Dr. Archer is honoured to be a nominee in NOW Toronto’s annual Best Dentist poll for 2015! Dr. Archer previously won in 2013.
The link to the poll is here if you’d like to vote. We’d like to thank our incredible patients for helping us get to where we are today and we hope each and every one of you keeps smiling!
What is Dental Plaque?
Dental plaque (also known as biofilm) is a mass of bacteria that adheres to and grows on different surfaces within your mouth. While it’s most often associated with teeth, it can also grow on dentures, braces, underneath dental wires, and on any other other orthodontic appliance that sits in the mouth for an extended period of time.
The composition of plaque is mostly water (upwards of 80%) with the remaining portion consisting of bacteria and polysaccharides/glycoproteins.
Why is it bad?
Plaque itself is not difficult to remove so long as it’s done within 48 hours. After that, it hardens and turns into a far more formidable foe – tartar. While you can remove plaque at home by yourself, you need the intervention of a dentist to get rid of tartar.
Dental plaque that is not removed can cause tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. If you allow it to harden into tartar, it will cause your teeth to look yellow and your breath to smell bad on top of the aforementioned risks to your oral health.
How do you get rid of it?
Prevention is key. Once plaque hardens into tartar, your only option to remove it is to see a professional. The key, then, is to prevent it from forming in the first place.
There are two things you can do to ensure your teeth are as clean and plaque free as possible:
Watch what you eat – plaque needs carbohydrates to form, so the less of them you eat the better. Obviously it’s not realistic to completely cut carbs out of your diet, but the more you can avoid sweet treats like candy and cookies, the better.
Maintain your teeth – make sure to brush and floss absolutely every day (twice a day for both is even better). Make sure to book a cleaning every six months so your dentist can remove any tartar that has managed to form. Your dentist can also make sure you don’t show any signs of tooth decay or gum disease.
We’ve all heard of wisdom teeth, but many of us have no idea what they actually are or why so many people have them removed. We’ve put together a list of some frequently asked questions to help you learn more. Archer Dental practices wisdom teeth removal at all three of our locations in downtown Toronto. What are wisdom teeth?
Adult male with all four wisdom teeth.
Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth (the ones closest to your throat). Most people have four of them (one on each corner of your jaw) but not everyone does. They usually tend to grow in between the ages of 17 and 25, but your dentist can spot them in an X-Ray before then.
Why do we have them?
Wisdom teeth used to serve a very valuable purpose; according to anthropologists, we needed them to help properly chew and break down our ancestors’ early diet of leaves, roots and meats (which would wear down teeth much faster). The modern diet we tend to eat today contains softer foods that’s gentler on our teeth. This makes wisdom teeth more-or-less irrelevant. Much like the human appendix organ, evolution has rendered wisdom teeth near obsolete, and it’s an evolutionary fact that a growing number of people are being born without them!
Why are they removed?
Wisdom Teeth are generally removed if:
They’re impacted (meaning they can’t come into your jaw normally due to their location at the back of your mouth and can get trapped in your jawbone or gums),
They come in at the wrong angle due to excess crowding with your other teeth,
Your mouth is too small and there’s no room in your jaw,
You have cavities and are unable to brush or floss your wisdom teeth properly due to their difficult to access location.
Most people have room for a maximum of 28 teeth, meaning there’s no room for those extra 4 to grow in. Sometimes people will feel the effects of their wisdom teeth even before they start erupting into the mouth (causing pressure or throbbing in the back of the jaw)
Do all wisdom teeth have to be removed?
No, not all wisdom teeth need to be removed – it’s very subjective and based on the dental situation of each individual patient. The photos on the left show an adult male with all his wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth typically do NOT need to be removed if they’re healthy, have grown in completely (meaning they’re fully erupted), are positioned correctly and bite properly with the opposing teeth on the upper or lower jaw, and are able to be be properly cleaned and flossed in a patient’s daily hygiene practices.
What happens when your wisdom teeth are removed?
Generally speaking, wisdom teeth removal is best between the ages of 16 and 22, though there are always exceptions.
Wisdom teeth removal is generally advised in patients while they’re still young because the formation of the root of the wisdom tooth in the jawbone is not complete so there are fewer complications and risks associated with the surgery.
Extraction (dental surgery) takes 45 minutes or less, and because your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to access the teeth, you’ll get one of these types of anesthesia depending on the severity: local (a shot of Novocaine or breathing nitrous oxide, for example), IV sedation (your mouth will be numbed and you will also be given drugs to make you drowsy through a vein in your arm), or general anesthesia (you’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe in gas through a mask. In both cases you’ll sleep through the entire surgery). Your doctor will stitch any incision in the gum shut with dissolvable stitches.
How long does it take to recover from surgery?
The average recovery time is about 3 days (though it may be longer) and swelling, soreness, and discomfort are likely side effects. Your mouth may need a few weeks to heal completely after surgery.
Eating healthier is a goal many of us have, but there are a number of foods that, while good for our bodies, are terrible for our teeth.Here are some foods that are surprisingly harmful to your oral health (along with some tips to help minimize damage).
Citrus Fruit Oranges and Grapefruits are supposed to be some of the healthiest fruits out there; they’re packed with Vitamin C and make for a great well-rounded snack. On the flip side, they’re also chock full of acid which results in the harmful demineralization of your enamel. The same applies to lemons (even more so when you add sugar [like with lemonade] into the equation). The key is to minimize direct and long term contact citrus fruits have with your teeth. Eat oranges, grapefruits, and other citruses sparingly, and if you’re a big fan of adding lemon to your beverages, try to use a straw as often as possible.
Almonds Almonds are packed with vitamin E and healthy fats that are great for your body, but no so much for your teeth. Almonds can be difficult to chew as they break or splinter in your mouth (potentially causing your teeth to crack or fracture). Chew very carefully and don’t exert too much pressure when snacking on whole almonds. If you can, opt for sliced almonds instead (which are considerably kinder to your teeth).
Apple Juice/Apples Apples are another fruit that are surprisingly acidic (and therefore very hard on your teeth). Make sure to have a glass of water (sparkling or flat) on hand to swirl around your mouth in between bites or just after finishing the whole thing. It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth after eating apples (or any of the above mentioned citrus fruits), but you should wait at least half an hour after your done eating or else you can actually worsen the potential acidic damage to your enamel.
Dried Fruits Dried fruits can make for a great portable snack, but they’re also a perfect breeding ground for cavities. Dried fruit has had all the water removed, so the fruit that remains is full of sugar that will stick in between and to the surface of your teeth. Just like with apples, it’s a good idea to take sips of water in between snacking and to thoroughly brush and floss at least twenty minutes or so after you’re done.
Peanut Butter Many of us have been in the uncomfortable situation where the peanut butter in your PB&J sandwich has gotten stuck to the roof of your mouth. It’s for this sticky reason that peanut butter is such a danger to your dental health (and increases your chances of developing a cavity). Try to buy peanut butter brands without added sugar if you don’t mind the taste. Otherwise, keep floss or floss sticks with you and take the time to clean your teeth after eating.
Dr. Archer recently did a presentation on DEAR (Dental Elder Abuse Response) at the Parkinson Society Canada Etobicoke division where she talked about the importance of responsible caregivers for elderly patients.
A two page spread about the DEAR Project was featured in the 2014 Spring Issue of The Mosaic Newsletter by the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry.
To view the entire newsletter, click here.
Dr. Archer has always been passionate about giving back to her community, and this past week was no exception. Just this past Friday, Dr. Archer visited Lambton Kingsway School in Etobicoke to discuss why dentistry is an awesome career!
Growing up in a world with so many possible jobs and life paths, it can be tough for a lot of kids to know what they really want to be when they grow up. Dr. Archer did her best to shed some light on why dentistry matters. She began her talk by giving them a bit of a quiz – what is a dentist and what do they do beyond just looking after teeth? She also asked them what skills a dentist needs in order to be good at their job. The kids were very engaged and interested in the discussion, which was especially great because communication skills are one of the important ones Dr. Archer highlighted. Dr. Archer also made sure to teach the kids that you can be a dentist even if you don’t like math or science or aren’t ‘good’ at it. She made sure they understood that it is absolutely untrue that you can’t do science related jobs but that you’ll have to work hard and try your best. She also encouraged them not to ‘close any doors’ (advice that’s true of life in general), which was a sentiment their teacher loved in particular. The kids and Dr. Archer then discussed some of the opportunities that can come with dentistry as a profession, the different streams available to you, and how wonderful it is to truly make a difference in peoples’ lives. Their teacher was blown away by the presentation and Dr. Archer made sure to invite the class to come see the hospital or community clinic at any time. She also left behind toothbrushes and floss for them to encourage good dental hygiene habits even from an early age.