The Different Kinds of Teeth Staining

The Different Kinds of Teeth Staining

stained-teeth-300Teeth staining can be embarrassing — so much so you may even hesitate to smile. Before you seek out a whitening solution, though, there are a few things you need to know about tooth staining.
Tooth staining is more complex than you might think. There are actually two main types. The first is extrinsic staining from foods, liquids, smoking and other substances that stain the outer surface of the enamel The second is intrinsic staining, discoloration deep within a tooth that affects their outward appearance.Intrinsic staining has a number of causes, including the type of dental materials used to fill a tooth, a history of trauma or the use of an antibiotic such as tetracycline during early tooth development.
There are some noticeable differences between the two types, although an examination is usually necessary to determine which you have. Extrinsic staining tends to be brown, black, or occasionally orange or yellow. Intrinsic staining can look like white splotches or even discoloured bands across one or multiple teeth.
What can be done also depends on which type. Extrinsic staining can be modified through something a simple as a dental cleaning. As a second step, whitening, with either an in-office application or a home kit (there are differences, so you should consult with us before you decide). It may also be essential to modify your diet by restricting foods and beverages (coffee, wine or tea) known to cause staining and by eliminating tobacco use. You should also practice daily hygiene, including brushing with a toothpaste designed to diminish staining, and regular office cleaning and polishing.
Intrinsic staining can’t be addressed by these methods. Instead, you may need to undergo a procedure where we enter the interior of the tooth and insert a bleaching agent. If this isn’t an option, you can also choose a cosmetic restoration such as a porcelain veneer or crown that will cover the teeth to better match the color of non-affected teeth, or change the colour of multiple teeth.
Dealing with stained teeth begins with a visit to our office to determine what type of discoloration you have and to learn your options. But regardless of what type you have, there is a way to a brighter smile.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatments of tooth staining, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Run for Dental Outreach

On Saturday, September 24th, under a beautiful autumn sky, Dr. Seminara participated in the annual McGill Run for Dental Outreach. With over 100 participants and over 7500$ raised, the run was a huge success! This was Dr. Seminara’s 3rd time running the 10km course that followed the path across Mount Royal, past Beaver lake and the lookout over downtown and back again. As usual, the runners were students, dentists, professors, family and friends.

Signing up at the start line at the Georges-Etienne Cartier monument on Park Avenue.

On your marks, set, go!

On your marks, set, go!

outreach, seminara, dentist, downtown

Dr. Anthony Seminara and Dr. Alexander Wahba before the start of the run.

outreach run, dog

The runners come in all shapes and sizes! Here is Betty, one of many canine participants!

The McGill Outreach Program is one of a kind. As Quebec’s only completely mobile dental clinic, dental chairs and lights, sterilization equipment and dental instruments are packed into a truck and transported around the city to provide free dental care to individuals living in poverty. McGill dental students, dentists, as well as many volunteers made it possible to hold a total of 14 mobile clinics last year on the island of Montreal. Four additional clinics are held at the Montreal General Hospital. There students are able to perform more elaborate procedures such as radiographic diagnosis as well as fillings, and tooth extractions.

An interesting fact is that the Outreach Program was run for a long time in part by our predecessor Dr. Bruce Dobby. It was under his guidance that it grew from a small operation with a few clinics per year to the large-scale program that it is now. Today, dental students from all years at McGill as well as volunteer dentists help provide free care to over 300 people in need per year. Dr. Seminara has been able to witness this impressive  change first hand, from being a student dentist in 2002 to volunteering to supervise the current student dentists today.

For more information about the Outreach program, please visit:

Dental X-Rays, Do I Really Need Them?


Doctor, do I really need to take dental x-rays? This is a question frequently posed by our patients and one that requires thoughtful consideration. The reason why people may question or refuse the need for dental x-rays often relates to the issue of safety. No one wants to expose themselves to radiation needlessly, and on this point everyone can agree. However, we cannot overlook the benefits of dental x-rays: They allow us to detect small problems of the teeth and bone of the jaws before they become big problems. So what is the balance? How often can we safely take x-rays and how often should we?


A typical dental x-ray image. Smile!

A typical dental x-ray image. Smile!

Before answering the question, we must understand a bit about x-ray exposure. Radiation is measured in units called millisieverts. This is a metric measurement, so it uses a similar scale to what we use for distance. One millimetre is 1/1000th of a metre. Dental x-rays are measured in microsieverts. So just as a micrometre is 1/1000th of a millimetre, a microsievert is 1/1000th of a millisievert. To put it another way, it is 1000 times less.

The fact is that radiation occurs naturally all around us, to the point where we are naturally exposed to about 4 millisieverts every year. This number increases if we live in a part of the world with longer sun exposure, at higher elevations, if we fly on airplanes, watch television, or smoke cigarettes. A typical digital dental x-ray examination of 4 bitewing x-rays is 0.8 microsieverts. Remember that is 5000 times less than your average natural exposure yearly dose! Dental x-rays are among the lowest sources of diagnostic imaging x-rays used.


dental x-ray dentist montreal downtown

The only films we use are digital, which correspond to the 6th row from the top. As described in the chart, 18 to 20 films is 0.0039 mSv, meaning one film is less than 0.0008 mSv.

Now that doesn’t mean that we need excessive amounts of images. For new patients, Dr. Seminara will review your history, examine your mouth and teeth then decide whether you need radiographs and what type. For most patients, this will mean bitewings and selected periapical images. These can give us valuable diagnostic information about the teeth, bone, roots and other structures of the jaws. Once we know your general dental status, a recall schedule can be fixed with regular x-rays as needed.

A Bitewing X-ray

A Bitewing X-ray

A Periapical X-ray

A Periapical X-ray








The average patient in our office who is at low risk (someone who get cavities infrequently) would be recommended to have bitewing x-rays done once every 18 to 24 months. A patient at higher risk would be recommended to have them done every 6 to 12 months. More are taken for patients with advanced needs, such as gum disease or root canals. Emergency visits may also require images to help diagnose the cause of the acute problem. We take care to limit exposure by using digital x-ray sensors and specials machines that specifically target the mouth area, reducing exposure to other body parts. In fact, the body is covered by a protective lead apron for this very purpose.

Dr. Seminara’s x-ray recommendations are always based on your specific individual needs and the standard of care as prescribed by the Order of Dentists of Quebec and the Canadian Dental Association. Our goal is to take as few as necessary to keep your teeth and mouth in perfect health!

New Video: Welcome to Dr. Seminara’s Dental Practice!



This video was created by Dr. Seminara and the Downtown Montreal Dentistry team to welcome patients to our practice and to give them a look at the patient experience in our office, from the moment they walk in the door until the moment they leave. Our goal is  to introduce ourselves to you so that when you visit us you can feel comfortable with us and with our dental practice environment.

Our official office mission statement is “We are committed to providing exceptional dental care in a compassionate and caring environment”. These are the words we live by everyday. From Dr. Seminara, to Kim and Laurie our wonderful hygienists, to Chami our assistant and Carla our receptionist, we all choose to focus on maintaining an exceptionally high standard of care.

Our growing practice is accepting new patients, and we would all like to extend an invitation to you to come and visit us at our office, visit our website, check our Facebook page, or just to give us a call or send us an email.


Dr. Seminara Appointed to the ACDQ

We are proud to announce that Dr. Seminara has been appointed to the ACDQ Board of Directors for the Montreal Anglophone region. The ACDQ is the Association des Chirurgiens Dentists du Quebecor the Quebec Dental Surgeons Association. It’s mission is to study, defend and develop the professional, economic, social and moral interests of its members. It also promotes improvement of dental health by facilitating access to care and encouraging research, social action and humanitarian assistance. Dr. Seminara joins 23 other directors from all the regions of Quebec, the ACDQ President, Speaker, and staff, all working together towards a common goal – the general advancement of the profession of dentistry.

Dr Seminara Downtown Dentist Montreal

Said Dr. Seminara: “I am honoured to have been chosen to fill this role, and am looking forward to working with my colleagues to improve our profession and our ability to provide exceptional dental care. To be a part of the ACDQ board of directors is to be at the highest levels of collective decision making among dentists in Quebec.”

Interesting Dental Implants Advertisement


Cowboy tough dental implants

This clever advertisement was seen at the Scottsdale, Arizona rodeo on Dr. Seminara’s last trip out there to the Spear Dental Education Centre. Keeping up with the latest techniques and technologies in any field is important, but particularly when it affects your health and welfare. Dental Implants are just one of the many topics that are covered in depth at a typical two to three day session at the Spear Centre. Advanced classes in Occlusion (how your teeth come together), Treating the Worn Dentition, and Treatment Planning are also taught.

It is essential for a dentist to engage in as many high quality continuing educational activities as possible, and Dr. Seminara has made it his mission to learn all he can from the best dentists around. In any given year, he takes two to three times the amount of courses recommended by the Order of Dentists of Quebec. Many of these courses are given by McGill, many others by local study clubs such as the Montreal Dental Club, of which Dr. Seminara currently sits as President. He has also traveled to seminars in Arizona, Vancouver, Chicago, North Carolina, Atlanta, Toronto and will be heading to Boston in May and June for advanced courses on dental implants.

Dr. Seminara at course on dental implants

The crowd at a conference on Treating the Worn Dentition in Chicago that Dr. Seminara attended in 2015

Dental Implants are one of the most successful, yet complex treatments that we perform at the office. We have restored hundreds of implants over the years and helped hundreds of people regain their smiles, chewing function and confidence. It is amazing to consider that from the mid 1980s to today, the use of implants in dentistry has increased by over 1000%! We are fortunate to be able to help our patients benefit from this service, and it is through diligent training and study that we have maintained our cutting edge knowledge. A final thought about the cowboy from the rodeo. Not so long ago, he’d have to make due with a partial denture, or perhaps even go without teeth at all. Well that certainly isn’t the case anymore. Now he can replace the teeth he lost falling off his bull with implants!

The rodeo cowboy seconds before being thrown from his bull

The rodeo cowboy seconds before being thrown from his bull. He will very likely soon be in the market for some “Cowboy Tough Dental Implants”

Top Five Reasons to Floss

Every six months, you visit the dentist for a cleaning — and likely a lecture about the importance of flossing. But if you’re like many dental patients, the advice travels in one ear and out the other — much like, well, dental floss gliding between the spaces of your teeth.

But flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean. Floss is the only thing that can really get into that space between the teeth and remove bacteria.

Here are the top five reasons to floss your teeth regularly:

  1. Flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque buildup from in between your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that is full of bacteria, which if left uncleaned can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bone loss around your teeth. All of these conditions, if allowed to progress, can lead to the loss of a tooth
  2. Flossing also removes food particles from between your teeth. Removing these, combined with removing plaque, can lead to fresher breath.
  3. Gum disease is hard to diagnose if you are not trained on what to look for. Some of the signs are bleeding gums and gum recession. Flossing regularly can help prevent both these conditions.
  4. People suffering from heart disease or who have had heart surgery must be very vigilant with their oral hygiene. The mouth is a gateway to harmful bacteria that may reach cardiac tissue and cause a condition called endocarditis. Moreover, if you suffer from heart disease, by keeping your mouth and teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of complications. Several current scientific studies has demostrated a link between gum disease and heart disease.
  5. Diabetic patients are more likely to develop gum disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without diabetes, probably because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections.

And here is a bonus reason: People who floss regularly are less likely to get the usual “importance of flossing” lecture from the hygienist at their recall visit!


Standard flossing technique


For more information about gum disease and your health, visit

How Finger Nail Biting can Impact your Oral Health

That's a real nail-biter

That’s a real nail-biter


Lets talk about biting your nails, and why it is bad for you. Did you know that nail biting (technically called Onychophagia) can be harmful to your teeth and overall oral health? Not many people know the extent to which this bad habit can impact your beautiful teeth.

Nail Biting’s Impact

Let’s take a closer look at how your nail biting habit can cause damage to your teeth.

Cleanliness: You touch a lot of different surfaces with your hands throughout a given day. Nail biting transfers those bacteria and dirt that has collected under your nails to your mouth and stomach. Even if you wash and sanitize your hands regularly, bacteria will still enter your system. This bacteria can cause damages to your teeth and even lead to illness or stomach irritation.

Besides this, if you are breaking the skin around your nails as you bite them, you can actually transfer bacteria from your mouth to your fingers resulting in painful infections.

Stress: Nail biting can place a lot of extra and unwanted stress on your teeth. This pressure can actually cause them to shift and move from their natural placement in your mouth. This can cause soreness and even lead to the potential for orthodontic treatments in the future.

Wearing Your Teeth Down: Over time, nail biting can actually wear down your teeth. This can impact the enamel and strength of your teeth. Worse yet, continuous nail biting can actually cause teeth to chip or crack. Fillings and porcelain crowns and veneers can also break due to nail biting.

Money, Money, Money: Since nail biting can lead to significant oral health and teeth damages, many people will have to invest more money and time on their dental care over their lifetime. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that a nail biter will spend up to 4000$ more on dental care over their lifetime than a non-nail biter. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on anything else, rather than nail biting?

Did you know that almost 50% of children between 10 and 18 bite their nails? Think about how much damage nail biting can do over 8 years. And while studies show that many people stop by the age of 30, nail biting can damage your oral health significantly during that time period.

Want to know some tips to stop biting your nails? We will discuss that in a future post…

Toothpaste Tips

How much toothpaste do you really need?

When you catch a print or TV ad for a toothpaste company, what do you see? A toothbrush being slathered with a heavy dose of toothpaste to create that fancy wave at the end, right?

Not only does this make the product look great, but it encourages us to use more, thus selling more product. Pretty smart from a marketing perspective, but not at all necessary from a dental health perspective.

While toothpaste is an important component in the maintenance of healthy teeth, it’s both the frequency and brushing motion itself that are paramount, and therefore only a pea size amount of toothpaste is needed to get the job done.

downtown dentist seminara toothbrush

The amount of toothpaste the toothpaste company wants you to use

dentist downtown montreal

The amount of toothpaste you actually need to use