How often should I go to the dentist?
If you go every six months any problems that may be present will be detected while they are still minor and will be easily corrected at minimal cost.
My dentist said I need to replace my old fillings, why?
These will probably be silver mercury amalgam (grey/black fillings). While they once served very well over time they break down at the junction between the filling and the tooth allowing bacteria to get in and cause new decay. These old type fillings are made of metal and expand and contract with change of temperature ranging from hot coffee to cold ice-cream at a greater rate than tooth structure. This can lead to sensitive teeth and cracks in teeth.
Nowadays we have tooth coloured filling materials that have similar physical properties to tooth material and are cosmetically pleasing to the eye. By replacing these fillings you will not only be improving your dental health but you will also improve the cosmetic appearance of your mouth.
Do I have to have x-rays each time I get a check up?
No, but bite wing x-rays (radiographs) should be taken every two years to detect early new decays, bone height and over time successive radiographs can be used for comparison. An OPG x-ray should be taken every five years to give an overall picture of the mouth and surrounding structures.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
You should aim to change your toothbrush every three months. Always use a soft toothbrush as this decreases the likelihood of abrasion to teeth and gingival recession (receding gums) from occurring.
I brush my teeth well do I need to use dental floss?
Your tooth brush can only reach the outside, inside and biting surfaces of your teeth. It cannot reach between the teeth and that is why we need to floss as well. By not flossing plaque will build up between the teeth leading to bleeding gums (gingivitis), bad breath (halitosis), decay between the teeth, build up of tartar (sub gingival calculus) and bone destruction (periodontal disease).
Are fizzy drinks bad for your teeth?
Most fizzy drinks have a high sugar content as do most sports drinks that are all the rage at the moment. While sugar is a good quick source of energy, it is also the basic food of the bacteria that cause dental caries. It is better to get the energy by eating fruit rather than obtaining it from soft drinks and candy bars. Small amounts of sugar are however an integral part of a balanced diet.
How useful are mouthguards in protecting against sports injuries?
Prevention is better than cure and nobody wants chipped, broken or dislodged teeth, resulting in pain and frequent trips to the dentist to repair the damage from sports injuries. Over the counter mouthguards do afford protection but are bulky, uncomfortable, tend to cause gagging; but you will never see a serious sports person with one. Only a custom made mouth guard fitted by a dentist will be contoured to fit your teeth exactly encouraging you to wear it, which in turn means that most sports injuries will be avoided or much less severe. Like brushing and flossing you should view a mouthguard as essential part of preventive Dental Centre.
Do I have to have my wisdom teeth out?
This depends on the following situations and every case needs to be assessed on its merits. If all goes according to natures plan the size of the jaws and teeth match perfectly and you have room for 32 permanent teeth. If you have large teeth and small jaws then there will not be enough room for the last teeth (the wisdom teeth) to erupt correctly or if they are facing the wrong way (impacted) then you will have to get them removed. Sometimes orthodontics in your teens will involve the removal of 4 premolar teeth leaving enough room after the rest of the teeth have been straightened.
Why are baby teeth important?
Many people do not realise the importance of baby teeth. Whilst these teeth fall out to allow the permanent adult teeth to erupt, they are still important for future oral health and development. The baby teeth guide the growth of facial bones and ensure the permanent adult teeth come through in the correct position and alignment. Baby teeth are also important for speech development, and although these teeth fall out naturally, premature childhood tooth loss will have a significant impact on the alignment of adult teeth and speech development. It is for these reasons that your child’s baby teeth should be cared for properly.
How can I keep my child’s teeth healthy?
Proper brushing, flossing and a healthy diet are critical in maintaining not only baby teeth but adult teeth as well. Many parents feel their child is capable enough of performing these tasks themselves (the child may feel the same way), but help from a parent or carer is critical until the child has developed the manual dexterity to perform these tasks properly themselves.
Disclaimer: Information given here is a brief guide only and may not be applicable to every situation. Information is based on current knowledge at the time of posting and will be amended as more accurate or more up to date information comes to hand. Comments of a non dental nature are true as best as we can ascertain, but you are advised to seek confirmation yourself from an appropriately qualified professional.