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.



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.

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!

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.

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!

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.



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.

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.


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.