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Spruce Ridge Dental Blog

Digital X-Ray

March 4, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 1:46 am

Dentist Hinton, Edson, Grande Cache
How do digital x-rays work?
Similar to traditional x-rays, we place a sensor that is about the size and shape of a normal x-ray film inside your mouth. After a quick x-ray, a scanner sends signals to a computer that are translated into electronic pictures of your teeth, supporting bones, and gums.

Why do we use digital x-rays?

  • The patient receives approximately 50-90% less radiation than with traditional x-rays.
  • We get larger, more detailed images to help diagnose more accurately.
  • We can share the x-ray image with patients on our in room monitor to explain areas of concern or answer questions.
  • There is no developing involved, so no harmful chemicals are used.
  • The digital x-rays can be enlarged for clarification, and are stored in your file for future reference.
  • Immediate results from digital x-rays means less time developing x-rays and more time spent with the patient.
  • Digital x-rays can be submitted along with dental insurance claims to expedite the reimbursement process.

There are two main types of dental X-rays: intraoral (meaning the X-ray film is inside the mouth) and extraoral (meaning the X-ray film is outside the mouth).

  • Intraoral X-rays are the most common type of dental X-ray taken. These X-rays provide a lot of detail and allow your dentist to find cavities, check the health of the tooth root and bone surrounding the tooth, check the status of developing teeth, and monitor the general health of your teeth and jawbone.
  • Extraoral X-rays show teeth, but their main focus is the jaw and skull. These X-rays do not provide the detail found with intraoral X-rays and therefore are not used for detecting cavities or for identifying problems with individual teeth. Instead, extraoral X-rays are used to look for impacted teeth, monitor growth and development of the jaws in relation to the teeth, and to identify potential problems between teeth and jaws and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or other bones of the face.

Types of Intraoral X-Rays

There are several types of intraoral X-rays, each of which shows different aspects of teeth.

  • Bite-wing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Each bite-wing shows a tooth from its crown to about the level of the supporting bone. Bite-wing X-rays are used to detect decay between teeth and changes in bone density caused by gum disease. They are also useful in determining the proper fit of a crown (or cast restoration) and the marginal integrity of fillings.
  • Periapical X-rays show the whole tooth — from the crown to beyond the end of the root to where the tooth is anchored in the jaw. Each periapical X-ray shows this full tooth dimension and includes all the teeth in one portion of either the upper or lower jaw. Periapical X-rays are used to detect any abnormalities of the root structure and surrounding bone structure.
  • Occlusal X-rays are larger and show full tooth development and placement. Each X-ray reveals the entire arch of teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.

Root Canal

February 27, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 3:54 pm

Root canal treatment is the process of going inside the pulp space and removing the infected, dead tissue. The space is then disinfected and sealed with special materials. Nowadays, root canal treatments are performed with advanced techniques and materials, making them far more comfortable and faster. After root canal treatment is complete, your restorative dentist will usually place a crown on your tooth to safeguard against fracture.

Root canal

Every tooth consists of three different layers. The outermost and hardest layer is enamel, and the second layer is dentin. The third is pulp, which is the cavernous space where the live tissue and nerve of each tooth is located.

If for any reason the pulp space is exposed to the outside, the tissue becomes contaminated and eventually infected. The exposure of pulp happens in many circumstances, such as when you have a large cavity or a fractured tooth. Your dentist can explain the exact reason for damage to this tissue. In these cases, the treatment is usually root canal treatment.

A root canal allows you to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.  It is usually done in one appointment, however, it can sometimes require two visits.  You are given freezing so that you are completely comfortable.  A drape or rubber dam is placed over your tooth to protect your checks and tongue and improve isolation of your tooth.  The nerve is removed from inside the tooth and a filling material is placed to seal your tooth.  Often a crown is needed after a root canal to protect and strengthen your tooth to prevent a fracture and lost of the tooth.

Dental Veneers

February 25, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 4:06 am

You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance and are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.



They are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain) designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to a dental technician who creates your restoratios. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.

When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.

How are they made?

Veneers are done in two appointments. The first appointment the tooth is prepared for the veneer and an impression is taken so that the lab can make a model of your tooth to make your custom veneer. A temporary veneer will be made to protect your tooth and allow you to see the new shape or colour of your tooth. A colour shade will be chosen to match the Veneer match with your other adjacent teeth.

The second appointment will allow you to see the new veneer before it is bonded on.

Dental Inlays

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 12:02 am

Inlays are restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain.  Porcelain inlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth.  A porcelain inlay is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.  The colour of the inlay can be customized to match the exact shade of your tooth, therefore giving it a live like natural appearance.


Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma.  Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings.  Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.

As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement.  They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.


Reasons for inlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.

What does getting an inlay involve?

An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration.  A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place.  A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.

Composite Fillings

February 20, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 12:56 am

Composite fillings (tooth colored) are used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc.  The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

Composite Fillings

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings are the most widely used today.  Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced.  They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for these fillings:

  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment.  While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed.  If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection.  The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

After Dental Treatment Care Instructions

February 13, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 10:06 pm

The following are dental treatment care instructions for the common treatment at the dental office.  We hope that this information will be helpful to you.


Post Op Instructions – After Fillings

When anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment.  Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.

It’s normal to experience some hot, cold and pressure sensitivity after your appointment.  Your gums may be sore for several days.  Rinse three times a day  with warm salt water (put a tsp. of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling.

Don’t chew hard foods or chew directly on your new silver fillings for twenty-four hours.  If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.  You may chew right away on white fillings since they set completely on the day of your appointment.

If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.

Post Op Instructions – After Root Canal Therapy


Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete.  A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments.  After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment.  Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.

Between appointments it is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off.  If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call us so that it can be replaced.

It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing.  To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended.  To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit).

If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as prescribed, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.  To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary in place, avoid eating all sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.  It’s important to continue to brush and floss normally.

Usually, the last step after root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future.  If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent swelling or pain, or if you have nay other questions or concerns, please call our office.

Post-Op Instructions – After Crown and Bridge Appointments


Crowns and bridges usually take two or three appointments to complete.  On the first appointment the teeth are prepared.  Temporary crowns or bridges are placed to protect the teeth while the custom restoration is being made.  After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment.  Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.

On rare occasions, temporary crowns come off.  Call us if this happens and keep the temporary so we can re-cement it.  It is very important for the proper fit of your final restoration that temporaries stay in place.

It’s normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after each appointment.  Your gums may be sore for several days.  Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling.  Use medication only as directed.

To help keep your temporary in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.  It’s important to continue to brush normally, but floss very carefully and remove the floss from the side to prevent removal of the temporary crown.

If your bridge feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.

Post-Op Instructions – After Cosmetic Reconstruction

Remember that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your brand new bite.  When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed it takes several days for the “brain” to recognize the new position of your teeth or their thickness as normal.  If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call us so we can schedule an adjustment appointment.

It’s normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity.  Removing tooth structure and placement of new materials may result in a period of adjustment.  Your gums may also be sore for several days.  Rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit) to reduce pain and swelling.  Mild pain medication should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period.

Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days.  You’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally.  You may notice increased salivary flow.  Your brain may respond to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing salivary flow.  This should subside to normal within a week or two.

Daily plaque removal is critical for the long term success of your dental work.  Maintain a regular oral hygiene route.  Daily brushing and flossing is a must.  Regular cleaning appointments in our office are also critically important.  We’ll use the appropriate cleaning abrasives and techniques for your specific cosmetic work.

It’s important to change habits to protect your new teeth.  Any food that could chip, crack, or damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new cosmetic restorations.  Avoid sticky candies, any unusually hard foods substances, (such as peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils, or ice).  Avoid or minimize your use of foods that stain such as tea, coffee, red wine and berries.  Smoking will quickly yellow your teeth.

Let us know if you grind your teeth at night or engage in sports so we can make you a custom mouthguard.  Adjusting to the look and feel of your new smile will take time.  If you have any problems or concerns, we always welcome your questions.  Thank you very much for choosing Arrowhead Dental Associates for your dental treatment.

Post-Op Instructions – After Tooth Extraction

After an extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process.  That’s why we ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after extraction.  If bleeding or oozing continues after you remove the gauze pad, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another thirty minutes.  You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms it is important to protect it especially for the next 24 hours.

So Don’t:

  • Smoke
    •  Suck through a straw
    •  Rinse your mouth vigorously
    •  Clean the teeth next to the extraction site

These activities will dislodge the clot and slow down healing.  Limit yourself to calm activities for the first 24 hours, this keeps your blood pressure lower, reduces bleeding, and helps the healing process.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and have some swelling.  You can use an ice bag to keep this to a minimum.  The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

Use pain medication only as directed, call the office if it doesn’t seem to be working.  If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.  Drink lots of fluid and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of the extraction.  Don’t use alcoholic beverages and avoid hot and spicy foods.  You can begin eating normally the next day or as soon as it is comfortable.

Gently rinse your mouth with salt water three times a day beginning the day after the extraction (a tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit).  Also, rinse gently after meals, it helps keep food out of the extraction site.  It is very important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours; this should include brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing at least once a day.  This speeds healing and helps keep your breath and mouth fresh.

Call us right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication.  After a few days you will be feeling fine and can resume your normal activities.

Tooth Extraction: What to Expect

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:31 pm

Although it sounds complicated, a tooth extraction is a routine procedure that according to The Mayo Clinic carries a very low risk of long-term complications. The procedure itself is painless when performed by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon, and the recovery process is usually equally simple.


Causes for Tooth Extraction

There are many reasons why a dental healthcare provider would recommend extracting one or more teeth. One of the most common reasons is due to severe tooth decay beyond what is reasonable to save. In these cases, an extraction is performed to prevent infection and also make the patient more comfortable.


A dentist may also recommend extraction for impacted teeth, malfunctioning teeth or teeth that are hard to clean, such as the wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth can prevent crowding and may also be more prone to causing inflammation or infection if they do not fully emerge.

oral surgery hi-defination


Although there are exceptions, most tooth extractions are uneventful procedures that last only a few minutes. Usually, the dentist or surgeon will have already taken x-rays of the teeth prior to the procedure. The tooth, gum and bone will then be anesthetized using a local numbing agent for a patient who will be awake for the extraction. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, may also be administered to help with anxiety during the procedure. Once the extraction begins, patients should feel only pressure – not pain. In most cases, the dentist can remove the tooth using only applied pressure to the socket and dental forceps, rather than surgical intervention.


In some cases, a dentist or oral surgeon will recommend full sedation – especially if there will be more than one tooth extracted during the procedure. In this case, the patient is instead given anesthesia intravenously to prevent pain throughout the entire body. Patients who undergo a sedated tooth extraction will have no memory of the procedure.



Following a dental extraction, the dentist or oral surgeon will have a very specific set of instructions for caring for the extraction site in the hours and days following the tooth removal. Usually, this involves leaving gauze on the extraction site to minimize bleeding for the first few hours.


Depending on the type of tooth extraction performed, the dentist or oral surgeon may also prescribe medication to help relieve pain for the first few days following the procedure. So long as the extraction site is kept clean and patients follow the instructions for care, the gums should heal in a matter of weeks without complication or infection. Furthermore, if necessary and once the extraction site heals, the dentist can replace one or more missing teeth with a bridge, a denture or a permanent dental implant for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Bad Breath

February 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:21 pm

There are a few different causes of bad breath. Ranging from stomach problems to diet and teeth problems, most of the causes can be found in the mouth. They are:

  1. Tongue (when bacteria grows in between the papilla).  If you look under a microscope the tongue is not smooth.  In fact it has a lot of small areas for bacteria and hide.  It is important for you to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.
  2. Teeth cavities (especially when food particles get stuck in them).  Cavities are caused by bacterial infection.  The bacteria will cause destruction and small craters in your teeth, which then become food and plaque traps.  It is important for you to take care of the cavities before the bacteria travels to the nerve which will then lead to an abscess.  This then becomes serious since the bacteria in the abscess can travel to other parts of the body.
  3. Gum diseases which is a bacterial infection of the gums.  It is important for you to have regular professional scaling (cleanings) to remove the plaque, food and bacteria that gets trapped underneath the gum.  When we brush our teeth we can easily clean above the gums but it is very difficult to clean underneath the gums.
  4. Extraction sites during healing can become a food, plaque and bacterial trap.  It is important for you to rinse your mouth regularly and especially after you eat to keep the extraction site as clean as possible.
  5. Dentures when not cleaned properly.  These prosthesis trap bacteria and food particles.  The food then ferments and release a bad taste and odor.
  6. Alcohol and tobacco

Bad Breath

If you or someone you know is concerned about bad breath, the first step is a dental check up. Your dentist will be able to confirm or rule out the source of the bad breath.

When the cause is found, treatment will be determined and explained by your dentist. If the source of the bad breath is your mouth, there is little chance that mouth washes or mints can treat the problem. They usually mask the problem for a short period of time, and can sometimes exacerbate the situation (mouthwashes that contain alcohol cause dry mouth and usually make the bad breath worse).

These are a few other, non-dental reasons that cause bad breath:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Tonsillitis
  3. Some food
  4. Infection of air passages

bad breath

Following a good oral hygiene routine and receiving regular dental check ups are the best ways to prevent bad breath.

Composite White Filling

February 11, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:48 am

An increasingly popular alternative to a silver amalgam filling is a composite white filling. Unlike an amalgam fillings, a composite filling is virtually invisible and our team can shade it according to the color of your teeth to create a perfect match, giving you a beautiful, silver-less smile!  Unlike an Amalgam,  a composite does not contain any mercury.


Benefits of Composite White Fillings

  • Created to match your tooth to ensure a natural look and feel
  • Because composite fillings can be created in smaller preparations, less of your tooth structure is lost and less drilling is needed
  • The material is made from acrylic and glass particles, containing no mercury or other metals
  • Provides support to remaining tooth structure, and insulates against temperature changes

The Filling Process

  • First, the decayed tooth is drilled to remove the cavity.  You would be given freezing so that the process is comfortable and painless.  Often a rubber dam is place to control the moisture to achieve a better bond and also to protect your cheek and tongue.
  • Next, a bonding agent is applied to the drilled tooth to “bond” the composite to the tooth.  Composites bond best to enamel.
  • The composite material is placed, condensed into the tooth and molded to your tooth structure.  The composite can be sculpted to create a life-like filling that matches with the anatomy of your tooth
  • The material is hardened by focusing intense light rays on it for about a minute
  • The filling is now complete and you have a bright, natural-looking new tooth!  The bite is checked with a blue articulation paper to fine tune your bite.

Your filling’s colour and brightness can be maintained by simply practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding staining food and drinks such as coffee, soda, tea, etc.

dental implants

February 9, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 9:00 pm

What are Dental Implants?

Dental Implants are designed to provide a stable foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.

dental implants

Dental Implants are small, surgical titanium, screw-shaped, threaded fixtures that are placed into the bone in the upper (Maxillary) and/or lower (Mandibular) arches of the mouth. They are used to replace one or many missing teeth, or to stabilize dentures. Titanium is an inert metal that is capable of creating a very tight bond with bone. Titanium is used in other operations such as knee or hip replacements — so it is a proven surgical component.
The implant acts like the root of a natural tooth, and bone actually forms around a special coating on the implant to hold the implant firmly in place. This process is referred to as osseo-integration. A crown, with the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth is then affixed to an abutment (post) which is connected to the implant. The ‘abutment’ is simply a small connecting piece between the implant and the crown.

dental implants

In cases where there are multiple missing teeth, or where the patient has previously had dentures, multiple implants are placed in the mouth to allow for implant-supported crowns or bridges, ball or “Locator” abutment retained Overdentures, and/or Titanium or Gold Bar-supported Overdentures.

Dental Implants, being made of Surgical Titanium, are very strong and durable. Titanium is a bio-compatible material for the body and is widely used for hip and knee surgeries.   The success rate for dental implants is extremely high; and, with proper care, good dental hygiene, and a healthy life style, it is quite rare that implants will fail.  Technology and procedures have advanced significantly since the first implants were placed.  Some failed implants can be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle (smoking)or to poor dental hygiene.

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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