Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I brush?
It is important to brush at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush rather than a hard toothbrush. The flexible bristles of a soft toothbrush are gentler on the gums, and make it much easier to remove the plaque below the gum line, where periodontal disease starts. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It might stop a cavity in its tracks and give you more resistance to future cavities.
How often should I floss?
Most cavities and periodontal disease begin between the teeth. While brushing is important, the bristles of your brush simply don't reach between teeth. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day.
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a procedure that unveils a whiter smile. The Dentist can offer you type of procedures.
- A take home system. We fabricate molds of your teeth made out of a thin plastic material. The whitening paste is placed in these custom trays. The patient can elect to wear these day or night. Check with your Dentist to see which system will work best for you.
- In office bleaching is also available. Ask your Dentist.
What causes discoloration of my teeth?
We have found that Tea, Coffee, certain beverages and smoking can all cause discoloration. Tetracycline (an antibiotic) taken when we were young as our teeth were developing. Excessive amounts of Fluoride. Injury to the tooth. The normal aging process will cause are dentition to yellow.
Who responds to tooth whitening?
See your Dentist and let them make the decision. The best results are typically seen in patients with healthy gums and supporting structures. The patient should also be cavity free. Enamel stains of yellow, orange and brown respond well to whitening.
What do I have to do?
First contact your Dentist and schedule an appointment. You have to be in good oral health before you can whiten your teeth.
How safe is tooth whitening?
The tooth whitening systems available to your Dentist are very safe. In our office we only use systems that carry the American Dental Association seal of Acceptance. Meaning they have been clinically proven to be safe and effective.
Can I expect side effects?
The most common side effect reported has been gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. Any side effects should be reported to your Dentist.
How often do I need to whiten my teeth?
In our opinion diet effects how often you will need to repeat your treatments. Obviously someone who drinks coffee and tea would need to repeat the process sooner than one who doesn't. We recommend over the counter toothpastes by Crest and Colgate that are effective in maintaining the appearance of whitened teeth.
What are sealants?
A sealant is either a clear or tooth colored material applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. They are applied where deep crevices and grooves exist. They are used to block our disease causing bacteria. Sealants may need to be replaced every few years. We recommend sealants highly for children. No anesthetic is required for this procedure.
What is bonding?
Bonding simply put is using materials that are tooth colored and attaching them to the tooth surface, by means of chemical and mechanical retention. These materials are incredible. They are life like in appearance. There are different types of bonding. The first type of bonding is what we would call direct bonding. This requires one visit to the dental office. The second type of bonding we call indirect bonding. Typically requires two visits. The first visit we prepare the tooth to receive the restoration. The second visit is to bond the restoration to the tooth. Discuss your options with your Dentist.
When should I bring my child to the Dentist?
Start bringing your child in before the age of 2. They can accompany you to your appointment. Let the child watch you get your check-up or your teeth cleaned. They learn that this is a non-threatening environment and can help eliminate any fears. If you have a fear of the dentist try not to share it with your child. Try to make their first visit to the dental office as enjoyable as possible.
What is the best time of day for my Child's appointment?
We find the best time of day to treat children is early morning. Try to avoid nap time and mealtime. In the morning the child is well rested.
Can I see the Dentist if I am pregnant?
Yes you can. We recommend treatment if needed, during the second trimester. We will check with your obstetrician before any treatment is initiated.
What is pregnancy gingivitis?
Pregnancy Gingivitis is a condition where plaque that is not removed from your teeth can irritate the gums. They become swollen, red, tender and bleed easily. It is more exasperated due to an increase in hormone levels. The best advice is floss and brush daily to keep your teeth clean.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Adults can have a maximum of 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to come through, right at the back. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Although sometimes they appear many years later. Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth - 28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.
Do they always cause problems?
No. If there is enough room they will usually come through into useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth. Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?
If there is not enough room, the wisdom tooth may try to come through, but will get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will be at an angle, and will be described by the dentist as 'impacted'.
What problems should I be prepared for?
If part of the wisdom tooth has appeared through the gum and part of it is still covered, the gum may become sore and perhaps swollen. Food particles and bacteria can collect under the gum edge, and it will be difficult to clean effectively. Your dentist will advise you whether this is a temporary problem that can be dealt with by using mouthwashes and special cleaning methods (and possibly antibiotics), or whether it is better to have the tooth removed.
What can I do to help myself?
A mouthwash of medium hot water with a teaspoonful of salt will help to reduce gum soreness and inflammation. (Check that it is not too hot before using it). Swish the solution around the tooth, trying to get it into the areas your toothbrush cannot reach. An antibacterial mouthwash such as corsodyl can also be very useful to reduce the inflammation. Pain-relieving tablets such as paracetamol or aspirin can also be useful for short-term use, but consult your dentist if the pain continues.
But if it does not help?
If the pain does not go away or if you find it difficult to open your mouth, you should see a dentist. They will be able to see the cause of the problem, and advise you accordingly. It may be useful to clean around the tooth very thoroughly, and an antibiotic may be prescribed.
Are x-rays needed?
The dentist will usually take x-rays to see the position of the root, and to assess whether there is room for the tooth to come through into a useful position.
What are the main reasons for taking wisdom teeth out?
When it is clear that the wisdom teeth will not be able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room, and when they are also causing some pain or discomfort. If they have only partially come through and are decayed - such teeth will often be susceptible to decay as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as your other teeth. If the wisdom tooth is causing a cleaning problem and has no real use. If a wisdom tooth starts to 'over-grow'. This often happens if the lower one has already been removed or is impacted and cannot come through, The upper one will come down too far, looking for a tooth to make contact with and the upper one has no tooth to bite against. If they are painful.
Are wisdom teeth difficult to take out?
It all depends on the position and the shape of the roots. Your dentist will advise you as to how easy or difficult each tooth will be to remove after looking at the x-rays. Upper wisdom teeth are often more straightforward to remove than the lower ones, which are more likely to be impacted. Your dentist will advise you whether the tooth should be taken out at a dental practice, or whether you should be referred to a specialist (oral surgeon) at a hospital. Very occasionally there is a possibility of some numbness of the lip after the removal of a lower tooth - your dentist will tell you if it is possible in your case.
Will it make any difference to my face or mouth?
Removing wisdom teeth may produce some swelling for a few days but as soon as the area is healed, there will be no difference to your face or appearance. Your mouth will feel more comfortable and less crowded, especially if the teeth are impacted.
What should I expect after a wisdom tooth is taken out?
The amount of discomfort will depend on how easy the removal of the tooth was. There is usually some swelling and discomfort for a few days afterwards, and it is important to follow any advice you will be given about mouthwashes etc, to help with the healing. Some people also find homeopathic remedies helpful in reducing discomfort. Usual pain-killers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen will usually deal with any pain. It is best to stay fairly quiet and relaxed for 24 hours afterwards to make sure there are no bleeding problems. There may be some stitches to help the gum heal over - your dentist will probably want to see you again about a week later to check on the healing, and to remove any stitching.
What is root canal treatment?
Root Canal Treatment, (also called Endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth, which may eventually lead to an abscess. If Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
Does it hurt?
No. A local anesthetic is used and the whole procedure should feel no different to that of having an ordinary filling done.
What does it involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root Canal treatment is a skilled and time consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is inserted and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
What will my tooth look like after treatment?
In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However with modern techniques, this does not usually happen. If any discoloration should take place, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance. It is important to protect teeth having had root canals with crowns. This is because root canalled teeth have a tendency to become brittle therefore cracking under biting forces.
What if it happens again?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful, however if there should be a recurrence of infection, the treatment can be repeated.
Is it expensive?
Root canal treatment is available on the National Health Service, however, due to the length of time required and the skill needed, many dentists prefer to carry out this treatment on a private basis. Your dentist will be pleased to give you an estimate.
What if I don't have the treatment?
The alternative to RCT is the removal of the tooth. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can't heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Whilst some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually advisable to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Will the tooth be safe after treatment?
Yes. However it is advisable to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.
Where can this treatment be carried out?
Root Canal Treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to provide.
What about aftercare?
Root treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Keep sugary snacks to a minimum, and only to mealtimes if possible. Attend your dentist for regular check-ups.