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jaw pain

Why Do I Have Jaw Pain?

Every day we use our jaw in multiple ways without even thinking about it. That is until we experience jaw pain and may require a nigth guard. Our jawbone connects to our skull at a pair of joints close to the ear canals known as the temporomandibular joints or TMJ. What might be some of the reasons for our jaw pain? Besides chewing food, our teeth should not be in contact with each other. If that takes place, it is called parafunctional contact. These are some examples of it:

jaw pain

Not wearing My Sports Guard

A sports guard keeps your teeth safe during contact sports and is often mandatory equipment in many team sports. The guard material of the sports guard helps absorb impacts and spreads the force of such impact over a larger area, often preventing concussion. If you or your child is a keen sports player, investing in a custom-fabricated mouth guard is a necessary and highly recommended expense.

Grinding or Clenching My Teeth at Night

If you unconsciously grind, gnash or clench your teeth at night, you have a condition called Bruxism. This condition is generally stress-related, besides possibly causing damage to your teeth it can, in addition, be the cause of jaw pain. Wearing a night guard, therefore, becomes a must. A night guard is worn at night, and not only protects your teeth but also separates the upper and lower jaw, promoting relief of muscle spasm, TMJ pain and reducing wear and breakage of teeth. 

Having Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

Pain at our temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) is one of the most common reasons for jaw pain. It is more common among women and is often felt after an illness, jaw injury or an episode of acute stress. It can also be due to arthritis or other conditions that attack the cartilage that projects the joints. Of all these causes, stress may be the largest contributor. Some TMJ disorder symptoms include:

  • A popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth,
  • Headaches, and/or
  • Soreness and stiffness in your jaw or neck area.
  • Restricted jaw opening
  • Difficulty chewing

jaw pain

If you need a sports or night guard or require temporomandibular joint (TMJ) treatment for whatever reason, it is best to contact your local Peterborough dentist, Dr. Ralph Bastian. For more information on how we can relieve your jaw pain with a teeth guard, do not hesitate to get in touch

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Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

There are various reasons why wisdom tooth extraction is required. Wisdom teeth, or third molars as they are otherwise called, are the last teeth to erupt in our mouths. They generally emerge between the ages of 17 and 25 years. Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth were the answer to our early ancestors’ diets of rough food that required a lot of chewing power. With our modern diet, however, wisdom teeth are not really needed any more. 


Not everyone will have problems with their wisdom teeth, but most people are likely to develop problems with at least one of their wisdom teeth. What are some of the problems experienced that require wisdom teeth to be removed?

  • Your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate your wisdom teeth, causing them to become impacted, which means they cannot break through your gums.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth cannot erupt when the tooth lies at an awkward angle and they are physically prevented from erupting into the mouth. This  can cause pressure pain to the adjacent tooth. In some cases a cyst can form that can destroy jaw bone. 
  • In many cases the wisdom teeth can be partially erupted and serious infections can occur from tissue breakdown and food impaction.

A lot of orthodontic work is done on teenagers, long before wisdom teeth are expected to erupt. Any problems with wisdom teeth such as crowding adjacent teeth or wisdom teeth emerging at odd angles can negatively impact ongoing orthodontic treatments. It may even spoil the results of already completed treatments. Orthodontists will then recommend the family dentist monitor the wisdom teeth with X-rays or visually and remove if they feel it is necessary.    

Patients with fully impacted wisdom teeth are referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  The removal of the wisdom teeth can be done at the dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office. It may be removed with local anaesthetics at a dentist office or with sedation or general anesthetics by the oral maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital.   

Dr. Ralph Bastian provides a range of routine extraction and complex surgical treatments related to orthodontics, aesthetics and wisdom teeth. Contact us today for any wisdom tooth extraction treatments. 

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senior dental care

5 Reasons Why Senior Dental Care Is So Important

Those in the know say that seventy is the new sixty, and we agree! Senior dental care is important because it affects your physical and mental health. Well-maintained, natural teeth make it easier to enjoy the company of loved ones and friends or socialize with strangers.  

Here are five reasons why senior dental care is important.

senior dental care

Keeping Your Natural Teeth Versus Dentures Improves Quality of Life

Natural teeth are superior to dentures in every way. Aging gracefully with all your natural teeth is possible – if basic hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth and flossing are maintained. You will feel a lot more comfortable socializing with family, friends if you are confident your teeth will stay in place.

It Is Much Easier to Talk and Chew

Chewing food with natural teeth is easier, as they are set solidly in your jawbone. Dentures rest against your gums making chewing and talking more difficult since they are moving constantly and are in danger of causing denture sores. This is not a problem for natural teeth when maintained by proper dental care as provided by your dentist. We should also mention that natural teeth can masticate food in such a fashion that is much more nutritious and makes the food more easily digestible, helping you to improve your general health. Patients with dentures often have to make food choices that are soft and not necessarily so nutritious.

Well-Maintained Teeth Do Not Require Relines and Partial or Complete Dentures

Receding gums are a natural part of the aging process. It can be managed by regular cleaning as well as visits to a dentist who offers personalized senior dental care that will make you feel more comfortable. Well-maintained teeth do not require relines or refitting the surface of a denture to the gum, the way partial or complete dentures might. In particular for seniors, root sensitivity and root decay can be a problem. To prevent these issues your dentist can provide fluoride treatments and medications for dry mouth, which becomes an issue at night for many seniors.

A Sense of Pride on Having Your Own Teeth 

Natural teeth make you look good, whilst dentures make the face look older and more gaunt. Poorly fitting dentures often reduces the vertical hight of the face so that the distance from the chin to the nose is reduced and looks abnormal. Dentures need to be routinely removed for cleaning or to give the soft palate and remaining tissues a rest. Food also tastes better with your own teeth, as taste buds  (up to a third) are found throughout the mouth, including the soft palate.  

Dentures Can Click and Move Around, Making It Uncomfortable for Some People

Dentures become loose as the bone shrinks and gum underneath atrophy. This may cause them to click and move around, causing embarrassment when in the company of others. When you have your own teeth, any social situation is an opportunity to let the natural beauty of your smile through!

senior dental care

We provide senior dental care for seniors in Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes. Contact us today to find out how our services can improve your quality of life. 

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How to Make Your Tooth Fillings Last

Contrary to popular belief, tooth fillings do not always last a lifetime. This is especially true if dental health does improve after the restorations are done.. If you are determined to ensure that your dental fillings stand the test of time, here are 3 helpful tips and guidelines to follow. 


Visit Your Dentist Regularly

This is the golden rule for impeccable oral health in general, and it goes for keeping tooth fillings in good condition too. Visiting your dentist for regular dental check-ups, at least every six months is a must. 

Seek Help Quickly When Necessary 

Have you noticed that one or more of your tooth fillings is cracked or broken? It is important to notify your dentist of this as quickly as possible. The great news is that cracked or broken dental fillings can be easily replaced while keeping the loss of existing tooth structure to a minimum. Any small crack can allow bacteria under the filling and decay process get started. 

Many will be wondering how it is possible to know if there is a problem with a dental filling if they do not notice it visually. There are many signs that a tooth filling needs attention. For example, if you find that one or more of your teeth are suddenly extremely sensitive to hot or cold food, this is a sure-fire sign that your filling is damaged. A sharp pain in the tooth when biting into food is another symptom to watch out for. That often indicates that the tooth has an internal crack and the filling needs to be replaced and extended to cover the damaged portion of the tooth.

If suddenly your floss catches between teeth were normally it was a smooth surface, this could indicate a fracture filling or decay under the edge of it.

Take Care of Your Teeth 

There is only so much that your dentist can do to boost your oral health! The rest is up to you. Maintain great dental hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day, replacing your toothbrush every three months and avoid consuming too many acidic and sugary foods and beverages. Daily flossing should be a priority for everyone’s oral hygiene. 

Looking for a reputable dentist in Peterborough who is experienced in composite dental fillings and other methods of tooth fillings? Kawartha Lakes residents should always turn to Dr. Ralph Bastian. Make contact today to book an appointment. 

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How to Deal with a Dental Emergency and Where to Go for Help

Nobody wants to have to deal with a dental emergency, but there is no changing the fact that sometimes they are unavoidable. In the event that you or a loved one damages a tooth and is in severe pain, you will probably be wondering what course of action to take and how to find an emergency dentist in the Peterborough area. Here is a step-by-step guide to follow.

Contact us at Dr. Ralph Bastian Dentistry

Finding an emergency dentist can be challenging. We are available for you from Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm. Most emergencies can be seen the same day. Outside office hours, you can call the on-call pager number 745-748-8500. Within one hour your call should be returned and arrangements will be made for your attention. The dentist on call will only see emergencies from 8 am to 8 pm (7 days per week). After 8 pm, contact Emergency at PRHC as described below.

dental emergency

Contact the Emergency Department at PRHC

You can call 705-743-2121 to get in touch with the emergency department at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. The local on-call system will put you through to the various lines, and they will be able to advise you in terms of which emergency dentist is available at which emergency dental clinic. After 8 pm, for genuine emergencies, the Hospital may prescribe antibiotics and analgesics. For obvious reasons no fillings or extractions are done at the Hospital. 

Visit to the Emergency Dentist 

Once you have arrived at the emergency dentist’s practice, he or she will investigate the extent of the dental emergency and do a thorough medical history. If the tooth is not salvable he or she will usually choos to do an extraction. Sometimes a root canal can save the tooth and a referral to the endodontist can be made. In many cases the tooth can be restored and the emergency dentist can do this procedure. 

In many sports injuries a tooth can be knock-out or loosen. In this case, please rinse the tooth and place the tooth in milk and try to get to the on-call dentist within 1 hour. In this case, it may be possible to re-implant the tooth. 

In cases were a large portion of the tooth is broken away (as in a hockey accident) it may be possible to save the nerve and therefore the tooth if the exposure is small. It is also ideal to have the tooth treated and repair within 1 hour.

In the case of a large exposure or the tooth is not treated in a timely fashion, a root canal will be necessary.

Although chipped, cracked and/or abscessed teeth are probably the most common dental emergencies, most emergency dentists will be equipped to handle practically any dental emergency. 

Follow-Up Visit 

When the emergency dentist has sorted out your dental problem, you will usually be able to go home immediately afterward. The patient usually returns to his/her own dentist for follow up care. If they do not have any existing dentist, Dr. Ralph Bastian and his staff will be pleased to help you. 

In search of a reputable dentist? Peterborough’s residents trust Dr. Ralph Bastian! Contact us today to book an appointment. 

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Oral Surgery

5 Types of Oral Surgery and Their Benefits

Any surgical procedure performed in your mouth, on your jaw or around your mouth can be considered oral surgery. This type of surgery is done by a dentist or/and an oral maxiofacial surgeon. Here are some of the common types of oral surgery and their benefits:

  1. Impacted Wisdom Teeth
    Wisdom teeth can become problematic when they emerge or if they are retained. Some of these conditions include tooth decay from food impaction and chronic infections from the tissue around the wisdom teeth (pericoronitis). The pain associated with pericoronitis is always relieved by removing the wisdom teeth. Patients that have had orthodontics are typically sent for these extractions to reduce the chances of crowding and decay. Once removed, patients may experience reduced headaches and pain is eliminated. Patients with impacted wisdom teeth are typically referred to oral maxillofacial surgeons.
  2. Dental Implants
    Those with tooth loss who are looking for a long-term solution can consider dental implants. A dentist or dental specialist will surgically place a titanium implant into the jawbone. The main benefit of a dental implant is its realistic look and longevity, often lasting the lifetime of the patient.
  3. Jaw Surgery
    It can happen that a patient’s jaw isn’t properly aligned. The mandible or maxilla can be advanced or retruded to correct a severe malocclusion. This is done as a last resort to correct a skeletal malalignment. Traditional braces are required during and after the procedure. This life changing surgery dramatically improves appearance and the ability to masticate.
  4. Prosthodontics
    This refers to a variety of aesthetic procedures, such as veneers or bridges (fixed) or dentures (removable); the surgical insertion of dental implants and the reshaping of individual teeth to accept crowns. Prosthodontics provide aesthetic and functional benefits for patients.
  5. Tooth Extractions
    Tooth extraction is the procedure of removing a tooth/teeth. It is a relatively simple technical procedure. A dentist will generally use local or general anaesthesia or sedation during the process. A tooth/teeth is removed if it is damaged, the patient’s mouth is crowded, if it has caused an infection or for aesthetic reasons. Dr. Ralph Bastian can extract teeth and entire dentitions for you. If you are experiencing problems with your teeth, book an appointment with Dr. Ralph Bastian immediately. Delaying an extraction complicates the process and can lead to more bone destruction and the lose of healthy tissue.

A timeous intervention by Dr. Ralph Bastian will speed up your healing process and reduce complications. Contact Dr. Ralph Bastian for dental surgery today.

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How to Keep Your Teeth White, Clean and Stain-Free


Clean, healthy pearly whites are something that many people aspire towards. Not only do clean, stain-free teeth make you look healthy and attractive, but it can give you a confidence boost as well. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth white for years to come:

Avoid Ingredients that Can Stain Your Teeth

Smoking, black coffee, red wine and curry can all stain your teeth. Avoid these ingredients or limit your intake of them to keep your teeth white. If you consume foods with these ingredients, rinse your mouth and brush your teeth immediately afterwards.

Use a Quality Toothbrush

A good toothbrush and toothpaste are the foundation of a healthy teeth cleaning regime. Buy a new toothbrush every few months or as soon as the bristles start to bend over. Always buy soft or extra soft brushes to avoid damaging the gums.

Eat Healthy Foods

Foods such as carrots, celery and apples trigger a lot of saliva in your mouth, hard cheeses are specially good to inhibit plaque formation.

Floss Daily

Flossing is usually the first good habit that goes out the door once deadlines start to approach or time is limited. Commit to flossing at least once a day as it can save you a lot of gum problems in the future. It is important to have the floss somewhere where you can see it easily and are reminded to use it. Try to floss at the same time each day to help to form the habit.

Visit a Dental Hygienist Regularly

Unless otherwise recommended, visit your dental hygienist every six months for a proper cleaning. If you have or are susceptible to periodontal disease, your teeth should be professionally cleaned every three to four months. Removing the plaque bacteria from the pockets regularly sets back the disease process.

Dr. Ralph Bastian offers a wide range of treatments, going from preventative children’s teeth cleaning to teeth cleaning for patients with periodontal disease. Contact our dental office in Peterborough for an appointment today.

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Childrens teeth health

Taking Care of Your Child’s Oral Health

Taking care of your child’s oral health, and teaching him or her about oral health care, is an investment in your child that will pay dividends for long into the future. Here are a few tips from a family dentist in Peterborough to help you along the way:

Set a Good Example

“Monkey see, monkey do!” Children learn by taking in their environment and seeing what the adults are up to. Make teeth brushing a family activity where everyone brushes their teeth. Teach them that brushing needs to happen minimum twice a day and that they need to floss daily. A good tip is to set a timer to 2 minutes to ensure that a decent amount of brushing takes place. Many modern brushes come with built-in timers for this purpose.

Let the Kids Choose

Take your children to the grocery store or pharmacy and let them choose their own toothbrush. This way, they can choose the colours and patterns they like. For younger children, the adults should choose the toothpaste and children under three should have a fluoride reduce toothpaste.

Reward Good Oral Care

Draw a chart that marks off the days that the children complete their oral healthcare routine. Reward them by sticking star-shaped stickers on the chart, or give them a small toy after a week of good brushing.

Minimize Sugar

Sugary drinks and high-sugar treats are very bad for children’s oral health. Juice packs and sticky candy are some of the worst offenders! Never put a small child to sleep with a Sippy cup with fruit juice. Continuous exposure to sugar overnight guaranties decay.

Children should visit their Dentist at Least Twice a Year

A bi-annual visit to a kid’s dentist will pick up on minor issues that can be repaired easily before they become major problems. Children’s tooth enamel is much thinner than adult’s teeth, so it needs to be monitored more carefully and frequently.

Looking for a family dentist in Peterborough? Then contact Dr. Ralph Bastian today.

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How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Treat Tooth Gaps, Uneven Teeth and More

If you have gaps between your teeth, uneven teeth or other factors that make your smile look less than perfect, you can turn to a dentist such as Dr. Ralph Bastian for cosmetic dentistry. You don’t always need braces or extreme surgery to improve your smile.

Veneers, for example, are one of the least expensive ways to correct tooth malformations. Veneers can also be used to fix excess gaps between your teeth. The reason why many patients opt for porcelain veneers is that it gives teeth the most natural appearance. When your veneers have been professionally made and inserted by an experienced dentist, it will look no different from your own teeth.

Want to Improve the Colour of Your Teeth?

Everything, from food, wine and even your lifestyle, can stain your teeth over time. The good news is that there are teeth whitening solutions that can bring back the sparkle and lustre that you want. If you are in the market for a teeth whitening solution, speak to the dentists at Dr. Ralph Bastian. 

We use the Nite White by Zoom whitening tray system. The bleaching material of Nite White consists of 16% carbamide, which changes to hydrogen peroxide (H202) when it comes into contact with saliva. It is the strongest bleaching system on the market and it is incomparable to over-the-counter systems that you will find at the pharmacy.

When you visit us for teeth whitening, we will make impressions of your teeth to fabricate custom trays that fit you perfectly. You will wear the trays at night and see the whiteness of your teeth improve!

Whether you are interested in cosmetic dentistry to treat tooth gaps and uneven teeth or whether you want a powerful and sustainable teeth whitening system, we can help you. Book an appointment for cosmetic dentistry in Peterborough today.

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Tips and Advice to Help You and Your New Dentures Get Along


Dentures shouldn’t get in the way of your life – your mouth just needs a bit of training. Here are some tips to help you and your new dentures get along:

  • Set Realistic Expectations

Something as big as a denture can take a while to get used to. If you had braces when you were younger, then you will know how foreign the dental elements can feel in your mouth. Remember that the discomfort won’t last forever and that patience is key.

  • Do Your Dentures Feel Too Large?

Patients who recently received dentures often complain that it feels too large. Dentists usually instruct patients to keep wearing it for longer periods of time – as soon as you get used to them, they will start to feel more comfortable in your mouth.

  • Excessive Saliva

Expect more saliva production upon receiving a new denture. Just remember, it is something foreign in the mouth and this is the natural reaction of the body. 

  • Pain

Do your gums hurt? Rinse your mouth out with lukewarm salty water. If the pain persists, give your dentist a call. Lower dentures typically require more adjustments than a maxillary (upper) denture.

  • Difficulty Eating

Take your time and start with soft foods. Cut tough food into small pieces. Try to chew the food on both sides of the denture as this helps to stabilize the bite and reduce the tipping effect. With natural teeth we tend to chew the food on one side only. Denture mastication has a learning curve! 

  • Further Adjustments

At Dr. Ralph Bastian’s dental practice in Peterborough, adjustments are included at no cost up to three months after the denture is fitted. If you continue to feel discomfort, book an appointment so that an experienced dentist can check out your dentures for you. A balanced bite is critical for a denture to avoid dislodging and reduce bite trauma. Our dentists can ensure that your bite is balanced and correct.

Looking for denture repair or denture relining? Then book an appointment at Dr. Ralph Bastian’s dental clinic in Peterborough today.

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