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Straight Teeth Offers More Benefits Than Just A Great Smile

Straight Teeth Offers More Benefits Than Just A Great Smile

Benefits of Straight Teeth

The benefit of straight teeth is not only for aesthetics. Straight teeth also help to promote tooth and gum health. Due to advancements in orthodontics, several options are available for teeth straightening with high-quality results. Listed below are several benefits of orthodontic work to straighten teeth:

Reduce Wear

When teeth fit together correctly, in the correct occlusion, the risk of tooth wear is significantly reduced. When teeth bite together at the wrong angle or spot, over time wear will occur in the area. Cusps of teeth must fit into crannies of opposing teeth, and if the occlusion is off, the teeth will wear down slowly. This can even lead to jaw pain and headaches. When the occlusion between the upper teeth and the lower teeth is correct, the teeth fit together , and pressure is dispersed throughout the jaw when biting and chewing.

Improve aesthetics

The most notable benefit of straight teeth is the improvement to facial aesthetics. Teeth in proper alignment look nice when talking and smiling. Also, when the occlusion is off, it can actually change the shape of the face. Teeth with extreme overbite can make the lower jaw and chin look unpronounced, and underbite can make the chin look overly pronounced. With the use of elastics and bands, braces can actually change the position of the jaw and allow teeth to be in the ideal occlusion.

straight teeth benefits

Reduce cavity risk

Straight teeth are easier to clean. When teeth are rotated and overlapped, more nooks and crannies exist where plaque bacteria can build up. Even with proper brushing and flossing, some areas may be difficult to clean out and have a higher risk of forming a cavity. Straighter teeth allow for easier cleaning and lower cavity risk.

Improve gum health

Just like how misaligned teeth can cause cavities, they can also result in gum disease. Because misaligned teeth are more difficult to keep clean, the build-up of plaque bacteria can cause gum inflammation that may potentially lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. Also, gum recession can occur in areas with crowding due to difficulty with brushing.

Decreased risk of took injury

When the occlusion is off, or the jaws are not aligned, tooth injury may be more likely from trauma. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to damage, and misaligned teeth are more vulnerable to chips and fractures.

If you are interested in straightening your teeth or have any questions about options, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment. We offer Invisalign treatment which uses clear aligner trays to gradually move your teeth into place without metal braces. Learn more about Invisalign.

How To Keep Teeth Clean When You Have Dental Braces

How To Keep Teeth Clean When You Have Dental Braces

Keeping Teeth Clean with Dental Braces

Orthodontics is the specialty of aligning the teeth and bite using various appliances such as retainers, braces and trays such as Invisalign. When teeth are misaligned, they are more susceptible to cavities, gum disease and wear. Teeth in proper alignment promote good oral health. Orthodontic treatment is an option at almost any point in life, and a treatment plan will be discussed in depth before beginning. Your dentist/orthodontist will give you recommendations based on your individual needs. Here are some helpful tips to keep your teeth as clean as possible with dental braces.

Electric Toothbrush

Brushing teeth with braces on is an essential factor in keeping teeth and gums clean. Generally, an electric toothbrush will be recommended. Electric toothbrushes simulate the motion of brushing more thoroughly that a person can do with their hand. Electric toothbrushes also do a better job getting around brackets and underneath wires. A smaller toothbrush head is recommended to get easily to the back teeth. Most electric toothbrush heads are smaller than manual toothbrush heads. Talk with your dentist/ orthodontist about which brand will work best for you.

electric toothbrush metal braces

Water Flosser

Flossing is essential, especially with braces on. Flossing will clean the in-between surfaces of the teeth as well as underneath the wire that a toothbrush might struggle to clean. A water flosser is a tool that sprays water in a jet form and is used to go in between the teeth to flush out plaque and bacteria. Other floss aids that can be used are floss threaders or super floss, which both have a hard end to get the floss between the teeth underneath the wire.

Fluoride Rinse

Fluoride is an essential component of an at-home oral hygiene regimen. Due to plaque traps and plaque accumulation, sometimes cavities are more susceptible. Using a fluoridated toothpaste and rinsing with a fluoridated mouth rinse daily will reduce the susceptibility of cavities.

More frequent Dental Cleanings

With braces on, there are just certain nooks and crannies that are difficult to access, even with proper at-home brushing and flossing. More frequent dental cleanings are recommended to access those problem areas and monitor gum and tooth health. At each cleaning, your dental hygienist can give you updated recommendations and discuss your current oral health.

If you have any questions about keeping your teeth as clean as possible with braces on or believe you will benefit from more frequent dental cleanings, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What is a Complete Oral Exam?

What is a Complete Oral Exam?

A complete oral exam is a diagnostic exam that a dental professional will do to gather all the necessary information for your mouth and oral health. The purpose of the exam is to collect information regarding your oral and overall health. A complete oral exam will usually be completed at your first appointment to a new dentist so that the new dentist can obtain baseline information, as well as every few years to update all current information and charting.

Complete Oral Exam Procedure

Your dental professional will use this exam as a time to make sure all information is present and up to date. Here is a list of what may take place at a complete oral exam:

– Updating medical history. Oral health and overall health have many correlations
– Charting any missing, chipped, broken or decayed teeth
– Charting any existing fillings, crowns, bridges, implants, root canals or prosthetics
– Assessing the condition of previous dental restorative work
– Checking for early signs of throat or mouth cancer
– Checking the lymph nodes and neck for any signs of abnormalities
– Assessing the position and occlusion of the teeth
– Assessing the jaw joint and checking for signs of grinding or clenching
– Gum measurements to check for gum disease
– Dental x-rays to check areas between your teeth that aren’t visible during the clinical exam
– Photos of your teeth as a reference point to check for changes to dental work over time
– Recommendations for an oral self-care regiment at home and a treatment plan if any dental work is required/recommended
– Any referrals to specialists such as an orthodontist, periodontist or oral surgeon if required

complete oral exam dentist in woodbridge

Benefits of a Complete Oral Exam

The importance of the complete oral exam is to provide a full assessment and catch/diagnose any issues in an early stage. Between each comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will do a check-up called a recall exam. The recall exam will be done every 6-12 months based on need and will check tooth and gum health and address any of your concerns. While the recall exam is beneficial, it lacks many of the diagnostic tools and assessments used in a complete oral exam. A comprehensive oral exam is recommended every 3 to 5 years, or more frequently based on need.

If you believe you may benefit from a complete oral exam, or have any questions about it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Temporary Solutions While Waiting For Your Dental Implant

Temporary Solutions While Waiting For Your Dental Implant

A common concern for those considering a dental implant is if they will be left with a missing tooth during the implant process. This is especially concerning to those who are missing a front tooth. Fortunately, there are a few different options for during this time.

First, what is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a tooth replacement option that looks and acts like a natural tooth. It consists of a titanium metal post secured in the jawbone with a dental crown to replace the missing tooth. The dental crown is made to match your remaining natural teeth perfectly.

The Process

Assessment- A thorough assessment must be done to evaluate the space and the jawbone to see if a dental implant is suitable. In some cases, bone grafting may be needed before an implant can be placed.

The implant surgery- The dental implant is surgically placed into your jawbone.

Healing time- This could take up to six months for the bone to heal and the implant to become secure in the jaw bone.

Placing the abutment- After the healing time, the dental implant is exposed, and a healing cap is put on (in some cases, the healing cap is placed at the same time as the implant surgery). Once the gums heal, the abutment can be placed. The abutment is the part of the implant that attaches the titanium post to the dental crown.

Placement of the dental crown- The last step is attaching the dental crown to the abutment.

Why is the healing time so long?

It is important to allow enough time for the bone to grow and heal around the dental implant. It will need to be secure in the jawbone to withstand the forces of chewing and have long-term success. The time it takes to complete a dental implant will vary from patient to patient.

Temporary tooth-replacement options

Flipper denture- This is also called an acrylic removable partial denture. It looks like a retainer but has an artificial tooth attached that will fill the space.

Essix retainer- A clear plastic retainer that fits over the top of your remaining natural teeth and has an artificial tooth to fill in space.

Temporary bridge- This is usually made of acrylic. It involves using the adjacent teeth to bridge the space with an artificial tooth in between.

Immediate temporary crown- In some cases, an immediate temporary or permanent crown can be placed on the day of or shortly after the placement of the implant. Not everyone is a candidate for this option.

Each option comes with different pros and cons as well as costs. If the missing tooth is in the back of the mouth, you may decide that a temporary replacement isn’t necessary. If moving from a denture to a dental implant, your existing denture can usually be worn during the healing process. You will be able to discuss your options with your dental professional to come up with a treatment plan that is best for you. Contact us to schedule a visit today.

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Oral Cancer

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is serious and can be life-threatening if not caught early. It begins when the healthy cells in the mouth mutate and become cancer cells. The cancer cells can then grow and destroy nearby tissues and may spread to other parts of the body. While oral cancer can happen to anyone at any age, men are at a higher risk than women, especially after the age of 45.

In 2017, there were 4,700 Canadians diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,250 died from it. No one wants to receive a cancer diagnosis, and there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

How to decrease your risk of oral cancer:

Avoid tobacco products- Most oral cancers are related to tobacco use. All tobacco products can increase your risk, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars and pipes. Avoiding tobacco products and limiting your exposure to second-hand smoke is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Consume alcohol in moderation- Heavy drinking is linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. The risk is even higher if you are using both alcohol and tobacco products.

Wear SPF (sun protection factor) on your lips- This is especially important for fair-skinned people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

Eat a healthy diet- Make sure to get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet. Studies have shown that a poor diet increases your risk of oral cancer.

healthy eating

Maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly- Studies have found there is an increased risk of oral cancer in those with poor oral hygiene. Regular dental visits will improve your oral health and give your dental professionals the opportunity to check for signs of oral cancer.

Avoid chronic irritation to the oral tissues- If you wear dentures, make sure that they fit well and don’t rub against or irritate your tissues. Avoid constant chewing on the insides of your cheeks, lips or sides of your tongue. Try not to have drinks that are very hot and could burn your mouth and throat. These are all considered possible risk factors for developing oral cancer.

Some people may have risk factors that they can’t avoid such as a family history of squamous cell carcinoma or having the auto-immune condition called oral lichen planus. Regularly inspecting your mouth at home for changes in your tissues and routine dental visits can help ensure early detection. Oral cancer is most treatable when caught early.

If you have any questions about oral cancer or want to book a dental exam, call us today!

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

A dental implant is considered by many to be the best tooth replacement option when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are a great alternative to dental bridges, partial dentures or complete dentures. Implants are used to replace missing tooth roots and support artificial replacement teeth. They are durable, and look like natural teeth.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium metal. It is inserted into the jawbone to replace the root of the natural tooth. An artificial replacement tooth is attached to the top of the implant. The implant acts as an anchor to hold the replacement tooth in place. If you are having an implant, either your dentist or a dental specialist may place the implant depending on your oral needs.

Who can get dental implants?

If you are in good general health, have healthy gums and have enough bone in the jaw to hold an implant, dental implants might be right for you. If your jawbone has shrunk or if it has not developed normally, you may be able to have a bone graft to build up the bone. A bone graft is a way of adding new bone to your jawbone. Your dentist will tell you if you are a good candidate for bone grafting.

xray of the mouth

Dental Implant Process

Your dentist will carefully examine your mouth and take x-rays of your head, jaw and teeth to find out if dental implants are right for you. During the first stage of surgery, your dentist will place a dental implant into your jawbone beneath the gum tissue. The gum tissue is then sutured back into place. As the gum tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach to the gum. It can take several months to heal.

During the second stage of surgery and once the tissue is healed, your dentist will attach an abutment to the implant. An abutment is a post that connects the replacement tooth to the implant. In some cases, the first and second stage of implant surgery may be done in one single stage.

Finally, an artificial replacement tooth is made and that your dentist attaches it to the abutment. It may take several appointments to properly fit the replacement tooth to the abutment.

When replacing several teeth or all of your teeth, a fixed bridge is anchored to your dental implants. A bridge is a dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth by spanning an area that has no teeth. The bridge is held firmly in place by dental implants on each side of the missing tooth or teeth.

If you are considering dental implants, contact us today to schedule your visit now.

Causes Of Sensitive Teeth

Causes Of Sensitive Teeth

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity To Cold Foods

Reports of tooth sensitivity to cold drinks and foods is a common dental complaint voiced by many patients. Severe dental issues do not usually cause sensitivity to cold. However, you should still consult with your dental professional to be on the safe side.

What Causes Sensitivity To Cold Items?

Gum Recession
Gum recession is the most common cause of sensitivity to cold foods. When the gum tissue shrinks or moves away from the teeth, the roots of the teeth become exposed. Once exposed, the softer and more porous dentin layer is left unprotected. The dentin layer has tiny, hollow tubules which contain fluid. The fluid in the dentin tubules transmits signals to the tooth nerve which triggers sensitivity or pain.

Acid Wear
When the teeth are exposed to acids continuously, it causes thinning of the tooth’s enamel. Thinner enamel causes the teeth to become more sensitive to temperature. Examples of foods or drinks containing acids are coffee, wine, tea, tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, etc.

GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
GERD also causes acid erosion or acid wear to the teeth, especially the back of the teeth. Bulimia also causes acid damage to the back of the teeth due to frequent vomiting.

Grinding or Clenching Teeth
Constant grinding of the teeth will cause the teeth to become flatter and shorter on the top surface. This wearing away of the top of the teeth exposes the underlying dentin layer which is more sensitive to temperature than the harder enamel layer.

teeth whitening strips

Frequent Teeth Whitening
Frequent use of whitening products cause increased tooth sensitivity temporarily. Most whitening toothpaste tends to be abrasive when compared to regular toothpaste. The abrasive quality thins or strips down the enamel.

If you experience sensitivity to hot and cold items both, you may have a dental cavity. You should see your dentist to confirm the cause.

Broken Down Fillings
Dental fillings can break down or weaken over time which leads to small cracks in the tooth that cause tooth sensitivity. Replacement of the fillings will be necessary if damage is discovered.

Call us today to schedule your dental visit to discuss tooth sensitivity.

Tips To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

Tips To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

Tips To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that children who are one year of age see a dentist to assess and monitor oral conditions and health.

  • Fluoridated water is shown to strengthen teeth and reduce the risk of cavities.
  • Bacteria that cause cavities can be transferred from the parent to their child through the use of shared spoons, forks or foods. Keeping the oral health of both parent and child is vital.
  • Cleaning a soother by placing it int he parent’s mouth should be avoided because the soother can introduce bacteria into the child’s mouth.
  • Ensure that bottles are empty before the child goes to bed. If a child falls asleep while the bottle is in their mouth, wipe the contents out of their mouth as much as possible if it is anything except water. Going to bed with milk or juice in the bottle will damage the teeth and cause decay. If your child needs a bottle to sleep with, put water in the bottle.
  • Follow a diet that is limited in sugars. Frequently snacking or eating sugary foods throughout the day will increase the risk of dental decay.
  • Parents should help with cleaning their child’s teeth until they have the manual dexterity to do it properly by themselves. When a child can write their name properly, it is a fairly good indication that they should be able to properly brush and floss their teeth.
  • Keep an eye out for any brown spots, holes, or whitish areas on the teeth. If you notice these, see your dentist soon because they may be signs of active decay.

Preventing dental decay in children ensures proper development of teeth and a good start with oral health and development. If you think your child has cavities, contact us to schedule your visit now.

What You Should Know About Sensitive Teeth

What You Should Know About Sensitive Teeth

Do you suffer from sensitive teeth? If so, you are certainly not alone. About half of the population reports having sensitive teeth. Cold, hot, acidic or sweet foods and drinks are the common culprits for triggering sensitivity.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

Most commonly, sensitive teeth are caused by having gum recession. When the gum recedes, it leaves the root of your tooth exposed. Roots are not covered with hard enamel but are made of the softer and more porous tissue called dentin. Dentin has microscopic tubules that have fluid inside of them. When you eat and drink, the fluid in the tubules moves, triggering the nerve of the tooth to feel pain.
Sensitivity can also be caused by other dental issues such as decay, dental erosion and broken or chipped teeth.

What should I do to treat my sensitive teeth?

The first step is to have a dental check-up to rule out any decay or other issues that could be causing your sensitivity. Once that is done, your dentist can make some recommendations to treat your sensitive teeth. For many people, the simple solution of using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth is enough to fix the problem. Other treatments are available for immediate relief such as a varnish applied by your dental professional to seal off the dentin tubules.

Tips for preventing sensitivity

brushing your teeth before bed woodbridge dentist sunny day

Practice excellent oral hygiene

Keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control by daily, thorough brushing and flossing. Oral bacteria produce acids so if plaque is left sitting on your teeth it can lead to sensitivity (and cavities).

Limit acidic drinks

This includes pop, energy drinks, coffee, tea, juice, wine and beer. Water is the best choice for your body and your teeth.

Rinse your mouth with water after having acidic foods or drinks

This will reduce the acids that can trigger sensitivity.

Avoid tooth whitening products

Bleaching products can cause sensitivity and whitening toothpaste are abrasive and should not be used long-term. If you have tooth sensitivity, you should consult with your dental professional before trying to whiten your teeth.

Use sensitivity toothpaste

It can be used long-term to both treat and prevent sensitivity from returning.

How does sensitive toothpaste work?

Since many people have sensitive teeth, there are many products on the market to choose from. Different kinds of sensitivity toothpaste work in slightly different ways. It may take some trial and error to find the one that will work for you. Toothpaste containing potassium nitrate work by desensitizing the nerve of the tooth so that it doesn’t react to the usual triggers. Other products work by sealing off the dentin tubules. If you have a particularly sensitive area, you can rub the toothpaste directly on the exposed root for quicker relief.

Having sensitive teeth can be very uncomfortable but can usually be treated successfully. If you want to be able to be free of dental pain, call us today!

Why You Should Brush Your Teeth Before Going To Bed

Why You Should Brush Your Teeth Before Going To Bed

Many of us know that we should brush our teeth at least twice daily. However, many do not see the importance of brushing before going to bed. People prioritize morning brushing before leaving the house to start the day with fresh breath. However, the most crucial time to brush is before going to bed.

Why Brush Before Bed?

When you think of a typical day, picture all the meals, snacks and beverages you have. When bedtime comes around, a lot of food particles and bacteria remain on and in between teeth. Even with proper brushing and flossing, it is hard to remove 100% of bacteria from under the gums and on the surfaces of the teeth. The more times you brush each day, the greater the chances of removing all or most of the bacteria.

Brushing Before Sleeping Prevents

brushing your teeth before bed woodbridge dentist sunny day

Cavities or Dental Decay
Going to bed without brushing your teeth means teeth will be covered in bacteria the entire night. Bacteria digest the food remnants on teeth and under the gums. The by-product is acid production which damages tooth enamel and leads to cavities. Saliva helps protect your teeth from damaging acids during the day. However, when sleeping, your body produces less saliva causing your mouth to become dry. A dry mouth increases your risk of cavities when going to bed without brushing.

Bad breath
What is referred to as “morning breath” is due to foul odours produced by the bacteria. Cleaning your mouth before sleeping makes it less likely to have morning breath.

Gum disease or Gingivitis
When plaque is left on the teeth for a long time, it hardens into tartar which is a form of hardened plaque. Only a professional cleaning can remove hardened plaque. Gums become swollen, red, inflamed and bleed easily when tartar is not removed.

Oral Hygiene Routine

Flossing removes bacteria from between teeth, and under the gums, a toothbrush cannot always reach.

Ensure that you brush for two minutes minimum. Use a tongue cleaner to clean your tongue as well.

Try rinsing with a mouthrinse that is anti-microbial. Anti-microbial mouthrinses help kill bacteria to prevent gum disease.

If you frequently skip brushing and flossing before bed, brush earlier in the evening. Once you get into the routine, it will become second nature.