Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Gingivitis?

    Gingivitis is a condition caused when bacteria surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The gums can become inflamed, irritated, and often bleed. In order to prevent the condition from worsening, regular hygiene visits are highly recommended. During your visit, our hygiene team will teach you the proper flossing techniques and oral hygiene protocol for home care that will prevent periodontal disease.

  • What is gum disease?

    Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat.


    When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line. When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue. There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.

  • What is Periodontal Disease?

    Periodontal Disease is a quiet disease that begins with little or no symptoms. It is caused by bacteria that surrounds the teeth and enters the gums. The gums become irritated, inflamed and often bleed. The immediate condition is known as ‘gingivitis’. If not properly treated, the condition worsens. Noticeable symptoms now appear, and they include:
    • Tooth Pain
    • Bad Breath
    • Gum Sensitivity to Acidic Foods
    • Gum Recession
    • Tooth Loss
    • Abscesses
  • How do you treat Periodontal Disease?

    Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that needs immediate attention, and surgery is only needed for severe cases. Through a series of periodontal cleanings, root planing and scaling, and local antibiotics, this condition can be controlled.

  • What is the difference between a white (composite) filling and silver (amalgam) filling?

    Silver fillings, known also as amalgam fillings, have been around for decades. Made from a metal alloy, it was once considered the best material for restorations. The metal expands and contracts with the heat and cold placed in the mouth. This allows for little bacteria to enter a tooth once filled; keeping the tooth healthy and strong.

    White fillings, also known as composites, are often made of plastic or glass polymers. These cosmetic fillings allow us to fill a cavity with a substance that will look and feel just like your existing tooth structure. This restoration is created with a resin material and fits tightly into a tooth to prevent decay. Rather than a gray or silver material in your mouth, the composite colour will match the tooth colour.

  • What should I do to prevent gum disease and tooth decay?

    Great teeth and gum care start at home. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums on a continual basis. By keeping to a daily routing you will greatly minimize the risk of gingivitis or tooth decay as you age.

  • Why are my teeth sensitive?

    Sensitive teeth often come from the fact that your gums have slightly receded. This recession of the gum line allows the underlying dentin to show through which allows water and food easier access to the sensitive nerve. To manage this, there are a number of toothpastes, gels and even some dental procedures that can be applied. Speak to us in more detail if you have very sensitive teeth.

  • What is Tooth Whitening?

    Tooth Whitening is a cost effective and safe procedure to create a beautiful, healthy smile. Tooth Whitening must be monitored by your dentist and only done after a comprehensive exam and hygiene cleaning. Over the years, fluoride has been added to the whitening product. This reduces the risk of tooth and gum sensitivity.

    The whitening process can last for a number of years if maintained properly. Beverages such as coffee, tea, cola and wine will reduce the lasting effect. Remember, if it could stain a white shirt, it will stain your smile!

  • What are Porcelain Veneers?

    Porcelain Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that go directly on your natural teeth. Veneers change the size, shape and colour of a patient’s teeth. This entire procedure can take as few as two visits and the procedure is used to repair fractured teeth, teeth darkened by age or medication, or a crooked smile. Many times, patients ask for Porcelain Veneers to simply feel and look younger with a straighter, whiter smile!

  • What are Crowns and when are they recommended?

    Crowns are a permanent cosmetic procedure that covers the entire tooth. A crown protects and strengthens fragile tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. It will change the size, shape and colour of the teeth in as few as 2 visits.

  • Who is a candidate for dental implants?

    With major advancements in dentistry and dental implants, most people are candidates for dental implants. There may be exceptions due to chronic illness, heart disease, and severe osteoporosis.

  • What is a dental implant and what are their benefits?

    A dental implant is a “man-made” replacement for a missing tooth or tooth root. Made from titanium, this screw-like object is inserted under the gum and directly into the upper or lower jaw bone. Dental implants:
    • Look and function like your natural tooth
    • Are a permanent solution for missing teeth
    • Are maintained by routine hygiene visits to your dental office
    • Decrease the possibility of bone loss, periodontal disease, tooth movement, and further tooth loss
    • Replace the need for a removable, full or partial denture
    • Focus only on the tooth or teeth that are missing. A traditional bridge would involve the two or more adjacent teeth being compromised to create a false tooth in between.
  • What does the dental implant procedure involve?

    The average dental implant procedure takes 3 - 4 visits, and there is usually minimal discomfort involved with this procedure. The first visit is to x-ray the area and take an impression for a surgical guide and a temporary prosthesis to cover the Implant. The implant is placed by an implant specialist.


    After a period of a few months, the dental implant and the bone fuse together. This creates an anchor for the new porcelain crown to be placed onto the dental implant.

  • How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

    In general, you should see a dental hygienist every six months, but this interval can vary depending on your age, health, and home care.

  • Why do I need x-rays and how safe are they?

    Digital x-rays use an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged, helping the dentist and dental hygienist detect problems more easily. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays. Dental x-rays may reveal:
    • Abscesses or cysts
    • Bone loss
    • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
    • Decay between the teeth
    • Developmental abnormalities
    • Poor tooth and root positions
    • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line

    Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
  • Are dental x-rays safe?

    We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster and more comfortable to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Even though digital X-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, dentists still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation.

    Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.

  • How often should dental x-rays be taken?

    A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients. A full series is usually good for three to five years. Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems.

    The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.

  • What is covered by my dental insurance?

    Please see our financial information page. Insurance plans vary as to what services are covered. You should have received a schedule of benefits from your employer. Our office manager may be able to help you with some questions.

  • What if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

    Please see our financial info/policy page.

  • Why do I need Fluoride?

    Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

    Fluoride works in two ways:

    • Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.
    • Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.

    Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

    • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
    • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces
    • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
    • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
    • Inadequate exposure to fluorides
    • Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications
    • Recent history of dental decay

    Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

  • Why do I need root canal therapy?

    When the nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth are damaged by decay or trauma, root canal therapy may be necessary to save the tooth.

  • What is a cavity?

    A cavity is the destruction of the mineralized tissues of a tooth by acid created by the bacteria in your mouth.

  • How old should my child be for their first dental exam?

    According to AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) guidelines, infants should initially visit the pediatric dentist around the time of their first birthday. First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves.

    It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist.

Kings Road Family Dentistry

1-2710 Shelbourne St.

Victoria, BC V8R 4M2


Phone: 250-595-3444

Fax: 250-595-2530

Email: reception@drpatrickfinnigan.ca

HOURS

Monday 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM

Tuesday 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM

Wednesday 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM

Thursday 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM

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