Cavities are very common in both adults and children. In fact, tooth decay is the world’s second most prevalent disease, after the common cold. We hope that none of our patients ever have to experience the pain and inconvenience of a cavity. However, if you do get a cavity in your lifetime, it’s important to know what to expect. Cavities give many warning signs before progressing to the next stage. We’ve outlined the life cycle of a cavity, so that you can spot one developing, and prevent it from causing serious damage.

#1 The early signs of decay

Tooth decay is caused when enamel is worn down by acid in the mouth. Smoking, regularly consuming acidic drinks and sugary foods, and irregular dental check-ups all increase the likeliness of dental decay. When you don’t practice good oral hygiene, the sugars on your teeth build up, and bacteria begins to feed off them and produce acid. These bacteria, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque and dull spots on the surface of the tooth.

At this stage, so long as you practice regular cleaning and good oral hygiene, it’s fairly easy to get rid of this plaque and stop these dull spots from forming into a cavity.

#2 The damage of a tooth

The plaque starts to thin as the enamel wears away. Eventually this hole will go deep enough to break the enamel surface and expose the dentin underneath. This is when the hole officially becomes a cavity. From here, the tooth will decay more rapidly, and the cavity will get larger and deeper. Cavities at this stage usually aren’t painful. This is why regular check-ups are essential, as often you won’t know if a cavity is developing.

#3 The beginning of pain

After the tooth erodes the enamel, it starts to erode the dentin. This will bring the nerve of the tooth closer to the surface, and will make your tooth extremely sensitive. As soon as you feel discomfort you should visit your dentist. As long as the decay hasn’t gotten past all of the dentin, you can still repair the tooth with a filling.

#4 The start of infection

If food and bacteria get caught in a cavity, it can be difficult to get them out. If these food particles stay in the tooth for too long, it can lead to infection – of both the tooth and of the surrounding bone. As you can imagine, this is incredibly painful! If this happens you should visit your dentist immediately to clear up the infection. A root canal – or even tooth extraction – might have to be performed as a last resort.

#5 The final treatment

As you can see, it’s far better to get treated for a cavity early on. While small cavities can be easily dealt with, large ones require much more extensive treatment, and end up being more painful and expensive for you. The best way to prevent cavities is by sticking to a good oral hygiene routine, and by visiting your dentist regularly. If you are experiencing any pain, or if it’s about time for a checkup, book your appointment with Whistler Dental today.

It’s that time of year again! Summer has passed in the blink of an eye, and school is just around the corner. When it comes to clothing and school supplies you may be prepared, but have you considered how you’re going to keep your child’s teeth healthy throughout the year? From dental appointments, to lunchbox tips, to dental habits at home, here’s are some easy steps you can take to make sure your kids stay smiling and their mouths stay healthy.

#1 Book your dental appointment in advance

Between barbecues, bike rides, and family vacations, it’s easy to forget about back-to-school dental appointments until at least late August. However, unsurprisingly most other parents have the same idea, so book in advance to avoid the rush!

Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school check-up is especially essential. Up to a third of children miss school days due to oral problems like cavities every year. By visiting the dentist at least twice a year, early signs of cavities can be detected, and necessary treatment can be given.

#2 Encourage dental habits at home

While you’re easing your kids back into the early morning routine, don’t forget to encourage them to continue practicing a solid dental routine at home. Depending on your child’s age, they may need a bit of supervision to make sure they are brushing correctly twice a day and flossing once a day.

Try setting a specific time to brush teeth every day. With little time to spare on most busy school mornings, many kids eat breakfast on the way to school. If this is the case, make sure they remember to brush before they head down for breakfast.

#3 Replace your child’s toothbrush

You should replace a toothbrush every three months, and even sooner if the bristles are frayed. If you find it hard to remember when you should be replacing them, have a few extra toothbrushes stored just in case, and bring a new one out every time your child gets a new report card. Next time you’re shopping for groceries or back-to-school supplies, head to the dental care aisle and let your child pick out their own brush and toothpaste. Not only will this keep them occupied in the grocery store, but it will also help to make teeth brushing fun and exciting!

#4 Pack healthy lunchboxes

It’s tempting to fill lunchboxes with easy, unhealthy snacks like chocolate bars and chips. However, sticky, sugary food clings to teeth and encourages plaque to grow and cavities to develop. An easy way to maintain a healthy smile is by swapping sugary snacks for healthy alternatives – like fruits, nuts, grains, cheese, and raw veg. If your child does want to indulge in the occasional chocolate bar (and don’t we all?), try and make sure they eat it just after a meal, as the previous food will help protect teeth against sugar.

#5 Get your child fitted for a mouth guard

Back to school means the return of gym class and organized sports. If your child participates in physical activity, they’ll need a fitted mouth guard to prevent injuries. While over the counter mouth guards work, they often do not fit well and can be uncomfortable. We fit custom mouth guards that fit teeth properly and protect the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue from trauma.

Here at Whistler Dental, we wish you all the best for the new school year! For a custom mouthguard fitting, or for a back-to-school check-up, please book an appointment.

Not only does the glorious Whistler weather invite avid mountain-bikers, a thriving wildlife, and long days by the lake, but it also welcomes the start of wedding season. In the lead up to your big day, somewhere on your extensive to-do list is probably making sure you’re smile is looking its absolute best. It goes without saying that you don’t want to cause chemical damage, but with such a sheer volume of smile design options, it can be difficult to pick the best one.

To make your pre-wedding planning a little easier, we’ve outlined the effectiveness, safeness and convenience of some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are the perfect last minute treatment to give you a gleaming smile. A custom-made ceramic shell is placed on the front of each individual tooth, to hide stains, cracks, and misaligned teeth. Veneers are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth, making them perfect for creating a natural smile on your wedding day. The entire process only takes a couple of weeks, so you can easily fit each dentist appointment into your busy schedule.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is an easy way to give you a confident, dazzling smile in all your wedding photos. Each treatment is dependent on the individual, but professional whitening will deliver much more noticeable effects than over the counter methods.

If you would prefer to do it at home in the evenings, choose take-home whitening, which uses a whitening solution in a custom-fitted tray to put over your teeth. However, in-office treatments can be completed in a few sessions, and show immediate, dazzling results after just one visit.

Store Bought Whitening Strips

While the effects of store bought treatments won’t be long lasting, they can help with mild stains and discolouration. In most cases you’ll apply a strip coated with a gel containing hydrogen peroxide to your teeth.

The effectiveness of these treatments varies from box to box, and also varies greatly in price. Some whitening strips can also irritate your gums and lead to increased tooth sensitivity, so always check with your dentist before use.

While you’ve probably heard this before, the best inexpensive way to achieve a long-term sparkling smile is to avoid certain foods and fizzy drinks, and never underestimate the power of a solid brushing and flossing routine.

Laser Gum Contouring

On your wedding day, you want to feel completely confident and at ease in front of all your guests- and the photographer. If you have a “gummy” smile, laser gum contouring can correct excessive or uneven displays of gum tissue. This little-discussed treatment uses lasers to effectively change the look and shape of your gums.

You’ll be able to correct an uneven gum line, or you can reveal more of each tooth for a bigger, brighter smile.  Laser gum contouring can be done in only one appointment, and recovery time is usually a few weeks, which makes this an ideal procedure for busy brides.

Invisalign

Invisalign is a great long-term treatment that gives you a gleaming smile. While it’s not suitable as a quick solution in the weeks before your wedding, if you have enough time before the big day Invisalign delivers fantastic results when straightening teeth, and fixing gaps and overcrowding.

This orthodontic treatment uses custom-made, removal aligners instead of traditional braces, meaning they’re practically invisible so no one will notice you have them in. Plus, you can remove them for meals and special events, so they won’t interfere with your cake tasting, and all your other pre-wedding celebrations!

Here at Whistler Dental, we understand how important it is to look and feel amazing on your special day. Our teeth whitening, laser gum contouring, veneers and Invisalign treatments will help create your perfect smile. If you would like to find out more about our cosmetic dentistry procedures don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today. You can also read about our other cosmetic dental services, including bridges and crowns, here. 

The sun is well and truly out in Whistler, and with it comes all the activities that we love. However, while we’re jumping on our bikes and chilling by the lake, it’s important not to take a vacation from cleaning our teeth. Although it’s true that sensible exposure to the sun can actually improve our oral health, it can be very easy to accidentally overdo it. Here are a few little steps you can take to protect your mouth this summer and keep your teeth in perfect condition.

Prevent dental injuries with a mouth guard

There’s a reason almost all professional athletes use mouth guards. If you’re biking, or even just enjoying some ball games at the lake, it’s important to protect your teeth. We don’t need to tell you that cracking a tooth can be incredibly painful, for both you and your bank balance. Buy an over the counter mouth guard if you must, or head to your dentist for a high quality, custom-fit mouth guard that will give your teeth great protection for all your competitive sporting.

Wear sun protection on your lips

We all know to put on sunscreen and avoid the dreaded pain of burning. The same should go for our lips! The delicate skin on your lips is very susceptible to damage caused by UV rays, and over time this can lead to a variety of issues including skin cancer. If you plan on spending time out in the sun, make sure to bring a lip balm with you with at least SPF 15, and to keep applying it regularly.

Use your hands not your teeth (to open things)

Your teeth are for chewing food and that is about it. As great as they are, they are not meant to be used as scissors or pliers. When you’re opening drinks at a barbecue, or taking off the tags of your fresh new summer clothes, it can be tempting to substitute your teeth for tools as it seems the easiest and quickest option. This can do serious damage to your teeth, so make sure you remember a bottle opener for your next barbecue.

Ice cream and pop in moderation

Nothing quite tops an ice cream in the sun, and in Whistler this is especially true as we are spoilt for choice by all the ice cream parlours. It can be easy to overindulge when relaxing in summer, but you still need to be responsible for keeping your teeth healthy, and having sweet treats in moderation. Sugar enables harmful bacteria to thrive in your mouth, so brush your teeth after snacks, and limit your consumption to one or two sittings, as opposed to eating sugar constantly throughout the day.

Don’t forget your oral hygiene

During summer it’s typical for your routine to fall to the wayside. That’s ok! Summer is all about relaxing and lounging around. However, one routine you should stick to is your oral hygiene routine. If you’re up late, it can be tempting to fall straight into bed, and promise yourself you’ll brush your teeth first thing in the morning. No matter what time of year, brushing your teeth 2-3 times per day and flossing daily are essential for your overall health and well-being.

Here at Whistler Dental we hope you have a great summer and enjoy exploring all that Whistler has to offer. We can’t stress enough the importance of looking after your teeth all year round, so if you need a check up or are just looking for advice, get in contact.

Biking season is upon us once again, and we’ve never been so excited. If you’ve caught the biking bug, you’ll know the exhilaration of flying over spectacular mountaintop scenery, or gently riding through Whistler’s alpine forest. The truth is, no matter your ability, age, shape or size, everyone can enjoy biking, and the reasons to love it go far beyond practicality. Being a Whistler dental office, we love and encourage all outdoor activities – so long as you consider your teeth! Dental protection appliances such as our custom mouth guards are a must for everyone – from elite athletes to first-timers.

Here are a few reasons why biking puts a smile on our face:

#1 Freedom

In our eyes, there’s nothing more freeing than hopping on a bike and immediately feeling the wind in our hair and the fresh mountain air in our face. Biking is a great escape from everyday stress, and there is so much to savour. Whether we’re descending towards Whistler’s stunning lakes, quietly cruising through a forest trail, or even taking a break with a cold drink, there’s a certain sense of freedom we get when sat on our bikes that nothing can compare to.

#2 Speed

We all know the anguish of being stuck in traffic that just never seems to move, and don’t even get us started on not being able to find somewhere to park. On a bike, we are free to take as many twists and turns possible to avoid traffic jams, and we get to know all the best short cuts. Biking is an efficient, speedy way to get from A to B, and it really does deliver us from door to door. It serves as the perfect medium between driving and walking, as it’s still slow enough for us to be able to take in our surroundings. Plus, we end up saving a ton of money on petrol.

#3 Fitness

Aerobics exercises like biking have an immense impact on our physical health. Biking burns a crazy amount of calories and really gets us to use all of our body, meaning we can reward ourselves afterwards guilt-free. As a non-impact sport, it’s also great for our joints, and lots of physiotherapists recommend it for people recovering from injuries. Biking is also incredibly beneficial for our mental health- according to Bike Citizens, biking is known to reduce stress, reduce depression and anxiety and give us an overall self-esteem boost!

#4 Nature

While we’re sweating and struggling on a steep mountain incline, we get to know the countryside pretty well. Riding past rivers, mountains, alpine meadows and all sorts of wildlife is the perfect way to wind down and relax. Being so close to nature truly gives us a new appreciation for the beauty of Whistler’s backcountry, as we get up close and personal with the flora and fauna. Plus, we can ride with the satisfaction that we are helping all this beautiful nature by not polluting it.

#5 Adventure

Ultimately, the sense of adventure is what keeps us coming back to biking. The feeling of setting off with no real destination in mind and no coherent vision of where we’re going is what makes biking so thrilling every time. Biking can be the perfect solitary sport, but we enjoy riding and exploring with our friends even more. All we need is two wheels and a set of pedals and we’re free to explore new parts of Whistler that we’ve never even seen before.

Here at Whistler Dental we cannot wait for summer to begin. The weather, activities, and overall good vibes of the community make us grateful to live and work in such an amazing place. We pride ourselves on providing quality dental care to visitors and members of the Whistler community. If you need routine, emergency or cosmetic dental care, get in contact with us now!

If you’re unhappy with your teeth, both veneers and bonding are great for fixing imperfections and giving you that perfect smile. Maybe you’ve been thinking about changing the appearance of your teeth for a while, or maybe you’re just curious. Either way, it’s important to make sure you have all the information available to you. We’ve prepared this handy guide outlining the processes and overall lasting effects of both veneers and bonding, so you can make a decision that’s right for you.

 

The basics of Veneers:

A veneer is a thin shell that is placed on the front of the tooth. Porcelain veneers are custom-made for each patient, and are usually made from porcelain, which means they are almost undistinguishable from natural teeth.

The dentist starts the process by removing a thin layer of enamel from your teeth and makes a mould of them, which is used to create your veneers. In between appointments you may be given temporary veneers to wear to cover the portion of tooth that was removed. At your next visit, composite resin cement is then used to individually glue the permanent porcelain veneers onto your teeth.

According to Dentistry Today, porcelain veneers are great for covering gaps between teeth, and also hide crooked, misshapen or stained teeth. Veneers are very effective in correcting overcrowding, and can really transform your smile.

 

The basics of Bonding:

Unlike a veneer that is made outside of the mouth, bonding is placed inside the mouth by a dentist, and then shaped and hardened to match the rest of your teeth. A small amount of chemical is put on the tooth to make it rough, and then the dentist layers a composite resin on your tooth and shapes it to give it a natural finish. While the process is more delicate, it is much quicker than veneers, and many teeth can be done in one visit.

Bonding is great for minor repairs, and can be shaped to look like the missing part of a tooth. It is also used to correct tooth spacing and fix cracked or chipped teeth.

 

Which one is right for you?

Ultimately, it depends on what you are comfortable having done, and the results you hope to achieve. Bonding is a great quick fix, but usually only lasts around 3-5 years. Veneers are contrastingly more permanent, and if looked after properly can last anywhere from 10-25 years. It’s also worth mentioning that the composite resin used in bonding is far more susceptible to staining and discolouration, which does not occur with veneers.

If you are considering bonding or veneers, here at Whistler Dental we have experts who would be happy to discuss with you which procedure you would be better suited to. We truly believe that designing the perfect smile can really help you to live your best life possible, so book an appointment with us today.

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!