Archive for the ‘Dental Tips’ Category

Improve Your Health—Visit Your Dentist More Often

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Why are you told to visit the dentist every six months? The truth behind this specific recommendation actually came from Colgate Toothpaste. It was part of a marketing campaign that promoted the idea that in conjunction with brushing and flossing, you should visit the dentist every six months. Turns out Colgate wasn’t completely out to lunch, as seeing a dentist twice a year, or every six months, works well for MOST people. If you have little risk of cavities or gum disease, then seeing your dentist once or twice a year should be fine. HOWEVER, if you have a higher risk of gum disease or cavities, you might need to visit every three or four months.

Everyone is different, so to determine your personalized interval recommendation, there are a few key points we look at.

1. Bone/gum disease (aka periodontal disease).

The health of your gums and bones (also referred to as your “periodontal condition”) plays a huge factor in determining how often you should be visiting your dentist. We want to prevent recession and bone loss, two important factors that hold your teeth in place and maintain ideal function. We use different instruments to remove any plaque, build up or lurking bacteria that could be contributing to the destruction.           

Other important factors to consider:

  • If you previously had periodontal disease          
  • The rate at which your mouth produces plaque/tartar
  • Your hygiene home care routine
  • Your body’s response to treatment
  • If you have any “pocketing”. This term is used to describe bone loss between your teeth and gums.

Bone loss occurs for a variety of reasons, but once there, it’s very important to keep your teeth clean.

Something very important to note: Treatment of gingivitis or periodontal disease in early stages can prevent pain/tenderness or possible tooth loss down the road.

2.Tooth decay.

Visiting us twice a year can help prevent decay from damaging your teeth. X-rays allow your dentist to see the full picture of your teeth’s health and they can diagnose cavities. If we catch cavities when they’re small it prevents larger, more invasive treatment.

3. Plaque or tartar buildup missed while brushing at home.

If build-up is left too long in those hard to reach areas, it can cause cavities. If left untreated, it can cause pain and irritate the gums, potentially leading to gum disease.

4.Oral cancer detection.

Oral cancer is a serious disease that manifests in various ways. We will check your mouth, gums and tongue for signs of oral cancer. If any swelling, lumps, or other abnormalities are found, we will inquire or alert you. If needed, we will refer you to an appropriate medical professional. Your Dentist and Hygienist are trained to look for early stages of disease and work with other professionals to ensure you’re getting the best care.

At ThirtyTwo Dental, we are committed to helping you on your journey in achieving dental and overall health. Each patient we see is unique. We are aware that most are not well-served by the default prescriptions of once a year hygiene visits dictated by most insurance plans. We believe in patient-specific maintenance care programs and will customize a plan for you.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” —Benjamin Franklin

Making the Most of Your Dental Insurance

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Don’t let time run out on your benefits package! Many insured Canadians aren’t taking full advantage of the benefits they are allowed, even though they are paying for comprehensive plans through their employer. It’s easy to forget every detail of your benefits package and what’s available to you, so it’s a good idea to refresh yourself on what’s available to you before the year ends. If you do not use up the amount available to you, it’s typically lost as opposed to being rolled over.

It’s always good to know the intricacies of your benefits provider so you can take full advantage of all the health and wellness benefits available to you, not just for your dental health, but for your overall well-being.

Not Using Benefits

It might be surprising to hear that most people do not use all their health benefits, especially with the world becoming more health conscious overall. There are a few reasons why people don’t use their benefits:

1. A belief that the balance left owing will be too much to pay out of pocket.

If you are worried about the cost of a service, call around for estimates. Most places will be happy to help, as they are seeking your business. If the cost is higher than you would like, inquire about payment plans.

2. The process of making a claim can be a hassle, and some offices don’t offer direct billing.

Many offices will bill directly to your benefits provider. In cases where they don’t, it is beneficial to sign up for automatic reimbursements when you begin a new job so your costs will be repaid in minimal time.

3. Thinking of benefits only as something to be used when ill, as opposed to a proactive resource to maintain health.

Have you been lucky enough to not need prescriptions or stitches this year? That’s great, but many modern plans offer acupuncture, massage, and other preventative health care.

4. A lack of knowing what you are entitled to.

The best thing you can do when you get on a new plan is save the brochure or bookmark the website. Reference it about half way through your annual cycle to ensure you have ample time to take advantage of the things you would like to.

Dental Benefits Cycles

Good planning allows you to take full advantage of your package. Many plans break down allowable dental benefits by time required for the service rather than number of visits, so be sure to take a close look at your dental benefits summary. If you have remaining benefits, flex dollars, or other perks, be sure to not only use them, but to remind your coworkers as well!

We can help you make the most of your benefits.

Book a Year End Visit! 

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spring cleaning

The best-kept secret in dentistry actually has to do with insurance. The general assumption is that your dentist appointments are covered once annually, and most people will only book as many cleanings as their benefits will accept. Some benefit plans actually allow for teeth cleaning on a schedule less than twelve months, with many choosing to offer three- to nine-month cycles. We always recommend making the most of your dental insurance plan and booking as often as possible! Spring is a great time to fit in one of your two recommended annual cleanings and checkups.

Why Spring?

As the weather warms up, so does the social life! Spring is the season that kicks off many important events. You’re bound to be taking part in a wedding, graduation, or backyard barbeque – and that means the photo ops will be abundant. A cleaning will boost your confidence and brighten your grin. If you want to get even more camera-ready, it’s quick and simple to add a teeth whitening service to your appointment.

Spring is also a great time of the year to do something refreshing that will get you out of the rut of winter. What better way to feel fresh and new than to start with polishing your smile? As a bonus, the change in the landscape serves as a cheery reminder to smile – and book a dentist appointment.

Routine Checkups

Checkups are a great way to ensure your teeth and gums are in good health. They’re also important to ensure any prior dental work is maintained, and that minor vulnerabilities are caught before they become costly, painful complications.

Even if you are diligent with the floss and toothbrush, it’s important to let a hygienist do a deep clean regularly. Toothbrushes are good at removing soft, sticky plaque but can’t remove hard, stuck-on tartar build-up.

We can help you keep your smile in tip-top shape.

Book a Spring Cleaning!

Should I Still be Flossing?

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As I’m sure many of you saw, the media recently touted a dental study suggesting there was no need for flossing anymore. For the patients out there who are already avid flossers, I don’t believe this study has made much of a difference in their oral health care routines.

However, for the majority, news of this study’s claim that flossing is not scientifically supported was probably welcomed with open arms. Let’s face it, for most people, flossing is a chore; a chore that we don’t enjoy but did because we had to. So is this the end of an era? No more flossing? Well, the short answer is not quite yet. The main point of the study suggested that there is low evidence for the efficacy of flossing… if you’re not doing it correctly.

A universal recommendation for all patients to floss is not supported by the evidence. However, it is our job as dental professionals to assess our patients on their flossing abilities to ensure effective flossing is an achievable goal. When effective flossing is not an achievable goal, we recommend other interdental tools to help with cleaning in between your teeth.

As a refresher, here is the American Dental Association’s visual guide to correct flossing:


Flossing step 1


Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.






Flossing step 2


Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.







flossing step 3


Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.







Flossing step 4


When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.






Flossing step 5


Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth. 

Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth. 


Source: American Dental Association website

The Myth Behind Mouth Rinses

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mouth rinse being poured into a cap

To begin, a mouth rinse does not replace your daily oral hygiene care routine of brushing and flossing. It is an adjunctive therapy that can be beneficial for your overall oral hygiene. There are a few different types of mouth rinses: a fluoride rinse, an antibacterial rinse, and a desensitizing rinse. Choose one based on your specific needs, although many combine some of these effects.

A fluoride mouth rinse is used for people who are at greater risk for cavities. The additional exposure to fluoride can help fight cavities by increasing the amount of fluoride on the enamel surfaces of your teeth. Generally, this type of rinse is used when advised by your dentist or hygienist.

There are many different types of antibacterial mouth rinses on the market. They have different active ingredients that use various methods for the same goal – to fight gingivitis. Some of the active ingredients include triclosan, thymol, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), and chlorhexidine gluconate. All have been proven to be effective against fighting bacteria that cause gingivitis. Some people prefer the taste of one type of rinse over another, or like or dislike the “burn” associated with some rinses. Choose an antibacterial rinse that is best for you based on what you prefer.

Desensitizing mouth rinses can be an effective adjunctive therapy for people with very sensitive teeth. These rinses use different active ingredients, including arginine, potassium citrate, potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride, to desensitize the teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, you can use this type of rinse in addition to a sensitive toothpaste, or on its own. Talk to your dentist or hygienist about what would be best for you.

The most important factor when using a mouth rinse, whichever type you use, is to use it correctly. This will ensure you maximize the beneficial effects of the rinse. Read the directions on the bottle and ensure you use the correct amount and rinse for an adequate amount of time. Using a mouth rinse as an additional part of your home care routine can be very beneficial health wise and can leave you feeling fresher!

Contact our office in downtown Edmonton if you have any questions or want to learn more about mouth rinses.

Dental Hygienist

How To Get Into The Habit Of Flossing

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Most people understand the benefits of flossing and know they SHOULD be doing it more often. So what stands in people’s way? I think one of the biggest reasons people don’t floss is because it just never became part of their daily routine the way tooth-brushing did. They’ve never gotten into the habit. So how can we change this? How do we turn something into a habit?

I’m not a behavioural expert; so of course, I had to Google it. What I discovered is the 3 R’s of Habit Change  – a simple 3-step framework for changing or creating new habits. Hey, it can’t hurt to try (plus, I’m a sucker for a good acronym).

The 3 R’s are as follows:

  • Reminder (a trigger)
  • Routine (a behaviour)
  • Reward (a benefit)

So how can we apply this method to flossing?

Reminder: Try sticking a post-it note to your bathroom mirror as a reminder. Or, try placing floss right next to your toothbrush so you can see it every time you brush. You can also make things easier by having floss stashed in multiple places, like your desk, your purse, your car, your gym bag, etc. Seeing it in all these places will not only serve as a visual cue, but the convenience of having it right there will make it more likely that you’ll use it.

Routine: Once you’re reminded to floss, DO IT! Once you start flossing on a regular basis, it will naturally evolve into a habit. And who knows, you might even start to LIKE flossing and how it makes your teeth and gums feel.

Reward: This is the tricky part. While there’s no doubt flossing has rewards, they’re not always immediate or obvious. Over time, you might notice changes: your gums will bleed less; they’ll be pink and healthy, and your breath will be fresher. You might even get fewer cavities between your teeth! However, those things take time. The article recommended simply telling yourself “good job” or saying “success” once you’ve achieved your goal. They even had the example “floss one tooth, “Victory!’”. It’s pretty silly, but I think the important thing is that we give ourselves credit. Self-acknowledgment is still acknowledgement, and different things motivate different people. Try using whatever rewards you can think of for yourself.

Start small and work your way up. Even if you go from flossing once a year to once a week, it’s a “Success!”. Hope this helps 🙂

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

How Dental Implants Work

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Dental Implants Edmonton

One of the worst things I have to tell a patient is, “we’re going to have to pull that tooth”. It’s heartbreaking to have to tell someone that they’re going to lose a tooth, no matter what the reason is. And, it can be very traumatizing for the patient. I’m happy, however, to say that with the advancements of dental implants, losing a tooth is not what it once was.

First, let me give a brief explanation of how dental implants work. A dental implant, for lack of a better image, looks like a screw. It is inserted into the area of bone where the root of the tooth used to be. That bone heals and integrates itself around the implant, making it very stable. Once everything is fully integrated, that implant is ready to be crowned. An impression is taken, and a custom crown is made to fit over that implant. If planned and executed properly, the results of an implant can very closely mimic the form and function of a natural tooth. (Here is a little video to further illustrate the process:

I know that this might sound like a scary procedure for some, but let me assure you that I’ve never heard a patient describe it as being a painful experience. In fact, most patients are amazed at how simple the procedure is. Financially they are an investment, but dental implants have an extremely high success rate (>90%). As long as they are taken care of properly, it is unlikely to have problems down the road. Speaking of which, taking care of an implant is basically the same as taking care of your teeth. All they require is regular brushing and flossing, and scaling from your dental hygienist.

Also, what people may not know is that you can do more than just replace a single tooth with an implant. You can replace long spans of missing teeth with implant-supported bridges. You can even use implants to anchor and support dentures! This means no more loose dentures that fall out when you talk or sneeze and no more annoying denture adhesives. Dental implants have been a complete game changer in how dentistry is done nowadays.

So while saying goodbye to a tooth is never an easy thing, hopefully patients can take comfort in knowing that there is a fantastic alternative out there to give them back their smiles. Give us a call at 780-428-2331 or book an appointment online now to discuss your dental implant needs.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Oral Piercings: Fashion Statement or Harmful Trend?

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Tongue-PiercingsOral piercings have been around for years. It’s a trend that is still very popular, particularly among young adults. One study reported that close to one fifth of young adults has had at least one type of piercing in or around their mouth. People get oral piercings for a variety of reasons, but shockingly, most of them are unaware of the dangers associated with mouth piercings.

The tongue, lips and cheek are the most common sites for oral piercings. Several studies have been conducted to examine the harmful side of oral piercings. One study showed that 87.83% of piercings had some form of early complication. The most prevalent complications were swelling and bleeding at the piercing sites, followed by dental defects, such as fractured/chipped teeth and receding gums. The prevalence of dental defects is greater for tongue piercings than for lip piercings, and the incidence of gingival recession appears similar for both tongue and lip piercings. Other studies have shown that oral piercings can lead to an increased concentration of periodontal pathogenic bacteria at the pierced site, leading to increased periodontal disease. They have also been linked to an increased incidence of Candida Albicans (a fungus, yikes!) colonization.

Severe, even life-threatening, complications can also arise from oral piercings such as:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection and swelling that can lead to airway obstruction
  • Infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, hepatitis, tetanus)
  • Ludwig’s angina
  • Cerebral abscess
  • Endocarditis

While getting oral piercings can be fashionable and a way of showing individuality, people must use caution when getting them. Ensure the place you go to get the piercing is a reputable shop. Proper sterilization and infection control are paramount when choosing a piercer. Also, pay attention to the site you choose to get pierced; some areas are more prone to recession or chipping/cracking teeth. And if you do decide to get one, try not to play with the piercing – many people who have oral piercings report that playing with the piercing caused dental defects. Bottom line is DO YOUR HOMEWORK and ensure you are informed of the potential local and systemic risks of the piercing.

The Problem I Have With Whitening Toothpaste…

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Whitening Toothpaste

More and more, people are chasing after that bright white Hollywood smile. It’s no wonder. Pick your favourite celebrity, or any celebrity these days, and chances are they have a sparkling white smile. We are constantly being bombarded with ads featuring 3D or Optic or Iceberg or Fill-in-the-adjective White! And I get it – we all want to feel confident about our smiles. We want them to look their best. Consequently, more people are searching for a cheap and easy option for achieving this. The most obvious choice people are turning to is whitening toothpaste, and there are heaps of them on the market these days to choose from.

Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove surface stains from your teeth on a daily basis. How? They use abrasive particles to scrub and clean the surface of your enamel, getting rid of the stain while brushing. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming) If only it were that simple.

First, I should mention that the efficacy of whitening toothpastes has been met with mixed reviews. While I believe products should do what they claim to do, that is not the main problem I have with these products. I don’t actually even want to discuss if they do in fact whiten your teeth.

My biggest issue is that they may be causing more harm to teeth and gums than people realize. Because they are more abrasive than regular toothpastes, over time, they can actually wear down and cause damage to the enamel, which is the hard, protective outer layer of your tooth. This can dramatically increase tooth sensitivity and even the potential of getting cavities. And thin enamel, ironically, can even make the teeth look darker or yellower. The abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste can also increase gum recession. What people may not realize is that once the damage to the enamel is done, there is nothing you can do to easily fix it.

Not all toothpastes are created equal; some are less abrasive than others. If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth, you would be better off to use a lower abrasion toothpaste along with special whitening products. That way, you can get the white teeth you want without potentially irreversibly damaging your teeth in the process.

If you have a question regarding your current toothpaste, ask you dental professional to shed some light on which products are best suited for you.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

What on Earth is Gum Disease?

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Gum Disease

A lot people wonder, “Why do I need to get my teeth cleaned? Is it really that important?” The short answer is YES! Getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis is important, not only for your oral health, but your overall health as well.

So what exactly is gum disease?

It is an infection of your gums and supporting tissues that evolves over time. Gum disease includes two stages: a reversible stage and an irreversible stage.

The initial phase of gum disease is called gingivitis and is reversible. Gingivitis is identified by bleeding gums and tender, red, swollen gums. Gingivitis generally develops when plaque and tartar sit on the teeth and infect the gums. A professional cleaning and daily brushing and flossing can reverse the effects of gingivitis, leaving you with a healthy mouth. Brushing and flossing can remove soft plaque, but scaling is needed to remove hard tartar from the teeth.

The second stage of gum disease is called periodontal disease, which is irreversible. Periodontal disease is classified as Early, Moderate or Advanced. The signs of periodontal disease are bone loss, moving teeth, exposed roots, and possible tooth loss. The second stage of gum disease develops when the first stage – the reversible stage – is left untreated. The infection, that started in the gums, spreads into the supporting tissue and bone around the teeth, leading to loss of bony support. Once the process of bone loss starts, you cannot grow the bone back. Moreover, the progression of bone loss can continue if left untreated.

This is where the importance of dental cleanings comes in. With the help of frequent, regular dental hygiene visits, and excellent home care, you can stop the infection and prevent further bone loss. “But I don’t have bone loss,” you may say. “Why do I need to get another cleaning?” Regular dental hygiene care is a preventative therapy to ensure patients do not develop periodontal disease. The best and most effective treatment of gum disease is PREVENTION. If we can prevent a patient from losing bony support, we can ensure they will not develop periodontal disease. The reason why the second stage of gum disease is considered irreversible is because once you develop periodontal disease, you have it for life. The damage from the infection to your bone cannot be reversed. The only thing we can do is prevent further damage with regular hygiene visits, which includes scaling and root planing. This is why prevention is key to treating gum disease. So be sure to come in every 6-12 months and see your hygienist! I’m sure you’ll have a new appreciation for why she asks about brushing and flossing every time!

Dental Hygienist Alia