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General dentistry

Well-equipped Clinic for Preventive Dental Care in Hamilton

Dentist looking at teeth

860 Dental offers preventive dental care in Hamilton for patients of all age groups.

Dental Hygiene

Preventive care is the foundation of healthy teeth and gums. It’s much easier to stop a problem before it ever gets started in the first place! 

What Does a Professional Dental Hygiene Appointment Involve?

Professional dental cleanings are performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your dental cleaning appointment will include:

Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is actually a living, a growing colony of bacteria that feed on food debris on the tooth surface and sometimes beneath the gum line. As they feed, the bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums and cause periodontal disease. 


  • Removal of tartar: Tartar, also known as calculus, is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Tartar forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments in a process called scaling. Hand instruments and a water-based ultrasonic scaler called a Cavitron may be used to remove tartar. 

  • Teeth polishing: Your dental hygienist will also use special equipment to remove stains and plaque that was not already removed during tooth brushing and scaling. 

  • Oral Hygiene Instruction: Your dental hygienist will recommend tools and techniques that are appropriate for you to use in your mouth. Demonstrations and samples help to ensure that you feel confident and are well-equipped for the next steps of improving your oral health. 

  • Fluoride: Fluoride treatments are used to prevent tooth decay and to remineralize areas of the teeth which have been weakened. Fluoride can also help to treat sensitive teeth. Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in tap water, toothpaste and mouthwashes. 


What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are protective coatings on the biting grooves of your molars. They prevent cavities in the deep pits of these teeth. They are commonly recommended for children to prevent cavities during childhood. 


How Is an Oral Cancer Screening Performed?

Oral cancer screenings are routinely performed at your appointments. It consists of checking all the tissues inside and outside of your mouth including your tongue, throat, tonsils, palate and floor of the mouth for abnormalities. Lymph nodes around the oral cavity are also screened for abnormalities. 


How Does Good Oral Health Relate to My Body?

Your mouth is linked to the rest of your body. Bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream and cause other issues related to your heart and lungs. And systemic conditions such as blood pressure, osteoporosis and diabetes can affect the health of your mouth and teeth. So the mouth affects the body, and the body affects the mouth. We make recommendations for you based on your individual health and wellness to help you achieve optimal oral health. 


What Does Dry Mouth Do?

Dry mouth is often a side effect of taking certain medications. Since saliva has a protective role in preventing tooth decay, decreased saliva flow (dry mouth) can cause an increase in tooth decay. Saliva also helps your ability to taste, makes it easier to chew and swallow, and helps decrease bad breath. If you have a dry mouth, we will offer recommendations for you to increase your salivary flow and protect your teeth and the tissues in your mouth, including discussing saliva substitutes to manage your dry mouth.


What Types of Foods Should I Avoid?

Any foods that are sugary, acidic, sticky or chewy, full of starches, crunchy or hard and that dry out your mouth should be avoided. These foods can increase bacteria in your mouth and can also weaken tooth structures. Limiting the intake of these foods will help to prevent tooth decay and broken teeth. 


Is Xylitol Actually Good for Your Teeth?

Xylitol is sugar-free and enhances salivary flow. Thus, xylitol gum can improve your dental health by decreasing plaque buildup and increasing saliva which in turn reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth. 


Why is pH important in the mouth?

An acidic mouth can lead to increased tooth decay and erosion. pH levels indicate how acidic a person’s mouth is. Drinking a lot of acidic beverages such as pop, lemon-based drinks, and pickle juice can lead to the wearing away of the outer layers of the teeth. 


How Does Smoking Affect the Mouth?

The chemicals in cigarette smoke as well as the heat from the cigarettes, are very harmful to the teeth and tissues in the mouth. The heat and chemicals affect the normal immune functions in the mouth leading to an impaired ability of the oral cavity to fight off bacteria. Smoking can cause bad breath, discoloured teeth, excessive plaque/tartar build-up, bone loss in your jaw, gum disease, and even oral cancer. Dental professionals are trained to assist with smoking cessation as well as treating mouths affected by smoking. We will assist you in reaching optimal oral health to the best of our abilities. 

Cheerful african american man with during examination in dental clinic

Dental Exam

A comprehensive oral and dental exam will be performed by your dentist and dental hygienist at your first visit as well as at your routine visits. Exams include:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays: X-rays are essential for the detection of decay, infections, tumours, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions. 

  • Oral cancer screening: We check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer. 

  • Gum disease evaluation: We examine the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease. We measure your bone level and any bone loss that has occurred so we can monitor it over time and recommend any necessary treatments. 

  • Examination for tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments. 

  • Examination of existing restorations: We check any fillings, crowns, or other restorative work you have done in order to determine whether it is in good repair or requires replacement. 

Dental X-rays and Imaging

Dental x-rays are essential preventative diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not otherwise visible during a dental exam. Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and create an appropriate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected. 


  • Dental x-rays may reveal:

  • Abscesses or cysts

  • Bone loss

  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors

  • Decay between the teeth or around existing fillings

  • 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 may even save your teeth from eventually being lost to decay or disease. 


What Are the Types of Dental X-rays?

In our office, we use sensor-type digital x-rays inside the mouth. These produce a high-quality and instant image directly to the computer in the operatory. These images can be enlarged and adjusted to show patients exactly what the images show.  These are used for single x-rays to diagnose an issue, for check-up x-rays (usually 2-6 films) and also for full mouth series x-rays (16-20 x-rays). 


We also take digital panorex x-rays which are generated by a machine that the patient stands up in that goes all the way around the head. A panorex x-ray assesses the jaw bone, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) or jaw joint, the roots of all the teeth and all the structures in the lower half of the skull. A panorex is usually recommended every 3-5 years, but the timing is different for every patient.  


Are Dental X-rays Safe?

Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Digital dental x-rays use up to 90% less radiation than traditional x-rays. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays (which is approximately 18 x-rays) is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources. Nevertheless, dentists do take precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using digital radiographs, which drastically cut down the exposure time of each x-ray. 


How Often Should Dental X-rays Be Taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease. Check-up x-rays are generally recommended every 1-2 years, but each patient is different. A full mouth series of x-rays is usually taken every 3-5 years but again is different for each patient.

Young Female patient with open mouth examining dental inspection at dentist office

Home Care

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. You can start by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Tooth brushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.


  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.

  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.

  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.

  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.


Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque more efficiently than brushing manually. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time. 


Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it also disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  • Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.

  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion. Moving the floss through the tight contact between the teeth helps to prevent cavities from forming between them. 

  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth in each contact area and move the floss under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth in each contact area. This part of flossing helps to keep the gums healthy and prevent periodontal disease. 


Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss. 


Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing and also after meals if you are unable to brush. Rinsing sweeps food particles out of your mouth so that bacteria can’t feed on them. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist to make sure it is appropriate for you.


You may also need to use other dental aids as recommended by the dentist or dental hygienist, such as interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc. All these items can all play a role in good care at home.

Dental Services Personalized for You

We offer comprehensive dental services to help you maintain good oral health.

Dentist and woman
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