Your Smile Dental Care blog

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A Partial Glimpse into Dentures

Mithing some Teeth?
Here’s a Partial Solution!

24-03-2014 3-24-55 PMIt is unfortunate when you are missing several teeth and eating and smiling has become difficult – even embarrassing.

Finding a solution that is the right fit for you involves a number of considerations and your dentist will help you understand the factors involved in your specific-to-you situation.

Although implants are the most advanced tooth replacement, are cost-effective and are available for even the most complex cases, not every patient is an ideal candidate or can afford them at the time needed.

So, what are your other options then?

Perhaps, the idea of dental implants can be revisited at a later date. Until then, the spaces can be filled with bridges or dentures. Today, let’s take a look at your partial denture options:

 

Dentures are classified into 2 main categories: Full or Partial dentures.

 

Full Dentures – Are available for patients who have all of their teeth missing in the upper or lower arch or both. They are removable, but fortunately, full dentures can be secured to dental implants for added support and confidence while still being removable. They are made of acrylic and can be relined with more material as your jawbone changes in size and height due to missing roots.

 

Partial Dentures – Are designed for patients who are missing several, but not all the teeth in the upper or lower arch or both. There are several different types of partial dentures depending on design and materials used. They are supported by teeth and gum tissue, so the health of these are considered during selection. Each type of partial denture has their own set of pros and cons with some dentures using a combination of materials.

 

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Cast Metal:

– thin, metal alloy framework and claps

– more expensive

– metal not very aesthetically pleasing

– biocompatible metal, so hypoallergic for most people

– not usually harsh on health of gum tissues

– soft liner can be added to increase gum comfort

– preferred type of partial denture in terms of strength, durability, retention, thickness and fit.

– can have coloured plastic added that look like gums.

– more difficult to reline as gum and jaw changes unless soft liner added.

– more teeth can be added as needed.

 

Flexible

– made of nylon or another type of composite material

– moderate cost

– very aesthetically pleasing and can be colour blended to match gums

– very flexible and thin

– more comfortable in the mouth for chewing and speaking.

– hypoallergenic

– better on gum health than acrylic

– more damaging to natural teeth than a metal denture

– very good retention using clasps and undercuts

– more teeth can be added as needed, but some flexible material do not bond together well making the addition of new teeth ans relining more difficult and expensive.

 

Acrylic:

– made of a rigid plastic material

– much more affordable option as they are less expensive and easier to make.

– gum-coloured plastic is more pleasing than metal

– weaker and less durable than metal.

– plastic can pick up odours and stains

– can break more easily than Metal or Flexible

– plastic can be allergenic for some people

– more damaging to natural teeth than a metal denture

– can have more plastic material added if jaw/tissues change shape

– more teeth can be added as needed.

 

What You Should Know

In general, partial dentures:

  1. can interfere with speaking
  2. are less stable than natural teeth, bridges or dental implants
  3. may have supporting clasps that can break or bend, but they usually can be fixed readily
  4. need to be relined as jaw dimensions change
  5. need to be removed nightly to keep mouth tissues healthy
  6. prevent shifting of adjacent teeth until a more long-lasting, permanent solution is selected
  7. can wear down over time by natural teeth
  8. can be lost since they are removable
  9. need maintenance or repair of framework and components as they wear
  10. can be relined to accommodate changes to the underlying bone. Expense depends on type of material used to make partial denture.
  11. can have their fit impaired by any changes to the existing teeth because of decay, repair or loss.
  12. have artificial teeth that can be easily repaired or replaced.

 

 

Tendering in Tradeoffs

 

04-11-2014 2-04-12 PMNothing in life is as good as the real thing. There are tradeoffs that are made when we have to repair or replace our natural teeth. This is why caring for your teeth properly your whole life will increase the likelihood of “Teeth for Life!”

Every dentist has heard a patient say that they are just plain sick and tired of having to care for their teeth and think that by removing and replacing them with dentures they will become worry free of dental problems.

Wrong! They are trading one problem for another. Dentures come with their own set of issues, and, like teeth, they still require care yo prevent damage and prolong their life. Speaking, eating, comfort, mouth sores, and stability are just some of the issues you will likely face with dentures at one time or another.

How long a partial denture will last also depends on the proper care of existing teeth. There is no 100% perfect replacement for your natural teeth. The time and effort you put into caring for them is never a waste as it can make a huge difference in your dental health.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that dentures and bridges do not replace the missing tooth roots – only the visible tooth crown. Eventually, the jaw bone that once supported the roots will begin to shrink and reduce in overall size. This is an important consideration as dental implants need healthy jaw bone height and volume into which they are placed and eventually integrate into. The jawbone can be augmented using bone grafts, but this increases the complexity and cost of the dental implants.

 

Short Term vs Long Term

 

07-09-2015 6-03-36 PMEveryone knows the feeling of being faced with options. Decisions are not always easy and the more options available, the harder the decision. Your dentist is there to help you sift through all of the information, weigh all the factors and understand the tradeoffs you may have to make. Do you opt for an affordable solution that has limitations, a shorter lifespan and will require more on-going maintenance or do you invest now in the premium permanent option?

Being an informed patient who understands fully the pro and cons of each dental treatment option helps you move forward to the day when you can eat and smile with confidence.

Lastly, it’s Your Smile. Dental care is necessary for your remaining teeth. The function of chewing is meant to be distributed amongst many teeth. Expecting a few to do the job of many will result in wear and breakdown and you will run the risk of losing your remaining teeth through disease and dental collapse. If you are missing one or more teeth, see your dentist today to discuss your treatment options today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

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

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Clean as a Whistle? Think Again!


Clean Whistle – An Oxymoron?

Last week, as one of our staff members was driving to work, she had to stop as a crossing guard ushered school children across the street. This, of course, is a common sight as we make our way to and from work during the school week, but what went through her mind on this particular day was the phrase, “Clean as a whistle.”

So is this really an oxymoron?

Well, it depends on how clean one keeps said whistle. And for that matter a number of everyday items that frequent our mouths comes to mind: pacifiers, sippy cup lids, wind instruments, mouth guards, ortho retainers, toothbrushes, etc…

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Our spit is literally teeming in germs – hundreds of different types! Obviously, it is important to clean items that are repeatedly contaminated by the germs of our mouths because otherwise they become a breeding ground for these bacteria which can result in sore mouths and throats and lead to systemic and oral infections.

Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and common sense for cleaning these types of items. Inspect and clean routinely and store as directed. Our bodies and immune systems are designed to deal with microbes and their attacks on our systems, but we must be extra vigilant when we are placing these types of items in our mouth repeatedly. Furthermore, people who’s immune systems are already compromised medically should be extra careful as they are at a higher risk for adverse health effects.

04-04-2016 3-08-02 PMAt Your Smile Dental Care  we care for mouths as well as teeth. You may not notice, but we are always scanning your mouth as we treat and restore teeth, looking for any signs of abnormalities.

The same approach should be taken with items that are constantly placed in the mouth – scan them frequently looking for cleanliness, or any accumulation of debris or even damage where buildup can hide from the eye.

And when it comes to musical instruments, someone in the music business told us that any deposit inside an instrument, like a harmonica, can harden and actually change the tone and volume of the instrument. Many things come with cleaning instructions, but if they don’t, find out by asking the store personnel where you purchased the item or by calling the manufacturer. Items, like instruments are too expensive to be neglected, but your health is important also.

Toothbrush Care

Most of us just rinse our toothbrushes after use and put them back into their holder, but there are a number of important considerations when it comes to our toothbrushes:

  1. 16-03-2015 11-40-06 AMRinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use with clean water before storing or you can go the extra step of using warm soapy water to clean it before rinsing and storing.
  2. Air dry in an upright position.
  3. Store your brush away from any potential source of contamination (like the toilet).
  4. Never store it in a closed container as bacteria love warm, dark, moist places.
  5. Never share your toothbrush.
  6. Replace it after 3 months, if it begins to show signs of wear or after an illness.
  7. You may also consider wanting to replace your toothbrush it you find it in a different spot than where you last placed it or if it is wet before use – Someone else may have used it. Gucks!
  8. Check to make sure there is not debris or toothpaste left over in the bristles before storing it.
  9. Although not necessary, some people like to soak their toothbrush in some bacterial mouthwash for about 15-20 minutes everyday before storing.
  10. There is no conclusive evidence that using a dishwasher or microwave is an effective cleaning method, but if you like to use this method just understand that it could damage or change shape of the bristles.
  11. There is also no evidence that using an ultraviolet sanitizing unit is necessary, but if you like using this method just be sure to check the condition of the bristles often.
  12. New tooth brush? Always clean it after taking it out of it’s package using warm soapy water and following with a good rinse.

No one is ever going to be able to get their toothbrush 100% clean without the use of a sterilizer, but keeping these tips in mind should give you some “peace of mind” when it comes to toothbrush cleanliness. If you would like more information on toothbrush care, read our blog here.

Sharing is not always Caring

Lastly, a large number of diseases are spread through cross-contamination – it is how germs are shared. It should go without saying then that the “swapping of spit” is inevitable if things that enter our mouths are shared. There is no way of knowing for sure who is carrying an illness, so the best practice is to always be careful not expose yourself to germs where at all possible. Sharing is not always caring and we are all at risk. Being mindful of the factors that increase the spread of germs to one another will help you stay safe and healthy.

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

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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alzheimer’s Drug in Dentistry

Alzheimer’s Drug may be sinking it’s teeth into dental care!

 

Needless to say, tooth aches have plagued humans for years, but a recent discovery may soon sink it’s teeth into this age old problem.

 

Scientists have been looking for ways to repair rotten teeth for years. Now it seems that a team of researchers at Kings College in London may have found a way to regenerate tooth dentin using a drug that is usually used to treat people with Alzheimer’s.

 

wearing-timeThe outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, is the hardest substance in the human body. It is very densely calcified and contains no stem cells. Currently, the only way to repair enamel is to hope that a person’s mineral-rich saliva can reverse the very early stages of enamel demineralization cause by bacterial acids.

 

There is always a daily battle during and after meals between the mouth bacteria and our mineral-rich saliva. Simply put, the bacteria metabolize the sugars we eat and create a erosive acid that can dissolve and break open enamel rods allowing minerals to leech out. Our saliva plays a reparative role by then depositing minerals into this surface damage to try to harden the weakened area of the tooth. This repair process takes upwards of 4-5 hours in between meals which is why frequent eating/snacking interferes with our saliva’s reparative ability. Unfortunately, when the amount of demineralization far outweighs the restorative work of saliva and the damage is deep enough, repair is irreversible and the tooth must be cleaned out and filled with a dental material.

 

the-toothHowever, researchers at Kings College were concerning themselves with very large areas of decay – cavities that ate through the enamel and into the next tissue called dentin. Dentin is roughly 50% less harder (calcified) than enamel, but unlike enamel, it  is capable of some regeneration to protect the pulp. Just like bone, dentin is able to acquire more calcified tissue in the event of repair. We call this secondary or reparative dentin and the stem cells needed to produce extra dentin comes from the pulp. That repair is limited, however.

 

Until now….

 

Dentistry already has dental products that attempt to soothe and protect the more vulnerable pulpal tissue from deep tooth decay, but it can only do so much,  especially if the decay is very close or has reached into the pulp. What these scientists have done essentially is found a more natural way for dentin to repair itself. Using a biodegradable collagen sponge soaked with the Alzheimer’s drug called “tideglusib”, they placed it on the dentin where the decay had reached the pulp.

 

Essentially, Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3, which is known to prevent dentin formation from continuing.  The testing was done using mice, but the results were very promising. Not only did their body defence systems begins growing natural dentinal tissue, but testing showed the damaged tissue replaced itself in as little as six weeks – much more quickly that the body’s current natural ability. And, unlike the dental materials currently used in dentistry that remain after placement, the sponge eventually dissolves over time after the new dentin replaces it.

 

A Great Step Forward

Image B shows exposed dentin. When drilling continues the pulpal tissue is eventually reached as in Image C. CREDIT: KING’S COLLEGE

This discovery is exciting because, not only do we, as dentists, try to repair decayed teeth, we try to stop it in it’s tracks before it reaches the pulpal tissue. Once the pulp chamber is exposed to the oral environment, we use dental materials designed to cap the exposure and encourage the growth of dentinal stem cells to preserve the health of the pulp, but it’s success rate is not what we’d like it to be.

Many factors play into the repair process and if the body does not cooperate and form a sufficient layer of dentin to seal the pulp, then the vitality of the pulpal tissue will become compromised and eventually begin to rot. Once this happens root canal treatment is necessary to save the tooth from extraction. In addition, tideglusid is not a new pharmaceutical. It has undergone testing and is already being used as a drug for patients with Alzheimer’s.

 

“In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”

Professor Paul Sharpe, lead author of the study
Dental Institute of King’s College,  London  UK

 

At Your Smile Dental, we know that, “Not all that glitters is Gold”, but with more than 30 years of dental experience, we also know that many of the technologies we use today in dentistry were the impossible dreams of yesterday. The dentin is a very important protective layer between the enamel and the vital centre of the tooth. Once decay gets into this layer, it can advance quickly. Finding a way to regenerate this tissue faster, before it poses a threat to the nerve, will be a great step forward in the treatment of dental disease.

 

It may not be the end of fillings since enamel cannot grow back, but we’re happy to stick around a little longer to help you with all of your dental care needs!

 

Your Smile - Copy

 

The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(9050 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

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Hopeless teeth

The Audacity of Hope…

types-of-fracturesMost dentists will tell you that the last thing they ever want to have to do is to remove a permanent adult tooth. In fact, they will fight tooth and nail to try to save one (sorry, tacky pun?)

When a patient presents us with a tooth that has severe decay, infection, badly broken down restorative work or has been injured from trauma, the first thing we must do is evaluate the health of the remaining portion of the tooth and its surrounding supportive bone.

To us, it’s not so much what we can see above the gum line that determines treatment options, but the quality and health of what is remaining below the gum line. To that end, our goal is to preserve what remains then develop a sound treatment plan to replace what is missing.

Although treatment may also involve healing nerve and gum tissue, patients are always amazed to learn that as long as their tooth has sound root structure and enough supporting bone surrounding it, we can save it!

12-5-2016-4-38-27-pmSurvial

Without the benefit of a crystal ball, there will always be uncertainties, but a good dentist makes treatment recommendations based on all the clinical and x-ray evidence concerning the compromised tooth while giving considerable thought to predicting the likelihood of long-term survival.

At Your Smile Dental Care, we also know from experience that a patient who is willing to care as much about and for an affected tooth as we do is more likely to keep the tooth for as long as possible. Many conditions that the patient may regard as “hopeless” can actually be fixed and the tooth can last for many more years once successfully treated.

Sometimes, a patients will ask us to remove their teeth because they are tired of frequent discomfort and wish to avoid future dental maintenance and associated costs. Others, surprisingly enough, have told us that they’d rather have false teeth (dentures) than have to deal with ongoing dental problems. While no two cases are ever alike and each patient has their own unique set of circumstances, we are bound to explain that removing teeth unnecessarily does not solve the issue of discomfort and dentures bring with them their own assortment of issues.


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Removing a tooth may bring immediate relief from pain, but, unless you replace it with a suitable alternative tooth, a silent breakdown process begins that starts to destabilize the dynamics of the mouth (Dental Collapse).

 

But what happens when a tooth cannot be saved?

The hopeless tooth…

Sadly, there are times when conventional therapies fail or a tooth  is so badly infected, fractured or is so loose from inadequate bone support that we must decide if the dentition is better off without it.

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We call this prognosis hopeless. Nowadays, however, modern dentistry has treatment options that can replace your tooth with one that looks and functions almost as well as healthy, natural ones do. Dental implants have revolutionized the way we replace missing teeth without having to resort to dentures or remodeling adjacent teeth to accommodate a fixed bridge.

Helping our patients understand the thought process that goes into our treatment recommendations is crucial so that they can weigh the information and make well-informed decisions.

If you think that your teeth are in a “hopeless” state of disrepair, you may be surprised to learn that you have more options than you think.

Give us a call at (905) 5SMILES to book a consultation today!

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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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Signs of a Healthy Mouth

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

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

 

Gums

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

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


Teeth

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

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

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

Case Scenerio

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

 

Fresh Breath

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

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

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


Pink, Clean Tongue

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

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

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

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

 

Proper Bite

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

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

Pain Free

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

Lastly

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

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

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Sports Guard Care

Ewww! Did you just put that in your mouth?


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

Sick, sick, sicker…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning your Sports Guard

There are several methods of cleaning that we suggest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Recommended

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

Just keep it simple and replace the guard as needed.

 

STORAGE

STORAGE

Storage

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

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

Replacement

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

Sports Guard Special

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

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

 

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Play Safe ~ Use Protective Face Gear

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

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

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

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


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