What Is A Root Canal?

Sometimes a little extra care is needed to rid the tooth of a blossoming infection and save the tooth itself. One of the treatments that are often recommended in a situation like this is the root canal. While many associate this dental treatment with cringes and avoidance, learning about why it can be necessary and how root canals are performed can ease any anxiety so that the health of your teeth is restored. 

Read below to learn what is a root canal and the procedure that can save a tooth.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of dental procedure where tooth pain is relieved by removing the inflamed pulp from the infected or abscessed tooth. The treatment is performed by a type of dentist called an Endodontist, which is a root canal specialist with an additional two years of education and training that focuses on the inner parts of the tooth and treatment of the pulp in teeth. They work in conjunction with your dentist to restore your natural teeth and improve oral health. 


When Would a Root Canal Be Recommended?

A root canal procedure is usually recommended when bacteria invade the pulp in your teeth, which often occurs when a cavity is untreated for an extended amount of time or a tooth has become damaged due to an injury to it. There are several symptoms that can indicate your dentist may recommend you for an endodontic treatment, like a root canal:

  • Pain in a tooth or your teeth that don’t go away
  • Discomfort radiating to your jaw, face, or other teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Swollen jaw
  • Tooth discoloration from poor blood supply to it
  • Pain from pressure applied to a tooth, like when eating
  • A loose tooth caused by infected pulp
  • Pimple or boil on the gums resulting from the pus that is draining from an infected tooth.
  • Unpleasant taste or smell 
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold in your teeth

If you have a combination of these symptoms then a root canal treatment will likely be recommended to save your tooth. Of course, you would need to be examined by your dentist to ensure that root canal therapy is the solution for what is causing these dental health issues.


What is the Root Canal Procedure?

A root canal procedure can take between 30 to 60 minutes and can require two dental office visits, though the treatment can reach an hour and a half if the root canal is being performed on a larger tooth with several roots. No matter the time it takes, a root canal treatment follows these steps:

  • Prior to the treatment, your dentist will take dental x-rays to assess the extent of the damage and ensure a root canal is a right solution.
  • Anesthesia is given to numb the infected tooth and surrounding gums.
  • A dental dam is placed to isolate the tooth and keep it dry during the root canal treatment
  • An opening is made in the crown of the tooth so the dentist can reach the pulp inside
  • The pulp is removed along with the nerves, blood vessels, and tissues inside the tooth
  • The pulp chamber inside the tooth and root canals is cleaned, disinfected, and shaped for new filling
  • The canals are filled with gutta-percha, a flexible and rubbery dental material.
  • A temporary dental filling is placed to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from re-entering it.
  • A dental crown will likely be needed to protect the tooth and restore your natural bite. To learn more about crowns, we recommend reading here: How Does a Dental Crown Work?

After the root canal is finished you’ll likely experience heightened sensitivity for a few days before they subside after two weeks. Many patients also report immediate relief from the tooth pain they suffered prior to the treatment.

Make a Root Canal Appointment Here!

If a root canal seems like the appropriate solution for you or has been recommended, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Li. She’ll examine your health history and current dental health before outlining a treatment plan that is personalized to your teeth’ needs.

Dr. Li and the care team at Ellerslie 66 Dental Clinic strive to make dental care affordable and accessible to all of our patients. We will work with you to find a treatment plan for your dental bridge that works for your financial situation.

If you have questions about root canals, our team of compassionate professionals can help you understand all of your options. Contact us now or give us a call at (780) 705-9866.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Worth it?

A healthy smile is more than having good oral health, it’s tied to self-confidence and overall wellness, which is what cosmetic dentistry helps with. A smile is one of the first things people will notice about you, and it makes sense that people want to invest in having the kind of smile they’re proud to show off. 

If you’re curious whether or not cosmetic dentistry is worth it, read below to see what it entails, the different types of cosmetic dentistry, and the benefits of having it done. 


What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is any dental procedure whereby a dentist’s goal is to improve the appearance of a smile, including the teeth’ position, size, shape and color, gums, and jaw bite. If you’ve ever sought out a dentist for:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Teeth whitening
  • Closing gaps

Then you’ve been looking for cosmetic dentistry. A common example of cosmetic dentistry is braces, though it’s a bit of a gray area as to why a patient would need braces determines if it’s medical or cosmetic. The most simple way to explain what cosmetic dentistry is is by describing it as any dental procedure that isn’t essential to the health of your teeth, gums, or mouth. That, of course, doesn’t mean there aren’t other benefits to other areas of your wellness. 


Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

To better understand if cosmetic dentistry is worth it, you first need to know the many different types of procedures that fall under that category. Many cosmetic dental procedures are near painless and have almost no recovery time, so if you’re worried about having to reorder your week, you likely won’t have to beyond the appointment. While this list doesn’t include every procedure that falls under the cosmetic umbrella, it will give you a look at some of the options available to you:

  •  Dental Veneers: Veneers are usually made from a medical-grade ceramic and specifically for the patient getting them. Dental veneers resemble natural teeth and are applied to the front of each tooth using an adhesive. The goal is to cover cracked or damaged enamel, noticeable gaps, and crooked teeth.
  • Crowns and Bridges: Dental bridges are used to fill the space between missing teeth and are one of those procedures that can also be considered medically necessary rather than just cosmetic. They’re often used as a less invasive and more affordable option instead of dental implants, though they share the same goal as other types of dental restorations.
  • Orthodontics: From braces to invisible teeth straightening, each is made specifically for the patient and is used to straighten teeth. This is another procedure that can be both cosmetic and medical, as crooked teeth may cause severe issues in your mouth or, if minor misalignment, can give more confidence in your smile.
  • Teeth Whitening: So many of our favorite foods and drinks can dull the whiteness of our teeth, so it’s no wonder why many people become interested in cosmetic dentistry at one point or another. Having teeth whitening performed is one of the fastest and most popular cosmetic dental procedures that yield great results while restoring confidence in your smile. 


The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

It’s unfortunate that cosmetic dentistry is sometimes considered just vanity when there is a range of benefits to overall wellness and self-esteem. Below you’ll find a list of some of the positive side-effects of that make cosmetic dentistry worth it:

  • Long-lasting results: many cosmetic dentistry procedures have results that can last more than 10-years, minimizing the money spent on reclaiming the smile you’re wanting.
  • Headache relief: crooked or misaligned teeth are known to cause headaches. Having them straightened through cosmetic dentistry helps to reduce or even eliminate them.
  • Improved dental hygiene: People who have a cosmetic dentistry procedure performed tend to become more invested in their oral health following the work done. Inspired by their new smile, patients report picking up better dental hygiene routines and regular dental appointments to maintain their smiles. 
  • Improved self-esteem: When people dislike their teeth they tend to hide their smiles and fear how others perceive their mouth. By being confident and proud in your oral health and smile, your day-to-day interactions with people become more comfortable as are you to fully express yourself in the face. 

Don’t let anyone convince you that cosmetic dentistry is just a vanity project, your self-confidence and liking the way you look is important. Beyond your self-esteem, you can see that cosmetic dentistry is worth it for the other positive side effects as well. 

If you’re interested in having cosmetic dentistry , we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.


How Does a Dental Crown Work?

We put our teeth through a lot over our lifetime, and they can become damaged from decay, injury, or even losing their shape. Dental crowns help give our teeth some extra strength to continue chewing and help prevent further damage. People tend to wonder how a dental crown works – it’s not like a filling, and no one would want to cover up a cavity when it needs to be fixed. What are they even for? 

Let’s go over how a dental crown works, what to expect when getting one placed on your tooth, and some tips once the crown has been added. 


What is a Dental Crown?

Essentially, a dental crown is a cap that is placed over a damaged tooth. It helps to protect and cover, as well as restore the shape of the tooth if a filling doesn’t solve the issue. They’re typically made out of metal, resin, porcelain, or ceramic and strengthen the tooth as well as help it regain its appearance. Think of it as a form-fitting hat for your teeth!


Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?

There are several reasons why someone would need to have a dental crown, and even children may require one if they have a tooth that cannot support a filling. Some reasons why an adult would need one include:

  • Protecting a tooth from decay, breaking, or cracking
  • Restoring a tooth that is broken or severely worn down
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Covering a tooth post-root canal
  • Holding a dental bridge in place
  • Helping to support a tooth with a large filling, especially if much of the natural tooth has worn or cracked away
  • Covering a tooth that is severely discolored or misshapen

As you can see, a dental crown can be used for medically necessary reasons or for cosmetic reasons, and for all age groups. 


How is a Dental Crown Placed?

If you have anxiety around the dentist’s office, it can help to know the procedure involved when getting a dental crown placed. First, there are two visits involved when in need of a dental crown. Here’s what you can expect when in need of a dental crown treatment:

In your first dental crown appointment:

  1. A dentist will examine the tooth in need of a crown.
  2. X-rays are taken of the tooth and the surrounding bone.
  3. After the exam, if any decay, injury to the pulp, or risk of infection is found, a root canal may be needed. You can read more about root canals here.
  4. The tooth will be filed down on the top and on both sides to make space for the crown. The amount of tooth filed depends on the type of crown you’ll be getting. For example, an all-metal crown won’t require much of the tooth to be filed away since it’s made of thinner material.
  5. A putty is used to make an impression of the tooth and the teeth around it after reshaping is finished. This ensures the crown fits and does not affect your natural bite. 
  6. The impression is sent to a dental lab where a crown will be made. While you wait for your crown, your dentist will give you a temporary one to protect the tooth. 

Your second dental crown appointment involves:

  1. The temporary crown given on your first visit is removed.
  2. The fit and color of the permanent dental crown is checked before being applied.
  3. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the tooth and the new crown is cemented on top in place. 

You’re all done! 

Dental Crown Aftercare

Now that you know how a dental crown works, what about after it has been placed? You’ll be happy to know that there isn’t any special care involved outside of routine brushing and flossing. This is important as the dental crown doesn’t stop decay or gum disease from getting to the tooth it’s protecting. It’s also important to note that dental crowns don’t last forever – they usually range between 5-15 years.

If you need a dental crown or are worried about the strength of your teeth, we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.

What is a Root Canal?

There can be a lot of nerves around hearing the phrase “root canal”, which is understandable given that many people feel anxious around dental procedures. The root canal is sometimes a necessary procedure and an important one to have when an infection is underway. Today, we’ll discuss what a root canal is and what to expect during the procedure to help ease any anxiety. 


The Root Canal Explained

A root canal is a dental procedure that eliminates bacteria from an infected root canal. The procedure deals with infection in the pulp of the tooth, which is the center part of a tooth that is made up of connective tissues, blood vessels, and cells. This is the part of the tooth that is alive and feeds your tooth vital nutrients to keep it healthy and working correctly. Another duty of the pulp is to act as a kind of alarm, meaning that when you have a toothache it’s the pulp that is sending pain or sensitivity your way. The pulp also gives teeth its color by creating dentin, which acts as a shield for the pulp.

As you can see, the pulp of a tooth is incredibly important to good oral health. This is why a root canal procedure is a great thing – it saves the tooth from being extracted and infection from spreading to the gums. 


The Root Canal Procedure

Before we discuss the root canal procedure itself, let’s go over some of the signs of needing the treatment:

  • Severe tooth pain when chewing or applying pressure.
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the source of the sensation is gone. For example, a cold drink of water causing tooth pain and that sensitivity lasting even after the water has been drunk.
  • Discoloration or darkening of the tooth.
  • Swelling and tenderness in the gum nerve.
  • Persistent and recurring pimples on the gums.

It’s important to note that your dentist may find infection even without any of these symptoms, and so a root canal will likely be recommended.

For a root canal procedure itself, here is what you can expect:

  • A root canal can require one or more office visits and can be performed by either your dentist or an endodontist.
  • First, an X-ray is taken to see the shape of the root canals and to see if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone.
  • Anesthesia is administered, though sometimes it isn’t necessary if the nerve is dead. 
  • To keep the area dry and free of saliva, your dentist will put a rubber dam around the tooth.
  • An access hole is then drilled into the tooth to remove the pulp, bacteria, and debris from inside. This is done using root canal files that increase in diameter, and each one is placed into the access hold to scrape and scrub the inside of the root canal. 
  • To flush away debris, the dentist will use water or sodium hypochlorite periodically.
  • Once everything is cleared out and the tooth cleaned the dentist will seal it. Sometimes dentists will wait a week before doing this if medication is needed to help fight infection. If this is the case, or a follow-up root canal procedure is needed, the dentist will place a temporary filling to keep contaminants out in the meantime.
  • The last step in a root canal isn’t always necessary but involves the restoration of the tooth via a crown or crown and post. Your dentist will discuss these options with you. 

Now that you know more about what is involved in a root canal, you can see that it isn’t the terrifying procedure so many think it is. In fact, we perform root canals at our office and you can find information on that service here.

We have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.

How to Whiten Teeth

Having whiter teeth is a goal many people have, and it’s no wonder why so many scour the internet looking for solutions. There are so many kinds of toothpaste, foods, drinks, types of mouthwash, and other products that offer relief from stains or yellow hues, it’s dizzying to think about which ones are right for you. 

In an attempt to help people get the color they want for their teeth, we’ve assembled some helpful ways to whiten teeth naturally, as well as methods dentists use to whiten teeth cosmetically. Let’s start with helpful tips you can use at your home.


How to Whiten Teeth Naturally

Brushing Your Teeth

It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it really does work. Brushing your teeth daily is the best way to whiten your teeth and prevent stains from sticking. If your teeth are already a bit yellowish for your liking, brushing a bit more often isn’t a bad idea, in fact, it can help! A helpful tip for frequent brushers, don’t brush immediately after eating acidic foods or drinks, which can cause erosion of your teeth and the enamel. So don’t feel the need to rush to your toothbrush as soon as you’ve finished your meal. 

The Ol’ Baking Soda

Ever wonder why baking soda is in so many kinds of toothpaste? That’s because it helps to remove stains from the surface of your teeth without being harsh to them. Some home tips call for hydrogen peroxide to be mixed with baking soda, in which case you get a paste to brush with. Forewarning, though: pure hydrogen peroxide can be a bit too harsh on your gums. 

Cosmetic Dentistry to Whiten Teeth

Home tips are great and all, but they can take quite some time before you see any difference. The other option is to see your oral health professional for some cosmetic dentistry. Going to your dentist is a speedier process with the added benefit of being under supervision while your teeth reclaim their bright white. Here is what to expect if choosing to lighten your smile at the dental office:

  • Be prepared for a 60 to 90 meeting appointment
  • Before beginning the teeth whitening process, your dentist will record the current shade of your teeth
  • Your teeth will be polished with pumice, which is a grainy material that removes any plaque on the surface of your teeth.
  • Be prepared for a dry mouth, your dentist will use gauze and retractors to help keep your teeth dry and to keep the rest of the mouth away from the whitening solution.
  • Your teeth will be coated in a whitening solution, usually either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both are good bleaching agents.
  • Depending on the product your dentist uses to whiten your teeth, they may use a curing light or laser to activate the peroxide. Once that is done, you’ll be sitting around for half an hour to an hour to let the solutions work their magic.
  • Once the best shade for your teeth is reached or the maximum time is met, your teeth will be rinsed. 
  • To help with any teeth sensitivity, your dentist may apply fluoride. Don’t worry, tooth sensitivity is common after having your teeth whitened.
  • If the optimum shade isn’t reached in one visit, your dentist will want to schedule a follow-up appointment to help further whiten your teeth. 

Depending on your dentist, they may have a do-it-yourself teeth whitening kit. If you’re not wanting or are unable to hang around the dental office for 90 minutes, be sure to ask your dentist if this is an option for you. 


Whitened Teeth is a Brighter Smile

The best way to help prevent a yellowed smile is to brush regularly and see your dentist at least once a year. There is no better treatment than ongoing oral care. If you are in need of a dental check-up or looking for how to whiten your teeth, Dr. Li is available to restore your smile. We have numerous payment options available, and if you have dental benefits, we submit your claims on your behalf. We also accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make your visit as quick and pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.

What are Dental Implants?

The idea of implants, especially in the mouth, can be off-putting for a lot of people. It’s understandable, but they are a great tool to restore oral well-being and confidence in your smile. For those who aren’t sure as to what dental implants are, why or when they are needed, and the procedure behind implantation, let’s fill in the gap and hopefully remove any anxiety you may have about getting a dental implant.

Firstly, what are dental implants? They are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed or replacement teeth. Simply put, they replace your natural roots that keep the tooth in place. Some people think of dental implants as something like dentures or bridges or crowns, but they are more popular as a long-term solution. The reason for that is because dental implants feel, fit, and function like natural teeth. In fact, they are becoming the new standard over dentures, bridges, and crowns. More specifically, dental implants wouldn’t be the prosthetic tooth itself but hold it in place like a natural root would.

Next, let’s cover the procedure behind dental implants.


How Are They Implanted?

Many people have anxiety over going to the dentist, in part because they’re unsure what to expect in procedures like dental implantation. To help alleviate that, we’re going to cover the steps to getting a dental implant.

The first thing a dentist would do is evaluate the condition of your jawbone by doing an x-ray, taking impressions, and noting the color of your teeth so that the implant looks natural. You’ll also discuss any medical conditions and medications to ensure a safe and successful implant.

Next, your dentist will discuss anesthesia options; for example, using novocaine to feel numb or to sleep during the procedure. This is in preparation for extracting the tooth or remaining tooth fragments to make way for the implant. If you decide to go for local anesthesia to numb your mouth, you’ll feel no more than pressure and some tugging during the extraction.

The third step depends on the kind of dental implant you’re getting. One type consists of inserting the implant into the jawbone directly beneath your gum line. The second type is where a metal frame is installed just underneath the gum tissue so that it is fitted onto the jawbone. Neither option is better than the other and mostly depends on your jawbone itself. 

This next step happens after you heal from the third stage in the implant procedure and the implant is confirmed stable. The dentist will place an abutment on top of your dental implant, which is the piece that connects to your crown. This stage requires no more than some local anesthesia since it’s far less invasive than the previous step. And now the hard part is over!

The final step of the dental implant procedure is adding a permanent crown that matches the rest of your teeth. You don’t have to have a permanent crown if it’s not desired; you can choose a removable crown for cleaning or replacement. An important thing to remember is while you can choose a removable crown, the dental implant itself is permanent. 

After you’re all done with the dental implant it’s important to take proper care of yourself. You should stock up on soft foods and avoid tobacco as it can increase the risk of infections.

How do Dental Implants Improve Oral Health?

Dental implants are an incredible way to improve overall oral health, and not only because it replaces a damaged or rotted tooth. The special design of a dental implant also helps prevent future tooth loss. How that occurs is because of the way a tooth root interacts with your jawbone. A natural tooth root stimulates the bone replacement cycle, helping old bone tissue become replaced by new and healthy tissue. When a tooth falls out, the root no longer instigates that process and the jawbone can become thin and weak over time, causing other teeth to fall out. Dentures and bridges don’t solve that problem because they rest on top of your gums, having no interaction with the bone replacement cycle. 

Dental implants are embedded in your jawbone, as previously mentioned, and help stimulate the process and keep fresh tissue being delivered to your jaw. This is the key reason why dental implants help promote overall oral health. Of course, removing a damaged or rotted tooth helps as well, but the dental implant instigates the bone replacement cycle, putting it above the other options for tooth replacement. 

If you are in need of a dental implant, Dr. Li is available to help you regain your oral health. We have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.