FAQ

faq

Do you have questions about dental concerns or services? Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions answered below. Look through or feel free to call us for a consultation.

WHEN SHOULD I BRING MY CHILD TO THE DENTIST FOR THE FIRST TIME?

It is recommended that your child attend for their first dental visit six months after the first (primary) teeth have erupted, commonly around 3 years of age. The dentist will carefully examine the development of their mouth and detect any problems such as tooth decay, prolonged thumb-sucking etc. Early examination and preventative care will protect your child’s teeth and assist to establish good oral hygiene and correct brushing and flossing techniques.

We encourage you to bring your children in with you to your check-up appointments from very early on. This introduces them to the dental environment and the Dentist in a non-threatening way and allows your child to have confidence when it is their turn.

Q. HOW AND WHEN DO I START BRUSHING MY CHILD'S TEETH?

You can introduce a soft children’s toothbrush from 12 months (earlier if tolerated by the infant) and just use water.
•We recommend you start using toothpaste from 18 months.
•Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day (morning and before bed) to remove plaque that can cause infant infant tooth decay and gum disease. Signs that your child’s teeth are not being brushed correctly are:
•Red and swollen gums
•A furry white film over the teeth (plaque)

Q. DO CHILDREN BEFORE AGE OF THREE NEED THEIR TEETH CLEANED?

The first baby tooth will erupt at age between 6-9 months. It is important that a daily cleaning routine should be established. A soft cloth can be used to gently rub the erupted teeth and gums. Parents should assist the child to clean their teeth up to the age of 10 to 11 years old to ensure that it is done properly

Q. HOW CAN I PREVENT DECAY IN MY CHILDREN’S TEETH?

Here are the biggest mistakes parents are making, learn what you can do to keep your children’s teeth healthy throughout their lifetime.

Letting kids brush alone
Since most children don’t have the motor skills to brush effectively until they’re 8 years old, parents need to supervise brushing and check to make sure every surface of each tooth is clean.

“It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet,” said Dr. Edward H. Moody, Jr., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Putting baby to bed with a bottle
It’s the easiest way to cause tooth decay, yet parents are still doing it, experts say. In fact, according to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 85 percent of parents said it wasn’t a good idea to put their babies to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, yet 20 percent did it anyway.

Whether it’s a bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup all day long, the habit keeps the sugar and bacteria levels in the mouth elevated all the time, Moody said. If your baby wakes up at night for a bottle or to nurse, wipe out her mouth with gauze or a soft cloth or brush if she has teeth.

“If you start early on it becomes part of the normal routine,” he said.

Making the first dentist appointment too late
Expert say it’s common to see children 2 or 3 years-old who need to go under general anesthesia to treat cavities and infections. One of the explanations for this is that parents aren’t bringing their babies to the dentist early enough.

The first trip should either be when the first tooth erupts or by your baby’s first birthday. Dental visits every six months from the get-go will also help your child feel comfortable—and even excited—to go every time.

Offering “healthy” foods
Bananas, raisins, and whole-grain crackers seem like healthy fare but foods that are sticky and have concentrated sugars like these will sit in the grooves of the teeth and create cavities. Instead of nixing them entirely, eat them with meals— when there’s more saliva— and always brush afterwards.

Thinking cavities are no big deal
You might think treating a cavity is an easy fix, but cavities can affect your child throughout his lifetime.  For starters, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for adult teeth. They help guide the jaw so it can grow.

Not using fluoride
Experts agree that the research is clear: it’s one of the best ways to prevent cavities.

The appropriate dose, however, is key. For children 18 months old to 3 years old, use the equivalent of a grain of rice, and for children 3 to 6 years old, a pea-sized amount is enough. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to fluoride in the water and toothpaste, talk to your dentist.

Loading up on sports drinks
A common cause of tooth decay in older kids is sipping on sports drinks and soda at lunch, at games and at home. By bathing their teeth in acid all day, there’s no opportunity for the PH to re-balance, Banker said. If you can’t persuade your child to completely nix it from his diet, encourage him to limit the amount, then drink it and be done with it.

Q. THERE ARE SO MANY TOOTHPASTES TO CHOOSE FROM, HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ONE TO USE?

First, when purchasing a toothpaste for you or your child, select one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities. However, one word of caution: check the manufacturer’s label; some toothpastes are not recommended in children under age 6. This is because young children swallow toothpaste and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth.

It is also wise to select a product approved by the American Dental Association. The ADA’s Seal of Acceptance means that the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness and that packaging and advertising claims are scientifically supported. Some manufacturers choose not to seek the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. Although these products may be safe and effective, these products’ performance have not been evaluated or endorsed by the ADA.

Next, when considering other properties of toothpaste — such as whitening toothpastes, tartar-control, gum care, desensitizing, etc. — the best advice for selecting among these products may be to simply ask your dental hygienist or dentist what the greatest concerns are for your mouth at this time. After consulting with your dentist or hygienist about your oral health’s greatest needs, look for products within that category (for example, within the tartar control brands or within the desensitizing toothpaste brands) that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Finally, some degree of personal preference comes into play. Choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint all work alike. If you find that certain ingredients are irritating to your teeth, cheeks or lips, or if your teeth have become more sensitive, or if your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.

Q. WHICH IS BETTER: A MANUAL OR ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?

Many comparisons have been made between electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes to look at the ability of each to remove plaque effectively and prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) build-up, thereby reducing the development of gum disease. Research studies have indicated both powered and manual toothbrushes to be equally effective when used correctly, which mean it is not so much the brush you use, but how you use it is the critical factor. Many people are choosing to use a power toothbrush, especially older patients who find them easier to hold. Advice from our dental hygienists can help ensure that your brushing routine is effective no matter which brush you prefer to use.

Q. WHY DO I NEED TO TAKE A X-RAY?

Dental radiographs (x-rays) show the structures of your teeth and mouth that cannot be seen visually during your clinical examination. X-rays also allow us to see the very early signs of decay which means we can start treatment early – sometimes without having to do a filling! From time to time there are other more specific reasons to take an x-ray, for example, infection or to check on wisdom teeth. Dental x-rays require small radiation doses (even smaller now that we have digital x-rays!) however, we never take them unnecessarily.

Q. HOW TO DEAL WITH DENTAL ANXIETY

The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. The good news is that today there are a number of strategies that can be used to help reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. These strategies include use of medications (to either numb the treatment area or sedatives or anesthesia to help you relax), Why is my lip/tongue is still numb after having a wisdom tooth out? Nerve damage occurred during the extraction. Usually the problem is not permanent and will gradually get better over a few months.

Q. WHEN IS WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL NEEDED?

When wisdom teeth cause problems, or X-rays show they might down the line, they need to come out. Other good reasons to take them out include:

Damage to other teeth: That extra set of molars can push your other teeth around, causing mouth pain and bite problems.

Jaw damage: Cysts can form around the new teeth. If they aren’t treated, they can hollow out your jaw and damage nerves.

Sinus Issues: Problems with wisdom teeth can lead to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.

Inflamed Gums: Tissue around the area can swell and may be hard to clean.

Cavities: Swollen gumscan create pockets between teeth that help bacteria grow and cavities form.

Alignment: Impacted wisdom teeth can undo the effects of braces, bridges, crowns, partial dentures, or any type of dental work.

Your dentist will look at the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth to make a decision. Your age plays a role, too.

Before Surgery

You’ll meet with the Dentist / Oral Surgeon to talk about the process. At this appointment, make sure you:

Talk about any health problems you have.

List any drugs you take on a regular basis.

Ask any questions you have about the surgery.

Discuss what type of anesthesia you’ll have. You can either be numb or asleep during your surgery.

Plan time off from work or school to have your surgery and rest afterward at home. Set up child care, pet care, or a ride home if needed.

During Surgery

Your surgery should take about 45 minutes or less.

You’ll get one of these types of anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the removal:

Local: Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of Novocaine in your gums.You may also breathe nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relax or even doze during surgery. You should feel alert again shortly afterward.

IV sedation: The surgeon will numb your mouth and also give you drugs through a vein in your arm to make you drowsy. You might sleep during the whole procedure.

General: You’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe gas in through a mask. You’ll be asleep the whole time and might not wake up for an hour or so after the surgery.

Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out. If so, he’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. He may also stuff gauze pads in your mouth to soak up some of the blood.

After Surgery

Everyone responds differently to anesthesia. If you had a local anesthetic and feel alert, you might be able to drive home to begin your recovery. You might even be able to go back to work or do your normal activities. If you had general anesthesia or still feel drowsy, you’ll need someone to drive you home.

Most people have little to no pain after surgery. You’ll likely have swelling and mild discomfort for 3 or so days. Your mouth may need a few weeks to completely heal.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for a quicker recovery.

Still not ready to part with your molars? You can ask your dentist to explain what he sees with your teeth. In many cases, you can wait several months to see if things change before making your decision. But if you have pain or notice swelling or a bad odor near your back teeth, it may be time for a second look.

Q. WHY DO MY GUMS BLEED?

By brushing and flossing correctly every day you prevent plaque from developing around the teeth and gums. However, if there is a build-up of plaque or calculus (hardened plaque) in the fold or pocket where your tooth meets your gum, bacteria develop and if allowed to multiply, gingivitis develops. This can be recognised by red, swollen gums that will bleed easily. Bleeding gums should be taken seriously as if left untreated could lead to periodontal disease.

Q. HOW DO I PREVENT GUM DISEASE?

By correctly brushing and flossing your teeth and regular professional scale and cleaning you can reduce your risk of gum disease. However, factors such as stress, smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, genetics and poor health can affect gum health. Dentists at TCD will suggest a preventative care program to suit your individual and specific needs.

Q. WHAT CAUSES BAD BREATH?

Clinically referred to as halitosis, bad breath is an unpleasant condition that is cause for embarrassment both socially and professionally. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware they have a problem. If you’re concerned about bad breath, see one of our dentists for an assessment as they can help to identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment programme to help eliminate it. What you eat affects the air you exhale. Sometimes bad breath is attributed to certain foods such as garlic and onions. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odour temporarily. Odours continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating. If you do not brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in your mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on your tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour.

Q. I BRUSH MY TEETH CONSTANTLY BUT STILL HAVE BAD BREATH. WHAT CAN I DO?

Good daily brushing and flossing are definitely the first steps to eliminating bad breath. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria responsible for creating odorous sulphur compounds and the food they feed on. However, bacteria hide not only on and around the teeth but also on the tongue under a layer of mucous. Here odours are created.. It is best to brush your tongue daily or you may want to consider a tongue scraper.

Q. HOW DO I FLOSS?

Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger for the upper teeth and between forefingers for the lower teeth with about 1 cm of floss between them, leaving no slack. Us a gentle rocking motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Avoid jerking or snapping the floss into the gums. When the floss reaches the gum-line, curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance. Hold the floss against the tooth and gently scrape the side of the tooth.

Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T GET MY TEETH CLEANED REGULARLY AT THE DENTIST?

Periodontal disease progresses as plaque and calculus are allowed to accumulate. The supporting tissues around the teeth (the gums, periodontal ligaments and bone) are lost. Pockets will form which trap even more plaque. Bad breath frequently occurs. Be mindful that once bone that supports teeth is lost, it will never regrow. Referral to a periodontist may occur.

Q. WHAT ARE FISSURE SEALS?

Fissure seals are a plastic material used to coat the grooves or fissures on the top of teeth. It acts primarily to protect the teeth from decay as a barrier is formed to prevent plaque and bacteria from commencing the decay process. Generally, it is applied on 6 and 12 year old molar teeth, depending on the decay risk of the child and their tooth anatomy. The retention rate of fissure sealants is around 70-90 percent. Ask your dentist at TCD about fissure sealants for your child.

Q. WHAT IS ABSCESSED TOOTH?

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It’s most commonly caused by severe tooth decay.

These problems can cause openings in the tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (called the pulp). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth.

What Are the Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth?

A toothache that is severe and continuous and results in gnawing or throbbing pain or sharp or shooting pain are common symptoms of an abscessed tooth. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Foul smell to the breath
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Redness and swelling of the gums
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
  • An open, draining sore on the side of the gum
  • If the pulp in the root of the tooth dies as a result of infection, the toothache may stop. However, this doesn’t mean the infection has healed; the infection remains active and continues to spread and destroy tissue.

Therefore, if you experience any of the above listed symptoms, it is important to see a dentist even if the pain subsides.

How Is an Abscessed Tooth Treated?

Strategies to eliminate the infection, preserve the tooth, and prevent complications are the goals of treatment for an abscessed tooth.

To eliminate infection, the abscess may need to be drained. Achieving drainage may be done through the tooth by a procedure known as root canal therapy. Then, a crown may be placed over the tooth.

The tooth may also be extracted, allowing drainage through the socket.

Finally, a third way to drain the abscess would be by incision into the swollen gum tissue.

Can an Abscessed Tooth Be Prevented?

Following good oral hygiene practices can reduce the risk of developing a tooth abscess. Also, if your teeth experience trauma (for example, become loosened or chipped), seek prompt dental attention.

Q. WHY IS MY TOOTH DISCOLOURED?

There are several causes of tooth discoloration, including:

  • Foods/drinks. Coffee, tea, colas, wines, and some other things can stain your teeth.
  • Tobacco use. Smoking or chewing tobacco can stain teeth.
  • Poor dental hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing to removeplaque and stain-producing substances like coffee and tobacco can cause tooth discoloration.
  • Several diseases that affect enamel (the hard surface of the teeth) and dentin (the underlying material under enamel) can lead to tooth discoloration. Treatments for certain conditions can also affect tooth color. For example, head and neck radiation and chemotherapy can cause teeth discoloration. In addition, certain infections in pregnant mothers can cause tooth discoloration in the infant by affecting enamel development.
  • Medications. The antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline are known to discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing (before age 8). Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth.Antihistamines (like Benadryl), anti psychotic drugs, and drugs forhigh blood pressure also cause teeth discoloration.
  • Dental materials.Some of the materials used in dentistry, such as amalgam restorations, especially silver sulfide-containing materials, can cast a gray-black color to teeth.
  • Advancing age.As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth gets worn away, revealing the natural yellow color of dentin.
  • Some people have naturally brighter or thicker enamel than others.
  • Excessive fluoride either from environmental sources (naturally high fluoride levels in water) or from excessive use (fluoride applications, rinses, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements taken by mouth) can cause teeth discoloration.
  • For example, damage from a fall can disturb enamel formation in young children whose teeth are still developing. Trauma can also cause discoloration to adult teeth.

How Can I Prevent Teeth Discoloration?

By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to prevent teeth discoloration. For example, if you are a coffee drinker and/or smoker, consider cutting back or quitting all together. Also, improve your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly and getting your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every 6 months.

If your teeth appear to be an abnormal color without any explanation and, if other symptoms are also present, make an appointment to see your dentist.

What Treatment Options Are Available to Whiten Teeth?

Treatment options to whiten teeth can vary depending on the cause of the discoloration and may include

  • Bondings
  • Veneers
  • In-home whitening agents purchased from your dentist
  • In-office whitening procedures

Q. WHY SHOULD I GET MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?

Just because your wisdom teeth aren’t a source of pain doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong. The teeth could be stuck, or impacted. That means they can’t break through your jaw and into your mouth. Maybe your mouth is too small to make room for them, or the teeth could be growing at an angle to other teeth. They can damage the tooth next door if they push up against it.

Some dentists take out healthy molars to prevent problems later on. As you age, the bones in your mouth get harder. That makes your teeth tougher to remove.

If you wait, you could have problems after surgery that range from heavy bleeding and fractured teeth to severe numbness and minor loss of movement in your jaw. These troubles could last a few days or a lifetime.

Q. WHAT IS PERICORONITIS?

Pericoronitis is a dental disorder in which gum tissue becomes swollen and infected around the wisdom teeth, the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.

What Causes Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis can develop when wisdom teeth only partially erupt (break through the gum). This allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection. In cases of pericoronitis, food or plaque (a bacterial film that remains on teeth after eating) may get caught underneath a flap of gum around the tooth. If it remains there, it can irritate the gum and lead to pericoronitis. If the pericoronitis is severe, the swelling and infection may extend beyond the jaw to the cheeks and neck.

What Are the Symptoms of Pericoronitis?

Symptoms of pericoronitis can include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Swelling in the gum tissue (caused by an accumulation of fluid)
  • A “bad taste” in the mouth (caused by pus leaking from the gums)
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

Q. WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS DO DENTAL VENEERS FIX?

Veneers are routinely used to fix:

Teeth that are discolored — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth

Teeth that are worn down

Teeth that are chipped or broken

Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)

Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

Q. HOW DO YOU CARE FOR A DENTURE?

Denture adhesives may be recommended, especially for the first-time denture wearer. Adhesives may improve the retention and stability of dentures for those with minimal bone support or small ridges. Stability of the denture will help the wearer’s confidence.

Remove and brush the denture daily with a denture cleanser and a brush (one specifically designed for cleaning dentures or a soft toothbrush).

Avoid using boiling water to sterilize the denture, because hot water can cause the denture to lose its shape.

If you wear a partial denture, remove it before brushing your natural teeth.

When you’re not wearing the denture, soak it in denture cleanser or water.

To avoid misplacing your denture, store it in the same place after removal.

Q. SHOULD A DENTURE BE WORN AT NIGHT?

While you may be advised to wear your denture almost constantly during the first two weeks – even while you sleep – under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove it at night and soak the denture in cleansing solution or water. Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of the gums.

Q. HOW DO I CLEAN MY MOUTHGUARD?

Clean your mouthguard with a tooth brush and toothpaste. Soaking in vinegar and water once in a while is a good idea as well.

Q. HOW DO I CLEAN MY RETAINERS?

Rinse retainers under cold water not hot! Also half part white vinegar & water and let them soak for a couple of hours. The vinegar eats the film away inside the retainers.

How Long Do I Need To Wear Retainers For?

Upper Retainer must be worn 6 months full time

Lower Retainer worn for 12 months at night time  only

After 6 months upper retainer is worn for the remaining 6 months only at night time with the lower.

The retainers are then worn 2-3/ times a week to ensure teeth stay straight.

Q. WILL A TONGUE PIERCING AFFECT MY MOUTH?

The tongue is an extraordinary muscle that has many functions. The mouth is the first place from which a baby explores life. With thousands of taste buds on the upper surface, the tongue is a muscle of pure sensation and pleasure.

The tongue serves us in many ways. Consider its role in the following activities:

  • Swallowing
  • Speaking
  • Eating
  • Tasting
  • Kissing
  • Spitting
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Licking your lips
  • As well as being a taste/temperature detective, the tongue has one of the larger nerve supplies compared with other organs in the human body and it is full of blood vessels that supply it with nutrients.

People pierce their tongues for various reasons; because it’s trendy, peer group pressure, friends are doing it, rebelling against parents, increasing sexual pleasure, something to toy with etc. But here are the reality checks on the complications that can be triggered by piercing the muscle that is a brilliant engineering feat of nature:

  • Nerve damage
  • Rupturing of blood vessels
  • Gum disease – the ring and hole in the tongue becomes a breeding ground for bacteria – the spread of this bacteria extends throughout the mouth and even down the throat
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Soft tissue damage such as the roof and floor of the mouth and cheeks.
  • Ripping of tongue if the ring or stud gets caught on something or locks ‘horns’ with your partner’s ring!
  • Reported case of a brain abscess through infected tongue.
  • As we age, the numbers of taste buds on our tongue decreases. By inflicting injury on your tongue you would only speed up this process!
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ADA and Hicaps logos – transparent