Our FAQs explain everything you need to know about cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry procedures, as well as preventive care.
We hope that by reading through our FAQs you will be better informed to make decisions about your dental health now, and in the future.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
The life span of the average toothbrush is about 2 – 3 months. So change your toothbrush at the beginning of each season. (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)
There are a number of reasons for this:
- Toothbrushes just simply wear out after repetitive use – the bristles breakdown and lose their effectiveness at getting into all those tricky corners around your teeth.
- They are a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria.
- They can spread cold and flu to your family or partner when stored together, by infecting adjacent toothbrushes. For this reason, you also need to change your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
- Toothbrushes also harbour the little bugs that cause cold sores and ulcers. If you are susceptible to ulcers and cold sores you should also change your toothbrush more regularly to avoid re-infecting other parts of the mouth and possibly other members of the family.
Also Remember: after using a toothbrush shake it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position, allowing it to dry out. Try and keep your toothbrush from touching others when it is stored.
How often should I floss my teeth?
At least once each day. If you don’t, you are almost sure to have bad breath…
What is worse is that people with bad breath usually don’t know that they have it.
Why do I need to floss?
Well, we know that bad breath is the result of bacteria. Bacteria can be found in many places within the mouth and regular brushing can usually get rid of most of it. But not all of it.
Flossing each day ensures that the hard-to-reach places are cleaned such as the area between the teeth and around the gumline.
Apart from a professional scale and clean, flossing is the best way to remove bacteria from under your gum line.
Bacteria left under the gum line for too long can begin the onset of gum (periodontal) disease, which if left untreated can lead to the loss of several teeth.
If you are not 100% sure of the best way to floss, just ask us next time you are in and we will be happy to give you a practical demonstration.
What causes decay?
Sugar is the main cause of decay and is found in the many foods we eat and drink either naturally or as an additive. Bacteria that have settled on a tooth thrive on sugar. They love the stuff and multiply themselves so that even more of them can partake in the sugar-fest.
Unfortunately, when bacteria and sugar get together a chemical reaction occurs producing an acid that eats away at the enamel (which protects your teeth from decay). The more sugar we eat, the more bacteria; this dramatically increases your chance of decay.
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it harder for the acid to eat its way into the tooth, but once the decay process has started it accelerates at a rapid rate. After eating through the enamel, the decay then attacks the softer part of the tooth.
If left untreated the decay will engulf the tooth eating its way further down to the pulp. It is therefore important to try and limit the amount of sweet foods and drink that we consume, and to brush our teeth thirty minutes after every meal – including lunch.
How do I fix bad breath?
A healthy mouth means fresh breath.
Social embarrassments can come in many shapes and sizes, and chronic bad breath is near the top of the list. It affects those nearest and dearest to us and can quite often cause problems in relationships. Worse yet, a person with bad breath is normally unaware they have it until someone tells them.
In any case of bad breath bacteria are the culprit. Plaque, tartar, gums, tooth decay, dentures, and your tongue are all places where bacteria can thrive, so much so that all the breath fresheners and mouthwashes on the supermarket shelf won’t remedy the cause. They only camouflage it temporarily – usually for only a few hours.
- Bad breath caused by tartar, gum disease and tooth decay can only be remedied at the dentist by having a regular scale and clean.
- Brush your tongue – One-study estimates 50% of oral bacteria can be eliminated by brushing your tongue with a soft brush every day.
- If you wear dentures anything less than a pristine clean will generally contribute to bad breath. Make sure that you clean them thoroughly and regularly using Sterodent or a similar product.
- If you are a chronic mouth-breather also beware! Dry mouth means more bad breath.
If you are concerned about your own or your partner’s breath we can determine the cause at a check-up appointment.
What do I do if a tooth gets knocked out?
First things first, find your tooth.
Don’t handle it by the root as the root membrane is delicate and is needed intact to encourage re-attachment. If the tooth is clean, place it gently back in its socket immediately and apply slight pressure. If the tooth is dirty, try and rinse it using milk and then place it back in its socket. Otherwise keep the tooth moist by placing it in a glass of milk or tuck it into the side your cheek.
DO NOT USE WATER
Make fast tracks to the dentist. If you can be there within 30 minutes, there’s an 85% chance the tooth will survive.
Remember: Prevention is better than cure, wear a mouthguard.
Can I eat after my ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment
Your teeth have pores on them and teeth whitening treatments (which basically bleaches your teeth) can leave them feeling a little sensitive and more prone to absorbing stains immediately after the treatment. During the first 48 hours following treatment, your teeth will be more susceptible to staining so avoid foods and drinks that can stain them (such coffee, tea, juice, berries, etc.). If you do eat something that stains your teeth, ensure you brush your teeth as soon as possible.
Is ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening safe?
There are many dental professionals who consider teeth whitening to be one of the safest dental cosmetic procedures available. So, yes, under the supervision of a dentist, ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening is safe for your teeth and gums. However, it should not be used on children under 13 and pregnant women.
Can I brush my teeth after using the ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening treatment at home?
It is not recommended to brush your teeth immediately after the treatment. The bleaching process will leave your teeth feeling a little sensitive and brushing it could cause some pain and even irritation to your gums. After a few hours (and once any sensitivity has been alleviated), it should be safe to brush again.
How long will ZOOM! Teeth Whitening last?
You can expect the results of your ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening treatment to last between 12-18 months. You can extend the life of the treatment by taking care of your teeth and avoid smoking, drinking tea, coffee, red wine, eating berries, dark coloured foods, etc. which could stain and discolour your teeth again.
At what age should I first take my child to see a dentist?
Dentists recommend that your child should first see a dentist between the ages of 6-12 months or after they’ve gotten their first tooth. Early assessment of your child’s teeth and mouth can help avoid any problems or issues in the future.
Should I take my child to a paediatric or general dentist?
This is entirely up to you. Whilst paediatric dentists have slightly more training to be able to better accommodate children and their offices are generally more kid-friendly, both paediatric and general dentists will be able to equally examine, clean, and treat your child’s teeth professionally and effectively.
Will my child really need a cleaning since their baby teeth will fall out anyway?
Yes! Professional dental cleanings are not only meant for keeping teeth clean and preventing tooth loss, but they are important for maintaining a healthy mouth and gums and preventing bad breath. Even though your child’s baby teeth will fall out eventually, any accumulated plaque and tartar can spread to their gums which will result in infection and gum disease.
Will my child’s thumb-sucking affect their teeth or mouth?
Yes, it can. Excessive and prolonged thumb sucking can cause a number of dental problems, especially when permanent teeth start coming in. Problems include altering the growth of the jaw, causing changes to the roof of the mouth, and creating a misalignment of teeth. It can even cause an uneven bite which will require orthodontic treatments to correct. You should try and curb your child’s thumb sucking as they grow to avoid these problems.
Is getting a dental crown painful?
No, it isn’t. You will be given local anaesthetic while your dentist prepares your tooth for the crown, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. The whole process should feel similar to getting a filling. You may not even need anaesthetic if there is no nerve in the tooth, however, there may be some sensitivity and slight soreness in the gum around the tooth, but this should ease up in no time.
How long will a dental crown last me?
Dental crowns can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years (in some cases even longer!). This, of course, depends on how well you care for them which includes proper cleaning, avoiding certain hard and sticky foods, and stopping bad habits (such as nail biting, etc.) which could damage the crown.
Can I brush and floss my dental crown?
It is actually highly recommended that you continue brushing and flossing your teeth as normal even after you’ve gotten a crown. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is an important part of avoiding disease and infection which could erode the natural tooth beneath the crown causing it to loosen or fall off.
What is a temporary crown?
A temporary crown is just like the permanent one. It is used to protect the tooth from further damage until the permanent crown is ready. However, they are generally made from acrylic (unlike permanent crowns) and are held in place using a temporary dental adhesive.
Will I have any diet restrictions with a crown?
Not particularly, but (as always) you should try to avoid hard foods and candies, sticky foods, chewing ice, etc. as biting and chewing these type of foods can cause damage to the crown.
How is a tooth prepared for a crown?
Your tooth will need to be prepped so that the crown is able to fit properly and comfortably. Your dentist will need to reshape and recontour the tooth by shaving down some of the enamel.
How long does it take to fit a crown?
To fit a traditional crown, you will be required to visit your dentist twice to complete the procedure. During your first visit, your dentist will prep the tooth by reshaping it so the crown can fit. An impression of the reshaped tooth will be taken and sent to the lab where the permanent crown is made. During your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is fitted.
Will a crown be noticeable and will it feel different?
Dental crowns are usually coloured to match the colour of your natural teeth so that they aren’t noticeable at all. Initially, you will notice that the crowned tooth feels a little different but this will become normal and less noticeable in a few days. If you experience problems with your bite however, you should make an appointment with your dentist to have the crown readjusted.
What can you do to maintain your brighter smile?
There are a number of easy steps to take in order to maintain your brilliant new smile. If you have recently undergone teeth whitening treatment, stay away from any food or drink that can stain your teeth such as coffee and chocolate. If you do decide to consume these stain-rich beverages, then using a straw can lessen their effect on the colour of your teeth. Remember to brush and rinse your mouth out afterwards as well. Teeth whitening treatments could usually do with a touch up every six months or so depending on which method has been used.
Are there any risks associated with teeth whitening?
Some patients that undergo teeth whitening treatment can experience increased tooth sensitivity and a slight irritation of the soft tissue in your mouth, but this is only temporary. This increase in tooth sensitivity usually happens at the beginning of the bleaching treatment whereas the soft tissue irritation is mainly due to an ill-fitting whitening tray. Should your teeth be a little bit sensitive after you have had teeth whitening treatment you can reduce the sensitivity by wearing your trays for shorter periods of time, pausing your treatment for a few days and using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
Are teeth whitening products more effective on teeth with stains of certain colours?
Surprisingly, the answer to this question is yes. While it flies in the face of reason some colours are indeed more easily whitened than others. Teeth that are stained yellow tend to react well to teeth whitening treatments while browner coloured teeth don’t respond very well at all to them. A blue or grey stain on teeth is almost impossible to alter with teeth whitening treatments and you may need up to 6 months of home treatment, or multiple in-chair sessions to successfully brighten your smile. It should be noted, however, that all patients react differently to treatment, so results will always vary.
How many dental implants do I need?
The number of dental implants that you will require depends entirely on the amount and position of your missing teeth. Of course, we will give you a thorough assessment, firstly of your suitability for the treatment and then see the extent to which your teeth need to be replaced. We offer single and multiple tooth replacements for patients who are missing teeth and dental implants can be used to restore several consecutive teeth. Dental implants are equally adept at replacing the form and function of one or many teeth.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of dental implants is very difficult to pin down because the number of materials used during your treatment will depend entirely on how many of your teeth need to be replaced and thus, how many prosthetics need to be created. Another consideration to be made is whether or not sedation dentistry is used. That being said, we will walk you through every aspect of your treatment before we begin, during which you will you will get a far better idea of what the entire procedure will cost. This includes all details of the surgery itself.
Is the procedure painful and how is it managed?
Dental implants, as with any surgery, is a procedure that should not be taken lightly and although the process isn’t known as being extremely painful, a local anaesthetic will be used to ensure your comfort during the surgery. For those patients who suffer from severe anxiety, we can arrange for general anaesthetic. Any of the pain and discomfort that you feel after your dental implant surgery will be managed by our team of oral health professionals. If you are having multiple implants placed then you may find that the level of discomfort may be a little more severe.
Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Regular trips to come and see us are vital to maintaining your oral health and helping us to treat any issues before they become more severe. As your oral and general health have been found to be linked, this will also help you to keep your body healthy and free of other concerns that are caused by poor oral hygiene. Regular check-ups can help prevent tooth decay, protect against the onset of periodontitis which is responsible for tooth loss, prevent bad breath and give you a healthier, more attractive smile. Make your appointment today to secure your oral health.
My teeth feel fine. Do I still need to see a dentist?
Absolutely. You see, while your teeth may feel fine, there are a host of issues that may still exist without you even knowing about them. The reason being that these concerns are almost impossible to detect on your own and require a trained professional to diagnose and treat them effectively. If we can find a cavity in its early stages can save you the time and money of having to receive root canals, dental implants, gum surgery and other treatments. We also give your teeth a deep clean with dental instruments that are designed to reach places that regular brushing and flossing cannot.
How can I take care of my teeth between dental check-ups?
There are a few age old rules that you need to follow in order to maintain your oral and dental health while you are away from us. The first and most important is also the most obvious one, make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day or after meals and to floss at least once. Make sure that you are using toothpaste that contains fluoride and check with us whether or not you may need a fluoride rinse. Avoid, where possible, foods and drinks that contain a lot of sugar as they will feed the bacteria in your mouth and make it easier for plaque and cavities to appear. Brush your tongue, it will remove a lot of the particles and bacteria in your mouth, as well as making your breath minty fresh.
Why should I go to the dentist regularly?
So many patients don’t visit us as regularly as they should and this is down to either an anxiety surrounding seeing the dentist or a belief that there is nothing wrong with them. Being reactive about your oral health is a risky game to play and often you won’t receive the treatment you need in time. But if you are proactive about your oral health and come in to see us at least every 6 months, then we can prevent these problems before they become too severe and as a result we can save you time and money.
Why should I floss, isn’t brushing enough?
It doesn’t matter how well or for how long you brush your teeth, flossing should always form a part of your oral hygiene routine. There are millions upon millions of microscopic bacteria in your mouth that feed on the particles of food that are left in your mouth after eating and live in the plaque and tartar on your teeth. Flossing removes some of these bacteria that your brush cannot reach because your brush can’t reach inside the smaller gaps in your teeth. As with anything, the proof is in the pudding so to speak and if you don’t see an improvement in your oral health then you simply aren’t flossing enough.
How can I prevent cavities?
There are a number of way in which you can work to prevent the formation of cavities. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily is the first way to get rid of the bacteria in your mouth. You should never brush too hard, it takes very little pressure to remove the bacteria from your teeth and you should always incorporate flossing into your routine in order to reach the bacteria that sits out of range of your brush. Staying away from sugar is another great way to prevent cavities as is scheduling regular dental check-ups and a professional clean.