Dr. Sheila Shellorn
General Family Dentistry Practice

Frequently Asked Questions

You may also find this link to the Canadian Dental Association helpful: http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/index.asp

Q: I'm not happy with my teeth when I smile, is there a faster way than braces to make them more attractive?

A: In some cases we can bond a tooth-coloured material to close spaces and cover discolorations. This material can last 3-5 years. A more permanent and more aesthetic solution is to use porcelain jackets or veneers which can be used to correct rotations, spacing, fractures, and discolorations.

Q: Do I need x-rays at each visit?

A: How often you need to have x-rays also depends on your oral health. A healthy adult who has not had cavities or other problems for a couple of years probably won't need x-rays at every appointment. If your dental situation is less stable and your dentist is monitoring your progress, you may require more frequent x-rays.

If you are not sure why a particular x-ray is being taken, ask your dentist. Remember that dental x-rays deliver very little radiation and they are a vital tool for your dentist to ensure that small problems don't develop into bigger ones.

Q: Why are cleanings needed every 6 To 9 months or more frequently?

A: It is important to maintain the health and strength of teeth and gums. Most adults get build-up on their teeth that if left untreated, can lead to gum disease and eventual tooth loss. It is important to maintain a regular schedule of oral health maintenance.

Q: Is tooth bleaching permanent?

A: If the tooth was quite white when you were younger, then bleaching will occur rapidly and last for 3-4 years. If the teeth were always quite dark, then bleaching will take longer and may require additional treatments.

Q: Is a crown the same as a cap? What is a crown?

A: When a tooth is severely broken-down it needs to be entirely covered to restore the tooth to its original shape and function. This is called a cap or a crown.

Q: Do I really need to replace that missing tooth?

A: By replacing the missing tooth you will restore proper function and alleviate future problems. If the space is left open, over time the teeth on either side may begin to tip over or erupt, and this can lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and an improper bite.

Q: What is the difference in strength between gold and porcelain?

A: Gold is stronger than porcelain, but it cannot be bonded to the tooth. Porcelain is a far better material esthetically and when bonded to the tooth it is as strong as it needs to be to withstand normal chewing forces.

Q: I'm pregnant, can I still go to the dentist?

A: It is best not to have extensive dental work done during the first trimester. Small fillings that don't require anesthetic are alright at any time during the pregnancy. Hygiene appointments are extremely important during pregnancy due to hormonal changes which can cause gum problems.

Q: Do I need to have my amalgam fillings removed even though they don't bother me?

A: Amalgam contains 50% mercury, which is a toxin. Furthermore, mercury expands and contracts (just think of a thermometer) and this causes fractures and leakage inside the tooth structure.

Q: How does dental insurance work?

A: Dental plans, offered by many employers, are a means to help you pay for your dental treatment. Most Canadians enjoy dental plans and the insurance companies that provide them are actually benefit carriers. Carriers reimburse patients based on the level of coverage decided by the patient's employer.

When you visit the dentist, it's the dentist's role to make a treatment plan based on your oral health needs. Your needs may be different from what is covered by your dental plan. It is your right to decide whether or not to go ahead with any treatment.

Q: My dental insurance won’t cover the full cost of the recommended treatment?

A: You should not decide based on what your plan covers. It is the responsibility of the benefits carrier's to reimburse you for the amount covered by your dental plan. Our office is willing to contact a patient's benefits carrier, on a patient's behalf, to find out if a treatment is covered. However in many cases the insurance company will only deal directly with the insured party in order to protect privacy. The patient is required to pay the portion that's not covered and in many instances a payment plan may be available to help.

Q: Why doesn't my dentist just accept payment from my insurance company?

A: In Canada , we don't have to pay directly when we visit a doctor or hospital, so we may not realize the high cost of providing health services. Overhead costs are high for dentists. They have staff, equipment and other operating costs.

The good news is that you can avoid costly dental work by brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly for a check-up. Regular check-ups cost money, but they are less expensive than fixing serious dental problems that stem from neglect.

Q: When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

A: It's important to get an early start on dental care, so that your child will learn that visiting the dentist is a regular part of health care. The first step is to choose a dentist for your child.

We suggest a visit by age one for an initial "Happy Visit" and a "Chair Ride". It's important to make this first visit a positive experience for your child — one reason why it's best to visit before a problem develops. Regular visits should be maintained once all of their baby teeth (or primary teeth) have come in (or erupted). This eruption generally occurs between age two and three.

Q: When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

A: Be sure to get an early start on regular dental care at home. Start cleaning your child’s mouth with a soft damp cloth before teeth come in and continue with a soft toothbrush once he or she has a first tooth. Limit the number of sugary treats you give your child, and focus on healthy food choices from the very beginning.

Our Dentist

Dr. Sheila Shellborn
Bow Valley Square 1
Suite 370, 202 - 6th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
T2P 2R9
Tel: 403.265.2400
Fax: 403.262.3168
Email us HERE