Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that can be found in the water we drink and the food we eat, as well as in toothpastes and mouthwashes. When used properly, fluoride is a safe and effective way to reduce the incidences of dental caries. When absorbed by the body it is used by the cells that build your teeth and bones and helps to make the enamel stronger. When applied topically, such as in a fluoride treatment provided by your dental professional, it can strengthen the enamel, making the enamel more resistant to acid and less likely to become porous and decay. Adequate amounts of fluoride can be especially beneficial for children under the age of 6, to help prevent cavities from forming in the future.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings, commonly applied to the chewing surfaces of the back molars, as these surfaces are at most risk of decay. Sealants create a smooth surface over the fissured areas of the teeth, providing protection from decay by keeping food particles and germs out of the grooves of the teeth. Sealants are usually clear or white in color and are not readily visible. Sealants are most effective if applied soon after the molar has erupted, usually around 6 years of age for the first molars and 12 years for the second molars. Alongside fluoride and a healthy oral hygiene regiment, sealants can help prevent cavities in the adult teeth.
Dental scaling is an effective, non-surgical way to treat gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis. It is a relatively painless procedure in which a scaling instrument ( a scaler) is used to remove the plaque, calculus and stain from the crown and root surfaces of teeth, returning the patient to a state of periodontal health. If left untreated, inflammation caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar build-up can cause gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease.
In order to maintain the health of the tooth and gums, it is crucial that the patient exercises optimal oral hygiene following the procedure. Information on how to properly care for your teeth and gums can be made available through your dentist or dental hygienist.
Dental Exams & Cleanings
At your first dental visit a complete dental exam will be done by your dentist. At that time and at following regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include:
- Diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): to find decay, tumours, cysts, bone loss and toothpositions.
- Oral cancer screening: to check your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: to check your gums and bone around your teeth for any signs of periodontal (gum) disease.
- Examination of tooth surfaces: to check for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: to check your fillings, crowns, veneers etc.
Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (scaling, root planing and polishing) are done by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam by the dentist and:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has formed on the tooth and will be firmly attached. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can be removed with appropriate dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produces toxins that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease and can effect your general health!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Abscesses or cysts
- Bone loss
- Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Decay between the teeth
- Developmental abnormalities
- Poor tooth and root positions
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal for you. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. It starts at home by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an CDA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of your front teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line.
Flossing cleans spaces, and prevents plaque colonies from building up.
Take 12-16 inches (30-40 cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) of floss between your hands.
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a gentle sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist or dental hygienist whether it’s right for you.
Other dental aids may be recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist:
- interdental brushes
- rubber tip stimulators
- tongue cleaners
- irrigation devices
- medicated rinses