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Correcting Deep Bites

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on June 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ottawa InvisalignOttawa, Ontario – A deep bite is when the upper teeth cover an excessive amount of the lower teeth and can be harmful because it not only causes teeth to be misaligned, but it can result in additional problems that can be painful and send you running to your Ottawa dentist.

“Deep bites can cause serious problems,” says Ottawa Invisalign provider Dr. Pamela Li. “The lower teeth will be in constant contact with the upper gums. This contact will harm the gum tissue, and over time, the roots of the teeth can be exposed from the gums being rubbed away. Likewise, the constant rubbing on the bottom teeth can cause those teeth to wear down over time.”

That means that after Dr. Li has treated their orthodontic issue, her patients may also require additional cosmetic dentistry procedures from her, such as crowns or veneers.

But the good news is there are several options available to treat deep bites. Deep bites are best treated at an early age to prevent additional damage being done. It is important that parents take their children for their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven. Waiting too long for orthodontic treatment can result in needing surgery to properly correct any issues that may be present. But by beginning orthodontic monitoring at a young age, the orthodontist can determine when the best time to begin treatment is, and craft the perfect treatment plan to create the most beautiful and functional smile for a patient.

There are several options available to treat deep bites, with surgery typically being a last resort. A good orthodontist or dentist will create a custom treatment plan for each of his or her patients. Even if presenting with a similar problem, every mouth is different, so every treatment plan must be unique. The treatment will first begin with a diagnosis, which will involve a comprehensive examination. The dentist will need X-rays and photos to clearly see the issue and then determine the best course of action to treat it.

In some instances, the treatment may involve what is known as a bite plane. Made of acrylic, this appliance will be anchored into the mouth with bands that are placed in the upper, permanent molars. A piece of acrylic will rest on the upper front teeth, and the appliance works to allow the back teeth to come together. The typical treatment time using a bite plane is six to nine months.

In most cases, however, braces will be required to correct the bite. Because a deep bite causes poor angulation for the teeth, a large amount of force is typically needed to move the teeth to better positions. This may have been a deterrent for some patients, especially adults, who didn’t want the hassle of dealing with metal braces and all the annoyances that can go along with their wear. But now there is some exciting news for patients looking to correct their deep bites.

“Invisalign, the clear aligner braces technology, now offers a new aligner designed specifically to correct deep bites,” says Dr. Li. “That means even more patients can now enjoy the ease and functionality of Invisalign.”

At the end of 2013, Align Technology announced Invisalign G5, the exciting new technology that will allow deep bite patients the ability to correct their smiles more comfortably, efficiently and less noticeably. Align Technology designs and manufactures the revolutionary clear aligner system that has been improving smiles since 1998. Patients love the aligners because they are almost totally invisible and completely removable, allowing patients to discretely straighten their teeth without altering their lifestyles dramatically. The Invisalign product family includes numerous technologies to give patients perfect smiles, but until now, patients with deep bites were not as predictable with their treatment.

But all of that has changed with Invisalign G5. It has been specifically engineered to achieve better outcomes for deep bites and offers a few comprehensive features to help dentists correct these bites.

“Invisalign G5 has added new SmartForce attachments and pressure areas,” says Dr. Li. “These are designed to improve the control of tooth movement to create a more predictable treatment. There are also new precision aligner bite ramps that help to further improve the efficiency of the treatment.”

Invisalign G5 marks the first time Align Technology has created a product to specifically enhance treatment for one type of malocclusion. With deep bites affecting an estimated 45 percent of teen and adult patients, the company saw the need and created an innovative solution to better assist dentists and orthodontists.

Invisalign is a more modern approach to straightening teeth. Recent research has shown that eliciting constant, gentle force on teeth is more effective in moving them to their proper locations. And Invisalign G5 with its SmartForce innovations does just that. These new features allow the dentist to use advanced virtual modeling to deliver the proper level of force for each individual tooth. This is something that simply can’t be done using standard metal braces.

Invisalign involves the wear of a custom set of aligner trays. During the course of treatment, each tray will be worn for two weeks. Each tray is custom made for the individual patient, based on the exact movements your dentist has planned for you. And with Invisalign G5, the dentist now has the ability to plan out the movement for each individual tooth, so he or she can specifically target the teeth that are causing your deep bite.

Best of all, this is done gently and without people knowing it is even happening. There are no pesky wires and brackets to worry about, and because they are removable, there is no need to alter your diet or oral care habits. Invisalign provides excellent results, and dentists like Dr. Li are thrilled to be able to use the technology to help even more patients smile wider.

© 2014 Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on May 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

brushing teethOttawa, Ontario – Do you know how to choose the right toothbrush to keep your mouth healthy? There are so many options from which to choose – electric, manual, and so many brands of each. Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa cosmetic dentist, offers her top picks and explains what you should look for in a toothbrush.

“It’s best to look for a brush that has a small head so that it can be moved around your mouth more easily,” says Dr. Li, who is also a general dentist, serving patients of all ages. “Be sure the bristles are soft and that it fits comfortably in your hand.”

Dr. Li prefers electric toothbrushes. It is important to remember that electric toothbrushes are not the same as battery-powered ones. A battery-powered toothbrush is similar to a manual brush, but a battery makes it vibrate slightly, allowing you to clean a bit better than with a standard brush. An electric brush, on the other hand, will be rechargeable and will come with many different features. They can oscillate, vibrate, rotate or even use sonic technology to guarantee the best cleaning for your teeth. Features may include special modes for sensitive teeth, to massage your gums, or for whitening. Some models even have pressure sensors to alert you when you brush too hard, or reminders to alert you when you should replace the head of the brush.

To maintain the best dental care, Dr. Li recommends SoniCare and Oral B electric brushes. She explains that, as with most other things, you get what you pay for. While these brands may be more expensive, they are also the best to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The good news is, while the initial investment may seem like a lot, they might actually save you money in the long run because they don’t need to be replaced as often as manual brushes.

Dr. Li also recommends the use of a waterpik, especially for patients who have braces or bridges. Also referred to as an oral irrigator, a waterpik uses a stream of pulsating water to remove food debris and plaque from between the teeth and below the gum line. It is very effective in flushing out debris around braces and bridges.

Other products that can help remove plaque include the Proxabrush and Softpicks. The Proxabrush is a specially designed brush system that can access hard to reach places between the teeth that tooth brushing alone may miss. It can be used on natural teeth, as well as around crowns, bridges, dental implants and orthodontic appliances. Likewise, a Softpick can dislodge food from between teeth, remove plaque and massage the gums. And for that hard to reach place in the back of your mouth behind your last tooth, there is the Sulcabrush. Invented by a Canadian dentist, this specialized brush can not only effectively clean the back of your last tooth, it can also easily get in between teeth to remove plaque build-up.

There are some patients who may have special needs requiring their toothbrush to be adapted so it can be handled better. For patients who have difficulty controlling their hands, arm or shoulder movements, Dr. Li offers a few ideas on how to adapt their standard toothbrush.

  • The handle of the brush can be enlarged using a bicycle grip or other like material to allow the patient a bigger surface to grip.
  • Use a rod to lengthen the toothbrush.
  • If the patient has problems gripping, attach the brush to the hand using Velcro straps or a hand brace.
  • Buy a brush whose handle can be bent to allow a better holding surface.

No matter what type of toothbrush you use, it is important to properly care for it. Toothbrushes should be allowed to dry in between uses. Bacteria grows in moisture, so a wet toothbrush can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Because of this, brushes should never be covered as this won’t allow them to ever fully dry.

Wash your brush thoroughly after each use, and be sure to wash your hands before brushing to remove any bacteria that could move from your hands to the brush.

Always store your toothbrush upright and never share a toothbrush with anyone, including family members. Bacteria can jump from one toothbrush to another, so never store brushes touching each other.

Replace your manual toothbrush every three months, or immediately following an illness. While the chances of becoming sick from a toothbrush are slim, continuing to use the same brush after an illness may transfer those germs back to you.

If you’re worried about bacteria growth on your toothbrush, there are several products on the market that claim to kill germs. There are sprays, rinses and UV light products that can eliminate the number of germs on your brush.

But perhaps most important is to use your brush, floss, and other products properly and often.

“Always brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day,” says Dr. Li, whose dental clinic is located in downtown Ottawa. “This can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but only if you are also brushing and flossing properly.”

Brush for two to three minutes a day, avoiding scrubbing too hard. If you are too rough with your teeth, you can start to break down the enamel that is the protective layer of the tooth. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle, brushing gently in short strokes from the gum line to the top of the tooth. Brush all surfaces of the tooth, paying special attention to reach all of the crevices on the chewing surface. And don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and help freshen your breath. Tongue scrapers are also effective in cleaning the surface of your tongue.

If you have question about which toothbrush is right for you, or have concerns about proper brushing and flossing technique, call Dr. Li’s office for advice. She and her staff can assist you with all of your dental questions. And remember to maintain regular, twice-yearly appointments with Dr. Li to ensure your mouth is healthy.

© 2014 Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Managing Severe Dry Mouth

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on April 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ottawa dentistryOttawa, Ontario – You might not stop to think about the effect saliva has on your mouth and oral health, at least not until you experience a lack of it. Saliva is needed to moisten and clean our mouths and assists in digestion. Saliva can also assist in oral health by washing away harmful bacteria.

For geriatric dentistry patients, and patients with certain conditions or who are on certain medications, experiencing cottonmouth might be a common occurrence. Dr. Pamela Li regularly treats patients who suffer from xerostomia and has some tips for understanding and living with it.

“Severe dry mouth can be extremely annoying,” says Dr. Li, who is an Ottawa dentist. “Your mouth might feel like it is burning all the time, or you can experience difficulty speaking or swallowing. It can even cause your face to swell and can disturb your sleep habits. But there is good news – there are ways dentists can help ease your xerostomia.”

Xerostomia can be much more than annoying – if left untreated, it can disrupt your entire life. Dentists see an increase in dental caries in patients who suffer from dry mouth, and there is a higher risk of infection, as well as an increase in plaque formation. For some patients, dry mouth can be caused by certain medications they may be taking and for others it can be an unwelcome side effect of another medical condition they have. It is extremely important to discuss your complete medical history, including any medication or herbal supplements you may take, with your dentist. That way, the dentist has a clear picture of your overall health, and can understand what may be causing your dental issues.

There are many medications that can cause xerostomia. Both prescription and over the counter medications can cause the condition. If you take medications to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, obesity, acne, hypertension, diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, incontinence, or asthma, you may suffer from dry mouth. Muscle relaxers and sedatives can also lead to the condition. Discuss any medications, or changes in medications, with your dentist.

Additionally, there are some medical conditions that can lead to xerostomia. AIDS and HIV patients regularly suffer from the condition, as do patients undergoing radiation therapy. Bone marrow transplant patients and patients in renal dialysis or with chronic active hepatitis may also suffer from dry mouth. Diabetics also routinely suffer from it.

“There are so many medications and conditions that can also have an effect on your mouth,” says Dr. Li. “Our bodies are so intricately related that it is so important to keep your dentist apprised of other things going on in your medical life. You may not realize that your periodontal disease or increase in cavities is a result of another medical condition that has led to your dry mouth, but your dentist will.”
Symptoms of dry mouth include a sticky or dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, sores in the mouth, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth or on the tongue, a dry and raw tongue, hoarseness, bad breath and difficulty in chewing, swallowing and speaking. Additionally, dry mouth increases the risk of periodontal disease, tooth decay and mouth infections such as thrush.

The good news is, there are several options to combat dry mouth for dental patients. Dr. Li recommends Oral Balance Moisturizing Gel or Liquid most often. The moisturizing gel is best for nighttime use while the liquid is for daytime use.

There are also saliva stimulant products that can assist in relieving dry mouth. Dentiva, OraMoist, Sal-Ese, Smart Mouth Mints and Xylemelts can provide temporary relief for sufferers of dry mouth. SalivaSure tablets are the most highly recommended as they have no adverse reactions or drug interactions.

The best toothpaste to use is Biotene as it is specially formulated for dry mouth sufferers.  It is very gentle and does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, an irritant commonly used in toothpastes as a foaming agent.  It has a mild flavor and also contains fluoride, which is important for decay prevention.

It is important to sip cool water throughout the day and let ice chips melt in your mouth to keep the mouth moistened.  If it is difficult to swallow food because of the dryness, try drinking 2% or whole milk with your meals.  The fat content in the milk moisturizes the mouth and helps with swallowing.

Avoid caffeinated beverages because caffeine is a major cause of dry mouth. Use a cool air humidifier in the bedroom. Start the humidifier one to two hours before bedtime and let it run all night.

Try to avoid alcohol and alcohol containing mouthwashes as alcohol can irritate oral tissues. Suck on sugar free candy or chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva production.  Look for products that contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that does not cause cavities and may even help prevent cavities. Acidic candies and foods can also a cause sore mouth, so avoid those.

For dry lips, use hydrous lanolin USP (Lansinoh) or Banana Boat Aloe with vitamin E lip balm. Chronic use of Vaseline is drying and should be avoided.  If possible, sleep on your side to help avoid mouth breathing.

The best thing for you to do, however, is schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine what course of action may be needed to help your condition. Be prepared for your dental visit by writing down any symptoms you have been experiencing, including any that you may think are unrelated. Write down any personal information that could be contributing to your condition, including recent stresses or life changes. Keep an accurate list of all medications, vitamins, supplements and even over the counter medications you are taking.

If you believe you suffer from xerostomia, now is the time to visit your dentist. While you may think your dry mouth is just annoying, it could be doing permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Schedule a visit with your dentist today and get relief before any more damage is done.

© 2014 Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Oral Health Care Issues Facing the Elderly

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on March 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ottawa geriatric dentistOttawa, Ontario – As the population of the world ages, there are unique challenges our senior citizens face. Their oral care is one of them, as aging is associated with issues such as muscle weakness and a higher risk for dental caries.

“There are so many issues that face our seniors that many people may not stop to think about how aging affects our teeth and mouths,” says Ottawa geriatric dentist Dr. Pamela Li. “But as we age, our bodies change, affecting our oral health, as well. Additionally, medications senior citizens take can cause issues such as dry mouth, and the dentin on the teeth can wear down, leading to cavities and decay.”

Dr. Li, who as a family dentist has the unique opportunity to serve members of a family from the youngest to the oldest, explains what those over the age 60 should be on the look out for.

As we get older, our mouths become more prone to cavities. One common cause of this is dry mouth. While some may associate this with aging, it is not a regular part of aging, but is mostly the cause of taking certain medications. In fact, over 500 medications, from those for asthma to high blood pressure to high cholesterol, can all cause this condition. This makes it crucial for patients to disclose any medications they may be taking to their dentists. The dentist will then be able to adjust you care, keeping this in mind.

People with severe dry mouth may have difficulty swallowing or speaking due to dry tissues.  They may have a generalized burning sensation in the mouth, oral abrasions and ulcerations and disturbed sleep patterns.

“There are some things you can do to ease your dry mouth,” says Dr. Li. “Your physician may be able to alter your medication dose, but you can do things such as chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production. Avoid foods and drinks that contribute to dry mouth, such as coffee, alcohol and citrus fruits. Use a cool air humidifier at night which will help with sleep.  For dry lips, use lanolin instead of Vaseline. There are products to help ease the symptoms of dry mouth. Biotene makes a nice gentle toothpaste, gum and mouthrinse.  Oralbalance and Saliva Sure are also helpful.”

Dry mouth is a cause for concern because saliva act as a natural barrier to tooth decay. After you eat or drink, your saliva will work to wash away the sugars and bacteria that will otherwise stick to the teeth, and over time, lead to decay. Root decay especially is a big problem in the elderly. Fluoride is still the best way to prevent cavities.

Periodontal disease is also a concern for senior citizens. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and results in swollen, red, bleeding and irritated gums. Many seniors may not even know they have it until it reaches its advanced stages. But if left untreated, a patient’s gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, created pockets where food and bacteria particles can collect. Over time, the gum disease will destroy not only the gums, but also the bone and ligaments that support the teeth. Advanced periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss. This is why it is so important for our seniors to maintain regular dentistry check-ups so gum disease can be treated at the first sign of appearance.

But periodontal disease might not just affect your mouth. The workings of the body are all closely inter-related and patients who suffer from severe periodontal disease double their risk of fatal heart disease and increase their chance of stroke.

That means visiting your dentist could save your life. And regular visits to their dentist can also lead to early detection of mouth cancer. During a regular check-up, your dentist will check for signs of mouth cancer, which mostly affects people over the age of 62. The disease is not painful in the beginning, so early detection can help save lives. If you notice open sores, white or red patches, or changes to your lips, tongue or inside of your mouth, call your dentist immediately.

Elderly patients also face unique challenges that can make regular care of their teeth more difficult. Severe arthritis can make even holding a toothbrush or dental floss difficult, and as we age, it may become harder and harder to stand at a sink, even for the few minutes it takes to brush our teeth.

“That’s when family members become so important,” says Dr. Li. “Just as you would remind your older family member to take their heart medication, you also need to remind them to properly care for their teeth and gums, too. If your loved one is having difficulty brushing or flossing, call my office and we can talk about different ways we can help. If your loved one wears dentures, pay close attention to how the dentures fit. Over time, they may require new dentures, but poor fit may lead to difficulty eating.”

If you help care for a loved one who is confined to bed, be sure to continue to maintain their oral health by helping them brush and floss each day. Not only is poor oral care associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, bacteria from the mouth can also enter the lungs and cause pneumonia.

The average Canadian man has a life expectancy of 79 years, while the average woman will live to 84. More than 80 percent of Canada’s elderly population has some sort of chronic health condition, which could include arthritis, back pain, cardiovascular disease. That means it is all the more important for these patient to receive regular, quality dental care.

A recent article posted by the Canadian Dental Association states that, while all Canadian citizens have prepaid access to a health care plan administered by the government, these plans don’t cover dental services. And that means many seniors may simply go without this important service.

The article reports that while older patients may claim to brush and floss regularly, they still had untreated caries and periodontal pockets. Some interviewed for the survey reported avoiding certain foods due to mouth pain while eating, while others reported persistent mouth pain. This may be because many avoid the dentist, or declined treatment because the cost was too much.

“This is something we as dentists all need to be aware of,” says Dr. Li. “Because taking care of your teeth is so important to your overall health, we need to ensure easy access with affordable payments are available to all our citizens. With proper care, we’re seeing more and more adults enter their senior years with their natural teeth still intact.”

Learning proper oral care needs to begin at a young age, but that care needs to continue into our senior years, as well. As we age, we face many issues, but poor oral care and the issues associated with it do not have to be among them. With proper brushing and flossing, maintaining a healthy diet and keeping regular visits to the dentist, our seniors can ensure healthy mouths for their entire lifetime.

Things to Think About This Valentine’s Day

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on February 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

Chocolates for Valentine's DayOttawa, Ontario – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While we’re running to get our last minute gifts, Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa dentist, has some tips for people to keep in mind when celebrating the holiday.

“Valentine’s Day is the day of love, and often chocolate and other sweet, delectable treats,” says Dr. Li, who has a family dentist practice. “But we also need to remember to maintain our oral health during this holiday, and not let bad habits creep in that can damage our mouths and teeth.”

Did you know that American spend roughly $345 million dollars on Valentine’s candy each year, and consume nearly 58 million pounds of chocolate on the holiday? All of that can spell disaster for your oral health!

The bacteria in plaque create acid when it comes into contact with sugar. This acid then attacks your teeth, working to destroy the protective enamel coating. The bacteria that causes cavities thrives in sweets, so it is especially important to pay close attention to your oral health when you consume sweets. And some sweets are worse on the teeth than others. Sticky treats, as well as those that dissolve slowly, such as lollipops, hard candies, toffee and taffy can wreak extra havoc on teeth. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partake this Valentine’s Day, says Dr. Li.

“Eating candies in moderation, paired with a healthy oral care regimen, is fine,” says Dr. Li. “Always remember to brush and floss twice daily, and pay special attention to your teeth if you’ve indulged in particularly sweet or sticky treats.”

Another thing to remember is that bacteria doesn’t just come from the food and drinks we consume – it comes from other places as well, such as the mouth of our partner. And that leads us to another important dental care tip – never share your toothbrush with anyone, even your spouse or children. Just like kissing on the lips, sharing your toothbrush with others can introduce harmful bacteria to your mouth that could lead to tooth decay or other oral diseases.

There are several issues that arise when sharing a toothbrush. For some people, brushing can cause their gums to bleed. That means if you share a toothbrush with someone with bleeding gums, you are exposed to their blood and any diseases found in their bloodstream, such as hepatitis. Even if there is no bleeding, other viruses like the flu or cold sores are very contagious, not to mention the bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease.

Valentine’s Day is the day of love, but did you know that kissing can also introduce bacteria that can result in tooth decay? It’s true – just like sharing a toothbrush with the one you love, kissing can also introduce harmful bacteria into our mouths. To decrease the odds that harmful bacteria enters your mouth while kissing, maintain a good oral care regimen and avoid kissing on the lips while one of you is sick.

Kissing may also be a factor in spreading the most common sexually transmitted disease, the human papillomavirus, which in some cases can lead to oral cancer.

You may not realize it, but often times your dentist may be the first line of defense against serious illnesses such as cancer. In fact, checking for early signs of oral cancer is part of a regular dental check-up. During your routine visit, your dentist will check your gums, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue, as well as the roof and floor of your mouth very carefully. She is looking for the following signs that could indicate cancer:

  • Red or white patches,
  • Sores that bleed easily or do not heal,
  • Thick, hard spots or lumps,
  • Roughened or crusted areas.

Additionally, your dentist will ask if you have been experiencing numbness, pain or tenderness, or a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down. It is important to always disclose any issues such as these to your dentist.

Tobacco use and heavy drinking can be contributing factors to oral cancer, as can infection with some forms of HPV. HPV is a virus that infects skin and wet surfaces of the body, like the mouth and genitals. While there are more than 100 different types of HPV, the most common form appears as warts. High-risk HPV types may also cause a form of throat cancer, called oropharyngeal cancer. Studies show that nearly seven percent of the population may have oral HPV, while one percent may have the type that can result in oropharyngeal cancers.  Oral HPV is three times more common in men than in women.

There aren’t a lot of studies that have determined how people contract HPV, and the ones there are often contain conflicting information. Some suggest that HPV may be contracted during oral sex and open-mouthed kissing, however. Some experts believe that increasing numbers of people are engaging in sexual activities with multiple partners, and as a result of oral sex practices, may be contracting HPV in the head and neck region. This is then leading to an increased rate of oral cancer.

“This topic isn’t a pleasant one to talk about, especially around Valentine’s Day,” says Dr. Li. “But I take my job of screening and detecting oral cancer and other pathologies very seriously. I’m not only interested in your teeth, but in how to help you achieve and maintain optimum health in all areas of your life. While I cannot diagnose cancer, I can identify suspicious looking areas of the mouth that require further evaluation, and counsel you on life habits that may be dangerous to your health.”

Because you should see your dental care expert twice a year, he or she may be the best to locate evidence of HPV. Through a visual and tactile exam, as well as an oral history that takes into account signs and symptoms you may have experienced, he or she can determine if you may need further screening.

“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers,” says Dr. Li. “It’s extremely important to maintain regular visits with your dental and health care providers, and to discuss any lingering issues with them. If you notice abnormal growths, tenderness, discoloration or bleeding, it’s important to contact me right away.”

While Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, it is also important to remember the dangers that can be lurking around the corner. From tooth decay to serious diseases, such as oral cancer, there are very real risks associated the day of love. If you think you may be at risk for oral diseases or especially if you fear you may have cause to be concerned about oral cancer, make an appointment with your dental or health care professional today.

© 2014 Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Dr. Li Attends Course on Gum Grafting and Crown Lengthening

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on January 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

visit to the dentistOTTAWA, Ontario – Dr. Pamela Li recently attended a continuing education course from the Perio Institute in Toronto in an effort to sharpen her skills and knowledge to better serve her patients. One of the topics covered was crown lengthening.

“Crown lengthening is a great option for patients with overly gummy smiles,” says Dr. Li. “Gummy smiles can be the result of too much gum tissue covering the tooth. Crown lengthening can also be performed to make a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure possible. If a tooth is decayed, broken below the gum line or doesn’t have enough visible structure to attach the restoration, crown lengthening can correct it.”

During the procedure, excess bone and gum tissue are reshaped to expose more of the tooth. A cosmetic dentist like Dr. Li, who serves patients in Ottawa, can do this to one tooth, then entire gum line, or several teeth to expose a broader and toothier smile. In the event that the patient needs a crown or bridge, but doesn’t have enough visible tooth to attach it, crown lengthening will adjust the gum and bone level so the tooth will be able to be restored properly.

“The course I attended was incredibly valuable,” says Dr. Li. “It covered both anterior, or front teeth and posterior or back teeth, lengthening. In anterior crown lengthening, we often are simply correcting gummy smiles by making teeth look longer. Posterior crown lengthening is used for short teeth, root decay and broken teeth.”

Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure during which the gingival tissue around the tooth is incised. The dentist or periodontist will make cuts in the tissue to pull the gum away from the bone, providing access to the tooth root and bone. The amount of gum tissue that will need to be removed will depend on the needs of the individual patient. Once enough of the tooth is exposed, the area will be cleaned and the gums will be stitched back together.

It is a minor surgery with a quick recover time, and stitches will typically resorb on their own within a week. Patients will receive a special oral rinse and care instructions to properly care for their mouth during recovery.

The other procedure covered during the course Dr. Li attended was gum grafting. In some patients, gum grafting is a necessary procedure to protect against the effects of gum recession, which can be damaging. Gum grafts can also be performed to improve the look of a patient’s smile.

“If a patient is experiencing gum recession that means the patient is losing gum and bone around their teeth,” says Dr. Li. “More of the root of the tooth will be exposed, and there is an increased risk of root decay. While it can be a common occurrence, it can lead to unattractive smiles and tooth sensitivity. Eventually, if not treated, it can even lead to tooth loss.”

To repair the damage, a gum graft may be needed. At the course Dr. Li attended, two types of grafts were discussed – connective tissue grafts and free gingival grafts.

Free gingival grafts are usually performed on the back teeth, or areas not typically seen. Using tissue from the roof of the mouth, a small amount will be removed and then attached to the gum area in need. This type of graft works well in patients who have thin gums and require additional tissue to reinforce their gums.

Connective tissue grafts are used in esthetic areas. A flap of skin will be removed from the roof of the mouth. Under the flap lies a tissue called the subepithelial connective tissue. This will also be removed and stitched to the gum tissue that surrounds the exposed root. Once the connective tissue has been removed, the flap will be stitched back down. Connective tissue grafts are typically performed in the front or more esthetic areas of a patient’s mouth. The tissue can reattached to the exposed root area, and will decrease sensitivity on the roots.

Just as with a crown lengthening procedure, recovery from a gum graft will take about a week to two weeks. Patients will be given a special rinse to help control plaque during the healing process, and in some cases, patients will be put on an antibiotic to reduce the possible infection risk. Patients should refrain from flossing and brushing the gum line that was repaired until it has fully healed.

If you think you may be a candidate for either procedure, contact Dr. Li’s office today. She is committed to helping her patients achieve their best smiles and maintain their best oral health, and her commitment to quality care is evidenced by her desire to continue her education and advance her skill set.

© 2014 Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Dentophobia is Very Real: How your Dentist Can Help

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on December 12, 2013 | Comments (0)

girl whit toothacheOTTAWA, ONTARIO – Dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, is a very real phenomenon for many patients, no matter the age. Dr. Pamela Li is a dentist who works with patients in Ottawa of all ages, and is equipped to help her patients overcome their dental fear.

“For older patients, there are many reasons why they may be afraid to visit a dentist,” says Dr. Li, whose dental clinic proudly serves families, expectant mothers and senior citizen patients. “Previous experiences that resulted in excess pain, anxiety disorders or other issues can compound a patient’s fear of visiting the dentist.”

For children, the reasons for fearing a dentist may stem from their parents. Studies have shown that if a child’s mother exhibits fear of dentists, it will increase the child’s chances of having the same fear. Other factors that contribute to a child viewing a dentist office as scary include increased fears in general and a previous experience that may have resulted in pain.

That’s why it is so important that parents choose a dentist that everyone in the family can feel comfortable with and who takes fear of the dentist seriously. Dentists can help make patients more comfortable by being more careful about pain control and ensuring that the patient is comfortable before beginning any procedure, even if it is only a routine cleaning. Taking the extra time to talk with patients before beginning work can help patients have a more positive experience.

In some cases, patients may be entering their family dentistry practice with other issues that could contribute to their fear of the dentist, such as behavioral, mood or anxiety disorders. In instances such as this, it is especially important that the dentist knows and understands how to interact with the patient beforehand.

“That’s one of the things I enjoy most about my practice,” says Dr. Li. “Because I serve families, in addition to individuals, my staff and I really take the time to get to know them. It is important that both parties are comfortable to create a positive relationship. Knowing if there is an issue that could affect how they are able to sit in my chair for work can help me better understand how to approach their dental work. And then, I’ll be able to better gain their trust.”

Dr. Li explains that it is also important for the patient to feel comfortable enough with the dentist to be able to voice concerns or questions during a procedure. Being able to do this, and knowing the dentist will listen, helps patients feel at ease. The dentist should always carefully explain the procedure before beginning, and should be sure to explain in terms the patient, no matter the age, can easily understand.
During the procedure the dentist should encourage the patient to let the dentist know if they need to stop or take a short break. Many dentists have their patients raise their left hand if they need to take a break during work. This allows the patient to feel as if they have control over the situation.

So how can patients be sure they have a dentist who will help them overcome their dental fear? Before scheduling any work, always speak with the dentist first. If they can easily explain both the procedure to you, and how they will work with you to both alleviate pain and allow you to voice concerns or questions during the procedure that’s a good indication they are serious about helping you. If your dentist dismisses questions related to your fears, it might be time to look for a new dentist.

It’s also important that you and your family feel comfortable in the office. Dentists who are serious about helping their patients overcome fears will often go to great lengths to make patients comfortable. And every staff member a patient comes into contact with should also make patients comfortable. From the moment the patient sets foot in the door, they should feel like a member of the family.

But to make all of this happen, it’s important that the patient is honest with the dentist. If a dentist is unaware of their patient’s fear, they won’t be able to help them address it and overcome it. By working together, the patient and dentist can build a comfortable relationship, and the patient can be on the road to better oral health.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

The Effects of Tooth Grinding

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on November 24, 2013 | Comments (0)

DentistryOttawa, Ontario – Most of us at one point or another fall prey to bruxism, or tooth grinding. While occasionally grinding our teeth isn’t harmful, continuous grinding can have negative effects on our smiles.

“The problem for most tooth grinders is that it occurs while they are sleeping,” says Ottawa dentist Dr. Pamela Li. “This means they might not be aware that they are doing it, but they feel the effects.”

Habitual tooth grinders may find that they have a constant, dull headache or a sore jaw. Bruxism is usually caused by anxiety or stress, but it can also be caused by missing or crooked teeth or an abnormal bite. Chances are, if you aren’t sure if you grind your teeth, but suffer from a sore jaw or constant headache, a family member may have heard you grinding your teeth at night.

In addition to jaw pain and a headache, tooth grinders will typically display other symptoms, as well. Teeth can become worn down, or even fractured or chipped and the tooth enamel can become worn. Your teeth may become more sensitive. Because of the way your jaw muscle contracts while grinding your teeth, you could have an earache. Additionally, you could experience facial pain, damage from chewing the inside of your cheek, or indentations on your tongue.

In severe cases of bruxism, patients can experience fractured or loosening teeth. In extreme cases, patients can even experience the loss of teeth. Chronic grinding can wear teeth down so much that patients can need bridges, crowns, root canals, dentures or implants to correct the teeth that were lost or worn down.

“There are other serious issues caused by severe bruxism, in addition to just the effects on your teeth,” says Dr. Li, whose Ottawa dental clinic regularly treats bruxism sufferers. “Because it affects the jaw, it can cause TMJ disorder, or worsen it in patients who already suffer from it. It can even lead to hearing loss or change the appearance of your face.”

The first step to correcting tooth grinding is a visit to your dentist.

“If you think you may suffer from bruxism, make an appointment with your dentist,” says Dr. Li, who serves patients of all ages and is also an Ottawa cosmetic dentist, trained to help patients achieve their ideal smiles. “A dentist will be able to examine your mouth for signs of bruxism. Jaw tenderness will be our first sign, but we will also check to see if there are any signs on your teeth. Mild cases usually don’t require treatment, but more serious ones can lead to damaged teeth and other issues, so it’s always best to visit a dentist before the tooth grinding becomes too severe.”

A dentist will be able to fit you with a special mouth guard to wear while you sleep that will help dissipate the forces of tooth grinding.

The next step after making an appointment with your dentist is to try to discover the root cause of the tooth grinding. If it stems from an abnormal bite or crooked or missing teeth, your dentist will be able to help you correct those issues. Creating a more well-balanced smile will help ease and hopefully alleviate the tooth grinding.

In many cases, however, the grinding is caused by stress. If this is the case for you, consider ways to reduce your stress. Exercise can be a great help to relieving stress. In some cases, a physical therapist may be able to assist you.

Other things you may be doing could also be leading to tooth grinding, without you realizing. If you consume a lot of food or drinks that contain caffeine, consider cutting back. Additionally, avoid alcohol as grinding can be intensified after drinking alcohol. Do not chew anything other than food. Constantly chewing on something, such as gum or a pen cap, puts more stress on your jaw joints.

Severe sufferers of bruxism may find themselves clenching their teeth during the day. Try to become more aware of instances during the day when you might clench. If you find yourself starting to clench, try to relax your jaw. If that doesn’t work, you can place your tongue between your teeth to keep the teeth from clenching too tightly. Practice relaxation techniques before bed, and try holding a warm washcloth up to your jaw before going to sleep. This can help ease tightened muscles.

“It’s also important to remember that it’s not just adults who suffer from bruxism,” says Dr. Li. “I see children who also grind their teeth. It’s most common for children to grind their teeth as their baby teeth or permanent teeth are first coming in.”

Just as with adults, children will mostly grind their teeth at night, so it can be harder to diagnose. It can also be harder to determine the exact reason while children are grinding their teeth. It can stem from teeth that aren’t aligned properly or poor contact between the upper and lower teeth. But, it can also stem from illnesses or medical conditions. For instance, when a child suffers from an ear infection, parents may notice tooth grinding begins. Additionally, just as in adults, grinding can be caused by stress or anxiety, so parents should watch for signs of increased anxiety.

“In most instances, children will not require treatment for their bruxism,” says Dr. Li. “But if you suspect your child may suffer from it, be sure to mention it to your dentist at their next visit. That way, the dentist can continue monitoring their mouth for signs that the bruxism has worsened.”

Seeing a dentist regularly is important for overall oral health. If you suspect you may suffer from bruxism, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away, especially if you experience any serious side effects from it. The dentist will perform a thorough exam and recommend ways you can relieve the bruxism.

In some cases, dental work may need to be done to correct an abnormal bite or crooked teeth that are leading to the tooth grinding. An experienced dentist will be able to correct your smile to alleviate the grinding.

If serious dental work is not required, a dentist will also be able to fit you with a mouth guard to prevent grinding while sleeping. While mouth guards are available over the counter, one specially fit by a dentist will be the best at preventing tooth grinding.

By paying a little attention to possible symptoms and behaviors that could be leading to bruxism, and a visit to your dentist, you can be on the road to tooth grinding relief in no time.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Cristal Veneers Provide a Beautiful Smile

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on October 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

A Beautiful SmileOttawa, Ontario – Are you looking for a way to perfect your smile, without extensive procedures, such as surgery? Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa cosmetic dentist, recommends Cristal veneers.

“What makes these veneers unique is how thin they can be made,” says Li, whose dental clinic in Ottawa helps patients achieve the smiles of their dreams. “They require minimal tooth reduction and can be as thin as 0.3 millimeters. And they’re strong and functional.”

Many people may avoid the option of veneers because they think the process to place them on is painful and long. That’s not the case with the newest porcelain veneers. With other veneers, more of the teeth have to be reduced to create room for the porcelain. With Cristal veneers the teeth are minimally reduced and temporary veneers are not necessary. This saves time and avoids the need for local anesthetic. At the preparation appointment, the dentist will shave off part of the enamel, equivalent to the thickness of the veneer. The Ottawa dentist then makes an impression of the teeth. The model is sent to a lab, where the veneers will be crafted.

Cristal veneers feel natural to the patient and look natural to others. Other options can look bulky, leading to an unnatural look unless the tooth is reduced. Each Cristal veneer is custom created just for the patient. They are crafted to naturally fit your teeth and match the shade of your teeth, while also complimenting your facial features. Your cosmetic dentist will work to ensure they blend in perfectly with your surrounding teeth.

“Cristal veneers are very strong,” says Dr. Li. “In fact, they last for years. And Aurum, the company that makes them, has warrantied each veneer for five years against breaking and chipping.”

So, who is a candidate for Cristal veneers? They are great for a variety of patients, especially those with narrow or small teeth, worn and aged teeth, stained teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, misshapen teeth, slight misalignments and gaps between teeth. Not everyone is a candidate for this type of veneers, so it’s important to consult with your dentist. Together, you can choose a treatment plan that will provide you a beautiful smile.

Previous attempts in the past to create a no preparation veneer were not nearly as successful as Aurum’s Cristal veneers. Specialized porcelain must be used to ensure the veneer can be thin enough not to look bulky, but strong enough to withstand the pressure of being on the tooth.

The result of Aurum’s technology is a beautiful veneer that is strong enough to last. And, because it requires less prep work on the dentist’s end, these types of veneers are often less expensive for the patient than traditional veneers. That means patients can be on the road to a new smile much easier.

“Veneers are a wonderful option for patients who want to brighten their smiles,” says Dr. Li. “And being able to offer Cristal veneers just gives my practice one more amazing tool to help my patients. These veneers help patients smile prouder than they have in years.”

Because veneers are placed without injections or other invasive procedures, patients can resume their normal activities as soon as the process is completed. To learn more about Cristal veneers, or other methods to brighten your smile, consult with your dental specialist today.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Straighten Teeth with New SmartTrack Invisalign

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on September 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ottawa, Ontario – Since its introduction, dental patients everywhere have enjoyed the benefits of Invisalign. And now, Align Technology has improved their already great technology with the introduction of SmartTrack, a proprietary material that makes Invisalign better than ever. Ottawa dental clinic patients can enjoy the new technology, provided by Dr. Pamela Li.

The new proprietary material is more elastic than the previous material used in Invisalign aligners. Because of that, there is more constant force applied to the teeth to improve the control of the movement of teeth. SmartTrack became readily available for use by orthodontists and dentists in the beginning of 2013.

Orthodontists and dentists have been using Invisalign for years because of how easy the system is to place on teeth and how comfortable it is for patients. Invisalign works through a series of invisible aligners that are custom-fit for each patient. The aligners are made from a clear, smooth plastic and are removable. Over the course of treatment, the aligners work to gradually move teeth to their desired locations, as determined by the dentist or orthodontist.

“Aligners are worn for two weeks at a time,” says Dr. Li, who also performs dental implants. “Patients love them because they can maintain their regular diet and standard oral care regimen due to the aligners being removable. And because many adults wish to correct their smiles more discretely, Invisalign is a wonderful option because it is invisible to the eye. My patients love the results they see from using it, and we’re seeing even better results from the new technology.”

In the previous Invisalign aligners, the material used relaxed slightly over time. That resulted in a loss of the energy that was required to move the teeth to their proper locations. SmartTrack solves that problem because the new material keeps a constant force on the teeth over the course of the two weeks that each aligner is worn. Even better, the material is more flexible, meaning it can be molded to better fit a patient’s teeth. This then allows for improved control over the tooth movement process. Align Technology even studied the movement of the teeth of 1,000 patients, and the results showed dramatic improvement in control over patients who wore the previous aligners.

To work properly, Invisalign has to fit as close to the teeth as possible. The new, proprietary medical-grade thermoplastic used to make SmartTrack aligners fits closer to the teeth than the previous aligners. Because it is fully elastic, even if it were to become stretched, it will immediately return to its normal shape. This elasticity keeps teeth in line with the desired tooth movement as planned by the orthodontist.

“Invisalign is effective because it emits a constant, but gentle, force that guides the teeth,” says Dr. Li, whose office performs other cosmetic procedures such as teeth bleaching. “But just as important, patients love it because it gives them something they aren’t used to when thinking about orthodontic treatment. Invisalign allows for a comfortable and pleasant experience while achieving the smile of your dreams.”

SmartTrack is the new standard in Invisalign treatment. However, patients who may have started treatment using the old aligners do not have to begin treatment over again. The new SmartTrack aligners will fit seamlessly into the treatment plans dentists and orthodontists have already created.

For patients who may have been putting off orthodontic treatment because they worry it may be unsightly, now is the time to act in Ottawa. Find a dentist who uses the new SmartTrack technology and you’ll be on the road to a straighter, beautiful smile, comfortable and easily.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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