FAQ

We get asked many questions about different treatments by our patients. Here are some of the most commonly asked ones. If you can’t find the answer to your question here please contact us. We’ll be pleased to help!

Checkups – Your First Examination

What do I need to tell the dentist at my first visit?

Your general health — your dentist will need to know if you’ve been diagnosed with any diseases or you are taking any medicines, either prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Your dental health — Before the examination starts, tell your dentist if:

  •     You are concerned you have a new cavity
  •     Your teeth have become more sensitive
  •     You feel any lumps inside your mouth

Your fears — Many people are fearful of the dentist. These fears often go back to childhood. It's important to know that dentistry has really moved forward and pain control and treatment techniques have improved greatly in recent years. If you are concerned at all let your dentist know - it's perfectly ok and far more common than you think. We truely understand.

What happens during the first examination?

We will look at your teeth, your gums and other areas inside and outside your mouth for signs of disease or other problems. For example:

Clinical examination of teeth — Using a mirror to see the back and sides of your teeth, we will check for decay by looking at every tooth surface and check for any cavities.  If you already have any fillings, permanent bridges, crowns or other restorations, we will check to make sure that they are sound and that the teeth around them have no signs of decay.

Periodontal — This involves checking the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. First, your dentist will look for signs of redness or puffiness that may indicate gum disease.

Occlusion — By examining your bite, your dentist can check how well your teeth fit together.

Soft tissue — Your dentist will check all the soft tissues of your mouth for any spots, cuts, swellings, growths or other abnormal areas that may indicate problems with oral health.

Head and neck — Your dentist will check your head and neck, temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and the glands in your neck to make sure there are no unusual swellings, dryness, bleeding or other abnormalities that may need to be checked further.

X-rays – These will be taken to help look for decay (cavities) or other oral health problems that can't be seen during the clinical exam. X-rays also offer the best way for the dentist to see a need for root canal treatment, or bone loss that may indicate advanced gum disease.

What happens after the examination?

Treatment recommendations — If your dentist finds any problems, she will recommend steps to fix them. Your dentist won't pressure you into treatment options. The dentist will take the time to discuss the options you have and the advantages and disadvantages of these, so that way you can decide what is best for you.

The dentist will explain any suggested treatments in detail so that you can feel comfortable and understand the treatment.

What about cleaning and polishing?

If there is time during your first examination, the dentist will perform a professional scale and clean.

Cleaning — The purpose of professional cleaning is to remove the hard calculus (also called tartar) from above and just below the gum line. Whilst, a good brushing and flossing routine that you perform at home removes plaque only dental instruments can remove calculus.

Polishing — After cleaning the calculus away, the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) may be polished to remove plaque and surface stains.

Prevention — You may be offered instructions for dental care at home based on the results of the exam such as how to brush and floss properly.

Children’s dental check up and treatment

When should I first take my child to the dentist ?

Your child’s first check up should be around 2 years of age, so they can get used to going to the dentist and ensure no problems are developing. .

What if my child is nervous about going to the dentist?

 We see a lot of people who are worried about visiting the dentist.  We are patient, friendly and we totally understand.   As a parent, if you have some discomfort around  visiting the dentist  try to not let your child feel or hear anything about any fears you may have.

Regular visits help your child get used to the surroundings, so that, if and when, they do need any treatment, they feel relaxed and happy about it.

When do my child's teeth come through?

All children develop at different rates, however, as a general guide.

First or ‘baby’ teeth have usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around six months. All twenty baby teeth should be through by the age of two-and-a-half.

The first permanent ‘adult’ molars (back teeth) will appear at about six years, behind the baby teeth and before the first teeth start to fall out.

The adult teeth will then replace the baby teeth. The lower front teeth are usually lost first, then the upper front teeth shortly after.

All adult teeth should be in place by the age of thirteen, except the wisdom teeth which may come through any time between eighteen and twenty five years of age.

White fillings

Are white fillings as good as metal amalgams?

White fillings used to be less long lasting than metal amalgam fillings. Nowadays they are almost as good.Depending on where the filling is in your mouth and how strongly you bite will determine how long a white filling will last.

Does a white filling cost more?

The cost depends on the size and type of white filling used and the time it takes to complete the treatment. We will give you a clear price prior to you deciding on treatment.

Should I replace my old metal amalgam fillings with white ones?

If your filling needs replacing then you can discuss having a white filling replacement. It is usually best to change fillings only when they need replacing, however we do offer safe removal of amalgam fillings if you would prefer they are removed.

Bridges and partial dentures

What are my options for replacing missing teeth?

This depends on the number of teeth you are missing, where they are in your mouth, and the condition of your remaining teeth.

There are three main ways to replace missing teeth.

  • Fixed bridge. Usually used when there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
  • Removable false tooth (or teeth) – called a partial denture.
  • Dental implants. This is where an artificial root is placed into the bone of the jaw and a crown or bridge placed on top of this.
Is a metal denture better than a plastic one?

Plastic partial dentures are less expensive but,unless they are designed very carefully, can damage the teeth they fit against.

Metal partial dentures are usually made from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than plastic ones.

Are there reasons why I may not be able to have a bridge ?

A bridge needs strong adjacent teeth with good bone support to hold it. The dentist can advise you of your best options

How do I look after my dental bridge?

Daily cleaning to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. A bridge needle or special floss can be used to reach tricky areas.

I've heard implants are a better option. Is this true?

One of the benefits of dental implants is that you may be able to replace missing teeth without having to have crowns on other teeth. Talk to the dentist about the options and the pros and cons of each.

Root Canal Treatment

Does root canal treatment hurt?

No. Similar to having a filling done a local anaesthetic is used and numbs the area.

It may feel a little tender afterwards but will ease over time. It’s far less painful than having an abscess!

Will my tooth look different after root canal treatment?

Years ago, a root-filled tooth used to darken after treatment but today this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments that you can have to restore the natural appearance of the tooth.

What if I choose not to have root canal treatment?

It’s not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth so the only other option is to have the tooth removed instead.  It’s  usually recommended to keep as many natural teeth as possible to help keep the remaining teeth stable and retain the natural line of the jaw.

How do I care for my tooth after root canal treatment?

Clean twice a day just as with your normal teeth,  use a fluoride toothpaste,  keep  sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and have regular dental check-ups.

Dental Crowns

Why do I need a crown?

Crowns are a good option for repairing broken teeth. A crown is also an option if you’ve had root canal treatment and the remaining tooth requires protection. Sometimes a crown isneeded to hold a bridge or a denture in place.

How long is the treatment and does it hurt?

At least two visits over 1- 2 weeks.During your first visit we prepare the tooth, take impressions and match the shade of the tooth and fit a temporary crown. The permanent crown will be fitted during your second visit.

A local anaesthetic will be given to you so it shouldn’t hurt. If the tooth to be crowned doesn’t have a nerve then a local anaesthetic is not needed.

Will the crown look and feel different?

The crown will match your other teeth as closely as possible in color. Although, the shape will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned within a few days you will not notice the difference. If your bite feels uncomfortable then we can check it and adjust it.

What is the crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials.

Porcelain bonded to precious metal: A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it. This is the most common type of crown.

Porcelain: Made completely from porcelain. These crownslook very natural and most often used for front teeth although they are not as strong as bonded crowns.

All-ceramic: A metal-free alternative to crowns. These crowns offer the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown and suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

Glass: These crowns look very natural and can be used anywhere in the mouth.

Gold-alloy crowns: Gold is one of the oldest filling materials and nowadays it’s used with other metal alloys to increase its strength. These crowns are very hardwearing and are silver or gold in colour.

Mouthguards and Snoring Appliances

What is a mouthguard?

Fitting snuggly over your teeth, a mouthguard is a thick, spongy shield and usually worn during sports and other high risk activities to protect the teeth in case of impact.

How thick is a mouthguard?

The mouthguard needs to be at least 4mm thick so it provides a cushioning effect to protect against impact.

How does a mouthguard work?

With a direct impact to the lower part of the face, the force can travel through the jaw, teeth and even the upper part of the skull. Injuries such as front teeth fractures and even concussions can happen. Impact to the lower jaw might cause the jaws to slam together and damage both upper and lower rows of teeth.

Mouthguards act as a buffer for these kinds of impact by absorbing the shock and reduce the force applied to your teeth, jaws or skull.

How to look after a mouthguard

After use rinse the mouthguard in soap and warm water and allow it to air-dry. Occasionally rinse it with mouthwash to disinfect it. Store it in a vented plastic container in a cool.

Avoid leaving it in a hot car, as the heat can destroy the shape and make it unwearable.

Are there different types of mouthguards?

As well as sports mouthguards, there are specialised mouthguards for jaw issues or teeth grinding problems.

There are customised special types of mouthguards to help treat snoring or sleep apnea as well.