Benefits of IV Sedation in Dentistry

  1. Precise Control: With IV sedation, the dentist can precisely control the dosage and tailor the level of sedation to the patient’s individual needs. This ensures that the patient remains comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure, without experiencing excessive drowsiness or awareness.
  2. Rapid Onset and Offset: IV sedation takes effect quickly, allowing the patient to become relaxed almost immediately after administration. Once the procedure is complete, the sedative effects wear off relatively swiftly, allowing for a faster recovery compared to some other sedation methods.
  3. Reduced Gag Reflex: Many anxious patients have a heightened gag reflex, which can be problematic during dental procedures. IV sedation can help suppress the gag reflex, making it easier for the dentist to work comfortably and efficiently in the patient’s mouth.
  4. Amnesia Effect: IV sedation often induces a state of partial or complete amnesia, which means that patients may have little to no memory of the dental procedure afterward. This amnesic effect can help alleviate the fear associated with dental visits, as patients don’t have vivid recollections of the treatment.
  5. Safety and Monitoring: IV sedation is considered safe when administered by trained professionals who can continuously monitor vital signs throughout the procedure. This ensures the patient’s well-being and allows for immediate intervention in case of any complications.
  6. Suitable for Various Procedures: IV moderate sedation can be used for a wide range of dental procedures, from simple cleanings to more complex surgeries. This versatility makes it an excellent choice for patients with varying dental needs.
  7. Patient Cooperation: Anxious patients are often more cooperative under IV sedation, as their fears and anxieties are significantly reduced. This cooperation can make the dentist’s job easier and more efficient, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

In summary, IV moderate sedation is a highly effective and versatile option for dental patients with anxiety, providing precise control, rapid onset and offset, reduced gag reflex, amnesia, safety, and enhanced patient cooperation. These benefits collectively contribute to a more comfortable and less anxiety-inducing dental experience, encouraging patients to seek necessary dental care and maintain their oral health.

Wisdom Teeth – Remove or Not?

Extracting wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, is a common dental procedure performed to remove these teeth before they cause problems. The decision to extract wisdom teeth at a young age has both pros and cons, which we can discuss below:

Pros of extracting wisdom teeth when you’re young:

  1. Preventing future complications: Wisdom teeth often do not have enough space to emerge properly, leading to various issues such as impaction, crowding, or misalignment. Extracting them at a younger age can prevent these complications from occurring or worsening in the future.
  2. Easier procedure: Younger patients generally have less developed roots, softer bone tissue, and more flexible gum tissues, making the extraction procedure relatively easier and less invasive. This can result in a smoother surgery and quicker recovery.
  3. Faster healing: Younger individuals typically have a more efficient healing process compared to older adults. The surrounding tissues heal faster, reducing the risk of post-operative complications and promoting a quicker recovery.
  4. Avoiding damage to adjacent teeth: Wisdom teeth that emerge improperly can exert pressure on neighboring teeth, leading to tooth damage, decay, or shifting of teeth. Extracting them early can prevent potential harm to adjacent teeth.

Cons of extracting wisdom teeth when you’re young:

  1. Surgical risks: Although wisdom tooth extraction is generally safe, there are still risks associated with any surgical procedure. These risks include infection, bleeding, damage to nerves or neighboring structures, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. While these risks exist at any age, they should be considered before opting for early extraction.
  2. Unnecessary extraction: Not all wisdom teeth require extraction. In some cases, they may fully emerge without causing any problems or complications. Removing healthy teeth unnecessarily can be considered an invasive procedure and might be seen as overtreatment.
  3. Cost considerations: Wisdom tooth extraction can be expensive, especially if not covered by insurance. Opting for early extraction may add to the financial burden for patients or their families. It’s important to weigh the cost implications before making a decision.
  4. Individual variation: The timing and necessity of wisdom tooth extraction can vary from person to person. Some individuals may never develop wisdom teeth or may have enough space in their mouth to accommodate them comfortably. Evaluating the specific circumstances and consulting with a dental professional is crucial to determine the best course of action.

Ultimately, the decision to extract wisdom teeth at a young age should be made in consultation with your dentist, taking into consideration factors such as the position of the teeth, available space, potential risks, and the individual’s oral health. A thorough evaluation and discussion will help determine whether early extraction is beneficial or if a wait-and-watch approach is more appropriate.

Why Replace A Lost Tooth?

Replacing a tooth after it has been removed is important for several reasons:

  1. Aesthetics: A missing tooth can significantly impact your smile and facial appearance. Replacing the tooth can restore your natural appearance and help boost your self-confidence.
  2. Functional restoration: Teeth play a crucial role in biting, chewing, and speaking properly. When a tooth is missing, it can affect your ability to eat certain foods and pronounce words correctly. Replacing the tooth can restore proper functionality and improve your ability to enjoy a varied diet.
  3. Maintaining jawbone health: When a tooth is lost, the underlying jawbone may begin to deteriorate over time. This is because the jawbone needs the stimulation provided by the tooth’s roots to maintain its strength and density. Dental implants, which are a common tooth replacement option, can help preserve the jawbone by integrating with it and providing necessary stimulation.
  4. Preventing tooth shifting: Empty spaces left by missing teeth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift or rotate into the gap. This can lead to misalignment and bite problems, which can affect your dental health and overall oral function. By replacing the missing tooth, you can help maintain the alignment of your remaining teeth.
  5. Maintaining oral health: Gaps left by missing teeth can create spaces where food particles and bacteria can accumulate, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. By filling the gap with a replacement tooth, you can make oral hygiene practices more effective and reduce the chances of developing oral health issues.
  6. Restoring speech: Missing teeth, especially those in the front of the mouth, can affect your ability to pronounce certain sounds correctly. Replacing the missing tooth can help restore your speech clarity and articulation.
  7. Psychological well-being: Tooth loss can have a negative impact on your emotional well-being, causing embarrassment, self-consciousness, and even social withdrawal. Replacing the missing tooth can help improve your overall quality of life, allowing you to smile, speak, and interact with confidence.

It’s Important to consult with a dental professional to determine the best tooth replacement option for your specific situation. They can evaluate your oral health, discuss the available options, and recommend the most suitable treatment for you.

Why Does My Child Snore?

Children can snore for various reasons, including enlarged tonsils or adenoids, allergies or sinus problems, respiratory infections, obesity, or sleep apnea. If left untreated, snoring in children can have long-term consequences such as:

  1. Sleep disturbances: Persistent snoring can disrupt a child’s sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and behavioral issues.
  2. Cognitive and developmental issues: Chronic sleep disruptions can impact a child’s cognitive function, memory, problem-solving abilities, and academic performance.
  3. Behavioral problems: Snoring can be associated with an increased risk of behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, and emotional instability.
  4. Cardiovascular complications: Severe or untreated snoring can contribute to cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease later in life.
  5. Growth and development concerns: Consistently disrupted sleep can interfere with normal growth and development, potentially resulting in stunted growth or delayed development.
  6. Decreased quality of life: Untreated snoring can affect a child’s overall well-being and quality of life, impacting their sleep, cognitive function, behavior, and overall health.

Early intervention and appropriate treatment can help mitigate these potential long-term consequences. It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and guidance on addressing the underlying causes of snoring in children.

What Toothpaste And Toothbrush Should I Use?

Choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste is important for maintaining good oral hygiene. Here are some general guidelines:


  1. Bristle Type: It’s generally recommended to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Soft bristles are gentle on the gums and tooth enamel, reducing the risk of gum recession and enamel abrasion.
  2. Size and Shape: Choose a toothbrush with a head size and shape that comfortably fits in your mouth and can reach all areas of your teeth.
  3. Manual or Electric: Both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effective if used correctly. Electric toothbrushes with rotating or oscillating heads may provide added convenience and help with plaque removal, especially for those with limited dexterity.


  1. Fluoride: Look for toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, protects against tooth decay, and can even reverse early stages of decay.
  2. ADA Seal: Consider toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. This indicates that the product has met certain standards for safety and effectiveness.
  3. Specific Needs: Consider toothpaste formulated for specific oral health concerns, such as sensitivity, tartar control, or whitening. Consult with your dentist if you have specific dental issues or concerns.

It’s important to note that individual needs may vary, and it’s always a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist for personalized recommendations. They can assess your oral health, discuss any specific concerns you have, and provide guidance on selecting the most suitable toothbrush and toothpaste for your needs. Additionally, maintaining a regular brushing routine (twice a day for two minutes) and replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed are important for effective oral care.

What Is A Night Guard And Should I Wear One?

A night guard, also known as an occlusal splint or dental splint, is a dental device typically made of plastic that is worn over the teeth during sleep. It is designed to protect the teeth and jaws from the harmful effects of teeth grinding or clenching, a condition known as bruxism.

Here’s why wearing a night guard can be beneficial:

  1. Teeth Grinding and Clenching Protection: Bruxism can cause excessive wear and damage to the teeth, including chipping, fractures, and flattened tooth surfaces. A night guard acts as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, absorbing the forces of grinding or clenching and preventing direct tooth-to-tooth contact. It helps protect the teeth from further damage.
  2. Jaw and Muscle Pain Relief: Bruxism can lead to jaw pain, facial muscle soreness, and even headaches. A night guard helps in redistributing the forces exerted during grinding or clenching, reducing the strain on the jaw muscles and alleviating related discomfort.
  3. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Management: TMJ disorders are conditions that affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Bruxism can contribute to the development or exacerbation of TMJ disorders. A night guard can help reduce the strain on the temporomandibular joint and provide relief from TMJ-related symptoms such as jaw clicking, popping, or pain.
  4. Protection for Dental Restorations: If you have dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, or veneers, grinding or clenching can put excessive stress on these restorations and compromise their longevity. Wearing a night guard can help protect and extend the lifespan of your dental restorations.
  5. Better Sleep Quality: Bruxism can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to poor quality sleep for both the person grinding their teeth and their sleep partner. By reducing grinding or clenching noises and promoting more relaxed jaw muscles, a night guard can contribute to better sleep for both individuals.

If you suspect that you grind or clench your teeth at night or if you have been experiencing symptoms such as tooth wear, jaw pain, or headaches, it is advisable to consult with a dentist. They can evaluate your condition, determine if a night guard is necessary, and provide a customized night guard that fits your mouth comfortably.

What Are Root Canals?

A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the inside of a tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue located in the center of the tooth. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, it can cause severe pain and can lead to other dental problems if left untreated.

The need for a root canal arises when the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected due to deep decay, a cracked tooth, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. Some common signs that you may require a root canal include persistent toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling around the tooth, or a darkening of the tooth’s color.

During a root canal procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth to ensure you are comfortable throughout the treatment. They will then create a small access hole in the tooth and remove the infected pulp, along with any decayed or damaged tissue. The empty space is thoroughly cleaned, shaped, and disinfected before being filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. In most cases, a dental crown is placed on the tooth to restore its strength and protect it from further damage.

Having a root canal can be beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Pain relief: A root canal eliminates the source of infection and relieves the severe toothache associated with an infected pulp.
  2. Preservation of natural tooth: By removing the infected pulp and saving the tooth, you can maintain your natural smile and avoid the need for extraction.
  3. Restoration of normal function: After the root canal treatment, your tooth will be restored with a dental crown or filling, allowing you to chew and speak normally.
  4. Prevention of further complications: If left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to an abscess, spread of infection to surrounding tissues, or even systemic health issues.

It’s important to note that root canals are typically performed when the tooth can be saved and the prognosis is favorable. However, in some cases, extraction may be necessary if the tooth is severely damaged or the infection cannot be effectively treated. It’s best to consult with a dentist who can evaluate your specific dental condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Vaping And Oral Health

While vaping is often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, it is important to note that it still poses risks to oral health. Here are some potential oral consequences of vaping:

  1. Dry Mouth: Vaping can contribute to dry mouth (xerostomia) due to the heat and chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols. Reduced saliva flow can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral discomfort.
  2. Gum Irritation and Inflammation: The chemicals in e-cigarettes can irritate the gums and cause inflammation. This can lead to gingival (gum) issues such as swelling, redness, tenderness, and an increased risk of gum disease.
  3. Oral Sores and Lesions: Some individuals who vape may experience mouth sores, ulcers, or lesions. The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the chemical irritants in e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Nicotine Effects: Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can have adverse effects on oral health. Nicotine restricts blood flow, affecting gum health and potentially contributing to gum disease. It can also lead to tooth grinding (bruxism), which can damage tooth enamel and lead to jaw pain.
  5. Oral Infections: Vaping may impair the immune response in the oral cavity, making individuals more susceptible to oral infections such as oral thrush (Candida infection) and viral infections.
  6. Delayed Healing: Vaping can negatively impact the healing process following dental procedures such as extractions or oral surgeries. It can impede the body’s ability to heal efficiently.
  7. Stained Teeth: E-cigarette vapor may contain chemicals that can discolor and stain teeth over time. This can result in a yellowish or brownish appearance on the tooth surface.

It’s Important to note that the long-term effects of vaping on oral health are still being researched, and more evidence is needed to fully understand the extent of its Impact. However, it is advisable to be aware of these potential oral consequences and to consult with dental professionals for personalized advice and regular oral health check-ups.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common habit in young children and is often a source of comfort or self-soothing. If you’re looking to help your child stop sucking their thumb, here are some strategies you can try:

  1. Positive reinforcement: Praise and reward your child when they refrain from thumb sucking, focusing on their efforts and progress rather than scolding them for doing it. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue the desired behavior.
  2. Identifying triggers: Observe and identify situations or emotions that trigger thumb sucking. For example, if your child tends to suck their thumb when they’re anxious or bored, finding alternative ways to address those feelings can help reduce the habit.
  3. Distraction techniques: Provide your child with alternative activities or distractions to keep their hands and mouth busy. Offer them toys, puzzles, or other engaging activities that can divert their attention away from thumb sucking.
  4. Encourage self-awareness: Help your child become aware of their thumb sucking habit by gently pointing it out when they’re doing it. This increased awareness can help them take control and make a conscious effort to stop.
  5. Set goals and create a reward system: Establish achievable goals with your child, such as not sucking their thumb for a certain period of time. Create a reward system where they can earn small rewards or privileges when they successfully meet these goals.
  6. Use bitter-tasting substances: Applying a safe, bitter-tasting substance on your child’s thumb can make thumb sucking less pleasurable. Be sure to choose a product that is specifically designed for this purpose and follow the instructions carefully.
  7. Seek professional guidance: If the thumb sucking habit persists despite your efforts, you may consider seeking advice from a pediatrician, dentist, or an orthodontist who can provide additional strategies or interventions tailored to your child’s needs.

Remember, breaking a thumb sucking habit takes time, patience, and consistent effort. It’s important to approach it in a positive and supportive manner, understanding that it may require multiple attempts before your child successfully stops thumb sucking.

Grinding Teeth

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can have various causes. Some common reasons why individuals grind their teeth include:

  1. Stress and anxiety: Emotional stress, anxiety, or tension can lead to teeth grinding, particularly during sleep. It may be a subconscious way of relieving stress or expressing nervousness.
  2. Sleep disorders: Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can contribute to teeth grinding. In sleep apnea, the airway becomes partially blocked during sleep, and grinding can be a response to open the airway.
  3. Misaligned bite or dental issues: Irregularities in the alignment of teeth, an abnormal bite (malocclusion), or missing or crooked teeth can cause teeth grinding as the jaw tries to find a more comfortable position.
  4. Medications and substances: The use of certain medications, such as antidepressants or stimulants, as well as the consumption of alcohol or caffeine, can increase the likelihood of teeth grinding.
  5. Age and development: Teeth grinding is relatively common among children and often resolves on its own as they grow older. The exact reason why children grind their teeth is not fully understood, but factors such as teething, jaw growth and development, and the presence of stress or anxiety may play a role.

If you suspect that you grind your teeth, it’s advisable to consult a dentist or healthcare professional. They can assess your specific situation, identify potential causes, and recommend appropriate treatment options. These may include stress management techniques, dental interventions (such as wearing a mouthguard or orthodontic (braces)correction), addressing underlying sleep disorders, or adjusting medications if necessary.

Dry Mouth And How To Manage It

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a condition characterized by a reduced saliva flow in the mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by lubricating the mouth, aiding in digestion, neutralizing acids, and preventing tooth decay. When there is a lack of saliva, it can lead to discomfort and various oral health issues.

Several factors can cause xerostomia, including certain medications, medical treatments (such as radiation therapy), autoimmune diseases, nerve damage, dehydration, and aging.

Here are some ways to manage xerostomia:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to combat dehydration and maintain moisture in the mouth.
  2. Avoid Dehydrating Substances: Limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, as they can contribute to dry mouth symptoms.
  3. Use Saliva Substitutes: Over-the-counter saliva substitutes or artificial saliva can help moisturize the mouth and provide temporary relief.
  4. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash to maintain oral health and reduce the risk of dental issues.
  5. Humidify the Air: Use a humidifier in your bedroom or living spaces to add moisture to the air, particularly during dry seasons or in air-conditioned environments.
  6. Stimulate Saliva Flow: Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva production. Look for products containing xylitol, as it can help prevent tooth decay.
  7. Avoid Dry Foods: Opt for moist or liquid foods that are easier to chew and swallow. Avoid spicy, salty, or dry foods that can exacerbate the dry mouth sensation.
  8. Visit a Healthcare Professional: Consult a dentist or healthcare provider to evaluate and manage your xerostomia. They may recommend prescription medications or other treatments depending on the underlying cause.

It’s important to note that these management strategies may provide temporary relief, but addressing the underlying cause of xerostomia is crucial for long-term improvement. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek professional advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

Teeth sensitivity to cold, also known as dentin hypersensitivity, is a common dental issue that many people experience. It occurs when the protective layer of enamel on the teeth wears down or when the tooth’s root surface becomes exposed. Several factors can contribute to teeth sensitivity to cold:

  1. Enamel Erosion: The outer layer of your teeth is called enamel, and it serves as a protective barrier. Acidic foods and beverages, frequent consumption of sugary or acidic foods, and aggressive brushing can wear down the enamel over time, exposing the more sensitive dentin underneath.
  2. Gum Recession: When your gums recede, the roots of your teeth may become exposed. The root surface is not protected by enamel and contains tiny channels called dentinal tubules that lead to the nerves inside the tooth. When cold substances come into contact with these tubules, it can trigger sensitivity.
  3. Tooth Decay: Cavities or tooth decay can cause sensitivity when the cold temperature reaches the nerves inside the tooth.
  4. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Frequent grinding or clenching of teeth can wear down the enamel, making the teeth more sensitive to cold and other stimuli.
  5. Tooth Whitening Products: Some over-the-counter or professional teeth whitening products contain chemicals that can lead to temporary tooth sensitivity.
  6. Dental Procedures: Certain dental treatments, such as dental cleanings, fillings, or crown placements, can cause temporary sensitivity to cold.
  7. Cracked Teeth: Cracks or fractures in teeth can expose the sensitive dentin, leading to cold sensitivity.
  8. Acid Reflux: Frequent acid reflux can cause stomach acids to come into contact with teeth, leading to enamel erosion and sensitivity.
  9. Age: As we age, the enamel on our teeth may naturally wear down, making them more prone to sensitivity.

If you’re experiencing teeth sensitivity to cold, it’s essential to see your dentist to determine the underlying cause. They can perform a thorough examination, identify the source of sensitivity, and recommend appropriate treatments or preventive measures. In some cases, using desensitizing toothpaste, avoiding acidic foods and beverages, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, or applying dental sealants may help alleviate the sensitivity. For more severe cases, your dentist may recommend other treatments, such as fluoride varnishes, dental bonding, or gum grafting, to address the issue.

Dental anxiety is a common phenomenon, and several factors contribute to its prevalence

1. Fear of Pain: One of the primary reasons for dental anxiety is the fear of experiencing pain during dental procedures. The perception that dental treatments might be painful can lead to heightened anxiety in patients.

2. Negative Past Experiences: Patients who have had unpleasant or traumatic dental experiences in the past may develop dental anxiety. These negative memories can create a strong association between dentistry and fear.

3. Lack of Control: Dental treatments often require patients to sit still with their mouths open while the dentist performs the procedure. This lack of control over the situation can trigger anxiety in some individuals.

4. Fear of Needles and Instruments: Many dental procedures involve the use of needles and other dental instruments that may be perceived as threatening or uncomfortable.

5. Dental Phobia: In some cases, dental anxiety can escalate to a dental phobia, which is an intense, irrational fear of dental visits that can lead to avoidance of dental care altogether.

6. Embarrassment or Self-Consciousness: Some patients may feel self-conscious about the condition of their teeth and fear judgment or embarrassment during dental appointments.

7. Sensory Sensitivity: Some individuals may have heightened sensory sensitivity, making dental experiences more overwhelming for them.

8. Media and Cultural Influence: Depictions of dentistry in media, such as movies or TV shows, often portray dental visits as unpleasant and anxiety-inducing, reinforcing negative associations.

9. Parental Influence: Early experiences with dental care and the attitudes of parents or caregivers towards dentistry can significantly impact a child’s perception of dental visits and influence dental anxiety later in life.

10. Generalized Anxiety: Patients who already suffer from generalized anxiety disorders may be more prone to developing dental anxiety as an extension of their overall anxiety.

Addressing dental anxiety requires understanding and compassion from dental professionals. Dentists can employ various techniques to help alleviate anxiety, such as explaining procedures in a comforting manner, using distraction techniques, offering sedation options, and creating a welcoming environment to make patients feel more at ease during their dental visits.

The Long-Term Benefits of Dental Implants Outweigh the Immediate Financial Constraints


While the upfront cost of dental implants may seem prohibitive for individuals on a tight budget, it is essential to consider the long-term advantages and potential savings associated with this dental solution. Dental implants offer numerous benefits that extend beyond mere aesthetics, including improved oral health, enhanced quality of life, and potentially avoiding more expensive dental procedures in the future. In this argument, we will explore why investing in dental implants can be a wise decision, even for those who currently find it financially challenging.

1. Long-term Durability and Functionality:

Dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution for tooth loss, providing unparalleled durability and functionality compared to alternative options such as dentures or bridges. Unlike these alternatives, dental implants integrate with the jawbone, offering a strong foundation for artificial teeth. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a worthwhile investment in the long run.

2. Improved Oral Health:

Missing teeth can lead to a variety of oral health issues, including bone loss, gum disease, and the shifting of surrounding teeth. By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, individuals can restore the natural alignment of their teeth and prevent further oral health complications. In the long term, this can save significant costs associated with treating more severe dental conditions that may arise due to the absence of teeth.

3. Enhanced Quality of Life:

Dental implants offer far greater comfort and stability compared to removable dentures, significantly improving one’s quality of life. Unlike dentures, implants allow individuals to eat their favorite foods without restrictions, speak clearly, and smile with confidence. These factors contribute to a boost in self-esteem, social interactions, and overall well-being, ultimately outweighing the immediate financial burden.

4. Potential Cost Savings:

While dental implants may seem costly at first, considering the potential savings in the long term can help justify the investment. Alternative solutions like dentures or bridges may require frequent repairs or replacements, which can accumulate substantial costs over time. Additionally, implants help preserve the integrity of the jawbone, preventing bone loss that can lead to more extensive and expensive dental procedures in the future, such as bone grafting or extensive orthodontic treatments.


While the financial strain of dental implants may be initially discouraging, it is essential to evaluate the long-term benefits and potential cost savings that this treatment offers. Improved oral health, enhanced quality of life, and the potential to avoid more expensive dental procedures in the future make dental implants a valuable investment. By exploring financing options, seeking assistance, and prioritizing long-term well-being, individuals can make a compelling case for pursuing dental implants, even when affordability seems challenging. Remember, your oral health and overall quality of life are invaluable assets that deserve careful consideration.

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ) explained

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called “TMJ,” are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.

Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories:

  1. Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
  2. Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle.
  3. Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.

A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time.

Some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans. These conditions appear to be more common in women than men.


Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders, but in most cases, the exact cause of the condition is not clear. For many people, symptoms seem to start without obvious reason.

Because TMJ is more common in women than in men, scientists are exploring a possible link between female hormones and TMJ disorders.


A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. The most common symptom is pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint. Other symptoms include:

  • radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck,
  • jaw muscle stiffness,
  • limited movement or locking of the jaw,
  • painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth,
  • a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.


There is no widely accepted, standard test now available to correctly diagnose TMJ disorders. Because the exact causes and symptoms are not clear, identifying these disorders can be difficult and confusing.

Your doctor will note your symptoms, take a detailed medical history, and examine problem areas, including the head, neck, face, and jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping, or difficulty with movement. The doctor might also suggest imaging studies such as an x-ray.

You may want to ask your doctor about other causes of pain. Facial pain can be a symptom of many conditions, such as sinus or ear infections, various types of headaches, and facial neuralgias (nerve-related facial pain). Ruling out these problems first helps in identifying TMJ disorders.


Because more studies are needed on the safety and effectiveness of most treatments for jaw joint and muscle disorders, experts strongly recommend using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible. Conservative treatments do not invade the tissues of the face, jaw, or joint, or involve surgery. Reversible treatments do not cause permanent changes in the structure or position of the jaw or teeth. Even when TMJ disorders have become persistent, most patients still do not need aggressive types of treatment.

Conservative Treatments

Because the most common jaw joint and muscle problems are temporary and do not get worse, simple treatment may be all that is necessary to relieve discomfort. Short term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen; the use of a stabilization splint, or bite guard, that fits over upper or lower teeth may provide relief. If a stabilization splint is recommended, it should be used only for a short time and should not cause permanent changes in bite. Studies of their effectiveness in providing pain relief have been inconclusive.

Irreversible Treatments

Surgical treatments are controversial, often irreversible, and should be avoided where possible. There have been no long-term clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of surgical treatments for TMJ disorders. Additionally, surgical replacement of jaw joints with artificial implants may cause severe pain and permanent jaw damage. Some of these devices may fail to function properly or may break apart in the jaw over time.

Helpful Tips

Self-care practices that may help ease symptoms of TMJ:

  • eating soft foods,
  • applying an ice pack,
  • avoiding extreme jaw movements like wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing,
  • learning techniques to relax and reduce stress,
  • practicing gentle jaw stretching and relaxing exercises that may help increase jaw movement. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can recommend exercises if appropriate for your particular condition.


Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

What’s the difference between the bleaching I can do at home with a kit from the store and the bleaching that my dentist does?

Dentists have been doing what’s called “non-vital” bleaching for many years. Non-vital bleaching is done on a damaged, darkened tooth that has had root canal treatment. “Vital” bleaching is done on healthy teeth and has become more popular in recent years.

Vital bleaching, also called whitening, may be carried out in the dental office or the dentist may instruct the patient on how to do the bleaching at home. There is also a wide variety of products for sale in stores. Not all products are the same and not all give you the same results.

Different products, including those used by dentists, may also have different risks and side effects.

Here is an overview:

Whitening toothpastes with abrasive ingredients are really not bleaching products at all, but work on surface stain only. These products are sold in many stores.

Some whitening toothpastes do contain a chemical ingredient (or “bleach”) that causes a chemical reaction to lighten teeth. Generally, they have the lowest amount of “bleach.” They may not whiten as well as stronger products, but they have less chance of side effects. These pastes are brushed onto teeth and rinsed off, like regular toothpaste.

Bleaching kits sold in stores stay on your teeth longer than toothpaste and contain stronger “bleach”. These store-bought products do not come with the added safety of having your dentist monitor any side effects. They also come with a one-size-fits-all tray that holds the “bleach” and is more likely to leak the chemical into your mouth.

Dentists may use products with stronger “bleach”, but they give patients careful instructions to follow. They are also trained to spot and treat the side effects that patients sometimes report during bleaching. In addition, if a tray is needed to apply the “bleach”, dentists supply custom-made trays. Because products used by dentists are strong, they tend to produce the best results.

Patients should be aware that the long-term use of whitening or bleaching products may cause tooth sensitivity or tooth abrasion. Please consult with your dentist before using a whitening or bleaching product.


Source: Canadian Dental Association

Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID)

Nothing is as valuable as your natural tooth structure. So when it comes time to removing a small cavity, why use a large drill when you can use air abrasion.

Minimally Invasive Dentistry comes into play here. At Langford Dental, for really small cavities or for dental sealants, air-abrasion particles (aluminum oxide) can safely and very effectively remove the decay without drilling away good solid tooth structure.

Instead of using a conventional rotary drill, aluminum oxide particles under pressure are blown out of an extremely small nozzle tip. These particles abrade away cavities and also prepare the tooth structure for a strong bond.

In the end, the strength of the filling/tooth bond is greatly enhanced, less tooth structure is removed, typically creating a longer-lasting restoration.

Wine, Fruit Juice, Soda — Which Drinks Can Harm Your Teeth?

Much of what you drink, including diet drinks and sports drinks, can damage your teeth. To keep your mouth healthy, try these strategies for choosing drinks.

Aside from what you eat, what you drink has a big impact on your oral health. When you drink a liquid, you’re essentially bathing your teeth in that beverage. And many drinks pose a hazard to your dental health similar to that of sweet treats such as candy and chocolate.

When it comes to your diet, there are two chief threats to the health of your teeth: sugar, which promotes the growth of bacteria in your mouth and damages enamel, and acid, which also harms enamel. Both are found in a variety of popular foods and drinks.

Top Beverages That Can Harm Your Teeth

Edmond R. Hewlett, DDS, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, says he won’t touch fruit juice — it’s high in sugar and can also be quite acidic. This category of drink includes smoothies, since many are made with citrus fruits, which are acidic, and fruits that are high in sugar.

“Once sugar hits the mouth,” says Dr. Hewlett, “bacteria are very effective and quick.”

Another thing to consider is the sugar you add to your coffee or tea. This sugar does more harm than the coffee or tea itself, which isn’t acidic enough to cause as much damage as many people believe.

“However,” says Hewlett, “do keep in mind that coffee and tea will stain your teeth.” To help prevent staining, he recommends that you run a wet toothbrush over your teeth or at least rinse your mouth out with water after drinking these beverages. This can help slow the amount of staining over time.

Wine also contains acid, but Hewlett says only excessive wine consumption puts your tooth enamel at risk. However, like coffee and tea, it can stain your teeth, and drinkers might want to consider rinsing with water after imbibing to reduce the amount of staining over time.

Many people rightly believe that regular soda is bad for the teeth because of its high sugar content. But sodas, as well as diet sodas and diet sports drinks, can also cause significant harm to tooth enamel because of the acid they contain.

“These drinks often contain phosphoric or citric acid to make them tangy and taste good,” says Hewlett. “Soda actually contains an acid that dentists use to rough up enamel before administering bonding treatment.”

It’s Not Just What You Drink But How You Drink It

Keeping your teeth healthy while you drink involves more than just making the right choices of what to drink.

If you drink slowly, you allow the liquid to have more contact with your teeth. If you nurse a diet soda throughout the day, for example, or sip a sugary latte during your hour-long commute, the damage to your teeth can be much greater than if you finish your beverage quickly.

Drinking with a straw can help reduce damage to tooth enamel — it seems to help by allowing harmful substances to bypass the teeth, Hewlett says. Still, he advises that it’s better to avoid harmful drinks altogether.

Also, if you tend to chew ice that’s in your beverage, Hewlett advises that you break the habit. Over time, chewing ice can cause tiny cracks in your teeth, weakening them; and eventually, “a chunk of your tooth can even break off when you least expect it,” he explains.

Drink Tips to Promote Healthy Teeth

When it comes to choosing what to drink, you can take steps to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Start with these strategies:

  • Drink fruit juices and smoothies with a straw and aim to finish them in one sitting as opposed to sipping them slowly.
  • Put little or no sugar in your coffee, particularly if you tend to nurse it.
  • Drink regular and diet sodas and sports drinks sparingly, and don’t allow yourself to sip them for prolonged periods.
  • Use a straw when it makes sense, to help avoid bathing your teeth in harmful sugary or acidic liquids.
  • Use a wet toothbrush or rinse your mouth out with water after you drink acidic beverages or anything that might stain your teeth, such as wine, coffee, and tea.
  • Don’t chew ice.
  • When in doubt, choose water.


Source: Tami Swartz of

CBCT: Cone Beam Computed Tomography

We are very excited to add this is new technology to Langford Dental. A CBCT is a very low dose dental CAT scan of a small or large area of interest. The image created is an incredibly precise 3-D rendering of the jaw bone. The image used is cutting edge technology for many dental procedures such as:

  • planning and placing dental implants
  • planning for bone grafting
  • treating or retreating root canals
  • planning orthodontics
  • planning for complicated dental extractions
  • visualizing TMJ anatomy
  • visualizing oral pathologies

Are Cavities Contagious?

In short, yes! Cavity causing bacteria can be transferred from parents to children by many different ways. A few examples are: sharing utensils, cleaning a soother by putting it into your own mouth and then giving it to the baby, kissing etc.

For the most part babies mouths are free from bacteria that cause dental decay. The cavity causing bacteria are introduced into their mouths usually from external sources. If you can minimize these sources, that child may have a lower propensity for developing cavities in the future.

Of course good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing and a healthy, low sugar, low acid diet go a long long way.

As always please remember… ‘floss and brush today, so you can smile tomorrow!’

Why is being honest about my medical history important to the dentist?

Filling out any medical form can be a very simple thing for some and a long complex process for others depending on their health.
Some questions on medical forms may not seem relevant to dentistry. For example, questions asking about previous surgeries, prosthetic joints, heart conditions etc. It may not seem obvious at first, but many of these can have a direct impact on how your dentist approaches treating you.
For instance, if you have high blood pressure not controlled with medication and you choose not to inform your dentist, bleeding complications may arise at time of surgery.
Another example is if you are taking or have a history of taking a specific type of osteoporosis medication or chemotherapy medication. Some of these medications have a direct impact on how well and how fast the jaw bone heals, especially after surgery. Healing from a simple dental procedure may sometimes take months and can be potentially disfiguring to the jaw. Having prior knowledge of this medication can change the approach your dentist takes to ensure a likely better outcome.
Dentists are here that help you. Please do not feel embarrassed about having certain health conditions or taking certain medications. Disclosing complete and accurate medical information is for your best interest and can ultimately only help you in the long run.
As always please remember… ‘floss and brush today, so you can smile tomorrow!’

What are ‘soft teeth’? Do I have them?

Over the years I’ve heard many patients say, “I seem to have really soft teeth. Ever since I was a child I would come out of every dental visit with a cavity. No matter how much I flossed and brushed it didn’t help!!”

Or worse yet, “my brother never brushes, never flosses, eats sugar all the time, and he doesn’t have one filling. It’s not fair!”

So, how can this be possible?

While we know for certain that genetics plays a role in our oral health, it doesn’t play the only role. Yes, some people are more prone to cavities (soft teeth) or gum disease. Some people inherit their ‘crooked teeth’ or gummy smile from their parents. However, what we don’t inherit are habits (hygiene, diet, smoking etc).

Ultimately the biggest factor in determining your susceptibility for decay or gum disease is you. Regular brushing and flossing (with proper technique), and regularly scheduled dental cleanings are paramount in achieving a healthy mouth.

While it is true that some people neglect their teeth with no consequence, they are in the minority. The vast majority of people cannot sustain these poor habits long-term without aquiring some form of oral disease.

3 simple things you can do to prevent cavities

Aside from the obvious things your dentist tells you like flossing and brushing your teeth, there are other simple everyday things you can do to fight cavities.

  1. Eat and drink your food/liquids in one sitting. In other words, don’t graze! If you’re constantly snacking and drinking (coffee, pop, juice) throughout the day you are replenishing the sugars and starches bacteria need to create the acids that form cavities.
  2. Don’t swish your sugar drinks…especially carbonated drinks. It sounds simple…but most of us have this habit of savoring the flavor of our drinks by swishing them through our teeth before we swallow them. By doing this you’re allowing the sugars to be dispersed all over the mouth and in between teeth.
  3. Do swish water when you drink it; and especially try to swish thoroughly with water after every meal. This allows the water to flush out any sugary residue and food debris from between your teeth. This not only will hydrate you but also clean your mouth in the process!

There you have it. Three simple, no cost, common-sense ideas that should go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy and you happy.

Keep smiling!

What can I do if I witness someone losing a tooth (getting it knocked out)?

Most of us are fortunate enough not to have witnessed or experienced an accident such as this. Luckily these situations rarely occur; however, if they do, it is important to know what to do. An encouraging fact is that many ‘lost’ teeth can be replanted with a good long term prognosis. Some of the factors that will help this prognosis are under our control.

The first and most important thing to remember is DO NOT touch the root. If your tooth is laying on the ground, pick it up by the crown (typically the crown is the whiter, shorter part of the tooth; the root is normally long, and yellowish in color).

If clean cold water is available, rinse soil or debris off the tooth. Place the tooth back into its socket. If unable to manage this, place the tooth in your mouth in the pouch by the cheek. If you have access to milk, place your tooth into a jar full of white milk and cover the lid.

  • Do not rub any debris off the tooth.
  • If the tooth is still partly in the socket, keep it there.
  • Immediately proceed to your dentist with your tooth (it would be a good idea to phone the office before arriving so they can prepare as time is of the essence).

The dentist will make every effort to reposition, and immobilize the tooth into the socket. There will be follow up appointments made to evaluate, and further treat this tooth.

Why do my gums bleed?

This is a very common question that dentists hear on a daily basis. Although this can be a painless phenomenon, it can be uncomfortable and worrisome. Luckily, for the majority of cases this can be easily corrected.

The most common cause of bleeding gums is a condition called gingivitis. This refers to the inflammation of the gums in response to local factors ie) plaque, tartar, cavities, old fillings etc. Gingivitis can progress to a more advanced condition called periodontitis which involves not only the gums, but the bone anchoring the teeth in place. In both these situations, the gums are very fragile and do not need much force on them to make them bleed (brushing/flossing).  The good news is gingivitis is reversible. Proper home care and regular dental visits should resolve this issue.

Other factors that can make gums bleed easily:

• Brushing too hard
• Using a toothbrush with medium or hard bristles
• Bleeding disorders
• Medications
• Hormones (especially sensitive during pregnancy)

If you are concerned about this or any other dental issue, please contact us and we will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

Is there a dental device that can be used to prevent snoring?

Snoring and sleep apnea (a condition that involves periods during which a person stops breathing while asleep) afflicts many people. A large portion of people with sleep apnea are not even aware that they have it. The most common cause of both involves the throat becoming closed off by the tongue as the body relaxes during sleep. Snoring often causes poor rest for the person’s partner, and apnea can be a life threatening condition.

The first step in evaluating a person for either condition is to have a sleep study done. This is undertaken by a medical doctor with training in sleep medicine. A sleep study allows the doctor to evaluate how severe the sleep apnea is by noting the number of times that he or she stops breathing as well as the level of blood oxygenation.

To treat sleep apnea, the gold standard and best treatment is called a CPAP machine. This is a device that helps to push air in during breathing to help maintain the person’s airway and, therefore, oxygen supply. This device is prescribed and fitted by a medical doctor.

Some people are not able to tolerate a CPAP machine. For these individuals and those with very mild apnea or simple snoring, a dental appliance can be a great alternative. This plastic device fits inside the mouth and gently guides the lower jaw into a more forward position. In this position apnea and snoring generally improve as the tongue is also pulled forward. Many dentists are trained to provide this service.

If you or a loved one snore or may have sleep apnea, please talk to your medical doctor or your dentist to get further information.

Why do dentist recommend coming in every 6 months for check ups and cleanings?

There are many factors that go in to the recommended time frame between dental examinations and cleanings; the average person is seen at least on a 6 month recall schedule.

There are several reasons that a person should be seen by a dentist on a regular basis.

The first, is this allows for the dentist to regularly examine your mouth.  Cavities and other issues with the teeth and gums can be detected at an early stage.  Many people think that as long as nothing is hurting, there is no issue with their mouth, but in reality by the time something is painful there is often significant disease or even infection. In some cases treatments such as root canals, crowns or extractions could be required where a filling may have been sufficient at an earlier stage.

A second reason for regular visits is to help to ensure your gums remain healthy.  Your hygienist is an expert at cleaning your teeth and gums, as well as at offering advise on home care.  Many people are not aware that you can lose teeth to gum disease, and there is growing research on the relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease.  The early detection of gum disease is crucial, and some people with gum disease require further interventions as well as more frequent care to help maintain their teeth.

Finally, regular dental care and examinations allow for earlier detection of oral diseases or other pathology such as oral cancer.  This offers far better outcomes in the event that these are present.

Your dentist can examine your mouth and offer suggestions on the best recall schedule for your specific needs.

Please visit the public website of the B.C. Dental Association at

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are custom made, extremely thin porcelain or resin composite restorations permanently bonded to natural teeth. They are most often placed on front teeth, and sometimes on premolar teeth (side teeth) to improve/enhance your appearance.  Dental veneers are considered very durable, aesthetic restorations; however, they also in many cases can serve to restore an ideal bite relationship and function.

What type of dental situations can dental veneers treat?

  • Stained/discolored teeth
  • Uneven, crowded teeth
  • Worn, chipping teeth
  • Gaps/spaces in teeth
  • Improper bite relationship (bad bite)

The process of fabricating dental veneers involves at the minimum 4 appointments, and sometimes more. The first appointment includes digital photos of the patient’s teeth, dental impressions where precise copies of teeth are made, and a bite registration is taken. This allows the dentist to examine the teeth, smile, and bite after the patient leaves the office. It is on these models that a veneer wax-up is created mimicking the final look of the veneers.

The second appointment is a consultation with the dentist to go over the proposed treatment plan i.e.) estimated length of treatment, teeth involved, fees involved. It is at this appointment where the patient examines her proposed new veneers made of wax. Feedback is given to the dentist to see if any changes need to be made to enhance/change the look.

If there is mutual agreement with the wax-up, then the next appointment involves preparing the teeth for veneers. Teeth are minimally reduced (0.3-0.5 millimeters), impressions taken, and temporary veneers are fabricated. Patients leave this appointment with new temporary teeth to try out. During this temporary phase the patient gets to evaluate the comfort, look and feel of the new teeth. If there are any adjustments, they are performed on the temporaries. Once there is mutual satisfaction with the temporaries, a dental lab custom fabricates permanent veneers to match the temporaries as close as possible.

The next appointment involves taking off the temporaries, and bonding on the new veneers. Slight adjustments are made to the bite, and photos are taken!

Dental veneers are a great choice for many people; however, they are not for everyone. Dr. Malinowski will be able to answer all your questions and together you can decide on the best course of treatment.


What??? A sugar that is good for your teeth???

XYLITOL – The Decay-Preventive Sweetener

What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that helps prevents cavities. You may recognize other sugar alcohols used in sugarless products, such as mannitol and sorbitol. Xylitol is the sugar alcohol that shows the greatest promise for cavity prevention. It is equal in sweetness and volume to sugar and the granular form can be used in many of the ways that sugar is used, including to sweeten cereals and hot
beverages and for baking (except when sugar is needed for yeast to rise).

How does xylitol prevent cavities?

Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities. It does this because these bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) cannot utilize xylitol to grow. Over time with xylitol use, the quality of the bacteria in the mouth changes and fewer and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces. Less plaque forms and the level of acids attacking the tooth surface is lowered.

Studies show that Streptococcus mutans is passed from parents to their newborn children, thus beginning the growth of these decay-producing bacteria in the child. Regular use of xylitol by mothers has been demonstrated to significantly reduce this bacterial transmission, resulting in fewer cavities for the child.

What products contain xylitol and how do I find them?

Xylitol is found most often in chewing gum and mints. You must look at the list of ingredients to know if a product contains xylitol.

Generally, for the amount of xylitol to be at decay-preventing levels, it must be listed as the first ingredient. Health food stores can be a good resource for xylitol containing products. Additionally, several companies provide xylitol products for distribution over the Internet.

How often must I use xylitol for it to be effective?

Xylitol gum or mints used 3-5 times daily, for a total intake of 5 grams, is considered optimal. Because frequency and duration of exposure is important, gum should be chewed for approximately 5 minutes and mints should be allowed to dissolve. As xylitol is digested slowly in the large intestine, it acts much like fiber and large amounts can lead to
soft stools or have a laxative effect. However, the amounts suggested for cavity reduction are far lower than those typically producing unwelcome results.

Has xylitol been evaluated for safety?

Xylitol has been approved for safety by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and the European Union’s Scientific Committee for Food.

Xylitol has been shown to have decay-preventive qualities, especially for people at moderate to high risk for decay, when used as part of an overall strategy for decay reduction that also includes a healthy diet and good home care.

Consult your dentist to help you determine if xylitol use would be beneficial for you.

Source: California Dental Association

Why should I have my child’s baby teeth filled when they will fall out eventually?

It is true that baby teeth will fall out, yet there are very good reasons to have them filled when caries (cavities) are present.

Any tooth which has a cavity that is not properly fixed can eventually cause a tooth ache.  It can also cause infection in the surrounding gums or bone.  The earlier that a cavity is detected and a restoration (filling) placed, the lower the likelihood that this will happen.  Infection can be dangerous and can also, in certain circumstances, cause problems with the adult tooth that is developing in the jaw bone.

Also, having untreated cavities increases the amount of cavity forming bacteria in the mouth.  This makes it more likely that the adult teeth coming into the mouth could develop cavities as well.

So why do we not just pull the tooth?  Baby teeth fall out at different times – some of the back ones may not come out until 11 or 12 years of age.  These teeth function in chewing but also keep space for the adult teeth to come into place in the proper position.

Your child should be evaluated by a dentist to assess his or her teeth, as well as risk factors for developing cavities or other problems.  Your dentist can answer any further questions that you may have.

When should a child see a dentist for the first time?

As parents tending to many of our children’s needs, dental check-ups often end up at the bottom of the list. In fact most children do not see a dentist for the first time until they are well over a year old. The American Dental Association and Canadian Dental Association recommend a child be seen by a dentist for the first time by one year of age or when their first tooth comes in (whichever comes first).

The first visit includes a dental exam on the child, but it is also an educational visit for the parents. The child’s diet, their oral hygiene, and overall health are assessed. Parents are typically in the room holding their child, and are encouraged to ask any questions. The appointment is very brief, and positive in nature so as the child can get accustomed to a new ‘dental’ environment. The dentist will recommend the frequency of examinations following this appointment.

Instilling proper oral care from an early age will create good oral habits that should last a lifetime. Early education, and early visits to the dentist may also help in reducing dental anxiety seen in adults.


  • Wash baby’s gums with a wash cloth twice daily (if no teeth)
  • Brush teeth with a rice-grain sized amount of children’s toothpaste with fluoride twice daily
  • Do not put babies to bed with milk, juice or anything other than water
  • Do not let a fussy baby discourage you; the key is to be consistent every day and a habit will form

 Note: the above information serves as a guide to routine oral care. For more information please refer to the BC Dental Association public website

What is pregnancy gingivitis?

Besides the very obvious physical exterior changes a woman goes through during pregnancy, there are other more subtle changes that occur in the mouth. Many pregnant women ask “why do my gums bleed all of a sudden when I brush and floss my teeth? Why are my gums so sensitive when I brush and floss?”.

The constant hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can play havoc on the gums. Research shows the gums are much more sensitive and prone to inflammation from the bacteria in your mouth during pregnancy. This increase in inflammation can make the gums more delicate and prone to bleeding when normal brushing and flossing forces are applied.

In addition, growths called pyogenic granulomas (pregnancy tumours) can occur. These benign growths are usually raised, red, bleed very easily, and can range in size from a few millimeters to a few centimeters. They can grow on many parts of the body not only in the mouth. If small enough they resolve on their own with good hygiene, but if they grow large enough your dentist may have to remove them.

Research shows a strong association between gingivitis and preeclampsia, premature birth, and low birth weight infants. This does occur more in severe forms of gingivitis and periodontitis. As a result, pregnant woman should make sure they are educated on, and practice proper oral hygiene care. Regular checkups with dentists and hygienists are very important during pregnancy and even pre-pregnancy (to eliminate any existing gingival/periodontal conditions).

Should I change my silver (amalgam) fillings to white (composite) fillings?

This is a very popular question in dentistry today; one which does not have a simple answer.
Silver fillings are composed of a variety of metals including: mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Composite fillings are made of a combination of dimethacrylate monomers(acrylic) and silica fillers (glass). Both options have their indications and limitations depending on the circumstance.

Amalgam fillings have been around since the early 1800’s. It’s quite amazing that for the most part it’s composition is relatively unchanged. The most controversial aspect of the amalgam filling is the mercury component. Even though there is no scientific consensus to date linking any ill-health effect to the mercury release in dental amalgam restorations, some individuals choose to remove these fillings and replace them with non-amalgam like materials.

Generally, removing a sound filling for the sole purpose of replacing it with a white filling is not recommended.

Any time a tooth is drilled on certain inherent risks need to be understood. Irritation to the tooth can create sensitivity(transient or long term which can potentially lead to the need for root canal treatment). Small craze lines can develop in teeth which overtime can lead to crack formation. This may then require crown treatment, which again may create a sensitive tooth!

However, if a situation exists like decay or a poor seal around an amalgam, then replacing it with a white filling is at this time possible.

Placing a white filling for the first time on a tooth is preferable(especially if it is small) because the amount of tooth structure removed will be less than it would be for a silver filling. It is the bonding of the composite to tooth structure that allows a more conservative drilling approach. Silver fillings are ‘wedged’ into a space in the tooth that is created by drilling. This space has to be of a certain size for the material to be durable; this space is usually larger than for a composite restoration.

If you have a concern regarding the amalgam filings in your mouth it is best to speak with your dentist to see what the best approach would be for you.

What role does fluoride serve in oral health? Do we really need it?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in our environment. We are exposed to it on a daily basis from the foods we eat, the water we drink, and the ground we walk on. Unfortunately for most people, these extremely low levels are not sufficient to help reduce dental decay. Fluoride is also added to most toothpastes and some mouthwashes. In the dental office setting it can be administered by a varnish painted on to teeth, or by gels in trays or rinses. In certain municipalities, fluoride is added to city water; Victoria and surrounding areas do not have this service.

Fluoride plays an extremely important role in decreasing the risk of developing tooth decay. It can be incorporated into the enamel matrix as the tooth develops in a small child. This incorporation can serve as a life long benefit, especially when combined with good oral hygiene.

Fluoride can also be very useful when used topically (toothpastes, vanishes etc.) If a tooth is starting to develop a cavity, fluoride in the mouth can help strengthen the tooth, stop and sometimes reverse the cavity.

Since Victoria does not add fluoride to their water supply, we are reliant on the above mentioned sources. For most people with good oral hygiene, good health and a healthy diet, this is sufficient. However, there are some people who need the extra fluoride. This extra fluoride can come in various forms, from different sources. It is recommended you speak to your dentist if you have a concern regarding your dental decay susceptibility.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends children by the age of 1 be seen by a dentist. Children under 3 will be assessed to see if they are at risk to develop tooth decay. If yes, parents should use toothpastes with fluoride in small amounts. If no, water and a tooth brush is enough. From ages 3 to 6 supervised toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste is recommended.

It is important to mention dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the enamel. This is a result of over-exposure to fluoride before the age of 8 (while the adult teeth are developing). Usually this over-exposure results from swallowing too much toothpaste, or improper fluoride supplement use. The enamel’s appearance can vary from a mild form (small white spots barely noticeable), to more severe forms (large white spots; pitting of enamel). For this reason it is important to supervise your child while brushing, and if you are using supplements make sure you are measuring correctly.

Finally, it is important to educate yourself on your or your child’s specific oral situation. No one will be better able to this than your dentist or hygienist who has examined your mouth and spoken to you directly.

Why do I have bad breath?

Having bad breath or ‘halitosis’ can be an embarrassing and frustrating issue to deal with. We all at some point in time have experienced our own bad breath, or someone else’s. Sometimes no matter how much we brush, floss or rinse we cannot escape that lingering odour, or metallic taste. So, what are the most common causes of bad breath, and how do we deal with them?

Oral infections are a major source of foul odours. They can be deep inside the jaw bone around the root or more superficial around the gum line. They can sometimes drain pus into the mouth, and enter the bloodstream circulating to vital organs like the heart. These infections can actually affect a person’s ability to properly control their blood sugar levels as well.

Old fillings with poor seals around the teeth and decay around the fillings can also affect bad breath. If there are rough areas around older fillings bacteria will start to reside there in larger numbers. These bacteria will eventually be the reason decay develops around these fillings. The gases they produce as a byproduct are very foul smelling. So the more old fillings, and the more decay present, the higher the likelihood you will have bad breath.

Other sources for bad breath include having a dry mouth, gases coming from the stomach, a diet high in sulfur containing foods i.e.) onion, garlic. Not brushing the tongue, and food stuck between teeth are two more common reasons bad breath exists. Certain medical conditions and medications can contribute to halitosis as well.

If you suspect you have a bad taste coming from your mouth, or just bad breath it would be a good idea to ask your dentist to examine your mouth for the potential causes. Some of the causes can be dealt with by brushing and flossing your teeth and tongue more regularly. Some of the causes may mean replacing old fillings. Certain infections may require antibiotics as well as root canals or extractions of teeth. Whatever the cause, it is important to rule out specific ones that can potentially have more serious systemic health risks.

My dentist has recommended that I get a crown on my tooth after I had a root canal. Why is this needed?

There are many circumstances in which it may be recommended that a tooth receive root canal therapy (commonly called a “root canal”).  Some common reasons are trauma, very deep cavities or infections of the tooth or surrounding bone.

Once a root canal has been completed on a tooth it becomes more brittle and prone to cracking or breaking over time as it is no longer alive inside.  This is similar to a tree branch – while it is attached to a tree it is quite strong and has some flexibility but once it is no longer attached to the tree it becomes weaker and easier to break.

Also, the majority of teeth that require a root canal are quite broken down and/or have a significant portion missing.  This structure needs to be replaced in a way that will stand up to the demands of chewing over many years.

A crown is often recommended to cover teeth that have had root canal therapy.  Placing a crown helps to protect the remaining tooth and reduce the chance that it will break in the future.  This is particularly important in the case of back teeth as they sustain the majority of the forces of chewing.

The decision to crown a tooth involves many clinical factors.  Your dentist can review the pros and cons of placing a crown on your tooth given it’s particular condition.