A Magical Grand Re-Opening at Prairie Dental

Wed, Sept 27, 2017 ; 4:30pm - 6:30pm

A Magical Grand Re-Opening at Prairie Dental!!

We welcome you to join us for tour a newly renovated Prairie Dental and enjoy a magical evening including a Ribbon Cutting, Fizzban the Wizard, a Bouncy Castle, & Refreshments!!

Stop by for a tour, a chat, a magical encounter, and a little bounce!! We can't wait to welcome you to the new Prairie Dental and show it off!

For updates, visit our Facebook Page!

Grand Re-Opening Poster Leduc Dentist 2017-1.png

Digital impressions for Invisalign Orthodontics: A Time-lapse Video

Here is a short time-lapse video of Dr. Jack having digital Invisalign impressions taken by one of our fantastic assistants.

 

We prefer this method to the traditional goopy impression techniques as it is more comfortable for our patients- especially for patients with bad gag reflexes. Within 10-20 minutes the impressions are completed and refined, and then they are uploaded to Invisalign.

Invisalign then creates a digital treatment plan, called a ClinChek, which allows the dentist to preview the estimated final bite and smile. It also allows the dentist to estimate the length of treatment and the number of trays or aligners. The Clinchek will often be adjusted multiple times prior to final approval, but once approved it takes about a week for the trays or aligners to be fabricated and shipped to the clinic.

It is a very neat process! Call us (780-986-6255), email us (info@prairiedental.ca), or visit us if you have any questions!

p.s. This digital impression technique can also be used for crowns, dentures, night guards, and snoring appliances!

Bad Breath and Choosing a New Mouth Rinse

Choosing a mouth rinse is like choosing car. There have always been nice cars, that ran well, and did the job well, but perhaps they could be improved upon. There was nothing wrong with these cars and they would get you wherever you were going, but they used more gas, and they polluted the environment; so we strived for more efficient, environmentally friendly cars.

The ’69 Ford Mustangs of Mouth Rinses

Listerine and Scope have been around for a long time. In fact, Listerine was originally contrived in 1879 by Dr Listerine to be used as an antiseptic in Operating rooms, and it has been proven to kill germs really well. Scope was developed by Proctor & Gamble in 1966 and has held its own in competition with Listerine since then. They both work to kill the germs that cause bad breath (halitosis), cavities (caries), gingivitis and bone loss/recession (periodontitis); however, Listerine uses Essential Oils (Eucalyptol, Thymol, and Menthol) whereas Scope uses Cetyl Pyridinium Chloride (CPC), Sodium Benzoate, and Domiphen Bromide. Commonly it is thought that the high alcohol content of these rinses, 27% and 15% respectively, aids in the battle against bad breath – unfortunately this is not true. The alcohol certainly kills some germs but mostly acts as a solution in which to hold the active ingredients and acts mostly just to dry out your tissues and perhaps even contribute to bad breath coming back faster over time. Not to mention the alcohol burns – just try to hold either rinse in your mouth for the allotted 30 seconds ;)

The Dentist’s Ambulance

Perhaps that is a poor analogy, but the mouth rinse that dentists will prescribe for you before or after surgery, and when you have active gingivitis or periodontitis is Chlorhexidine. This is an antimicrobial mouth rinse that specifically targets the bad bacteria in your mouth and has been shown again and again to get the best results over time in controlling the bacteria that cause decay and gingivitis. It comes in both alcohol and non-alcohol versions. Unfortunately it has been known to stain teeth with prolonged use, so it is best used for short courses when you really need it! That said, the stain is easily removed by brushing and polishing and it has been improved greatly in the last 10 years such that certain brands stain less.

The 2012 Ford Fusion’s of Mouth Rinses

These mouth rinses perhaps don’t give you that sexy tingling feeling of the past, but they work more efficiently and are better for your oral environment and may even leave you polluting the air around you less. There are basically two main groups: The rinses that use Essential Oils (ie. Listerine Zero) and the rinses that use Cetyl Pyridium Chloride (ie. Crest Pro Health, Colgate Advanced Pro Shield). Studies have shown both to be effective in killing those nasty cavity causin’, breath stinkin’, bone harassing bacteria. However, the studies do indicate that the Essential Oils may be more effective. Both have the advantage of containing no alcohol, which means they don’t burn on use, dry out the mouth, or put you at risk (even if small) of oral cancer. Alcohol use is a known risk factor for oral cancers, so it would make sense that it would put you at increased risk of oral cancer by rinsing out your mouth twice daily with alcohol – especially if you already smoke and drink a lot.

Both types have versions that also include Sodium Fluoride (Listerine Zero Total Care and Crest Pro Health Complete), which would be a good choice if you are at risk of getting new cavities or if you have had a few cavities in the past few years. Of course, if you are at high risk of have lots of active decay, these are a good start but you may require a stronger fluoride rinse prescribed by your dentist or even the Chlorhexidine would work well.

If you have a lot of trouble with bad breath, look for a rinse that use Zinc and Chlorine Dioxide (Therabreath Plus Oral Rinse has these ingredients and more) to neutralize the volatile sulfur compounds (VSC’s) that create that noxious odours.

 The Up and Coming Nissan Qashqai of Mouth Rinses

Some recent studies have shown that Aloe Vera and Green tea can also be effective in killing those nasty mouth bacteria. In fact, one study showed that children that drank green tea twice daily had fewer cavities, meaning that green tea has an effect on the cavity causing bacteria as well as the bad breath and gingivitis bacteria. Some green tea rinses are being worked on but for now just drink the tea and use one of the other commonly available rinses too!

Well, that is enough information for now. If I was choosing a rinse I would stick with a 2012 Ford Fusion… I mean a non-alcohol rinse with a bit of fluoride, however, talk to your dentist and hygienist and choose one based on your risk of cavities and periodontal disease. Of course, should you have any questions you can always comment on our Facebook Page, send me an email or call our clinic (780-986-6255). Thanks for reading and happy driving/rinsing.

Dr. Jack Gordon

10 Tips to Help your Baby or Toddler have Healthy Teeth!

1.     Brush your baby’s teeth once they erupt if not sooner.

Use a cloth or a toothbrush to gently remove plaque and milk residue to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria colonizing those initial teeth and causing cavities.

2.     Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Water only!

Baby bottle cavities are the number one reason in Alberta for children to require treatment under general anaesthesia. Milk or juice remaining in the mouth during sleep will cause cavities, and can lead to pain and the need for extensive work. So, if your baby needs a bottle before sleeping, clean their teeth afterwards or rinse their mouth with water.

If you give them a bottle in bed, it may only contain water – its just not worth the risk!

3.     Parents brush your child’s teeth at least twice daily! Until they are 6 years old!

Brush your child’s teeth after breakfast and before bed.

No sense letting food remain on the teeth for longer than needed – they will thank you later. This should never be optional. As the parent, you brush their teeth first or second, after or before they do it themselves, but you always brush their teeth. Crying and tempers cannot exempt them, as once they learn it is optional, they will win more than you, and thus they do not win in the long run.

4.     Toothpaste! Use a rice grain size to 3 years old and then the size of a pea forever after!

Use a fluoride toothpaste for best results, but the simple act of brushing the outside, inside, and biting surfaces of teeth will make a world of difference. Get rid of the plaque and the teeth will remain strong!

5.     Baby’s 1st Visit to the dentist at 1 year or 6 months after the first teeth erupt.

This 1st visit is for education, to help you prevent your child from having significant dental issues as they get older. If they are of normal risk, we can see them yearly and begin cleaning their teeth around the age 2-4 years depending on behaviour.

Rehearse the visit at home prior, and speak about the dentist in positive yet realistic terms. Never impose your own fear or nerves on your child.

Bring them with you for your own cleanings, or for a tour and playtime, to show them how the dentist can be a positive experience. You can also visit our website to see pictures of our staff and a virtual tour of the clinic.

6.     Every bite starts a 2 hour bacterial acid cycle that can cause cavities!

The bacteria that cause cavities digest foods with carbohydrates, and produce an acid that dissolves tooth structure. The acid production lasts for 2 hours after your child’s last bite. For your teeth’s sake its better to eat defined meals rather than snack continuously; It’s important to brush and floss after breakfast and before bed to interrupt the cycle.

7.     Kids want to be big… so let them watch you brush and floss!

Give them a piece of floss to play with while you floss too. They will learn through observation that brushing and flossing is important, and be less resistant to brushing and flossing themselves.

8.     Floss playfully, and use floss holders.

Start young while its easy to get in and floss gently. The floss holders can be invaluable in getting to those back teeth without having to stick your big fingers in their little mouth.

9.     Eat cheese at the end of meals, and/or rinse with water after.

Cheese is full of calcium and fats that can reduce the acidity of the mouth and counteract the acid cycle causing cavities. Rinsing with water can be equally effective!

10. Juice and pop only with meals. Never sipped between meals!

Each sip restarts the 2 hour acid cycle and leads to an environment of constant attack on your child’s teeth. Keep the pop/milk/juice for meals, and water for anytime in between.

Bonus Tip.  Take care of your own teeth, for your child’s sake!

You share oral bacteria with your child every time you kiss, or share a spoon or straw. If you have cavity causing bacteria in your own mouth, these can be transferred to your child’s mouth too. Get your own teeth cleaned, fix decay, brush and floss at home…and in addition to a better, healthier smile you will be helping your child maintain better oral health too!

If you have questions, feel free to call (780-986-6255), email (info@prairiedental.ca), or come in for a visit at our family dental clinic in Leduc - one block south of Main Street!

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Jack Gordon

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Seven Ways to Improve your Smile by Valentine’s Day

1. Whiten your Teeth!

In a matter of days you can whiten your teeth using trays made by a dentist using specifically made bleaching gel. You may still require whitening after a week, but they will already be much improved.

2. Resin Bonding to Reshape your Smile!

An economical way to reshape broken, spaced, irregular, crowded, or even stained teeth is to simply bond the teeth with white composite resin filling material. Within minutes you can have a beautiful smile to impress your beau or belle. The filling material may need to be replaced every 2-3 years- depending on how hard you are on them!

3. Porcelain Crowns!

If you have a heavily restored tooth, or a broken tooth, a porcelain crown can be made for it within a 2 hour appointment. By using CAD/CAM technology using a digital impression, a milling machine, and a special furnace, a durable and long lasting white porcelain crown can be made to restore your tooth!

4. Clean your Teeth!

Nothing wrecks a smile like plaque and calculus – it also tends to ruin your breath. A hygienist can clean away the plaque and calculus, and even remove the built-up stain from wine, foods and smoking! Bonus effects include a whiter smile, healthy and less-inflamed gums, and a more kissable mouth ;)

5. Freshen your Breath with a Rinse!

The worst bacteria in the mouth are in the back, so find a good non-alcohol mouth rinse and get gargling! This will clean away some of the nasty anaerobic bacteria, reduce the plaque coating on your tongue, and improve the health of your gums.

6. Replace Old Stained Fillings!

Old fillings can create stain and shadows that distort a smile. Old white fillings between front teeth can be replaced with new white fillings that match the whiteness of your smile. Old silver fillings can shade a tooth even if the filling itself is not visible. If the silver filling is small enough, you may be able to replace it with a white filling; if it is a large silver filling, a one-visit porcelain onlay or inlay may do the trick!

7. Brush and Floss!

This seems an obvious choice, but brush and floss your teeth before you head out on your Valentine’s Day soiree. Your date will appreciate it :)

Enjoy your freshened smile, and if you have any questions we are always happy to help!

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

Dr. Jack Gordon

Eating and Food for Healthy Teeth

Bacteria are the cause of both cavities and gum disease.

Of course, let’s not generalize, it is not all bacteria but a small defined group of bacteria that love to eat soft carbohydrate based foods. For brevity’s sake, let’s call these bacteria by a random collective name of “Zeb”.

Zeb loves to eat foods that are made of carbohydrates (“carbs”) – these are the small molecules in our diet that are quickly digested and converted to sugars.  In fact, Zeb loves to eat these foods so much that he will continue to eat and digest any of these carbs for Two Hours Straight after you have passed them through your mouth!  Now why is this a problem? As Zeb eats and digests these carbs he begins to produce acid as a byproduct and releases the acid back into your mouth. 

 The acid is highly effective at dissolving the enamel and dentin that protect and strengthen your teeth and surrounding the edges of fillings.  This leads to the creation of holes in the teeth that we call “cavities”. When the cavity breaks past the first protective layer of the tooth (the enamel) and into the softer and more easily dissolved second layer (the dentin), we then need to do a filling to fill the hole and protect the tooth from further decay and restore its strength – at least as best as possible!

How do we stop Zeb from destroying our teeth?

By eating short meals and snacks, and choosing foods that will not feed Zeb or will even stop Zeb short.  This means not snacking on foods throughout the day and eating a well balanced diet. Ending a meal with a food that will counteract the acid or a food high in calcium will also help.  Eating according to Canada’s Food Guide will be highly beneficial to your health and to your teeth. Of course, you should always default to the diet prescribed to you by your physician or deemed to be medically necessary for you.

Good foods for your teeth.

Foods that are good at fighting Zeb include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, cheese, and perhaps milk.

However, milk also contains lactose which can be digested by Zeb and produce cavities – this is especially seen in young children that are put to bed with a bottle and is specifically called “Early Childhood Caries”. A similar effect is had with fruit juices which are acidic, contain fructose and often have sugar added for extra flavor. So please, if a child needs a bottle in bed, it should only contain water!!!

Bad foods for your teeth.

Foods that Zeb loves, and should be eaten in moderation and according to the Canada’s Food Guide, are sugary foods, such as candies, and certain breakfast cereals, carb based foods, such as potato chips, breads, and pretzels, sticky foods, such as yogurts, and acidic foods and beverages, such as fruit juices, salad dressings, and soft drinks.  This last group will not only feed Zeb (that guy is such a brat!!) but will also actively dissolve the layers of the teeth away. 

Stopping the Acid Cycle.

A good way to interrupt Zeb’s 2 hour acid cycle is to drink a glass of water, eat a small cube of cheese, or chew sugar-free gum that includes a sugar alcohol such as sorbitol or the Zeb fighting Xylitol!! Of course, taking 2 minutes to brush your teeth and floss will also stop Zeb short!

Wow, that was a lot of information and yet not nearly enough!! Should you have questions email us (info@prairiedental.ca), post a question on our Facebook Page, call us (780-986-6255) or just ask at your next appointment!

See you soon!  Dr. Jack Gordon

Are Root Canals really worth the worry?

Leduc Dentist Root Canals Toothache

There are few procedures that make people more nervous than a “root canal”. Let’s face it – they have a bad rep. The good news is their not as bad as you may have heard.

Root canal treatment has been around for centuries. In fact, even in the 2nd or 3rd centuries BC, Roman Doctors were placing copper wire into teeth to relieve pain and pressure. The following 1600 or so years saw adventurous individuals taking pity on their fellow man by drilling holes into teeth and covering them with gold or asbestos. In the 1800’s endodontics hit its stride, the rubber dam was developed, electric pulp vitality testing was invented, and many new methods and medications were being used to treat the tissues within teeth – including cauterization, lead foil, formalin, arsenic, cloves, and – thankfully— gutta percha!

The early 1900’s saw x-rays being used for the first time by dentists. Local anesthetics (Freezing!) … were heralded into being in 1910. 40 years later, manufacturers began to standardize the instruments used for root canal treatments .

Today the methods and materials for performing root canals are better than they have ever been. Thankfully we have access to great local anesthetics. So now, from a patient perspective, a root canal treatment is one of the most boring procedures. Sometimes an infection can make the tissues too acidic for anesthetics to work, but for the majority of patients full and deep anesthesia is predictably achievable; this makes root canals no worse than a large filling.

So what is a root canal treatment anyway? It can be summarized in three terms: Clean, Fill, and Protect!

Clean

When a tooth is infected, or irreversibly inflamed, the only way to calm or prevent pain and further infection is to remove the dead and dying tissues inside the tooth. Generally there are three types of tissue inside the tooth: nerve, blood vessels, connective tissue. All three need to be removed.

We do this by creating a small hole through the biting surface of the tooth, using small files by hand or with a handpiece (ie. drill) to remove the tissues down to the end or apex of the root tips. In back teeth there are often 2 to 4 roots depending on the tooth. During the cleaning process, we use an irrigant liquid (bleach or EDTA) to dissolve the remaining tissues and to kill remaining bacteria. We also take x-rays to verify the length of the roots. The cleaning of the roots is generally completed over one appointment.

Fill

The next appointment usually consists of filling the now clean canals with an orange rubber substance called gutta percha and a biocompatible sealer. This material can be heated to mold to the intricacies of the canal system, and a series of pluggers are used to press the gutta percha into those intricacies. Between appointments and after the filling appointment it can be normal to have some tenderness; it should go away as the tooth and bone heal..

Protect

The final step is to replace the filling in the small opening and to have a crown placed on the tooth. The crown protects the very dry brittle root canaled tooth from breaking – about 50% of root canaled molars will break within 5 years if not protected by a crown.

If you have any questions about root canal treatments, or want to comment, feel free to visit our Facebook PageEmail us, Call us (780-986-6255), or come in for a visit.

Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jack Grodon

 

10 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Provider

Leduc Dental Insurance

It is important to be informed before you come in for your dental appointment. Remember that your insurance is a contract between you and your employer. Here are 10 questions that will help you figure out exactly what your insurance covers - after-all, we all hate surprises!

Commonly asked questions:

  1. What percentage does my plan cover for each type of service? There are 3 types of services: Basic, Major and Orthodontics. Every type of service is covered at a different percentage of the eligible amount allowed by your plan. For example, basic work may be covered at 80%, major may be covered at 50% and orthodontics at 50%.
  2. Does your insurance have an annual maximum? If yes, when does it start and how much is available to cover your dental work. Even if work has been pre-approved, your plan will not cover the procedure if your maximum is used up. They will only pay what is left on your maximum for that type of service. Your policy may have a separate maximum or combined maximum. Combined maximum is the total amount allowed for basic and major work combined. Orthodontic services have a separate lifetime maximum.
  3. What fee guide is your plan using? Your plan usually pays a percentage of the eligible amount set up in your policy. The insurance pays a percentage of the eligible amount for each dental procedure.
  4. Does my treatment need to be pre- authorized? A predetermination is usually required for major dental work. Your dentist can send this to your insurance. A letter will be sent, to the patient or member, from your insurance provider explaining what is covered. If your dentist will allow assignment, please forward a copy of your approval to your dentist.
  5. Does your insurance have age limitations for some procedures? Some plans have an age limit for orthodontic work. Also, some procedures may not be covered due to age restrictions.
  6. How long will my dependents be covered?  Most plans cover dependents up to 18 or 21 years of age. If your child is attending post- secondary education, they may be covered up to age 24. If this is the case, you must contact your insurance company with proof of registration at least 1 month prior to your appointment. Check with your insurance provider for the details explaining the age limit specified in your policy package.
  7. Is there a frequency limitation for my check ups and cleanings? Most plans have a frequency limit for preventative services such as exams, x-rays and cleanings. They may allow coverage 1 in 12 months, 6 months or 9 months. Procedures such as scaling or root plaining, which is usually provided by your hygienist, may have a limit of units allowed in a rolling 12 months. If your hygienist recommends recall in 6 months, check with your insurance if you are eligible to be covered.
  8. Will my insurance pay the dentist or do I get reimbursed?   Every policy is set up differently by your employer. Most plans do allow payment to go to your dentist. Phone ahead and ask your insurance provider if your claims can be assigned to pay the dentist.
  9. How does the process of claims work? Your dental office can send your claim in for you to be processed by your insurance. Most claims can be sent electronically, but sometimes the insurance company may not provide an explanation at the time of submission. In this case your dental office may ask for payment in full.   All insurance companies have privacy provisions.   Due to the privacy act, dental offices have only limited access to information about your policy; this makes it difficult for dentists to be certain that the insurance will pay for your dental services. Dentists are not given full detailed information about your policy.
  10. How does co-ordination of benefits work? If there is more than 1 insurance company, the primary insurance plan is always the patient’s insurance first, and spouse’s insurance is second. For dependent children, the primary insurance is that of the parent whose month of birth is first. Some dental offices do not co-ordinate with more than 1 insurance policy.

If you need any more help navigating the world of Dental Insurance feel free to come in, call us (780-986-6255), or email us! If you would like information about our office's specific policy towards handling dental insurance, click here!

Diane, Office Manager

Weaning your Toddler from their Pacifier Etc.

Leduc Children's Dentistry

There are few objects in life that infants and toddlers will treasure more than their soother. Some sleep with them, some ride in the car with them, some use them to calm from loud cries, and some use them just about all the time. They will never turn down their soother when it is offered, and so it becomes the parents’ decision and imperative to end their child’s dependence on it.

Why do dentists care about the soother?

The Soother applies force on the upper and lower teeth after they have erupted. If the force is applied long enough, say 8 hours a day, this can cause an open bite (a moderate to large space between the front teeth preventing them from biting together).

It can also affect the growth of the upper and lower jaws by altering the position of the tongue when you child is at rest and when they are swallowing. Ideally, we like the tongue to be at the roof of the mouth when the jaws are at rest and when we are swallowing. If the soother creates an open bite, then the tongue will fill the space between the teeth in order to create enough suction to swallow. The lack of force on the roof of the mouth when swallowing can lead to a failure of the normal growth and expansion of the roof of the mouth – which is also the floor of the nose – this will lead to difficulty breathing through the nose and a propensity for mouth breathing. Of course, now we are back full circle to the tongue not being on the roof of the mouth but not just while swallowing – now it is also not on the roof of the mouth while at rest, due to the need to breathe through the mouth. Needless to say, it is a vicious cycle. Ultimately, not only can it lead to an open bite, but also underdeveloped jaws, crowding of the teeth, and a smaller than normal nasal and pharyngeal airway.

This change in the teeth and jaws can lead to difficulties in proper speaking, breathing, eating, and, of course, swallowing.

Techniques:

Enough scary pathophysiological stuff, how do we get rid of the soother? Not every child will respond the same to each technique so choose the one that you think suits your child the best and if that fails, try another one or create a new technique and let me know about it.

As far as timing goes, I would love for your child to get rid of their soother habit by 1-1.5 years, but generally it is recommended to get rid of a soother (or finger) habit before the age of 4. The fear is that by removing the soother too early, they may replace it with a finger or thumb habit, which is even more difficult to break… the habit not the phalange.

1)      Cold Turkey: Just collect the soothers and throw them away (do not keep them or they will be used). This may be better for those whose children only use the soother at night. You can expect your child to cry for a while in protest, but if you keep firm, over the next month they will calm and you can move on. Beware, if they find a soother, you will be back to square one – so throw them away. Admittedly, it is very tempting to give them a soother, if there is one available, to stop the crying in those first few weeks.

Some will forewarn the toddler, three days earlier, with a short chat about growing up, and then, with the help of the child, they gather soothers and “recycle” them.

2)      Taper down: If they use a soother throughout the day, start by cutting back during play times and excursions for a week or two. Then cut it out during car trips for a week or two. Then move on to nap times and finally when they are going to sleep at night. This will take longer, but may be less traumatic. Do not bring a soother with you if you are trying to cut it out. It is too convenient to stop crying with a soother, and often the child will find it in the jacket or bag where it is hidden.

3)      Cut it up: Throw away most of your soothers and then start cutting the remaining soother(s) across the tip. The hole will decrease the pleasurable suction and, over time, as you cut it more, they will get less pleasure from having it in their mouth. The idea is that they will eventually reject the soother themselves. Don’t keep any extra intact soothers around as this will restart the process.

4)      Prick it: This is similar to “Cut it up”, if you prick a hole (a somewhat large hole) through the soother, then they can no longer achieve suction. Eventually, they will reject the soother as it is no longer “soothing”.

5)      Other: If you know of some other tips or techniques, I’m happy to hear them and even add them to this list.

A finger habit can be just as difficult, if not more difficult, to break but the timing would be similar. I will write a blog discussing finger and thumb habits in the future.

Thank you for making it to the end of this blog. If you have any questions or comments feel free to call (780-986-6255), email (info@prairiedental.ca), comment on our Facebook Page, or come in for an appointment.

Dr. Jack Gordon

Should You Whiten Your Teeth

Leduc Dental Teeth Whitening

So what do you think about the colour of your teeth? Could they be whiter? Should they be whiter? There are a few significant facts to consider before making the decision to spend time and money on whitening.

Can I even whiten my teeth at all?

Do your teeth have fillings, crowns or veneers that show when you smile? These restorations which are made of types of acrylics and porcelains, will not change colour at all due to whitening (aka bleaching). Bleaching works by dissolving away the surface stains and some of the mineral content from the surface of tooth enamel; thus any restorations will not change colour. So if you have a bunch of veneers or several scattered fillings on your front teeth, you should be aware that by bleaching your teeth, these existing restorations will begin to appear darker in comparison.

That said, if you are planning to undergo restoration with fillings, crowns, or veneers in the near future whitening your teeth now will allow these new restorations to be a colour you are happy with.

How does whitening work?

Whitening works one of two ways:

Bleach – Carbamide peroxide is the most common ingredient in whitening gels and can vary from 10% to 35%. The higher concentrations are usually used in dental offices only. Bleach dissolves away stains by breaking the bonds holding them together on the teeth, and also dissolving a slight amount of mineral content from the enamel.

Abrasion – Most whitening tooth pastes are functional by the addition of abrasive materials such as silica. Essentially you are scraping the stains off your   teeth. This is also why a cleaning by a dental hygienist can make your teeth whiter.

Will whitening harm my teeth?

Bleaching has been shown to do no long term harm to tooth enamel. Although it does make the enamel slightly softer at the time of bleaching, after 7 days the enamel is remineralized.

Sensitivity to cold is the most common complication of bleaching. Generally this can be resolved either by using a remineralization paste such as MI Paste, a sensitivity tooth paste such as Sensodyne Repair and Protect, and by stopping the whitening for a few days.

The bond between white fillings and tooth enamel can be damaged by whitening, especially if the fillings are older and leaking already. It’s important to have your mouth evaluated by a dentist prior to whitening to assess the risk to your teeth that whitening might pose.

Where should I whiten my teeth?

Dental Office

Dentists are trained and qualified to advise you about the risks and benefits of whitening your teeth. So speak to a dentist prior to whitening, no matter where you choose to do it. Dentists often offer either In-Office or At-Home Whitening.

In-Office is the fastest method and can be more expensive as well. It is very effective but can wear off more quickly than other methods. Higher concentration of bleach are used for this and often in combination with a UV light to activate the bleaching agent.

At-Home whitening requires impressions and the fabrication of trays. The bleach concentration is often lower but the trays can be reused to help maintain the whiter smile you have achieved.

Spa/ Mall Kiosk

Spas and kiosks can offer services similar to In-Office whitening at a lower cost. They cannot advise on the health or suitability of your teeth prior to whitening.

Pharmacy Products

You can purchase whitening toothpastes, strips or mouth rinses for home use as well. The toothpastes are the least effective. Often the whitening strips can be effective at a lower cost but should only be used as described in their instructions. Mouth rinses are less effective than strips but will result in less sensitivity.

Well, that is likely enough information for now. If you have any further questions about Teeth Whitening feel free to post a question to our Facebook Page, email (info@prairiedental.ca), call (780-986-6255) or come in for a visit.

Dr. Jack Gordon

 

Preventing Dental Phobias-Let's Start Kidding Around

leduc dentist kids children phobia

Let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve all heard or even experienced stories of bad experiences in the dental chair. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for us to meet a new patient that has stayed away from the dentist for years. Many times they are returning to the clinic with a major problem that has forced them to come and the anticipation only adds to their nerves. The good news is that these stories are going to become less and less common. Gone are the days of patriarchal dentistry, and here to stay is the day of patient-centered care.

Patient-centered care means that the dental team is responsive to each patients unique needs. Some patients are happy to get in and out without skipping a beat. Others need time, patience, and a hand to hold. We have some patients that unreservedly refuse freezing for any procedure, but will have fillings, root canals and extractions completed. We also have patients who need extra freezing, which requires time, and we’re happy to wait. It also means we are happy to provide an environment that reduces the chances you child developing phobias.

There are a few things that you can do to help prevent your child from developing a dental phobia.

  • Be positive and realistic.

Talk with your child beforehand, away from the clinic, about what is going to happen, and what to expect during the appointment. If you have questions about the appointment, don’t be afraid to ask the dentist or any team member. You don’t need to sugar coat the procedure, but don’t focus only on the negatives as that will only harbour fear. If you have a dental phobia, speak of ways that you have found to overcome it.

  • Role play, read stories, watch videos, visit the clinic website

Think of this as a dress rehearsal. If you can have fun in anticipation of the appointment it will significantly cut down on nerves. Get a “Doctor Kit” from a toy store, and use the little mirror to “look” in your child’s mouth and then lay back on the couch and have your child “look” at your teeth. You can talk about the funny vibration that a polish or a drill creates. You can talk about the funny feeling they’ll have in their lip – and let them know it will look normal and come back to a normal feeling. Our clinic has a comprehensive website with pictures of the clinic and even a short – instrumental- video tour. Look at the pictures of the clinic and staff and talk about how nice we are :).

  • Bring the child with you or an older sibling to a straight forward visit

Younger children look up to you and their older siblings. They desire so much to be older and, if they see you acting in control and positively, they will want to as well.

  • Visit to play in the reception, tour the clinic, and meet the dental team/dentist

Sometimes it is best to visit the clinic without the pressure of having anything done. We are always open to showing you and your child around, or simply letting your child play in our Children’s area while you sit back and have a coffee on us.

  • Only do as much as will be tolerated at first, and build up in stages (e.g. Check-up, Cleaning, Other stuff)

If you don’t think your child will tolerate a long first appointment, then it should be kept short. In really little kids, sometimes their first appointment is simply a conversation with the parents, and that is fine as learning about oral health is as important as a dental exam. We want to earn your child’s trust and are willing to put in the time to do it.

  • Fully communicate previous issues with the dental team and dentist

The more the dentist and dental team know about you and your child’s background, the better we are able to respond to your needs.

  • Bring a favourite toy or distraction

Their favourite teddy bear or car will always be welcome – so bring it. You can also bring music or videos.

  • Be there for support

There are exceptions, but most of the time it is helpful having a parent or trusted friend in the room as a support. Praise them constantly, and, if they do cry, let them know it is ok to nervous and that they will be kept safe and taken care of.

  • Short appointments

There is no need to keep you child in the chair for two hours just to get all their fillings completed. Let’s break it up and keep appointments short and positive. Besides, it will mean more prizes – and what kid doesn’t want more toys?

  • Sedation as a last resort

There are a number of options to sedate you child, if no other behavioural methods work first. Nitrous Oxide is very safe, but still requires cooperation. Other oral or IV conscious sedation methods can also be effective, but require a well trained provider. Finally, work can also be completed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting which carries the most risk and also the longest wait time. Speak to your dentist if you think you need one of these modalities.

There is so much more we could discuss about this issue and communication is really the key. If you have questions or comments, feel free to make a comment on Facebook, call us (780-986-6255), email us (info@prairiedental.ca), or come in for a visit.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Jack Gordon

Snoring and Why It Matters

Leduc Snoring Sleep Apnea

Snoring… it’s just snoring!! How could something so seemingly innocuous be harmful? – it’s just a noise people make when they sleep after all.

Well, it turns out that snoring is often a sign that you or your loved one are not breathing properly while you are sleeping. Many people have heard of the REM sleep. During REM sleep you dream intense dreams, and in order to prevent you from acting out your dreams, your body relaxes all of your muscles. These relaxed muscles include your throat and neck muscles, which are important for keeping your airway open. In a normal individual, the airway will stay open regardless, and breathing continues unimpeded. In a person with a small airway due to a retruded lower jaw (think Bart Simpson), or a person with extra weight around their throat (think Peter Griffin), the airway can close due to a lack of support from the muscles.

Now that the airway is very small or even closed, the body cannot bring air in or push air out of your airway without great effort – the air squeezing through the loose tissue creates snoring. As the ability to breathe decreases, so does your blood oxygen level while your carbon dioxide levels go up. The raised carbon dioxide levels alert your brain to the fact that you need to breathe – and now!! Thus you wake up out of REM sleep, but just enough to tense your throat muscles and open your airway.  This can happen multiple times an hour, and if it happens often enough (greater than 5 times) you can be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

As you can imagine, if you are always waking up from REM sleep, you may have a difficult time feeling refreshed the next morning. The pressure that builds up in your chest as you try to push the air out, can increase your blood pressure and cause blood pressure spikes while you sleep. The pressure can also push stomach acids into your throat, creating the sensation of heart burn. Oddly enough about 80% of those with sleep apnea also grind their teeth – which is often how I spot these patients in my chair.

The consequences can be dire. Obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of dying by 3 times, and your risk of dying due to heart attack or stroke by 5 times. It also substantially increases your risk of falling asleep while driving, not to mention erectile dysfunction, chronic headaches, and mental illness.

So beware of things like daytime sleepiness, teeth grinding, high blood pressure, acid reflux, heart problems, psychiatric problems, or SNORING!!! These, among others, can all be signs of obstructive sleep apnea.

Below are a couple of forms commonly used to screen for sleep apnea, if you score 8 or higher on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, 2 or higher on the BMI questionnaire, or 3 or higher on the Subjective Sleepiness scale, you should speak with your Dentist or Doctor about doing a sleep study.

Good luck, and sweet dreams.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to visit our Facebook Page, email (info@prairiedental.ca), call us (780-986-6255) or just come in for a visit.

Dr. Jack Gordon

Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Please indicate how likely you are to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations:
(0=never, 1=slight, 2=moderate, 3=high chance of dozing) – CIRCLE ONE RESPONSE FOR EACH QUESTION
Sitting and reading……………………………………………………. 0 1 2 3
Watching television…………………………………………………… 0 1 2 3
Sitting in a public place……………………………………………….. 0 1 2 3
As a passenger in a car for one hour……………………………….. 0 1 2 3
Driving a car stopped for a few minutes in traffic………………….. 0 1 2 3
Sitting & talking to someone…………………………………………. 0 1 2 3
Sitting down quietly after lunch without alcohol…………………… 0 1 2 3
Lying down to rest in the afternoon…………………………………. 0 1 2 3
Total Score: ______

 
BMI Questionnaire
Fill in the blanks, circle one yes or no response for each question
No(0) Yes(1)
BMI (click for BMI Calculator): ______ Is it greater than or equal to 30? 0 1
Neck Circumference ______ Is it >17” (Men) or >15”(Women)? 0 1
Have you gained at least 15lbs in the past 6 months? 0 1
Total Score: ______

 
Subjective Sleep Evaluation
Please circle one yes or no response for each question No(0) Yes(1)
Do you snore?.......................................................................................................... 0 1
You, or your spouse, would consider your snoring louder than a person talking…. 0 1
Your snoring occurs almost every night……………………………………………….. 0 1
Your snoring is bothersome to your bed partner…………………………………....... 0 1
Do you feel that in some way your sleep is not refreshing or restful?..................... 0 1
Do you wake up at night or in the mornings with headaches?................................ 0 1
Do you experience fatigue during the day and have difficulty staying awake?....... 0 1
Do you have trouble remembering things or paying attention during the day?....... 0 1
Do you have high blood pressure?......................................................................... 0 1
Total Score: ______