Our most popular questions related to all things dental and holistic health. All of our answers are research based and coming from Dr. Michael Schecter.
Have a question that’s not on our list? Send us your question and someone will get back to you in a timely manner. We love sharing information and we love learning too. If there is something you want to add let us know and we will take it into consideration.
Are Dental Implants a Good Option for Me?
To answer this important FAQ, Dental Implants are considered today to be the treatment of choice for any missing tooth, provided there is enough bone of sufficient density to house the implant fixture.
Natural teeth help support the surrounding bone and a dental implant will actually provide the same stimulation to preserve the adjacent bone heights. In the case of a fractured tooth or root, it is best to extract the broken element and place the dental implant immediately into the original socket as that will provide the best” biological heal” for the area.
Dental Implants are made of titanium or zirconia which are 100% bio-compatible with the bone and the soft tissue. For patients who are wearing dentures that are totally tissue supportive, just a few dental implants can change their comfort and social esteem tremendously by increasing the retention of the denture exponentially.
Do you charge more than the average dentist?
We strive to make treatment accessible to all our patients. We honour the Ontario Fee Guide without marking up any of our treatments. Further, all dental products are sold at cost.
We can electronically submit billing to most insurance companies and will organize a pre determination to assess coverage. This helps to ensure our patients receive a speedy reimbursement from their insurance provider. It is important to stress that we always look to treat the patient, not the insurance company.
What are the risks of dental implants in dentistry?
Please download and review our dental implants pdf to learn more.
What does comprehensive dentistry mean for me?
Comprehensive Dentistry is an all encompassing treatment approach to restoring one’s dental health, function, and cosmetic appearance. Often patients will present worn down or broken front teeth and no posterior support for a variety of reasons.
If one fixes the front teeth without addressing the bite issue then the treatment will only fail ultimately. Thus the successful treatment begins with a thorough and proper diagnosis and treatment plan so that one can “plan the work to work the plan”.
Often the treatment will require the integration of multiple techniques and procedures of different dental disciplines and it is best to be able to integrate these procedures sometimes simultaneously. This not only will give a more desirable outcome for the patient but will also prove to be so much more efficient and timely for the treatment.
How will dental cosmetic solutions impact my health?
Cosmetic Dentistry will very often have such a positive impact on the patient’s self- esteem and personal outlook that they will in turn be that much more motivated to take care of their new smile and will thus improve their oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene results in increased bacterial accumulation in the mouth which in turn will contaminate the body systemically. Any lessoning of the bacterial content in the mouth will not only result in less dental decay and less surrounding bone deterioration but will also lead to a healthier systemic situation.
Why do I get dental problems such as repeated cavities or have persistent gum disease?
Many patients come into our office concerned with their oral health. Many ask why they get repeated cavities or have persistent gum disease. We will help to implement a specific dental hygiene program for you. Often we integrate essential oil irrigations in the office with aggressive home care. This allows for a natural and gentle disinfection of the unhealthy microbes you find in the mouth.
It is important to emphasize that life balance, hygiene, plays a very large role in the health of your mouth. Proper diet, exercise, sun, water, and stress relief all help to build proper immunity again oral disease. After all, oral diseases are infectious diseases.
A strong immune system will prohibit susceptibility to these organisms. At the same time, the load of microbes must be reduced. This is where proper oral hygiene and healthy interactions come into the picture. All the microbes are contagious, transmitted between partners, family members, and to children.
A Canary scan, microscopic analysis, and pH test are wonderful tools to evaluate oral health and susceptibility.
What Do I Need To Know About Microscopic Dental Plaque Analysis and Evaluation
A dental plaque analysis is a window into your oral health and subsequently into your overall health. A small sample of your saliva and dental plaque is placed under a microscope. Together with Ira and Michael, you will see the different pathogens thriving in your mouth.
This is the best way to treat disease… understand the source. Begin an exploration into your level of health. As a part of our biological approach to dental treatment, we analyze the plaque that forms around teeth in order to see whether there is an infection and, if so, what is causing the infection:
•Are there unhealthy microbes?
•Is it due to local hygiene issues or perhaps systemic complications?
•Is my lifestyle leaving me susceptible to inflammatory disease?
•Are my medications or existing materials exasperating my oral condition?
•How can I optimize my health and reduce risk factors for other chronic conditions?
•Do I require gum surgery?
•How can I prevent this?
Although there are many interventions designed to address infections after they have occurred, take measures early on to ensure your positive oral health. Dr. Michael and Ira will interpret and present the results to you regarding your susceptibility to gum disease.
It is important to realize the implications of unhealthy gums, including risks to chronic inflammation, heart disease, pregnancy, diabetes, and osteoporosis. This early detection of possible problems provides an opportunity for you to work with our team to prevent further periodontal complications from progressing. This is especially useful for children. They can witness and better understand the potential harms of ignoring their home care.
Saliva Ph Testing
According to research, your acid/alkaline balance is another essential barometer for oral health. If our systems are acidic, we are predisposed to cavities and gum disease. In reciprocate fashion, oral disease may pressure the system and lower pH.
This simple non invasive test allows us to better understand how our systems are balanced. We should all strive to remain in a more alkaline state for the health of our mouths and our systems. Please ask about our pH testing kits. We would be happy to review the extraordinary health benefits of a balanced system.
RELATED RESEARCH LINKS:
My dental health is a nightmare. How can I prevent getting cavities?
Research shows that cavities result from an acid/alkaline imbalance. Acid demineralises the tooth and creates cavities. This acid typically is produced by bacterium (Strep Mutans) which consume the sugars in our diet.
It is important to appreciate that this includes all carbohydrates from simple sugar to complex grains. Obviously, simple sugar is worse, but any form of sugar creates an acidic attack on the teeth
In order to buffer (in other words protect us from) acids, saliva should have a PH of over 7. Dental Cavities form when there is an imbalance between the alkalinity in our saliva and the acidity in our mouths.
There are several factors which influence our capability to buffer acid in the mouth. The alkalinity of our saliva is dictated by the overall pH of our system. If our overall system is acidic or inflamed then our salvia will be more acidic as well.
This will reduce the effectiveness of the saliva which will throw the balance off and lead to decay
If we are continuously attacking our teeth with acid, our saliva will never have a chance to catch up. Regular snacking, highly acidic foods and acidic beverages can wreak havoc on our teeth.
It is far better to take all the sugar snacks in the week and eat them in one sitting vs. eating them slowly throughout the week. It is also far better to have a shot of espresso than sip on a coffee throughout the morning.
Tooth decay truly comes down to host susceptibility and bacterial load. In laymen’s terms it means how much harmful bacteria you have in your mouth and how susceptible (acidic imbalance) is your system. If you are susceptible (acidic), imbalanced, or if you have a severe amount of bacteria, you are more likely to develop decay.
It is important to keep in mind that these bacteria are contagious. It can be transferred through a shared utensil or a simple kiss.
Our dental products can help to neutralize the bacteria. However, from a dental perspective and through proven research, it is even more important to have a strong host.
To help prevent dental decay:
•Have the Canary Scan done
•Minimize sugar intake
•Maintain an alkaline diet
•Ensure that your stomach pH and intestinal pH are ideal
•Manage acidic attacks in the mouth
•Maintain proper oral hygiene protocols
•See your dentist regularly
•Balance your systemic hygiene
•Do your own research on the matter
How can I prevent getting dental gum disease?
Research shows that gum disease is a result of multiple factors including diet, systemic conditions, and oral hygiene. It is a reflection of host response and microbial activity. In other words gum disease is a combination of our susceptibility to the disease along with the quantity of virulent parasites, fungi, and bacteria present.
Understand this through the example of the flu. If you are in the room with someone who has the flu, you may get sick. If you are on the other side of the room, or have a minimal exposure to the virus, you will not get sick.
If the sick person is breathing right into your face, your immune system will be overloaded, and you will get sick. If you are somewhere in the middle of the room, your immune strength, or host susceptibility’s ability to ward off the virus, will dictate if you will get sick.
93% of North Americans suffer from some level of gum disease. This is due to weak immunity and microbial overload. A microscopic plaque analysis can show you the microbes living under the gums. Anaerobic Spirochetes, Candida, and Amoeba all thrive in an acidic environment.
They feed off inflammation and rely on poor oxygenation and lack of blood flow. Oxygen will disrupt these organisms and bring health. The challenge is reaching the depths of the pockets around teeth to properly disrupt the bugs.
We will help to guide your hygiene protocol. For deeper pocketing, a water pik with an antimicrobial solution can be invaluable to condition and target unhealthy microbes. The water pik will also provide the dual function of massaging the gum with induces blood flow and oxygenates the area.
We have found, through research that Ozone treatment is incredibly effective in combating gum disease. It is arguably the most effective treatment. It effectively kills fungus, parasites, and bacteria. The real key to ozone is that is gets drawn towards the infection and as a gas can diffuse everywhere.
The challenge with gum disease is reaching the depths of the pockets where these nasty bugs reside. Well, ozone can get there.
Ozone oil can be used as toothpaste. Keep the ozone oil in the fridge. Place a week’s amount in a smaller glass or metal container in the bathroom to use for daily brushing.
We can fabricate dental bleaching trays which you can load with ozone oil. Use these for an hour daily or sleep with them overnight. This is particularly useful for those with dry mouths, lots of dental work, or more advanced gum disease. It is also remarkable for sensitive teeth and to prevent decay. These trays can be made from conventional plastic, silicone, or nylon.
There are also exceptional office treatments using ozone. Irrigating the gums with ozone water before and after a cleaning will help to eliminate microbes and inflammation. This will reduce the inevitable septicaemia caused when cleaning teeth.
A long thin tip can deposit ozone water at the base of every pocket, circling around the teeth. For more advanced gum disease, specific in office trays can be made. These are placed in the mouth directly after a cleaning. A special seal is formed and the mouth is fumigated with ozone gas. The gas will penetrate around older dental work, into the gums, and help arrest new decay.
Unfortunately, the failure with oral health care is that we focus too much on the antimicrobial substance placed in the mouth. Stronger toothpaste and mouthrinse and regular floss does not seem to stem the tide of gum disease. This is why 93% of North Americans continue to suffer even though hygiene is better than it ever has been. There is another side to the issue.
The level of microbes residing under the gums elucidates a response from the body. This host response is the inflammatory response. The body recognizes foreign invaders or microbes and sends its immune fighters, the white blood cells, otherwise known as inflammation. It is the inflammation that actually causes the puffy red gums and causes the bone to recede. Bone recession or gum disease is an auto immune disease, a result of an overactive system.
Understand this in relation to a splinter in your finger. The splinter, or foreign object, triggers an acute inflammatory response in the body. Immune cells will surround the splinter and attempt to erode or engulf it. Some redness and puffiness will surround the splinter.
In the mouth, this inflammatory process switches from an acute response to a chronic issue. When inflammation sits chronically for the long term, it starts to erode the surrounding structure in addition to the foreign object. Bone is being lost and gums are receding because of the body’s actions.
Therefore, regulating the inflammation is key to controlling gum disease. In general our systems are inflamed. Inflammatory diseases are widespread epidemics in North America including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, chrons and colitis, obesity, allergies, and gum disease. Inflammation travels throughout the body.
So one area of inflammation will exacerbate another area. Gum disease makes diabetes worse and diabetes worsens gum disease. All the issues are interrelated and tend to compound each other.
The key to living a healthy life is to truly balance sun, sleep, exercise, stress, water, and diet. This will reduce inflammation and encourage ideal immune function. When blood sugar and blood pressure are under control, gums are much healthier. With ideal cortisol levels following adequate sleep, exercise and controlled stress, gums are healthier.
Occasionally the body will need some fine tuning even along with an ideal balance. This is where a primary health practioner comes into play. Together with ideal life balance, homeopathy or acupuncture can help adjust imbalanced or susceptible systems.
I need dental advice: I suffer from dry mouth. Is there anything I can do about it?
More and more patients are coming in complaining of mouth dryness or Xerostomia. Thirty percent of Adults in North American suffer from Dry mouth. This is a side effect of 400 commonly prescribed drugs. One research study reports that 80% of the most commonly prescribed medications can cause dry mouth including antidepressants, some types of beta blockers, some blood pressure medications, drugs used to prevent seizures and to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Even some types of over the counter antihistamines can cause dry mouth. It is important to recognize that our aging population is becoming ever more reliant on long term medication. This is a very important dental issue for elderly people and those that care for them.
Xerostomia can lead to a mouth full of cavities and gum disease, but it can also have a negative effect on your overall health, your enjoyment of food, your ability to speak and your social life. Unfortunately, restorations and crowns don’t last as long. Typical dental decay can present close to the gum line, exacerbating smaller solutions.
Useful home tips
•Dr. Schecter recommends frequent sips of water. The best thing is to get a hydration packs; one of those water bags you see on hikers or bikers. And you just take small sips throughout the day. This will keep everything lubricated. Alkaline water would truly protect the teeth. Research shows that bathing them in water pH 9 is 102 more basic than ideal saliva.
•Check your saliva and urine pH.
•Lubricating the teeth during sleep is helpful. I have found ozone oil placed in silicone trays (bleaching trays) to be effective. Ozone does not further the breakdown of silicone. If the trays are acrylic or plastic, the ozone oil will increase the leaching of chemicals.
•Remineralizing toothpaste can be very effective. Theodent is fluoride free and has a G.R.A.S. rating from the FDA. An isolated enzyme from cocoa is the central ingredient of this effective paste. Cavity Guard from Shecs is an iodine based product which kills Strep Mutans on contact. This is will help to reduce decay and it only needs to be applied bi monthly.
Useful dental office tips
• Canary scan your teeth. This is an evaluation to determine the extent of decay in individual teeth. There is no radiation involved. Rather, thermography and light refraction provide a detailed report regarding the location and extent of decay. This can be used as a baseline to institute preventive measures as well as monitor success.
The Canary report will give an excellent indication as to the health of your restorations as well as minimize radiation long term. You can finally monitor your tooth balance. This is an important tool to ascertain if your teeth are deteriorating, maintaining, or remineralizing.
•An antimicrobial/remineralizing program can be instituted in the office. An example of this can be spot ozone treatment and Sylc (remineralization) powder.
•Treating the gums. A microscopic analysis can evaluate microbial and inflammatory levels in the mouth. Regular hygiene and evaluation including irrigation, scaling, and gum evaluations are critical. Remember that dry mouth leads to inflamed gums. This directly contributes to bone loss and gum disease.
What is your connection to Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a method of treatment that is based on the application of the Law of Similars. Homeopathy is substantiated by the observation of the effects of the remedies. It is important to note that there is minimal accepted research supporting the use of homeopathy.
Remedies used by homeopathic physicians come from natural sources and are prepared in such a way that they are devoid of all chemical toxicity. In conventional medicine, pharmaceuticals are generally given for their effects on the organism. In contrast, homeopathic remedies are given to provoke a healing reaction of the organism. Since only the living organism can heal itself, the homeopathic remedy is merely an influence used to provoke a reaction to bring about recovery.
Homeopathic remedies have demonstrated effectiveness supporting acute dental issues such as infection or pain. They can be used in conjunction with surgery to minimize pain and maximize healing. We offer remedies to our patients to compliment or reduce conventional pharmaceuticals.
Remedies, when used judiciously and responsibly can support healing after root canal therapy or implant placement.
Moreover, their true benefit may present in chronic care; strengthening health and helping to resolve any underlying susceptibility to disease such as tooth decay or gum disease. If you are interested in having your chronic case taken to strengthen your health and help to resolve any underlying susceptibility to disease, speak to a Naturopathic Doctor or Homeopath. Dr. David Nortman and Dr. Andrea Scholten are trained in Naturaopathy and Homeopathy.
Homeopathic medicine is 50% remedy and 50% life balance or what we call hygiene. Balanced diet, sufficient water intake, regular activity, stress relief, and sufficient sun exposure must all be in balance for a person to truly be healthy. Ideal natural hygiene couples with homeopathic remedies, allowing for optimum quality of life. Patients find more energy, vitality, emotional balance, stronger immune systems and increase in quality of life.
There is so much debate in the dental world about Fluoride. What’s the deal?
Fluoride has been used in the dental world for decades because of its proposed effectiveness in reducing tooth decay. Research shows that fluoride is alleged to make enamel more resistant to the acidic by-products of the bacteria in your mouth.
Fluorides protect against cavities by inhibiting mineral loss, promoting demineralization of decalcified enamel, and reducing formation of plaque acids. Water fluoridation has consistently been shown to be the most effective, safe, and equitable means of preventing caries and can reduce the prevalence of caries by about half.
This “cure” for the common cavity has come under scrutiny. In the July 2000 Journal of the American Dental Association, Dr. Featherstone published his research on the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing tooth decay. Dr. Featherstone took healthy extracted teeth, measured the teeth for fluoride concentration in the enamel, and immersed the teeth in acid.
He found that the fluoride incorporated in the tooth during development was insufficient to withstand the cavity causing acid of oral bacteria. The results were the same when he tested teeth containing 10 times the normal amount of fluoride.
More recently, the Centre for Disease Control acknowledged in their research report of August 17, 2001:
“The prevalence of dental caries (cavities) in a population is not inversely related to the concentration of fluoride in the enamel, and higher concentrations of enamel fluoride is not necessarily more efficacious in preventing dental caries.”
Fluoride is a waste product of the aluminum and fertilizer industry; when it is introduced into a living body it acts as an enzyme inhibitor, affecting all cells. Fluoride is listed as a lethal poison in the Merck manual, the standard manual on diseases and toxins used as a reference by all physicians in the USA.
Areas of high water fluoridation have:
•Higher rates of cancer
•Higher incidence of birth defects (fluoride damages chromosomal enzymes)
•Higher rates of osteoporosis (fluoride decreases bone strength and elasticity)
•Higher incidences of hip fractures
•Lower IQ (fluoride affects central nervous system during early fetal development)
Furthermore, fluoride causes cancer, brittle bones, dental fluorosis (white spots on the teeth), and neurological impairment.
If a child swallows more than a pea size amount of toothpaste, the product label advises to call the poison control centre. In dental offices, fluoride treatments are 1000 times more concentrated than toothpaste. Why would we place this in your mouth or in your child’s mouth?
Our philosophy is that your health comes first. We will always remain current with science and provide guidance through the various research. We are committed to offering balanced, sensible treatment.
What is the Amalgam Controversy?
Patients come in often questioning the safety of their amalgam fillings. Primarily, this is due to the mercury found in these amalgam fillings.
Mercury, a neurotoxin, can contribute to several chronic health issues. According to Health Canada and the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), amalgam fillings are considered safe once placed in the mouth. The claim is that mercury is set and does not contribute to further toxicity. For further clarification regarding your specific mercury levels, please consult with your primary health practitioner. They can assess your heavy metal levels and recommend detoxification options. It is important to recognize various substantiated sources of mercury including consumption of seafood. If you require a referral to a practitioner, please ask.
As well, patients have raised concern over the potential galvanic effect created by amalgam fillings. A galvanic effect is an electrical current generated by the alloys (mixtures of metal) found in amalgam fillings. The human body typically runs on a -2 mv/s current. When we measure these fillings with a simple battery tester, they test as high as -30 mv/s. Again, this is an issue to discuss with your health practitioner. I have not been able to find accredited research that demonstrates specific health concerns with this generated galvanic effect.
The RCDSO does not advocate replacing sounds amalgam fillings. Provided there is an aesthetic, mechanical, or carious concern, the fillings should be replaced under safe conditions.
We offer additional protocols to minimize mercury exposure during an amalgam replacement. This includes a special suction unit, a contained breathing source, and the requisite drilling technique with copious water. There is also an option to rinse with chlorella and charcoal before and after the procedure to potentially capture mercury that gets past our defences.
Without taking the appropriate precautions, there is increased risk of exposure to toxic mercury. We have brought a mercury vapour analyzer into the operatories to measure the mercury levels before, during, and after treatment. Utilizing our protocol, we are able to keep exposed mercury at minimal levels.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
The mercury from the amalgam fillings is a potential source of heavy metal poisoning during placement and removal. It is important to understand that when replacing amalgam fillings, we are removing a potential source of the mercury, not dealing with the levels found in the body. Mercury is stored in our fat cells and can have devastating consequences on our brain cells, organ function, and many facets of health. We can help connect you with a knowledgeable primary practitioner to evaluate your current metal load.
It is important to follow treatment which meets your own personal health philosophy.
What is the Root Canal Controversy?
To my understanding the controversy revolves around the hollow nature of dentin which surrounds the root canals. There is concern that the bacteria growing in the canals infiltrates into the surrounding hollow dentin. Even when a root canal is cleaned properly, the bacteria will persist in the dentin. The bacteria will continue to proliferate and release toxins. The bacteria and toxins will then impact systemic health. I have heard and read various report. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a meridian system affiliating teeth with various organs. Apparently, this infection will travel along a meridian and impact the associated organ. A physiologic explanation refers to the leaking bacteria and toxins draining and triggering a chronic immune response. The conversation continues by suggesting a subsequent autoimmune disorder.
Patients often present asking about the health and safety of root canal therapy. It is important to weigh the various factors in your individual case.
I want to stress that The Royal College of dental surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) along with Health Canada maintain that there are no deleterious effects of a successful root canal. In conventional root canal therapy, it is recognized that 100% of the bacteria is not eliminated. However, healing on an X ray together with an absence of symptoms indicates safe treatment. To my knowledge, there is no published research to substantiate successful root canal therapy with chronic disease.
The RCDSO promotes root canal therapy as the appropriate and conservative treatment option to preserve a tooth when the pulp or nerve becomes compromised. We offer ozone fumigation of the root canal system to augment conventional disinfection tools in an attempt to further reduce bacterial levels.
If you need a root canal or are concerned about a current root canal, we can assess your specific needs. We evaluate your systemic health, general dental health, and specifics of the tooth in question before formulating an opinion. It is important to perform an examination and view a current radiograph. Risks and benefits of treatment regarding your specific situation will be discussed. We are committed to educating our patients, protecting our patients, and respecting their philosophies towards health.
What is ozone therapy and how is it used at Schecter Dental?
Ozone therapy is an amplification of our own natural response. Research dictates that uur neutrophils, class of white blood cells, produce ozone gas to combat disease. Ozone therapy is safe and very effective.
One molecule of ozone is more effective than 5000 molecules of chlorine. The negative charge acts like a strong magnet and pulls the ozone towards the positive charge of the inflammation and infection. As a small gas, it can penetrate everywhere.
In addition to the dental benefits, ozone can have a remarkable impact on systemic function as well. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory impact is quite broad spectrum.
Ozone therapy has become ubiquitous in our practice. It is a cornerstone of our gum and cavity preventive protocols. Ozone can be infused around the gums, sprayed onto a decayed surface, and used at home in oil.
We have found ozone to reduce infection, prevent root canal therapy, and reduce temperature sensitivity. We also offer ozone to fumigate root canals prior to filling them.