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Frequently asked questions about dental health


Frequently Asked Question

Dental radiographs (x-rays) show the structures of your teeth and mouth that cannot be seen visually during your clinical examination. X-rays also allow us to see the very early signs of decay which means we can start treatment early – sometimes without having to do a filling! From time to time there are other more specific reasons to take an x-ray, for example, infection or to check on wisdom teeth. Dental x-rays require small radiation doses (even smaller now that we have digital x-rays!) however, we never take them unnecessarily.

We encourage you to bring your children in with you to your check-up appointments from very early on. This introduces them to the dental environment and the Dentist in a non-threatening way and allows your child to have confidence when it is their turn.

You can introduce a soft children’s toothbrush from 12 months (earlier if tolerated by the infant) and just use water.
•We recommend you start using toothpaste from 18 months.
•Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day (morning and before bed) to remove plaque that can cause infant infant tooth decay and gum disease. Signs that your child’s teeth are not being brushed correctly are:
•Red and swollen gums
•A furry white film over the teeth (plaque)

Many comparisons have been made between electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes to look at the ability of each to remove plaque effectively and prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) build-up, thereby reducing the development of gum disease. Research studies have indicated both powered and manual toothbrushes to be equally effective when used correctly, which mean it is not so much the brush you use, but how you use it is the critical factor. Many people are choosing to use a power toothbrush, especially older patients who find them easier to hold. Advice from our dental hygienists can help ensure that your brushing routine is effective no matter which brush you prefer to use.

Clinically referred to as halitosis, bad breath is an unpleasant condition that is cause for embarrassment both socially and professionally. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware they have a problem. If you’re concerned about bad breath, see one of our dentists for an assessment as they can help to identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment programme to help eliminate it. What you eat affects the air you exhale. Sometimes bad breath is attributed to certain foods such as garlic and onions. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odour temporarily. Odours continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating. If you do not brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in your mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on your tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour.

The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable. The good news is that today there are a number of strategies that can be used to help reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. These strategies include use of medications (to either numb the treatment area or sedatives or anesthesia to help you relax), Why is my lip/tongue is still numb after having a wisdom tooth out? Nerve damage occurred during the extraction. Usually the problem is not permanent and will gradually get better over a few months

Here’s some advice. First, when purchasing a toothpaste for you or your child, select one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities. However, one word of caution: check the manufacturer’s label; some toothpastes are not recommended in children under age 6. This is because young children swallow toothpaste and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth.

It is also wise to select a product approved by the American Dental Association. The ADA’s Seal of Acceptance means that the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness and that packaging and advertising claims are scientifically supported. Some manufacturers choose not to seek the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. Although these products may be safe and effective, these products’ performance have not been evaluated or endorsed by the ADA.

Next, when considering other properties of toothpaste — such as whitening toothpastes, tartar-control, gum care, desensitizing, etc. — the best advice for selecting among these products may be to simply ask your dental hygienist or dentist what the greatest concerns are for your mouth at this time. After consulting with your dentist or hygienist about your oral health’s greatest needs, look for products within that category (for example, within the tartar control brands or within the desensitizing toothpaste brands) that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Finally, some degree of personal preference comes into play. Choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint all work alike. If you find that certain ingredients are irritating to your teeth, cheeks or lips, or if your teeth have become more sensitive, or if your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.