Long gone are the days of just a single toothbrush option, but at what cost? With so many options on the market nowadays, it can be difficult choosing the toothbrush that is right for you. Electric or manual? Hard bristles or soft bristles? Rechargeable or battery powered? We’re going to take a look at one of these options today, which is the option that most affects your health and your brushing routine. So, what is the better choice? Hard bristles or soft bristles?

 

Extra Soft

Believe it or not, there are actually two other options besides just hard and soft bristled toothbrushes, and extra soft is one of them, though it is not easy to find in the aisles of your local drug store. These toothbrushes are specialized for people who suffer from various gum diseases since they have a softer tough and are less likely to aggravate the gum line. However, they won’t do much when it comes to the actual cleaning part, so unless you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, have a receding gum line, or are prone to bleeding gums, it’s better to skip this one.

 

Soft

For effective and safe cleaning, choose a soft toothbrush. Contrary to what you may think, these soft-bristled toothbrushes are what dentists recommend when looking for a new toothbrush. The bristles are firm enough that they will remove debris from your teeth (with proper brushing techniques of course), yet soft enough that they will not cause wear on your enamel or irritate your gums. Just be sure that you’re not aggressively brushing or putting too much pressure on your teeth as a soft-bristled toothbrush can cause just as much damage as a medium or hard bristled brush when used incorrectly.

 

Medium

Another one of the less common choices, medium bristled toothbrushes essentially produce the same results as a soft-bristled toothbrush, but cause more damage over time. Therefore, you’re much better off skipping this one and opting for the softer bristled alternative.

 

Hard

Finally, there are the hard bristled toothbrushes, which apparently very few of us should be using in the first place. If you haven’t already guessed why due to the explanations above, using a hard bristled toothbrush does irreversible damage to your gums as well as your enamel. Although they remove slightly more plaque than their softer-bristled counterpart, the risks that come with using a hard bristled toothbrush vastly outweigh the pros, so it is hard to justify this choice in a toothbrush.

 

When in doubt, speak to your dentist about which option is best for you.

More and more people are making the switch over to organic, natural products after numerous studies have come out advocating for a more natural approach. The days of chemically processed products are coming to an end, but just because something says “natural” on it, doesn’t mean that it’s free from ingredients that seek to do your body harm. These ingredients include: carcinogens, inflammatory agents, and even endocrine disruptors that can throw your body out of rhythm and cause some real damage. Some would argue that since we don’t swallow or ingest toothpaste that we are not at risk from these toxins, but the soft tissues in your mouth are able to absorb these harmful ingredients which can then enter your bloodstream.

 

So, without further ado, here are 4 toxic toothpaste ingredients that you should look out for when choosing your next tube.

 

Fluoride

Once popularly regarded as a must-have in toothpaste, this mineral which is naturally found in water sources, is now frowned upon. While it may help prevent cavities and tooth decay, the use of fluoride over time can lead to fluoride toxicity. Fluoride toxicity shows itself in the following ways: headaches, vomiting, rashes, and headaches.

 

Titanium Dioxide

This one is a big one to watch out for. It has no benefit to your teeth and simply gives toothpaste it’s bright white color. Tested in a lab, this inorganic compound has been known to cause cancer in rats, and therefore may even be carcinogenic to humans. It also attacks your brain which may cause nerve damage. Skip the aesthetically pleasing toothpaste and go for something that won’t harm your body.

 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This ingredient, just like titanium dioxide, does not have any cleaning agents or health benefits for your teeth. It simply makes the toothpaste foam in your mouth. While it is derived from either palm or coconut oil, it’s the manufacturing process that contaminates it with harmful byproducts that can cause mouth sores.

 

Carrageenan

This ingredient has been under fire and in the spotlight for a while. Like the others before it, it’s simply another aesthetic ingredient, used to thicken the toothpaste. It is, however, the least harmful ingredient on the list as it is derived from red seaweed. However, once ingested, it can cause skin rashes and disrupt your digestive system so it’s better to avoid it altogether.

 

So, before you pick up your next tube of toothpaste, be sure to look at the ingredients and watch for these four big ones.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness month and is extremely important to talk about since the early detection of oral cancer is the key to beating it. Unfortunately, many people dismiss the signs and symptoms as something else and the cancer is caught late, decreasing the patient’s chances of survival. Every time you go to the dentist, before your cleaning, your dentist will examine your mouth and make note of anything that seems out of the ordinary.

 

Here are some of the places that they examine, as well as the things they are looking for when screening for oral cancer.

 

Head and neck

Lumps, bumps, and swelling is what the dentist is looking for here, especially if they happen to only be present on one side of the neck. Alert your dentist to any places that feel tender as they prod around the area.

 

Lips

Your dentist will pull down your lower lip to check for any sores or odd patches of color. They will also use their thumb and forefinger to massage around the area to check for any lumps or unusual swelling.

 

 

Cheek

Here, your dentist is looking for any red, white, or dark patches of color on the inside of your cheek. Likewise, with the lips, your dentist will take their thumb and forefinger and gently squeeze and roll your cheek to check or swelling and bumps. Be sure to alert your dentist to any cheek injuries that you know the cause of, such as if you have accidentally bit your cheek recently.

 

Roof of the mouth

If oral cancer is present, the roof of your mouth may have lumps and be a different color. This is what the dentist is checking for here.

 

Tongue

Your dentist will be looking for odd colors, lumps, and textures all over your tongue, including the other side. This check is easily done at home as well by standing in front of the mirror. Report any unusual finding to your dentist or health care professional as they may be signs of oral cancer.

 

Your dentist should perform a complete mouth exam every time you go and visit for a cleaning. This is why your bi-annual cleanings are so important–not just for maintaining a bright and healthy smile, but also to keep you safe and alert you to anything you should be concerned about.

 

If you haven’t already scheduled an appointment, please contact us today so we can book you in.

 

 

You’ve finally done it! The braces are gone and now you can get back to having a mouth full of worries, right? Well, you’re partially right. In the months following the removal of your braces or Invisalign, your dentist will give you a retainer–a device that keeps your teeth in place so they don’t shift around and ruin all the progress that your teeth have gone through over the years.

 

Like anything else though, it’s important to keep your retainer in good health so it can do its job properly and not cause any problems. While you may think that a simple rinse every once and awhile will do the trick to keep it fresh, there is a bit more work that goes into maintaining and cleaning your retainer than you may realize.

 

Many chemicals and cleaning agents will actually damage your retainer such as bleach and alcohol. Considering that many retainers are made of plastic, bleach will degrade the material, and boiling it in hot water will cause the retainer to lose its shape and warp. Toothpaste may seem like an obvious option, but toothpaste contains abrasives inside that are meant to remove stains and plaque from your teeth, and therefore will damage the fragile material of your retainer, creating nooks and crannies that bacteria can hide and multiply in.

 

The only tools that you will need to clean your retainer are a soft-bristled toothbrush and liquid soap. Special cleaning agents like those made for dentures are also available, but are much more expensive and liquid soap will get the same job done for a cheaper price.

 

Using clean hands, cradle your retainer in one hand while brushing it gently with the toothbrush in the other hand. Work the soap into a lather and scrub all the surfaces before rinsing it completely. The last thing you want is a soapy aftertaste on your tongue when you reinsert your retainer. Wash the case that your retainer goes in when you are not wearing it as well as bacteria can linger inside and render your cleaning useless.

 

Speak to your dentist for proper cleaning techniques if you have any questions about alternative cleaning products. Remember, a clean smile is a happy smile. Contact us today to schedule your next cleaning appointment if you have not already done so this year.

Fear of the dentist is more common than most people may realize, and unfortunately, it leads to many people putting off going to the dentist, if they even end up going at all. Luckily, there’s now a solution so even the most anxious of patients can have a relaxing time and get their teeth taken care of at the same time. It’s called dental sedation and most dental offices offer it, but it can vary by location so be sure to ask questions if you suffer from dental anxiety and see if they offer any options to make your appointment more comfortable for you.

 

What Is Dental Sedation?

 

There are many types of dental sedation ranging from a simple calming agent to putting the patient on a general anaesthesia so they are unconscious for the whole procedure. No matter the route that you end up taking, it is extremely important that you have someone there with you at your appointment to get you home safely, as most types of sedation will impair your motor function for a couple of hours afterwards.

 

Laughing Gas

 

Also known as nitrous oxide, laughing gas is a conscious method used to relax patients during their appointment. Not only will you be awake for the procedure, but since laughing gas’ effect wears off rather quickly once you stop breathing it in, you’ll more than likely be able to drive yourself home afterwards if laughing gas is the only type of dental sedation that you recieve. Patients with higher levels of anxiety may require oral sedation on top of laughing gas in which case will need to make prior arrangements with family or friends for a ride home afterwards.

 

Oral Sedation

 

Oral sedation is another form of conscious sedation where the patient takes an oral sedative before their procedure, usually one the night before, and then another one an hour before the procedure. This method is usually recommended for those with higher levels of dental anxiety.

 

Although this is a conscious form of sedation, patients often remember very little of anything. Oral sedation will have side effects though such as sleepiness so arranging a pick up and drop off is an absolute requirement.

 

IV Sedation

 

IV sedation is less common and comes in two forms. The first form is known as “twilight” and much like oral sedation, the patient will not remember much of anything, but is conscious and in a very sleepy state. However, it is very easy to rouse the pateint out of the “twilight” state should the dentist need to wake them for any reason.

 

The other option which is even less common is general anesthesia, which hospitals use on patients when they are undergoing surgery. Therefore, only hospitals or specialized dental clinics offer this form as an anaesthesiologist needs to be present to monitor your vital signs while you are unconscious. This is an extreme measure, used only for those with extreme anxiety or those who are immune to the other forms of sedation. General anaesthesia renders the patient totally unconscious and can have side effects as well such as disorientation, drowsiness, and even nausea. Support from a family member is required to get the patient home safely. It’s also important to note that not everyone is approved for general anaesthesia, such as those who have adverse effects to it. Your dentist will be able to determine which type of dental sedation is right for you.

 

Do I Need Sedation Dentistry?

 

Whether visiting a new dentist or an old one, it’s important to talk to them about your fears and discomforts before your appointment. More often than not, dentists will usually recommend the laughing gas or an oral sedative, but as mentioned before, it varies from person to person.

 

Dental sedation is a wonderful way to ensure that those with even the highest amount of anxiety can get access to dental care. Speak to your dentist about your options and book that appointment that you’ve been putting off for you long.

 

It’s easy to put things off like grabbing a cup of coffee with that friend that you haven’t seen since high school, or running that errand that you said that you were going to do last week, but the one thing you should never put off though are your health checkups, and dental cleanings are no exception to the rule.

 

There are many reasons to stay on top of your bi-annual dental cleanings, but some of the most important

include:

 

Early Diagnosis of Tooth Decay

 

The first thing that your dentist will due to scan your teeth for any problems that may be happening or may happen soon in the future, including cavities. When updating your x-rays, your dentist may find signs of a tooth that is on its way to becoming a problem and do preventive measures to stop it from happening. Early detection of tooth issues is important so that later on you’re not stuck with a major price tag on a surgery such as a root canal.

 

Diagnosis of Dental Disease

 

Your dentist has the skills and knowledge to detect signs of oral cancer and can quickly refer you to a specialist to see that it doesn’t progress further. If caught quickly, treatment and recovery are in very favorable odds, but skipping dental visits means that you’re also missing out on these screenings, and by the time you finally get them, the cancer, unfortunately, may be too far along to do anything about, or it may require extensive surgery and treatment methods.

 

Gum Disease

 

One of the most common ailments to be diagnosed inside a dental office is gum disease, and early detection can help prevent tooth loss. During the exam, your dentist may point out that some teeth are more at risk than others because of brushing habits and direct you to change up your oral cleaning habits at home to get your gums and teeth back on track to a healthy life.

 

Cleaning Your Teeth

 

Lastly, it’s important to go to the dentist because you get your teeth cleaned. Brushing and flossing at home is great, but relying on your skills alone isn’t going to maintain a healthy mouth. Hardened plaque and tartar can only be removed by tools that you cannot pick up in the toothpaste aisle and must be handled by a dental hygienist.

 

Don’t have an appointment booked yet, or are new in town and in need of a good, reputable dentist? Contact us today by giving us a call and we’ll get you set up.

You may have heard it once or twice that your teeth are one of the strongest parts of your body, and while that’s true, it’s not indestructible. Even enamel has its limits. Whether through an accident or natural wear and tear, your teeth can become chipped, causing you significant pain and the desire to hide your smile.

 

Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth

 

Minor chips may not be noticeable at all, but for more major cases, symptoms may include:

  • Jagged surface of the affected tooth
  • Gum irritation
  • Pain when biting down

 

How to Treat a Chipped Tooth

 

Generally, a chipped tooth is no cause for alarm unless of course it’s causing you severe pain and disrupting your daily activities. Whatever the case may be, scheduling an appointment with your dentist to address the chipped tooth is always a good idea.

 

While most minor cases can be solved with a simple smoothing down of the tooth, more severe cases may require extra work.

 

Tooth reattachment

 

If by some miracle that you still have the fragment that broke off, place it in a glass of milk and take it to your dentist immediately. The calcium within the milk will keep the tooth moist and alive, giving the dentist enough time to cement the fragment back on to your broken tooth.

 

Bonding

 

The same process that is used to bring your teeth together as outlined in an earlier blog of ours can be used here as well. The composite resin is applied in layers to the affected area, then hardened, shaped, and smoothed for a natural finish.

 

How Much Will it Cost?

 

Costs will vary depending on the country that you live in, the procedure you get, and how severe your case is. In most cases, the minimum will be upwards of $100, to a maximum of about $2000. Talk with your dentist for an exact quote, and ask if they have financing options if you’re a little strapped for cash.

 

At Home First Aid

 

Most of the time, your dentist is completely booked and won’t have time to see you right away. In this case, you may have to look after your tooth on your own for a little while until you’re able to see them. To combat discomfort and pain, here are a few things that you can do at home.

  • Wrap a small piece of sugar free gum around your tooth for a smooth edge.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as Advil
  • If possible, avoid chewing on the side where the chipped tooth is located. If the chipped tooth is at the front, consider eating foods that don’t require you to bite off a piece, or stick to soft foods like cheese.

 

Conclusion

 

A chipped tooth is probably one of the most common dental injuries and happens a lot more than you may think. No matter the severity, contact your dentist for an appointment so that the chipped tooth does not worsen. Call the dental emergency hotline in your area if the injury happens outside of business hours.

 

Teeth grinding, also medically known as bruxism, is a condition where you unknowingly grind or clench your teeth. This can happen during the day, but it is also common for it to happen at night as well. Those who have it happen more frequently at night are often sufferers of other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or snoring.

Bruxism is not a serious condition, especially those with mild cases, and often doesn’t need treatment. Patients should seek treatment for bruxism when it causes them to have headaches, or if they develop a jaw disorder or damage their teeth.

For night sufferers of bruxism, it may not be obvious that you have bruxism. That is why it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of bruxism so you can be aware and seek treatment if necessary.

 

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Flattened or chipped teeth
  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Jaw and neck pain
  • Earache-esque pain
  • Dull headache starting in the temples

 

Causes

It’s not fully understood what causes bruxism, but there are a few theories surrounding both awake bruxism and sleep bruxism.

  • “Awake bruxism” may be emotionally triggered, such as those who suffer from anxiety, stress, and frustration. Awake bruxism can also be used as a coping mechanism for some, and may happen unintentionally to someone who is heavily concentrated on a task.
  • “Sleep bruxism” as mentioned before, may be linked to other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

 

Risks

Individuals that match the criteria down below are more likely to suffer from bruxism, and therefore should be extra careful and aware of the warning signs.

  • Age. Bruxism is more common in younger children, but they usually grow out of it by their late teens.
  • Medications and other substances. Bruxism can often be a common side effect in some medications, particularly antidepressants.
  • Family members with bruxism. Those suffering from sleep bruxism tend to have other family members who suffer from it as well.

If you develop any serious conditions related to bruxism or wish to repair teeth damaged by bruxism, schedule a complimentary consultation with us.

Last week we talked about dentures and debunked some cliches surrounding who is able to get them. This week is all about the work that goes into taking care of your dentures to make sure that they stay in optimal condition and keep your mouth healthy as well.

 

Brushing

 

As with your natural teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well to remove and avoid stains, as well as to remove any food particles that can harbor bacteria. There are denture specific brushes at every supermarket which work the best for cleaning your dentures. Make sure that the bristles are labeled as “soft” because hard bristled brushes can cause damage to your dentures.

 

Cleansing

 

While you would think that toothpaste would be safe to use on your dentures, toothpaste is actually too harsh for the denture material. Instead, dentures need to be cleaned using mild hand soap or dish detergent to get the job done. Pay attention to not use anything that contains bleach as it whitens the pink portion of the denture implant and makes it look less natural. When you are not wearing your dentures, keep them in a glass of cold or luke-warm water as this helps them retain their shape by keeping them moist. Hot water can cause the denture implant to warp and require the wearer to make an unexpected trip to the dentist.

 

Regular Visits to the Dentist

 

Having properly fitting dentures is vital to the health of your mouth, as well as maintaining the integrity of the dentures. If for whatever reason your dentures are not fitting properly, contact your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. Book an appointment with your dentist as well if the denture cracks, bends, or begins to cause you pain. Never try to fix your dentures yourself and waste money on over-the-counter repair kits. It is not worth the risk.

 

When you receive your dentures, your dentist will give you a complete care guide which will provide detailed instructions on everything that you need to know. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully and contact your dentist if anything is unclear.

 

What are Dentures?

Dentures are commonly associated with the elderly as seen on T.V and possibly even in your own family. You often only see one type of denture in the media though: the full mouthpiece that Grandma or Grandpa take out of their toothless mouth and put in the glass of water, but that’s not the case all of the time. While the elderly association with dentures is fitting as people often get dentures to tooth decay caused by age, but anyone at any age can be a candidate for dentures–both partial and complete–depending on their situation. Periodontal disease, malnutrition, and even drug use all speed up the decay of teeth and cause the need for dentures at an earlier age.

 

Along with their aesthetic function, dentures serve a variety of other beneficial uses for the recipient. Wearers are able to chew their food better without the risk of choking, and are also able to articulate themselves more clearly due to enhanced pronunciation.

 

Partial and Complete Dentures

Dentures come in two different types: partial and complete. A consultation with your dentist can determine which is the best option for you, should they decide that dentures are the right fit for your situations.

 

Partial dentures are recommended to patients who still have healthy, existing teeth. Much like a bridge, the false teeth can be connected to your real teeth. Partial dentures are typically placed using either a series of wires or by using a fake gum base which will adhere to the mouth. This can be done to a single tooth or several teeth.

 

Complete dentures are used on patients who need an entire row of teeth to be replaced. Even if there are healthy teeth in place, they may need to be extracted for the purpose of properly fitting the dentures in the patient’s mouth. Complete dentures often take a little longer to create as they’re made once the teeth that needed to be extracted have been taken out and the gums have healed. Once done, the patient will need to make an impression of their gums by biting into a putty. This will ensure that the dentures are customized to fit their mouth for maximum comfort and efficiency.

 

In the meantime, the patient may be given a set of immediate dentures to use in the meantime while their permanent dentures are being made. The only downside to these dentures is that they are not custom fitted to your mouth and may cause discomfort and a decreased ability to do certain tasks such as chewing. However, the process shouldn’t take long and your dentist will contact you as soon as your dentures have come in so you can live in comfort.

 

Your dentist will go over detailed care instructions on how to look after your dentures, something which we will discuss in a future blog post in detail.

 

In the meantime, if you feel like dentures are the right choice for you or a loved one, please contact your family dentist and schedule in a consultation.