Going to the dentist regularly is essential for maintaining a beautiful smile, but some folks have a hard time mustering up the courage to book an appointment. We get it. The sounds, sights, and smells can make you feel outside of your element. Even though you know that going to the dentist is good for you, it doesn’t always negate the stress.

Unfortunately, dental phobia is a very real factor in preventing Canadians from getting the dental treatment they need. What’s more, the nervousness only mounts the longer an appointment is postponed. Patients used to have to endure dental treatment despite their anxiety or suffer from poor oral health.

Today, there’s an alternative: oral sedation dentistry. In the past, sedation was only used for extensive procedures that required the patient to be asleep for a long time. Now, people are turning to oral sedation as a way to get through minor procedures as well.

There have been significant advances in oral sedation, giving patients the time to rest only for the duration of the appointment. There are also levels to anesthesia, depending on how conscious the patient would like to be. Generally, dentists recommend three types of oral sedation dentistry:

  • Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Laughing gas provides the patient with a sense of relaxation and euphoria, hence its name. It’s one of the most popular types of sedation as the patient isn’t fully asleep for their procedure, so recovery time is minimal.
  • Oral (pill) sedatives. These are taken prior to the appointment and induce deep relaxation.
  • Intravenous Anesthesia. This is administered via an IV drip, delivering sedation straight to the patient’s bloodstream. Intravenous anesthesia takes effect faster and it is easier to control the dosage. IV sedation is typically only used for more severe cases of dental anxiety. It’s also a good sedative option for a patient undergoing extensive or multiple dental procedures.

Do you worry about going to the dentist days before your appointment? Do you loath booking appointments for fear of pain, discomfort or mental anxiety? Going to the dentist is on very few people’s lists of “fun things to do”, so don’t feel shame in communicating any nervousness to your dentist. Dentists are becoming more open-minded to the benefits of sedation dentistry, and are receiving further education to become certified in administering anesthesia. If you feel like you’re a possible candidate for oral sedation dentistry, have a conversation with your dentist about the best options for you.

Not sure if you’re a good candidate? See if any of the following points ring true for you, and follow up with an individualized consultation:

  • You have a sensitive gag reflex and it makes going to the dentist miserable. It’s super normal to feel awkward when someone else’s hands are inside your mouth, poking and prodding away. For some people, this discomfort results in a very sensitive gag reflex, or an overactive tongue that just can’t remain still while in the dentist’s chair. A bit of oral sedation can help you relax and allows your dentist to do their job without triggering your gag reflex.
  • You’re afraid of needles. Even some of the toughest patients cringe at the thought of needles. When it comes to needles in the mouth, that fear can be amplified. If you’re dreading an upcoming procedure where you know you’ll need some anesthetic delivered via needle, oral sedation can help you get through it.
  • The dentist’s office environment scares you. It’s not unusual to feel put-off by clinical settings. Even our pets can be afraid of going to the vet! It’s natural. If the sight of dental equipment, the smell of antiseptic, and hearing the whirring of machinery makes your heart beat faster, you might enjoy the visit to the dentist a little more with some light sedation.
  • You need multiple procedures in the same visit. Having several procedures done at once can be tiring since you need to keep your mouth open for long periods of time. While it might save time and money, it can be nerve-wracking leading up to the appointment. A bit of sedation can help the process go much more smoothly.
  • You’re happy to forget your appointment! Often time when people oral sedation dentistry, they remember very little of their appointment. If you’re okay with this, you could be a strong candidate for oral sedation dentistry.

The most important thing to consider, if you’re looking to try oral sedation dentistry, is finding the right clinic where best practices are standard. Dentists are given some training in their foundational education on how to administer light anesthesia, but further training is required if they want to offer a broader range of options. Do your research online, or ask friends and family who they recommend. Make sure you bring all your questions to the clinic when consulting on oral sedation dentistry. If you feel like you’re in good hands and want to experience dentistry without anxiety, give oral sedation dentistry a try.

For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full-service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.

Wisdom teeth are a sign you are getting older and wiser. They’re the last of our teeth to come in, usually erupting in our late teens to early twenties. Wisdom teeth might seem a bit random, but anthropologists believe there used to be a biological advantage to having an extra set of molars.

Diets of early humans used to be rougher and more fibrous, which meant food was harder to break down. Today we have modern diets full of soft, tender food, and wisdom teeth are no longer a necessity. Some people don’t go through wisdom teeth eruption at all, which anthropologists speculate is because of evolution. Some people do, but their wisdom teeth cause no pain and don’t displace any of their other teeth. Oftentimes though, people aren’t so lucky. Wisdom teeth can grow in and crowd the other teeth in the mouth. They can also cause jaw or nerve damage by growing in crookedly. Wisdom teeth can break part way through the gums, resulting in a flap of gum tissue growing over top. The site can become very infected and painful, requiring a dentist’s intervention to correct the problem.

A dentist will generally use a local anesthetic to numb the area. If you’re nervous, your dentist can also give you a sedative. Some people opt for general anesthesia if they are very concerned about invasive dental work, or if they’re getting several teeth out at once. Local anesthesia is the easiest to recover from — something to consider if you have things to attend to the same day as your wisdom teeth removal.

The way you take care of yourself following your wisdom teeth removal. You could lengthen your healing time by not following your dentist’s advice, or you could aggravate the stitches holding the healing site together. Your dentist will give you a set of guidelines to follow after you leave their office. In addition, you may also experience the following:

  • Your dentist will lay a gauze pad where your wisdom teeth were extracted. Keep this gauze in place for half an hour, then remove and discard it.
  • Be careful not to bite your cheek or tongue! It will be hard to feel pain while the anesthetic is wearing off.
  • Don’t lie flat while recovering from your wisdom teeth removal. This can promote bleeding. Instead, sit upright. If you do lie down, be very careful when getting up again. Bring yourself to a seated position for at least one minute, then stand. You could get dizzy and faint by standing up too quickly after surgery.
  • Put an ice pack to the side of your face. One of the side effects of wisdom tooth removal is swelling around the area. Applying ice immediately after surgery will help minimize swelling before it has a chance to develop. Leave the ice on for 10 minutes and off for 10 minutes. This will be an easier way to keep the ice in the area for a longer overall time.
  • Don’t do any strenuous exercise after getting your wisdom teeth out. Rest for the first day, and be very cautious when reintroducing vigorous activity back into your schedule. It’s better to under-do it than to overdo it!
  • Consume liquids only for the first couple of days after your wisdom teeth removal. Your mouth will be too tender to chew solid food, and your stitches could come undone. Water, juice, milk and liquid meal replacements are good staples to have on hand. When you feel ready to try food again, start with soft foods such as bananas, pudding, and oatmeal. Take your time when eating, and try to avoid the site where your wisdom teeth were taken out.
  • Some bleeding is normal following wisdom teeth removal. If there is a red tinge to your saliva don’t worry, but if there is consistent bleeding call your dentist. The incisions in your gums have to clot before they heal. If the site is bleeding, place a fresh piece of gauze over the area. You can also use a cold tea bag over the site to stop the bleeding. Tannins in the teabag cause blood vessels to constrict, lessening blood flow.
  • 24 hours after your wisdom teeth removal you can start rinsing your mouth out with salt water. Do this several times a day to kill bacteria and manage pain.

Getting your wisdom teeth out isn’t a comfortable procedure, but it’s necessary for the long run if they’re detrimental to other aspects of your oral health. It’s important to seek out advice from your dentist about pre and post surgery care so that your recovery time is reduced and you have minimal pain and swelling. Some people have a tough time in recovery, and for others, it’s a breeze. Every mouth is different, that’s why it’s important to have an expert assess yours.

Don’t be nervous about getting your wisdom teeth out. With the right dentist, clinical environment and information, you’ll be in good hands. Make sure you take plenty of time to rest and recover properly, stock up on soft food, and have an ice pack handy. And make sure to take plenty of selfies with your swollen chipmunk cheeks (you know, for posterity!).

For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.

“My gums always bleed when I floss, it’s normal”. Wrong! Half of North Americans over 30 experience gum bleeding while brushing and flossing but that statistic doesn’t mean it should be happening. Bleeding gums are actually a sign of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is an umbrella term for an infection of the structures around the teeth, including gums, ligaments, and bones. Most people are familiar with the term gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease, and if left untreated complications can arise.

Since gingivitis and the latter forms of periodontal disease are so common, researchers have been searching for their cause. It turns out that gum disease can be chalked up to bacterial infection. Certain types of bacteria are especially prone to take up residence and wreak havoc in the structures of the mouth.

There is great scientific interest in the realm of periodontal disease, as the health of one’s gums has been shown to be linked to their overall health. Researchers are studying connections between:

  • Gum disease and heart disease: gum disease may increase the risk for clogged arteries and may worsen existing heart disease.
  • Stroke: gum disease may increase the risk of stroke, which is the blockage of a blood vessel to the brain.
  • Diabetes: gum disease has been linked to difficulty controlling blood sugar.
  • Respiratory disease: bacteria from the gums may travel to the lungs, aggravating respiratory conditions.

There are so many reasons why it’s important to take care of your gums! No longer can you shrug off bleeding in the dentist’s chair while your gums are getting poked. Now you’re aware of the greater health consequences. So, what’s the first step in treating periodontal disease?

The first step is to book an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to give you an objective update on how your mouth is doing and inform you of the extent of any gum disease. Keeping a regular schedule with your dentist holds you accountable for following a solid dental hygiene regimen at home, and ensures any dental health issues are noticed and addressed quickly.

Gingivitis isn’t too great a cause for concern — it can be easily treated with regular brushing and flossing. It’s recommended you brush and floss twice a day, once when waking and once before going to bed. Flossing is the real superstar that keeps inflamed and infected gums at bay, but many people neglect this step. If you find flossing with string too awkward, you can buy easy-to-use flossing sticks from any drug store.

If gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, then the treatment gets more complicated and invasive. As dental plaque builds up along your teeth, toxins infect the surrounding structures. This can lead to infection of ligaments or loosening of teeth. If periodontal disease progresses far enough, surgical intervention is required.

Here are some treatments your dentist may recommend to treat periodontal disease:

  • Scaling and root deplaning. This is a non-surgical method of addressing periodontal disease, where the dentist scrapes the plaque away from your teeth, then smooths out the surface to prevent bacteria from re-infecting the site. It may take several visits to the dentist to do a complete and thorough job. If you find the procedure uncomfortable, a local anesthetic may be used to numb your mouth.
  • Pocket reduction procedure. Sometimes the infection is so bad that the gum comes away from the tooth it surrounds. In such cases, a pocket reduction can help. After scaling and deplaning your teeth, your dentist pulls back the gum to clean out harmful bacteria. This allows the gum to reattach to the tooth, with all structures clean and healthy.
  • Gum grafts. Periodontal disease can cause the gums to recede or move away from the tooth, exposing tooth roots. This can cause severe pain when eating, drinking, or any other activity where the teeth may touch. In a gum graft, tissue is taken from your palate (or another source) and is used to cover the exposed root.

The number one treatment for periodontal disease is prevention. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are not certainties that come with aging, despite their normalcy. Disciplined, daily maintenance of the teeth and gums is a far better alternative to suffering in pain. Brush, floss and use mouthwash twice a day, and be sure to schedule regular dentist appointments. This combination is killer to bacteria who want to make their home in your mouth and will prevent you from needing drastic treatment down the road.

So, next time you see blood after brushing or flossing, don’t shrug it off! Take it as a cue to step up your dental hygiene game, and book an appointment with your dentist to get the full story.

For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full-service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.

 

Do you have a smarting, aching jaw? Jaw pain can get in the way of talking, eating and resting comfortably. If you’re having trouble biting into a crisp apple or find yourself subconsciously rubbing your jaw to get rid of the pain, you may have TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder means pain of the temporomandibular joint, which can stem from many different causes. The temporomandibular joints are two joints that connect the jawbone to the skull. Both joints act in tandem like a hinge. Since our jaws are so mobile and frequently used throughout the day, acute pain in the TMJ joint can be debilitating.

TMJ joint treatment

The human jaw is unique in its structure since it opens and closes, but also slides forward and backward. This sliding motion is called translation. We slide our mouths when we talk, yawn and eat. Try and notice this movement next time you sit down for a meal!

TMJ pain is pretty hard to ignore. There are some clear symptoms, however, that differentiate TMJ disorder from regular old jaw pain:

  • Jaw clicking, popping or locking
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Pain when the mouth is opened wide
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain

Needless to say, TMJ disorder isn’t much fun. In order to alleviate the symptoms, you’ll need to get to the root of the cause. Although this is not an extensive list, TMJ disorder can stem from any of the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Long-term teeth grinding or clenching
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Poor tooth or jaw alignment

It can be hard to know what to do if you’re experiencing serious jaw pain. People are used to going to their dentist for regular teeth cleanings, not for joint issues.

But fear not, dentists are trained to identify and assess jaw disorders. Making an appointment with your regular dentist is the best place to start if you have disconcerting pain in your jaw that doesn’t seem to be going away on its own.

Your dentist is trained to assess your entire dental system, not just your teeth. Your dentist may need to refer you to a specialist to get you the right treatment plan, but they can be the first stop on your route to wellness.

If your jaw pain stems from clenching your teeth, your dentist will likely prescribe you a mouthguard. These are good for overnight wear since most teeth grinding occurs while we sleep. People often don’t realize they’re chronic teeth grinders until a loved one tells them they heard them while asleep, or until a dentist explains the extent of the damage. Wearing a mouthguard overnight takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s worth the peace of mind to know your teeth and jaw aren’t taking any more wear and tear.

Your dentist may also refer you to different types of dental specialists to correct the systemic issues causing your TMJ disorder. More intensive options include:

  • Orthodontics. An orthodontist specializes in teeth and jaw alignment. TMJ pain can spring from poor jaw alignments, such as underbite or overbite. Braces can also help bring the teeth into better form, helping you keep your mouth in the right position. Orthodontia can alleviate TMJ disorder in many cases.
  • Arthrocentesis. Despite the long and complicated sounding name, arthrocentesis is actually a minimally invasive procedure. Small needles are inserted into the TMJ joint to irrigate fluid, debris and inflammatory byproducts.
  • Surgery. Surgery can be done on the TMJ joint or the jaw itself, depending on the source of the pain. If there are serious structural issues in the mouth that orthodontia alone can’t correct, your dentist may refer you to a dental surgeon with experience in treating complicated cases of TMJ disorder.
  • Injections. If you’re suffering from arthritis or chronic inflammation in the TMJ joint, an injection of corticosteroid could bring huge relief. If your TMJ pain isn’t responding to other therapies, then injections are an option for symptom relief.

There are some natural remedies you can try before seeking medical treatment. Oftentimes, jaw pain originates from stress, overactive jaw muscles, and harsh use. Massage can work wonders for sore muscles. You can easily give yourself a jaw massage, enlist a loved one or seek out a professional for more in-depth treatment. Relaxation techniques can also help you manage TMJ pain. Deep breathing, visualization and taking time in nature are all simple but effective ways to wind down. Biofeedback can also be helpful: small electronic machines precisely monitor the tension you’re holding in your jaw muscles and can help you consciously relax them.

Temporomandibular joint disorder is quite a mouthful! It’s painful and gets in the way of life. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with it. There are treatments ranging from non-invasive relaxation therapy to corrective surgery. You use your jaw day in and day out for many basic but necessary functions. If you feel something is wrong, don’t hesitate to seek out a solution.

For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full-service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.