What is dental health?
Dental health is more than just having cavity-free teeth. It includes a holistic approach to oral wellness, from your gums to the way your teeth bite together. When we’re able to maintain teeth that are healthy and free of disease, prevention-based strategies help you maintain your natural smile for as long as possible.
Not only that, but scientific studies show us that your dental health (specifically the absence of gum disease) is directly linked to your overall wellness. Conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, pneumonia, diabetes, ED, preeclampsia, and others are directly associated with the presence and severity of oral disease.
There’s an old saying that goes, “Your mouth is the window to the rest of your body.” By that, your level of dental health reflects your total wellness and underlying medical conditions. If your mouth is diseased, there’s a good chance that your body isn’t as healthy as it needs to be, and vice versa.
For the best oral and dental health possible, make it your goal to see our Calgary dentist for a checkup every six months.
Sometimes dental emergencies are cosmetic in nature, such as a broken front tooth or having a crown/filling fall off, leaving a visible void when you smile. Even if you’re not in pain, the situation can impact your day-to-day lifestyle and you need to seek emergency care.
If you’re experiencing swelling around your tooth but you’re not in pain, it’s still important to have your tooth evaluated before the infection has an opportunity to spread elsewhere. In rare circumstances, swelling can even spread further into your face, resulting in a medical emergency. When you see our emergency dentist in Calgary, we’ll provide you with viable options to treat the situation at hand.
Why is a dentist important?
When it comes to your health, you depend on your physician to look after your overall body. But one thing that modern medicine has left out of doctor’s offices is the health of the mouth. When it comes to your teeth and gums, your primary care physician will always send you to a dentist or other type of dental specialist.
Dentists are physicians of the mouth. That is, they focus all of their studies and energy on the neck up, but specifically the oral cavity and immediately surrounding tissues (including bones and joints, like your TMJ.)
If you’re in pain, have a toothache, or your gums are infected, a dentist is the healthcare professional who can help you eliminate the infection and get your smile back. No other healthcare provider has the resources or capabilities of treating and restoring your teeth!
Today, dentistry has numerous specialties that further expound on varying aspects of oral health care.
Examples include oral surgery, pediatrics, periodontal therapy, endodontics, etc. Our Calgary general dentistry office provides almost everything under one roof.
The best thing to do if you have a dental emergency is to call our Calgary dentist’s office and have us walk you through what to do next. In rare situations surrounding serious injuries, we may direct you to proceed to the emergency room. Otherwise, it’s best to visit our dentist the same day for immediate care.
What are major dental procedures?
A major dental procedure is any type of treatment that goes beyond basic restorative care (like fillings.) Examples might include dental crowns, root canals, dental bridges, or even having dentures made. Usually it’s something that involves a longer (or more than one) appointment to complete, due to the nature of the procedure.
Major dental treatments usually make a significant impact on the dental health and quality of life of the person being treated. It may make it possible to maintain a balanced diet, eliminate pain, or avoid future complications such as tooth extractions.
However, major dental procedures can sometimes be avoided. But only if oral health problems are addressed as early as possible, like when they’re first diagnosed. For example, filling a small cavity today will prevent it from evolving into an abscessed tooth and requiring a root canal.
Depending on the extent of tooth damage and nature of the condition, our Calgary dentist may decide to treat it in our office or discuss referring you to a specialist for higher level treatment.
What is a dental specialist?
Dental specialists are general dentists who go on to study for an additional 2-3 years (in dental school) to specialize in a particular area of dentistry. Some examples include oral surgeons, pediatric dentists, endodontists (root canal dentists), periodontists (gum specialists), orthodontists, and a few others.
Specialists are important, because there are sometimes oral conditions that require additional technological resources and skills to complete.
For instance, if you have a tooth with curved roots or narrow canals but need endodontic treatment, we might refer you to an endodontist to have your root canal completed. Or if there are multiple impacted wisdom teeth that need to be removed under general anesthesia, we may arrange for an oral surgeon to perform your treatment.
Some dental specialists practice out of their own offices, while others arrange to see patients inside of your general dentist’s office so that you don’t have to visit a separate practice. Others might have visiting privileges at neighboring surgical centers or hospitals, where they perform more complex procedures under general anesthesia.
What are the different types of dentists?
General dentists – also known as family dentists – are oral health providers who practice comprehensive care on patients of all ages. Their services are available under one roof and encompass everything from preventative services to restorative treatment (fillings, crowns, etc.) and oral surgery to endodontics.
However, specialist dentists are general practitioners who went back to dental school for another 2-3 years to specialize in a specific aspect of care. You would need to see a dental specialist if you had a unique situation that required extra resources, experience, or equipment to treat. Our Calgary dentist will advise you as to whether you should seek out specialist care at any point in your dental treatment.
How do I find the best dentist for me?
If you’re looking for the best dentist near you, one of the first things to do is ask your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. If you hear the same dentist’s name recommended over and over again, that’s great! It means they have a good reputation for providing quality care in a friendly atmosphere: something that everyone wants these days.
From there, Google “dentist near me”, “best cosmetic dentist”, or any specific service that you’re looking for (such as Calgary dental implants, cosmetic veneers, etc.) Click on their website to see which services are offered and be sure to browse through testimonials or any before-and-after photos that might be available.
Next, call the office to set up a visit. It could be that you just want a second opinion or brief consultation as opposed to a comprehensive new patient appointment. Use your time to get a feel for their practice, meet the dentist, and see if they’re a good fit for your needs, budget, and schedule. Don’t forget to ask if they take your insurance!
How much does it cost to get your teeth done?
The cost of dental treatment is a huge factor when it comes to finding the best dentist near you. But the price of dentistry will depend on things like what type of treatment you’re getting, if you have insurance coverage, and even the cost of living in your specific area.
If you’re thinking about getting a smile makeover, you can tailor different types of cosmetic dentistry treatments to fit your needs. Some services are more affordable, while others more dramatic. Our Calgary dentist prefers to give you a treatment plan that outlines the various choices available, so that you can make an informed decision about the best steps to take.
But if you’re in need of restorative treatment – such as missing tooth replacement with dental implants – the price will be different than any cosmetic procedures. Plus, we’ll work your insurance benefits into the plan to help minimize any potential out of pocket costs.
Bottom line, we’ll provide you with recommendations and costs well before you commit to treatment. You’ll never have to feel caught off guard about the cost of getting your teeth done.
How do I check a dentist’s credentials?
All dentists are required to maintain current licensure with national and regional dental boards. This includes ongoing continuing education (professional development) courses and certifications, such as those related to dental sedation.
Your dentist should have their license and number hung on the wall in plain view, somewhere near the reception desk or in one of the main hallways, making it easy to find. It’s also possible to search online through dentist databases to check which credentials your Calgary dentist has.
The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) is responsible for maintaining competencies of dentists who practice throughout the country. Since Calgary is located in Alberta, you would want to check the Alberta Dental Association’s website to look for credentialed dentists in the area. Both general dentists and specialists are included in their database, making it easy to search for specific types of providers in your town. You can also go directly to the Canadian Dental Association’s website to confirm/verify the credentials of dentists throughout the country. Or, you can just always ask the office manager or receptionist of your dentist’s credentials!
How do I choose a dentist for dentures?
Most people choose to go to their regular general dentist for dentures and partials. Or, you can elect to see a prosthodontist, who is a dental expert that specializes in reconstructive treatments. Your dentist will also work closely with a lab for the denture fabrication and design, so it’s important to ask your dentist about which lab technicians that they work with. It’s fine to also ask to see pictures of example dentures they’ve created in the past, so that you know a bit more of what to expect.
Your dentist will want to help you maintain as many of your natural teeth as possible. So, if you’re set on extracting all of your teeth, the best dentist might recommend avoiding any unnecessary tooth removal. Instead, they might suggest a partial denture that clasps into place around the teeth you’re able to retain.
Make sure you ask your dentist if implant-supported dentures are an option. If they only provide one type of denture design in their office, it could benefit you to get a second opinion from a dentist in Calgary who offers various dentures to choose from.
How much does it cost to go to the dentist without insurance?
The cost of dental care is relative to what your smile has been through and the type of treatment that’s necessary.
Preventative dentistry – which includes checkups, cleanings, and exams – is a smart investment when it comes to preventing additional dental treatments in the future. If you’re paying for treatment without insurance, investing in preventative care is a smart choice.
The more extensive your oral health needs become, the more it impacts the cost of your treatment. For example, if you need to have multiple extractions and dental implants to replace your teeth, it will be more expensive than what it would have been simply to keep up with your preventative care over time. Or, you could ask about a budget savvy option such as dentures.
The only way to know exactly how much dental treatment costs without insurance is to see your dentist for an exam. From there, they’ll create a care plan for you that outlines any recommended treatments and the costs involved. It’s at that point you can weigh your options or discuss flexible financing plans to cover what insurance does not.