Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What is Root Canal Therapy?

How Does My Tooth Get Infected?

If you need a root canal, it is because the tooth is infected. Decay can happen, and if left untreated, can penetrate deeper into the tooth and into the nerve (or the "pulp"). At this point, it is usually very painful, and the nerve has been infected. This will not go away on its own and can lead to abscess, tooth loss, and bone loss. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

A Root Canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the nerve of the infected tooth in order to "save" the tooth. Advancements in dental technologies have made root canal treatment far less scary and more predictable then in the past. From the patients perspective, having a root canal is not much different than having a filling; it just takes a little longer.

After the nerve is removed, it's important to know that the strength of the tooth is now compromised. When you remove the nerve, you remove the tooth's nutrient system as well, leaving it more susceptible for fracturing. When a filling is placed, whether after a root canal or to fill a decayed area, the enamel that is removed during the procedure leaves the tooth weaker. It is impossible to predict when or how severe the fracture could be, but proper preventive measures are recommended such as placing a crown (or a "cap") on the tooth as the tooth is no longer structurally sound. This helps to prevent fractures, especially severe cases such as at the gum line- at which the tooth may not be saved and would require extraction.

If you have any questions about Root Canal Therapy, read more here or ask your Dental Hygienist or Dr. Gray when you come in to see us.

Monday, April 18, 2016

How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?

A professional tooth cleaning occurs at your dental office and is a procedure completed to help prevent oral health problems. Your Dental Hygienist is removing soft (plaque) deposits, hard (calculus) deposits, stains and bacteria build up from your teeth that you are unable to efficiently clean yourself. These deposits/bacteria cause gum disease (gingivitis/periodontitis), can cause cavities and can affect your overall health.

Gum disease (gingivitis/periodontitis) is an infection of the gum tissues and surrounding bone supporting the teeth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing is the first sign of infection/gum disease.

Your Dental Hygienist will recommend anywhere from 3 months to 9 months for a professional dental cleaning depending on the following factors:
  • The health of your teeth (prone to cavities)
  • The health of your gums (gingivitis/periodontitis)
  • How much build up present
  • If you are a smoker
  • Chronic health conditions (diabetes/heart disease)
  • If medications are being taken that affect your oral health
  • Dry mouth
  • How well your home care is (brushing/flossing)
Gum disease is 100% preventable.
Dental Hygienist

Kids Korner.....April 2016

Looking for a fun activity? Check out these printable activity sheets you can do with your kids. Happy coloring!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sportsguard, mouthguard and athletic guards

This mighty important piece of material has several names and several purposes. If you play any sport, whether or not it is considered to be 'contact', you should be wearing a sports guard to protect yourself!


Injury of the face, mouth, jaw, teeth, head (including concussions) and other surrounding structures are very common when being active. There are innumerable medical, financial, cognitive, psychological and social costs (including pain!) directly related to these types of injury, which CAN BE AVOIDED with your handy dandy sports guard.


Any activity with a significant chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces requires protection. Those who participate in basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, squash, racquetball, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts, or even recreational sports such as skateboarding and bicycling, should wear sport guards when practicing or competing.

Type Description
Custom Made The dentist takes an impression of the patient's mouth and the sports guard is fabricated from a cast model of the patient's teeth. This method provides the best fit, protection and comfort. The custom-made sports guard is most durable, can be modified for specific sports and patient-need and does not interfere with speech or breathing.
Boil and bite or mouth-formed This type of sports guard requires heating in warm water and then the user bites into the warm plastic. Because it is not vacuum-fitted onto a model of the patient's teeth, the fit is not as precise. The heating process will also reduce the longevity of the sports guard. Discuss this option with your dentist.
Stock or ready-made Made of rubber or polyvinyl, the ready-made sports guard is a generic fit with limited comfort, protection and durability. It is often bulky and loose-fitting and may interfere with breathing and speech.
Factors we need to assess prior to fabrication:
  • Size of mouth
  • Bite
  • Type of sport played
  • Whether or not the patient wears braces or other appliances
Each patient's very specific needs must be addressed for maximum comfort and protection.


You can give us a call or let us know at your next visit that you need one to protect yourself or your child.

It will include two short visits.
  • The first visit is booked for half of an hour to impress or scan the teeth- we have the custom guard fabricated in the colour of your choice.
  • Be aware that some sports and/or organizations only allow certain colours; for example, red, clear and black are commonly not accepted.
  • The second visit is to fit in the custom guard ensuring proper fit and comfort.

Caring for your sports guard will help it take care of your teeth longer!
  • Rinse your sports guard under COLD water after each use and air dry. Occasionally clean it with mild soap and water or mouthwash.
  • Store your sports guard in the case we give to you to avoid damage to it including excess heat/cold.
  • Wear your sports guard properly; do not cut/alter/chew on it.
  • Check your sports guard regularly and inform us of any signs of wear, tears, cracks that can weaken it. If your bite has changed or for the young ones they have new teeth, this needs to be assessed by us.
Luckily, many sports require the athlete to wear a sports guard in order to play; they should be thanked as they are saving you and/or your child's brain cells and teeth; to say a couple

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Should I change my old sliver fillings?

Not always, but there are many times it is imperative - for the sake of your oral health - that these fillings are replaced. The most common reason for replacement is when the joint where the tooth and the filling meet is not sealed well. If there is an issue with the seal, bacteria and sugars can leak between the filling and tooth causing a cavity under the existing filling.

Often there is no radiographic evidence of this type of cavity because the metal filling blocks the x-ray beam. The majority of the time a gap in the seal is detected either when doing an exam, or when the adjacent tooth structure (beside the filling) starts to turn grey. If the seal is in question, I would say that over 80% of the time I will find decay (i.e. cavity) - again with no radiographic evidence. If these poorly sealed fillings are left untreated, then a cavity will spread under the filling. Remember, decay is like rust.
These old amalgams are replaced under rubber dam to help contain the mercury and they are most commonly replaced with composite (white) fillings. To learn more about composite fillings, visit our service page for details.

-Dr. Ian Gray