April is Oral Health Month in Canada. Oral Health Month serves as a reminder of the importance of good oral hygiene. This includes but is not limited to brushing at least twice daily, flossing and regular visits to the dentist not only keep your mouth healthy but also contribute to better health overall.

We often ignore many of the symptoms of poor oral health and potential problems. Bleeding or tender gums, bad breath, sores and so much more take a back seat whereas an irritation or pain elsewhere in the body would mean a trip to the doctor.

Poor oral health can affect a person’s quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person’s quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being. Not to mention correcting a serious oral health issue can be expensive.

The reality is that oral health problems could be a sign of something serious such as oral cancer. Every year approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed very late. With early detection, the survival rate of oral cancer can be greatly improved. This means going to your dentist for regular dental exams. Your dentist has the training and experience to detect oral cancer early.

In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, here are 4 great ways to keep your teeth healthy from the Canadian Dental Association:

  1. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily between dental office visits. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and is approved by the Canadian Dental Association.
  2. Make healthy food choices, and try to limit sugary and highly acidic foods, which can promote tooth decay and acid erosion.
  3. Check your own mouth for signs of gum disease, tooth decay or oral cancer. Symptoms of gum disease include sore, sensitive and red gums that may bleed during brushing. Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet food or drink or pressure could suggest the presence of tooth decay. Symptoms of oral cancer include: sores in the mouth that persist for more than 7 to 10 days, unexplained bleeding, patchy white or red areas on the tongue or in the mouth-tingling or numbness or small lumps or thickening on the sides or bottom of the tongue or in other areas of the mouth. If you feel that you have any of these symptoms present in your mouth, contact your Victoria dentist, as he/she is specially trained to recognize gum disease, tooth decay and oral cancer and can provide early treatment.
  4. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. The use of these products causes gum damage, tooth staining, tooth loss, persistent bad breath and can lead to oral cancer.

Only your dentist has the training, skills, and expertise to properly address all your oral health care needs. Book an appointment today to take care of your own oral health!

Often when we think of a trip to the dentist, we think about a check-up, fillings, and even braces. But what you may not know is that your dentist can perform a number of other services. Some of which, may drastically improve your quality of life in one way or another. These range from oral health related to cosmetic in nature. Here are 5 little-known services that dentists provide and may just change your life.

TMJ Jaw Therapy

You might be someone that experiences a frequent click in your jaw or even difficulty opening your mouth. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). However, it is often referred to as TMJ issues, after the temporomandibular joint. Luckily, these uncomfortable symptoms aren’t ones you have to live with.

Sleep Disordered Breathing

For many, snoring is not considered a major medical problem but it can affect you and those around you. Believe it or not, there are solutions that can put an end to the nightly concert. A trained dentist can work with you to determine the cause of your sleep disordered breathing and help to fix it.

Botox

Dentists are experts in the muscles and bones found in the face. Their extensive training and experience equips them with the ability to achieve more precise and natural looking results than other Botox providers. Therapeutic dental botox offers relief for:

    • headache pain resulting from muscle tension in the head, face, and neck
    • headaches resulting from bite issues such as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Syndrome
    • persistent clenching and grinding of the teeth
    • “gummy” smiles due to over-retracted upper lips
    • upside-down smiles (as it takes more muscles to frown compared to smiling)
    • lip lines and puckered chins

Oral Cancer Screenings

As with all forms of cancer, it is better if it is caught sooner rather than later. An oral cancer screening is more than just looking in your mouth. Your dental practitioner will use advanced procedures to discover a wide variety of oral abnormalities which can indicate oral precancer and cancer.

Grinding/Clenching Teeth Solutions

The technical term for teeth grinding/clenching is bruxism. If not treated, bruxism can lead to worn/broken/missing teeth. Additionally, this issue can lead to problems with your jaw. During a regular check-up, your dentist can determine if you are grinding your teeth, the mechanism behind it and put a solution into action.

Through additional education and special training, the dentists at Whistler Dental have perfected skills in diagnosing, treating, and performing additional services that can change the way you live your life and greet the world.

You should be seeing your dentist every six months and at the very least, every year. For many, scheduling an appointment might not be seen as a priority, but in reality, it is an important date to keep. Anxiety and financial concerns are just a few of the reasons oral health takes a back seat but in the long run, the cost of not seeing your dentist might be far greater. If delaying or even neglecting to have a dental check-up at all is something you are familiar with, consider the below article food for thought. Here is why check-ups are essential!

Plaque, Tartar, And Cavities

As much as we all try, plaque buildup cannot entirely be prevented. There will always be areas of your teeth that aren’t reached with daily brushing and flossing. Consequently, the plaque hardens as it sits on the tooth and turns to tarter which is much harder to remove without the assistance of a professional. If the tartar is left, it can erode the tooth and turn into a cavity. Regular visits to the dentist are crucial in preventing tartar build-up and cavities.

Oral Cancer Screening

Your dentist doesn’t just look at your teeth, they look all around at the health of your mouth. In the process, they are observing for signs of oral cancer, an extremely serious disease that can be hard to treat if it is not caught early. With check-ups every six months, catching oral cancer in its early stages is dramatically higher.

Gum Disease

Plaque and tartar build-up not only lead to cavities, it can also be damaging to your gums. This is because tarter irritates the gums and causes them to pull away from the teeth. Another word for this is gingivitis, something you may have heard of before. Swelling, bleeding, or soreness are all symptoms of gum disease and should not be taken lightly. Your dentist can help you treat gum disease and stop it from escalating to the point of requiring surgery.

Prevention

Bruxism, jaw-issues, cavities and so much more can be prevented with regular dental check-ups.

Cosmetic Concerns

During a regular appointment is a good time to discuss any cosmetic concerns you might have. Determining if you are a possible candidate for teeth whitening, veneers, or Invisalign can be done right there. Moving forward, additional appointments can be booked and cost estimates can be provided.

Regular dental check-ups can prevent problems from escalating and ensure that your mouth is in tip-top shape. Next time you consider putting off your 6-month or yearly check-up, think again.

From Olympic athletes to kids just starting out on the slopes, mouth-guards are imperative to maintaining optimal dental health and protecting those pearly whites. Mouth-guards are proven to protect teeth from damage due to injuries, falls and aggressive performance, and have also been shown to limit and reduce the impact of concussions. Elite winter athletes are required to wear mouth-guards when competing and more frequently amateur and new athletes are wearing them as a precautionary measure. Although Whistler Blackcomb does not have a rule making mouth-guards compulsory they are highly recommended by the mountain.

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SO YOU NEED A ROOT CANAL- WHAT THIS MEANS AND HOW TO PREPARE?

You’ve received the news that you need a root canal, and now you have a flurry of questions about what this means. you may wonder why you require this procedure, what it will be like, and how you will recover. questions about root canals are very common. we hope to address many of the common concerns about root canals and hopefully relieve some of the fear and anxiety you may have around the procedure. here are some common questions we get from patients about to undergo a root canal.

WHAT IS A ROOT CANAL?

The goal of a root canal is to save an unhealthy tooth so it continues to functional in a healthy and optimal manner. A root canal is the process of removing the infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth which is located in the tooth’s root. A root canal treatment is also known as an endodontic treatment and helps restore a tooth to its healthiest state. More than 15 million root canals are performed in the USA annually, and using modern dental technology, they are successful 95 percent of the time.

WHY DO I NEED ONE?

You may have noticed that your teeth are sensitive to hot and/ or cold, that they are tender to touch, that they are painful or throbbing, or that there is swelling on the gum line or face. These are symptoms of deep decay of the tooth, and signs that you may need a root canal to restore your tooth to optimal health. If left untreated these symptoms will get worse and in some cases, will surpass the need of a root canal, with extraction the only other option.

WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE OF A ROOT CANAL LIKE?

A root canal is typically done over two appointments. It involves removing the pulp from your root canal through a small opening on the top of your tooth. After the pulp has been removed the canals are cleansed and sealed to prevent bacteria from reaching the bone. Your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to freeze the area that surrounds the tooth, so pain will be minimal. Once the pulp extraction has been completed, often a temporary or permanent filling is applied over the opening.

HOW DO I PREPARE/ RECOVER?

Preparing for your root canal will ensure notifying your dentist of any medications you are taking or if you have any medical conditions which leave you prone to infection. It is important to familiarize yourself with your dental insurance and any coverage that may be applicable, and plan for any financial costs that may be incurred. You may also want to speak to your dentist about anesthetic options and what you are likely to experience after being anesthetized.

After your root canal you will likely experience some tenderness to the area surrounding the tooth for a few days, and possible some mild soreness around the jaw. If administered an anesthetic, you will want someone to drive you home from your appointment. Typically regular activities can resume the following day and you will likely be completely back to normal and pain-free in the couple days following your procedure.

If you have further questions about having a root canal, make sure to consult your dentist they will be able to talk you through the procedure and address any of your concerns.

Here at Whistler Dental, we are happy to assist you with any dental questions that you have, simply send us an email, and we will be happy to help.

CORNUCOPIA GUIDE TO PROTECTING YOUR TEETH WHILE DINING AND DRINKING

Whistler’s foodie event of the year is almost here! Cornucopia, which is taking place all over Whistler, begins on November 9th and runs for 10 days. Yes, that’s 10 days of drinking, dining and indulging which can be disastrous for the waist line and destructive for your teeth too (we’re not saying don’t do it though). There are tried and true ways of protecting your teeth from copious wine consumption, teeth staining foods and onslaughts of sugar. Here is our guide to protecting your teeth while enjoying the festivities of Cornucopia this year.

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THE TOP 5 DENTAL MYTHS BUSTED!

Like any topic, there is a lot of information out there (especially on the internet) and sometimes it’s hard to decipher if the information is true or not. Here we debunk some of the most infamous dental myths by dropping some truth bombs on these hotly debated dental topics. Here at Whistler Dental, we care about the oral health of our Whistler community so want to make sure that you have your facts straight when it comes to taking care of your teeth!

DENTAL MYTH # 1- ADULTS ARE TOO OLD TO HAVE BRACES

Not anymore! Although metal braces are not aesthetically appealing to most adults there are now modern solutions to fix crooked teeth and create stunning smiles (for people of all ages!). You are never too old to wear a smile you are confident about. Here at Whistler Dental, we use a fantastic braces alternative called Invisalign which slowly moves teeth into shape using clear and undetectable aligners. Adults can now achieve their ideal smile without having to sport a set of bulky metal braces.

DENTAL MYTH #2- DENTAL X-RAYS ARE DANGEROUS

Although we wouldn’t recommend having an x-ray just for the fun of it, there is a lot of over blown hype about the dangers of dental x-rays. The average person is exposed to 3,100µSv of radiation per year and the average full mouth dental x-ray contains a mere 34.9 to 170.7µSv; in fact, a dental x-ray contains about the same radiation as eating 50 bananas! The importance of having dental x-rays to identify and examine potential problems far outweighs the negligible radiation from x-rays.

DENTAL MYTH #3- SUGAR IS THE MAIN CULPRIT BEHIND CAVITIES

There is no denying that consuming sugar leads to dental decay and cavities in most people but there are often other more significant contributors that fly under the radar. The direct cause of tooth decay is more a genetic and environmental combination which causes a greater propensity towards cavities. Genetic and environmental factors affect tooth enamel, oral bacteria populations, and saliva composition. Sugar can cause the increase of bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities, but genetics and the environment are more likely to determine if this bacteria will cause cavities or not.

DENTAL MYTH #4- VANITY IS THE ONLY REASON FOR COSMETIC DENTISTRY

We regularly perform cosmetic dentistry at Whistler Dental and let us tell you, vanity is hardly the motivator for these treatments. Cosmetic dentistry is often an investment for overall health and wellbeing improvements and many treatments are recommended to enhance better overall oral health. Aligning a bite and replacing missing teeth with implants to maintain bone structure are examples of orthodontic and cosmetic procedures that provide a cosmetic solution to a problem and at the same time increase overall health and wellbeing.

DENTAL MYTH #5- YOU DON’T NEED TO BRUSH BABY TEETH

Just because baby teeth have a shorter lifespan than adult teeth doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be brushed! Not only does starting to brush a child’s teeth when young (from the occurrence of their first tooth) instill good habits, but it’s absolutely imperative to avoid painful dental implications, cavities, and gum problems in pre-school aged and young children. Children usually lose their last few teeth at the age of twelve. Brushing baby teeth is absolutely important and should never be deferred until children have their adult set.

Have any other questions about dental care, or additional dental myths you’d like addressed? Make sure to contact us at Whistler Dental, we’d be happy to help!

5 THINGS TO DO IN WHISTLER THIS FALL

Fall is a spectacular time of year. As the last signs of summer simmer away, and hints of winter begin to creep in, a surge of excitement begins to mount in Whistler. Fall used to be considered a season for the locals, and although it is certainly a quieter time of the year for tourists, events such as Cornucopia and the Turkey Sale lure in our regional visitors with cheaper hotel rates to entice weekend escapes. Our seasonal workforce begins to arrive from around the world and the first few signs of snow puts everyone into a frenzy. Even though the bike park is closing and the ski season is yet to begin, there is still plenty to do in Whistler during autumn, here are 5 things to do in Whistler this Fall.

WATCH THE SEASONS CHANGE

Fall is a beautiful time to get outside and observe nature. Whether taking in the sights on the Valley floor or seeking a higher vantage point in the alpine, the changing colours of the leaves, descending snow line and the crisp fresh air is something that must be taken in and enjoyed. We are so blessed by the beauty of mother nature here in Whistler, and Fall is so vibrantly present in this special part of the world.

GET YOUR GEAR (AND YOURSELF) READY

Not long until opening day of Whistler Blackcomb in late November. From now until then expect great deals on gear, including at the legendary Turkey Sale which takes place over Canada’s Thanksgiving Weekend. If you’re already covered in the gear department now is the time to get your body in shape for the upcoming winter season, wax those skis and pack up the summer stuff to get room for the winter equipment.

DINE AND INDULGE

Fall in Whistler is famous for epic dining specials. Top notch restaurants like Araxi, The Bearfoot Bistro and Rimrock offer blow out menu specials such as 5-course tasting menus for under $50! Not only can you take advantage of these dining specials for most of the Fall season, Cornucopia, Whistler’s most notable food and wine festival takes place from November 9 to 19. Savour mouth-watering cuisine at events such as Crush Grand Tasting, Poured, and long table lunches.

TAKE IN THE ARTS

Fall is the season for the Arts with numerous art events taking place at various venues around Whistler. Whether you fancy visual arts, music, theater (or everything in between) then make sure to check of the schedule of what’s on and work it into your calendar.

END OF THE YEAR DENTAL MAINTENANCE

Things tend to slow down a bit in Fall and after a busy summer, it’s a great time to check in to your dental routine and make sure you’re up to date with check-ups. Have a dental plan? There may only be a few more months left for you to use your annual benefits so make sure to schedule any necessary or cosmetic dental work now before your benefits lapse for the year.

Here at Whistler Dental we absolutely love this season! Fireplaces, hot beverages and the changing colours of nature. Wishing everyone a lovely autumn, and we hope to see you here at Whistler Dental this season.

Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is a very common condition experienced by one in every three people. The severity of bruxism varies, but on the more extreme end of the scale it can result in aching jaw, headaches, tooth pain, loosening of teeth from the gums, losing and fracturing teeth, receding gums and developing jaw joint disordered like TMJ. Teeth grinding wears away enamel and can be a cause for serious dental treatments down the road. Preventing bruxism is important to avoid painful symptoms and costly dental treatments. Here are five tips to stop grinding your teeth and maintaining healthy pearly whites.

1. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY

Many people clench or grind their teeth due to stress. If you suspect this could be the cause of your grinding, taking time to relax before bed could help ease teeth grinding and enable a better night’s rest all together. Spend ten minutes before bed doing a meditation or some breathing exercises, try and shut off your thoughts, or allow yourself to zone out with a bit of television before bed. Transitioning from stressful activities like work right into sleep can increase stress levels when heading into slumber. Take the time to de-stress before bed, and save your teeth from wear and tear caused by grinding.

2. BE MINDFUL OF CLENCHING

Make a conscious effort to check in throughout the day about clenching of the teeth and jaw. You may be surprised when you tune into this to find that you are subtly clenching throughout the day or that you are resting your teeth together. There should always be slight gap between the top and bottom teeth, being aware of this and consciously tuning into the position of your jaw and teeth can reduce the impact of bruxism.

3. USE A MOUTHGAURD

Many people continue to grind their teeth even after conscious awareness and action has been taken to stop. In these cases, a mouthgaurd is highly recommend to prevent further damage to the tooth enamel and structure of the tooth. Here at Whistler Dental we fit patients with comfortable and protective mouthgaurd custom to the bite, to protect their teeth while they sleep. These mouthgaurds work wonders in maintaining the health of the tooth, preventing more serious dental problems down the road, and the related expenses incurred.

4. OPT FOR SOFTER FOODS

In an attempt to break the habit of teeth grinding, a diet with softer foods will often give your jaw muscles a break from repeated clenching and grinding. The jaw muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the entire body with researchers saying it has 600 pounds of force per square inch! This relaxing of the jaw by eating softer foods can be a good practice to re-set, and will give your jaw some temporary relief from being overworked.

5. DRINK MORE WATER

Drinking more water is the easiest cure for many health ailments, and has been proven to help relieve Bruxism. By staying hydrated before you go to bed, you are more likely to have a sound sleep, and reduce the occurrences of teeth grinding. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol and substituting with water instead is a good practice for those wishing to maintain oral health at night.

If you are aware that you grind your teeth, or suspect that you may due to waking up with headaches or a sore jaw, book in with your family dentist for an assessment. Here at Whistler Dental we will examine the surface of the tooth, and assess any symptoms to make an assessment of grinding. We will then recommend strategies to reduce grinding, including the tips listed above. For more information about teeth grinding, contact us today.