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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

Meet Casey, one of our Dental Assistants!

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This week’s blog features Casey, our part-time dental assistant at ThirtyTwo Dental. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Casey, you’d know that she is pure sunshine! She fills our office with happiness and good vibes whenever she’s here. And after being with ThirtyTwo Dental for six years, we can honestly say she’s never had an “off day”. But what’s behind that sunny exterior? We’ve asked her 10 questions to help us get to the bottom of it.

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had my heart set on being a fancy eraser maker and a card maker for Hallmark! They still haven’t called…​


2. What is a travel destination on your bucket list?
Austria is definitely high on the list for me! ​


3. What is your favourite sweet treat?
Cupcakes, Oreos and Mini Eggs—or cupcakes topped with Oreos and Mini Eggs! ​


4. How long have you been an RDA (registered dental assistant)?
13 years.​


5. What was your favourite TV show as a kid?
MacGyver, hands down! I was fascinated with how he could get out of any jam with a single bobby pin! ​

6. What makes you feel accomplished?
I make lists for everything, and honestly, every silly little check mark is rewarding! The challenge and enjoyment I get from running is also right up there on the list (and yes, I check my runs off too). ​

7. What’s one thing you wish you could do?
I would love to be a great cook! I have good intentions, but I’ve had my share of meal fails over the years! ​

8. What is your favourite beverage? ​
I like beer but Ceasars are my favourite! ​

9. What is one of the best things about your job? ​
Having such a great team to work with is like hitting the jackpot. We work hard and get to laugh even harder during days out together. I also value getting to know so many great patients who walk through our doors! ​

10. What is something on your wish list this year? ​
Enjoy as much family time as possible and hopefully include a road trip to the camp and enjoy beautiful Moraine Lake​.

Meet Doris, One Of Our Dental Assistants!

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Next on the list is Doris! I’m sure that almost all of our long-time clients are familiar with our full-time dental assistant and self-titled “queen” of the office, Doris. For those of you that haven’t met Doris, she has been with our practice for over 31 years, and brings so much joy to our team! When she’s not working or spending time with her two kids and family, she’s very active in her Croatian community, usually cooking for large quantities of people. To find out more about her majesty, we’ve asked her 10 very important questions:

1. What are three items that are always in your fridge?

Milk, hot sauce, and eggs.

2. If you were at home on a rainy Sunday, what movie would you hope to see on TV?

Shawshank Redemption.

3. Where do you not mind waiting?

I hate waiting anywhere!

4. If you had to work but didn’t need the money, what would you choose to do?

I’d love to sell shoes, and as a bonus get to wear all of them!

5. If you could be a member of any TV-sitcom family, which would it be?

Mom.

6. What would your perfect day look like?

6:45 AM: I would enjoy a cup of coffee on a balcony in 25-27 °C weather.
9:30 AM: Strolling down the beach, finding pretty seashells.
11:00 AM: Mojito time!
2:00 PM: I’d eat a hamburger and fries for lunch (made by someone else), followed by a Caesar.
5:30 PM: Another walk on the beach.
7:00 PM: Dinner.
10:00 PM: A final walk on the beach.

7. What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Butter.

8. Would you rather be trapped in an elevator full of men with BO or three soaked dogs?

Men – I’m afraid of dogs.

9. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chips, forever.

10. If you could travel to any country, which country would it be?

Egypt!

MEET HALEY, OUR NEW HYGIENIST

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Hello there! My name is Haley Conrad, and I am a proud new member of ThirtyTwo Dental’s team. I recently moved back to the Edmonton area, after studying Dental Hygiene in Ottawa, Ontario. I grew up in Leduc and am happy to be back home! After graduating, I moved to Smithers, British Columbia, for my first career opportunity in hygiene.

When I am not at work, you can find me exploring the outdoors every opportunity I can get, whether that’s biking, hiking, rock climbing, or walking my miniature dachshund, Copper. I feel at home at the farmer’s market, I don’t think pineapple belongs on pizza, and my next big adventure will be travelling Antarctica or India. I can’t wait to meet all the patients at ThirtyTwo Dental. I’ll see your pearly whites soon!

1. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Learn how to paint, or get better at rock climbing.

2.What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Scuba diving in Antarctica and/or hike to basecamp in Nepal or the Pacific Crest Trail.

3. What’s your favourite drink?
Monday to Thursday: almond milk latte. Friday to Sunday: Red wine.

4. What are some small things that make your day better?
Coffee, dogs, and connecting with people!

5. What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
Eating good food, doing something active outdoors, and hanging out with friends and family.

6. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?
Lip balm and coffee!

7. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?
Biographies.

8. How do you relax after a hard day of work?
Being active and reading.

9. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
Tanzania, Africa.

10. Where is one of the most interesting place you’ve been?
Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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! 

Meet Joyce, Our Dental Receptionist

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We are continuing our series of staff feature blogs with our next staff member, Joyce! Joyce has been working in the dental industry for 40 years. The majority of her career has been spent working here at ThirtyTwo Dental, initially as a dental assistant for 20 years before transitioning into a dental receptionist.

Growing up in Smoky Lake, Joyce developed a love for animals and the outdoors. She also has four nephews that she loves dearly. Joyce has done 10 volunteer trips through Kindness in Action during her career and has thoroughly enjoyed each experience. She loves being able to give back and volunteer her time with the less fortunate. Joyce has even said those were some of the best travelling experiences she’s ever had! Each time was quite humbling and reinforced her pride as a Canadian.

We asked Joyce 10 “Get to Know You” questions and here’s what she had to say:

1. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Vacuuming.

2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Play the piano.

3. If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?

A cat because they love to sleep in warm places!

4. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Hiking Machu Picchu was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done because it was so physically demanding – there was endless stone stairs! I had altitude sickness but I insisted on pushing through because otherwise the whole team would have had to go back down to the base to take me back.

5. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Clothes.

6. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

40 – because that was my favorite year. I had the most fun that year. Also, Bill and Judy were kind enough to plan a surprise party for me with all of my friends and family – it was very special to me.

7. Where was your favorite vacation?

Turkey! I visited over Christmas and at one point we visited an ancient amphitheater where we sang “Holy Night”. The acoustics in the theatre made it an overall incredible experience. I also made some great friends with the people I travelled with and we had amazing food during the trip. It was also very eye-opening for me – it gave me a new perspective because I learned so much about history and Islam.

8. What was the last time you had an amazing meal?

Corso 32 in November for a birthday. The pasta dishes were so different!

9. What was your favorite toy/game as a child?

Snakes and Ladders because I could always beat my brother and sister!

10. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Read books.

Feature Blog: Dental Receptionist Pam

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To help you get to know a little bit more about the staff here at ThirtyTwo Dental, we’ll be doing a series of blog posts featuring each of our staff members. First up is one of our friendly dental receptionists, Pam. She is one of the first people you encounter at ThirtyTwo Dental, whether over the phone or in person. She’s always smiling and available to help you book appointments or figure out your dental plan coverage.

Pam has 30+ years working as a dental receptionist. She moved from Edson to Edmonton four years ago, which is when she started working at ThirtyTwo Dental. She has two adult sons and here’s a fun fact: she’s Dr. B’s husband’s aunt! We asked Pam 10 ‘get to know you’ questions, and here’s what she shared:

1. What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Walking and hiking.

2. What is your favourite month of the year?

September, because it’s still summer but you can also enjoy what fall has to offer!

3. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

See The Rolling Stones in concert.

4. What was the last movie, TV show, or book that made you cry?

The TV show This Is Us.

5. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Take my family on a holiday!

6. What do you miss most about being a kid?

Having no inhibitions.

7. When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

Get outdoors!

8. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

My sister Debbie, who passed away when I was very young. I would love to have known her better and remember more about her.

9. What is something you learned last week?

That I still have a lot to learn.

10. What is one of your favourite quotes?

‘When you know better, you do better.’

– Maya Angelou

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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

Water Fluoridation: Is It Really Beneficial?

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There has been a long-standing debate in North America as to whether adding fluoride into community water sources is really beneficial to our dental health.

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, particularly in primary (baby) teeth. In 2011, Calgary decided to remove fluoride from their drinking sources. Edmonton, on the other hand, has been fluoridating our water since 1967. Three years after the City of Calgary decided to discontinue fluoridation, University of Calgary researchers decided to look into the potential impact of de-fluoridation on young children. In conjunction with Alberta Health Services, the researchers collected data from 5000 Grade 2 students in randomly selected schools in Edmonton and Calgary. They compared their data to surveillance data that was collected in 2004/2005 (when Calgary still fluoridated its water). The results were astonishing – there was an increase in tooth decay in young children since the fluoride was discontinued in 2011. A child has 20 primary teeth, each with 4-5 tooth surfaces. The researchers found an average of 3.8 tooth surfaces with decay in Calgary versus an average of 2.1 tooth surfaces with decay in Edmonton. These results show that fluoridation is effective in preventing tooth decay.

Tooth decay is the most common form of infectious disease in children. Moreover, dental treatment is the leading cause of day surgery in young children in Canada. Prevention is the best way to avoid developing decay in primary teeth, and prevent unnecessary dental treatment in children. As this study shows, water fluoridation has a positive impact on improving the dental health of children.