Hygiene Frequency

Dental Hygiene Frequency

Do Dental clinics ask you to come back twice a year or every six months because they need to create business?  You know how every six months, the hygienist always brings up the topic of “Have you been flossing”. She asks with so much regularity that you wonder if she had nothing else to make conversation.

Without doubt the truth about the six month return visit request, is that there is some truths to be told.

As someone who is a bit anal about life, my brushing and teeth cleaning routines are more regular than clock work.  As well, my routine is fully encompassing.  After brushing with the best toothpaste recommended for my sensitivity level, the electric toothbrush is burnished and used for the regulation period of minimum another minute so that the total brushing time is the full recommended two minutes.  Of course, there is flossing with the exact width waxed floss helps to get all those particles between the teeth.  No matter the late hour, I will still floss because I hear my hygienist words repeated, “ Not flossing is like taking a shower and not washing under your armpits.  I also remember my young six year old niece who came home from the dentist and was diagnosed with four cavities all between her teeth because they did not floss her teeth.   The final moments are spent using a soft pick which is a tiny pliable plastic brush to clean between the crevices between my gums and teeth.  I have some large spaces between my gums and teeth which are called pockets and also the signs for gum disease.

The vigor of this routine was instigated only a few years ago when my hygienist took a digital photo of my gums.  For the first time in my life I saw tartar.  It was disgusting.  Large lumps of white clay like substance laying all along the gum line.  Tartar is like barnacles…hard, tough, and impossible to remove unless it is done professionally by a hygienist.  It is formed from food that is left on teeth.  That forms plaque which is soft and white.  If plaques is not removed it becomes hard and sticks to the gum line.  It is the tartar that is the cause of gum disease which includes receding gums, bone loss, bleeding gums, pain and eventually perfectly healthy teeth just fall out due to the loss of the bone around the tooth.

So yes, they do insist on six months for regular tartar removal or commonly known as a dental cleaning or hygiene appointment.    The accumulation of tartar varies in every mouth.  The average person will have enough buildup in six months to warrant a professional teeth cleaning.  Many others actually need to return every three to four months, based on their dental health or in other words how quickly they build up tartar, how many pockets there are and how deep they are.

Save our Monarch Butterflies with free seeds

When was the last time you saw a Monarch Butterfly?

Their demise is rising at an alarming rate … a result of the lack of their main source of food the Milkweed plant.

Willow Dental Care is providing free Milkweed seeds to anyone who is willing to plant them. If everyone sows a few Milkweed seeds it is easy for all of us to make a difference and restore the Monarch’s habitat.

Help us to provide a better world especially for the Monarch Butterflies. At Willow Dental Care we feel that Save Our Monarchs is an efficient, simple and effective way to help a part of our ecosystem.

Drop by any Willow Dental office to pick up your free seeds!

Gingivitis and Bad Breathe


It’s holiday time. If you are close to the people you love is bad breathe getting in the way?

Periodontal Disease or“gum disease” or Gingivitis is an item often misunderstood. Periodontal Disease or Gingivitis is gum disease . So, here are some symptoms of gum disease. Do you notice some bleeding from brushing your teeth or some pink in the water when you spit?

Have you been told that you have bad breathe? You are careful never to eat foods like garlic or onions and yet, there is still an odor. When you look in the mirror your gums look puffy and there is some red along the edge of the gum and the teeth. If your gums are healthy they would look a pink color and not painful to touch or to brush.

Gum disease starts as an accumulation of PLAQUE. When food is left on your teeth and that also be from a sweet drink or even a cocktail, the bacteria that is left forms a very soft substance called Plaque. Plaque forms along the gum line or between your teeth especially when teeth are crowded or crooked, we find plaque in areas that are hard to reach with a tooth brush.

Soft stage plaque becomes tartar if left on enamel. Tartar is a very hard substance that sticks to your teeth and can only be removed by dental professionals with hygiene tools, like a cavitron which works like a mini blaster. A professional cleaning is recommended twice a year. The truth is, if you practice healthy habits of brushing and flossing you will prevent gum disease.

Remember that inflammation in the mouth comes from bacteria that will flow to the rest of the body and it is now confirmed that there are direct links to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, pancreatic cancers etc.

A mouth without bad bacteria, is more attractive. Try kissing a fresh clean mouth!

General Dentistry

Did you know that the healthier your smile, the lower your chances of developing plaque and tartar build-up, gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss? Regular dental hygiene appointments at Willow Dental Care could save your teeth – and save you thousands in expensive dental restoration bills in the future.

Keep your smile healthy and invest in your oral health by contacting one of our team members today.

At Willow Dental Care, we’re proud to offer you oral health care solutions for the healthiest, happiest smile of your life.

Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants can help prevent cavities and gum disease by sealing your teeth – essentially, shielding your teeth from the effects of normal, everyday wear and tear. Sealants are comfortable and long-lasting, so if you would like to request a dental sealant appointment or if you have any questions about dental sealants, please contact Willow Dental Care.

Oral Cancer Screening

The innovative VELscope oral cancer screening device has made it possible for the oral health care professionals at Willow Dental Care to routinely screen for lesions that could indicate oral cancer. Prevention and Early Detection are key in fighting oral cancer, so contact one of our team members today to book your VELscope Oral Cancer

Intraoral Camera

The Intraoral Camera makes it possible for you to see your teeth the way dental health professionals at Willow Dental Care see your teeth. The Intraoral Camera will take photos of your smile and you’ll be able to really see and understand how oral hygiene affects the health of your teeth. Intraoral Camera photos are part of your dental records and can be used for dental insurance purposes. Contact Willow Dental Care if you would like to book your Intraoral Camera appointment or if you have any questions about the Intraoral Camera.

If you have any questions about proper oral health care techniques, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.

Cosmetic Dentistry


A smile can be the most eye-catching feature of a face. With dentistry’s many advances, which are available at many of or cosmetic dental offices, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, or misshapen teeth. At our cosmetic dental offices, you now have choices that can help you smile with confidence.

Even the most subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look and feel about yourself. Please call for a consultation and talk to our cosmetic dental offices about the options most suitable for you, what your expectations are and the dental fees involved!

A Kissable Mouth?

Do you have Periodontal Disease and don’t know?

Sometimes people also will hear about “gum disease” or Gingivitis.  It is a small item often missed and also misunderstood.  What is it really?  Periodontal Disease or Gingivitis is gum disease.   A very severe form of Gingivitis is called Anug or Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis.  At this point it is a very painful infection of the gums. For those who have never heard about it, here are some symptoms or signs of gum disease.

Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?  Sometimes you will see some blood when you are rinsing your mouth.  It may just be a small amount looking like pink water when you rinse.

Have you been told or have you noticed that you have bad breathe.  Somehow no matter how careful you are about not eating garlic or onion or foods that may create the bad breath, you still have an odour when you breathe into your hand.  Even after brushing you can still sense a bad odour?

When you look at your teeth and gums, do your gums look puffy and red or even a bright pink.   Healthy gums should look pale pink.  Gums should be firm to the touch.  It should not be painful to brush or floss or touch your gums.

Gum disease is not age specific.  It can be present at any age although it is one of the most common dental problems found in adults.  Generally, this disease starts as a build up of PLAQUE which is the bacteria that is left from food.  Plaque is white and very soft and will be found along the gum level or between teeth.  Often if teeth are crowded or crooked, plaque can easily accumulate in those cracks and crevices or in the back teeth where it is harder to clean.

Plaque hardens when it is not brushed off and left over a period of time it becomes tartar.   Tartar is now the hard yellowish material that sticks to your enamel.  It is hard like barnacles on a boat and has to be professionally removed by your hygienist or dentists.  Tartar can be found above the gums around the teeth and often lack of flossing under the gums will allow for accumulation of tartar under the gums where it is most destructive.  So yes that means that good stewardship of brushing and flossing would prevent this disease.

All of this means that now there can be rampant bacteria in the mouth.   When tartar is not removed regularly not only is gum disease started but the environment encourages more bacteria because bacteria will adhere to the tartar.  Now there is a hard landing place for bacteria to gather and flourish.   Therefore bad breathe and bleeding gums are the results.  If that were not enough to encourage you to brush, floss and get professional cleanings biannually, conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, pancreatic cancers, and even hormonal imbalances have potential links to oral bacteria which can trigger a reaction to increase inflammation in other parts of your body.

So, by a regular regimen of great plaque control or in other words brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once a day and getting regular check-ups and cleanings will help to lower the entire bacterial count in the mouth, and therefore decrease dental infections, gum disease and bad breath and other body diseases as well.

With that in mind now you can count on fresher breath.   Think of brushing not your teeth but brushing your gums.  Aim the toothbrush at your gums and you will automatically clean the teeth.  An electric toothbrush is essential to reach all those awkward areas like the back molars or between crowded teeth.

Here is one final word about flossing. It is probably the hardest habit for dental personnel to encourage.  Many people cannot get the habit or the technique.  BUT if you think that when you shower, you miss important body parts like under the arms or your feet, brushing without flossing is the same idea.   Flossing is probably the most important part of preventing gum disease.  The action of pulling the floss between your teeth and under the gums not only removes the plaque daily, it also helps to massage your gums.  It’s like a workout for your gums.  Flossing will improve the colour and texture of your gum tissue.

In the end, fresh breath and a mouth free of bad bacteria, definitely makes us more attractive.  Wouldn’t you want to kiss a fresh mouth like that?

Sedation Dentistry

Anxiety Free WillowSo many people are managing their lives to keep their anxiety triggers at bay. You’re not alone.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what will trigger that tension, and unending worry and sense of uncertainty. Now, your dental office can’t offer you answers for the outside world, but they can promise that they offer a calm, serene space and a kind ear.

Fear in a dental office comes in many forms. For some people they just don’t freeze well and dental work hurts. For others the gag reflex is so bad that just thinking about it will activate it. It’s nice to know that there are dental clinics that are not going to tell you it’s all in your head and they provide a safe non-judgmental environment. And if that’s not enough we have a secret weapon.

That secret weapon? Conscious Sedation. No it’s not a weird meditation practice or a new fangled drug with unknown side affects. Conscious Sedation has been used for years in the dental field. Many dentists do believe that it isn’t necessary and patients should be able to calm down on their own and experience their dental visit fully. We don’t think that is necessarily true. The fear is very real and you can really feel the anxiety even though it was developed many many years ago. So if anxiety plagues your life, why wouldn’t you use the tools available to you? Especially if the tools are offered by trained professionals with an office fully equipped with monitors and updated safety equipment. Best of all is the fact that there is minimal side affects!

So what is Conscious Sedation? Essentially, once your conscious sedation appointment is booked, there is an entire protocol to follow. Your dentist may prescribe you a night pill. You’ll need to take it as directed before you come to your dental appointment. In the morning at the dental office you will receive more pills. The rest is dream time. The beauty of this system is that you will be conscious enough to hear instructions and follow them. However throughout the appointment you may actually be asleep. If you are ever uncomfortable you will be able to signal the dentist to stop. Most of the time you will not remember your appointment. There are no after effects. You will not be groggy or have a “hangover” afterwards. We do ask for your own safety that you have someone pick you up after the appointment. We have known some patients who do lots of shopping after their sedation session and not remember a thing the next day.  Just a clean healthy mouth and a sense of well being and you return to work the next day.

If anxiety isn’t a problem for you, Conscious Sedation is a wonderful way to power through a long list of dental work in one session. It will save you both time and stress!

Six Things to Look For in an Earth Friendly Dental Office

When you’re choosing a new dentist there is so much to consider. Will you be comfortable there? Will they listen to you and honour your choices? Will they work with your insurance provider and make certain you’re using the coverage to your best advantage? But is the dental office also doing all they can to help protect you and our earth?

As an average adult the first three questions you can reasonably answer for yourself. But how could you know what to look for in an earth-friendly dental office? That’s where we come in!

What to Look For in an Earth Friendly Dental Office

1. Digital X-rays – Probably the most important reason to look for Digital X-ray in your dental office is that as a patient you will experience 70% less radiation than conventional film X-rays. If that’s not reason enough, they are also immediately processed and your dentist can diagnose you faster. The archiving of your X-rays and sharing those images with specialists are also much easier and faster in digital form and less paper storage.

2. Amalgam Separator – Sounds like something from a science fiction story, but the Amalgam Separator is the most important earth friendly device a dental office can employ. When old mercury fillings (AKA silver fillings) are taken out of the patients mouth, the bits of heavy metals like mercury and silver will go straight into our water system if an Amalgam Separator is not employed. The Amalgam Separator pulls all heavy metals from the water and allows only clean water to go into our water system. The heavy metals are then collected and disposed of meticulously using a special service. 

3. Recycle Paper/plastics – This one is obvious. All offices should have a recycle system in place. Most of us do in our homes. Less paper in our landfills means less in our landfills. 

4. Digital Files – The old look of paper files lining the walls is pretty out of date. Your dentist should keep everything in a safe digital file where they can send that info easily to a specialist if need be and save trees.

5. Filtered Water – Your dentist should be using filtered water both when cleaning their utensils and spraying in your mouth. Your mouth often has open sores while your dentist is working, you deserve the cleanest of water to cleanse your mouth. Do not settle for less. Ask your dentist where they get their purified water from? Is it cleaned in house? What system do they use? 

6. Special Recycle of All Sharp Objects – Sharp objects like needles need to be recycled properly. Besides the fact they are medical waste and could be disposed of that way, it’s better if your dentist is protecting the environment by recycling sharp objects like needles by a special service. 

These six points are the minimum your dental office should offer to keep you, your family and the earth has healthy as possible. Ask your dentist. Keep them accountable. And most importantly your dental office should be a space where you feel free to ask these questions or any other that will help you feel comfortable during your dental visit. 

Bad Breath: Mints are Not Enough

dreamstime_l_33303370You look good. You feel good. But how is your breath? Like an unseen force bad breath can take you down without your knowledge. Sure everyone struggles after a particularly garlicky meal. But what we’re talking about is when your breath has a personality of it’s own. And it’s not the type of personality that wins friends and influences people.

Garlic can actually be quite the culprit in terminally bad breath. Did you know that the sulphuric compounds within garlic stay on your teeth until they are scraped, brushed or flossed out? It’s true! Worse is when garlic has affected your breath via your lungs. It sounds a little bit of a stretch but it’s true. As your body metabolizes garlic, allyl methyl sulfide (AMS), is absorbed into the blood and then expelled through your lungs distributing the smell of garlic to whomever you are speaking with. AMS can also escape through your pores. This is why garlic breath is so hard to get rid of at times. No matter how much you clean and brush your mouth, the garlic odor will still be in the air you exhale because it comes from the lungs. http://www.breathmd.com/garlic-breath.php

There are also overall health problems that might be causing your bad breath. Did you know that throat and lung infections may cause bad breath? Also kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes all may cause bad breath. If you have other symptoms that may suggest one of the illnesses suggested above contact your doctor. Tonsilloliths are calcium deposits that collect on the lymph nodes. They are too far down the throat often to be seen but can become painful and cause terrible halitosis. But assuming your bad breath is somewhat common, we asked our hygienists what is the most common cause of bad breathe.

Sarah from Willow Dental Care Garrison and Keisha from Willow Dental Care Chilliwack agree, a lack of tongue brushing, or scraping causes a build up of bacteria on your tongue. This bacteria can become quite smelly. Best thing is to brush your tongue once a day or scrape it with a tongue scraper every morning.

Sarah from Willow Dental Care Garrison


Sarah, also recommends keeping up with your bi annual dental check ups combined with daily dental hygiene care. Tooth decay can also have a smell to the very olfactory sensitive.

If you are experiencing Acid Reflux, that could be the culprit of your bad breath. An unhealthy lifestyle also can add to bad breath. Not eating enough vegetables in your diet or simply having an overly acidic body can expel not the most enjoyable breath. Being a smoker is an obvious killer of good breath.

Mouthwash is the usual go to when it comes to bad breath, but it does kill some of the bad bacteria in your mouth. Mostly, it just covers up the problem. As a quick fix, sure!

Keisha from Willow Dental Care Chilliwack

Looking for an on-the-run natural quick fix? May we suggest eating a breath cleanser:

* Anise seeds will help with your digestion as well as help your breath.
* Cardamom & fennel seeds are rather strong but can do the job too.
* Dill, will only mask the odor.
* Breaking off a small piece of a cinnamon stick and nibbling on it will help kill the bad bacteria and freshen your breath.
* A single clove will do gang busters at killing the bad bacteria and keeping your breath nice and fresh, but remember you only need one!
* Obviously parsley or mint sprigs freshen your breath in a natural way.
* Lemon is wonderfully effective when you want to neutralize garlic breath as well as kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.
* Green or peppermint tea, any tea that contains polyphenols will help to reduce the sulfur compounds that come from garlic.
* Finally chewing coffee beans then spitting them out will also cleanse that garlic breath. You’ll have coffee breath, but some people like that.

Probably one of the best and easiest natural preventions to bad breath is staying properly hydrated. Saliva kills a lot of the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath and cavities. So if you’re not drinking enough water, that might be the first thing you’ll want to add to your day. We’ve found there are lots of free water apps you can download onto your phone where you can track your consumption of liquids. Some you can even set a reminder so you drink more water if you are busy.

But nothing beats having excellent oral health. That’s why we’re here for you! Let’s keep you healthy together! And no one would complain about having fresh breath when wanting to get close to their loved ones!


The Real Beauty Sleep

What if you could just have a wonderful nap and when you woke, all the things you’ve always wanted to fix in your smile has been accomplished? Wouldn’t that be a dream? No awkward small talk or pretending to watch terrible daytime TV while they work. You simply relax and probably go to sleep and when you wake your teeth are just what you’ve always wanted.

You can! Conscious Sedation is an effective way to sleep through your dental appointment and wake bright and refreshed and ready to enjoy your beautiful smile. Yes it’s used effectively by people with dental anxiety, but why should they have all the convenience of a sedation dental visit? You don’t need to have dental anxiety to enjoy a sedation session. You can often get a lot of work done all at once. Work that would often be spread over multiple visits can be all done in one sedation session.

So let’s say you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time or you might have some dental anxiety, either way Conscious Sedation will make a long dental appointment seem like nothing. Did you know that cavities, crowns, veneers and even dental cleaning can be done under sedation? Why be awake for all that?

Now you’re saying to yourself this doesn’t pertain to me. I visit my dentist biannually and brush my teeth twice a day, but I would like to make a few adjustments to my smile…like those couple of teeth that you wish were a little whiter or slightly chipped. You can book with your dentist to have Conscious Sedation during your regular dental visit and have those teeth bonded or veneers prepared. You’ll wake up with that perfect smile you’ve been dreaming of.
It’s a simple process of using a safe medication. You’ll be relaxed and often asleep but in control of the entire session. The process can be reversed immediately with a reversal agent. Generally most people won’t remember a thing. That’s the Conscious part of the sedation. You’ll want to check that your dentist is trained by Doctors of Conscious Sedation. A very strict protocol is required in the training to ensure a safe and successful session. You should be hooked up to a monitoring system that shows pulse and the oxygen level in your blood throughout your entire treatment session. The offices should have all the safety equipment such as the defibrillator and reversal agent, the EpiPen for allergic reactions checked and updated yearly. This way you know all the safety precautions will be taken.
After your session, you’ll be a little groggy so it’s best if someone comes to pick you up. You should not drive or do anything strenuous for several hours. The beauty of this system is not just how safe it is but when it wears off there are no after effects…no headaches no residual nausea! Other than that you should have all your dental work done and be ready to take on the day!

So what are you waiting for? Contact your dentist and discuss your Conscious Sedation options, and book all that work to be done. You’ll look and feel great!