Do you want to learn more about proper dental care techniques? Check out the articles on this page to get answers to your common dental questions and to learn dental care tips to promote your oral health.
1. Tell your dentist.
Routine dental visits are generally safe and beneficial during your pregnancy. Just make sure to let your dentist know your due date, if you have any changes in your health and what medications you are taking.
2. Proceed cautiously with x-rays.
If you see a dentist regularly, x-rays can generally be postponed until your baby is born. However, when x-rays are needed for diagnosing problems, your dentist should use a lead apron with a collar to minimize exposure to your abdomen area and thyroid.
3. Your second trimester is the best time for routine dental procedures.
At this point, fetal organ development is complete, nausea and vomiting may be reduced, and you can still lie comfortably on your back. Emergency procedures may be performed with special consideration throughout your pregnancy to prevent infection and pain. However, elective procedures and major dental surgeries should be postponed until after your baby is born.
4. If you need a dental procedure while pregnant…
Ask your dentist if the procedure can wait until the second trimester or after your baby is born. Keep in mind that the risks of not treating oral pain, swelling or infection may outweigh the minimal risks associated with getting dental work while pregnant. Some medications, including local anesthetics, antibiotics, and pain medications can be used safely during pregnancy.
5. Make sure you are comfortable.
If you find lying on your back uncomfortable, bring a pillow and ask for frequent breaks. Don’t forget to bring headphones with your favourite music. If the procedure will be long, ask your dentist if you can split it up into a few shorter appointments.
Removable partial or full dentures require proper care to keep them clean, free from stains and looking their best. For good denture care:
Remove and rinse dentures after eating. Run water over your dentures to remove food debris and other loose particles. You may want to place a towel on the counter or in the sink or put some water in the sink so the dentures won't break if you drop them.
Handle your dentures carefully. Be sure you don't bend or damage the plastic or the clasps when cleaning.
Clean your mouth after removing your dentures. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on natural teeth and gauze or a soft toothbrush to clean your tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth (palate).
Brush your dentures at least daily. Gently clean your dentures daily by soaking and brushing with a nonabrasive denture cleanser to remove food, plaque and other deposits. If you use denture adhesive, clean the grooves that fit against your gums to remove any remaining adhesive. Do not use denture cleansers inside your mouth.
Soak dentures overnight. Most types of dentures need to remain moist to keep their shape. Place the dentures in water or a mild denture-soaking solution overnight. Check with your dentist about properly storing your dentures overnight. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning and soaking solutions.
Rinse dentures before putting them back in your mouth, especially if using a denture-soaking solution. These solutions can contain harmful chemicals that cause vomiting, pain or burns if swallowed.
Schedule regular dental checkups. Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit to have your dentures examined and professionally cleaned. Your dentist can help ensure a proper fit to prevent slippage and discomfort. Your dentist can also check the inside of your mouth to make sure it's healthy.
See your dentist if you have a loose fit. See your dentist promptly if your dentures become loose. Loose dentures can cause irritation, sores and infection.
Here are a few things you typically should avoid:
Abrasive cleaning materials. Avoid stiff-bristled brushes, strong cleansers and harsh toothpaste, as these are too abrasive and can damage your dentures.
Whitening toothpastes. Toothpastes advertised as whitening pastes are especially abrasive and generally should be avoided on dentures.
Bleach-containing products. Do not use any bleaching products because these can weaken dentures and change
their colour. Don't soak dentures with metal attachments in solutions that contain chlorine because it can tarnish and corrode the metal.
Hot water. Avoid hot or boiling water that could warp your dentures.
How common is gum disease?
Very. Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a real problem. That's why it is so important to prevent gum disease before it becomes serious.
How does gum disease get started?
Gum disease begins when plaque adheres at and below the visible edge of your gums. If plaque is not removed every day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar promotes a bacterial infection at the point of attachment. In these early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis.
Your gums may be a bit red, but you may not notice anything. As gingivitis gets more serious, tiny pockets of infection form. Your gums may be puffy and may bleed a little when you brush, but it is not painful. Over time, the infection destroys the gum tissue. Eventually, you may be at risk of losing one or more teeth.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Prevention is the most important factor in the fight against gum disease. It is essential to keep your teeth and gums clean. Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and floss at least once every 24 hours.
Using proper brushing and flossing techniques is equally important. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and dental exams, so that he or she can detect any early signs of gum disease, and provide appropriate treatment.
How can I tell if I'm brushing and flossing properly?
Brushing: Brush your teeth gently, paying special attention to the areas where your teeth and gums meet. Clean every surface of every tooth. Use the tip of your brush to clean behind your upper and lower front teeth.
Flossing: Take a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers. Using a clean section of floss each time, wrap the floss into a C shape around a tooth. Wipe it over the tooth, from base to tip, a couple of times. Repeat on each tooth.
What if I am already in the early stages of gum disease?
If you have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That's why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:
Cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove built-up tartar, brushing twice a day to remove plaque and flossing once a day to remove plaque.
When gum disease is more serious, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist called a periodontist. A periodontist has a least three years of extra university training in treating gum disease, and in restoring (or regenerating) bone and gum tissue that have been lost because of gum disease.
A periodontist also treats serious forms of gum disease that do not get better with normal dental care. When serious gum disease is found, brushing and flossing become even more important.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant's teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid produced by these bacteria attack the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin.
The condition is also associated with breast-fed infants who have prolonged feeding habits or with children whose pacifiers are frequently dipped in honey, sugar or syrup. The sweet fluids left in the mouth while the infant is sleeping increase the chances of cavities.
Why should I be worried about baby bottle tooth decay?
Giving an infant a sugary drink at nap or nighttime is harmful because during sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child's teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, decay can result, which can cause pain and infection. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth.
How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
Never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. Clean and massage the baby's gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues. This should be done after every feeding.
Plaque removal activities should begin upon eruption of the first baby tooth. When brushing a child's teeth, use a soft toothbrush and water. If you are considering using toothpaste before your child's second birthday, ask your dentist first. Parents should first bring their child to the dentist when the child is between 6 and 12 months old.
Will changes in my child's diet help prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
A series of small changes over a period of time is usually easier and eventually leads to better oral health.
To incorporate these changes:
Your child's first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child's teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.
It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area for a few days after your root canal treatment as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. It is important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and caution should be exercised in operating dangerous machinery or driving a car after taking them.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact the office.
Contact the office right away if you develop any of the following:
Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long-term success. Arrange for your restorative appointment as soon as possible.
The tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. After the tooth has been restored, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings.
After tooth extraction, it is important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 minutes after the appointment. If excessive bleeding or oozing still persists, insert another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times. If, after several attempts with gauze, excessive bleeding continues, please call the office.
After the blood clot forms, it is important not to disturb or dislodge the clot as it aids healing. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities will dislodge or dissolve the clot and retard the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours as this will increase blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.
After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. During the first 24 hours, an ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides in 48-72 hours; however, use ice packs only for the first 24 hours.
Use the pain medication as directed. Call the office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluid and eat nutritious soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.
It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.
After a few days you will feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for more than three days, or a reaction to the medication, call the office immediately.