FAQs

1 Q: Does sugar cause cavities?

A: Plaque forms on your teeth daily. When sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque it produces acids that damage the enamel on your teeth. Although decreasing sugar intake will help, it is impossible to avoid sugar completely as it is naturally in many of our foods, including fruits and vegetables. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums you must brush and floss daily using good techniques to ensure the best results. 

2 Q: There are so many different toothbrushes. Which one should I buy?

A: The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush, and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and a soft brush will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important, when the bristles begin to bend over it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over they lose their ability to remove food and plaque, it is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.

Links to Oral B and Sensodyne can be found below

http://www.oralb.com/uk/home.asp

http://www.sensodyne.co.uk/index.html 

3 Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Tooth enamel is hard but also has microscopic pores in it. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, which forms on your teeth daily, to produces acids, which seeps into the enamel’s pores. This causes the enamel to demineralize and become weak contributing to the formation of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralisation process. This keeps your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride also fights cavities by reducing the amount of acids that are produced by plaque. 

4 Q: Why do my teeth feel sensitive?

A: Tooth sensitivity is often experienced because the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding away. This allows the effect of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if it is causing you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort. 

5 Q: Is there anything I should do before my appointment?

A: There are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you, please keep us informed about:

* Whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold or sweets

* About any changes in your gums like changes in colour, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss

* Whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that causes the floss to tear

* About any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in colour

* If you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore

* Any allergies you have

* If you are pregnant

* About any medicine you are taking

* If your medicine has changed since your last examination

* About any health problems or medical condition that you are being treated for

* About any other changes in your general health 

6 Q: Do you take x-rays?

A: X-rays help us see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:

* Cavities between teeth, under the gums and around old fillings

* Bone loss due to periodontal disease

* Inside the bone and gums enabling us to monitor erupting teeth.

* Problems below the gums such as to long or crooked tooth roots when evaluating for root canal treatment to infections at the roots of teeth 

7 Q: Are x-rays safe?

A: You are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances in the earth, the sun and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single x-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used we target the x-ray machine only at those areas we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. 

8 Q: How common is gum disease?

A: Gum disease is very common. Nine out of ten people in the United Kingdom will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a serious problem. The end result is bone loss and the loss of teeth. Even though you may brush and floss regularly, regular visits to the dentist will help detect gum disease in the early stages. 

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

A: If you already 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:

* Regular cleanings in our practice

* Brushing twice a day.

* Flossing once a day. 

10 Q: Why do I have bad breath?

A: Many people suffer from bad breath. In fact 40% of the population has problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:

* Poor dental hygiene

* eating certain foods like garlic or onions,

* Smoking,

* Chewing tobacco,

* Diseases like cancer or diabetes, and

* Dry mouth (often called morning breath).

You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. Also by avoiding certain foods you can eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean them thoroughly everyday and to remove them at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and present you with a treatment. 

11 Q: What are dental implants?

A: A dental implant is a titanium metal screw which is placed into the jawbone. It is used to support one or more false teeth. In practice, both the false teeth and their supporting rod are known as ‘implants’. 

12 Q: Are implants safe? How long will they last?

A: Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. 90 per cent of modern implants last for at least 15 years. 

13 Q: I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?

A: Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set. 

14 Q: Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

A: It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first. 

15 Q: Do implants hurt?

A: Placing the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anaesthetic with sedation or with a general anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process. 

16 Q: How soon can I have the new teeth?

A: The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been put in. This takes at least 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached much sooner than this.

If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then these can be worn throughout the healing period once they have been modified after the surgery. 

17 Q: Are the teeth difficult to clean?

A: Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that give you problems and you’ll be shown methods to help. If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the teeth attached to the implants? Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don’t smoke, then you should not have any problems. 

18 Q: Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?

A: Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning. 

19 Q: Do the implants show?

A: Your dentist will make sure that the implants won’t show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them, so that you can clean them properly.

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