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2019 Fall Newsletter

Oral Cancer and HPV - self screening

Most women have been taught about breast self-examination, but did you know that we should all be performing regular head and neck self-examinations?

 Seventy percent of the population is positive for human papilloma virus (HPV) at some point in their lives. There are two main types of HPV virus that can cause oral cancer, and some of these cancers can be quite aggressive. They often present as a lump or bump in the mouth, or on the face or neck. Lumps that are non-tender and hard that do not move much when you push on them should be investigated. Although it may seem counterintuitive, painful bumps are better than non-painful bumps!

 The diagram below is a guideline for self-examination from the Swallows organization in the UK. It is a great habit to form a regular regimen of self-examination - particularly if your dentist, hygienist or doctor has told you that you have potential papillomas in your mouth or on your skin.

 If you are concerned about any lumps or bumps please come in for a visit so we can assess the area. It could save your life!

Screening for oral cancer at Okanagan Dentistry

DIY Orthodontics - Do You Need to See a Doctor?

Dr. Evan Wiens and Invisalign

In the past year we have received a few requests from patients asking us our opinion on no-visit orthodontic treatment such as Smile Direct Club. This company was recently approved by Health Canada to provide limited orthodontic treatment using clear aligners. At first glance, it appears very appealing to dental patients - after all why would you want to pay more to have a dentist do the same thing?

The big issue is that it is not the same thing! Smile Direct Club attempts to remove the dentist or orthodontist from the equation by promising straight teeth for a lower price than a doctor. During their marketing pitch they remove one crucial element: how will your teeth fit together after completing treatment? 

Making front teeth appear straighter is relatively simple (some of the time!). As dentists we obviously want our patients to have straight, white teeth, but not at the expense of diminished chewing function and jaw muscle/ joint pain. Smile Direct Club claims a dental professional reviews your orthodontic condition and prescribes a treatment plan for you remotely, but without a dental examination there can potentially be unforeseeable, difficult-to-reverse changes made to your teeth.

For example, if a doctor has not physically examined a patient in person along with appropriate imaging, it can be very difficult to tell if there are any dental implants present, root positioning that can result in gum recession and bone loss, or shortened roots that can result in a tooth literally falling out if it is moved orthodontically. This is not being adequately screened for without visiting a dentist in person; someone you know and trust who is familiar with your mouth, not just the position of your teeth.

That being said, we are not saying that DIY clear aligner therapy can not work under certain conditions. Fortunately, those people who are eligible for more simple aligner treatments that may be appropriate for Smile Direct Club can have it done at a dentist or orthodontist for a comparable price! In that respect, the marketing to the public is misleading.

Please ask us about DIY dentistry next time you are in the office, we would love to hear your comments. We are committed to improving lives through dentistry!

Grandbabies Galore!

There is an abundance of grandbabies being added to our team’s families recently.

Dr. Ian Leitch and his wife have recently welcomed their 5th grandbaby into their family.  The first boy in the last 2 generations!!

Melanie is very excited to be a first time Grandma by welcoming into their family a beautiful baby girl!

Brenda has also welcomed a new little granddaughter to her family!

Dr. Ian Leitch Mel with grandbabyBrenda and grandbaby