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.