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Happy National Dental Hygiene Week 2013!

Just wanted to share with everyone the well wishes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent to the Canadian Dental Hygienist’s Association while celebrating National Dental Hygiene Week! Congratulations to 50 years of CDHA and CRDHA as well!!!

Meditation techniques to help those fearing their dental appointments

Hello all, just the other week I had a very very nervous patient in my chair who told me at the end of her appointment that she was meditating all throughout to get her through the hour!  It was quite a coincidence that she was in my chair, because the week prior I had a colleague mention about one of her patient’s praying the rosary during their dental hygiene appointment as a form of coping with fear!  For my patient, her meditation worked extremely well, and she even mustered up the courage to book back for the rest of her inital periodontal therapy and restorative care.

My particular patient had a background as a spiritual advisor. She explained that meditating involved three things for herself; the breathing, the focus on specific words or mantras (a prayer),  and trying to block out any thoughts or ideas past the specific mantras and words. It was a breath of fresh air, no pun intended,  to see a form of calming jittery nerve and phobias by ways other than 1 .nitrous oxide  2.  ativan 3. or any other sedative. I was very proud of this patient as it took her 4 years to get back into the dental chair. Meditation is a great holistic way to help deal with ones fears, whether they be in the dental chair, an exam to be written, or dealing with a new black diamond ski run!

At Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Dentistry and School of Dental Hygiene, a program was launched in 2008 to help students learn the benefits of meditation in their every day personal and work lives, called the Mindfulness Awareness Training Program. What a great idea, this would have been helpful for sure at my program!

For those who woud like to learn more about meditation techniques, check out the Mayo Clinic’s guide on relaxation techniques for stress busting. It could help you or a friend or family member at the next visit to the dental office!







How to keep your toothbrush clean!

I just finished reading an article that I felt I should share with others.

It has to do with the fact that yes, your toothbrush also needs to be kept clean! There are some basic rules such as throwing away your brush or brush head every 3 months or when you have been sick. But here are more helpful suggestions to decrease contamination of your “brosse de dents” whilst in the bathroom.

I know, so many things to think about to maintain that healthy smile, but enjoy the read.

Good dental habits begin at an early age

Help older kids brush up on oral health

(NC)— Did you know that an estimated 57% of kids aged 6 to 11 years-old  have cavities? That number increases to 59% for teens, but with good oral care, specialists tell us that all children can grow up cavity-free. The habits you help them develop now will last a lifetime, so take a look at these helpful tips:

12-24 Months: Begin regular dental visits by age one. Teach a toddler about dental hygiene when the first teeth come through. Children should get used to holding a toothbrush and should watch others as they brush. Let them practice brushing, but continue brushing their teeth for them. Begin flossing when most of the baby teeth are in.

2-5 Years: Teach young children to use no more than a pea-size amount of toothpaste and make sure they do not eat it. Continue to brush and floss their teeth for them. Avoid sugary sweet treats.

6 + Years: Encourage children to begin flossing. Your dental hygienist will demonstrate proper technique. Continue to supervise brushing and flossing. The surface of your child’s permanent molars may be sealed with a light coating to prevent cavities in the deep fissure and grooves of the teeth. Keep a record of any accidents or falls that could affect the placement or condition of permanent teeth.

More information about oral care is available online at

How to care for your child’s teeth

Healthy smiles for babies and toddlers

baby toddler dental health pic

(NC)—We don’t usually associate cavities or gum disease with infants but in fact, oral diseases begin very early. For example, early childhood caries (cavities) is a form of severe tooth decay in the primary (baby) teeth of children from birth to age 3, and it affects more than 10 per cent of preschool-aged children in Canada. Baby’s first teeth are crucial to healthy adult teeth, and early childhood cavities can lead to much bigger oral health issues later in life.

Reduce the risk and follow these simple care tips with your little one:

• Be a good role model. Keep your own teeth and gums healthy.

• Wipe baby’s mouth and gums with a clean, wet cloth or piece of gauze after feeding.

• Gently clean newly erupted teeth with a small, soft toothbrush.

• Avoid fruit punches and other sweetened drinks in baby bottles, especially before bed.

• Reduce the frequency of nighttime feedings.

• Use only pacifiers with an orthodontic design, and don’t dip it in sugary substances.

•  Avoid transfer of your saliva onto items used by baby, including bottles, cups, pacifiers. Bacteria spreads.

• Rinse baby’s mouth with clear water immediately after any liquid medication is given.

• Check for early warning signs by lifting up baby’s top lip. White, chalky teeth or brown or black stained teeth indicate a problem. Contact your dental professional immediately.

• Gradually introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet. These foods, which require chewing, stimulate saliva flow and help to neutralize acids.

• Begin regular dental visits by age one.

More tips and information about oral health care is available online at

April was also Cancer Awareness Month in Canada

Oral cancer—not just your grandparent’s disease

Oral Cancer pic

(NC)—Oral Cancer is the 13th most common and fastest growing type of cancer, particularly for younger Canadians. Smoking, drinking, sun exposure of the lips and HPV are all risk factors in developing oral cancer. Here’s what to watch for:

• Red or white patches in the mouth

• Lump or thickening of tissue in the mouth, neck or face

• Sores in the mouth that bleed or do not heal within 14 days

• Numbness in face or mouth

• Wart like masses inside the mouth

• Pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue

• Hoarse throat that lasts for a long period of time

Most cancers of the mouth can be treated if caught in time, and oral cancers are easily detected by dental hygienists who are familiar with the signs and symptoms. Reduce your risk; maintain regular dental hygiene appointments, and at your next visit request an oral cancer screening.

Celebrating National Dental Hygiene Week 2012!

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
St. Francis of Assisi


This year I was able to get out and celebrate National Dental Hygiene Week within the community of Kensington. I had the pleasure of visiting with 4 different West Hillhurst Preschool Classes and boy was it fun! Teeth were counted in English and en francais; we learnt how to brush teeth and gums using Doogan Dog as a trusty but sneezy model,: kids listened with wide eyes and open ears during story time and explanations about what sugar bugs did in their mouth! What an attentive, and happy go lucky audience.

Dental Hygiene Week is a time when Canada recognizes the initiatives of this profession and how it impacts Canadians. It is both a good time and bad time to be a hygienist in 2012; good because of the changes made to the Health Professions Act that gave Canadians more direct access to dental hygiene care and bad because of economic changes that affected  the landscape of once plentiful jobs for us hygienists.

If there is one thing that has not changed, it is the constant need for access to preventive oral health care in this country. I would like to personally thank every hygienist I know who has been instrumental in spearheading these legislative changes that would affect how healthy Canadians mouths could be.  You pioneers and trailblazers are amazing individuals! This is a great time to be a hygienist and it is only going to get better. Lots of faith, hope, and love.



Light It Up BLUE

The Autism Speaks group, based in the United States, is one of the most involved organizations in autism awareness, fundraising, science, and advocacy efforts. They have developed an awareness campaigned called Light It Up BLUE, designed to bring more awareness to autism.

Here in Canada, we have an amazing group called the Autism Canada Foundation. One aspect of autism which is commonly overlooked is the group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders. These disorders are less noticeable than common characteristics of autism, and because of that, are sometimes overlooked.

Autism prevalence is up 23% in the United States from 2009.

Amazingly, autistic individuals tend to also show some interesting strengths! This may include non-verbal reasoning skills, reading skills, perceptual motor skills, drawing skills, computer interest and skills, exceptional memory, visual Spatial abilities and even musical skills!

Increase your awareness of autism today :



Can Tea Help Prevent Cavities?

Image from the Fairmont Hotel Banff Springs on Highnoon Tea

This weekend I had my first experience of High Noon Tea! And I must say, where have I been all this time?

The dainty tea sandwiches; the scones with clotted cream, preserves and butter; the petit fours, all placed strategically on a tiered tower that you almost don’t want to eat because it looks so exquisite. And of course, the highlight, The Tea! If you have never had High Noon Tea I insist you try the one at the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff. The view in Rundle Lounge  where High Noon Tea is served is glorious on a sunny day with a bosom friend. Thanks very much A for introducing me!

Ah, but such a rich diet of fermentable carbohydrates will be a feast for those pesky streptococcus mutans who desperately want to lace your teeth with a bath of acid. In a nutshell bacteria metabolize sugars found in your diet and poop out acids that cause tooth decay!

But do not fret, there is tea to save the day! Yes it’s known to have anticariogenic properties; it helps to reduce the risk of cavities! Righto!

Apparently the polyphenols and catechins present in tea help to decrease biofilm from forming. Hence tea, has the potential to be an antibacterial. But what tea to choose; fermented or non fermented; black tea or green tea; Kyoto cherry blossom tea or Iranian green tea? There is an in vitro study from Spring 2011 that can be found on Pubmed that explains all of this in great detail for those with inquiring minds. In general, there is evidence showing tea as cavity fighter, but it seems there needs to be more studies completed to identify which types of tea leaves give the most therapeutic effects.

For the record, I chose the Kyoto cherry blossom green tea. Divine.


Direct Insurance Billing Now Provided!!

We have some fantastic news for those looking to have their dental care provider direct bill to their insurance company.

😆 White Summit Dental Hygiene now provides direct billing to insurance carriers! 😆

While we have supported eclaims for a few months now, since that time we’ve had many requests from patients to provide a direct billing service (also called assignment, or assignment of benefits) when eclaims is not available through their insurance provider.

The direct billing option is available to most patients. Read the following questions and answers put together for your enjoyment on this topic:

Q1: What does this mean for me as an existing patient?

See Answer

Well first off, we love that you’re an existing patient!! Thank you! What this means for our existing patients is that they will be able to take advantage of us billing their insurance company directly. It means less-out-of-pocket expense, however you will still be responsible for the remainder owing on the account once your insurance provider has paid us.

Q2:  How can I take advantage of this if I’m a new patient?

See Answer

Thanks for asking!! First off, we would recommend that you book a complimentary consult with us. During this meeting we’ll be able to start all the necessary paper work, and you’ll also be able to meet our fantastic team! Here are the items you’ll need to bring to your first complimentary consult:

  • Your insurance benefits card. – This will have your plan group & ID info on it
  • Your insurance booklet. – This will contain coverage details of your plan. If you don’t have one, request one from your provider before your visit.
  • Photo ID – Yes, insurance fraud happens , and we’re committed to doing our part to prevent it. Please bring a drivers license, passport or other government issued photo ID.
  • Recent Pay stub/Recent Insurance statement – This helps us verify that your insurance is currently active.

Q3: Why do you require all of the background info?

See Answer

When we offer this type of service, we are effectively extending you a line of credit for the amount of the procedure. Asking for the information indicated above helps us make the insurance claim process as smooth as possible for you, reduces the cases of insurance fraud, and also reduces the risk of extended credit to you without having to do a complicated credit check. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us!

Q4: How soon can I take advantage of Direct Insurance Billing?

See Answer

If you’re an existing patient, and assuming we have your insurance info on file, you can use this service for your next visit! If you’re new to our clinic, your first appointment is typically a free consult, then for your next appointment, payment is expected upfront. Then every following appointment you can take advantage of our direct billing option! If you have questions, feel free to contact us

Q5: What happens when my insurance provider doesn’t cover all of the treatment?

See Answer

When you decide to have treatment at our clinic, you are responsible for covering the fees in entirety. In most cases insurance providers, will not cover all fees associated with treatment. In those cases you may make a personal visit to pay by cash, Debit, Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Alternatively you can take advantage of our online ePay service through Paypal, and settle your account from wherever you are in the world! 

Q6: When would I not want to take advantage of this program?

See Answer

Some insurance carriers, like Great West Life, have online claims processes for their patients. In these cases it’s typically easier for patients to pay up-front for dental fees and then complete the online claim form at Great West the same day. Great West has a good reputation for quickly paying out claims using this service. It saves everyone time, and some trees since we don’t need to send out a paper statement indicating payment is due on your account. 

Q7: Are there cases where patients can NOT take advantage of direct billing?

See Answer


  • Some insurance providers do not accept “assignment” or direct billing claims. In these cases we must request payment of fees on the same day as treatment. For this reason it’s important to understand your insurance program. We can also help patients understand their insurance programs during the complimentary consult.
  • In cases where patients can not satisfactorily provide the requested insurance and background information, White Summit Dental Hygiene may choose to not offer direct billing services. In these cases payment of fees are also expected on the same day as treatment.

Q8: Why does my insurance carrier not cover all fees associated with my care?

See Answer

This is a loaded question, but basically it boils down to how well the business model for running an insurance company matches the business model associated with running a dental practice. The plain truth is that they just don’t line up. Generally, the more you or your employer pays in insurance premiums, the better the dental coverage is, however this is not always the case. The costs of running a dental practice are extraordinarily high. Although we feel we are very fair in our fee structure, there is still usually a gap in insurance coverage and dental fees.

If you are a business owner and you’re looking for options for preventive coverage for your employees, please contact us. We’re always interesting in working with insurance companies, and/or directly with the business community to meet dental needs.