See below for answers to come frequently asked questions.
If you'd like to know anything else, please phone the surgery on (09) 294 7761
How often do I need to visit the dentist?
We recommend that you visit for a full examination every 12 months. Depending on your rate of calculus build up, you should come in every 3 - 12 months for cleaning and polishing.
What causes tooth loss?
Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth's mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a hole (cavity) has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis.
What causes periodontal disease?
Plaque, a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates—sugars and starches—to produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth, where decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooth’s structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.
Teeth can be protected from acid attacks by removing plaque, reducing the number of times and the amount of sugar and starches eaten, using fluorides, having plastic sealants applied to teeth, and by regular professional cleaning of teeth by a dental hygienist.
Why do teeth get cracks in them?
A common problem is that teeth will crack, either due to grinding, clenching, decay or heavily filled teeth. "Cracked Tooth Symdrome" relates to a variety of symptoms and signs caused by a crack or many cracks in a tooth. Early diagnosis is needed to improve the chances of saving a cracked tooth.
Sharp and erratic pain upon chewing or after release of biting pressure. However, not all cracks will cause pain.
Sensitivity to cold or hot food/drink or sweets
Difficulty in pinpointing which tooth actually hurts, either upper or lower.
If you suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, you should discuss this with your dentist.
I've broken a tooth - what should I do?
If you are not in any pain you should ring your dentist as soon as possible to make an appointment. Try and keep the tooth as clean as possible and avoid biting too hard on that tooth. If you are in pain, you will need to contact your dentist ASAP for emergency treatment.
Why do I need X-rays?
Radiographs or x-rays are an important diagnostic tool that shows your dentist the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-Rays can help with the diagnosis of periodontal disease, and with the detection of cavities in teeth. X-Rays can also help detect abscesses, and abnormal growths such as cysts and tumours. X-Rays can also show the exact position of impacted teeth.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be an embarrassing problem.
It can be caused by the foods you eat, dry mouth, tobacco products, or a medical disorder.
Maintaining proper oral health can help reduce or eliminate bad breath.
1. Practice good oral hygiene:
• Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste,
• Scrape your tongue,
• Use an electric toothbrush and replace your toothbrush head every two to three months
• Use dental floss daily
• Remove your dentures at night and soak in a denture cleaning product such as Steradent
2. Stop smoking/chewing tobacco-based products
3. Keep your mouth moist by:
• Drinking lots of water, at least 2 litres a day
• Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
4. Avoid foods which may cause bad breath:
• Onions, garlic, curry, fish and fish oil tablets, coffee
5. Return every 6 months for a check up and hygiene visit to maintain your oral health.