Blog of Cawthra Dental
Peg-shaped teeth are teeth that are smaller and narrower than what would typically occur. Peg-shaped teeth most commonly affect the upper laterals (second from the front) and can affect either one or both. Peg-shaped teeth are a form of microdontia caused by developmental disturbances due to congenital reasons. They often run in families, so if a parent or sibling has a peg-shaped tooth, x-rays may be recommended to check for peg-shaped teeth in early childhood. Peg-shaped teeth can be mild to severe, and several options are available to improve the aesthetic appearance.
Dental bonding helps to improve the look of the peg-shaped teeth by adding composite resin, or a filling material, to change the colour, shape and size of the teeth. Bonding gives a great result and is the least expensive option, but it can chip and stain over time and needs to be repaired/replaced more frequently, so it is not considered the best long-term solution.
Crowns and veneers are considered a more long-term solution for peg-shaped teeth and offer the best coverage for the teeth. They can both change the shape, size and colour of the peg-shaped teeth as a more permanent solution. Both crowns and veneers are fabricated in a lab to fit precisely for the teeth. Crowns are caps that get bonded on top of the peg-shaped teeth, and veneers are thin coverings that bond to the peg-shaped teeth’ front surface. Crowns and veneers are around the same cost and significantly more expensive than bonding. Talk with your dentist about the right option for you based on your needs.
Extraction/ Implant or Braces
If the peg-shaped teeth are small and not saveable or if you are planning on getting braces, another option is to extract the peg-shaped teeth and either close the gap with braces or place an implant in the extraction site to replace the tooth.
If you have any questions about peg-shaped teeth or solutions to fix/replace them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Nursing and bottle-feeding are a vital part of raising a baby or young child, but both can affect baby teeth. The first baby teeth erupt around 6-10 months old and are the two lower front teeth. All baby teeth will be erupted into the mouth by about 2.5 years old and need to be taken care of so as not to get cavities.
Effect of Milk on Baby Teeth
“Baby bottle decay” refers to cavities caused by milk and usually appears as chipped or dark spots between the upper front teeth and along the gum lines. Both nursing and bottle feeding exposes the baby’s teeth to the natural sugars from milk, which can cause cavities just like processed sugars from sweets. Milk from nursing and a bottle both pass by the upper front teeth, so these are the teeth that are most prone to getting cavities at an early age. While cavities are most common on the upper front teeth, they can appear anywhere in the mouth.
How to Prevent Nursing/ Bottle Feeding Cavities
- Before any teeth erupt in your baby’s mouth, you can begin cleaning the gums once a day with a damp cloth or gauze.
- Once the first teeth begin to erupt, it is important to start using a small toothbrush with water to brush the teeth at least twice a day.
- Make sure to brush at least twice a day, but also try brushing after milk and always before bed.
- Don’t put your baby/ child to bed with a bottle (they can fall asleep while drinking milk and extend the exposure time to sugars)
- Always brush your baby/child’s teeth after milk, before bed.
- Never put anything in your baby/child’s bottle besides milk or water.
Fixing Baby Bottle Decay
It is vital to get your baby/child to your dentist as soon as you notice a chipped or stained spot on any of their teeth. Treatment for baby bottle decay depends on the severity of the decay. Smaller decay can be restored with white fillings, while larger decay may require the teeth to be extracted. Baby teeth extracted prematurely may lead to issues with the eruption of the adult teeth later on.
If you have any questions about baby bottle decay or the effects of nursing/ bottle feeding on your baby/child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Our dental office is still open as an essential service to serve you. Please note that dental offices are not closed and will remain open after the province of Ontario’s announcement on Monday, January 3rd, 2022, about the modified Step 2 lockdown that will come into effect on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022.
We have invested in medical-grade air purifiers for your safety, strategically placed throughout the office to recycle the air and remove harmful contaminants continuously. All patients are also screened before their appointments to ensure as safe an environment as possible. Surfaces are regularly wiped down throughout the day with sterilizing solutions and wipes.
Remember that delaying or putting off dental treatment will likely worsen any existing dental issues. Leaving dental problems ignored will result in more invasive and lengthier treatment times. Maintaining your oral health through regular dental visits and ongoing oral health monitoring through dental checkups is essential.
Have you ever thought about switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush? Choosing the right electric toothbrush that’s best for you can seem complicated, with several different brands and models to choose from. Research shows that electric toothbrushes offer a superior clean over manual toothbrushes. They can clean away more plaque and bacteria and are easier to use by brushing for you. There is the perfect electric toothbrush out there to suit your particular oral health needs.
How Do They Work?
Electric toothbrushes use powered bristles that move in a circular, sweeping, or vibrating motion to remove plaque and stain from tooth surfaces. Electric toothbrushes can perform more brush strokes in 2 minutes of brushing than you can achieve with a manual toothbrush. They have been proven to remove more plaque, reduce gum inflammation and prevent gingivitis. They work in such a way that they can replicate dental office equipment, like the polish.
Ease of use is one of the most prominent features of electric toothbrushes. Manual toothbrushes require a proper brushing stroke to remove plaque, whereas electric toothbrushes will do the work for you if placed appropriately along the teeth surfaces. Each tooth requires about 3 seconds of brushing, and it is essential to leave the toothbrush in place instead of brushing back and forth with it. Some electric toothbrushes will notify you when finished with each side of the mouth. With their ease of use, electric toothbrushes are ideal for seniors and children who may have difficulty using a manual toothbrush.
Many electric toothbrushes include features that make brushing more manageable, efficient, and fun. Various features include:
- Different brush modes such as deep clean, sensitive and tongue clean
- Pressure indicator to prevent aggressive brushing that causes gum recession
- 2-minute brush timer with quadrant notification
- Colour selection
- Access to an app to track oral health
Compared with manual, electric toothbrushes offer a far superior clean for the average person. It might just be the key component you need to optimize your oral health routine. If you have any questions about electric toothbrushes and which one to choose, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Brushing and Flossing
It is essential to help your child brush and floss their teeth until around the age of 8 to help reduce the risk of cavities and to keep their gums healthy. Brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss their teeth at least once a day. Flossing should begin around four years old when their back molars close together. Adult molars erupt around six years old, and it is essential to make sure these teeth stay cavity-free, which is why it’s recommended to continue helping brush their teeth for a few years after these teeth erupt.
Start Fluoride Toothpaste at 3 Years Old
Around three years old, start your child on a toothpaste containing fluoride. Use the size of the tip of a pen (very small.) This will be enough fluoride to help benefit their teeth while having no concerns with accidentally ingesting it.
Fluoride Mouthwash at 6 Years Old
If your child is particularly cavity-prone, they may benefit from a mouthwash containing fluoride in addition to their toothpaste. Make sure they aren’t rinsing, eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using any product containing fluoride to help the fluoride work. Only start a fluoride mouthwash once they are competently spitting out.
Low Sugar Consumption
Sugar is the main cavity-causing culprit. Reducing sugar intake is proven to help reduce the risk of cavities. Sugars that are sticky, chewy or gummy will get stuck in the biting surfaces of their teeth. Make sure to help your child brush their teeth after these snacks, or at least have them rinse their mouth with water.
Vitamins containing sugar are a significant culprit for cavities. Make sure the vitamins you select are sugar-free. Crunchy vitamins are also better than gummy vitamins because they don’t stick in the teeth as much.
Brushing After Nursing
Make sure to brush your child’s teeth after nursing and before bed. Milk contains natural sugars that can cause cavities, so it is important not to let that milk sit on their teeth. The most common holes from nursing are on the upper front teeth. Make sure to check for chips or dark spots on their front teeth during nursing.
No Bottle to Bed
Please do not put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, as the milk can sit in their mouth and cause cavities. Try to give your baby the bottle, brush their teeth, and then put them to bed.
If you have any questions about how to protect your child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Several conditions may cause a bad smell in the nose, including sinusitis, tooth/ mouth infections, dry mouth, some medications, some foods/drinks, and olfactory damage. Typically, a bad smell in the nose is not life-threatening but can decrease the quality of life.
Acute or Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, leading to nasal congestion, bad breath and nasal discharge. These symptoms collectively can cause a foul smell in the nose. Sinusitis can be acute (short term, lasting 3-8 weeks) or chronic (long term.) It is typically caused by a strain of bacteria but can also be caused by a virus or fungus.
Tooth infections, cavities and poor oral hygiene can all lead to a bad smell in the nose and a bad taste in the mouth. Plaque and bacteria have an odour and can travel through the mouth and reach the sinuses. Tooth decay traps bacteria that release gases that can also produce an unpleasant odour.
Certain Foods/ Drinks
The ability to taste and smell is due to microscopic molecules in foods and drinks that travel to the sinuses through passageways in the mouth. Some foods can linger in the mouth and lead to a bad smell in the nose. These foods and drinks include garlic, onions, coffee and spicy foods.
In much the same way as foods and drinks, some medications can also lead to a bad smell in the nose. These medications include nitrates and nitrites, amphetamines and phenothiazine.
Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough salivary production. Dry mouth symptoms are feeling parched, swollen nasal passageway, sticky mouth, cracked lips and a bad smell in the nose. Causes of dry mouth include dehydration, certain medications, old age, and salivary gland conditions.
Smoking/ Tobacco Use
Tobacco use can cause bad breath, and it can also alter the way tastes and smells are perceived, which can cause a bad smell in the nose.
This is a condition in which people smell certain odours that aren’t there. Often these odours are burning, metallic, chemical or rotten. Phantosmia is associated with colds/flus, sinus infections, migraines, epilepsy and stroke.
Some digestive conditions, such as acid reflux, can cause a foul smell in the nose and a bad taste in the mouth. Some more serious conditions can also be related to a bad smell in the nose, such as diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.
The treatment for a bad smell in the nose is based on the cause. Some home remedies include a daily salt-water rinse, staying hydrated, and practicing good oral hygiene care at home. You can also use over-the-counter medications such as nasal decongestant spray and antihistamines. It is essential to see your doctor/dentist if the bad smell lingers for several weeks or more, as it may be a sign of an underlying condition. Contact us for more information.
Nightguards are used to help protect your teeth from the wear and damage caused by common clenching or grinding habits. The term for these habits is called “bruxism” and is thought to occur in up to 30% of the population. These habits often happen at night as a form of sleep movement disorder and are involuntary. Clenching is when the jaws bite down hard against each other, and grinding is when the jaws move back and forth on each other. Both of these habits can lead to teeth and jaw problems over time.
Signs & Symptoms of Bruxism
- Soreness/ tenderness in the jaw
- Jaw clicking/locking/popping while opening or closing
- Sore muscles in the cheeks, head or neck
- Sensitive teeth
- Wear spots on the biting surfaces of the teeth
- Gum recession (usually on the back surfaces of the teeth)
How Night Guards Work
Nightguards help to protect your teeth by taking the pressure and strain away from the teeth and jaw and placing it on the guard. The night guard acts as a cushion between the upper and lower teeth to absorb force. Nightguards can be fabricated to fit on either the top or bottom teeth and can be made from various plastics ranging from soft to hard.
How Nightguards are Made
A night guard is made professionally in a dental office/ dental lab. The first step is to have impressions taken of your teeth (both upper and lower.) Next, the impressions are used to make a replica of your teeth and jaw with a plaster model. Once the plaster model is created and set, a machine is used to mould the plastic guard material around the model, which will give an exact fit for your mouth. The night guard will be tried in and adjusted for comfort and fit if needed.
- Make sure to wear your night guard every night in order to get the best protection.
- Clean your night guard every morning with a separate toothbrush and warm running water, and store it in your night guard case
- Don’t use hot water on your night guard as this may warp the material.
- If you notice your night guard is beginning to crack, chip or break, the guard will no longer be offering the best protection, and it’s time to have a new guard made.
If you think you could benefit from a nightguard, or have any questions about them, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
A sports guard is a plastic tray that covers the entire upper arch of teeth to prevent tooth on tooth trauma from contact sports. A sports guard acts as a cushion between teeth, absorbing the blow. Sports guards should be worn for any sport where there is a risk of injury from another person or an intimate object, such as basketball, hockey, football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. Two common types of sports guards are boil and bite and professionally made.
Boil and Bite Sports Guards
This type of sports guard can be purchased in most sporting goods stores and is relatively inexpensive. The material is heated up and bit into, so an impression of the teeth is left to cool down. A boil and bite sports guard doesn’t offer the best protection because it isn’t designed specifically for each person’s teeth. Boil and bite sports guards are only recommended for children whose mouths are growing and changing.
Professionally Made Sports Guards
Professionally made sports guards are fabricated from an impression taken of the upper and lower teeth to get a replica. Professionally made sports guards offer the best fit and the best protection for the teeth and jaw. Professionally made sports guards also last longer than boil and bite sports guards. For any adult playing contact sports, it is always recommended to have a professionally made sports guard over a boil and bite sports guard.
Important Sports Guard Tips
- Wear your sports guard when playing a contact sport, even while practicing
- Clean your sports guard after each use with a separate toothbrush and warm water
- Store your sports guard in a clean case
- Never use hot water on your sports guard, as this may warp it.
- Your sports guard should fit snug to your teeth, and you shouldn’t be able to pop it out with your tongue. If you can, it is too loose and likely needs to be adjusted.
- If you notice chips or breaks on your sports guard, it might be time for a new one as it likely isn’t offering the same protection.
If you need a sports guard or have any questions about them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Anyone who’s had dental braces knows it can be challenging to keep the braces, teeth and gums clean due to many nooks and crannies and difficult-to-reach areas. Braces are recommended when there is crowding, space issues or bite issues, and treatment time is typically between 2-3 years. There are several options for straightening teeth, including clear aligners, lingual braces (braces on the backside of teeth,) and traditional braces. Each option has its pros and cons in terms of treatment length, aesthetics and function. For this article, we will be focusing on how to clean traditional braces adequately.
An electric toothbrush is highly recommended for use during orthodontic treatment. An electric toothbrush does a better job of accessing difficult-to-reach spots and can remove more bacteria than a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes come with either a circular or oval-shaped head and use either an oscillating or sweeping motion, depending on the brand. An electric toothbrush performs more brush strokes in 2 minutes than what you can do with a manual toothbrush. Make sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each brush.
A helpful tool to use during orthodontic treatment is a water flosser. This tool is used to spray water between teeth and around brackets to flush out bacteria. Water flossers are particularly good at cleaning out difficult-to-access areas. Make sure to angle your head into the sink during use, and use once or twice a day.
Floss Threader/ Superfloss
When using traditional manual floss, either a floss threader or super floss must be used to access the floss underneath the wire and between the teeth. Both of these options have a hard end that helps poke the floss between the teeth.
This is a handy tool to help clean between brackets, which can be difficult to access because the wire is in the way. A proxabrush is similar to a pipe cleaner and cleans away bacteria with its tiny bristles. It is meant to be angled underneath the wire, between the brackets.
If you have any questions about keeping dental braces clean or what products will work best for you, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
You may have been startled at one time or another at the appearance of your tongue being white in colour. This is typically harmless and can occur either on the entire top of the tongue or just a portion. In rare occurrences, a white tongue can be caused by something more serious. It is essential to monitor signs and symptoms if you are experiencing a white tongue and see your dentist if there is no improvement after a couple of weeks.
Typical Causes of a White Tongue
A common cause of a white tongue is poor oral hygiene. This occurs when plaque and bacteria form on the tongue, giving it a coated appearance. This white coating is easily cleanable with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. Other causes of a white tongue are dry mouth, dehydrating, breathing through the mouth at night, eating a diet high in carbohydrates, trauma to the tongue such as biting it, smoking and drinking alcohol.
Less Common White Tongue Causes
Oral Thrush – This is an oral infection caused by a build-up of candida yeast. Those with a weakened immune system are more at risk of oral thrush, such as people with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or certain deficiencies such as iron or vitamin B. Additionally; oral thrush can be caused by the use of dentures, in particular, if they are not removed nightly or cleaned properly.
Leukoplakia – Consists of white patches that form on the mouth’s soft tissue, such as the cheeks, gums, floor of the mouth and tongue. The patches are typically thickened tissue and can form into oral cancer.
Oral Lichen Planus – caused by an issue with the immune system, lichen planus cause appear as white spots that form on the tongue. This is usually coupled with mouth sores and bleeding gums.
Syphilis – This is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause oral sores. If left untreated, syphilis can cause leukoplakia spots on the tongue called syphilis leukoplakia.
When to See a Dentist
It is essential to see a dentist if the white coating stays persistently on the tongue after a couple of weeks, even with cleaning it. In addition, if there is a burning sensation, pain, trouble chewing or talking, open sores, fever or weight loss.