Your Smile Dental Care blog


Leave a comment

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork!

Why does my dentist need to know my health history?

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

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

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

We are caring for you – not just your teeth!

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

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

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

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

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

Never underestimate the value of your health history…

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

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

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

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

123

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


1 Comment

Your Stinky Floss

… and the debate continues

 

Even though it was last year that the Associated Press report suggested that flossing was overrated and unnecessary, we are still being asked by patients whether flossing is necessary or not.

 

The simplest answer seems to be answering their question with another question: “What do you suggest for cleaning plaque and food from in between teeth and under the gums?”

 

Although there are other effective interdental aids for cleaning in between teeth, flossing is the only device that can actually get into the tight area between teeth – assuming there is not already a space or gap.

 

With the toothbrush only able to reach 3 of the 5 tooth surfaces,
what does this AP report suggest people do to clean the other 2 surfaces?

 

People will have to excuse their dental care providers for getting a little defensive when the health benefits of flossing is called into question. At Your Smile Dental Care, we’ve seen the value that flossing brings to our patients’ oral care over the past 30 years and we will continue to dig in our heels on the subject.

 

We only need to use our common sense about flossing. If you have something in a body part that is causing a foul odour and inflammation that can lead to loss of surrounding tissue, infection and loss of said body part, would you not want to get it cleaned out?

 

Dental neglect is preventable and flossing is an inexpensive addition to
your
oral care routine to help you take care of your teeth and gums.

 

Practicing the best oral care you can with the tools available is important when it comes to your overall health. The link between gum disease and a number of other serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and immune system disorders has been well established.

 

Most of us are already making changing in our lifestyles so that we can live healthier and longer. A daily 2 minute routine seems like one of the easier changes we could be making.

The bottom line is this: There is research and studies that both sides of this argument can cite to continue their claims. No doubt, the debate will go on and on while the plaque and tartar build up and up!

 

Note to the Associated Press: For all those people that are able to remove meat and popcorn caught between their teeth using their floss – Is that evidence enough? How about how stinky our floss is after use – Is that evidence enough?

 

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


2 Comments

Signs of a Healthy Mouth

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

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

 

Gums

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

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


Teeth

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

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

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

Case Scenerio

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

 

Fresh Breath

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

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

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


Pink, Clean Tongue

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

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

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

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

 

Proper Bite

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

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

Pain Free

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

Lastly

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

30-03-2015 1-04-02 PM

 

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


Leave a comment

Back to School Dental Care

Making a list and checking it twice?

22-08-2016 4-19-56 PMThis is the time of year that we begin turning our attention away from the lazy hazy days of summer and back towards the upcoming new school year. Getting back into routine in terms of sleeping, eating and grooming is the perfect time to remind your children about the importance of oral care.

And although a dental check-up may be the last thing on your mind as you go through your child’s back-to-school checklist, you may want to reconsider. We now know that dental problems, including cavities, leads to more absences from school which can result in poorer academic performances.

Many parents do not realize that dental decay spreads through baby (primary) teeth much more quickly than in permanent teeth. Early detection can help prevent small issues from growing into much larger and more painful problems.

 

Prevention Tips:

Implementing just a few changes in the way we approach our children’s oral health can go a long way in preventing cavities.

22-08-2016 3-09-19 PM

  1. Frequency – This is the #1 most important cavity prevention tip. Teeth need 4 to 5 hours to heal after an acid attack caused by eating/drinking. Mineral rich salvia is our body’s natural defence against cavities, but you have to allow it the time it needs to remineralize affected enamel.
  2. Diet – Any food that has natural or added sugars and starches in it can be used by bacteria in the mouth that then excrete damaging acid onto tooth surfaces. Highly acidic foods will also eat away at enamel. Decreasing the amount of sugars in your child’s diet, choosing water as their preferred beverage, eliminate snacking and choosing foods that help buffer against the acidic nature of other foods all go a long away in helping to prevent cavities.
  3. Xylitol gum – Chewing gum in school is probably still a no-no, but perhaps you can speak with your child’s teacher and explain the benefits of xylitol. It is found in some sugarless gums and is effective in controlling the amount of acidity in the mouth. This, in turn, helps to reduce the bacterial population and their damaging activity.
  4. Cheese – Pack some cubes of cheese in your child’s lunch and encourage them to eat if before and after their meals. Cheeses not only coats and protects enamel during meals and helps to balance the ph-levels in the mouth during acid attacks, but also contains minerals and casein which have anti-cavity properties.
  5. Water – Water is the preferred beverage of choice for a healthy mouth. Encouraging your child to also rinse with water following a meal when they cannot brush will help dilute acids in the mouth and wash away food debris.

 

Other Tips to Consider:

  • 22-08-2016 4-03-23 PMNo Snacking – The health of the oral cavity depends on the spacing out of meals. Hunger is the body’s way of letting us know that it’s time to eat, but snack time during school is now deeply entrenched in our school system. Educating yourself about the correlation between meal frequency and tooth decay will help you begin an open and honest conversation with your school’s administrator about the harmful effects of recess snacks not only on teeth but on classroom behaviour also. Good Luck!
  • School Insurance – We have seen many dental emergencies over our 30+ years in the dental business. Many of these accidents occur at school. We have a number of patients that benefitted from having had enrolled in the school insurance program that is offered. One patient, in particular, is still having ongoing dental treatment 20 years after the initial injury to his tooth. His parents certainly did not expect to ever have to use the policy, but are now glad that they enrolled in the program. The long-term prognosis for this particular tooth suggests that this patient will have ongoing maintenance costs for the rest of his life.
  • Sports guard – We can never emphasise enough the importance of protecting teeth during sports and playful activity. Again, we see many accidents caused during activity and the school ground is the most popular place for injury. No child probably wants to be the only students wearing a sports guard, but we do encourage it’s use.
  • Oral Hygiene at School – You may want to consider buying a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste for your child to use at school. Perhaps you can approach like-minded parents with children in the same classroom about this idea to help make this in-school routine more appealing to your child.
  • Plan Ahead – Life is busy we know, but setting sufficient time aside to plan healthy meals will help you avoid scrambling during the precious minutes in the morning to pack your child’s lunch.

 

Attending Post Secondary School?

Even young adults beginning their post-secondary studies should take the time now to see their dentist before school begins, especially if they are still on their parent’s dental benefits. With so many new changes happening during this exciting new academic experience, the stresses can build up.

22-08-2016 3-51-26 PM

During exam time we get an increased number of emergency calls to our office from students complaining of pain, not only throughout the oral cavity, but also around the jaws, ears, head and neck. Oftentimes, it is due to the increased forces of grinding and clenching (a side effect of stress), while other times it is due to the swelling associated with the emerging wisdom teeth.

Another common problem is a sudden increase in the rate of decay amongst young adults in post-secondary school with no past history of serial cavities. Most times we can attribute this to a change in diet, especially the frequency at which snacks and beverages such of coffee/tea/sodas are consumed. Our recommendation is to always be vigilant when it comes to oral hygiene care and the numbers of meals/snacks/beverages eaten throughout the day. Give you teeth the healing time it needs!

A thorough check up before going away to school will help to take care of any dental issues that may arise during the school year.

Lastly, if you are thinking about having a check-up when you come home during winter break, it is important to reserve your check-up appointment well in advance as many students are thinking the same thing you are!


If it’s been a while since your children have had their teeth checked and cleaned, give us a call today.  We’ll make sure your child’s teeth are looking sharp and ready for school!

 

25-02-2016 11-26-10 AM

 

 

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

 

 


3 Comments

Dental Implant Procedure

Have Missing Teeth?  Loose Dentures?
Thinking about getting Dental Implants?

28-03-2016 2-39-09 PMDental Implants are modern dentistry’s highly successful, long-lasting, and natural-looking substitute for missing teeth or for supporting dentures. Dental implants actually fuse directly to your jaw bone becoming one with your living bone structure. In doing so, implants help to maintain your jawbone – which would otherwise begin to disintegrate once your tooth is removed.

So What Exactly are Dental Implants?

Simply put, your natural tooth is comprised of two main parts – the root portion, which is the part of the tooth in the bone and the crown; what you see in the mouth. Dental Implants replace the root portion of your lost tooth then an additional portion is placed that extends above the gum line to support whatever type of final restoration is needed such as a crown, bridge or denture.

How do I begin the Implant Process?

The dental implant process involves several steps – each one essential to ensure the long term success of the implant and final restoration.

Consultation Appointment – The first thing you would do is to let your dentist know that you are interested in finding out more about dental implants. Your dentist will discuss your specific dental issues with you, take some diagnostic x-rays and let you know if your dental and medical health makes you a good candidate for this type of procedure. Not everyone can have a dental implant placed since you need to have a certain amount of bone available to support an implant. Your dentist will check to see how much bone volume and density you have in the area where your tooth is missing. If you have deficient bone levels, you may be able to have a bone regeneration procedure done which is designed to help restore bone to an area.

Referral – If your dentist does not provide Implant dentistry, they will arrange a referral to another dentist that does. You will probably then have the final restoration, that is placed on top of the implant, done by your own family dentist.

3-22-2016 10-42-29 AM


Diagnostic Appointment
– After your initial consultation visit, the dentist will decide the type of dental implant that best suits your needs and take some additional x-rays so that precise measurements can be determined. After the consultation and diagnostic x-rays, the process for dental implants involves two main surgical procedures at least 4-6 months apart.

3-22-2016 10-18-44 AMFirst Stage – At this appointment, the implant post is inserted into your jawbone. The site is then closed with sutures. This stage can usually be performed using local anesthetic. You will then return to the office about 10 days later to have the sutures removed and the surgical site examined. The site is then left to heal for several months. During this time, bone cells grow around the post so that the jawbone and post become fully and firmly fused together. This fusion period is essential so that the implant will not move and is strong enough to support the final type of crown, bridge or denture that will be place on it.

Second Stage – At this stage, the implant site is then reassessed and evaluated to determine if the post and bone have fully fused with one another. If fusion has been successful, then another type of post, called an abutment, is placed into the implant post. This abutment extends above the gum line and an impression is taken. This impression is used by the dental laboratory to create your custom crown, bridge or denture.

Third Stage – Your final crown or bridge is cemented permanently to the abutment. If you are having a denture made, it can be made to be permanently fixed to this abutment or a removable alternative can be made.

Night Guard Protection – If you have a grinding or clenching habit,  your dentist will probably recommend that your wear a night guard while you sleep to protect your implants and your investment from the destructive forces of this habit.

Follow Up Visits – Dental Implants are to be cared for as you would your own natural teeth. Maintaining your regular dental re-care visits is crucial to the implant’s success. Like any body part that is replaced, attending to re-examination appointments allows the dentist to evaluate the stability and health of the implant, bone and gum. Understanding that all of the teeth and their supporting bone/gum structures work together and support one another will help you appreciate why the health of all the parts of your oral cavity have a direct affect on your implant also.

Success

Dental implants have the highest success rate of any other tooth replacement option. Implants have been around in dentistry for well over 50 years! They are designed to last a lifetime, so they are well worth the investment. The great news is that if you ever need to have the crown, bridge or denture replaced or replaced, it can be done so without ever even affecting the implant itself!

Understand however, that the long-term success of any body replacement part requires regular re-care examinations and maintenance so that the site and surrounding areas can be closely monitored for health. Of course your mouth is not a car, but let’s use this analogy so we can drive (excuse the pun) this very important point home.  You would never buy a new car then drive it off the lot never to give consideration to it’s future maintenance. Your regularly maintained dental visits allow your dentist to inspect the implant for the presence of inflammation, bone loss, mobility etc. as well as the integrity/functioning of the restoration that is attached to the implant.  As with any unhealthy condition in the body, early detection is key to effective and successful repair treatment. At your own risk and peril do you ignore this recommendation.

Book Your Consultation today:

Our team at Your Smile Dental Care will be happy to discuss the entire dental implant process with you and answer any questions you may have. You can contact us at (905) 5SMILES to schedule a consultation with Dr. Axelrod to see if dental Implants are the right choice for you and Your Smile.

 

25-02-2016 11-26-10 AM

Yours in Better Dental Health,

Dr. Sam Axelrod & the Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


1 Comment

Caught in a Daily Grind?

NGAre you waking up with sore teeth or jaws? Headaches?
You may be grinding or clenching your teeth during your sleep without even realizing it!

The medical experts tell us that deep sleep is important. It gives our body a chance to rest and heal. However, there are many things that can affect our quality of sleep like stress, foods and illnesses.

The muscles and joints associated with the oral cavity are parts of your body that rely on a rest from tension and activity. You may actually be surprised to learn that forces of up to 1000psi (pounds per square inch) or more can be brought to bear on teeth during sleep. Certain medications can cause these forces to rise even higher in intensity. People have even reported to us that they can hear a household member grinding their teeth right through the bedroom walls.

Yikes!

It’s no wonder why some people are waking up
with sore teeth and jaws!

If you are continually grinding and clenching your teeth during your sleep this can prevent your body from falling into that deep nocturnal rest that your health needs and that causes a tremendous amount of damage in the process.

5-5-2016 10-40-19 AMThis destructive Bruxism activity can occur during the day also. Many people unconsciously grind or clench their teeth during the day. One of our patients tells us that they are constantly surprised to catch themselves clenching during the day.

Whether your habit is mild or severe, if done with frequency, over time it can lead to pain and damage to the head and neck including, but limited to, headaches, clicking TMJ, sore jaws, sensitive, broke and loose teeth, sinus pain, difficulty opening mouth, bite issues, pain chewing, neck stiffness, earaches, and vertigo.

If you suspect that you are experiencing bruxism during sleep or are suddenly starting to suffer from some of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to consult your dentist right away. Bruxism is an unconscious habit that can be very destructive. Your dentist will be able to have a custom fitted guard made for you to wear while you sleep. That way both you and your teeth can get a well-deserved rest.

Bruxism is the grinding or clenching of
teeth, mostly at night

nightguard111 (2)These night guards can also be found for purchase at local pharmacies for a relatively inexpensive price. We find, however, that our patients tend to wear through these types of guards much more quickly than the custom guards offered through dental offices and the repeated costs of having to replace the guards can become costly.

Our labs use a much more durable material that not only lasts longer, but does not easily warp nor break despite heavy forces they are subjected to. The night guards that are stocked by retail stores are often made of a material that can be easily and quickly softened so that you can custom mold them to your teeth at home through a heat process – much like stock sports guards that are boiled in water then fitted to the teeth. Others come in a more rigid material, but in varying sizes for you to choose from.

A custom-made night guard requires a very short appointment to take molds of your teeth. These molds are sent to our lab and within a few days you will be ready to sleep easy…literally!

So, whether your bruxism issues are minor and can be taken care of with a simple bite adjustment or need the extra help of a protective night guard, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We’ll discuss your symptoms and help you find a solution that is just right for Your Smile!

Call

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


Leave a comment

Sore teeth after a Dental Cleaning?

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

A: Lets review what happens with some dental cleanings.

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

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

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

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

Scheduling Your Appointment

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

 

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

 

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

Pre-Treatment

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

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

The Stages of a Dental Cleaning Appointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toothpaste


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

Home Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Healing

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

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

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

Lastly…

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

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

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

 

 

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