Caring for Teeth with Braces and Retainers

Braces, wires, springs, rubber bands, and other appliances can attract food and plaque, which can stain teeth if not brushed away. Food can also react with the bacteria in your mouth and the metal in the braces to produce a bleaching effect, which can cause small, permanent light spots on the teeth. It is recommended brushing after every meal or snack with fluoride toothpaste and carefully removing any food that may have gotten stuck in your braces. You may also be prescribed or recommended a fluoride mouthwash, which can get into places in the mouth that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Brush your teeth with specially designed brush for cleaning between braces.

Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces

There are certain foods that can break or loosen your braces and should be avoided, such as:

  1. Hard or tough-to-bite foods, such as apples or bagels

  2. Chewy foods, such as taffy or caramels

  3. Corn on the cob

  4. Hard pretzels, popcorn, nuts and carrots

In addition to foods, do not chew ice or bubble gum.

Caring for Retainers

Every time you brush your teeth, brush your retainer as well. Once a day or at least once a week, disinfect your retainer by soaking it in a denture cleanser.

While playing sports, use mouth guard, designed to fit comfortably over your braces.

Broken Braces

Broken braces, loose bands or protruding wires can cause problems but rarely require emergency treatment. However, call your dentist or orthodontist to set up an office visit to fix the problem. If you suffer a more severe mouth or facial injury, seek immediate help.

Other Problems

Because braces brush up against the inside surface of your mouth, you may be prone to developing sores. If a sore develops, your orthodontist or dentist may prescribe an ointment or a prescription or nonprescription pain-reliever solution to reduce the pain and irritation and help heal the sore.


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Why Get Dental Implants ?

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an option to restore missing teeth without using additional teeth as support or anchors. They are also able to support dentures and prevent difficulties associated with the slipping and shifting of the denture. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and mimic the root of the natural tooth which also prevents bone reduction. Dental implants are restored with crowns, bridges and dentures.

Why get dental implants restore missing or damaged teeth?

  • A dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth.

  • Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.

  • Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants may preserve and stimulate natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.

  • Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.

  • Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.

In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders – such as diabetes or heart disease – or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. You should consider the fact that it is a surgical procedure so there are always risks present with any surgery i.e delayed healing, prolonged bleeding, infection, surgical complication. There is also a significant time commitment required as the implant site may need to have additional procedures performed to make it ready to accept the implant. If you are considering dental implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.

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Looking For Root Canal Treatment In Calgary?

To make an accurate diagnosis about your tooth’s need for endodontic therapy (root canal), your dentist will need to evaluate information collected from a number of different sources.
And while there are some obvious signs that nearly everyone is familiar with, there are also a number of less apparent ones that quite possibly only your dentist will notice.

1. Symptoms you have noticed – It’s usually the presence of discomfort and/or swelling that signals to a person that their tooth has a problem. Your dentist will quiz you about what you have experienced.

  • Pain

  • Sensitivity to hot/cold

  • Gum tenderness or swelling

  • Frequency of pain or swelling

2. Signs noticed by your dentist – Some teeth give little indication that there’s a problem within their nerve space. But to the trained eye, these subtle hints can be an obvious sign that a problem likely exists.

  • Identifying problem teeth with x-rays

  • Recurring or persistent gum pimples

  • Individually darkened teeth

  • Exposure of a tooth’s nerve

3. Additional testing – Once a dentist has identified a suspect tooth, they may then perform additional testing that can help to confirm their suspicions.

  • Percussion testing – tapping the end of one of their instruments on your tooth.

  • X-ray evaluation

  • Thermal testing

  • Electric pulp testing – A pulp tester transmits low-levels of electrical current to a tooth. The general idea is that a healthy nerve will respond with a tingling sensation. A dead nerve will have no response.

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms mentioned here, you should contact your dentist and make arrangements to be evaluated and receive treatment in a time frame they determine is necessary.

Don’t make assumptions and don’t delay

Some people won’t seek treatment promptly if, in their mind, they think it’s already too late, will cost too much money or else the idea of having the treatment is too unnerving for them.
Don’t make this mistake. If you have a tooth that’s displaying symptoms, have your dentist evaluate it sooner rather than later. Doing so may make a big difference in what you experience, what type of treatment you require and its total cost.

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Dental Myth: Missing Teeth Are Always Replaced By Bridges Or Removable Dentures

There are several reasons that you want to replace a missing tooth or teeth. A tooth has many functions, some being to chew, to speak, to keep the facial muscles and tissue in a proper position, to smile, and to keep the other teeth from shifting. Once a tooth is lost this whole balance is disrupted and it may lead to many problems.

Missing teeth are always replaced by bridges or removable dentures To minimize the possibility of problems, the missing tooth should be replaced promptly. There are many ways to replace that missing tooth or teeth:

  • Conventional fixed bridge – The conventional fixed bridge is a tooth replacement that is attached with cement to the adjacent natural teeth. If you have one or two missing teeth on a single side this can be a good method of replacement. If the two teeth adjacent to the space are healthy and the supporting structure (bone and gum tissue) are adequate a fixed bridge can be placed.

  • Removable partial or full denture – A partial or full removable denture is a set of artificial teeth that are not fixed permanently to natural teeth. This set consists of usually plastic teeth set in an artificial plastic or plastic and metal framework that rests on the gum tissue. A partial denture is used for people who have multiple spaces on one or both sides or whose teeth are not strong enough to support a fixed bridge. A complete denture is just that, it replaces all the teeth on either the top or bottom jaw. The full denture can be the most difficult restoration to get accustomed to.

  • Implants – Implants are used to replace a single tooth, many teeth on one side, or used to support an entire fixed or removable bridge replacing all the upper or lower teeth. The implant is placed in a hole which is drilled into the patient’s lower or upper jaw. Depending on the number of teeth being replaced, one or more implants are placed in the bone. If necessary a substructure is fabricated and then a crown, bridge or denture is securely fastened to the substructure or implant. Implants are useful for patients that have tried but can’t wear conventional dentures.

  • Flipper – This is probably the cheapest option to restore missing teeth, however it should be seen as a temporary solution. The expected longevity of a flipper should only be a few months, though with meticulous care and minimal use with chewing, it could last a bit longer. Flippers are similar to removable partial dentures, except they are made from weaker materials.

There are other methods such as using a combination of crowns and partial dentures that can keep the retaining clips out of sight. From the available options, the most appropriate treatment will depend on various factors including the number of teeth missing; therefore it is advisable to consult your dentist about the right solution for you.

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Myth: Periodontal (Gum) Disease Affects Only the Mouth.

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:

  • Tobacco use

  • Grinding your teeth

  • Certain medications

  • Genetics


Gum disease affects only the oral health is a myth. Studies suggest that it contributes to life threatening conditions such as:

  • Heart disease and stroke – Gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with it.

  • Diabetes – People with diabetes often have some form of gum disease, likely caused by high blood glucose. People with diabetes need to take extra care to ensure proper brushing and flossing techniques are used to prevent the advancement of the gum disease. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dental hygienist should be followed.

  • Chronic kidney disease – People without any natural teeth, are more likely to have chronic kidney disease (CDK), than people with natural teeth. CDK affects blood pressure potentially causing heart disease, contributed to kidney failure, and affects bone health.

  • Preterm birth – Women with periodontal disease are more likely to have a baby born preterm compared to women without any form of gum disease. Women are more susceptible to gingivitis when pregnant and should follow their regular brushing habits, and continue with dental cleanings and examinations.

To prevent gum disease, proper brushing and flossing and following dental hygiene tips is the easiest way, but regular cleanings with your dentist are necessary to remove calculus and treat advanced gum disease. If you are concerned that you may have gum disease, contact your dentist.


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What is a Dental Floss?

When it comes to your teeth nothing is more important than proper dental health and dental hygiene. Without proper oral hygiene your teeth can break down and decay causing many problems including tooth loss. Flossing is such an essential part of dental care. There are several health benefits to maintaining proper dental care and flossing. Without proper flossing, your teeth will a buildup with plaque which leads to tartar and several types of gum disease. Not flossing can also cause an increase of cavities in the areas your tooth brush cannot reach. Without flossing your teeth can start to stain which keeps your teeth from looking bright, white and clean.

Dental floss is a tool you should use daily to remove food and bacteria build-up from in-between your teeth. Floss, which is commonly made out of plastic or nylon, is a thin thread that you place between your teeth and pull in order to clean the gaps. As you pull on the thread, you remove food and debris.

Benefits of Flossing:

  • Remove plaque

  • Prevent gum disease

  • Prevent cavities

  • Better smelling breath

  • Whiter teeth

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How Can I Remove An Object Caught Between My Teeth?

This is a dental problem, which you can possibly fix yourself.

If you have a small object caught between your teeth, first try to gently remove the object with dental floss. If flossing doesn’t work, tie a knot in your floss and carefully place the floss between your teeth and pull the knot through gently.

If the above tips don’t work, place a toothpick in between the two teeth where the item is lodged. Push it in slightly so it stays in place and keep it there for a minute or two. This allows your teeth to move slightly. Push on the toothpick once more so the teeth will move a bit further and wait a couple of minutes again. Then remove the toothpick and try flossing again.

Remember, never use anything sharp or pointed objects like a pin around your teeth as it may cut your gums or damage your tooth.

You can also try swishing with warm water and brush again. This may dislodge the food. If you still can’t get it out, then contact a dentist for advice or to schedule an appointment.

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What Happens if I Lose a Tooth Filling?

Fillings are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth. Sometimes fillings fall out. In some cases, a filling may come loose because there is decay underneath it. The decay destroys part of the tooth, so it no longer has a tight hold on the filling.

A lost filling may not be an immediate emergency. However, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air.

If you realize your filling has come out when it has happened and you haven’t already swallowed it, you should remove it from your mouth to prevent yourself from swallowing it.

You should call your dentist as soon as you lose your filling to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to replace the filling or perform whatever treatment is necessary.

If you are not able to get to your dentist that day to have it refilled, you will need to keep that area of your tooth really clean. The cavity that was filled is now exposed again and could worsen or feel really sensitive. Brush your teeth carefully making sure to remove any food debris from the cavity so that harmful bacteria do not accumulate.

Your tooth may be sensitive after you lose your filing. This may be caused by exposed dentin tubules, which are tiny pathways of communication between the dentin and the pulp of your tooth. The dentin tubules provide a direct pathway from the inside of your mouth to your tooth. If you do feel pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Make sure you get an appointment to see your Dentist

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Is Whitening Safe for my Teeth?

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a process that makes teeth appear whiter. Teeth whitening is a part of dentistry and should be recommended by your dental professional after assessing if you are eligible. You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits but these may carry risks.

Risks of home kits:

Some home kits don’t contain enough of the whitening product to be effective. More generally, if a dental professional is not doing the whitening, the mouth guard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto your gums and into your mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity. Remember to follow the directions carefully. Don’t leave the strips or gels on longer than advised – that may cause sore gums and set you up for other problems.

Even if you decide to whiten your teeth at home, you should see your dentist first. Your dentist will look for cavities and check the health of your gums during the exam. Treating any problems before you whiten is safer for your mouth.

No matter whether you decide to whiten your teeth at home or at dental office, to be on the safe side, pregnant women or nursing mothers should postpone teeth whitening.

Protect sensitive teeth:

Your teeth may become mildly sensitive after you whiten, but it’s usually short term. It might be less of an issue if your teeth and gums are in good shape. If it bothers you, stop the treatment and talk to your dentist.

Gel-filled trays, which you wear over your teeth like a mouth guard, can also bother your gums if they don’t fit well. It’s a good idea to stop using the product if you start having this problem. If you want more information about teeth whitening treatment, contact Expressions Dental Calgary NW dentists.

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What Can I Do For Toothache Relief?

A toothache is a common reason for visiting the dentist. Pain from toothaches can affect the teeth and jaws.

If you’re having continual mouth pain or discomfort, here are some steps to take to resolve the problem, or at least provide some temporary toothache relief until getting to the dentist:

  • Brush and floss your teeth to remove food fragments on and in-between your teeth. Rinse with warm water.

  • You may take painkillers for the pain, but DO NOT put an aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth. This can burn and cause damage to the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call to see a dentist as soon as possible.

  • Avoid very cold or hot foods as they may make the pain worse.

  • Relief may be obtained by biting on some cotton wool soaked in oil of cloves. Oil of cloves is available at most pharmacies.

  • It is important to know that persistent toothache pain may temporarily subside, but will usually return until the underlying problem has been addressed. Failure to treat these problems in a timely manner may lead to further deterioration and more costly treatment.

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might need to be done if the cause of a toothache is found to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed.

See your dentist as soon as possible if a toothache lasts longer than 1 or 2 days or if it is severe. Proper identification and treatment of dental infections are important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.

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