Frequently Asked Questions

Northern Dental Care is more than happy to answer all your questions. Call us at (705) 910-1334 if you can’t find the answers you are looking for.

How can I improve the appearance of my smile?

If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.

Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.

There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over.

What are porcelain dental veneers?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.

Veneers may be used to restore or correct the many dental conditions such as the following:

  • Severely discolored or stained teeth
  • Unwanted or uneven spaces
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Slight tooth crowding
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too small or large

Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile. With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond. Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile including deep bleaching and at home whitening.

Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored. It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching.

Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.

Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright. The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:

  • Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
  • In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week. Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!

Are silver fillings safe?

In recent years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin, zinc and mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems. In truth, we rarely place amalgam restorations anymore.

This is due to the vast improvement of composite resin (white) filling material in recent years. These new tooth-coloured restorations not only look much better aesthetically, but they actually bond to the tooth and help to strengthen it. White fillings also expand and contract with temperature more similarly to a natural tooth, therefore minimizing cracking of teeth over time. In contrast, amalgam restorations do not bond to the tooth, and expand and contract with temperature like a metal – much more than the tooth.

Think of a glass jar with a metal lid you can’t get off – you put it under hot water so the metal expands and the lid comes off. It’s the same thing with your tooth – you’re putting a metal inside the glass (the enamel) which over time acts like a wedge and causes the remaining tooth to fracture.

We don’t advocate replacing amalgam restorations only because of their mercury content, however we will replace restorations at your request. There have already been countries in the world that have banned the use of mercury containing amalgams for dentistry, and these materials are regulated as hazardous waste requiring special disposal units, so we elect to use composite resin as our main restorative material. There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored) and porcelain (the most aesthetic and inert dental material). We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Will my insurance cover my dental costs?

The amount of benefits you are entitled to is related to the plan your employer has purchased and not to the value of the dental services received. For more assistance in understanding your particular insurance package, set up an appointment with your local dentists office. Northern Dental Care services the Sault Ste Marie area, and provides free consultations.

Please bring the latest information on your plan with you to your next appointment. For all dental treatments, we ask that you pay the day of service and we will submit your claim on your behalf as a courtesy. For many plans you will receive your benefit cheque in two weeks or less.

Unfortunately many benefit plans are rapidly changing, and this can cause misunderstandings about your coverage and ultimately impact your oral health. Here are some facts about dental insurance that every patient should know: Dental insurance is a contract between you, your insurance company and your employer. Your employer may have selected an insurance plan based on a 2001 (or earlier) fee schedule. In many cases our fees are higher than your dental plan. You are ultimately responsible for what your plan does or does not pay for.

Only you as the patient can choose the level of dental care and the level of dental health that’s right for you. Remember, the insurance provider will never have to smile with your teeth…

How much do veneers cost?

Porcelain veneers cost approximately $1400 per tooth. Porcelain has the best, most natural appearance and stays vibrant for many years. Resin, also referred to as white filling or ‘bonding’ is much less expensive, approximately $300 per tooth, but is not as natural in appearance, stains more easily, and needs replacement every few years.

For these reasons, the majority of patients choose porcelain. Long term they are the same cost (or less) than resin. A consultation with us is the best way to determine what is right for you.

What can I do about bad breath?

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent. Of course there are many other possibilities, read more about them here.

How often should I brush and floss?

Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease. If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to bed at night.

Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

  • Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
  • Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth. Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
  • Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.

At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include: Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health and also your dental health.

Recent Posts

Get Social

Privacy Policy

Contact Info

New Patients: (705) 910-1334

Existing Patients: (705) 575-7572

Fax: (705) 943-7117

Business Hours

© 2019 Northern Dental Care and H-cube Marketing, www.DentalGrowthStrategies.com. All Rights Reserved.