General Dentistry FAQ

Click on a question to read the answer.

Is it normal to have sensitive teeth after fillings?

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

What causes tooth sensitivity and what can I do about it?

Are you going to hurt me?

What are dental sealants and what do they involve?

Why do your dentists wear gloves and a mask? Are their tools are sterile?

After I have had crowns and veneers done, how do I care for my new smile?

Is it normal to have sensitive teeth after fillings?

It is normal on the day of treatment to experience some general discomfort. Your jaw muscles may also be tired from your mouth being open. In most cases this will subside quickly and can be relieved with your normal over the counter pain medication.

It is normal to experience some sensitivity to cold. This sensitivity will range from not noticeable at all to rather bothersome. In most cases it is transient and will go away as the tooth heals – usually in a few days to a few weeks. The degree of sensitivity is related to a number of factors such as the depth of the decay, the proximity of the decay to tooth’s nerve, the tooth’s natural ability to heal, the amount of previous work done on the tooth, and the amount of previous trauma to the tooth. Our Dental Professionals will usually let you know how the procedure went and what you may expect.

Because of the anesthesia, make a concerted effort not to bite your cheeks or tongue; children are especially prone to this.

Avoid chewing on your new filling for 24 hours.

Your bite should feel normal after the freezing comes out. If it feels out of line or interferes when you chew on it a certain way, you will need to have the bite adjusted. Please call the office for an appointment; this adjustment usually takes only a few minutes and is included in the initial cost of the filling.

The tooth should feel smooth; brush and floss like a natural tooth.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 306-463-4661 


What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

a) Tooth pain.

The type and degree of pain you experience can vary widely.

Its intensity can range from just very mild to extreme. It may include a throbbing component. Its character may change as you vary your posture (standing up vs. bending over).

The pain may only come in response to a stimulus, such as biting pressure or hot and cold foods and beverages. In other instances, its onset may be totally unprovoked.

The pain sometimes lingers and then fades. In other cases, it may last for hours on end.

b) Gum tenderness or swelling in the area near the tooth.

The amount of swelling can range from very slight (just an area of tenderness) to quite pronounced. It may even extend into your face or neck.

In cases where the swelling is relatively minor and localized, it typically occurs at a level that approximates the tip of the tooth’s root.

A pimple-like drain for pus may form on your gums

c) Individually darkened teeth.

The nerve tissue inside a tooth may ultimately degenerate as a response to some type of trauma (like being bumped in an accident). This process can take place even some years after the original event, frequently without displaying any obvious symptoms (pain, swelling).

As a tooth’s nerve tissue necroses, dark-coloured byproducts can seep into the hard tissues of the tooth (dentin and enamel) and cause staining.

As a result, the compromised tooth will have a shade that’s slightly darker than its neighbouring teeth. This colour mismatch is often the sole reason why a dentist will suspect that a tooth is in need of root canal treatment.

Situations where a tooth’s need for root canal treatment may only be obvious to our dentists:

Some teeth give little indication that there’s a problem within their nerve space. These cases are often discovered, unexpectedly, during a routine dental examination. This is why routine dental x-rays can be important.

The death of a tooth’s nerve tissue isn’t always a painful event. It’s possible that this process can take place without producing any obvious symptoms at all. The tooth’s need for root canal treatment may remain undiscovered, even for some years.

If so, it may take your dentist’s keen eye during their examination to discover evidence that indicates that endodontic therapy is needed for your tooth.

What can you do if you notice symptoms?

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, please contact our office (306)463-4661 to make arrangements to be evaluated and treated as our dentists determine is necessary.

What causes tooth sensitivity and what can I do about it?

The exposed root surface of the tooth is the region that registers pain.  Normally the root surface is protected by the gums and underlying bone tissue.  However, the tooth can become exposed through fracturing or chipping due to trauma. Grinding down of enamel due to clenching or grinding, and recession of gums through gum disease or improper brushing are also factors that expose root surfaces of the teeth.

Pain from sensitive teeth often comes and goes, but if you experience constant pain, you may have a more serious problem. There are many effective treatments for sensitive teeth and the course of treatment depends on the exact cause of your pain.  Some effective methods include:

  • Correcting the bite
  • Switching to a soft-bristle toothbrush to prevent gum irritation
  • Using a toothpaste designed to insulate the nerve that registers pain
  • A fluoride rinse or gel
  • Desensitizing applications bonded to the root surface

Are you going to hurt me?

This is the number one concern of all who visit any dental office. Even dental practitioners often do not like their teeth worked on. Therefore, we take every opportunity to make you as comfortable and relaxed as we possibly can. Our dentists use topical anesthetic and then administer local anesthetic very, very slowly minimizing any possible discomfort to you during the freezing process. Our dentists and hygienists will stop their work when you signal any discomfort. They want to provide positive reinforcement to you as our patient by using non-threatening language, and tell-show-do techniques to explain our procedures. For those with more complex issues, some form of oral medication may be required or even referral to a specialist.

One thing we ask of you — please communicate with us about your anxieties so that we can work with you to make your dental experience favorable.

What are dental sealants and what do they involve?

A dental sealant consists of a small amount of plastic/resin material that fills in the   deep grooves and pits of the teeth, most prone to cavities. This keeps bacteria from settling in those areas and damaging the tooth and thus prevents tooth decay. They are easily applied in the dental office and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light. There are a number of different brands of sealant, but typically they are clear or tooth colored so they are often difficult for you to detect looking into the mouth. Most often they are placed on the permanent molars shortly after they erupt. If you or a child are more prone to cavities, or have difficulty with oral hygiene, we might also recommend placing them on baby teeth and/or premolar teeth.
Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Why do your dentists wear gloves and a mask? How do I know that their tools are sterile?

Your health is very important to our dentists and our team. One of the ways that we can help you stay healthy is by preventing the spread of germs. One of the best ways to do this is to use barrier protection such as gloves and masks.

Your dentist and our dental team members also wash their hands regularly. In addition, they sterilize equipment used in the dental office and clean the furniture and fixtures in the examining rooms. This system is referred to as “standard precautions.” It means that every patient is treated in the same way because patients don’t always know if they’re sick. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you would like to know how this system is carried out in our office, ask to be shown how it’s done. We welcome the opportunity to ease your concerns, rather than have you leave the office with unanswered questions. Once you see the work that goes into making our dental office a clean and safe environment, you will feel reassured.

It is worth noting that even though standard precautions are used, it is still important to tell us of changes in your health. This will help our dentists suggest the right choices of treatment for you.

After I have had crowns and veneers done, how do I care for my new smile?

Congratulations on your new smile! Your investment in your smile will give you many years of enjoyment and satisfaction.

REMEMBER that it will take time to adjust to the feel of your new bite. When the bite is altered or the position of the teeth is changed, it takes several days for the brain to adjust to the new position of your teeth or their thickness. If you continue to detect any high spots or problems with your bite, call our office to schedule an adjustment appointment.

It’s normal to experience some sensitivity to heat, cold and pressure. Removing tooth structure and placing new materials may require an adjustment period. Your gums may also be sore for several days. Rinse three times a day with warm salt water; dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, and then rinse, swish, and spit to reduce pain and swelling.

Mild pain medication should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period.

Don’t be concerned if your speech is affected for the first few days; you’ll quickly adapt and be speaking normally.

Your brain may respond to the new size and shape of your teeth by increasing salivary flow. This should subside to normal within a week or so. Daily plaque removal is critical for the long-term success of your dental work. Maintain a regular oral hygiene routine. Daily brushing and flossing is a must. Regular cleaning appointments in your dental office are also extremely important. The staff will use the appropriate cleaning abrasives and techniques for your specific cosmetic work.

It’s important to change habits if necessary to protect your new teeth. Any food that could chip, crack, or damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new cosmetic restorations. Therefore:

  • Avoid sticky candies.
  • Don’t chew any unusually hard foods or substances (such as peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils or ice).
  • Avoid or minimize your use of foods that stain, such as tea, coffee, red wine, and berries.
  • Remember that smoking will quickly yellow your teeth.
  • Let our dentists know if you grind your teeth at night or engage in sports; a custom mouthguard can be created for you.