explained in terms we understand and can relate to. It helps us be in a better position to make informed decisions and move forward in the problem-solving process. We introduce positive, yet simple language when addressing your child to help breakdown planned treatment into simple terms they can understand and appreciate to help them get through unfamiliar or difficult situations. Our “dental language” may sound over-simplified, but we know it to be an effective way to reduce patient fear and improve behaviour. Our language will grow in sophistication and complexity as your child grows and matures. Our ultimate goal is to equip them the language and knowledge they will need as adults to continue to make wise and informed decisions with respect to their dental health.

Behaviour management techniques – We have seen many children over the years who would not cooperate in other offices. While we are not miracle workers, we do believe in your child and their ability to overcome their fears and anxieties. We are equipped with an array of techniques to identify and manage many different types of behaviours in children in order to complete treatment safely and successfully. Understand however, that if a dentist’s instructions to a child takes on a more serious tone, it is done so with the intent of appealing to a child’s sense of responsibility and to disarm a child’s uncontrollable emotional state. The goal is to not allow a situation to escalate to the point where a child feels less safe and more out of control.

23-11-2015 4-20-21 PMPositive Reinforcements – It is absolutely amazing to see how empowered and confident a child becomes after successfully accomplishing a difficult appointment. The praise that follows helps to strengthen their resolve to trust and behave more positively at their next visit. Your co-operation and trust is also essential in these matters. Together, we can help your child develop courage and create a better dental future for themselves. Children who put forth the effort and determination to succeed should, “Own the moment!”  When good behaviour is rewarded quickly and often, additional value is added and positive attitudes are reinforced and strengthened. A parent’s positive follow-up words, smiles, hugs, high-fives etc. are, most definitely the best reward a child can receive.

04-08-2014 11-54-04 PMPrevious traumatic experience – When we care for a child that has had a previous traumatic experience, they are already armed with some very concrete ideas about dental offices. Our job is to convince them otherwise and this could take several visits before treatment can be initiated. If a child is in immediate pain or injured, then the dentist is faced with having to accomplish treatment and try to change some of the child’s attitudes and trust issues during the first visit. As dentists, we do our best, but if restoring a child’s teeth will take several , complex treatment appointments, sometimes it is in the child’s best interest to see a children’s specialist where they can be sedated and have all the treatment completed in one visit.

23-11-2015 4-29-58 PMExpectations – There are times when a parent’s expectations for their child and the dental team is just too high or unrealistic. This is especially true in the case where a child has a tremendous amount of treatment necessary. The ultimate goal is to provide the level of care that repairs the dental destruction without further damaging the child psychologically. Together, we can come up with a plan to deliver the care needed while appreciating that children have different abilities and that circumstances differ from child to child and sometimes day to day.

Healthcare is a necessity – Teaching your child that visiting the dentist is a necessity, not a choice, and that the dental team is here to help keep their teeth healthy and beautiful for years to come is one of the best ways to foster a positive attitude. It’s difficult, however,  to teach your children responsibility if you are not demonstrating it in your own life. You can hinder or help your child and their experiences based on you own actions and words, so please consider them carefully.

Lastly…

my-boy-732736-mNo single method or technique can be used for all children nor every visit. Trusting relationships and coping skills form over time and each interaction with your child is an opportunity for us to establish the rapport and approach that best suits your child.

The long term rewards of treating children successfully is seeing the healthy dental attitudes they develop as the grow into adulthood. Helping children triumph brings us our own tremendous feelings of fulfillment, achievement and pride in our chosen profession and demonstrates to us that our efforts are indeed worthwhile and fruitful.

One thing we have learned over our 30 years of experience is to … Never underestimate the capabilities of children!

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The YOUR SMILE Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

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