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.

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.

5 Habits That Destroy Your Smile

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1. Not flossing

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but many patients don’t realize that flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving—and maintaining—a healthy smile. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth. “Although bleeding and irritation sometimes can occur when you first start flossing, it’s important to keep at it,” says Dr. Ghareeb. “Your gums will toughen up and your oral health will be better for it.” 

2. Brushing too soon after eating

Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as sports and energy drinks, citrus fruits, wine, and tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your pearly whites! 

3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough

Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. “It’s also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold,” says Dr. Ghareeb. 4. Excessively bleaching your teethOverzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb. 

4. Excessively bleaching your teeth

Overzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush

A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

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Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the visit, ask the dentist about the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. Plan a course of action for either reaction your child may exhibit – cooperative or non- cooperative. Very young children may be fussy and not sit still. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child’s complete medical history.

What will happen on the first visit?

Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. If your child is frightened, uncomfortable or non-cooperative, a rescheduling may be necessary. Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important in these instances. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

Child appointments should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. For children under 36 months, the parent may need to sit in the dental chair and hold the child during the examination. Or, parents may be asked to wait in the reception area so a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.

If the child is compliant, the first session often lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age:

  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
  • If indicated, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar buildup or stains
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration on proper home cleaning
  • Assessment of the need for fluoride

The dentist should be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit. The entire dental team should provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for your child.

Oral Health For Seniors

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How Do I Maintain Good Oral Health in My Senior Years?

Your teeth can last a lifetime with proper home care and regular dental checkups. No matter what your age, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

What Special Oral Health Issues Should I Know About as a Senior?

Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may face certain issues in your senior years when it comes to your oral health. Wearing dentures, taking medications and general health conditions are some of the issues many seniors face. Luckily, your dentist and physician can help you meet most of these challenges quite successfully.

  • Cavities and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth are more common in older adults. So it’s important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and see your dentist regularly.
  • Sensitivity can be an increasing problem as one ages. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain due to cold or hot foods or beverages. In severe cases cold air, as well as sensitivity to sour and sweet drinks and foods, can occur. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Dry mouth is a common condition in seniors, and one that may be caused by medications or certain medical disorders. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as appropriate treatments or medications to help prevent the problems associated with dry mouth.
  • Existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, can affect your oral health. Be sure to let your dentist know of any general health issues you’re facing, so that he or she understands the whole situation and can help you meet your special requirements.
  • Dentures can make life easier for many seniors, but they require special care. Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully and see your dentist if any problems arise. An annual checkup is recommended for long-term denture wearers.
  • Gum disease is a potentially serious condition that can affect people of all ages, but especially people over 40. A number of factors can increase the severity of gum disease, including:
  •     Bad diet
  •     Poor oral hygiene
  •     Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  •     Environmental factors such as: stress and smoking
  • Because the earliest stages of gum disease are reversible, it is important to spot it early on. Regular dental checkups can insure early detection and treatment of gum disease. Best of all, it is easy to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place, by practicing proper oral hygiene.
  • Crowns and bridges are used to strengthen damaged teeth or replace missing ones. A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.
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