It’s pretty safe to say that if you ask anyone if they would like whiter teeth, the answer would be yes! But then the questions arise… what type? In office, take home trays? Will whitening even work or give you the results you are expecting?
The first thing to do before considering any form is to see your dentist for an exam to determine if you are a candidate for dental whitening. This is needed for several reasons but most importantly, it is not recommended to commence tooth whitening if there are more pressing issues such as cavities or periodontal disease present. Verifying the location and type of staining present will indicate the type of dental whitening suitable for each individual.
External, or extrinsic, staining caused by repetitive exposure to substances such as coffee, tea, dark sodas, wine and heavily spiced or coloured foods is typically easier to remove than internal staining caused by chemical influences or hereditary conditions. It is imperative to understand that only your natural teeth will lighten; any fillings, crowns or veneers you may have will not and may need to be replaced after your whitening is complete.
A vast array of dental whitening is available today. Among them are Zoom!™ Whitening, Spa-Dent™ and Home Whitening Kits. Zoom! and Spa Dent whitening systems are performed in the dental office and require a specialized LED light and/or laser to activate the whitening gel applied to your teeth by your dental professional. Sensitivity associated with dental whitening varies as well. Spa-Dent Whitening incurs little to no sensitivity and requires less time in the dental chair. For those of you looking for fast, effective whitening, Spa-Dent may be for you.
For those of you who would rather whiten your teeth at home while watching your favorite TV program, we can offer you home whitening kits. Custom fit dental trays are made to the shape of your teeth and require diligent use at home for the desired results. Compliance is key to this whitening method!
It is important to remember that no two people and their teeth are alike and results will vary as well.
Always consult your dentist before dental whitening so they can recommend a treatment that is specifically tailored to your needs.
Dr. Nicole Maciel, Heritage House Dental
Joiner, Andrew. “The Bleaching of Teeth: A Review of the Literature”. Journal of Dentistry 34 (2006): 412-419.
Jones, Jo-Anne. “Professional Whitening: Speed, Comfort and Effective Results”. Oral Hygiene May 2013: 28-31.
Facts about Tartar on your Teeth
What is plaque?
Plaque on your teeth is a yellow coloured film that is formed by bacteria. Dental plaque can lead to teeth decay (dental caries) and gum disease.Parents often refer to plaque as ‘sugar bugs’ to kids to help them understand that there are microscopic bacteria on their teeth that need to be brushed away twice a day.
How do I remove plaque?
The plaque film on your teeth is soft enough to be removed using your fingernail, brushing and/or flossing your teeth.
What is tartar?
Once plaque has been on your teeth for more than 48 hours, it starts to harden. It is white in colour and is also referred to as calculus. Tartar promotes the growth of plaque on your teeth which is why it’s important to remove it regularly.
How do I remove tartar?
It is important to remove plaque before the 48 hour mark because once it hardens, you’ll need a registered dental hygienist to professionally remove the tartar with a scaling instrument or an ultrasonic scaler which uses water and is often more efficient and comfortable for you.
Each person has different amounts of tartar which is why your dental hygienist will recommend a customized treatment plan for you based on the amount of build-up that you have.
Why do I need to remove tartar?
Tartar on your teeth is how your oral health connects to your overall health. Tooth tartar build-up can penetrate into your bloodstream and lead to conditions such as kidney disease.
How do I know if I have tartar build-up?
At your next dental appointment, ask us for a plaque disclosing tablet. This is the best way to illustrate where you have plaque and dental tartar. They are also sold in retail stores in the dental products section.
How do I prevent tartar build-up?
Taking care of your overall health is how you can manage your oral health. Eating fruits and vegetables, brushing twice daily, flossing at least twice per week if not daily, reduce or eliminate cigarettes, consume sour/acidic foods in moderation because they can break down your enamel and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups.
If you are looking for a registered dental hygienist to help manage your oral health, we are accepting new patients at Heritage House Dental. Please call us today at 905-814-1600 to reserve an appointment.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
When it comes to our children’s health, it is important to be mindful of their dental oral health because it plays an important role. Despite our best efforts, cavities in children are on the rise and as a parent and a dentist, I want to share with you some tips to help you improve and maintain good oral health for your family.
Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
The best practice for teeth brushing is to spend two minutes brushing, two times per day. Sometimes singing the song ‘happy birthday’ in their head while they’re brushing, or using a sand timer to keep track of the two-minute duration helps. Once the sand timer is done or they’re done singing, they’re finished! Here are some teeth brushing techniques to utilize:
- Under two: use a soft damp cloth or a small wet toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth
- Ages 2-6: use a pea sized dab of training toothpaste (fluoride free) and take turns brushing their teeth so you can teach them how to brush while ensuring that everything is brushed properly
- Ages 6+: transition to toothpaste with fluoride and teach them to rinse well and spit it out when they’re done brushing so they don’t swallow any fluoride
Flossing for Kids
Once kids have two teeth side by side, they should begin flossing once per day. They can use traditional floss or flossers to clean food and plaque away from between their teeth, which gets missed from regular brushing.
Avoid Pacifiers and Utensil Sharing
Sometimes pacifiers get dropped on the ground and parents thoughtfully clean them off in their mouth before returning it to their infant. This habit along with sharing forks or spoons with your child introduces potentially harmful bacteria into your child’s mouth, which can lead to dental decay.
Fluoride can be utilized through toothpaste, drinking water and at your dental office. Fluoride helps protect your teeth against cavities. Please note that bottled water and filtered water does not contain fluoride and should be used occasionally on the go instead of replacing tap water.
Use Mouth Guards
When playing sports, it’s important for kids to wear mouth guards to protect their smile. If your child loses one of their adult teeth, it can cause orthodontic issues in their mouth and missing teeth leads to problems chewing foods properly. Retaining all of their natural teeth for a lifetime will assist in their nutritional and overall health.
Sugary Snacks and Drinks
Snacks with natural or artificial sugars are okay in moderation. What we recommend is brushing shortly after you’ve eaten these snacks so you can remove the cavity causing sugars. If you’re not able to brush right away, we recommend drinking a glass of water to help rinse the teeth.
Sugary drinks can include milk, sports drinks, juices, pop and other sweetened liquids. It’s important to drink the beverage completely at one sitting rather than sipping throughout the day. Allowing your child to sleep with a bottle or sip on it throughout the day prolongs exposure to sugar and can cause teeth decay.
Visit Your Dentist
Bringing your child to see your dentist within six months of their first tooth eruption or no later than their first birthday is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association. It is important for your child’s oral health because your dentist can detect issues when they’re small before they become larger, more involved and costly to repair.
Regular cleanings at your dental office also help remove tartar (hardened plaque) which cannot be removed from brushing at home. Your Dental Hygienist can also teach your child brushing techniques in case there are certain areas of their mouth that have developed more tartar.
If you are seeking a children’s dentist, we are accepting new patients, and would be happy to help you take care of their dental oral health. Call us today at 905-814-1600 to schedule an appointment for your whole family.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
For parents, the mere thought of going to the dentist for themselves may be crippling. Is it possible that they are unwittingly passing on that fear to their children? Dental phobias can be caused by over 20 varying factors. Some of those fears aren’t even created in a dental environment. Instead, they stem from relevant situations or symptoms like gagging, fear of needles, etc.
To start your child’s dental perception in a positive way, we suggest bringing them in for their first visit within six months of their first erupted tooth, which is around one year of age. The Canadian Dental Association recommends this timeframe so their first visit is a fun experience.
Their first visit allows the dentist to verify that their home brushing routine is effective and adequate. They can also address issues right away so your child learns that visiting the dentist prevents problems. Starting your child on a path of prevention will decrease the likelihood of a dental phobia in their future. Creating good habits early in life puts them on the path of prevention instead of intervention which is more traumatic and costly.
For example, a three year old boy who started visiting a dentist at one-year of age and returned at regular intervals had a shallow cavity identified and treated without needles or sedation. Had the cavity progressed, the child may have required full sedation, a root canal and a crown. Cavities in small children can progress quickly and it’s important to catch improper brushing habits early. In this child’s case, he often gagged when his parents were brushing his molars so they weren’t as thorough. After his treatment, they were more diligent at brushing his molars because the dental hygienist provided them with a gentle technique to decrease the likelihood of gagging.
Breaking the cycle of dental phobias and creating a mindset of prevention is crucial for parents. To start your child on a path of good oral health and making their dental visits a positive experience, we recommend scheduling a fun and easy first visit for your child with us today.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
Thousands of Canadians each month are considering dental implants to replace a missing tooth, to replace their ill-fitting dentures or to improve their smile and oral health. Part of their quest to recreate their smile is to research the cost of dental implants. Their search for the price of dental implants includes Internet search engines, talking to friends and family and visiting a few dentists to get a handful of professional opinions and quotes.
During this quest, Canadians have a multitude of research tools at their disposal to determine the best dentist for tooth implants. Shopping around based on price is typical in other industries like cars and products, but when it comes to professional services, consumers need to approach their research differently.
In Ontario, most dentists follow the standardized Ontario Fee Guide distributed each January by the Ontario Dental Association. The annual guide outlines fee ranges for each dental treatment and generally dentists don’t vary much from those rates. So, what does this mean for the consumer? It means that it may not have been the quality indicator that they thought it might have been. Instead, we recommend that they utilize these types of questions when they are meeting with the dental providers that they are considering for their treatment:
- How many dental implants has the dentist placed in the past year?
- How many cases like yours have they treated?
- Review the dentist’s qualifications and training they have acquired to offer dental implants.
- Find out all of your possible treatment options. Some offices have more than one doctor on their team which can create built-in ‘second opinions’.
- Inquire whether their quote includes traditional or mini implants. The introduction of mini implants has created some confusion on the prices of implants, so we recommend clarifying what your treatment plan would entail.
As your research evolves, we hope that these suggestions help you align yourself with a dental provider that is the best match for you and what you’re looking for. Working with a dental professional is a very personal choice especially when you’re making a long-term commitment such as implants. If you have any further questions or would like a second or third opinion, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Dr. Kate Bazydlo, Heritage House Dental
Piercing has become a popular form of self-expression and body art. When it comes to oral piercing, it is no longer uncommon to find jewelry on the tongue, lips, cheeks or other parts of the mouth including the uvula. Participating in this social trend, however, comes with some very notable health risks including, but not limited to infection, bleeding, swelling, possible nerve damage and damage to surrounding gum tissue and teeth.
Like any wound in the body, the opening left from piercing is a potential site for infection. The risk is especially high in the case of oral piercing because the mouth is home to many bacteria and blood vessels. Placement and manipulation of the jewelry within the wound can further increase the chances of infection.
Swelling is a common complication following any kind of wound or injury. Inside the mouth, however, muscles and tissues are constantly in motion and under use, and this can slow the healing process. If the swelling becomes severe and blocks the airway, surgery may be necessary.
Piercing is recognized by the National Institute of Health as a possible way of transmitting hepatitis B, C, D and G. Although there have been no reported cases associated with oral piercing specifically, the risk still remains.
Oral piercing can potentially cause a serious inflammation of the heart valves or tissues called endocarditis. This is because the wound created during piercing provides an entrance point for oral bacteria into the bloodstream, a direct path to your heart. This is especially significant for those who have pre-existing cardiac abnormalities.
The placement of the oral piercing plays a role on the effect it has on the surrounding gum tissue and your teeth. Constant contact between the jewelry and the gums can cause soft tissue irritation and recession. Gum recession can in turn lead to tooth sensitivity and root decay because the gums serve to protect the sensitive root surfaces of teeth.
Oral jewelry can chip or crack teeth. Fillings, crowns or bridges can be struck by the jewelry, and damaged. The piercing can stimulate too much saliva production and can affect speech, chewing, and swallowing. It is also possible for the metal in the jewelry to cause allergic reactions. Oral jewelry can block x-rays, which can prevent the radiograph from revealing abnormalities of the mouth. Before any complicated dental procedures it may be recommended that you have the piercing professionally removed.
Anyone considering oral piercing should understand these health risks, and hopefully decide against them. Oral piercing is actually a practice strongly opposed by many advocates of oral health, including the Amercian Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). For more information, visit the ADA’s website at www.ada.org
Dr. Yolanda Li, Heritage House Dental
Oral piercing and health. Journal of the American Dental Association, 132, 127.
Oral Piercing. In American Dental Association – ADA.org. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from
If you have been to our office around Halloween or the Holiday season, you will know that I am a nut for dressing up and being festive. While recently searching the aisles at our local department store for the perfect pair of bunny ears, I couldn’t help looking at the shelves through a dentist’s eyes. I left with the bunny ears and found myself thinking, “When did Easter become associated with a bunny and mass amounts of chocolate eggs, jelly beans and Peeps®”?
I decided to do a little bit of research on this. Did you know that candy at Easter has become a relatively recent addition? In Europe, the bunny was a symbol for new life and marked the beginning of spring. Traditionally, in European Folklore, the Easter bunny would bring a basket of toys or real decorated eggs to good children the night before Easter Sunday. In the early 1800’s, German settlers
brought the tradition to America. Sometimes the eggs would be hidden and children would have to take their baskets and hunt for them. Following the hunt, the eggs would be eaten.
So when did chocolate and candy get brought into this? As it turns out, children liked chocolate more than hard boiled eggs… who knew? In Europe around the early 1800’s, chocolate eggs, the most popular Easter Candy, were first made and the rest is history. But how much candy is actually consumed on this holiday?
The National Confectioners Association reported that Easter is the second highest occasion for consuming candy. Of course Halloween being the first, followed by Christmas and then Valentine’s Day. In 2011 alone, Americans consumed 7 billion pounds of candy during the Easter Holiday.
Some fun facts
- Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs, making them the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
- As many as 4.2 million Marshmallow Peeps, bunnies, and other shapes can be made each day.
- In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a Marshmallow Peep. Today it takes six minutes.
- Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter. If all the Easter jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times
- 70% of kids aged 6–11 say they prefer to eat Easter jellybeans one at a time.
What Can I Do to Prevent Cavities for my Kids?
Obviously it’s not realistic to completely cut out candy during Easter so here are a few tips to help reduce the chance of your kids (or even you) getting cavities.
- If you can, choose your candy wisely. Stick to candy that dissolves relatively quickly. You want to limit the amount of time sugar is in the mouth and in contact with the teeth.
- Try and have them only consume candy during the Easter weekend, then throw the rest of it away. Again, try to limit the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth.
- If they can’t brush their teeth, try getting them to at least rinse their mouth out with water to dilute the sugar.
So as a Dentist, I am faced with an ethical dilemma. Refined sugar is my professional enemy, but my best friend as a family member wanting to be the coolest when handing out Easter gifts to my little cousins. Maybe this year I will pack Easter baskets with more toys, crafts, a little bit of candy… and a tooth brush to ease the guilt.
Dr. Nicole Maciel, Heritage House Dental
Many people would be tempted to answer “cavities.” In fact, the top cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease, or gum disease. And surprisingly, you may not notice any signs until gum disease is quite severe and tooth loss becomes a real possibility.
How does gum disease happen?
Teeth are held in our jaws with bone surrounding the tooth roots. Bone covers almost the entire height of roots, and firm pink gingiva, or gums, covers the bone. When bacteria-containing plaque builds up along and under the gum line surrounding teeth, it hardens into calculus, or tartar, if it is not frequently removed by brushing and flossing. The layer of tartar then serves as a rough surface to which more bacteria can stick. These bacteria are the culprit of gum disease, because they cause our gums to become red and swollen. As the disease progresses, the bone anchoring the teeth is reduced in height, which means loss of support for the teeth. The gums then cannot stay firmly around the teeth, resulting in pockets, which are deep spaces between the teeth and the gums. Eventually, teeth may become loose, develop gum abscesses, or fall out.
Who is at risk for gum disease?
Up to 4 out of 5 people are affected by gum disease at some point during their lives. Since bacteria are the ultimate cause of the disease, areas in our mouths that have plaque and tartar build-up are susceptible. Other risk factors include diabetes, smoking and genetic predisposition.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Gums that bleed easily, such as during flossing and brushing, are showing a common sign of gum disease. Often, however, there are no noticeable signs. At your dental check-up or routine cleaning appointment, your dentist or hygienist may measure the depth of the spaces between each tooth and the gums. This allows to identify deep pockets and thus help diagnose gum disease. X-ray images can also show the height of the bone surround the tooth roots, indicating any bone loss that resulted from gum disease.
Other than tooth loss, what happens if gum disease is left untreated?
As gum disease destroys the support structure of affected teeth, it can cause pain and discomfort and in some cases loose teeth and gum abscesses. Further, research studies have found evidence linking gum disease to other serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and problems during pregnancy.
What can I do to fight gum disease?
At home, daily brushing and flossing prevents the build-up of plaque and tartar. Regular professional dental cleanings removes the tartar both above and below the gum line to reduce the amount of bacteria on our teeth. Scheduling regular check-ups allows your dentist to identify oral diseases early and to recommend the appropriate treatment, including how often to have dental cleanings and whether antibiotic treatment is suitable. If gum disease has progressed too far, your dentist may refer you to a gum specialist, to have further evaluation and treatment such as gum surgery.
Dr. Yolanda Li