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What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

Many people have mild to moderate dental phobias. A lack of understanding about what happens while you’re in the chair for a cleaning can add to this fear.

First Exam

Your hygienist will likely start by doing a quick exam of your mouth, noting and potential areas of concern to discuss with the dentist when they come in to perform a more thorough examination. They will use a small mirror to check your teeth and gums for any signs of inflammation, decay, and other issues.

Removing Plaque and Tartar

The hygienist will use a scaler during your cleaning to “scrape” plaque and tartar build-up around and under your gumline and between your teeth. They may also use a “cavitron” or water scaler in addition to or instead of hand instruments to remove build up.
If this is your least favourite part of your cleanings remember that improved oral health (proper brushing and flossing) reduces the amount of tartar and plaque in your mouth. Less tartar and plaque = less time scaling (scraping).

Polishing

This is when the hygienist uses a high powered electric rotating rubber cup to apply a gritty toothpaste to your teeth. The high-pitched sound can be intimidating but this part of your cleaning is important for removing surface stains.

Professional Flossing

No one is more skilled at flossing your teeth than a hygienist. It might seem silly to have your hygienist floss your teeth during your cleaning if you’ve already flossed that day, but this helps to remove any leftover plaque, polishing paste or debris.

Fluoride Treatment

There are a few different options available for fluoride treatments. (Not all dentists carry all options.) Most common are fluoride trays: foam trays that fit over your teeth and are filled with a flavoured gel or foam fluoride and placed in your mouth for 1 minute. There is also a flavoured paint-on varnish that stays on your teeth until you brush it off at night. Least effective, but a good option for people with a strong gag reflex is a fluoride ride that you swish in your mouth for one minute. Fluoride helps to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay. It is an important part of your regular cleaning.

Post-Cleaning Exam

Your dentist will then come in and review any notes your hygienist has made, and perform their own exam with the help of a small handheld mirror. In this time they may find spots of potential decay and recommend x-rays to be certain. Other concerns your dentist is looking for is bite/jaw issues, the need for orthodontic referral, or referral to a periodontist if your gums have deep pockets around the teeth.

Contact us today to schedule your next cleaning and check up! (604) 936-1263

Pregnancy and how it affects your oral health.

While keeping your mouth healthy is important, it becomes even more so during pregnancy. As your hormones change you may face oral health issues such as gum and bone disease. The following preventative measures will help keep your smile healthy and reduce risks such as low birth weight and pre-term delivery.

Morning Sickness

One of the most problematic symptoms you can experience in pregnancy is morning sickness. Repeated exposure to stomach acid can wreak havoc on your enamel causing tooth decay and erosion. These steps should be taken following any episodes of vomiting:

  • Rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouth wash (if you can stand it) immediately following the episode
  • After rinsing your mouth, wait for at least 30 minutes to further reduce the acid in your mouth
  • Brush your teeth

Preventative Measures

Daily:

  • Floss
  • Brush your teeth at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste using a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Drink fluoridated water where available

Schedule a checkup and cleaning in your first trimester to assess the current state of your oral health.

Bleeding Gums

Your hormone changes can affect your gums. They may be more sensitive and they might bleed easily, even if you have good oral hygiene.

“Pregnancy Gingivitis”

Between months 3 and 9 gestation, you may experience pregnancy gingivitis. This is when your gums become swollen, red, and/or irritated from bacteria along your gumline. It is important to see your dentist during pregnancy as gingivitis may turn into periodontitis. Most pregnancy-related gum issues will resolve themselves after giving birth, however, if they do not it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Visiting Your Dentist

If you do need dental work during pregnancy – the best time to have your work completed is during your second trimester. It is a good idea to avoid X-rays while you are pregnant. X-rays of your mouth should only be taken in an emergency. If you need an X-ray, make sure you are covered with a lead apron to protect your baby from the radiation.

Contact us today to set up your next appointment!

Gift Shopping – Dentist Recommended

This Christmas give the gift of good oral health! Dental hygiene products are not only a cost-effective present, they also show your loved ones you care about their health.

Stocking Gifts

Manual Toothbrushes are a great stocking stuffer as they are compact and inexpensive. Most people do not change their toothbrush at the recommended time (every 3-4 months) which makes them a great gift! Chances are all of your friends and family are ready for a fresh, new brush.

Toothpaste is another great (inexpensive) stocking stuffer. This is the perfect time to get your kids excited about their teeth by buying them their own toothpaste with their favourite character or in a cool flavour like bubblegum or fruit punch!

Flossers are perfect for the teen in your life who won’t commit to manual flossing every day. They promote the habit of flossing in an easy and convenient way.

Bigger Gifts

Electric Toothbrushes are perfect for the “speed brusher” in your house. They promote longer brushing time and do a more thorough job than manual brushing. They are also a great alternative for people with wrist mobility and dexterity issues due to age, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc…

Opalescence Go is our new take-home whitening system. It’s a hybrid between a custom tray and a bleach strip that has specially formulated bleach to curb sensitivity. They are stronger than the over-the-counter white strips you can buy and more cost-effective than custom made bleach trays. This is the perfect gift for a graduating teen, busy business person, or to treat yourself.

A Cleaning and Check Up is perfect for the young adult in your life who no longer has coverage under their parents. We see many young adults come less frequently (or not at all) for their regular cleanings when they lose their parent’s coverage. Cleanings can become an expense young adults don’t want to afford when they’re first starting out. But like “preventative maintenance” on your car, seeing a dentist regularly prevents bigger problems in the future!

Call or email today to book your cleaning and check up, or inquire about Opalescence Go!

TMJ Awareness Month – November

TMJ

If you experience excessive clenching, grinding, or “lockjaw”- you could suffer from TMJ disorder. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint; the joint which connects your lower jaw to your skull. This joint works like a hinge allowing us to talk, chew, and make facial expressions. TMJ problems can begin from a number of factors including stress, sleeping on one side of the jaw, excessive gum chewing, anxiety, overextending your jaw (by yawning, etc..). Leaving a TMJ disorder untreated can worsen other symptoms such as headache, earache, neck joint/muscle pain, etc…

In severe cases, chronic grinding can lead to loosening, fracturing, or loss of teeth. Over time, it can even change the appearance of your face. Since teeth grinding usually occurs during sleep, it can lead to sleep issues, including sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous disorder in which sleep is disrupted by interruptions in breathing and shallow breaths.

Treatment Options

What you can do to help yourself:

If you find yourself clenching or grinding in stressful situations there are self-care practices you can try to reduce symptoms:

  • Reduced consumption of alcohol and foods and drinks that contain caffeine
  • Avoiding gum chewing and eating hard candy
  • Not chewing on pencils, pens or other non-food objects
  • Consciously relaxing your jaw and your facial muscles throughout the day
  • Positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth when you have the urge to clench your teeth, which helps train your jaw muscles to relax
  • Increased intake of water

Medical Steps:

If your clenching and grinding occur at night when it is not consciously controllable, there are devices that can be made by your dentist to help! A custom-made night guard (designed for your teeth only) fit tightly around your upper or lower teeth to prevent wear to your dentition and help control the urge to clench. Many dental insurance companies cover these types of night guards which helps reduce your cost out of pocket.

To book a TMJ consultation appointment call or email us today!

 

World Diabetes Day – Your Blood Glucose

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. We’d like to raise awareness by giving you some information about how diabetes can affect your overall health. It’s important to note that when a diabetic patient keeps their blood glucose levels in their target range, they are no more susceptible to oral health issues than the average person.

Risks

Poorly managed blood glucose levels can result in dry mouth, ulcers, fungal infections, tooth decay, and loss of teeth. A lack of moisture in your mouth can cause irritated tissue and severe toothaches due to impaired circulation to your teeth. Overall, research shows that gum disease is more prevalent in those with diabetes. This is important as in turn, gum disease has the potential to affect blood glucose control.

People with diabetes have special needs and your dentist and hygienist are equipped to meet those needs—with your help. Keep your dentist and hygienist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication you might be taking. Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.

Tips

If you have diabetes, the following steps are important to maintaining your oral health:
– Control your blood sugar.
– Brush twice a day and floss regularly.
– Visit a dentist for routine checkups. Be sure to tell the dentist that you have diabetes.
– Tell the dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums
are sore.
– Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. A physician or dentist
can help you quit.

During a dental appointment, stressed patients release hormones that can affect insulin uptake and blood glucose (sugar) levels. It is very important that you take insulin/medications at the appropriate time and follow your meal plan to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

To schedule your next appointment with Dr. Shahriary call or email us today!

I Just Had a Filling – Why does my tooth still hurt?

So your dentist recommended you have a filling done, but now a tooth that didn’t bother you before is hurting! Yikes!

Before you start panicking there are a few reasons this could happen. Firstly – is the pain you are experiencing upon biting or chewing? or is it a constant ache?

Pain with biting/chewing

If the pain/sensitivity is with biting or chewing, chances are your filling needs a slight adjustment! When the dentist checks your bite after performing a filling, sometimes you’re so frozen it’s hard to get a good idea if your bite feels “normal” or not. Even the slightest bit of filling material being too high, or left over bonding agent can cause sensitivity with biting if you have a “tight” bite.

Typically, we can see you the same day for a quick appointment (that requires no freezing) to adjust the filling.

Constant Ache

If your pain is more of a constant ache there are two possible issues. Your pain may be associated with the injection site for the anesthetic. Some people are very sensitive to freezing and can experience and ache/bruised feeling in their jaw from the anesthetic – especially in the lower jaw. The best course of action is to wait a day or two to see if the ache gets better.

The other possibility with a constant ache is that the decay was much deeper than expected. While we always try our best to prevent a tooth from needing a root canal, sometimes the decay is so deep we have no choice. When Dr. Ross performs a filling where the decay is deep in the tooth, he will often place a medication to desensitize the tooth and help it “calm down”.  If this doesn’t work, a root canal may be the best course of treatment to fix the tooth.

Whatever the problem may be – we’re here to help you fix it. Call or email us today! https://austindentalgroups.com/contact/

 

Sugar makes my teeth sensitive – Ouch!

For most of us a slice of cake or a TimBit sounds like a deliciously sweet treat. For some people the thought of a sugar-filled snack makes them cringe. If you’re cringing right now, you may be wondering why your teeth react this way to sugar and if you can get some relief. In short, your sensitivity is due to damage to your enamel. Fortunately, there are steps you can take and products to help reduce this sensitivity so that you can enjoy your favorite treats again!

Causes

Most people associate tooth sensitivity with exposing your teeth to burning hot or chilling cold, sweets can also trigger tooth sensitivity. Regardless of the cause, sensitivity can result from the loss of enamel on your teeth. The most common causes of enamel loss include brushing too hard and enjoying too many acidic foods. Both activities damage your enamel and can expose the sensitive inner layer of your teeth. When your outer layer of enamel is damaged, sugary foods, hot and cold treats, or other irritants have a more direct route to the nerve center of your teeth.

Preventing Sugar Sensitivity

If you can’t imagine living without your favorite sweets there are steps you can take to prevent sensitivity. Your best course of action is to take proper care of your teeth with an oral health routine and the right tools.

The first step is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. A softer brush is not only better for your enamel, but it’s also gentler on already sensitive teeth. We always give our patients a soft-bristled brush in their patient “goody bag” at each cleaning appointment. Use a toothpaste designed to protect against sensitivity; the active ingredient you should look for is “stannous fluoride”. Finally, improve your brushing technique! Brushing too hard can cause serious damage to your enamel and gums, leading to tooth sensitivity. You can always ask your hygienist for proper oral hygiene instruction at your regularly scheduled cleaning appointment.

Contact us today to set up your next appointment! https://austindentalgroups.com/contact/

Help! I lost my tooth. What now?

Whether you tripped in the grocery store or participated in a particularly lively game of hockey, losing a tooth can be an upsetting ordeal! It’s important to remain calm and call your dentist as soon as possible.

By following these steps – there is still hope:

  1. DO NOT clean, brush or scrub the tooth – even if it’s covered in blood.
  2. Place it in a small container of your own saliva, milk, or saline solution if available.
  3. See your dental professional as soon as possible (ideally within 30 minutes). Don’t forget to bring it with you.

With prompt attention, a permanent tooth may be re-implanted into the socket and remain normal and healthy.

While it will eventually need a root canal and crown, it is always better to retain your natural tooth than to have to replace it with a prosthetic.

When participating in sports, always wear a mouth guard. Check out our blog on mouth guards: https://austindentalgroups.com/uncategorized/how-mouth-guards-help-protect-athletes/

If you’re having a dental emergency call us today! (604) 936-1263

 

Oh Baby! Caring for your baby’s teeth and gums.

Dental health starts before there are any teeth to brush! Caring for your baby’s teeth early on develops good oral hygiene habits for the future.

Before your child has any teeth it is important to clean the gums after each feeding with a warm, wet washcloth. You can also buy “thimble” style rubber gum stimulators to brush your baby’s gums.

Teething is difficult, but there are a few things you can do to help. Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a clean washcloth. Many babies find the applied pressure comforting. Keep their mouth cool with a cold washcloth, spoon, or chilled teething ring. If your child is already eating hard foods, offer them something to gnaw on like chilled cucumber or carrot. Keep close watch as they chew as any broken off pieces pose a choking hazard.

Baby teeth are important too. A common misconception in adults is that primary teeth do not need special care because they eventually fall out and are replaced by our permanent teeth. But these first teeth preserve the spacing for the permanent ones and help Baby chew and talk. If they’re not cared for properly they can decay, leading to a gum infection called gingivitis, which can affect the spacing of permanent teeth.

Put them to bed with water. The first sign of decay in your child’s teeth is discolouration and minor pitting. Putting your child to bed with milk or worse, juice, is notoriously bad for their teeth. This allows sugars to sit in their mouth and breed bad bacteria all night – water is the safest bedtime beverage.

For more tips on brushing and cleaning your child’s teeth see the Canadian Dental Association Website: http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/cfyt/dental_care_children/cleaning.asp

To book your child’s first dental check-up, contact us today by phone (604) 936-1263, or email https://austindentalgroups.com/contact/

How to encourage good oral hygiene in kids

The more knowledge you can give your kids about dental hygiene, the more likely they are to continue good habits into adulthood – but that doesn’t mean teaching them needs to be boring! There are many great resources available and experiments you can do at home to spark interest in your child.

Show them the plaque that is forming on their teeth by making your own “plaque disclosing solution”. Mix 3-4 drops of red food dye in 3 tablespoons of water and have your child “swish” the solution around like a mouthwash for 10 seconds. Once they spit it out, look in a magnifying mirror and find all the red areas (indicating plaque). Have your child brush their teeth then repeat swishing the solution again to show how much plaque was removed by brushing.

Read to them; there are many great children’s books available about brushing, flossing, and “sugar bugs”.  Click the link to see the 10 Best Children’s Books on Brushing your Teeth as chosen by Babble: https://www.babble.com/crafts-activities/the-10-best-childrens-books-on-brushing-your-teeth/

Demonstrate how to brush your teeth properly – especially in toddlers when they are most interested in copying everything mom and dad do!

Let them try brushing your teeth! Not only is this a great bonding experience, it gives your child a close-up, tactile experience with teeth and gums. Don’t forget to brush again after!

Play Music when brushing. Not only does it make brushing more fun, it encourages kids to brush the full length of the song or the recommended 2 minutes.

Let them pick their own toothbrushes and fun flavoured toothpaste. Toothpaste doesn’t need to be mint flavoured to be effective! Why not let them pick a brush with their favourite character and some toothpaste that tastes like berries or bubblegum!

 

To book your family in for their next cleaning appointment, call today! (604) 936-1263