Vancouver Dental Clinic Hours : Mon 7:30 am - 5 pm | Tue 7:30 am - 5 pm | Wed 7:30 am - 5:30 pm | Thurs 7:30 am - 5:30 pm | Fri 7:30 am - 4:30 pm | Sat 8:30 am - 4:30 pm | Sun: Closed
Contact : 604 222 8430

FAQSWelcome to the Alma Dental FAQ page. Here you’ll find all of your dentistry-related questions answered. Something else you’d like to know that isn’t answered here? Simply contact us.

What is Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)?

Do you notice that your gums bleed when you brush, or floss your teeth? Well, this is a mild form of gum disease, (also referred to as Periodontal Disease by dental professionals). When there is a build up of bacterial plaque where your teeth meet your gums you will notice that your gums become inflamed and tender. Bacterial plaque attacks the soft tissue (gums) and bone supporting your teeth. If gum disease is left untreated, patients will experience gum recession, bone loss and eventually tooth loss.

Gum disease can be avoided if patients are consistent about their dental hygiene and see their dentist for routine preventative care. We encourage you to use our online booking tool to request a preventative dental check up if you have concerns about Gum Disease. 

Can a knocked out tooth be saved?

If you have knocked a tooth out of place, we may be able to save it. If the tooth is not fully dislocated, push the tooth back into place. Bite down on cloth or a towel and gently apply pressure to keep the tooth steady in the socket.

If your tooth is knocked out completely, recover the tooth quickly and hold it by the crown, not the root. Keep the tooth from drying out by putting it in a your mouth between your gum and cheek or in a container with cold milk. Call us immediately for help at 604.222.8430. If your accident take place after hours, head to the nearest hospital ER (check out ER wait times here).

What do I do in case of a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies are not to be taken lightly. In the event of a dental emergency, you should:

  • Call us immediately at 604 222 8420 to request an emergency appointment for the same day;
  • If you call outside of normal office hours, our answering system will advise necessary next steps. You can also schedule an appointment using our contact form by clicking here.

Dental emergencies may include:

  1. Severe toothache
  2. Broken tooth or filling
  3. Knocked out permanent tooth
  4. Lost crown
  5. Broken jaw
  6. A bitten lip or tongue

Is there a chemical-free way to brighten my teeth or fix gaps?

Porcelain veneers are one of the simplest, chemical-free ways to improve your teeth and smile. These custom-prepared ultrathin shells are bonded onto teeth, in order to help:

  • Reshape imperfect teeth that are too short or too long.
  • Restore chipped, cracked or broken teeth.
  • Align teeth to refine your bite.
  • Brighten teeth without chemical procedures.
  • Fill in excess spaces or gaps between teeth.

Is teeth whitening affordable?

Teeth whitening is one of our most popular procedures, and not only is it affordable, but it is also the quickest and easiest way to impact your smile. Our in-house teeth whitening procedure takes little more than an hour to brighten your teeth up to 8 shades.

Is there an alternative to traditional braces?


Invisalign is a wonderful teeth straightening option for adults and teens alike, which is both discreet and removable. Invisalign treatment can last about a year, and is effective for spaced teeth, overly crowded teeth, and misaligned teeth.

Can I return to work after having my wisdom teeth removed?

We recommend to plan ahead, as you will not be able to return to work the same day as your wisdom teeth are removed.

How do I know if I should have my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth usually make themselves known between the ages of 17 – 25, and usually become impacted due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. We usually recommend that impacted teeth be removed because they can cause a host of problems including gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain.

Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted are tough to clean and are prone to tooth decay, recurring infections, and gum disease.

What is Sedation Dentistry, and is it for me?

Sedation dentistry is most often suggested for anxious, or multiple-procedure patients, and allows for the ultimate in patient relaxation and comfort.

It is is an excellent way to overcome anxiety, to deal with strong gag reflexes, or to permit the completion of multiple treatments in a single extended visit.

How do I know if I need a root canal (and will it hurt)?

Believe it or not, the procedure is really no more painful than getting a filling! A root canal diagnosis is usually given when the pulp of the tooth is inflamed, infected, or dead.

Here are some of the main symptoms to look out for (contact us if you experience one or any combination of the following):

  • Spontaneous tooth aches or throbbing.
  • Pain when chewing or placing pressure on the tooth.
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold long after the stimulus is gone.
  • Visible swelling in the gum around the tooth that looks similar to a pimple.
  • Leaking fluid or pus from the infected area causing a foul taste in the patient’s mouth.

Should I visit the dentist on a regular basis, even if my oral health appears to be in good standing?

Preventative dentistry is important for continued oral health and that is why our team prides ourselves on providing our patients with the very best in oral care.

Regular visits to the dentist mean that potential problems are caught early on, before they become painful and require more costly action. For example, a cavity that is left untreated could eventually cause a tooth to abscess—a condition that usually requires a root canal and a course of antibiotics.

Routine cleanings help to improve the health of your gums by removing plaque and tartar from your teeth. Left unattended, tartar build-up can lead to gum disease—which can cause early tooth loss and infections, and are linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health problems.

What treatments are available for me to restore my teeth to their normal function, appearance and shape?

There have been significant advancements in restorative dentistry processes and technology over the years. Many safe and effective procedures are available to help you improve and repair your smile.

  • Mercury-Free Fillings: prevent tooth decay while also protecting your teeth against hot and cold sensitivity.
  • Crowns: seal cracks in your teeth, restore a fractured tooth, cover misshapen or stained teeth, support fillings, and to protect weaker teeth.
  • Bridges:  Custom crafted bridges will perfectly into the existing space in your teeth, and permanently restore a gap or space in your smile.
  • Root Canal Treatment: distress caused by extensive decay, tooth trauma, or gum disease can be remedied by our experienced team of dentistry experts.
  • Dental Implants: whether one or more teeth are missing, replacing a lost tooth is vital to ensuring that the surrounding gum, bone, and teeth remain strong and healthy. Our dental implants look, feel, and function like the real thing.

What if I am already in the early stages of gum disease?

If you have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better.

That’s why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:

Cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist to remove built-up tartar, brushing twice a day to remove plaque, and flossing once a day to remove plaque.

When gum disease is more serious, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist called a periodontist. A periodontist has at least three years of extra university training in treating gum disease, and in restoring (or regenerating) bone and gum tissue that have been lost because of gum disease.

A periodontist also treats serious forms of gum disease that do not get better with normal dental care. When serious gum disease is found, brushing and flossing become even more important.

What does a basic dental plan cover?

Most dental plans cover only a specific percentage of the cost of eligible dental treatment services. Patients are responsible for the remainder along with any costs not covered by the plan.

The majority of standard dental plans will cover 80 percent of basic preventive dental services such as dental exams, X-rays, cleanings, fillings and root canals while coverage for other procedures such as crowns, bridges, porcelain veneers and dentures may be at 50 percent. Other plans may cover a higher or lower percentage of services; it is rare for any plan to cover 100 percent of every service. You should also be aware that most dental plans have a financial limit. 

What’s the difference between the bleaching I can do at home with a kit from the store and the bleaching that my dentist does?

Some whitening toothpastes contain a chemical ingredient (or “bleach”) that causes a chemical reaction to lighten teeth. Generally, they have the lowest amount of “bleach.” They may not whiten as well as stronger products, but have less chance of side effects. These pastes are brushed onto teeth and rinsed off, like regular toothpaste.

Bleaching kits sold in stores stay on your teeth longer than toothpaste and contain stronger “bleach.” These store-bought products do not come with the added safety of having a professional dentistry team monitor any side effects. They also come with a one-size-fits-all tray that holds the “bleach”, and is more likely to leak the chemical into your mouth.

We use professional grade teeth whitening products including Pola Office or Zoom! Teeth Whitening as they contain a stronger bleach. Patients should be aware that the long-term use of whitening or bleaching products may cause tooth sensitivity or tooth abrasion.

Do I need x-rays at each visit?

The need for x-rays is dependent on your oral health. If you are an adult, and have not had cavities or other complications for two years, you will not require an x-ray at every appointment. We use our digital x-ray machine more frequently if a patient’s dental health is less stable.

X-rays are a vital tool for us to ensure that small problems don’t develop into bigger ones.

How safe are dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are in fact quite safe. The dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small. Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental x-rays.  Alma Dental uses a new digital x-ray machine that:

a) Limits the radiation beam to the small area being x-rayed, 

b) Utilizes higher speed x-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results

The new film holders keep the film in place in the mouth preventing slippage and the need to repeat the x-ray. We use lead-lined, full-body aprons to protect the body from stray radiation (stray radiation is almost nonexistent with our digital x-ray machine).