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- Q & A
Is a broken tooth an emergency?
Unless you are experiencing severe pain or bleeding, a chipped or cracked tooth is NOT an emergency. That said, you should contact us soon after the chip occurs and make sure to mention that you have a broken tooth so that we can get you an appointment as quickly as possible.
After a thorough evaluation, your dentist will decide a course of action. This usually ends up being simply a matter of smoothing out the tooth for small chips, or for a larger break, your dentist may fill in the space with a composite material that matches your other teeth.
A broken tooth might also warrant crowning. A crown would give the tooth more strength and help protect the tooth against chipping in the future.
When should I take my child for their first dentist appointment?
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. It is recommended that you plan a visit to the dentist every six months after their first visit, to catch small problems early.
Early dental care for your child allows the dentist to tell you if crooked or crowded teeth may cause problems later on.
Also, getting to the dentist as your child’s permanent molars just come in means that your dentist can suggest sealing them to protect from cavities. A sealant is a kind of plastic that is put on the chewing surface of the molars. The plastic seals the tooth and makes it less likely to trap food and germs.
Children’s dental care at home should start even before your child has teeth – it gives baby teeth a clean place to come into. Here’s what to do:
DO NOT use toothpaste until your child has teeth.
What happens if I have to cancel or miss an appointment?
If you find it impossible to keep a scheduled appointment, please contact our office at least 2 business days in advance. We will gladly reschedule your appointment at a time that is convenient for you.
If you cancel or miss an appointment without providing adequate notice, it will be documented in your patient record. If this occurs three times, you will no longer be allowed to schedule appointments or receive treatment at our office.
We will make arrangements to provide you with a copy of your patient record or have it transferred to another office of your choosing. We make every effort to respect the time and schedules of our patients. In return, we ask that you show the same respect towards our office.
Dental benefit plans may base the amount of coverage on a chart or fee schedule/guide arbitrarily developed by the insurance companies. For this reason, you may receive a lower percentage of the reimbursement level indicated in your dental plan. For example, if your plan pays 80% of the cost of dental treatment, it means 80% of the fee determined by the insurance company, not on the actual fee charged by our office.
Some plans exclude certain types of services, such as orthodontics, while other plans cover a full range of dental services.
Prior to initiating any dental treatment, we always provide an estimate for your proposed treatment. The final decision on any treatment will always be yours.
As a courtesy, we will complete and file your dental claim form for you. If your dental benefit plan requires a pre-determination or prior authorization, we will submit a treatment plan for review by your insurance carrier. We will also help process follow-ups or locate lost claims.
If you change employers or have a change in benefits provider or plan, please remember to let us know. If you bring your new information with you to your appointment, including the plan booklet provided at start-up, we will photocopy it and keep the applicable sections on file.
How do you keep my private information confidential?
In our dental office, we value our patients and respect the privacy of the personal information you provide to us.
On January 1, 2004, Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) came into effect. These pieces of legislation provide all Albertans with the right to protect the privacy of their personal information in terms of its collection, use and disclosure. The Acts established the principles that guide businesses such as our dental office in taking the proper measures to ensure that the personal information we collect from you remains private.
Our office has taken a number of measures to ensure that your personal information remains confidential and is used only for the purposes outlined on our consent form. All records are handled with discretion to ensure your privacy. Care is taken to protect computer monitors from public viewing. When necessary, the transfer of records is done using secure methods and systems, reputable carriers, and information is anonymized whenever possible. We do not share your personal information outside our office for any marketing, promotional, publicity, educational or research purposes without your consent.
On your behalf, we are trained in personal information protection and we review our information collection procedures and consent forms on an ongoing basis.
Our Privacy Officer is Judy Clarke. She can be reached by contacting our office.
What payment options do I have?
We expect full payment of your dental treatment fees at the completion of each appointment.
Our office accepts cash, debit, personal cheques, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Please remember that the financial obligation for dental treatment is between you and this office, and you are responsible for that portion of the account that the dental plan does not cover; the insurance company is responsible to you and not to this office.
Are root canals as bad as I think?
Most people think of root canal treatment as a source of discomfort. In reality, this therapy is done to relieve, not create, pain.
Located in the centre core (or canal) of each tooth is living tissue (pulp tissue) consisting of nerves, blood vessels and cellular components. (If a tooth were a carrot, the pulp would occupy the central core of the vegetable.) This pulp tissue is what provides the tooth with the ability to feel sensations such as temperature.
In response to trauma (e.g. large cavity, broken tooth, hard knock, etc.), sometimes the pulp tissue can be irreversibly damaged, become infected, and in some cases, die. As the pulp tissue goes through these changes, it can start to swell. This can lead to a variety of symptoms such as sensitivity to pressure or temperature, pain, development of a bump (or pimple) on the gum, and in the more advanced stages, actual swelling of the cheek or jaw. To relieve the pain/swelling and save the tooth, a root canal is done.
The main goal of root canal therapy is to remove the diseased pulp tissue, which will in turn reduce and eliminate existing discomfort. To gain access into the inner pulp chamber a small hole created in the chewing surface of the tooth. The pulp tissue is removed and the tooth’s entire inner core, all the way down to the end of the root, is cleaned and disinfected. The empty canal is filled with a material that seals the tooth from bacteria and a restoration (filling or crown) is completed.
What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?
A crown or cap is a permanent dental restoration that completely encircles or “caps” a tooth. A crown is used to restore the anatomy, function and esthetics of a tooth. Generally, crowns are recommended to reinforce and protect teeth that have root canals, large fillings or to fix teeth that have been broken, malformed or heavily stained.
Crowns involve two dental appointments. The first appointment involves the removal of a small amount of tooth structure equal to the amount of material in the crown, followed by taking a mold or impression of the remaining structure, which is used by our dental laboratory to create the crown. The second appointment, two weeks later, is when the crown is permanently cemented in place.
A bridge on the other hand, is a permanent dental restoration that is used to replace one or more missing teeth that have resulted in a gap between remaining teeth. In addition to replacing missing teeth, bridges also prevent the teeth adjacent to the gap from drifting or moving out of position, which can lead to changes in the bite along with other issues.
A bridge is essentially a grouping of interconnected crowns cemented to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap. Like crowns, a bridge can be fabricated from various metals or a combination of porcelain fused to the outside of metal.
Is there anything you can do for missing teeth?
When an individual is missing teeth, three options are available: dental implants, dentures and bridges.
Dental implants replace what has been lost. An implant is a permanent replacement consisting of a titanium post that is placed into the bone to act as an artificial root. It supports replacement teeth and individual crowns, bridge or dentures.
Implant therapy is a two-stage process. The first stage is surgical, during which a titanium post is placed into the bone. After a healing period of several months during which bone bonds with the implant, the second stage begins. In this stage, the replacement crown(s), bridge or denture is designed, fabricated and attached to the implant, which now acts as an anchor to keep everything in place.
Dentures, partial or complete, are removable prostheses (appliances) supported by the surrounding hard and soft tissues in the mouth.
A partial denture (also referred to as a partial) is made when an individual is missing some, but not all, of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Designed to be custom fit to your mouth, a partial is made of acrylic and metal, with clasps that fit around the remaining teeth to help keep it in place.
A complete denture is made when an individual is missing all of the teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw. Like a partial denture, a complete denture is designed to be custom fit to the tissue it will rest on. However, a complete denture is made entirely of acrylic. Because there are no teeth to help hold the denture in place, it must rely primarily on the surrounding soft tissue for support and retention.