Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group Invisalign Preferred Providers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Invisalign Express

A Quick Solution to Crowded or Spaced Teeth

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

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

What is Invisalign?

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

Invisalign for Teens

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

What is Invisalign Express?

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

How does Invisalign Express Work?

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

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

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

The Truth About Sports Mouthguards

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the alternative to store bought mouth guards?

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

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

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

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

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

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.



3 steps to a smile makeover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Fee Dental Financing!

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

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

How it works:

1. Apply Online

Apply with our easy online application in under a minute.

2. Get an Instant Decision

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

3. Begin Your Treatment

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

4. Make Payments

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

Paybright provides:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Dental office

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

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

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

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

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

The dentist and staff

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Best Ways To Whiten Teeth

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

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

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

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

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

What Stains Teeth?

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

What are the teeth whitening treatment options?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Your Gums Say About Your Health

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

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

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

What do healthy gums look and feel like?

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

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

Signs and symptoms of gum disease

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

Here are signs that your gums may not be healthy:

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

Receding gums could be a sign of stress or sleep apnea

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

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

Pale gums could indicate anemia

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

Dry gums could indicate immune system problems

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

Other links to disease

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

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

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

Preventing gum problems

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

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


The End of Cavities??

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

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

First of all, what causes cavities?

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

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

What is the breakthrough and how does it work?

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

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

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

What does this look like?

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

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

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

The future looks bright

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

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

6 Steps to Combat Tooth Sensitivity

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

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

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

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


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

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

What can be done to combat this awful pain?

6 steps to combat tooth sensitivity

Check your toothpaste

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

Be aware while brushing

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

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

Watch out for food and drinks that destroy enamel

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

Look to your dentist for options

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

Put a stop to tooth grinding

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

Treat your receding gums

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

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

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


Do Dental Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?

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

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

What is sleep apnea?

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

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

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

How does the appliance work?

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

Benefits of dental appliances

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

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

Is there a downside to sleep apnea dental devices?

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

How does sleep apnea differ from snoring?

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

Can snoring be treated by a dental appliance?

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

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

What is the best option for replacing missing teeth?

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

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

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

How do dental implants work?

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

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

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

Advantages of Dental Implants

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

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

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

Are dental implants right for you?

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

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


Why Saving Your Natural Teeth is Important

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

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

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

Reasons to Save Your Natural Tooth

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

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

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

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

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

Common Misconceptions

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

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

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


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


How Missing Teeth Are Impacting Your Health

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

Teeth are interconnected to each other and to your overall health

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

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

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

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

Tooth loss solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Key to Managing Dental Fear

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

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

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

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

How serious is your dental phobia?

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

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

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

Causes and solutions for dental fear?

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

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

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

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

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

Sedation Dentistry

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

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

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

Contact Us

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

April is Nation Oral Cancer Awareness Month

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

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

Awareness is key

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

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

A growing risk factor

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

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

Conclusion and actions

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

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

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

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


All About Baby Teeth

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

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

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

When Can I Expect My Baby’s Teeth?

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

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

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

The Importance of Baby Teeth

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

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

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

Tips on Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

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

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

When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?

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

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


New Studies Link Gum Disease to Alzheimer’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He continues:

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

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

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

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

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

Please contact us today to book an appointment!

New Same-Day Crown Technology Arrives in Downtown Nanaimo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group – Nanaimo

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

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

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group – Nanaimo

New! Single Appointment Dental Crowns in Nanaimo | CEREC

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

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

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

Are CEREC crowns new?

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

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

Benefits of CEREC

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

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

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

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


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


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

New Technology Reverses Dental Freezing

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

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

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

How does it work?

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

Why choose it?

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

How quickly will the freezing go away?

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

Is it safe?

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

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

Who should not receive OraVerse?

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

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

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

Hike for Nepal Fundraiser Completed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Surprising Causes of Dental Erosion

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

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

What causes dental erosion?

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

Some of the causes are:

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

Medications –aspirin and antihistamines for example

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

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

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

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

Better alternatives

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

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

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


Dental erosion can occur at varying levels of severity and does not always need to be treated. With regular check-ups and advice your dental team can prevent the problem getting any worse and the erosion going any further.

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

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


Does the Sugar in My Medications Cause Tooth Decay?

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

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

Why does sugar exist in medications?

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

How does the sugar cause damage?

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

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

Which medications contain the most sugar?

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

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

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

What do the experts recommend?

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

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

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

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

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

My Invisalign Experience

Pre-Invisaligninvisalign male downtown nanaimo dental

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

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

What is Invisalign?

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

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

Challenges and opportunities with Invisalign

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

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

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

Why I chose Invisalign

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Important is a Good Nights’ Sleep?

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

Why is sleep so critical?

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

How does sleep relate to overall health?

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

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

6 ways to improve your sleep

1. Limit caffeine intake

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

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

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

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

3. Stop working late

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

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

4. Take short naps

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

5. Be aware of snoring or sleep apnea

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

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



Newest Exhibitor at the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do Electronic Cigarettes Effect Oral Health?

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

How do e-cigs work?

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

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

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

Dental research on e-cigs

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

According to the American Dental Association:

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

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

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

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

Preliminary conclusions about e-cigarettes

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

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

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

Invisible Braces? Introducing Invisalign

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

How does Invisalign work?

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

Is Invisalign comfortable?

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

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

Is Invisalign convenient?

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

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

How long does Invisalign take?

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

How to get started using Invisalign to straighten your teeth?

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

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

Understanding Dental Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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