Visiting the dentist
Visit a dentist if you have any of these issues: trouble chewing, mouth sores, jaw pain, redness, swollen face or gums, tooth sensitivity, broken teeth, dry mouth, bleeding gums, bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Getting checked out right away prevents more serious problems and infections.
Dental health varies from person to person, but generally it is recommended that you visit a dentist once or twice a year, even if your mouth is in excellent condition. Regular exams help spot trouble early to prevent bigger and more costly treatments later.
On your first visit, we will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell us. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist:
- A thorough cleaning– a dental hygienist or the dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.
- A full dental examination– the dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.
- X-Rays– X-rays will be undertaken so we can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.
Dental X-rays help us to examine your mouth’s hidden areas so that we can see whether there are any problems that need to be addressed. We also use them to compare changes in your mouth over time. Medical and dental experts study the use of X-rays and set limits for their safety. We take as few as possible.
Dental implants are replacement teeth that are inserted using a metal post or frame that is surgically positioned in your jawbone. Dental implants are a good way to replace missing or weakened teeth. Most adult patients are good candidates for implants, and implants help to prevent the remaining teeth from moving or loosening. Implants are permanent and serve as a good alternative to dentures for anyone with an otherwise healthy mouth and jaw.
Cavities break through the surface enamel of teeth, and they’ll probably get bigger unless you close them off with fillings. We will numb your mouth before drilling around the cavity to prepare it. A biologically compatible material is placed into the cavity, soft and then hardens as it dries. Once set, fillings can last a long time but need replacing if they break or wear down.
Looking after your teeth
It is vital that you brush and floss your teeth twice a day in the morning when you get up and before you go to bed. To take your oral hygiene to the next level you could also consider the following:
- Limit snacks that are high in sugar.
- Eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid tobacco in any form
Buy toothbrushes with soft bristles. Medium and firm ones can damage teeth and gums. Use soft pressure, for 2 minutes, twice a day. Both powered and manual toothbrushes clean teeth well. Manual brushes with mixed bristle heights or angled bristles clean better than those with all flat, even bristles. Powered toothbrushes may be easier if you have trouble using your hands. You should replace your toothbrush regularly. Change it sooner if the bristles look bent or splayed out. Bent bristles don’t clean as well. (They’re also a sign you may be brushing too hard.)
Most toothpastes will clear away bacteria growth and acids from food and drinks. Most toothpastes have fluoride, which strengthens and protects teeth. But non-fluoride options are also available. If cold or hot food or drinks make you cringe, pick a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and let your dentist know.
Yes you do! It clears food and plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. If you don’t, plaque hardens into tartar, which forms wedges and widens the space between teeth and gums, causing pockets. Over time, gums pull away and teeth loosen.
Mouthwashes aim at maintaining fresh breath and teeth colour. They often contain fluoride to help fight cavities as well. Therapeutic rinses can also treat conditions such as gingivitis, tooth sensitivity and inflammation caused by chemotherapy. For more advanced conditions, prescription mouthwashes often contain chlorhexidine gluconate to kill bacteria that cause bleeding, inflammation and the formation of plaque.
Mouthwashes may help when you use them with regular brushing and flossing — but not instead of daily cleanings. Kids under 6 shouldn’t use mouthwash to avoid the chance of them swallowing it.
The best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to follow a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly – while maintaining your oral care routine twice a day. Conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS can also affect your dental health, as well as medications and certain types of chemotherapy. Protect yourself against problems that can advance quickly by discussing these dental questions with us.
Patients with tooth sensitivity feel pain when they consume items that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic. This comes from thinned tooth enamel, which doesn’t protect the tooth pulp or dentin from exposure to extreme temperatures. In some patients, this may be a result of receding gums, tooth grinding during sleep, chipped or fractured teeth, tooth whitening, orthodontics and fillings. When you visit us we will examine the affected teeth and recommend a treatment to reduce your sensitivity.
A beautiful smile showing clean, white teeth gives a tremendous boost to your confidence. Most people experience some discoloration of teeth over the years, either from surface or extrinsic stains or internal ones. Treat stains caused by coffee, wine, tobacco and pigmented foods with at-home whitening or have a professional, in-office whitening done regularly. For intrinsic discoloration, consider composite bonding or the application of veneers to the affected teeth, which provides a more permanent solution.
Stores sell many whitening products, and you can get take-home gels and trays from your dentist, but neither is as strong as procedures done in a dental office
Caps and crowns cover problem teeth by surrounding them in a material that looks like a real tooth. They use the root and inside of the tooth as a base to build on, then attach with special cement. Veneers and bonding improve your smile by sticking a layer of smoother and whiter materials like porcelain or resin to the natural tooth. Talk with your dentist about which fix is right for you.
Yes, sweets and foods with acid, like candy and soda, could stick to teeth and lead to cavities. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer and gum disease. While teeth are strong enough to chew ice and tear open packages, this can break them and stress your jaws. Gritting or grinding down on teeth when you’re stressed may crack them. Biting your nails is another bad habit. It pulls your jaw out of position and changes how your teeth fit together.
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents decay. Research shows that kids should use fluoride toothpaste for brushing, taking care not to swallow it. Adults benefit from using fluoride to protect their teeth, too.