“I have a weird question for you…”
Your question might seem weird to you, but it’s probably something your dentist hears all the time! At Sunnyside Dental, we want you to feel comfortable asking any question that pops into your head. After all, they’re probably about oral health practices, toothaches, pains, or potential dental treatments. If you don’t ask your question, you might miss out on important information from our staff.
Remember, odds are we’ve heard your question before. Though we do get some surprising ones from time to time…
Here are some of the weirdest questions we’ve heard in our Kelowna dentist office.
But remember, we’re happy to answer any question you have. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Food and Eating Questions
Q: Are there foods I can eat, like apples or cheese, that will act like a toothbrush?
Although your vet might recommend special “dental bone” treats for your dog, any dentist will tell you that there is no substitute for daily brushing and flossing for human teeth!
That said, there are some foods that are better for your teeth than others. Foods high in fibre—such as carrots, celery, or leafy greens—and crisp fruits like apples can stimulate saliva production, which rinses bacteria from your mouth. Calcium-rich foods like dairy deposit protective enzymes that can rebuild enamel and prevent decay.
Chewing sugarless gum after meals can be useful, too; almost like rubbing down your teeth, it can serve to rinse harmful bacteria away. While these snacks can give your oral health a little boost, you’ll want to avoid sugars and starches.
Q: Is dental floss edible? Mine tastes like cinnamon gum.
No! It’s true, they make dental floss in tasty flavours to make flossing more appealing, but despite the tantalizing flavours of mint, cinnamon, bubblegum, or even bacon (yeah, it’s a thing!), you should never eat your dental floss! If you have pets, make sure to dispose of used floss into a container your dog or cat can’t get into. If you suspect your pet has eaten a piece of floss, call your vet right away.
Q: Can I brush my teeth with baking soda?
You can, but you won’t get the same health benefits as brushing with toothpaste. Some of our patients consider brushing with baking soda as a natural alternative to toothpaste or to save money. But while baking soda will clean the surface of your teeth, it can’t kill the bacteria that leads to plaque formation. The rough texture of baking soda can also irritate gums and dull enamel. Baking soda can also weaken the bond of dental adhesives, so you shouldn’t brush with it if you have braces.
Dental Treatment Questions
Q: Can you do this procedure without anesthesia?
Some people are tremendously afraid of needles, others have very high pain tolerances, and still others have allergies to anesthesia. However, dental work can expose sensitive nerves or bruise your gums, and keeping your jaw open for extended periods of time can lead to painful muscle fatigue. We do not recommend undertaking any significant invasive dental treatment without the assistance of anesthesia. However, breakthroughs in pharmaceutical science mean that today’s patients have a wide a variety of numbing options. Our Sunnyside dentists are always happy to discuss your choices before any procedure.
Q: Can you just give me a full set of dentures now?
It seems like it would be easier to not have to worry about natural teeth—no nerves to protect, no decay to fear, and always a perfect smile. Nowadays, though, more than 90% of adults over age 65 have their own teeth. Obviously, there are cases where bridgework or dental implants (or even dentures) are the preferred option, but as a cosmetic choice? Probably not. With advancements in restorative dentistry and incredible technology like Invisalign, your Sunnyside dentists can make your smile strong and beautiful. In the long run, you’ll be happier maintaining your original body parts for as long as possible!
Q: Can we do everything at once so I don’t have to come in again?
We get it—no one likes going to the dentist. In general, we’re happy to work with you to make the most out of your visit. Some procedures have to be done in multiple stages, but many can be combined. For example, we often pair whitening treatments with your Invisalign® fitting. When you call to make your appointment, we can go through your list of outstanding procedures and give you an estimate on how many sessions you’ll require.
Q: Can you give my teeth some bling?
Decorating parts of the body with tattoos and piercings are ancient human practices, but there is a relatively recent trend that extends these modifications to the teeth. Most dentists agree that insetting gemstones or grillz, or tattooing through the enamel, is not in any patient’s best interest (such procedures can make your teeth susceptible to disease and decay). Some tooth tattoos can be created on crowns or caps, but they almost always end up just looking like perpetually dirty teeth! At Sunnyside, we suggest you stick to your natural pearly whites.
Q: Can you make me fangs?
Yes, we’ve been asked to create custom “fangs” via implants or sharpening natural teeth. The popularity of vampire fantasy and cosplay has increased the request for these cosmetic accessories. There are several online companies that create realistic sets of prosthetic teeth using traditional dental moldmaking and sculpting. However, the team at Sunnyside likes to see our patients in the daylight!
Q: Why can’t I just pull out my own teeth?
Take it from the professionals, pulling your own teeth is not only painful, but dangerous, and can have lasting consequences (like serious infection and broken teeth). To be fair, the patients who come to us after attempting this procedure usually admit to having made this poor decision while under the numbing influence of drugs or alcohol. Even in the dentist’s chair, it’s best to be numb during tooth-removal –but we have the medical expertise, anaesthesia, proper instruments, and (most importantly!) sanitary conditions to perform tooth extractions is a safe, thorough, and relatively painless manner. And if you get it done properly the first time, you won’t need to make an emergency trip to the dentist to fix it, later!
Q: Where does all that saliva go?
Everyone is familiar with the dental suction line: periodically, you’re told to close your lips, experience a sudden vacuum sensation, and hear the disconcerting sound of an untied balloon deflating, while you try to figure out if you will dehydrate because you haven’t swallowed in awhile…
This suction line (along with another, high-volume system used during more intricate work), pull all of the distracting saliva and tooth debris out of your mouth, and into a filtration system that separates out the solids (ew…). The remainder just gets flushed into the office’s normal wastewater system.
Q: Is it true that my toothbrush has… bathroom stuff on it?
Unfortunately, this is probably the case! When you flush your toilet, small particles (invisible to the naked eye) spray into the air. If your toothbrush is exposed, the bristles can pick up this microscopic debris. But on the bright side, it’s unlikely to harm you—in fact, these particles are part of your body’s natural flora. You can keep your toothbrush more sanitary by rinsing it after use, storing it upright so it can air-dry, and keeping it separate from other toothbrushes. Storing your toothbrush in a case isn’t recommended (the moist, close environment encourages bacterial growth), but do close the lid before you flush.
We’re here to help!
Your Sunnyside team wants to stress that we are always eager to answer any questions you have about your teeth. That’s what we’re here for! We strive to make your time in our chair as easy as possible.