Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some answers to patient’s most frequently asked question. If you have any additional questions please contact us at 519-258-5919!
There are many sources of radiation, including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small. Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed. Also, the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost nonexistent with the modern dental X-ray machines.) In addition, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario requires that X-ray machines be checked for accuracy and safety every year.
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants. Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups.
Over the past several years, concerns have been raised about silver-colored fillings, otherwise called amalgams. Because amalgams contain mercury, some people think that they are responsible for causing a number of diseases, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. The American Dental Association (ADA), the FDA, and numerous public health agencies say amalgams are safe, and that any link between mercury-based fillings and disease is unfounded. The cause of autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis remains unknown. Additionally, there is no solid, scientific evidence to back up the claim that if a person has amalgam fillings removed, he or she will be cured of these or any other diseases. In March of 2002, the FDA reconfirmed the safety of amalgams. Although amalgams do contain mercury, when they are mixed with other metals, such as silver, copper, tin, and zinc, they form a stable alloy that dentists have used for more than 100 years to fill and preserve hundreds of millions of decayed teeth. The National Institutes of Health conducted several large-scale studies that concluded in 2006 that amalgam fillings were safe. In addition, there has been concern over the release of a small amount of mercury vapor from these fillings, but according to the ADA, there is no scientific evidence that this small amount results in adverse health effects.
All toothpastes help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains. Home use whitening toothpastes do not produce the same bleaching effect you get from your dentist’s office through chair-side bleaching or take home bleaching.
Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding, crowns, veneers, and recontouring.
If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9% and 15% of individuals say that they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. The first thing you should do is talk with your dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.
First, when purchasing a toothpaste for you or your child, select one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities. However, one word of caution:Use only a very small amount for children under age 6 (the size of their fingernail). Next, when considering other properties of toothpaste — such as whitening toothpastes, tartar-control, gum care, desensitizing, etc. — the best advice for selecting among these products may be to simply ask your dental hygienist or dentist what the greatest concerns are for your mouth at this time. Finally, some degree of personal preference comes into play. Choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint all work alike. If you find that certain ingredients are irritating to your teeth, cheeks or lips, or if your teeth have become more sensitive, or if your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.