Help / Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the following links to review the answer.
Child Dental Care
Adult Dental Care
-F.A.Q: Do I need to use a mouthwash?
-F.A.Q: Do I need to use dental floss?
We recommend that children are brought to the dentist at an early age before they need any treatment. We just count their teeth and make friends so that their first visit is fun. Then if they ever do need any dental work it is not such an issue for them. The first dental visit is an important one for a child.
It is important to establish the routine of brushing at an early stage even though it will be a useless exercise in terms of effective cleaning. You should let your toddler understand that brushing is a bedtime and morning routine. They can have fun copying your actions. Brush in a rotational circular motion off the teeth and onto the gums. 'Tickle the teeth and tickle the gums.' We should all be brushing our teeth and our gums not just our teeth.
Tooth decay can only happen if there is a sugar source. Sugar is converted to acid in the mouth and it is this acid that causes tooth decay. Todays diet is impossibly loaded with sugar. Cereals such as Coco Pops, Frosties, Cheerios are sugar coated and best served as a desert or not at all. Baked beans, ketchup, tinned fruits, jams, biscuits, Sunny Delight and so on are very rich in sugar. A child will automatically find the sugar rich foods in the cupboard or fridge if allowed to do so. It is important to break this dependency on sugar. Lunch boxes should not include sweet bars or biscuits. Fizzy drinks should be for special events only. Sweets, if eaten at all should be given with a bottle of water. Interval eating of sweets is the worst way, they should be taken together. Diet fizzy drinks are not much better as they are still very acidic. Too much natural fruit juices like apple or orange juice is also damaging to the teeth .Moderation is the key as usual! Talk to our dentist or hygienist about your child's diet. We will be happy to help.
Thumb sucking is a habit and therefore not easy to break. It is not especially damaging up to the age of six but at that time with the arrival of the adult front teeth we would very much like the habit to have stopped. The development of the permanent teeth can be adversely effected by the strong sucking pressures of a digit or dummy. This presents an orthodontic challenge later on. We usually advise the child that it is a baby habit and now they are getting big, and going to school, they will probably stop. Sometimes Santa Claus helps with the problem!
1. Keep calm but act quickly. Find the tooth. Hold it by the crown (the part we usually see) not by the root. Do not scrub or attempt to clean the tooth! Do not disinfect it !
2. If the tooth is clean, hold it by the crown and gently push it back into the socket making sure that the front face is facing out of the mouth. This is usually fairly painless if done immediately after the accident.
3. If the tooth is dirty rinse it gently in milk or in the patient's own saliva before gently pushing it back into place. Warning! There is a risk of swallowing a slippy tooth if you are not extremely careful, so using milk is probably safer.
4. Hold the tooth in place. Get the child to bite on a napkin and go to a dentist immediately. Phone ahead to alert him.
5. If you can't put the tooth back in place then put it in a glass of milk. If there is none available place it in the mouth between the cheeks and gums. Be very careful to avoid swallowing the tooth. Go to your dentist immediately or go to the nearest hospital casualty department and ask for the dentist on call.
*If the child is under six then the tooth lost is probably a baby tooth. Very little can be done or needs to be done in this case. These teeth are due to fall out about the age of six and will be replaced by bigger stronger adult incisor teeth. Putting these teeth back is not usually an option.
This may be caused by a stomach complaint, a respiratory condition or more likely by a dental hygiene issue perhaps involving tooth decay or gum disease. The first thing to do is to come and see a dentist. He will do a complete check of your mouth and thoroughly clean all the teeth. He may refer you to see the hygienist. If everything is in order the way to ensure you have good fresh breath is to effectively clean all your teeth and your gums twice daily after flossing. Your tongue and palate should be included in this regime. A new breath freshening pack BreathRx might be useful to start with.
Pregnancy is not a contraindication for dental treatment. In some ways it might be a good time to get the work done as you are likely to be busy when the baby arrives! The drugs we use are perfectly safe to use with expectant mums however it is important that you tell the dentist you are pregnant. Intravenous sedation is not possible during pregnancy.
No mouthwashes are a bit like perfume, they shouldn't take the place of soap! Good brushing of teeth and gums twice daily especially if dental floss is used beforehand is the best way to maintain good oral hygiene and ensure fresh breath. Listerene and Corsodyl mouthwashes should be used very sparingly and certainly not daily, as they will stain the teeth a bit like a heavy tea drinker or a smoker.
Healthy clean gums do not bleed. Bleeding from the gums tells you where they need attention. Bacteria, acid from broken down sugars, food waste etc can irritate and inflame the gums if it is not removed. Inflamed gums bleed and become tender when they are disturbed for example by brushing. However they need to be disturbed to get rid of the irritant causing the inflammation. Bleeding is a cry for help. Bleeding tells us where there is 'dirt'. As our oral hygiene improves this bleeding will become less until we reach a stage where we can floss and brush all areas of our teeth and gums with no bleeding
Yes it is very important to take your denture out at night, or for at least six hours a day. Your denture is essentially plastic and has absorbent properties. So it will absorb the bacteria rich saliva from your mouth. The denture needs to be steeped for a few hours daily in a mild disinfectant solution (Milton for example) to properly clean it. A quick scrub under the tap is not sufficient and only removes surface debris. In addition the roof of your mouth needs to breathe and to be washed with your cleansing, protective saliva. This cannot happen if it is covered for twenty four hours a day, month after month, year on year. Can you imagine what your hands would look like if you wore gloves constantly, for a few years twenty four hours a day. Not very healthy I'm sure! So take your denture out every night for a few hours. It makes good sense.
Headaches and facial pain can be related to teeth and this should be part of any investigation into their cause. Tooth decay is an obvious cause of facial pain. Lower molar teeth can cause earaches on occasion. However a less obvious cause is grinding or clenching of teeth especially in your sleep. This can be exacerbated in times of stress. A protective night guard or bite splint may help to treat this problem. If you suffer from repeated headaches you should visit your dentist as the 'first port of call'.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. In general our philosophy is to leave them alone if they are not causing problems. However they have a poor value in so far that they do not make us look better chew better or speak better. Many of us are born without them. Because they are so far back they can be difficult to clean. They can cause crowding and make cavities in the adjacent teeth more likely. They can be partly erupted and trap food waste and bacteria under the gum and make infection more likely. If they are a disadvantage to your mouth then they should be removed.
In the dental world of today no aspect of dentistry needs to be that bad. With excellent anaesthetics, or even I.V Sedation if required any dental procedure should be done quite comfortably. Wisdom teeth are no different. Their bad reputation is completely undeserved. In fact upper wisdom teeth are usually extremely easy to remove .Lower wisdom teeth can be more difficult but with good planning they can be extracted in a managed way so that post operative pain etc is controlled and minimised. More difficult surgical extractions may need to be referred to an oral surgeon and possibly done under General anaesthetic. Wisdom teeth are usually extracted in pairs on each side. Under sedation or G.A it is usually a good idea to remove all four.
If your teeth are close together then you should use dental floss or tape at least once daily as this is the only effective method of cleaning the tight stagnation areas between the teeth. The bristles of a toothbrush can't force their way in between these teeth and so bacteria can happily inhabit these area unless they are disturbed by dental tape or floss. These particular bacteria are the anaerobic or 'smelly' bacteria and they thrive in stagnation areas. They also contribute to bad breath. So flossing is a very good idea!
Most toothpastes on the market are excellent and any of the recognised names are fine to use. We would recommend however that you use a Flouridated toothpaste and soon this basis Euthymol might be one to avoid. If you suffer from sensitive teeth then you might find Sensodyne F or Pronamel toothpaste useful. However sensitive teeth should be seen by a dentist as this can often indicate tooth decay.
It really doesn't matter if you use an electric toothbrush or a manual one. The battery ones usually have the rotational action that we recommend so this is an advantage, however it is perfectly possible to brush our teeth and gums 100% effectively with a normal toothbrush. So it's a matter of choice. Remember floss before you brush!