COVID-19: What to Expect at the Dental Office

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Dentists Are Back, But It’s Not Business as Usual

It was in late May when the Ministry of Health lifted restrictions to allow us to see the dentist again, but things aren’t entirely back to normal.

There’s still a pandemic happening which is why dentists are taking extra precautions to make sure everyone in the dental office stays protected. That means you, staff and the dentist!

Keeping that in mind, your next appointment will be a little different than what you were used to. Below you’ll find information on what you can expect.

Offices Must Meet Safety Requirements

For a dental office to be open during the pandemic, it must meet and maintain all updated safety guidance from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). Dentists must follow this guidance along with information from the Chief Medical Officer of Health when re-opening their office and providing care. This includes:

  • Appointments will be spaced out to allow physical distancing between patients. It will also allow time for the treatment areas to be disinfected between each appointment. That can also mean might mean less flexibility for scheduling your appointment
  • Before your appointment and once again when you arrive at the dental office, your dentist or their staff will ask you questions to see if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. Your temperature may be taken with a touchless thermometer when you arrive for your appointment.
  • PLEASE stay home if you have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Patients who are sick and have an upcoming dental appointment should call their dental office to report symptoms, reschedule or ask about other care options.
  • You will be asked to wear a mask or face covering while in the office except during treatment.
  • Dental staff will be wearing more protective gear than normal. Your dentist must ensure that they have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) before they schedule an in-person appointment.
  • Plan to come alone. There are exceptions for small children and people who require assistance. If a parent or caregiver is allowed, they will also be subject to all screening measures.
  • You may be asked to wait outside the dentist’s office and call when you arrive. You’ll be notified when you can enter.
  • The waiting room will not be open for everyone. Chairs will be spaced two metres apart. There will be no magazines, toys or any other non-essential items in the dental office.
  • Patients must wash their hands with a 70- to 90-per cent alcohol-based solution, or soap and water, when entering and leaving the dentist’s office.
  • Bathrooms will likely be closed to patients.
  • Plan to pay by touchless payment, such as credit card or Interac.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to visit my dentist during the pandemic?

Yes. Dentists have always followed very strict infection prevention and control procedures. With the additional COVID-19 guidance, dentists are providing you with the safest care possible. Their priority is to protect you, other patients and their staff.
What about the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending putting off non-essential dental care during COVID-19?

This guidance is meant for countries with wide-spread community transmission of COVID-19 and does not apply to what’s happening in Canada at this time. You can read more about this from our national partner, the Canadian Dental Association.

Rest assured, Ontario dentists have always followed strict infection control standards. During the pandemic, dentists are doing everything they can to put additional levels of protection in place to create the safest environment for everyone in the dental office.

Why is my dentist charging a PPE fee?

Under the pandemic, members of the dental care team now require more personal protective equipment (PPE) – such as N95 respirator masks, gowns, face shields and/or head and foot coverings – when treating patients. Your dentist may charge a PPE fee to cover some of the higher costs of additional supplies needed to provide treatment during this time. A pandemic-related PPE billing code has been created for dentists to use, if necessary.

The ODA publishes an annual Suggested Fee Guide, which is meant only as an informational reference that dentists can use when deciding how to set their own fees. The suggested range for PPE fees is $8 to 18, depending on the amount and type of PPE required for treatment. Your dentist will determine whether to charge a PPE fee, and how much, based on their individual circumstances. (Read more about how dental fees are set by dentists here.)

Before you start any treatment, your dentist must get your informed consent. This means discussing the treatment options and sharing an estimate of the fees (including any PPE fees) you will be charged before you agree to proceed. You can and should ask questions to fully understand the proposed treatment and all its associated costs.

You should also be aware of what your dental plan covers, since each benefits plan is different. The decision to reimburse patients for a PPE fee is made by insurance companies and plan sponsors, e.g. employers. (For general information on dental plans, visit our Dental Benefits Explained page.)

I think I have a dental emergency. What do I do?

Call your dentist. They will ask you for information about your situation and give you advice about next steps. If you need to visit the office, they will let you know if they can help you or will direct you to another dentist or emergency clinic.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. This includes:

  • Trauma – an injury to the mouth and face
  • Severe infection, such as an abscess or swelling
  • Bleeding that continues for a long time
  • Dental pain that can’t be managed by over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil

Can my dentist just prescribe medications for me over the phone?

Your dentist will decide if over-the-counter medications or prescription medications are necessary, or if you need to be seen at the office. If you need a prescription, your dentist may send it to the pharmacy directly.

How can I take care of my teeth before I can see my dentist?

Practicing good dental hygiene and following healthy lifestyle habits is more important than ever. Here are some tips:

  • Brush your teeth using the proper technique at least twice a day for two to three minutes each day.
  • Floss daily. It’s more effective than brushing alone, and helps to remove food debris and bacteria from places the toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D rich in omega-3 fats.
  • Quit or cutback on smoking.
  • Be mindful of stress. Regular exercise, meditation and deep breathing can help reduce the impact of stress on your mouth and immune system.
  • If you’re consuming alcohol or marijuana, do so in moderation. When you drink, your mouth is exposed to increased levels of sugars and acids found in alcohol, which can be damaging to your teeth. Marijuana smoke can cause oral cancer, dry mouth and staining, and THC can weaken your immune system.
  • Snack in moderation, and swish with water after eating sugary snacks to help wash away sugar and acid.
  • Chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva flow and avoid dry mouth. That salivary stimulation helps protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria

How do I know if I have COVID-19?

The Ministry of Health has an online self-assessment tool to help you determine if you need to seek care.

If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.

Where can I find current, credible information about COVID-19?

The ODA recommends checking in daily with the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website for the latest updates: https://covid-19.ontario.ca.

Other reliable sources include:

Last updated: September 18, 2020

What can I do about bad breath?

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Bad breath is usually temporary and resolved by cleaning your mouth. But if it’s chronic there may be an underlying cause that requires immediate attention.

Preventing Bad Breath

  • Brush and floss regularly. Keep your mouth clean to fight bacteria that causes bad breath. Certain foods can cause it so brushing after meals keeps your breath fresh throughout the day.
  • Rinse with mouthwash. If you’re unable to brush or floss your teeth right away, you may rinse with a mouthwash instead. Rinsing isn’t a substitute for these habits though. Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before brushing but don’t delay cleaning your mouth for too long. The longer you go without brushing, the longer the bacteria will stay in your mouth.
  • Clean your oral appliance. A removable oral appliance, such as dentures, should be cleaned regularly. Talk to your dentist about the proper way to clean and store yours.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can also contribute to bad breath. Quitting this habit is tough, but doing so prevents bad breath and improves your oral and general health.
  • Keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth is also a potential cause of bad breath. Eat crunchy and water-rich fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots to stimulate salivary flow. You may also try chewing sugar-free gum to moisten your mouth.

How Your Dentist Can Help

If your bad breath continues to be a problem, your dentist can help. Your dentist can examine your mouth and detect any issues that may be contributing to it.

Your dentist may also refer you to a physician or specialist if they determine the problem is related to another health condition.

If it’s related to your oral health, your dental team will help you manage the problem. They may recommend specific products, such as toothpaste or mouthwash, to prevent bacteria from building up on your teeth.

You may be referred to a periodontist if you’re diagnosed with gum disease. Gum disease can lead to a receding gumline which starts the formation of deep pockets. Bacteria can build up in these areas and can only be removed through professional dental cleanings.

Maintaining Fresh Breath Every Day

Keeping your breath fresh may require you to change some habits. Your dentist will help make the adjustment easier for you, but your cooperation remains the most crucial.

If you’re concerned about your chronic halitosis, discuss it with your dental team. Bad breath happens and taking action to remedy it is nothing to be ashamed of.

BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

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DEAR ALL Glen Dental Centre Patients,

We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome you back! Our office has always utilized personal protective equipment (PPE) that follows the BCCDC & CDC guidelines; however, in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic we have instituted additional guidelines and protocols to
ensure your safety.

You will see many changes, as we have new ways of scheduling your appointments and managing your insurance and financial transactions. First, you will be contacted 48-72 hours prior to your appointment via phone, text or email and asked a set of health-related questions.

It is required that we complete this questionnaire prior to your appointment. We will have to reschedule your appointment if we are unable to complete this step.
All the patients also encouraged to do and complete the Covid-19 self-assessment at https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en , 48-72 hours before their appointment as well and inform us from the result of their assessment.

Below is a list of some of the enhanced precautions we have taken to protect you in addition to extensive team training on infection control and patient management procedures:

1. Personalized arrival procedures to guide you into the office and fallout the screening and
consent questioner forms, follow up with hand washing or using hand sanitizer.
2. Maintain distancing in the reception area for essential caregivers and parents of minors if they
cannot wait in a vehicle or outside the clinic;
3. Removed magazines and items that can harbor or transfer germs of any kind. Hand sanitizers
will be positioned throughout the clinic;
4. Providing more education materials to enhance your awareness of health issues related to this
pandemic;
5. We require a mask to be worn by ALL patients upon entering the office; All the patient
encourage to bring their own pen, sunglasses and a warm jacket (since the office might be cold).
6. Installed sneeze guards or droplet barriers at all reception areas;
7. Require hand washing or hand sanitizing before and after of all appointments by our team and
by our patients;
8. Introduce an oral pre rinse by all patients to reduce exposure to germs;
9. Require all team members to undergo periodic testing for COVID-19 and antibodies for the
earliest detection of exposure should it exist;
10. Record temperature of every patient at the office;
11. Record the temperature and lung efficiency of every team member each day at beginning and
end of work period;
12. Payment arrangements in advance to avoid delay and allow contactless exit from the
appointment;
13. Enhanced operatory disinfection procedures of all surfaces between patients;
14. Enhanced HVAC disinfection with UV light and Electronic Filtration units;
15. Enhanced operatory disinfection procedures before and after all appointments with mist or
fogging devices to access hard to reach places that can be easily missed;
16. New personal protection equipment like Face shields, gowns, and masks for our doctors and
team to provide barriers against the smallest of germs;
17. Introduced protocols and using the extra-oral suctions equipped with HEPA filter to reduce
or eliminate airborne aerosols during dental procedures;
18. Enhanced nightly disinfection procedures of equipment and office fixtures like computers,
keyboards, telephones, tablets, chairs, doorknobs, and buttons that may be touched
unconsciously;
19. Disinfection of all outside mail and packages that enter the building;
20. Longer appointment times for you to prepare and complete all appointment tasks and duties
in the safest and most comprehensive manner;
21. Provide disease testing recommendations for exposure detection to viruses.

If you missed your appointment during the closure or have an upcoming appointment, we will be in touch soon. We look forward to seeing you!

We look forward to see you again soon Glen dental Centre Management and team members.Determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

What can I do about Sensitive Teeth?

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Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone but it’s most common among those ages 20-40.

It starts when the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel, erodes. The pigmented layer beneath it, or the dentin, becomes exposed, which then results in increased sensitivity.

Possible Causes of Enamel Erosion

  • Acids. Bacteria feed off sugary food and then produce acids that beat down the enamel. This leads to the thinning of the enamel and exposure of the dentin.
  • Receding gums. Tartar not removed on tooth surfaces may cause receding gums. The gums protect the teeth against bacteria. Once they weaken, they become loose and form pockets where bacteria invade. This can also trigger tooth sensitivity.
  • Brushing too hard. Aggressive brushing and using a brush with hard bristles can also cause the enamel to wear away.
  • Tooth whitening. Getting your teeth whitened may cause sensitivity but this should not last. Let your dentist know if you already have sensitive teeth prior to the procedure.
  • Tooth grinding. When you grind or clench your teeth, this can also erode the enamel and damage your teeth. This can be difficult to diagnose as it occurs while you’re asleep. Your dentist can check for signs that you may be grinding your teeth. They can also customize a night-guard to protect your enamel.

Tips to Relieve Sensitivity

Sensitivity can cause extreme pain in your teeth. The level of
discomfort varies. Here are some ways on how you can manage and feel better.

  • Take note of your triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
  • Talk to your dentist about using fluoride toothpaste or toothpaste types specifically made for sensitive teeth.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Don’t forget to floss between teeth and below the gum-line.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or switch to an electric toothbrush. Spend at least two minutes to cover all areas of the mouth, including your tongue.
  • Don’t brush right after a meal as your teeth are highly vulnerable to acid attacks at this time. Wait at least an hour.
  • Stay on top of your routine dental visits.

If your tooth sensitivity persists and only gets worse, contact your doctor for possible treatments. Don’t let sensitivity get in the way of you enjoying your daily life.

Fed up with your teeth?

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Fed up with your teeth? You are not alone. We get a few patients each year that are tired of the dental issues they’ve been dealing with for years. We hear them say things like “I Want All My Teeth Removed and Replaced. What are My Options?”

Whether the dental issues are due to genetics, an injury, or years of neglect, if you are tired of dealing with these issues then you might be considering having all your teeth removed and starting over. What are your actual options?

When all your teeth are gone and you want them replaced, you have two main decisions to make:

  1. dentures (temporary fill in for lost teeth)
  2. dental implants (permanent teeth replacement option)

There are definite pros and cons to each and we discuss them below.

Dentures – a “Fill-in” for Lost Teeth

Dentures are not a “replacement” for teeth because they aren’t permanent. However, they do look like teeth so you don’t have to go out in public without teeth. Dentures are an affordable option if you are missing teeth and this is one of the most common reasons that people go this route. If you are considering dentures, please keep reading so you are aware of the potential downsides that come with this option.

The main downside to dentures is they are NOT really fastened to your gums so they can move and shift around. This can cause difficulty chewing, eating, and speaking and it can get very frustrating. There are ways to help improve the fit of your dentures but this is something that is always a possibility so it’s important to keep in mind. Some people actually find it easier to remove their dentures when eating, but this can be uncomfortable in public and can cause serious digestive issues longterm. We wrote a post about that here: Eating Without Teeth or Dentures – What You Need to Know

Keep in mind that dentures need to be removed each night and cleaned regularly. Dentures do last for a 5-10 years so they have a pretty good shelf life. The biggest downside to missing all your teeth is that your jawbone begins to slowly erode over time when it doesn’t have teeth engaging it and keeping it strong. Dentures do not engage the jaw the same way that teeth do which results in your face getting that “saggy” look the longer you go without teeth.

“All on 4” or “All on 6” Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most highly recommended tooth replacement option because they act like real teeth and prevent jawbone erosion. The implant goes into the jaw and fuses with the bone in order to stimulate the jawbone just like real teeth do. No saggy face with dental implants – that’s a big plus!

The “All on 4” or “All on 6” approach to dental implants is a unique solution to full mouth tooth replacement because there are only 4 implants (or 6, depending on your dentist’s recommendation) on the top and bottom jaw. After the implants are set, a “permanent denture” (often called an “overdenture”) that looks and acts like real teeth connects to the implants. The permanent denture attaches to the implants so they are semi-permanent. You get to eat with them, sleep with them, speak with them and everything else without worrying about the dentures slipping or falling out.

So this is a good option because you get the benefits of implants and the affordability of dentures without the typical downsides and complaints people have about dentures.

Someone who was previously unable to afford to replace an entire mouth of missing teeth can now restore their smile at a fraction of the cost. It sounds too good to be true, but we’ve helped hundreds of patients do just that thanks to this innovative treatment. Have questions about All on 4 Dental implants? Click to learn more.

Get Started Today

If you are ready to replace your teeth, get started today with a free dental implant consultation.

What is Gingivitis?

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Gingivitis is a common gum disease characterized by
swelling and redness of the gingiva. Gingiva is the gum tissue surrounding the
base of the teeth.

Gingivitis is caused by the body’s response to bacterial
overgrowth in the mouth. Bacteria naturally exist in the mouth. Some are good
and some are bad. The bad bacteria can spread with poor oral hygiene.

Other factors can trigger gingivitis but for
bacteria-related cases, the problem is the plaque that sticks to the tooth.
Plaque contains bacteria and food debris. When not removed, it irritates the
gums and as a response, the body starts to fight the bacteria.

When you notice bleeding, tenderness, and redness in
your gums, that’s a sign your body is attempting to beat down harmful bacteria.
Don’t panic when you see blood when you brush. Gingivitis is reversible. And
this shouldn’t keep you from brushing and flossing.

Some stop brushing and flossing thinking this could only
cause the gums to bleed more. But when gingivitis starts, the more you need to
start paying closer (and not less) attention to your dental care habits.

Risk
Factors for Gingivitis

Aside from gingivitis, other possible reasons for
bleeding gums include hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstrual or
post-menopausal cycles. At these times, the mouth can become extra sensitive.

Those diagnosed with diabetes and other diseases are
also more susceptible to gingivitis. Taking certain medications can also
increase your risk of developing gum disease.

How to
Treat and Prevent Gingivitis

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is key.

  • Brush three times a day for at least two minutes at each time.
  • Floss daily as well to clean between teeth and below the gumline.
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Drink water more often, especially after meals.
  • See your dentist every six months.

Some are more prone to developing tartar. Talk to your
dentist about this so you can be advised about the right frequency for your
dental hygiene appointments. You may need to visit the dental office more often
to get rid of plaque not removed by daily brushing and flossing and keep them
from maturing.

Poor Oral Health Can Increase Your Risk of Oral Cancer

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We are aware of the golden rule: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day. All rules come with rewards when followed to the latter, as well as consequences when ignored. If you are keen on maintaining proper oral health, then you will enjoy years of shiny white teeth, strong gums and fresh breath.

One the other hand, if you are totally ignorant of the golden rule and only floss when it’s convenient for you, then get ready for some health implications. These range from as mild as bad breath to loosing teeth and even oral cancer.

What Are Some Of the Bad Oral Hygiene Practices That Cause Oral Cancer?

Top on this list is consuming a lot of sugars. The second dangerous thing is consuming alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco. Most of the people who suffer from oral cancer are reported to have been regular consumers of one or all of these products. These sugars are responsible for causing dental caries commonly known as tooth decay. Eating foods that have too much acid is equally detrimental.

What Are The Dangers Posed By These Practices?

When plaque (microbial biofilm) forms around the teeth, it converts the free sugars into acids which in turn are responsible for dissolving dentine and tooth enamel over time. Without regular cleaning and removal of the plaque, one remains exposed to oral cancer as the teeth begin to loosen and eventually fall out.

The first thing you need to do to ensure that you keep yourself healthy is brush and floss regularly. This helps reduce the buildup around your teeth. Second, you need to discuss the condition of your oral health with one of our doctors and get to know what foods are not a threat. Pay us a visit at our clinic and get your mouth thoroughly cleaned every month or two.

Your Child’s First Visit at the Dentist

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This is a question which is asked very often at our office by parents and the answer may surprise you. Parents often wonder at what age it would be appropriate to bring their precious little ones to see the dentist. Some parents believe that there is no need to see a dentist until all the baby teeth have grown in, while others believe that visits are not necessary until all the permanent dentition are present.

The official guideline from the Canadian Dental Association is “First visit to the dentist by age 1 or within 6 months of first tooth eruption”, and “ideally children should see a dentist before their first birthday and regularly thereafter-just like regular check-ups with their family doctor”.

Parents may wonder: what is there to check when the baby has so few teeth? The fact is there are many inherited and infectious oral conditions that can be detected early, such as tongue-tie, thrush, or even cavities (yes, your child can get cavities even if he/she only has 2 teeth!). For children less than 3 years old, the visit usually consists of only visual examination- there are no cleaning or x-rays required unless the oral hygiene is very poor or if we see decay.

Visiting the dentist at an early age will also reduce your child’s anxiety when having dental visits later in life, as it become a fun routine. When we see children who are 3, 4, 5 years old or older who are only visiting the dentist for the first time, they can be more anxious of the whole new experience.

Flossing Can Impact Gum Disease Prevention

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Everyone knows that flossing is an important part of your oral hygiene, but most people assume it has to do with helping keep your teeth strong. Flossing does certainly remove food particles and other debris that get stuck between your teeth, but it also helps protect your gums from gum disease. Here’s how flossing helps prevent gum disease.

Bacteria Affects Your Teeth and Your Mouth

The same bacteria that sticks to your teeth and causes cavities also affects your gums. These bacteria convert sugar in foods into acid that damages your teeth. This acid can also get down onto your gums, damaging them as well. When that happens, the openings created in the gums allow the bacteria to enter your system. That leads to infection, inflammation, and other health concerns. It can even cause the bones that support your teeth to begin deteriorating, leading to tooth loss.

Flossing Prevents Bacteria from Getting to the Gums

While flossing helps prevent cavities, it also removes plaque before it the bacteria in it can attack your gums. By preventing that bacteria from reaching the gums, it reduces the risk of gum disease. Flossing also removes food debris that the bacteria feeds on, reducing the amount of tooth-damaging acids produced.

While brushing certainly helps control bacteria and reduce cavities and gum disease, toothbrushes simply can’t get in between teeth as well as dental floss. Flossing regularly in addition to brushing is the best way of combating gum disease.

Don’t Forget Teeth Cleanings!

Even if you brush several times a day and floss once a day, some stubborn bacteria can still get through. That’s why it’s also important that you come in and see us every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup.

This gives us a chance to make certain your teeth and gums are healthy and that there are no problems. Call today to make an appointment.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

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Having sensitive teeth is more than a minor inconvenience. When cold or sweet foods have an ‘ouch’ factor, it’s time to tell your dentist. Tooth sensitivity may be an initial sign of something more serious.

Sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel shell on the outside of a tooth is damaged, or when receding gums expose the root surface of a tooth to the oral cavity. The root of a tooth does not have the protective enamel layer and is porous, allowing irritants like cold, sweet, stimulation by brushing, etc. to reach the nerve of the tooth which interprets all sensations as pain.

If the enamel of a tooth is damaged through trauma or a habit of clenching and/or grinding your teeth, the underlying material called dentin is exposed to the mouth. Dentin is also porous like the root of a tooth and has the same symptoms mentioned above.

Once you have seen your dentist and the other possible causes ruled out, such as cavities, there are several ways to relieve the discomfort.

Brushing regularly with desensitizing toothpaste is often enough. These toothpastes are designed to plug the porosities in tooth surfaces to prevent irritants from reaching the nerve of the tooth, but they have to be used regularly and you have to avoid foods that undo their protective effect, like acidic and sugary foods.

A fluoride gel applied professionally, or a fluoride rinse used at home will also help as fluoride is able to provide relief similar to the desensitizing toothpastes mentioned, however the protective effect can also be undone by eating acidic and sugary foods.

Another option available that your dentist may recommend is a fluoride varnish, a thick paste with a high concentration of fluoride that’s applied to sensitive teeth every two or three months.

Bonding is a more permanent fix where an insulating layer of tooth-coloured composite resin (filling material) is applied to exposed, sensitive roots. This can provide long-lasting protection from tooth sensitivity provided you use a soft toothbrush, warm water and gentle brushing.

If grinding your teeth at night has caused tooth enamel to wear away, your dentist might suggest making you a close-fitting, thermoplastic night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

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