Why is your tooth wearing away?
Dental erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth enamel caused by acids in the mouth. It occurs in populations across the globe and affects people of all ages. Dietary habits, conditions such as bulimia, and poor oral care can all lead to tooth erosion.
Erosion caused by a poor diet often appears as hollowed out areas in the chewing surface of tooth. Drinking sodas, alcohol, or energy drinks increase the likelihood of eroding your teeth. To help balance the amount of acid in the mouth, have these drinks with a meal. It is also possible to reduce acidity levels in your mouth by consuming the drink in a short period of time, as opposed to sipping it. This allows the oral cavity to restore a normal pH balance.
What are the types of tooth wear?
1. Attrition involves tooth-to-tooth contact, most often: teeth grinding or improper biting.This type of tooth wear breaks down and flattens the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
2. Abfraction occurs when regular grinding or a misaligned bite create an abnormal load on the teeth. This results in a knot on the side of the tooth near the gumline. A dentist will often recommend a night guard for a patient exhibiting abfraction. Orthodontic treatment can also help align the teeth to ensure they come together properly and don’t wear prematurely.
3. Abrasion can appear similar to abfraction, but it is caused by an external mechanical force, such as toothbrushing. The constant wear can cause a notch like surface at the gumline. A patient presenting with abrasion could be brushing too hard against the surface of their teeth or using a toothbrush with a hard bristle. Your dental hygienist can give you instructions on proper brushing techniques to avoid continuous wear.
What are treatments for tooth wear?
Although it may not be medically necessary, those with an abfraction or abrasion can have a filling placed on the side of the tooth, over the damaged surface, to help protect against continued wear. Alternatively, a patient may choose to have fluoride applied at their six month preventative care appointment or use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help with sensitivity. Your dentist or dental hygienist may also continue monitoring the worn site of the tooth to ensure it doesn’t worsen.
Your enamel will not grow back. But not all is lost! You can take measures to prevent further erosion and preserve a healthy smile. Knowing how to take care of your teeth and practising good habits recommended by your dental professionals can help your smile last a lifetime!
Braeside Dental Centre
With dental emergencies, the best thing to do is to try and avoid them! For the most part, regular check-ups and timely treatment do this for us. However, dental emergencies will occur. We all know that accidents happen, and so do dental emergencies. Either we have had a dental emergency ourselves or know someone that has. That is why, here at Braeside Dental Centre, we have compassion and empathy for those who find themselves in this situation. For our regular patients, we offer after-hours and weekend emergency service. Essentially, we make every effort to ensure that our patients are seen the same day or within 24 hours. We are here to take care of YOU!
What are some of the most common dental emergencies?
Over the last 30 years, I have seen it all: from playground or car accidents that resulted in broken or avulsed teeth, to abscesses causing pain, to inflammation, or to gum infections. If you feel pain, find that something is broken, or notice an unexplained swelling, it would be considered a dental emergency. We are here to help you look after it.
Should I go to the hospital if I have tooth pain?
The hospital is generally not equipped to deal with dental emergencies. They may be able to prescribe something to help with pain or manage infection, but to achieve resolution it is best to visit our dental clinic.
What do I do if I knock my tooth out or if it becomes loose from trauma?
The best thing to do if you knock your tooth out is to place it back into the dental socket from which it came as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. The quicker this can be done, the better the prognosis. Try and orient it the best you can with the right side facing out and place it in such a way that it rests in the bite the way it used to be. The quicker that this can be achieved, the higher the probability that the tooth can be saved and nerves may even regenerate. If this is not possible, place it under your tongue and come in to see us as soon as possible. If you have to handle the tooth, try not to touch the root as that may negatively affect how it attaches back.
What should I do if I fracture or chip my tooth?
That depends on how bad the fracture is. The best thing to do is call us right away so that we can assess what needs to be done: if it needs to be looked at right away or if it can be handled with some trauma control (such as simply polishing the sharp edge or patching the broken piece until you are ready to proceed). The important thing is that we ensure you are comfortable, provide you with the best choices, and give you the treatment you desire.
What do I do if I have a toothache?
That depends on the origin of the toothache. This is definitely something that should be handled sooner, rather than later. Some of the common causes of a toothache are: deep cavities, gum infections, failing restorations, or trauma. It would be best to call us as quickly as possible so that we can do our best to make you comfortable.
My tooth is hurting more at night. Why is that?
Things always seem to get worse at the most inopportune time. I have had many patients say their toothache got worse that night. This is because when we lie down, our mouth is now level with our heart. As a result, we have more pressure that can build up into our teeth, jaw and sinus. Thus, there is more pain. Additionally, all the distractions that occupy our minds during the day are no longer taking us away from the pain we feel.
If you are suffering from a dental emergency, give us a call so we can help you! Since teeth and bone are hard tissues and do not expand to accommodate acute change when there is infection or inflammation, dental pain or trauma can be excruciating. We understand and are here for you. The sooner we are able to deal with the situation, the better the outcome, the lower the expense, and the more positive experience we have.
Braeside Dental Centre
As we age, or become a caregiver to those who raised us, we see greater changes in teeth and gums. These changes require more care, rather than less. As well, older adults have greater challenges with:
These are very real challenges to practicing good oral hygiene as we get older. However, don’t let these reasons be an excuse for letting your oral health slip. There is a direct link between oral health and heart disease. People with periodontal disease have increased chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease has also been linked with risk factors for chronic degenerative diseases like ulcerative colitis and lupus.
The good news is that more seniors than ever are keeping at least some of their teeth. 75% of Canadians visit the dentist annually. Over the past 40 years, the percentage of adults in Canada with no natural teeth has dropped from 23.6% to 6.4%.
Here are some tips:
Make brushing easy – You don’t have to stand if that is uncomfortable or tiring. You can also buy large handled or electric toothbrushes to lessen the work load.
Remember to floss – Flossing is important regardless of age. If holding dental floss is difficult, try an interdental brush or floss threader.
Increase oral hydration – Some medications have a side effect of dry mouth. If you can’t switch medications, make sure you drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum, and avoid alcohol.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash – Along with regular brushing and flossing, this can help reduce plaque buildup in your mouth.
Do a breath check – One of the many symptoms of gum disease or an infected tooth is bad breath. If your breath smells rancid, make an appointment for a dental exam.
If you do have dentures, don’t forget to brush them — Bacteria thrives in dark, wet places. Inspect them for cracks, chips or other signs of damage that might rub or create sore spots in your mouth.
Schedule regular dental cleaning and exams – On average, every 6 months.
Listen to your dentist – Your dentist is there to help you take care of your mouth! They strive to prevent future problems, as well as addressing existing problems in a way that keeps them from getting worse.
See you soon!
Braeside Dental Centre
Here is part 2 of my sleep blog. I hope you enjoy it and find some information that helps you achieve a great sleep more regularly.
As I mentioned in the last blog, Dr Matthew Walker’s book, “Why we sleep: the new science of sleep and dreams” is an excellent book that much of this information is gleaned from. Here, I will emphasize a few things. Humans, in today’s action packed modern society, need 8 hours of sleep to function at their best. People who get very little sleep, and are still able to function optimally, are extremely rare: less than 1% of the population. For example, there are 2 very famous politicians who felt sleep was overrated: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. They both got about 5 hours of sleep per night. Both of them also developed dementia. Here’s a study that shows that after only 36 hours of sleep deprivation, amyloid levels, linked to Alzheimer's disease, increased by 25-30%: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29220873.
See below a checklist for improving your sleep:
Wishing you regular, long, and restful sleeps.
Braeside Dental Centre
Oral hygiene and the use of interdental aids are pivotal for the preservation of oral health. The accumulation of Bio-film, plaque, and calculus are still considered the leading cause of gingivitis, with the potential to lead to an onset of periodontal disease (Gum and bone disease). Since soft plaque begins to harden on the tooth surface (through the mineral composition of our saliva) within 24-48 hours, aids such as: floss, soft picks/wooden toothpicks, proxy brushes, and water flossers on daily basis are key to avoiding the accumulation of harmful bacteria.
The use of floss dates back to the early 19th century and has generally been accepted as a reasonable aid for the removal of soft plaque below the gum line. Floss can be very effective in a healthy mouth; However, the more active the inflammation present in the mouth, the less effective floss becomes. Studies show that floss can reach into the sulcus, which is the healthy pocket between the gum and tooth, up to 2.5mm-3.5mm. Comparatively, early onset of periodontal disease is considered 4mm below the gumline. Dental floss is also available in several different types such as: waxed, un-waxed, thick yarn, and thin floss. Currently, flosses equipped with a rough or waxed surface prove to be effective at removing bio-film and soft plaque due to its stickier surface.
Several studies have been conducted that demonstrate individuals who use interdental aids such as floss, in comparison to individuals using only tooth brushing alone, have healthier oral tissues overall. The descriptive factors used to determine what entails a healthier mouth include: no bleeding, no inflammation (Tissue tone and texture), pocket depths (3mm and under are considered healthy) and lower rates of active decay (Cavities). Tooth brushing can be a effective mechanical intervention in removing bio-film, plaque, and food debris from along the gum line when used appropriately, however, it often falls short at removing bacteria and food from between the space where our teeth contact adjacent teeth.
Building a healthy and consistent flossing habit could be the difference between maintaining the health of your mouth or not. We’ve all been told by our Dentists, “Floss your teeth!” but building a habitual flossing habit can be a challenge. While in the dental chair, I tell my patients that are looking to become more proactive with their dental health a few of these tips:
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start flossing your way to a healthier and happier smile! Once you build this habit, it will become as easy as 1,2,3…
Braeside Dental Centre
July 20th 1969 is a date that lives on in the history books and the world won’t forget it anytime soon. 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin arrived on the Moon in the Apollo 11 Spacecraft, and I can imagine that it was a moment filled with a mixture of fear, excitement, euphoria. Neil Armstrong opened the shuttle door and became the first man to walk on the moon.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
Millions of people watched in awe as the Americans finally plonked their flag right in the moon. A total of 12 people have successfully walked on the moon and 4 of them are still alive to this day. It is hard to believe that this was only 50 years ago. As we progress ever-so-quickly in this modern day and age, it got me thinking about what we can achieve next.
Will we manage to walk on Mars next or will we be able to create another earth that we can live on? There are endless possibilities and we have come so far already, from the first ever television box to mobile phones that fit in the palm of our hands and contain our lives. There is no stopping us. I hope for a day soon when you can come to the Dentist and simply have a filling done by a quick zap of a laser. I genuinely feel that it won’t be long until that is a true statement, as laser treatments are already being used in the dental world.
Our world is amazing and the human race is always something to ponder. I look forward to seeing the next steps that we make!
Braeside Dental Centre
Stampede: the greatest outdoor show on earth. How cool that it’s in our own backyard! The annual rodeo brings in over one million people to our city. It has been going on since 1912, but of course it has changed over the years, bringing in the midway and all the different foods we hear about.
Stampede has one of the largest rodeos, putting it into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Calgary can be known as “Stampede city” or “Cowtown” to some. Stampede is not only fun at the midway, while eating all kinds of different food and visiting all the stampede parties, but it is also a celebration of western culture.
For some families, it is a tradition to go down to the grounds and see the bull riding, barrel racing, or another of the many other sports the rodeo has. For others, it is about walking around the grounds and taking in the new energy that has taken over the city for 10 days. As for me, I like to do both. I remember my grandpa taking my family and I to see the chuck wagon races. That is something about the stampede I’ll always remember!
The festival brings a spirit across the city, and most people will choose to put away their formal work attire and bring out their jeans and cowboy boots for the week at work. Stampede connects our whole city together.
Braeside Dental Centre
Sleep is critical to our health, along with physical and mental wellbeing. There has been research done about sleep apnea and its effect on general health. It is critical to have this diagnosed and treated if you are suffering from it. Sleep apnea also has a negative impact on dental health. Some of the effects are: increased tooth grinding at night (resulting in teeth, filling, and crown fracture and wear) and increased gum recession.
Here is some fascinating information about sleep that I have learned lately. One great resource is Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, “Why we sleep”. It is a New York Times best seller!
Sleep prepares the brain to receive new information. Slow wave or deep sleep is critical for this process. This has important implications for students. Sleep deprived students experience dramatic decrease in their ability to learn new information. All nighters are not beneficial!
Sleep also facilitates information storage. The transfer and consolidation of short term memories into more permanent long term memories is done during sleep, like a computer’s “save” button. Poor sleep inhibits this process.
Age related loss of deep sleep can start as early as the 20’s. By age 50, we typically have lost about half of our deep sleep. By the age of 80, the brain waves associated with deep sleep have become difficult to detect.
Dr. Walker’s research suggests that improving quality of sleep may help reduce the amount of cognitive decline associated with ageing later in life.
Another fascinating aspect of sleep deprivation is that it increases loneliness. Lack of sleep triggers the onset of a ‘loneliness phenotype’. This sleep deprivation induces changes in the brain, altering behaviour and emotion. This results in further sleep loss which leads to social withdrawal and makes a feedback loop that increases loneliness and other mental health disorders. In fact, Dr. Matthew Walker says: “We have not been able to discover a single psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal.”
One more impact lack of sleep creates is impaired glucose regulation and the promotion of obesity. Dr. Walker says that a few days of impaired sleep can change good glucose management to something that looks like rapid onset of pre-diabetes. In fact, sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with developing or having diabetes.
At Braeside Dental Centre, we can help you with your sleep.
If you or your loved ones suffer from excessive snoring that is keeping you awake at night, we can help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve. Or, if you suspect you, your partner, or one of your family members suffer from sleep apnea, talk to us! We can help you get on the right track for a better sleep.
I hope this inspires you to get your ZZZZZZ’s!
Stay tuned for some sleep hygiene tips.
Braeside Dental Centre
July 1st (Canada’s birthday just in case you didn’t know) is here! It’s the time to spend outside while the weather is warm and it marks the end of a school year. We get a break from the routines of school lunches, play dates, early morning school sport practices and activities.
The struggle is real: getting the kids out of bed, eating breakfast, make school lunches and making sure that they have all their homework in their backpacks. Getting out the door and to school on time adds extra stress to parents of these little creatures. Summer holidays are wonderful and hopefully less stressful on the whole family unit, as they give the family a break from the usual routines and stresses that we are face on a daily basis. I feel that this time goes by WAY too quickly and so I take extra time to sit outside while the weather is warm and smell the roses.
There are so many things to do around the city and surrounding area. The biggest thing is the mountains though, and every year I say I’m going to make an extra effort to get out there more often. This may be the year to do that. Make a date, put on your hiking boots, fill your water bottle, and away you go! The adventures of summer await.
Happy to Live in Canada, eh?
Ps. Remember to brush and floss ☺
Braeside Dental Centre
Is anyone feeling stressed these days? What exactly is stress?
One definition that I found is, “Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. Further, the body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life”.
In the material world, stress occurs when an object experiences a force like tension, compression, or bending. A metal object deforms as force increases and remains elastic until a limit is reached. At this point, the deformation becomes plastic and the object will not return to its original shape.
In terms of how stress can affect us as humans, we can age prematurely, our cognitive function is impaired, our energy is drained, and we are robbed of our effectiveness or clarity. Of course, this happens to varying degrees, but as with a metal object, exceeding a healthy limit can result in a permanent deformation or change that cannot be reversed. We must look for ways to control how we respond to stress in order to ensure that it does not manifest as a physical, mental, or emotional constant.
From a dental perspective, one manifestation of stress is a disruption of peaceful sleep, which may contribute to a condition known as bruxism (jaw clenching and grinding of the teeth). It has been shown that stress may also intensify bruxism. Of course, the best remedy would be to find ways of reducing one’s stress to improve overall health, and in turn, reduce the potential to experience bruxism.
At Braeside Dental, our experienced dentists will perform a thorough examination to identify bruxism and work with patients to determine the underlying cause. Our dentists will then suggest options and strategies to reduce symptoms of bruxism and the damage it can cause. As an example, a mouth guard or a splint can be worn at night to protect the teeth. The patient’s future dental health will be improved through early identification and intervention of bruxism. This is one way to reduce or control the affects stress can have on your body.
The team at Braeside Dental strives to reduce the stress of your dental visit by providing a calm, comfortable, and caring environment, while ensuring that your dental health needs are being taken care of.
As always, be kind.
Braeside Dental Centre