In today’s world, there is a plethora of information on just about any question you could ever imagine literally at our fingertips. When it comes to searching for advice and tips about our health, including our dental health, many of us are guilty of turning to Dr. Google to diagnose an ache or pain. Although this age of information is a technological marvel, it's so important to always question and examine the source of our information before we rely on it. Below our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., examines some of the common myths that he is often asked about at his Calgary dentist office.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY TOOTH PAIN, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEE A CALGARY DENTIST.
Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. When it comes to your teeth, often you only feel pain or discomfort when the problem reaches the stage when treatment by your Calgary dentist is necessary. Although your teeth may look healthy and feel fine, only your Calgary dentist and dental hygienist can see what lurks beneath what your eye can see. Your Calgary dentist and hygienist have special training and equipment, including digital x-rays and intra-oral cameras, which can detect small dental issues before you are even aware they are there.
Perhaps even more important than detecting smaller issues before they become larger ones is preventing any issues at all. Regular dental check-ups by your Calgary dentist and teeth cleanings with your hygienist, together with a consistent at-home oral health care routine (including brushing your teeth twice per day for at least two minutes), flossing daily and eating a healthy diet can help to prevent many dental issues from occurring or, at the very least, help to mitigate them. Regular visits with your Calgary dentist can also help to prevent untimely dental emergencies that often necessitate more complicated and extensive dental treatment.
YOU SHOULD BRUSH YOUR TEETH IMMEDIATELY AFTER EATING.
You’ve probably heard many times that you should always brush your teeth after eating. Although there is no doubt that our Calgary dentist recommends that you brush your teeth after eating, he also recommends that you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth as the food you have eaten, particularly any acidic food, can cause your enamel to soften, making it more susceptible to damage from brushing. Waiting for 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating will allow sufficient time for your enamel to harden so that it is safe to brush your teeth. Of course, our Calgary dentist also recommends that, in addition to brushing your teeth, you also floss your teeth at least once per day.
ROOT CANALS ARE NOT SAFE.
If you follow social media, you may have noticed that there have been some recent posts and discussions on various platforms as to whether or not root canals (also known as endodontic therapy) by your Calgary dentist or dental specialist is safe.
Root canal treatment may be recommended by your Calgary dentist or specialist when there is such extensive decay or damage to your tooth that there is no other viable treatment to save your tooth. In these circumstances, generally the only other available option is an extraction of the tooth by your Calgary dentist. Because a root canal is essentially the only dental treatment available to save an otherwise unsaveable tooth, it’s important that our Calgary dentist gets to the root of this myth.
According to our Calgary dentist, although there are risks and benefits to any type of medical or dental procedure, in appropriate cases, root canal therapy is a safe and effective procedure to help save and restore your tooth. In fact, the Canadian Dental Association and the Canadian Academy of Endodontics have issued a joint statement wherein it is confirmed that root canal therapy is safe. This statement also cautions patients against relying upon misinformation found in various media platforms. For more information about the safety of root canal therapy, our Calgary dentist encourages you to read the joint statement of the Canadian Dental Association and the Canadian Academy of Endodontics, which can be found at http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/talk/procedures/root_canal/default.asp.
TEETH WHITENING CAN CAUSE PERMANENT TEETH SENSITIVITY.
For some patients, teeth whitening can result in their teeth becoming sensitive to hot, cold or pressure sensations. This is due to the mechanism by which teeth whitening systems work. According to our Calgary dentist, the bleaching compound in teeth whitening products actually breaks down the minerals in your enamel, causing them to be temporarily porous and exposing the dentinal tubules, which are channels that run from the surface of your teeth to its inner core. This porosity allows the bleaching solution to penetrate the enamel and bleach tooth stains deeper than the surface of your enamel. When these tubules are exposed, this can lead to sensitivity in some patients.
Fortunately, teeth sensitivity following a whitening treatment is only temporary. Once the enamel in your teeth has re-mineralized, usually within a few days of treatment, the tooth sensitivity should disappear.
If you find that your tooth sensitivity does not disappear after a few days following your teeth whitening by your Calgary dentist, it is likely that your tooth sensitivity is being caused by another dental issue, such as a cavity or a cracked tooth. If this sensitivity does not go away, you should make an appointment with your Calgary dentist to get to the root of your tooth sensitivity as soon as possible.
THE HARDER YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH, THE CLEANER THEY WILL BE.
This myth is certainly worth dispelling because brushing your teeth too aggressively or with an abrasive toothpaste can actually harm your teeth by wearing away your enamel and even damaging your gums. When brushing your teeth, our Calgary dentist recommends that you always use a soft bristled toothbrush. When using your soft bristled toothbrush, make sure to hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to the base of your tooth, and brush each quadrant of your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Remember, when it comes to your teeth, a gentle but thorough toothbrushing job is the goal.
When it comes to your dental health, if you are unsure of the answer to any dental issue you may experiencing, you should always consult with your Calgary dentist who you can be assured will provide you with advice that is both reliable and appropriate. You may also refer to such reliable websites as the Canadian Dental Association, American Dental Association and Alberta Dental Association & College. Our Calgary dentist is available for early morning, late evening and week-end appointments to answer any questions you may have about your dental health. As with many health issues, the sooner your dental issues are addressed by your Calgary dentist, the better the prognosis and likelihood of less intervention being necessary. Call our Calgary dental office today at 403.283.4252. We're here to make your smile last a lifetime!
This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine. Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.
Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental. Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.