Ottawa Street Dental Updates

Ask a Dentist

As part of our involvement in Dental Health Awareness Month, our very own Dr. Skarbek took some time to talk about about the importance of regular checkups, screening, and more.

This interview was conducted by Alexandra Latremouille, a graduate of the St. Clair College Journalism Program and current Copywriter for Imaginative Group.

Alex: Why do people tend to think of dental health as separate from the health of the rest of the body?

Dr. Skarbek: They probably associate it differently because they see a standard medical physician for one thing and a dentist for the other. At the same time, there’s a lot of evidence that suggests several systemic diseases contribute to oral health problems.

Alex: Since you’ve been in the industry have you noticed any trends relating to people’s overall oral health?

Dr. Skarbek: I’ve noticed that children in particular have become susceptible to problems [with their teeth]. Some parents aren’t bringing their kids in regularly or even at all until later in life. We recommend bringing them in as soon as their first tooth comes in. By the age of two all of their teeth should be in, which is an ideal time to start coming for regular checkups. Even if there aren’t any problems, it just gets them in the routine of having checkups.

On the same wavelength, we see kids with decay all over their mouths because they don’t get their teeth looked at that often. Their parents don’t make them brush their teeth, there’s no fluoride in the city water, and they’re eating foods that are laden with sugar, as well. So, diet control is a huge factor in reversing this damage.

Alex: It’s interesting these issues [regarding children’s dental health] are just becoming prevalent now.

Dr. Skarbek: Well, I’m mostly basing this on my experience but yes. It can be really tragic when kids who haven’t had regular treatment come in with cavities so bad that surgery is the best option for them.

Alex: How does damage to one’s baby teeth affect their future dental health and development?

Dr. Skarbek: Baby teeth are considered space-holders for permanent teeth. So what usually happens is that, once you lose a tooth, the other teeth behind will shift forward into the place of that missing tooth. But if there are problems when the permanent tooth comes in. It could cause crowding and mean orthodontic work needs to be done. This can be avoided. If we notice that a baby tooth is missing we can put a spacer there to hold that place until its adult successor comes in.

Alex: One of the things Oral Health Awareness Month seeks to draw attention to is serious conditions like oral cancer. Is there anything you want to say about that condition in particular?

Dr. Skarbek: Coming in for checkups on a regular basis is important. It always is, but it’s absolutely the case here so you can get a screening done to track the condition’s development. When it comes to potential causes, you’ve got smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol consumption, for the most part.

Alex: I’m glad there are some ways to deal with this terrible condition and hopefully catch it before it gets out of hand.

Dr. Skarbek: Yes but that’s just it: the sooner you come in to be scanned, the better.

Alex: Moving onto something a little less serious: a lot of people probably have leftovers from Easter. What advice would you give to them about enjoying these holiday treats in moderation?

Dr. Skarbek: Moderation is certainly key to maintaining the health of your teeth and the rest of your body. But it’s also important to limit the duration of how long these foods sit on your teeth. That’s where brushing and flossing as carefully as you can after meals comes in handy, when possible.

Alex: Thank you for your time.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect the day-to-day lifestyle of children affected by it. Even straightforward tasks can seem cumbersome. We understand sitting in a dental office can be a tricky task and are prepared to help your child through it.

ADHD is marked by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Although there is no known cure for the disorder, the help of physicians, psychologists, family, teachers, and medication can mitigate it. To make your child’s time with us more enjoyable, we prefer making their appointments interactive. Using a tell-show-do approach, we begin by providing short, clear instructions to the patient, letting him or her know beforehand what we’re doing. Throughout the appointment, we can then let the child touch or play with certain tools, such as the suction, air-water syringe, and acid etch. Afterward, we’d be happy to offer your child a treat for their patience.

Sometimes, though, if appointments are a bit too much for your child top get through, breaks or the use of nitrous oxide might be needed. We will stay in touch with you if this is necessary.

It’s our goal to make every one of your child’s visits relaxing and engaging. To better ensure this, you might want to talk to your child beforehand about what the appointment is all about, and of course, let us know if they have any special needs so we can make their next visit their best visit.

HIV is an insidious and often debilitating infection. Because it weakens the immune system, the entire body becomes susceptible to wear and tear. This can result in a number of  dental disorders if not treated properly.

Symptoms of HIV arise a few days to three months after exposure and can make you prone to getting a dry mouth, oral warts, thrush, cold sores, canker sores, cavities, and certain periodontal disorders. There are also more direct oral manifestations. Although they can seem embarrassing and are often painful, treatments are available.

Linear Gingival Erythema (LGE)

LGE is a distinct, sore band of redness that runs along the edge of the teeth and gums (marginal gingival). It can also occur in HIV-negative patients.

Treatment: Debridement, chlorhexidine mouth rinse, gingival lavage, and good oral hygiene.

Oral Candidiasis

Candidiasis is the overgrowth of the fungus known as candida albicans. There are several types of candidiasis, including erythematous and chronic hyperplastic.

Treatment: Topical drugs or systemic medication.

Hairy Leukoplakia

HL is a white patch on the side of the tongue with a hairy appearance.

Treatment: Due to the lesion’s benign nature, treatment is not required.

Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG)

ANUG is the most minor form of necrotizing periodontal disease. Although acute, it’s extremely painful and causes bleeding gums, bad breath, and leaves a metallic taste in the patient’s mouth.

Treatment: The necrotic (dead) tissue is flushed out and removed. Patients are instructed to use mouth rinses and pain medication. Oral antibiotics are given if there is systemic origin.

Kaposi Sarcoma (KS)

KS is a cancer that develops from the cells lining the lymph or blood vessels. Oral lesions are reddish-purple, flat or raised, and are usually located on the roof of the mouth or gums.

Treatment: Most common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and biologic therapy. HIV patients should be aware lesions are likely to regrow once treatment stops.


Patients with HIV should be very meticulous about their oral hygiene. Along with daily brushing, flossing, and the use of over-the-counter fluorides, regular professional care is recommended.

Please give us a call to let us know if you might be experiencing HIV-related symptoms.

In any given year, about 12% of Canadians experience an anxiety disorder. Although not as obvious as a broken limb, it can be as equally painful and frightening. Because of this, we want to help make appointments as comfortable as we can for all our patients.

We understand the feeling of anxiety differs wildly from an anxiety disorder. The first happens every now and then during periods of fear and excitement. On the other hand, anxiety disorders have deep-seated cognitive, biological, and neurological foundations.

If you or someone you know ever experiences anxiety or symptoms of an anxiety disorder during an appointment, we are ready to help you through it. Although staying calm is the most effective way to counter an attack, it’s not necessarily easy. If you ever need to take a break from a procedure, we’re more than willing to take you somewhere quiet. While you need never feel embarrassed, it can be helpful to get away from public spaces. We will also help you with breathing exercises and keep discussion to a minimum.

We at Ottawa Street Dental want stress to be the last thing on your mind. However, this isn’t always possible and will only resume a procedure when you’re at ease. Your comfort and peace of mind is just as important to us as your oral health.





Type 1 Diabetes can have surprising effects on a person’s oral health. This unpreventable metabolic disorder interferes with the body’s ability to produce insulin, causing the blood’s glucose levels to spike. If you have it, you know the symptoms: constant hunger or thirst, fatigue, the frequent need to urinate, and so on. But Type 1 Diabetes can also mess with your mouth.

If you have diabetes and poorly managed blood glucose, you might be susceptible to:

  1. A dry mouth, as the result of decreased saliva and an increase in saliva sugar (xerostomia)
  2. Fungal infections
  3. Ulcers
  4. Tooth decay
  5. Tooth loss
  6. Poor circulation to the teeth, causing aches and pains
  7. Difficulty wearing dentures
  8. More severe gum disease from an early age
  9. Thickening of small blood vessels in the gums
  10. Certain periodontal diseases
  11. Burning sensation in the tongue


The good news is general dental appointments are the same for those with diabetes and those without it. However, dental surgery is another matter. Diabetes can cause infection, slow the healing process, and cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate wildly. But there are measures to help the procedure go more smoothly. These include:

  1. Reminding the dentist you’re diabetic, so preparations can be made
  2. Eating before the appointment
  3. Taking your normal medication beforehand but only if your physician and dentist are on the same page about it
  4. Planning for your eating needs following the surgery
  5. Making sure your blood levels are under control to avoid complications

Diabetes never has to stop you from having a healthy, gleaming smile. Please call us at if you or someone close to you is affected by it so we can help you however we can.

Gingivitis is an inflammatory disorder affecting the soft and hard structures supporting the teeth. Most often, it develops when plaque spreads below the gum line and produces toxins. These irritate the gums and in response, the area becomes raw and damaged.

Those who have ever muscled through the pain of gingivitis know how excruciating having red, swollen and even bloody gums can be. Gingivitis is actually the mildest form of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care.

Things that contribute to gingivitis include:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Smoking
  3. Aging
  4. A genetic predisposition
  5. Systemic diseases
  6. Stress hormones
  7. Medication
  8. Malnutrition

Chronic Periodontitis

If left unchecked, gingivitis can become quite devastating. Chronic periodontitis occurs when the area becomes so inflamed that patients can experience attachment and bone loss. Other versions of the disease exist as well. These include aggressive periodontitis (in which clinically healthy patients experience attachment loss and bone destruction); periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases (which usually happens at a young age because of conditions such as heart and respiratory disease or diabetes); and necrotizing periodontal disease (common in those with suppressed immune systems and those who are malnourished).

Luckily, gingivitis can easily be detected before things get out of hand. If you notice any of the below symptoms you should see us ASAP:

  1. Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  2. Bleeding when flossing, brushing or when eating hard foods
  3. Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer
  4. Loose or separating teeth
  5. Sores in your mouth
  6. Persistent bad breath
  7. A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite


The good news is gingivitis can be prevented before it rears its gunky head. This means bringing out the toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse regularly at home. If you’ve had it before it’s also very important to pop in for regular check-ups.

One way or another, we’ve got the tools to make sure gingivitis never overstays its welcome.



Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) is a term used to describe a disorder of the jaw or muscles around the joint. There are many symptoms associated with this disorder.


  • Pain or tenderness on the jaw or chewing muscles
  • Clicking, grinding or popping noises upon chewing or yawning
  • Limited opening
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Jaws that lock

What are veneers?

Veneers are a thin custom fitted porcelain shell that are permanently bonded to your teeth. Veneers are cosmetically appealing and can give your smile a whole new appearance.

Patients who have any of the following dental conditions may choose veneers to enhance their smile:

  • Spaces or gaps between fron teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Large or numerous fillings
  • Overlapped or crooked teeth
  • Stained, old or washed out fillings
  • Permanently stained teeth (stains which developed inside the tooth)

Sensitive teeth are experienced by about 1 in 4 adults at some time during their lives. The most common cause of generalized sensitivity is the exposure of root surfaces or when dentin (the porous surface under the enamel) is exposed. These areas have tubules which contain fluid and nerve endings.

Common triggers of sensitivity:

  • Cold or hot food or drinks
  • Sweet or sour foods and liquids
  • Brushing or touching the area
  • Acidic drinks

Generally the pain is intense and quick but the duration lasts only a few seconds. Pain which lasts a long time usually has more serious consequences therefore other causes must be ruled out. There are dental procedures and home products that can bring relief to exposed areas.

Protecting you or your child’s teeth is essential if involved in sporting activities. Injuries received are a major concern not only to players but also to dental professionals. Wearing a mouth guard can help prevent trauma to the mouth, concussions, and chipped or broken teeth. Many sports organizations such as the Ontario Minor Hockey Association have standards which have to be met in order to play.

Over the counter store bought guard are poor fitting and make it difficult to breathe while wearing. Professionally make sports guards are comfortable, custom fit and allow for easy breathing and easy speaking. They also provide maximum protection

Purpose of a mouth guard

  • Protects lips and cheeks
  • Protects the tongue from being bitten
  • Prevents jaw fractures
  • Helps prevent concussions
  • Reduces fractured teeth on impact
  • Keeps the upper and lower teeth separated and provides a cushion that redistributes a blow to the mouth.

Our Guarantee

Our years of experience combined with our extensive knowledge and continuing advancements in technology and education we strive to provide our patients with the best experience and treatment. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to make sure all of your dental needs are taken care of. We are centrally located and offer extended hours to accommodate people’s hectic schedules.

© Ottawa Street Dental 2017. Designed, Hosted, and Managed by Imaginative Group.