The Toothbrush Redesigned

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You know how when you’re watching a video on YouTube, there’s usually an advertisement that pops up before your video plays? And then you’re forced to watch 5 seconds of it until the “SKIP AD” button appears (and like most people, my finger hovers over that button so that in the instant it appears I’m on it). However, the other day, a product ad came across the screen that actually surprised and intrigued me. Whether it was the bright colours that caught my attention or the fact that it looked like something Apple could have designed, my curiosity was peaked. It was called the ISSATM.

The what? The ISSATM  is “a revolutionary new toothbrush”. Why is this exciting news (other than the fact that I’m a dentist, and I’m a geek about this stuff)? Well, there hasn’t been a real breakthrough concept for toothbrushes in decades. The Chinese are believed to have invented natural bristled toothbrushes way back in the 15th century. Nylon bristled toothbrushes were developed in 1938. The big advancement after that was soft nylon bristled toothbrushes in the 1950s. And then, the first electric toothbrushes came along in the 1960s. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Check out the ISSATM by Foreo so can see for yourself what this product is and how it claims to be different: To be 100% honest, I don’t know much about it other than what you can read up on the Internet. It claims to be gentle on teeth and gums (good), made out of a super hygienic silicone (good), provide excellent cleaning and polishing capabilities (good), plus some other really cool features – really everything a good toothbrush should be. But does it deliver on all these claims? Again, I don’t know, but I’m very curious.

My biggest concerns would be these:

  • Is it gentle enough? Gum recession and tooth abrasion can happen quite easily if the toothbrush you’re using isn’t soft enough. Although, I will say that you can still do damage with a soft nylon bristled toothbrush if you are using it improperly (i.e. brushing too hard).
  • Does it clean well? Even with the electric pulsations, those bristles still need to make physical contact with the areas that you want to clean. Remember, plaque is sticky and adheres to the surface of teeth. I haven’t felt or tried the ISSATM, but I see the size of those bristles. I wonder if they can fit into all the nooks and crannies in order to provide a really thorough cleaning.

Is it reinventing the wheel, or does it actually bring something new and better to the table other than just fancy shapes and colours? TBD. I’d love to try it out myself, and if I do, I promise I’ll let you know in a future blog post how it worked for me. If you’re thinking about getting one, I would recommend having a conversation with your dental professional before you do.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

As One Year Ends…

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As One Year Ends

In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone. It’s hard to believe all that has happened in one year. At this time last year, we were slowly getting acquainted with the new surroundings of our newly renovated office. We were getting used to being known as ThirtyTwo Dental, rather than Dr. Sharun General Dentistry (as were our patients). It’s hard to believe that the dental mission in the Philippines happened 8 months ago. Dr. Sharun, Brenda, and Joyce can all add one more mission to their growing tallies. Wow, how times flies.

In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone. It’s hard to believe all that has happened in one year. At this time last year, we were slowly getting acquainted with the new surroundings of our newly renovated office. We were getting used to being known as ThirtyTwo Dental, rather than Dr. Sharun General Dentistry (as were our patients). It’s hard to believe that the dental mission in the Philippines happened 8 months ago. Dr. Sharun, Brenda, and Joyce can all add one more mission to their growing tallies. Wow, how times flies.

We are very sad to say that in the New Year we will be saying goodbye to our part-time hygienist, Jessica. She has been with us for 2 years and has been an invaluable member of our team. We wish Jessica all the best, wherever life takes her. We will be looking for a new hygienist to replace her – someone just as skilled and awesome. So look for a new, smiling face at our office soon.

Over the holidays, our office will be closed from December 22nd – January 5th, and our next blog post will come out during the week of January 12th. If you have any dental emergencies, please don’t hesitate to call either Dr. Sharun (780-499-9988) or myself (780-907-8684). The last thing we want is for you to suffer through a toothache over the holidays.

We’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many new patients, who will hopefully be with us for years to come. Overall, we have had a wonderful year and are so grateful to have such fantastic, loyal patients. We wish everybody a VERY MERRY Christmas and all the best in 2015!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Brushing 101… for kids!

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Brushing 101 for kids

Brushing your teeth is the foundation of good oral hygiene, and we believe that good habits should start as early as possible. Even before your little one sprouts their first tooth, you can use a damp washcloth or soft gum brush to gently massage the gums to promote good oral hygiene (I think that tip is for the extra-keen parents out there J). But once that first tooth comes in…. start brushing!

Every child is different, but until the age about 6 their fine motor skills are… hmmm, how should I put it… somewhat lacking. So Mom and Dad, it’s your job to get in there and do the job properly. Lots of times, kids want to brush their teeth on their own (which is great), but it’s a good idea to let them to do it first, then you can sneak in after and get the spots they missed. And even after they’ve mastered the art of brushing, it’s a good idea to supervise your kids for a while, just in case.

Toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. So for kids, it’s best to use toothbrushes that are made specifically for them. These brushes tend to be smaller for easier access and are super soft so the bristles are gentle on their teeth and gums. Plus, they have fun characters on them – I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to brush with a Spiderman toothbrush (or Cinderella if that’s their thing).

When it comes to toothpaste, there are some important things all parents should know. Fluoride in toothpaste has been proven to reduce cavities, but because young children aren’t really able to spit out the toothpaste, they end up swallowing it. Ingesting too much fluoride at a young age can lead to a cosmetic condition called fluorosis, which affects the appearance of their permanent teeth. The severity can range from barely visible white spots on the enamel to dark brown staining and bumpy surfaces of the teeth. To help prevent this, there are recommended guidelines as to how much toothpaste parents should use on their kids:

  • Under 3 years old: Visit your dentist to determine whether or not your child is at a greater risk of getting cavities. If your child is low risk, then you can simply use a toothbrush and water to brush your teeth, but if your child is higher risk, then a fluoride toothpaste might be recommended. No more than a smear of toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice should be used.
  • Between ages 3 to 6: No more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used, along constant supervision of an adult.
  • After the age of 6, the amount used is less of a concern because kids are able to spit out most of the toothpaste anyways, and the permanent teeth have already developed. However, it’s still important to supervise to make sure they’re not swallowing too much of it.

There are fluoride-free formulas on the market as well. They wouldn’t give you the cavity-fighting benefit of fluoride, but you could use them instead of brushing with plain water on children under 3, just to get them used to the idea of toothpaste. Plus, they come in some pretty delicious flavours.

Just remember to keep it FUN!

Sensitive Teeth

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32Dental Sensitive Teeth

Brrrrrr…. it’s cold outside. Winter is here, and every year as the temperature starts dropping, patients start noticing more tooth sensitivity as they’re breathing in that cold air. They often ask us what causes this and what can be done to fix it.

Sensitive teeth are a common problem. For some, it’s just one or two teeth, but for others ALL of their teeth may be sensitive. Most often the cold is the trigger, but sometimes heat or sweets can trigger sensitivity in teeth. Why does this happen?

Below the outer layer of hard enamel, which covers and protects the crowns of our teeth, is a softer inner layer called dentin. Dentin contains thousands of teeny tiny tubules that lead to the inner core of the tooth (the pulp) where the nerve is. So, if dentin is exposed to cold, for example, the cold travels down these tubules, where it reaches the nerve and leads to the pain you feel. On parts of your teeth where the enamel is thinnest, you may notice more sensitivity, but very often areas of gum recession tend to be most sensitive for people. Gum shrinks away from these areas, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed, with no enamel protecting them.

There are many things that can contribute to increased sensitivity. Basically, anything that causes wear or thinning of the enamel, such as brushing too hard, clenching and grinding, acidic foods, or even abrasive whitening products, can exacerbate the issue. Or it might be something more, like tooth decay, gingivitis, a cracked tooth, or possibly an infection.

Here are a few things you can do that might help:

  • First, visit your dentist to determine WHY you’re having the sensitivity (only then will you know how you can fix it).
  • Always brush and floss regularly – if plaque sits on these areas too long, it can increase sensitivity too.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth – there are lots of brands out there, so find one that works for you.
  • If you grind your teeth, try your best to avoid it and wear a protective night guard while sleeping.
  • There are special products, like fluoride varnishes, that can be placed over these sensitive areas to reduce discomfort as well.

Remember, nothing is ever too small to bring up with your dentist, so just ask us and we’ll do our best to help. Stay warm!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

November Movember

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The month of November has been renamed… and there’s no going back!

Yes, Movember (formerly November) has become that time of year when the men in our lives think it’s fun and hilarious to grow moustaches. They bond over their love/hate relationships with their new hairy accessories, share grooming tips, and there’s always the competition to see who can grow the best (or worst) moustache. Whether they grow a mo worthy of Tom Selleck or a pre-pubescent boy, they wear them proudly, as they should. There will always be humour tied to this modern tradition, but behind the mo, there is a “hairy truth” that can’t be lost or forgotten – the true meaning of Movember.

The idea of Movember was born in 2003 by two Australian mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, while enjoying a quiet beer at a pub (the birthplace of so many great ideas). They came up with the interesting concept to grow moustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues and prostate cancer. That year, they convinced 30 brave men to take on their moustache growing challenge, with the same rules that govern Movember today. Although no funds were raised during their inaugural year, things only got bigger from there…

Today, the Movember Foundation is an organization that raises money for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health issues. It has spread worldwide and involves participants in over 20 countries. Since 2003, over $550 million has been raised, and over 800 men’s health projects have been funded.

Just a few reasons why this cause is so important:

  1. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death amongst Canadian men, accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths in men.
  2. 1 in 8 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life.
  3. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer amongst men aged 15-29.
  4. 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem each year.

So if you’re man enough, I would encourage you to participate in Movember. If you’re not man enough (i.e. you’re a woman) I encourage you to donate to a family member or friend and do your part to spread awareness. ThirtyTwo Dental’s Dr. Bill Sharun will be growing a mo in honour of Movember. Please go to his Movember page and donate.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

The Bad Breath Dilemma

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The Bad Breath Dilemma

Everyone suffers from bad breath at one time or another. Sometimes it can be caused by what you eat; for example, everybody knows to avoid garlic or onions on a first date. But quite often, bad breath comes from the same bacteria that cause plaque in our mouths. These bacteria release sulphur compounds, which create a foul-smelling odour and lead to bad breath. Most people turn to a mouthwash, such as Scope or Listerine, to freshen their breath, but do they really work?

First of all (and I can’t stress this enough!) mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes are developed to reduce the amount of bacteria or neutralize odour-releasing compounds. In order to significantly reduce the bacteria in your mouth, you need to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing as a part of your oral health routine. Mouthwashes like these, however, are just a quick fix for bad breath and only last a few hours.

While a mouthwash can be a good adjunct to freshen your mouth, there has also been some debate as to whether consistent use of certain mouthwashes can do more harm than good and even cause more bad breath. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol, which is a drying agent that can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva acts like a natural mouthwash, as it lubricates your mouth and protects your teeth against bacteria. If your mouth is dry, the bacteria are able to grow more rapidly, which can lead to an increase in plaque, gum disease, tooth decay, and ultimately more bad breath. A proactive option may be to use alcohol-free mouthwashes, which are also available these days.

It’s also important to point out that some people suffer from chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, which can’t be masked by a simple mouthwash. Halitosis can be caused by bigger problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, sinus or stomach conditions, or other systemic problems. If you are concerned that you have halitosis, you should consult your dentist.

Overall, I can’t say I’m a strong advocate for using over-the-counter mouthwashes on a daily basis. The benefit to your oral health is pretty minimal, and again, the most important thing is to have a proper brushing and flossing routine. However, in a pinch, or to give you that extra boost of freshness once in awhile, go for it!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Healthy Teeth That Look Great Too

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As dentists, our number one priority for our patients has and will always be good oral health. However, for more and more of our patients, the way their teeth look is just as important as how they feel. Aesthetic/cosmetic dentistry has become a regular part of general dentistry, and due to that, most dental offices now offer tooth whitening as a cosmetic service to their patients. Tooth whitening is a safe, easy and non-invasive way to enhance and brighten your smile.

Teeth can become stained over time, mainly due to different foods in our diet (ie. coffee, tea, red wine). Sometimes, these stains can be removed with special whitening toothpastes or polishing, but because the enamel is porous, stain can seep into the actual tooth structure, making it impossible to brush or polish off. In order to remove these stains, teeth whitening products must be used to breakdown these stains and whiten the enamel. There are many different systems, but most use a type of peroxide as the whitening agent.

A lot of people ask if whitening is harmful to your teeth. Occasionally, some patients will experience increased tooth sensitivity or slight irritation to the gums or soft tissues around the teeth, but normally this stops shortly after the patient is finished the procedure. Always inform your dentist if either of these occurs.

Our patients also ask us how long the whitening effects will last. There is no exact answer to this question, as there are many factors that will affect how quickly your teeth accumulate stains. Also, some people like to do “touch-ups” more frequently than others to maintain a bright white appearance. We generally recommend bleaching your teeth no more than once every 6 months.

There are a couple things you should be aware of before you whiten. It’s also important to have a dental professional evaluate your teeth before you start. First, if you have any fillings, crowns, or veneers, these will not lighten as you bleach, so they will likely not match the shade of your teeth afterwards. Also, some people have naturally darker teeth due to the color of their dentin (this is the layer of tooth below the enamel), or due to the transparency of their enamel. These patients may not be able to achieve as white a smile as they may have hoped for.

But if you are looking to get a brighter, whiter smile in a short amount of time, then tooth whitening may be right for you. Interested? Give us a call, we’d love to help you keep your smile healthy and looking its best.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Introducing Invisalign!

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Enjoy straighter teeth and a better smile every day with Invisalign.

ThirtyTwo Dental is so excited to introduce Invisalign to our office! Many people are now familiar with the name Invisalign, as this popular technology has been around since 1999. What you may not know is exactly what it is or how it works.

Basically, Invisalign is a modern approach to move and straighten teeth. Instead of metal brackets and wires (that traditional braces use), Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gradually and gently move your teeth into position.

Invisalign has been praised as a welcome alternative to braces for many reasons:

  • It’s nearly invisible. It is only when a person looks very closely that they be able to tell you’re even wearing it.
  • It’s comfortable to wear. The smooth clear plastic conforms to the shape of your teeth, so adjusting to the aligners is easy.
  • It’s removable. You can take it out when you’re eating or cleaning your teeth. This means you don’t have to avoid eating certain foods, and you can brush and floss normally. Anyone who has ever worn conventional braces can tell you how much food gets stuck around them and what a pain they are to clean.

Invisalign can be used on teens, but it can also be a great option for adults who don’t want to go through the pain and embarrassment of wearing braces, but who have always wanted straighter teeth. Many adults think it’s too late for them to go through the whole process, but the average Invisalign treatment only takes 1 year, and really that’s not that much time to devote to getting that smile you’ve always wanted. Invisalign, however, cannot treat everyone because some cases may be too complex or require additional services to achieve the desired outcome. An Invisalign consult must be done to determine whether or not you’re a suitable candidate.

Check out the official Invisalign website for more in-depth information and call our office 780-428-2331 to book an Invisalign consult today!

We are thrilled to be able to offer this new service to our patients, because we know how important a beautiful smile is.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Announcing a Contest!

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Fall marks back to school, back to work, and back to the cold. To soften the blow, we’re having a Fall Smile Makeover Contest!

You could win free access to one of over 32 ways we can care for your teeth by entering our draw for a free professional teeth whitening service! Teeth whitening is a great way to improve not only the look of your smile, but also how you feel and your self-confidence. It’s also great way to get ready for family photos, a wedding, or a vacation. You’ll be amazed by how good a beautiful looking smile can make you feel.

Until Tuesday, September 23, you can enter to win on our Facebook page. Just Like our page, and then fill out the form on the application. Enter every day for more chances to win! We’ll announce two winners: the first on September 12 and the final winner on September 23.

Don’t worry, even if you don’t win our contest, you can still get great teeth whitening services at ThirtyTwo Dental. Call 780-428-2331 to make an appointment today!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Dentistry 101: What is a Cavity?

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It’s a fairly simple question that most people assume they know the answer to, but if you stop to really think about it, do you actually know what a cavity is? Or how it forms? Most people understand there’s a link between eating sugar and getting cavities, which is true, but it’s not the full story.

What actually happens is this: Millions of bacteria live on the surfaces of your teeth in that sticky substance known as plaque. When you eat any type of sugar (this includes sucrose, lactose and fructose), the bacteria also feed on this sugar and produce an acid by-product. The acid then sits on your teeth and slowly eats away the protective hard enamel of your tooth, causing it to lose minerals. The more sugar the bacteria have to eat, the more acid they produce, causing the enamel to lose more and more minerals. Over time, these demineralized areas become visible as white spots on the enamel. This is an early sign of tooth decay. White spots have the potential to be stopped or reversed at this point by using minerals from saliva, fluoride, or other sources. However, if the demineralization continues, the decay gets worse and actual holes form in the enamel – aka cavities.

Once the cavity breaks through the enamel, it allows bacteria access into the dentin of the tooth. Dentin is the material that makes up the inside layer of your teeth, and because it is much softer than enamel, tooth decay spreads rapidly in it. At this point, to prevent further spread, a dentist must remove all the decay and place a filling in the tooth. If, however, it goes untreated, the decay will spread until it reaches the pulp of the tooth – the inner hollow core of the tooth, which contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. Once bacteria are allowed to enter the pulp, they will multiply inside the tooth and eventually cause the tooth to become abscessed or infected, leaving a root canal as the only treatment option to save the tooth.

But let’s not end on a sad note – there’s good news. By maintaining good oral hygiene, limiting your sugar intake at home, and visiting your dental office at least once a year for check-ups, these cavities can be caught at an early stage, before they become real problems. These simple steps will keep your mouth happy and healthy.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky