Our Blog section is created by Dr. Tatiana Del Moral for our patients to keep up-to-date on various events and promotion offerings. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to reading your comments!

Snack Attacks can Cause Tooth Decay!!

The next time you or your child are craving a snack, take your teeth into consideration.  The more often you eat foods with natural or added sugars, the more likely you are to develop tooth decay. Here are some tooth friendly options to take care of after school or any time snack attacks:

  • raw vegetable sticks
  • unbuttered popcorn
  • plain yogurt with fruit
  • fresh fruit cut into bite sized pieces
  • nuts
  • cubes of cheese
  • pretzels

Also, there are a number of foods that you may think are healthy but they are surprisingly high in sugar and are not good for your teeth.  Try and avoid these foods when you can:
  • sweetened yogurt
  • pudding
  • fruit roll ups or other chewy fruit snacks
  • juice
  • chewy granola bars
  • energy drinks
  • ice cream
So try to keep sugar to a minimum to prevent pesky tooth decay!!  Visit us in Kitchener Waterloo where we are conveniently located to help you with your dental needs.

Are You Cracking Up?

You know that the occasional sharp, intense pain in your mouth when you bite down is real, as is the pain that radiates through your tooth upon eating or drinking something hot or cold, so why is it that your dentist can't seem to find the cause? Chances are that if you feel these symptoms but they're not visible during your dental visit or even on an X-ray, you are dealing with a cracked tooth.

A crack in your tooth is often invisible to the eye during a dental checkup. To compound the problem, identifying where the pain is originating isn't easy either, as the crack may actually be more of a hairline fracture, running vertically along the tooth. It's common to feel pain in a tooth at the top of your mouth when the problem is actually on the bottom, or vice versa.

Unlike a broken bone, a cracked tooth never heals naturally. We have instruments to help identify the location of a cracked tooth, and treatments - usually a filling, a crown, or a root canal will allow you to eat in comfort without the fear of the sharp jolt of pain that characterizes a cracked tooth.  Call us if you think you may have a cracked tooth!  We are conveniently located in Waterloo off the expressway.

Getting to the Root of Root Canals

The words "root canal" tend to strike fear into even the bravest hearts, but in fact with today's modern technologies and anesthetics, a root canal can now be performed with minimal discomfort.
What exactly is a root canal, and how do you know if you need one?
First of all, it is important to know that the pulp inside your tooth contains nerves and blood vessels. If the pulp becomes infected or damaged because of deep decay or an injury, a root canal will need to be performed. This process involves the removal of the pulp and then the subsequent sealing of the pulp chamber. The final touch is usually a crown on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.
Symptoms of a tooth in need of a root canal may include:

  • Constant throbbing of a single tooth.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • A tooth that is severely broken or fractured.
  • A loose tooth.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums.
The only way to know if you are in need of a root canal is to come in and let us have a look at your tooth. Our job is to make you as comfortable as possible and do everything we can to save your tooth, even if that means getting down to the "root" of the problem!  Our office in Waterloo offers sedation if you are really nervous.  Please call us to find out more details!

Custom Mouthguards Protect More than Teeth!

Now that it's fall and everyone is back to work and school in Waterloo, many sports start up again and life can get hectic.  It's time to think about protecting your teeth!
You may think of mouthguards only as something that athletes wear to protect their teeth from physical impact, but did you know that custom-fitted mouthguards can also help alleviate headaches and prevent concussions?
If you suffer from frequent headaches but can't determine the cause, mention it to your dentist, as headaches can sometimes be the result of bruxism, or teeth grinding. The bruxism/headache connection happens when you clench your jaw while you sleep, while grinding your upper and lower sets of teeth together. Unless your grinding is keeping someone else up, you may not even be aware that you're doing it until the telltale effects show on your teeth. Left untreated, it could lead to painful, sensitive or loose teeth, a tight or sore jaw, or a headache, earache or neck pain. The high pressure from bruxism can even fracture teeth and crack fillings!
Mention your headaches and sore muscles to your dentist when you come in for an appointment. She may suggest a special mouthguard to wear at night, to intercept the damage that your teeth are inflicting on each other.
Of course, if you play hockey, football or any other physical sport in the Kitchener Waterloo area, you also need to be fitted with an athletic mouthguard, another type of custom-made mouth protector. This important piece of equipment has been proven to protect not only teeth, but also to serve as a "shock absorber" to protect against concussions and brain injuries.
Only a dentist can provide the necessary quality of a custom-fitted mouthguard. Please ask about these when you call for your next dental appointment.

There are certain things that can affect your dreams and even promote clenching your teeth!

Dreams are the brain’s way of working out problems and conflicts. But when you have a string of unsettling dreams, we understand why you want answers. According to clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Deirdre Barrett, there are certain things that can affect your dreams and even promote bruxism, or clenching your teeth while you sleep.  Here are things that may affect your dreams and ways to improve your sleep.

Sweet smells
Recent studies indicated that smelling something sweet before going to bed can lead to positive dreams, while poor odors lead to negative dreams. One study actually showed that taking a whiff of flowers at a particular point in the sleep process led to a positive dream. While nothing is definitive, research is ongoing. Dreams are sleep protective so not everything sniffed while asleep will be incorporated into your dream. 

The power of sounds
Sounds, like smells, are not always incorporated into your dream. If the sound is too loud you will be woken up, and if the sound is low enough, you may not remember it. According to sleep experts, a good rule of thumb is to play a soft recording of music or white noise, like ocean waves, throughout the night. There are times when you might wake up remembering a beach vacation and feel more relaxed because of the ocean waves you listened to the night before. 

Eating spicy foods
Eating spicy foods may lead to indigestion, which can lead to a poor night’s sleep. Whether it’s Mexican food or a large meal just before bedtime, chances are you will have a nightmare or negative dream. To get a healthy night’s sleep that is uninterrupted, it is best to consume a meal at least two hours prior to going to sleep. This is especially true if you are prone to heartburn or are lactose intolerant. 

Going to bed without dinner
While too much food before bedtime can lead to nightmares, going to bed hungry can also cause sleep issues. Many people experience sleep issues when on a diet and because they go to bed without eating. They may experience hunger pangs and low blood sugar, which may rouse you from slumber. There are cases when hungry sleepers actually dream about food. 

Watching horror flicks
Chances are your parents have been telling you to avoid scary movies before bedtime for years. There may be some truth to your mother’s warnings. Doctors report that the movies you watch, the books you read, and the music you listen to just before drifting off to bed, may influence your sleep. It is not uncommon for a nightmare to occur if you’ve just finished a horror flick. Instead of immediately going to bed after watching something scary, take a few minutes to unwind with happy thoughts.

Poor quality sleep is associated with bruxism
By improving the quality of your sleep, you may reduce the signs and symptoms of bruxism.  If you are suffering from poor quality sleep, your dentist may be able to help!

Brushing your teeth seems like a fairly simple task right? After all, you’ve been doing it every day since you were a child. Well, turns out most people aren’t very good at brushing their teeth.
As with any habit, teeth brushing can become tedious. You can go through the motions without thinking about whether or not you’re using the proper technique. But improper brushing can lead to bigger problems, such as cavities, enamel erosion and gum disease. So find what you’re doing wrong and learn how to correct those bad brushing habits.

Do you love the sweet aroma and taste of a freshly brewed coffee? I know I do.

For many people, a cup of hot java is the perfect way to start the day off right, as well as staying alert on the morning commute. However, when it comes to your oral health, there are few things you should know...

I have holes in my top and bottom, my left and right, and in the middle. But I still hold water. What am I?

Some people believe that brushing after every meal is necessary, but actually, you don’t. Sugar isn’t the main cause of cavities. And bleaching doesn’t weaken your teeth. With so many misconceptions surrounding dental health, it’s not surprising that we’ve made up a few myths over the years to explain our dental issues. So why do we believe these myths? We usually heard them from somewhere, and they get repeated over and over again that we just take them for face value. But when it comes to your dental health, having false information can be dangerous. For your benefit, we have debunked four of the most common dental myths below:

Myth #1: You should brush after every meal
It’s obvious that brushing your teeth is important. But you may be surprised to learn that brushing right after a meal may be harming your teeth.
Wait, what!?
Yep! When you eat, your mouth produces acids, which soften your tooth enamel while it breaks down food particles. Brushing too soon after eating can actually wear away the protective tooth enamel, your mouth’s primary defense against cavities. It’s best to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before brushing to give your saliva time to neutralize the high acid levels in your mouth caused by eating and drinking.

If you have children, there’s a good chance you’ve had trouble getting them to brush their teeth from time to time. It’s a well-known fact that kids hate brushing their teeth. Not only are many toothbrushes uncomfortable, most toothpastes taste bad too. I remember when I was six and having to use spearmint toothpaste and hating the bitter taste. Back then there weren’t many flavor options, so you just had to suck it up if you didn’t like it. Luckily, now there are many brands of children’s toothpaste to choose from in a variety of delicious flavours. But with so many different options, where do you start?

Well other than asking your dentist for toothpaste recommendations, look for brands with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) seal on them. The seal means the toothpaste has been tested for its effectiveness and proper ingredients and is deemed safe to use. Choose a mild abrasive and stay away from toothpastes which may contain harmful chemicals, such as triclosan. This chemical has been linked to possibly causing heart problems. Try not to let your child swallow fluoridated toothpaste (Yep, kids eat toothpaste!) and don’t force a flavour they don’t like. For the best toothpastes for your kids, try some of the following brands.

Regular checkups with your dentist can do more than keep your teeth healthy – it can keep your body healthy too. There’s a strong correlation between one’s oral health and overall health.  The hygiene of your mouth can greatly affect the rest of your body.
Bacteria that accumulates on teeth may make the gums susceptible to infection.  In response to this bacterial accumulation, your immune system attacks the infection leading to inflammation of the gum tissue.  This inflammation continues until the infection is stabilized.  If left untreated, it can erode gums resulting in gum disease (known as periodontitis) and possible problems with other areas of the body. 

Gum Disease and Systemic Health Issues
Research from the Academy of General Dentistry shows a link between gum disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, digestive problems and heart disease. Women with gum disease are also more likely to give birth to pre-mature or low weight babies.
Other studies reveals that most systemic diseases – diseases affecting the whole body – involve oral complications, such as mouth ulcers, swollen gums, and dry mouth.  Systemic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, leukemia and oral cancer.

7 foods and drinks surprisingly high in sugar

Here at Dr. Karen J Lee dentistry, even though we can easily fix any cavities, stains, or teeth issues you may have, it's better (and cheaper!) to prevent these problems in the first place with proper brushing techniques, flossing, and most importantly, eating healthy. Believe it or not, the food we consume has a big impact on the health and general well being of our teeth. This guide helps explain a list of foods to watch out for, as well as some helpful alternatives.

Yogurt:  Did you know that flavored yogurts can sometimes contain as much as 20 grams or more of sugar! This of course, in combination with poor dental health maintenance, can lead to cavities and decay of otherwise healthy teeth. You are better off eating unflavored yogurt that has at most 7 grams of sugar and adding your own fruit, such as bananas and blueberries.

Brace yourself...the Earlier, the Better!

In the past
, braces used to correct a child's smile were not considerered for as long as the child still had baby teeth.  Today, general dentists, orthodontists and parents are realizing that early orthodontic treatment can be extremely effective, especially as the child's head and mouth are still growing, and the teeth are more accessible to straightening.

Braces are typically applied between age 10 and 14, although it's not unusual to start treatment earlier, especially if there is a skeletal discrepancy or a tooth eruption problem.  If it is determined that a child would benefit from orthodontics, we first gather pre-treatment information to determine the best course of treatment.  This evaluation includes a clinical examination, medical and dental history, stone study models of the teeth, photographs of the patient's face and teeth and x-rays of the mouth and head. 

Once the evaluation is analyzed, the appropriate course of action can begin.  Appliances are applied and adjusted periodically so that teeth are moved correctly and efficiently.  Complete cooperation from the patient is essential to ensure the most efficient treatment time possible.  An average treatment time is 24 months, although this varies depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the initial problem, the health of the teeth, gums and supporting bone and the cooperation of the patient during the treatment phase. 

Oral hygiene is extremely important while wearing braces for a number of reasons.  Braces provide lots of tiny hiding places for food and plaque to get trapped, allowing decay to thrive and promote gum disease.  Insufficient cleaning can also cause enamel staining around brackets or bands.  It is crucial to brush carefully after every meal with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and to floss between braces and under wires while continuing to go for professional dental cleanings every 6 months.

No matter what age, you owe it to yourself to find out if you can straighten out your smile with the more comfortable, less noticeable braces of today.  Come in and talk to us about how easy it is to have the perfect smile you've always wanted! 

We had a blast at our staff Christmas party this year.  Check out some of the photos we took..


Hello Everyone!

December 12, 2012 | Posted Announcements | 1 - Comment

Welcome to our blog section! Please stay in touch to get up to date information on what is going on at the office, helpful dental hygiene tips promotions and upcoming events.