Archive for September 2012

No matter how good a job we do at taking care of our teeth, the truth is that some of us will experience some oral health care issues in our lifetimes. Perhaps it will be periodontal disease, or it may be decay brought about by acid erosion. Another common problem would be the need for a root canal.

So what exactly is a root canal and how is it treated?

In truth, the “root canal” is actually the natural cavity found at the centre of the tooth. Within that area, you will find what is referred to as the “pulp” or the “pulp chamber”.  The pulp is the soft material that surrounds the nerve.

Sometimes people may experience damage to the nerve or the pulp chamber. This can be caused by some form of trauma, or it may simply be the cumulative result of decay over a period of time.

As a consequence of such trauma or decay, some people may experience a build-up of bacteria around that nerve. If enough bacteria builds up, an infection or an abscess can develop.

This can prove to be quite painful for some people, as the infection will press right against the nerve of the tooth. Furthermore, the infection can spread to the adjoining teeth, resulting in serious complications if left untreated, including bone and tissue loss.

The remedy for this condition is a treatment we also refer to as a “root canal”. If we determine that a root canal is required for your condition, we will have to access the pulp chamber to remove the infection. This usually involves removing the pulp as well. As the nerve of the tooth will essentially be “dead” at this time, it will need a crown to protect the integrity of the remaining structure.

Patients who visit our office regularly may be fortunate in that we can catch the developing condition before you actually experience any pain. Using x-rays, we may be able to spot a developing infection that might go undetected by the naked eye. Not only could that save you the discomfort of the abscess itself, your treatment may not be as extensive given the early stage of detection. 

It is important to keep in mind that just because you cannot feel any discomfort, does not necessarily mean all is well below the gum line. This is why we rely upon x-rays to; quite literally, allow us to get to the “root” of the problem before it becomes urgent.  We can only do that if you visit us at Rideau Dental Centre on a regular basis. 

So make sure you visit us at least twice per year for a complete review of your oral health. Because early detection of an infection is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

Oral Cancer: It is VERY Real!

September 18, 2012 | Posted Education

This is certainly not the first time we have blogged about oral cancer and the importance of oral cancer checks. However, while our past blogs have talked about it as a simple concept, a recent event at our office brought home the significance of this very real condition.

An oral cancer check is a routine part of an exam performed by both the dentist and a hygienist. Virtually all dental offices conduct such exams, though they may not always inform you about it.

In our case, a member of our team was providing a routine, periodontal maintenance treatment to a young person under the age of 40 years. During the course of that treatment, she examined this patient for oral cancer.

At this time, she noticed the early stages of a lesion developing on the side of this patient’s tongue. She immediately recommended that the patient attend at the office of a specialist to have this lesion examined more closely. An appointment was scheduled for her/him.

The specialist examined the lesion and conducted a biopsy. Sure enough, the results came back positive for oral cancer!

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending. The oral cancer was caught early so it could be removed without the need for extensive, disfiguring surgery. More importantly, the specialist advised this patient that s/he was very lucky. The fact that the cancer was caught so early and that our team member insisted on follow up treatment may well have saved this person’s life!

Obviously, you do not normally associate the work of a dentist with life-saving treatment. But given that we work exclusively in your mouth, your dental office team is likely in the best position to help diagnose oral cancer. This is particularly the case given how difficult it is for many people to even find a family doctor!

This case certainly reminds us of the importance of an oral cancer check. It is a form of cancer that is being diagnosed more frequently today than at any time in the past. And like any cancer, if it is not diagnosed early, the results can be fatal!

Fortunately, we do not have to deal with advising patients they may have oral cancer on a daily basis! However, when it does happen, and we have a happy ending as we did in this case, it makes us feel that much prouder of the work we do!

We certainly hope we do not have to provide you with a similar diagnosis. However, we always recommend that you have an oral cancer check. Because having an oral cancer check is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr.  Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

If your kids did not head back to school last week with the French boards, then this is the big week for them! Regardless of the day they went back, we hope they are happy being back in class and excited to take on the challenges of a new grade.

Back to school brings a certain amount of normalcy back into all of our schedules. For starters, when summer vacation ends for the kids, it also ends for most of us grown-ups. With more time at work and more activities to drive our kids to, we have to become that much better at organizing our time to make our regimen’s run efficiently.

We would like to suggest that taking the time to look after your oral health, and that of your kids, be given a high priority in your schedule.  Schedules may be tight to make sure kids get to school and you get to work on time, and that everyone is in bed early enough  to get a good night’s sleep.

As important as that is, good oral health makes it imperative that we find at least two minutes in the morning and at night to properly brush our teeth. As small a commitment as this appears, the reality is that the average person spends just over 60 seconds brushing. That means the average person is simply not doing enough to properly care for their teeth!

Then there is the matter of flossing. Many people fail to do this at all. Yet it is something that also takes little more than a minute to do. That means your daily, minimum investment of time for good oral health is as little as 5 to 6 minutes. More is better, of course. Still, a lot of good can be accomplished in such a small amount of time!

Of course, when you are dealing with kids, you do have to be prepared to spend time helping them. Most kids do not have dexterity to be able to floss properly and will likely need your help. Truth be told, until  they become teenagers and start becoming more concerned about their appearance, you will have to take an active role in looking after their oral health as most kids will not do it on their own!

So when you are structuring your day, we ask that you make sure there is enough time to properly brush and floss your teeth and that of your children. Sleep is important to our health but losing one minute of sleep from your routine is not that big a deal.  However, losing one minute from brushing your teeth can be far more crucial!

So find those 5 or 6 minutes each day that can be the difference between good oral health and tooth decay or periodontal disease! Of course, your regimen should also include time to visit us at Rideau Dental Centre at least twice per year, or more often if your oral health requires it. Because investing time in your oral health is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon