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Deep Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning
 You’re at home, brushing your teeth, as you normally do twice a day.  You notice your teeth seem to look a little longer. You may have noticed they appear farther apart, or have shifted a bit. Maybe you notice food gets stuck in between your teeth.  You’ve been chewing a lot of gum because your spouse tells you your breath is bad, even after brushing.  Maybe you notice a little blood on your brush, on the floss, or in the sink.  Maybe it’s more than a little.  Maybe you feel some tenderness in your gums, or notice redness or swelling.  You decide maybe it’s time to go in for a dental check-up.

Your dentist or hygienist completes an exam, and reviews your x-rays.  They probe around your gums, and you probably feel like jumping out of the chair. You may hear measurements above 5mm.  Then they tell you something they may have mentioned at a previous visit but you didn’t think it mattered. You have gum disease.  Periodontitis, to be exact.  Bleeding and pain while brushing or flossing is not healthy. If your hands bled when you washed them, would you be concerned? Yet, many people think it's normal for their gums to bleed when they brush or floss.
Your dentist shows you the x-rays that reveal the progression of bone loss, and the buildup of calculus. They show you the size of the pockets between your gums and teeth, where the bacteria collect and cause chronic and systemic infection and inflammation immune response.  They explain a common treatment procedure, called scaling and root planing.  They explain the difference between a deep dental cleaning vs a regular cleaning.  A deep cleaning is a treatment procedure that requires local anesthesia (freezing) and  follow up visits to make sure the infection has been cleared and your gums are healing.

You say, “OK.  I’ll come back and do that another day.  Can you just clean my teeth today and I will return for the deep cleaning.” Then your dentist says something you never thought you’d hear, “ I’m sorry, but no. A regular cleaning won’t do. You need a deep cleaning.”

What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is a chronic infection.  Periodontitis is a disease.  Bacteria have collected in the pockets and spaces below the gum line, around calculus (plaque) that has built up, usually due to infrequent flossing, inadequate oral hygiene and smoking.  The bacteria secrete acids that dissolve the bone tissue that connect your teeth and jawbone. 

Left untreated, this chronic infection can and will progress.  You will lose your teeth, and your jaw bone will continue to shrink. This cannot be restored.   Periodontitis is, quite literally, a symptom of your body destroying itself in a desperate attempt to fight off a chronic infection.   This is not an upsell. This is a diagnosis and a sign of serious oral health issues in the near future.

Like any healthcare professionals, dentistry has a standard of care, which regulates what kind of treatment we can provide based on the condition of a person’s oral health.  Periodontitis is considered a big red flag when it comes to oral health.  A chronic and systemic infection in any other area of the body should be treated and addressed immediately – the mouth is no different. 

Research shows connections between gum disease and:

Atherosclerosis and heart disease — Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. It also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
Stroke — Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
Premature births — A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.
Diabetes — Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
Respiratory disease — Bacteria involved in gum disease may cause lung infections or worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.
The Difference: Deep Dental Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning

A regular cleaning, which focuses at and above the gum line, may disturb the colonies of bacteria, releasing them into your bloodstream and into the rest of your body.  A regular cleaning polishes your teeth, and a deep cleaning removes the bacteria colonies from your mouth.  That’s why there’s really no comparison between a deep dental cleaning vs regular cleaning. 
So no, we cannot clean your teeth when you have untreated periodontitis.  It’s against our ethical and professional standards.  It’s with your best interests at heart.  Maybe this makes you angry – this is a very common response from patients who receive this diagnosis.  Maybe we’ve frightened you.  It’s not our intent to use scare tactics when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. 

But nearly half of all adults above the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.  Gum disease is a huge public health issue, with widespread impacts on health issues such as heart disease, COPD, other inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy.
So what should you do?   Get mad, get a second opinion, but whatever you do, take action.  Gum disease is treatable, and most importantly, preventable.  If you have dental insurance, chances are deep cleaning treatment is covered.  If you are pregnant, seek treatment right away – gum disease is linked to preterm birth and babies with low birthweight.  Make a plan and ask us how we can help you. 

Patients who have had their periodontitis treated with us have told us how much better they feel overall after their treatment.  Not just their mouth, but their whole body.  It’s amazing how hard your body can work to fight off systemic infection, and what a toll it can take on your energy levels and overall health.  Patients who have come back for follow up maintenance visits and regular cleanings post-treatment report that brushing and flossing is easier, bleeding has reduced or stopped completely, and the pain is gone.  Their partners are happy to kiss them again because their chronic bad breath has gone away.  Most importantly, our patients are able to keep their natural teeth for years to come. 

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 also is 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:

  • Gradually dilute the bottle contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.
  • Once that period is over, if you give a child a bottle, fill it with water or give the child a clean pacifier recommended by a dentist. The only safe liquid to put in a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is water.
  • Decrease consumption of sugar, especially between meals.
  • Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they can drink from a cup, usually by their first birthday, but the bottle should not be taken away too soon, since the sucking motion aids in the development of facial muscles, as well as the tongue.


Top Ten Tips for Fresher Breath

Everyone can have breath issues from time to time without knowing why. Here are the facts, and some helpful tips that can really make a big difference!

What is halitosis?

Most people believe that all bad breath is due to poor oral hygiene. And it's true that a lack of proper home care technique can definitely contribute to a less than fresh oral aroma. But oral health professionals now know that most people with persistent breath odour are meticulous with their oral hygiene and have minimal or no bleeding, indicating healthy gums. So - why the stinky breath?

 Top Ten Tips for Fresh Breath

  • Use alcohol-free, sugar-free breath fresheners. Rinses, gums and mints that contain sugar can actually make breath worse by feeding the bad bacteria in your mouth. Alcohol dries out the mouth, and less saliva means more bacteria.
  • Go easy on the holiday cheer. Alcoholic drinks contain lots of sugar and, well - alcohol (see above).
  • Avoid "hunger breath". Waiting too long to eat loads your breath with smelly ketones. Grab a nutritious snack in between your main meals - a little extra protein will feed your brain, too.
  • Skip the garlic, onions, citrus juices, and that extra cup of "double-double" coffee.Acidic foods like tomatoes, oranges, pineapple and grapefruit can upset the pH balance in your mouth, causing bacteria to multiply faster; and sipping on sugary drinks - yep, feeds the tiny bad guys.
  • Keep it clean. It has to be said - food particles decomposing between your teeth won't help your breath stay fresh! Use floss or Soft-Picks at least twice a day.
  • Brush your gums. Including your gums and gumline when you brush not only cleans your teeth more effectively, but also stimulates your gum tissues so they'll be healthier & happier. We think they'll be "tickled pink"!
  • Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated to avoid dry mouth, bad taste and that "pasty" feeling. Adding a twist of lemon or lime freshens the mouth and stimulates saliva, which washes away all that extra bacteria.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Taking a 5-minute break for fresh air, a change of pace or to move your computer-bound body can help to reduce stress.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouthwash twice daily. Alcohol-free & sugar-free rinses help to neutralize odours by decreasing stinky bacteria.
  • Regular dental checkups are a must for maintaining a healthy mouth. If you have concerns about persistent bad taste or possible breath issues, contact your dentist or dental hygienist.

Why Are My Teeth Discolored Regularly?


Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or some changes inside the teeth. In fact, discolorations can be of many different types and they occur due to varieties of causes. The extrinsic discoloration occurs when the outer layer is stained due to wine, coffee or other foods and drinks. Intrinsic discoloration can occur in the inner structure to give a yellow tint. It can be due to the exposure of excessive fluoride, or trauma affecting tooth.

The combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors can occur with age. The dentin yellows with time and the enamel covering the tooth gets thinner allowing the dentin to show through. Chips and other injuries can also discolor teeth. In any of these situations, effective procedures of teeth whitening can often be of great help.

In fact, teeth discoloration is associated with wide varieties of symptoms. Stains on the enamel are one of the most common symptoms that might range from white streaks to yellow tints and brown spots. When the enamel worn away, the dentin shows through resulting in a yellowish tint. No special tests are required because a dental professional can look at the teeth and tell about the discoloration.

Following Measures of Prevention:                                  Teeth-Whitening

If you want to prevent the discoloration on a regular basis, you will have to take some effective steps at home. Brush your teeth after every meal to prevent stains. Moreover, dentists also recommend that you should rinse your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks that can stain your mouth.

In addition to that, regular teeth whitening by a dental professional can also help in removing the stains in the surface. However, the intrinsic stains that are mainly caused by damages in nerves or blood can also be prevented. A root canal treatment might often be the most appropriate treatment for removing the inner part of the tooth before it decays further. Early exposure to fluorides must also be avoided in children.

Undergoing the Right Treatment:

The extrinsic stains caused by food and drinks can often be removed by professional cleaning on a regular basis. Moreover, appropriate home care can also be helpful in this context. Some of the good home care solutions include brushing, flossing and even rinsing after meals. In addition to that, discoloration can often be removed by a bleaching agent in the tooth enamel. Power bleaching is a common technique adapted in this process. The dentist applies an activated bleaching gel that causes the teeth to get significantly white within few minutes. In this case, many follow up treatments might be required. Take home bleaching trays are also often provided.                     teeth-whitening-before

Moreover, it is also possible to remove discoloration at home. A bleaching gel and mouth guard is given by your dentist. However, the bleaching gel is not much strong, which means that you will take significantly longer time at home. If you want, you can even buy whitening products. These can be applied as a strip over the tooth enamel. However, over the counter products fit less properly and hence are less effective than the solutions offered by your dentist. Minor stains might be removed by some whitening toothpastes. They work in a way so as to change the overall color of the tooth.

However, there are some stains that will not be lightened by bleaching. In this case, a dentist might recommend the most appropriate solution for teeth whitening covering the discolored areas. These measures might also be effective when your teeth are chipped or badly damaged. Composite bonding materials are also available, and these can be helpful in covering the discoloration.

As we approach the end of the year, we would like to share a tip that can help you take full advantage of any dental insurance benefits you may have.

The way your dental insurance benefits work is that you are provided a certain dollar amount per calender year. If you do not use those benefits, you lose them! Many people do not realize this and let hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars go back into their insurance companies bank accounts! While treatment is never dictated by insurance, if you have any treatment that remains to be completed or have any dental concerns at all, it would be very useful for you to come in before year end.

Our goal with every one of our patients is to help you achieve optimal oral health. Please give us a call or email us to schedule your appointment. Just remember, when the clock strike midnight on December 31st, you will lose any unused benefits.

Here’s to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile!

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St. Catharines Dental office now open with evening and Saturday Appointments and offer full range of dental services in a modern, digital, convenient location.
Call today for your appointment  905.984.6000