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Frequently Asked Questions



Regular dental exams and x-rays are crucial for maintaining good oral health. Here’s why:

  1. Prevention and Early Detection: Regular exams help prevent dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. X-rays can detect issues like decay, bone loss, and tumors early, when they are easier to treat.
  2. Monitoring Existing Conditions: If you have existing dental issues, regular exams help monitor their progress and prevent further complications.
  3. Maintaining Overall Health: Oral health is linked to overall health. Regular exams can detect signs of systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease early.
  4. Customized Care: Your dentist can provide personalized advice on oral hygiene, diet, and lifestyle habits based on your exam and x-ray results.
  5. Peace of Mind: Regular exams and x-rays can give you peace of mind, knowing that your oral health is being monitored and any issues are being addressed promptly.
Yes, bleeding gums can be a sign of a serious problem, even if they don’t hurt. Bleeding gums are often a symptom of gum disease, which is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Other potential causes of bleeding gums include brushing too hard, hormonal changes, certain medications, and systemic diseases. It’s important to see your dentist for an evaluation if you notice bleeding gums, as early treatment can prevent more serious issues.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorder (TMD) refers to conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. Symptoms of TMD include jaw pain, clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, and locking of the jaw.

To prevent or alleviate TMJ disorder, you can:

  1. Practice Good Posture: Maintain good posture to reduce stress on your jaw muscles.
  2. Avoid Teeth Clenching and Grinding: Stress management techniques, a mouth-guard at night, and avoiding gum and other chewy foods can help.
  3. Eat Soft Foods: Eating soft foods can reduce strain on the jaw joint.
  4. Apply Heat or Ice: Applying heat or ice to the jaw area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  5. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can help reduce jaw tension.
  6. Physical Therapy: Exercises to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles can be beneficial.
  7. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory medications may help alleviate symptoms.

If these measures do not provide relief, your dentist may recommend further treatments such as splints or mouth-guards, dental work to correct bite issues, or in severe cases, surgery. It’s important to consult with your dentist or healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Zoom whitening is a professional teeth whitening treatment that is done in a dental office. It uses a special gel and a blue LED light to whiten teeth quickly and effectively. The gel is applied to the teeth and the light is used to activate the gel, allowing it to penetrate the teeth and break up stains and discoloration. The process usually takes about an hour and can whiten teeth by several shades. Zoom whitening is a popular choice for people who want to achieve a brighter smile in a short amount of time.

A smile makeover is a comprehensive approach to improving the appearance of your smile. It involves a combination of dental procedures and treatments tailored to address your specific cosmetic concerns and achieve your desired smile.

A smile makeover may include treatments such as teeth whitening, dental veneers, crowns, dental implants, orthodontics, or gum reshaping. The goal of a smile makeover is not only to enhance the aesthetics of your smile but also to improve the overall function and health of your teeth and gums.

Before undergoing a smile makeover, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your oral health and discuss your goals and expectations. Based on this evaluation, a customized treatment plan will be created to help you achieve the smile of your dreams.

Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s smile, teeth, and overall facial appearance. While traditional dentistry focuses on oral hygiene and preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry primarily focuses on enhancing the aesthetic appearance of a person’s smile.

Cosmetic dentistry can accomplish a variety of improvements, including:

  1. Teeth Whitening: Brightening and whitening discoloured or stained teeth.
  2. Dental Veneers: Thin shells of porcelain or composite resin that cover the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance.
  3. Dental Bonding: Using a tooth-coloured resin material to repair chipped, cracked, or discoloured teeth.
  4. Dental Crowns: Caps that cover damaged teeth to restore their shape, size, and appearance.
  5. Dental Implants: Artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jawbone to support replacement teeth.
  6. Orthodontics: Straightening crooked or misaligned teeth using braces or Invisalign®.
  7. Smile Makeovers: Comprehensive treatment plans that combine multiple cosmetic dentistry procedures to achieve a complete smile transformation.

Cosmetic dentistry can help improve the appearance of your smile, boost your confidence, and enhance your overall facial aesthetics. It is important to consult with a qualified cosmetic dentist to determine the most appropriate treatment options for your specific needs and goals.

Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored porcelain that are bonded to the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers are designed to cover the front surface of teeth to change their color, shape, size, or length. They are a popular choice for people looking to enhance their smile and are commonly used to correct teeth that are discolored, stained, chipped, or misaligned.

The process of getting porcelain veneers typically involves several steps. First, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth and discuss your goals and expectations. Then, a small amount of enamel will be removed from the front surface of the teeth to make room for the veneers. Next, impressions of your teeth will be taken and sent to a dental laboratory where the veneers will be custom-made to fit your teeth. Finally, the veneers will be bonded to your teeth using a special adhesive, and any final adjustments will be made to ensure a comfortable fit and a natural appearance.

Porcelain veneers are durable and can last for many years with proper care. They are also stain-resistant and can be cared for just like natural teeth with regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth or bridges. They are an effective and long-lasting solution for replacing missing teeth and restoring the function and appearance of your smile. Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a bio-compatible material that fuses with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This fusion creates a strong and stable foundation for replacement teeth.

Dental implants are highly effective and offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options, such as dentures and bridges. Some of the benefits of dental implants include:

  1. Improved Appearance: Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, restoring your smile and facial appearance.
  2. Improved Speech: Dental implants allow you to speak more clearly and confidently compared to other tooth replacement options.
  3. Improved Comfort: Dental implants eliminate the discomfort and inconvenience of removable dentures.
  4. Improved Eating Ability: Dental implants function like natural teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods without difficulty.
  5. Improved Oral Health: Dental implants do not require the alteration of adjacent teeth, as bridges do, which helps preserve your natural tooth structure.
  6. Durability: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective long-term solution for tooth replacement.

Overall, dental implants are a highly effective and reliable option for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile and oral health. However, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, so it’s important to consult with a qualified dental professional to determine if dental implants are right for you.

The success rates of dental implants are very high, with studies reporting success rates of over 95% for the majority of cases. However, the success of dental implants can vary depending on several factors, including the location of the implant, the health of the patient, and the skill of the dentist performing the procedure.

Some of the key factors that can affect the success of dental implants include:

  1. Bone Density: Sufficient bone density is necessary to support the implant. If there is not enough bone, a bone graft may be required before the implant can be placed.
  2. Overall Health: Patients in good overall health are more likely to have successful implant outcomes. Conditions such as diabetes and autoimmune disorders can affect healing and increase the risk of implant failure.
  3. Oral Hygiene: Good oral hygiene is essential for the long-term success of dental implants. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are important to prevent infection and other complications.
  4. Smoking: Smoking can negatively impact the success of dental implants. Smokers have a higher risk of implant failure due to impaired healing and increased risk of infection.
  5. Dentist Experience: The skill and experience of the dentist performing the implant procedure can also affect the success rate. It’s important to choose a dentist who is experienced in implant dentistry.

Overall, dental implants have a high success rate and are considered a safe and effective option for replacing missing teeth. However, it’s important to discuss your individual case with a qualified dental professional to determine if dental implants are right for you.

The dental implant process can vary in length depending on several factors, including the patient’s individual case and the specific treatment plan. In general, the dental implant process can take several months and typically involves the following steps:

  1. Initial Consultation: Your dentist will evaluate your oral health and determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. X-rays or CT scans may be taken to assess the condition of your jawbone.
  2. Treatment Planning: A customized treatment plan will be created based on your oral health needs and goals. This may include additional procedures such as bone grafting or tooth extraction.
  3. Implant Placement: The dental implant, which is a small titanium post, is surgically placed into the jawbone. It may take several months for the implant to fuse with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration.
  4. Abutment Placement: Once the implant has fused with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment serves as a connector for the replacement tooth or crown.
  5. Final Restoration: A custom-made crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the abutment to complete the restoration. The replacement tooth or teeth are designed to match the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth.

The entire dental implant process can take anywhere from several months to over a year, depending on the individual case. It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure the success of your dental implant treatment.

The first step in choosing a new dentist is to list your needs, which might include:

  • Location
  • Hours of practice
  • Language(s) spoken
  • Generalist or specialist practice

Ask your family and friends if they can recommend a dentist. Other members of your community, such as your doctor, may be able to offer suggestions. Some provincial dental associations have websites that allow you to search for a dentist in your area.

Once you have narrowed your list to two or three names, call the dentists to see if they are accepting new patients.

How can I get my records transferred?

Original dental records belong to the dentist who provided the treatment, and not the patient, because dentists have to keep all of their records for a period of time, as set out by their provincial dental regulatory body. Once you have selected a new dentist, you can request that a copy of your records be transferred from your former dentist.

You may be required to sign a release form from your former dental office and you may also be charged an administrative fee for having your records copied and sent to another dental office. If you have questions about the records transfer process in your province, ask your dentist or contact the provincial dental regulatory body.

Provincial Association
British Columbia Dental Association
400-1765 West 8th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6J 5C6
Tel: (604) 736-7202
Fax: (604) 736-7588

To maintain your baby’s dental health, follow these guidelines:

  1. Clean Gums: Before teeth erupt, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding to remove bacteria.
  2. First Teeth: When the first tooth appears, start brushing with a soft, infant-sized toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Diet: Limit sugary foods and drinks. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle, as this can lead to tooth decay.
  4. First Dental Visit: Schedule your baby’s first dental visit around their first birthday or when the first tooth erupts.
  5. Fluoride: Ensure your baby gets an adequate amount of fluoride, either through water or supplements if recommended by your dentist.
  6. Regular Check-ups: Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your baby develops strong, healthy teeth and gums.

Here is a guide to provide you some assistance in caring for your baby’s dental health:

Ages 0-6 Months

  1. Use gauze or a finger brush to wipe your baby’s gums, even when he/she has no teeth.
  2. Baby teeth begin to erupt around 6 months of age on average.
  3. You might see a discoloration or bruise where a tooth is going to come out.
  4. Once a tooth erupts, use a washcloth or baby toothbrush and water to clean it each day

Ages 6-12 Months

  1. Visit the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth’s eruption.
  2. Children who go to the dentist by age 1 tend to need fewer fillings than those who wait.
  3. Your child may have up to 8 teeth by her 1st birthday.
  4. Watch for teeth with no space between them that need flossing.
  5. Massage gums with gauze in case of discomfort during teething.

Ages 12-18 Months

  1. Check with your dentist if your child has no erupted teeth by 15 months of age.
  2. Ask your dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth.
  3. Make brushing a team effort, allowing your child to help you.
  4. Use a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush with water or fluoride-free toothpaste.
  5. Watch for signs of teeth grinding, as it could indicate discomfort.

For more information contact our dental office in New Westminster at (604) 526-1216.

When pregnant, caring for your teeth is important for both your dental health and overall well-being. Follow these tips to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy:

  1. Brush and Floss Regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles.
  2. Eat a Balanced Diet: Maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin C, which are important for dental health.
  3. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Limit consumption of sugary foods and drinks to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and help prevent dry mouth, which can increase the risk of cavities.
  5. Attend Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Inform your dentist that you are pregnant.
  6. Manage Morning Sickness: If you experience morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to help neutralize stomach acid that can erode tooth enamel.
  7. Avoid Dental X-Rays: If possible, avoid dental x-rays during pregnancy. If x-rays are necessary, inform your dentist that you are pregnant so they can take precautions.
  8. Inform Your Dentist of Your Pregnancy: Be sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant and provide information about any medications or prenatal vitamins you are taking.

By following these tips, you can help maintain good oral health during pregnancy.

Flossing is an important part of a good oral hygiene routine. Here’s why:

  1. Remove Plaque: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline, areas that your toothbrush may not reach effectively.
  2. Prevent Gum Disease: Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease, which can cause gum inflammation, gum recession, and tooth loss. Flossing helps prevent gum disease by removing plaque and bacteria from these hard-to-reach areas.
  3. Prevent Cavities: Flossing can help prevent cavities by removing plaque and food particles that can lead to tooth decay.
  4. Freshen Breath: Flossing helps remove food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  5. Improve Overall Health: Poor oral health has been linked to other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Flossing can help improve your overall health by reducing the risk of these conditions.

In conclusion, flossing is an important part of maintaining good oral health and preventing dental problems. It only takes a few minutes a day and can make a big difference in your overall health.

When choosing a toothbrush, consider the following factors:

  1. Bristle Type: Soft bristles are gentle on your gums and tooth enamel. They are effective at removing plaque and debris without causing damage.
  2. Head Size: Choose a toothbrush with a head size that allows you to easily reach all areas of your mouth, including the back teeth.
  3. Handle: Choose a toothbrush with a handle that is comfortable to hold and allows for easy manoeuvrability.
  4. Electric vs. Manual: Both electric and manual toothbrushes can be effective at cleaning your teeth. Electric toothbrushes may be more effective for some people, especially those with limited dexterity or who have difficulty brushing properly.

Ultimately, the best toothbrush for you is one that you feel comfortable using and that allows you to brush your teeth effectively. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.

Both water flossers (such as Waterpik) and traditional flossing are effective at removing plaque and debris from between your teeth and along the gum-line. However, they each have their own advantages:

  1. Water Flosser (Waterpik):
    • Pros:
      • Gentle on gums.
      • Can be easier to use, especially for people with braces or other dental work.
      • Can reach areas that traditional floss may miss.
    • Cons:
      • May be less effective at removing plaque compared to traditional floss.
      • Can be more expensive upfront.
  2. Traditional Flossing:
    • Pros:
      • Effective at removing plaque and debris.
      • Can be more cost-effective than a water flosser.
    • Cons:
      • May be more difficult to use, especially for people with limited dexterity.
      • May cause gum irritation if not used correctly.

Ultimately, the best method for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Some people may find that a water flosser is more convenient and easier to use, while others may prefer the effectiveness of traditional flossing. It’s also worth noting that some people may benefit from using both methods as part of their oral hygiene routine.

The best toothpaste for you depends on your specific dental needs. Here are some common types of toothpaste and their benefits:

  1. Fluoride Toothpaste: Most toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Fluoride toothpaste is suitable for most people and is recommended by dentists.
  2. Desensitizing Toothpaste: If you have sensitive teeth, a desensitizing toothpaste can help reduce sensitivity by blocking pain signals from the tooth’s nerve endings.
  3. Whitening Toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste can help remove surface stains from teeth, making them appear whiter. However, whitening toothpaste may not be as effective as professional whitening treatments for more significant staining.
  4. Natural Toothpaste: Natural toothpaste is made from natural ingredients and does not contain artificial sweeteners, colours, or preservatives. It may be a good option for those looking for a more natural oral care product.
  5. Anti-Cavity Toothpaste: Anti-cavity toothpaste contains fluoride to help prevent cavities. It may also contain additional ingredients to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce plaque buildup.

When choosing a toothpaste, consider any specific dental issues you may have, such as sensitivity or staining, and choose a toothpaste that is formulated to address those concerns.

If you experience dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, there are several products you can use to help alleviate symptoms and improve oral comfort. Here are some options:

  1. Moisturizing Mouthwash: Use an alcohol-free mouthwash specifically designed for dry mouth to help moisturize the mouth and provide relief from discomfort. Look for products that contain ingredients like xylitol or salivary substitutes.
  2. Dry Mouth Gel or Spray: Apply a moisturizing gel or spray to the inside of your mouth to help hydrate the oral tissues and provide relief from dryness. These products can be applied as needed throughout the day.
  3. Saliva Substitutes: Saliva substitutes are products that mimic the natural properties of saliva and can help provide relief from dry mouth symptoms. They are available in various forms, including sprays, gels, and lozenges.
  4. Sugar-Free Hard Candy or Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candy can help stimulate saliva flow and alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Look for products sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to stimulate saliva production.
  5. Hydrating Mouth Rinse: Rinse your mouth with water or a hydrating mouth rinse throughout the day to help keep the oral tissues moist and hydrated.
  6. Humidifier: Use a humidifier in your home, especially in your bedroom while you sleep, to help increase moisture in the air and prevent dry mouth symptoms.
  7. Consult Your Dentist: If you experience chronic dry mouth, talk to your dentist or healthcare provider. They can recommend additional treatment options and help identify any underlying causes of your dry mouth.

It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, which can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, can help prevent oral health issues associated with dry mouth.


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