or most people the loss of teeth is a traumatic experience which has profound effects on the quality of our lives. Dental Implants function, feel and look like natural teeth and can solve the problems associated with tooth loss.

Teeth have several major functions, most obviously they allow us to chew our food and give us an attractive smile. You may not be aware that they also play an important part in speech and help maintain our facial shape.

The loss of even one tooth can begin a process of degeneration which can lead to the need for artificial removable teeth. In the process, the gums that hold the teeth no longer have a function and begin to shrink, changing the shape of the face. This in turn leads to an appearance of premature aging.

Conventional dentistry has been successful in saving teeth, to the point where most of us now expect to keep our teeth for our whole lives. However, despite our best efforts there are situations where natural teeth cannot be saved or people have been without teeth for years. For these people, conventional dentistry is not always good enough.

Removable dentures can never be as good as the real thing and conventional bridge work involves drilling away healthy teeth to achieve the desired result.

What is an implant?

An implant is a man-made replacement for natural teeth which allows the person to return to having fixed teeth. It is not a transplant, which is taken from another person. There are several categories of dental implants, which will be selected by the doctor depending on your specific needs and general dental condition. You would require an x-ray to evaluate the amount of bone remaining, models of your mouth to determine space available and a thorough examination to decide which type of implant can help you the most.

Is it expensive?

The procedure can involve a significant investment and fees can be determined after records and an examination is completed. A survey of 350 patients, after completion of their work, indicated that it was, not only worth the investment, but they would do it again.

What will my insurance pay?

Although portions of the procedures involved may be covered, the implant itself is not a covered benefit on the majority of insurance contracts. We are, however, persistent in doing the best we possibly can in obtaining benefits for our patients from their medical and dental insurance.

Is there discomfort involved?

Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort; however, anaesthetic and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Approximately 95 percent of patients report discomfort of 0-2 on a scale of 0-10 the day after the implants are placed. The doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Special care will be taken to stay in contact with you after the surgery to be sure that you remain comfortable.

How long does it take?

Complete treatment can take from 4 to 9 months and in some cases, longer. It should be understood that this procedure is advanced and can be a longer process than usual to assure its success. We do, however, provide patients with temporary teeth during this time frame. AT NO TIME are you without teeth unless you elect to do so.

Is there a chance of rejection?

The body does not reject a dental implant, as it might reject a soft tissue transplant, such as a lung, heart or kidney. This does not mean that an implant cannot fail, but it would be due to other factors, such as misalignment, improper force on the implant or other conditions or existing diseases of the patient. Dental implants are made of a material, titanium, that is totally bio compatible (compatible with body tissues) and actually integrates with the surrounding bone and becomes part of the body. Titanium is also being used more and more in the medical field to replace body parts.

How long could one expect to be off work?

Generally, we recommend the day of and the following day after surgery, that no strenuous exercise be done. You can expect to be slightly swollen. The amount of time off required is an individual decision.

What will happen without treatment?

When you lose your teeth, you gradually lose the bone that supported them. As this bone disappears, problems with other teeth nearby and a lack of support for dentures, partials and bridges increase. These could include pain, mobility, lack of retention for prosthetics, sharp, painful ridges, mobile gum tissue and sore spots. The tongue enlarges to accommodate spaces of missing teeth. With tooth loss, a five-fold decrease in function occurs and the diet shifts to softer foods. Also, when bone is lost, numbness to the lower lip or even the possibility of fracture of the jaw rises. Since the bone is deteriorating, it will spread and deteriorate around healthy teeth and ultimately cause the loss of those teeth.

I think everyone’s heard of the “domino effect”. Here’s a very easy way to explain what happens. Picture a brick wall; take a brick right out of the middle of the wall. What happens? Eventually, the brick above starts to fall in from lack of support, the bricks to the side start shifting toward each other and those eventually fall out; then the process starts all over for those bricks nearest them. It’s a similar process in the mouth. In addition, this progression will affect the ability to provide the same treatment in the later stages of bone loss than if treatment had been started earlier in the process. It’s much better to replace a tooth BEFORE all of the side effects kick in. By waiting, you risk the possibility of not being able to provide the same, simple type of treatment that would have been possible earlier.

Who is a candidate for implants?

Anyone who is missing one or more (even all) of their teeth may be a candidate for implants. If one or a few of the teeth are missing, implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth and function as normal teeth without losing more bone and being subject to decay. If all or most of your teeth are missing, then implants may be placed to anchor a loose denture. Sometimes, if there is already some bone loss, bone can be added and regenerated or a technique called “bone expansion” can be used to create a more ideal site for the implant(s). More detailed information and images are available from the treatment menu. Ultimately, a consultation with a dentist who is knowledgeable on these procedures can help determine your individual needs.

What age should I send my child to an orthodontist?
The most favourable age to assess a child is when your child’s baby teeth begin to fall out. For preventative measures we encourage people to bring their children when they reach the age of 6 or 7. By doing this we find that we can prevent a simple problem developing into a major problem, inevitably resulting in braces or other corrective measures when they become teenagers.

Why straighten crooked teeth?

The reasons vary from person to person, these may include:

  1. Appearance
  2. Speech difficulties
  3. Assist with tooth cleaning
  4. Avoiding injury to protruding teeth
  5. To improve the occlusion/bite

What is the process when getting braces?

When you come to us wanting to straighten your teeth. Records are gathered and X-rays and impressions are recorded. After taking all of this into consideration, Dr Waleed will then tailor a treatment plan to suit your specific case.

Am I too old for treatment?

Put simply, NO. Our patients are all ages. If you want straighter teeth come and talk to us about your options. No referral is necessary and technology has come a long way. If you are worried about wearing braces, don’t be, with products like Invisalign and Clear/ceramic braces nobody will notice you are undergoing treatment.

Is it better to have treatment as a teenager?

Some problems are best managed in earlier years to avoid having long and sometimes expensive treatment later on in life. If you think your child or teenager needs orthodontic treatment, you should have them seen the earlier the better. Prevention is the best medicine.

What happens if I am not treated?

Things don’t generally get better if your teeth are not treated. In the long term it can potentially lead to hygiene problems as cleaning could get difficult which may lead to decay or gingivitis.

How long does treatment last?

Hygiene and difficulty/severity of the initial problem is also dependent on treatment duration.

Are braces comfortable?

For the most part, YES. However when you first get your braces you may find that they are uncomfortable or tight in your mouth. This feeling generally lasts around 48 hours and will feel like you have food stuck between your teeth. Eating soft food and chewing sugarless gum are a great help and take an Aspirin or Panadol if necessary. The teeth will settle down and return to normal. Sometimes when adjustments are made this soreness is repeated but certainly not at every visit – in fact the less adjustments made, the less sore you will be.

What are Elastics?

Your elastics apply a constant force for your teeth to move. Failure to wear your elastics all the time as directed by Dr Waleed will prolong your treatment time and may affect the final result.

  • Elastics are worn in various positions, depending on the direction of movement required for your teeth. Therefore, we will explain to you at the necessary appointment how elastics are to be worn.
  • The only time your elastics should be removed is when you clean your teeth. The elastics are then put on the end of your finger to remind you to put them straight back on again, immediately after cleaning. You will find that the elastics tend to break at odd times’ so you will need to carry some wherever you go. To ensure you do not run out of elastics between appointments, ask us for more at your appointment.
  • Unless instructed otherwise, your elastics must be changed every second day.

What are Retainers?

Initially worn full time and gradually the wear is reduced to just one night or week.

Can I still play sport with Braces?

Yes, you can still enjoy playing and we will provide you with a mouthguard if you are involved in contact sports to avoid breakages or damage to the braces and your lips and cheeks. You will also be able to play wind musical instruments after a short adjustment period.

Do you have payment plans available?

We offer an extensive range of payment plans. We strive to suit your requirements, however, once the plan has been agreed upon, it is expected that payments be made in accordance with the plan to ensure continuation of treatment.

Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums.  The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar).  If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.

Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.

Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

  • Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums
  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth
  • Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  • Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

Sedation dentistry allows you to be sedated just enough to be pain free and unaware of the treatment, as if you were relaxing. That is why it is normally referred to as conscious sedation dentistry. So if you have sensitive teeth, a fear of dentists, have a bad gag reflex, hate needles, or have limited time to spend on dental care at the dentist, Sedation during dentistry procedures can help you.

Whatever the case may be, sedation by your dentists can help you be more anxiety-free during your dentistry treatment. Your dentist’s ultimate goal is to make your visit to the dentist a relaxing and enjoyable one. Since you are completely comfortable, relaxed, and pain free your sedation dentist can do years of dental treatments in one or two dental visits.

With sedation your dentist can restore sore gums to good dental health, fix a chipped tooth, replace crowns or dentures, whiten yellow or stained teeth, and more. All pain free.

Laughing Gas ( Nitrous Oxide )

Inhalation sedation, laughing gas, relative analgesia, RA, happy gas, gas, nitrous, nitrous oxide, N2O-O2… this one has more synonyms than any other sedation technique! And deservedly so. Inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen (O2) has been described as “representing the most nearly ‘ideal’ clinical sedative circumstance”.

What is it? And what does it do?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is simply a gas which you can breathe in. It’s colourless, sweet-smelling, and non-irritating. It was discovered in 1772. Gordon loves the stuff! And why wouldn’t he… Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), one of the pioneers of N2O experimentation, described the effects of N2O on himself following self-administration for a toothache and gum infection as follows:

“On the day when the inflammation was the most troublesome, I breathed three large doses of nitrous oxide. The pain always diminished after the first four or five inspirations; the thrilling came on as usual, and uneasiness was for a few minutes swallowed up in pleasure.”

Sounds like fun!! The extract above pretty much summarizes the effects of nitrous oxide: it kills pain – and it induces a pleasurable feeling. After 5 minutes or so of breathing in the gas, you should feel a euphoric feeling spread throughout your body. It really kind of feels like a ‘happy drunk’ feeling. Some people find that there are auditory or visual effects as well. You will feel a bit light headed and often people get ‘the giggles’ (hence the name laughing gas!). As an interesting aside, nitrous oxide was one of the drugs of choice for young people in the late1700s and early 1800s, when “laughing gas demonstrations” were a popular source of entertainment and enjoyment!

Since those days, it’s been discovered that nitrous oxide (N2O) on its own can only safely be used for short periods of time (because the lack of oxygen in pure N2O can lead to unconsciousness and even death) – but that it’s safe to use for longer periods of time if you mix it with oxygen (O2). Hence, the “laughing gas” used these days is called N2O-O2, and contains at least 30% oxygen (that’s all the machines used nowadays will permit!). Usually, the mix is about 70% oxygen to 30% nitrous oxide.

Depending on the concentration and length of administration of laughing gas, four levels of sedation can be experienced (after an initial feeling of light-headedness):

  1. A tingling sensation, especially in the arms and legs, or a feeling of vibration (“parasthesia”), quickly followed by
  2. Warm sensations, and
  3. A feeling of well-being, euphoria and/or floating (“drift”). During heavier sedation, hearing may dissolve into a constant, electronic-like throbbing
  4. At a deeper level of sedation again, sleepiness, difficulty to keep one’s eyes open or speak (“dream”) can occur. Should nausea set in, it means you’re definitely over sedated!

During relative analgesia, you should be maintained within the first three stages. The “dream” stage is indicative of too high an N2O concentration or too lengthy administration, and is associated with ill side effects such as nausea and other potentially unpleasant sensations, including flashbacks of bad experiences. These are definitive signs of over sedation. N2O concentration should always be gradually increased (“titrated”) at each visit, because people’s tolerance can vary from day to day, depending on both psychological and physiological factors. If you’ve had bad experiences with laughing gas in the past, it is highly likely that these were due to improper administration and too high a concentration of N2O.

Interestingly, the actual mechanism of action of N2O is still unknown (it appears that there are quite a few different mechanisms at work)! However, it’s been observed that N2O depresses almost all forms of sensation – especially hearing, touch and pain, and that it seems to disinhibit some emotional centers in the brain. The ability to concentrate or perform intelligent acts is only minimally affected, as is memory.

How is it administered?

The equipment used for delivering “happy gas” is quite simple. It consists of a supply of compressed gases and an apparatus which delivers the gases to the client. By turning some knobs and flipping on/off switches, the administrator can produce the desired mix of N2O-O2 in the desired quantities. Flow meters and pressure gauges allow the administrator to keep an eye on the flow of gases.
The desired N2O-O2 mix is fed through a tube to which a nasal hood or cannula is attached. This hood is put over your nose. All you have to do now is breathe normally through your nose – bingo!

The white inner mask (sticking out) comes in vanilla, strawberry, and mint

In modern machines there is a sort of “double mask” where the outside mask is connected to a vacuum machine to suck away the waste gas – you wouldn’t want your dentist to get a face full of N2O… The white inside mask, which is placed over your nose, comes in lots of yummy scents – vanilla, strawberry, and mint!

The grey “outer mask” ensures that your dentist doesn’t leave work with a headache. The twin tubes running to the mask are for “gas in” and “gas out”. The “gas out” line is attached to the vacuum machine, while the “gas in” line is attached to the RA (short for relative analgesia) machine. The inner mask is attached to the “line in”, you breathe out through a one-way valve in the inner mask, and the exhaust gas is collected inside the outer grey mask (pictured below)and sucked into the vacuum machine.

What are the advantages?

  • Happy gas works very rapidly – it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-killing properties develop after 2 or 3 minutes
  • The depth of sedation can be altered from moment to moment, allowing the person who administers the gas to increase or decrease the depth of sedation. Other sedation techniques don’t allow for this. For example, with IV sedation, it’s easy to deepen the level of sedation, but difficult to lessen it. Whereas with gas, the effects are almost instant
  • Other sedation techniques have a fixed duration of action (because the effects of pills or intravenous drugs last for a specific time span), whereas gas can be given for the exact time span it’s needed for. It can also be switched off when not needed and then switched on again (though to avoid a roller-coaster effect, you shouldn’t do this too abruptly)
  • There’s no “hangover” effect – the gas is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped. You can safely drive home and don’t need an escort
  • With nitrous oxide, it’s easy to give incremental doses until the desired action is obtained (this is called “titration”). So the administrator has virtually absolute control over the action of the drug, preventing the possibility of accidental overdoses. While giving incremental doses is possible with IV sedation, it’s not possible with oral sedation (as a result, oral sedation can be a bit of a hit-and-miss affair)
  • Unlike IV sedation, no injection is required. In cases of very severe needle phobia, getting laughing gas first can help you feel relaxed enough to allow the needle required for IV sedation to be inserted in your arm or hand. The very deep state of sedation achievable through IV sedation may then allow you to accept local anaesthetic
  • Inhalation sedation is very safe. It has very few side effects and the drugs used have no ill effects on the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain
  • For certain procedures, especially those involving soft tissues (e. g. deep cleaning), inhalation sedation may be used instead of local anaesthesia. N2O acts as a painkiller; however, its pain-relieving effects vary a lot from person to person and can’t be relied upon. So if you’re determined to give the needle a miss, you and your dentist will have to try and see what happens
  • Inhalation sedation has been found to be very effective in eliminating or at least minimizing severe gagging

Are there any disadvantages?

  • Some people are not comfortable with the effects of laughing gas (either because they’re afraid they might lose control or because it makes them feel nauseous – this is quite rare, though, and usually due to oversedation)
  • If you’re prone to nausea, it’s a good idea to have a meal (not a huge one) about 4 hours before your appointment. If that’s not possible (e. g. an early morning appointment), make sure your stomach isn’t completely empty – but don’t stuff yourself straight beforehand either. According to Gordon, who’s a bit of an expert in the field, the normal working concentration of gases is about 70% oxygen to 30% nitrous oxide: “It’s rare to go beyond that because that’s what brings on the nausea, more than 45% N2O and you’re going to have the patient puke on you :-)” Ahh… nothing like a bit of straight talk!
  • Some people will not achieve adequate sedation with permissible levels of oxygen
  • On rare occasions, people have a bad experience with N2O. Usually this is due to oversedation. This is easily reversible by reducing the amount of N2O in the mix. For example, a few people have reported auditory and “physical” hallucinations, dizziness, or vertigo:Don’t panic should you experience any symptoms of that nature. While they’re usually due to the N2O concentration being too high for you, the machines used nowadays have built-in safety features preventing an accidental overdose. Nonetheless, these sensations can be unpleasant – if you start feeling nauseous or experience any other unpleasant symptoms, communicate these to your dentist asap so that he or she can adjust the percentage of N2O. Laughing, becoming giddy, crying, or uncoordinated movements are other signs that the NO2 concentration is too high, but these will easily be spotted by your dentist. Alternatively, just rip the mask off your nose, and you’ll be fine !Don’t confuse “dizziness” with the normal feeling of light-headedness which many people who’ve never had N2O before experience after maybe 60 or 90 seconds. The feeling of light-headedness will pass as the concentration of N2O is increased.
  • Some people are unable to breathe through their noses (see above on how nitrous oxide is administered), or they feel too claustrophobic when something is put over their nose. If you have the snuffles and you can’t breathe through your nose, it can’t be used
  • Depending on where you live, a dentist who offers nitrous oxide may be hard to come byApart from that, most of the disadvantages of inhalation sedation do not affect the client, but the dental team: there’s training required, the equipment is quite bulky and takes up a lot of space, and there is a possibility that dental staff who are chronically exposed to nitrous oxide might develop health problems. The cost of the equipment and gases is high, so you’ll have to contribute to the cost – but it’s quite a bit cheaper than IV sedation.

When should I not use it?

There aren’t any major contraindications to RA, except for emphysema and some exotic chest problems. It hasn’t been proven to be safe during the first trimester of pregnancy, so you can’t use it then. Because you have to breathe it in through your nose, it’s not suitable for people who have a cold or some other condition which prevents them from breathing through their nose. M.S. is another contraindication.

You can’t be allergic to N2O. It’s also safe to use if you suffer from epilepsy, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, or cerebrovascular disease. It is also used quite successfully in many people with respiratory disease – but it depends on the exact nature of the disease, so check with your dentist!

How do I know if it’s for me?

Why not ask if you can have a 5 minute ‘sample’ so that you know what to expect on the day of your procedure? Some dentists offer that service to patients to help them with the decision of what to do. Your dentist may not like the idea of doing this (costs, time, etc.), but there is no harm in asking!

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, please click on “Request an Appointment.” You can fill out the form and submit it to our office. A scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm this appointment. Otherwise, you can call the (Name of Dental Office) directly at (Phone Number). If you are calling after office hours, please leave a message and a scheduling coordinator will call you back to set up an appointment.

Who is the best dentist?

All of the dentists practising at Dentist A Brite Smile are fully qualified and registered with the National Dental Board, and are able to assist you with your general dental needs. Many have extensive experience in private practice with some having completed post graduate studies in specific areas of interest.

Do I have to pay if I have private health insurance?

Dentist A Brite Smile has relationships with all of the major health funds which allow private health insurance patients with extras or ancillary cover to gain benefits. Some private health insurance companies even offer ‘no-gap’ dental benefits. Dentist A Brite Smile recommends that patients check with their health funds as to what benefits they are entitled to prior to making an appointment.

Does Dentist A Brite Smile offer a payment plan?

Mediplan currently offer a payment plan option Dentist A Brite Smile. Brochures are available at your local Centre. Or for more details please visit www.mediplan.com.au

Does Dentist A Brite Smile accept Medicare Teen Dental Vouchers?

The Medicare Teen Dental plan aims to assist families with the cost of annual preventive dental check-ups for teenagers between 12-17 years of age. In 2011 eligible teenagers will receive a $159.85 voucher which can be redeemed at any Dentist A Bright Smile practice. For more information visit www.medicare.gov.au

How much are the fees at Dentist A Brite Smile?

Dental services at Dentist A Brite Smile are provided by independent and employee Practitioners who determine their own fees based on the needs of each patient.

Is Dentist a Brite Smile a part of the Australian Government’s Chronic Disease Dental Plan (formerly Enhanced Primary Care Scheme)?

Many of the Dentists at Dentist A Brite Smile provide treatment under the Chronic Disease Dental Plan (formerly Enhanced Primary Care Scheme). The plan offers eligible patients living with chronic medical conditions and complex care needs dental treatment to the value of $4,250 (over two years). For more information visit www.medicare.gov.au

Cosmetic Procedures:

Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking.  Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.

Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings: Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings.  Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.  This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.

Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile.  They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth.  Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.

Porcelain Crowns (caps): A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.  They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.

Is there a way to prevent stain or discolored teeth?

There are several methods available for patients to use in order to acquire a whiter, brighter smile. It is crucial to have your dentist evaluate your teeth to determine which whitening procedure would most benefit your smile.

The following are the two most widely used teeth whitening systems:

  • In Home Teeth Whitening: Most at-home teeth whitening systems come in a gel form that is put into a custom-fitted mouth guard (also known as bleaching tray) that is molded to the shape of your teeth. The gel-filled trays can be worn overnight while you sleep or during the day. The amount of time the trays are required to remain in your mouth depends, although typically, trays are worn twice a day for around 30 minutes each session. This type of whitening procedure can take several weeks before you see results.
  • In Office Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening performed at a dentist office may require more than one visit, each lasting anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. You will instantly see results with this type of procedure. The bleaching solution used by the dentist is applied to your teeth, and your gums are completely protected. Some patients experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth bleached in a dental office, but this typically wears off within a few days.

Is it possible to keep my teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime?

Yes, with routine dental and preventive care combined with excellent oral hygiene.

What does it mean when my gums bleed when I brush and floss?

This is a sign that Periodontal Disease is present and needs to be treated. This is what leads to tooth loss.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

Australian Dental Association recommends you schedule a dental exam and cleaning appointment at least twice a year. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.

What may cause bad breath?

  • Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath
  • Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing
  • Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath
  • Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat
  • Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath

Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist.

What can I do to prevent bad breath?

  • Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline.  Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas.  Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.  If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning
  • See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits
  • Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit
  • Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria
  • Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem

In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.

How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?

Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms.  Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque – a sticky, colourless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva – is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone.  Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.

Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
  • Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
  • Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives.  Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
  • Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.
  • Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen
  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone)
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Is a root canal for you?

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers
  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Dull ache
  • Spontaneous pain
  • Throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Pain that wakes you up at night
  • A bubble or pimple on your gum that when pressed may release pus or blood (most likely, not painful)
  • Pain that persists four to six weeks following a filling or replacement of a filling
  • Chronic pain and/or pressure that may extend to the ear, eye or neck
  • A tooth that feels loose
  • One tooth is distinctly and consistently more sensitive than the other teeth
  • Your dentist has diagnosed the need for root canal therapy, either by clinical exam or x-ray

If you answered yes to any of the above, you might very well need a root canal.

Please call and schedule for an evaluation.

Be aware not all teeth that ARE in need of root canal therapy will cause pain. It is possible to be pain-free and still need a root canal.

What is Endodontics?

It is a branch of dentistry that deals with the cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the human dental pulp and the surrounding tissues.

What is the Dental Pulp?

It is what we commonly know as the “nerve” of the tooth. It is a soft connective tissue that is highly vascularised (tiny blood and lymph vessels), and innervated (nerve fibers). It is located inside the dentin of the tooth in the pulp chamber. Its main function is formative, nutritive and sensory.

What is a Root Canal?

ROOT CANAL is a “lay persons” term for endodontic therapy or root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve inside the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged or infected. This is usually due to the entry of bacteria into the center most part of the tooth called the dental pulp (“nerve”). Root canal therapy involves the removal of the entire nerve system, as well as cleaning, shaping and filling 3-dimensionally the canal system with gutta-percha and a dental sealer.

What is Gutta-Percha?

Gutta-percha is the purified coagulated exudate from a tree, commonly called the “mazer wood” tree, of the Malaysian archipelagos. The substance is similar to that of the rubber tree, which is then processed to obtain the dental compound. This is the only ADA approved material to be used as a filling in root canals.

What Happens at an Endodontic Consultation?

Your doctor will review your past dental and medical history. A dental x-ray will be taken even if you have one from your referring dentist. Different x-ray angles are necessary to reveal possible problems such as decay or an abscess. Also, a series of test, such as hot, cold, biting and percussion (tapping) can be performed on several teeth. Through these tests the dentist will attempt to reproduce your symptoms that will enable him/her to make a proper diagnosis and decide if you do, or do not, need a root canal.

How Does the Dental Pulp Become Damaged or Infected?

The reason is bacterial contamination. Bacteria are a normal host present in the mouth and saliva, but when it gets inside the tooth and enters the pulp (through decay, or a fracture in the tooth, broken down old filling, or a gap between your tooth and an existing crown), then it becomes pathologic. The time frame for this to occur can vary significantly. Sometimes it is very fast and usually painful, but also, it could be a very slow process in which the patient is unaware and no pain is manifested until it is significantly advanced.

Is the Root Canal Procedure Painful?

Usually not. With modern technology and local anaesthetics, the procedure is usually much faster and more painless than it has ever been. A similar anaesthetic, as the one used in the general dentist office, will be used for a root canal. The main difference is the quantity. A deeper level of anaesthesia is necessary for this procedure to be painless. In many occasions, it can be a completely pain-free procedure. Painkillers are usually recommended for a few days after treatment, in order to control normal post-treatment discomfort.

How Much Time Will A Root Canal Take?

Root canals can be done in one, two or multiple appointments, depending on the tooth, how many roots there are, the current conditions of the tooth, the accessibility to area, the canals, and time available. Each visit or appointment can take from under 1 hour, to over 2 hours.

What is an Abscess?

An abscess is a localized collection of pus (infection) within a tissue or a confined space.

Does Every Abscessed Tooth Hurt?

No. Some abscessed teeth can be pain-free, which are most commonly found and diagnosed accidentally by a dentist, usually through a dental x-ray and exam. Whenever possible, the recommended treatment is a root canal.

What Happens When an Infected Dental Pulp is not Treated?

The infection will continue its progress, extending from the confines of the dental pulp and involving the surrounding tissues, such as the root, the bone, the gums etc. A progressing infection could easily involve facial spaces and the patient would then start observing swelling of the face. Such condition could become life threatening if left unattended.

What is a Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a painful inflammatory process that spreads through the connective tissue and is characterized by swelling and oedema. It is usually associated with a bacterial infection.

Will My Tooth Discolor After Root Canal Treatment?

No, with all the new materials and modern technology used during the procedure, your tooth should not discolor after the treatment. If you have a tooth that has had a root canal and it has discolored, it is best to have your dentist take a look. It may be that germs (bacteria) have penetrated underneath the old filling, and it is time for a new one.

What is involved in a Root Canal Procedure?

After the tooth is properly numbed, a rubber dam will be placed, and then the dentist will open a small cavity on the chewing surface (back tooth) or the back of the tooth (front tooth), to get into the nerve chamber. The nerve will be manually removed using small dental instruments called files. The canal(s) will then be completely cleansed using some hand and/or mechanical instruments, alternating with different irrigants. Once the canals are adequately shaped, then they will be filled with gutta-percha and an endodontic sealer. The small cavity on the tooth will then be closed with a temporary filling material.

What Follow-Up Care is Involved in a Root Canal Procedure?

Avoid chewing on the tooth. It will most likely feel very tender and sensitive to pressure or touch. There should not be any discomfort upon drinking hot or cold fluids. Follow any instructions given by your dentist in reference to drugs such as painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Any of these, or the combination of them, usually provide excellent results to alleviate the normal post-treatment discomfort. If your pain does not respond to the initial medicine, then you should call your dentist. Sometimes, there will be a need for stronger painkillers and/or antibiotics. Finally, once your tooth is pain free, you must see your general dentist who will complete the necessary dental reconstruction of the crown. This last item is very important and should happen as soon as possible after completion of the root canal.

Do I Need to Take Antibiotics Every Time a Root Canal is Done?

Not always, today we are very conservative in determining the need for an antibiotic. It is usually determined by the dentist on an individual basis, per case, per tooth. Usually, if there are systemic signs and symptoms such as swelling, fever, generalized sense of malaise (ill feeling), and/or lymph node tenderness, then an antibiotic will be prescribed. The common toothache even when it is associated with a minor localized infection or abscess will not automatically require an antibiotic. Since a high number of cases will respond favourably to the dental treatment, antibiotics are not prescribed on a preventive basis.

Will I Feel Anything After Root Canal Treatment?

In most cases the quantity and quality of pain will subside dramatically within the first 24-48 hours. Any sensitivity to cold, hot or even breathing air “in” will be gone after the first visit. Nevertheless, you will experience mild to moderate pain that will last for several days after treatment. This pain is usually relieved by taking over the counter medications such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. Tylenol has been proven not to be as effective as aspirin, etc., because it does not have the anti-inflammatory component as these other medications. The most common complaint is tenderness to touch, bite, tapping or chewing on the tooth. It is recommended to refrain from any of the above until your tooth is permanently restored. You should realistically give yourself 2-4 weeks to fully recover.

Since Treatment Was Done, My Tooth No Longer Hurts. May I Start Chewing On It?

It is not recommended to start chewing on the tooth immediately after the root canal treatment. Most times it will be very tender, but even if it is not painful to chew, you should avoid chewing on it until the crown of the tooth is properly restored (repaired) by your regular dentist. The sooner you see your regular dentist; the sooner you will be able to re-start normal function on the tooth.

How Long Should I Wait to See My Regular Dentist After the Root Canal is Performed?

Unless otherwise directed, you should see your regular dentist as soon as your treated tooth feels comfortable (about 2-4 weeks). It is very important to see your regular dentist at that time to have a permanent restoration (typically a crown) placed in order to protect the remaining tooth structure. Until the permanent restoration is in place, do not chew on the treated tooth.

What Happens if I Wait Longer Than Recommended to Get the Crown of the Tooth Permanently Repaired?

If the remaining tooth structure is not properly and permanently covered and protected, your tooth could fracture and not be salvageable at all. The bacteria in saliva, as well as food debris, can go between the temporary filling and the tooth surface and contaminate the root canal treatment. This may cause treatment failure. If a re-infection occurs, often, another root canal treatment will need to be done (endodontic retreatment). If the damage is very extensive, extraction should be considered.

What are the Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Versus Extraction?

The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extraction may lead to other dental problems. For instance, drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ pain, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment in order to restore the missing tooth.

How successful are Root Canals?

Root canal treatment has a high degree of success if done properly by a trained skilled professional. The success of root canal therapy is equally dependent upon the technical skill of the doctor, as well as the follow through of the patient, to have the tooth immediately restored.

What Should I Do if a Medicated Dressing was Placed Under My Filling and it is Still Sensitive to Heat and/or Cold?

Sensitivity to hot and/or cold, which persists, usually indicates that the nerve of the tooth is irreversibly inflamed. The indicated treatment is Root Canal Therapy. Immediate attention by your dentist or endodontist is necessary to prevent severe pain and abscess.

What is Resorption?

Resorption is a physiologic or pathologic condition associated with loss of bone, cementum and/or dentin. There are different types of resorption such as external, internal, inflammatory, replacement and surface. Its etiology is unknown, even though it commonly is associated with trauma.

  • EXTERNAL: a pathologic process that initiates from the periodontium affecting the external surface of the tooth. Can be further classified by location: cervical, lateral or apical. Or type: surface, inflammatory or replacement.
  • INTERNAL: a pathologic condition that initiates within the pulp causing loss of dentin and sometimes, cementum. It may or may not perforate the external root surface.
  • INFLAMMATORY: a pathologic loss of bone, cementum and dentin in the root.
  • REPLACEMENT: Also known as ankylosis, it is a pathologic loss of cementum, dentin and periodontal ligament with simultaneous ingrowth and fusion of bone to the tooth surface. A loss of the physiologic mobility is common.
  • SURFACE: a physiologic condition causing small surface defects in the cementum and dentin that are usually self-repaired by deposition of new cementum in the defect.

What is an Apicoectomy?

This is an endodontic micro-surgical procedure for a tooth that has had a root canal. The purpose is to remove persistent infection at the end of a root and seal the root end to prevent re-entry of bacteria. This procedure also provides the opportunity to detect possible root fractures.

Why is a Rubber Dam Used During Root Canal Treatment?

The purpose of a rubber dam is to protect the patient from swallowing the small instruments used during root canal treatment and to keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure. It is for medical/legal reasons that a rubber dam is used for patient safety.

What is Endodontic Retreatment?

Retreatment is a term used to describe a procedure when a root canal has to be redone. The reason for retreatment is because germs or bacteria in the mouth have re-entered the tooth, usually due to decay. A patient may experience pain to biting or swelling. Sometimes, a patient may have no symptoms and your dentist sees something on the x-ray that shows a root canal has not healed and advises a patient to see a root canal specialist for an evaluation.

What is Bleaching?

This procedure is used to lighten a darkly discolored tooth. There are two very different types of bleaching, internal and external:

  • INTERNAL: Non-vital (Internal) bleaching is performed in teeth that have had root canal therapy. A chemical oxidizing agent is placed within the coronal portion of a tooth to remove tooth discoloration. It may be performed at the dentist’s office in one or more appointments, depending upon the discoloration of the tooth. When bleach crystals are place inside the tooth and after then removed after a period of time, the procedure is known as “chair side bleach.” Another method is when bleach crystals are placed inside the tooth and are left for several days inside the tooth. This is called “walking bleach.” An endodontist commonly performs these procedures.
  • EXTERNAL: Vital (External) bleaching is a similar procedure performed by a general dentist on the outside of a tooth or teeth with vital pulps; teeth that have not had root canal therapy. There are different methods for this procedure, such as lasers, or chemical agents (30% hydrogen peroxide and urea peroxide). The procedure often involves taking an impression of your teeth and the fabrication of a tray that will hold the bleaching agent. The patient wears this tray several hours each day or at night while sleeping. Other methods do not involve trays, but rather bleaching strips.

How Long Will I Be Numb After Root Canal Treatment?

The numbness will last for several hours after your treatment. It is best to avoid chewing until the local anesthesia has completely disappeared to prevent accidentally biting your lip, cheek, or tongue. It is okay to drink or to use a straw to have liquids after treatment.

Will I Be Able to Return to Work After Root Canal Treatment?

Yes. Most patients return to work after root canal treatment. They may keep a light schedule and plan to get rest during the days that follow treatment.

Why Do I Still Feel My Tooth if I Had Root Canal Therapy? I Thought My Tooth Was Dead.

A tooth that has had a root canal is not “dead”. It is still considered a “live” or vital part of your body. There are nerve endings that are present in the jawbone underneath the tooth, as well as nerves that attach from the jawbone to the tooth. This is why there is still feeling in a tooth that has had root canal therapy.

What should I know about wisdom teeth removal?

Before surgery, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will discuss with you what to expect. This is a good time to ask questions or express your concerns. It is especially important to let the doctor know about any illness you have and medications you are taking.

The relative ease with which a wisdom tooth may be removed depends on several conditions, including the position of the tooth and root development. Impacted wisdom teeth may require a more involved surgical procedure.

Most wisdom tooth extractions are performed in the oral and maxillofacial surgery office under local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will discuss the anesthetic option that is right for you.

When should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

It isn’t wise to wait until your wisdom teeth start to bother you. In general, earlier removal of wisdom teeth results in a less complicated healing process.The AAOMS/OMSF study strongly recommends that wisdom teeth be removed by the time the patient is a young adult in order to prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing.The researchers found that older patients may be at greater risk for disease, including periodontitis, in the tissues surrounding the third molars and adjacent teeth. Periodontal infections, such as those observed in this study, may affect your general health.

Do any of my wisdom teeth have to come out if they haven’t caused any problems?

Not all problems related to third molars are painful or visible. Damage can occur without your being aware of it.

As wisdom teeth grow, their roots become longer, the teeth become more difficult to remove and complications become more likely. In addition, impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to cause problems as patients age.

No one can predict when third molar complications will occur, but when they do, the circumstances can be much more painful and the teeth more difficult to treat. It is estimated that about 85% of third molars will eventually need to be removed.

Following surgery, what will I experience after my wisdom teeth are removed?

Following surgery, you may experience some swelling and mild discomfort, which are part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses may help decrease the swelling, and medication prescribed by your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can help manage the discomfort. You may be instructed to modify your diet following surgery and later progress to more normal foods.

What is an impacted tooth?

A tooth becomes impacted when there is a lack of space in the dental arch and its growth and eruption are prevented by overlying gum, bone or another tooth.

How serious is an impacted tooth?

Impacted teeth can be painful and lead to infection. They may also crowd or damage adjacent teeth or roots.

More serious problems may occur if the sac surrounding the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. As the cyst grows it may hollow out the jaw and permanently damage adjacent teeth, the surrounding bone and nerves. Rarely, if a cyst is not treated, a tumor may develop from its walls and a more serious surgical procedure may be required to remove it.

Despite the considerable concern regarding impacted third molars, a recent study sponsored by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation finds that third molars which have broken through the tissue and erupted into the mouth in a normal, upright position may be as prone to disease as those third molars that remain impacted.

How long is the surgery for wisdom teeth removal?

1 hour.

What is dry socket?

Dry socket is the most common complication of an extraction.It develops in about 5% of tooth extractions. It is very painful condition that is easily treated.

A dry socket is:

Any socket in which a patient is having pain due to the loss of the blood clot thus exposing the bone to air, food, and fluids along with an offensive odour. This often occurs two or more days after an extraction and can last about 5-6 days.  It is normal to have soreness and discomfort following an extraction.

However, pain should be lessening by the second day.

This condition exist when a blood clot is dislodged from the surgery site thus exposing the bone and fine nerve endings.The blood clot helps in the stopping of bleeding and lays the foundation or framework for new tissue and bone to develop over a two-month healing process.  This condition is more common in the mandibular area and in back teeth due to poorer circulation in this area, with wisdom teeth being the most common site.  Dry socket delays the healing process.

It usually takes gum tissue about 3-4 weeks to heal where as the bone can take up to six months to heal.

This condition is most often found:

  1. In individuals who smokebefore their recommended time. Smoking: decreases healing, decrease blood supply to the protective blood clot, brings toxic products to the area, injuries the gum tissue and the negative pressure of sucking removes the blood clot from the surgery site
  2. If you do not administer the proper care for your extraction site as instructed by staff
  3. Not following your home care instructions
  4. Sucking action from smoking, sneezing, coughing, spitting or sucking,within the first 24 hours
  5. Women taking oral contraceptives are more susceptible

Prevention of dry socket:

  • Avoid drinking through a straw
  • Avoid smoking, it contaminates the extraction site
  • Avoid excessive mouth rinsing, it interferes with blood clotting
  • Keep food from impacting in this area. Chew on the other side of your mouth and gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after the first 24 hoursWomen who use birth control pills or have their teeth removed in the first 22 days of the menstrual cycle are twice as likely to develop dry socket after an extraction.  Schedule extractions during the last week of your menstrual cycle(days 23 through 28)when estrogen levels are low or inactive.

How is dry socket treated?

Treatment could include the following:

  • Medication applied to the site
  • Clove oil technique
  • Gauze with medication
  • Additional home care instructions
  • Applying topical anesthetic
  • Alvogyl by Septodont

Patients usually notice pain relief in about 5-10 minutes after the dressing is applied.

We have experienced fewer cases of dry socket since every patient is asked to rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash and each patient is instructed on how to care for their extraction site through our website, verbal instruction and home care instruction handouts. We highly recommend patients use Breath RX  in their daily oral hygiene routine to help control oral bacterial.

Continue these instructions for the next 3-4 days:

  • Good oral health care
  • Avoid food with any residuals i.e. popcorn, peanuts and pasta
  • Eat soft foods i.e. mashed potatoes, clear or cream soups, pudding

News Updates on Dry Socket

Oral contraceptive may increase pain after wisdom tooth extraction

That tests on 267 women showed that those on the birth control pill were more susceptible than non-users to both postoperative pain and a condition known as “dry socket.” In this condition, normal healing of the vacant tooth socket is delayed by the failure of a blood clot to form. Infection instead causes the socket to remain empty. In the study, pain on the day after the operation was experienced by 30 percent of pill takers compared to just 11 percent of non-users. Five days after the operation the difference was 14 percent compared to 5 percent. The researchers said these results suggest that the pill may reduce the pain threshold. The differential was similar when the development of dry socket was compared. Here, 11 percent of pill users were affected compared to 4 percent of non-pill users.

SOURCE: British Dental Journal 2003;194:453-455.

Why are baby teeth so important?

Baby teeth are of great importance as they path the way for proper growth and development of the jaw. They also maintain space for the adult teeth and are beneficial in speech development and eating. Premature loss of baby teeth can lead to the need for Orthodontic treatment later in a child’s life.

When should I start cleaning my child’s teeth?

You can start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they start to come through the gums. This will generally be around 6 to 9 months of age.

How should I clean my child’s teeth?

Begin cleaning your child’s teeth with a soft, damp cloth to wipe gently over their teeth. You can start to introduce a children’s toothbrush as soon as you feel your child will accept it.

Why is fluoride important and when should my child start using fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride is important as it makes the enamel more resistant to decay. At Dentist A Brite Smile we recommend that children start using a fluoride-free toothpaste between 2 and 6 years of age. Once they switch to fluoride toothpaste, we recommend using a very small amount (approximately half the size of a pea). This is the case as most children will swallow a small amount. It is also important to drink tap water as this has the optimum amount of fluoride (0.7ppm) to help prevent tooth decay in children.

When do the baby teeth fall out?

Children generally lose their front 8 baby teeth between 6 and 8 years of age. At this time the first permanent molars will also come through behind the baby teeth. Then between 10 and12 years of age the remaining baby teeth are lost and are replaced with adult teeth.

What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is accidentally knocked out?

If a baby tooth is knocked out DO NOT TRY TO PUT IT BACK IN. This is the case as you could accidentally damage the adult tooth that is developing below the gum. As soon as the accident occurs call your Dentist and organize an appointment immediately.

What should I do if my child’s adult tooth is accidentally knocked out?

Unlike baby teeth, if a permanent tooth is knocked out it should be REPLACED IN THE SOCKET STRAIGHT AWAY. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth, the less likely the tooth will survive. As soon as the accident occurs call your Dentist and organize an appointment immediately. If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, place it into a glass of milk in the meantime.

How often should a child see the dentist?

Your child should see a Dentist every 6 months for a check up.

Is it ok for my child to suck a dummy?

The desire to suck is natural for an infant and a dummy helps to satisfy this need. Using a dummy is generally fine after six weeks of age. It is very important to never dip the dummy in sugar, honey or anything sweet as this can lead to tooth decay.

Is it ok for my child to suck their thumb?

Sucking the thumb or fingers is generally fine up until the age of four years. Continued sucking may lead to permanent displacement of your child’s teeth and / or jaw structure.

How can I soothe my child’s teething?

As chewing or biting usually provides relief from teething, try unsalted breadsticks or crackers. Approved commercial teething rings may also be helpful. You should discuss the use of teething gels or ointments with your Doctor or Dentist prior to using them

Should I put off taking my child to the Dentist if they are extremely frightened?

It is important to take your child to the Dentist as early as possible to avoid creating a fear of the Dentist. It may help to role play a visit with your child, and explain to them what they will see when they go into the room and what the Dentist does. Setting a date and telling the child when they are going will enable the child to prepare for the Dentist. It is important not to show that you are anxious or nervous.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.

The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S.

Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.

Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.

There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Why are x-rays necessary and are they dangerous?

An X-ray (radiograph) is like a photograph. The image on the radiograph is created when X-rays pass through the mouth, more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. Because fewer X-rays penetrate the teeth to reach the film teeth appear lighter. Cavities and gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. Because many diseases exist beneath the visible oral tissue and cannot be detected without the use of radiographs, a radiograph is a valuable tool for the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities. X-rays pose a far smaller risk to your health than undetected and untreated dental problems.

Why do I need to have X-Rays taken?

X-rays allow the dentist to detect problems in areas not visible during visual examination, for example a cavity under an existing filling.

I don’t like needles, can I have gas for my treatment?

Dentist A Brite Smile has a few different ways to make your dental treatment more relaxing. Nitrous Oxide (known as happy gas or laughing gas) is one of the options available at most centres. Your dentist can discuss all available options with you.

Why do I need fluoride?

Fluoride strengthens the tooth surface and makes teeth less prone to cavities, especially when applied within 2 years following tooth eruption. Fluoride is a major part of modern preventive dentistry.

Coming soon