How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit us at least twice a year to have your teeth checked and cleaned, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential for preventing dental problems and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In addition to cleaning your teeth and checking for cavities, our dentists will perform other important steps to maintain your dental health, including:
- Medical history review:In order to take proper care of your dental health, our dentists will keep up to date on the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and your overall health
- Examination of diagnostic X-rays:X-rays are essential for detecting tooth decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss, and can help to determine tooth and root positions
- Oral cancer screening:Our dentists will check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer
- Gum disease evaluation:We will check your gums and the bone around your teeth for any signs of periodontal disease
- Examination of tooth decay:Using special dental instruments, we will check all of your tooth surfaces for decay
- Examination of existing restorations:We will check the status of your current fillings, crowns, etc.
- Removal of plaque:Plaque is a sticky, nearly invisible film that forms on the teeth and is made up from food debris, saliva, and living bacteria. These bacteria continually grow and produce toxins that inflame the gums and can eventually cause periodontal disease
- Removal of tartar: Tartar (or calculus) is plaque that has been left on a tooth’s surface long enough to become hardened and firmly attached. It can form both above and below the gum line and must be removed with special dental instruments
- Teeth polishing:Our dentists will help you to remove stains and plaque that could not be removed during teeth brushing and scaling
- Oral hygiene recommendations:We will review oral hygiene aids with you and recommend the ones that are best for your case (i.e. electric toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
- Review of dietary habits:Eating habits and dental health are strongly connected. We will help you to make the best dietary choices for your dental health
As you can see, we do much more during your visit than simply checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. You should schedule regular checkups to ensure we are able to provide you with the best possible care.
What causes tooth discolouration
There are two main types of tooth discolouration: extrinsic (stains to the outside of the tooth) and intrinsic (stains that discolour a tooth from within). External stains can be caused by any substance that your teeth come in contact with such as red wine, coffee, tea, or tobacco. Internal discolouration reflects your tooth’s actual condition and often occurs as a result of treatment procedures, exposure to excessive amounts of fluoride (fluorosis) and certain antibiotics.
Some types and degrees of discolouration can be managed using whitening methods, while others require veneers, bonding, or other restorative procedures. Make an appointment with us to find out which type of stains you have and our dentists will discuss which whitening method is best for you.
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
stages, the disease is usually painless and therefore hard to detect—unlike tooth decay, which is often painful. It is important to attend regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations to help you catch periodontal disease before it gets worse.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque—a sticky, nearly invisible film made up of bacteria, food debris, and saliva. When plaque is left on the teeth and gums, the bacteria produces toxins that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. You can make sure that plaque is not left behind by brushing and flossing regularly.
In addition to poor oral hygiene, there are several other risk factors that may increase your chance of developing periodontal disease:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco:Tobacco users have an increased likelihood of plaque and tartar forming on their teeth
- Certain tooth conditions or appliances:This includes bridges that no longer fit correctly, crowded teeth, or improper fillings that can trap plaque and bacteria
- Medications:Certain medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure medication, and oral contraceptives have side effects that reduce saliva. When your mouth is dry, it’s easier for plaque to adhere to your teeth and gums.
- Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty:Changes in your hormone levels can increase the sensitivity of gum tissue to bacterial toxins
- Systemic diseases:Diseases such as diabetes, blood cell disorders, and HIV/AIDS can also lead to periodontal disease
- Genetics:Some patients may be genetically predisposed to a more severe type of periodontitis. Patients who have a family history of tooth loss should be particularly mindful of the signs of periodontal disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
- Red and puffy gums
- Bleeding gums:Your gums should never bleed, even after brushing vigorously or using dental floss
- Persistent bad breath:This is a sign of bacteria in your mouth
- New spacing between teeth:This is caused by bone loss
- Loose teeth:This is also caused by bone loss or by weakened periodontal fibers (the fibers from the bone that support the tooth)
- Pus around teeth and gums:Pus is a sign of infection
- Receding gums:In other words, the loss of gum around a tooth
- Tenderness or Discomfort:This irritation is often caused by plaque, tartar, and bacteria
You can reduce your risk of periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene, keeping a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing your teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the exposed surfaces of your teeth. Unfortunately, toothbrushes can’t reach between your teeth, and these areas are left highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean these spaces between your teeth and under your gum line. It also disrupts plaque colonies from building up in these spots, preventing damage to your gums, teeth, and bone.
How to floss properly:
- Take 12–16 inches (30–40 cm) of dental floss and wrap it around each of your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) of floss between your hands
- Gently insert the floss between your teeth, using your thumbs and forefingers to guide it, and make a sawing motion
- Curve the floss into a ‘C’ shape around each tooth and under your gum line. Gently move the floss up and down to clean the side of each tooth
If you have difficulty using conventional floss, try floss holders to make things easier.
How do your prices compare to other dentists?
Our fees are comparable to other highly rated dentists, and in many instances they may be lower. However, seeking a bargain for dentistry can be dangerous; patients should foremost be concerned with a dentist’s level of expertise, knowledge, and technological capabilities. Before taking a chance on your dental care, we would encourage you to visit our practice and experience what sets us apart from the rest.
When I floss, my gums bleed, but they don’t hurt and my teeth look fine. Should I still be concerned?
If your gums are bleeding but not sore, it’s safe to assume that the bleeding is not the result of hard brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums that have no apparent cause are always a warning sign and can indicate conditions such as gingivitis or even gum disease. But gingivitis (inflamed, bleeding gums) is not a one-way ticket to gum disease; if it’s caught early enough, it can be managed and even reversed.
Lifestyle changes are among the first recommendations for managing gingivitis. This can include improving your oral hygiene, quitting smoking, controlling diabetes and managing stress. You can also ease damage to your gums by choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles and attend regular dental cleanings to control plaque and tooth decay. It’s important to stop gingivitis as early as possible, as studies have shown more and more serious illnesses to be associated with gum disease. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Another possible cause for bleeding gums, though it’s not the most likely, is oral cancer. Oral cancer can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many symptoms with other medical conditions. These symptoms include sores, difficulty swallowing or moving your jaw, bleeding gums or cheeks, and a continuous pain in your mouth. If there is no other apparent cause for your bleeding gums, you may be referred to a cancer specialist.
In order to prevent cancer and maintain overall dental health, it is essential to attend regular dental checkups, practice good oral hygiene, avoid tobacco, and maintain a balanced diet.
Like any infection, bleeding gums require the attention of an expert. If you experience any of the above symptoms, give us a call and make an appointment right away.