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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.

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.

Adults Orthodontics Are More than Just a Trend

By Pamela Li, in News, on April 15, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ottawa Emergency Dentist Provides Orthodontic TreatmentVancouver, British Columbia – More and more adults throughout the world, including in Ottawa, are turning to their dentist for braces, and not just relying on them for standard cleanings and emergency dentistry in Ottawa. From the red carpet to your neighbor next door, braces have become the latest fashion accessory, and with new advances, you might not even realize your friends are wearing braces.

“When people picture someone with braces, they generally think of an adolescent with a mouth full of metal,” says Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa cosmetic dentist “But today that stereotype is being thrown out as more adults are realizing the benefits of having a straighter smile. And because technology has advanced so much, there are numerous options for patients to choose from to straighten their teeth discretely.”

Straight teeth are about so much more than just an ideal smile. While many patients might turn to braces to boost their self-esteem, a straighter smile might just save them time in a dentist’s chair later in life. Malocclusions such as overbites and underbites that go unfixed can lead to serious issues. Chewing problems, abnormal tooth wear, tooth loss, gum disease and sometimes even TMJ disorder can result from malocclusions that go unchecked.

Patients who didn’t receive treatment during their adolescent years are now flocking to the dentist’s office because of the amazing advances we’ve seen in cosmetic dentistry in recent years. No longer do adults have to be embarrassed by their smiles, but too embarrassed to fix them because of the thought of wearing metal braces that might be unsightly.

“Patients have more options than ever before to choose from,” says Dr. Li, who offers dental implants in Ottawa, dentures and porcelain veneers. “Teeth straightening options today are more comfortable and more discrete, and in some cases, even faster than standard metal braces. That means patients can get the smile they’ve always wanted much quicker and in a more aesthetically pleasing way.”

Professional adults love invisalign braces because of its comfortable, removable and invisible aligners. And now with its new SmartTrack aligners, Invisalign has gotten even better for patients. Patients wear a comfortable aligner for two weeks at a time over the course of their treatment. SmartTrack Aligners are even more comfortable and fit to the teeth even better than previous aligners did. Patients love that the aligners are invisible, giving them the discreteness they desire, and that they are removable, allowing them to eat and drink as usual and maintain their standard oral care regimen.

More dentists and orthodontists are also using lingual and self-ligating braces. Lingual braces fit onto the tongue side of teeth, which makes them invisible to the naked eye. They work well for musicians, especially those playing wind instruments, and athletes who play contact sports. Self-ligating braces have a lower profile than standard metal braces because they don’t use metal or elastic ties. They also work more efficiently to move teeth, so patients can sometimes shave months off their treatment times.

Ceramic braces blend right in with a patient’s teeth, so their friends and colleagues won’t even notice them.

When choosing to correct their smile, it’s important for patients to work closely with their dentist or orthodontist to create a proper treatment plan with realistic goals. Not all of the options described are appropriate for each patient, and some patients may require additional work before treatment can begin. Patients who have experienced bone loss, tooth breakdown or who have small jaws may require additional periodontal work, and in some cases even jaw surgery to achieve their desired results. No matter what option you choose, there’s no need to live with a less than perfect smile. Schedule a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist today to learn which treatment is best for you.

© 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.

Don’t Let Your Teeth Go on Vacation on the Holidays

By pamelali, in News, on October 18, 2011 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The holidays are a time to bring together friends and family to celebrate and rejoice the year ahead. The holidays mark the beginning of the fall season, and while many of us may pack up and go on holiday, it doesn’t mean that your teeth should too.

“The first thing that comes to mind when people think about foods that can harm their teeth, they instantly think candy,” said Dr. Pamela Li, a cosmetic dentist who specializes in dental crowns at her dental clinic in Ottawa. “While candy is certainly a culprit, there are many other foods that should be avoided during the holidays.”

When you eat sugary foods or drinks, a naturally present bacteria in the mouth begins to feed on the sugar which produces acids as a result. These acids then cause the enamel to slowly deteriorate, making it weak and more vulnerable to tooth decay and many other problems, including gingivitis.
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Attending an Orthodontics Mechanics Seminar

By pamelali, in News, on August 25, 2011 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Ottawa cosmetic dentist Dr. Pamela Li recently participated in a seminar in Toronto about the mechanics of various orthodontic techniques.  The “Hands-On Mechanics” seminar was taught by Dr. Tarek El-Bialy.

The course described the mechanics of wire bending and tricks to make the teeth move faster and more efficiently.  It also discussed new wires that are available that will be gentler on the teeth and more comfortable for the patient.

“Some wires are even heat activated,” notes Dr. Li, a TMJ dentist. “They are cool when placed in the mouth so they are flexible and easy to put in place.  Then they warm up in the mouth and become stiffer, placing force on the teeth in order to move them.  There are also extra wide wires which help expand the dental arches even more – this particularly helps with crowding issues.”
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Now Offering Joint Vibration Analysis

By pamelali, in News, on May 27, 2011 | Comments (0)

Ottawa, ON – Dr. Pamela Li is now offering Joint Vibration Analysis through her Ottawa dental practice. JVA is a product of BioResearch Associates, Inc. and is used to evaluate the functioning of the Temporal Mandibular Joint- or TMJ.

JVA is a fast, non-invasive method for evaluating TMJ function and is a valuable tool for dentists in investigating TMJ disorders.  The JVA equipment consists of a simple pair of pressure sensors that the dentist places over the TMJ to record vibrations as the jaw moves.  The JVA records vibration, amplitude, and frequency; it also shows exactly where in the opening/closing cycle the vibration occurs. Different TMJ disorders produce different patterns of vibration.  Analyzing these patterns allows a dentist to diagnose a patient’s specific disorder. (more…)

Treating Children with Periodontal Disease

By pamelali, in News, on March 15, 2011 | Comments (0)

Ottawa, ON- Periodontal, or gum, disease is something most people associate with adults, but, in fact, it can strike during childhood or adolescence, notes Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa dentist.

Gingivitis is a fairly common form of gum disease in children and is fairly easy to treat.  Sometimes in adults gingivitis precedes periodontitis, a more serious kind of gum disease, which is why it’s important to recognize and treat gingivitis early.

“Periodontitis is fairly rare in otherwise healthy children,” says Ottawa dental implants provider Dr. Li. “But it’s much harder to treat than gingivitis.” (more…)

Now Offering BioMers Translucent Braces

By pamelali, in News, on December 22, 2010 | Comments (0)

Ottawa, ON – Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa dental implants provider, is now offering BioMers- the world’s only completely translucent system of braces- to her orthodontic clients. It has only been available in Canada as of this fall.

With the BioMers program, the wires, brackets, and retainers are all completely clear, creating a system that is just as effective as all-metal braces, but is more aesthetically pleasing. Dr. Li’s Ottawa orthodontics practice offers the nearly invisible system, which is made possible by the development of a new polymer that can be shaped into a translucent wire. (more…)

Ottawa Dentist Runs through Benefits of PPM Mouthguard for Sports and Fitness

By pamelali, in Articles, on March 14, 2010 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA — When people think of sports and athletic performance, most people think of strength, speed, and even intelligence as key components to winning out the competition. But, many of the world’s top athletes look to an unlikely piece of equipment for a competitive edge: the mouthpiece.
 Before the invention of the Pure Power Mouthguard (PPM), the mouthpiece was primarily used to protect athletes from cracking or chipping teeth, biting the tongue, and concussions. Now, with PPM technology, certified dentists are providing customized mouthguards for athletes that provide many bonuses when training and competing.
 “At first, considering a mouthguard as a game-changing piece of equipment might seem farfetched,” says Dr. Pamela Li, a PPM certified Ottawa dentist. “But, if you think about it, the mouth is one of two airways that feed oxygen to the body’s muscles and expels carbon-dioxide. Also, the neuromuscular systems are enhanced through the PPM, which enhances many physical aspects of athletic performance.”

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Ottawa Dentist Uses ICAT Scan to Take Guesswork out of Implant and TMJ Treatment

By Pamela Li, in News, on January 19, 2010 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA, ON — Ottawa dentist Dr. Pamela Li will be utilizing a newly opened ICAT scanner to more accurately treat her patients in need of dental implants or TMJ care. The ICAT scanner allows dentists and surgeons to read 3D scans of a patient’s head and neck, with much less radiation exposure than CT scans.

Thanks to the ICAT, dental implant surgery is far easier and less risky. Using the 3D scans, surgeons can accurately determine the best site for a dental implant based on bone mass, jaw structure, and the arrangement of teeth and roots. It is easier to plan the restorations of multiple implants if the dentist knows exactly where the implants will be placed ahead of time. Because of this, the procedure and results are much more predictable. (more…)

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