Dentistry On 7 Blog

The Benefits Of Sedation Dentistry

For some, odontophobia, or fear of dentists, is more than a convenient excuse to opt out of a regular routine check-up. The extreme anxiety associated with a visit to the dentist is enough to keep people away from professional oral care for a lifetime. We all know how dangerous neglecting your oral health can be. From gingivitis to oral cancer, your dental team is the first line of defense for a happy mouth. Sedation dentistry is the best solution, easing patient anxieties and fears so they can benefit from the necessary health care the dentist has to offer. As the name suggests, sedation dentistry uses medications to help a patient reach the relaxed state necessary for the dentist to proceed with their dental procedure. Sedatives are usually used to relieve anxiety, stress, and promote a relaxing, anxiety-free experience. Outside of helping individuals overcome their anxieties surrounding dental visits, sedation dentistry offers several benefits for both dentists and patients alike.

Pain Free

Patients under sedation have an increased pain threshold, which allows the dentist to perform complicated procedures with little or no anesthesia. Limiting the use of anesthesia can also result in lesser fees.

Appointments Feel Lightening Fast

People often comment that when under sedation their appointment seemingly lasted only a few minutes, when in fact it may have taken hours.

Longer Procedures = Fewer Appointments

Under sedation, you are able to endure longer sessions without discomfort and the exhaustion of keeping your mouth open for long periods of time. This means the dentist can work more easily and do a more thorough job, in essence decreasing the number of required visits per year. Complex procedures that normally last over a period of several appointments can be completed in one, saving you time and money. As with any medical procedure, however, there are a few associated risks. Most important to note, the biggest risk involves taking other medications. A patient taking other medications may experience unusual side effects if sedated. We recommend full disclosure of medical history, including medicines taken, be made with the dentist before undergoing sedation dentistry.

For more information, or to find out if Sedation Dentistry is the right option for you, contact Denistry on 7 today for a complimentary consultation.

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The Best Oral Health Travel Tips You Need To Know For Your Summer Vacation

You work hard all week, month, year long – you deserve a little R&R for your troubles. But you can’t take a vacation from your oral health. Take these oral care tips to along when you’re leaving on a jet plane (or hitting the road) for your grand summer adventure – your teeth will surely thank you.

Pack It Properly

Your toothbrush needs to stay dry, or else it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Air it out before you leave, and pack it in a travel container that is large enough to provide good air circulation, and has holes for drainage and ventilation. Take it out of the case as soon as you get where you’re going. PS: Clean that case when you get home! Or at least before you use it again.

Pack Portable Products

In lieu of carting around your entire oral care routine, pick up products made with travel in mind. Collapsible toothbrushes and disposable flossers don’t take up much space and can fit in your carry-on.

Watch What You Eat

You’re on vacation – its time to cut loose and act like a tourist! Which also means its time to eat like a tourist. From sugary sweet cocktails to that oh-so-tempting dessert buffet, we tend to overindulge our sweet tooth when we go on holiday. As hard as it might seem, try to limit the number of treats you allow yourself a day, and make sure to clean your teeth well or chew sugarless gum if you can’t get to your brush after your meal.

Make Sure The Water Is Fine

In some countries the water might be just fine for washing your hands and face, but might not be safe for drinking. If the local water isn’t safe to drink, it’s not safe for oral care either, so have bottled or boiled water ready in the bathroom.

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The Dangers of Silver Fillings

The dental industry has been using dental amalgam (silver) fillings for years, but do these seemingly innocuous little pieces of metal pose a hidden threat to your health?

Dental amalgam fillings are commonly composed of silver, tin, copper, and mercury, which in fact makes up about 50% of the amalgam. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that, at certain levels, can cause neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illness and mental disorders.

Is there great risk associated with dental amalgam fillings?

Silver fillings have been used for over a century, and today around 47% of all dentists still place amalgam fillings.

Studies have shown that while amalgam fillings can release mercury vapor, the quantities are not likely a cause for concern to humans. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan into a common test used to determine mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings suggests that results may significantly overestimate the amount of toxic metal released from fillings. But the World Health Organization has stated that exposure to mercury vapor from these fillings can greatly increase due to a number of personal habits, including teeth grinding, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.

Although Health Canada recommends non-mercury filling materials for restorations in the primary teeth of children, pregnant women, those who have allergic hypersensitivity to mercury, or who have impaired kidney function, the bulk of current research has found no definitive link between dental amalgams and health complaints, except in those cases where individuals are allergic to mercury (about 3% of people), and may experience sores in the mouth and skin rash.

Should you have a dental amalgam filling removed?

Health Canada does not support the removal of sound amalgam fillings in patients who have shown no indication of related adverse health effects. And, according to the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration, any dentist who recommends removing amalgams due to health concerns from mercury vapor is deemed unethical.

In fact, the highest amount of mercury exposure from silver fillings occurs when they are replaced or removed. If you are concerned about the amount of mercury vapor being released from existing silver fillings, speak with your dental care providers, as they can determine whether your fillings are intact, and can discuss with you the potential risks around keeping or removing amalgams.

There are, however, circumstances where removing an amalgam is necessary or recommended. If you have amalgam fillings that are 20 years or older, and are causing gum inflammation, preventing you from flossing, or there is tooth decay present beneath the filling, they can be replaced with a non-amalgam restoration.

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A Look Back: Dentistry Through The Ages

From humble beginnings, the practice of dental science has rapidly advanced over the ages. We take a look at how far we’ve come.

Origins

Though there is some evidence dating as far back as 5000 B.C that suggests people were aware of tooth decay, the earliest known reference of a dental practitioner comes from 2600 B.C. An inscription on the tomb of Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe often credited as the first “dentist” includes, “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

From 500 – 300 B.C., Hippocrates and Aristotle write about dentistry, including eruption patterns of teeth, the process of treating decayed teeth and gum disease, extraction, and using wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws.

From 166 – 201 A.D., there is evidence of the Etruscans (of ancient Italy and Corsica) practicing the use of dental prosthetics using gold crowns and fixed bridgework.

The Middle Ages

One of the first mentions of the use of silver paste, a type of amalgam used for fillings, comes from a Chinese medical text.

Five hundred years later in France, the Guild of Barbers is established. During the Middle Ages, barbers were expected to do anything from cutting hair to amputating limbs. Eventually, barbers evolved into two groups – surgeons who are educated and trained to perform complex surgical operations, and lay barbers, or barber surgeons, who performed more routine hygienic services including shaving, bleeding, and tooth extraction.

In 1530, the Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth, the first book devoted entirely to dentistry, is published in Germany for barbers and surgeons who treat the mouth.

Ambrose Pare, who is considered the father of surgery, publishes his Complete Works in 1575, which includes practical information about dentistry, such as tooth extraction, and treatment of tooth decay and jaw fractures.

A Profession is Born

The practice of dentistry continues to evolve over the years until the 18th century, when Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon, publishes The Surgeon Dentist (Le Chirurgien Dentiste) in 1723. Fauchard is credited as the Father of Modern Dentistry, as his book was the first to describe the comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry including basic oral anatomy and function, operative and restoration techniques, and denture construction.

In 1760, John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up his practice.

Known more outside of the dental industry for his role in alerting the American’s to the British invasion, Paul Revere placed an ad in a Boston newspaper offering his services as a dentist between 1768 and 1770. He is also responsible for the first known case of postmortem dental forensics, after he verified the death of his friend, Dr Joseph Warren, when he identified the bridge he had constructed for Warren.

Scientific and Educational Advances

Things move quickly over the course of the 19th century. In 1825, Samuel Stockton begins the commercial manufacture of porcelain teeth.

From 1833, the Crawcour brothers from France introduce amalgam filling material in the United States. Their unscrupulous methods spark the “amalgam wars”, a bitter controversy within the dental profession of the use of amalgam fillings that continues to this day.

In 1839, the world’s first dental journal, the American Journal of Dental Science, begins publication, and Charles Goodyear invents the vulcanization process for hardening rubber, which is adopted for use as a base for false teeth.

The world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, is founded by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris in 1840. They also establish the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.

In 1859, 26 dentists meet in Niagara Falls, New York and form the American Dental Association.

In 1860, Lucy Beaman Hobbs becomes the first woman to earn a dental degree. Three years later, Dr Robert Tanner Freeman, graduating from Harvard University Dental School, becomes the first African-American to earn a dental degree.

The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes the toothpaste manufacturing industry in the 1880s. Previously only available in liquid or powder forms, usually made by individual dentists, tube toothpaste is mass-produced in factories, mass-marketed, and sold nationwide. Within 20 years, it becomes the norm.

The first female dental assistant is employed by C Edmond Kells, a prominent New Orleans dentist, in 1885. Her duties included chair-side assistance, instrument cleaning, inventory, appointments, bookkeeping, and reception.

X-rays are discovered by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, and in 1896, C Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.

Innovation & Technological Advancements

The dental industry benefited from countless advancements in technique and technology over the course of the 20th century.

In 1903, Charles Land devised the porcelain jacket crown.

Alfred Einhorn, a German chemist, formulated the local anaesthetic procain, in 1905. Today we know it as  Novocain.

In 1913, Alfred C Fones opens the Fones Clinic for Dental Hygienists in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the world’s first oral hygiene school. Most of the 27 women graduates of the first year are employed by the Bridgeport Board of Education to clean the teeth of school children, which greatly reduced the incidence of cavities among these children. Dr Fones is the first to use the term “dental hygienist,” and becomes known as the Father of Dental Hygiene.

The first nylon toothbrush, made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market in 1938, and the first fluoride toothpastes hit the market in 1950. The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States, followed by a  cordless, rechargeable model in 1961.

In 1989, the first commercial home tooth bleaching product is marketed, followed closely by new tooth-colored restorative materials, plus increased usage of bleaching, veneers, and implants in 1990, which inaugurates an era of esthetic dentistry.

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Stress and Your Smile: What Grinding Does To Your Teeth

Have you ever woken in the morning and found your jaw was tight or sore? You might be grinding your teeth.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth, which can lead to pain in the jaw. It’s commonly believed to be caused by stress or anxiety, a not-so-off-the-mark diagnosis since tension and stress disorders go hand in hand. More likely, however, bruxism caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. Grinding your teeth at night? That’s called sleep bruxism – which is considered a sleep-movement disorder. People who clench or grind over night are more likely to have other sleep disorder, such as snoring and sleep apnea.

Bruxism, when mild, does not generally require treatment. But frequent or severe occurrences may lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth, and other problems.

Worse still, those suffering from sleep bruxism may be unaware of it until complications develop, meaning it is important to know the warning signs and seek regular dental care.

How can you tell if you grind your teeth? A dull constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up in the morning is common sign of bruxism. Sometimes night grinding is so loud your loved one can hear it.

While teeth grinding might seem like a relatively harmless condition, some serious complications can arise if it’s not addressed. In some cases, chronic grinding has lead to fracturing or loosening of teeth, tooth loss, even tempomandibular joint disorders (TMD/TMJ). It’s possible for teeth to become worn down so far that the sufferer might require a bridge, crown, root canal, implant, or partial or complete denture to correct the damage.

Only your dentist will be able to diagnose the problem correctly. If you are experiencing tenderness, stiffness or pain in your jaw, be sure to let your dentist know at your next appointment.

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Did You Know Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Pregnancy?

Pregnancy?

From an expanding waistline to mood swings and more, a woman’s body undergoes dramatic changes during pregnancy, and the state of her oral health is not exempt. Below, we outline three of the most common problems that plague pregnant women, what causes them, and what you can do to fix them.

Pregnancy Gingivitis:

Gums appear redder, swollen, or bleed when brushed. Though temporary, these changes can occur as early as the second month of pregnancy and persist until after you give birth.

The Cause: The most likely culprits are increased hormone levels, which may enhance the growth of certain bacteria known to cause gingivitis, or a weakened immune system.

The Fix: You can reduce the effects by practicing good oral hygiene: brush twice a day, floss every day, and use an alcohol free antimicrobial rinse.

Tooth Erosion:

A wearing away of the enamel on the backs of the front teeth.

The Cause: Frequent vomiting due to severe morning sickness.

The Fix: This will go against your natural tendency but don’t brush right away. Rinse with a mixture of baking soda and water or commercial rinse designed to reduce the acid level of your mouth first.

Dry Mouth:

A decrease in saliva produced by the salivary glands.

The Cause: Most often attributed to medication, dry mouth during early pregnancy may also be a result of the body storing water, which can create a feeling of dehydration. Pregnant women may also complain of cracked lips and a burning sensation in the mouth.

The Fix: Stay as hydrated as possible! Drink plenty of water, and you can stimulate saliva secretion by sucking on sugarless hard candies or gum containing xylitol, which can reduce the harmful bacteria that causes cavities.

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A Sparkling Smile Starts With Healthy Choices

We all know that brushing twice a day and being friendly with your floss are part of a proper oral health care routine, but maintaining a happy mouth starts with what you feed it! Keep these dental friendly food facts in mind the next time you hit the grocery store:

Load Up On Calcium

A tooth’s first line of defense is its rock hard outer layer – the enamel. Keep these enamel-friendly food choices handy: cheese, chicken (or other meats), nuts, and milk. Did we just say cheese? You bet we did. These foods are thought to help protect enamel by providing calcium and phosphorus, which are instrumental in remineralizing teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

Steer Clear of the Candy Aisle

Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth? There aren’t very many folks who can resist the siren song of a chocolate bar or a handful of jelly beans, but you should really limit yourself to once or twice a week. Enjoy nature’s bounty instead! Bonus: crunchy fruits and vegetables do double duty – the higher water content of these foods dilutes the effects of sugars contained within them.

Ask For A Glass of H20

Thirsty? Don’t sip on soda or other sugar-laden beverages all day – this constant exposure to sugar is what leads to decay. Opt for water (especially fluoridated), milk, and unsweetened tea instead.

Share A Stick …

… of sugar-free gum, that is. It has been proven that chewing sugarless gum can actually be beneficial to your teeth, by helping to dislodge food that may become stuck, and increasing saliva flow to neutralize acids in the mouth.

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April Is Oral Health Month!

April is for flowers and oral health! A bright smile is like a ray of sunshine on a beautiful spring day, so could there be a better time to focus on your oral health care?

A good oral health care routine is key to more than just healthy teeth and gums. Not only can pain and discomfort in the mouth be signs of more serious health issues, like oral cancer or other chronic diseases, but infections or missing teeth can also affect your mental wellness, your confidence and your ability to socialize.

This month, take note to take care of your smile with our favorite tips for your overall oral health.

An apple a day: Make healthy food choices

A well-balanced diet is wonderful on so many levels, and from root to enamel, can go a long way to protect and strengthen your teeth. Avoid sugary and acidic foods that can cause erosion and decay. Make sure to eat foods rich in calcium (like cheese and milk), and fruits and vegetables that are crunchy and firm are a part of your diet.

The rule of ‘3’

What is the rule of 3? Brush your teeth twice a day (morning and night), and floss at least once. Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride based toothpaste, and flossing helps to remove harmful bacteria and prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Is your floss game on point? Check out our tips and tricks to flossing the right way.

Stop smoking

Easier said than done, but smoking is a number one cause of oral cancer, along with other common mouth related problems, including staining of your enamel and bad breath. Want a healthy smile? Put down the cigarette! This little factoid might help: many smokers chew gum when they’re working on quitting, and did you know that chewing gum can be good for oral health?

Schedule regular dental checkups

For whatever reason, people tend to only think of their dentist when something goes wrong, but your dentist is your friend! Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist will keep your mouth healthy and fresh – a happy smile will last awhile!

When was the last time you visited your dentist? Contact Dentistry on 7 to book an appointment, we’re looking forward to seeing you!

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The Dangerous Signs Of Oral Cancer

This is a sobering fact: According to the Canadian Dental Association, every year over 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer. Although the occurrence is rare compared to other forms, the death rate from oral cancer is significantly higher due to it usually being discovered in the later stages of its development.

There is good news, though. If caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable. Back to back, those statements may seem to contradict each other, but it’s possible for those vigilant about their oral health to spot the warning signs.

Oral cancer usually affects the lips, gums, and tongue, as well as the lining of the cheeks, and the floor and roof of the mouth. You can be on the look out for:

  • White, red, or mixed red and white spots / patches on your tongue, gums, or any other tissue in your mouth
  • A sore in the mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Persistent tenderness, pain, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek or neck
  • A thick, rough, or crusty spot, or small area that looks like it’s wearing away anywhere in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in your voice that isn’t due to cold or allergies
  • Persistent earache
  • Numbness of the lower lip and chin

The list is not conclusive, and while these symptoms may suggest oral cancer, only a health care professional can make that determination for sure. Book an appointment with your dentist or doctor right away if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms.

Early diagnosis can make a huge difference in how oral cancer affects your life, but prevention is always better than the cure. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself:

Avoid tobacco in all forms – it’s responsible for roughly 90 per cent of all oral cancers!

Cut back on alcohol. Heavy alcohol use increases your risk of oral cancer, but when paired with smoking the risk shoots even higher.

Cover up in the sun. Cancer in lips can result from too much sun exposure, so use a lip balm with sunscreen and wear a hat.

Schedule regular check ups with your dentist – they are in the best position to keep track of changes in your mouth and spot the warning signs early.

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The Different Stages of your Child’s Oral Health

From the toothless smiles of toddlers to the over-crowded grins of teenagers, the landscape of your child’s mouth will change dramatically as they age, but instilling good oral care habits early on will make sure their smile’s are healthy for life.

The most common oral diseases that affect children – even those as young as six months – are tooth decay and cavities, both of which form when sugary liquids are left in the mouth for too long, and the teeth are not cleaned. Parents are the first line of defense for a good oral health care routine.

Stage One: 0 – 6 months

Did you know that your baby’s teeth start to form as early as the sixth week of your pregnancy? A well-balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods like yogurt and dark leafy greens will start her smile off right.

Once baby has arrived, you can begin an oral care routine: at the same time every day – bath-time is ideal, but especially after a nighttime feed – use a soft, clean wash cloth or finger brush to gently massage the inside of your baby’s mouth.

Stage Two: 6 – 24 months

At about six months (and often before), your baby will start teething. You can expect about 20 teeth in all.

Help relieve pain and discomfort from teething by offering her a teething ring that contains only water, and has been cooled in the fridge, a damp washcloth for him or her to chew on, and by massaging the gums with your clean finger or a baby washcloth.

Brush their teeth in a circular motion with water and a small, soft toothbrush twice a day for at least two minutes to remove sugar that can form plaque, which can lead to tooth decay. Once a month, check baby’s mouth by lifting their lip to look for chalky white or brown spots at the front and back of her teeth.

Encourage healthy snacking: opt for cheese, veggies, fruit, yogurt, and water or milk over juices and sugary pop or drinks.

You may be guilty of these common mistakes parents make when it comes to their children’s oral health

Stage 3: 2 – 5

Continue encouraging your child to brush her teeth for two minutes twice a day using either a manual or power tooth brush with soft bristles. Once he or she is three years of age or can spit it out, you can introduce fluoride toothpaste. Health Canada recommends no more than a pea-sized amount under supervision until the age of 6.

Stage 4: 6 – 12

At this stage, your child’s baby teeth will start to fall and their adult teeth will start to appear. Adult teeth are usually larger and more yellow in colour, and will continue to erupt into your child’s teenage years. You should continue to monitor and help with brushing and flossing until they are eight or nine years old.

Some children may need specialized care to straighten out crooked teeth or correct teeth and jaws that do not fit together correctly. Talk to your dentist about a recommendation.

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