Why Floss?

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Flossing is a critical part of maintaining oral health. It helps remove harmful plaque bacteria from areas where the bristles of your toothbrush just can’t reach. These bacteria can cause tooth decay (cavities) and lead to gum disease. If not cleared away from tooth surfaces regularly, these bacteria harden into a tough coating called tartar, which must be removed by a professional cleaning. Flossing every day helps you avoid a myriad of dental problems, and along with brushing and regular dental checkups and cleanings, is the best thing you can do for your teeth.

Jaw Pain & TMDs

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Do you suffer from chronic jaw, face, shoulder, head, or neck pain? This may be caused by a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of your head, just in front of your ears. The TMJ connect your mandible (jawbone) to your skull and are considered one of the most complex joints in the body. This joint, in combination with other muscles and ligaments, lets you chew, swallow, speak and yawn. When you have a problem with the muscle, bone or other tissue in the area in and around the TMJ, you may have a TMD.

Pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw joint, or the muscles of the jaw, face or temples can be symptoms of a TMD. Others are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, or open your mouth. TMDs may be linked with neck pain and headaches. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your dentist and your doctor.

In most cases, TMDs are caused by factors like jaw injuries and joint disease. It is believed that bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) and head or neck muscle tension may worsen TMD symptoms. Stress is also a possible factor.

To help ease sore jaw muscles, place a cold or warm compress to your jaw and gently massage your jaw muscles. Eat a soft diet, cut food into small pieces and avoid hard, chewy or sticky foods. Try not to open your mouth too wide, even when you yawn, and most importantly, try to relax your jaw muscles and not clench them.

After a thorough examination and x-rays, your dentist may suggest a plan to treat your TMD. This may include relaxation techniques and a referral to a physiotherapist or behavioural therapist to help you ease muscle pain. Other treatment options may include medicine for pain and inflammation. Your dentist may also suggest wearing a night guard that fits over the biting surfaces of the teeth of one jaw so that you bite against the splint rather than your teeth. This often helps your jaw joints and muscles to relax while you sleep.

If the pain continues, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist in oral medicine or orofacial pain, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, a periodontist or a prosthodontist for further specialized treatment. Surgery is rarely used to treat TMDs, however, if none of the other treatments have worked, your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with expertise in temporomandibular joint surgery.

If you think you may be suffering from a TMD you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Damaged a tooth? Here’s what happens next.

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It is important to know what to do if you break or damage a tooth. Even though they are common, a dental injury can be painful and upsetting. Fortunately, modern dental treatment can return your smile to normal if you get the appropriate care as soon as possible. While teeth are harder than even the bones in your body, they are not immune from damage from biting down on something hard or from an accidental blow to the head.

If a tooth has been damaged by a traumatic blow to the head, it is a good idea to get checked out at an emergency room—particularly if there’s any dizziness, disorientation or you have lost consciousness. If only a tooth is injured, you may be able to wait until the next day (or longer) to see a dentist.

If you have chipped a tooth, the appropriate treatment will depend on how much of the tooth has broken off. A small chip isn’t usually an emergency and can often be repaired with dental bonding. This involves layering on a durable, tooth-colored material to restore the tooth’s shape. Dental bonding is relatively simple procedure that can be completed in one dental appointment. This procedure can also be used to repair a tooth that has cracked above the gumline and has not exposed the pulp.

A larger chip or crack that has not exposed or damaged the tooth’s pulp is a more involved fix and may require a veneer or crown (cap). A chip (or fracture) that has exposed or damaged the tooth pulp will probably be painful, and should be treated as soon as possible. This type of damage to a tooth will almost certainly require a crown, along with root canal treatment.

If the tooth has completely broken off at the gum line, it most likely cannot be repaired and will have to be extracted. If this is the case, your smile can still be beautifully restored with a permanent dental implant or natural-tooth bridge.

If you have broken or damaged a tooth you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth

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Poor oral health can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life. Most people know that exercising and the right diet are important to staying healthy. A healthy mouth is part of a healthy body. According to the Canadian Dental Association, there are 5 steps to a healthy mouth:

Keep your mouth clean

  • use a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Wait at least 20-30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth
  • Floss every day
  • Eat a well balanced diet
  • Limit foods and beverages containing sugars and carbohydrates
  • Look for oral care products with the Canadian Dental Association seal

Check your mouth regularly

  • Look for signs of gum disease: red, shiny, puffy sore or sensitive gums, bleeding when you brush or floss, or bad breath that won’t go away
  • Look for signs of oral cancer: Bleeding or open sores that don’t heal. White or red patches. Numbness or tingling. Small lumps and thickening anywhere on the inside of your mouth.

Eat well

  • Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums
  • Eat mouthhealthy snacks like cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruit

See your dentist regularly

  • 48% of Canadians who haven’t seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease.
  • Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse

Don’t smoke or chew tobacco

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers
  • It also discolours your teeth

If you have any questions about your oral health you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Want a whiter and brighter smile?

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Do you brush and floss regularly but still wish your smile would look whiter and brighter? Teeth naturally get darker with age and can also become stained by tobacco use and exposure to certain foods and drinks like coffee or red wine. Sometimes, good results can be seen with at home whiteners but for more lasting results, tooth bleaching under the supervision of your dentist is also an option.

There are three methods for bleaching teeth. The number of teeth that need to be bleached, and how badly they are discoloured or stained will determine the method that will work best for you.

Your dentist may either:

  • Put a special bleach on your stained teeth and use heat and light to start the bleaching action
  • Suggest wearing a custom-made mouthguard filled with a special bleach for a certain amount of time each night
  • Prescribe brushing with a special toothpaste that contains bleach

Bleaching should be done only under the care of your dentist. Home-use tooth-bleaching systems are available to the general public but you should talk to your dentist before using one to make sure it is the right option for you. Clinical studies support the safety and effectiveness of home-use bleaching gels when used appropriately.

Tooth sensitivity and irritation to soft tissues can occur during any bleaching treatment, but the sensitivity should subside after a few days.

If you have any questions about whitening your teeth you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

 

Dental Safety and Healthy Gums in Children

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Healthy Gums

After the trauma of teething is over, the main problem infants and children have with their teeth is cavities. But just like adults, children can also get gum disease when the gums that hold their teeth in place get infected.

The best practice for preventing gum disease (and cavities) in children is establishing good dental hygiene habits early. Children can begin using toothpaste when brushing his or her teeth at 12 months old. When the gaps between your child’s teeth close, flossing should be introduced as well. Check your child’s mouth for signs of periodontal disease including bleeding, swollen, bright red, or receding gums. Most importantly, serve as a good role model by practicing good dental hygiene yourself and scheduling regular dental visits for your child and yourself.

Dental Safety

While primary teeth are strong, they are susceptible to damage just like adult teeth. Furthermore, since babies have a tendency to put things in their mouth that should not necessarily go in there, protecting your child’s teeth from damage is important. The following are some tips to help protect your child’s teeth:

  • To prevent your child’s head from crashing about, always use infant car seats and seat belts when you drive.
  • Babies will chew on almost anything, so keep them away from hard things that could crack their new teeth.
  • Children fall a lot as they are learning to walk. Teeth can crack, break, become loose, or even get knocked out in one of these falls. See your dentist immediately if any tooth damage occurs.

If you have questions about your child’s teeth, you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Children’s Dental Development

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Oral healthcare for children is vital to a critical component to a child’s health.

Primary Teeth

All twenty primary or “baby” teeth come in by the time your child is two or three years old. Beginning with the front teeth on both top and bottom (central incisors) coming in as early as 6 months old, the rest of the teeth should come in in succession from front to back with the second molars coming in between 20 and 33 months old. During this time of “teething”, your child may experience pain as the teeth push through the gums. Too soothe this pain you can:

  • rub the gums with a clean finger
  • rub the gums with the back of a small, cool spoon
  • If your child is still unhappy, your dentist, pharmacist or doctor can suggest an over-the-counter medicine to ease the pain.

Avoid using teething biscuits (as they may have added or hidden sugars) and painkillers that are rubbed on the gums as your child may swallow it. Do not ignore a fever as a simply symptom of teething. If your child has a fever, check with your doctor.

Permanent Teeth

The first adult or permanent teeth come in around age six or seven. They are known as the “first molars” or “six-year molars”. As these come in at the back of the mouth, behind the last primary teeth, they do not replace any primary teeth.

Around this age, children will also start to lose primary teeth. The primary teeth will slowly get weak at the root and eventually fall out. Children lose primary teeth until approximately the age of 12. If a tooth is loose it is okay to wiggle it but force should never be used to pull a tooth before it is ready to come out. When a tooth is truly ready to fall out there will be very little bleeding, and only a clean tooth for your child to leave under their pillow for the “Tooth Fairy.”

If you have any questions about your child’s tooth development you can call us at (647) 794-1108.

Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, usually break through the gums between the ages of 17 and 21 years of age. When they are healthy and erupt properly, wisdom teeth are beneficial to your mouth. If there is not enough room for them to erupt properly your dentist can advise you as to whether these unerupted wisdom teeth need to be removed to prevent pain and future problems. In some cases, all four wisdom teeth must be removed or sometimes it is just the bottom or top two. Some people’s wisdom teeth never even erupt at all.

The regular X-rays your dentist takes of your teeth will be a key resource in monitoring wisdom teeth development and in determining if they need to be removed. Symptoms that you may need to have a wisdom tooth removed can include paid and/or pressure in the rear upper or lower jaw. Should your dentist recommend that your wisdom teeth need to be removed, they may do the procedure themselves or refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to extract the wisdom teeth.

Your dentist should instruct you on how to take care of your mouth for the recovery period. You may be told to avoid brushing, spitting, flossing and rinsing for 24 hours. After that, you can gently brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with salt water frequently to help keep it clean and prevent infection.

The recovery period can take several days and there may still be swelling and discomfort for a week or more before your are good as new.

For any wisdom teeth related questions you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Cavities & Fillings

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Has your dentist told you that you have a cavity that requires a filling? A cavity is a small hole that forms on the surface of a tooth that can cause pain and further tooth decay if left untreated. The quickest and simplest way to treat a cavity is with a filling.

What causes cavities?

Cavities are caused when bacteria in our mouths mix together with sugars from the food we eat to form an acid that eats away at a tooth’s enamel. While cavities are often associated with children eating candy, adults can and do also get cavities too. If you have had fillings before, the edges of them can be a prime location for recurrent cavities. Part of the reason for practicing good dental hygiene including brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits is to prevent cavities.

How are cavities treated?

Cavities are usually treated with a filling. The silver fillings most people associate with the word are known as dental amalgam fillings. They are the cheapest, most common type of filling and are often a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin. This type of filling is mostly used on molars because of their unnatural look. For a more aesthetic and natural look, composite or porcelain materials may be used. In either case, the fillings are done directly and should only involve one visit to the dentist. Your dentist may give you a small local anesthetic to “freeze” the area before clearing out any decay within the tooth, shaping the hole, and filling it. Depending on the material used, your dentist may “cure” the filling with a special light to harden it before sending you on your way.

How do I care for a filling?

Fillings are cared for just as you would your normal teeth: by brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Your dentist will routinely check to make sure any fillings you may have are not loose, broken or needing replacement.

If you think you might have a cavity you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

What is Bruxism?

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Do you ever wake up in the morning with a sore jaw? Bruxism may be to blame. Bruxism, also known as the clenching and/or grinding of the teeth, happens mostly at night when you are asleep; so many sufferers don’t even know they are experiencing it. Untreated, Bruxism can wear down enamel leading to tooth sensitivity or other conditions.

Some experts consider Bruxism to be a habit, but it can also be caused by stress, anxiety, or a number of neurological conditions. It is very common and affects children and adults alike.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you may be experiencing bruxism:
• Jaw muscles that are painful and tight
• Long lasting pain in the face
• Damaged teeth and/or broken fillings
• Headache
• A grinding or chomping sound at night, that might disturb anyone else in the room
• Swelling of the lower jaw caused by clenching

If your Bruxism is related to stress, relaxation techniques may help, as may cutting down on caffeine or tobacco. The most common treatment, however, is wearing a simple, professionally made night guard to prevent the teeth from scraping against each other while you are asleep.

You can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help with any of your dental issues.