Q: What can I expect in my first visit?
A: The first visit generally consists of a one-hour appointment that is scheduled with the dentist. This allows the dentist to listen to the patient’s goals, values and concerns, as well as to fully assess your current dental health.
Radiographs (X-rays) may be recommended at this appointment to image areas that are not visible by clinical exam. A dental cleaning with a hygienist will occasionally be scheduled the same day. However, if your hygiene needs are greater, the cleaning may be accomplished in appointments scheduled on a separate day.
For children the appointment is approximately 30 minutes long and consists of a ride in the chair, checkup, cleaning and X-rays if required. We will also review dietary habits and tooth brushing to address any problems that may be contributing to decay.
Q: Why do I have to get my teeth cleaned four times a year but my friend only has to see her dentist twice a year?
A: The frequency of cleaning is related to the level of gum health. A person who has gum (periodontal) disease tends to build plaque at a higher rate and has areas that are more difficult to clean on their own. The hygienist removes the buildup that develops over time and is not removed by daily brushing and flossing. If this buildup is not cleaned frequently, it will result in gum and bone destruction around the tooth.
Q: What is gum (periodontal) disease?
A: Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by bacteria in the mouth. If left untreated, it can lead to breakdown of the bone and gums surrounding the teeth. Treatment consists of ongoing dental cleaning and occasionally gum surgery.
Q: When should I bring my child to the dentist?
A: The Canadian Dental Association recommends children visit the dentist by one year of age. At the latest, a child should attend by two years of age. At that time, most of the baby teeth should have erupted and the dentist can assess the child’s overall dental health and troubleshoot any developing problems.
Q: What do I do if my child’s teeth get knocked out?
A: Place the tooth in milk, or if the child is old enough, have them hold it under their tongue. Get the child to a dentist within 30 minutes to have it re-implanted.
Q: What is a root canal?
A: A root canal is a treatment designed to remove a diseased or degenerating nerve inside a tooth. This allows you to keep the tooth.
Q: What is a crown?
A: A crown is recommended for a tooth that is heavily filled. As a filling gets larger, the remaining parts of the tooth are more fragile and at risk of fracture. A crown surrounds what is left of the tooth to help support and reinforce it.
Q: So what if my tooth fractures, can it be fixed?
A: Not always. The extent of the fracture determines the ability to repair the tooth. As the tooth gets more broken down, more involved and expensive treatments are needed to fix it. In severe fractures, the tooth cannot be fixed and any fragments of tooth remaining will need to be removed.
Q: Why should I replace a missing tooth?
A: Space created by tooth loss can compromise surrounding teeth as they move or shift into the space. Also, loss of a tooth can result in overloading of surrounding teeth as they now have to “do the work” of the missing tooth. As teeth become overloaded they are prone to fracture.
Q: What are dental implants?
A: Dental implants are titanium screws placed in the bone where a tooth was lost. The implant is a substitute for the missing tooth root. Once the bone has healed, the implant is a platform to which a crown is added. The crown looks like the tooth that was lost.