FAQ

Dental Questions

Am I a candidate for dental implant restorations?

Dr. Seminara and our team work hard to stay on the leading-edge of restorative dentistry. If you or someone you love struggles with ill-fitting, uncomfortable dentures or a partial with false teeth, there may be a solution. Implants are useful in denture stabilization, but they can also be used in conjunction with crowns, bridges, and in single-tooth replacements. Permanent implants are not only more durable and long-lasting than traditional tooth replacements, they also look and feel more like natural teeth. Most importantly, they function like natural teeth, so you can chew, talk, and smile with confidence again.

However, there are still some things to consider before you decide on dental implants. For example, they are best performed after adolescence, when the teeth and jaw bone are fully developed. Additionally, the implant procedure can be more complicated for individuals with periodontal (gum) disease, active diabetes, immune deficiencies, and for patients who smoke. To ensure that you get the treatment that’s right for you, keep Dr. Seminara and our team informed and up-to-date about your entire medical history and dental habits.

Are there any specific health concerns associated with diabetes?

While having diabetes does not automatically put your dental health at risk, it does make a person more susceptible to certain conditions. Uncontrolled diabetes causes high glucose levels in saliva, which can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth and increase the risk of cavities. Diabetes also reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which can make an individual more likely to develop illnesses such as gingivitis or even gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis, which is an early form of periodontal disease, are red, sore, receding, or bleeding gums; if you notice these to any degree, be sure to make an appointment with our office. Other, less serious, problems that can occur include thrush (a treatable infection in the tongue and cheeks), ulcers, and dry mouth.
Interestingly enough, this connection is a two-way street. For patients with severe gum disease, the infection in the gums can affect the blood glucose levels and the immune system, actually increasing the overall risk of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, you know the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Smoking can be particularly damaging to diabetics, as it causes excess dryness and damage to the gum tissue. Ultimately, the most important factor is blood sugar. If you keep your diabetes under control with a healthy lifestyle and maintain good oral hygiene through regular check-ups, diabetes won’t get the best of your smile.

Is smoking really bad for my teeth?

Smoking isn’t just bad for your teeth—it affects the health of your entire mouth, especially your gums. Smoking stains your teeth, causes bad breath, and promotes the buildup of plaque and tartar. Cigarette smoking is also one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Worst of all, smoking has been linked to the development of periodontal disease and may lead to the loss of taste and smell. Smokers also tend to require more dental treatment, due to the damage done by smoking. Certain procedures, such as dental implants and oral surgeries, can be less successful in smokers due to damaged gum tissue. This results in a higher cost of dental healthcare and often more frequent (and complicated) treatment. 
Pipes and cigars aren’t any safer, causing similar rates of tooth and bone loss even if the smoke is not inhaled. Smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco also pose great health risks to your gums, increasing your risk for both oral cancer and cancers of the throat, esophagus and lips. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of sugar, which when pressed against your teeth for long periods of time can lead to tooth decay.
So what’s the verdict on tobacco? Seek help on how to quit using, or just don’t start

What are the benefits of a radiographic (x-ray) examination?

X-rays, also known as radiographs, are commonly used in dental exams of patients of all ages. Many problems with teeth and the surrounding tissues cannot be seen when we visually examine your mouth.

An x-ray examination is needed to reveal: Small areas of decay between teeth or below existing restorations (fillings), Deep cavities, Infections that can develop in the mouth bones, Periodontal (gum) disease, Abscesses or cysts,  developmental abnormalities, and some types of tumours. Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you unnecessary discomfort, money, and time. In cases where x-rays help us detect oral cancer and periodontal disease early, radiographs can also help save your life!

What can I do about bad breath?

If you feel constantly worried about bad breath, you’re not alone. Bad breath (halitosis) is a common problem, not to mention embarrassing and distracting for you and others around you. Deducing what is most likely causing your bad breath will help determine what you can do to prevent it.
 Greatly reduced saliva flow during sleep (the cause of morning breath), certain foods (such as garlic, onions, and peppers), poor oral hygiene, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth, tobacco, dieting, dehydration, and some medical conditions (including sinus infections and diabetes) can all cause bad breath. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day (in the morning and at night) is the first thing to start doing, if you are not already in the habit. Brushing after every meal is even better, if you can. If not, chewing sugar-free gum after meals can get food particles out of your teeth. Additionally, clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners, and remember to brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue, especially the back areas, can make a big difference in how clean your mouth feels and smells. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning. Toothbrushes should be replaced every couple months.
 Biannual dental cleanings and checkups at our office will not only keep your teeth and gums in good shape, but seeing you regularly will also allow us to better detect any problems, such as gum disease, dry mouth (Xerostomia), or other dental conditions (such as decay), that may be the cause of persistent bad breath. If you have gum disease, more frequent visits to our office might be recommended for your oral and overall health.
Breaking a tobacco habit (smoking or chewing tobacco) can significantly improve your oral health and the way your breath smells. Ask us about ways we suggest to help break a tobacco habit. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy also keeps your mouth moist and more free of bad bacteria. Mouth rinses can help, too, but ask us which rinses actually kill the germs that cause bad breath, because some only mask odor as a temporary solution.
When bad breath is a symptom of a larger bacterial problem in your mouth, Dr. Seminara can help. If he finds that your mouth is healthy, we may refer you to your physician for further consultation and more comprehensive treatment.

When I brush and floss, my gums bleed. They don’t hurt and they look fine, is this really a problem?

If your gums are not sore, it’s safe to assume your bleeding gums are not the result of hard brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums that apparently have no cause are always a warning sign, often indicating such conditions as gingivitis or even gum disease. Gingivitis (inflamed, bleeding gums) if caught early enough, can be treated and even reversed. The first lines of treatment when it comes to gingivitis are lifestyle changes. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and high levels of stress can all contribute to gingivitis. Choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles can ease gum damage, too, and getting regular dental cleanings will control plaque and tooth decay. It’s important to stop gingivitis before it progresses, as studies have shown more and more serious illnesses are associated with gum disease. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes, even osteoporosis and inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis have been linked to poor oral health.
Though not the first suspect in a simple case of bleeding gums, oral cancer is also a possibility. Oral cancer can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are associated with other medical conditions. They include sores, difficulty swallowing or moving the jaw, bleeding gums or cheeks, and a continuous pain in the mouth. If Dr. Seminara finds no other causes for your bleeding gums, he may recommend a visit to a specialist.
 Regular check-ups are vital to cancer prevention, as are good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco, and maintaining a balanced diet. Inform our team if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms. You’d go to the doctor if a cut on your hand were infected—do your gums the same service! They’ll thank you later

Why are my teeth so sensitive, and what can I do about it?

If you’ve been avoiding that ice cream cone or cup of coffee because of sensitive teeth, you don’t have to! Sensitivity is a common complaint, and can be the result of a number of factors. Involuntary grinding, jaw clenching, gum recession, and enamel loss can all cause teeth to become extra sensitive, because the sensitive inner layer of the tooth called dentin is exposed to external stimuli. Surface irritants such as braces and teeth whitening can also cause temporary sensitivity.

Because the causes of sensitivity are so diverse, and because sensitive gum tissue can indicate a more serious problem, it’s important to ask Dr. Seminara which treatment is best for you. A softer toothbrush is usually the first step, and special toothpastes can reduce sensitivity over time. There are also over-the-counter fluoride rinses to protect your enamel against further damage.

Why is fluoride good for my teeth?

Each day, foods and acids feed bacteria in your mouth, which can accumulate on your teeth to form plaque. Plaque wears away at a tooth’s enamel in a process known as demineralization. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can promote the remineralization of enamel, replacing important minerals that strengthen your teeth and can protect them from decay. Fluoride can also help reverse early stages of decay.
Children with newly-erupted permanent teeth benefit a great deal from fluoride exposure, but adults should make sure their teeth come into contact with it, too. The safe and easy way to ensure your teeth are getting enough fluoride is to use fluoride toothpaste, available at drugstores in a variety of types and flavors. If Dr. Seminara recommends more intense fluoride treatments, there are a number of gels, rinses, or even in-office procedures that can do the trick. Though the most fluoride is absorbed from direct contact with the teeth, many public drinking water systems contain small, safe amounts of fluoride that can have positive health effects. Unfortunately at the present time, the water in Montreal does not have added fluoride.

Office Questions

Are my treatments covered by my insurance?

Many insurance companies cover a portion or all of the treatment provided at Downtown Montreal Dentistry. However, it is important to understand that your insurance coverage is an obligation between yourself and the insurance company. We can submit claims and estimates of treatment on your behalf, but in most instances your insurance company will not tell us what your coverage is due to privacy issues.
When planning major treatment, we are happy to submit estimates to your insurance company ahead of time so you know what your estimated coverage might be. Please remember to bring your insurance information with you when you come in for your appointment. Ultimately the patient is responsible for their fees.

What are your policies regarding appointments?

We know your time is valuable, so we make every effort to be on time for your appointments. If, on occasion, we are running late due to emergencies, we will try to contact you ahead of time to let you know. We try hard to stick to our patient schedule so that you are not kept waiting. Sometimes situations during treatment occur that are beyond our control, and we fall behind. We ask for your patience and understanding in these cases.

If you arrive late for your appointment, we will perform what treatment we can with the time remaining, then schedule another appointment to complete treatment so as not to keep our other patients waiting. If you are very late, you will need to reschedule your appointment in all fairness to others. If you miss your appointment without notice, there may be fee charged to your account. Please try and give us at least 2 days notice when you need to change an appointment.

What method of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, personal checks, Interact, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express payments.