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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if I miss a dental appointment?

A: Ask your dentist about his or her appointment policy. Many dentists ask that you call to cancel at least 24 hours in advance. This will allow time to find someone else for your appointment.Those who don't call to cancel may be charged a missed appointment fee. If you feel ill, but well enough to keep your dental appointment, keep it unless you've got a fever, strep throat, difficulty breathing or are too uncomfortable to sit in the chair. Some dentists also request patients to cancel if they have an active herpes virus (cold sore) around the mouth. If in doubt, ask your dentist if the visit should be rescheduled.

Q: What is the best way for me to prevent cavities in myself and in my children?

A: There are some very simple steps that you can take in the prevention of cavities that can save you much pain and money in the long run. Here are a few of the major ones:

  • brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste;
  • floss daily after brushing;
  • eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking;
  • limit the amount of sugars you and your children eat.

Check with your dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about use of preventive resin restorations (stronger than sealants) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay.

It is important to visit your dentist regularly for examinations and professional cleanings.

Q: Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

A: The majority of the dental community feel that amalgam fillings are safe and that the risk associated with the mercury contained in these restorations is minimal. There are trace amounts of mercury, which are bound to other elements of the filling. You probably ingest more mercury from the fish you eat! If you have any concerns about amalgam fillings your dental professional will be happy to discuss alternative restorative options.

Q: Are routine dental x-rays safe & necessary?

A: Radiation in the amounts used to expose dental X-rays, is very small. In fact, the average American actually receives more radiation from sitting in front of the family television for a period of one year than from routine X-rays taken at the dental office.

Dental x-rays are taken to diagnose problems that may be occurring in your teeth and supporting bone that are not visible to the naked eye. If the condition is allowed to develop until it is detectable by a visual exam, the problem will have progressed significantly and require more extensive treatment than if it was caught in the early stages. Nevertheless, the radiation we receive from all sources is cumulative over our lifetime, so we need to be aware of exposures.

Discuss with your dental professional the need and frequency for x-rays and have your original x-rays forwarded if you change dental care providers. 

Q: What about teeth bleaching or whitening gel?

A: Today there are many options for teeth whitening. There are over-the-counter whitening toothpastes and whitening products as well as professional whitening systems. These dentist-administered systems can be done in-office by the dentist (powerbleaching) or at home using professional products.

The drugstore whitening products have bulky uncomfortable moulds and do not retain the bleach properly causing some bleach to be swallowed. The professional bleach trays made by a dentist are customized from a mould of your teeth, so it fits only your mouth. It comfortably holds the bleaching agent closely against your teeth for maximum results.

The most effective results are obtained by having the power bleaching followed by the home system Results differ depending on the type of staining and genetic color of your teeth. Stains that are the result of smoking, colored foods/drinks such as coffee, tea, and/or age may respond well to bleaching. Staining from antibiotic (tetracycline) use or excess fluoride intake during childhood is less likely to respond to these treatments. Before trying any whitening procedure, discuss your condition with your dentist and together you can decide which treatment will achieve the best results.

Q: Do I need a "cleaning" appointment every six months?

A: All patients are individuals, and have varied needs. The interval of six months for "cleaning & check-up" is a commonly recommended time frame, which may or may not be appropriate for you. If you have concerns about the frequency of your "recall" appointments, you should discuss them with your dental professional. Together you can reach a "recall" schedule that is appropriate for your oral condition and that fits your busy schedule.

Q: What exactly is Gingivitis, and what causes it?

A: Gingivitis is a form of Periodonta lDisease (gum disease). Periodontal disease involves inflammation and/or infection that results in destruction of the tissues that support the teeth. This supporting unit comprises the gingiva (gums), the periodontal ligaments (hold the tooth in place), and the tooth sockets (bone).

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is caused by the long-term effects of plaque deposits. Plaque is the sticky material that develops on the exposed portions of the teeth, consisting of material such as bacteria, mucus, and food debris. It is a major cause of dental decay. Un-removed plaque mineralizes into a hard deposit called calculus (tartar) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and calculus cause mechanical and chemical irritation and inflammation of the gingiva. Bacteria and the toxins produced by the bacteria, cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender.

Q: What is the best prevention for Gingivitis?

A: Good oral hygiene is the best prevention against gingivitis because it removes the plaque that causes the disorder. The teeth should be brushed at least twice daily and flossed gently at least once per day. For people who are prone to gingivitis, brushing and flossing may be recommended after every meal and at bedtime. Consult the dentist or dental hygienist for instructions on proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Q: How are Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis related?

A: Periodontal Disease is a dental disorder that results from progression of gingivitis, involving inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth. This gradually causes the destruction of tooth support and if left untreated will lead to tooth loss.

Q: My teeth are sensitive when I drink something cold or sweet?

A: The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is the existence of a cavity or recession of the gum line, which may be associated with abrasion or ditching of the tooth in this area. 

This would usually be associated with sensitivity to temperature on the outside area of the tooth near the gum line and is bothersome during brushing. If the sensitivity involves an area or side of your mouth, this could be also due to clenching and/or grinding. Brushing too aggressively has also been linked to recession and toothbrush abrasion. 

If the tooth sensitivity feels like its coming from inside the tooth, you may have a cavity.

Q: My teeth are not temperature sensitive but when I bite down on something I get a sharp shock-like pain?

A: This is usually indicative of a crack within the tooth. It is important to see a dentist as untreated the tooth will eventually fracture and if the fracture is too extensive the tooth may require extraction.

Q: My jaw feels tight and sore when I wake up in the morning?

A: This is usually due to clenching and grinding your teeth at night. This may be associated with headache and neck stiffness. These are symptoms of what is known as TMJ dysfunction. Treatment may include wearing a night guard or in some instances adjusting the way your teeth meet. This clenching can also cause generalized non-specific tooth sensitivity.

Q: How long do patients have to soak their dentures and how often?

A: Patients should soak their dentures everyday, and follow the directions on the box for the duration of the soak, as it is dependant upon the variant purchased. 5-minute – soak for 5 minutes. This is ideal for patients that want a quick cleaning during the day. Overnight – Longer cleaning period to allow antimicrobial agents, detergents and enzymes towork to clean and remove tough stains Partials – specially formulated to clean both the acrylic surface and metal clasps.

Q: What are dental Sealants?

A: Cavities most commonly start on the biting surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars) due to the existence of developmental grooves. These cavity prone grooves are sometimes too narrow for your toothbrush bristle to reach and clean. A Dental sealant is a tooth-coloured material that is applied to cover these deeper susceptible grooves to "seal-out" the harmful bacteria and therefore reduce the chance of decay. Sealants are most beneficial at an early age, when the teeth are most susceptible to decay. As decay may start in the deeper section of the groove and go undetected, it is important for the dentist to make sure that there is no hidden decay before placing the sealant. As this may seal the decay under the sealant, it is recommended that the dentist flare the groove first to ensure there is no underlying decay. As sealants can be weak and susceptible to chipping, we recommend the use of Preventive Resin Restorations in certain patients. Ask your dentist if sealants are an option for your child. It is recommended that sealants be applied to a child's primary (baby) molars by the age of three or four years. Once the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear, it is best to apply preventive resin restoration if needed. As a child's most cavity prone years continue until the mid-teens, the premolars should also be sealed as they appear.

Q: Why should I have orthodontic snow?

A: There are a number of reasons for deciding to have orthodontic treatment as an adult. Orthodontics can help you enjoy a straighter smile, more even teeth and greater self-confidence in social and business settings. Other benefits include easier brushing and reduced chances of developing periodontal (gum) disease later on.

Q: Why do I need root canal treatment?

A: When a tooth dies on the inside where the nerve is, it becomes an area that is ripe for infection. If left alone, the tooth will become infected and pressure will build up causing a toothache. It is very difficult to treate the inside of a tooth like a regular infection, because blood carrying antibiotics cannot reach inside the tooth to help kill the bacteria. So the dentist opens into the centre of the tooth, removes the bacteria and debris (removing the infection), and fills the centre with a rubbery substance to seal the dead space.

Q: What are dental implants?

A: Dental Implants are made of titanium which is biocompatible. These are surgically placed into the jawbone to anchor permanent replacement teeth. Replacement teeth are then attached to that part of the implant that projects from the gums. Approved and tested dental implant systems are very successful. In fact, some have lasted more that 20 years with a better than 90 percent success rate. Patients who have good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups can enjoy implants that last a lifetime.

Q: Why do I need dental implants?

A: Fifty million teeth will be removed this year as a result of infection, gum disease or trauma (accident and injury). When teeth have been removed, several problems occur. The remaining teeth shift, rotate and become crooked, causing a bad bite and making it difficult to chew food properly. Unsightly spaces or large gaps between your teeth may cause embarrassment.

You need to ask yourself these questions:

  • do I feel comfortable when I smile, speak or eat?
  • do my dentures slip or cause sore spots when I chew?
  • do I hide my smile because of unsightly spaces between my teeth or missing teeth?
  • are my teeth loose and need to be stabilized following treatment for advanced gum disease?
  • do I regularly need my dentures relined because of bone resorption?

Q: What is an impacted wisdom tooth and what can I do about them?

A: When you approach 17 years of age, your last set of teeth are due to erupt. These teeth are called third molars or wisdom teeth. Often since the jaw is already formed when they erupt, there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth and they become wedged between the back of your lower jawbone and the tooth in front of them. This is called an impaction.

Impactions usually are brought to your attention when they begin hurting because of infection of the surrounding gum and then need to be extracted as an emergency. Most specialists (oral surgeons) recommend that even impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing you problems should be removed when you are young because of potential problems when you are older (the bone is more resistant and the teeth are harder to extract). In cases where braces are put on, most dentists/orthodontists want wisdom teeth extracted so that they don't erupt and ruin the straightened teeth.

Q: What is a crown and/or bridge?

A: Crown and Bridge treatment is a permanent method of replacing missing teeth. A crown is placed on an individual tooth, (somewhat like a thimble over your finger) where there is no longer sufficient tooth structure left to place a filling. A bridge spans a space where one or more teeth have been lost in the dental Arch. The teeth on either end of the span are crowned, and are referred to as Abutments. The false teeth in a bridge that join the abutments are referred to as pontics. Crowns and bridges are most often made from a combination of precious metals (gold), platinum palladium and porcelain, or space age reinforced resins and porcelain with no metal. Both esthetics (appearance) and function are considered when selecting the material most suitable for you.

Q: What does it mean if your gums start to dent in? The area above my teeth have no gum and what can I do to stop it and does it get worse?

A: Sounds like you have gum recession. It comes usually from either/or grinding/clenching ones teeth and/or brushing your teeth too aggressively i.e. abrasion. Also the use of acidic foods and drinks is implicated with erosion of the enamel in the gum-tooth junction. 

Q: What should I know about dental treatment during pregnancy?

A: You should advise your physician that you are continuing routine dental care during your pregnancy (regular cleanings). There are a number of reasons why dental care is vital during your pregnancy. Tooth development in the embryo begins as early as the fifth or sixth week of intra uterine life often before your pregnancy has been confirmed.Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the gum tissue very sensitive to plaque and irritation commonly causing gingivitis. In addition, your eating habits may change, causing changes in your oral health. Normally it's best to schedule necessary visits during the second trimester of your pregnancy. Morning sickness commonly occurs in the first trimester, and during the last trimester it may be less comfortable for you to sit in one position for any length of time. If you should have a dental "emergency" (such as unexplained pain or facial swelling) during your pregnancy you should contact your dentist immediately. Also remember to inform your dentist about your pregnancy before taking any medications.

Q. What is the normal Eruption sequence of baby teeth?

A: At about 5-8 months, the first 2 baby central incisors erupt on the bottom.

  • From 8-10 months, four upper incisors come in.
  • At 10-16 months, the first baby molars and the lower lateral incisors and the first baby molars come in.
  • At 16-22 months the cuspids ("fangs" or "canines") erupted.

(These times are approximate).

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Tel: 01-459-8593

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