Frequently Asked Dental Questions

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A regular dental checkup will help prevent many dental problems from becoming worse since they will be detected at a very early stage by your dentist. For example, early detection of dental caries or cavity will enable your dentist to stop its progression by removing it and placing a filling in your tooth, which may otherwise require a root canal treatment if left as such. This will not only save you from the inconvenience but also be light on your pocket.

Flossing cleans up the space between teeth where a toothbrush won’t reach quite easily. Flossing will prevent proximal caries (i.e. the caries at the contact area of two teeth) and even gum problems from developing, in hard to reach areas of your oral cavity.

The best way to teach children to brush their teeth is to brush your own teeth twice daily. Kids tend to imitate adults and healthy habits will have to be incorporated in your own routine for them to follow. You can show them videos of their favorite cartoon character brushing their teeth. Younger children can learn from their elder siblings and you can even sing children’s tooth brushing rhymes to make it a fun task for them.

The best and most cost effective way to prevent cavities is to follow the rule of two. Two times brushing in a day for two minutes is sufficient to keep cavities at bay. But, the method of brushing also matters a lot. Follow the dos and don’ts of brushing teeth such as, do brush in a circular manner and don’t brush too aggressively. Excessive force while brushing will do more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Always use a soft-bristled tooth brush and fluoridated toothpaste.

Incorporate fluoride in potable water, if possible, for the toddlers, especially. But take precaution that the fluoride level does not exceed the prescribed limit.

Visit your dentist for routine dental checkups and get fluoride varnish or sealants applied to your kid’s teeth while keeping a check on their sugar intake.

Your dentist may need to take radiographs for various purposes. Radiographs help in the diagnosis of the extent of infection of caries i.e. whether it has reached the innermost layer of your tooth, in which case you may need a root canal, or if it is superficial, the dental filling will be sufficient to treat caries affected tooth.

During a root canal, your dentist may need several radiographs to assess the shape of the tooth root, extent of instrumentation and proper sealing of root canal.

Fluoride is the shield that protects your teeth from the cavity causing bacteria. Though your teeth are made up of the hardest material found in the human body, called hydroxyapatite, fluoride combines with it to form fluorapatite and reinforces the protective barrier.

Sometimes, small pits and fissures are present in our teeth, which is perfectly normal and a part of the tooth anatomy. But these pits and fissures act as breeding grounds for the oral, cavity-causing bacterial colonies. These colonies cause rapid progression of cavities and can cause caries which are not apparent on oral examination and are detected only on radiographs. To prevent such caries, sealants are used to seal these pits and fissures thus preventing bacterial colony formation and hence prevent caries. The sealants are primarily used in milk teeth since they have well developed pits and fissures as compared to permanent teeth.

Yes. But once a tooth is knocked out, time is of essence. The prognosis will depend upon two factors; how well do you handle the tooth i.e. the level of its contamination and second, how fast you replace it in its socket. It is advisable to keep the knocked out tooth under the tongue in the oral cavity and get to your dentist as fast as possible. Since it is dangerous to ask children to keep it in the mouth, for the fear of swallowing and choking on the tooth, you can keep it in water and bring it to your dentists’. Don’t try to clean the tooth vigorously and the best results are obtained if it is placed in its socket within the hour of its displacement.

Tooth sensitivity is caused by various factors. It can be temporary, for example, if you chew a piece of ice, you may experience sensitivity but it will be alright in a while. However, if you experience tooth sensitivity for a very long time after you have had cold or sweet eatables, you may need to get your dental check-up done.the primary cause of sensitivity is gum disease. If, for some reason, your gums have receded, exposing the roots of your teeth, you will experience painful sensation every time that you have cold fluids or food. Another factor is excessive brushing of teeth. If you brush your teeth in a very aggressive manner, the outermost layer of your tooth wears off and the inner layer is exposed to the oral environment.You may need to see your dentist and get a proper treatment for sensitivity. You will be prescribed a medicated toothpaste for a while but the only solution is to treat the cause of sensitivity.

Based on various surveys the average age at first visit is 2 years however AAPD ( American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.

Tt is very important to keep baby teeth in place until they are lost naturally. The primary teeth are important for many reasons including:

  • Help chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
  • Speech development.
  • Save space for permanent teeth.
  • Promoting a healthy smile to help children with their look.

Periodontal disease refers to the diseases of gums and adjoining bones that support teeth. The plaque that deposits on the tooth harbors bacterial colonies that lead to gum inflammation and detachment of gums from the teeth. If the gum disease is left untreated, these bacteria may cause bone loss around teeth and make them loose, eventually leading to tooth loss. So, periodontal diseases should be treated as soon as they are diagnosed.

While the home bleaching is done at home and at your convenience, the results of professional bleaching are more intense and immediate and last for a longer period of time since professional bleaching is done by use of stronger chemicals and under a specific wavelength UV light. Often, the professional bleaching may cost you a bit more than home bleaching but is totally worth it when comparing results with home bleaching procedure.

While a professional tooth bleaching will have a lasting effect  for months, a home bleaching procedure will last for only a few weeks. It will also depend on how often you expose your teeth to foods and beverages that stain your teeth. Lesser frequency will prolong the result of the bleach considerably.

It depends upon the primary cause of your tooth stains. If the stains are because of an inherent disease such as fluorosis, the whitening toothpastes won’t work at all. If the stains are because of a layer of stained tartar, the abrasive toothpastes may help a bit. But for the toothpaste to really work on your stained teeth, it must contain some bleaching agent such as peroxide. However, the mechanism of action of the toothpaste is quite slow when compared to professional teeth bleaching.

The most common reason is the viral infection called herpes and some of the other common reasons include vitamin and mineral deficiency, stress, injury to the mouth during brushing or sports activity, hormonal changes during menstrual cycle or pregnancy in a female and allergy to certain foods in some individuals.

Yes, smokeless tobacco is as harmful as smoking if the frequency of intake is high. Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, receding gums, tooth loss and halitosis or bad breath.

Bleeding gums are the first sign of a gum disease and indicate the need for a professional teeth cleaning or scaling. Make an appointment with your dentist for the scaling as soon as possible and follow the instructions diligently. Bleeding gums are the indicator of compromised oral hygiene which leads to gum tissue inflammation and progressive disease may even lead to tooth loss.

Stains on your teeth may be either intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. Intrinsic stains are because of some inherent anomaly such as fluorosis or tetracycline intake by a pregnant female. These cannot be removed by bleaching procedures and laminates or veneers are the only other options. Extrinsic stains, on the other hand, are because of tartar deposition, tobacco intake in any form, excessive intake of tea or coffee and other such things that stain your teeth. These can be easily removed by scaling and in-office tooth bleaching procedures.

The most common use of a mouthguard is to prevent injury during sports. It not only prevents injury to the tooth and save them from being knocked out but also cushions the blows to the jaw bones thus reducing the impact of the blow. A mouthguard can be worn in night to prevent tooth abrasion in people who grind their teeth in sleep. Mouthguard can also be used as a bleaching tray for home bleaching procedures prescribed by the dentist.

Though a certain smell from the mouth is not uncommon but you should be concerned if you have a foul smelling breath. The morning breath is caused by the action of oral bacteria on the leftover food particles in your oral cavity if you don’t brush your teeth before sleep.  This can cause decay and eventually cavities in your teeth. Sometimes, if you have dry mouth, the bacteria act upon the cells that shed from oral tissues and cause foul odor. In fact, foul odor is a primary symptom of a progressive gum disease and should be taken seriously to avoid tooth loss.

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