Frequently Asked Questions
Every day in the Dr. Van Rassel Family Dentistry office we speak with our patients to answer any questions they may have regarding the health and maintenance of their oral conditions.
Listed below for your reference are some of the questions that we are asked most often. If you would like to discuss any of these questions in more detail or if you have dental questions of your own, we invite you to call us.
Q: WHY ARE MY GUMS BLEEDING? WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
A: Bleeding gums during brushing and flossing is often the first sign of periodontal (gum) disease. This means that your gums have become infected as a result of bacteria accumulation at the gum line. These bacteria called plaque will eventually harden into tartar. If left untreated, deep pockets can form around the teeth resulting in receding gums and eventual tooth loss. The bacteria in these pockets can also enter the bloodstream and have been linked to health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight babies and other inflammatory diseases.
The only treatment for periodontal disease is a collaborative effort between you and your dentist. Your dentist will recommend a thorough removal of plaque and tartar by the dental hygienist, followed by a home regimen of brushing and flossing that will allow the gums to heal and become healthy again.
When caught early enough, most gum disease can be corrected. In later stages, you may be referred to a periodontist for advanced treatment.
Only a dental professional can effectively remove tartar! It is important to remember that treatment is ongoing and that daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental visits will help keep your gums healthy.
Q: WHY SHOULD I BE SCREENED FOR ORAL CANCER?
A: Oral cancer is a serious disease. If detected early, oral cancer, which includes tongue, lip and mouth cancer, has an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. Regular exams by your dentist are vital in screening for and identifying oral cancers.
While some people are at higher risk, oral cancer can affect anyone at any age. Disease symptoms include white or red patches or lumps in the mouth or on the lips, as well as loose teeth, aching jaw, difficulty swallowing, mouth sores that refuse to heal and unexplained gum bleeding.
Dentists look for signs of oral cancer as part of a regular dental exam. They check the roof, back, and floor of your mouth, along with your teeth, gums, tongue, and cheeks. The tongue exam may also include a gentle tug to check both sides and underneath.
Professional dental care and regular exams are the most effective way to detect oral cancer and save your life.
Q: WHAT IS COSMETIC DENTISTRY AND WHAT TYPES OF TREATMENTS DOES IT INVOLVE?
A: Have you ever wondered what you would look like if you had a more attractive looking smile? Providing people with a means of achieving their best smile is what cosmetic dentistry is all about.
More and more people today are scheduling appointments with our dental office, not because they are having dental problems, but because they want to smile more confidently. In many cases, these smiles begin with teeth that are crooked, stained, chipped or missing altogether. From simple teeth whitening and reshaping to veneers, crowns, bridges, implants and finally to full smile reconstruction, the end result in most cases is a healthy, attractive looking smile that provides a greater sense of self-confidence and enjoyment of life.
If you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your teeth, ask us about what specific treatments in cosmetic dentistry would benefit you.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BRING MY CHILD IN FOR THEIR FIRST VISIT?
A: As soon as the first tooth appears, a child is already at risk of having cavities. This can be caused by something as seemingly innocent as putting a baby to sleep with a bottle of juice or milk. Along with taking our first look at your child's oral condition, this first appointment is also largely focused on the parents and helping them to establish a good oral hygiene program and diet for the child. The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should have his or her first dental visit by the age of 1.
It is a little known fact that a child's primary teeth are vital to the long-term health of their permanent adult teeth. The premature loss of primary teeth as a result of accidents or decay can cause serious problems, including poorly spaced and crooked adult teeth. As a result, it is just as important to care for a child's baby teeth as it is for the adult teeth that follow.
Q: HOW IS A SPORTS GUARD FROM MY DENTIST DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE I CAN BUY AT A SPORTING GOODS STORE?
A: Unlike off the shelf boil and bite sports guards, a sports guard made by your dentist will be custom designed to fit you or your child's mouth and teeth perfectly. This proper fit, in combination with the materials used, will ensure the maximum protection for the teeth. We use a heavier sports guard material which is based upon each patient's individual needs.
Your custom sports guard is more comfortable and secure, not easily dislodged and can reduce breathing problems often experienced with store-bought sports guards.
From bike helmets, baseball helmets, shin guards to knee pads, you are still missing out if you aren't protecting a vulnerable part of the body; the mouth and teeth. The potential for injury that occurs during regular play and sports play such as hockey, football, soccer and basketball can cause serious tooth damage and concussions. A professionally fitted sports guard is the best defence.
Q: HOW CAN I PREVENT BAD BREATH?
A: If you have persistent bad breath it is probably interfering with your social or professional success. We have good news for you, persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth is usually a treatable oral condition we term chronic halitosis.
There are many potential causes of bad breath. However, the usual culprits are food particles that remain in your mouth after eating, faulty fillings, infections and periodontal disease. Other causes may include smoking, dieting, hormonal changes, certain diseases, medications and some foods.
Treatment begins with your dentist. She will check for gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis), see if any fillings need to be replaced and if necessary prepare a detailed treatment plan. Treatment usually begins with ensuring meticulous oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing and tongue scraping need to be part of your regular oral care routine.
Regular dental visits for cleaning and exams will keep bacteria at bay and help you develop a solid oral health routine to help in the fight against bad breath.
So, don't be embarrassed to ask us for advice if you have bad breath. As professionals, it's something we treat every day!
Q: WHY SHOULD I WHITEN MY TEETH?
A: Whether you like it or not, you are judged by your smile. It's one of the first things people notice when they meet you. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Why not make it count by having whiter teeth?
Stained, yellow teeth, even if you brush regularly, can project a poor image, and detract from your overall appearance. Whiter teeth can help you feel better about yourself and make a lasting impression. A warm, open smile exudes confidence, and a whiter, brighter smile is beautiful, and always puts you in fashion. If you want to have a younger-looking appearance, you'll be surprised how whiter teeth can minimize the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.
Teeth whitening is one of the fastest and easiest ways to brighten your smile. The whitening options available generally include at-home kits. At-home kits involve a tray that is custom-fitted to your teeth and holds a special whitening gel provided by your dentist. You wear the tray for a prescribed length of time each day.
Talk to us about teeth whitening today, and learn how we can help you make a more memorable impression tomorrow.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A: Missing teeth can cause serious problems, and not just with your appearance. The shape of your face and jaw can change, your remaining teeth can drift out of place, and you may have trouble eating certain foods or speaking clearly.
Dental implants can solve all of these problems. Implants are permanent replacements that mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. What are some of the benefits?
They enhance the appearance of your smile and improve your speech.
Because they are fixed permanently, you can enjoy all the foods you love.
They are an ideal replacement for loose-fitting dentures.
They are used to anchor complete dentures.
Imagine being able to smile broadly instead of hiding your teeth. Imagine biting into a crunchy apple without worry. Dental implants can give you the confidence and healthy smile you have always wanted. Talk to us today to learn more.