- Do I really need X-rays?
X-rays are an extremely useful and important diagnostic tool and can aid in preventing many major problems. The importance of routine thorough examinations by your dental team will do much to avoid major problems.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- The number, size and position of teeth
- Unerrupted or impacted teeth
- The presence and extent of dental caries (cavities)
- Bone damage (such as periodontitis)
- Abscessed teeth
- Fractured jaw
- Malocclusion of teeth
- Cysts or tumors
- Other abnormalities of the teeth and jaw bones
- X –rays help Riverstone Dental Clinic detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them.
- Is it Safe to have X-rays taken?
Numerous precautions and advances in x-ray equipment help protect patients from receiving unnecessary radiation. The amount of radiation received from a dental x-ray exam is extremely small compared to other naturally occurring sources of radiation, including minerals in the soil, radon and cosmic radiation from outer space. Unlike their medical counterparts dental x-rays are very low in radiation. A full-mouth series of films will deliver an effective dose that is equivalent to about 19 days of exposure to naturally occurring environmental radiation. The reason for this is that the amount of radiation needed to expose a film as small as a dental x-ray is very small. Also the areas in your mouth that are being x-rayed are far less dense than other areas of your body and therefore require very little radiation in order to pick up the image. Also, the beam of radiation is a very small narrow one and literally passes through the cheek and out of the body. The rest of your body is also shielded from any stray particles with a lead apron.
- X-ray Recommendations
- If you are a new patient, Riverstone Dental Clinic recommends x-rays to check the current status of your mouth and to check for hidden problems. We take 2 – 4 bitewing x-rays (small x-rays that are placed inside your mouth). As well we recommend a panoramic x-ray or orthopan. This x-ray shows a much greater area of your jawbones. Riverstone Dental Clinic feels that these x-rays are essential to complete a comprehensive examination. The bitewing x-rays are recommended at your next dental check up based on your oral health. Factors considered are your oral hygiene, caries and recurrent caries (cavities) and anomalies (unusual sores, bumps etc.). A six- month period is a long time in the life of a cavity and it is for this reason that a visit every six months is so important. The orthopan is recommended as required by individual circumstances. Again, anomalies (cysts, tumors, etc.) can form very rapidly and early diagnosis and intervention is critical.
- Anatomy of a Tooth
From the outside, a tooth looks like a hard, solid substance. But this cut-away illustration reveals that a tooth is really a complex system of specialized tissues.
The shiny, hard white tissue covering the tooth is the strongest tissue in your body. It has to be! Your jaws place as much as 128 pounds of pressure on your teeth when you chew, bite, clench or grind.
This tissue makes up most of the body of the tooth. Even though dentin is hard and feels solid to the touch, it’s actually microscopically porous and needs a covering of enamel or an artificial crown to protect it from decay-causing bacteria in your saliva.
This soft tissue contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp provides nourishment for the tooth during growth and development. Once the tooth is mature, the pulp’s only function is sensory. A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp. If this tissue is damaged, your tooth can be saved with root canal therapy.
The roots of your teeth are anchored by bone. Healthy teeth stimulate and keep bone healthy and vice versa.
This part of the tooth sits in the bone below the gum. Believe it or not, the root of your tooth is usually twice as long as the crown, the part you see above the gumline.
Like the springs that hold a trampoline to its frame, this tissue supports the tooth and holds it in place in the bony socket surrounding the tooth. This tissue cushions both the tooth and the surrounding bone against the shock of chewing and biting.
Dentists call this "gingiva". It covers the bone surrounding your teeth. When you brush your teeth after meals and floss daily you keep this tissue healthy. That’s important, because gum disease can cause bone loss. Gum disease can also expose the tooth roots to decay.
This is the part of the tooth you see above the gumline.
- Infection Control and Sterilization
Patients commonly ask how dental instruments and working areas are cleaned throughout the day. This fact sheet is intended to answer some frequently asked questions, and to provide you with the latest information on what are known as infection control techniques.
We pride ourselves on our thoroughness and proactive approach to sterilization. Our infection control plan is initiated the moment you step into the clinic. We encourage all of our adult patients to use the antibacterial mouth rinse that we provide prior to their therapy. Universal precautions are the foundation of infection control used for each and every patient in the office. Universal precautions means that the dentist treats each patient in the same way, using the same methods. Gloves, masks and safety glasses are barriers that we, as operators, use for each procedure. After each patient, gloves are discarded and hands are washed prior to the next procedure or patient. We even offer protective eyewear to our patients.
A variety of instruments are used in dental treatments. Whether the procedure is one of cleaning and polishing, root canal or extraction, each instrument undergoes a sterilization process after each patient. The guidelines apply to all instruments, with the exception of some instruments that are disposed of after a single use. After a patient’s appointment is complete, the instruments that have been used during the therapy undergoes two stages of cleaning - a thorough manual scrub and then time in the ultrasonic bath prior to a careful sterilization process before they are used on any other patient. Sterilization is a process that kills all forms of life, including infectious organisms such as Hepatitis B and HIV. The sterilizer that our clinic uses is a steam sterilizer called a Midmark 11. We monitor and test our sterilizer daily and forward the test to the lab at the David Thompson Health Region. With these detailed testing procedures, Dr. Price, his staff and his patients can be confident that the instruments used have been completely cleaned and sterilized.
A number of items in the clinic are used on patients only once and are discarded. Disposable items include gloves, needles and syringes, protective coverings for instrument trays, light handles and headrest covers and instruments that cannot withstand the sterilization process. This waste is called Biomedical Waste. We contract to the David Thompson Health Region to dispose of our biomedical waste in a safe and healthy manner.
Patient safety extends to the dental treatment area as well. The area in which your treatment occurs is cleaned and disinfected after each patient. Our office protocol is to remove all instruments, coverings and equipment from the operatory. We then wipe the chair, light, equipment and cabinetry with a Lysol/water solution. After the gross debris has been removed we then spray and wipe the complete operatory and equipment with a bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, tuberculocidal disinfectant solution.
Our clinic also has a clean water system. We include a bactericidal / fungicidal solution to all the water that we use in the dental unit. This deters algae or lime from building in the water lines.
Your health and safety is a priority at Riverside Walk Dental Clinic.
Ask any of the staff if you have questions or concerns or would simply like to see how we “clean”!!
- Dental Insurance - Payment Protocol
Our goal is to maximize your benefits and make any remaining balance easily affordable. We direct bill most insurance plans at this time. However, please bear in mind that you are responsible for complete payment of your account. Dental benefits vary from company to company and policy to policy. We recommend treatment that is necessary to help you achieve good oral health and therefore good body health. We do not recommend treatment according to the qualifications of your dental plan. Your particular dental plan may not cover the full extent of the cost you incur for your dental treatment. This can occur because the fees in our office are based on factors, which may not have been considered when your dental plan was negotiated. Our fees are based on the quality of the materials we use and our experience and expertise in performing your treatment. You are responsible for any differences between the amount paid by your insurance plan and the amount billed for your services rendered.
Our Office Policy regarding accounts is that (unless other arrangements have been made) payment is due upon date of service. For your convenience, we accept VISA, Mastercard, Interac, cash and personal cheques as payment forms.
- Does a woman's oral health during a pregnancy have any effect on the fetus?
Studies have shown that women with many decayed teeth and advanced gum disease may have babies who are born underweight or prematurely.
- Should I take fluoride during my pregnancy to make my baby's teeth stronger?
- Maternity vitamins are especially important during pregnancy, but fluoride during pregnancy has not been shown to be of value. Folic acid is now recommended for all women of childbearing age on a daily basis, even before a pregnancy. The placenta permits only trace amounts of fluoride to pass to the fetus. The primary teeth begin to form around six weeks of gestation. They are calcifying at twenty weeks and ready to come in or erupt by birth. The second teeth begin to form after birth
- My mouth is harder to keep clean now that I am pregnant. What can I do?
- Many women experience red, swollen gums and may seem to have an increase in dental decay with a pregnancy. This gum condition is known as gingivitis and is the result of changes in your hormone levels. One of the saliva's functions is to wash away food residues from teeth. You may notice a change in the consistency of your saliva and perhaps even a sticky film on your teeth because saliva is less effective in removing the residues. The old wives' tale, calcium is pulled from mother's teeth for the baby is not true. The change in the diet to more frequent meals with higher sugar and starch content contributes to the incidence of dental decay. Chronic vomiting may be experienced by some women. This can cause thinning or erosion of the tooth enamel. A baking soda and water mouth rinse should be used immediately after vomiting. Good oral hygiene is always important, but especially so during pregnancy. Adding a fluoride mouth rinse to your brushing and flossing will also help to lessen some of these problems.
- Pregnancy and Local Anesthetic (freezing)
- Local anesthesia is commonly used with epinephrine (adrenaline) which reduces the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream. This will also effect the passage of the anesthetic across the placental barrier. No adverse effects have been noted in extensive perinatal studies.
- Pregnancy and Antibiotics
- Penicillin (Penicillin V, V-Cillin K), Erythromycin (E-mycin), Cephalaosporins (Keflex, Ceclor). No known risk can be demonstrated during pregnancy based upon available data.
- Pregnancy and Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Advil, Anaprox, Motrin, Toradol. These drugs are used routinely to relieve mild to moderate pain and reduced inflammation and fever. Their use during pregnancy is contraindicated after the 34th week due to a reported potential for the induction of pulmonary hypertension.
- Pregnancy and Analgesics (pain relievers)
- 292:s (aspirin with codeine), Tylenol 3 (acetaminophen with codeine). Studies have shown that continuous high doses of aspirin are associated to prolong pregnancy, prolonged labour and increase in high blood loss at delivery. It is preferable to use acetaminophen products during pregnancy as no known risk has been demonstrated and there has been no documented evidence of side effects. The use of codeine, a narcotic, increases the pain relief potential of the drug. Prolonged use of codeine can be habit forming; however, there has been demonstratable side effects from usage during pregnancy. Please advise your dentist of all medications prescribed in order that all the information may be included in your medical chart.
- Pregnancy and Treatment timing - when can I see the dentist?
- In the first trimester the most important consideration is plaque control. Brushing and flossing are essential to prevent any problems that could occur during pregnancy, and routine dental cleanings are fine. In the second trimester routine dental care may be performed in addition to dental cleanings. Care is taken to perform only procedures and use medication that will not harm the growing baby. Extensive treatment is best left until after delivery. In the third trimester appointments are kept short and limited again to routine care. It should be noted that at any time discomfort or pain is experienced Riverstone Dental Clinic should be consulted for appropriate care to ensure the health of both mom and growing baby.