Posts for: January, 2016

By Newmarket Dentistry
January 21, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Newmarket Dentistry
January 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

Fillings are an important dental treatment that help prevent tooth decay from destroying your teeth. Your Newmarket dentist, Dr. RichardFillings Lee-Shanook offers fillings at Newmarket Dentistry and shares a few commonly asked questions about this tooth restoration option.

Why do I need a filling?

Your dentist will recommend a filling if he spots a cavity in a tooth. In some cases, the cavity is first detected on an X-ray during a dental exam, and you may not even be aware that you have a problem. Filling the tooth when the cavity is small is very important because as cavities grow larger, they destroy more of your tooth's structure. Without a strong structure, your tooth can crack or break.

What type of pain relief will be used?

Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around your tooth, which will make receiving a filling painless. Your dentist wants to ensure that you're comfortable while you receive a filling and won't start the procedure unless the area is completely numb.

What happens when I receive a filling?

Your dentist will use a dental drill to removed the decayed area of your tooth. He may also use hand tools to ensure that every piece of decay is removed, then clean the area by spraying it with water and air. After the tooth is cleaned, he'll replace the previously decayed area with a filling.

Fillings can be made with gold, porcelain, amalgam or a composite material, although amalgam and composite fillings are the types most often used. Composite fillings are made with tooth-colored resin while amalgam fillings consist of a combination of silver, mercury, tin and copper. Although your new filling will harden almost immediately, your dentist may recommend that you wait a little while to chew on that side of your mouth, depending on the material used in the filling.

Whether you're concerned about an aching tooth or it's time for your next dental exam, Dr. Shanook, your dentist in Newmarket, can help. Call Newmarket Dentistry today at (905) 830-1010 and schedule an appointment. Protect your smile with regular dental visits!

By Newmarket Dentistry
January 06, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Semi-annual office cleanings are important for keeping teeth healthy and disease-free. If you’ve replaced some of your teeth with dental implants, though, you may be thinking they don’t need as much attention from your hygienist.

It’s quite the opposite — cleaning around implants is important, and actually requires additional attention. The reason for this relates to both how dental implants attach to the jaw and their constructive materials.

Natural teeth are held in place by the periodontal ligament with tiny fibers that attach to the teeth on one side of it and to the jawbone on the other. The ligaments and the gingival (gum) fibers (which are also attached to the tooth) provide some disease resistance to the teeth through its rich blood vessel and collagen network. Dental implants, on the other hand, anchor directly into the jawbone. The titanium integrates with the bone, which naturally attracts to the metal and grows around it, which provides the implant’s eventual attachment strength. The implant doesn’t attach to the gum tissue and won’t develop the same relationship with the periodontal ligament as natural teeth.

Bacterial plaque, the primary cause for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, can collect on an implant crown just as readily as on a natural tooth. Although the materials that make up an implant can’t be affected by a plaque-induced infection, the gum tissues and supporting bone around it can. In fact, because implants lack the disease resistance of the gingival fibers and the ligament attachment, an infection can turn rapidly into a condition known as peri-implantitis that could cause bone and tissue loss and lead to the loss of the implant.

Your hygienist understands the importance of removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) from around your dental implant. This often calls for different instruments made of plastics or resins that won’t scratch the implant’s highly polished surface. Scratches provide a haven for bacteria to collect and make it more difficult to dislodge them. Likewise, if the hygienist uses ultrasonic equipment that loosens plaque through vibration, the hygienist will often use nylon or plastic tips to minimize damage to the implant.

And don’t forget your own personal hygiene habits — they’re just as important with dental implants as with natural teeth. Keeping plaque under control, both at home and with your dentist, is crucial to longevity for your dental implants.

If you would like more information on maintaining and cleaning dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”



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