Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to commonly asked dental questions!

Dental Care Tips

How much toothpaste should I use?

All you need is a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste to get the job done 🦷🌟

How often should I change my toothbrush?

We recommend changing your toothbrush every three or four months.

Worn toothbrush bristles are less effective at cleaning teeth, and can even cause unwanted wear on the gums and teeth. Bacteria can also build up in the bristles, which isn’t ideal for maintaining good oral hygiene.

How often should I brush my teeth?

Brush your teeth at least three times per day!

Which is the best technique for brushing?

One effective, easy-to-remember technique involves using a circular or elliptical motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.

Do I have to brush my tongue?

Absolutely. 90% of bad breath is due to a dirty tongue. Always brush your tongue!

Family Dentistry

There is blood when I brush my teeth. Should I be concerned?

Bleeding gums when you brush can be an early sign of gum disease, so make sure you let your dentist or hygienist know right away!

How often should I visit the dentist to get my teeth cleaned?

How often you need to visit the dentist depends on the overall health of your gums, how well you clean your teeth between visits and how much tartar has built up. Most children and adults do well with a cleaning every six months, however, those with current problems may need to be seen every three or four months. Your dental professional can advise you further on how to maintain your gum health.

It’s important to note that many dental insurance companies have begun paying for fewer cleanings (i.e. every nine to twelve months) in order to cut costs and maintain profits. Please follow the advice of your dental professional for optimum cleaning and care, regardless of your dental plan coverage. Decay, tooth loss, loss of fillings, crowns, bridges or implants can be prevented by regular cleanings and proper home care.

My teeth feel sore everyday when I wake up. Why?

Occlusal (bite) trauma is a dental term to describe when one or several of your teeth are receiving excessive pressure or contact from the opposing teeth, or in an area that is functionally not ideal. Learn more about Occlusal trauma here.

Where can I get information on previous patient’s experiences?

Speaking to other people that have had similar treatment is a good way to find out what is involved. Many times in the past I have had patients who not only want to see some of my past work, they want to speak to patients directly to find out what they experienced, whether they’re still happy, and how comfortable the experience was. In my opinion this is not an unreasonable request.

If you need to speak to past patients to feel more comfortable with the treatment that has been proposed, ask your dentist about providing a list. I have found my past patients more than willing to speak very openly and frankly to others about their experience. Read our patients testimonials here.

I have gum disease (periodontitis). What can I do to address it?

Generally, there are cleaning procedures that can be done to help address gum disease, like deep cleaning or root scaling. In severe cases, surgery may be required, but in most cases regular visits to the dentist and a commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene are enough. 

If you’re concerned about gum disease, you’ll want to make sure that you put lots of care and effort into your daily cleaning. That would mean brushing and flossing daily, as well as investing in a Waterpik. The Waterpik will help reach areas that brushing and flossing can’t, and may help to reduce the bacteria in these areas by rinsing them out.

Do you recommend oil pulling for treating gum disease (periodontitis)?

Oil pulling certainly seems to work based on our patients who do it. Having said that, we also acknowledge that the practice is very subjective and has yet to be clinically tested on a larger scale.

If you have deep gum recession, one problem or limitation may be that the oil will not reach much beyond a 3 millimeter pocket, so someone with advanced gum disease may not benefit as much as someone else with shallower gum recession. Learn more about how to prevent gum recession.

Although it may not initially appear to be more cost effective than something like oil pulling, for those with advanced periodontitis and severe gum recession, gum grafting can help to keep existing teeth, allowing a patient to save money in the long run.

What are the alternatives to dental surgery if I can’t afford it?

One option to investigate would be a dental school, assuming there’s one close to you. There are several universities that often require patients for students to work on. While that may seem like a risky proposition, rest assured that the students are supervised by dental professionals. These university dental programs often will provide dental services at a reduced rate which may make a much-needed surgery affordable for you.

Restorative Dentistry

Are implants a good solution to address broken teeth or loose dentures?

Whether you’ve had loose dentures and need an option to secure them, or you’ve broken some teeth and need replacements with good support, dental implants may be the right dental solution for you.

Once you speak with a dentist they’ll be able to assess your situation and explain what options are available for you, and answer any questions that you have about implants. 

What is dental bonding?

Bonding describes the process whereby dental filling materials are attached to the enamel and dentine layer of your teeth on a microscopic level. The bonding material is often made up of a composite; a plastic resin that quickly adheres to teeth.

This material hardens and bonds to the first layer of the tooth, making it an effective extension of the old, original tooth. Bonding can be color matched to surrounding teeth, in order to create a seamless smile.

This layer of bonding can be used to change the size, shape, and color of teeth. It is often used if a patient has chipped a tooth at the front of their mouth. It can be used on the outer layer of the tooth to extend it back to its full size.

How many appointments will I need for a dental bonding?

Bonding is fast and can be done in a single visit to your dentist. It is an inexpensive way to cover any flaws that you are unhappy with. During the appointment, the tooth-coloured material is applied to the patient’s teeth and bonded onto the tooth to mask any cracks or maladies.

In short, bonding is a fast, affordable, and very efficient procedure and can be used both as a temporary or long-term treatment for aesthetic dental concerns.

If I need a root canal, what should I do?

Root canals are a common term in the dentistry world, but the reality is that root canals are not as straightforward as most patients, and even some dentists, believe. The main reason for this is because of something known as focal infection theory.

At this point the focal infection theory behind root canals is still very controversial, and the evidence for it is not very definitive. Still, the standard of care from the Canadian and American Dental Associations maintains that root canals are effective, even if the focal infection theory is invalid or questionable at best. Based on a lack of tooth symptoms and x-rays alone, about 85-90% of all root canals are successful, in that there are no signs of infection or symptoms from the tooth. When they do fail, it can be the result of difficulty obtaining a proper seal at the tip of the root and/or the strength of your immune system. This can often be corrected by a re-treatment or cleaning the area at the tip of the root (apicoectomy).

Furthermore, there are alternative root canal ‘fillers’ that may be appropriate options for patients with concerns about focal infection.

Therefore, prior to making any irreversible decisions such as extracting a tooth you should review all of your options, evidence and health concerns with your dentist. The VCCID team would be happy to provide you with additional information about your root canal options. Please call us today.

Are root canals painful?

Nope! Today, root canals do not need to be painful at all. If a tooth is properly anesthetized, a person will not feel any more discomfort during a root canal than they would during routine fillings. What’s more, the majority of root canals today are completed painlessly within one appointment. Typically, root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it!

Are root canals safe?

There has been some ongoing controversy over the safety of root canaled teeth. When a root canal is properly done, all the living and dead tissue within the canal is removed. The canal is irrigated with antibacterial solutions to eliminate any bacteria present, and then a combination of filling material and sealers/cements are used to fill the canal. The success of the treatment is traditionally based on a lack of symptoms, an x ray showing filling material completely sealing the canal to the tip of the root and no sign of infection on the x ray itself.

However, the roots of our teeth are made up of dentin. This material is porous and contains many microscopic tubules. Some experts believe that even successful root canals may contain some living or dead bacteria within these tubules, and that these bacteria and/or the toxins they produce may potentially spread to other areas of the body causing health problems, even though the tooth itself will feel fine and appear normal. This theory is known as focal infection and the alternative has been to simply extract the tooth. Since the 1990’s the focal infection theory has seen a resurgence and many patients and some practitioners are now beginning to question the success and the possible health concerns of root canaled teeth.

I need to restore a filling and my other tooth is at-risk. What should I do?

If a small area of the tooth is chipped, decayed or fractured, often a small filling will be sufficient to repair the tooth. However, if large areas of the tooth are fractured, worn down, decayed, or previously filled, then a dental crown is often necessary to restore and protect the tooth. Learn more about dental crowns here.

My dental crown doesn’t fit properly. What should I do?

In the case of a brand new crown, your dentist will most likely notice any fitment issues and make corrective steps or adjustments before you’re even aware of them. However, if you are having any issues with a new crown, make sure to go back and notify your dentist of the issues and concerns as soon as possible. If you’re not sure, we’d suggest checking out this article for information on potential signs that your dental crowns don’t fit.

If a problem develops on a crown that has otherwise been good for many years, it could be a sign that something has broken, shifted or changed. Make sure to visit a dentist as soon as you can to see if the problem can be fixed, and to prevent any further problems in the area. If your crown has come off, take the crown with you, as it may just be a simple matter of cleaning the crown and re-cementing it.

My dental crown fits properly but something feels off. Is that normal?

When patients receive a new crown or filling, sometimes the tiniest difference can feel like a huge, persistent annoyance. Fortunately, in most cases patients become accustomed to the new restoration and no longer notice it after a little while (1-3 weeks if not days).

On the other hand, we’ve had patients remark that the feeling of “wrongness” remains even after a few weeks, despite the restorations fitting properly and being correctly sized. Nevertheless, our patients were insistent that something just didn’t feel right.

The bottom line is that sometimes the smallest adjustments can make a world of difference, so we always listen to what our patients are telling us, even if it sometimes seems like everything should be fine. If you find yourself in this situation, it may help your dentist identify the problem if you describe how and when you feel the discomfort. Is it when you eat and chew, as you bite, or is it simply the feel of the tooth? If so, what is it about the feel that bothers you?

Your health and comfort should always be your dentist’s first priority, so if something just doesn’t feel right, make sure you have a conversation with them about the situation.

Is it still possible to adjust my crowns?

The answer is mostly “yes”, but it can depend on how long the crowns have been placed for. 

It’s always easier to make adjustments during the fitting and measurement process, so be sure to tell your dentist about any concerns or discomfort that you have, even if they seem very minor. Some adjustments can still be made after the crowns are put in permanently, but in case they need to be sent back to the lab, it’s better if they are not cemented permanently.

What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are custom fitted pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the front of the teeth to camouflage irregularities. Veneers are similar to bonding of white filling materials except the quality of (porcelain) veneer material is higher, as is the end result in the short and long term.

The colour and translucency of porcelain is very similar to natural enamel and dramatic changes to the whiteness, size and shape of teeth can be achieved using porcelain. In the long term, stronger porcelain veneer material is less likely to chip or break and it will not stain or discolour. In fact, in cases of extremely dark or crooked teeth, veneers are often the only good cosmetic solution.

How long do porcelain veneers last?

On average, veneers last approximately 15 years, but can last much longer – up to 20+ years – depending on different factors. One major factor is tooth preparation – if the veneer is bonded to the tooth enamel (as opposed to the dentin layer underneath), it will form a better, stronger bond and last longer. So, depending on your age, you may have to expect to replace them at some point in your lifetime and this is  true of almost all dental work, whether it is a filling, veneer or even a crown.

Other factors include your personal care (brushing and flossing) and getting your teeth checked regularly.

Some of the longevity also depends on the correct treatment plan such as identifying, correcting and/or minimizing any bite issues and protecting your teeth from certain habits, like clenching, grinding, biting hard objects and putting excessive pressure on your teeth.

Dr. Balogh would be happy to answer your questions about porcelain veneers and cosmetic options available to you. Please contact us for a free consultation.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Cost?

Veneers can cost between $1300-$1600 per tooth but we have seen prices from our competitors in the Vancouver and Burnaby areas which ranged from $1200 to over $2000 per tooth.

The above fees include laboratory fees as well as clinic fees. Veneers are not typically covered by dental insurance. We can certainly check your policy and look into this for you. In cases where the teeth are chipped, broken or heavily filled, many plans will pay for veneers for structural reasons.

Cosmetic Dentistry

I had a bonding job done many years ago that lasted forever, but a recent bonding job started chipping off within months. Why?

It’s important to keep in mind that at the time the original bonding was done, your bite may have been different. It may be that the pressure/forces on your teeth are different/greater than they were years ago, so the new bonding may not be as strong to withstand the chewing/functional forces.

Bonding can be a very challenging process between getting something that is aesthetic, functional, and “feasible” within your bite/pathways of function, as well as strong enough to last for a reasonable length of time. Certainly technique and dental experience can play a role, but I have also done bonding for patients where certain teeth continue to chip. It’s a challenge that comes from limitations of the material and the way a person’s mouth naturally moves. In some cases it is better to use a stronger material such as porcelain.

If you have concerns, it’s best to speak to your dentist and see if:

  1. They understand why the bonding has been chipping
  2. What they can do to minimize chipping by either making changes to how it’s done or choosing to use different materials for specific teeth

I’ve noticed that bleaching doesn’t whiten my teeth as well as it used to. Will my teeth naturally get darker as I age?

The answer is, unfortunately, yes.

As we get older it’s more difficult to whiten our teeth by “bleaching”. The colour of a tooth comes from the dentine layer below the enamel. This layer becomes thicker and often darker as we age, and the enamel above often makes this more visible due to erosion or abrasion over the years.

Generally, teeth that are more yellow and uniform in colour will bleach reasonably well, however teeth that are gray, brown or dark orange in colour will not bleach well at all. If one has discolouration due to tetracycline stains (an antibiotic that used to be given to children) then bleaching will be almost entirely ineffective.

How long do teeth whitening effects last?

The degree of whiteness achievable will vary between individuals based on:

  • The condition of the teeth
  • The degree of staining
  • The type and concentration of the bleaching system used

Treatment processes vary and include off the shelf products as well as professional take home products and in-office procedures. Once treatment is complete, the new whiteness of your teeth is semi-permanent – just as your natural teeth darken as time progresses, so will your bright new smile.

Generally, patients don’t notice darkening until six months to a year or more has passed, and even then their teeth will still be whiter than if they hadn’t whitened them at all. If this gradual darkening is a concern, occasional touch up procedures can be done to quickly bring the brightness back.

Can adults benefit from orthodontic braces?

Crooked or misaligned teeth look unsightly, which in many cases leads to poor self esteem, a lack of self confidence and a deterioration of the gums and overall dental health. So the answer is: yes, adults can absolutely benefit from braces.

Aside from poor aesthetics, improperly aligned teeth can also cause difficulties with biting, chewing and speaking clearly. 

Orthodontists agree that straight teeth tend to be healthier teeth. Those health and dental benefits include:

  • Reduction in general tooth decay
  • Decreased likelihood of developing periodontal disease
  • Decreased likelihood of tooth injury
  • Reduction in digestive disorders

One of the biggest obstacles preventing adults from having orthodontic treatment is the thought of having the traditional wires and brackets placed. Fortunately, there are now a wide range of fixed and removable orthodontic devices available (like Invisalign) which makes adapting to braces easier, more comfortable, simpler to clean and less noticeable.

The exact types of appliances that are suitable for each person really depends on the specific problem being addressed and the types of tooth movements necessary.

Prior to recommending specific orthodontic treatment, your dentist will recommend treatment of any pre-existing dental conditions such as gum disease, excess plaque and tooth decay.

How much do braces cost?

It’s extremely difficult to estimate the cost of braces without seeing the person, as each treatment is unique. One person’s treatment may be completed in 6 months, whereas another person may require over 2 years of treatment and with multiple appliances.

We can say that, at the time of this writing, braces in the Metro Vancouver region typically range from $5000 to $12,000 depending on the complexity of treatment required.

If you think about it, you have one set of teeth for the rest of your life, so why not make them perfect! Call us for a consultation and we can review your insurance to be able to give you the best price possible for your braces!

What are dentures?

Tooth loss is very common and can happen at any age. Whether it is due to an accident, trauma, illness or improper oral care, you can lose one or many of your teeth at any time. There are different replacement options for when this occurs, and dentures are one of them. There are pros and cons with dentures as there are with just about any type of dental work, and which we’ll discuss in a bit more detail below.

Dentures are the fastest (quickest to fabricate and insert) and generally the least expensive method to replace missing teeth or gum tissue. They can be made to replace one tooth or whole rows of missing teeth.

All dentures are custom fitted and made to perfectly fit and simulate the look and feel of your teeth. You can use dentures as a temporary form of tooth replacement, or a permanent means of replacing lost teeth. Many people use dentures while they consider other options such as dental implant procedures.

Will dentures feel like regular teeth?

At first, if you are not used to wearing dentures, they may take some getting used to. Much like a new pair of shoes they may feel a little foreign, particularly for those who have never worn a denture. However, if they are fitted correctly to your mouth, you will quickly adapt to them and they will become normal within a matter of days.

You may need to have your dentures adjusted if they do not feel like they fit properly in your mouth. With a new set of dentures there can be areas where it rubs or presses on the gums too much, creating a sore spot. These can be easily adjusted, typically in one or two appointments.

Dentures should feel comfortable in your mouth. If you notice anything painful, like dentures rubbing against your gums, or pressing against your lips, visit your dentist to have them adjusted. Dentures should never be painful or very uncomfortable.

How much do dentures cost?

The cost of dentures ranges depending on the type of dentures you need. If you require a full mouth of dentures it will generally be more expensive than partial dentures. Dentures cost anywhere between $900 – $2300 per arch depending on the type of material and denture being made. Most dentures are around $1300-1500 per arch.

You will need to ask your dentist or denturist about the exact cost of the dentures you are looking for and he/she will likely need to see the condition of your teeth and mouth to give you an accurate estimate of the work involved.

How do dentures stay in place?

Complete dentures have very little to hold them in place. In the case of upper dentures it is possible to create a small amount of suction against the gums. Lower dentures are a bigger problem in that it is rare to be able to create suction with a lower denture.

The floor of the mouth moves every time we swallow and as we talk, so suction is next to impossible. The tongue actually works subconsciously to hold dentures in place, but that’s something that only comes with time. Many people need to use some type of denture adhesive to keep dentures in place. This is one of the pitfalls of dentures in comparison to implants.

Partial dentures generally are much better at staying in place. They are often designed to have some type of retentive element that holds onto the remaining teeth. Most commonly these are flexible wires that fit around a few teeth and into the undercuts. In dentistry we call them clasps.

They can also be made out of an acrylic material like Velplast dentures, or there can be designs using a silicone material, and many others that are incorporated into crowns on natural teeth. Some do not have any retentive elements other than a bit of friction; they’re often called “flippers” because of how much they move within the mouth.

How do I clean my dentures?

Unlike dental implants and dental bridges, dentures aren’t permanently fixed in a patient’s mouth. They have to be removed and cleaned every night. Ideally they should not be worn during the night while sleeping in order to give the gum tissues time to rest.

Ideally, you should also remove and clean your dentures after every meal. But at a minimum, you should brush and clean your dentures at least once a day. For the most part, any toothpaste will do a good job of cleaning your dentures. However if you find that they are developing some hard to remove stains you can buy specific denture cleaning solutions from your local drugstore or grocery store.

Lastly, your dentures should be placed in liquid when they are not in your mouth. Keep them in a glass of water at night when you remove them.

Holistic Dentistry

Why Holistic Dentistry at VCCID?

We take a holistic and conservative approach to our patients, our practice philosophy and our lives. As a result, we try to provide alternative treatments that have a scientific basis behind them rather than use treatment methods that we feel will ultimately be harmful to our patients.

Dr. Balogh himself personally understands the importance of using safe materials and procedures. 17 years ago, he became very will with extremely high levels of mercury, cadmium and lead in his body, leading him to go through a long process of chelation (a treatment used in conventional medicine for removing heavy metals) to clear his body of excess heavy metals. Following that experience, he has become adamant that any metals the clinic uses must be completely safe.

Nevertheless, we do have patients that either have multiple sensitivities or just do not want to take any risks or chances with metals and want to have zirconium implants only. We don’t try to change people’s minds other than to explain any limitations or alterations that their treatment plan may need. Once they understand and acknowledge those limitations, we’ll proceed to place their implants.

Book your next appointment with us

If you have any additional questions about your treatment options, or you want to learn more about our services, we made a page to help guide you. Visit our FAQ page for support and helpful resources.

COVID-19 Update

Dear Patients,

Because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, our clinic will remain closed until further notice. If you have an upcoming appointment and we have not been able to contact you, please consider your appointment cancelled.

If you have a dental emergency, please call our office line at (604) 434-0248.

This number will direct you to a voicemail message which includes phone numbers to reach our dentists. The dentist you speak to will assess your situation by phone and, based on your condition, may open the clinic to see you.

Sincerely,

Vancouver Centre for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry
Dr Peter Balogh, Dr Norman GT Wong, Dr Sep Rahmani, Vicson Leung