Dentist Tools. They only LOOK scary...


Dental Drill (noisy, but effective)

Removes decay from the tooth before fillings, then smoothes and polishes the tooth after.


Mouth Mirror (nothing to see here)

Gives your dentist a good view of all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.


Spoon Excavator (no drill? No problem!)

Used to remove softer tooth decay that doesn’t quite require the firepower of the drill.


Anaesthetic (*sings* I can’t feel my face when I’m with you…)

A numbing agent to protect the sensitive enamel on your teeth.


Dental Probes (hide and seek champions)

The sickle probe is used to find cavities and other oral issues.

The periodontal probe is used to find oral issues and measure the periodontal pockets.


Dental Syringe (a little pinch for a big smile)

Used to administer your anaesthesia to numb teeth and gums before a procedure.


So, you’re getting a tooth pulled

No one wants to hear their dentist say that they’ll need a tooth pulled, but there are things you can do to prepare yourself so the process goes as smoothly as possible.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of extraction it is. Most of the time, when you get a tooth pulled, it’s something called a simple extraction. This is a non-invasive procedure in which your dentist is able to remove your tooth with nothing more than a numbing agent, a tool called an elevator, and forceps.

When a tooth has not come into the mouth yet or has broken in the gum line, your dentist may need to perform a surgical extraction (in which you will receive a local - and possibly an intravenous - anesthetic).


Your dentist will numb the area prior to the procedure with a local anesthetic delivered via injection. While you may feel pressure during the procedure, the anesthetic should ensure that you don’t feel any pain at the site of the extraction.


Your dentist will rely on two main tools to extract your tooth: an ‘elevator’ and a pair of forceps. Your dentist can’t just yank your tooth out of your jawbone without first expanding the tooth socket. An elevator is used to jiggle the tooth around in the socket and loosen the connection between your tooth and your jaw.


Once the tooth has been sufficiently loosened from the socket, your dentist will use a pair of forceps to remove the tooth from the mouth completely.


Once the tooth and root have been completely removed, your dentist will gently scrape along the walls of the empty socket to remove any residual tissue. This process is done to help prevent the formation of cysts. Your dentist will then wash out the socket with saline solution and trim down any sharp bone edges that may remain. In the case of a surgical extraction or the extraction of several teeth in a row, your dentist will also likely place stitches in your mouth. The last step of the extraction process occurs when your dentist places folded gauze over the site of the extracted tooth and asks you to apply pressure by biting down on it.


Your dentist will tell you how to keep the extraction site clean, safe from harm, and free from infection. They will also advise you on which foods and drinks to avoid immediately after the extraction and which medications are best to manage any post-procedure pain.

If your extraction was surgical or you were placed on an IV, you should also be prepared to have someone else take you home as you will likely not be in the position to drive yourself.


Is this covered?


In Ontario, OHIP covers many major healthcare related costs, but there are some notable exceptions. One of the main among them? Dental care.

If you have private health insurance (either through your job or through a plan you’ve purchased yourself), then your coverage is more expansive and typically includes both eye and oral care.

But that doesn’t mean it covers everything. Here are some questions you should ask your insurance provider about your insurance coverage before your next appointment.

It’s also important to remember that your dental plan and treatment plan are not the same thing. A dental plan is what your benefits will cover when you go to pay the bill after your appointment. A treatment plan is something you and your dentist agree upon regarding the future of your oral health that might not necessarily be covered by your insurance.


What Procedures and Services are Fully Covered?

Whether you’re going in for a routine cleaning or a root canal, you need to know whether your insurance company will foot the entire bill or if you’ll be required to pay for part of it.


Is There a Deductible?

Some insurance companies require that you pay a specified amount of money out of pocket towards the total cost before they pay the rest of what’s owed. The deductible may only apply towards certain procedures but it’s good to know what to expect beforehand.


What is the Maximum amount of Money I can Claim on Dental Procedures each Year?

It’s important to know how much money your insurance company will allow you to claim back on a yearly basis. This way you can plan out your appointments and review your dentist’s treatment plan with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be covered.


Can I Choose my own Dentist or am I Restricted to Dentists Endorsed by my Insurance Company?

Some insurance companies require you to choose one of the dentists they’ve selected or else they will deny coverage. This is definitely something you need to know before finding yourself stuck footing the cost for an expensive dental bill not covered by your benefits.


What is my Co-Payment Amount?

Much like a deductible, a co-payment is the part of the bill that you’re on the hook for and that the insurance company will not reimburse you for.


Why is my doctor always late?!


While you’d expect a place called ‘the waiting room’ to be fairly self-explanatory, a lot of us are still surprised by how often we’re stuck waiting for our doctor or dentist 10, 20, or even 30 minutes after our scheduled appointment time. So why does it happen? And more importantly, what can you do about it?


Other Patients are Late

Even one patient showing up 10 to 15 minutes late for their appointment can throw everything off schedule and push all subsequent appointment back anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour.


Previous Appointments Run Over Time

You might be scheduled for a simple oral cleaning, but the patient ahead of you could have come in for something far more complex. It can be hard for the receptionist to predict just how long each appointment is actually going to take ahead of time (especially if a new medical problem is discovered and diagnosed during the appointment) which means they might book you for an appointment time that’s earlier than your dentist will actually be prepared to see you.


Unforeseen Complications with other Patients

Your dentist may have a bunch of cleanings scheduled back to back but if the hygienist doing the cleaning spots something troublesome during the oral exam, it will likely cause the appointment to run longer than initially anticipated.


A Member of the Staff Could have Called in Sick

Being short staffed is a problem in every field but especially so in medical professions. A dental hygienist calling in sick can throw off the flow of the entire practice and can inadvertently increase wait times for the patients.

So what can you do to deal with longer than expected waiting times?


Modify and Manage your Expectations

Rather than going into your appointment expecting to be seen at 3pm on the dot, realize there’s every chance that you’ll be waiting at least another 15 minutes before you’re called in and plan accordingly. If you’re taking time off work or hiring someone to babysit your child/children, make sure you book enough time to cover any extra waiting you may have to do.


Bring a Book

Yes, most dental and doctor’s offices have a selection of magazines but are they really enough to keep you occupied while you wait? Bring a good book or newspaper with you to your next appointment so your waiting time feels less like wasted time. Playing a game on your phone is another good option (so long as the sound is turned off so you don’t annoy the other patients waiting alongside you).


Book early

The earlier in the day you book your appointment, the lower the chances are of there being a wait time. If you can manage it, try to get the first appointment of the day.


So, you're getting a cleaning and check-up

You might have heard the terms ‘polish’ and ‘scaling’ thrown around by your dentist or dental hygienist, but what do they even mean? And what is your dentist actually doing when they’re poking around inside your mouth anyhow?

We’ve come up with a simple step by step guide to a dental cleaning and check-up to help you understand exactly what’s going on when your dentist asks you to open wide.


Your dentist or dental hygienist will give your entire mouth a solid once over to ensure there are no problems that immediately stand out to them. This includes looking at your teeth, gums, the sides of your mouth, and your tongue with a mirror. If everything is okay to proceed and no major problems are spotted, your dentist or dental hygienist will proceed to the next step.


If you look at your teeth closely, you’ll likely see a build up of a hard white or grey substance around your gums and in between your teeth. What you’re seeing is a combination of plaque and tartar.  Plaque forms first and is something you can manage through diligent flossing and brushing, but once it hardens into tartar, only your dentist or hygienist can remove it. When your dentist or hygienist scales your teeth, they use an instrument called a scaler to remove any plaque or tartar in order to keep your gums and teeth healthy and to prevent gingivitis.


This is the part of the cleaning process that makes the most noise (and therefore tends to inspire the most anxiety in patients). But there’s no need to fret! All your dentist or hygienist is doing during this step is brushing your teeth with a high powered electric toothbrush. This step is necessary to ensure that any plaque or tartar that might have been left behind during the scaling process is removed.


Yes, we all floss at home (or we’re supposed to anyway) but nothing beats a good thorough flossing from a professional. Your dentist or hygienist has a better view of your mouth and can deep clean spots that you might not be able to reach yourself. This expert flossing also ensures that any final missed bits of plaque, tartar, or toothpaste from the polish are completely removed.


Depending on your dentist or hygienist, there’s a good chance this step has already occurred at some point during your cleaning. Rinsing is essential to ensure that any potential bits of debris that might still be lingering in your mouth are flushed out.


This step isn’t always a requirement but it’s definitely one of the most memorable parts of your treatment. After choosing a flavour (typically mint or bubblegum), your dentist or hygienist will place a tray filled with either a foamy gel or a sticky paste-like substance over your teeth for about one minute. While it might feel a bit awkward, this fluoride treatment ensures your teeth are well protected against cavities for the next few months.


If your cleaning was performed by a hygienist, this is typically when your dentist will come in to give your mouth and teeth a final look over before giving you the okay to leave. In addition to examining your teeth, your dentist will also take a close look at and under your tongue to ensure there are no signs of oral cancer.


Braces vs Invisalign

Trying to make the decision between braces and Invisalign can be difficult; braces tend to be less hassle (one they’re on, they’re on) but are impossible to hide while Invisalign is removable but requires more active participation from the wearer.

So, You're Getting Invisalign...

Whether braces weren't an option when you were younger or you’ve always had that one crooked tooth that you wish would get in line, Invisalign is a fantastic and subtle option to get that perfectly straight smile you’ve always dreamed of. Check out the steps we’ve outlined below to learn more about how it works and to decide if it’s the right option for you.

The Perfect Little Smile

Picture Day is often both a blessing and a curse; it helps parents and children build lasting memories and gives kids something to look forward to during an otherwise mundane school day, but one bad outfit choice or awkward blink at the wrong moment can ruin everything.

Your Perfect Smile

Grin and bear it: your smile is something that’s universally recognized as a symbol of happiness, regardless of where you live or the language you speak. Not only is your smile an indication of your demeanor, but it can affect those around you, too. Have you ever tried smiling at a stranger? It’s completely contagious -- try it!

How To Take The Perfect Selfie #NoFillings

Natural light is your best friend, so if you’re inside, stand near a window and away from any harsh yellow artificial lighting (looking at you, changing room lights). If you can’t find natural light and need to use the flash, here’s a Kardashian approved trick: hold a white piece of paper or a napkin near your face to offset the glare. If you’re outside, embrace a grey day!