How long has Dr. McKay been a dentist?
Dr. Terry McKay has been practicing dentistry for more than 35 years. Before starting IQ Dental here in North Vancouver, he also practiced in West Vancouver and in Seattle. Dr. McKay regularly attends continuing education courses all throughout Canada and teaches third- and fourth-year dental students at the University of British Columbia.
How do you become a dentist?
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. To become a dentist, you have to complete at least eight years of schooling, and receive either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. If you want to specialize in a specific field of dentistry - for example, pediatric dentistry - you must receive the proper education and training needed to work with children from infancy through the teen years. Other specializations include:
- Endodontics (root canals)
- Oral and Maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Periodontics (gum disease)
- Prosthodontics (implants)
My teeth feel fine! Why do I need regular dental appointments?
Just because your teeth feel fine, doesn't mean they're as healthy as they can be! Problems, like cavities, can exist without you even knowing. Visiting our dental office regularly will help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, and also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
- Prevents bad breath; brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth
- Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
- Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
How often should I see the dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. You doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (CAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the CDA (Canadian Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my teeth between dental checkups?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least three times a day, and floss at least once!
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
- Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
How often should I brush my teeth?
According to your dentist and the Canadian Dental Association, you should be brushing your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria – causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue – it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
When should I change my toothbrush?
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
How do I schedule my next checkup?
It's easy - call the team at IQ Dental in North Vancouver! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.