Dental FAQs

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a very common and mild form of gum (periodontal) disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gums. Because gingivitis can be very mild, you may not be aware that you have the condition. But it’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease (periodontitis) and eventual tooth loss.

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Good oral health habits, such as regular professional checkups and daily brushing and flossing, can help prevent gingivitis

Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?

The periodontal diseases may never be cured. But it can surely be controlled; as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular check ups by the dentist and hygienist.

(The British Dental Health foundation)

How do I know if I have gum disease?

The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

What happens if gum disease is not treated?

Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

Smoking can also make gum disease worse. Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease to progress more rapidly than in non-smokers. Gum disease still remains the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

What is the cause of gum disease?

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?

Probably! Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

What is periodontal disease?

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay

Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?

It’s possible to brush your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush– but an electric toothbrush can be a great alternative to a manual toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to brush “well”. The gristle movement of an electric toothbrush might even help you remove more plaque from your teeth and improve your gum health.

Are dental examinations important and why?

Regular dental exams are an important part of preventive health care. During a dental examination the dentist will be able to identify any problems that you are not able to do with your own eye. Remember no pain does not mean that there is no problems. During this examination the dentist will evaluate your risk of developing tooth decay and other oral problems, as well as check for any abnormalities. These exams should be seen as your 50/50 partnership with your dentist.

Why?… Have regular dental check ups, at least yearly – even if you have false teeth. A visit to the dentist is no longer about a fillings, a crown, or a cleaning, but is actually a matter of life and death. Your Dentist is the first line of defense in early detection of the disease, this is even more important if you smoke or drink.

What causes bad breath?

Certain foods, health conditions (gum conditions!) and habits are among the causes of bad breath. In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques don’t solve the problem, see your dentist or physician to be sure a more serious condition isn’t causing your bad breath.

The self Test for Bad Breath:

Lick the back of your hand. Let it dry for a few seconds and them smell. If you notice an odor you have a breath disorder.

What are the top bad breath causes?

The leading bad breath causes are a particular type of bacteria found on the soft tissues of the mouth – mainly on the back of the tongue. These bad breath bacteria thrive under a blanket of mucous where they produce the sulfur gases that cause bad breath odor. No drugstore mouthwash can eliminate these bacterial bad breath causes and toothbrushes are of little value in removing them.

Some key facts about bad breath causes:

Bad breath rarely originates in the stomach, throat, nose or sinuses as many people believe. Air released from the nose of a person with bad breath does not have an offensive odor. In 95% of cases, the primary bad breath causes are found in the mouth.

What causes sensitive teeth, and how can I treat my sensitive teeth?

When you have sensitive teeth, activities such as brushing, flossing, eating and drinking can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. By brushing too hard, incorrect brushing methods and/or using abrasive toothpaste, you may be removing tooth structure at the necks of your teeth. This can result in pain, especially to cold drinks, food, and air, but also to physical pressure, hot, sweet and sour.

The reason for the pain is exposed dentine – the inner substance of the tooth, which is covered by enamel. The enamel can get quite thin, especially where the tooth meets the root (at the gum line). The root is covered by a substance called cementum, which is easily worn away. Dentine contains little tunnels (tubules) that link to the nerves on the inside of the tooth, and when dentine is exposed, these nerves are easily stimulated, resulting in pain.

Cavities/tooth decay

Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, not cleaning your teeth properly and frequent snacking and sipping sugary drink. If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. This will lead to severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits go a long way toward preventing cavities and tooth decay.

When is it best to brush my teeth?

It’s important to brush your teeth after you eat. We recommend that you brush at least twice a day. When you have consumed food or drink high in sugar or starch- these foods produce the most plaque and the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that can attack your tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more.

You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months. Clean your toothbrush after every use.

Could you give me a “sixmonth” smile?

A course of treatment in six months is only appropriate for mild problems. The Six’s Month Smile is a marketing tool to attract patients who only want their front teeth moved.This is not always in the best interests of the patient.Selective tooth movement may cause other problems in the future. What we can guarantee is that we will provide the best treatment in the optimum time-frame

For further information or to book an appointment, contact us on 01249 445111.

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