Phone a Friend?

Remember the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”?

Question_Graphic_5MillionaireIf contestants were unsure of the answer, they had 3 life lines – poll the audience, phone a friend and 50/50.   Sometimes choices in dentistry can be confusing. There are no guarantees and often the best choice of treatment is based on the individual and factors beyond anyone’s control.

Here’s the problem. No one has a crystal ball. There are too many factors influencing dentistry to make it an exact science.

IF you have a family member or friend who is in “dentistry” you may be able to ask them for an informed opinion regarding treatment recommendations.  But if you do not have the option of “phoning a friend” who knows dentistry, keep in mind that you do have your dental team and we are on your side.

Our office mission statement is “Providing excellence in dental care to you and your family while treating you like one of ours!”.

If you are unsure of something….. here are some steps to help you decide what is right for you.

question mark1) Ask lots of questions – no question is a “dumb” question. Make sure you understand each option thoroughly. What are the pros, the cons and the cost. While the dentist cannot tell you how long something will last, some procedures definitely have higher success rates than others.

2) Have the dentist, hygienist or assistant show you pictures or diagrams to explain each procedure.

3) Make sure you consider all the factors when making your decision.headerImageProsCons
–    pros and cons of each procedure
–    cost – something might be more expensive to start, but if it lasts 5 – 10x as long, it may be worth it in the long run. However you may be at a stage in life that although you want the best treatment possible, you just can’t afford it. If cost is a factor let us know, perhaps alternative financing might be an option.
–  are you worried a procedure might hurt, or are there other factors influencing your decision (such as time to complete the procedure, how it will look etc.).  Discuss these things with us.  For example, many people are afraid it will hurt to have a dental implant placed, but in reality, there is usually very little pain associated with placing an implant – it is a very gentle procedure with little downtime after. Don’t be afraid to ask us.

4) Make sure you trust your dentist and dental team. You must be confident that they have your best interests at heart. Most dentists are honest individuals
who care about you and what is best for you.

Asking friends. On a side note, if you are going to ask a friend their opinion, make sure they know dentistry. Often friends will tell you “oh I had a root canal and it was awful”. Well that may have been true – maybe they had it 40 years ago, or maybe they weren’t frozen properly among other things. Often friends do not give accurate current information, or their view may be skewed by other factors. If you hear something like that from a friend – ASK your dentist. Will this hurt?

remember-sticky-note-hiRemember – we are here to help you, and partner with you in your health care.

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Smiling Facts

iStock_000002166350SmallSAY CHEESE!

“If someone is too tired to smile,  give them one of your smiles, because no one needs a smile as much as those you have none to give”   Author unknown”

Forcing yourself to smile can boost your mood.  Psychologists have found that even if you are in a bad mood, smiling can instantly lift your spirits!

Like yawning, smiling is contagious. Scientists in Sweden say people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other people who were smiling!

Smiling relieves stress.  Your body releases endorphins when you smileElderly couple (even if the smile is forced) and the endorphins can produce a change in mood, thereby releasing stress and boosting your immune system.

Smiles can use between 5 and 53 muscles.  Keep in mind that it is easier to smile than to frown – it actually takes on average 43 muscles to frown and only 17 muscles to smile.

Smiles are a universal sign of happiness. Handshakes, hugs, and bows all can mean different things in different cultures, but smiling is known around the world as a sign of happiness and acceptance.

baby-teething1[1]Babies are born with the ability to smile.  Scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability to smile – it is not something they just copy from watching us – as even blind babies smile.  Newborns tend to have more preference for a person with a smile than a person that is not smiling!

Babies actually start smiling in the womb.  New 3-D 3d-ultrasound-photo-001ultrasound imaging has captured vivid pictures in which developing babies are smiling in the womb.  Right after birth, babies  start smiling in their sleep, and at about 4 weeks of age they smile on purpose.   Newborns tend to have more preference for a person with a smile than a person that is not smiling!

There are 19 different types of smiles.  4654739XSmall[1]A researcher in San Francisco identified 19 types of smiles and 2 categories of smiles.  Polite “social” smiles which engage few fewer muscles and “sincere felt” smiles which use more muscles.

Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression – people can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away!

People with big grins live longer.  In a study published in the States, people who smile live an average of 7 years longer than people who don’t smile at all.  Perhaps this is because smiles reveal positive feelings and positive feelings are linked to well-being.

6119640 cropped & black2When someone smiles out of genuine delight, a facial muscle contracts and crinkles the skin around the eyes.  So you may be able to spot a fake smile if this muscle doesn’t budge.

Kids smile more than 400 hundred times a day!  Women smile an average of 62 times a day and men – just 8 times a day.Group of smiling friends against white background

Smiling sends out the message to people that you are approachable.  This directly correlates with doing well in business, love and friendships.


Many animals have the ability to smile – for example chimpanzees and dogs can both be seen with smiles.

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Flossing Alternatives!


It is estimated that 80% of adults in this country have periodontal disease. This is when irreversible bone loss occurs resulting from the virulent bacteria that collect between the teeth. Research has shown that periodontal disease is a risk factor for serious conditions such as heart and lung disease, diabetes, and premature and low birth weight babies. Since periodontal disease is painless, many people are unaware they have this condition. The good news is that it’s never too late to start doing something about it.

iStock_000002480184XSmall[1]Regular tooth brushing cannot reach all the areas of our mouth. Brushing is only able to clean about 60% of the mouth, whereas flossing is able to get to the other 40% if done properly.

woman flossingFlossing is able to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth.  Flossing has many benefits.  A cleaner feeling mouth, it helps to prevent bad breath, and it helps to prevent cavities and bone loss.

If flossing is so good for your oral and overall health, why don’t more people do it?  Statistics show that approximately 33% of people floss daily.   Flossing is a hard habit to develop and maintain.  Some people who have dexterity problems or large hands, find it difficult to floss.  Other people just can’t get into the habit.   There are alternatives though – and while they may not be as good as old fashioned flossing, they will make an improvement to your oral health.

1.  End tufted brush

This is a brush that has bristles similar to a toothbrush but the size of the brush head is much smaller.  It is great for brushing gently along the gum line, and between teeth.

end tufted brushTo use an end-tufted brush place the brush along the gum line where the gum edge meets the tooth.  Slowly move the brush along the gum line applying light pressure.  Trace along the wavy gum line moving from tooth to tooth, adding a circular motion between the teeth.

2.  Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes are also known as an interproximal brush.  These brushes are recommended for interproximal areas (areas interdental brushbetween the teeth) where the gum is missing, shortened or has root concavities. This brush can also be used to clean around orthodontic appliances, space maintainers, small spaces in between teeth, under bridges if there is a space, and when spaces are large enough to easily receive the device.

To use an interdental brush, moisten the brush tip and insert it at an angle following the contour of the gingiva.      Move the brush back and forth from the cheek side in towards the tongue side and back. Brushes come in different sizes according to the size of the space in between the teeth. The brush tip should be slightly larger than the space which it is going to fill and clean. Do not jam an interdental brush in an area where there is not enough space as this could damage the tissue.

3)  Interdental Sticks

wooden stimulatorThese are specially designed soft wooden / plastic wedges for cleaning tandstikkerbetween teeth.  If your are using a wooden stick, the end of the stick should be moistened and softened in the mouth before use.  To use, gently insert the stick between the teeth, with the flat edge facing the gum.  Then move it in and out gently to clean the teeth and massage the gums.   The sticks should only be used where there is sufficient space to allow the free movement of the stick between the teeth. Do not force them into position.

4.  Dental Flosser Toothpicks37784e4b50343347596b4e4e62796a74376277-500x500-0-0

softpickindThese products are like a soft-bristled toothpick. There are many brands out there.  Gently insert the toothpick between the teeth if there is room and move it back and forth to clean the area. single%20flooser%20toothpick

5.  Flossers

Gum_Easy_Flossers_Anwendung_grossflossersdFlossers are small plastic devices that hold about a 1/2 inch of floss.  For many people they make flossing easier as they are small and fit in your mouth better than your fingers!  They are easy to use with one hand.  There are many brands and styles of flossers.  They usually come packaged in 50 – 200 flossers per package.  Invest in a good brand so the floss doesn’t shred when used between tight contacts.

6. Water Flossers or Oral Irrigators

waterpik_wp-360w_cordless_water_flosser_1The water flosser/oral irrigator has been shown in studies to be effective in reducing bleeding and gingivitis.  There are several brands out there.  We do not endorse any one brand.  It is important to make sure it uses a pulsating action, as the pulsating flow of water helps to clear bacteria and debris from between the teeth.  It also stimulates blood flow. A small amount of mouthwash can be added to the water for flavoring and/or to enhance compliance. Any solution used should be at room temperature for greatest comfort. Follow manufacturers directions for adding solutions. Failing to do so may shorten the life of the unit.

7.  Electric flossers

There are several types of electric flossers on the market.  We don’t endorse any specific phpThumb_generated_thumbnailbrand, but one sample of an electric flosser is the Airfloss. It’s microburst technology applies a quick burst of pressurized air and micro-water droplets to clean deep between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach and with less mess than oral irrigators. This gentle yet effective technology is proven to remove more plaque between teeth than brushing with a manual toothbrush alone.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to flossing.  While they may not be ideal, if you will use them properly and on a regular basis, you will see an improvement in your oral health.  Pick an alternative that is easy for you and try it – who knows – it may be one New Years Resolution you keep!

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Oral Health During Pregnancy – Does It Really Matter?

Your oral health can affect your unborn baby!

For a long time we’ve known that many risk factors (smoking, alcohol, drug use and infections) can contribute to mothers having premature, low birth weight babies.  In addition, research suggests that serious gum disease, (called periodontitis) can cause your baby to be born too early and too small.

Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is premature.  Premature birth can lead to some serious problems for a baby.

Pregnancy hormones can affect your gums causing swelling, inflammation or bleeding.  This is called pregnancy gingivitis. It often begins in the second or third month of pregnancy and increases in severity, so it’s a good idea to have your teeth checked and cleaned while pregnant. You should make an appointment with your dentist at least once during the nine months, and if you have gingivitis, visit the dentist once each trimester.

Prevention of gingivitis during pregnancy

  • You can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near your gum line
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time.  Brush after meals when possible.
  • Floss daily
  • If you suffer from morning sickness, repeatedly rinse your mouth with water to try to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting.  Do not brush immediately after vomiting because stomach acid weakens tooth enamel and brushing can cause erosion of the enamel.  Rinse with water and wait 30 min to brush.
  • If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water, try brushing without toothpaste.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vitamin C and B12.
  • See your dentist – schedule routine exams and cleanings for help in controlling plaque, preventing gingivitis and to maintain good dental health.

Other Resources:

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Sunningdale Dental is taking part in this years MOVEMBER fundraiser for prostate cancer.

3 out of 4 of our dentists are participating.  Dr. Julie Bargiglione didn’t think she would have much luck growing a mustache so opted out!

Check out our Facebook page to monitor Dr. Carson, Dr. MacHardy and Dr. Aiello’s progress.  Click on the facebook link to go there now. 

To donate to the Sunningdale Team, click on the link below.

Movember Canada Sunningdale Team

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Preventing Infant Tooth Decay

Preventing infant tooth decay

Do you think baby teeth are temporary, and therefore not important? Think again. Baby teeth are necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling. They also serve as placeholders for the adult teeth.

If baby teeth are infected or lost too early due to tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. In addition, the chances that adult teeth will end up being crooked are greatly increased.

The good news is that a few simple steps can help prevent infant tooth decay. Here’s how:

  • Try not to transmit bacteria to your child via saliva exchange. Rinse pacifiers and toys in clean water, and use a clean spoon for each person eating.
  • Wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
  • Use an appropriate toothbrush along with a toothpaste (approved by the Canadian Dental Association to brush when baby’s first tooth comes in.  Continue to clean and massage the gums in areas without teeth.  (Fluoride-free toothpaste is recommended for children under the age of two.  You can use a pea-sized amount of approved fluoridated toothpaste when the child has mastered the art of “spitting out” excess toothpaste)
  • Do not place sugary drinks in baby bottles or sippy cups. Only fill these containers with water, breast milk, or formula. Do not dip pacifiers in sweet liquids (honey, etc.)
  • Review  your child’s eating habits. Eliminate sugar-filled snacks and encourage a healthy, nutritious diet.
  • Do not allow the child to take a liquid-filled bottle to bed. If the child insists, fill the bottle with water as opposed to milk or any other sugary alternative.
  • Brush  your child’s teeth until he or she reaches the age of seven. Before this time, children are often unable to reach certain places in the mouth.
  • Floss your child’s teeth once all the baby teeth have come in

Remember, when breast or bottle feeding:

  • Take the bottle/breast away when the child has had enough.
  • Do not put a baby or infant to bed with a bottle or allow him/her to suckle on the breast for prolonged periods during sleep.
  • Introduce the baby to a feeding cup between 6 and 8 months of age.


Avoid dipping soothers in honey, sugar or other foods or liquids. All sugars (including natural sugars) that are not easily cleared from the mouth, can lead to tooth decay.


If your child needs medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist to prescribe a sugar-free form.

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Don’t Share Your Cavities!


What can cause infant tooth decay?

According to a 2008 study in Pediatric Dentistry, primarily mothers, or anyone who kisses an infant with active tooth decay could pass cavities to the infant.  Only people with active tooth decay can transfer the cavities to infants.   Acid producing bacteria (streptococcus mutans) in the oral cavity cause tooth decay.  Studies show that infants are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities, but that they are infected most often by their parents or caregivers.  Once the transmission of bacteria from caregiver to baby has occurred the bacteria can multiply. The transmission of this decay causing oral bacteria from a caregiver to an infant could be caused by:

  • kissing the infant
  • the caregiver using their eating utensils to feed the infant
  • the caregiver tasting the food or testing the temperature in their mouth prior to feeding
  • ‘washing’ a soother in the caregivers’s mouth and then giving it to the infant
  • the infant placing their fingers into the caregivers’s mouth and then into their own.

The most prominent cause of baby tooth decay however, is frequent exposure to sweetened liquids.  These liquids include breast milk, baby formula, juice, and sweetened water.  During the day, salivary flow is high and is more likely to wash away the sugary liquids that bacteria feed on to produce acid.  During the night salivary flow is greatly reduced.  When an infant is allowed to suck on a nursing bottle containing sugary liquids at night, the sugary liquids pool around the baby’s teeth giving the bacteria more time to convert the sugars to acid.  This acid will dissolve the enamel of the baby teeth resulting in cavities.

Baby teeth are more sensitive to getting cavities when they first erupt. It is important to keep the primary teeth healthy because they stay in the mouth for five to ten years. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to  decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. 

The good news is that a few simple steps can help stave off infant tooth decay.

Watch for our next blog    “Preventing Infant Tooth Decay”

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