Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues.  If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

Click on a question below to see the answer.


Our patients safety is always our top priority. Adhering to strict Infection Prevention and Control has always been our standard. During this time we have increased our safety protocols and are implementing polices and procedures to protect staff and patients. All patients and staff will be screened and temperature checks will be taken for everyone who comes into the office.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 will be sent home to self isolate and encouraged to contact the public health department.


We will be scheduling appointments with our main focus on minimizing contact with other by staggering appointment times. You will have limited contact with other patients and the number of staff in the office (at one time) will been reduced. We ask all patients to wait outside (in their car preferably) instead of entering the waiting reception area. You will be asked to complete a COVID screening form. Please call the office when you arrive and the office staff will advice you when it is safe to enter. At that time you will have your temperature taken and afterward be immediately seated in the doctor or hygienist’s operatory for treatment.


It is not yet known how long the virus causing COVID-19 lives on surfaces however we are being very diligent in the frequent cleaning and sanitation of all our public areas. Door handles, chairs, rails, light switches, public restrooms and all areas that are likely to be high contact surfaces, frequently touched with hands, will be frequently cleaned with a surface disinfectant. All reading material, toys and other objects that may be touched by other patients have been removed from the reception area and the operatories.

We are enforcing strict attention to hand hygiene. Motion activated hand sanitizer have been installed in the office and proper hand washing guides are displayed where hand washing is possible.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be used during all dental treatments.

We have taken additional steps to ensuring clean air exchange and flow throughout the office. Two air purification units with HEPA filters have been added to the office to ensure clean air quality.


Health officials and the CDC have recommended wearing face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. You will be asked to sanitize your hands as soon as you enter the office for your scheduled appointment. If you are wearing gloves at this time we ask that you remove them and dispose of them properly. A mask that you wear outside could potentially be covered in virus, and it’s essential that when you take it off, you put it somewhere safe and out of the way (if it is a cloth mask). Please use caution when removing your mask and follow the guidelines on proper removal being careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing your mask and washing your hands immediately after removing.


Teledentistry enables the remote provision of “non-essential? (i.e., non-emergency and non-urgent) care to patients while ensuring ongoing social distancing. A dental consultation over the phone or video with the dentist is available and can be arranged if you are not ready to visit the office.


Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice an day and flossing daily. Use proper techniques and eat a healthy diet.


One out of four Canadians does not visit the dentist on a regular basis, and fear of pain or discomfort is the leading reason. Usually this fear is well founded, based on negative experiences in the past.

A combination of advances in dental technology, new treatment approaches, and a truly caring attitude among our staff, mean that many previously fearful patients often tell us “That really wasn’t so bad!?

It begins with communication

We believe that overcoming dental anxiety begins with making sure we understand your concerns and past experiences. We also work hard to make sure you clearly understand the work we are planning to do. All procedures are carefully explained before we begin, so you know what will happen. And we don’t begin the work until your questions and concerns have been answered.

Modern technology helps

The range of modern anaesthetics at our disposal means that we can usually get you completely frozen the first time. But we always check before we begin any work, and throughout the procedure. If at any point the freezing starts to wear off, or you are uncomfortable for any reason, we will stop the work we are doing until you are feeling more comfortable.

Remember the discomfort of the needle going in? Well, we now use a topical anaesthetic before we use the needle, which makes it considerably more comfortable. For all children, and adults who are more sensitive, we use an instrument people refer to as “the magic wand? instead of a needle. The Wand, an electronic anaesthetic delivery system, takes a bit longer, but most people hardly even feel a thing.

Other things we can do

We have a range of other things we can do for patients who are more anxious. Our staff are equipped and trained in the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which can be very effective for nervous patients.

In some cases we will prescribe medication prior to an appointment. Music with headphones is also helpful for many patients. You’re welcome to bring your iPod/mp3 player or just bring in your favourite CD. We will supply the headphones.

So don’t let past bad experiences stand in the way of a healthy mouth. Make sure you let us know about your concerns and past experiences. Once we understand the problems you’ve had, we’re confident that we can work with you to help avoid pain, and deal with whatever anxiety you are feeling.


We welcome your visit, don’t feel embarrassed

One of the reasons that some people don’t go to the dentist is that they’ve waited so long since their last dental visit that they are now embarrassed to go. After all, the people that work at a dental office are likely so careful with their teeth, they just won’t understand. Right?

Don’t worry! Almost every one of us at Humber Valley Dental has had at least one family member who has avoided the dentist…some for a very long time! We understand. We care about helping people get back into a regular dental routine and would be happy to see you.

It doesn’t matter why

People stay away from the dentist for many reasons. In some cases it is well-founded fear from past problems. In other cases it may have been financial concerns, other health issues, or simple procrastination.

We can help with any of these issues

Dentistry has come a long way in the past 10-20 years, and we have many new ways to help put nervous or fearful patients more at ease. (See I’m afraid of dental work for more information). We also have several options to help manage financial issues, and we’re really good at the friendly prodding of procrastinators.

So don’t let embarrassment stand in the way of your health. We’re an understanding group, who are eager to help you get into a regular dental routine.


Some people don’t go to the dentist until they have a specific problem. Please don’t make this mistake yourself!

If you are waiting until you have a problem before your next visit to the dentist, please read on. We could tell you that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?, or that “Visiting us before you have a problem is the best way of never having to visit us with a problem?. However, most people who do not regularly see a dentist already know that.

It’s more than just your teeth!
Instead, we’ve found that many of our infrequent patients have appreciated us suggesting they read a recent article published in Reader’s Digest. Entitled, “The Check-up that Could Save Your Life?, it explains that regular trips to the dentist can do more than keep you smiling and your breath fresh – they can help with the early detection or prevention of a wide range of other serious health issues.

So why not call now and set up an appointment? At a minimum, it will save the discomfort and cost of more extensive treatment later, and as the article points out, it might be a whole lot more important than that.

We’d be happy to see you, even if it has been a while since your last visit to a dentist.


Don’t worry. We do our very best to accommodate emergencies, even if you are not yet a regular patient. Call us and we’ll schedule some time to get your problem looked after.

Even if the problem you are experiencing is not yet too severe, it is time to get into a dental office…quickly! Very few dental problems resolve themselves on their own. The sooner you get your problem looked after, the easier it will be, and the greater our chance of restoring your mouth to a completely healthy condition.


Our policy on fees is simple. We base our rates on the current version of the Ontario Dental Association fee guide. You will find that these are the prices charged by the majority of dentists in the province.

We don’t discount our work. We don’t cut corners in the work we do or the supplies we use, so we don’t cut corners in the fees we charge either.

Fees vary based upon the type of work you are having done. We will review the cost of work with you before we do it. We will help you consult with your insurance company, if you have one, to determine how much of your work will be covered by insurance.

We take payment on the day of your appointment. Payment can be made with cash, credit card, debit card or by cheque. For patients with insurance, we have the advantage of doing electronic claims filing, so you should have the money returned from your insurance company within a matter of days – usually before a VISA bill is due.

We do not take payment directly from insurance companies.


Dental insurance is perhaps the single most important reason why Ontarians have some of the best dental health in the world! It has allowed many people to get the dentistry they need and appreciate the benefits of a healthy mouth.

However, coverage varies significantly from one insurance plan to another. Some cover all of the cost of most work. Others only pay a portion. Patients are often confused about dental insurance believing that the insurance covers what they need. Unfortunately that is sometimes not the case, and as professionals, it is our responsibility to recommend what is right for you, not what is right for your insurance company.

We will always recommend the treatment that is best for you, but we will also work with you, and your insurance company, to determine what they will cover. That allows us to discuss a range of options with you so you can make a fully informed decision about how to proceed. The final decision will always be yours.


Financial Considerations for Complex Dentistry

From a financial point of view, dental care can be divided into simple and complex categories. Simple dentistry includes professional cleanings, some fillings, root canal treatment, a few extractions, a denture or perhaps a few crowns. Simple dentistry can often be completed for under $3000. Simple dentistry is often covered, at least partially, by dental insurance and can often be spread out over time to take full advantage of benefits. With or without dental insurance, cash flow can often be managed to accommodate simple dentistry.

Complex dentistry, on the other hand, involves multiple teeth that require more complex reconstructive efforts. Complex dentistry is often required to restore deteriorated dentitions when many teeth are broken down or missing, need to be removed, or need multiple root canal treatments, when gums are sick, when dentures are unsatisfactory or when teeth all look bad. Complex treatment can involve the need for dental implants.
Complex dentistry can be more difficult to fit into your cash flow because it can often cost more than $3000.

We hope this information will give you some ideas that will allow you to fit the dentistry you need into your life and enable you to get the attractive, functional and healthy smile you have always wanted.

The issues discussed in the following pages include; 1) Spreading Out Treatment over Time, 2) Financing Treatment, 3) Dental Insurance, 4) Health Spending Account, and 5) Medical Expense Deduction.

Spreading Out Treatment over Time

Sometimes it is easy to spread out treatment over time when treatment is simple and there is no rapidly advancing or potentially dangerous infection present. At Humber valley Dental we always help the patients plan treatment over time to spread out the financial impact of their treatment on their cash flow and take full advantage of dental insurance.

When treatment needed is not simple, spreading treatment over time can increase risk, treatment needed and cost. We will identify what treatment can be postponed so as to not affect the overall prognosis or treatability of your teeth. We discourage spreading treatment over time if in doing so exposes you to multiple recovery times or multiple treatments with antibiotics and other medications used to control infection or pain.


You may wish to consider using appropriate financing to help fit the dental treatment you need and want into your life. This can allow you to enjoy your new smile earlier, probably with a lot less disruption to your life and probably less overall cost.

Financing allows more of us to get what we want, because it helps us fit things we want into our existing cash flow and into our lives. Financing is frequently a more effective approach to paying for complex dental treatment rather than “spreading out treatment over time? (mentioned above) – especially when combined with other methods described below.

Fortunately, prime interest rates currently are low. Secured Credit Lines are often the most cost effective way to borrow money. Many major banking institutions offer secured and unsecured credit line loans and other types of consumer loans. These loans are often “open? and can be paid down at any time as funds become available to you.
Secured Credit Line loans can be especially cost effective when they are combined with the cost reduction benefits related to i) Health Spending Account, ii)Medical Expense Deduction and/or iii) Dental Insurance

Dental Insurance

Some of the costs associated with the dental examination, x-rays, fillings, root canals, some reconstructive gum treatment, crowns, bridges or dentures may be covered by dental insurance plans. Some companies offer Health Spending Accounts of various amounts to their employees as a benefit. These funds may be directed towards any dental treatment including implant related treatment.

To date, many insurance plans have limits on the coverage they will allow for dental implants. Some insurance companies offer some limited help towards the cost of teeth (crowns, bridges or dentures) attached to dental implants.

After an examination with our doctors, our office staff will provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost of your proposed treatment. This estimate can be sent to your insurance company so that you can be aware of your benefit coverage before the treatment begins. This is important if you depend on these benefits to defray your treatment cost. Our staff will work with you and provide the necessary claim information to help you get reimbursed for any eligible dental treatment.


The Checkup That Can Save Your Life.

The dentist may be the most important doctor you see this year.

Lorne Jones could barely eat. The 63-year-old’s dentures were rubbing on the left side of his mouth, and the pain was getting steadily worse. Although the farmer from Utica, Ont., hated visiting the dentist—and hadn’t been in 15 years—he made a hasty trip to a nearby denturist he didn’t know and got his dentures relined. But the painful rubbing continued.

Finally, he made an appointment with a Port Perry dentist. Dr. Jack Cottrell did a quick exam and put down his latex gloves. “Lorne, I’m sending you to a specialist in Toronto. I don’t want to go any further.?

Three weeks later, he was sitting in Dr. Kevin Higgins’s office at Sunnybrook Health he said. Six weeks after visiting his dentist, Jones went into surgery. Over the course of an 11- hour operation, Higgins split Jones’s jawbone in order to have access to the cancerous tissue on the tonsil, soft palate, tongue and the jawbone itself. The surgeon also cut from his lip down to his throat, under his chin from ear to ear, and from his left ear to his shoulder.

“Without this surgery, Lorne would have been dead within a year,? Higgins told Jones’s wife, Doreen, and daughter, Sherrie.

Think your dentist only finds and fills cavities? Not at all. Dentists routinely spot signs of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, along with a variety of rare skin and autoimmune diseases. “We can spot disease processes at an early stage. We don’t just look for teeth and gum problems,? says Cottrell, who is also past president of the Canadian Dental Association. Visiting your dentist regularly can lead to early diagnosis and early treatment.

Your dentist can do much more than save your teeth and gums; he or she can save your life. And even if, on your next visit, your dentist doesn’t set in motion a serious diagnosis, you still need that regular professional cleaning. Keeping a healthy mouth plays a huge role in having a well body. Gum disease—which dentists help identify, prevent and treat—may heighten the risk for heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia and premature birth, according to recent clinical trials. With good old regular brushing and flossing, you may prevent all that.

By seeing your dentist every six months, you can nip a lot of problems in the bud.