What will happen at my first appointment?

After taking your details at reception, your dentist will carry out a full examination of your teeth and gums. She may also take some digital x-rays and / or photographs at that visit.

Once complete, your dentist will discuss what treatment options will best suit your needs. Many people also like to have their teeth cleaned at this appointment. At the end of the appointment you will be provided with a printed copy of your proposed treatment plan, which will give you an indication of how long treatment will take and how much it will cost. Our dentist and clinic staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding tailoring your plan to your needs.

I think I have broken a piece of a filling in my tooth - what should I do?

Unfortunately sometimes fillings for whatever reason may fall out or become chipped or broken. 

There are many reasons for this including biting down suddenly on something hard such as a hard boiled sweet. Symptoms can vary from none at all to sensitivity to hot and cold or tenderness on chewing. A lost filling will always feel much bigger to the tongue. 

It is important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. However if you cannot immediately access a dentist here are some  helpful tips .

  • If you are having sensitivity try avoiding eating or drinking in that area, similarly if it is painful on biting. 
  • The use of toothpaste can help with the sensitivity by rubbing some fluoride toothpaste on the tooth in question.
  • As a temporary measure until you visit your dentist you may try and get some oil of cloves or a temporary filling kit from your pharmacy. However it is important that you attend your dentist as soon as possible to get the tooth restored to normal function. 

Finally the use of over-the-counter painkillers from a chemist if is constantly painful are also helpful until you contact the dentist. 

Don’t place any pain-killing tablets on the site of the tooth or its gum as this can cause burns to the gum.

Why do my gums bleed every time I brush my teeth?

There are many reasons gum tissue (or gingiva) bleeds upon brushing. The following list may help you determine why it’s happening to you: 

  • Poor or inadequate oral hygiene
  • Lack of consistent brushing and flossing
  • Lack of regular professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist (every 3 to 6 months)
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes and cancer
  • Medications that cause gum bleeding, such as high blood pressure meds 
  • Fillings, caps, or crowns that don't fit well and trap bacteria
  • Orthodontic malocclusion — that is, misalignment, overlap, or overcrowding of the teeth.
  • Active periodontal infection that causes pus and bleeding. 
  • A fractured tooth that allows bacteria to invade the area 

As you can see, there are many reasons gums bleed. However, almost all these problems involve plaque or bacteria that mixes with food and settles around the gum line. In most cases, bleeding gums (whether because of poor oral hygiene or tooth positioning) are exacerbated by plaque. 

My main advice is to see your dentist. General restorative dentists or specialists can take a set of dental X-rays and do a full examination to diagnose your problem. If you're cleaning your teeth thoroughly — brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse — then your cleaning technique might be causing the bleeding, or you could have hardened plaque (calculus) on your teeth that should be cleaned out. A dental professional will advise you about regular cleaning appointments, and even special root-planing appointments that might be necessary to eliminate your gum bleeding.

How safe are Amalgam / Mercury fillings?

Dental amalgam has been used on patients for over 150 years. All available world-wide research indicates that amalgam is not harmful to health. This view is endorsed by the International Dental Federation, the International Association for Dental Research, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and many dental associations, including the American, British and Canadian. 

No Government or reputable scientific, medical or dental body anywhere in the world accepts, on any published evidence, that dental amalgam is a hazard to health.   

Dental research is ongoing in a wide variety of areas, including filling materials, in the search to provide the most up to date and safest treatments to the public at large.

My dentist told me my tooth needs Root Canal Treatment. What does this mean?

Root canal therapy is where the nerve in the tooth has died and has to be removed. When the nerve dies, as it decays, bacteria multiply and cause an infection. This leads to pain and an abscess if left untreated.  

The procedure is actually totally painless, and can be quite a relief if you've been in pain beforehand! The dentist uses small precision files to clean out the space in the middle of the tooth that contains the nerve. This space is then filled with a rubbery material, sealing it. This procedure allows a tooth to be kept that would otherwise have to be extracted. 

My dentist told me my front tooth needs a 'crown'. What exactly is a crown?

A crown is like a jacket or cap that fits over a prepared tooth. It has the same shape as the original tooth. If a tooth is badly broken down, a crown is often the only option. By fully enclosing the tooth it is strong, and where indicated it can have an excellent appearance, looking just like a real tooth. It can be made of a metal alloy, of porcelain, or a combination of both. To allow the crown to fit, the tooth must be prepared first. This involves trimming the tooth down a little. Crowns are fixed in place with cement.

I have a gap near the side of my mouth and the dentist mentioned the option of a bridge. What is a bridge?

A classical dental bridge (now called a "fixed partial denture") is like two crowns, with a false tooth between them. The whole bridge is cemented in place, thus the missing tooth is replaced by the replica tooth between the two crowns. Bridges can be much more complicated than this and different types exist. 

Sometimes, the bridge is glued to the backs of the teeth each side of the space, instead of putting a crown over the whole tooth. This is known as a 'Maryland Bridge'.

A friend of mine is having a dental implant placed. What is this?

Dental implants are a comparatively recent development. An implant is basically a titanium screw, upon a false tooth is supported, which 'screws' directly into the jaw bone. Implants are used as anchors for fixed false teeth (like a crown or bridge as described above) or to provide support for a removable denture.  

Implants are very successful, but they are not suitable for everybody. You must have enough bone to place the implant into for example. Implants are quite expensive, but where they can be used, they are often the ideal solution to replacing missing teeth. 

I have a very sore jaw joint, especially after waking up. Any ideas why?

This is a common problem which mainly affects adults. There are numerous causes including trauma, awkward biting and stress. This is due to excessive grinding (bruxing) of the teeth which can make the chewing muscles around the mouth tender and inflamed. It often happens subconsciously when you are asleep. It is important to contact your dentist if this problem arises.  

Simple jaw exercises or the application of hot and cold may ease the tension or spasm in the muscles.  

A splint that is like a night guard can also be made by your dentist to prevent your teeth contacting during grinding. This is a relatively straightforward procedure where your dentist takes impressions of your teeth.  

Otherwise painkillers or other over-the-counter (OTC) remedies like anti-inflammatories may help relieve the symptoms.

I tend to suffer from mouth ulcers - how can these be treated?

Mouth ulcers are a common ailment of the mouth. Most people will experience them at some stage during their life.  

The main causes of mouth ulcers are: 

  • chipped or broken fillings rubbing against e.g. the tongue 
  • poor diet 
  • stress or even a change in the weather.   

Simple, small ulcers will usually heal within 7 days. However if you are having recurrent or longer lasting ulcers you should consult your dentist. The use of warm salty water or a mouth rinse can help with the discomfort. Similarly obtaining some medicated pastilles from the chemist may be useful. 

Try to avoid spicy or acidic foods or locally applied asprin as they may aggravate the ulcers. 

My child has fallen on the pavement and has knocked out a front tooth. What should I do?

If a tooth is knocked out, the most important thing is to replace it as soon as possible . The tooth should be picked up by the crown (the part visible in the mouth normally) only. You should not touch the root.  

The tooth should be rinsed briefly under cold water to dislodge any dirt. Do not scrub the tooth! 

Still holding the crown, place the tooth gently back into the socket. (make sure it is the right way round - looking at the same tooth on the other side will help here.) 

If the tooth can't be put back in the socket, the most important thing is for it to be stored properly until you get to the dentist. Milk is ideal, as it simulates conditions in the body quite well. If milk isn't available, water is better than nothing, but don't let the tooth dry out. 

You must attend a dentist as quickly as possible. With all dental injuries, time is of critical importance, and will make the difference between possibly keeping the tooth, or surely losing it.