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  • April 2015

    April 23rd, 2015

    Overlying Concerns

    Removable dentures present an affordable way for patients with lost teeth to smile, talk, and eat with confidence. In order to enjoy ongoing comfort, patients wearing dentures are encouraged to visit the dentist as often as patients with all their natural teeth. Once teeth are removed, there is less support for facial muscles and the gums are likely to change. These fluctuations may lead to improper denture fit and discomfort, which the dentist can correct. Although there are over-the-counter products available for relining and repairing dentures, this is a project best left to professionals. Improperly relined or repaired dentures exert pressure on the jaw, causing the jawbone to shrink more rapidly, thus making future fittings all the more difficult.

    P.S. Removing and cleaning their dentures every night allows denture wearers’ gums to recuperate and lets saliva do its job of breaking down bacteria in the mouth.

    April 18th, 2015

    Gums, Cheeks And Tongue

    The dentist and hygienist are as concerned about the soft tissues in patients’ mouths as they are about their teeth. Nearly everyone occasionally experiences a sore on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, or the inner cheeks. Depending on the cause, it may either go away with time or be successfully treated with over-the-counter drugs. Most common mouth sores, such as canker sores, heal within seven to ten days. However, a mouth sore that has not healed within two weeks may signal a more serious problem. Causes can include an infection or frequent contact with a jagged tooth, which may prevent healing. In some cases, a sore in the mouth may be an early sign of cancer.

    A trip to the dentist may be one of your most important appointments! No matter what your age, you need to take care of your teeth and mouth.

    P.S. A thickened white or red patch in the mouth should be assessed by the dentist.

    April 9th, 2015

    Crowning Achievement

    Patients with chipped, cracked, or heavily restored teeth are frequently recommended to have a crown to prevent further cracking or chipping of the tooth. Traditionally, the crown that was fabricated was a porcelain fused to metal crown which had a metal alloy coated with porcelain to give the appearance of a tooth. However, recent technological advances have led the production of crowns that have no metal and are fabricated out of purely ceramic. Ceramic crowns may be especially beneficial for teeth in the front as they can be aesthetically superior to the old porcelain and metal crown. Material advances have also allowed the ceramic crowns to approach the strength and longevity that was achieved with the older style crown.

    No special care is needed for a crowned tooth, but just because a tooth is crowned does not mean it is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, one should still continue to floss and brush around all crowns.

    P.S. Ceramic crowns have the benefit producing no tell-tale dark lines at the gum line that can occur over time with the older metal and porcelain crowns.

    April 2nd, 2015

    Getting Teeth Into Better Shape

    Teeth that are uneven, overlapping, or rotated can significantly detract from the appearance of an otherwise nice smile. Fortunately, as long as sufficient tooth material is preserved, the look of select teeth can be improved by “tooth re contouring.” This usually painless procedure involves removing, re contouring, and polishing the enamel to produce a more uniform and natural appearance. Many times, re contouring in this manner is all that is required to significantly improve an individual’s smile. If, on the other hand, poor alignment is more pronounced, tooth enamel re contouring might be performed in conjunction with “tooth bonding.” This quick and effective cosmetic procedure supplements tooth enamel with tooth-coloured resin that is bonded to the tooth surface.

    To determine if you are an appropriate candidate for re contouring, your dentist may take an x-ray of your teeth to determine the size and location of the tooth’s pulp. If the tooth’s enamel layer is too thin or if the pulp lies too close to the tooth’s surface, re contouring may not be possible.

    P.S. One of the primary benefits of tooth re contouring is that it enables dental floss to reach
    pockets and crevices between teeth that were once blocked by overlapping and irregularly shaped teeth.

  • March 2015

    March 28th, 2015

    Of Primary Importance

    Despite the fact that they may all be shed by age 12, primary (“baby”) teeth play important roles. In fact, the significance of primary teeth lingers well beyond their lifetimes. Aside from performing the same functions as permanent teeth, such as chewing and aiding in the development of speech, primary teeth maintain the space into which underlying permanent teeth will emerge. Thus, they help ensure the proper alignment of primary teeth and a proper bite (occlusion). All of this makes it very important for parents to bring premature loss of primary teeth (due to injury or decay) to the attention of the dentist, who can then take the necessary steps to make sure that any consequent problems are averted.

    P.S. Most children lose their first baby tooth at around age 6.

    March 19th, 2015

    Film Review

    We primarily brush our teeth daily (hopefully two to three times daily) to remove the buildup of food debris, mucus, and bacteria that naturally coats teeth with a layer of film. This bacteria-laden film, called “plaque,” coats each tooth individually. If not removed, it can lead to inflammation, infection, and other health problems. While plaque can easily be removed by brushing after it initially forms, it begins to harden after 48 hours. If not removed, the material solidifies into a substance known as “tartar” that requires removal with sharp scraping instruments in the dentist’s office. To prevent tartar from attacking ligaments and bone that hold teeth in the mouth, it is essential to prevent plaque from reaching damaging levels. Twice-daily brushings and regular flossing are necessary for maintenance between office visits, but a healthy mouth and beautiful smile require routine general and preventive care to stay that way.

    P.S. Regular flossing helps keep plaque from building up in between teeth, where a toothbrush might not reach.

    March 14th, 2015

    Major League Problem

    In 2014, All-Star major-league pitcher Curt Schilling revealed that he had been treated for oral cancer, which he believes was caused by chewing tobacco.This news comes on the heels of Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s death in June 2014 as a result of salivary cancer, which has also been attributed to chewing tobacco. While the most recent labour agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ union placed some limitations on the use of smokeless tobacco, it did not ban its use entirely. In the meantime, the American Dental Association strongly urges users of tobacco products to quit their habits as a means of preventing oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful as cigarettes.

    P.S. Snuff and chewing tobacco contain 28 cancer-causing agents.

    March 5th, 2015

    Jawbone Preservation

    After a tooth extraction, the portion of the jawbone (“aveolar process”) that once held the tooth in place begins to shrink (resorb). As a result, an overlying denture will increasingly find itself on an unstable foundation.This leads the denture to become looser and looser until it eventually has to be refitted/re fabricated. For this reason, many patients turn to dental implants to replace lost teeth.This prosthetic device so closely approximates the look and function of a natural tooth root that it minimizes bone resorption. Once the titanium anchor is placed in the bone to function much like a natural tooth root, it becomes integrated with the bone, thereby minimizing bone loss. This provides a solid anchor for replacement teeth.

    You need a complete dental and medical checkup to find out if implants are right for you. Your gums must be healthy and your jawbone able to support the implants. Talk to your dentist to find out if you should think about dental implants.

    P.S. If there is insufficient bone to hold a dental implant, bone grafting may be an option.

  • February 2015

    February 28th, 2015

    Teeth Before Dentists

    Have you ever wondered how our distant ancestors managed to maintain healthy teeth and gums before toothbrushes and dental floss were invented? According to recent research involving analysis of plaque (the sticky film that develops naturally on teeth) taken from 34 ancient skeletons, our ancestors’ teeth had more good bacteria than our own teeth have. As a result, the ancients’ teeth were better able to fend off bad bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

    One reason for the healthier bacteria is that our ancestors didn’t eat processed foods. As time progressed and hunters and gatherers turned to farming, teeth took a turn for a worse.The advent of processed sugar and corn syrup has led to further decline.

    P.S. If you want to eat a diet that promotes healthy teeth and gums, stick with nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and quality protein.

    February 19th, 2015

    What Your Mouth Says About Your Health

    Older adults’ oral health speaks volumes about their overall wellness. Consider the fact that about 40% of those ages 65 years and older suffer from periodontal (gum) disease. If left unchecked, the more severe form of gum disease, periodontitis, can not only lead to tooth and bone loss, but it can also become more severe and worsen serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. For these reasons, seniors should do all they can to prevent and/or treat infections of their gums and surrounding tissues, which develop when plaque (sticky bacteria-laden film that coats teeth) accumulates along and under the gum line. Persistent dry mouth, bleeding gums, and bad breath are warning signs of gum disease that warrant examination. Strong teeth and gums are essential to your overall health. What’s more, a beautiful, healthy smile opens the door to greater self-confidence.

    P.S. Caused by smoking, drinking high amounts of alcohol or caffeine, and taking certain medications, dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep teeth and gums healthy.

    February 14th, 2015

    Foods That Whiten And Strengthen Teeth

    If you want to maintain your beautiful smile, your diet can play a role. For instance, research shows that pineapple contains an enzyme called “bromelain” that acts as a natural stain remover. It also helps break up the sticky film of bacteria (plaque) that accumulates on teeth and produces acids that can erode tooth enamel. Sesame seeds also scrub plaque away and contain bone- and tooth-strengthening calcium. Ginger acts as a natural anti-inflammatory (which fights gum disease), while basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces harmful bacteria in the mouth. Cheese is rich in calcium and phosphorous, which assist in the remineralization of enamel. Broccoli contains iron that helps form an acid-resistant barrier that protects tooth enamel.

    P.S. Onions contain sulfur compounds (thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates) that reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay.

    February 5th, 2015

    Tongue Thrusting

    “Tongue thrusting” is the infantile technique of swallowing that involves thrusting the tongue against the teeth while swallowing. This swallowing technique helps develop the muscles of the tongue and cheeks, and it strengthens the swallowing reflex. If it is not halted by about ten years of age, the pressure exerted on permanent teeth can affect the alignment of children’s teeth and even their speech. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of children between the ages of five and eight years exhibit tongue thrust, which can be a difficult problem to correct since, unlike thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting is done unconsciously. Fortunately, regular dental examinations will reveal any dental irregularities that the dentist may use to diagnose the problem. In addition to tongue thrusting, there are a number of problems that affect children’s oral health, including tooth decay, thumb sucking, lip sucking, and early tooth loss.

    P.S.The average person swallows about 1,200 to 2,000 times every 24 hours, with about four pounds of
    pressure exerted with each swallow.

  • January 2015

    January 28th, 2015

    Smile Rejuvenation

    Just as aging adults turn to non-invasive skin-rejuvenation techniques to make their skin look younger, the dentist has ways to transform the look of an aging smile. Veneers (or laminates) are used to cover over the front side of the tooth, so as to make a cosmetic improvement. When it comes to veneers, porcelain is the material of choice. It is strong, durable, and able to resist discolouration. It also best approximates the natural look of tooth enamel. In addition, because it creates a thin, smooth transition between the veneer and tooth at the gumline, it allows minimal chance of plaque accumulation that might compromise periodontal health. These thin appliques of porcelain can correct enamel defects, gaps, discolouration, and fractures. Although tooth decay can’t form on or through a veneer’s porcelain surface, decay can develop on any other untreated part of the tooth including the areas that surround the edges of the veneer.
    P.S. Porcelain veneers may be used to lengthen teeth, as well as to give the illusion that rotated and tilted teeth are straighter.

    January 22nd, 2015

    Toothbrush Replacement

    Toothbrushes eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Numerous studies show that, after three months of normal wear and tear, the nylon bristles in toothbrushes are a good deal less effective at removing plaque from tooth surfaces and gums than new ones. To be effective, bristles must be able to make their way into the crevices that harbor the bacteria that are constantly forming to pose a threat to tooth enamel and gums. In addition to replacing toothbrushes, it is also important to allow them to air dry after use since wet bristles are breeding grounds for unhealthy bacteria and fungi. Be sure to replace toothbrushes after a bout with a common cold to reduce the risk of reinfection.

    When you travel, a plastic toothbrush case can protect your toothbrush bristles from becoming flattened in your traveling kit.After you brush your teeth, you should let your toothbrush dry in the open air rather than putting it back in your plastic case.

    P.S. If you need a reminder to replace your toothbrush regularly, purchase one with bristles that change color as they degrade.

    January 17th, 2015

    Extra Teeth?

    While peering into their youngsters’ mouths, some parents may be convinced that their children are sprouting an extra set of teeth. Although the “extra row” of upper/lower teeth usually turns out to be permanent teeth erupting behind the baby teeth, there are cases in which patients will have extra (“supernumerary”) teeth erupt. These unusual teeth are typically located in the middle of the upper jaw near the nasal area. Treatment is straightforward in cases where the root of the extra tooth is small. The patient can be referred to an oral surgeon, who can simply extract the extra tooth.The other place where extra teeth are typically found is in the area of the third molars. It should also be noted, while not as common, supernumerary teeth have been located in all areas of the upper and lower jaw.
    Some swelling and discomfort are normal after a tooth extraction. Cold compresses or ice packs can help with the swelling.

    P.S. After maxillary incisors, maxillary and mandibular (lower arch) fourth molars are the next most common supernumerary teeth.

    January 8th, 2015

    Root Cause and Effect

    In the event that tooth decay penetrates the tooth’s crown and pierces the root chamber, the root becomes infected with all the attendant pain. At this point, the patient has the choice of having the tooth extracted or undergoing “root canal treatment.” Extraction is a quick fix that poses two drawbacks. The first is that the gap left behind must be filled.The second is that, when teeth are extracted, the supporting bone under the gum shrinks. Thus, as a general rule, it is best to keep the roots of natural teeth as long as possible. A tooth with an infected root can usually be saved with root canal treatment, after which an artificial crown can be set in place. With dental advances and local anesthetics, most patients have little if any pain with a root canal procedure.

    P.S. Root canal treatment with a crown restoration is a cost-effective way of treating an infected tooth because it is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of an implant.

    January 3rd, 2015

    Let’s Drink to Healthy Teeth

    By following a few tips, you can actually help ensure the health of your teeth. To begin with, when you drink sodas, sport drinks, or fruit juices that contain high amounts of (citric and phosphoric) acids, limit their exposure to tooth enamel by sipping them through a straw. Even diet and sugar-free versions of these drinks have the potential to erode enamel, which cannot be replaced. If you do drink soda or other acidic beverages without a straw, do not brush your teeth immediately after doing so. The acid in the drink combines with the abrasive action of brushing to erode tooth enamel. Instead, try sipping water or chewing sugar-free gum that stimulates acid-neutralizing saliva, and then brush.

    P.S. If you must brush your teeth after eating, first rinse your mouth a couple of times with water
    to dilute any acid present to prevent enamel erosion.

  • December 2014

    December 24th, 2014

    All For One, One For All

    When the gap left by missing teeth is bordered by healthy teeth, a “partial denture” provides an affordable solution. This type of prosthetic usually consists of replacement teeth attached to gum-coloured plastic bases, which connect to surrounding teeth with either metal clasps or devices known as “precision attachments.” These are generally more esthetic than metal clasps and are nearly invisible. As is the case with complete dentures, partial dentures are removable. Patients receive thorough instruction on how partial dentures should be inserted and removed.They should fit easily into place and never be forced. Over time, it may be necessary to adjust the fit of partial dentures, which can be accomplished during a regular office visit. Partial dentures make it easier for you to speak and chew.

    P.S. It is important to clean dentures daily since they are susceptible to becoming coated with plaque, which poses a threat to gums and remaining natural teeth.

    December 20th, 2014

    Nothing New About Flossing

    While the ancients used pointed sticks to remove plaque and debris from between their teeth, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that a New Orleans dentist advised his patients to use silk thread for flossing. By the 1940s, nylon became widely accepted as the material of choice for dental flossing. It was preferable to silk because it didn’t shred and had a more consistent texture. Today, there are flosses of all types, including waxed and flavored floss. Regardless of which floss a person uses, it’s best to use an 18-inch length of floss wrapped around the fingers. At the gum line, the floss should be wrapped around the sides of each tooth in a c-shape and scraped up and down.

    Daily flossing makes it less likely that you’ll get gum infections or cavities from bacteria build-up. And with improved dental health, you may avoid the large bills that come with expensive dental procedures.

    P.S. If flossing is not possible due to limited manual dexterity, consider irrigating between teeth with a water-flosser.

    December 11th, 2014

    Open and Shut Cases

    Some patients experience abnormal occlusal (bite-related) conditions that occur when the upper and lower teeth do not make contact at the same time. In some cases, one tooth may contact its opposing counterpart before the rest of the teeth in the dental arch. When this happens, it can result in non-uniform stresses in the mouth while chewing, which can be problematic. Another condition involving abnormal occlusion (malocclusion) is tooth-grinding (bruxism). Approximately one-third of all adults grind and clench their teeth, which causes excessive tooth wear. Yet, because many tooth-grinders are unaware of their conditions, the problem persists. If the dentist finds evidence of any of these problems, they can be brought to the patient’s attention and addressed.

    Strong teeth and gums are essential to your overall health. What’s more, a beautiful and healthy
    smile can brighten your life. It can open the door to better health and greater self-confidence.

    P.S. In some cases, all it takes to correct a problematic bite is to grind down a protruding portion of tooth.

    December 6th, 2014

    Gum Disease’s Link To Arthritis

    Gum disease (periodontitis) is an inflammatory condition that not only threatens the health of gums and teeth, but it may also give rise to rheumatoid arthritis. More specifically, researchers uncovered a link between a bacterial strain of gum disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis) that is suspected of speeding up the onset, progression, and severity of rheumatoid arthritis, including the breakdown of bone and cartilage. Equally as important, other inflammtory conditions linked with periodontal disease include cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.This new research provides even more reason to floss and brush twice daily, at least. Proper dental care could hold the key to improved bone and joint health.

    If you have advanced gum disease you may want to visit your periodontist, but in most cases
    you can stop the initial signs of gum disease simply by brushing at least twice a day, rinsing before you brush, and flossing.

    P.S. Brushing and flossing keeps gingivitis (gum inflammation) in check before it progresses to periodontitis (gum disease).

  • November 2014

    November 27th, 2014

    Rebuilding Tooth Enamel

    If you experience tooth sensitivity and/or eat a lot of sugar and simple carbohydrates, you may want to consider using tooth products that help reduce (or even reverse) early decay by virtue of a process called “remineralization.” This involves delivering extra doses of calcium and phosphate to replace minerals lost in the ongoing battle against bacteria and acids. To maintain the mineral building blocks that are essential to tooth strength, saliva containing calcium and phosphate helps replenish minerals dissolved by acidic plaque or food.This balance may be upset when more minerals are lost than gained and teeth become vulnerable to decay. While fluoride greatly helps saliva’s natural remineralization, toothpastes that deliver calcium phosphate may speed up the process.

    Normally, your teeth will stay tough and protected but sometimes bacteria and acids win the battle and overtake the saliva balance.This can lead to plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.

    November 22nd, 2014

    Nipping Problem Teeth In The Bed?

    “Wisdom teeth” (third molars) usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties and can push against adjacent teeth or remain impacted. If so, the recommendation is to have them removed before they cause further damage or infection. In some cases, dentists recommend that wisdom teeth be removed as a prophylactic measure to eliminate the potential for any future problems. Interestingly, there may someday be another approach to wisdom-tooth treatment that eliminates wisdom teeth before they ever appear. Unlike other permanent teeth, wisdom teeth do not exist from birth but solely appear as a “bud” of cells. If this bud is disturbed with a needle prick at around age four, wisdom teeth may never develop. More research may lead to this preventive approach.

    P.S. Each year, as many as five million Canadians have their wisdom teeth removed.

    November 13th, 2014

    Tooth-Coloured Fillings

    While dental amalgam has proven itself to be an effective and relatively inexpensive material for filling cavities caused by tooth decay over the past 150 years, it is not the most pleasing aesthetic choice. Amalgam’s silver color stands in stark contrast to natural tooth color when placed in visible tooth surfaces. For this reason, patients are likely to prefer composite-resin tooth-colored fillings, which can so closely approximate their natural tooth color as to be virtually unnoticeable. Composite resins may be somewhat less durable than amalgam fillings, and they may cost more, but patients’ concerns over cosmetics have made them an increasingly popular choice. As far as dentists are concerned, the best filling is no dental filling. Prevention is preferred.

    P.S. Composite resin material, which is composed of a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture, can be used to reshape disfigured teeth.

    November 1st, 2014

    Fusing Metal to Bone

    The aspect of dental implants that makes them so durable and effective, “osseointegration,” occurs when bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium surface of the dental implant. This phenomenon was discovered quite by accident over 50 years ago by a Swedish surgeon who was conducting research into the healing patterns of bone tissue. He found that, when pure titanium comes in contact with living bone tissue, they form a permanent biological adhesion. Dentists were quick to make use of this phenomenon for dental implantation. Today, this innovation stands at the center of tooth-implant technology that utilizes titanium implants to serve as the rooted foundation for the attachment of prosthetic teeth that feel and look like natural teeth.

    Under proper conditions, and with diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime.

    P.S. Dental implants are composed of the titanium implant (which is inserted directly into the bone), the abutment (which connects the implant device to the prosthetic tooth), and the overlying crown or denture.

  • October 2014

    October 23rd, 2014

    Coming Up Dry

    “Xerostomia” is the medical term for the condition commonly known as “dry mouth,” which leaves those affected feeling parched. Because saliva production decreases by as much as 40 percent with age, xerostomia is particularly common among those over the age of 65. In some cases, having the feeling of a dry mouth has more to do with the composition of the saliva than an actual decrease in production. In other cases, some people may not be aware that they have a problem until persistent bad breath, cracked lips, and/or hoarseness become evident. Worse yet, dry mouth can lead to cavities and gum disease. For all these reasons, patients should bring dry mouth to the attention of the dentist.

    If you’ve noticed persistent dry mouth signs and symptoms, make an appointment with your family doctor or your dentist. Bring a list of all your prescribed medications, vitamins, other supplements and over-the-counter medications you’re taking, including the dosages.

    P.S. Xerostomia can be a side effect of a medication or the symptom of a variety of illnesses and medical treatments.

    October 18th, 2014

    The Importance Of Dental Care For Diabetics

    While daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist are important for everyone, people with diabetes face a particular challenge since poorly controlled blood sugars raise the risk of a number of oral health problems. Uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth. As diabetics’ ability to fight bacterial infections is reduced, they face a higher risk of developing gum inflammation (gingivitis and periodontitis). Other potential oral problems related to diabetes include dry mouth (which can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay) and fungal infections (thrush) that arise from antibiotic use. Diabetics who smoke face an even higher risk of developing thrush and periodontal disease. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.

    P.S. Because diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, diabetics who do not properly control their blood sugar levels may not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures.

    October 9th, 2014

    Getting Your Teeth Into Better Shape

    Minor tooth problems such as crooked, chipped, cracked, irregularly shaped, or slightly overlapping
    teeth can be resolved with a cosmetic technique known as “tooth re contouring” or “reshaping.”This procedure involves using a sanding drill or a diamond burr to sculpt tooth enamel and even reduce the length of teeth when necessary.The treated teeth are then smoothed and polished. For this procedure to be effective, it only takes a relatively small amount of enamel reduction to get the desired result, and anesthetic is usually not required. Not only does tooth re contouring improve the appearance of one’s smile, but it also can be used to remove pockets where food and plaque collect and to make it easier to floss. Re contouring can improve your overall dental health by removing crevices or overlaps between teeth in which plaque or tartar can accumulate.

    P.S. If more than tooth re contouring is required to improve the appearance of teeth, the dentist may incorporate “bonding” into the treatment, which involves using tooth-colored resin to build up irregularities on tooth surfaces.

    October 4th, 2014

    Fusing Metal to Bone

    The aspect of dental implants that makes them so durable and effective, “osseointegration,” occurs when bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium surface of the dental implant. This phenomenon was discovered quite by accident over 50 years ago by a Swedish surgeon who was conducting research into the healing patterns of bone tissue. He found that, when pure titanium comes in contact with living bone tissue, they form a permanent biological adhesion. Dentists were quick to make use of this phenomenon for dental implantation. Today, this innovation stands at the center of tooth-implant technology that utilizes titanium implants to serve as the rooted foundation for the attachment of prosthetic teeth that feel and look like natural teeth.

    Under proper conditions, and with diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime.

    P.S. Dental implants are composed of the titanium implant (which is inserted directly into the bone), the abutment (which connects the implant device to the prosthetic tooth), and the overlying crown or denture.

  • September 2014

    September 25th, 2014

    From the Mouth of Babes

    By now, new mothers have been advised that breast-feeding confers numerous health benefits to both mother and child. Not only do the antibodies in mother’s milk protect babies from disease, breast-fed babies also have lower rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes and may also be less likely to develop crooked teeth.This latter potential benefit is largely due to the different sucking mechanisms for bottle- and breast-feeding that affect the development of the muscles of the mouth, face, and palate. An analysis of the feeding histories and sucking patterns of nearly 1,100 children between ages three and five shows that breast-feeding allows for proper positioning of baby teeth, which is critical for correct jaw alignment and positioning of permanent teeth.

    Because baby teeth usually erupt around six months of age, standard oral health procedures like brushing and flossing aren’t necessary for infants. However, infants have special oral health needs that every new parent should know about.These include guarding against baby bottle decay and making sure your child is receiving enough fluoride.

    P.S.The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children from birth to 3 years of age should have theirteeth and gums brushed by an adult and adult-assisted brushing between the ages of 3 and 6.

    September 20th, 2014

    Where There’s No Smoke, There’s Also Cancer

    If you think that smokeless tobacco is a healthier alternative to cigarettes, you should know that “snuff dippers” consume (on average) ten times the amount of cancer-causing substances that cigarette smokers do. While cigarette smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers, users of smokeless tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips. Moreover, smokeless tobacco users absorb nicotine at 2-3 times the rate that cigarette smokers do. When you put just these two facts together, you get a lethal combination.The 5- and 10-year survival rates for patients with all stages of oral cavity and pharynx cancers are 56% and 41%, respectively.

    Most dentists perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists may use additional tests to aid in identifying areas of abnormal cells in your mouth. The goal with oral cancer screening is to identify cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.

    P.S. Babe Ruth, who was one of a large number of baseball players who liked to “dip” smokeless tobacco, died at age 52 of an oropharyngeal tumor, a cancerous tumor in the back part of the throat.

    September 11th, 2014

    To a Brighter Future

    As we age, not only does our skin wrinkle, but our teeth also darken. As the outer layer of enamel begins to wear away, the naturally yellow dentin lying beneath it is revealed. Although we cannot prevent this sign of aging from occurring, we can take steps to minimize it. The first such step involves visiting the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings to remove stains caused by smoking, coffee, red wine, berries, and other highly pigmented foods. Beyond that, professional tooth whitening can help increase the wattage of your smile.This process works best on teeth that have become yellowed. Tooth whitening may not work as well to improve teeth with a grayish or brownish tinge.

    Our Spa-dent whitening process provides the maximum whitening benefit, in the least amount of time with virtually no sensitivity. Our revolutionary gel formulation is placed in our dual arch mouth trays with the precise dosage of whitening material. Our unique blue and red LED light activates the gel, providing powerful whitening with cellular stimulation.

    September 6th, 2014

    Correcting A Gummy Smile

    A “gummy smile” (excessive gingival display) exposes too much gum tissue when a person smiles. Due to factors that include undersized teeth, overgrown gum tissue, an overactive elevation muscle of the upper lip, or an upper lip that joins too closely to the gum tissue, the ratio of lips, gums, and teeth is out of balance. While Botox injections may be used to treat an over-developed elevation muscle, the surgical procedure known as “myotomy” offers more permanent results. When the joint between the upper lip and the gums inside the mouth is over-developed, surgically decreasing the space between the upper lip and gum tissue reduces gum exposure. Lastly, overgrown gums can be corrected with “laser gingivectomy.”

    Many people with a gummy smile feel unattractive, often showing reluctance to smile at all. Depending on the factors causing a gummy smile, more serious underlying dental conditions could be present. Visit your dentist for confirmation and treatment options.

    P.S. Laser gingivectomy removes excess gum tissue and seals blood vessels so that no stitches are required.

  • August 2014

    August 28th, 2014

    Bonding With Your Dentist

    If you have teeth that are discoloured, chipped, and/or stained, you may be a good candidate for “bonding,” the simple cosmetic procedure that restores beautiful smiles with an application of plastic resin. First, the area of the tooth being treated is etched with a mild acid solution.Then, the resin is brushed onto the roughened surface and hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser. Finally, the bonded area is trimmed, shaped, and polished so that it melds with the contour and sheen of the rest of the tooth surface. Dental bonding requires 30 to 60 minutes to complete each tooth. It is less expensive than the application of veneers and crowns, which also entails significant removal of tooth enamel.

    P.S.The material that is used in dental bonding will not resist stains as well as crowns, nor will it last as long.

    August 23rd, 2014

    Missing Something?

    If you are missing one or more teeth and think that you can get along fine without them, keep in mind
    the old adage “nature abhors a vacuum.” If missing teeth are not replaced with a bridge or implant, the teeth adjacent to the open space(s) will shift out of their normal positions and fill in the empty spaces on their own. Moreover, the corresponding teeth in the opposing jaw will begin to protrude, because there are no biting forces holding them down. As a result of all these unchecked movements, missing teeth can lead to chewing problems and looseness of remaining teeth. Instead, work with the dentist to develop a plan to replace missing teeth before further problems arise.

    A dental implant is an option our office provides to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing.

    P.S. While a bridge may cost less than a dental implant, implants provide greater value, have a more natural look and feel, and require no preparation of surrounding teeth.

    August 14th, 2014

    Could Gum Disease Prove Deadly

    It is now widely understood that gum disease can contribute to a host of potentially life-threatening conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research also indicates that women may be at an increased risk to have a baby born prematurely compared with women without gum disease. While research into the link between oral health and the effects on the rest of the body is still in it’s infancy, early findings only reinforce the need to maintain good oral health, not only for the teeth and gums but also for the rest of the body. While researchers continue to investigate specific oral bacteria effects on the rest of the body, everyone has one more reason to floss and schedule regular dental check-ups that help avert gum disease.

    You usually can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing regularly, having regular dental visits for exams and cleaning, and eating a balanced diet. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter to our teeth. But bleeding gums maybe a symptom of gum disease and should be brought to your dentist’s attention.

    P.S. It has been estimated that 75% of Canadians have some form of gum disease.

    August 9th, 2014

    Olympians Face Big Hurdle

    What effect can energy drinks, gels, bars, and frequent snacking have on athletes’ teeth? The dental director for the International Olympic Committee reveals that a great many Olympic athletes have broken teeth, abscesses, decay, and other dental issues. The problem is that many of them consume acidic, sugary drinks and energy bars that attack teeth while their dehydrated bodies do not produce enough saliva to remineralize their tooth enamel. In addition, most Olympic athletes are ages 16 to 25 years old, which is the group at highest risk for tooth decay.

    As these young adults fly the family nest and abandon many of their healthy eating habits, they become more susceptible to tooth decay. Athletes and exercisers take careful note. As athletes, our habits of ingesting sugary drinks and high-energy bars are proving to be damaging to our teeth. It turns out there are some things we can do to save our tooth enamel. We can drink rapidly to avoid bathing our teeth in sugar. After drinking a sugary beverage, we can rinse our mouth with water. We can ingest calories and electrolytes in capsule form which, with adequate water, will provide similar physiological resuscitation without creating a bad oral environment.

    P.S. Many competitive athletes grind their teeth at night, probably in response to the competitive pressures they face.

  • July 2014

    July 31st, 2014

    How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

    Stress not only harms your heart and digestive tract, induces hypertension, and causes skin problems, it can also affect the soft tissues of the mouth, teeth, and gums. To begin with, stress (as well as fatigue and allergies) increases the risk of developing canker sores, which, although not contagious, can be painful.They usually disappear in seven to ten days, during which time over-the-counter topical anesthetics may help quell discomfort. Additionally, stress causes tooth-grinding (bruxism), which has the potential to chip and even fracture teeth. Finally, extreme stress may cause some people to overlook brushing and flossing or even to eat sweets, and even short-term stress increases the likelihood of “gingivitis” (bleeding gums), which can progress to serious gum disease.

    Stress can not only cause oral disorders, but painful dental problems can also increase our stress! Additionally, our ability to tolerate pain is compromised as our bodies struggle to adapt to stressful
    situations. As a result, tooth pain can become more extreme during times of stress. If you’re feeling stressed, take the time to focus on your oral hygiene regimen, and don’t use smoking or alcohol to relieve stress. These highly addictive habits can have damaging effects on your oral health.

    P.S. Cold sores (or “fever blisters”), which are fluid-filled blisters that often appear on or around the lips, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious.

    July 26th, 2014

    Jet-Age Flossing

    As everyone knows, daily flossing (along with brushing) is an essential part of the oral health care regimen that must be practiced at home. Without it, bacteria-laden plaque and food debris accumulate between teeth, providing the ingredients necessary to create tooth decay and gum disease. However, not everyone is adept at flossing, particularly those with severe arthritis or other dexterity problems. In addition, patients who have bridge work may find it difficult to get the floss directly into the crevices where it needs to go. If so, dentists often recommend that patients with limited dexterity or replacement teeth (crowns, bridges, and implants) use a dental water jet “oral irrigation” to effectively clean hard-to-reach areas with a concentrated stream of water.

    People with limited dexterity may also wish to try dental floss holders or intra-dental cleaners. Ask our dental staff about the variety of flossing options if you are having difficulty flossing your teeth. We will be more than happy to demonstrate proper flossing techniques.

    P.S. In addition to brushing daily, the Canadian Dental Association recommends that everyone floss at least once a day.

    July 19th, 2014

    Overcoming Reflexive Response

    If dental appointments make you anxious, you should make your feelings known to the dentist and dental hygienist, who can help you overcome your anxiety. A fuller explanation of the procedure at hand often helps patients know what to expect and prepare for any mild discomfort that they may feel. Topical and injected anesthetics make pain a non-issue; however, simply the thought of experiencing pain arouses such anxiety that patients feel a bit overwhelmed. Recent research published in The Journal of the American Dental Association shows that the urge to gag that many patients experience is often founded in fear. Once patient worries are properly addressed with reassurance, soothing music, and/or medication in some cases, dental appointments become worry-free. Communication is key to a stress-free dental appointment. You need to feel at ease with your dentist if you want to overcome your fears, and your dentist needs to know what you fear and how he or she can help you.

    P.S. It is the pain that occurs before treatment that makes root-canal therapy so uncomfortable. Most patients report that the root-canal procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.

    July 12th, 2014

    Professionally Supervised Teeth Whitening

    Even if you’re considering using an over-the-counter teeth whitener, the Canadian Dental Association recommends that you consult with your dentist. This recommendation is made because teeth-whitening systems containing carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can be uncomfortable for those with sensitive teeth or gum recession. In addition, most products will only whiten natural tooth enamel, which means that the presence of tooth-coloured filings, veneers, crowns, or partial dentures may yield uneven results. With this in mind, the dentist can evaluate whether teeth whitening is a good idea for your teeth.

    The our office features a new in-office whitening system, the Spa Dent whitening system.The Spa-dent whitening process is an in office procedure that provides maximum whitening benefit, in the least amount of time with virtually no sensitivity, all under the supervision of our dental team.

    P.S. Teeth-whitening products are not recommended for children under age 16; pregnant women (or women who are breast-feeding); or people with sensitive teeth, gum disease, or worn tooth enamel.

    July 3rd, 2014

    Manual or Electric?

    Do electric toothbrushes have any advantages over one another or over traditional manual brushes? One review of studies reveals that, in the short term (4-12 weeks), rotation-oscillation brushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than ones with side-to-side motion. However, the difference was so small that no clear advantage was found. Another study showed that electric toothbrushes, which oscillate and rotate with additional pulsing bristles, removed plaque better than manual brushes, and a sonic brush was found to reduce gingivitis better than a manual brush. However, whatever toothbrush feels most comfortable and promotes the habit of regularly brushing is ultimately the best choice.

    Almost any toothbrush you feel comfortable using will work. What is most important is to brush your teeth correctly and brush them long enough. Most people brush for less than a minute, but to effectively reach all areas of your mouth and remove cavity-causing bacteria, you should brush for at least two to three minutes, at least twice daily.

    P. S. Electric toothbrushes may be most suitable for those with limited dexterity.

  • June 2014

    June 28th, 2014

    Making Wise Choices

    When it comes to deciding whether or not to have wisdom teeth extracted, there are a number of factors to consider. While some individuals have enough room in their dental arches to accommodate all their wisdom teeth, those with smaller jaws often find that their wisdom teeth erupt improperly. As a result of coming in crookedly, their third molars are difficult to brush and floss, which can lead to increased risk of gum disease and cavities. To avert these potential problems, some patients elect to have their wisdom teeth extracted. However, some people do not realize that their wisdom teeth are impacted (trapped beneath the gums) until an x-ray indicates as much. If so, a consultation with the dentist is needed.

    People between the ages of 16 and 19 should have their wisdom teeth evaluated by a dentist. If they need to be removed, it should be considered before age 20 when generally fewer complications can occur. At a younger age, tooth roots are not fully developed, the surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves or other structures. There is also less surgical risk and healing is generally faster.

    P.S. Wisdom teeth (third molars) are the last teeth to erupt, usually somewhere between the ages of 14 and 21.

    June 21th, 2014

    Preserving Knocked-Out Teeth

    About one out of every four school-age children either breaks or damages a tooth at some point. Unless a child has other injuries that require immediate medical attention, parents should perform first aid for a tooth injury and proceed immediately to the dentist. If the injury involves a chip off an adult tooth, the broken piece should be saved in anticipation of the dentist being able to reattach it. A tooth that has been displaced but remains in its socket can often be moved back to its original position by the dentist. Otherwise, if an adult tooth is completely knocked out (root and crown), parents should pick it up by the crown, rinse it (without scrubbing), and replant it immediately.

    Any injury that is bad enough to knock a tooth out may have also cracked the bone around the tooth. It is important to see a dentist, even when the tooth is a baby tooth, so the dentist can assess the damage.

    P.S. If a child’s knocked-out adult tooth cannot be replaced back in the socket, it should be put in a
    small cup containing milk or saline solution and brought with the patient to the dentist.

    June 14th, 2014

    Why So Sensitive?

    According to recent research published in the Journal of theAmerican Dental Association, one in eight adults suffers from a condition known as “sensitive teeth.” The pain associated with this condition is often triggered by eating or drinking cold, hot, acidic, or sweet foods or beverages. While overzealous brushing or tooth-whitening products may cause sensitive teeth, the primary culprit is gum recession. As the gum tissue recedes with age, pores (or tubules) on the surface of the tooth root become increasingly exposed. Because these tubules travel to the nerve of the tooth, the nerve becomes more susceptible to painful triggers. Gentle brushing, avoidance of home tooth-whiteners, and use of toothpastes created for sensitive teeth can help alleviate pain.

    P.S. If you have sensitive teeth, avoid acidic drinks or rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking them, and avoid brushing your teeth right after eating or drinking; wait 10-15 minutes.

  • May 2014

    May 30th, 2014

    The Other Type of Toothbrush

    While most people find it simple and easy enough to brush their teeth at least twice a day, some lack either the dexterity or discipline needed to floss daily.This is understandable considering the fact that it takes some time and effort to correctly loop the ends of the floss around the fingers and guide it gingerly between teeth. While there are some flossing products available that help with the process, not everyone gets the hang of them. If so, it should be pointed out that there are small, easy-to-use, pointed brushes known as “interdental brushes” that are nearly as effective as flossing. They not only remove bacterial buildup (plaque) between teeth, they also stimulate gums.

    Try to make it a daily routine to brush between your teeth with an interdental brush.This brush will keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease and cavities. You can also use them to clean your implants and orthodontic appliances! You should change your brush when the filaments become worn.

    P.S. Interdental brushes not only lend themselves to cleaning hard-to-reach areas, but they also reach
    concavities on tooth surfaces that floss may not be able to reach.

    May 23th, 2014

    Recommendation For Brushing Baby Teeth

    The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has set guidelines for the use of toothpaste in young children. The CDA recommends that for children under the age of three, teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water. However, a rice kernel size of toothpaste may be used if the child is at a high risk of developing decay. Use of a small amount fluoridated toothpaste in high risk children has been determined to achieve a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis.

    The CDA recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist occur before their first birthday. At this visit, the dentist will review proper dental care for your child and conduct a quick exam to determine the risk of the child to developing dental decay. At this time, you will also have a chance to discuss with the dentist any questions or concerns you have with your child’s dental care.

    P.S. “Fluorosis” is a condition caused when youngsters ingest too much fluoride, which can lead to
    mild tooth discolouration (permanent white spots).

    May 17th, 2014

    Replacing Missing Teeth

    Patients with one or more successive missing teeth can choose between two replacement possibilities other than dental implants. A “bridge” is a permanent dental appliance that consists of a pontic (false tooth) and two crowns that are cemented into place on the abutment teeth (on either side of the space). Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth. Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by a metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to the patient’s natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called “precision attachments.” Precision attachments are generally more aesthetic than metal clasps and are nearly invisible.

    It’s important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and with one missing, they start to “fall.” Missing teeth can be replaced in a variety of ways. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be a candidate for any one or all of them.

    P.S. A precision attachment consists of precision-machined, interlocking “male” and “female” components that connect a removable partial denture to fixed bridgework.

    May 9th, 2014

    Good Reason To Clean Dentures

    People may not discern any link between dentures and pneumonia, but the two are connected. Elderly individuals may be particularly susceptible to “aspirational pneumonia,” which is a potentially deadly condition caused by breathing foreign material into the airways and lungs. When associated with dentures, aspirational pneumonia is usually caused by debris around dentures that is breathed into the lungs, causing dangerous inflammation. This problem is most common among seniors who are in the care of others that fail to clean their dentures properly. With this in mind, caregivers and family may want to carefully assess seniors’ dentures for signs of soft, crusty material that indicates the need for thorough cleaning, which can totally eliminate any aspirational pneumonia threat.

    To clean your dentures, gently scrub them using a denture cleaner, mild soap or dishwashing liquid, and a denture brush or soft toothbrush to remove food and plaque. Avoid stiff-bristled brushes, strong cleansers, and harsh toothpaste, as these are too abrasive and can damage your dentures. Toothpastes advertised as whitening pastes are especially abrasive and should be avoided with removable dentures.

    P.S. From crowns to dentures, any tooth replacement must be kept as clean as one’s original teeth because they are still susceptible to plaque formation.

    May 2nd, 2014

    Are Oral Health and Mental Health Linked?

    Researchers examining a potential link between oral and mental health recently found that tooth loss and bleeding gums were indicative of middle-aged individuals’ declining thinking skills. This conclusion was based on tooth and gum examinations and tests of memory and thinking skills among nearly 6,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 64. Study participants with severe gum disease and/or tooth loss had poorer cognitive function than those with healthier gums and more teeth. This link may be due to poor oral health translating to less healthy diet and nutrient intake. Otherwise, inflammation in the gums and throughout the circulatory system may impede memory and thinking skills, or there may be a genetic link between the two diseases.

    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 successfully.

    P.S. The link between poor oral health and cognitive decline may simply be due to the fact that people with declining thinking and memory skills may be less able to take good care of their teeth.

  • April 2014

    April 25th, 2014


    Because it so closely resembles the structure of a natural tooth, a dental implant is often viewed as the preferred method for tooth (or teeth) replacement. The chief benefit of an implant is that it is firmly rooted in the jawbone, much as the root of a natural tooth is.The implant is made out of titanium, which has been proven able to biochemically join with the surrounding bone. As a result, the man-made crown to which it is attached (with an abutment connector) can be expected to remain as steadfast as nature’s own creation. Just as importantly, the implant stimulates the surrounding bone and guards against the bone loss that would otherwise occur when a tooth is lost.

    If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.

    P.S. Because dentures do not prevent the loss of bone that occurs with tooth loss, denture wearers’ mouths may eventually develop a caved-in appearance.

    April 17th, 2014

    IT’S A WASH!

    Aside from brushing and flossing at least twice a day, patients may also want to consider using an antibacterial mouthwash that can reduce plaque and gingivitis (gum disease). This added step can prove to be particularly helpful for those who are prone to tooth decay. For these patients, a fluoride rinse may provide to be most beneficial. Fluoride is the mineral that helps teeth repair themselves during the early stages of tooth decay by helping calcium and phosphate in the saliva make hydroxyapatite, which forms tooth enamel. As effective as these rinses can be, however, they should never be used as substitutes for brushing and flossing. Rinses should be used after brushing and flossing.

    P.S. Be careful not to overuse antibacterial mouthwash, which can wipe out beneficial oral bacteria as well if used too often.

    April 10th, 2014


    Welcome to our new column. The office of Dr. Coyne and Dr. Davidson provides all aspects of general dentistry and we cater to all age groups. Whether you are new to the Niagara Falls area or are simply in need of a new dentist, we are both accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call(905) 358-9513. Our office is conveniently located at 5709 Main St. where we have plenty of free parking. Evening appointments are available.

    By maintaining good oral-health practices at home and scheduling regular office visits, most patients can avoid many common dental problems. Daily brushing and flossing, and the application of sealants, can help youngsters avoid tooth decay. Adults can avert their most common problem, gum disease, with regular professional care. In cases where tooth loss, breakage, or misalignment does occur, the dentist is expert in a variety of advanced restoration and replacement techniques. In addition, there are a number of cosmetic procedures, including tooth whitening, veneers, and bonding, that effectively remedy chipped, discoloured, and gapped teeth. The more patients know about dental health, the better their smiles. In the weeks and months ahead, this column will address all aspects of dental care.