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Friday, June 9, 2017


I get this question many times from parents.  Many times I get children and adults coming into the office and it is clear that they are not brushing their teeth.  When I ask if they brushed their teeth today, they answer "yes".  It is perfectly clear to me that they have not brushed their teeth but I move on because I don't want to embarrass anyone by confronting them.  How do I know they didn't brush?  It is quite clear by the amount of debris on the teeth.  Even if they did the worst job possible, you wouldn't have this much debris on the teeth.
I recently had a young man of 13 in the office.  He had just had his braces removed perhaps a month or two earlier and his gums were inflamed, fiery red.  I ran a probe over his teeth and huge amounts of white gunk (plaque) came off with the probe.  I asked him if he brushed his teeth today and he answered "yes he did".  The amount of plaque and the redness of his gums really worried me because this was a fork in the road for this young man.  Either a life of cavities and gum disease and eventually tooth loss or a beautiful smile with minimal tooth issues.  I asked him how long he had brushed his teeth today and he said a half hour.
I gave him a new tooth brush in the office and asked him to brush his teeth the way he does at home.
He brushed a little here and a little there and told me he was done.  I asked him how long he thinks that he brushed his teeth for and he answered, 1 minute!  I told him that he had brushed for 20 seconds.  I then took the tooth brush and systematically brushed his teeth so that I reached every area in his mouth in a systematic fashion..  I brushed his teeth this way for 2 minutes then I asked him to repeat what I had done.  He tried, didn't quite do it that well but he started to get the idea.  I guided him to  the the system that would let him clean every area and to how long it should take.  I told him he needs to do this morning and evening.  I had him back in two days and we repeated the same process with him brushing then with my repeating  and then with him brushing again.  I brought him in a week later and his oral hygiene had improved tremendously.  The red was almost gone and the teeth were clean.  We repeated again what we had done previously and I am bringing him in again in a month from now.
So how do you get them to brush?  You need to be involved, you need to work with your kids.  You need to let them understand that you are going to keep working with them until they brush their  teeth regularly and the way you show them.  The actual technique of brushing is not as important as the regularity of brushing and the time spent each time they brush They will come to the realization that it will be better for them if they just put a little effort into it themselves.  Eventually this will become a habit and they will brush for life.  You have to think of yourself as their personal trainer in the brushing department except that you are not getting paid.  Remember, spend the time with them!!!!

All the best
Dr. Ron Barzilay
Having fun doing dentistry in Hamilton Ontario

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Should teeth always be so White?

I received an anonymous letter in the mail this week with an advertising which we posted.
The person who sent us the advertising  made the comment that in one area of the advertising the person's teeth were white, in another area of the advertising the person's teeth were not as white and we should get our money back from the printer as they did a bad job with our print.  This was very interesting to me and I am only sorry that the person sent this anonymously.  What I would have told him is this.  Not everyone has white teeth and believe it or not, as a dentist, I strive to give people what they want and to make people look natural.  We have all seen those cosmetic surgery cases that go wrong because the surgeon just needed to say to the patient that it will not look good and I am not going to do it.  We have seen those people that have had dental work and  the second they smile you are almost blinded by the "light".  In this particular case we had a gentleman who had terrible teeth and they all needed to come out.  We gave him new dentures which were appropriate for his age and complexion.  He also did not want his smile to be overwhelming to those who knew him as until now he hardly smiled and he wanted his smile to look natural.  I was very proud of the job we did and how we helped change this gentlemans' life.
Today, in general, we actually do go for slightly whiter teeth since everyone is whitening their teeth and have whiter smiles. But!! I will always do what is appropriate for my patient and tell him or her if this is what is right for them or maybe we have to go for a color that is less conspicuous.
As to the advertising, I guess we could have posted a case that had a whiter end product but I am really proud of this case and it is a truly realistic case and result.
The marketing people and this particular person may not like it that much but I really like honesty in my marketing.
All the best
Dr. Ron Barzilay
Having fun in Hamilton Ontario

Should I go to the Dentist if I am Pregnant and what can I have done?

Should I go to the dentist if I am pregnant and what can I have done?

This question comes up often.  Unfortunately it mostly comes up when the pregnant patient is in pain.
In this situation the answer is quite simple,  of course you can go to the dentist.  There is no question here.  If you broke your arm while pregnant would you not go to the hospital?  Of course you would and you know that they would take the xrays needed and give you medication as required.
If you had a tooth ache, we would take xrays as required and do treatment as required.  We would also give you any medication required.  Having said this, a shield always covers the fetal area when giving you x-rays (dental xrays are minimal amounts to begin with).  Also most professionals will do their best to give medications which have the least affect on the fetus.
If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is a good idea to have your teeth checked first and to make sure that you do not have dental problems that could lead to pain or infection during pregnancy.  If you have fillings to do we generally try to do them in the second trimester.  Small fillings can wait but anything that is quite large can become painful and infected if not treated early.  If that happens then that can involve a lot more things for the unborn child than the filling would have.
Also we do recommend extra cleanings during pregnancy as the hormonal change in a women's body during pregnancy causes a more exagerated response of the gums to the bacteria in the mouth resulting in a greater amount of inflammation of the gums.  This inflammation can manifest as swollen and bleeding gums which may be uncomfortable.
The short is you can and should go to your dentist during pregnancy and don't hesistate to ask your dentist regarding any concerns which you may have.
All the best
Dr. Ron Barzilay
Having fun in Hamilton Ontario.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Temporary Crowns -Why? and How long will they last?

I just received a question on the blog by someone who had just had a temporary crown placed and they wondered how long it would last as they were nervous because they were going on vacation. 
The purpose of a temporary is to protect the underlying vital tooth (if vital) from sensitivity and prevent the teeth around the prepared tooth/teeth from moving. The temporary must be strong enough to resist breakage for a short period while flexible enough to be easily removed.
I do many crowns and place many temporary crowns and if the permanent crown is to be placed in the next few weeks, my temporary crowns almost never come off or break.  This is when they are cemented with the weakest cement.  Sometimes I have temporary crowns on for a number of months for various reasons.  I can still say that we have a fairly high success rate but you must remember that they will not last more than a few months because they will loosen as the temporary cement leaches out and the tooth is subjected to the forces of chewing.  

All the best
Dr. Ron Barzilay

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Dentist gave me 12 needles, is something wrong?

I have been asked many times about the number of injections given and whether it is OK or not?
Let us start with the basics, it is not the number of times that you have been"given the needle" but for safety it is the the quantity (in cc) of local anesthetic that you are actually being given.  Every dentist can calculate how much of a certain material he/her can give you before you reach unsafe levels (toxic levels).  The amounts that can be given depending on the size and weight of the patient, also whether a child or adult and your general health situation.  Your dentist will know how much he can give you in order to keep you safe.  As to how many injections, that is another story.  Some dentist go in quite aggressively and in 1 "shot" freeze you up. This gets you frozen quickly but sometimes you might be seeing stars.   When I "freeze" a child I can take up to 4 "shots".  The first one a quick short prick, generally not felt, but it freezes the area.  Then another one slightly deeper placing more material and so on.  Throughout we have only used one cartridge or less of material.  I think you get the idea.  Also the number of injections may be related to technique, the length of the procedure and the size of the area being worked on, also whether the area is "frozen" enough or perhaps some extra needs to be added.
In general, your dentist will always do his best to make you comfortable during any procedure he is doing.  Sometimes this may involve 1 " shot" and sometimes multiple "shots".  Don't bother counting, it will not be helpful to you.  If you do have a question, always feel comfortable to ask your dentist.  I am sure he/she will be more than happy to explain to you any questions that you may have.

All the best

Dr. Ron Barzilay

enjoying dentistry in Hamilton Ontario

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


We were sitting around the table in the staff room one afternoon and the discussion came around to TOOTHPASTE!
We started to discuss the different uses of toothpaste and this is what we came up with.

1.  To clean your teeth with.  Toothpaste is an abrasive and you place it on your toothbrush to help clean your teeth.
2.  If you get a burn, you place toothpaste on the burn and it will take away the sting.  (Of course we are talking about small burns not 3rd degree to 90% of your body.)
3.  Bee stings and mosquito bites feel much better after placing toothpaste.
4.  Cleaning your silverware.  Toothpaste does a great job taking off that tarnish.
5.  If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk place toothpaste. (one of our staff members swears by it!)
6.  Drying out acne zits.

If you have any others please let us know.

Toothpaste is really an all purpose product.

All the best
from the all of us in Hamilton Ontario

Dr.Ron Barzilay

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My tooth is dark at the tip and it is worse since I whitened them!

My tooth is dark at the tip and it is worse since I whitened them!
 Can I fix them?

A patient came in and asked me this today.
What I told her was that her teeth were not really dark that it was just at the tip of the tooth.  What she was actually seeing was the translucency of the tooth through the thinnest area of the tooth.  This is normal.  The enamel is translucent and where it is thin even more so.  In the thicker part of the tooth there is more dentin so the light does not go through as much.  That is why you see the mid tooth as white while the tip will be gray as you see the darkness of the mouth through it.  After you have whitened it may be more noticeable because the whiter tooth contrasts more with the grayness of the translucency.  I assured her it was quite normal and her teeth actually look very nice.  Is there anything that can be done?  Sure, you can have crowns or veneers placed but I though her teeth looked great and didn't need those drastic measures.
You decide:

Enjoying Dentistry in Hamilton Ontario
All the best
Dr.Ron Barzilay