Your First Dental Visit

In today's society, dental care for children is aimed at prevention rather than reparation. Dentists prefer to see children at a young age before any major problems occur and educate the parents on appropriate dental hygiene and nutrition. In a study done in the early 1980s on 441 children under 4 years old in an area with water fluoridation*, they found no cavities in children under 12 months. They did, however, find that 4.2% of children 12 to 17 months of age, 19.8% of children 24 to 29 months of age, and 36.4% of children 30 to 36 months of age were found to have at least one cavity. Of the children in the study, those who had cavities had a higher prevalence of swollen gums(gingivitis). It is recommended, therefore, that a child's first dental visit take place by 1 year of age (ideally). You should ask your dentist about oral hygiene and nutritional care of your child even before this age. Some children are understandably not comfortable at this early age so discretion by the dentist and parents is required. Occasionally the services of a pediatric dentist are required when a young child is uncooperative. Generally, most dentists and their staff will make a child's first visit very relaxing and positive, even if it means just a ride in the chair to start!

  • Dental Emergencies

    What do you do if a tooth is knocked out?

    Hold the tooth only by the part usually visible (crown) - do not touch the root. Rinse it lightly with water or saline solution (e.g. contact lens fluid) and try to replace the tooth. For the best chance of tooth survival, it should be replanted within 20 minutes of being knocked out. If you are not able to replant the tooth, store it in milk and contact your dentist or the emergency dentist on-call immediately.

  • About Brushing Teeth

    How Long Should I brush my Teeth?

    Take the time to carefully and gently clean each tooth, ideally twice a day. The average person brushes for less than 35 seconds. A good brushing takes two to three minutes. Quick tip: Keep brushing for as long as a song.

    What Type of Tooth Brush Should I use?

    Use a soft toothbrush which is less likely to damage your teeth and gums. Choose a size and shape that enables you to easily reach every tooth.

    How Often Should I change my toothbrush?

    It is recommended that you change your toothbrush every three months; more often if you have been ill. Quick tip: New season - New toothbrush.

     

     

  • Flossing

    How often should I floss?

    You should floss at least once a day to clean between the teeth and under the gumline where a toothbrush cannot reach and where most cavities and gum disease start. If you are not flossing, you are missing 35% of every tooth.

    When is the best time of day to floss

    For the maximum benefit of dental floss, floss every night before you brush.

    What is the best type of floss to start with?

    Beginners should start with unwaxed shred-resistant floss because it slides between the teeth more easily.

  • Nutrition

    What are good dental snacks?

    While everybody knows that eating sweets are bad for teeth, what you may not know is that the amount of sweet food you eat is not as important as the length of time teeth are exposed to sweets. This means avoid eating sticky sweets like toffee, or hard candies like mints, because they stay in your mouth longer. It also means that eating sweet snacks between meals is much worse than with a meal, because at mealtime the increased flow of saliva helps protect your teeth by washing sugars away. Chose something without sugar - nuts and seeds, peanut butter, cheese, plain yogurt, or popcorn for your between-meal snacks and save the sweets for mealtimes.

  • Bridges & Implants

    Should a missing or lost tooth be replaced?

    Yes it should be replaced by an artificial one to restore the smile, regain total chewing function and prevent other teeth from shifting.

    How is a missing or lost tooth replaced?

    There are three main types of artificial teeth. A Dental Implant is a metal post surgically placed in the jaw bone. They join very well to the bone in a few months and then can be used to attach an artificial tooth to. A Removable Partial Denture replaces all of the missing teeth with one appliance. This device is held in place by clipping to some of the remaining teeth - or by suction when no teeth are left. A Fixed Bridge is a replacement that is cemented to the adjacent teeth and cannot be removed.

  • Crowns & Caps

    What is a crown or cap?

    It is a cover that fits over a properly prepared tooth that has been damaged by decay or accident, or is badly stained or shaped. A crown can be made of plastic, porcelain, metal, or a combination.

    How is a crown or cap made?

    In order to prepare a tooth for a crown, the area must be frozen. Then the tooth is filed down so the cap can fit over it. An impression of your mouth is made and a temporary cap is fitted until the permanent one is made. On the next visit the temporary cap is removed and the permanent one, which closely resembles the natural teeth, is cemented.

  • Veneers

    What are veneers?

    They are strong thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the teeth to repair damage, replace decay and stain, or fill in gaps. Veneers can also be made out of white filling material used by all dentists today. Teeth most commonly veneered are the upper front teeth.

    How are veneers made?

    The teeth are ground down thinly on the front usually under freezing. An impression is taken and then the veneers are made by a dental laboratory. The veneers are carefully made to a specific size and shape and then are cemented to the front of the teeth.

  • Periodontics

    What is gum disease?

    Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Why? Because it occurs at an age when cavities are usually a thing of the past, and the initial symptoms often go unnoticed.

    What are the signs of gum disease?

    Watch for: gums that bleed when brushing; red, swollen or tender gums; and/or persistent bad breath.

    How can gum disease be prevented?

    Periodontal or gum disease can be prevented by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly - ideally every six months - for a preventive checkup and professional cleaning.

  • Orthodontics

    What are braces?

    They are small metal or clear devices that are glued to teeth in order to correct crooked teeth and/or a bad bite.

    Who can wear braces?

    The majority of braces patients are growing children. Some of these may require a first-stage or growth treatment before their braces usually with some sort of retainer. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an appointment with an orthodontist by age 7. Practically speaking though, a child should see an orthodontist when either the parents or the family dentist see there is a teeth or bite problem. More and more, adults are now seeking braces treatments and adult orthodontics is a clinically accepted procedure. Remarkable changes can be made with adults' teeth and the development of refined jaw surgery techniques has helped many adults with severe bite problems.

    Do braces hurt the teeth?

    Although a slight amount of damage can occur to the teeth and gums, braces are generally a very safe procedure. Virtually all orthodontic patients have teeth that are much healthier than before they got braces. The most common problem encountered with braces is the teeth shifting later, but orthodontists nowadays take extra precautions to minimize this.

  • Tooth Whitening & Cosmtic Dentistry

    How can I keep my teeth white?

    The best way is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, and limit stain-causing foods and habits. These include: tobacco, certain foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, berries), some drugs (such as tetracycline), or trauma to a tooth.

    Can the dentist make my teeth whiter?

    Yes. In the dental office Chairside bleaching takes 30 to 60 minutes and one to three visits. A shield (made of rubber) protects your gums from the bleaching agent (a form of hydrogen peroxide) which is "painted" onto the discoloured teeth. Mouthguard bleaching is done by you at home. You wear a custom-made mouthguard with special bleaching gel (provided by your dentist) for a period of time each day, or overnight, over a number of weeks.

    Individual response to bleaching is variable. It depends on the number of teeth involved and the severity of the discolouration. Over-the-counter, at-home whiteners are not recommended because they may cause problems associated with over exposing gum tissues to the active whitening agent. Any bleaching treatment should be done under a dentist's supervision.

  • Sealants

    What are sealants?

    They are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It fills in the grooves of these back teeth effectively sealing out decay-causing bacteria, and reducing the risk of cavities.

    How are sealant done?

    The application of sealants is easy, painless, and takes only a few minutes to complete. First, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and etched to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then painted onto the pits and fissures of the teeth, where it bonds directly or is hardened by a special light. Sealants usually last several years before then need to be replaced.

  • Root Canals

    What is a root canal?

    When a tooth becomes injured, cracked, or decayed, the damage can spread to the inside of the tooth where living pulp tissue is. When this happens it is necessary to open the tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the center. This space is then filled and the opening sealed. During the procedure the area around the tooth is frozen. Occasionally difficulties may be encountered during or after root canal treatment. This may require the use of medication or involve further treatment.

    How is a tooth with root canal different?

    In general, teeth that have root canal treatment can stay as healthy and last as long as other teeth. In most cases, it will be difficult to feel or see the difference. Teeth with root canal, however, tend to be slightly more brittle than natural teeth and, if there was previous damage to the tooth, a crown or cap may be necessary to protect the tooth.

The Niagara Peninsula Dental Association

Serving Dental Professionals Since 1945