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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Living in Ontario, ( we live in Hamilton) one day your child comes home with a letter from school saying that cavities have been found and you need to have them looked after.  Parents, please do not take this lightly.  Go to your dentist immediately and have the proper treatment done.  You will be given a form that has to be signed by your dentist at the beginning of treatment and more importantly at the end of treatment.  Here is the important part.  If the proper authorities do not get that form signed off for dental treatment completed then your case may be referred to Children's Aid and they may start an investigation for neglect.  Once that ball starts rolling it is definetly not a pleasurable situation that your familty may find itself in.

One more small note, if you never receive a letter from your children's school regarding your child's teeth do not assume that they have been checked and that everything is OK.  The exams at school are superficial and do not include x-rays.  They will only catch the largest gaping cavities.  Cavities that would be seen in a more comprehensive exam with x-rays would not be picked up and your child could still have many cavities waiting to give them pain.

This post is in red because I think this information is really important and many parents don't understand the gravity of that innocuous letter they received from school.  Having said that, parents must also understand that not checking for and treating dental decay in their children's teeth is neglect.

I am adding the following link so any of you can clarify any questions you may have regarding child abuse and/or neglect.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Yesterday was a fun day at the dental office in Hamilton.

      I had to do a simple extraction of a baby tooth for a 12 yr. old.  My assistant had placed topical anesthetic which we let sit for 5 minutes before we place the local anesthetic (the shot).  I do this quite well. I mean, if you can give a shot to a 3 yr. old without them feeling anything you can just about do it for anyone.  Anyways, I was about to give this little girl the shot and she started to look at what I was doing.  Before I could even get close to her or touch her she jumped out of the chair, ran out of the office and as she ran out of the office yelled at her caregiver "YOU LIED TO ME!"
I just sat there asking myself "what the (censored) just happened?"
Afterwards I spoke to my staff and they had told me that the caregiver had told the child emphatically in the reception area that the child was not going to get a needle. (Are lightbulbs starting to go off in your head?)  The caregiver came into the operatory with the child and the child again asked wether she would be getting a needle?  The caregiver again responded "no".
     Oviously the child was phobic regarding needles.  The rest is history and you already know what happened.
     The moral of the story.......don't lie to your children.  You can't tell them one thing and then bring them to the dental office and the dentist is going to do the exact opposite.    Don't expect a good outcocme when you have told them they are not going to get a needle and then the dentist says they are. There won't be any miracles as if we just waved a magic wand and then everything goes along beautifully. The outcome will always be poor and at that point you have made our job next to impossible.
      Please remember, we require the cooperation and trust of our patients.  Adult or child, it doesn't matter, they need to believe what we tell them because it is the truth and we will back up our words with our deeds.  We are experts at doing these procedures painlessly. Let us do our jobs.  To all those parents out there not knowing what to tell their apprehensive child, just tell them that you are going to meet the dentist and he will explain everything and answer all your questions. Let us do the talking and most important, just don't lie to them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Teeth Don't Fall Out After Root Canal Treatment

All kinds of interesting questions come me almost on a daily basis and it is amazing how many repeat themselves over the years.  I guess that is why they are called frequently asked questions.  A little while ago a patient came in and required a root canal.  When I told her she required a root canal treatment she asked me "my friend had a root canal treatment and she said that after the treatment the tooth just fell out.  Is that what happens?"  I smiled at the patient ( I have heard this question before) and told her that this was not true.  I had a root canal in a front tooth of mine when I was about 9 or 10 and it is still there almost 40 years later (yes now you can figure out how old I am).  Many times people do not realize that a tooth that has had a root canal must have a filling and crown placed on this tooth.  This is because teeth that have root canals are usually broken down or have large fillings to begin with.  When the root canal is done even more tooth structure is taken away to do the root canal.  So what you are left with is a severely weakened tooth.  You must first restore the tooth with a filling and possibly posts and pins, then the tooth must be crowned to hold it all together.  This is the case for posterior teeth, front teeth may be different due to the function of these teeth.  In any case a tooth that is not properly restored after the rootcanal is in danger of breaking and eventually being extracted.  I have seen it happen literally within a week of completing the root canal and we didn't have enough time to place the crown.  Those are really sad cases because the patient did not neglect the treatment but just didn't have enough time to finish it.  In other cases this may not occur for  years but many times a patient will come in saying they have broken a tooth and of course it is a rootcanal tooth that did not have the crown that we recommended.  I always tell my patients having root canals on their back teeth that they will need crowns after the root canal treatment.

In short I assured my patient that teeth that have root canals do not just fall out after the treatment!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Patients make your day

Today I  saw a patient whom we completed their treatment 6 months ago.  For a dentist there is nothing more satisfying than a happy patient.  When this patient originally came into my dental office here in Hamilton, she was not a happy person.  Her teeth were falling apart due to decay, gum disease and years of neglect.  She could not smile at anyone because of the way her teeth looked.  After much discussion we took out her upper teeth and placed an immediate denture.  She left the office that day with tears of joy.  She returned a few times for adjustments and I hadn't seen her in about 5 months.  She came in today and was beaming.  She spoke about how her new dentures had changed her life.  How before she was always sore and in pain, how embarassed she was to smile and she didn't go out for that reason.  Today she is happy and we are going to start her lower denture.  These are the moments that make you proud to be a dentist.