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Portway Dentistry is passionate about staying connected with our patients in Brantford through social media. Check out our latest Google+ updates to learn more about what we’re up to. You can also check out our blog posts:

  • 06/09/2016
    What to Do With a Broken or Dislodged Tooth

    When your tooth breaks or gets completely knocked out, it's not just painful-it's terrifying. The first thing you need to do is call your dentist and schedule an emergency appointment. But what can you do before the appointment to make sure you're comfortable and your tooth can be restored?

    If you remain calm and take some simple steps to protect yourself and your teeth, you can get through this experience in one piece. There are different things you need to do depending on if your tooth has broken or been completely dislodged.

    Broken Teeth
    A broken tooth can be anything from a small fracture to a total split.

    How It Happens
    You can break a tooth in any number of ways. The most common include:


    • Eating hard foods
    • Being injured by falling or a hit to the mouth
    • Having cavities that weaken the tooth
    • Having large, old fillings that don't support the remaining enamel


    How You'll Know
    There may or may not be pain when you break a tooth. However, your tongue will definitely feel the sharp edges if your tooth has broken into pieces.

    If there is pain, it usually means the nerve inside the tooth is damaged or exposed. It might hurt when you bite down, or eat/drink hot or cold things. Your tooth might also hurt when the air hits it. The pain can be constant, or it can come and go.

    If your tooth is just fractured, you might not know it right away. If it doesn't hurt when you bite down but does when you release your bite, you might have a fractured tooth.

    What You Should Do
    Aside from getting to the dentist as quickly as possible, there are some things you should do immediately after your tooth breaks.


    1. If you feel the tooth break, be careful not to swallow the pieces. Spit them out and keep them together in a container to take with you to the dentist. You can rinse them off if you need to, but be careful not to lose them.
    2. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the wound and help prevent infection.
    3. Take a mild pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce swelling and help with any pain.
    4. Apply pressure to the area with a piece of gauze.
    5. Put a cold pack on the outside of your cheek or lips to reduce swelling and help with pain.
    6. If you can't get to dentist right away, then cover the remaining tooth with temporary dental cement.


    What the Dentist Will Do
    The dentist will do different things depending on what type of breakage you have. Teeth may break in any of the following ways:


    • Cracked tooth: When the tooth is still together, but cracked from the chewing surface down to the nerve.
    • Broken cusp: When the tooth's pointed chewing surface breaks.
    • Serious break: When the nerve is exposed.
    • Split tooth: When the tooth splits into two separate pieces.
    • Vertical breaks/split roots: When the tooth cracks at the root and the crack spreads upward.
    • Cavity-related breaks: When decay causes your teeth to crumble or break.


    You dentist will tell you about your options and whether or not the tooth can be saved. Most types of breaks require a root canal and a crown.

    Dislodged Teeth
    Dislodged teeth are legendary side effects of fighting. However, they can happen in other ways too.


    How It Happens
    A tooth may become dislodged as a result of:


    • Biting on hard food
    • Falling
    • Trauma
    • Fighting
    • Car accidents


    How You'll Know
    You'll know your tooth is dislodged and not just broken if the entire top and roots have come out of your mouth. It might hurt if the nerves are exposed.

    What You Should Do
    First of all, try not to swallow the tooth. The best thing you can do is put it back in its socket until you can get to the dentist. To do this, pick up the tooth only by its top. Do not touch the roots. Then put the tooth back in its place with gauze on top. Bite down gently to hold it in.

    If you can't put the tooth back, keep it in a small container full of whole milk or saliva. This will keep the roots moist until the dentist can replace the tooth. You can also put the tooth between your cheek and gums or under your tongue.

    After you've taken care of the tooth, apply direct pressure with gauze to control any bleeding, and put a cold compress on your face. You can also take a pain reliever.

    What the Dentist Will Do
    Time is of the essence when your tooth has been knocked out. The faster the dentist can replace the tooth, the better the chance y our body will accept it.

    When you arrive at the dentist's office, they will clean the tooth and put it back in its socket along with a stabilizing splint. You'll wear the splint for a few weeks.

    After some time, your dentist will perform a root canal procedure. You'll need regular checkups over the next five years to make sure the tooth stays firmly in place.

    Losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience. However, with just a few simple steps, you'll be smiling again in no time.

    Read More
  • 05/09/2016
    Understanding Canker Sores
    Canker sores can be painful and annoying little lesions. If you have a tendency to develop these sores, then you know how irritating they can be.

    The main goal when you have a canker sore is to make it go away as quickly as possible. To do that, it helps to know more about these sores and what causes them.

    What Are Canker Sores?
    The technical name for canker sores is aphthous ulcers. They are small lesions that appear inside your mouth as round or oval sores. They usually have a red border and a yellow or white center. They can be a variety of sizes.

    Canker sores are not generally dangerous. They are benign and not contagious. Were you to kiss someone who had a canker sore, you wouldn't have to worry about "catching" it. However, secondary infections can occasionally develop.

    What Causes Canker Sores?
    People who get canker sores regularly may notice that there are different things that cause them. You may know you tend to get canker sores if you bite your lip or feel stressed. These are known as "triggers" and they vary by individual.

    Regardless of personal triggers, what exactly causes canker sores is not clear. Most likely, canker sores are caused by a number of different factors working together. For some people, canker sores could be linked to an auto-immune response.

    Where Do Canker Sores Typically Develop?
    When you get them, you'll spot these little ulcers inside your mouth. Any soft tissue in your mouth is fair game. Most commonly, these sores will develop on the inside of your cheeks and lips, on your gums, and on the top and tip of the tongue.

    Cold sores can be easily confused with canker sores. However, these are two different things. Canker sores will never develop on your lips or the outside of your mouth.

    What Are the Symptoms of Canker Sores?
    The most common symptom of canker sores is localized pain. Sometimes before a sore develops you'll know it's coming because of a burning, itching, or stinging sensation in the area where the sore will be.

    Once the sore has arrived, it will hurt to touch it, or have it come in contact with food. Sometimes even your own tongue can be painful to encounter. In severe cases, the pain can make it difficult for people to eat or drink.

    How Long Do Canker Sores Last?
    The sores themselves usually last between 7 and 10 days. You should call your dentist if you have:

    • Extremely large sores
    • Spreading sores
    • Sores that last longer than a couple weeks

    Do Canker Sores Cause Other Symptoms?
    In rare cases, a person can develop a fever when they are getting a canker sore. Usually, there are no other symptoms in the body.

    Will Canker Sores Keep Coming Back?
    There is a condition called aphthous stomatitis which is characterized by the repeated development of canker sores. About 20% of the population is affected by aphthous stomatitis to some degree. This condition usually develops in childhood and goes away with age.

    Not all canker sores are caused by aphthous stomatitis. However, chances are if your child gets a canker sore, he or she will eventually get another one. There is no cure for aphthous stomatitis, but you can treat the canker sores that develop.

    How Do You Treat Canker Sores?
    The goal when treating canker sores is to reduce pain and promote healing. For most people, the sores are not painful enough to require any treatment at all. If you have a particularly painful ulcer though, reducing the pain may be necessary to make it comfortable to do things like eat.

    Treatments for canker sores include:

    • Topical Anesthetics - Corticosteroid creams and oral pain reliever pastes are the first choice for treatment of canker sores. Products such as Oragel and Orabase are applied topically and will numb the pain.
    • Topical Antiseptics - Antibacterial rinses can be used to both speed up the healing time for canker sores, and prevent a secondary infection from occurring. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic rinse, or an anti-inflammatory steroid mouthwash.
    • Oral Medications - Oral medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can be used for pain relief. They will also help with inflammation. Zinc lozenges and Vitamin C can help with symptoms as well.

    How Do You Prevent Canker Sores?
    The best way to avoid canker sores is to avoid doing anything that triggers them for you. This can include:

    • Avoiding spicy foods
    • Avoiding acidic foods
    • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush to lessen irritation
    • Using relaxation techniques to lessen stress
    • Being careful to avoid biting your lips, tongue, or cheeks

    Canker sores are irritating and painful, but there are some things you can do to make them feel better. By being better informed about them, you are better prepared to treat them when you get them, and avoid them when you can.

    Read More
  • 04/09/2016
    What Is Tooth Decay?

    Tooth Hurts? Here’s What You Should Know about Tooth Decay

    If you’ve got a tooth in your mouth that won’t stop throbbing, stinging, or tickling, there are many possible explanations, but the most common cause of tooth pain is tooth decay. Tooth decay happens to people all over the world, and most people experience it at least once in their lifetimes.

    What Is Tooth Decay?
    Your mouth is full of bacteria species like streptococci, staphylococci, and lactobacilli, among other things. Fortunately, your saliva is usually more than enough to keep these bacteria strains from doing damage to your teeth. Saliva cleans and strengthens your teeth, making it difficult for the bacteria to infect them.

    However, sometimes the saliva can’t do enough, and the bacteria starts to eat your teeth, causing tooth decay. And if you don’t act quickly, the bacteria will spread through your teeth and cause some serious damage.

    The deeper the bacteria goes into your teeth, the worse the damage will be:

    • Decay normally starts somewhere on the enamel, or hard outer layer of your teeth. It’s much easier to stop in this layer.
    • It then spreads to the middle layer, or dentin. Once decay reaches the dentin, it can spread more easily to the rest of the tooth.
    • The innermost layer of your tooth is called the pulp. If the bacteria get this far, they can infect the nerves and blood vessels in the rest of your mouth, spreading to your other teeth, your gums, and the rest of your body.However, you’ll normally notice the decay before it reaches your pulp. You’ll see and feel the warning signs, and then you can go to the dentist before the infection becomes that serious.

    What Are the Signs of Tooth Decay?
    Here’s how you’ll know if you have tooth decay:

    • Your tooth will be sensitive—or even sting—when you eat or drink anything sweet, hot, or cold.
    • Your tooth will hurt significantly when you bite down on it.
    • You’ll have a constant or near-constant toothache.
    • You’ll see white, gray, brown, or black spots on the surface of your teeth.
    • You’ll have actual pits or holes in your teeth.
    • Your gums will swell.
    • Your mouth will have a foul smell or taste.

    Most people notice before decay causes significant damage to their teeth, but sometimes it sneaks up on you. That’s why your dentist schedules regular checkups every six months—the regular visits protect you from unpleasant surprises. But if you notice any of these signs in your mouth, call your dentist right away.

    What Causes Tooth Decay?
    Your saliva is awesome. It protects your teeth from all kinds of dangers, including desiccation and bacteria. But sometimes your habits (or your genetics) make it so your saliva can’t keep up with the bacteria. The bacteria feed off of whatever’s in your mouth instead of being washed away, and they create an acid as they feed. The acid breaks down your enamel and ruins your teeth.

    So what habits help the bacteria overcome your saliva (and your fluoride toothpaste)? Read the list below and see if you have any of the following habits:

    1. You don’t brush or floss. If you want your teeth to be healthy, you need to brush and floss them every single day. You should brush at least twice and floss at least once. This scrapes the bacteria and acid off of your teeth, and the fluoride kills any bacteria in the rest of your mouth. If you don’t floss, the bacteria will just build up.
    2. You eat tons of sugary and acidic foods. Bacteria feed on the sugar in your mouth, so the more sugar you eat, the more they have to eat as well. And the acid just makes their job easier, breaking down the hard part of the tooth so the bacteria can eat the softer tissues inside.
    3. You ingest tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco also breaks down your teeth.

    There are also other causes that you have no control over. If you have diabetes, you can’t control your blood sugars as well. The bacteria in your mouth may have more to feed on, making it easier for you to develop tooth decay. There are also conditions like xerostomia that prevent you from making enough saliva, which means it can’t wash the bacteria and sugars off your teeth.

    How Do You Treat Tooth Decay?
    The kind of treatment you get depends on how far your tooth decay advances. Common solutions include:

    • Fillings for cavities and smaller holes in the enamel
    • Crowns for extensive damage—the crown will replace a significant portion of the tooth
    • Root canals for severe infections that reach the pulp in your tooth—you will need a bridge or implant of some kind afterward

    If you think you might have tooth decay, call your dentist right away. It’s better to catch the problem when it’s small and relatively inexpensive to fix. But no matter what stage the decay is in, you can trust your dentist to make your smile whole and comfortable again.
    Read More
  • 03/09/2016
    Want Strong, Healthy Teeth? Chew on This!
    In the beginning, humans mainly survived on plants, berries, and nuts they gathered from the land. Years later, they developed tools that enabled them to hunt for meat. Paleontologists have discovered that around the time we began to hunt, our teeth changed in shape and strength. Do we need to eat meat for strong and healthy teeth? It might be in our bones!

    A Little History
    How do we know when humans started hunting? Fossils of animal bones show cut marks that were not made by any predator. These bones tell scientists that the marks were made with handmade weapons from hunters. Anthropologists have discovered that it's around this same time that humans began to evolve.

    Nuts and berries are very nutritious, but also very low in calories and fat. Scientists believe that humans were able to develop larger brains, grow stronger bones and teeth, and ultimately live longer thanks to the nutrition and fat from meat. The complex strands of proteins and fatty acids are a much more efficient source of fuel and are the building blocks of our body.

    Once humans began to eat meat, this became the preferred dinner option over nuts and berries. Their meals were more satisfying, they felt full longer, and they had higher levels of energy to do more hunting.

    Why is Meat Good for Bones?
    These days, we cure and package our meats. The process adds sodium, acidity, and preservatives which eat away at the enamel of our teeth. Natural, unprocessed meat is not as acidic, making it less harmful to your mouth. Once it's digested, our bodies can go to work metabolizing the nutrients it contains.

    • Protein-the foundation for nutrition in our bodies. Protein helps us grow healthy skin, hair, muscles, organs, and yes-bones! Soybeans and legumes are a good source of protein for those who wish to avoid eating meat.
    • Calcium-the mineral that particularly goes to work to help build strong bones is found in meat. It is also in spin ach, turnips, kale, broccoli, and soy.
    • Vitamin B-12-this helps us produce red blood cells and fight anemia. This is a vitamin that is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. People who don't eat any animal products can get this from eating enriched foods like cereal, or by taking a multi-vitamin.
    • Iron-another necessary part of creating red blood cells. In order for the body to absorb iron, you need to have enough vitamin C in your system. Iron is also found in dark leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, and enriched cereals.
    • Zinc-an essential mineral that aids in healing your body and fighting off diseases. This mineral helps with cell division and helps to form protein. This can be found in nuts, wheat germ, and soy.

    Meat is not the only source for healthy hair, skin, and bones. It takes eating a balanced diet full of protein, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals. And don't forget the sunlight!

    Foods for Strong Teeth and Bones
    For strong teeth you need to eat a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. In order for your body to absorb vitamin D properly, you must get exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) energy-also known as sunlight. You don't need a lot of exposure in order for this to happen.

    You can avoid harmful rays during the hours of 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Wearing sunblock and clothing doesn't mean that you won't get exposure either. UVB rays can penetrate layers, and you only need about 10 minutes a day. Just enough to get out for a walk.

    Now that you know what's good to eat and how to get vitamin D, let's start cooking! Here is a list of foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein:

    • Beef, chicken, turkey and pork
    • Salmon, trout, sardines, and tuna
    • Milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt
    • Fortified cereals, whole grains, and wheat germ
    • Soy milk, soy beans, and legumes
    • Calcium-fortified orange juice
    • Broccoli, spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, turnips, and bok choy
    • Avocados, almonds, and peanuts

    For adults and women in particular, it's good to supplement your diet with a calcium pill. There are even options that offer calcium with vitamin D. This fights aging and osteoporosis, helping to keep your bones strong as you grow older.

    What about Fluoride?
    Fluoride is the element that helps fight tooth decay. It's naturally found in soil, water, foods, and several minerals. Most countries do not fluoridate their drinking water, but the United States still does. It is less of a concern to supplement fluoride in our diet now that we add it to the water. Doctors and dentists may still recommend it depending on different circumstances.

    Be sure to eat a good diet and keep your teeth strong-so you can keep eating more healthy, bone building foods!
    Read More
  • 02/09/2016
    Everything You Wanted to Know About Wisdom Teeth

    Congratulations! You handle a dental checkup like a professional. You walk in like a champ, zone out the sound of drilling, and are ready come out of the office with a clean, healthy smile.


    But what’s this?

    Your dentist looks at your x-rays and notes that your wisdom teeth are on their way. Or perhaps, they’ve already grown in, and they’re starting to push your other molars out of place.

    If you’re worried about wisdom teeth, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom teeth, so you can relax the next time you visit the dentist.

    What Are Wisdom Teeth?
    Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that appear in the back of your jaw. Most adults develop four wisdom teeth; some individuals develop fewer while others may have more (also known as supernumerary teeth).

    Who Put the “Wisdom” in Wisdom Teeth?
    People have called this third set of molars the “teeth of wisdom” since the 17th century. By the early 19th century, these molars gained the title “wisdom teeth.”

    Wisdom teeth get their name because they appear much later than other teeth, usually when you are in your late teens or early twenties. Some scholars call this age the “age of wisdom.”

    Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

    In the past, wisdom teeth helped to grind down plant tissue. Some experts believe that the skulls of our human ancestors had larger jaws, so they could fit more teeth. However, as the human diet changed, we evolved to have smaller jaws. Wisdom teeth became unnecessary, but they still develop in human mouths.

    Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

    In some cases, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed. If your jaw is large enough, and if the wisdom teeth align correctly with your other teeth, then you may keep your wisdom teeth.

    However, most wisdom teeth don’t have room to grow in properly. This forces the wisdom teeth to grow in at unusual angles, sometimes horizontally. When this happens, it creates pressure on the surrounding teeth and can even cause nerve damage.

    When Should Your Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
    Many dentists believe that wisdom teeth should be removed at a young age, sometimes before the wisdom teeth fully form roots. This minimizes damage to the surrounding teeth, and it makes it easier to extract the teeth.

    Furthermore, young adults are more likely to recover quickly from surgery, while older patients have a greater risk for complications. While wisdom tooth extraction works well for a variety of age groups, ideally it’s best to remove wisdom teeth between 18 and 24 years of age.

    What to Expect During a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
    Wisdom tooth extractions vary depending on your oral surgeon and your individual needs. Your surgeon will select an appropriate anesthesia depending on the complexity of the extraction and your comfort level.
    • : You receive one or more injections near the extraction site, so the gums feel numb. You will be awake during the procedure.
    • : You receive an intravenous line in your arm which suppresses your consciousness during surgery. Your oral surgeon will also numb the gums with local anesthesia.
    • : This anesthesia is less common, though oral surgeons use it for special cases. You inhale anesthesia through your nose and are unconscious during the procedure.

    No matter which anesthetic your surgeon chooses, you should not feel any pain during the surgery itself.
    The surgeon will then open any gum tissue over the tooth, and separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone. He or she may break the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Then, your oral surgeon will clean the site and stitch the wound closed.

    Recovering After the Surgery
    Recovery time, like surgery, varies depending on the difficulty of the extraction and your individual needs. If you received local anesthesia, then you may only need a brief recovery time in the dental chair. If you received sedation anesthesia, you may need some time in the recovery room after the procedure. You may even need someone else to safely drive you home.

    After the surgery, it’s best to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding activity, food, and cleaning. You may resume your normal activities within a few hours or it may take a few days before you feel ready to get back to work.

    It’s important that you don’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth,or use mouthwash during the first 24 hours after surgery. After that, you may gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals. When brushing your teeth, be particularly gentle near the stitching.

    If you have additional questions about wisdom teeth, or wisdom teeth extraction, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for further information.
    Read More
  • 01/09/2016
    Which Teeth Are More Susceptible to Decay?

    As a parent, finding ways to save money is always appreciated, especially when it comes to trips to the dentist. Most dentists agree that the best way to prevent cavities (aside from proper hygiene techniques and good genetics) includes understanding the whys behind tooth decay. Once you understand why something happens, you’re much more able (and willing) to take preventative measures.


    So which teeth tend to get more cavities, and why? If there are more susceptible teeth, is there a way to take special care of them? Learning the simple solutions to prevent specific tooth decay will help cut back on dental costs as well as add to your knowledge of general dentistry.

    Whose Teeth Are Affected?
    The sad fact is that tooth decay can happen to anybody at any time. As far as which teeth are specifically affected, it depends on the person. Factors like genetics, diet, and age all contribute to the likelihood of getting a cavity.

    Although there might be many factors deciding your susceptibility, it’s important to learn about which of your teeth are more often exposed to bacteria. No matter your genetics or tooth strength, knowing common problem teeth will help you take the necessary measures to prevent cavities.

    Let us discuss several ages that present common trends of decay in specific teeth. In addition to these common trends, we’ll give you some suggestions on how to prevent the decay, including specific techniques and services our office provides.

    Infants and Toddlers
    For very young children and many infants, baby-bottle tooth decay is the most common cause of cavities. Unlike common adult decay, this type of decay happens most often in the upper front teeth that are usually used when drinking out of a bottle or toddler cup. When babies are allowed a nightly bottle, they doze with sugary liquid dripping onto their teeth. This process exposes their teeth to cavity-causing sugars and bacteria over a long period of time.

    Another way in which youngsters get baby-bottle decay is when they are sipping from a cup of sweet juice or milk all during the day. For both adults and toddlers, sipping a drink other than water all day greatly increases your teeth’s exposure to sugars and bacteria. When it comes to tooth protection, think about the time period in which your teeth are exposed. If it is longer than a normal meal or a quick snack, you’re increasing your exposure to cavities.

    Teens and Adolescents
    Aside from the practice of getting protective sealants on a young person’s teeth, the best way to prevent cavities in the teen years is a consistent dental hygiene routine. This should include brushing twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and even using a good mouth rinse to kill bacteria.

    For teens and other age groups, the most vulnerable teeth to cavities and decay are the teeth that are in the back of your mouth. These are known as molars or premolars, and include wisdom teeth—if you keep them in, that is.

    The reason for molars’ vulnerability to decay is because of their design, which includes numerous bumps and valleys, as well as their difficult accessibility for brushing.

    Molars and premolars have countless pits and fissures that are great for grinding food, but also great at attracting bacteria and leftover food bits. It’s difficult to brush every nook and cranny, so these teeth are the ones that most often develop cavities and other problems.

    Adults and Seniors
    By the time patients reach adulthood, it’s sometimes too late to take extra care in brushing these back molar teeth, so restorative treatments often become necessary. Fillings are a good way to stop a cavity’s growth and protect from further decay.

    On the other hand, some adults have several fillings in one tooth, weakening its resistance to bacteria and damage. A viable solution for this situation is getting a crown in order to protect and strengthen the tooth. Ideally, a crown covers the tooth from contaminants and bacteria, so that a root canal can be avoided.

    Basic Prevention Is Key

    For kids, starting basic hygiene practices is vital. Help your kids keep all their beautiful teeth by instilling healthy brushing habits in them early on. Remind them to include their back teeth while brushing. When it comes to preventative measures, there’s no comparison to a healthy and consistent tooth care routine.

    No matter your age, your dentist can also greatly aid your cavity prevention campaign. This means you should come in for semi-annual checkups, x-rays, and thorough cleanings. You may brush well and often, but only your dentist will be able to identify problem areas and cavities.

    Professional techniques to prevent cavities go a long way and give you peace of mind. Make sure you’re taking the proper measures to protect you and your family’s teeth by encouraging good brushing habits, flossing, and keeping your scheduled visits.

    Read More

If you have any questions, just give us a call.

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