FAQs

General Dentistry

» What causes 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 odour-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


» How can I 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 gum line. 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 odour. 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 odour and an appropriate treatment plan.


» How often should I brush my teeth?
Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that causes 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.

Tooth brushing

  • 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 freshens your breath.

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.

Cosmetic Dentistry

» What is cosmetic dentistry?
If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.

Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile. There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.


» My back teeth have a lot of silver and gold. Is there a less obvious way to fill cavities?
A-New advances in tooth-colored porcelain and composite materials not only allow fillings to go unnoticed, but are stronger and more wear-resistant than silver and gold.


» There's a big gap between my two front teeth. Can that be changed?
Yes. Bonded veneers can close gaps and help create the smile you desire. Bonded resins generally require one office visit, while porcelain veneering takes two. Bonded veneers, along with good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle, are effective ways to enhance a smile. A cosmetic dentist can explain the various techniques and help determine which is the best suited to your specific needs.


» What are some of the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?
A great smile should improve your self-confidence, which can have a positive impact on the social and professional aspects of your life. Cosmetic dentistry is not just about pretty smiles though. New techniques and materials are available for back teeth as well as the ones you see when you smile. Now your mouth can look great, get healthy and function better at the same time. Ask our dentists what's available for you.

Tooth Crowns

» What is a “tooth crown”?
There are a variety of factors that may contribute to the deterioration of teeth over the course of time. Age, tooth decay, defective fillings, improper bites and chewing patterns all play a role in the eventual wearing down and cracking of teeth. Dental crowns can reverse the effects of time by covering the entire visible surface of a tooth with enamel and porcelain to both strengthen the tooth and increase its durability. Crowns also improve the appearance of worn down and damaged teeth. Your dentist can tell you which problem areas in your mouth might be helped by the placement of a crown.

» What Types of Crowns Are Available?
Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.

  • Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. For children, a stainless steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth that's been prepared to fit it. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children's teeth because they don't require multiple dental visits to put in place and so are more cost- effective than custom-made crowns and prophylactic dental care needed to protect a tooth without a crown.
  • Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium), or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium). Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic colour is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be colour matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown's porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown's porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.
  • All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
  • All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural colour match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.
Dental Bridges

» What is the dental bridges procedure?
A dental bridge is basically a false tooth (also known as a pontic) which is placed in the space left by a missing tooth. Porcelain crowns on either side of the tooth are bonded with resin to the pontic in what is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure can be used to replace one or more missing teeth.
Bridges reduce the risk of gum disease and help correct some bite issues. They can last for a long time.


» What are the pros and cons of dental bridges?
Bridges appear natural and blend in well with your existing teeth. They can also usually be set in only two office visits to your dentist. With a regimen of good oral hygiene they can last as many as ten years or more.
The biggest risk in having a dental bridge is the possibility of gum disease if a serious commitment to oral hygiene is not made. Another minor side effect is a mild sensitivity to extreme temperatures during the laboratory process, while you are wearing your temporal crowns.

Implants

» What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small “anchor” made of titanium. It is inserted into the jawbone to take the place of your missing tooth root. After Osseo integration, or when the surrounding bone has attached to the implant, a replacement tooth is secured to the top of the implant. The new tooth looks, feels, and performs just like your natural teeth.
Dental implants can be used in a variety of situations, whether you need to replace a single missing tooth or many teeth. They can even be used to replace a full denture. As anchor points, implants can also securely attach a partial denture or bridge.


» How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.


» Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders -- such as diabetes or heart disease -- or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.


» Can implants be placed after immediately removing teeth?
Immediate implants are a modality of treatment where the tooth is removed and an implant is placed at the same time. It is also possible to have a temporary tooth over the immediate implant.

Root Canel Treatment

» What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth's nerve lies within the root canal.
A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory -- to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.


» What Are the Signs That a Root Canal Is Needed?
Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you may need a root canal include:

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Dentures

» What is complete denture?
A complete denture is removable and is prescribed when all the teeth in one or both of your arches are missing. These dentures are indicated for people without any teeth and are designed to replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw .The dentures take support from the underlying tissues, and therefore special emphasis is laid on the overall health and hygiene in the mouth.


» What are the type of dentures?
Complete dentures
Complete or 'full' dentures are worn by patients who are missing all their teeth in either maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch. A patient who is missing all their teeth in both arches will have a pair of complete dentures, such as the ones shown at right which feature a clear top palate.

Partial dentures
A partial denture may be tooth-supported or tooth and tissue supported. There are significant differences between these two types of dentures. These differences are best explained by your dental prosthetist. With newer designs, materials and techniques, partials are more comfortable than ever before. Ask your dental prosthetist about the many designs available, some of which have no visible clasps and are virtually undetectable. The number of teeth remaining, the position and the stability of the teeth are only a few of the factors that help to determine what style or type of partial denture would be best for you. Partials can be made of different materials:
Acrylic partials are usually used as a transitional or temporary replacement of missing teeth, depending on your personal circumstances.
The metal/acrylic partial − commonly called a cast partial − is usually a more rigid and permanent style of denture. The metal is either a highly compatible chrome-cobalt alloy or titanium, which are ultra-thin, light and very strong. The new thermoplastics offer the twin advantages of aesthetics and flexibility. All partials are designed to be removable and should be removed nightly to contribute to a healthy oral environment.

The benefits of partials
Partial dentures do not harm remaining natural teeth. A partial denture may prevent your natural teeth from shifting or drifting into the space left by the loss of a natural tooth. In fact, a partial denture may help maintain the position of your natural teeth by providing them with additional support.
With a partial denture, you’ll look better, feel better and chew better!

Overdentures
An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture. Your dental prosthetist can determine if an overdenture would be suitable for you.

Implant-retained dentures
An implant-retained denture utilises direct connections to titanium abutments which are integrated into the bony tissue. They overcome the instability and lack of retention of a common complete denture.
Implant-retained dentures are relatively inexpensive when compared to more sophisticated types of implant restoration such as crowns, but they are very effective. Also, being removable, an implant-retained denture is easy to clean and care for, thus reducing future expenses.

Immediate dentures
Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of teeth. To make this possible, the dental prosthetist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient's jaws while natural teeth are still in position, during a preliminary visit prior to extraction.
An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing of the soft tissue may take up to 8 weeks; bone can take many months to heal completely.

Orthodontics/Braces

» Why should I have my teeth straightened?
Poorly arranged teeth can break easily and can trap food particles that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Researchers at the Baylor College of Dentistry found that malocclusions interfere with the chewing ability to break down foods which affects digestion and overall health. Crooked teeth can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment many problems become worse. Finally, poorly arranged teeth detract from your smile which is one of the more important features contributing to facial beauty. You only have one chance to make that first impression!


» When would one need orthodontic treatment?
Teeth are important for chewing food properly, for good appearance and for proper speech. If any one or more of these functions of teeth are adversely affected due to irregular teeth and/or jaws, one would need orthodontic treatment. When teeth of the upper and the lower jaws do not meet properly with each other grinding of food properly is impaired. This may cause indigestion and related health problems.
When teeth are projecting out, lips are not closing normally, or teeth are crowded and are spoiling the smile, one needs orthodontic treatment for aesthetic reasons.
One may need orthodontic treatment to correct discrepancies in jaw size and/or positions, which affect the facial appearance adversely. When the jaws and/or teeth do not meet properly with each other, excessive forces may be transmitted to some teeth leading to wearing out of the enamel of the teeth. Excessive forces may also cause damage to the tooth supporting structures like the gums and surrounding bone. This can cause weakening and early loss of these teeth. Irregular teeth can also cause difficulty in brushing thereby leading to cavities and gum problems which may shorten the life of the affected teeth.
In rare cases irregularities like spacing in the front teeth can cause speech problems and orthodontic treatment can improve the speech as well.


» At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.


» What causes crooked teeth?
Just as we inherit eye colour from our parents, mouth and jaw features are also inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Some other bad bites are acquired as local factors such as finger sucking, pacifier sucking, high cavity rate, gum disease, trauma and premature loss of baby teeth can also contribute to a bad bite. One out of every five school age children have a severe bite problem so it is not surprising that you might need braces.

Wisdom Tooth

» How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Ask your dentist about the positioning of your wisdom teeth. He or she may take an X-ray periodically to evaluate for the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also decide to send you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation. Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.


» How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The relative ease at which your dentist or oral surgeon can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position and stage of development. Your oral health care provider will be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your pre-extraction exam. A wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth. However, a wisdom tooth that is underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone will require an incision into the gums and then removal of the portion of bone that lies over the tooth. Often, for a tooth in this situation, the tooth will be extracted in small sections rather than removed in one piece to minimize the amount of bone that needs to be removed to get the tooth out.

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