Frequently Asked Questions

A dental exam interval is dependent on the individuals oral health needs. For many people this is a dental exam and cleaning every 6 months. The goal of this is to catch small problems early. The dentist might recommend visiting more or less often based on the overall oral health of your oral cavity. Some questions to ask yourself to assess your oral health are:

How often do you brush and floss?

Do you eat a well balanced diet and avoid sticky and sweet foods?

Do you smoke?

Do you have a history of gum disease or cavities?

How is your overall health including medications that you are taking?

Are you a grinder?

Frequency of dental X-rays depends on your oral health. If your dental health is good you will not need X-rays at every appointment. If your dental situation isn’t as stable you may need X-rays on a more regular basis. Dental X-rays deliver a minimal dose of radiation and are essential for a comprehensive assessment of oral cavity.

All insurance plans are different and unique. Dental coverage varies among insurance companies. The best way to know your dental coverage is to call the insurance company yourself. As an office we only know a patient’s coverage once we submit a claim. Insurance companies in general have a maximum value that can be spent each year and they break dental work down into two categories; major and minor work. Minor work consists of but not limited to dental checkups, cleaning, X-rays, fillings, sealants and extractions. Major work is normally any procedure that is valued at more than $500 such as root canals, crowns, bridges, implants and dentures. The best way to establish your exact coverage is to contact the insurance company with co-operation from your dentist for the best overall assessment of coverage. Some dental procedures are expensive and the dentist will give the ideal treatment plan for your individual consideration with this in mind. Ones oral health should not be based on price but rather what is best for the patient. Once a treatment has been performed it is the patient’s responsibility to pay for it. This is where dental insurance can help.

There are two types of bleaching that can be done in a dental office. Non vital bleaching is for a tooth that is damaged or darkened from a root canal procedure and vital bleaching (whitening) is done on a healthy tooth. Whitening can be done by various methods and not all products are the same and suitable for everyone. Whitening toothpastes are generally the most common with minimal amounts of “bleach” in them and mostly are used to remove light staining from foods. Bleaching kits sold in stores stay on teeth for minutes and can cause side effects due to lack of expertise from your dentist. These kits are also not customized to your individual needs as a patient. In office bleaching performed by a dentist is customizable to the patient and the side effects can be monitored by the dentist. The most common of these in office bleaching kits would be custom made trays that can be used at home or in office bleaching done in an appointment or several appointments chairside.

It is important to get an early start of dental care. The Canadian Dental Association suggests that a child be seen within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth or by one year of age. The first appointment is not to just evaluate the child’s oral health but to also give a first positive dental experience for your child. It is also important to educate the patients and child about important tips for ideal dental health.

Fluoride is a mineral that is found in soil, water and various foods. Fluoride provides a positive effect on oral health by making teeth resistant to decay. Fluoride can prevent or reverse tooth decay and acid erosion. In most areas public drinking water has fluoride in it as well as most toothpastes and rinses. A dentist often will provide a fluoride treatment with a cleaning to assure that the patient is getting an adequate amount of fluoride for optimal tooth health.

First off, we do have direct billing. Direct billing in general, means that our dental office will submit the dental claim on the patient’s behalf allowing the patient to only pay a fraction of the remaining balance which is not covered by insurance. For major work a preauthorization for the work that needs to be done is send out from our office so that the patient knows exactly how much they will be paying for the procedure that needs to be done before starting the work.

Children tend to rush tooth brushing and tend to miss areas that are crucial to optimal dental health. It is advised that a parent assist their children when brushing and flossing. As a general rule, when a child can tie their own shoes they will have the required manual dexterity to brush and floss their own teeth. Another reason for assisting children is so that they don’t swallow a large quantity of toothpaste while brushing which can be toxic or lead to dental fluorosis. A pea size drop of toothpaste is the required amount needed for brushing your teeth for an adult and a half a pea size is more than enough for a child.

The general rule for brushing and flossing is the more the better. In an ideal world you would brush and floss after every meal but normally convenience restricts that. The unwritten rule is to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once before you go to bed and to floss at least once a day. It is important to clean your oral cavity before going to bed because that is when bacteria can affect your teeth the most.

A cavity is caused by an accumulation of bacteria in your oral cavity. Once the bacteria congregate they eat the sugars in your mouth as food. Once they consume the simple sugars they excrete acid into your mouth and onto your tooth surface lowering the ph in your mouth. This decrease in ph causes the outer layer of your tooth (enamel) to be eaten away forming a cavity. Once a cavity is formed the bacteria needs to be removed and a filling needs to be placed to repair the lost tooth structure. If the cavity is too large it might need alternative dental treatment for it to be repaired.

According to the CDA (Canadian Dental Association), scientific studies have not verified that dental amalgam is causing illness in the general populations. It is known that amalgam fillings release minute amounts of mercury vapour but this can also be absorbed from natural sources such as foods as well. As a single element mercury is a poisonous metal but in dental amalgam it is bound in an alloy with silver, copper and tin. According to Health Canada they estimate that an average Canadian adult 20-59 years old absorbs about nine millionths of a gram per day with dental amalgam contributing about three millionths of a gram per day. Dental amalgam is still used in dentistry today since scientific evidence shows that there are no significant risks involved with using it where as the benefits to patients are known to be large. As with anything in dentistry there are alternative fillings materials that can be discussed with your dentist if the patient has a concern towards amalgam (silver) fillings.

There is no reason to have your amalgam fillings replaced if they are still good dental fillings. Replacement of dental amalgam fillings can be considered when a patient has sensitivity to the filling material itself. If there is a flaw in the filling or there is decay associated with the filling, replacing it with a different material at that time is perfectly acceptable.

Everybody’s mouth is unique. Wisdom teeth are the teeth at the back of your dental arch. Sometimes wisdom teeth can erupt into your mouth and sometimes they will not. Everyone should have their wisdom teeth evaluated on a case by case basis especially if orthodontics (braces) is involved.

If a woman is pregnant their oral care still needs to be maintained. Changes in lifestyle and hormones can cause changes in the oral cavity. Regular visits for a checkup and cleaning are still important. The dentist will work with you and find the best possible treatment for you as you are going through your pregnancy often delaying treatment in some cases until the baby is born. Emergency treatments can still be performed if a woman is pregnant.