Frequently asked questions

How does plaque cause tooth decay?


The bacteria in plaque react with sugar in the foods we eat to produce acids that can attack and weaken tooth enamel (the hard, protective covering on our teeth), opening the way for cavities to develop.




What is a cavity?


A cavity is the space inside a tooth that remains once decay is removed. There are three different places where a tooth can experience decay. Decay on the biting surfaces of the teeth occurs when plaque becomes trapped in the grooves. This is most common in children because they often miss these areas when brushing. Decay between the teeth occurs when plaque is left to build up on these hard to reach surfaces. These areas cannot be reached by a toothbrush alone and may develop if you do not floss, or clean between your teeth, regularly. Decay at the root surfaces of the teeth occurs if you have suffered gum recession or bone loss, often associated with gum disease, or periodontitis. It is also more common as you get older because gums have started to recede. If plaque is left to build up on the exposed roots of the teeth, which are not protected with enamel, then cavities will quickly develop. If plaque is not regularly removed from teeth, including the areas below the gum line, it can irritate the gums, leading to gum disease. Regular brushing and cleaning between teeth is essential to help prevent gum disease.




How does plaque cause gum disease


If plaque is left to build up, the bacteria produce toxins that can irritate the gums and damage teeth. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is an inflammation of the gums, which may cause swelling, tenderness and bleeding when brushing or flossing.




Who is at risk for gum disease


Gum disease can affect any age group, including children. However, it most often affects adults. In fact, about three out of four adults over age 35 have some form of gum disease now or have had it in the past. Your risk of getting gum disease increases if you smoke or have certain medical conditions. It is therefore vital to keep your dentist informed of your general health.




What should I do if I think I have gingivitis


Fortunately, with proper oral care every day and regular visits to the dentist, you can help prevent gingivitis from ever developing. It is best prevented and in most cases quickly healed, by following a routine to remove plaque every day - this is a two step process of brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush and cleaning between teeth. Together they prevent plaque from building up on tooth surfaces and under the gum line.Gingivitis is not a permanent condition. It can be reversed, because no permanent damage has occurred to the bone supporting the teeth.




What is tartar?


Every time you brush, you remove the plaque that is constantly forming on your teeth. If you allow plaque to build up, it can harden into tartar (also called calculus) which can then only be removed by your dentist or hygienist.




How do I keep my teeth naturally whiter between dental visits?


Everybody wants to have white teeth and there are many products available that lighten teeth - using a chemical process, called bleaching. In fact, we have devoted a whole section to tooth whitening. However, brushing your teeth regularly with toothpaste will remove some of the stain that builds up on the teeth - as a result of drinking coffee, tea, and red wine.




What is periodontitis


Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis, or periodontal disease. Periodontitis damages the bone and gums that support the teeth. Once periodontitis develops, the damage can't be reversed: only a professional treatment program and an improved level of daily oral care at home can keep it from getting worse. If you have periodontitis your dentist will provide you with a tailored program for maintaining your teeth and gums, to halt the progress of the disease. There are a range of oral hygiene products that are safe to use if you have periodontitis, including waterpicks and power toothbrushes. Because the power toothbrushes have been proven to remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush, you can improve your level of oral hygiene, which is a critical factor in controlling gum disease.




What symptoms should I be looking out for?


Periodontitis may initially occur without many visible symptoms, therefore regular dental exams are critical for early diagnosis. Common symptoms of periodontitis are red, swollen gums that have started to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. This is often associated with tooth sensitivity, a feeling of intense pressure between the teeth or bleeding when brushing or flossing. In more advanced stages, you may experience gum recession, root decay, pus between teeth and gums, and loosening or eventual loss of teeth.




How do I stop periodontitis from developing?


By adopting a thorough oral care routine and regular professional cleanings at your Dentist, you can help avoid periodontitis - here are some useful tips: " Brush thoroughly twice a day, with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste - preferably in the morning and before bed " Clean between your teeth daily to remove plaque from areas your toothbrush can't reach " Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly - at least once every six months, for a cleaning and exam " Avoid smoking and using tobacco




How should I floss?


Step One: Take about 18 inches (50cm) of floss and loosely wrap most of it around each middle finger (wrapping more around one finger than the other) leaving 2 inches (5cm) of floss in between. Step Two: With your thumbs and index fingers holding the floss taut, gently slide it down between your teeth, while being careful not to snap it down on your gums. Step Three: Curve the floss around each tooth in a "C" shape and gently move it up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gumline. Unroll a new section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth. At first, flossing might feel awkward. But stick with it! With just a little patience and practice, it will begin to feel as natural as brushing your teeth.




How long does it take for floss to start paying off?


The fact is, flossing provides unmistakable benefits that start from day one. After flossing, your teeth and gums feel cleaner because the floss reaches areas your toothbrush can't. Your breath will be fresher, and the health of your gums will improve. So, if your dental floss is gathering dust on the bathroom shelf, why not pick it up and try again? Even if it feels awkward at first, keep practicing. Pretty soon, you'll feel the difference and find that it becomes part of your daily routine.




My gums bleed when I floss. Should I stop?


It is quite common for your gums to bleed when you first start flossing. It may be a sign that you have some form of gum disease. After a few days of flossing, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier. If bleeding persists, consult your dentist.




Is it too late to start cleaning in between my teeth?


It's never too late. Whatever your age, interdental cleaning provides major benefits to your teeth and gums that you'll notice right away, so the sooner you start, the better. Interdental cleaning makes your teeth and gums feel clean because it reaches areas a toothbrush can't reach. It also keeps your breath fresh and, more importantly, it can stop gum disease in its tracks.




What kind of floss is best?


While there are a number of different kinds of floss, they are all designed to reach between the teeth and below the gumline to remove plaque. The most important factor is finding floss that is comfortable and easy for you to use. Some of the newer flosses are designed to be easier to use. They are shred-resistant and slide smoothly between the teeth. If you have trouble holding or using floss, you may want to try a dental flossette. It eliminates the need to wrap and guide the floss between the teeth with the fingers, and can give you better control. Once the flossette is inserted between the teeth, use the same method of flossing as above. Flossettes are often easier for children to use as they start to learn how to floss their own teeth.




Are there flosses for special conditions?


If you have braces or restorative dental work (such as a bridge) that interferes with normal flossing, you may want to try threading floss. Superfloss is unique because it has three sections in each strand: a stiffened end that allows it to be threaded in between your teeth, around braces, or under bridgework; a spongy floss, to clean in wide spaces, and a regular floss for cleaning natural teeth, and under the gumline. Toothpaste, fluoride or an antibacterial agent can be used on the spongy floss section.




My teeth have wide gaps between them, should I still floss?


Even if you have widely spaced teeth, plaque still forms between them and below the gumline-areas your brush can't reach. In addition to flossing, your dentist or hygienist may also recommend using an interdental toothbrush. This toothbrush has a very small tapered or cylindrical head with fine bristles, ideal for removing plaque between wider-spaced teeth.




Are there other methods of cleaning in between teeth?


In addition to floss, there are other products designed for cleaning between your teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist to help you determine which products are best for you. Their recommendation will be influenced by a number of factors: " the amount of space between each of your teeth " the presence of orthodontic braces or restorations, like a bridge " the presence of implants or if you are recovering from gum surgery " the relative ease with which you use dental floss

Interdental brushes:
If you have widely spaced teeth, braces, bridges, or implants, you may benefit from an interdental toothbrush. This toothbrush has a very small tapered or cylindrical head with fine bristles. The Proxa Brush comes with a handle and two disposable brushheads - you just need to replace the brushhead when the bristles show wear. Also available, for patients with sensitivity, is the soft foam brushhead that provides a very gentle interdental cleaning sensation. And for cleaning between your teeth when you are on the move, various products come in travel size (with travel cap) and are ideal size for your purse or pocket.

Irrigators:
These, like the Oral-B OxyJet, or Teledyne waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to help clean around the gumline. They also have adjustable settings for use on sensitive areas and has a water tower large enough to clean the whole mouth.




When should children start flossing?


Consult your dentist, but a good rule of thumb is when two teeth touch. This usually happens first with the back teeth. To begin with, you will have to floss their teeth for them, but they will eventually need to learn to do it for themselves. Using a dental flossette may help you and your child get used to flossing. You should continue to supervise flossing until your children are able to do a thorough job on their own.




What's the best way to brush your teeth?


There are many ways to brush your teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist for their recommendation. However, here's an example of one frequently recommended method, using a regular toothbrush: Step One: For the outer tooth surfaces, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline. Use gentle, short strokes, moving the brush back and forth against the teeth and gums. Step Two: Use this same motion to clean the chewing and inner tooth surfaces. Step Three: To clean the inner front tooth surfaces, hold the brush upright and use gentle up-and-down strokes with the tip of the brush. Step Four: Don't forget to brush along the gumline, and make sure you reach the teeth right at the back. Also give your tongue a brushing - it'll help keep your breath fresh!




Early childhood tooth decay. Is your child at risk?


The average healthy adult visits the dentist twice a year. The average healthy two-year-old has never been to the dentist. By kindergarten, twenty-five percent of children have never seen a dentist, yet according to the Surgeon General's Oral Health Report 2000, dental decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in Canada. The culprit? A combination of misinformation about when a child should first visit the dentist, when a parent should start caring for a child's teeth and the frequent and long-term exposure of sugary liquids to a child's teeth. It is highly recommended a child first visit the dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth. During this first exam, the dentist can teach parents the best way to guard against early childhood tooth decay by wiping down the teeth with a damp cloth once a day and remind parents to limit sugary beverages. Frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids is commonly called baby bottle tooth decay. Most parents and dentists are aware of baby bottle tooth decay however, parents may not know that the long-term and regular consumption of sugary liquids in a bottle or cup puts children's growing teeth at increased risk for decay. "Unsweetened fruit juices, teas and water are always best for children to help promote oral and overall health," says Cindi Sherwood, DDS, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education. According to the Canadian Association of Pediatrics, fruit juice causes tooth decay if children are allowed to hold a bottle, cup or box of juice in their mouth through the day. If left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in pain and infection. Baby teeth are important because they hold the place for permanent teeth and help guide them into correct position. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted which could effect the development of permanent teeth, a child's speech and chewing." Caring for children's teeth beginning in infancy promotes good oral health care habits for a lifetime and increases the chances of a child maintaining healthy permanent teeth.




What's the difference between being awake and asleep during a procedure?


If a patient chooses to have their work done awake, it means that they are fully aware of their surroundings and know that the work is being done in their mouth. Usually when treatment is being done on a patient who is awake, local anesthetic is used in the specific area being worked on. Local anesthetic can also be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide/oxygen to help the patient relax decreasing their anxiety. The patient who has work done asleep is under general anesthesia.




Is general anesthesia safe?


An Anesthesiologist is responsible for administering general anesthesia and for closely monitoring and caring for the patient throughout the appointment. Your dentist will discuss the benefits and risks involved in General Anesthesia according to your specific treatment.




Are there any specific instructions for general anesthesia?


A physical examination is required prior to the General Anesthesia appointment. A form is filled out by your Doctor and given to the Anesthesiologist for information on your medical state to ensure safety during the appointment. Estimates are sent to insurance for coverage information on treatment, costs are then known and don't become a surprise. Anesthesia costs are paid up front on the day of service.
It is important not to have anything to eat or drink the night prior and up to the appointment time. If you are sick contact your dentist, it may be necessary to arrange another appointment. Wear comfortable clothing, and the person receiving treatment should have someone to stay with them to drive them home afterwards. The patient usually needs one to two days rest depending on the treatment done, after that the patient can usually return to a regular daily routine.




How will the patient feel after the appointment?


Usually the patient is very tired and would like to sleep and relax for the remainder or the day. There are many options available to you today in dentistry that was not, many years ago. Our focus is on pain free dentistry so that patients become comfortable coming to the office regularly. Patients can choose the option of having their treatment done awake or asleep.




What is Nitrious Oxide (laughing gas)?


Nitrous oxide oxygen is a combination of two gasses, oxygen and nitrous oxide. They are inhaled by the patient through a mask on their nose for the entire length of the procedure. When the body absorbs them, it has a calming effect. At the end of the appointment 100% oxygen is given to the patient to reverse the effects, the patient is then back to normal, able to drive home and return to a normal daily routine.




Interdental Brushes


If you have widely spaced teeth, braces, bridges, or implants, you may benefit from an interdental toothbrush. This toothbrush has a very small tapered or cylindrical head with fine bristles.
The Proxa Brush comes with a handle and two disposable brushheads - you just need to replace the brushhead when the bristles show wear. Also available, for patients with sensitivity, is the soft foam brushhead that provides a very gentle interdental cleaning sensation.
And for cleaning between your teeth when you are on the move, various products come in travel size (with travel cap) and are ideal size for your purse or pocket.




Irrigators


These, like the Oral-B OxyJet, or Teledyne waterpik use a pressurized stream of water to help clean around the gumline. They also have adjustable settings for use on sensitive areas and has a water tower large enough to clean the whole mouth.




How do I choose the right toothbrush for me?


There is a lot of choice when it comes to purchasing a toothbrush, which makes it difficult to know what to look for. A good starting point is to ask your dentist and hygienist for a recommendation.
In addition, here are some tips on what to look for:
- Choose a toothbrush with a small brushhead and a bristle design that helps you to get to the hard-to-reach places of your mouth.
- Your toothbrush should have soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums.
- Pick a toothbrush with a comfortable handle. Many have non-slip grips which make them easy to use even if wet. Remember that regular replacement of toothbrushes contributes to maintaining a consistently high level of oral hygiene because clinical research shows, a new toothbrush can remove up to 30% more plaque than one that 's three months old.




How do I brush with a power toothbrush?


Refer to the brushing instructions supplied with your power toothbrush. Instructions for using the Oral-B range of rotating power toothbrushes are as follows:
Step One: Guide the brushhead slowly from tooth to tooth, following the curve of the gum and the shape of each tooth. Hold the brushhead in place for a few seconds before moving on to the next tooth.
Step Two: Don't forget to reach all areas, including the inner and chewing surfaces, and behind your back teeth.
Step Three: Direct the brushhead along the gumline. It isn't necessary to press hard or scrub. Simply let the brush do all the work




How often should I visit the dentist?


The average healthy adult visits the dentist twice a year. The average healthy two-year-old has never been to the dentist. By kindergarten, twenty-five percent of children have never seen a dentist, yet according to the Surgeon General's Oral Health Report 2000, dental decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in Canada.
The culprit? A combination of misinformation about when a child should first visit the dentist, when a parent should start caring for a child's teeth and the frequent and long-term exposure of sugary liquids to a child's teeth.

It is highly recommended a child first visit the dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth. During this first exam, the dentist can teach parents the best way to guard against early childhood tooth decay by wiping down the teeth with a damp cloth once a day and remind parents to limit sugary beverages.
Frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids is commonly called baby bottle tooth decay. Most parents and dentists are aware of baby bottle tooth decay however, parents may not know that the long-term and regular consumption of sugary liquids in a bottle or cup puts children's growing teeth at increased risk for decay.
"Unsweetened fruit juices, teas and water are always best for children to help promote oral and overall health," says Cindi Sherwood, DDS, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

According to the Canadian Association of Pediatrics, fruit juice causes tooth decay if children are allowed to hold a bottle, cup or box of juice in their mouth through the day.
If left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in pain and infection. Baby teeth are important because they hold the place for permanent teeth and help guide them into correct position. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted which could effect the development of permanent teeth, a child's speech and chewing."
Caring for children's teeth beginning in infancy promotes good oral health care habits for a lifetime and increases the chances of a child maintaining healthy permanent teeth.




Tips for parents to reduce the risk of early childhood decay


Wean a child from the bottle or breast by age one.
- Use spill-proof cups as a transitional step in the development of children, not a long-term solution.
- Don't allow children to use spill-proof cups throughout the day. Save spill-proof cups for snack and mealtimes when increased salivary activity helps clean teeth.
- Drink sugary beverages through a straw. The best spill-proof cups to protect against decay are those with collapsible rubber straws.
- Introduce oral health care habits early. Wipe children's teeth with a damp cloth once a day. Introduce brushing with a soft-bristle brush and fluoridated toothpaste by age two under the supervision of a parent.




What is a local anesthetic?


It is a fluid (lidocaine, articaine) given through use of a syringe and needle injected into the specific area. It temporarily numbs the tooth and surrounding tissues (tongue, lip, cheek etc). This local anesthetic (freezing) lasts from approximately 3-4 hours.
There are many options available to you today in dentistry that was not, many years ago. Our focus is on pain free dentistry so that patients become comfortable coming to the office regularly. Patients can choose the option of having their treatment done awake or asleep.




What is general anesthesia?


General Anesthesia is an effective way of completing dental treatment while the patient is unconscious.




Who should receive dentist care with general anesthesia?


Any patient with severe anxiety, who is extremely sensitive to sound, sight or sensations of dental treatment and/ or may need extensive treatment.




How are patients put to sleep?


We offer two ways, depending on the individual patient, breathing through a mask or by use of an injection.




Will I remember anything?


The patient will only remember up to the point where he or she is seated for the appointment. After General Anesthesia has been administered the patient does not remember anything.




Who can benefit from nitrious oxide/oxygen?


It is safe and effective, for both children and adults. It may not work for everyone, people with nasal congestion, severe anxiety or discomfort wearing a nasal mask may not benefit.




What does the patient feel when breathing nitrious oxide/oxygen?


It's different for everyone. Most experience relaxation, a sense of well being while others may feel tingling in their hands and feet or may experience weightlessness as if they were floating. It's mainly a sense of carelessness about what is happening in their mouths for those who are apprehensive about sound sight.




Are there any special instructions for nitrious oxide/oxygen?


Let your dentist know if you are taking medication or if you have problems breathing through your nose (nasal congestion). Also eat little or no food before your appointment.




How safe is nitrious oxide/oxygen?


Very safe. Nitrous oxide/ oxygen is nonaddictive, it is taken easily and the effects are quickly reversed after breathing oxygen.
There are many options available to you today in dentistry that was not, many years ago. Our focus is on pain free dentistry so that patients become comfortable coming to the office regularly. Patients can choose the option of having their treatment done awake or asleep.




Does sugar cause cavities?


Plaque forms on your teeth daily. When sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, it produces acids that damage the enamel on your teeth. Although decreasing sugar intake will help, it is impossible to avoid sugar completely, as it is naturally in many of our foods, including fruits and vegetables. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you must brush and floss daily using good techniques to ensure the best results.




There are so many brands of toothbrush which one should I buy?


The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important; when the bristles begin to bend over, it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over, they lose their ability to remove food and plaque, as it is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.




How does Fluoride help my teeth?


Tooth enamel is hard, but it also has microscopic pores. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, which forms on your teeth daily, to produce acids that seep into the enamel's pores. This causes the enamel to demineralize and become weak, contributing to the formation of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralization process. This keeps your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride also fights cavities by reducing the amount of acids that are produced by plaque.




Why do my teeth feel sensitive?


Tooth sensitivity is often experienced because the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for this in adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding away. This allows the effect of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse, as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if it is causing you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort.




Is there anything I should do before my next appointment?


here are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you, please keep us informed about:
- Whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold, or sweets
- Any changes in your gums, such as changes in colour, tenderness, or bleeding when you brush or floss
- Whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that causes the floss to tear
- Any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in colour
- If you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore
- Any allergies you have
- If you are pregnant
- Any medicine you are taking
- If your medicine has changed since your last check-up
- Any health problems or medical condition for which you are being treated
- Any other changes in your general health




Do you take x-rays?


X-rays help us to see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough, you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:
- Cavities between teeth, under the gums, and around old fillings
- Bone loss due to periodontal disease
- Inside the bone and gums, enabling us to monitor erupting teeth.
- Problems below the gums, such as:
- Long or crooked tooth roots when evaluating for root canal treatment
- Infections at the roots of teeth




Are x-rays safe?


You are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances in the earth, the sun, and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single x-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used, we target the x-ray machine only at those areas we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. We also cover the remainder of your body with a lead apron, which provides you with additional protection.




How common is gum disease?


Gum disease is very common. Nine out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a serious problem. The end result is bone loss and the loss of teeth. Even though you may brush and floss regularly, regular visits to the dentist will help detect gum disease in the early stages.




What if I already have gum disease?


If you already have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That is why, in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:
- Regular cleanings in our practice
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing once a day




Why do I have bad breath?


Many people suffer from bad breath. In fact, 40% of the population have problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Eating certain foods, such as garlic or onions
- Smoking
- Chewing tobacco
- Diseases, such as cancer or diabetes
- Dry mouth (often called morning breath) You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. Also, by avoiding certain foods, you can eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean them thoroughly everyday and to remove them at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists, then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and present you with a treatment.





9993 Yonge St.