Archive for September 2011

Have you ever been to your dentist office and perhaps listened while your dentist or a hygienist called out a series of numbers to someone else who would write those numbers down? Have you ever wondered exactly what they are doing?

What they are doing is called “perio-probing” and it is one of the most important functions your dentist office can provide during an examination. So if it is so important, you may be wondering what exactly is “perio-probing”.

Perio-probing is a procedure whereby your dentist or hygienist will measure the depths of the pockets around your gums and teeth. S/he will place a specific dental instrument against the tooth and gently press it down to see how far or deep your pockets are.

Ideally, the healthier the gums, the smaller the pocket depth will be. The optimal situation would have pockets no deeper than 3 millimetres. This is a sign that your gums are snug to your teeth providing good support and less room for bacteria to build up below the gum line.

At 4 or 5 millimetres, your dentist may recommend that you return for more frequently than twice per year, which is normal for someone in good dental health. The reason for the more frequent visits is simple. The larger the pockets, the easier it is for plaque and bacteria to build up below the gum line.

When that happens, you could be dealing with a situation where the health of your gums continues to deteriorate. The longer the bacteria are allowed to remain, the more damage it will do to the gum tissue. Visiting your dentist more frequently to remove this build-up will provide better protection for your gums.

If gum disease is allowed to progress, more and more of the tooth and the underlying root, ligaments and jaw bone exposed to greater levels of bacteria.  When the bacteria gains even easier access to those areas, the amount of damage it can do will increase.

As it attacks these structures which support the teeth in place, their hold on your teeth will become weaker. Gradually, the teeth will become loose until they ultimately fall out or need to be removed.

And it might interest you to know that this is not a rare occurrence. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults over 25 years.

In addition to increasing the frequency of your dental visits, improved oral health care practices at home may be necessary. Your dentist can provide you with some tips on this front. Regular brushing and flossing are vital to ensuring healthy gums. And having healthy gums is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

Technology has changed so much of what we do in our everyday life. Think of the speed at which we can access information on the internet or the manner in which we watch television in high definition, streamed feeds. Thirty years ago, these sorts of technology simply did not form part of our everyday lives.

Dentistry has also been dramatically affected by technology. New materials and techniques better enable your dentist to deliver services that simply did not exist in the past. Furthermore, with the computer technology provided in some offices, you can receive that treatment far more quickly and efficiently than in days gone by.

One of the most dramatic technological developments is commonly known as CEREC or E4D. CEREC or E4D can be used for a number of dental procedures, including crowns and veneers. It allows your dentist to photograph your tooth and the surrounding area from multiple angles. The images are stored and a digital, three dimensional model is created.

Then the marvel really begins. The CEREC or E4D software will take that 3D model and design the crown or veneer that will best fit your tooth! Not only does it create an ideal fit for the restored tooth – it is able to consider the ideal shape to best function in YOUR mouth!

Your digitally designed restoration will be stored and then sent wirelessly to a milling machine specially designed for the CEREC or E4D system. The milling machine is like having a dental lab in your dentist’s office, meaning you do not need to take an impression on one visit and then return for a second or third time in order to allow an external lab the time to create your restoration. Within minutes, a crown or veneer can be created out of a modern, ceramic material.

Most patients are thrilled with the results. The digital technology, combined with minor adjustments by your dentist, work to create a tooth that fits and functions in your mouth like your natural tooth. And the ceramic material used can create such a close match with your surrounding teeth; nobody will suspect you have a crown.

All this can be achieved with one simple trip to the dentist! So if you have been putting off the crown your smile needs because you do not have the time to visit your dentist two or three times, ask your dentist if s/he uses CEREC or E4D.

If so, invest in your smile by scheduling that appointment. When you see that youthful smile in the mirror, you will be glad that you did. Because smiling keeps us feeling young, energetic and it is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. George Parry

Dental Surgeon

Now that the kids have been back to school for a couple of weeks, it does feel like we are settling back into a routine. Part of that routine may include more running around, shuttling kids to their various activities.

It often means less time to perform some of the most basic, but important functions we may have as parents…such as ensuring our kids are eating healthy snacks and lunches. And never mind just the kids! We may find ourselves too rushed to put together a well balanced meal for ourselves too!

All too often, this can result in us just passing money to our kids to buy a lunch while we do that same at work. So off to the local cafeteria, corner store or fast food restaurant we go. And to go along with that meal, many of us will wind up buying a soft drink!

Many of you might think it is such a minor “sin” that it is hardly worth correcting. The fact is soft drinks are notorious for the negative impact they have on our teeth.

We all know that soft drinks contain huge quantities of sugar… and sugar has long been known to be the enemy of good oral hygiene. Sugar feeds the plaque that builds up on our teeth. The bacteria in the plaque can convert the sugar to acid which can break down the enamel. Thus we have the beginnings of tooth decay.

Many people might think switching to diet soft drinks might solve this problem as they are lower in sugar. However, what they lack in sugar they more than make up for with higher levels of acid. In particular, diet soft drinks tend to have higher levels of citric acid, which is detrimental to tooth enamel.

If you are drinking soft drinks, you should use a straw. This decreases the amount of the soft drink that comes in contact with the teeth, which, of course, is where you find the plaque. That reduces the chance for the bacteria to convert the sugar into enamel-destroying acids.

You should also finish the drink quickly rather than letting it linger. Finishing a drink in 10 minutes usually means the acid build up will continue for 30 minutes. However, if you take 60 minutes to finish your drink, acid will continue to be produced for 90 minutes afterwards!

And of course, you always need to brush. This helps keep the plaque under control as well as reducing the amount of sugar in your mouth. A good electric brush is more effective than a standard brush and we encourage you to consider investing in one.

Finally, regular visits to the dentist are also required to make sure you avoid the build up of plaque. A thorough cleaning at your dentist’s office is essential to offset the negative effects of soft drinks.

Still the best solution is to look for healthier alternatives. Replace the soft drinks with nice, cold, tap water…no sugar and a great source of fluoride! Water is definitely a healthier option…because drinking fewer soft drinks is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon