Professional teeth whitening is a special process that only your dentist can administer. It involves fitting your mouth for special trays. These trays contain a safe whitening agent that whitens your teeth while you wear them. However, a dental cleaning can also whiten your teeth temporarily by removing superficial stains. Dental cleaning isn’t a substitute for a whitening procedure, but it can give you a radiant smile. Here’s why:

What happens during a dental cleaning?

Before your dentist works their magic, a dental hygienist will perform a physical examination of your mouth. Using a small mirror, they will check your teeth and gums looking for gingivitis (gum disease), plaque, tartar and cavities. Then, going deep between the teeth and around the gum line, the hygienist uses a small instrument called a scaler to rid your mouth of plaque and tartar. This is followed by a deep cleaning using a high-tech electric toothbrush. The toothpaste used for the deep cleaning is a little grittier than what you’re used to at home. Although it is grainy, it’s not rough on your teeth. This toothpaste gently scrubs your teeth to remove any plaque and tartar that the scaler missed. Next, you’ll receive an expert flossing that gets deep between your teeth. The hygienist will give you a liquid afterwards so that you can rinse out your mouth before giving you a fluoride treatment. Fluoride protects your teeth against cavities for several months which is why it’s important to visit your dentist every six months for cleanings.

Once the cleaning is complete, your dentist will do a comprehensive exam of your mouth. Your dentist is trained to look for defects and irregularities on your teeth, gums and tongue. During the exam, your dentist looks for:

  • Early signs of cavities
  • Tooth decay
  • Damaged teeth and cracks
  • Signs of gum disease like inflammation and periodontal pockets (when the supporting tissue and bone around the tooth are destroyed and form pockets where food and bacteria becomes trapped)
  • Other dental work like fillings, root canals and crowns to make sure they are still intact
  • Early signs of throat or mouth cancer
  • Cysts or growths
  • Teeth positioning, bite and spacing
  • Signs of teeth grinding or clenching and overall health of the temporomandibular joint
  • Signs of bleeding and inflammation on the tongue, roof of your mouth or floor
  • The overall health of your jaw and facial bones

Once per year, X-rays will be taken to give your dentist an in-depth look at your entire mouth.

What do dental cleanings do?

Dental cleanings offer many aesthetic benefits and improve your health by:

  • Preventing cavities, gum disease and tooth loss through the removal of plaque and tartar build up
  • Freshening your breath by using special rinses and toothpastes designed to kill the bacteria that causes bad breath
  • Giving you a brighter smile by removing built-up surface stains caused by tobacco use, and drinking and eating certain foods like coffee, wine and candy
  • Boosting your overall health by lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke

How do you get white teeth in between dental cleanings?

Between dental cleanings it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. There are many ways to do so that will keep stains and tooth discolouration away.

  1. Brush and floss: You must brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. You should also use mouthwash after brushing to remove any plaque and tartar that the floss and your toothbrush missed. The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for 2-4 minutes at time.
  2. Stay away from food and beverages that stain your teeth: Keep your consumption of tea, soda, candy, red and white wine, coffee and foods that are high in acid to a minimum. Stick to water whenever possible because it won’t destroy your teeth or cause tooth decay.
  3. Do not use over-the-counter whitening strips: Although over-the-counter whitening strips are Health Canada approved, they are made in a one-size-fits-all manner. The whitening agents they contain may be too much for your mouth and can lead to gum inflammation. Also, the strips may only whiten the centre of your teeth since they aren’t designed to penetrate the natural grooves of each tooth.
  4. Professional whitening procedure: Only your dentist can professionally whiten your teeth. Using a specialized procedure, your teeth can be whitened up to eight shades. Plus, this procedure is long-lasting if you maintain good oral health.

If you’re looking to get a thorough dental cleaning or whiten your teeth, please contact Dawson Dental for more information or to book an appointment. Your oral health is important and we’ll help you achieve great results.

Tinnitus and bruxism go hand-in-hand. The relationship between the two is quite elaborate although most people don’t know that the reason their ears are ringing is linked to teeth grinding. Below we’ll explore the relationship between tinnitus and bruxism and present the treatments that are available from your dentist.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition which causes you to gnash, grind and clench your teeth. Many people aren’t aware that they are grinding their teeth because they do it in their sleep (sleep bruxism) and unconsciously while they’re awake. Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, so those that suffer from it are more at risk for other disorders such as snoring and repeated pauses in breathing (sleep apnea). Most people do not notice that they grind their teeth and clench their jaw until the symptoms of bruxism start appearing. These symptoms range from severe headaches, damaged teeth, jaw pain, and inability to open and close your mouth without discomfort and ringing in the ears.

Bruxism is part of a group of a conditions under the umbrella of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD). TMJD affects the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull and can lead to major oral damage if left untreated.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is often a symptom of another underlying condition like an ear injury, teeth grinding (bruxism), circulatory system disorders and age-related hearing loss. Tinnitus manifests itself as phantoms noises in the ear that sound like ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking and hissing. You could experience these noises in one or both ears and it can be so loud that it hinders your ability to hear real sounds or concentrate. Tinnitus can present itself randomly or you can hear these phantom sounds all the time.

Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective tinnitus and objective tinnitus. The subjective version is the most common type and involves phantom noises only you can hear. It is related to auditory nerve problems and the part of your brain that makes sense of nerve signals and interprets them as sounds. Conversely, objective tinnitus is classified by a blood vessel problem, middle ear bone conditions or muscle contractions that result in sounds your doctor can also hear when they perform an examination of your ears.

How are tinnitus and bruxism linked?

Bruxism is part of the array of TMJ disorders, it puts strain on the temporomandibular joint found on both sides of the head. This joint lives in front of the ears where the lower jawbone connects with the skull. When pressure is put on the joint is radiates into the ears since they are in close proximity. The phantom sounds you hear from tinnitus are caused by your bone structure responding to the action of teeth grinding and clenching. The more you grind and clench your teeth, the more ringing you’ll hear in your ears. However, not everyone who suffers from bruxism gets tinnitus. Tinnitus is only one of the many side-effects associated with teeth grinding.

What treatments are available for bruxism and tinnitus?

By treating bruxism, your tinnitus will fade. One of the more comprehensive treatments for bruxism (which we offer Dawson Dental) involves oral appliance therapy. First the dentist will make impressions of your teeth so they can study the tooth structure and arrangement in your mouth. The second step in this procedure uses neuromuscular treatment to relax your muscle to a more normal position. Using a Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS) unit, gentle electric stimulation is delivered to your jaw muscles.

It takes approximately one hour for the TENS machine to guide your muscles into relaxation. Once your muscles are relaxed, your dentist will register your bite by placing a putty-like materials between your teeth and moving your jaw into a comfortable position. Now that your dentist has a new impression of your teeth and jaw in its relaxed state, a custom oral appliance can be created. You will need to wear this removable oral appliance full time until your muscles are able to relax on their own. Even if you grind your teeth while wearing this appliance, you will not damage it or your teeth further. For less severe cases of bruxism, you can get a custom oral appliance to be worn only while you sleep.

The tinnitus should clear up on its own once your bruxism is treated and your muscles are able to respond to what the oral appliance is doing.

Please contact Dawson Dental for more information about our bruxism treatments or to book an appointment. Even if you do not experience tinnitus at this point, it’s important to treat bruxism before it leads to other conditions.