Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about oral health frequently asked by our patients over the years are gathered together to provide a variety of oral health tips in an easy-to-understand Q&A format.
Regular dental appointments are an important part of your oral hygiene practice.
Dentists recommend that most people have a cleaning and checkup twice a year — every six months, to be exact.
However, depending on your specific oral health needs, we may advise you to visit more frequently.
Please be sure to request a prescription prior to your visit, or if you are unsure, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
It varies, but please plan on 0.5 to 1.5 hours for the first visit.
Children should see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. Your child’s baby teeth will be coming in at this time, and your dentist will be able to assess the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the initial visit, make sure to schedule checkups every six months.
Plaque is a sticky film that is constantly forming on your teeth. Remember the Tooth Bug? Plaque is where he and all the bacteria in your mouth hang out.
These bacteria are nasty and you don’t want to give them the chance to move in and take over.
If you allow plaque to build up by skipping teeth cleanings or neglecting to floss regularly, you activate the immune system chronically, which leads to unnecessary inflammation in the body. Long term inflammation in the body is what causes premature aging and systemic disease.
The big advantage of electric brushes, is that they do most of the work for you, many are designed to tackle more than just the front-facing surface of the teeth and the better ones also have timers so you know exactly how long to brush for (two minutes is the recommended minimum). Ones with round heads and side-to-side oscillations are especially effective because they ‘hug’ the tooth as they brush, making sure it’s cleaned from more than one side.
The trick is to use then correctly. The most common mistake is to use them like you would a normal toothbrush (and I’ve done this myself when I’ve neglected to charge mine!). Instead, you should simply place the brush head against each individual tooth and let the lovely little oscillations and pulsations do the rest.
Flossing helps to minimize the amount of bacteria in the mouth. These microscopic creatures number in the millions and feed on food particles left on your teeth. Plaque, which can be extracted by flossing, is where these bacteria reside. Brushing your teeth removes any bacteria from your mouth.
Flossing removes bacteria that a toothbrush can’t reach. Bacteria can be found in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you don’t floss, plaque will build up between your teeth. Tartar forms as a result of the hardening. Brushing is a good way to get rid of plaque. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist.
Brush your teeth for two to three minutes each time. It takes that long to eliminate the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Don’t brush your teeth too hard. It only takes little pressure to remove plaque and bacteria. Floss your teeth at least once a day. The best way to remove bacteria from behind your teeth is to floss.
Keep an eye on how much sugar you consume. Candy, fruits, crackers, and chips all contain sugar. These are the foods that your mouth’s bacteria prefer. Foods that stick to your teeth, such as raisins and peanut butter, should be avoided. They will provide a constant supply of food for the bacteria that eats in your teeth. Try to limit the amount of sweets you eat during the day and brush your teeth afterward.
If you don’t have time to brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water to help extract food particles from your teeth. After a meal, chewing sugarless gum can also help. Chewing helps to regulate the flow of saliva, which serves as a natural plaque-fighting agent. Often, don’t forget to go to the dentist on a regular basis. A cavity-free visit can be aided by good dental practices.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing removes bacteria-causing plaque from your teeth, gums, and mouth, keeping them clean and healthy. Clean your top teeth for at least a minute and your bottom teeth for at least a minute, and don’t forget to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
Even if you wash your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time, your toothbrush will ultimately wear out. You should change your toothbrush every three months. If you use an electronic toothbrush, check the instructions carefully because you may not need to replace the toothbrush head as often.
Patients with gum disease should change their toothbrush every month to prevent bacteria from spreading.
Rinse your toothbrush with hot water after brushing to destroy germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been unwell, make sure to replace your toothbrush right away.
Braces and Retainers
You won’t feel any pain during the procedure, but your teeth and gums will probably be a little sore afterwards. The pain can last for up to a week, but it is very rarely hard to deal with. Most patients comment that it is annoying more than painful.
If you are really struggling to ease the pain after you get your braces put on, or simply looking to take your mind off it, there are a couple of things you can try:
- Try to only eat soft foods during the first few days.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and paracetamol can help, just be sure never to exceed the dosage listed on the bottle.
- You can buy orthodontic wax that you can use whenever you feel uncomfortable.
- Just squeeze the wax between your fingers and apply it to the brackets that are rubbing the inside of your mouth.
- Don’t drink beverages like orange or tomato juice that have a lot of acid.
- If you develop mouth sores, don’t touch them with your tongue or finger. You can help relieve the irritation by swishing a cup of water mixed with ½ tsp of salt in your mouth, or using an oral anesthetic like Orajel.
Probably within a week. You probably won’t notice that they are there at all. During that time, you might experience mild amounts of pain randomly. This is completely normal. The pain will go away quickly and should not be cause for alarm. If necessary, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
If you are about to get braces, you are probably curious about what they fee like, and possibly worried that braces hurt. If those questions are on your mind, good for you. Knowing what you are getting into makes the process a lot easier. We have put together this quick guide to answer your questions and help you feel as comfortable as possible on your first day with braces.
Make an appointment with our orthodontist right away to get replacement retainers. Unwanted teeth movement can occur if it is left without retainers.
At the first symptom of an orthodontic problem, your child should consult our orthodontist no later than the age of seven. Some alignment and bite issues can be rectified at a young age, preventing complications as the child grows older.
You may not consider it before getting braces, but it may become a question you need to address. What happens if you need to change to a different orthodontist?
People change orthodontists for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is relocation. People move in out. These moves are sometimes not anticipated, especially when the patients are in the middle of their orthodontic treatment. Or, they may go from one clinic to another part of the country. So, yes, changing orthodontists is possible.
But, you need to have an orthodontic clearance from your previous orthodontist stating that you are free of all financial obligations of your orthodontic treatment. Your new orthodontist can then proceed to a new treatment plan.
Anything from a food lodged in your gums, a fractured tooth or a bacterial infection might trigger a toothache. Some toothaches are caused by gum irritation that lasts only a few days. Serious toothaches, on the other hand, requires dental treatment to remove the pain and fix the underlying issue.
The discomfort in or around a tooth is known as a toothache. A temporary gum irritation might cause minor toothaches, which you can be treated at home. More serious toothaches caused by dental and mouth issues that don’t go away on their own may require treatment by our dentists.
If you experience sensitivity and discomfort after drinking hot or cold, it may be due to the deterioration of the protective layers of your teeth.
Teeth sensitivity may also be caused by a cavity, gum problems, tooth decay, plaque buildup, worn-down enamel, fractured teeth or damaged fillings. You may also be aggressive in brushing, grinding your teeth, using of tooth-whitening products and using of acidic mouthwash. Treatment include, using a toothpaste for sensitivity, root canal procedure, gum graft, dental restoration, or fluoride varnish, depending on the cause.
It is important to note that reducing sensitivity is not the same as fixing the causes. If you’re feeling sensitivity or discomfort, it might be a symptom of injury or a disease that needs medical attention. We urge that you consult with our dentist for a diagnosis and treatment.
Gingivitis is the most common cause of redness and swollen gums. Poor dental hygiene causes gingivitis, a minor form of gum disease. Bacteria and plaque build up around the gums when you don’t brush or floss on a regular basis. Plaque irritates the gums, resulting in a swollen, red appearance.
Periodontitis. When plaque is fresh, it is soft and sticky, making it easy to remove. Plaque, on the other hand, can harden into calculus, a porous, hard substance that cannot be eliminated by brushing or flossing. Calculus can only be removed with special tools and techniques at our clinics.
Other causes aside from gingivitis and periodontitis can cause gums to look red and swollen. Gum irritation and bleeding can be caused by malnutrition, hard brushing and flossing, smoking, contraception, pregnancy, and treatments like chemotherapy.
Consult with our dentists if you notice your gums are swollen, red, and/or bleeding. Our dentists can advise you on treatment options and other ways to improve your gum health.
Poor oral hygiene causes most bad breath. Food particles can stay in the mouth and bacteria can develop on your teeth if you don’t clean it regularly.
Some foods such as onions, garlic, certain vegetables and spices. Odor-causing food particles enter the bloodstream and are transported to the lungs, where each time you exhale, they impact the smell of your breath.
Some drinks such as coffee and alcohol can impact on saliva production. Alcohol and caffeine can decrease the production of saliva after drinking. Less saliva means an increase in odor-causing bacteria.
High-sugar diets may contribute to a bad breath and may be responsible for halitosis due to the interaction between sugars and your mouth’s existing bacteria. The bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars that turn sweets into unpleasant odors.
Tobacco products produce bad breath and cause significantly more serious problems in oral health. Aside from the bad smell, they cause damage to the gum tissue and gum diseases. They also can cause damage to your lungs, heart and your overall health, as well as your relationships.
Other causes. While odor-causing bacteria is the most common cause of bad breath, there are a number of other health issues that can contribute to the problem. Bad breath can indicate the presence of various diseases. Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including postnasal drip, sinus problems, respiratory and tonsil infections, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, and some blood abnormalities. Bad breath can also be an indication of cancer or other serious illnesses.
To stop bad breath, you should always brush and floss your teeth, clean your tongue, use a mouthwash, hydrate, avoid certain foods and drinks mentioned above and quit smoking. If bad breath persists, consult with our dentists.
Feeling of discomfort or pain when eating, drinking and talking could be due to canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers. Canker sores are tiny, painful lesions that occur in the mouth, tongue or at the base of the gums making eating, drinking, and talking difficult.
Canker sores aren’t contagious and normally heal within a week. However, if you have a canker sore that is huge or highly painful, or if it does not heal after a long period of time, you should consult a doctor.
Bacteria can build up on the surface of our teeth from time to time as a result of the foods and liquids you consume. Despite regular brushing, some bacteria can cling to teeth and cause them to turn yellow or gray. That might not be a huge deal if you brush your teeth regularly.
However, in some cases, a tooth may begin to become black. The black color should raise a warning because it could indicate an underlying problem such as decay, cavities, or pulp infections.
In cases when internal problems are causing the teeth to turn black, our dentist will discuss options and evaluate whether removing the tooth is the best option for you.
If left untreated, infection can spread and destroy other teeth, weaken the gums, and spread infection elsewhere.
If your face is swollen, it could be a sign of an infection. You’ll need to see our dentist as you might require antibiotics to relieve the symptoms of the infection.