Blog of Cawthra Dental
It is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy. Good oral health translates to good overall health. There have been proven scientific connections between poor oral health (such as gum disease) and low birth weight or premature babies. During your pregnancy, your gum tissues may be more susceptible to inflammation due to plaque accumulation, and therefore proper brushing and flossing are necessary.
What Causes Pregnancy Gingivitis?
Pregnancy gingivitis is the presence of inflammation in the gums due to pregnancy. This occurs due to the changes in hormone levels in the body, such as estrogen and progesterone. There is an increased response to the accumulation of plaque. The body’s immune system sends more blood to the gums, which can cause swelling, irritation and bleeding. Also, the change in hormones can make it easier for certain types of bacteria to grow.
Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy Gingivitis
- Pain or tenderness of the gum tissues
- Swollen, puffy gums
- Gums that are most susceptible to bleeding when brushing and flossing
- Pregnancy tumours (rare) that appear as bulbous swollen areas of gum tissue localized between teeth
How To Manage Pregnancy Gingivitis
It may not be possible to eradicate all pregnancy gingivitis symptoms, but it is possible to decrease them by keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Make sure to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day and use an antimicrobial mouthwash with an ADA or CDA approval. Also, make sure to visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Your dental hygienist may recommend more frequent dental cleanings during pregnancy if you exhibit signs of pregnancy gingivitis. Lastly, do not stress. Pregnancy gingivitis is common and typically goes away on its own if adequately cared for.
If you think you have pregnancy gingivitis or have any questions about how to manage its symptoms, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
With the numerous types of toothbrushes on the market, it can be challenging to know which will work best for you. There is electric, battery-operated and manual. They come in soft, medium, and hard-bristled. All the options can be overwhelming! It is essential to choose the right toothbrush based on your needs, so talk with your dentist or dental hygienist about which toothbrush will work best for you and your teeth.
Electric Toothbrush Technique
Typically, an electric toothbrush does a better job of plaque removal than a manual toothbrush because the electric toothbrush is doing the work for you. Your job is to help the toothbrush by slowly moving it along, tooth by tooth. Spend about 3 seconds on each surface of every tooth (that means top, front, and back.) Electric toothbrushes either use an oscillating motion or a sweeping motion. Some electric toothbrushes come with a pressure indicator to let you know when you are applying too much pressure and a UV cleaning station to sanitize your toothbrush head.
Manual Toothbrush Techniques
Circular Brushing Technique
This brushing technique is the easiest to learn and is therefore great for children. The teeth can either be open (brushing one arch at a time) or closed (brushing both top and bottom teeth simultaneously.) Position the toothbrush directly on the teeth surfaces at a 90-degree angle, and the brush is worked in a circular motion on the teeth and gums. The brush should be pressed gently, not aggressively, onto the teeth and gums. The technique is repeated through the entire mouth on the front surfaces and back surfaces of the teeth. For the biting surfaces, a back and forth scrub technique can be used.
Stillman’s Brushing Technique
The following two brush techniques, Stillman’s and Bass, are more suited for adults, requiring more dexterity. For Stillman’s technique, the toothbrush is placed at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Ensure that the bristles are partially on both the teeth and gums and a slight vibratory motion is used to remove plaque from the teeth and on top of the gum line. Next, a rolling motion is used to flick the toothbrush bristles away from the gums and remove plaque. Use this vibration and rolling stroke on all front and back surfaces of the teeth, and a back and forth scrubbing technique can be used for the biting surfaces.
Bass Brushing Technique
Similar to Stillman’s brushing technique, the bass technique uses the vibrating motion at the gum line. The bass technique’s difference is that the bristles are placed slightly underneath the gum line instead of on top. The vibrating motion helps dislodge plaque from underneath the gum line, where it often collects. This brush stroke is best suited for people with gingivitis or gum disease.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
“Wisdom teeth” is the layman’s term for the 3rd and last molars in the mouth. They typically begin to erupt anywhere between 16-20 years old. There are four wisdom teeth in a full set, one in each quadrant, but for some patients, there may be less than 4, and on rare occasions, there are none at all. In a mouth with all teeth present, including wisdom teeth, there are 32 teeth total.
Why Might They Require Extraction?
In many cases, it is recommended that the wisdom teeth be removed. This may be for several reasons. In most cases, the wisdom teeth just don’t fit. If the molars don’t have enough space to erupt entirely into the mouth to be functional, they are considered “impacted.” Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to inflammation and infection because they are difficult to access and clean. In particular, when a wisdom tooth has poked through the gum but is unable to erupt further, bacteria from the mouth can get trapped inside the socket, leading to infection. Wisdom teeth can also form from their tooth buds at the wrong angle. They may be horizontal or tipped into the 2nd molars instead of straight up and down. When this is the case, there may also be damage to the 2nd molars if the wisdom teeth are not extracted. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to inflammation, infection, cavities and jaw pain.
How Are They Extracted?
Depending on the extraction’s complexity, you will either see your regular dentist or an oral surgeon for the procedure. Some factors that play a vital role in the procedure’s complexity include if they are above or below the gum line, what angle they are at, and how close to the nerve they are. If you are nervous about the procedure, an oral surgeon can use stronger sedative medications to either put you to sleep or relax you. Some sedative medications include nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives or general anesthetic. During the procedure, several different tools will be used to remove the teeth. If the teeth are underneath the gum, a small incision will be made and stitched up afterward. These stitches dissolve away on their own over time. You can expect to experience a small amount of discomfort for just a few days later.
If you believe you have an impacted wisdom tooth/teeth or have any questions about the procedure, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
A food trap is any area in the mouth, particularly between two teeth, where food debris gets lodged and is challenging to cleanout. Most people have experienced a food trap at some point in their lives. A food trap may arise due to several reasons.
- There is space between two teeth naturally
- Shifting teeth with age can cause an open area between two teeth
- Braces can create an open area when aligning teeth
- Tooth chips, fractures and decay
- Improper restorative work such as a filling or dental crown
- Gum recession around or between teeth
Food traps can be damaging to the gums and the teeth if left untreated and not adequately cleaned. They can lead to tooth decay, bone loss from around the teeth, gum recession and even gum abscesses. Below are a few treatment options for food traps:
Can Be Left Alone
Depending on the size, severity, and ease with which the food trap may cleaned, treatment may or may not be necessary. Essential tools to use for cleaning include dental floss, interdental brushes or proxabrushes. At each check-up and cleaning, the food trap will be checked, and the gums and teeth’ health will be assessed.
Dental fillings may be used sometimes to close the open area of a food trap. A filling can be placed on either one or both of the teeth in order to build up the gap. Dental fillings are the best option if the food trap is too difficult to keep clean daily or if the food trap is caused by decay/a chip or fracture.
Lastly, a dental crown can be used to close the gap between two teeth. A dental crown is a full coverage cap placed over a sanded down tooth to protect the entire tooth and create a new shape. A dental crown may be used if the space between two teeth is too wide for a filling, if there is a large chip or fracture, or if aesthetics is a fracture (such as front teeth.)
It is essential to discuss with your dentist what option is best for your individual needs. If you think you have a food trap and are interested in treatment options, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Baby teeth follow a general schedule for eruption (coming in) and exfoliation (coming out.) This eruption pattern varies from child to child to a certain extent within a normal limit.
When Do Baby Teeth Erupt and Fall Out?
You can expect your baby to start teething their first teeth around 6-10 months, give or take a couple of months. The first teeth to erupt will be the lower front two teeth. The upper teeth always follow the lower teeth. All eight front incisors on the top and bottom will exfoliate, and the new adult teeth will have erupted around eight years old, where there will then be a lull of a few years where not much happens. Around 9-12 years old, the back teeth will be lost subsequently. It is important to note that around six years old, the first set of adult molars erupt behind the last baby teeth, and no baby teeth are lost to get these first molars. Generally speaking, girls lose their baby teeth and get their adult teeth slightly earlier than boys. You can expect your child to have a full set of adult teeth around 12-14 years old, with the second molars’ eruption called the “12-year” molars.
Several problems can arise when baby teeth are falling out and adult teeth are erupting, but most of the time, these aren’t real problems but may just cause spacing issues later on.
Common issues your child may encounter when losing their baby teeth:
- A double row of teeth, meaning the adult tooth is erupting behind the baby tooth before the baby tooth falls out (which most often occurs in the lower front)
- Canines that erupt too high up on the gums
- A baby tooth fragment left in the gums after the tooth falls out
- A tooth that is delayed in eruption, caused by an ectopic adult tooth under the gums
These are all common issues that your child’s dentist is well aware of and will be checking for with x-rays and exams routinely, which is why it’s essential to bring your child in for regular dental check ups and dental hygiene cleanings. There are often early intervention treatment options to correct these problems and even prevent them from occurring when caught early enough.
Partial/ Full Dentures
Whether you are missing one or all of your teeth, a denture is an option for you. Partial dentures are used to replace one or several missing teeth and include “pontic” teeth, which fill the spaces of the missing teeth. Full dentures are plates containing an entire arch of pontic teeth that are able to fill an entire arch. Partial dentures use clasps and wires to hold the denture in place, where full dentures need some adhesive to attach the denture to the roof of the mouth. Dentures are created by taking impressions of each arch and a bite registration to create the perfect fit. The downside to dentures is that they can be challenging to get used to, may not feel as comfortable as natural teeth and can break over time.
A dental bridge is an excellent option for replacing 1 or 2 teeth side by side. A dental bridge uses the two surrounding teeth as support for the pontic(s) that fills the missing tooth/teeth space. Dental bridges can last 10-20 years if cared for properly. The downside to dental bridges is that both teeth on either side of the space need to be sanded down to place crowns on them, even if they are healthy teeth.
Dental implants are the best option for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants can be used for single missing teeth to entire arches of missing teeth. Dental implants function and feel like natural teeth. As well, they last a lifetime if properly cared for. Implants are also the only tooth replacement option that preserves the jawbone from resorbing. A dental implant consists of a titanium screw inserted into the jawbone and a porcelain or ceramic crown placed on top. The titanium screw is left for 4-6 months before the crown is placed to heal properly in the bone before receiving any biting forces. Implant-supported dentures can be used for an entire arch of missing teeth by placing several implants along the jaw and a fixed denture supported on top. The benefit of an implant-supported denture over a standard denture is that it is fixed and doesn’t need to be removed.
If you have any questions about options for missing teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
“Wisdom teeth” are your 3rd molars that erupt around 16-20 years old. It is also possible to have wisdom teeth that never erupt into the mouth, and remain under the gums. Oftentimes there isn’t enough room in your mouth for these teeth, and they may need to be extracted before they cause you problems. Wisdom teeth impaction can lead to pain, swelling, dental infection, unexpected shifting of other teeth and even cavities on your second molars due to the close proximity.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
Your wisdom teeth can be extracted by your dentist or an oral surgeon. The procedure can be done while you are awake or asleep, however, most patients are able to complete treatment while awake easily. This all depends on the difficulty of the extractions, how impacted they are, what location they are in, and the comfort of you and your dentist.
- To start, you may or may not be put to sleep with IV sedation
- Your dentist will use specialized tools to remove the wisdom teeth
- The extraction area may or may not be stitched up with dissolving stitches
- You will be given post op instructions for care
Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
- It may reduce your risk of dental infection
- A reduced risk of pain and swelling
- Minimize risk of misalignment or shifting of nearby teeth
- Removing wisdom teeth is easier when they are not infected (do it early before it becomes an issue)
If you experience pain or swelling with your wisdom teeth, see your dentist right away.
- Wisdom teeth extraction recovery usually lasts only a few days
- Do not smoke or use a straw until fully healed
- It is often best to remove all of your wisdom teeth at once instead of just 1 or 2, because teeth only function with opposing teeth
- You may not have all 4 wisdom teeth, it is common for people to be missing 1, 2, 3 or all of their wisdom teeth in some cases.
What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?
We all love our teeth after a dental cleaning; they feel smooth, fresh and clean. But what is occurring during that dental cleaning?
The bacteria accumulating on your teeth, called plaque, sits around and eventually calcifies (or hardens) into tartar, called calculus. When calculus forms on your teeth surfaces, it creates the perfect place for more bacteria to adhere to. Oral bacteria cause an immune response in your gums, which results in inflammation. During your dental cleaning, all the plaque and calculus are removed from your teeth surfaces, above and below the gum line. A combination of an ultrasonic water jet and hand scalers are used to remove the bacteria, and stains are polished off with a polishing tool. If there is inflammation in your gums, you may experience some bleeding and tenderness during the cleaning, which will subside shortly after.
Did you know that your oral health is linked, in many ways, to your overall health? Good oral hygiene is linked to improved cardiovascular health, a lower risk of pneumonia, and a lower risk of premature birth during pregnancy. This is because the bacteria from your mouth can travel in your bloodstream to other parts of your body, increasing potential health risks. Of course, oral bacteria also lead to problems with your teeth, including cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss.
How Frequent Should You Have a Dental Cleaning?
It is recommended to see your dental hygienist for routine dental cleanings at least every six months. Your dental hygienist can clean areas that are difficult and sometimes impossible for you to reach with a toothbrush and floss at home. If you have current or past gum disease, recession, braces, or cavity-prone, it is recommended to have your dental cleaning more frequently, for instance, every 3-4 months. Talk with your dental hygienist about how often you should have your dental cleanings.
Only Floss the Teeth You Want to Keep!
So, what can you do at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy? It is important to brush at least twice a day, using either an electric or a soft manual toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. It is also essential to floss your teeth at least once a day, making sure to access slightly underneath your gums.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring plant alcohol found in most fruits and vegetables. For use in medicines, it is mostly extracted from birch wood. Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in order to reduce the sugar content in many chewing gums, mints and candies. Xylitol’s medicinal uses include preventing ear infections and as an additive to foods to help patients with diabetes and prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.
How Does It Work?
Xylitol tastes sweet but is not converted into acids in the mouth like sugar is. Xylitol is able to transform the type of oral bacteria from the kind that causes cavities, to the kind that doesn’t cause cavities. It is essential to use xylitol products on an on-going basis, as just one use won’t prevent cavities. Make sure the dose of xylitol in the products you are using is enough because it is recommended to intake between 1-20 grams of xylitol per day to experience the cavity preventing benefits. Some xylitol-containing products only contain a trace amount of xylitol, so make sure to look at the label.
Xylitol is safe within the recommended daily doses (that being between 1-20 grams per day for adults and children) If more is ingested, it can lead to gastrointestinal upset such as gas and diarrhea. If a huge amount of xylitol is ingested for a long duration of time (more than three years), there is a potential link to tumours. For both adults and children, make sure to stay within the safe range of ingestion, under 20 grams per day.
It is important to note that xylitol is toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Make sure to keep xylitol products out of the reach of dogs and small children. If your dog ingests a xylitol product, bring them to the vet immediately.
In addition to using xylitol products, also continue using fluoride toothpaste to help combat the risk of cavities for yourself and your child. If you have any questions about xylitol or how much to use, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Dear Valued Patients,
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. We are excited to let you know that we are resuming all non-essential and elective treatment.
Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to you and your family’s oral health needs and safety.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice, as you may have witnessed during your visits. The safety and comfort of our dear patients and staff is of utmost importance.
Our office has always adhered to the guidelines published by Health Canada, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, and the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, and continues to do so.
You will see some changes when you attend your upcoming appointments.
● Our office will communicate with you beforehand to review Covid-19 screening questions, and the same screening questions will be asked again upon your arrival.
● We will call your mobile phone when we are ready to allow you entrance into the building. Until then, you will be asked to wait in your car. If you do not have a mobile phone, you are welcome to knock on our front door and we will come out to let you know when we are ready to see you.
● You will see additional signage regarding Covid-19 symptoms, cough etiquette, etc.
● Our administrative staff will be behind a barrier or be wearing masks and eye protection..
● We will request hand sanitization upon entry.
● We will need you to wear your own mask (cloth or homemade masks are GREAT!).
● We will take your temperature, and if no sign of a fever, you will be escorted directly to the operatory.
● After completion of treatment you will be required to wear your mask.
● You will be escorted to the administration desk for any necessary billing and or appointment scheduling.
● We request that you maintain a 6 ft distance from the admin staff if possible, and keep your mask on at all times, except when receiving treatment.
● We request that if you develop any Covid-19 symptoms, 0-14 days after your appointment, you contact the office and inform the administrative staff.
● We request payment via debit or visa if possible, avoiding cash.
● We are disinfecting all touch surfaces frequently, and have increased housekeeping services.
We appreciate your patience, trust and loyalty during this time, and look forward to seeing you soon!
Cawthra Dental Management