Frequently Asked Questions
Does sugar cause cavities?
Plaque forms on your teeth daily. When sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque it produces acids that damage the enamel on your teeth. Although decreasing sugar intake will help, it is impossible to avoid sugar completely as it is naturally in many of our foods, including fruits and vegetables. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you must brush and floss daily using good techniques to ensure the best results.
What′s the difference between the bleaching I can do at home with a kit from the store and the bleaching that my dentist does?
There are many products available to purchase that provide for whitening your teeth at home. While this can be an inexpensive process, these solutions are ‘one-size-fits-all’, are often inconvenient, time-consuming and messy, and can even cause irritation and sensitivity to teeth and gums. Because dentists whiten teeth in-office, custom made trays that fit well, stronger bleaching agents and heat sources can be safely applied under close, expert supervision.’
There are so many different toothbrushes. Which one should I buy?
The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush, and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and a soft brush will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important, when the bristles begin to bend over it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over they lose their ability to remove food and plaque, it is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.
How does fluoride help my teeth?
Tooth enamel is hard but also has microscopic pores in it. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, which forms on your teeth daily to produces acids, which seep into the enamel’s pores. This causes the enamel to demineralize and become weak contributing to the formation of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural demineralization process. This keeps your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride also fights cavities by reducing the amount of acids that are produced by plaque.
Why do my teeth feel sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity is often experienced because the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding away. This allows the effect of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if it is causing you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort.
Is there anything I should do before my appointment?
There are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you:
- Whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold or sweets
- About any changes in your gums like changes in colour, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss
- Whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that cause the floss to tear
- About any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in colour
- If you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore
- Any allergies you have
- If you are pregnant
- About any medicine, you are taking
- If your medicine has changed since your last check-up
- About any health problem or medical condition that you are being treated for
- About any other changes in your general health
Do you take x-rays?
X-rays help us see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:
- Cavities between teeth, under the gums and around old fillings
- Bone loss due to periodontal disease
- Inside the bone and gums enabling us to monitor erupting teeth.
- Problems below the gums such as long or crooked tooth roots when evaluating for root canal treatment or infections at the roots of teeth
Are x-rays safe?
You are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances in the earth, the sun and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single x-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used we target the x-ray machine only at those areas, we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. We also cover the remainder of your body with a lead apron providing you with additional protection.
How common is gum disease?
Gum disease is very common. Nine out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a serious problem. The end result can be bone loss and the loss of teeth. Even though you may brush and floss regularly, regular visits to the dentist will help detect gum disease in the early stages.
What if I am already in the early stages of gum disease?
If you already have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That’s why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:
- Regular cleanings in our practice
- Brushing twice a day.
- Flossing once a day.
Why do I have bad breath?
Many people suffer from bad breath. In fact, 40% of the population has problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:
- Poor dental hygiene eating certain foods like garlic or onions,
- Chewing tobacco,
- Diseases like cancer or diabetes, and
- Dry mouth (often called morning breath).
You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. Also by avoiding certain foods, you can eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean thoroughly every day and to remove the device at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and present you with a treatment.
Do I really have to go to the dentist every six months? Do I need x-rays at each visit?
In spite of the best brushing and flossing regiment, not all stains and plaque can be prevented and removed by practicing good oral hygiene. Visiting the dentist twice per year allows dental hygienists to thoroughly clean teeth and gums and check for the start of any problems before they get serious.
If you have good oral health, x-rays need not be required more than every two years.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
You should take your child to the dentist around the time of their first birthday. By that time they will likely be starting to show teeth. Not only will the dentist be able to examine the child but it is a timely opportunity for parents to learn important details on the care of baby’s teeth and the value of good oral care as the child grows.