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Spruce Ridge Dental Blog

Dental Exam And Cleaning

September 20, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:26 pm

Dental Exam

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular check-up exams, our dentists will include the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.


Professional Dental Cleaning


Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists.  Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface.  Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.  This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Gum Disease In Children

September 18, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 1:31 am
Chronic gingivitis. aggressive periodontitis and generalized aggressive periodontitis are types of gum disease in children.

Types of periodontal diseases in children

Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.

Signs of periodontal disease

Four basic signs will alert you to periodontal disease in your child:

Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing or any other time
Swollen and bright red gums
Gum Disease
Gums that have receded away from the teeth, sometimes exposing the roots
Bad breath
Constant bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing

Importance of good dental hygiene in adolescence

Hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease. During puberty, an increased level of hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.

As a teen progresses through puberty, the tendency for the gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is very important to follow a good at-home dental hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

Advice for parents

Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment of periodontal diseases. Therefore, it is important that children receive a comprehensive periodontal examination as part of their routine dental visits. Be aware that if your child has an advanced form of periodontal disease, this may be an early sign of systemic disease. A general medical evaluation should be considered for children who exhibit severe periodontitis, especially if it appears resistant to therapy.

The most important preventive step against periodontal disease is to establish good oral health habits with your child. There are basic preventive steps to help your child maintain good oral health:

  • Establish good dental hygiene habits early. When your child is 12 months old, you can begin using toothpaste when brushing his or her teeth.   When the gaps between your child’s teeth close, it’s important to start flossing.
  • Serve as a good role model by practicing good dental hygiene habits yourself.
  • Schedule regular dental visits for family checkups, periodontal evaluations and cleanings.
  • Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease, including bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.

Gum Disease Symptoms

September 14, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:52 am

Gum disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.

However, warning signs of gum disease include the following:

Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures


Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused when bacteria in plaque (a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth) builds up between the gums and teeth. When the bacteria begin to grow, the gums surrounding the tooth can become inflamed.

Gum disease

If left untreated, this inflammation can cause the gums and supporting bone structure to deteriorate. This can lead to gum recession or even tooth loss. In addition, research has shown that gum disease may be associated with other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Luckily, periodontal disease can be preventable. Adding these habits to your daily routine can help.

Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there.

Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.

Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.

Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.

Bad breath – causes and treatment

September 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 8:17 pm

We’ve probably all encountered someone with beastly breath. Talking to someone with bad breath can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, and then you face the awkward issue: to tell or not to tell.

Bad breath, known in the oral health world as halitosis, affects many of us. Bad breath that’s directly related to certain foods can be easy to solve, but persistent bad breath may be a symptom of a bigger issue.

bad breath

What Causes Bad Breath
Bad breath can occur from a variety of causes. You could experience bad breath from eating certain foods, smoking, sinusitis, decreased saliva, alcoholism, periodontal disease, cavities, impacted or abscessed teeth, certain medicines, medical disorders or relaxed oral hygiene.

Food particles collect in the mouth, and without routine brushing and flossing those particles will remain in your mouth and rot. The lingering food causes an unpleasant smell. The food you eat is also absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the lungs. Foods such as onion and garlic can cause unpleasant breath to be expelled, as these foods contain strong-smelling oils.

Patients who wear dentures may experience bad breath that can usually be eliminated by a thorough denture cleaning.

Certain medical conditions can cause specific odors in your mouth, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health. Breath that smells similar to urine, ammonia or fish could be a symptom of kidney failure. Patients with diabetes may notice a fruity smell on their breath. Bowel obstruction may cause fecal-smelling breath, and patients may also experience persistent vomiting. Pay attention to your breath’s odor, as it could be telling to an undiscovered problem. Esophageal cancer, bronchiectasis, gastric carcinoma, pharyngitis and lung abscesses also affect breath.

How to Stop Bad Breath
Bad breath cannot be treated with mouthwash, mints or gum. These tools may be helpful in masking or temporarily stopping an odor, but they won’t have lasting effects. Regular or even obsessive oral hygiene may not fix bad breath in every case. It’s important to determine the cause of your bad breath before attempting treatment.

Bad breath can occur from a variety of causes. You could experience bad breath from eating certain foods, smoking, sinusitis, decreased saliva, alcoholism, periodontal disease, cavities, impacted or abscessed teeth, certain medicines, medical disorders or relaxed oral hygiene.

Bad breath caused by medical conditions is just a side effect of a larger problem. Patients should see a doctor to address their medical condition, and the unpleasant odor should be eliminated through treatment.

The Canadian Dental Association gives denture care guidelines that will keep your dentures clean and odor-free. Soak your dentures every night in specific denture cleanser or with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Treat your dental implants like real teeth as well, and clean carefully around them during flossing and brushing.

Visit the Dentist
The CDA advises patients to see a dentist if bad breath cannot be curbed by daily brushing and flossing. Our dentists will be able to determine whether your bad breath is caused by dry mouth or periodontal disease. We will teach you proper oral hygiene, including flossing daily between each tooth, brushing teeth properly, and brushing the tongue. Our tongues can also collect bacteria and retain odor. Remember to add tongue cleaning to your daily routine.

You don’t need to hide behind Altoids and Tic Tacs. Deal with your halitosis now and get back to your normal life.

Back To School Healthy Check-ups & Cleanings

September 11, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 3:22 pm

Your child may have the latest clothes, school supplies and sports equipment for the new school year, but do they have a healthy mouth and the tools needed to maintain it?


According to the Canadian Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated dental decay. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning as well as millions of hours of missed school.

Call us today to book your child’s cleaning and check up to ensure that they get a healthy and good start to the school year. 

Amalgam Fillings

September 9, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:35 pm

Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.


Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metallic elements. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.

Disadvantages of these amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate these filling than for other types of fillings.

Dental Crowns and Bridges

September 7, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 9:04 pm

Crowns (cap) are restorations that is placed on teeth that have lost a lot of their structure. There are various types of crowns, ranging from full porcelain to full metal crowns. Your dentist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each kind for you.


Crowns may also be used to securely attach a bridge if the structure of the surrounding teeth is inadequate. A bridge is a dental appliance that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are designed to be cosmetically appealing and to restore proper occlusion. Like crowns, bridges are fully customizable and made of various materials, including porcelain and metals. Although not as permanent as a cap, bridges are bonded to the surrounding teeth and only removable by your dentist.

Both a crown or bridge requires two appointments.  The first appointment, you are given freezing so that you are completely comfortable.  Than the teeth are prepared and an impression is taken and sent to a lab.  You will leave the appointment with either a temporary crown or a bridge.  Care instructions will be given to you and sometimes medications are prescribed.  Within a few weeks, the lab will return the fabricated crown or bridge.  You are numbed and the temporary  is removed.  The real crown or bridge or tried onto your teeth to ensure it fits well and the colour matches with the rest of your dentition.  Once you are happy with the final result, the restoration is bonded onto your teeth.  You can now eat, drink, floss and brush your crown or bridge just like your other teeth.

Both crowns and bridges are created to match the color, height, texture, and overall appearance of your teeth. Most crowns and bridges will last for life, eliminating the need to replace them unless they fall out or become loose. You may prolong the durability of your crowns and bridges by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Dental Health and Your Diet

September 5, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:40 am

Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when bacteria are present.  However, the frequency of your sugar consumption is more significant than the amount of sugar you eat. dental

Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a soda and have a sip every few minutes over a long period of time; the same is true for snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack, soda, or juice, it is better to have it after food, as dessert, or have it in one sitting. Eating or drinking something sweet over an extended period of time creates a constant supply of sugar for bacteria that causes tooth decay!

It is important to be aware of all the possible sources of sugar out there. It is not just everything that is sweet, but anything that can turn to sugar, like pieces of bread. Cutting down your sugar intake is good for cavity prevention, as well as your general health.  Food high in carbohydrates usually have a lot of sugar content.  This is especially true of processed foods such as cereals, pasta and bread.

But what about when you have to have sugar? The best way to avoid cavities is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating sugar, rinsing your mouth with Fluoride mouth wash, or chewing sugarless gum can help. However, nothing has the effect of avoiding sugar!  Chewing gum helps to stimulate the saliva and helps to wash away some of the sugar.

Is there any kind of food that prevents tooth decay? Well, not really. Some people believe that chewing foods like apples and carrots may have some plaque removal effects, but they still contain some sugar, so any advantage is not clear.

Another group of food that causes significant damage to teeth structure is acidic food. If in frequent contact with teeth, things like limes, lemons, and grapefruits can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.  Again, it is helpful to rinse after eating acidic food to remove the acid juice.  Eating cheese also helps to improve the acidity since it helps to neutralize the acid.

Women and Gum Disease

September 2, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 8:38 pm

Gum disease can affect women during different stages of life.  The disease can affect females differently than in males.

Women and Puberty

During puberty, an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.



Occasionally, some females experience menstruation gingivitis. Women with this condition may experience bleeding gums, bright red and swollen gums and sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically occurs right before a woman’s period and clears up once her period has started.


Some studies have suggested the possibility of an additional risk factor – periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. However, more research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes.

All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. The Academy recommends that females considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.

Menopause and Post-Menopause

Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience changes in their mouths. They may notice discomfort in the mouth, including dry mouth, pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste, especially salty, peppery or sour.

In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women. Gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red mark this condition. Most females find that estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms.

Top 5 allies against tooth decay

September 1, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:36 pm

At your first suspicion of tooth decay, you should get to a dentist, and fast. Getting a cavity filled quickly can prevent a lot of pain and infection.

Tooth decay is one of the main reasons we go see the dentist. The appearance of tooth decay, also called dental caries or cavities, consists of small holes that form on the surface enamel of the teeth. Bacteria are the bad guys here, at least the kind that proliferate in the presence of sugary food particles stuck in the teeth.

Other factors can contribute to the problem, including a person’s diet, tooth brushing habits, quality of saliva, and immune system. And while those factors may vary, you can always count on the pain of a cavity.

tooth decay

  1. The toothbrush

Of course, the old idiom ‘‘anounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’’ takes on its full meaning when it comes to tooth decay. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend brushing the teeth a minimum of twice or, ideally, three times a day. Brushing dislodges food particles caught in the teeth and under the gums, and the fluoride contained in adult toothpaste helps protect the tooth’s enamel.

  1. Dental floss

Daily flossing is also recommended. Dental floss allows for proper cleaning between the teeth and under the gums that surround the teeth, something the toothbrush can’t do. In addition to preventing cavities between the teeth, dental floss stimulates the gums and helps prevent gingivitis, or gum disease.

  1. Mouthwash

Cavity prevention wouldn’t be complete without the daily use of a mouthwash. Mouthwash eliminates the bacteria that produce tooth decay, as well as bad breath, making it a precious ally for good oral health.

  1. Consultations

A professional cleaning performed by a dental hygienist should take place every six months. A check-up and a cleaning help to determine the condition of the teeth, enamel, occlusion, gums, and tongue. These regular consultations make it easier to take preventive action and help with the early detection of any problems that may occur.

With a bit of information on the medical history and lifestyle of the patient, the dentist and the hygienist are able to give personalized advice and treatment. If a patient is on medication, if he smokes or drinks alcohol on a regular basis, if she experiences intense stress, or if other members of the family have multiple cavities, a more regular follow-up schedule might be recommended by the dentist.

  1. Personalized treatment

Once a cavity is identified, it is absolutely necessary to have it treated by a dentist. In truth, tooth decay does not heal itself and only a dentist is capable of halting its progression. A quick repair will prevent the decay from progressing into the pulp of the tooth and causing damage to the surrounding teeth. Getting a cavity filled promptly also helps prevent infection and any complications that could arise from a neglected cavity.


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#20 - 4 Spruce Ridge Drive, Spruce Grove, AB T7X 4S3 CA
Dr. Mark Southwood Spruce Grove, AB dentist. (780) 962-5538 (780) 962-4485