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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/

29-09-2014 3-15-09 PM


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Dental Identity Theft

Have you ever heard of “Patient identity theft?”

IDThere have been several stories that have made headlines recently about stolen patient information. Sadly, the most recent story involved hospital staff selling this personal data.

So, don’t be surprised if the next time you visit your dentist, chiropractor or other health care provider that you are asked to provide proof of your identity with a piece of photo ID. If you are a new patient that is not yet familiar to the staff, a photo ID may have to accompany your dental insurance card.

Why?

Insurance companies are reporting a rise in identity theft to falsely obtain health care services. In dentistry, patient identity theft occurs when someone uses another individual’s personal information to obtain access to dental services and insurance benefits. This translates into money having to be paid back to your insurer and inaccurate treatment information being entered into the personal data they have on file for you. You may even lose your benefits.

Typical Scenario…

A person with a dental emergency may be fortunate enough to schedule a dental appointment for same day treatment of a specific dental emergency – for let’s say, a broken filling or tooth. Equipped with the name, address, birthdate, and employer of an individual other than themselves, they provide the administrating staff with this personal information as well as the insurance policy numbers needed to file a claim for said treatment. They may also present the actual dental insurance ID card and the office may agree to this method of payment.

Treatment is performed, the online claim is filed and acknowledged and the person leaves – never to be seen again. No one is the wiser unless the insurance company rejects payment or the legitimate patient discovers the fraud while reviewing their benefit statement.

Sometimes, however, the fraud is only discovered when a person has similar treatment performed on the same tooth. Let’s say, or example, a person using someone’s identity has a tooth removed. If the actual person has dental care, such Painas a filling, performed on that same tooth their insurance will refuse to pay out benefit money for a tooth that their records indicate has already been removed. Other times, a person discovers the fraud when they realize that all of their benefits have been used up or “maxed” for the year even though they have not received the equivalent  amount of treatment.

This is where it becomes complicated, time-consuming and frustrating for the victimized patient and the dental office. When the insurer discloses the information they have on file, the office and/or patient must provide proof that this treatment was never performed on the legitimate individual. It becomes an administrative nightmare when the investigation begins. Ultimately, the first dental office that provided this service to the fraudulent person will have to pay back all of the monies paid out to them by the insurance company.


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How To Protect Yourself

Anyone who has access to your insurance information can try to submit a fraudulent claim. Here are some practical steps you can take to help protect yourself and your benefit plan:

1. Request that your insurer send you a statement of all dental transactions even if payment was paid directly to the dental office. Review the information carefully to ensure it’s accuracy. An online source of this information would be more preferable rather than a postal mailing. Report any suspicious activity immediately to your insurer.

2. Safeguard all documents that contain your personal information. If you like to keep a copy of dental statements, do so in a safe and secure place or convert them into an electronic format.

3. If contacted by email or telephone, never confirm any personal information even if the person making the inquiry seems legitimate. Instead, call your insurer using the telephone number on your ID card or a recent statement and ask if they are requesting this information.

4. Do not carry your dental ID card in your wallet. Keep it in a safe and secure location.

5. Never sign a blank insurance form and review any claims submitted on your behalf. Request a copy for your records.

6. Ask your healthcare provider how they handle and disclose your personal information. All dental offices in the province of Ontario have to keep this information on hand and available to patients.

7. Never “lend” someone your insurance benefits. Even when you think you are being helpful by providing a friend or family member with access to your personal dental benefits you are only harming yourself and any future care you may need. Your insurer will take action against you. Not only will you lose your benefits, you can be charged with fraud and prosecuted.

8. Make sure to regularly update the antivirus and antispyware on your computer.

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Never be offended if you are asked to provide proof of your identity

Unfortunately, identity theft is a growing trend and we must all be vigilant. Never be offended if you are asked to provide proof of your identity. You are entrusting your healthcare providers with your personal information and until more insurance companies begin providing photo dental ID cards to their clients, it is a considerate and reasonable safeguard done for your protection.

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Everyone involved becomes a victim. This is one of the reason why many insurance companies are dealing with the owner of the policy only and why healthcare providers are now expecting their patients to pay the entire charge at the time of service. It is also one of the contributing causes for the ever rising costs of healthcare and benefit premiums. All of this makes access to healthcare more difficult.

So remember, you can decrease your dental and financial risk in an identity theft situation. Be Smart! Be Safe!

The Your Smile Dental Care Team

19-09-2016-9-54-52-am


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You Don’t Need to Fear the Dentist!

 

Avoiding the Dentist?

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

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

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

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

You Can Do…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We Can…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Your First Step

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

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

Remember…you are not alone!

Yours in better health,

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

22-08-2016 10-49-39 AM


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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.

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  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.

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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!

 

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

 

 

19-01-2015 4-28-04 PM


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Aging Well

Top 10 Aging Smile Solutions:

Aging can affect your oral health just like it can your overall health. Even if you have taken care of your teeth meticulously over the years, your teeth can show the signs of aging and can make you look older than you are or feel!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to correct or at least minimize these changes.

1. Dark Teeth – As you get older your teeth can appear slightly darker or dull looking. This is usually because the outer, whiter enamel begins to wear as the inner yellow dentin begins to thicken. Staining foods/drinks and previous injuries to your teeth can also cause discolouration. Solution: Tooth whitening or veneers can brighten your tired smile. Avoid foods/drinks that stain which can compound the natural darkening of your teeth.

Whitening

2. Dry mouth – Some medications can reduce the amount of saliva your body produces leaving you with a drier mouth. This interferes with chewing and increases the likelihood of gum disease and cavities. Solution: There are sugarless gums and oral products that you can find at your local pharmacy which can help increase saliva stimulation and fluoride rinses to help strengthen enamel. Speak with your family physician to find out if one of your medications is causing your dry mouth. Perhaps there is an alternative medication that can be prescribed.

3. Longer teeth – Ever heard the saying, “Long in the tooth?” If you are losing gum tissue (recession) more of your tooth begins to show. If this gum disease process continues, eventually the softer, more sensitive root portion of your tooth will become exposed. Solution: Fluoride varnishes/rinse and sensitive toothpastes can be used to decrease discomfort. Avoid hard, abrasive toothbrushes and toothpastes. Use lighter force when brushing. Consult your dentist to find out if you are experiencing the effects of gum disease. Therapy can be started to slow down this gum loss.

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4. Smaller Teeth – Teeth naturally wear over time, making them appear shorter and flatter. Clenching and grinding can also cause the biting surface of your teeth to wear down. Solution: A night guard can slow down this process and prevent further tooth loss. Filling and dental crowns can be placed to repair more extensive damage.

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5. Smaller jaw – Bones change over time and forces are constantly remodeling your facial bones. As the years pass, you will eventually lose volume in the size of your jaws. Losing one or more teeth without replacing them will also cause the jaw to shrink. Solution: Replace missing teeth as soon as possible to maintain jaw strength and size. Eating a well-balanced diet will help to ensure that you are receiving the nutrition necessary for bone growth and maintenance.

6. Sagging Facial Skin – If your jaws and surrounding facial muscles are shrinking and losing definition, the overlying skin may begin to sag causing you appear older than you really are. Solution: Aside from cosmetic facial surgery, proper nutrition, chewing and replacing missing teeth sooner than later are beneficial in reducing bone loss. We now know that replacing a missing tooth with a bridge or denture will restore chewing, but will also accelerate bone loss in the jaws. A dental implant, however, takes the place of and functions like the missing root while maintaining the valuable facial bone.

7. Tooth Sensitivity – The tissue that surrounds the root of your tooth is not as naturally calcified as enamel, is more sensitive to chemical and thermal changes in the mouth and is less decay-resistant. If your gums are receeding then more of the root will begin to show increasing the likelihood of decay and discomfort. Solution: Fluoride can be applied to these areas to strengthen the root tissue and the use of sensitivity toothpastes usually provide effective relief. It is important to keep plaque away from the weaker root surfaces in order to reduce the chance of cavities. Never use a hard toothbrush, abrasive toothpastes or forceful scrubbing tooth brushing action.

Muriel8. Chipped Front Teeth – Your broad, multi-rooted molars are designed for forceful chewing and grinding not your slender, smaller front teeth. If you have had several molars removed in the past and are now using your front teeth to chew your foods, you run the risk of breaking/chipping your front teeth, fracturing your root and/or loosening these teeth. Solution: Most chipped and broken front teeth can be repaired, but a permanent solution to restore proper chewing function must be undertaken to avoid continued breakdown and eventual loss of the front teeth. High quality dentures and implants can be made to replace missing molars. Loose or ill-fitting dentures are now a thing of the past now that they can be supported by an implant.

Note: Filling do not last forever. Maintain regular dental exams so that fillings can be checked and replaced/repaired if necessary.

9. Poor Mobility – Dexterity can become a serious issue as one ages. Arthritis, strokes and Alzheimers are just a few conditions that can making tooth brushing and flossing difficult. Solution: Caregivers must be diligent in their efforts to help Seniors with their care to prevent plaque and calculus build-up that can cause cavities and gum disease. Using less toothpaste and a toothbrush with a larger grip or an electric toothbrush can make tooth care easier.

10. Nutritional Deficiency – Missing teeth, tooth sensitivity, poor-fitting dentures and impaired taste can compromise the ability and desire to eat a well-balanced diet leading to nutritional deficiencies and a decline in overall health. Solution: Food may be easier to consume if they are softer, cut into smaller pieces, and more flavourful. Ill-fitting dentures can be modified or replaced and sensitive areas of the mouth repaired or protected with dental materials.

While we may be living longer, healthier lives, we are also facing many challenges in attending to and prioritizing all of our health care needs. Unfortunately, dental issues are among one of their most common health problems experienced by the aging population. With almost over 30 years of experience, we know first hand the frustrations, challenges and barriers that can hinder a person’s access to care. Whether you are someone who is looking to obtain optimal oral health as you begin to age or are someone who is looking to bring in your elderly parent/s for a long, overdue examination, at Your Smile Dental Care we are here to team up with you and offer you support and solutions while maintaining a strong focus on prevention.

Dr. Sam Axelrod offers a wide range of dental services to make it easier for you and your family to receive the care they need. Call us today at (905) 576-4537.

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Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team

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Sports Guard Care

Ewww! Did you just put that in your mouth?


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

Sick, sick, sicker…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning your Sports Guard

There are several methods of cleaning that we suggest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Recommended

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

Just keep it simple and replace the guard as needed.

 

STORAGE

STORAGE

Storage

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

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

Replacement

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

Sports Guard Special

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

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

 

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Play Safe ~ Use Protective Face Gear

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

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

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

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


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

 

 

 

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The Consequence of Missing Teeth

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

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

A tooth here, a tooth there.

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

The Domino Effect

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

 

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

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

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1. Supraeruption (Over-eruption)

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

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

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

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

Loss of contact3. Loss of Contact

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

4. Plaque and Food Impaction

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

5. Bone Loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Treatment Options

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

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

Been a while?

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

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