FAQs

Q?

The dentist has recommended treatment I don’t understand, what should I do?

A.

Simply put ask questions. Sometimes we feel embarrassed to ask questions, but there is no need to feel that way. You will feel much better and be able to make a better decision if you understand the procedure that was recommended to you.

Our team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and admin are happy to help you out with any questions you may have. Nancy our treatment coordinator is happy to sit with you and review treatment using models, images and your own x-rays.

You should also be clear on all costs associated with any treatment recommended and again we are happy to sit down and go through this together in detail.

Q?

Are x-rays safe?

A.

Every day, you are exposed to very low levels of radiation. The amount of radiation from a dental x-ray is extremely small. Experts recommend that x-rays be used with caution to protect patients from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Also, advanced technology allows the members of your dental team to greatly reduce your exposure to radiation.

Q?

Do I really need to see my dentist every six months?

A.

How often you go for dental exams depends on your individual oral health needs. The goal is to catch small problems early, before they cause bigger issues. For many people this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems you have that need to be checked or treated, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth and so on.

Many factors affect your oral health including:

  • Daily flossing
  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Limiting sweets and sticky foods
  • Smoking
  • History of cavities or gum disease
  • Overall health

    It is wroth noting that you should not determine your need for dental care based on what your insurance plan covers.

  • Q?

    Why does the Dentist take x-rays?

    A.

    Want to know why we take x-rays? X-rays are necessary in order to provide proper oral health care.
    Here's why we take x-rays:

  • To look for decay between the teeth - sometimes it's not visible to the naked eye
  • To check for bone loss - an x-ray will show the degree of bone loss associated with periodontal disease
  • To look for infection at the tip of the root - if you have an infection near the bone, an x-ray will confirm this
  • To examine the area before procedures - to give the dentist a full view of the teeth and bone
  • To document restorative work - in order to have a picture of finished work to ensure quality

    How often you need to have x-rays depends on your oral health. A healthy adult who has not had cavities or other problems for a couple of years probably won't need x-rays at every appointment. If your dental situation is less stable and your dentist is monitoring your progress, you may require more frequent x-rays.

    If you are unsure why a particular x-ray is being taken, ask your dentist. Remember that dental x-rays deliver very little radiation; they are a vital tool for your dentist to ensure that small problems don't develop into bigger ones.

  • Q?

    When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

    A.

    It's important to get an early start on dental care so that your child recognizes that visiting the dentist is a regular part of their overall health care. Our office excels at dealing with children and we strive to ensure that the first visit is a fun learning experience for your child. You should bring your child to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth. It's best to visit before a problem develops to allow your child to have the most positive experience possible.

    The first visit will be a Happy Visit where we will let your child get accustomed to the chair and show them the mirror and other instruments.

    If you are a nervous dental patient, ask your spouse or another family member to take the child for the appointment. If your child senses that you rare nervous, he or she may feel nervous too. When you talk to your child about going to the dentist, explain what will happen without adding things like "it won't hurt" or "don't be scared".

    Get an early start on regular home care. Start cleaning your child's mouth with a soft damp cloth before teeth come in and continue with a soft toothbrush once he or she has a first tooth. Limit the number of sugary treats you give your child, and focus on healthy food from the start.

    Q?

    Why don’t you just accept payment from my insurance company?

    A.

    Dental plans, offered by many employers, are a means to help you pay for your dental treatment. Carriers reimburse patients based on the level of coverage decided by the patient's employer.

    It is your dentist's role to make a treatment plan based on your oral health needs. Your needs may be different from what is covered by your dental plan. It is your right to decide whether or not to proceed with any treatment. You should not decide based on what your plan covers. If you agree to have treatment, it's your responsibility to pay for it. It is the responsibility of the benefit carrier to reimburse you for the amount covered by your dental plan.

    We are happy to contact your benefit carrier, on your behalf, to find out if a treatment is covered.

    Q?

    I don’t have dental insurance and can’t afford to go to the dentist. What can I do and why does dentistry cost so much anyway?

    A.

    If you do not have a dental plan and cannot afford to pay your entire bill at once, ask us about a payment plan. If you cannot afford care, even with a payment plan, contact the nearest social services agency to see if you qualify for government-funded dental care, or contact the Hygiene clinic at Canadore College.

    Dental services may seem expensive. In Canada we don't have to pay directly when we visit a doctor or hospital, so we may not realize the high cost of providing health services. Overhead costs are high for dentists. There is staff, equipment, materials and other operating costs. We do follow the Ontario Dental Association recommended fee guide.

    The good news is that you can avoid costly dental treatment by brushing, flossing and visiting us regularly for dental exams. Regular dental exams cost money, but they are less expensive than fixing serious dental problems that stem from neglect.

    Q?

    Have recent studies proven that dental amalgam releases mercury vapour and that it should not be used.

    A.

    Scientific studies have not verified that dental amalgam is causing illness in the general population. It has been known for some time that amalgam fillings release minute amounts of mercury vapour, especially with chewing, and that this mercury can be absorbed, reach body organs, and cross the placenta. This is also true of mercury absorbed from natural sources, such as food.

    Q?

    What is gum disease?

    A.

    Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a real problem. That's why it is so important to prevent gum disease before it becomes serious.

    Gum disease begins when plaque adheres at and below the visible edge of your gums. If plaque is not removed every day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar (also called calculus). Tartar promotes a bacterial infection at the point of attachment. In these early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis.

    Your gums may be a bit red, but you may not notice anything. As gingivitis gets more serious, tiny pockets of infection form. Your gums may be puffy and may bleed a little when you brush, but it is not painful. Over time, the infection destroys the gum tissue. Eventually, you may be at risk of losing one or more teeth.

    Prevention is the most important factor in the fight against gum disease. It is essential to keep your teeth and gums clean. Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and floss at least once every 24 hours.

    Using proper brushing and flossing techniques is equally important. Be sure to see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and dental exams, so that he or she can detect any early signs of gum disease, and provide appropriate treatment.

    If you have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That's why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove built-up tartar, brushing twice a day to remove plaque and flossing once a day to remove plaque.