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Oral Hygiene Aids

June 21, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 10:40 pm

Regular dental check ups are essential for maintaining excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing potential problems, but they are not a “fix-all” solution. Thorough oral home care routines should be practiced on a daily basis to avoid future dental problems.


Periodontal disease (also called gum disease and periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world, and is completely preventable in the vast majority of cases. Professional cleanings twice a year combined with daily self-cleaning can remove a high percentage of disease-causing bacteria and plaque. In addition, teeth that are well cared for make for a sparkling white smile.

There are numerous types of oral hygiene aids on the supermarket shelves, and it can be difficult to determine which will provide the best benefit to your teeth.

Here are some of the most common oral hygiene aids for homecare:

Dental Flosses

Dental floss is the most common interdental and subgingival (below the gum) cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. The floss itself is made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, and can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.

Interdental Cleaners

Many hygienist & periodontists recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning the contours of teeth in between the gums. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes.

Mouth Rinses

There are two basic types of mouth rinse available: Cosmetic rinses which are sold over the counter and temporarily suppress bad breath, and therapeutic rinses which may or may not require a prescription. Most dentists are skeptical about the benefits of cosmetic rinses because several studies have shown that their effectiveness against plaque is minimal. Therapeutic rinses however, are regulated by the FDA and contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and cavities. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.

Oral Irrigators

Oral irrigators, like Water Jets and Waterpiks have been created to clean debris from below the gum line. Water is continuously sprayed from tiny jets into the gum pockets which can help remove harmful bacteria and food particles. Overall, oral irrigators have proven effective in lowering the risk of gum disease and should not be used instead of brushing and flossing. Professional cleanings are recommended at least twice annually to remove deeper debris.

Rubber Tip Stimulators

The rubber tip stimulator is an excellent tool for removing plaque from around the gum line and also for stimulating blood flow to the gums. The rubber tip stimulator should be traced gently along the outer and inner gum line at least once each day. Any plaque on the tip can be rinsed off with tap water. It is important to replace the tip as soon as it starts to appear worn, and to store the stimulator in a cool, dry place.

Tongue Cleaners

Tongue cleaners are special devices which have been designed to remove the buildup of bacteria, fungi and food debris from the tongue surface. The fungi and bacteria that colonize on the tongue have been related to halitosis (bad breath) and a great many systemic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and stroke. Tongue cleaners can be made from metal, wood or plastic and shaped in accordance with the contours of the tongue. Tongue cleaning should be done prior to brushing to prevent the ingestion of fungi and bacteria.


There are a great many toothbrush types available. Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists because electric brushes are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to easily dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. The same results can be obtained using a manual brush, but much more effort is needed to do so.

Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three months because worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are far less damaging to gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle varieties. In addition, an appropriate sized ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice each day.

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

June 20, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 12:01 am

Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.

Wisdom Teeth

In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.

Wisdom Teeth

There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:

Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.

Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.

Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.

Reasons to remove wisdom teeth

While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:

  • Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
  • Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
  • Tooth Crowding: It has been theorized that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crowded or twisted). This theory isn’t universally accepted by all dental professionals, and it has never been validated by any scientific studies.

Wisdom teeth examination

As with any dental procedure, your dentist will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital x-rays will be taken in order for your dentist to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can your dentist provide you with the best options for your particular case.

What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.


June 18, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 10:34 pm

A crown (cap) is a restoration 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.

A crown is often used when you have a cracked tooth or if you have a fracture line.  The restoration helps to reinforce and strengthen the tooth and help you keep it for a longer duration.  After a root canal is done, a crown is usually recommended to strengthen the tooth.

These restorations are usually done in two appointments.  The first appointment you are given freezing to make the appointment completely comfortable.  The tooth is prepared and retraction cords are placed around the tooth so that an accurate impression of the tooth margins can be captured.  You will have a temporary crown placed on the tooth to protect the tooth until your next appointment.  The impression is sent to the lab to fabricate your final crown.  The next appointment is very simple, the temporary crown is removed and the real crown is placed on the tooth.  Once the fit is confirmed and you are happy with the crown colour, your tooth and the crown is cleaned.  The crown is cemented on with a very strong cement.

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.

Crown (Cap)

June 17, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 1:03 am

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size.  It protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.


Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored) are the most popular.  They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced.  Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.


Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • Tooth has a root canal.

What does it involve?

The procedure usually requires two appointments.  Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown.  A mold will also be used to create a temporary restoration which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the restoration.  Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

What causes a white tongue and is there a remedy for it?

June 16, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 10:13 pm

A pink tongue is a sure sign of health, but a white tongue can sometimes indicate illness or unhealthy lifestyle habits. Should I be concerned and can I get rid of it?

white tongue

Did you know that the colour of your tongue is a pretty good indication of your state of health and lifestyle?

  • A smoker’s tongue can look yellow, green or brownish.
  • A blackish tongue can be a sign of poor oral hygiene.
  • And a white tongue? It can betray your excessive fondness for some of life’s pleasures.

Show me your tongue, I’ll tell you what you eat

Your digestive system can sometimes encounter the odd problem after a good meal of rich, spicy food, especially if it was accompanied by lots to drink.

  • Bloating, gas, rumbling, and other gastrointestinal difficulties can make you feel miserable.

Thankfully, the situation usually improves over the day as your body recovers. However, if this propensity for fatty foods and alcohol is part of your lifestyle, it’s a good bet that your digestive difficulties are frequent or even chronic.

  • In this case, the internal disruption due to poor digestion may cause a white deposit to appear on the tongue.
  • This white tongue is also called “coated tongue”.

How to get rid of a white tongue

Usually a coated tongue is easy to treat by reining in your alcohol consumption and copious meals, which allows the gastro-intestinal system to function “normally” again.

  • However, when even these measures prove insufficient and the symptoms persist, the condition could be caused by a real illness that should be looked at by a dentist.

When should I consult a dentist?

Whether you have a white tongue or not, regular visits to a dentist are vital to ensure proper oral hygiene.

  • However, the appearance of white patches on your tongue or on the inside of your cheeks could indicate leukoplakia, a condition that a dentist should see immediately. Leukoplakia patches are considered to be precancerous lesions. Smoking is often blamed, but an irritation of dental origin could also be the cause.
  • Oral thrush (oral candidiasis) is a common infection that can look very similar to white tongue. In fact, these white lesions indicate a fungal yeast infection in the mouth. Anyone can catch oral thrush, even those who are proud of maintaining excellent oral hygiene. However, people with weakened immune systems, babies, and seniors are more at risk of developing this condition.

Other conditions can also impart a white colour to your tongue. But before falling into panic mode, see your dentist who will give you expert advice about what to do next.

Temporomandibular disorders

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 4:20 pm

Temporomandibular disorders is the name given to several problems with jaw movement and pain in and around the jaw joints.  You may also hear TM disorders called TMJ, TMD, or TM problems.

Temporomandibular Disorders

The jaw joints, or temporomandibular (TM) joints, connect the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull. These flexible joints are used more than any other joint in the body. They allow the jaw to open and close for talking, chewing, swallowing, yawning, and other movements.

Many people have problems with jaw movement and pain in and around the jaw joints at some time during their lives. These joint and muscle problems are complex. So finding the right diagnosis and treatment of TM disorders may take some time.

TM disorders can affect the jaw and jaw joint as well as muscles in the face, shoulder, head, and neck. Common symptoms include joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, joint sounds, trouble with fully opening the mouth, and jaw locking.

In most cases, symptoms of TM disorders are mild. They tend to come and go without getting worse and usually go away without a doctor’s care. About 65% to 95% of people who see a doctor when they first have symptoms will get better no matter what type of treatment they get.

About 12% of people who have TM disorders develop long-lasting (chronic) symptoms. Any chronic pain or difficulty moving the jaw may affect talking, eating, and swallowing. This may affect a person’s overall sense of well-being.

The most common cause of TM disorder symptoms is muscle tension, often triggered by stress. When you are under stress, you may be in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. These habits can tire the jaw muscles and lead to a cycle of muscle spasm, tissue damage, pain, sore muscles, and more spasm.

TM disorders can start when there is a problem with the joint itself, such as:

  • An injury to the joint or the tissues around it.
  • Problems with how the joint is shaped.
  • Joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The articular disc that cushions the joint shifts out of place.

Although there is no one way to identify a TM disorder, your doctor can most likely check your condition with a physical exam and by asking questions about your past health. In some cases, an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI is also used to check for bone or soft tissue problems related to symptoms of TM disorder.

TM disorder symptoms usually go away without treatment. Simple home treatment can often relieve mild jaw pain. Things you can do at first to reduce pain include:

  • Rest the jaw joint.
  • Use medicines for a short time to reduce swelling or relax muscles.
  • Apply hot, moist compresses to painful areas.
  • Eat soft foods, and avoid chewy foods and chewing gum.

Inlay or onlay

June 15, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 6:13 pm

A dental inlay or Onlay is lab-made restoration that are placed on teeth when the cavity or lost tooth structure is too large to be restored by a simple filling.


The process of making an inlay is very similar to a crown. At the first appointment, you are given freezing to make your visit completely comfortable.  The tooth is prepared and a final impression is taken.  The imprint is sent to the lab for fabrication of your customized inlay or onlay.  A temporary restoration is placed after your first appointment to seal and protect your tooth.  At your second appointment, you are given freezing again to make your visit as comfortable as possible.  The temporary restoration is removed and the real inlay or onlay is fitted into the tooth.  The margins are check to ensure they meet the tooth preparation perfectly to establish an excellent seal.  The colour is also verified to ensure it matches with your tooth colour and once you are completely happy then the bonding process begins.  Your tooth and  inlay or onlay are cleaned with a blue conditioning solution.  Then De-sensitizing medication is placed into your tooth and a layer of bond is painted on.  Then a strong dental cement is used to bond on your inlay or onlay.

There are different materials that inlays are made of, including gold, porcelain, and composite resins. Porcelain and composite inlays and onlays are cosmetic alternatives to fillings and are very strong compared to regular white fillings. Gold inlays and onlays are also suitable alternatives, but their appearance makes them less popular.  The advantage of ceramic or composite is that a specific colour can be chosen to match with your tooth colour so that you have a very natural looking restoration that will blend in with your tooth.  The advantage of gold is that it is a slightly less brittle material compared to ceramic and can offer more strength for people who clench or grind their teeth.

Your dentist will explain when an inlay or onlay is a viable treatment option for you. In general, a dental inlay and onlay can replace most back teeth fillings and are sometimes cosmetically preferred over conventional fillings since they are stronger than the fillings. At the same time, they are more conservative than crowns.

As far as cost is concerned, because the process of making an inlay or onlay is similar to a crown, its cost is also comparable. But when considering the longevity of inlays and onlays, they can end up costing less than traditional fillings.

Oral Cancer

June 14, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:15 pm

Did you know that every hour of every day someone dies from oral cancer? Because oral cancer is often found in the advanced stages, this disease has a low survival rate. Approximately 400,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with oral cancer, and only about half will still be alive in five years.  Sometimes a biopsy is required to look at the lesion on a cellular level to gather more information.  A cancer screening is done routinely since cancer can develop at any time.  Understanding basic facts and debunking common myths can help you preserve your oral health and protect your life.

oral cancer

Myth: Only people with known risk factors get oral cancer.

Although lifestyle choices, age, and gender can increase your chances of developing oral cancer, about 25 percent of oral cancer patients have no identifiable risks.

Fact: Early detection can save your life.

When patients are diagnosed before the cancer advances, the cure rate is 90 percent. Often, people don’t notice the symptoms, so the disease progresses. Unfortunately, cancer can have disfiguring effects on patients as well as compromise their quality of life as they fight cancer.

Myth: Dental checkups are not important for detecting cancer.

Because the initial signs of cancer can be mild, like a lesion that doesn’t heal or a sore throat, you may not recognize a problem. Your dentist will examine your whole mouth and look for anything unusual. If necessary, the doctor may recommend further testing to rule out oral cancer.

Fact: Smoking and alcohol consumption substantially impact cancer risks.

In combination with heavy alcohol consumption, more than 30 drinks a week, smoking is increases the odds of developing oral cancer by 75 percent. If you smoke more than one pack a day, you have 24 times the risk for oral cancer.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

June 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:05 pm

The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums.


Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal gum disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal gum disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal gum disease.


Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early intervention treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.


Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal gum diseases.


Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Other Systemic Diseases

Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.

Teeth Whitening

June 12, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:39 am

When you want a brighter, whiter smile, there are many treatment options to choose from. The best way to determine which teeth whitening method is best for you is to schedule an appointment with a Spruce Ridge Dental dentist and discuss your needs. Our dentist will also take the time to talk to you about the differences between at-home and professional teeth whitening treatments, so you can make the most informed choice.

Teeth Whitening

In Office Teeth Whitening

“In office” whitening refers to a common professional whitening service. As the name implies, this treatment will be performed within a dental office. A whitening lamp or laser will be used to enhance the effectiveness of the whitening gel which has been applied by a professional. During your visit to our office, a Spruce Ridge Dental professional will apply the procedure, and within 90 minutes, you will begin to see immediate results.
Some professional teeth whitening procedures can even take place in the home. For example, tray bleaching employs the use of a custom-made tray and whitening gel which can only be obtained from your dentist. This process will whiten all of your natural teeth with maximum comfort. Tray bleaching can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days to reach completion, but you may begin to see results in as little as 3 to 5 days.


General Dentists Hinton, Edson, Jasper, Grande Cache
At-Home Teeth Whitening

• Paint-on teeth whiteners—For an over-the-counter teeth whitening option, you might decide to go with “paint-on” teeth whiteners. This treatment will require the use of a small brush to apply the whitening gel. The gel will then harden into a film and eventually dissolve in the mouth. Again, please check with a Spruce Ridge Dental professional before determining which method is best for you.
• Teeth whitening strips—With thin and flexible plastic strips, you can apply hydrogen peroxide to bleach stains out of your teeth. Typically, the procedure will take a total of 30 days, with two treatments a day. However, results and duration will vary from patient to patient.
These are just a few of the teeth whitening treatments which may be available to you, so please contact our office if you would like to learn more. Our dental professionals would be glad to schedule an appointment to discuss your case and help you determine which treatment best fits your needs.

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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