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Our resident dentist, Dr. Qin Li, will reply to your question as soon as she can. We can only respond to questions submitted via the website; we do not respond to questions submitted via email.
Note: Dr. Li can only reply to general questions about dental practices and procedures and not to questions about your personal dental condition(s), as there are many factors involved in assessing cavities and other dental diseases that cannot be accurately diagnosed without a proper examination.
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The information provided below does not constitute dental advice and is general in nature. It does not take into account your personal dental health and should not be acted on without consultation with a certified dental professional.
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I’ve had several teeth either pulled or sanded down, completely improperly which has left me in an extremely uncomfortable state. What type of dentist should I see and what steps should I take to regrow the enamel on the sanded teeth and put back the teeth that are pulled, making sure they are alive in the process? I’ve been advised of artificial solutions before but per my research they will do even more damage so I will not consider them as an option, nor will I accept an answer that advises me to seek them, only one that will get me my original healthy teeth back. Thank you.
Hi Noah, unfortunately there is currently no commercially available treatment for regrowing enamel or teeth that have been extracted. There is research being done in this area though, so hopefully it’s an option dentists could offer in the future!
My tongue seems to be continually covered in a fine (not chunky) white film. I scrape it off with a tongue scrape but it comes back the next time I brush. I brush twice or three times per day and use Listerine or hydrogen peroxide mouthwash.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what the white film is without a physical exam. There could be many potential causes such as dry mouth from certain medications, or dehydration. It could also be an accumulation of dead tissue or food debris. Please consult your dentist to rule out any potential candidiasis, which is a fungal infection.
Hi I hope you can help me.
A year ago I had a tooth removed which left communication with the sinus. Last week I had a sinus lift using bone graft. Within five days the bone graft had fallen out of the hole where the communication had been. Im back to square 1. My question is, what was supposed to be holding the bone graft up stopping gravity just letting it fall out ? Because that’s pretty much just what it done. It just fell down into my mouth. 😕
For the sinus lift and bone graft you had, I am going to assume that you had particulate bone placed in. Particulate bone are loose smaller pieces of bone that can be more easily manipulated and packed into places. They are held in place by the sinus membrane on top, existing bone or gum on the surrounding surfaces, and gum facing the mouth is sutured together to prevent the grafting material from falling into the mouth. Sometimes a membrane maybe placed in between the bone graft material and the gum.
In some grafting cases, a larger single piece of bone or a block bone is needed if the bone defect is large. A block bone graft is usually held in place with mini screws. I hope this helps.
hi, i chew alot of gum and sometimes would re-chew my used gum, is this bad in anyway for my health?
Hi Alex, some chewing gums have sugar. Chewing gum with sugar constantly may increase the likelihood of cavities. Sugarless chewing gum is a better alternative for your teeth. The constant chewing motion will often lead to more muscle fatigue and wear and tear of the jaw joint. Prolonged chewing should be avoided in people with TMJ (jaw joint) pain. The human mouth is full of bacteria, rechewed gum is usually laden with bacteria, something you may want to avoid for better oral health and overall health.
I want to know if silver diamine fluoride can be used on cavities between teeth? I have searched the internet, but I can’t find anything on this subject.
Hi Venus, silver diamine fluoride can be applied between teeth using floss. For this to work, the floss must be able to move fairly unrestricted through the area to be treated. I would need to perform an in-person examination to determine whether this is the case for your cavity.
I never can breath from both nostrils since I can remember unless I take afrin type med. Right now. My teeth,gum, everywhere in my face throbs every 2 mins . Only cold fluid calms the pain. What’s going on?
Hi R, please make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can to see if the pain is caused by a dental infection.
Hello. I have second molar moved into the position of first molar using TAD braces. I also now have an implant in the position where second molar used to be and I have to remove the implant or I can just bury the implant under the gums. Would I have to wear a retainer to prevent my second molar from tipping back where it used to be or would the buried implant prevent the movement of first molar?I can’t have more implants unfortunately
Hi Lizo, since the implant is not going to have a crown, it’s unlikely to prevent the crown of the original second molar from tipping back. Please follow the instructions of your orthodontist regarding the use of a retainer for your particular case.
i had my lower molar pulled almost 2 weeks ago how long does it take for the hole to close up?
Hi Ian, the healing period after a tooth extraction is dependent on many factors such as your general health, difficulty of the extraction and any post-extraction complications. Typically the hole closes in 7-10 days, but it may take longer if you have medical conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or dental issues such as post-op infection or dry socket. Smoking and excess intake of alcohol can also delay healing.
Hello, I had invisaligns for less than 2 years and then got retainers that I wore for a few months, but recently I haven’t worn them in a couple months due to distractions from the covid-19 situation and finals for school. I tried to fit them back in today and they were really tight and almost but not quite fitting, and it hurt my teeth a lot to the point where I had to take them out. But my bottom teeth which had shifted slightly more than my top teeth had been more difficult to take the retainer off, and now I just can’t wear the retainers because it’s too much pressure on my teeth. Because of quarantine, I am unable to go to an orthodontist, so I am wondering what I can do? I don’t want my teeth to shift more and more.
Hello Caity, unfortunately, there is not much that can be done at the moment. Once your orthodontist is seeing patients again, a new retainer can be made for you. Please discuss the option of a fixed wire retainer with your orthodontist too.
Is sensodyne mouthwash good for gum health and helping reverse gum disease?
Hi Morgen, the active ingredients in Sensodyne mouthwash are potassium nitrate which helps reduce tooth sensitivity, and sodium fluoride which is for strengthening tooth structure. There are no active ingredients in Sensodyne mouthrinse that have been shown to reverse gum disease. Please consult with your dentist or hygienist for a mouthrinse based on your gum condition.
Will a light activated treatment that utilizes an LED light as a catalyst to activate the carbamide peroxide gel give you as good results as hydrogen peroxide?
Hi Aliesha, Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are both very effective whitening agents; we offer both to our patients. Carbamide peroxide contains hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:3. Therefore a product with 30% carbamide peroxide is equivalent to a product with 10% hydrogen peroxide. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association showed that while carbamide peroxide appeared to produce slightly more dramatic results at first, there was no significant difference between products with regard to tooth lightness with equivalent amounts of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)62875-0/fulltext
LED light tends to have a drying effect on teeth; drier teeth will appear to be whiter initially, but the effect doesn’t last long due the constant presence of saliva in our mouths.
When you are comparing the effectiveness of whitening products, the main thing to look for is the concentration of the active whitening agent(s). It’s also important to evaluate the overall health of your teeth and gums prior to starting treatment, and if you’re planning a DIY (do-it-yourself) treatment, be sure the products you use come from a reputable source and follow all product directions carefully.
Hi, I wanted to know how I get get rid of the black plague around my gums. It’s behind my front top teeth and a lot of bottom even though I do brush and floss pretty regularly
Hi Rubia, please see a dentist as soon as possible to verify what the blackness around your gum is. It could simply be calcified plaque, known as calculus, which will require professional removal by a dentist or a hygienist. They will be able to give you some pointers on your cleaning and flossing techniques to reduce the amount of calculus that forms in your mouth. The black spots could also be cavities, in which case you would want to get them treated sooner to avoid more serious damage to your teeth.
Hello Dr. Li,
I was wondering if the upper tooth located most right (at the end) is included in one of the following numbers? #17 27 37 46 47
I already took out all the wisdom tooth. please let m know thank you.!
Hi Jess, if all wisdom teeth were removed and there are no other missing teeth in the upper right quadrant, then the upper right last tooth is numbered 1.7 in the international and Canadian tooth naming system.
I have a moderate dental florosis, what treatments or products would you recommend (other than veneers/ bonding) ? Also, is fluoride free toothpaste/mouthwash a good options for me?
Hi H, it really depends on the extent of your fluorosis. Veneers and bonding work well for more severe fluorosis. If the fluorosis is limited to a few teeth, or a few spots, Icon treatment may be an option for you. Icon treatment uses micro-invasive technology that fills and reinforces demineralized enamel without drilling, and it infiltrates up to the first third of dentin. It is used for treating early cavities and has shown to work on some fluorosis cases too. You can learn more about the treatment in the link below.
If you’re in the area, feel free to book an examination so we can take a look at your teeth and explore the available treatments in more detail.
Can a flap and graft done using pouch and tunnel technique leave no visual evidence of being done right after it is actually done for one tooth?
Hi Sarah, I had to consult a periodontist regarding your question. If the surgery is done under ideal conditions with an experienced surgeon, then there may be no visual evidence of the surgery right after the procedure. It also highly depends on the type of graft, and where/if any incisions are placed and the healing ability of the individual. In general, an autograft (your own tissue from the palate of your mouth), would work better than other grafting materials.
I have lost several teeth (upper front) because of acccidents,injuries,etc which left bony ridges which are now rubbing against my opper inside lip causing pain and discomfort…can these ridges be filed or sanded down?
Hi Daisy, sorry to hear about your accidents. First, you’ll want to make sure it is the bony ridge that is rubbing the inside of the lip, not residual roots from the teeth that were lost. Any residual roots in the bone will need to be taken out by the dentist to prevent any possible infection.
If it the bony ridge that’s rubbing the gum, you can potentially open up the gum and grind down the ridge on the bone. However, you will most likely need those bones to support a denture or an implant. Please visit a dentist as soon as you can to explore potential treatment options.
I chipped my two front teeth. Would it be possible to grind them down since they are already buck or would you fill them? I’m not sure if this is important but they weren’t bleeding when I chipped them. I also haven’t had braces yet and are in need of some so would I get my teeth straightened first?
Hi Bobby, the decision to either polish the chipped edges or to repair the teeth depends on how much of your teeth was chipped off. If the chip is still in the enamel surface, it may be possible to just smooth the chipped edge. Please visit a dentist to assess the situation.
Hello, I was wondering how long enamel erosion takes to happen at a younger age like teenage years? And if it happens quickly, will you start to see yellow teeth quickly?
Hi Ria, normally we don’t see enamel erosion in teenagers. However, it can happen due to acid regurgitation, bulimia, certain recreational drugs, sucking on lime or lemon for extended periods of time and other reasons. In general, the more frequent the occurrence, the faster the enamel erosion will happen. The enamel will become thin and more transparent and there may be more sensitivity and yes, teeth may also appear more yellow.
Is it possible for an adult tooth to grow in at 23 years old? ( Not a wisdom tooth but a canine tooth ) I had my baby one taken out too soon when I was young and was told it would not have room to come down, now I just noticed today that the very tip of it is protruding through the gum, does this mean it might actually come down? Also my wisdom teeth are coming in now, could that have affected this at all?
Hi Jessica, it is unlikely but still possible for a retained tooth to erupt at age 23. However, it may or may not come down all the way to the same level as other teeth.
Hi, i’ve been having ongoing tooth pain for 3 months. A cold test and x-rays have been done and it came back normal. The endodontics said it was because of my low gums exposing it to cold and hot foods, he recommended me to see a periodontics for gum grafting. I booked to see a general dentist with experience with perio, she said it’s not my gums causing it but bruxism. I clench my teeth during sleep sometimes . The pain is like a throbbing/fuzzy/sharp feeling, very hard to describe. I was told to use sensodyne as a toothpaste and ointment, but after 2 months I haven’t seen any results and the pain remains the same. Oddly enough, I notice it kind of fade away when i’m about to sleep or sleeping. I really want to fix my teeth, and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster because I feel like I can’t cure this mysterious pain. Please help me!
Hi Noelle, unfortunately I cannot diagnose based on your description alone. If your dentist diagnoses the pain due to bruxism, ask him/her if a night guard would be a good idea. If you are not sure, a second opinion with a periodontist would be a good idea as well.
Hey I have a question. What can I eat with a tooth infection and abscess? my tooth is getting pulled soon. the dentist never told me what foods to eat.
Hi Kristin, when a person have a tooth infection and abscess, it is typically hard to chew food. It is probably best not to eat anything that may cause more discomfort, typically food that is hard or crunchy. Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet and stay hydrated. You can also use a blender to help break down your food and reduce the amount of chewing if needed.
Hello Dr Li,
I had a question regarding a toothpaste. I wanted to know if Arm & Hammer advanced white is alright to use, more specifically if there’s any potential side effects from using that particular toothpaste? Another question I had was if my teeth shifted after not wearing braces due to not wearing a retainer, would I need braces again or could I get fitted for a new retainer? I understand that this depends on how much my teeth have shifted but I’m just asking the question in general.
Thank you, Harjeev
Hi Harjeer, Arm & Hammer advanced white toothpaste uses baking soda as a primary cleaning agent. The list of ingredients are listed in the link below. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, do not use it. In general, whitening toothpastes tend to be a little more abrasive than non whitening ones. If you have thin enamel due to erosion or abrasion lesions on your teeth, you will want to consult with your dentist or hygienist first before starting using whitening tooth paste.
In general, if you are happy with the current position of your teeth, then a new retainer will suffice. If you want to change the position of your teeth again, then you need braces.
My dentist’s office has switch from fluoride foam to a paint-on varnish. I simply can’t tolerate the varnish, but the office no longer offers the foam. I was thinking of buying the foam and trays myself and doing fluoride treatments at home (on the same schedule I used to get them at the dentist). Is there any danger to this? Do I just make sure I don’t swallow any of the foam?
Hi Chris, many dental offices have made the switch from fluoride foam to varnish due to the overwhelming number of scientific studies showing the effectiveness of fluoride varnish at reducing tooth sensitivity and cavities.
If you are someone with a moderate or high caries risk, before considering any DIY fluoride foam treatment, have a discussion with your dentist or your hygienist to see if there are different flavours or brands of vanish that you can try. If you are someone with low caries risk, lives in an area with fluoridated water and uses fluoride toothpaste twice daily, then a DIY fluoride foam treatment may not be necessary.
In Canada, the type of fluoride foam used by dental offices (with 12,300 ppm fluoride) can only be purchased by a licensed dental professional. So the main concern with fluoride foam that can be purchased by you is that they may not be products that are approved by FDA or Health Canada, and may not have similar efficacy or may not be safe.
Please see the following article entitled: “Professionally applied topical fluoride, Evidence-based clinical recommendations” published in Journal of American Dental Associations for your reference.
I have braces and I’ve been grinding at night and damaging them. My orthodontist gave me a sports mouthguard to sleep in. I’m just wondering if sleeping with a sports mouthguard is safe or if it will affect my oral health.
Hi Kay, we do not usually recommend using a standard sports guard for night time grinding. A sports guard is much bulkier and softer compared to a night guard. It covers your entire teeth and a large portion of your gum to prevent potential injury during high impact sports. Because it prevents saliva flow to your gums, extended wear of a sports guard during sleep may cause bacteria to become trapped there, leading to gingivitis. It could also potentially cause unwanted jaw and teeth changes. A night guard covers only your teeth’s surfaces and none of your gums. However, night guards are much more rigid and could interfere with orthodontic treatment which is trying to reposition your teeth. That’s likely why your orthodontist prescribed a sports guard instead.
I cannot comment on your situation without an exam of the sports guard, but your orthodontist most likely prescribed a modified sport guard that is soft enough to allow teeth movement and still protects the brackets from being knocked off in your sleep. It is most likely less bulky compared to a regular sports guard and covers less tooth structure. If you have any further questions, please contact your orthodontist.
tooth #5 which has been root canaled is becoming loose due to some bone loss. upon eventual extraction can an immediate socket graft or similar be performed? I’m looking to avoid a sinus lift. Thank you
Hi Gary, immediate socket grafting can be done during the extraction of a tooth to help preserve the current bone height during the healing process. However, you may still need a sinus lift for an implant, depending on the existing bone level, the bone level on teeth #4 and #6, current sinus position, and your healing ability. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on your specific situation without an in-person consultation and x ray.
The dental hygienist I saw was pushing hard for me to get x-rays, almost pressuring me. So I just wondered, just in general, do most hygienists get a commission or bonus for doing x-rays?
Hi Lee, the majority of the hygienists in Ontario, Canada are paid hourly. Some Ontario hygienists are business owners themselves who operate their own hygiene clinic. Some hygienists may be paid a bonus based on performance, some are paid a percentage of their production. I do not know how hygienists are compensated outside of Ontario.
This is a question about general oral care routine…
Should I swap mouthwashes from time to time?
If yes then how often?
It is just that at the moment I’m using some off brand wash with the active ingredient of Sodium Fluoride and before that some wash with Eucalyptol 0.092%, menthol 0.042%, methyl salicylate 0.060%, thymol 0.064% , and many years before that with a wash of Xylitol…. I did that for years for each product but I was worried that perhaps bacteria might get used to that (like with antibiotics)…
Was I right? How should I act now?
Hi Johan, mouthwash is a great adjunct to brushing and flossing. The mouthrinses you mentioned do not work like antibiotics, and there is no risk of bacteria developing a resistance to them. Mouthrinse containing Eucalyptol 0.092%, menthol 0.042%, methyl salicylate 0.060% and thymol 0.064% is often recommended for for people with gingival inflammation, while mouthrinse with Sodium Fluoride and Xylitol are usually recommended for people who have had cavities or are maybe more prone to caries. Please discuss your particular situation with your dental health provider to see which type would benefit you the most.
Hi, doc! How do you manage a diabetic patient who has periodontitis?
Hi Amy, periodontitis in a person with uncontrolled diabetes tends to progress more aggressively compared to a person with well controlled diabetes. We do recommend our patients to consult with their MD to see if more needs to be done to help control blood glucose level.
Hello. Wanna ask you about my back molars.
Is it okay if my left side molars look way bigger then on right side? Cause in size they are different and they should be same if I’m not mistaking.
I will get braces and is it gonna be complicated if they are in different size?
I really need to know.
Hi Lukas, in general, teeth can come in different sizes and symmetry is not always guaranteed. But it should not make orthodontic work or braces more complicated. Please discuss your specific concern with your orthodontist or dentist when you see them next.
Hi Dr. Li,
Is it possible to have my wisdom teeth extracted without any kind of injections, even for anesthetic?
HI Anais, it would be in your best interest to have local anesthetic (injection) for wisdom teeth extraction. Not only does it help control the pain during the extraction and right after extraction, the epinephrine in the local anesthetic also helps to reduce bleeding during the extraction, making it a clear field in which the dentist can operate.
A dentist drilled in my tooth between two teeth and put in a filling. (They are molar teeth.) After this, everytime I would eat the food would get stuck between the teeth. I flossed everytime after eating until about two months later the filling fell out when I flossed.
My question is; is it possible to fill the tooth in a way that there will not be a gap between my teeth and I don’t need to floss everytime I eat?
Hi Erla, depending on the remaining tooth structure, there may be ways to close the gap. Please contact your dentist to discuss the available options.