Teeth Cleaning vs. Teeth Whitening – What’s the Difference?

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It’s easy to confuse teeth cleaning with teeth whitening, or vice versa.
Tooth cleaning is the removal of tartar and plaque from teeth to prevent decay, and is necessary to keep gums and teeth healthy. Tooth whitening is a cosmetic procedure used to remove stains from the surface of the teeth.
Both procedures offer benefits, but which is best for you? Your dentist makes that determination based on your oral health needs.
Let’s explore both procedures to understand how they differ.

Difference Between Teeth Cleaning and Teeth Whitening

Keep reading to discover how teeth cleaning and teeth whitening differ.

Teeth Cleaning

Brushing and flossing is recommended for good oral health.
However, even if you follow these necessary steps, there’s a possibility you’re eating and drinking habits will lead to the accumulation of plaque and tartar. This will require removal by a certified professional.
Most dentists recommend having teeth cleaned every six months to avoid periodontal diseases from tartar build-up. But many of us dread the prospect as we expect painful prodding at our gums and teeth.
But teeth cleanings are actually painless, simple and effective. By knowing exactly what will happen, you can ease some of your stress and enjoy great oral health.

1. Physical Exam

First, your mouth is examined by a hygienist for signs of gum disease and other conditions. They might use a few tools to check behind your teeth for potential problems. If any major issues are detected, they may call a dentist to get permission to proceed further.

2. Removal of Plaque and Tartar

Assisted by a small mirror, the hygienist will get rid of plaque and tartar built up around the gum line and between your teeth with a scaler. You may hear a slight scraping noise; this is completely normal. Obviously the more tartar you have, the more they may need to scrape in that particular spot.

3. Cleaning with a Gritty Toothpaste

Once the tartar has been removed, your teeth will be cleaned using a high-powered electric brush which will likely produce a grinding noise. Although it may sound scary, it’s a good way to deep clean your teeth and get rid of any tartar the scraper missed. Your hygienist will use a toothpaste that generally tastes and smells like normal ones but has a gritty texture that is good at scrubbing teeth.

4. Proper Flossing

Once the brushing is complete, your hygienist will floss your teeth to clean areas both the scraping and brushing missed. While doing so, they will be able to pick out potential bothersome spots which may be causing bleeding.

5. Rinsing

Next, you will be asked to rinse your mouth to get rid of any toothpaste or debris that may be stuck between your teeth.

6. Fluoride Treatment

The final step requires the application of a fluoride treatment that acts as a protective layer and helps fight against cavities for the next few months.
Your hygienist may use a mouthpiece where a gel is applied. They will ask you to bite the mouthpiece and hold it between your teeth for a minute or so. After this, they may also paint a varnish onto your teeth using a small brush. The material will harden when it comes in contact with saliva, so you can drink and eat immediately after the procedure.

Teeth Whitening

Our teeth become pale yellow or grey over time as enamel thins to reveal the less-white layer of dentin present beneath it. Additionally, the foods and drinks we consume regularly, such as wine and coffee, can stain our teeth.
This is when teeth whitening are recommended. It is a cosmetic dental procedure that lightens and brightens teeth. It involves a bleaching agent that removes surface stains, usually in a single session. You can whiten them at home or go to your dentist.
Here are how both the procedures differ.

1. In-Chair Teeth Whitening

In-chair whitening services generally use a high-strength peroxide activated using an LED light which speeds up the whitening process.
For those who have undergone dental work and might have gum or teeth-related problems, it’s recommended that you have a certified dentist perform the whitening. This is vital as the tooth’s enamel structure generally changes during the procedure. It can complicate treatments performed in the future and only a trained dentist will be able to work around this.
Many specialty clinics offer in-chair whitening treatments but may use a lower-strength peroxide. Keep in mind: the stronger the peroxide, the more likely it is patients will experience sensitivity after the procedure. Talk to your dentist about which solution they will be using to understand the consequences. In some instances, dentists use a gentle peroxide paired with a catalyst that offers good results without being followed by increased sensitivity. However, the gel may have to be applied twice during the session to maximize its effectiveness.

2. At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

At-home kits allow you to whiten your teeth from the comfort of home. They are convenient to use and typically cost less than in-chair treatments.
As these products contain a much lower concentration of bleaching agent than what dentists use, you should start noticing a difference within one or two weeks. If you prefer whitening your teeth at home, your dentist can provide an at-home teeth whitening kit with a higher concentrated gel along with a tray custom made for you. Alternatively, you can buy drugstore kits but they lack the strength of professional-grade ones.
Teeth cleaning maintains the health of your gums and teeth whereas teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that improves your smile. Whitening is optional, but cleanings are necessary to maintain your overall oral health. Whether you’re looking to have your teeth whitened or cleaned, get in touch with a dentist near you. They can assess your overall oral health and recommend the procedure that best serves your needs.

Do You Need a Root Canal? Here Are 5 Signs That You Might

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Do you need a root canal?

Toothache is often a sign of serious oral health issues, but figuring out whether you need this often dreaded dental treatment can be tricky, especially in the early stages. Your best bet: go see your dentist.

So, how do you know if you need a root canal? Let’s find out.

How to Know If You Need a Root Canal Treatment

Root canals remove bacteria and dying (or dead) tissue inside a tooth to prevent that infection or decay from spreading. Let’s look at the telltale signs that you need one.

  1. Persistent Pain

Have an aching tooth? It’s a common sign that you may need a root canal.

The pain can be persistent or come and go. You may feel it deep within the bone in the affected area, or it may spread to the surrounding teeth, along with your jaw and face.

However, tooth pain doesn’t necessarily mean you need treatment. Other causes include:

  • ● Cavities
  • ● Gum disease
  • ● An impacted tooth that might be infected
  • ● A damaged filling
  • ● Pain from a sinus infection

It doesn’t matter what caused the pain. Visit your dentist, especially if it persists. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, you can prevent the issue from becoming worse and heal faster.

  1. Sensitivity to Heat or Cold

Do you experience pain or sensitivity in your teeth or gums each time you consume cold or hot foods and drinks? This dull pain often transforms into a sharp ache, and can indicate that nerves and blood vessels in the tooth are infected. If the pain persists, consult your dentist. They may recommend a root canal, depending on the severity of your condition.

  1. Gum Tenderness and Swelling

Swelling and tender gums don’t necessarily mean you need a root canal but they might. Swelling generally manifests in different ways. Although it might look normal, you see bulging or can feel it when you touch your gums. Left untreated, it can spread to your face and neck.

Some characteristics of swelling that indicate you need root canal treatment include:

  • ● Swelling near the root tip of the tooth
  • ● Foul breath due to pus coming out of the swelling
  • ● A boil on the tip of the root
  • ● Swelling that lasts days or weeks

Remember, swelling doesn’t always cause toothache, but it’s better to get it looked after to avoid it getting worse. Dentists typically prescribe antibiotics to treat oral infections and the swelling that comes with them, but you may need a root canal.

  1. Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Cracked and chipped teeth often require root canals to make sure they remain in optimal health. They tend to leave the nerve underneath exposed, increasing the likelihood of infection. Once the root has become infected, it can enter your bloodstream and spread, which is why a damaged tooth should never be taken lightly. Your best course of action is to visit your dentist as soon you notice a crack or chip. An infection left unchecked requires a root canal to prevent it from spreading.

  1. Discoloured Teeth

Have you begun to notice one or more of your teeth turning a few shades darker, or yellowish? This could be the result of poor oral hygiene. Or maybe you’re consuming foods or liquids known to stain teeth, such as coffee, tea or wine.

However, food isn’t the only cause of teeth changing colour. They may also indicate a damaged nerve beneath the tooth’s surface. If you’ve noticed your teeth becoming discoloured, see your dentist. If they see a damaged blood vessel or nerve, they may recommend a root canal to get rid of the root in question and prevent the discolouration from spreading.

All of these symptoms signify a serious infection that should be addressed promptly. If you notice any of them, contact your dentist right away. It’s better to treat dental issues early instead of waiting for them to get worse, which can lead to tooth loss.

Dental Implants – Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you feel self-conscious about missing teeth? Can’t eat the type of foods you want? Then maybe it’s time to consider permanent solutions, like dental implants. They’re designed to provide a durable and comfortable foundation for replacement teeth which both function and feel natural.

However, given the relative complexity of their installation, many people have concerns and questions. That’s why the experts at our Richmond Hill clinic have taken this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions about dental implants to help you understand them better.

FAQ on Dental Implants 

While we might not be able to address all your concerns in detail, here’s an overview for individuals unfamiliar with dental implants.

  1. 1. What is a dental implant?

This is an artificial root made using metal anchored into the jawbone and gum to hold in place a replacement tooth or bridge. The complete implant is made with titanium alloys and bone-like ceramics compatible with human tissue. There are three distinct parts to an implant: the ceramic crown which mimics natural teeth; the abutment which attaches the screw to the crown; and the screw which enters the root and bonds the crown to the jawbone.

  1. 2. Is there any age restriction to getting dental implants?

Typically, anyone between 20 and 70 can get implants.

  1. 3. How much do dental implants cost and are they covered by insurance?

Typically, the cost varies based on how many teeth you need replaced and your dentist’s experience. Dental implants are generally not covered by insurance in Canada, although certain insurance companies offer coverage. The final cost depends on your needs, the area of your mouth that requires the implant and the bone density. Your dentist will assess you based on your unique requirements.

  1. 4. How can I be sure I’m a good candidate for implants?

Our team will thoroughly examine your dental health to determine whether your suitability. Sufficient bone density and good overall health are both needed, although we will suggest the best treatment based on your assessment.

  1. 5. What is the procedure for getting dental implants?

First, your dentist will use various methods, including CT scans and X-rays, to determine whether dental implants are a suitable option. Since the procedure is a form of oral surgery, patients are generally sedated.

During the operation, the gum tissue above the jawbone is opened and a small hole drilled. A screw is then carefully placed into the hole and the gum tissue stitched back into place. This typically takes a few months to heal completely, during which time the implant bonds to the gums and bone. In the second stage, an abutment is attached to the implant. Once this is done, a replacement tooth is attached to the abutment using a small screw and special dental cement. This process can take a few appointments. If a patient is missing more than one tooth, a bridge might be used for gaps between the implants.

  1. 6. What can I expect after the procedure?

Dental implants are made to mimic natural teeth so require the same care and maintenance to ensure they last. Your dentist will most likely schedule follow-up appointments to ensure the implant is performing properly.

  1. 7. Do dental implants have any disadvantages?

Like any other minor oral surgical procedure, implants pose the risk of inflammation, pain and infection. Your dentist will discuss how to manage these. If the bone structure is absent altogether, gum and bone grafting procedure might be required, which can result in the treatment being more expensive. But remember, it’s an investment that will surely pay off.

Dental implants are the most advanced way to replace missing teeth. Hopefully, this post has cleared up some of your questions about dental implants to help you make a more informed choice. When looked after properly, implants can last a lifetime, ensuring increased self-confidence and overall well-being.

What You Need to Know About Dental Implants

A missing tooth (or teeth) can pose a lot of problems when you eat. It can also make you feel bad about your appearance, lower your self-confidence, and make you hesitant to talk or smile. That’s why it’s wise to fix oral problems before they impact your life. If you’re wondering about treatments that can solve your issue, include dental implants among them. This post will walk you through all the important things you should know before choosing them.

What Are Dental Implants?  

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from durable titanium metal that are surgically inserted into your jawbone. Once the roots are attached, replacement teeth are fixed on them. Hence, these implants act as anchors to keep the artificial teeth in place.

These dental implants are generally of two types: endosteal and subperiosteal. The more common endosteal implant is fixed into the bone; the subperiosteal is located on the bone. This is suitable for people who have sufficient bone height and can’t wear dentures.

Who Can Get Them?

Adults can get dental implants provided they have healthy gums and enough bone to accommodate them. Consult a dentist to make sure they’re right for you. If you do choose them, make sure you follow these steps:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Be prepared for dental surgery
  • Limit or avoid smoking

How Is the Procedure Conducted?

Want to understand the procedure going in? Keep reading.

  1. Dental Implants

If you have a missing tooth, dental implants are a good choice. These are artificial roots made of titanium metal inserted into the jawbone to replace the roots of natural teeth. An artificial tooth is fixed to the implant which holds the new tooth in place. These dental appliances look natural and make your teeth appear real. They also provide comfort, improve speech and help in eating. Once attached, you don’t have to take the effort to open and clean them. Thus, they’re a convenient option and can last for many years, provided you take good care of them. That’s why can’t forget to brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash. Treat them like your real teeth and you’ll see the difference. However, don’t forget to visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

  1. Extracting the tooth

Your dentist will use anesthesia to numb the area before extracting your broken or chipped tooth. How long it takes varies from patient to patient and is partly based on the severity of the damage.

  1. Grafting the socket

Grafting is necessary if your jawbone isn’t strong enough to hold the implant in place. This provides a solid base for the artificial root. The recovery time for this stage again varies. For some, it can take several months before fixing the implants while for others it can be done on the day of surgery.

  1. Waiting for bone growth

Some patients require time to recover after grafting. If the bone isn’t dense enough, it will be difficult for it to support the implant.

  1. Insertion of the implant

Once there’s enough bone, the implants will be fixed to your jawbone, after you’ve been anesthetized of course. Thereafter, an incision will be made to highlight the bone underneath that will hold the implant in place. Then, space is built for an artificial root using a specialized drill where the implant will be inserted into the bone. The dentist will close the gums and stitch them.

  1. Insertion of the artificial tooth

Once the root is fixed, the new tooth will be fixed on the implant and will appear like your natural tooth.

What Are Its Advantages?

With dental implants, you’re sure to enjoy the following advantages:

  • Replacing your missing tooth will improve your speech and appearance.
  • Dental implants will make eating and chewing more comfortable.
  • They’re as convenient as they are removable, unlike dentures.
  • They can last a lifetime with proper maintenance.

What Are Its Disadvantages?

Dental implants can be expensive, with prices ranging from $900 to $3,000 for a single implant. Moreover, as it’s a surgery, minor injuries can cause pain and discomfort in your gums. Sinus problems can also crop up, especially if the implant is in the upper jaw and protrudes into one of the sinus cavities.

Important Things to Remember

Here are a few things you should know before getting dental implants:

  • You will need to visit your dentist more than once to complete the procedure, and for check-ups.
  • Insurance generally doesn’t cover dental implants, unlike other replacement teeth.
  • You need to maintain it like your own teeth to make it last a lifetime.
  • These surgeries can sometimes fail, especially if the root doesn’t bond to the jawbone properly.

Handy Maintenance Tips

You take care of dental implants just like you take care of your real teeth, so brush and floss daily. Don’t forget to rinse after every meal to ensure there’s no food stuck in your gums or between teeth. Furthermore, remember to visit your dentist for check-ups at least once a month to ensure the implant’s in place and there are no hidden injuries.

Dental implants are one of the best solutions if you have a missing tooth or teeth. Though expensive, it’s a convenient, easy and permanent solution. And you don’t need to remove it for cleaning or maintenance. Instead, it will be just like your real teeth. So, make sure you maintain good oral hygiene to make it an investment that lasts a lifetime.