Frequently Asked Questions
Will it hurt?
We understand that some people find going to the dentist more daunting than others. We are here to help and guide you through your dental procedures. If you have a deep-seated fear of the dentist, let us know, and we will explain fully all the options and find the best solution for you.
Should I brush my gums?
Yes, but in the right way. Brushing improperly can cause the gums to recede making the teeth sensitive. The best way is to slant the toothbrush head on a 45-degree angle to the tooth. This means that when you’re brushing the lower teeth, the bristles are slanted downwards, and for the top teeth, the bristles are slanted upwards. Use a short, gentle stroke that ‘wiggles’ the bristles.
How often should I throw my toothbrush away?
For the best results from brushing, you should replace your toothbrush at least every three months, when bristles begin to show wear, or after an illness such as a cold or flu. Over time, toothbrush bristles can breakdown and lose their effectiveness and can be a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria.
Should I use floss, brush and mouthwash, or is one or two of these sufficient?
A combination of thorough brushing and flossing is the most effective way to control plaque.
Why might I be getting lots of fillings?
Fillings are most common in young people and sportspeople. They tend to consume a higher volume of soft drinks, energy and sports drinks, which increases the risk of cavities due to sugar, acid and dehydration.
How important is dental care when pregnant?
When you are pregnant you are more susceptible to gum disease. It is also a time when underlying problems can come to the surface. We can offer dietary advice and home care solutions and also work with pregnant women on short term assistance should any problems arise. Our advice would be: if you are planning a family, make sure you factor in a visit to your dentist.
When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?
From the moment that first tooth appears! Make sure you are using a full strength fluoride toothpaste – a very small amount on a child’s toothbrush is fine – and supervise tooth brushing for as long as you can. Healthy baby teeth are important to the health and development of adult teeth, so the sooner you can encourage a healthy approach to dental care the better.
When should I first take my child to a dentist?
The accepted age for children to have their first visit to the school dental therapist or their family dentist is 2 ½ years old. You may find either a school dental therapist or a dentist providing state funded dentistry for your child. However many family based dentists do not provide state funded dentistry and fees for treatment are paid for by the parents.
Should I have my teeth checked while I have braces?
Yes, your teeth are harder to clean when you have braces on, it is extremely important to have your teeth checked at least once a year to prevent the build up of plaque.
Are you ever too old to get braces?
No. Because healthy teeth can be moved at any age, an orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone-in fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older! However, teeth do tend to move a little more slowly the older people which means any treatment will very likely take longer.
The enamel has come off my front teeth and the dentine is showing, is that bad?
Yes, dentine is very soft, readily stains, and wears easily from the abrasive compounds in toothpaste. Sensitivity is an indication that dentine is being exposed due to abrasion, acid from bacteria in plaque, or highly acidic food, drink or whitening products. It is advisable that you seek dental advice as soon as possible.
Wisdom teeth – why do they usually have to be removed?
Your wisdom teeth usually appear after your jaw is fully developed (17 – 21 years). Often there is insufficient room to allow them to fit into the jaw and they can become infected and painful. Early symptoms may include frequent headaches, sore throats, ear ache or swollen glands. We recommend a panoramic X-ray at about 18-20 yrs so your dentist can pre-evaluate your situation.
How do you know that it’s time to have your wisdom teeth out?
In most cases wisdom teeth are extracted when they have an acute infection around them or they are causing trauma to the soft tissues of the mouth. If your wisdom teeth are impacted then an elective decision will need to be made with your dentist on whether to extract or not. Generally the younger you are the easier the procedure with fewer post-operative complications.
What causes bad breath?
In nearly all cases the dreaded halitosis is the result of minute food particles trapped between teeth or just under the gum line. This becomes an area where bacteria lives resulting in bad breath and an unpleasant taste. Regular visits to your dentist, more frequent, meticulous brushing and flossing will usually eliminate the problem unless there is an infection in the gums or a tooth.
Does brushing my tongue help prevent/lessen bad breath?
Yes, especially if you have a furry build up on your tongue. It is also a good idea to occasionally brush your cheeks, roof of your mouth, and tongue.
Should I have my amalgam fillings replaced?
Only if you want fillings that are tooth coloured. The new composites can be colour matched to provide an almost invisible filling. Unlike amalgam they actually bond onto the surrounding tooth enamel.
Why do my gums bleed sometimes?
It is initially caused by plaque build up. The gums become inflamed and swollen. If not treated it can progress to the loss of bone around the teeth which might result in tooth loss.
My gums bleed when I floss. Why does this happen?
If you don’t floss regularly there will be hard and soft plaque around the teeth that will make your gums inflamed and cause them to bleed. These deposits need to be removed by professional tooth cleaning to maintain your gum health. If they continue to bleed after more than a week of daily flossing, book an appointment to see your dentist for a thorough check-up.