Here we have answered six questions commonly asked by patients when they attend the dentist.
1, What are my options to fill a gap in my mouth?
There are three options to fill a space between your teeth:
- Denture – a removable appliance that is commonly made from acrylic or cobalt chrome metal. This appliance may have clasps to aid retention. It must be removed to clean the teeth and gums and before sleeping.
- Bridgework – a fixed dental restoration used to replace a single missing tooth or several teeth by joining an artificial tooth or teeth to adjacent teeth or dental implants. A bridge will span the area where teeth are missing and will attach to the natural teeth or implants that surround the space. The teeth that support the bridge are called abutments. Depending on the type of bridge, natural abutment teeth may be reduced in size to allow the bridge to fit over them.
- Implants – a manufactured replacement for the root of a tooth. Usually made of titanium and looking like a screw, the implant is positioned in the jaw bone. A crown is then attached to the top of the implant to fill the gap left by the missing tooth. Implants are a fixed option and do not require preparation of adjacent teeth.
The above options vary in price – ask your dentist which is the best option for you.
2 What are the best ways to practise good dental hygiene?
- Brush teeth and gums regularly – Brush for two minutes twice a day (morning and last thing before bed) using a fluoride toothpaste – and avoid rinsing with water after brushing. Place the bristles of your brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum and use a circular motion to remove the plaque effectively. Don’t forget to brush all surfaces including the roof of your mouth and tongue, as these areas can be the source of bad breath.
- Floss daily – Brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth but does not effectively clean in between the teeth. That’s where floss comes in. Flossing daily is key to practising good dental hygiene and reducing decay and gum disease.
- Consume a tooth-friendly diet – The foods we eat can impact greatly on our oral health. Foods like chicken, vegetables and cheese are teeth friendly. Try to limit your sugar intake as sugar plays a key role in the development of tooth decay. Fizzy drinks contribute to the development of dental decay. Consider alternatives such as milk or water.
- Visit your dentist regularly for dental checks – Book in to see your dentist twice a year for a full dental examination and teeth cleaning as they are best placed to discover problems you can’t identify on your own.
3 Are amalgam fillings bad for my health?
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that amalgam restorations cause ill-health. This is a view supported by the World Health Organisation.
At Core Dental we use white, composite filling material for all of our restorations.
We believe that tooth-coloured composite allows us to achieve a superior aesthetic and functional result. Amalgam restorations can look unsightly and may be replaced for cosmetic reasons. In comparison to composite, they are also more likely to cause fracture of the supporting tooth structure.
In Australia, the use of dental amalgam is discouraged in pregnant mothers or in women who are breastfeeding.
4 At what age should my child first see a dentist?
It’s easy to assume that until your child has a full set of teeth there is no need to see the dentist. However, at each and every visit, whether it’s for you or your child, your dentist will be checking the entire mouth, including the gums, lips and all other soft tissues.
As a rule of thumb it is time for a dental visit when your baby’s first tooth becomes visible or when they reach 12 months old – whichever comes first. If you notice anything you think is out of the ordinary before this time don’t hesitate to book an appointment.
5 Is there anything you as my dentist need to know from my family doctor?
It is paramount that your dentist has your full, up-to-date medical history – including a list of any medications you are taking – before any examination or dental treatment is carried out.
There are certain health conditions that can affect your oral health. For example, diabetes can be linked to gum disease, so it’s important to make your dentist aware of anything that may be going on in the rest of your body.
Also, certain medications can affect or alter a dental treatment plan. For example, dental extractions may be contra-indicated in patients who are taking anti-coagulants (blood-thinners) or medications to treat osteoporosis.
Finally, it is really important to inform your dentist of any allergies you may have, so that he or she avoids using any preparations that may trigger your allergy.
6 Can you provide me with an estimated cost of my treatment plan?
At your examination appointment a detailed estimated cost will be printed and given to you to take away. Core Dental offers payment plans that allow you to spread the payment of your treatment over 9 months or 15 months. This option is very well received by our patients as it allows them to engage in treatments, usually cosmetic, which they did not think were financially feasible.
Dr Steven Ross