Category Archives: Dentistry

All things dentistry – interesting clinical cases, topics of interest, latest developments in the field, etc…

Week 1 – Eat It Forward (2017 Happy and Healthy Tooth Challenge)

For our first week, we stopped by Eat It Forward and asked Miranda Malisani to share some tooth-friendly snack ideas that would satisfy cravings for all ages. Check out her recommendations below, and, because sharing is caring, we’ll be giving away EVERYTHING featured in her video to one lucky person!!!

Miranda Malisani – Eat It Forward

Week 1 – Eat It Forward with Miranda Malisani (2017 Happy and Healthy Tooth Challenge)

Remember to head over to our Facebook Page for full contest details and to enter! Contest closes Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, April 10, 2017.  GOOD LUCK!

– Uxbridge Family Dentistry


2017 Happy and Healthy Tooth Challenge

April is National Oral Health Month and we’ve got something really exciting planned each week starting Monday, April 3. Check out Dr. Banh’s video below for all the details and don’t forget to tune back in on Monday so you don’t miss out! Have a great weekend everyone!

Dr. Banh Youtube Clip

Uxbridge Family Dentistry – 2017 Happy and Healthy Tooth Challenge

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At what age should I take my child to see the dentist?

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion as to when you should first take your child to see the dentist.  Just take a quick poll of your friends and family, google “child’s first dental visit”, or even ask your own dentist and you will get a wide variety of answers.

It is not uncommon to hear dentists say that they won’t see children until they are 3 years old. Why? The usual answer is that at that age, kids tend to be more cooperative and can sit through a cleaning with a hygienist. Unfortunately, this is often too late. Most children cut their first teeth by 6 months of age. So if they have their first dental visit at the age of 3 years, that first tooth would have gone unchecked by a dental professional for 2.5 years. A lot of damage could occur during that time, especially if the parents are not brushing the child’s teeth properly. Sometimes the unknowing parent will bring their 3 year old toddler to see me for the first time, only to find out that the child has several cavities. At this point, the child usually needs to be referred to a pediatric dentist to be put to sleep in order to fix the cavities or have teeth removed. Sedation is not without risks – though rare, the biggest risk is that the child does not wake up. A recent report by The Canadian Institute for Health Information found that early childhood caries (AKA “baby bottle caries”) is the leading cause of day surgeries for children ages one to five. This scenario could easily be avoided with early dental examinations and parental education.

So when is the right time for a child’s first dental visit?

At my office, I follow the guidelines set out by the Canadian Dental Association, which advises that a child’s initial dental examination should be done within six months of the eruption of the first tooth OR by one year of age, whichever comes first.


While some parents (and some dentists) might think it is a futile exercise to even attempt a dental examination on a writhing infant, it is quite possibly the best investment of time that parents can make in the oral health and general health of that child. Detecting cavities and oral conditions before they become major problems is only one of the benefits of this initial visit. Parents also learn proper brushing techniques and tips about how to better care for their children’s teeth. Dietary factors should be discussed as well as fluoride exposure to ensure proper nutrition and health of the child’s teeth. These early visits also allow the child to build a good trusting rapport with the dental team which helps to alleviate future dental anxieties.

Early childhood caries is a preventable disease. Proper diet, good brushing habits, and early dental visits will help lay the foundation of a lifetime of good oral health for your child.

Please share this widely to help educate parents of young children. Feel free to write any comments or questions below.

– Dr. Michael Banh

Ringing in 2014 with new Belmont dental chairs

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
                                                                – Ernest Hemingway

No matter how excellent a job we think we are doing, our practice is constantly trying to improve.  We decided this year to take a giant leap and upgrade four of our existing dental chairs with brand new ones that offer our patients nothing short of the best in comfort and elegance.  Our main criteria for selecting a new chair was patient comfort to help make dental appointments as relaxing as possible.  After trying out several different brands and models, we finally decided on the Quolis 5000, the premier line of dental chairs manufactured by a Japanese company called Belmont.

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Belmont has been manufacturing dental chairs for over 38 years, and is known for producing some of the most reliable equipment in the industry.  The amount of detail and precision that they put in their products is evident once you sit in the Quolis 5000.  The Ultraleather upholstery feels like a soft satin to the touch, with a very responsive type of cushioning memory foam – I even noticed the difference just sitting in the operator’s stool.

Bel-Halo LED light

We chose to upgrade our lights to the Bel-Halo LED lights, which uses less energy and produces less heat, and also happens to look beautiful.   We opted for the ceiling mounted versions of the lights in the dental operatories as it is useful in positioning for oral surgery where we are often standing to perform the procedures.

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We have yet to finalize the colour of the chairs in the hygiene operatories – K-Dental was kind enough to give us loaner upholstery so that we could make a final decision later. Thank you to K-Dental for their consultation and expert installation services throughout the process.

We are very excited to usher in 2014 with brand new equipment that will not only help us to serve our patients better, but will also improve their experiences in our office.

Happy New Year!

– Dr. Michael Banh, Uxbridge Family Dentistry

Brush-A-Mania is coming to Uxbridge!

April is a very special month in Canada – It is Oral Health Month.  To help spread awareness of this important month and to promote good oral health, Uxbridge Family Dentistry and The Rotary Club of Uxbridge will be running a fun and interactive educational event called Brush-A-Mania at three elementary schools in the Uxbridge region.

Brush-a-mania is a not-for-profit program designed to promote oral health and awareness among young children. It was started in 2001 by the the Rotary Club of Toronto – Don Mills and has already reached over 390,000 students.

Teams of five volunteers will be holding assemblies at Goodwood Public School, Joseph Gould Public School, and Uxbridge Public School on March 19March 26, and March 28, respectively.  These assemblies are aimed at teaching kids in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 about the importance of good oral hygiene, and establishing proper brushing and flossing techniques early on.  Approximately 600 children will be reached through these assemblies.

Thanks to a generous grant from The Durham Ontario Dental Society, each child will receive a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a special booklet to help them keep track of their brushing habits during the month of April. When the students return their completed booklets to their teachers, they will receive a certificate and official Brushamania sticker acknowledging their hard work.

Durham Ontario Dental Society
Supplies for this year’s Brush-A-Mania program in Uxbridge have been funded through a generous grant from The Durham Ontario Dental Society

Encouraging children to develop good oral hygiene habits at an early age is essential for creating healthy smiles that will last into their adult years.

– Dr. Michael Banh



Tooth Decay: What does a cavity actually look like?

The only time I open the hood of my car is to refill my windshield wiper fluid. If something else requires work in there, I take it to the dealership. On occasion, during a routine oil change, the mechanic will come out to inform me of some other work that needs to be done, such as a wheel alignment or brake pad replacement. Of course, when this happens, I’m probably not the only one to start wondering if the mechanic is working in my best interests or those of his wallet. After he answers a few of my questions, I usually consent to the work and continue to wait. And as I’m waiting, I can’t help but think how similar my customer experience at the dealership is to how some patients might feel when visiting a dental office to have a cavity filled.

Just like at the mechanic’s shop, patients confer an implicit trust to their dentist when having a dental procedure performed. Unless you are able to watch everything that the dentist is doing, you have absolutely no idea what is being done in your mouth – especially if you are frozen and have no sensation in the area being worked on.

When I do fillings, or any procedure for that matter, I make it a habit of telling my patients everything that I do, before I do it. This approach tends to calm even the most anxious patients, because they know exactly what to expect and leaves little to the imagination. For those patients who grew up with The Learning Channel, I am always happy to provide them with a hand-mirror to observe everything that I’m doing (with the disclaimer that they should not try these things at home).

When time permits, I like to take pictures at different stages during certain procedures to help educate patients and to provide further evidence as to why the dental work needed to be done in the first place. It’s only natural for patients to question if they really need a filling especially if they are not having any problems with the tooth in question – just like when the mechanic tells me I need my brakes replaced. Pictures truly are better than a thousand words, and they never lie.

Tooth Decay: a molar with a cavity on the chewing surface
Molar showing a dark spot on the chewing surface. No symptoms were reported.

The picture above shows a tooth with what looks like a mere dark spot on the chewing surface. The patient reported no symptoms with this tooth. However, upon clinical examination with my instrument called an “explorer”, that dark spot was actually a tiny hole which felt “sticky” to the touch. Soft spots like these indicate tooth decay (AKA: a cavity).

I administered local anesthetic and after confirming the patient was sufficiently numb, we started to clean out the cavity as seen below.

Initial cavity preparation
Initial preparation of the cavity
Further cleaning of the cavity
The cavity is opened more to show the true extent and reach of the decay
Indirect view of the cavity in dental mirror
The true extent of the cavity can be seen in the dental mirror

The cavity is cleaned out with the dental drill until there are no more soft areas (decay) in the preparation. The tooth looks deceptively normal from the initial picture, which can dangerously mask the true depth of the cavity below the surface. Indeed, it’s quite possible for some to not feel symptoms from a cavity of this size. However, if the tooth decay is not treated and is allowed to enlarge, over time it will extend deeper and closer to the nerve of the tooth – at which point symptoms of pain with chewing, sensitivity to temperature and sweets may ensue. If the pain worsens to a throb or ache, that’s when a root canal may be needed whereby the nerve of the tooth is removed. It’s usually best to be proactive and deal with these small problems when they are easier to fix, as opposed to waiting until it becomes a true dental emergency.

Final shot of tooth after a white filling has been placed
The cavity is restored with a white filling

It’s always nice to see pictures (Before, during, and after photos) of any work that you have done by a contractor on your home or mechanic on your car so that you fully understand what is happening and what you are paying for. Ask your dentist for the same!

– Dr. Michael Banh