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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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Something About Mary, A Dental Story…

Building Relationships ~ One patient at a time!

26-10-2015 11-16-00 AMLike many of our patients who “grew up in our practice,” Mary never had a fear of going to the dentist. From a young age she has always been a happy smile that we get to see twice a year.

She brightens up our office every time she walks through our doors. One day recently, we asked her about this sunny disposition of hers when it comes to her appointments and her answer turned into this wonderful story that she then wrote down afterwards when she got home and sent it to us. We feel privileged to share it with you.


 

              I get excited when I get to come in and get my teeth cleaned. There’s nothing like that fresh, just polished feel after a check-up and cleaning.

            When it comes to my comfort level at my dental office, I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve been coming here all of my life and I feel a great connection with the whole team. When I come in, I get a chance to catch up and share what’s going on in my life with everyone and I know they truly care about me. Everyone’s been here, like forever and I have a connection here like no other healthcare place I attend.        

            One time when I was in about grade 10 we had a class discussion at school about fears. I couldn’t believe it when so many hands went up to choose, “the dentist!” I was like, “What?” I honestly couldn’t relate. I always looked forward to my trips to Dr. Axelrod, rides in the dental chair, learning about my teeth and how to care for them, choosing my toy prize in the treasure box, being part of the “No Cavity Club”, and going home with my new dental goody bag containing a new toothbrush and kid’s toothpaste and colouring book. I mean, what’s not to like about that?”

            My parents never made a big fuss about treatment or anything about the dentist for that matter, so visits just seemed commonplace and routine. So, when I had a cavity once, I never had any fear before my visit. It was treated like all of my other routine visits – fun, fun fun! Getting my tooth fixed was just another fun visit.

            Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been coming in for more frequent cleaning because I feel like every 9 months is just way too long between cleanings. I’m told that I have really healthy teeth and I know that because I’ve always taken care of them I will probably be able to keep them forever and not have to worry about my teeth when I’m older. Whenever any of my friends have any problems with their teeth I say, “Go see my dentist. You’ll love him!” That’s my story!



Wow!
  When we first asked her about her sunny side, we weren’t expecting all of this, but we weren’t surprised either. We have many adults who have been coming here since their “First Visit.” We are tremendously honoured when they choose us to care for their own children’s dental health and appreciate all of their kind referrals of family and friends.

af51dd89-a5da-4f6a-b6d1-521031ac6af6Do you have a great dental story for us?

We’d love to hear about it and others would love to also. Positive dental stories help people have hope that they can come into a dental office, regardless of their level of dental health, and know that they will be treated kindly and receive the same type of care that Mary has enjoyed all of her life.

The road to optimal dental health is a journey for some and we’re here to help set you on the right path. It just takes a few steps forward to a place where you’ll find a comforting welcome! 🙂
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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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Losing your Health Care Benefits

Where did the years go?

The first time we saw Maria (not real name)  was 25 years ago, when we first opened our Oshawa practice. She was fortunate enough to have a job that had a great health care insurance program and she made sure that she took advantage of those benefits, faithfully attending to her oral health care needs at home and at our office over the years.

06-04-2015 3-50-50 PMWith her retirement quickly approaching and no healthcare package being offered after retirement, she told us of her concern over losing her dental benefits. We were happy to tell her that, at 60 years of age, she had what we would call an above-average state of oral health. Aside from a small amount of age-related bone loss and wearing down of biting surfaces, she has preserved her teeth remarkably well over the years.

No one has a crystal ball and we cannot not anticipate all future problems that our patients will have, but we know that a lifetime of good oral health will keep future dental care to a minimum. We had the opportunity to discuss common, age-related dental issues  and encouraged her to maintain her 4 month cleaning schedule to help keep her future dental costs to a minimum.

She is more happy than ever that she took care of her teeth and gums over the years.

Preparing for tomorrow TODAY!

06-04-2015 3-37-37 PMMany Canadian employers do not offer retiree benefits. In fact, over the years we have noticed an increasing trend of employers not offering any benefits to their employees. Another issue to consider is that, inevitably, your aging children will one day no longer be insured under your dental plan. And with the economy still trying to recover, many families are still in a situation where they must use what little disposable income they have judiciously.

How can people keep the dental portion of their health care costs down? What is the best advice we can give to our patients?

Take care of your teeth!!!!!

An ounce of Prevention … it’s a tale as old as time, but it will pay off!

We have seen first hand that there tends to be less stress related to the loss of the dental benefits by those patients who have faithfully cared for their oral health over the years. For those who opt to  purchase a private dental plan after retirement and ask our advice about which level of coverage to choose, we can’t always tell them with certainty what their future will hold. We find, however, that those people who have cared for their teeth meticulously over the years will likely experience less of the “unexpected” that some aging mouths have to deal with.

If you were to implement the tips below, your future self will thank you. It’s as easy as remembering your…

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Attitude

Adopt of new way of thinking. Dental care is not expensive – dental neglect is! Although your years may pass quickly, the road of health can be a rocky one if you do not live well. Among the things that we have control over in our lives, dental care is one of them. It takes so little of your time, but has one of the biggest impacts down the road.

Willie Nelson once said, “If I had known I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care myself.” We’ve heard this same pain of regret from patients over the years concerning their teeth, and if they had the chance, they would give their left eye tooth, er … anything to do life all over again knowing what they know now.

Brushing

The best bang for your buck! There is very little cost associated with buying a new toothbrush every 3 months and using it 3 times a day. Floss and toothpaste should last a month, if you are maximizing the time you use them. Remind your children often how important home care is.

We had one patient who told us that their 35 year old son never appreciated her tooth brushing reminders until he had a family of his own and no dental insurance. His wife required extensive restoring of her decaying teeth and it was an ongoing source of stress on their household expenses. In parenting his own children, he hears the echo of his own mother’s words coming out of his own mouth with a renewed appreciation.

Checkups

See your dentist at least twice a year for an examination and cleaning. It may sound counter-productive to your dentist’s income, but they really do want their patients to have healthy mouths. The frequency of re-evaluation examinations and cleanings depend largely on your level of tartar build up and your risk for dental disease.

On average, our adult patients who come in for regular 4 month cleanings, have very little, if any, dental problems. We think this is because they tend to be the kind of people who are already committed to a healthy lifestyle for their overall well being and approach their dental home habits and diet with the same level of commitment and care.

Diet

Today there is sugar in almost everything we eat because manufacturer’s use it as an inexpensive filler. It is almost impossible to avoid sugar. So how do you get around it? Meal frequency. No more snacking all day long! No more grazing. No more little meals all throughout the day. Eat 3 meals a day leaving 4 to 5 hours in between each. This will allow your saliva to repair your teeth from the sugar attacks they received at each meal. Cut down on processed foods and educate yourself on foods that are more kind to teeth than others.

School snacks at recess time were never the norm years ago. How did it make it’s way into our daily school routine? Childhood cavities are on the rise! Make sure your child has a nourishing breakfast that will stay with them until they begin to feel hungry again just before lunchtime. Hunger is the body’s way of telling you that it is time to eat. Hunger is normal! Learn how to pack a nourishing lunch for your child and collaborate with your child’s physician and dentist if they have a health condition that necessitates more than 3 meals a day.

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…is for Smoking. Smoking does so much damage to your teeth and gums. It is one of the worst things you can do to your body and one of the best things you can do for health is to stop using tobacco products. If you have thought about quitting, you’re one step closer to being smoke-free!

The sooner you become smoke-free, the sooner your body can start to recover and it doesn’t take long to see the effects.

Within one year of quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half than that of a smoker.
– Within 5 years, your risk of having a stroke will be nearly that of a non-smoker.
– Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
– Within 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease will be similar to that of a non-smoker. courtesy of heartandstroke.com

 

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

08-06-2015 11-16-26 AM


2 Comments

Genetics and Soft Teeth

 

01-06-2015 10-53-45 AMIt happens all the time! The one child in a family who is dental, health and food conscious is the one who gets all the cavities whereas the sibling who never brushes their teeth and snacks all the time is the child who gets to enter their name into the “Cavity Free” Club.

Even people with similar oral hygiene behaviours may have completely different rates of developing tooth decay.

So, is there really such a thing as soft teeth? Can being cavity-prone be inherited or are you just unlucky?

While it is true that your dental health depends on a combination of good oral hygiene and genetics, how much of a role does heredity and luck really play?

When a patient comes to see us with a history of tooth decay and missing teeth we begin by collecting some family history to determine if there are any possible contributors to their poor dental health. There are quite a few dental abnormalities that can be caused by defective genes, but these conditions are rare. And while genes do play a role in food preferences, type of saliva, ph-level of the mouth and how susceptible a person may be to tooth decay, true genetic abnormalities that affect teeth are rare and seldom seen.

Is there really a genetic disorder that causes soft teeth?
Can soft teeth be inherited?

Over the years, we have had many patients claim that the poor condition of their teeth was caused by the soft teeth they inherited from a parent or grandparent. While there truly is a genetic condition that can result in imperfectly formed teeth, it is a rare condition and is seldom seen. It’s characteristics are easily distinguishable from the type of soft teeth that are caused from our choices.

01-06-2015 11-24-23 AMThe truth is, sometimes it’s easier to blame genetics either because it saves us from the shame we feel or it saves us from being held accountable for our health conditions. But, we know that when patients tell us that they have soft teeth, they truly believe it.

While we never rule out the possibility of soft teeth, if, after examination, we find that their teeth are perfectly normal, we then have to find what is causing their poor teeth.

If not inherited, then what can cause teeth to soften?

Enamel is the hardest substance in the body – twice the hardness of bone, however, there are all kinds of damaging substances and actions that are capable of weakening it over time. It’s easy to understand this process if you think of how running water is capable of smoothing rough rock over time.

Things like….

Acid Reflux/Bulimia – The acids in our stomach are very strong and corrosive making them capable of softening enamel. Frequent exposure to these acids can and will cause the enamel to breakdown. Over time, the weakened areas will start to take on a whitish, chalky look and eventually get larger and darken over time as they progress into cavities.

Enamel Fluorosis – Teeth can erupt with weakened, less mineralized areas as a result of ingesting excess fluoride during development. This can happen from swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste, eating foods with high fluoride content, taking fluoride supplements or drinking well water that has a high fluoride level (greater than 1 part per million). This  example of soft teeth will quickly be identified by the dentist when the teeth first erupt because of it’s distinctive colouration. If severe enough, fillings can replace these weakened areas on the tooth, otherwise home care instructions are given and the tooth is monitored over it’s lifetime. Ironically, once the tooth is fully developed it is no longer susceptible to fluorosis and future fluoride treatment will actually help to harden these areas.

Bacteria – There are certain germs in the human mouth that produce an acid that has a corrosive affect on teeth. The goal is to reduce the amount of sugar these bacteria can consume through your sugary diet and by exercising good oral hygiene through brushing, flossing and using anti-bacterial mouth rinse.

Childhood Fever – A child’s fever can reach such a degree that it can interfere with the cells that mineralize the enamel causing hypomineralization (areas where less minerals were deposited into the enamel). This occurs, most commonly, with the first adult molars and front teeth. This can occur in vitro during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life and it is likely that other factors such as oxygen starvation combined with a low birth weight, respiratory problems, calcium and phosphate metabolic disorders may also be involved.

Food/Drink Acids – The frequent consumption of highly acidic foods and drinks can have an eroding affect on your teeth and weaken them over time. Be especially aware of the damage that highly acidic sport drinks, sodas and juices can do to your teeth. Your child’s teeth can be at risk for softening if they make frequent use of a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water.

08-06-2015 9-08-53 AMNutrition – With nutrition it’s all about moderation. If you are constantly eating foods that are high in sugar and/or acids then your teeth are frequently exposed to the damaging effects. Eating three, well-balanced meals is a start. Switching to a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, water as your choice of beverage, limiting your sugar intake and eliminating snacking between meals will benefit you both your teeth and body. Recent studies have shown that eating cheese after your meal has an anti-cavity affect by increasing saliva production and lowering the mouth’s ph to a level that bacteria are less active in. Eating the cheese before a meal may help by coating the teeth making bacterial penetration and adhesion more difficult.

Oral Hygiene – Not brushing and flossing your teeth allow bacterial plaque to accumulate and deposit acid onto the teeth enamel. Because your saliva production decreases during sleep, it is very important that you brush and floss your teeth before bedtime so that your bacteria will have nothing to snack on while you sleep.

Brushing Habits – Brushing your teeth with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and the other tissues of the teeth over time. Small crevices will start to form in the surface of teeth into which food and bacterial plaque can accumulate. Just be careful on how hard you are scrubbing while you are brushing and be sure to always use a soft or super soft toothbrush only. If you use an electric toothbrush you only need to guide the brush while it preforms it’s own cleansing actions. In fact, some of the newer types of electric toothbrushes are designed to stop if you apply too much pressure. Your dental hygienist is trained to check for any signs of toothbrush abrasion, but you can ask them to check just to be sure at your next dental check-up appointment. See our Your Smile Dental Care Instructions

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMMedications – Not only can our mouth become drier as we age, but there are also many types of medications that can cause your mouth to become drier than normal. Without salvia to naturally clean bacteria and food debris away from your tooth surface, the enamel will be susceptible to the cavity process and begin to weaken. Also, because your mouth becomes acidic when eating, try to avoid food at least one hour before bed to give your saliva time to neutralize these acids.

Radiation/Chemotherapy  – The salivary glands can become damaged during radiation and chemotherapy treatment. As a result, your saliva flow can decrease and become thicker making it’s cleaning action less effective. Improvement in the quality of saliva may return within a few months or may there may be long-term impairment.

Immune Diseases – Your salivary glands can be attacked by some auto-immune diseases causing the quality and quantity of saliva to be compromised.

Cross contamination – Believe it or not, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person to person by way of saliva exchange. This can happen through kissing, sharing food utensils/cups/food, sneezing and sharing toothbrushes. Mother’s must be especially careful not to pass these germs on to their children.

Just because your parents and grandparents had “bad teeth”
doesn’t mean that you have to.

01-06-2015 11-12-48 AMTooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the world, but is also one of the most preventable. Do “soft teeth” run in your family? Not likely, unless there is a true genetic disorder present. The number of people with true “soft teeth” is very low. It’s easy to blame genes for poor dental health, but we encourage our patients to take an honest look at their diet and oral care. If there is room for improvement then together we can find the solutions you need to move forward to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Do you get a lot of cavities? Do you suspect that maybe your teeth have become weak over the years?

If you feel that you are getting your fair share of cavities speak to your dentist or hygienist about your concerns.  At Your Smile Dental Care, we believe that healthcare should be a partnership between patient and doctors – a trusting relationship where we work together to find solutions. Having a better understanding of your dental health will help you stay informed so you can make healthy choices and better decisions regarding your dental treatment.

Your Smile is our top priority!
Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates

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