The Key to Choosing a Family Dentist

When you have a family to care for, high on your list of priorities is finding the right family dental provider.  A great family dentist family dental nanaimocan treat your whole family and make it convenient for you and your family to come in for regular dental check-ups and any treatments that may be needed.

A family dentist will coordinate all of your family’s dental care and refer you out to dental specialists whenever needed. Given how important your family dentist is to you and your family, here are some things to look for when choosing a family dentist.

  • Education and Professional Development:

You have the right to ask a prospective family dentist a few questions about their credentials before establishing a relationship with her.  Ask where they graduated from dental school and when, and ask about ongoing professional development.

All dentists are required to do a certain amount of professional development each year, but some dentists go well beyond the requirements.  This is a good sign that your dentist is passionate about dentistry and means that you will be benefiting from the latest news and advances in dentistry.

You can also ask about the dental clinic’s equipment.  Has the clinic invested in modern dental equipment such as digital x-rays and other equipment that can make your visits to the dental clinic more comfortable and safe?

  • Experience:

Your prospective dentist’s experience can also be a factor in your choice, but more years of experience is not necessarily better.  Ask your dentist about years of experience, but also ask for testimonials or reviews from patients.

You can also ask the dentist which treatments they provide most often, which they enjoy and which treatments they prefer to refer out to other dentists or dental specialists.  A good dental care provider will put your care above trying to handle all types of treatment under one roof.

Even though a dentist may have been around for several years, it’s still a good idea to do a quick check online for any complaints or news articles about the dentist.

  • Services provided:

It’s very convenient for your family to have one dentist coordinate all of your family’s dental care needs – even though at times your dentist will refer you out for specialized treatment. If you place your trust in your family dentist it will save you time and energy and all your dental records will be kept in a single dental office.

  • The environment of the dental clinic:

When it comes to dental care, you should look for a clinic which is pleasant and gives you a positive feeling about being there. The environment of the clinic and the approach of the dental support team is important, especially for children visiting the dentist for the first time. Once children feel comfortable and secure going to the dentist, it will make it easier for the whole family to get the regular dental care needed.

  • The dentist:

Your choice of a family dentist also depends on the personality of the dentist. You and your family should feel that the dentist is patient and listens to your concerns. You should also look for strong communication from your dentist, explaining your treatment options in a simple way and not pressuring you to make decisions.

Contact Us

If you are looking for a family dentist in Nanaimo, get started by contacting Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book an appointment.  We strive to meet the needs of families and look forward to taking care of you and your family.  Read more about the Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group team.



What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

cosmetic dentistry nanaimoCosmetic dentistry has become a hot topic as both young professionals and baby boomers seeking to improve their smile, but it is a term that can mean different things to different people.

Some people associate cosmetic dentistry with looking younger – something like a dental facelift that can rewind the natural aging process of their teeth. Other people have developed a host of dental challenges that leave their teeth and smile needing a comprehensive approach rather than temporary fixes, and other yet, who have always felt self-conscious about their smile.

Much as cosmetic dentistry does not mean the same thing to everyone, a good cosmetic dentist offers a wide variety of treatment options for people seeking to enhance their smile. The options range from teeth whitening to porcelain veneers to Invisalign or braces.  In many cases, a combination of these dental techniques is required to deliver the best results.

Here are some examples of the most widely used forms of cosmetic dentistry in action:


Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in dentistry today. This fantastic dental procedure effectively provides a quick way for patients to achieve a beautiful white smile. There are several professional whitening procedures, both in office and at home which can be used to enhance your smile.

Composite Fillings

Traditional mercury fillings fail over time as the conditions of the tooth and mouth change. Worse yet, mercury fillings can crack otherwise healthy teeth as they expand and contract due to heat and cold. Newer, longer lasting composite fillings are a very effective replacement for old mercury fillings.  At Downtown Dental Group in Nanaimo, we only use composite fillings from the beginning!

Smile Makeover

A smile makeover is the ultimate restoration of your smile’s youthful appearance. A smile makeover encompasses all the necessary components of cosmetic dentistry for you to achieve a beautifully youthful and healthy smile.

The goal is to create a rejuvenated natural smile properly proportioned to your face. With advancements in cosmetic dentistry almost anything is possible. For example, crooked unbalanced teeth can be immediately improved through dental crowns or porcelain veneers.  This is known as “instant orthodontics”. Porcelain veneers are also often utilized to fix chipped and broken teeth and enhance the appearance of your natural smile.

Gum Therapy

A healthy smile is not just about healthy teeth, it’s about the overall health of your mouth and body. Using advanced ultrasonic Cleaning techniques, dentists are now able to combat bacteria growth and help the body use its own natural defenses to increase overall oral health. Treatments are also available to contour gum tissue to improve health or to reduce a “gummy” smile.

Neuromuscular Dentistry

Some smile improvements are not just cosmetic. Many of these treatments, such as neuromuscular dentistry, can improve bite problems such as over-bite, under-bite or cross-bite. When treated to maintain a proper jaw position, patients find a lifetime of jaw pain and headaches can be resolved in just a few appointments.

Which procedure is right for me?

Our dentists at our Downtown Nanaimo, BC, dental clinic can answer any questions you may have about techniques used to improve your smile. The condition of your teeth and results you seek often indicates the best procedure. We often give our patients a range of treatment options for best case scenario to short term or even temporary repair.  It’s always up to you to choose.

Contact us today to book an appointment or read more about cosmetic dentistry on our website!

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group Invisalign Preferred Providers

invisalign bracesDr. Mahara and dental team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo is a certified Invisalign Preferred Provider.

Undergoing orthodontics, or teeth straightening, is a big decision.  Invisalign is a great solution for those who would like to straighten or re-align their teeth but not put up with traditional wire and bracket braces.

Invisalign can provide the same great results as traditional orthodontics but with the convenience of:

  • Clear, nearly invisable aligners and
  • being removable for convenience when eating and caring for your oral hygiene

Like most people, you know that selecting the right dentist is a very important decision. You want to choose a dentist that you have a good rapport with, who understands your needs and can provide the treatment objectives you’re looking for.

Invisalign Preferred Providers have achieved a significant level of experience in treating patients with the Invisalign system. So, trust your smile to an Invisalign Preferred Provider.

Dr. Mahara and his team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, Nanaimo, B.C. look forward to serving all of your Invisalign needs.  Read more about Invisalign on our website and contact us today to book an appointment.

Advantages of Dental Bridges

dental bridgeIf you are missing a tooth or several teeth, dental bridges are a very natural looking way to replace them. Dental bridges not only help restore the function of your missing teeth, but have several advantages that may make them the right treatment option for you.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC welcomes you to read more about dental bridges and contact us for an appointment to discuss whether or not a dental bridge might be the solution you are looking for.

Restore your smile

Missing teeth often affect the appearance of your smile – unless they are at the back of your mouth.  Dental bridges fill in the teeth and look as natural as your surrounding teeth.

Maintain facial shape

Your face and jaw bone can change shape if you are missing one or several teeth. Your jaw bone needs the pressure from the teeth chewing to stimulate it to regenerate.  Without the teeth there, the jawbone recedes.  Replacing lost teeth will help maintain facial shape and minimize changes to your face and jaw.

Prevent chewing problems

TMD is caused when your teeth are not meeting properly and the bite becomes imbalanced.  This leads to a host of symptoms including headaches, earaches, jaw pain and even neck and shoulder pain.   Since missing teeth cause you to favor chewing on one side consistently, this behavior could lead to bite issues and more serious jaw joint issues such as TMD.

Allow you to speak properly

Teeth are important to proper pronunciation in speech. Missing teeth can quickly affect the way you talk. A dental bridge provides the same function as a natural tooth and immediately allows normal speech ability to return.

Prevent teeth from shifting

When a tooth is missing, the teeth around the space tend to shift, tilt, or drift into that space. Once teeth have shifted, it is not easy to shift them back.  A dental bridge holds the space of the missing tooth and prevents undesired changes to the neighboring teeth.

Advantages of dental bridges compared to implants

Dental implants have become a popular alternative to dental bridges and may indeed be a good choice for you.  Since we’re on the topic of advantages of dental bridges, however, the following are a couple of the significant advantages.

  • Bridges are much less expensive than implants, especially if multiple teeth need to be replaced.
  • If your bone has recessed at the site of the missing tooth, implants may require bone grafting

Please contact us to consult one of our Nanaimo dentists if you would like to find out which treatment option would be best to replace your missing teeth.  We look forward to meeting you at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group soon!

How to Keep your Child’s Teeth Healthy |Children’s Dentistry Nanaimo

Children are fortunate to be growing up at a time when dental education and access to a dental professional are at a children's dental downtown nanaimohigh point.  We know that it is possible for kids to grow up never knowing what a cavity and filling feels like –and it all starts with strong oral health habits!

The keys to your child’s oral health

Essentially, if your child can develop the following habits, he or she will be on their way towards a lifetime of dental health:

  • Brush teeth effectively twice per day
  • Floss teeth effectively every day
  • Visit the dentist at the intervals suggested by our downtown Nanaimo dental clinic for hygiene appointments and check-ups

It seems so simple, but we know that parents need help keeping their children on track.  Here are some of the ways that Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group can help!

Dental education

It’s important to help your children develop early dental habits that can last a lifetime and as your child grows. Regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist will encourage proper dental home care and teach your child how diet and cavities are related.

Fix problems when they are small

Many dental problems can be corrected if caught early.  This includes crowded teeth and irregular bites due to narrow jaws or underdeveloped lower jaws.

Children between the ages of 7 and may be prescribe dental appliances to correct these types of problems.

Our dentists enjoy working with children

Although it may be recommended that your child see a pediatric specialized dentist for more complex treatments, we can handle most of your child’s dental needs in our clinic.  Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group offers the following children’s dental services:

Dental hygiene and preventative treatments

Dental education on brushing and flossing for infants to children

Assessing the need for orthodontics for children and teens

Sports mouth guards for children and teens

Emergency care for kids

Keeping it fun!

We try to make your child’s visit to the dentist as fun and enjoyable as possible –and your children will learn that there really is no need to fear the dentist.  Your children can enjoy games and tv in our reception area and treatment rooms.   As a parent, you can help by speaking positively and having fun with a trip to the dentist.  Tell young children that the dentist is going to count their teeth and watch your children respond!

Rewarding good oral health

We enjoy giving a small toy to kids after their visit to the dentist. Encourage your child to ask for a toy after their visit.  More importantly, however, make sure that your child gets lots of positive feedback.

Contact Us

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group strives to have every child we treat grow up with the proper dental habits needed to maintain good oral health and prevent disease.  Please contact us to book an appointment for your child or for all your family’s dental needs today!

4 Reasons to Choose Composite (white) Dental Fillings

composite versus amalgam dental fillings nanalmoSilver or amalgam fillings have been used by dentists to fill cavities for over 100 years.  They are strong and long lasting, but they do have significant downside when compared to the newer dental development of composite, or tooth coloured fillings offered by Dr. Mahara at his Downtown dental clinic in Nanaimo, BC.

While there is mercury present in the silver filling material, called amalgam, in the past century there has been no evidence showing that silver fillings are harmful to patients.  The main arguments against the use of silver fillings are about the way silver fillings wear over time and the esthetics of obtrusive metal fillings.

Depending on where the tooth to be filled is located in the mouth, the appearance of a silver filling may have more impact on your decision to go with composite.  Having a dental filling anywhere in the smile line makes a silver filling much less attractive than a more natural-looking composite filling.  Composite fillings can be made to match the tooth colour of surrounding teeth and are virtually invisible to an observer.

In regard to how silver fillings wear over time, like most metals, silver fillings will eventually corrode and even leak causing decay to occur underneath the fillings. There is also a slow expansion that amalgam undergoes which can fracture the tooth next to the filling and cause the need for a much larger filling, a crown or even extraction of the tooth if the fracture is deep enough.

The Top 4 Advantages of Composite Fillings

  1. Composite fillings are primarily a resin which has been “filled” with other inorganic materials.   This compound makes a composite filling more resistant to wear, color adjustable, and easier to polish.
  2. The advantages of choosing a composite filling include a more natural appearance.  Dentists can match the filling compound to the shade and colour of your enamel, allowing the filling to blend into your teeth. Your teeth are white—why shouldn’t your fillings be as well?
  3. Composite fillings often strengthen the filled tooth, and bonding the filling to the tooth creates a better seal. Improved bondage of the filling to the tooth provides better structural support and restores the strength of the tooth. This also allows the material to repair cracked and damaged teeth.
  4. A smaller hole is necessary to place a composite filling, allowing for more healthy tooth matter to be saved.  Composite fillings can often be made smaller than a comparable silver filling as silver fillings that are too small are prone to breaking or falling out.

We welcome you to read more about composite fillings at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group on our website and to contact us to book an appointment.  We look forward to meeting you soon!

How to Get Over Your Dental Anxiety | Sedation Dentistry Nanaimo

If you’re among the 75% of the population who suffer from some degree of dental anxiety, here’s how to beat it! sedation dentistry nanaimoSedation dentistry is a solution that has helped thousands of patients with mild to extreme dental anxiety in safe and effective way.

What is sedation dentistry and how does it work?

Quite simply, sedation dentistry helps you manage your dental fears and allow you to get on track and stay on track with the dental treatments you need to enjoy long lasting dental health.

Sedation Dentistry involves the use of sedatives to help you attain a relaxed, easy and calm state before and during your dental visit. At our downtown Nanaimo dental clinic we offer oral sedation.  The strength of sedatives will be prescribed to suit you and can range from mild to moderate in their effect.

Oral Sedation Dentistry

Oral sedatives are taken as pills, which our dentists prescribe to the patient in the consultation visit leading up to the treatment.  Oral sedation patients feel relaxed and remember little of the treatment, but still maintain consciousness during the treatment.

Considerations for Sedation Dentistry treatment?

Our experienced dentists will help you decide if sedation is right for you.  One important consideration will be any medications and supplements you are taking.  It’s very important that all medications and supplements are disclosed – so bring a list to the consultation to be sure not to miss any.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Sedation dentistry is considered to be a very safe.  As in any medical procedure, dentists are trained to administer sedation and have several measures in place to ensure the safety of sedation dentistry patients.

Getting ready for you sedation dentistry visit

When having a sedation treatment you will need to be accompanied by a friend or family member both to and from the appointment. After the appointment, your friend or family member should stay with you until the effects of the sedatives have completely worn off.

For all of your sedation dentistry questions and for all of your family’s dental needs Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is here for you!  We welcome you to contact us to book an appointment today.

Can Dentistry Help Sleep Apnea and Snoring?

dental sleep appliance nanaimo dentistSleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects a great number of people.  According to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing sleep apnea and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have sleep apnea.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in dangerous daytime sleepiness, and has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and recently has been implicated in connection with periodontal disease.

We’ve all heard of sleep apnea, which refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturbs the sleep cycle, and fear this sleep disease that seems both hard to identify and treat.  The question is, can your dentist help you treat sleep apnea?

Using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea

Our dentists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group are trained in using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea.  This scientifically proven solution makes sense if you understand how sleep apnea occurs.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by airway blockage when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat relaxes and collapses during sleep.  Dental appliances are simply designed to change the jaw and tongue position to reduce or prevent the blockage of the airway. Worn during sleep, dental apnea devices treat sleep apnea by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.

There are many different types of dental apnea appliances for sleep apnea available. We invite you to consult with your dentist at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in regard to the ideal type of apnea sleep treatment for you.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms and feel that sleep apnea may be the cause, please contact our Downtown Nanaimo Dental office to arrange a consultation.

The two main symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of are: excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained; and snoring with gaps or delays in breathing

Other frequent symptoms that may accompany the above include: fatigue; depression; lack of concentration; high blood pressure; irritability; gasping or choking during sleep; morning headaches; memory loss; and impotence.

Can snoring also be treated with a dental appliance?

Like sleep apnea, snoring is caused by a reduced flow of air while sleeping.  The difference is that in the case of sleep apnea, breathing temporarily stops for a period of time. Read more about what causes snoring and modern dental solutions to snoring in an article written by Dr. Larry Hill, retired dentist from Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

If snoring is an issue for you or your spouse or family member, a sleep specialist must first test to determine if the case involves sleep apnea. If the problem is determined to be snoring, a dental appliance can be used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring.

How can I get started?

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances to treat sleep apnea and snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation today.  We look forward to serving you soon!

Teeth Whitening Tips for a Whiter Smile

teeth whitening nanaimo dental 2014Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure in dentistry and every year millions of North Americans undertake to whiten and brighten their smiles.  We all know that having a white smile makes us look and feel younger – and in the end, a whiter smile makes us want to smile more often to show it off!

At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, we have several teeth whitening options to suit your needs and your budget – everything from in-office teeth whitening to smile makeovers.  We also have a great financing plan to help you achieve the smile you desire sooner.

We welcome you to book a consultation today to find out how we can help you. In the meantime, here are some tips that you can start using today to have the white, healthy smile you deserve!

Brush and Floss Regularly

The best thing you can do to keep you smile healthy and white is to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Since plaque is one of the culprits that cause teeth to yellow, regular brushing and flossing help to remove plaque before it can give your teeth a yellow hue.

Flossing is extremely important and should not be overlooked. Up to 30% of your tooth surfaces are between the teeth, so it stands to reason that you can’t have a white smile without flossing!  Regular flossing helps to remove stains between teeth and make your smile whiter.

Whitening Floss

Whitening floss is available in stores.  Since we understand how important flossing is, why not whiten while you floss.

Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes provide more plaque removing benefit than just brushing by hand.  It’s a good investment in maximizing your time brushing and getting the whitest smile possible.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpaste is a bit of a misnomer, as toothpaste alone doesn’t whiten teeth.  It does, however, help scrub away stains before they settle in and discolor your enamel. Whitening toothpastes may be more effective at removing stains as they act to exfoliate plaque from the teeth.

Whitening Foods

Certain foods have been shown to stain teeth.  These include: red wine, berries, soy sauce, and curry.  While you do not have to avoid teeth staining foods altogether, it is a good idea to brush soon after ingesting them to reduce their ability to stain your enamel.

On the other hand, fresh and fibrous foods like celery, carrots, spinach, apples, and broccoli actually serve the function of removing stains by cleaning the teeth before deep staining can occur.

Eating cheese after a meal has been shown to help prevent cavities and promote enamel re-mineralization.  Healthy enamel is very important to tooth whitening as it protects the layer of the tooth called dentin which is the part that actually determines the color of your tooth. Strong enamel means a proactive barrier against yellowing of the teeth!

Time Your Brushing

To be effective, studies have shown that brushing should take at least two minutes. Time yourself and see if you’re brushing long enough.

We welcome you to read more about teeth whitening at Downtown Dental Group, in Nanaimo BC.  Please contact us to book an appointment – we look forward to meeting you soon!

4 Benefits of Digital Dental X-Rays

digital xray nanaimo dentalWe invest in technology to provide you with more environmental, comfortable and convenient dental imaging with digital x-rays.

Digital radiography gives our dentists superior technology in capturing and viewing x-rays, while providing you with a more comfortable experience. Here are four benefits that digital x-rays have over the traditional film method:

Immediately review the images on-screen

The digital x-ray procedure is similar to the traditional method you may be familiar with—you remain in the chair and wear a protective radiation blanket—but instead of using film, we place a small sensor in your mouth that instantly sends  the x-ray images to a computer monitor.

Within minutes, you will be reviewing the images with your dentist. In emergency situations, eliminating this waiting time is a great benefit for patients in pain.

Just like traditional imaging, problems such as cavities, bone loss, tooth decay, gum disease, and others will be revealed with digital imaging. The sensors can be re-positioned to capture as many images as necessary to efficiently view the x-rays.

State-of-the-art viewing technology

Capturing digital images also allows the dentist to view your x-rays with more tools. The ability to use colour contrasting can highlight certain areas that may have gone unnoticed with the traditional film method.

Rather than retaking x-rays that are unclear, dentists are now able to zoom-in and enhance any area of the image in high-definition to produce a clear picture. Patients are also able to view the x-rays, giving us the opportunity to share and demonstrate how your teeth are doing.

Simple referring with digital files

In case we need to refer your case to another dentist or specialist, we are able to quickly send your x-ray electronically to greatly reduce the waiting period. Since we store x-rays on your digital file, we can also correspond with your previous dental offices with ease.

Storing images digitally allows us to compare current and future x-rays to determine treatment success or to discover deterioration that may require additional treatment.

The safer, environmentally-friendly method

While traditional film x-rays are proven to not emit a harmful amount of radiation, digital imaging reduces that amount approximately by an additional 80%. The electronic sensors we use require much less radiation to be effective as they are more sensitive than film.

In addition to the time saved by producing a digital image, the environment is spared of the harmful chemicals needed to develop an x-ray from film.

Please contact us today or read more about digital x-ray technology on our website. We look forward to sharing our new equipment with you on your next visit to Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group!

5 Advantages of Dental Implants

missing tooth nanaimoA missing tooth could be more of a problem than you might imagine. Did you know that since each of your teeth depend on one another to keep their position, a missing tooth can cause your teeth to shift and tilt?

Another often overlooked fact is how the missing tooth affects your jaw bone.  Since one of the functions of a tooth is to stimulate bone renewal, once the tooth is gone, the bone quickly starts to recede and disappear.

All things considered, it’s very important to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible – and dental implants are becoming one of the top choices to do so.

How Does a Dental Implant Work?

A small titanium post acts as a substitute for the root of the tooth and creates a very strong anchor for a custom made dental crown. Implants can be used individually, or to support a number of dental prostheses, including implant-supported bridges and dentures.

Advantages of Dental Implants

Natural Appearance
A porcelain crown placed over the dental implant will look as natural as possible.

No Impact to Other Teeth
Since dental implants do not require restorations on the neighboring teeth, you don’t need multiple restorations on teeth that may not need it otherwise.

Stimulates Bone Renewal
Since bone regenerates due to stimulation from teeth rooted in the bone, a dental implant stimulates the bone and gums as much as a natural tooth would.

High Success Rate
The success rate for implants is remarkable: 98 percent for lower implants and 91 percent for upper implants.

Easy Care
A dental implant can be brushed and flossed normally.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

As with all things, good care is required to make your dental implants last.  With regular care and good hygiene habits, it’s possible that your implants can last for a lifetime.

Find Out if a Dental Implant is Right For You

The best dental implant candidates are in good health, have healthy gum tissues and adequate bone in the jaw to support the implant.

We welcome you to read more about dental implants at Downtown Dental Group in Nanaimo on our website and to contact us to book an appointment.  We look forward to meeting you soon!

Invisalign Express

A Quick Solution to Crowded or Spaced Teeth

Do you have mild crowding or spacing of your teeth? Or perhaps you’ve had braces or Invisalign before and your teeth have started shifting out of place?

Invisalign Express is a quick and affordable solution for mild crowding or spacing that may be the orthodontic solution you’re looking for.

What is Invisalign?

In case you haven’t heard of Invisalign, adults and teens now have a much better choice for straightening their teeth. Wires and brackets are no longer required for suitable candidates of Invisalign, a nearly invisible alternative to metal braces.   Invisalign uses a series of clear and removable aligners gradually moving teeth into their correct position.

Invisalign for Teens

Invisalign teen is an amazing product that takes much of the discomfort of traditional braces out of the picture, allowing you to remove the aligners while eating and cleaning your teeth.  For teens, the traumatic experience of trying not to smile to hide a mouth full of metal braces is no longer necessary.   Your teen will also be more motivated to wear the Invisalign aligners as they will be able to see steady progress and improvement clearly.

What is Invisalign Express?

Invisalign Express is a five-stage treatment for straightening teeth using nearly invisible aligners that can correct minor orthodontic issues in as little as three months!  Since the treatment is shorter than a full Invisalign treatment and requires only five sets of aligners, there are substantial savings to you.

How does Invisalign Express Work?

Patients who fit the criteria for this new treatment option receive a series of five aligner sets.  Each set of aligners is changed approximately every two weeks. During this period of time, the patient’s teeth will gradually move toward the desired position.

Take advantage of an economical and effective treatment option for people with minor alignment issues and book an appointment with Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC to discuss Invisalign Express.

You’ll find our dental team professional, respectful and ready to answer all of your questions about Invisalign or any of your family’s dental health needs.  We look forward to your call or email today!

The Truth About Sports Mouthguards

Are you or your child at risk of sports related dental injuries?

Dental injuries while playing sports are more common than you might imagine. Dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports.  These injuries are what every parent fears will happen to their child: knocked out teeth, injured cheeks or tongue, broken jaws and broken teeth.   To make matters worse, up to 75% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the most visible teeth in our smile, the front teeth.

A sports mouth guard is an obvious choice to reduce the chance of sports related dental injuries.  All sports mouth guards are not created equal however.  Low cost sports store mouth guards can make you feel as though you’re protected, when in fact your protection is limited.  Let’s take a look at what makes an effective mouth guard to help you choose wisely.

The following are the attributes of a properly fitted and effective mouth guard:

  1. must be protective with sufficient thickness in key areas, yet not bulky
  2. fit comfortably, allowing natural breathing and speaking
  3. tear resistant, keeps its form
  4. odorless & tasteless

Shelf bought mouth guards often do not meet any of these criteria when they are brand new.  Once they have been used for awhile and they are chewed out of shape, their condition makes them even worse.  Despite this, over 90% of the mouth guards worn are of the variety bought at sporting good stores.

What is the alternative to store bought mouth guards?

Fortunately there is a choice, one that measures up to all of the criteria of a good and effective mouth guard!  A custom made mouth guard, is not only much more comfortable, safe and allows you to breathe and talk naturally, it also has been shown to improve your physical performance.

How does a custom made mouth guard improve your physical performance?

In a nutshell, the custom made mouth guard is made for your perfect jaw and bite position.  When your mouth is in this relaxed position, the state of relaxation trickles down to your head and neck and even spine muscles allowing your posture to remain straighter and you to keep poised and balanced.  All of this adds up to improved physical performance in golf, hockey, football, basketball and many other sports.

Custom made mouth guards range from basic types which are suitable for kids and junior athletes to professional mouth guards for athletes looking to enhance their athletic performance.  To find out what is recommended for your needs, book an appointment with our Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group team.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

What’s New with Dental Crowns?

Perhaps you have a root canal treated tooth that needs strengthening, a CEREC same day crownbroken or misshapen tooth, or one that’s been weakened by large cavities?  If this is the case you may need a dental crown –and this post is for you.

Like most scientific fields, dental technology and knowledge have advanced in the realm of dental crowns and the traditional approach is no longer the only choice.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to offer CEREC, also known as same day or same appointment dental crowns. The whole crown process is completed in one visit with no need for a temporary crown.

CEREC is a sophisticated computer-aided system for producing durable high-quality ceramic restorations. It is simple to use, fast and is excellent for conserving the natural tooth. It is ideal for patients who want a solid ceramic, authentic tooth-coloured alternative to traditional crowns made of metal or gold – all completed in one visit.

If a CEREC crown is not right for your circumstances, dental crowns done by an aesthetically trained dentist are significantly more natural looking and shaped to fit your smile, preserve more of the original tooth structure, and the temporary crown used in the process is so natural looking and functional that many people would be happy to keep it.

To discover why both aesthetic and CEREC crowns look more natural, we have to explore why teeth look white in the first place.  In essence, light reflects off of the structure of a natural tooth, so it looks relatively bright. Traditional crowns however are made of metal and are covered with a porcelain material that makes them look white.  The metal inside the crown absorbs light rather than reflecting it, therefore making it less translucent and quite noticeably not a natural tooth.  The other related downside of the traditional porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM), is that sometimes the metal inner part of the crown near the gum-line will begin to show.  This dark line stands out sharply and is not aesthetically pleasing.

Aesthetic crown and CEREC crowns are made from a solid block of ceramic, like a statue that’s carved from a solid piece of stone.  The way it reflects light mimics that of a natural tooth and therefore looks perfectly natural among  your own teeth.  Metal showing along the gum-line is not possible, as there is none used.

Another huge advantage of the aesthetic crown is the comfort of the process.  All crowns are made in a dental lab, so there is a waiting period between having the tooth prepared and the crown being fitted.  Traditional dentists use a temporary crown that is meant only to cover the tooth, and not so much to be functional or to look good.  In the aesthetic crown process, the opposite is the case.  Not only is the temporary crown shaped exactly as the real crown would be, it feels as good as the real thing.

Beyond appearance and comfort, the aesthetic crown has one more significant benefit.  Since the aesthetic crown is placed with adhesive rather than cement, less surface area of the original tooth needs to be in contact with the crown.  This means more of your healthy original tooth surface can be preserved.

Contact us today to book an appointment or visit our website for more information.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

When is the right time to consider orthodontic treatment for your child?

The Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists recommend all children have an orthodontic evaluation invisalign no more braces nanaimoby age 7. Treatment does not necessarily begin at that time, but knowing which specific problems a child may be developing can prompt early attention and correct the problem before it starts impacting the child or teen’s health.

The case of a Nanaimo teen treated by Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is a good example of early intervention heading off a host of serious consequences.  The Nanaimo teen’s case started with his adult teeth coming in crooked and tilted and his lower jaw in a receded position.   Since the adult teeth no longer formed a smooth chewing surface after the adult teeth came in, the child began to experience the early signs of TMD, a jaw disorder characterized by clicking of the jaw, soreness in the jaw from chewing, jaw tension and headaches.  In this case, the child could not even chew gum without complaining of jaw soreness and headaches.

Teen orthodontic before and after photos :


“This was a more complicated case, “ says Dr. Mahara, “as the goal was to fix the jaw position, by moving the lower jaw forward, and straighten the crooked teeth.”

The teen recalls the time when his teeth needed straightening and his jaw was in pain.  “I was very aware of my crooked teeth and tried to hide my smile or not smile at all,” he says.  “I remember having a sore jaw and  headaches almost everyday,” he adds.

Dr. Mahara began the teen’s orthodontic and TMD treatment by correcting the jaw position with a fixed appliance that almost immediately eliminated the jaw pain and tightness which were the early symptoms of TMD.  Two years later the lower jaw had moved back into a normal position and then at age 15 the teen began the second phase of his TMD and orthodontic  treatment using traditional braces to straighten his teeth.

By age 16, the Nanaimo teen had completed his TMD and orthodontic treatment and couldn’t be happier with his nearly perfect straight teeth and a normal, pain-free bite.

If your child has crooked adult teeth or complains of jaw soreness and discomfort from chewing, talk to your dentist.  As with the Nanaimo teen treated at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, a positive ending to this story is possible with early intervention and a sound treatment plan.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Everything you need to know about your dental hygienist

Have you ever stopped to wonder how your dental hygienist manages to make your teeth feel so clean?  In this post we’ll explore this and all the other important checks that happen at each dental hygiene visit.

We hope that this will inspire you not only to appreciate your dental hygienist more, but to learn more and ask plenty of questions of your hygienist. One of our values at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group  is your education.  With knowledge comes the power to make your healthy teeth and smile last – so if you have a question, write it down and feel free to ask away at your next appointment!

Why come for a professional teeth cleaning?
The short answer is because you want to have healthy teeth that last into old age.  Going a bit deeper, you have to understand that plaque builds up 24/7 and that brushing and flossing only interrupt the build up of tarter and calculus.  Furthermore, dental hygienists clean below the gum line where you can’t reach with brushing or flossing.  You can say that your dental hygiene appointments level the playing field with plaque so you can keep up.

What can you do to prepare for a hygiene visit?
If you often feel pain or discomfort during a dental cleaning, take some ibuprofen just before the appointment.  For more intense discomfort, we can also use dental freezing –just let us know.

Please be on time as there is plenty to be covered in your 1 hour appointment.

Come regularly.  Depending on your situation you may be advised to come every 3 – 4 months, every 6 months or yearly.  Since our goal for you is to get you into a maintenance phase, we won’t advise you to come more than necessary.  Coming regularly means your dental hygienist can cover the full cleaning procedure in one hour – and it also means you head off dental problems before they begin.

What is your hygienist doing at the appointment?
Most obviously, your hygienist will be cleaning your teeth!  This is done both above the gum line (scaling) and below the gum-line (root planing) using a traditional hand scaler combined with modern ultrasonic scaling inserts that use vibrations to remove deposits.  Calculus or hardened plaque build up cannot be removed by brushing and flossing at home, so removing this answers the question of why your teeth feel so spacious after a dental hygienist cleaning.

In addition to this amazing cleaning your dental hygienist is busy heading off more serious dental problems through:

  • a periodontal assessment: including probing the depths around the tooth for signs of loss in the bone supporting the teeth in the mouth;
  • checking for gum recession, which measures how much attached gum is present and exposed root surface;
  • checking mobility of the teeth;
  • checking for presence of gingivitis;
  • polishing:  to remove any surface stain, delay the plaque from forming as quickly and as a bonus some polishing pastes have ingredients that help the tooth take in fluoride better and therefore strengthen the teeth;
  • fluoride treatment (optional) helps prevent further cavities from forming and harden areas that are weaker;
  • an  extra-oral exam is done at least once a year to check the head, neck and jaw areas for confirmation of health;
  • An intra-oral exam to check the gum tissues, tongue and lips for confirmation of health;
  • x-rays are done if due for them -these are important for preventative measures

You’ll also have an exam done by your dentist as well as get a chance to ask any question you might have. As you can see there is a lot going on at your dental hygienist visit.

Now that you know, you can maximize the health of your family’s teeth and maximize the benefit of your dental hygiene visits. Please follow this link to find out the top 4 dental hygienist tips for home dental care, as well as what to expect at your dental hygienist visit.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Taking Dental Health Education to the Schools

A child having a cavity or two in their baby teeth can seem insignificant.  Those teeth will fall out after all.  Thedental health education nanaimo habit however, of taking care of our teeth is often learned or not learned in childhood.  With poor dental health habits, cavities in baby teeth, later in life become cavities in permanent teeth and then possibly lost teeth, root canals or a host of other dental problems.  

To bring the importance of developing proper habits to children, Dr. Mahara, a Nanaimo dentist is taking dental health education to the schools.  “The best dental treatment,” he says, “is prevention” – learning about brushing and flossing and eating right.  

“Kids learn best when they are interested, engaged and having fun,” says Dr. Mahara of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.  This is what the “catch a smile” program is all about.

Realizing the importance of kids learning about dental health in a relaxed and positive environment, Dr. Mahara decided to take the learning to the kids in school.  The “Catch A Smile Dental Program” was originally designed and piloted by Rotary Club of Kihei Sunrise–Maui, Hawaii in 2012. Donna Allen, a long serving Rotary member, liked the idea and partnered with Dr. Mahara to bring it to Nanaimo.

The concept was adopted and funded by the Rotary Club of Nanaimo – Daybreak for implementation in kindergarten classes in eight schools in the Nanaimo – Ladysmith School District 68 in 2015 and is going strong into 2019.

“We play games, sing a song and have a laugh with Mr. Chewy, a big blue stuffy dragon with a big teeth. Mr. Chewy happily squirts water which makes kids laugh and giggle.”

To add to the show, a fellow Rotarian and a couple of Vancouver Island University dental assisting students, who dress up like tooth fairies, come along to help out Dr. Mahara. 

The kids also get to play a food game with Mr. Chewy. All kids are randomly given a pictures of different foods. They are asked to identify foods that are healthy or unhealthy for our body and teeth. Then they learn to sing a brushing song while practicing good brushing technique.

Currently schools are contacted individually. We’d like to reach to as many schools as we can.  School principals can feel free to reach out to us to arrange this program for their school.

Dr. Mahara also hopes that parents can get involved at home and participate with the kids. And, if teachers continue the singing and pretend brushing in the class routine, it will create a habit.

Are you dentist or educator? We would be happy to tell you more about bringing this program to your community.  Contact Us.



The Truth About How Often You Need a Dental Cleaning

We’ve all heard that poor oral hygiene leads to cavities, bad breath and can lead to more serious conditions like gum disease.  Since the body is interconnected, poor oral health has even been scientifically linked to other health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

What is the role of dental cleanings in maintaining oral hygiene and how often should we have them?

Here’s a scenario:
Your dental hygienist seems troubled that you haven’t been in for a dental cleaning for over 2 years and your dentist is emphasizing how important it is for you to come in at least every 6 months for a dental cleaning.  You brush your teeth and floss every day and since your dental insurance only covers you for cleanings every year, you secretly wonder if the dentist just wants you to come in often so they can stay in business.

It seems rational that if you brush and floss daily you’re doing everything necessary towards excellent oral health, but there is a technical problem with this reasoning.  The problem is that plaque and bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease can be out of reach of your tooth brush and floss. This is especially true if you have deep pockets in the gum line between your teeth.  Normal pockets are 2 – 3 millimetres deep, whereas 4 – 5 millimetre pockets are considered deep and unreachable by home dental care measures.

The fact that your dental insurance provider only provides for cleanings once per year is a poor indicator of how often you really require a cleaning.  After all, how often has your dental insurance provider looked in your mouth lately?   And if you become one of the many adults who lose teeth due to gum disease, blaming your insurance carrier won’t change the grim fact.

So how often do you need a dental cleaning?

In truth it depends on your current oral health.  If you haven’t been in for a professional cleaning for awhile, it would be wise to book an appointment to have one done and ask your dentist and hygienist what your dental hygiene needs are.  Following your dentist’s advice might take more effort now, but will save you tremendously in the long term.

Find out more what you can do today to create and maintain excellent oral hygiene. Contact us to book an appointment.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine, and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office, we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Don’t Let Dental Fear Hold You Back | Sedation Dentistry

Statistics show that a staggering 75% of us suffer from some form of dental fear, and 5 – 10% of us have a sedation dentistrystronger fear that prevents us from going to the dentist at all – even for hygiene visits!  Avoiding regular dental care, however, often leads to more serious dental problems and therefore more trips to the dental clinic.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a dental method used to help patients manage their fear and get the treatments they need to maintain good oral health.  Using safe doses of sedatives to help calm and relax you before and during a dental treatment, sedation dentistry allows you to temporarily control fear and anxiety.

One of the key benefits of sedation dentistry is that your dentist can complete more dental procedures in a single visit and eliminate the need for multiple visits to correct a problem.  A second key benefit is the amnesia effect it produces.  In essence, patients tend to remember little of a sedation appointment.

Through the use of sedation dentistry, our Nanaimo dentists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group have helped hundreds of patients to get on track with regular hygiene and dental check-ups and achieve good oral health.

How is sedation dentistry administered?

There are two types of sedatives used for dental sedation at our Nanaimo dental clinic: oral sedatives, which provide deeper levels of sedation; and inhalation sedation, or “laughing gas”, which induces a state of well-being while the gas is inhaled.

After determining your medical history and the level of dental anxiety you suffer from, we will let you know the recommended sedation method for your appointment.  For patients with severe dental anxiety, we may also prescribe a sleep aid to be taken the evening leading up to the visit.

We provide a blanket and pillow to help you relax during the procedure and to ensure your safety, your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels will be monitored continuously.

What does sedation dentistry feel like?

Sedation dentistry quiets the mind and deeply relaxes your body.  The majority of sedation dental patients tend to sleep through the dental visit and not remember much of it.   Of note, however, sedation patients remain conscious and will respond to the feedback of the dentist.

Are you a candidate for sedation dentistry?

If you are one of the 10% of people who suffer from a severe fear of the dentist, it’s possible that sedation dentistry could be the solution you’re looking for.  We invite you to book an appointment at our dental clinic to see if sedation dentistry is right for you.

To learn more about process and benefits of sedation dentistry offered at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, in Nanaimo, BC, please visit our sedation dentistry page.

Why Replacing Missing Teeth Is Essential

Hockey players may make missing teeth look like no big deal – but the reality is quite the opposite! In fact, everythe health effects of missing teeth tooth in your mouth serves a valuable function, even a missing tooth in the back of the mouth which is not visible in your smile.

Why is this?  You could say that each tooth in your mouth depends on the others to keep its proper position and furthermore that even your face and lips depend on your teeth to maintain its ideal shape.

The fact is that missing teeth create a space that eventually will lead to shifting and tilting of adjacent teeth or opposing teeth, or if many teeth are missing, allow significant changes to the shape of the face and mouth.

The more teeth that are lost and not replaced, the increased chance that wrinkles and lines will form and the cheeks and lips will collapse, causing you to look older than you are.

The jawbone is another major consideration.  As soon as a tooth is lost, either from gum disease or an extraction, the supporting bone in the jaw begins to dissolve. Over time, loss of bone and shifting of teeth can limit dental options for replacing the missing teeth.

The ideal solution is to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible after it is lost. This will retain your oral health by preventing bone loss and reduce movement of surrounding teeth.

Keep in mind that your teeth are there to serve you with more than the ability to chew alone. A full set of teeth are necessary for the health of the gum and jaw tissues as well, not to mention the obvious affects on your confidence and well-being.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, you have several options for making your smile complete:

  • a fixed bridge
  • a complete denture
  • implants

Our team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is here to help you get a healthy smile back after losing a tooth or several teeth.  After a consultation with our Nanaimo dentists on Vancouver Island, we’ll advise you on the most suitable treatment option for your unique situation.

If finances are holding you back, we have a convenient and low cost financing option to help you get your full and healthy smile back. Contact us today to book an appointment.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

How Invisalign Braces Help Promote Healthy Teeth

Would you trade the overall health of your teeth for a perfectly aligned, beautiful smile? Of course not! Luckilyno more braces nanaimo invisalign these two goals are not mutually exclusive. Dental health is always the number one goal for our patients, so before we discuss the benefits of Invsalign, you need to know why having straight teeth is actually vital to creating a healthy vibrant mouth and smile.

Why straighten?

Are your teeth crowded or too widely spaced?  Beware, as swollen, red gums prone to periodontal disease can often be the result.  Crowded teeth can lead to plaque accumulation and tooth decay, while spacing issues between teeth can lead to gum problems due to lack of protection by the teeth as well as periodontal pockets.

Properly aligned teeth allow the gums to fit more securely around the teeth, allowing for the strongest and healthiest defence against potential periodontal problems.

Do you have an overbite or underbite?

As with crowded or widely spaced teeth, these conditions not only affect your appearance, but could be causing dental problems and leaving you more prone to periodontal disease.

If you suffer from teeth crowding, spacing, overbite or underbite, you’ll be pleased to know that traditional metal braces are not the only option.

Invisalign, clear, removable solution for orthodontics

Invisalign is a patent technology that uses a series of custom made clear aligners that fit on to your teeth.   Invisalign treatments last between  4 – 12 months for less complex cases and 18 – 30 months for more complex cases.  The trays must be worn for 22 hours per day to be effective, but may be removed for eating and regular cleaning.

There are many advantages to using Invisalign over traditional metal and wire braces.  Since you can remove the aligners, it’s much easier to maintain good oral hygiene while straightening your teeth.  There is little to no discomfort in terms of contact with soft tissues in your mouth and the aligners are virtually un-noticeable to those around you.

Invisalign is often the treatment of choice for adults, but teens can also use Invisalign to straighten their teeth.  In fact, Invisalign for teens provides for the free replacement of up to 6 aligner trays throughout the treatment plan.

In terms of cost, Invisalign treatment is comparable to traditional braces and many extended health insurance providers recognize Invisalign and provide benefits in the same way as any orthodontic procedure.  To spread the cost out over a period of time, talk to our Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group receptionist about our no fee dental financing program.

Invisalign is a great technology that may be able to help you improve the health and appearance of your smile while maintaining your comfort like never before possible.  As a certified Invisalign provider, Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group welcomes you to book a consultation to discuss whether Invisalign is a suitable option for you.

Please link to the following pages on our website to find out how Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group can make Invisalign work for you.


3 steps to a smile makeover

If you’re not happy with your smile and ready to make a change, Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is here to help you get there.

The smile makeover process includes 3 steps after the initial consultation:

1) The Treatment Plan
2) The Smile Makeover Prep Session
3)  The Finishing Session

Of great importance, each step of the process has carefully planned quality checks built in to ensure your maximum comfort and the maximum success in creating your perfect smile.

What makes Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group’s approach to a smile makeover successful?

  • Each person’s smile is unique. Your smile makeover will be designed and planned to identify your ideal smile and ensure that your investment in your smile is protected from early wear.
  • We take the time to listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions.
  • We do our best to maximize your comfort.  Does the thought of temporary veneers or crowns sound uncomfortable? Today’s temporary veneers and crowns feel and look so real that no one will even know they are not permanent.  Does the thought of dental procedures make you uncomfortable?  Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group prides itself on providing options to improve your comfort during procedures.
  • Is cost an issue? Apply for no fee financing to put your smile makeover in your budget.

Contact Downtown Dental Group today to book a smile makeover consultation.

No Fee Dental Financing!

Being healthy is a growing concern for more and more people in Nanaimo. The hard choices usually come down to a question of affordability – especially when you have a family to take care of.

PayBright’s mission is to make life more affordable for Canadians. With our convenient payment plans, you can buy now and pay over time in affordable installments. We can help you cover a wide variety of purchases – and we use leading technology to make the process fast and easy.

How it works:

1. Apply Online

Apply with our easy online application in under a minute.

2. Get an Instant Decision

Get our instant approval decision right away, displayed on screen along with the amount of funds available to you.

3. Begin Your Treatment

Proceed to your preferred health provider to finalize your payment plan and begin your health treatment without delay.

4. Make Payments

Paybright will pay your healthcare provider directly. We will set up convenient pre-authorized monthly or semi-monthly payments from your designated bank account.

Paybright provides:

  • affordable monthly payments
  • online access to your account 24/7
  • peace of mind knowing your can start your program today!
  • No activation of annual fees
  • You can prepay or payoff early at any time, with no penalties

Ask Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group’s reception for more information on this exciting no-fee way to finance your dental health.

How do I find a dentist near me? The 4 factors you must pay attention to

Are you new to Nanaimo and wondering, “How do I find a dentist near me?”  It’s great that you’re find a dentist nanaimothinking about this now rather than when a toothache or emergency occurs.  It is recommended that you find a dentist as soon as you move to a new area.

Choosing a dentist and taking care of your oral health is a personal decision. You want a dentist you can talk to, learn from and feel good about visiting. These are some ideas from the Canadian Dental Association on how to find a new dentist:

  • Recommendations – Ask around. Friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbours, other group members, your physician or your pharmacist may be able to help.
  • Referral – See if your current dentist can suggest someone in your new area.
  • Professional listings – Contact your provincial or territorial regulatory authority or dental association. Many association websites have a dentist locator or dentist directory.

You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore, you should find someone you can be comfortable with. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, the following 4 factors are essential: convenience, the dental office, the dentist, specialization:


Since going to the dentist is an ongoing commitment that will happen regularly, perhaps over many years, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Is the location convenient?
  • How long does it usually take to get an appointment?
  • Do the office hours work well with your schedule?
  • What happens if you have an emergency or need after-hours care?
  • What payment options are available?
  • If you have children, will the dentist see them too?
  • Ask about any concerns you or your family may have, e.g., does the dentist have experience with special needs children, people with HIV/AIDS or people with diabetes?

At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, we are conveniently located downtown and offer plenty of free parking at the clinic.  We have extended hours on Thursdays for people who work during the day and find it difficult to get time off work to attend a dental appointment.  We like to take care of your whole family and are happy to work with children of all ages.  We accept a variety of payment methods and offer financing options where applicable.

Dental office

It is recommended that you call or visit more than one dentist before selecting one.

When visiting a dentist’s office, consider the following factors:

  • Does the office appear to be clean, neat, and orderly? Do all surfaces and equipment in the treatment room appear clean?
  • Is the dental staff helpful and willing to answer your questions?
  • Do you observe the dentist and staff wearing gloves and other protective gear during actual patient treatment?

You’ll find the staff at Downtown Dental Group extremely friendly and helpful.  Check out some of our testimonials and see our Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group Facebook page to get a better sense of this!  Our clinic is very organized and we go above and beyond to provide a safe and comfortable dental experience – including digital x-rays, mercury-free fillings, dental freezing reversal and more.

We also go above and beyond to provide services with a personal touch.  For example, we provide a pillow and blanket as an option for patients, coffee and beverages for busy moms and dads to relax while their family is getting dental work done and wifi and live TV in treatment and waiting rooms to catch up on news and sports updates.

The dentist and staff

It’s important to consider the personality and values of the dentist.  You want to make sure you are on the same page in key areas.  Consider the following:

  • Does the dentist answer your questions clearly?
  • Does the dentist explain your options for treatment?
  • Does the dentist tell you what the all the costs will be before you start treatment?
  • If you’re nervous about dental procedures, is the dentist comfortable working with that?

Dr. Mahara will patiently explain all treatment plans and make sure you understand your options.  The cost of treatment is always clearly outlined in any treatment plan.  Dr. Mahara has helped many patients who suffer from dental anxiety through good practices and, when appropriate, through sedation dentistry.

Dr. Mahara and his team are dedicated to ongoing professional development and advanced technology to bring you the very best that dentistry has to offer.  The team is proud to offer CEREC, same day crowns, Invisalign with digital impressions, smile makeovers and cosmetic dentistry, sleep apnea dental, treatment for TMD, also known as Neuromuscular dentistry and more.

Contact us today to learn more about Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group!

6 Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If you suffer from a fear of the dentist, inhalation sedation or  “laughing gas” could be a sedation dentistry solution sedation dentistry nanaimofor you to consider.  Here are 6 of the advantages of this mild and temporary form of sedation dentistry.

It works very rapidly.
Since it is a gas, it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-relieving properties usually take effect after only 2 or 3 minutes.

The depth of sedation can be adjusted as needed.
Due to the quick uptake and effect of laughing gas, your dentist can adjust your level of sedation quickly as well.  Other sedation techniques, such as oral sedation take a longer period of time to take effect and therefore don’t allow for this.

It is a very flexible sedation dentistry treatment method.  With laughing gas, it’s easy to give incremental doses until the desired action is obtained.  Also, it can easily be switched off entirely when not needed and then switched on again if there is any further need.

There’s no after effect.
The gas is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped. You can safely drive home and don’t need an escort.

No injection is required.
Most people who harbor fears of the dentist also have fears about needles.  Laughing gas is easy to administer and requires no needles.  In cases of very severe needle phobia, getting laughing gas first can help you feel relaxed enough to allow the needle required for IV sedation.

It is a very safe form of  sedation.
It has very few side effects and the drugs used have no ill effects on the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.

Effective at minimizing severe gagging.
Inhalation sedation has been found to be very effective in eliminating or at least minimizing severe gagging.

Despite all the benefits of laughing gas as a sedation dentistry treatment option, many dental clinics do not offer it.  To offer it, training is required, the equipment is takes up space and the cost of the equipment and gases is high.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to offer inhalation sedation to our patients despite the above mentioned barriers. We strive to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your dental visits to our clinic and offering laughing gas is part of our effort to serve you and all of your family’s dental needs.  Please read more about sedation dentistry at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group on our website.

We look forward to seeing you and invite you to call to book an appointment today!


What is TMD?

Do you suffer from any of the following: headaches or earaches, especially in the morning? Biting or chewingwhat is tmd difficulty or discomfort?  Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth? Reduced ability to open or close the mouth?  Unexplained neck and shoulder pain?

If any or all of the above symptoms fit you, it’s possible that the root cause of these symptoms is TMD or Temporomandibular joint disorder.  In simple terms TMD refers to an imbalance in the joint where your jaw bone meets the skull.

Why would an imbalance in your jaw cause earaches, headaches or even face and neck pain?
The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is special for a couple of reasons.  First, unlike the joint of your finger which allows movement in a single direction, the TMJ also allows movement from side to side.  This is needed for chewing food –as you’ll notice that you not only bite up and down but also side to side.  The second is that is contains no pain sensors where the bone meets cartilage.  Therefore if there’s stress on the TMJ it’s not felt there, but rather in surrounding areas.  This shows up as headaches, earaches, facial pain, even neck and shoulder pain.

What causes TMD?
There are several possible reasons for the TMD, a few of them being: repetitive unconscious clenching or grinding of teeth at night, injuries from falls or sports, misaligned tooth surfaces, excessive gum chewing or nail biting or degenerative joint disease.

Is there a cure for TMD?
The correct diagnosis of TMD is the first challenge.  Up until quite recently, little was known about the effects of TMD.  Also, most people visit a physician for the types of pain associated with TMD and many physicians are not aware of this potential cause.

The symptoms of TMD can be alleviated once the correct cause of the disorder is identified.  In fact there is now a whole branch of dentistry dedicated to the detection and care of TMD called Neuromuscular Dentistry.  Since it is a specialized field of dentistry, it’s important to be referred to a dentist who has been properly trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry.

To learn more about TMD and Dr. Mahara’s training in Neuromuscular Dentistry, please visit the Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group website.  To book an appointment, contact us today.

Dental Health Links to Serious Disease

The concern about dental health is not only about having healthy teeth and a healthy mouth.  It’s a fact that the oral health equals overall healthbody is an inter-connected system, so it makes sense that poor dental health can spill over into poor overall health.

In fact there has been significant research links from poor dental health to:

  • Diabetes,
  • respiratory diseases
  • serious infections
  • heart disease
  • women delivering pre-term, low birth rate babies

Beyond these serious health issues there are several more common issues linked to poor oral health:

  • damage to your appearance and self-esteem,
  • sleeping problems,
  • behavioural and developmental problems in children
  • and even your ability to chew and digest food properly.

No wonder our dental team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is so passionate about proper dental cleaning and dental maintenance!

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily (yep, floss too!).
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse; it can help to reduce the bacteria in your mouth. It is possible to have gum disease and not even know it. The signs of gum disease are bleeding gum, receding gum and bad breath.
  • Visit your dentist regularly to have your mouth examined and don’t wait for problems to see your dentist
  • Eat a healthy diet according to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Do not smoke. If you do smoke, make sure to visit your dental hygienist regularly.
  • If you are pregnant, take especial care of your diet and oral health
  • Brush your children’s teeth for them, until they are able to write (not print) their own name. They should then be able to brush their own teeth with your guidance

It’s important to note that most extended health dental plans provide coverage for regular dental check ups and cleanings –usually every 6 months for children and 9 months for adults. If you have a gum problem, you may need to visit Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to have your teeth cleaned by hygienist every 3-4 months until your condition resolves. This small investment is worth it considering the irreparable damage gum disease can cause.

Be sure to check your policy and maximize your trips to Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for regular hygiene and check-ups by letting our dental reception know that you’d like to receive a reminder.  We’re happy to provide any extra service that keeps you smiling.  Book an appointment today.

Here are a few more good articles to read on the subject of dental health:

The Effects of Oral Health on Overall Health

How to Brush Properly

The Best Ways To Whiten Teeth

A lot of people don’t love their smile and will do odd things to hide it – like changing hairstyles, wearing funky teeth whitening nanaimo dental 2014clothing or cultivating a year-round tan.

Smile whitening is the quickest and cheapest way to make a huge impact on the quality of your smile – yet whitening toothpastes and drug store whitening kits have left many teeth whitening experimenters exhausted, perplexed and disappointed. Why is this?

The fact is there are many reasons for teeth staining or discoloration and there are specific dental teeth whitening approaches to each. This article provides the quick facts with a link to more details about all the issues surrounding teeth whitening.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group’s dentists and dental professionals recognize that you are a unique individual and we want to help you find the best teeth whitening solution for you.

We also understand that you need to be fully informed when you make the decision to whiten your teeth and start smiling!

What Stains Teeth?

  • Surface Stains: Caused by strong discoloring agents such as coffee, tea, tobacco, blueberries, red wine
  • Soft Deposits:  Caused by plaque
  • Intrinsic Stains: Caused by medications, such as tetracycline; trauma to tooth leading to internal bleeding; advanced decay; defective silver fillings

What are the teeth whitening treatment options?

This is the lowest cost form of teeth whitening used to treat minor surface stains.  Microabrasion is a more advanced form of polishing that can be used for deeper stains.

Tooth whitening
If you are happy with the shape and proportion of your teeth and want a brighter smile, teeth whitening is a relatively inexpensive and noninvasive approach.

Dental office whitening is quicker as it uses professionally dispensed stronger and freshly prepared agents under a controlled environment.

Professional home whitening is also an option that spreads the treatment period over 10 days to 2 weeks.  The downside of this is that you need to take care of the custom trays and maintain the supplies.

The third option is prefilled disposable trays also known as whitening on the go. You apply them for just 20 minutes a day and dispose of them after you are done.

Bonding can be used to cosmetically contour teeth and mask many types of stains.  However, bonded teeth tend to stain easily and require periodic repair.  Bonding is a good teeth whitening option only if you are not a heavy smoker or coffee drinker and are willing to take extra care of your new smile.

Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain doesn’t stain so has the property of staying attractive for a much longer time as it is custom fabricated at a lab. Porcelain veneers can be very conservative and can be as thin as 0.3 milimeters but can have the added benefit of improving the shape of teeth and the bite.

Crowns are not normally recommended for discolored but otherwise healthy teeth.  For teeth with other functional issues, such as large fillings or excessive wear, weak teeth due to crack and craze lines, crowns may be an option.  Like porcelain veneers, crowns provide re-shaping of teeth and are resistant to staining. Crowns provide support and protect a tooth. Better chewing ability also leads to better over all health.

For full and detailed information on the pros and cons of each teeth whitening procedure please visit the Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group website.

6 Tips From Your Children’s Dentist

As a parent, bringing your child to the dentist can be difficult if your child is afraid.  Our focus at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is to help you care for your child’s dental health from the beginning and help you to ease your child into developing a positive and lifelong habit of regular dental check-ups and hygiene visits.

Start With Great Habits

Start them young by bringing your child along to your own or their siblings’ dental visits.  We’ll make sure theychildrens and teetn orthodontics nanaimo August 2015 are engaged positively and that they even get a small prize for coming.  Regular visits to the dentist cannot be emphasized enough in creating conditions for great oral health. Start your child young on a path that will encourage proper dental hygiene, emphasize the link between diet and cavities, and teach injury prevention.

When you child is three years old they should begin having a regular dental examination.  Starting this early keeps those early appointments short, easy and positive, turning them into a patient who enjoys coming to the dentist.

Catch Correctable Problems Early

Crowded teeth and irregular bites due to narrow jaws or underdeveloped lower jaws can often be corrected through the use of functional appliances if caught early.  The ideal age for the use of functional appliances is between ages seven and eleven, but can be utilized as early as age 4, if the upper jaw is too narrow and is having a negative effect on the child’s breathing and speech.  Catching dental problems early can mean less time in orthodontic treatments as a teen and not having to remove permanent teeth due to over-crowding.

Supervise Brushing up to Age 5 or 6

Since children lack dexterity and often really do not understand how important it is to brush thoroughly, it’s important to supervise their brushing once they are able to do it on their own. You should supervise your child’s brushing until you are comfortable with them doing it themselves, which often means until the age of 5 or 6.  This investment of your time will be worth it when your child’s check-up reveals a clean bill of health!

Don’t Forget About Flossing!

Once your child’s teeth have grown in, your child should start flossing daily.  Most parents have no problem with enforcing a routine of brushing each morning and each evening before bed, but often neglect to add the important step of flossing.  Simply put, the tooth brush cannot reach between the teeth which cavities often start.  The best time to floss is at night – so add it to your child’s bedtime routine and set your child up for a complete and effective oral healthcare routine.

Nothing Except Water After Night Brushing & Flossing

After your child’s bedtime brushing make sure they do not drink anything besides water or eat before bed.  If your child does eat or drink after brushing, make sure they brush again!  Foods or sugary drinks at night are one of the major causes of decay and cavities in young teeth, so it’s worth being very strict about this rule.

Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Get in the Way

You child learns a lot from you, including your attitudes.  Therefore, speaking and acting positively about going to the dentist, naturally creates a positive attitude in your child about the dentist.   A lot of adults harbor anxiety about going to the dentist.  This is unfortunate since modern advances in dentistry, such as sedation dentistry, make it completely unnecessary to even remotely fear going to the dentist.   If you have dental anxiety, come and see us to find out how we can help you and read more about sedation dentistry on our website.  In the meantime, as a parent, do your best to contain your anxiety and make your child’s experience the positive one that it can and should be.

We look forward to you contacting us to book an appointment for your child today!

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Stop Snoring With the Help of Your Dentist

In North America, it is estimated that 90 million people snore or have a more serious breathing condition dental sleep appliance for sleep apneaknown as sleep apnea. In sleep apnea cases, an individual stops breathing for ten seconds or more hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea can lead to many serious health problems and produce symptoms like sleepiness during the day and loss of ability to concentrate.

What are the causes of snoring and what can be done to correct it?

Snoring can be related to excessive weight, to sleeping on one’s back, consuming alcohol within several hours of going to bed or a genetic predisposition. A constriction of the airway occurs during sleep, which allows the vibrations that we hear as “snoring”.

Dental sleep appliances

There are a number of new dental sleep appliances that help to open the airway and reduce snoring. Dental sleep appliances can be quite tolerable and much less bulky than the earlier dental anti-snoring devices. Dental sleep appliances no longer lock the jaw into one position, leaving you free to yawn, talk and even sip water while wearing them.

Is a sleep appliance right for you?

A consultation with your dentist will let you know whether a dental sleep appliance is appropriate for you.

Your dentist will establish that you do not have sleep apnea or refer you to a physician to have this evaluated. Even when sleep apnea is diagnosed by a physician, dental sleep appliances can be a very effective treatment method.

What is the cost of dental sleep appliances?

The cost of these appliances is roughly equal to a weekend away for a couple and the benefits are significant. If you have dental insurance these appliances may even be partially covered.

Alternative ways to reduce snoring

Other ways to reduce snoring include reducing weight to an ideal level, sewing a tennis ball into the back of a pajama top to help the sleeper avoid lying on their back, and reducing alcohol consumption before bed.

If you have a snoring problem and would like to stop snoring now, book a consultation today to see if a dental sleep appliance would benefit you and help you achieve your goals.  Read more about sleep apnea on the Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group website.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

What Your Gums Say About Your Health

It’s no mystery that the beauty of a smile can impact a person’s image and their level of confidence.  gum health vs gum diseaseSurprisingly though, the health of a person’s gums can say even more about the health of the person than their teeth.

It makes sense since gums are the protective tissues that surround the teeth – protecting the roots and bone structure underneath it from all of the possible invaders that could enter through our mouths.

Read on to find out what your gums are saying about you!

What do healthy gums look and feel like?

Healthy gums are light to medium pink, or slightly darker depending on your skin tone. Healthy gums lie snugly against your teeth, fully covering the root of the tooth. Flossing does not feel painful and biting into ice cream is not uncomfortable.

This is a picture of ideal gum health. Shockingly however, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults 30 and over have some form of gum disease.

Signs and symptoms of gum disease

Gum disease happens over time – meaning that if caught early, there is still time to reverse it.

Here are signs that your gums may not be healthy:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Redness or puffiness
  • Receding away from teeth
  • Pain or tenderness when brushing, flossing, or consuming anything hot or cold

Receding gums could be a sign of stress or sleep apnea

Grinding your teeth while you sleep puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and jawbones, which can ultimately lead to gum recession. While grinding your teeth can happen due to health issues like anxiety and stress, it’s also commonly linked with sleep apnea.

Recession might also happen because of a toothbrush that’s too hard or too old, or brushing with too much pressure.  Replace toothbrushes every three to four months and only use toothbrushes with soft bristles.

Pale gums could indicate anemia

Very pale gums can be a sign of anemia. This blood disorder happens when your red blood cell count is low or you don’t have enough of the iron-rich protein hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is what gives blood its color, and without enough of it, you may notice paleness – including in your gums.

Dry gums could indicate immune system problems

Immune disorders, such as rheumatic diseases or lupus can affect the mucous membranes of your eyes and mouth, which can result in lowered levels of tears and saliva.  When your gums are dry, it can contribute to gum disease – or make it worse.  If you have gums that are dry enough to bother you, it’s worth bringing up with your dentist.

Other links to disease

Diabetes – If you have uncontrolled diabetes, your body can have a harder time controlling bacteria in the mouth. This can make gum disease more severe and take longer to heal.

Heart disease – There may be an association between gum disease and heart disease. While neglecting your oral health won’t necessarily cause heart disease, enough research has linked gum disease and heart disease to suggest that there’s an association between the two that’s not fully understood.

Premature birth – There’s also some evidence that maternal gum disease could be associated with a risk of premature birth (giving birth at 37 weeks or earlier) and low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less).

Preventing gum problems

You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush, as well as flossing once a day.

Regular professional teeth cleanings are also essential. Even with good brushing and cleaning habits, these visits are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and catching the signs of gum disease early.  Contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today to book an appointment.


The End of Cavities??

Did you know that cavities are considered one of the world’s most common health problems?  Dental dental cavityfillings are so common that almost all of us have experienced the dentist’s chair to fill a cavity – once or more.

It may soon be a thing of the past however, thanks to a drug that was discovered during Alzheimer’s research.  By soaking a small biodegradable sponge with the new drug and inserting it into a cavity, the damage can be repaired within six weeks.  Read on to find out about this amazing research from King’s College London!

First of all, what causes cavities?

Cavities are caused by tooth decay, beginning with plaque build-up.  We all know about dental plaque. It’s that clear sticky film that coats your teeth, especially after eating foods containing sugars and starches and not cleaning your teeth well.

But it is the acids in plaque then cause tiny holes in the enamel – the initial stage of cavities. Once areas of enamel are worn away, the bacteria and acid can reach the next much softer layer of your teeth, called dentin.  Now the tooth is in real peril and the cavity can grow quickly.

What is the breakthrough and how does it work?

The breakthrough drug was discovered while treating Alzheimer’s disease. It was found that it can actually stimulate stem cells in the pulp of teeth, promoting new dentin.

Although teeth can regenerate dentine naturally, the amount of regeneration is limited to a thin layer, not enough to repair deep cavities – and it only happens under exact circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentin.

The amazing effect of Tideglusib is to speed and aid in the repair of a decayed tooth.

What does this look like?

The application method scientists have developed involves soaking a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it repairs the damage within six weeks. The sponges melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.

“The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine,” said Professor Paul Sharpe, lead author of the Dental Institute study which was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Currently, dentists use man-made fillings to treat cavities but these fail to disintegrate, meaning the mineral level of the tooth is never completely restored. The new technique could reduce the need for fillings altogether.

The future looks bright

Although still not a reality for today’s dental patients, “using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics,” said Professor Sharpe.  With new discoveries like this, the future of dental treatment seems bright.

Downtown Dental Group is committed to providing confidence and comfort one smile at a time.  We welcome you to book an appointment today.

6 Steps to Combat Tooth Sensitivity

Have you experienced tooth sensitivity lately? It often happens while biting into a cold food or while sipping a hot beverage. how to combat tooth sensitivity What should be a pleasurable experience, such as eating an ice cream cone or enjoying a hot cup of coffee, can be painful for those suffering with tooth sensitivity.

Even everyday hygiene such as brushing or flossing trigger that shooting pain of sensitivity.  It’s not fun.

The good news is that there are several actions you can take, some with the help of your dentist, to combat tooth sensitivity.

But first, why is this happening in the first place?


Tooth sensitivity occurs when either: the enamel that protects the “dentin” of the teeth above the gum line is eroded; or when the gums recede leaving the tooth root exposed.  This is often caused by cavities reaching the dentin layer. If this is the case, it should be checked out to confirm via x-ray otherwise it may progress to needing a root canal treatment.

The exposed dentin layer of the tooth has this reaction because it contains microscopic tubules, which are essentially small hollow tubes or canals. Without its protective covering of enamel or gum tissue, these tiny tubules allow heat. cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth – and this result is the shooting pain of tooth sensitivity.  It lets you know that something is wrong.

What can be done to combat this awful pain?

6 steps to combat tooth sensitivity

Check your toothpaste

Can toothpaste really make a difference?  Yes!  Special toothpastes contain an active ingredient called potassium nitrate, which helps provide a barrier to the exposed tiny tubules in the dentin.  This barrier between your food and dentin can be just enough to put an end to the pain.  Keep using this toothpaste consistently to get the results you want.

Be aware while brushing

Most people brush too hard in an attempt to remove plaque.  Be aware, as brushing too hard or using a hard bristled toothbrush can actually wear away enamel!  When gum recession is present, the result is even worse.  Overly vigorous brushing can wear away at the cementum, which covers the tooth root – leaving a very sensitive tooth exposed.

The correct way to brush is gently with a soft bristled brush.  To be effective brush longer – a full 2 minutes.  Changing your brushing habits may not be easy, but it’s change that will help significantly.

Watch out for food and drinks that destroy enamel

Acidic foods such as red wine, fruit juice, soda, oranges and even pickles can damage your enamel. Since enamel loss is irreversible, the earlier you can implement this, the better.  If you do partake in these foods and drinks, wait 20 minutes and then brush.

Look to your dentist for options

Your dentist can offer you some options as well.  Desensitizing agents like fluoride varnish can be applied to the sensitive areas of your teeth. They do wear off over time so they’ll need to be reapplied periodically.

Put a stop to tooth grinding

If you’re grinding your teeth, you could be wearing away enamel and giving yourself a sensitivity problem. A solution for this is a mouth guard worn at night. If you notice yourself clenching during the day, remind yourself to relax your jaw with your teeth slightly apart.

Treat your receding gums

Normally the root of your tooth is covered up by your gum tissue. However when gum recession occurs, the root can be exposed and cause sensitivity. A dental specialist may be able to rebuild or restore your receding gums, for example with a treatment involving tissue grafts.

Before considering gum grafts however, it’s important first to pinpoint the exact cause of sensitive teeth. If incorrect brushing is the cause, for example, this has to be dealt with first, so that the treatment is not only effect but long lasting.

Please contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book an appointment today!


Do Dental Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?

If you suffer from sleep apnea and are looking for an alternative to CPAP treatment, look no further than dental sleep appliance for sleep apneayour dentist.  Do dental appliances work for sleep apnea?  According to an American Sleep Association report, it’s a “yes”:

“… dental appliances are becoming more common as new research solidifies their efficacy in treating mild-moderate sleep apnea and snoring. It is important to work with your doctor and dentist to find an appropriate device for you.”

What is sleep apnea?

If you suspect that you suffer from sleep apnea, your doctor will prescribe a sleep test to determine if this is the case.

People suffering from sleep apnea periodically stop breathing as the airways restrict during sleep and then begin breathing again with a loud gasp or snort, also referred to as a ‘resuscitative snort’. The patient may also sit up or move violently before falling back into a light sleep.

Severe grinding of teeth is also common in apnea cases, as the body attempts to keep the airway open.  Naturally, this process of blocking and unblocking of the airway causes a significant disruption of sleep patterns leaving the patient feeling tired throughout the day.

How does the appliance work?

Sleep apnea oral appliances work by moving the jaw forward.  This change to the posture of the mouth acts to increase the size of the upper airway and reduce air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and as an added bonus, sleep apnea mouth guards are anti-snoring devices as well! Opening the airways stops sleep apnea and reduces airway turbulence and stops snoring.

Benefits of dental appliances

Sleep apnea dental appliances are portable and easy for the patient to transport.  The size of a mouth guard, they easily fit in your travel bag.

The biggest complaint from CPAP users is comfort.  Dental appliances may take some time to get used to, but do not impact the patient’s sleep position or overall comfort.

Is there a downside to sleep apnea dental devices?

One of the downsides of sleep apnea dental devices is that they do not collect data in the way that CPAP machines do.  Most modern CPAP machines have tracking software which shows the patient and healthcare providers the amount of hours of use and helps track respiratory events. There are, however, some new mouth devices that are made with technology that is able to measure hours of use.  Also, the effects of sleep apnea, such as light sleep and daytime fatigue are often noticeable with either choice of treatment.

How does sleep apnea differ from snoring?

Snoring is caused by a reduced flow of air while sleeping, whereas in the case of sleep apnea breathing temporarily stops for a period of time.  Read more about snoring in an article written by Dr. Larry Hill of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

Can snoring be treated by a dental appliance?

If snoring is an issue, a sleep specialist will test you to determine whether or not sleep apnea is occurring. Dental sleep appliances can be used to treat snoring and are effective in the same way as with sleep apnea cases.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances and apnea appliances as an alternative to CPAP to treat sleep apnea as well as snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation.

What is the best option for replacing missing teeth?

Are you looking for the best option to replace missing teeth? Are you tired of dentures that do not afford you the best option for replacing missing teeth dental implants nanaimoability to enjoy the wide range of foods you love?

Anyone with missing teeth knows first-hand how important each tooth is in the proper functioning of your mouth.  On a basic level, it makes eating food less enjoyable.  But on further review there are much more serious consequences.  We have written several posts on this topic if you would like to read up about the many unexpected impacts of missing teeth – from bone loss in the jaw to shifting teeth and a misaligned bite (TMD) which can cause all sorts of complications.

The good news is that there are several options to replace missing teeth.  It’s best to visit your dentist to discuss which option is best for you.  By far one of the best options, for those who are suitable candidates, are dental implants.

How do dental implants work?

During the implant treatment a small titanium post is inserted into the area of the missing tooth which acts as a substitute for the root of the tooth. The jawbone forms a bond with the titanium, creating a very strong anchor.

A custom made crown is then fitted on the titanium post, made to look and function naturally and to fit perfectly with your other teeth.

At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, implants are used individually, or to support a number of treatment options, including implant-supported bridges and dentures.  With CEREC, same day crown technology, when the implant is ready, Dr. Mahara can even provide a high quality ceramic crown to fit the implant in a single visit.

Advantages of Dental Implants

Dental implants have several advantages that make them an ideal replacement for teeth.  Most importantly, an implant functions much like a natural tooth.  Pressure in the jaw from the implant acts like the root of a tooth to stimulate bone growth and prevent the loss of bone that happens underneath a denture or dental bridge.

On an aesthetic level, dental implants most closely resemble your natural teeth, especially when a ceramic crown is used. And implants actually have less impact on surrounding teeth.  Unlike a dental bridge, which requires that dental crowns are placed on the two adjacent teeth to support the bridged tooth, implants do not require restorations on the neighboring teeth.

Success rate with dental implants is very high.  It’s critical to keep in mind, however, that it’s as important as ever to practice good hygiene and have regular professional cleanings with your dental implants.  Since implants function like a natural tooth they can be brushed and flossed normally.  With a diligent routine care that includes regular professional hygiene appointments, implants can last for many years.

Are dental implants right for you?

The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health.  The best candidates for dental implants have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease and adequate bone in the jaw to support the implant.

Our team of dental professionals welcome your questions about dental implants and all of your family’s dental health needs! Make an appointment with a dentist at Downtown Dental Group in Nanaimo today.


Why Saving Your Natural Teeth is Important

As amazing as new technology such as dental implants are, how do they compare to the way nature has designed why saving a tooth is importantyour natural teeth?

If you’ve had dental challenges, you may have noticed that your dentist always first considers options to save a tooth whenever possible. This is because your dentist understands how valuable each and every tooth is to your dental health – and that your natural teeth are far superior to any type of replacement available.

This article will show all of the reasons why saving your natural tooth is important and why you should do everything possible to save and maintain your natural teeth.  We will also mention some common misconceptions about saving natural teeth.

Reasons to Save Your Natural Tooth

When you lose a tooth, two immediate concerns are bone loss and shifting teeth. When a dental bridge is used to compensate for a lost tooth, bone loss still occurs at the tooth extraction site because a tooth is no longer there to create pressure in the jaw and spur the regeneration of bone.

Significant bone loss from several missing teeth can affect the appearance of your face, and the overall health of your mouth.  Once bone loss has occurred, it is irreversible.  Bone loss limits your dental treatment options; for example dental implants require good bone density to be successful.

If no restorative dental treatment is done to fill the space left by a missing tooth, shifting of adjacent teeth can occur causing more severe dental challenges.  Why would your teeth shift into the missing space created by a lost tooth?  The reason is because your teeth depend on one another to keep their position.  Once teeth tilt or shift, this can throw off the balance of your bite position and lead to complications such as TMD .

Dental implants on the other hand, mitigate the loss of bone and fill the space left by a lost tooth.  The implant stimulates the regeneration of bone in a similar way to a natural tooth.  Your teeth, however, do much more than just mechanically chew food. Teeth contain nerves that send communication to the brain. These messages tell your brain how hard to chew, thereby protecting your teeth from biting too hard. Implants have no nerves and so the sensory connection with the brain is lost and this communication is not possible.

Saving your natural tooth has several benefits that cannot be received from dental implants. By saving your natural tooth, you maintain the natural structure of your mouth and jaw allowing you to continue chewing normally.

Common Misconceptions

Tooth extraction is cheaper – False!  When a natural tooth is extracted, it must be replaced with an artificial tooth to prevent other teeth from shifting, and to prevent future dental problems. The cost of a denture, bridge or implant, plus the extraction, often is higher than the cost of an endodontic procedure that would save the tooth for years to come. Most dental insurance plans cover endodontic, or root canal treatment.

Tooth extraction is less painful than a root canal treatment – False! Modern techniques and effective anesthesia make root canal treatment virtually painless. In fact, discomfort after the procedure is generally greater with a tooth extraction. Patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had a root canal.

Tooth extraction is quicker – False! Endodontic treatments generally require one to two visits lasting less than an hour each. An extraction requires one visit, but the denture, bridge or implant will require several additional visits with your dentist.


It is important to be on the same page as your dentist and make every effort to save and preserve your natural teeth.  Please contact us at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for an appointment today!


How Missing Teeth Are Impacting Your Health

Tooth loss and missing teeth is impacting your health more than you might think –and it’s a major missing tooth nanaimoproblem faced by over 40 million adults in North America.  The loss of one or more teeth can lead to poor nutrition and is linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease. Missing teeth also affects a person’s psychological well-being and ability to function in the workplace.

Teeth are interconnected to each other and to your overall health

Every tooth serves a valuable function in your mouth, even a missing tooth in the back of the mouth which is not visible in your smile.  This is because each tooth in your mouth depends on the others to keep its proper position and furthermore that even your face and lips depend on your teeth to maintain its ideal shape.

The fact is that missing teeth create a space that eventually will lead to shifting and tilting of adjacent teeth or opposing teeth, or if many teeth are missing, allow significant changes to the shape of the face and mouth.

The more teeth that are lost and not replaced, the increased chance that wrinkles and lines will form and the cheeks and lips will collapse, causing you to look older than you are.

The jawbone is another consideration.  As soon as a tooth is lost, either from gum disease or an extraction, the supporting bone in the jaw begins to dissolve. Over time, loss of bone and shifting of teeth can limit dental options for replacing the missing teeth.

Tooth loss solutions

The ideal solution is to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible after it is lost. This will retain your oral health by preventing bone loss and reduce movement of surrounding teeth.

Keep in mind that your teeth are there to serve you with more than the ability to chew alone. A full set of teeth are necessary for the health of the gum and jaw tissues as well, not to mention the effects on your confidence and well-being.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, your traditional options are:

New developments in digital technology, however, are changing the way dentistry is practiced and producing results not possible until now. We are using new techniques to replace and restore teeth to a higher level of precision and beauty than ever before.

Computers and scanning technology take tooth restoration to a new level. Teeth can be viewed in 3-D and restorations can be customized for each patient. This allows more control by the dentist and better outcomes.

Traditionally, removable dentures and conventional bridges were the sole means to replace missing teeth. Now dental implants, which are virtually permanent, offer improved function and comfort. Dental implants are mechanically and biologically superior to previous restorative options and do not overload or damage surrounding teeth.

Our team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is here to help you get a healthy smile back after losing a tooth or several teeth.  After a consultation, we’ll advise you on the most suitable treatment option for your unique situation.  Contact us today!

If finances are holding you back, we have a convenient and low cost financing option to help you get your full and healthy smile back soon.

The Key to Managing Dental Fear

Did you know that dental fear is so common that nearly 25% of the population suffers from it?  Given sedation dentistry managing dental fearthis fact, there’s absolutely no reason to be ashamed of a dental phobia – and the good news is that many solutions are available!

Research shows that a significant number of people routinely avoid seeing the dentist and in severe cases, a person with dental phobia may never see a dentist.

Others with less severe dental fear may force themselves to go to the dentist, but may not sleep the night before or possibly feel sick in anticipation.

If you suffer from dental fear or dental phobia, read on to find out what can be done to help you.

How serious is your dental phobia?

The amount of fear that people have toward dental treatment can vary widely and is often categorized as either anxiety or phobia.

According to Columbia University College of Dentistry, those with dental anxiety experience a sense of uneasiness or exaggerated worries when it is time for their appointments.

Dental phobia, on the other hand is a more serious condition. It is defined as an intense fear or dread. People with dental phobia are not just anxious, they often describe feelings of panic or dread.

Causes and solutions for dental fear?

There are several reasons that emerge from research on dental phobia.  The most common reason is a fear of pain.  Notably, this reason is most common for adults over the age of 24.  This is likely due to the fact that for people in this age group, early dental visits happened before many of the advances in “pain-free” dentistry that are common practice today.

When it comes to patients who state pain as a main reason for keeping them out of the chair, one solution is the use of topical anesthetics. These are used to numb the soft tissue before local anesthesia is administered – making the dental freezing process nearly un-noticeable.

Other reasons for dental fear include; feelings of helplessness and loss of control, embarrassment and negative past experiences.

To combat feelings of helplessness and loss of control as well as embarrassment, it is very important for a dental professional to communicate effectively.  One effective technique created by a Harvard dentist in the 1970s is the tell-show-do technique.

Since creating a comfortable environment and experience for patients is predicated on their perception or understanding of the treatment the dentist is proposing to them, techniques like “tell-show-do,” help the patient visualize the procedure so they are aware of what is happening.  It has proven to greatly mitigate dental fear, regardless of the patient’s age or dental history.

Sedation Dentistry

For those who have had negative experiences as the dentist or whom suffer from more severe cases of dental fear, there is the option for sedation dentistry, including oral sedation and inhalation sedation (also known as “laughing gas”).

Oral sedatives are taken as pills (also known as “happy pills”), which our dentists typically prescribe to the patient in the consultation visit leading up to the treatment. Oral sedation patients report feeling relaxed and remembering little of the treatment. For many patients, the experience is described as sleeping through the treatment. In reality however, sedation dental patients actually maintain consciousness and are able to follow instructions throughout the treatment.

Inhalation sedation or “laughing gas” is a mild sedative that is widely requested by patients suffering from dental anxiety. Laughing gas is delivered before and during a dental treatment through a small nose-hood. Patients under the effect of laughing gas typically report feelings of general well-being. In addition to this delivered by inhalation, pills can also be used to create a similar effect.

Contact Us

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to offer every modern solution to dental fear to our patients. Please call to book an appointment with Dr. Mahara today.

April is Nation Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Vigilant Biosciences is leading the way in oral cancer awareness by making the month of April, National oral cancer awareness month 2017Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  It’s important and timely as the number of cases rises in North America, notably among young, otherwise healthy adults.

Read on to find out what may be causing this disturbing trend and what you can do about it.

Awareness is key

Surprisingly, the organization found in their research that more than 60% of consumers know very little or nothing about oral cancer, and while 81% of people would like to be screened for oral cancer at every dental check-up, only 29% are.

It’s important, therefore, not only to have regular dental check-ups but to let your dental professional know that it’s important to you that screening be conducted routinely.

A growing risk factor

Indications point to HPV as a growing risk factor for oral cancer.  HPV, a common sexually transmitted disease, is not normally discussed by dental professionals with their patients and is therefore a risk factor that can go unmentioned.

The researchers found in fact, that 59% of adults were not aware that HPV is a risk factor for oral cancer.

Conclusion and actions

Finding oral cancer in its beginning stages is essential as most cases of oral cancer are found in the late stages result in an extremely high death rate.

Vigilant has teamed with industry advocates to launch an awareness campaign for National Oral Cancer Awareness Month (April) and National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 2-9) to educate consumers on the risks for oral cancer and the importance of regular screening.

Through patient education and consistent screening by dental professionals, oral cancer can be caught at an early stage.  Ask you dental professional about their screening processes at your next visit!

At downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, we screen for oral cancer at each dental hygiene appointment.  If you are due for a dental cleaning or dental check-up, contact us today to book an appointment.


Same Day Smile Makeover

A smile makeover does what the name implies; it provides a total transformation of your smile.  A smile smile-makeovermakeover means that each tooth in the smile line is cosmetically improved leaving nothing but your ideal smile for all to see.

Would you believe that your smile makeover can now be completed in a single day?  Under the right circumstances, it’s now possible thanks to CEREC, same-day crown technology!  Read on to find out if a same day smile makeover might be right for you.

What challenges can it benefit?

A smile makeover can be used to correct several types of dental challenges, including:

  • Discolouration
  • Misalignment
  • Spacing
  • Missing Teeth
  • Chipped, Cracked, or Uneven TeethTooth
  • Length
  • Tooth Proportions

A same day smile makeover using CEREC, same-day crown technology works for patients whose treatment involves dental crowns.  Since smile makeovers can employ other treatment methods such as Invisalign, teeth whitening, veneers, bridges and others, please consult with Dr. Mahara further regarding your specific case.

What is CEREC?

CEREC, or single appointment crowns, are a sophisticated computer-aided system for producing durable high-quality ceramic restorations. It is simple to use, fast and is excellent for conserving the natural tooth. CEREC is ideal for patients who want a solid ceramic, authentic tooth-coloured alternative to traditional crowns made in a dental lab – all completed in one visit.

Are these crowns new?

This technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for nearly 30 years. Many dental offices have not invested in this technology, due to start-up costs and additional training in computer dental assisted design and milling.

Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, however, has chosen to invest in this valuable technology so that all of our patients can minimize their time spent away from work and family yet also receive optimal restorative results.

Benefits of CEREC

CEREC crowns allow tooth restorations to be completed in a single session but there are several other benefits. First of all impressions are done with super accurate digital impressions. This means no more putty-like material in your mouth to get an impression.

Secondly, the tooth is prepped and the crown fitted during the same visit, so there is no need for a temporary crown. Temporary crowns, typically worn for about two weeks with traditional crowns can come loose or weaken during wear. This is a thing of the past with CEREC technology.

Since these crowns are made of a solid block of ceramic, they are considered to have a very strong structure.

Not only are they known for being strong, but ceramic provides a very natural looking crown which reflects light in a similar way to our natural tooth structure. Additionally, the ceramic blocks come in a wide variety of shades and colours, so your crown can be selected to blend in naturally with your surrounding teeth.


Although amazingly quick for a smile makeover procedure, this treatment could take several hours as all the design and milling are done in the clinic while you enjoy some free time with your favorite movies, music or books.  Dr. Mahara and his staff will make sure you are aware of the timeline well ahead in the planning phase.  On the day of the treatment every effort to ensure your comfort will be taken including the provision of refreshments.  

Conclusion and Example

Depending on your situation, it’s now possible to have a complete smile makeover completed in a single day!  Take a look at the following before and after pictures of a recent same day smile makeover:












Contact Us!

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to combine a complete makeover with CEREC technology to our patients. Please call to book an appointment with Dr. Mahara today.

All About Baby Teeth

As a new parent you probably have lots of questions about what to expect with your baby.  One of those baby-teeth-dentist-nanaimoimportant areas of curiosity and parental concern will no doubt be about your baby’s teeth.

Some of the questions you might have are: “When should my baby’s teeth come in? When do I begin brushing my baby’s teeth? And how? When should I start bringing my child to the dentist for check-ups and dental hygiene treatments?”

These are all great questions.  We hope to get you started on the answers here and invite you to come in to see Dr. Mahara and his friendly staff to learn more.

When Can I Expect My Baby’s Teeth?

In the above graphic, you can see the order that a child’s teeth typically come in.  Amazingly, a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth!  These first 20 teeth will begin to appear in the first 6 to 12 months of life.

We all have some level of awareness that babies will have some sore or tender gums as those first teeth emerge.  Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physician for options.

Although every child is different, by the age of three, many children have a full set of 20 primary teeth.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Starting a child off with good oral care is incredibly important for several reasons.  Most obvious is that baby teeth serve a functional purpose – to help him or her chew, speak and smile. Less obvious to parents is that baby teeth do an important job of holding space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.

In the case where a baby tooth is lost early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crowded.

Starting kids off with the right attitude to oral care is also important.  It’s all about forming strong, positive habits.  For all of these reasons, starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for a lifetime.

Tips on Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

As a parent, you want to do the right thing for your child.  Here’s a few pointers for their various stages of growth!

  1. Start right away: Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth regularly by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. This is a good habit and cavities can occur any time after teeth irrupt.
  2. Brush for your child at least until the age of 3: Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
  3. Supervise brushing for children 3 to 6 years of age: Supervise children’s brushing to make sure they do a good job and to remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
  4. Keep monitoring brushing and flossing: Until you’re comfortable that your child has mastered brushing, continue to help and monitor your child’s brushing twice a day. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

As with starting good oral care habits early, start the habit of bringing your child to the dentist early.  The rule of thumb is to bring your child for their first check up no later than the first birthday. Having those first check-ups experienced as fun and positive events will set the tone for trips to the dentist later on. Besides checking for cavities and other problems, your dentist can guide you on how best to care for your child’s teeth and answer any questions you are having.

Call or email Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book an appointment today:


New Studies Link Gum Disease to Alzheimer’s

Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, bad breath and even gum disease.  New gum disease linked to alzhemers diseasestudies, however, are showing evidence that the consequences of poor dental health can be much more severe – with links to Alzheimer’s as well as other serious illnesses.

In 2010, researchers from New York University (NYU) concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease, after reviewing 20 years of data on the association.

In 2013, UK-based researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) built on the findings of this study, by comparing brain samples from 10 living patients with Alzheimer’s with 10 brain samples from people who did not have the disease.

Analysis showed that a bacterium – Porphyromonas gingivalis – was present in the Alzheimer’s brain samples but not in the samples from the brains of people who did not have Alzheimer’s. What was interesting was that P. gingivalis is usually associated with chronic gum disease.

The team followed up this research in 2014 with a new mouse study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Medical News Today spoke to co-author Dr. Sim K. Singhrao regarding the findings.

Dr. Singhrao says that there is sufficient scientific evidence to show that two of the three gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion (or “motile”) and have been consistently found in brain tissue.

“These motile bacteria can leave the mouth and enter the brain via two main routes,” he explains. “They can use their movement capability to directly enter the brain. One of the paths taken is to crawl up the nerves that connect the brain and the roots of teeth. The other path is indirect entry into the brain via the blood circulation system.”

In a patient who has bleeding gums, says Dr. Singharo, the gum disease-causing bacteria will enter the blood stream every time they clean their mouth and even when they eat food.

He continues:

P. gingivalis is particularly interesting as it has found ways to hitch a lift from red blood cells when in the blood stream and instead of getting ‘off the red blood cell bus’ in the spleen, they choose to get off in the brain at an area where there are no immune checkpoints. From there, they spread to the brain at their will. In addition, in older individuals, the blood vessels tend to enlarge and become leaky.”

“The published work confirmed P. gingivalis placed in the mouths of mice finds its way to the brain once gum disease becomes established first,” Dr. Singhrao concludes. “Furthermore, our hypothesis is strengthened by the recent results demonstrating that the chemicals released by the brain’s immune system in response to P. gingivalis reaching the brain ‘inadvertently’ damage functional neurons in the area of the brain related to memory.”

(n.d.). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from

At Downtown Dental Group we are very thorough and work hard to establish a relationship with each patient to ensure that any signs of gum disease are caught early.  Regular dental checkups and dental hygiene are recommended as a part of a maintenance program.

For the majority of our patients a check-up and dental hygiene appointment every 6 months is recommended.  Depending on the person and their mouth they may benefit in coming in every 3-4 months – while for others, every 9 months or yearly is sufficient.   Everyone is different and their needs are different depending on a number of factors.  Our dental hygienists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group will be happy to advise you how often you should have a dental cleaning based on your individual situation.

Please contact us today to book an appointment!

New Same-Day Crown Technology Arrives in Downtown Nanaimo

same day CEREC crowns Nanaimo press releaseDowntown Nanaimo Dental Group announced it has expanded its service to downtown Nanaimo patients with same visit crown technology.

The revolutionary single-visit crown system allows Dr. Mahara to take a super accurate digital image of a patient’s existing tooth and then design and mill a customized crown in-office.  This removes the need for messy impressions, a temporary crown and a return visit from the patient two weeks later to place a crown that was made off-site at a dental lab.  For Dr. Mahara and his team, it’s all about maximizing patient comfort and convenience.

Besides being convenient, CEREC, or single appointment crowns, are also of the highest quality. Utilizing a sophisticated computer-aided system, the CEREC mill produces durable high-quality ceramic restorations which actually preserve more of the patient’s natural tooth in the process. CEREC is ideal for patients who want a solid ceramic, authentic tooth-coloured alternative to traditional crowns made right in the dental clinic.

According to Dr. Mahara, “The most exciting aspect of the new CEREC system is our team can now offer our patients the convenience of the entire crown process happening in just one visit, as opposed to the two required by traditional crown design.  This means that our patients save time booked off from work or away from their families.”

“We want to save our patients time and offer them the most convenient treatments technology can offer,” says Dr. Mahara, “That’s what makes us unique.”

CEREC systems use of highly accurate digital imaging also provides more accurate results for cosmetic dentists and eliminates the need for the messy impression process, which means less discomfort for patients.

Constructed of a superior ceramic that has the same characteristics as tooth enamel, CEREC crowns are known as the most natural-looking solution in crown technology available to dentists.

Downtown Dental group believes in investing in technology that makes their patient’s lives better.  The clinic has already invested in a digital x-ray system and now offer dental freezing reversal from Oraverse for patient comfort.

With their focus on patient satisfaction and comfort, it’s no wonder they were voted ‘ Top Dentistry offices in Nanaimo, 2015 by

About Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group – Nanaimo

Call or email to make your appointment today! Phone: 250-754-4322; email:; Address: 5 -140 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5B1

To learn more, visit our website at and like their Facebook Page at

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group – Nanaimo

New! Single Appointment Dental Crowns in Nanaimo | CEREC

Do you need a crown but dislike the thought of two trips to the dentist with a two week period of wearing an CEREC same day crownuncomfortable temporary crown in-between? Anyone who has had a crown, knows that this is just part of the process. But does it have to be?

With CEREC, or same appointment dental crowns, it all gets done in one visit!

CEREC, or single appointment crowns, are a sophisticated computer-aided system for producing durable high-quality ceramic restorations. It is simple to use, fast and is excellent for conserving the natural tooth. CEREC is ideal for patients who want a solid ceramic, authentic tooth-coloured alternative to traditional crowns made in a dental lab – all completed in one visit.

Are CEREC crowns new?

CEREC technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for nearly 30 years. Then why are they not offered by every dentist? Many dental offices have not invested in this technology, due to start-up costs and additional training in computer dental assisted design and milling.

Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, however, has chosen to invest in this valuable CEREC Crown technology so that all of our patients can minimize their time spent away from work and family yet also receive optimal restorative results.

Benefits of CEREC

CEREC crowns allow tooth restorations to be completed in a single session but there are several other benefits. First of all impressions are done with super accurate digital impressions. This means no more putty-like material in your mouth to get an impression.

Secondly, the tooth is prepped and the crown fitted during the same visit, so there is no need for a temporary crown. Temporary crowns, typically worn for about two weeks with traditional crowns can come loose or weaken during wear. This is a thing of the past with CEREC technology.

Since CEREC crowns are made of a solid block of ceramic, they are considered to have a very strong structure.

Not only are CEREC crowns known for being strong, but ceramic provides a very natural looking crown which reflects light in a similar way to our natural tooth structure. Additionally, the ceramic blocks come in a wide variety of shades and colours, so your crown can be selected to blend in naturally with your surrounding teeth.


Like every great thing, it may not work in every situation. CEREC technology is not right for all patients in all situations. Depending on the circumstances and location of the tooth to be restored, other types of crowns may be more appropriate.


CEREC crowns are convenient and offer benefits such as excellent structural strength and natural appearance. They are not offered by every dental office and there are some limitations to their application. Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to bring CEREC technology to our patients. Please call to book an appointment with Dr. Mahara today.

New Technology Reverses Dental Freezing

Do you dread that after dental treatment freezing that seems to linger too long – impeding your ability to go back toIFeelGreat work, talk properly or to eat?

Your dentist works hard to ensure that you are comfortable during your treatment and this often means dental freezing which usually encompasses not only the nerves of the tooth being worked on, but the tongue and lips too. Unfortunately the freezing lasts much longer than the dental procedure so it’s difficult to go back to work or any other activity until the freezing dissipates – up to two hours later!

Now there is a new technology that can reverse the freezing process and leave you freezing-free in under half the time! It’s called OraVerse and Dr. Mahara and his Downtown Dental Group team are proud to offer it to their patients.

How does it work?

After your dental procedure, your dentist simply injects OraVerse in the same way as dental freezing is administered. There is no pain involved since the area is already numb from the dental freezing. The injection reverses the effects of numbness after a dental procedure and accelerates the return of normal sensation and function.

Why choose it?

If you’ve had unwanted and unnecessary lingering numbness in the lips and tongue after routine dental procedures, you know the following symptoms all too well. A loss of sensation can result in accidentally biting the inside of the lips or cheeks, difficulty with smiling, drinking, and speaking and possibly even uncontrolled drooling. Effects range from annoying and embarrassing to painful!

How quickly will the freezing go away?

Research has shown that freezing will go away in under half the time with this treatment. In clinical trials, the median time to recovery of normal sensation in the upper lip was 50 minutes for OraVerse patients vs. 133 minutes for the control group, and in the lower lip was 70 minutes for OraVerse patients vs. 155 minutes for the control group.

Is it safe?

The safety of OraVerse has been evaluated in 5 clinical trials involving 777 adults, adolescents and children. To date, over 4,500 dentists have purchased OraVerse. The adverse events reported since the introduction of OraVerse have been consistent with those seen in clinical trials.

In the clinical trials, the most common side effects with OraVerse compared to the control group were pain after the procedure (6% vs. 6%), injection site pain (5% vs. 4%), increase in heart rate (5% vs. 6%), headache (3% vs. 4%) and decrease in heart rate (2% vs. 0.3%). The majority of side effects were mild and went away within 48 hours.

Who should not receive OraVerse?

OraVerse is not recommended for use in children less than 6 years of age or weighing less than 33 lbs. In addition, OraVerse has not been studied in pregnant women, and it is not known if OraVerse is passed to the baby while nursing so caution should be exercised if a pregnant or nursing woman is considering using OraVerse. Please consult with your doctor or dentist.

There are no known drug interactions with OraVerse but you should always inform your dental professional about all medications you are taking.

Ask us about OraVerse at your next dental appointment at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

Hike for Nepal Fundraiser Completed!

Dr. Mahara and his team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group and the Rotary Daybreak Club of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group team mount Benson hike for Nepal 2015Nanaimo recently combined efforts to raise more funds and awareness for the earthquake victims of Nepal. On Saturday, September 26th, blessed by warm weather and sunshine, Dr. Mahara rallied a group of 21 hikers up to the summit of Mount Benson.

Although the weather was good, the hike was still a challenge for many of the participants and Dr. Mahara and the event organizers were tremendously proud of all of the hikers! With steep sections and some loose ground in spots, the 2 hour hike up to the summit of Mount Benson felt like climbing 4000 stairs! The additional 2 hour hike downward proposed its own challenges – although less of a cardiovascular workout, tricky footing and impact to the knees and joints was felt by most. There were a fair share of minor slips but everyone arrived at the bottom of the hill exhilarated and safe.

Financially, the hike was a huge success, with over $2,000 dollars raised through pledges that the hikers received from supporters from around Vancouver Island. This will be added to the $4,000 plus dollars raised through Nepal t-shirt sales and then matched by funding at both National and International levels of Rotary.

The Rotary Daybreak Club, of which Dr. Mahara is a member, plans to use the funds raised from the hike and from t-shirt sales as seed money to leverage “Rotary International” matching grant scheme to create the maximum value that can be used to support a project to rebuild the basic services in a village in Nepal. Basic services include access to safe housing and drinking water and education.

Traveling to Nepal on a Rotary Club mission to fund some schools in the country of his origin, Dr. Mahara found himself in the middle of the major earthquakes and after-shocks which occurred in April / May 2015.

Arriving back in Nanaimo a few weeks later, Dr. Mahara wanted to help the people of Nepal.  Through his Downtown Dental Group office he held a candle light vigil, designed and sold Nepal t-shirts and now has completed the Hike for Nepal.

To support the ongoing rebuilding needs of Nepal, Dr. Mahara is planning the Hike for Nepal as an annual event held in September of each year. Visit the Hike for Nepal Facebook page to keep up to date with the planning and to participate in the 2016 event! Also, a limited number of Nepal T-shirts are still available for just $20. To purchase, email

Thanks to everyone who supported the Hike for Nepal in one way or another. We couldn’t have done it without you!

The Surprising Age Your Child Can Begin Orthodontics

Are your child’s adult teeth coming in crooked or crowded?  Are you wondering when is the right time to start looking at childrens and teetn orthodontics nanaimo August 2015orthodontic solutions?

As a parent, of course you want the best for your child – including nice straight teeth and a healthy smile.  Asking the above questions when a child is just starting to get their adult teeth is actually the right time to do so!

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age for children to have an orthodontic assessment is around 7.  In this post we’ll discuss why it’s important to start orthodontic discussions with your dentist at an early age.

While some of the discussion will be about planning for the future, there are early treatments that can be done to correct tooth and jaw problems in advance of orthodontics and give your child a head start.

What are some signs that your child my require braces?

Sometimes there are obvious signs that a child may need braces in the future.  These included crowded adult teeth that overlap or cannot straighten out due to lack of space.  Less obvious signs include difficulty chewing or biting food, a jaw that makes a sound when opening or closing, or a jaw or teeth that appear small relative to the rest of the face.

The best course of action is to discuss any concerns with your dentist at your child’s next dental exam.

At what age are braces needed?

Once all of the adult teeth have arrived, your child can begin orthodontic treatment.  For most children this happens between ages 12 and 16.  Although braces could be done later in life, there are several reasons to get it done during these formative teen years.

One reason to have your teen correct crooked or crowded teeth is based on general oral health.  The fact is, it is more difficult to clean crooked teeth, which may contribute to cavities and the potential for gum disease.

Teeth that do not fit well together, also known as an improper bite, can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing, and stress on supporting bone and gum tissue.  Orthodontic treatment early on may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat these same problems in later years.

Although it’s true that your teen will not likely enjoy having braces on, the emotional side of an unattractive smile that is not treated is also significant. Teenagers with orthodontic problems left untreated may go through life feeling self-conscious, hiding their teeth and their smile.

You can also ask your dentist about the possibility of using Invisalign for teens, an orthodontic solution that uses a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth.

What can be done to minimize the need for braces?

Most children with crowded teeth and misaligned bites have underdeveloped lower jaws, which can be corrected with functional appliances. Functional appliances help expand the jaw and create more space for new adult teeth, while the teeth are straightened with orthodontic appliances later on.

The use of functional appliances can reduce the time the child needs to wear fixed braces and also can reduce the need for the extraction of permanent teeth. Functional appliances develop the dental arches so that all the permanent teeth can erupt, which helps create a broad smile and healthy jaw joints.

The ideal age for the use of functional appliances is between 7 and 11, however, in some cases can be utilized as early as age 4, if the upper jaw is too narrow and is having a negative effect on the child’s breathing and speech.

Getting Started

Contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today to book an appointment and begin discussions about your child’s orthodontic needs.

Examples of Cosmetic Dentistry

Do you find yourself holding back your smile because of the poor condition of your teeth? Although most people have something cosmetic dentistry nanaimo bcabout their appearance that they would like to improve, in severe cases where a person is embarrassed of their smile, the effects of the poor condition of their teeth could be having several health consequences.

Research has proven that smiling is an important part of your health and contributes to your happiness – and that it can actually help fight disease. Beyond this, teeth that do not look healthy often are not.

Although cosmetic dentistry can be used purely to correct the appearance of teeth, in its highest form, it creates better health at the same time.  This article begins to answer the most basic questions about cosmetic dentistry – to help you determine whether it is something you would like to ask your dentist about at your next visit.

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry?

In fact the term cosmetic dentistry does not stand for a single treatment.  It could include something as simple as using white fillings instead of silver ones or as complex as a full mouth restoration or smile makeover.

Cosmetic dentistry seeks to look at the whole smile and health of the teeth to provide a solution based on the needs of the patient.  Individual treatments to reach this outcome could include a host of procedures such as, dental crowns, bridges, veneers, gum re-contouring and more.

What is the most common treatment?

One of the more common cosmetic dentistry practices is teeth whitening. Your dentist is trained to help you get the best results by selecting the right treatment method based on your situation. Your dentist may recommend teeth whitening alone or in combination with other cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as Invisalign orthodontics, dental crowns or porcelain veneers.

What are some examples of cosmetic dental improvements?

Besides whitening, here are some of the most common examples of cosmetic dental procedures that can improve the appearance of your smile:

  • Resin or porcelain veneers to change the shape and alignment of teeth
  • Using tooth-coloured fillings instead of silver fillings
  • Evening out gum tissue
  • Restoration of worn teeth to their proper shape
  • Straightening crooked teeth with Invisalign or traditional Orthodontics
  • Closing spaces between teeth
  • Replacing discoloured fillings in front teeth
  • Replacing missing teeth with bridges or implants
  • Replacing old crowns
  • Repairing chipped teeth
  • Making teeth shorter or longer

How to find a cosmetic dentist?

Like other cosmetic surgery cosmetic dentists range in skill and quality. When looking for a cosmetic dentist it is advised to do thorough research on their credentials, experience and past clients. At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group we’re proud to discuss our training as well as past cases and excellent track record with you – contact us today.

About Dr. Mahara

Dr. San Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group has extensive post-doctoral training in cosmetic dentistry and years of experience completing all levels of treatments including complex dental procedures such as smile make-overs and full mouth reconstructions.

The Surprising Causes of Dental Erosion

We all know how important our teeth are to our overall health.  Once we realize that enamel, the hard outer surface of the tooth, sugar in soda dental enameldoes not contain living cells and therefore does not have the ability to repair itself, it becomes a priority to protect it.

Dental erosion refers to the enamel of the tooth being worn away –forever.  As the enamel of the tooth erodes, the tooth is weakened and prone to a host of dental problems.

What causes dental erosion?

There are a number of causes for tooth erosion, however, all of the causes relate to an acidic condition of the mouth which then erodes the enamel.

Some of the causes are:

Dry mouth – since saliva helps balance acidic levels in the mouth, this condition greatly reduces the body’s ability to maintain a healthy environment in the mouth

Medications –aspirin and antihistamines for example

Environmental factors –including wear and tear and accidents that cause tooth damage

Researchers have recently discovered, however, that the biggest causes of dental erosion are frequent consumption fruit juices and soda!

Why are fruit juices and soda so bad for our teeth?

Sugary drinks such as, diet and regular sodas, carbonated drinks, flavored fizzy waters, sports drinks, fruit and fruit juices, cause damage to our teeth when they are consumed too often.  This is because acidity levels in the mouth are not given enough time to restore itself when these drinks are consumed too often.

Better alternatives

Although fruit juice may be a nutritious drink, the high concentrations of sugar and acid can lead to severe dental damage if these drinks are consumed often each day.  Meanwhile, sodas have no nutritional value, so there is not much of a case to include them in a person’s diet.

Two beverages that are safe to drink and show up regularly in the research as a trend among those people with less enamel erosion, include milk and water.

Dr. San Mahara, comments that, “drinking milk or water are great choices for the good of our oral health.  But if we do drink sugary drinks, keep in mind that it is how often we consume them that causes the most concern – for better health try to reduce how often you reach for these drinks.”


Dental erosion can occur at varying levels of severity and 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.

Severe cases of tooth wear can result in the need for major restorative dental work, so it is important that we keep to a good oral hygiene routine to help ensure that these challenges do not arise in the first place.

Contact us at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book an appointment for questions about dental erosion or any of your family’s dental needs.


Does the Sugar in My Medications Cause Tooth Decay?

It is nearly impossible to find a medication that does not list a host of possible side effects. Sometimes the potentialtooth decay causes effects are minor, like drowsiness or an upset stomach, other times more severe. But when it comes to liquid medicines, the possible damage to oral health are rarely mentioned.

New research conducted by the American Dental Association suggests that the sugar (sucrose) used in various common liquid medications may, over time, result in tooth decay. Read on to learn more about the sugar found in both everyday over-the-counter and prescription medications, and what you can do to keep your teeth healthy.

Why does sugar exist in medications?

Sugar is added to liquid medicines as a means of camouflaging the bitter or unpleasant taste of the medicinal ingredients. The sucrose also helps patients who experience difficulty swallowing their medications.

How does the sugar cause damage?

Like any other source of sucrose, the sugar found in medications is converted to an organic acid when broken down by bacteria. Most of the sugar is swallowed with the rest of the medicine, but some, naturally, remains behind in the mouth. The acid then, slowly over time, breaks down the surface of the tooth by eroding the enamel.

Since saliva contains repairing elements like calcium and fluoride, a natural counter-attack against the destruction of sugar already exists in the mouth. That healing process, unfortunately, takes time, so ensuring that the rate of damage does not overcome that of the repairing is important for good oral health.

Which medications contain the most sugar?

This particular study investigated a wide range of drugs and determined that over fifty liquid medicines contain between one and four grams of sugar per five-milliliter dose.

Codeine was found to contain one of the highest levels of sugar, at 4.3 grams (approximately one teaspoon) per dose. The study also considered the number of does a patient may be required to take in a day; codeine can be taken every four hours. Acetaminophen with codeine also contains a high sucrose level (three grams/dose).

Antibiotics were studied as well and some, such as azithromycin, cefuroxime, and erythromycin, among others, were found to contain at least three grams of sugar per dose. Also flagged for a high sucrose content include Nyquil, fluoxetine (antidepressant), senna (laxative), and carbamazepine (anticonvulsant).

What do the experts recommend?

If you are unable to swallow the pill form of your medication, don’t be alarmed—there are things you can do to lessen the chance of tooth decay from taking liquid medicines.

For everyday over-the-counter medicines, look for sugar-free versions or ask your pharmacist for types that are low in sucrose. If you are concerned about your prescription medication, bring those questions up with your doctor.

It is also recommended to avoid taking liquid medications after brushing your teeth before bed; the longer the acids remain on your teeth, the more potential harm. Therefore, taking surgary medicines right before bed is not ideal.

Since it an important matter, be sure to discuss your concerns with your dentist upon your next visit. This is especially recommended if your dentist feels you may be at risk for tooth decay.

We look forward to you contacting us at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for all of your family’s dental needs!

My Invisalign Experience

Pre-Invisaligninvisalign male downtown nanaimo dental

For adults looking to straighten their teeth, nothing could be more of a blessing than a relatively new technology in orthodontics called Invisalign.

I was lucky not to have needed braces as a teenager, as my teeth were naturally quite straight.  In my early 20’s, however, my wisdom teeth came in fully and put the squeeze on my front upper and lower teeth making them slightly crooked.  I didn’t like it, but I didn’t see an alternative to fix it – until I discovered Invisalign.

What is Invisalign?

In brief, Invisalign is a removable system of braces which are nearly invisible.  An Invisalign technician creates a series of aligner trays (that look like thin, snugly fitting mouthguards) that are worn for two weeks each.  Each set of aligners moves your teeth one step closer to the straight position you want them in.

It’s almost like a dream come true – teeth straightening without juvenile looking braces!  I like the fact that I can remove them on my own to eat, clean my teeth and if I just feel like it.  On lookers can hardly even notice that I’m wearing them.

Challenges and opportunities with Invisalign

Although the aligners fit snugly on the teeth and don’t have much thickness, it does take some practice to speak normally.  In my first week I found myself with a lisp, which I used as an opportunity to tell everyone that I was doing some orthodontic work.

For any dentists out there, please note that it’s a great marketing tool to set your Invisalign patients out there to help you spread the word.  Several coworkers were immediately interested in learning more about Invisalign once they saw how non-intrusive it was.

Keeping the teeth constantly clean is another challenge with Invisalign.  I’ll write more about that in my week one experience.  In brief, it really makes you notice how often you snack or consume any sort of beverages besides water because you are supposed to brush and floss each time after doing so.

Why I chose Invisalign

I have to thank Dr. Mahara and his team for encouraging me to go for Invisalign.  Jenna, my hygienist, had mentioned it to me a couple of times during hygiene treatments since plague builds up around crooked teeth.  In fact, after hygiene I often felt like a space the size of the “grand canyon” had opened up in-between my crooked lower teeth.  Did she remove some of the tooth or what?  Nope, just lots of hardened plaque known as tartar.

Dr. Mahara also encouraged me to try Invisalign and he let me know that most of the people on his dental team, including himself, had used or were currently using Invisalign.  There’s nothing like leading by example.

In addition I already knew that Dr. Mahara was constantly undergoing professional development for himself and for his dental team – including extensive post-doctoral training at the prestigious LVI.  There was no doubt for me that he had the skills and experience to do a great job.

I was also swayed by Dr. Mahara’s philosophy which goes something along the lines of, “why just fix up your teeth, when you can transform the health of your mouth and the beauty of your smile?”

Without being pushy, Dr. Mahara gives you your options, including the best treatment option available. I simply chose to take the best option.

Stay tuned for my next Invisalign experience blog post where I’ll describe the fitting process and first week review!

How Important is a Good Nights’ Sleep?

True or false: the negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep. sleep dentistry nanaimo True! According to research findings from the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation has severe consequences on your abilities.

Why is sleep so critical?

During sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons. Not allowing your body to do its work during sleep has several negative effects, including: slowing your ability to process information and solve problems, reducing your creativity, and increasing stress levels.

How does sleep relate to overall health?

Besides greatly affecting your ability to function in your daily life in everything from work to relationships, sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including: heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Lack of sleep also has a host of negative health effects on your immune system, makes you look older, and for men, not sleeping enough reduces testosterone levels and lowers sperm count.

6 ways to improve your sleep

1. Limit caffeine intake

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production. Since caffeine takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system, a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., will still have 25% of its effect by 8 p.m. Any caffeine in your bloodstream makes it harder to fall and stay asleep – and when you do fall asleep, caffeine interferes with the quality of your sleep.

2. Avoid devices that produce “blue light” near bed time

Sunlight contains high concentrations of this “blue” light which halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. By the evening, your brain does not expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.

Unfortunately, most of our favorite evening gadgets such as laptops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light. The best thing you can do is avoid these devices for at least an hour before bedtime – though television is okay for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set.

3. Stop working late

Work in the evening stimulates the brain when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Recent surveys show that roughly 60% of adults check their work emails up until they go to sleep. This can interfere with sleep.

Instead of checking in on work right until bed time, set a limit at which time you put away your work and allow your body to relax.

4. Take short naps

Most people feel sleepy in the early afternoon.  This is mainly due to a peak in melatonin production between 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  In fact, you’re better off taking a short nap than relying on caffeine to keep you awake. A short nap will give you the rest you need and you’ll sleep much better in the evening than if you drink caffeine or take a longer afternoon nap.

5. Be aware of snoring or sleep apnea

A snoring spouse or sleep apnea could be robbing you of quality sleep.  If snoring is an issue, a sleep specialist can test to determine whether or not sleep apnea is occurring.

Dental sleep appliances can be used to treat snoring and even sleep apnea cases. The dental appliance is used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring.  Contact our dental team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for more information about dental sleep appliances and read more about dental devices for sleep apnea on our website.



Newest Exhibitor at the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to be a new member of the Chamber of Commerce in Nanaimo and to be participatinghamber Business Expo 2014 as an exhibitor at the 2014 Business Expo.

The Chamber’s Business Expo is an opportunity for businesses to interact face-to-face with clients and other business owners in order to develop solid and long-term relationships. In 2013, 110 businesses showcased their services and operations. This event shows the strength of the business community in Nanaimo and the Chamber of Commerce in particular.

At the Expo, Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group will be showcasing its orthodontic expertise, especially Invisalign, a popular orthodontic treatment for adults and teens.  As well, the Downtown Dental Group team will be conducting a draw for a free in-office whitening treatment valued at $450.

Dr. San Mahara and his team of Nanaimo dental professionals are committed to their mission: “To provide ‘Life Enhancing Dentistry’ delivering state of the art dental care and services, exceeding the expectations of our valued patients while inspiring the personal and professional growth and stimulating satisfaction of our dedicated team.”

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group are Certified Invisalign Providers and offer digital x-rays to increase their patient’s comfort and safety.

Dr. Mahara has specialized dental training in the following areas:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Neuromuscular Dentistry & TMD treatment
  • Sports Dentistry featuring performance enhancing mouth guards
  • Orthodontics with Invisalign
  • General and Family Dentistry
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Sleep Apnea Dentistry

Dr. Mahara’s professional background includes training at the world renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the UBC School of Dentistry. He is Invisalign certified and a Member of the International Association of Orthodontics. Dr. Mahara and his staff are committed to make your dentistry experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group joined the Chamber of Commerce to be a part of its mission to play a vital role in the business community and be an advocate and leader for business interests in the Nanaimo region.

The Chamber’s mission statement, to “enhance the quality of life by providing opportunities for businesses to succeed” connects to the core values of Downtown Dental Group and makes the team happy to be a part of the Chamber and to join the excitement at the Business Expo in 2014.

Invisalign Tackles Complex Orthodontic Case

Invisalign technology changed the field of orthodontics since its introduction more than a decade ago.  Adult and teens were invisalign nanaimoamazed by the fact that Invisalign braces could straighten teeth without the need for metal and wire brackets and the many restrictions and awkwardness that having braces often entailed.

As Invisalign has evolved, it can now be used for increasingly complex orthodontics cases.  In this article, we’ll show you how Invisalign works and give a powerful example of how complex cases are now being treated effectively through Invisalign.

How Invisalign works

Invisalign shifts teeth into a proper position by using a series of clear aligners made for you by an Invisalign dentist.   Aligners must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day to be effective, leaving up to 2  hours per day to remove them for eating, cleaning the teeth or any other special circumstances.

Each set of aligners are worn for about 2 weeks, so the changes made to your teeth are progressive and you can see the change happening each time you move to the next set of aligners.

Invisalign Example

To illustrate the use of Invisalign, here is the case of a patient at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

A young adult patient had been bothered by the appearance of her smile for many years.  She suffered from a narrow arch which invisalign example beforeimpacted her smile.  In fact, only four teeth were visible when she smiled – while normally 8 – 10 teeth are visible in the smile line.  To make matters worse, the two front teeth extended forward, giving a “bucked tooth” appearance.

Beyond appearance, the position of the young woman’s teeth also caused a functional problem – a misaligned bite.  Although this was not causing pain at the time, it was expected that without treatment, this bite anomaly would eventually lead to jaw pain and other symptoms of TMD.

Given all of these factors, straightening the young woman’s teeth and aligning her bite was complex.   Fortunately, Invisalign technology had advanced enough to be able to tackle this difficult case.  After an Invisalign consultation, the patient researched all other options which included seeking further opinions and exploring the option of using traditional wire and bracket braces for her orthodontic treatment.

In the end, since her job involved interaction with the public on a regular basis, she decided that traditional braces might impact her professional image in a negative way.  She also did not look favourably on the idea of wearing metal braces for 2 years or longer.

After taking time to weigh the options, the young woman finally decided to go ahead with Invisalign.

Less than two years later, the young woman finished her treatment and now she wears retainers at night to keep her new smile invisalign afterintact.  Now she has a broad smile which shows her front teeth in an oval arch shape giving her a younger look. The excessive overbite is fixed and the patient admits that she cannot stop smiling now!

Get started with Invisalign

Get started by contacting us for an appointment at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today.  Dr. San Mahara is a Certified Invisalign Provider and financing plans are available to help make your perfect smile a reality today.  We also recommend that you read more about the Invisalign treatment process on our website and contact us if you have any questions.

How do Electronic Cigarettes Effect Oral Health?

The electronic cigarette (e-cig) introduced in 2007 has been marketed as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking but to date theree cigarette dental health news has been little research on the impact of e-cigs on public health.  Dental professionals are concerned about the effects of e-cigs as the chemicals contained in the vapor of an e-cig first enters the body through the mouth.

How do e-cigs work?

E-cigs use a heating device to vaporize nicotine and other ingredients which provide the effects of smoking without the need for tobacco. Even without tobacco present, nicotine is known to be harmful to the body and associated with addiction and toxicity.

E-cigs use nicotine cartridges, each of which can provide 200 to 400 puffs or the equivalent of two to three packs of cigarettes. When liquid nicotine is heated inside the mechanism of the e-cig, it turns into a vapor that smokers inhale.

There are other differences with traditional smoking that could be negative health factors as well.  E-cig users tend to inhale more frequently and with greater depth which could mean that they absorb higher concentrations of nicotine and other toxins than conventional tobacco smokers.

Dental research on e-cigs

One of the challenges with e-cigs is that there is little research available on the health risks to users and non-users and very little on the oral effects of the contents and emissions of these nicotine delivery systems.

According to the American Dental Association:

“The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, one of the National Institutes of Health, proposes filling the research gap to better inform regulators, health care professionals and consumers about the effects of e-cigarette aerosol mixtures on the mouth, the gums and tissue that constitute the periodontal epithelia.

“With the growing social acceptance of ECs as an alternative smoking product, an urgent need exists to determine their true biological effects on oral tissues,” said an NIDCR announcement proposing research initiatives and inviting comment on the proposed themes, one of them “Effects of E-cigarette Aerosol Mixtures on Oral and Periodontal Epithelia.”

“Currently, the effects of long term exposure to ECs are completely unknown and present a potential oral cancer and periodontal disease risk for users, due to their higher exposure to these chemical mixtures,” the NIDCR said. “

(Excerpted from the American Dental Association news:  NIDCR proposes e-cigarette research September 05, 2014)

Preliminary conclusions about e-cigarettes

The general advice for patients considering using e-cigarettes is to use caution.  According to the British Dental Journal:

  • “The long term safety of e-cigarettes is not yet established
  • E-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than tobacco cigarettes
  • The effectiveness of e-cigarettes as either a smoking cessation tool or a harm reduction tool is not yet established
  • Advice to patients who are unable or unwilling to use licensed NRT products is that although the safety of e-cigarettes cannot be assured they are likely to be a lower risk option than continuing to smoke.
  • Advise patients that there is the potential for advice about e-cigarettes to change as findings from research about the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes is published.”

(Excerpted from: British Dental Journal: Patients are asking about e‑cigarettes. What do we tell them? July 2014)

How Safe is Teeth Whitening?

Rumors of teeth whitening products wearing away tooth enamel and damaging teeth are enough to cause anyone concern.  But is safe teeth whitening there any truth to concerns about the safety of teeth whitening?

In general teeth whitening has proven to be very safe and effective.  However, it is valuable to explore how rumors of the negative effects of tooth whitening began in the first place, as well as a few cautions on the topic.

What is whitening gel made of?

There are two main ingredients used in almost all teeth whitening products: hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. The stronger of the two chemicals is hydrogen peroxide and due to its strength, it is the ingredient typically used in higher concentrations in dentist supervised whitening treatments.

Since hydrogen peroxide can cause a chemical burn on the gums, dentists are careful to ensure the safety of gums and other sensitive tissues during the treatment.

Carbamide peroxide is the less intense of the two chemicals and therefore safer to apply. It is most often used in over the counter whitening treatments.

Potential side effects of whitening

Side effects can occur during whitening and can be made worse through improper use of whitening products.  Common complaints are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.  Following directions carefully can help minimize these problems when whitening at home, but if either of these symptoms occur it’s important to pay attention.

Fortunately there are teeth whitening options for patients with even the most sensitive teeth. Options could include building the tolerance of teeth over a period of time with fluoride treatments or exploring whitening systems that work better for people with sensitivity.

Where do rumors that teeth whitening is unsafe come from?

It is true that it is not advisable for pregnant or lactating women to use teeth whitening products. Otherwise, the reported problems associated with teeth whitening usually result from the misuse of over the counter products. Ultimately, whether using a home whitening treatment or having an in-clinic treatment, the dangers should be very minimal.

Common cautions include: using a whitening product more often than directed, or leaving the solution on longer than the instructions recommend.

Another issue with whitening products comes from whitening material entering into an unfilled cavity or crack in the tooth. To avoid this scenario, make sure you have a check-up with your dentist before starting the whitening process.


Now that you understand how teeth whitening works and some of the associated issues and concerns, you can start comparing whitening treatments. Consider getting your dentist’s opinion on the best way for you to whiten and to check any dental health issues that could possibly prevent you from getting the best results.

Should You See Your Dentist for Whitening?

As people of all ages seek a whiter, healthier looking smile, teeth whitening has emerged as the single most popular cosmetic dentalteeth whitening dentist nanaimo procedure in dentistry.

With all of the new developments in whitening, from whitening toothpaste to whitening gum and mouthwash, the question is, what is the difference between over the counter teeth whitening products and professional whitening at your dental clinic?

How does whitening work?

Over the counter whitening products work in a similar way to professional whitening in a dental clinic, but there are some major differences in the planning and approach, the concentration of whitening products, cost, and safety and application.

Planning and approach

One of the biggest challenges with whitening is that not all teeth stains and discoloration respond to the traditional bleaching approach.  Additionally, the look of your smile is effected by a number of other factors including the appearance of the gum-line, the straightness of your teeth and even the shape of the teeth.

Your dentist is trained to help you get the best results by selecting the right treatment method based on your situation. Your dentist may recommend teeth whitening alone or in combination with other cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as Invisalign orthodontics, dental crowns or porcelain veneers.

In the end you will always have the final say in which treatments work best for your based on your time and budget, but you will avoid the frustration of one-size-fits-all treatments that may not be right for you.

Concentration of whitening gel

If you’ve tried over the counter whitening products, you know that you have to be consistent with their use and really patient if you want to see results.  One of the reasons why great results are often not achieved by over the counter products is that people do not stick with the process – which can be cumbersome, time consuming and uncomfortable.

Whitening at your dental clinic offers nearly immediate results. The primary reason for this is that a dentist is permitted to use a high concentration of bleaching gel to get whitening results that show immediately.

Over the counter whitening products cannot compete with the dramatic results achieved through high concentration, in-clinic whitening.

Safety and application

Another challenge with over the counter whitening products is the application.  Even if you take the time to read and carefully follow the directions, it can seem impossible to make the process smooth and comfortable.  Perhaps the trays or strips do not fit properly, or some of the whitening gel ends up on your tongue or gums.  All of this can make it hard to stick to the plan!

In clinic teeth whitening is done with customized applications to make sure that they fit and protect you.  Precautions are built in to the whitening process to make sure that whitening gel does not stay in contact with the gums, tongue or cheeks.

Tooth sensitivity is another common complaint when whitening.  Your dentist has the tools and knowledge to reduce tooth sensitivity and discomfort while you whiten.


In clinic teeth whitening services average in range from $300 – $500 while over the counter whitening products typically range from $40 – $120.  In the end, however, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

If you are looking for fantastic results in the shortest amount of time, your dentist is your best bet.  If you’re not sure if teeth whitening is for you, your dentist can also review your plans and discuss other options and factors that you may not have even considered. As a bonus, professional whitening usually includes some home maintenance products to help you keep your new, whiter smile even longer.


Do Sports Mouthguards Prevent Injury?

Sports mouthguards are proven to prevent injury during contact sports.  Just how many? According to a study of high school football players conducted by the American Dental Association, mouthguards prevented approximately 200,000 injuries in a single year.

Which sports are considered “contact” sports?

A wide range of sports can lead to dental injuries.  While some sports have a higher incidence of dental injuries, any sport where a fall is possible, could lead to a dental injury.  Sports such as hockey, lacrosse, boxing and football feature direct contact, but sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, biking or skateboarding – and others – can all be considered as potentials for dental injury.

When do injuries tend to happen?

Don’t assume that most dental injuries happen only during games.  A study done by “Safe Kids Worldwide,” found that 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries happen during a practice.  Armed with this knowledge, coaches and parents need to remind children to wear sports mouthguards whether playing or practicing.

Consequences of knocked-out teeth

Knocked out teeth can sometimes be saved and replanted if emergency dental attention is received.  Read more about saving a knocked out tooth.  Lost teeth come with a high price tag, including potentially thousands of dollars per tooth and several hours in the dentist’s chair.

Types of mouth guards

Sports store brand mouth guards are easy to find and relatively cheap, however, poor fit and little resistance to wear-and-tear can render this type of mouthguard useless in a short period of time.

Custom made mouth guards from your dentist provide perfect fit and long lasting protection. Dentist made mouth guards are also a lot more comfortable – allowing ease when breathing and talking. In addition, an effective mouth guard will have the following attributes: it keeps its shape, fits properly, is durable and easy to clean.

Often, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth, but your dentist may suggest a lower fitting mouth guard based on your mouth – another reason to seek professional advice for a mouthguard.

Taking care of your mouth guard

Once you have a custom made sports mouthguard, you’ll want to take care of it, so it lasts a long time.  Here are some tips for taking care of your mouth guard:

  • To clean it use an antiseptic mouth rinse or use toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Store your mouth guard in a firm container that allows air circulation.
  • High temperatures can cause your mouthguard to change shape – don’t place it under hot water or in direct sunlight.

Bring your mouth guard to your dental check-ups and bring any concerns about the fit or condition of the mouthguard to your dentist as soon as you notice.

Wearing a custom mouthguard is an important step in preventing dental injury for you and your family.  Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is a provider of custom made sports mouthguards in Nanaimo.  Contact us to book an appointment today!

Mercury-free Fillings

Dental fillings are the most common treatment in dentistry.  Used to treat the most pervasive dental problem, the cavity, the dentalamalgam versus mercury-free composite fillings filling preserves the tooth from further damage while simultaneously restoring the shape and functionality of the natural tooth.

Amalgam, or “silver” fillings were the preferred material to fill a cavity for decades.  However, in recent years, new technology in dentistry has created alternatives, and at the same time helped to highlight the disadvantages of using amalgam for dental fillings.

The disadvantages of amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals, including mercury.  While the medical health regulators insist that exposure to mercury through amalgam fillings does not pose a significant threat, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that mercury is harmful at any level of exposure.

Looking purely at the practical side, amalgam fillings have a couple more strikes against them.  Amalgam fillings require that more of the tooth be removed than other restorative options.  And although amalgam fillings have proven to have the strength to endure chewing, it is equally true that amalgam expands and contracts overtime, which can produce cracks in the tooth and potentially further damage it.

What is the alternative to amalgam fillings?

Fortunately there are some great alternatives to amalgam fillings!  The most common alternative is a tooth-colored compound called composite resin. Also known as a “white filling,” composite fillings are made of a chemically engineered composite material, which has proven to be just as strong as amalgam and to provide some further comparable benefits.

What are the benefits of white fillings?

Due to the way the composite resin filling bonds to the tooth, less of the natural tooth structure needs to be removed during the treatment process. Composite resin can also be colored to match the surrounding teeth, making it a clear winner on an aesthetic level.

Do I need to replace amalgam fillings?

Amalgam fillings can safely be removed without exposure to mercury during the process.  If the fillings are older and require replacing anyway, it makes the decision simple.  Over time, our dental team recommends that amalgam fillings are replaced with composite fillings. Please consult with our dentists to find out if replacing your amalgam fillings is an option you’d like to pursue.

At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, we do not provide amalgam fillings as an option to our patients – we’re proud to be a mercury-free filling dental clinic.  We welcome you to book an appointment today to learn more about mercury-free fillings.

Invisible Braces for Teens

Teens are known for being naturally self-conscious – after all, they are growing and still developing their sense of identity.  Havinginvisalign teen nanaimo dental 2014 crooked teeth can be a challenge for teens, but using traditional metal and bracket braces as a solution can often make this acute sense of self-consciousness even worse.

Invisalign Teen is a virtually invisible orthodontic treatment solution for teens with mild to severe cases, including underbite, overbite, overcrowding and gaps between teeth.

When the stigma of braces is taken away, most teens will fully embrace the opportunity to straighten their teeth and improve the health of their mouth and their smile for a lifetime.

How are Invisalign braces different?

Rather than wires and brackets, Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners that have been custom-made for your teen’s teeth. Your teen simply wears them for a minimum of 22 hours per day.

A new set of aligners is begun about every two weeks, gradually shifting your teen’s teeth into place and helping them achieve a smile they will want to show off.

How effective is Invisalign and how long does it take?

Invisalign teen has been shown to be as effective as traditional braces and the average treatment time is about the same as with traditional braces.  The treatment time will depend on the severity of your teen’s case and will be estimated during your Invisalign consultation at Downtown Dental Group.

Advantages of Invisalign teen

invisalign braces nanaimoDoes your teen play sports or musical instruments?  Would your teen be upset if you limited their diet?

With Invisalign, the aligners are removable, so your teen can play sports without the worry of being hit in the mouth, which can cause real damage in braces.

For the musical teen, Invisalign allows them to remove their aligners to play their instruments properly.

With braces, there is a long list of foods your teen shouldn’t eat, from popcorn to apples and raw carrots. With Invisalign, your teen can simply remove their aligners and eat as normal. The removable aligners make it easy to brush and floss normally to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Does my dental insurance cover Invisalign teen?

Many dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign.  It’s best to check directly with your extended health insurance carrier to see what is covered. If finances are an issue, Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group offers financing plans which can help get your teen’s treatment started without delay.

What if my teen loses an Invisalign aligner?

We understand that teenagers are prone to losing items.  Therefore, we offer up to six replacement aligners for free. In the event that an aligner is lost, just let us know right away and we’ll help you replace it at no cost.

How many visits to the dental clinic will Invisalign teen entail?

The good news is that Invisalign Teen often requires less time with at the dental clinic than traditional braces do. After the initial appointment, follow-up appointments are usually scheduled for every four to six weeks.

Contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today to make an appointment for your teen!




Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea Today!

The term “sleep apnea” refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturb the normal sleep cycle.  sleep apnea diagram nanaimo sleep dentalAccording to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing sleep apnea and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have sleep apnea.

Symptoms and impact of sleep apnea

Excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained and snoring with pauses in breathing are the main symptoms of sleep apnea, however there are other symptoms that can accompany them.

Sleep apnea can lead to a host of negative effects, including:

  • Irritability
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration
  • Morning headaches

Medical treatment for sleep apnea

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is the medical treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP delivers a constant flow of air to the patient through tubing and a mask to the airway. The pressure of the airflow prevents the collapse of the airway and eliminates the sleep apnea events.

One of the downsides of CPAP is the discomfort of wearing a mask and tubing while sleeping. Also, CPAP is not a cure for sleep apnea, it only works as long as it is used.

If diagnosed with severe sleep apnea by a medical doctor, the patient is required to try the CPAP device for at least one month because it is considered the best treatment option.

After one month of using CPAP, or in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea, the patient can request an alternate treatment for sleep apnea, such as a dental sleep apnea appliance.

Dental appliances and devices to treat sleep apnea

Dental sleep apnea appliances, also known as oral appliances, may be suggested by a patient’s doctor to treat mild or moderate sleep apnea. Dental apnea devices to treat sleep apnea are worn at night and work by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.

There are many different types of dental sleep apnea appliances for sleep apnea available. If a dental apnea device or appliance is recommended by your doctor, it’s best to consult with your dentist at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in regard to the ideal type of apnea sleep treatment.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances and apnea appliances as an alternative to CPAP to treat sleep apnea as well as snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation.


Invisalign Sets the Trend in Adult Orthodontics

There is a trend toward more and more adults choosing Orthodontic treatments.  With advances in orthodontics, such as the clear, no more braces nanaimo invisalignremovable braces offered by Invisalign, it’s no surprise that new technology is setting the trend for the rise in the number of adults undertaking orthodontic treatment.  In fact, over half of the new orthodontic patients at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group are adults.

What is it exactly that adults want from their orthodontic treatment?

We find that there are 3 expectations that our adult orthodontic patients are frequently expressing the need for.  In order for an orthodontic treatment to work for their lives, our patients are asking for convenience, comfort and appearance.

Fortunately, Invisalign braces answer to each of these concerns – we’ll show you how!

Expectation #1 — Convenience

Our patients have asked for a flexible and convenient teeth straightening process to improve their smiles.  At the same time, our patients do not want to make trade-offs with their lifestyle or valuable time.

Invisalign treatments are designed with convenience in mind. Since the clear invisalign aligners can easily be removed they can be conveniently popped out on special occasions and then popped back in again later.

This teeth straightening system is perfect for those with a busy schedule. Visits to our Nanaimo dental clinic are expected just once every 6 weeks. In terms of cleaning and maintenance, there are really no special requirements – just remove you invisalign aligners and brush and floss as usual.

Of course you still need to wear the aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day, but with the ability to remove them at will, the impact on your lifestyle is under control.

Expectation #2 — Comfort

Traditional wire and bracket braces of the past had a bad reputation for feeling very tight and uncomfortable the whole way through the treatment.  With Invisalign, making the decision to straighten your teeth doesn’t equate to a year or more of discomfort!

Each set of aligners are worn for about 2 weeks.  At the beginning of each new aligner set, it is common to feel a sense of tightness or pressure.  However, since the aligners are designed for short stages, this pressure is lighter and most people adapt to it quickly.  If the pressure is really too much, it is possible for your dentist to adjust the aligners.

Traditional braces also used to wreak havoc on the delicate tissues of the inner mouth.  Invisalign aligners, in contrast are made of a smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic that won’t irritate your gums and inner checks.

When it comes to eating, the Invisalign design really shines.  Simply remove the trays when eating and don’t worry about sacrificing any of the foods you normally enjoy!

Expectation #3 — Appearance

Working professionals dread the idea of wearing wire and bracket braces for over a year to straighten their teeth.  Also, the traditional appearance of braces carries the stigma of being juvenile – the realm of teenagers not grown adults.

Invisalign aligners in contract to traditional braces are virtually invisible – giving you the privacy and anonymity you deserve while completing your orthodontic treatment. With all of these advantages, it’s no wonder that adult orthodontic trends favour treatments like Invisalign that provide comfort and convenience without sacrificing appearance.

Contact us about Invisalign

Get started by contacting Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to book a free invisalign consultation today.  We are Preferred Invisalign providers and offer financing plans to help make your perfect smile a reality today.

Learn more about the Invisalign treatment process on our website.

Invisalign Braces | Save Now!

Would you like to straighten your teeth but don’t like the idea of metal braces?  With the amazing technology of Invisalign, you can invisalign braces nanaimonow straighten your teeth without anyone being aware that you are doing an orthodontic treatment.

Using a series of clear, virtually invisible aligner trays, Invisalign, shifts your teeth into their proper position – and allows you to remove them for eating, brushing or just because you can.

How to choose an Invisalign dentist

An experienced Invisalign provider can help you get on your path to a straighter, healthier smile without delay.  Dr. Mahara, of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, is an Invisalign Preferred Provider.  He has experience providing Invisalign for hundreds of patients and can also administer traditional braces if required.  Contact Dr. Mahara today for a free Invisalign consultation – and to find out more about saving $1000 on Invisalign between January 27th and March 7th, 2014.

Braces that make sense for your lifestyle

Whether you are an adult or a teen, wouldn’t it be great to see the progress of your orthodontic treatment as it happens?  With Invisalign this is possible.  A series of custom-made aligners are constructed for you by our Nanaimo Invisalign dentist and are worn for about 2 weeks.  The changes to your smile can actually be seen each time you progress to the next set of aligners trays.

Invisalign aligners are safe and comfortable

Invisalign aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable BPA-free plastic which will not irritate you’re the soft tissue of your gums and cheeks. Since the aligners can be removed, keeping your mouth clean is just as easy as ever.  With Invisalign there’s just no need to have metal braces that trap food and make it difficult to keep your mouth fresh.

Does Invisalign hurt?

A new set of Invisalign aligners can give a feeling of tightness and pressure – but this is natural – after all, the aligners are designed to create tension which slowly shifts teeth into their proper position.  In cases where the new aligners are really uncomfortable, don’t worry – we can adjust them.  In most cases though, this natural tension takes care of itself as you get used to it.

Does Invisalign require many trips to the dental office?

Under normal circumstances, you’ll only have to visit Dr. Mahara, in his Nanaimo dental clinic every 6 weeks. You can always check in with our clinic if you have questions, but the process does not require as many visits as you may have guessed.

How often can the Invisalign aligners be removed?

In order for the Invisalign aligners to be effective, they must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours each day.  This gives you up to 2 hours per day to remove your Invisalign aligners to eat, brush, floss, make an important speech or smile for an important photo.

How long is the Invisalign treatment process?

Not every Invisalign patient will have the same set of circumstance.  In general however, treatment takes about a year for adults. For teenagers using Invisalign, the length of their orthodontic treatment is about the same length of time as traditional braces would have taken.

What is the first step in straightening my teeth with Invisalign?

Get started by booking a free Invisalign consultation with Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.  We are proud to be Preferred Invisalign providers in Nanaimo and to make your perfect smile a reality sooner, we offer the option of financing plans.  Find out more about the Invisalign treatment process on our website and contact us if you have any questions.


Chipped Front Teeth

At the age of 16 one of our patients was involved in a biking accident and the front teeth were broken and part of the teeth lost.  Now 18 years old, the patient came to Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group to repair his chipped front teeth and restore his smile.

Besides the chipping of the front teeth, the patient also has some crowding which has left some teeth crooked.  Invisalign treatment is recommended as the ideal option to straighten the teeth.  Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment method which uses a series of removable invisible aligners to move the teeth back into a correct and straight position.

In the meantime, the patient was given a couple of options for repairing the chipped front teeth.  The ideal treatment recommended was porcelain veneers to correct the problem and create the most natural looking and long lasting solution possible.  Modern porcelain veneers are durable and have physical properties which match very closely with natural teeth.  This is due to the translucency of porcelain which reflects light in a similar way to natural teeth.

A second, short term option presented to the patient was to restore the shape of the front teeth using a bonding technique with composite materials.  Bonding produces a very nice result, but on the downside has a tendency to show discolouration over time.  It is a great short term solution however.

The patient, in this case, decided to go with the bonding with composite material option and is very happy with the result.

The patient is now considering Invisalign treatment and will consider porcelain veneers as a more permanent solution to his smile makeover once his teeth have been straightened.

Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group specializes in cosmetic dentistry and Invisalign treatments to help you achieve both a healthy mouth and a smile that you are proud to let shine.  Read more about having a smile make over or Invisalign treatment at our Nanaimo dental clinic and contact us today to book a consultation.  We look forward to serving you.

Invisible Braces? Introducing Invisalign

2-Benefits-of-InvisalignIf you’d like straight teeth without braces or any visible sign that you are doing an orthodontic treatment, Invisalgn is a dental technology that you need to know about.  Instead of bulky metal braces, Invisalign uses a series of see-through aligners that click into place in your mouth to progressively shift teeth into their proper position.  Not only does Invisalign act as clear and invisible braces, they’re removable!

How does Invisalign work?

A series of custom-made, clear aligners are created specifically for you by our Nanaimo Invisalign dentists and are to be worn throughout the day.  Each set of aligners is worn for about 2 weeks, so the changes made to your teeth are progressive and you can literally see the change happening each time you move to the next set of aligners.

Is Invisalign comfortable?

Since the aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable BPA-free plastic, they are specifically designed not to irritate your cheeks and gums. The aligners can be removed when you eat or to brush and floss your teeth, so keeping your mouth clean is a breeze.

Some patients do report to our Nanaimo dental team that the aligners can feel tight, especially when starting a new set.  If the new aligners are really uncomfortable, they can be adjusted.  However, in most cases, this is the natural feeling of tension created to shift the teeth to the next stage in the straightening process, and you will get used to it in no time.

Is Invisalign convenient?

Although you will typically begin a new set of aligners every two weeks, this does not mean you must visit our Nanaimo Invisalign dentists that frequently.  In fact, normally you will only need to check in with your dentist every 6 weeks.

Although being removable makes Invisalign very convenient, it’s important to remember that in order to work properly, the Invisalign aligners must be worn for 20 – 22 hours per day.  That means that although the aligners can be removed for eating and brushing and flossing, they should not be removed for any length of time.  Teen Invisalign users will be happy to know that a large part of their Invisalign wearing time occurs while they’re sleeping, leaving a few hours during the day for removal.

How long does Invisalign take?

While every case is unique for each patient, treatment typically takes approximately a year for adults. For teens, the length of treatment is comparable to that of braces.  Don’t forget however, that for teens, the combination of not having those awkward metal braces and seeing regular progress happening every two weeks makes the time fly by.

How to get started using Invisalign to straighten your teeth?

Get started by contacting us for an appointment at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group today.  We are Certified Invisalign providers and offer financing plans to help make your perfect smile a reality today.  We also recommend that you read more about the Invisalign treatment process on our website and contact us if you have any questions.  We look forward to helping you create the smile you’ve dreamed about soon.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Understanding Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is a great benefit that many employers provide or that business people or families can purchase on their own to help reduce the risk of unexpected dental costs.  Unfortunately, dental plans can cause frustration when they’re not understood properly.

“Dental plans are a valuable component of extended health benefits and are designed to offset the cost of dental treatment,” says Dr. Hank Klein, President, British Columbia Dental Association. (

The frustration occurs when patients assume that dental insurance should dictate their treatment plan.  In fact, dental insurance is not designed to cover all dental expenses, but to offset dental fees.  Your dentist is a highly trained specialist and will recommend a treatment plan based on your unique case and the treatment options available to you.  At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group we always provide patients with several treatment options where possible – from the best option to those that are quicker or more economical. It is ultimately your choice which of the recommended treatment options are acted on.

At Downtown Nanaimo Group, you can expect that we will help you as much as possible with your dental insurance claims by submitting your claims on your behalf and by deferring a portion of your payment for dental services based on the expected portion of the fees that will be paid by the dental insurer.  On average this leads to a delay of up to two months in our office being paid for dental services.  We do this as a service to our valued patients and it is not something that Dental offices are required to do.

To avoid surprises or frustration that may occur as a result of not fully understanding your dental insurance plan, the following are a few tips recommended on the BC Dental Association website to become an active and knowledgeable participant in your dental health:

  • Know your dental plan and what’s covered before your dental appointment to understand your portion of costs.
  • Plan for the future. Consider all your extended health costs when planning for your retirement
  • Discuss all treatment options with your dentist to make an informed decision based on your dental health needs.  Understand any health risks associated with delaying or refusing treatment
  • Prevention is still the best treatment for everyone in your family: brush and floss daily; limit sugary drinks and snacks; don’t smoke; and have an examination by a dentist at least once a year to diagnose problems before they become more complex and costly.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Smile Makeover Dream Come True

The smile makeover photo is in – and Vina’s smile makeover is complete!  Vina’s smile make over, by Dr. Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group on Vancouver Island, B.C., involved changing the shade and shape of 8 of Vina’s teeth in her smile line.  Her four front teeth were previously restorations which were overdue for a change and as a result there was a dark metallic line along the gum-line of Vina’s smile.

Dr. Mahara commented on the final session of the smile makeover:  “Vina’s gum had receded from previous long term bridges – this caused some complication in bringing back an appropriate gum-line as the papilla, the gum tissue that fills the space between two teeth,  had receded.  In response to this, I had to be prep with a deeper margin to give the appearance of the teeth coming out of the gums and mimicking the natural contour of the tooth along the gum-line.  In all, I’m very pleased with the results of Vina’s smile makeover.  She now has a much fuller smile and her gum-line looks great.”

Vina chose the second whitest shade available and lengthened the front teeth to correspond to the smile line of her lips.  She now has a “movie star” smile and she’s proud to show it.

In conclusion, Dr. Mahara reminds Vina of the need to maintain her gum and teeth health with  regular dental hygiene visits, every 6 months at a minimum.  “People sometimes think that restorations,  like crowns or bridges, mean you no longer have to worry about cavities or gum disease.  This is not the case, as the tooth surface is exposed along the gum-line and in the gum pockets.”

“In fact,” explains Dr. Mahara, “it’s even more important to maintain your teeth after having restorations and especially a smile makeover.  If you develop cavities or gum disease after a smile makeover, it can be disastrous to your new smile if not caught in time.”

Vina’s Testimonial After the Smile Makeover

“I am truly delighted with the smile Dr. Mahara designed for me. Numerous people have complimented me on my teeth, and I now have a lot of confidence in my smile.  This smile makeover goes beyond what I expected.  I wanted to fix my smile, but Dr. Mahara went far beyond this by designing a smile that suits me perfectly.

Dr. Mahara is very precise and worked hard to get to a perfect result.  He is never satisfied with just good results.  It was clear from the beginning that Dr. Mahara was interested in designing the perfect smile make over –and he did it.   I really appreciated that Dr. Mahara took the time to listen and explain the smile makeover procedures and I always felt very comfortable with the next step.

It’s important in my profession as an esthetician to make clients feel welcome and comfortable and the first thing they see is my smile.  In the past I always worried about my smile and tried to hide it, but now I feel great just letting it go.  Thank you Dr. Mahara and your wonderful Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group staff!

If  you’re thinking about having a smile makeover done, I highly recommend Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.”

Vina’s Before and After Photos:


Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Smile Makeover Part 2

It’s been a brief eight weeks since Vina’s initial smile makeover consultation with Dr. Mahara, a trained cosmetic dentist, at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

“Vina was a perfect candidate for a smile make over,” explains Dr. Mahara, “because she had several failing restorations on her front teeth.”

Since the smile make over consultation, Vina has passed the first major check point of the process and had all 8 teeth  in her visible smile line prepped for her new crowns – at which point she received an instant smile makeover with Dr. Mahara’s amazingly realistic temporary crowns.

“The temporaries are very comfortable,” says Vina.  “They’re not as brilliantly white as the actual crowns are going to be, but still I’ve had a lot of compliments on my new smile.  It would be impossible for anyone to tell that these are temporaries.”

Since Vina’s previous restorations were failing, Dr. Mahara wasn’t sure what to expect when he removed the old restorations and he had to be prepared for various scenarios.

“Vina’s case was complicated.  Unfortunately, one of the teeth had decayed significantly under the old restoration and had to be removed.  Since bone grafting was needed to make sure the bone mass did not recede too much during the healing process, this will delay the placement of the new crowns by a few weeks.  We will ensure that the bridge sits flush with the gumline and the tooth looks natural,” explains Dr. Mahara.

Vina is thrilled that she made the decision to have the smile makeover done.

“My teeth were discoloured and uneven along the gumline,” she say, “I was never satisfied with my smile – and I admit that I sometimes tried to hide my smile.”

Who is a good candidate for a smile makeover?

“Anyone who is unhappy with their smile,” explains Dr. Mahara, “especially people with several old restorations, discoloured teeth that cannot be corrected through whitening, or with crooked teeth – for people who don’t want to have braces for an extended period of time.”

For those considering a smile makeover, the first step in the process is to book a smile makeover consultation with Dr. Mahara.  During this consultation, your unique smile will be considered and treatment options outlined clearly for you.

Read more about Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group’s smile make over process and stay tuned for Part 3 of Vina’s smile makeover, “After the Smile Makeover”.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

8 New Reasons to Smile

Vina will soon have 8 new reasons to smile.  Each of the 8 teeth that are visible when she smiles will be included in her extreme smile makeover treatment plan by trained cosmetic dentist, Dr. San Mahara at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

“I’ve been having trouble with my front teeth for several years now, and when I smile I’m careful not to smile too big” says Vina.  The crowns have fallen and created an uneven gum line and a dark space between the gums and the crowns.  “I know this looks like something is stuck there –even though there isn’t,” Vina adds.

Vina has already had an initial smile makeover consultation with Dr. Mahara where Dr. Mahara explained the treatment plan options.  At a second appointment, impressions were taken to have the waxed up models of the new crowns constructed by a master lab technician. Part of Dr. Mahara’s smile makeover process includes using highly trained lab technicians to make the crowns.

“The crowns need to fit the patient perfectly –their face, mouth and even their personality are considered.  These teeth will look life-like,” says Dr. Mahara.

Meanwhile Vina is seeing the waxed up models of her new teeth for the first time today.  She describes them as, “beautiful,” and her excitement is evident.

“The wax up modelling process is excellent,” says Dr. Mahara, “it allows the patient to see what the crowns will look like and give us feedback that we can incorporate in the final product.”

Dr. Mahara studied and mastered the smile make over treatment process at the world famous post-doctoral dental school, the Las Vegas Institute.

“Patients tend to continually repair their teeth not knowing their options,” says Dr. Mahara.  “I also give my patients the option for a smile makeover which addresses the root causes of the problems and at the same time significantly improves the appearance of their smile,” he adds.  Dr. Mahara’s cosmetic dentistry training gives him the vision and the tools to do this.

For Vina, the smile makeover means new freedom and renewed confidence.  “I’m going to have a big smile on my face every day,” says Vina.  In her work as an Esthetician and Spa Technician, her smile makeover will go a long way to show her confidence and inspire confidence in her service.

If you’re considering a smile makeover, please read more about Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group’s smile makeover process and book your smile makeover consultation today.

Stay tuned for a post in December following Vina’s smile makeover to see her results.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.