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Dawson Study Club

Dentists & Lab Techs in the Toronto area – The Dawson study club is starting another year and we’re welcoming new members! I am truly honoured to lead this great group this year.

Our current members are talented and have spent considerable energy developing some pretty amazing skills. It’s really exhilarating to have an open discussion on how each one of us approaches a case!

I decided to become a study club leader in order to promote a better way to do dentistry and to create a supportive environment. The Dawson Academy has taught me a way to give patients superior treatment in a relaxed, predictable way. I hope you’ll consider joining! You can find out more information by messaging me directly.

Dr. Feisel Haji

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Ancient Briton Diet Proven to be Carb Heavy

Researchers trying to figure out what our ancestors ate have discovered that ancient Britons, like us, loved their carbs.

Plaque preserved on the teeth of people dead for centuries can be used to reveal what their favorite foods were, an international team of researchers found. This dental calculus shows a diet heavy on carbohydrates, including oats, peas and cabbage, from the eighth century right up to modern times.

And people from the year 700 through modern times all appear to have depended heavily on milk for their protein.

Archeologist Jessica Hendy of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and colleagues are trying to find the best ways to use ancient teeth to figure out what ancient people ate.

Researchers struck it lucky when the frozen, mummified body of a 5,000-year-old man, later named Ötzi, was found in the Alps in 1991. His stomach contents were well preserved by the dry cold — revealing a last meal of goat meat, venison and wheat.

 Example of dental calculus analyzed in this study
Jessica Hendy et al. / Proceedings of the Royal Society B

But often, all that is left of people long dead are bones and teeth. Hendy’s team is looking at ways to optimize the study of dental plaque, which, they wrote, “entombs and preserves” molecules of food.

“Traces of foodstuffs can be sourced directly from the human mouth, uniquely revealing precise evidence of particular foods consumed,” they wrote in their report, published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

They used a high-tech approach called proteomics, which analyzes specific proteins in a sample, to re-examine the data collected from 38 samples dating back to England’s Iron Age and the Roman occupation of the island. They used a new protein extraction method to analyze samples from the teeth of people who died in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as people living now or who recently died.

“A total of 100 archaeological samples of dental calculus were analyzed,” they wrote.

One challenge is to separate human proteins from food proteins. The only meat sample they could distinguish was a single incidence of venison. It’s not clear whether that is because meat was rarely eaten, or because it’s too difficult to use current methods to tell animal proteins from the human proteins that would naturally be found in the mouth of a human being.

Hendy’s team found proteins they could identify as coming from oats, peas and plants from the cabbage family in the ancient samples. In modern samples, potatoes, soybeans and peanuts were common.

“Interestingly, we observe that milk proteins are consistently detected throughout all time periods within this study and are detected in 20 percent of individuals overall in ancient and modern individuals,” Hendy’s team wrote.

Northern Europeans commonly carry a genetic mutation that allows them to drink and tolerate milk well into adulthood. Scientists believe that the ability to drink milk gave people a survival advantage.

Understanding what people ate and how diets have changed help paint a clearer picture of long-gone cultures. People can analyze the residue left in ceramic cookware and offerings at gravesites. They can also analyze hair and bones to find chemical signatures of certain classes of food.

But analyzing the hardened plaque on teeth gives a unique picture of what actually went into people’s mouths, Hendy’s team noted

Author: Maggie Fox

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Dental actuator

What is a Dental Articulator?

A Dental Articulator is a mechanical device that Is used to simulate the ways the jaws move relative to the temporomandibular joints, or “TMJ’s”. The upper and lower models of your teeth are fixed to the device to accurately reproduce their relationship to each other and to your TMJs.
As a result of my training at the Dawson Academy. it has become an essential tool in treatment planning for patients who require more extensive dental care.
Once the models of your teeth are fixed to an articulator and the precise jaw movements are analyzed, the reason for many dental problems become apparent – especially those related to the bite, grinding and tooth wear.
If you have any questions related to tooth wear, grinding or clenching – please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you find your perfect smile for life!
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Repair of Chipped, Stained & Discoloured Bonding

At Soho Dental, we have great pride in the care that we offer our patients from all our practitioners.

Our wonderful associate dentist, Dr. Monica Ramirez would like to share a recent treatment that she just completed.

In the before picture, one can see that patient had bonding completed many years ago and it was beginning to fail. The bonding has chipped, stained and discoloured.

Dr. Ramirez replaced all the bonding, which will ensure a pleasing and aesthetic smile for the patient for years to come!

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Repairing a Fractured Front Tooth at Soho Dental

To fracture a front tooth accidentally can be quite a traumatic experience. Fortunately, repairing a fractured front tooth can often be done with one dental visit. The video illustrates how we can restore a fractured tooth, conservatively with dental bonding

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Custom Fit Mouthguards VS. Off-The-Shelf Mouthguards

A common question that dentists hear from those who are in the market for a new mouthguard is,

“Do I really need a custom-fit mouthguard, or will an over-the-counter mouthguard work just as well?”

This is a valid question, and the answer depends on what your personal preferences are regarding comfort level, price range, materials, and protection levels. To help clarify which type of mouthguard may be the right one for you, we have laid out everything you need to know about the similarities and differences between custom-fit mouthguards and over-the-counter mouthguards.

Over-the-counter Mouthguards

What are they?

Both sports and over-the-counter mouthguards are made of plastic, but while most sports mouthguards are very thick and brittle, over-the-counter mouthguards are created out of a thinner and more pliable plastic that is meant to be more suitable to a wider range of people.Over-the-counter mouthguards are very similar to many mouthguards used by athletes while playing sports except over-the-counter mouthguards are intended to stop teeth from grinding during the night.

Over-the-counter mouthguards come out of their packaging as a smooth, preformed u-shaped tray and cover the entire top row of teeth in order to prevent upper and lower teeth from gnashing and grinding against each other. The mouthguard has to be fitted to your specific teeth before it is comfortable to wear and work effectively.

How are they fitted?

Generally speaking, the most common over-the-counter mouthguards are formed through a method called “boil and bite”. This means that the mouthguard must be placed in boiling water for a certain amount of time, specified by the instructions included with the mouthguard, in order for the plastic to become very soft and pliable.

After being heated sufficiently, the mouthguard is then taken out of the water and carefully placed in the mouth, over the teeth, and gently bitten down on so that the soft plastic moulds to the shape of the wearer’s teeth. The primary downside to these is that the plastic is thinner, which means that extra precaution should be taken to ensure that when moulding the mouthguard to the teeth, the mouthguard is not bitten through.

After the mouthguard has cooled and is properly formed to your teeth, you can then carefully make any adjustments to the mouthguard with a sharp and sturdy pair of scissors or a razor blade. Over-the-counter mouthguards are meant to be customizable, so if the mouthguard feels too long or is too high and aggravates the gums, it can be modified to suit your comfort level.

How well do they work?

When used for either sports or sleeping, the efficacy of over-the-counter mouthguards depends on a few things, such as these:

  • How intensely you grind, clench, and gnash your teeth together
  • The amount and type of outside force applied to the face (pucks, sticks, elbows)
  • The thickness of the mouthguard itself
  • Whether it was moulded properly after it was boiled
  • Its ability to stay on the wearer’s teeth, even when the mouth is open
  • A sleeper’s tendency to unconsciously dislodge the mouthguard

Protecting your teeth from grinding with an over-the-counter mouthguard is absolutely better than not protecting them at all. However, if your jaw moves enough to move or dislodge the mouthguard during sleep the mouthguard will no longer protect your teeth.

If you clench your teeth extremely hard, you may end up biting through the plastic or breaking the mouthguard which, again, would leave your teeth unprotected. If this sounds like your teeth grinding habits, a custom-fit mouthguard is going to be better suited to your needs.

How long do they last?

Because over-the-counter mouthguards are made from a pliable plastic, constant chewing, teeth clenching, and grinding wears down the plastic much quicker than the strong material used to make custom-fit mouthguards.

This means that over the course of a few months, over-the-counter mouthguards can break or become deformed and may no longer provide the same level of protection.

Where can I buy one and how much are they?

Over-the-counter mouth guards can be purchased at most pharmacies, drugstores, and some online retailers. However, if you are a first time buyer it is best to buy your mouth guard in person and speak with the pharmacy professional to ensure that you are getting the one best for you. Generally speaking, these mouth guards cost from $15 to $35.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to buy
  • Relatively quick to fit


  • Not suitable for violent teeth grinders
  • Do not last very long
  • Can be ill fitting
  • Less able to withstand forces during sports

Custom-fit Mouthguards

What are they?

Custom-fit mouthguards are prescribed and created by a dental professional from thermoplastic material and are based on a detailed mould taken of your mouth and teeth.

These devices are highly personalized as your dentist can adjust the thickness of the mouthguard depending on your level of teeth grinding and clenching, and they are designed to fit perfectly in your mouth with no adjustments needed. Custom mouthguards can be made for either sports or for nighttime teeth grinding, and are created differently depending on the intended use.

Most mouthguards are generally only fitted for the upper teeth, but can also be fitted for the bottom set of teeth in certain situations. Unlike over-the-counter mouthguards, no two custom mouthguards are the same, and for that reason they provide the most complete protection for your mouth.

How are they made?

The first step your dentist will take when creating your custom-fit mouthguard will be to take an impression of your teeth. This is generally done using a dental putty that forms to all the crevices of each tooth and creates an exact mould of your smile – unlike regular store-bought mouthguards which just form to the general shape of the tooth line.

This mould is then used in the dental office or, more often, is sent to a lab where the actual mouthguard is created. The structure is made by layering superheated plastic to precise specifications, and is then cooled to create an extremely durable piece of dental wear.

How well do they work?

Because custom mouth guards are so precisely made, they are able to provide you with optimal safety and comfort. This is something that over-the-counter mouthguards cannot ever achieve.

The level of protection afforded by custom-fitted mouthguards is unrivalled by any other mouthguard, and their durability is enhanced by the snug shape, which hugs each tooth closely, eliminating unwanted movement. For those who violently grind, clench, or gnash their teeth at night, custom-fit mouthguards can be made thicker, alleviating and reducing pressure on the jaw.

How long do they last?

Custom-fit mouthguards are very durable and do not lose their shape like store bought mouthguards tend to. The general rule of thumb for custom mouthguards is that every few years they may need replacing, depending on the level of wear and tear, and whether or not there have been any changes in the mouth or to the wearer’s teeth.

Children who are still growing will need their custom mouthguards updated more frequently to accommodate their changing mouths.

However, it is a good idea to bring your custom mouthguard with you to each dental checkup so that your dentist can ensure that it is still fitting properly and is not damaged.

How can I get one and how much do they cost?

Custom-fit mouthguards can only be obtained through your dentist. If you are eligible for one, your dentist will arrange a time when you can be fitted for a dental mould to begin the process of creating your custom mouthguard.

Because these mouthguards require professional attention and are so specific to each mouth, they can cost anywhere from $100 to $700 depending on what you will be using it for, how much material is needed, and other specifications your mouth may need. Be sure to check with your insurance provider whether or not the expense can be covered or partially covered according to your dental plan.


  • Best protection available
  • Extremely durable
  • Can both protect teeth and alleviate jaw tension


  • Can be expensive
  • Requires a dentist appointment

Talk to Your Dentist

Whether you are considering an over-the-counter mouthguard or think a custom-fit option might be the best for you, be sure to talk to your dentist about your specific needs. Contact us today if you have more questions about mouthguards

Article originally appeared at

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Teeth and Soda

What You Need To Know About Dental Erosion

What is dental erosion?

Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.

How do I know I have dental erosion?

Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower colour than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth can also be more sensitive to heat and cold, or acidic foods and drinks.

What causes dental erosion?

Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity in your mouth and get it back to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth.

Are there any medical problems which can cause dental erosion?

Bulimia is a condition where patients make themselves sick so that they lose weight. Because there are high levels of acid in the vomit, this can cause damage to tooth enamel.

Acids produced by the stomach can come up into the mouth (this is called gastro-oesophageal reflux). People suffering from hiatus hernia or oesophageal problems, or who drink too much alcohol, may also find they suffer from dental erosion due to vomiting.

Can my diet help prevent dental erosion?

Acidic foods and drinks can cause erosion. Acidity is measured by its ‘pH value’, and anything that has a pH value lower than 5.5 is more acidic and can harm your teeth.

Fizzy drinks, sodas, pops and carbonated drinks can cause erosion. It is important to remember that even the ‘diet’ brands are still harmful. Even flavoured fizzy waters can have an effect if drunk in large amounts, as they contain weak acids which can harm your teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks such as fruit and fruit juices – particularly citrus ones including lemon and orange – contain natural acids which can be harmful to your teeth, especially if you have a lot of them often.

‘Alcopops’, ‘coolers’ and ‘designer drinks’ that contain acidic fruits and are fizzy can cause erosion too.

Plain, still water is the best drink for teeth. Milk is also good because it helps to cancel out the acids in your mouth.

Are sports drinks safe?

Many sports drinks contain ingredients that can cause dental erosion as well as decay. However, it is important for athletes to avoid dehydration because this can lead to a dry mouth and bad breath.

What can I do to prevent dental erosion?

There are a number of things you can do:

  • Have acidic food and drinks, and fizzy drinks, sodas and pops, just at mealtimes. This will reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
  • Drink quickly, without holding the drink in your mouth or ‘swishing’ it around your mouth. Or use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.
  • Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help cancel out the acid.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.

Should I use any other special products?

As well as using a fluoride toothpaste, your dental team may suggest you use a fluoride-containing mouthwash and have a fluoride varnish applied at least every six months. They may also prescribe a toothpaste with more fluoride in it.

How can it be treated?

Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check-ups and advice your dental team can prevent the problem getting any worse and the erosion going any further. If a tooth does need treatment, it is important to protect the enamel and the dentine underneath to prevent sensitivity. Usually, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. However, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer.

How much will treatment cost?

Costs will vary, depending on the type of treatment you need.

It is important to talk about all the treatment options with your dental team and get a written estimate of the cost before starting treatment.

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