Q01 -There's a big gap between my two front teeth. Can that
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
Q02 -How can I make my discolored teeth whiter?
whitening, the process for lightening discolored teeth,
can be accomplished in the dentist's office or with
dentist-supervised, at-home systems. Teeth can be whitened
to the desired shade over one office visit. At-home
systems should be individually fitted by a cosmetic
Q03 -I don't like my teeth or my smile – what can I do?
wide variety of options are available to improve how your
teeth work and the way your smile looks. Check out our “Cosmetic
Dentistry " section to see how other patients
with similar problems were helped.
Q04 -My back teeth have a lot of silver and gold. Is there a
less obvious way to fill cavities?
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.
Q05 -How much does it cost to get a great smile?
most services, cost will vary based on the time required
and the difficulty of the procedures. Generally, improving
a smile will require a combination of treatment options
such as bleaching, reshaping gums and using bonded
materials (resin or porcelain) to improve the appearance
of teeth. A great way to start is having a consultation
with us to determine the ways that you can reach your
goals. Improving your smile is an investment in you.
amalgam fillings safe in that they contain mercury?
to the American Dental Association, they are safe to use.
Amalgam fillings do not contain free mercury; therefore
according to the ADA, they impart no health risk and need
not be removed unnecessarily.
tooth colored fillings as strong as silver fillings?
present day techniques and materials, a properly done
tooth colored filling (bonded composite) will wear almost
as well as a silver filling. In addition, bonding to the
remaining tooth, strengthens the tooth rather than
weakening it. Newer composites, which require 2
appointments and are laboratory processed, are even more
wear resistant. Almost all of the fillings that I do now
are bonded composites.
do corners of my teeth break off?
break for several reasons, namely, a traumatic injury due
to a hard or foreign object in your food, severe clenching
or grinding (Bruxism) and/or the presence of large amalgam
(silver) fillings. Amalgam fillings, as they have been
done in the past, weaken the remaining tooth. Present
amalgam fillings have less of a tendency to contribute to
tooth breakage if they are bonded.
gold fillings still used?
Where esthetics allow, gold is still one of the best
restorative materials. Unfortunately, it is a costly
material to use. Where cost is not a factor, it is
recommended, especially in the 2nd molar areas.
is a sealant?
cavity prevention starts with a healthy diet, brushing
twice a day, daily flossing and regular dental checkups,
sealants can offer additional protection against tooth
decay. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the
chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars).
This clear, plastic coating bonds into the depressions and
grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surface
effectively sealing out the decay-causing bacteria, and
reducing the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: The application of sealants is easy,
painless, and takes only a few minutes to complete. First,
the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and then etched with a
solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The
sealant is then 'painted' onto the pits and fissures,
where it bonds directly or is hardened with a
high-intensity light. Sealants usually last several years
before a reapplication is required. Your dentist will
monitor your sealants during your regular checkup.
Although children and teenagers will benefit most because
they have the highest incidence of pit and fissure decay,
adults with difficult to clean molars or wisdom teeth may
benefit, as well. Ask your dentist if sealants can help
with your preventive care.
Q11 -What are some of the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?
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.
Q12 -How many office visits will it take to fix my teeth and
improve my smile?
will vary for each person, depending on his or her needs.
Sometimes, you can dramatically improve your oral health
and appearance in just a couple of visits. Our team of
dentists will work to make your treatment as convenient as
possible, perhaps choosing slightly longer visits instead
of more trips to the office. Talk to your dentist about
your goals and concerns so the best plan can be developed
for your individual situation. If you start today, a new
smile can be yours sooner than you
Q13 -Is my new smile permanent?
good home care and regular visits to your dentist, modern
materials can last for many years and possibly decades.
Like most things, excellent maintenance will extend the
life of your dental restorations.
Q14 -Why do my teeth have stains and
A-Most stains are caused by age, tobacco, coffee, or
tea. Other types of stains can be caused by antibiotics,
such as tetracycline; or too much fluoride.
Q15 - What treatments are used for
A-Supervised bleaching procedures that are done
in-office and at-home have become among the most popular
treatment options. In some cases, the procedure is
performed entirely in the office, using a light or heat
source to speed up the bleaching process. In other cases,
an oral health care professional gets the procedure
started during an office visit and then gives you what you
need to complete it at home. Still another popular
procedure is one that you complete entirely at home.
At home procedures, sometimes called nightguard vital
bleaching, consist of placing a bleaching solution,
usually a peroxide mixture, in a tray (nightguard) that
has been custom fitted for your mouth by an oral health
care professional. The bleaching solutions may vary in
potency and may be worn for an hour, or throughout the
night. Your oral health care professional can advise you
on the appropriate type of application and the length of
time needed to whiten your teeth, based on the severity of
tooth discoloration and your specific needs.
Q16 - How effective are bleaching
A- Bleaching is effective in lightning most stains
caused by age, tobacco, coffee, and tea. Based on clinical
studies, 96 percent of patients with these kinds of stains
experience some lightening effect. Other types of stains,
such as those produced by tetracycline use or fluorosis
(too much fluoride), respond to bleaching less reliably.
If you have a tooth-color filling when your teeth are
bleached, the filling will stay yellow—dental restorations
do not change color when tooth whitener is applied.
Q17 -Should I bleach my teeth before I
have other restorations performed?
A-Yes, should the restorations be visible when you
smile, bleaching is advised to be performed before any
cosmetic restorations to guarantee a perfect shade match.
Q18 -Are there any side effects to tooth
A-In some studies, patients have experienced
uncomfortable short-term side effects when having teeth
bleached. Hydrogen peroxide can increase temperature
sensitivity in the teeth, particularly at higher
Therefore, bleaching is a procedure best done under the
care of an oral health care professional . Still, the
general health risks of bleaching systems are minimal as
far as your body is concerned. Applications are controlled
so that you don't swallow hydrogen peroxide.
Q19 - Can I get the same results with
the over the counter products?
A-Most of the whitening products (such as the strips)
on the market will either take much longer (3 weeks) to
obtain less/similar results and some products such as the
whitening toothpastes or gels are just not effective. A
lot of the whitening toothpastes are very abrasive and are
meant to just get rid of surface stains and not to
actually bleach the teeth. In addition due to their
abrasiveness they may cause tooth sensitivity in the long
-How can I get whiter, brighter teeth?
A-The best way to keep your teeth white is to brush
twice a day, floss daily, see your dentist for regular
checkups and professional cleanings, and limit stain
causing foods and habits. These include tobacco, certain
foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea and berries),
some drugs (such as tetracycline), or trauma to a tooth.
As well, your teeth may become stained or discolored
naturally as you age. Your dentist can give you the best
advice about whitening your teeth.
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: Bleaching in the dental office
usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes and one to three
visits to the dental office. A shield (or rubber dam)
protects your gums from the bleaching agent (usually a
form of hydrogen peroxide) which is "painted" onto your
discolored teeth and activated with heat or high-intensity
light (more details in "Laser Tooth Whitening.") You do
mouth guard bleaching at home. You wear a custom-made
mouth guard with special bleaching gel (provided by your
dentist) for periods of time each day, or overnight, over
a number of weeks. It's important to know that not
everyone's teeth will "whiten" the same. It depends on the
number of teeth involved and the severity of
discoloration. Over-the-counter, at-home whiteners are not
recommended because they may cause problems associated
with over exposing gum tissues to the active whitening
agent. Any bleaching treatment should be done under your
- Is home bleaching safe and can I safely use store bought
almost 10 years of prescribing home bleaching, numerous
clinical studies have shown home bleaching to be safe, as
long as the bleaching is done under the care of a dentist.
We make a bleaching tray (called a stent) to exactly fit
your teeth. It does not cover the gum tissue at all. The
bleaching gel is 10% carbamide peroxide, which can be
irritating to the gums. It can also cause temporary tooth
sensitivity if not used correctly. Since the bleach is in
the form of a gel, there is little chance of swallowing
the bleach. Store bought bleaching systems have you make
the stent by heating a block of tray material and then
having you bite into it. There is nothing to prevent the
bleach from sitting on your gum tissue. The bleach used in
store bought systems is more fluid and can be easily
Q22 - What are "dental veneers"?
Veneers can be a less expensive and less invasive
alternative to crowns. They are an ideal choice for people
with severe staining and discoloration caused by coffee,
soda or cigarettes. They can also be used to correct
crooked, chipped, misshapen and oddly shaped teeth. Unlike
tooth crowns, Veneers do not require the dentist to remove
much of the tooth itself although in certain circumstances
removing a part of the tooth might be necessary. Be sure
to discuss these requirements with your dentist before the
procedure. Veneers will not stain and they are very
durable, lasting anywhere from ten to fifteen years and
they are perfect for people looking to acquire a pleasant
The first step in getting tooth veneers is to have your
dentist cast moldings of your teeth. Once these moldings
are cast, the veneers themselves are created. Veneers are
essentially thin slices of porcelain or plastic molded to
the shape of your teeth. The dentist will then lightly
buff the outer layer of your teeth to allow for the added
thickness of the veneer. In certain cases, he may also
have to remove a part of your tooth. The dentist will then
use cement to bond the veneer to your tooth. Be sure to
request a temporary placement in the beginning to make
sure you are happy with the results. Once you are
satisfied with your new smile, the dentist will then
cleanse your teeth with chemicals and replace your veneers
using a permanent cement and a light beam to achieve a
Q23 - What is the difference between resin (bonding veneers)
and porcelain veneers?
veneers are composed of a resin which is not as durable as
the lab processed porcelain veneers and because they are a
resin, they do tend to stain/ darken over time. Porcelain
veneers are lab processed and are custom made to fit
perfectly over the existing tooth. Both procedures require
some reduction of the enamel to make room for the veneer
or bonding. The porcelain veneers require two visits since
lab work is involved; whereas the resin veneers may be
performed in one visit.
Q24 - What is a dental implant?
implants are titanium tooth supports which are surgically
fixed into your jawbone to allow for a realistic looking
crown to be anchored in place. Implants can be a welcome
alternative for people missing most or all of their teeth
and can also be used to replace a single missing tooth.
The procedure requires surgery and, depending on the size
and shape of your jawbone, might also require a bone
graft. However, once it has ‘taken', the implant will last
a lifetime. The crowns anchored to an implant do have to
be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
There are also a number of variables depending mostly on
the shape of the jawbone and the number of implants that
need to be placed. The surgery to insert the implant into
your jawbone can require a three to six month healing
period. In certain cases it might be possible to connect
the prosthesis, whether it be a crown, a bridge or a full
denture immediately after the surgery, this depends on
each individual case.
But once the implant has fused with the surrounding bone,
the resulting anchor is very strong and durable and makes
for excellent results.
Q25 - What are the dental implant pros and cons?
implants are a dependable and life long cosmetic dentistry
procedure. Compared with bridges that require certain
degree of adjacent tooth reduction, and dentures which
sometimes feel loose and unstable, they provide a
permanent solution that is both functional and natural
Dental implants are not without their downside. Other than
the considerable expense involved, the procedure can also
be time-consuming once preparation and healing time are
factored in. There can also be some amount of pain
involved throughout the procedure. Finally, as with any
form of complex surgery, there is always the risk of
Q26- What is a "tooth crown"?
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.
Crowns come in two basic types: porcelain fused to metal
and full porcelain crowns. Porcelain fused to metal crowns
are an option in cases where extra resistance is needed
for any given reason. Full porcelain crowns are very
popular as they can be made to closely resemble natural
tooth color and transparency. Advancements in composite
resin materials and bonding technology have also limited
the need for metallic crown anchors that hold the crown in
What is a crown/cap?
crown or cap is a cover that fits over a properly prepared
tooth that has been damaged by decay or accident, or is
badly stained or shaped. A crown can be made of acrylic,
metal, porcelain, porcelain and metal, or resined metal.
All-porcelain crowns look more like your natural teeth,
and therefore are usually used for front teeth, while
porcelain with metal underlay has more strength and is
good for crowns in the back of the mouth. Sometimes
all-metal crowns are used for back teeth because of the
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: In order to prepare your tooth for a
crown, you require a local anaesthetic. Then the tooth is
filed down so the cap can fit over it. An impression of
your teeth and gums is made and a temporary cap is fitted
over the tooth until the permanent crown is made. On your
next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and
cement the crown onto the tooth. The crown will closely
match your natural teeth and give you back your smile.
Can a tooth be replaced? (Prosthodontics)
can diligently floss and brush your teeth and still lose a
tooth to gum disease or an accident. If this happens, the
tooth or teeth should be replaced in order to restore your
smile, regain your chewing and prevent other teeth from
shifting to an undesirable or less functional position.
There are three main types of artificial teeth and each
one is designed for a particular situation. They are
dental implants, removable dentures and fixed bridges. A
DENTAL IMPLANT is made by surgically placing one or more
small metal posts beneath the gum into the jawbone. In a
few months, when they are attached to the surrounding
bone, they are exposed and have the artificial tooth or
teeth attached to them. A REMOVABLE OR PARTIAL DENTURE
replaces all or some of the lost teeth in the arch with
one appliance. The denture is held in place by clasping
some of the remaining teeth - or by suction where none of
the natural teeth are left. A FIXED BRIDGE is a
replacement that is cemented to the adjacent teeth and
cannot be removed.
Q29 - What is the dental bridges procedure?
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..
Q30 - What are the pros and cons of dental 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.
Q31 - What is the dental bonding procedure?
bonding is a procedure that uses a composite resin to
restore and reshape damaged and decayed teeth in a variety
of manners. Bonding can be used for everything from
removing stains to closing gaps in teeth to correcting
crooked or misshapen teeth. A cosmetic dentist will apply
a bonding material to your tooth, shape and sculpt it and
then harden the material using a high-intensity light. The
resulting new surface is then finely polished. Composite
bonds can last from seven to eleven years.
Minor dental bonding procedures can usually be completed
in one office visit for small fixes and for replacing
fillings. More complicated bonding procedures can require
additional time and visits and may involve the casting of
a mold and the use of temporary fillings while the
permanent bond is cast by the lab. These types of bonds
are usually made of porcelain, color-matched to your
existing teeth and provide a durable and stain resistant
solution to your problem.
Q32 - What are the pros and cons of dental bonding?
bonding is an alternative to the use of silver fillings
and has many advantages over them. Since the composite
resin used for bonding can adhere directly to the tooth,
bonds are more structurally sound. Also, composites can be
color-matched to existing teeth and are therefore useful
for fixing minor cracks, chips and gaps.
The only disadvantage to using composites for dental
bonding is the additional cost involved.
Q33 - What are TMJ (TMD) Disorders?
joints (TMJ), that is your jaw joints and muscles, are
used to open and close your mouth when talking, chewing,
singing and swallowing. Temporomandibular disorders (TMDS)
are a group of conditions which can affect the jaw joint
or muscle causing facial, tooth and ear aches as well as
"clicking" in the jaw, "tension headaches" and even neck,
shoulder or back pain. You may experience pain (ranging
from minimal to severely debilitating) especially when
chewing and opening your mouth wide or, your jaw may lock
or be prevented from opening fully. TMDs can be caused by
injuries to the face and jaw regions, whiplash, poor
posture, bite problems, badly fitted dentures, grinding
teeth, and clenching your jaw resulting in damage to the
joints or misalignment. Systemic diseases, which effect
the joints of the body (like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus,
etc.), can also affect your jaw joint, causing
degeneration. Ask your dentist about examining your TMJ,
if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Special
tests, including x-rays or MRI scans of the joints, are
sometimes carried out. Most patients benefit from simple
forms of treatment, including physical therapy, dental
bite guards, and anti-inflammatory medication. Patients
with persisting, severe pain may require surgery and may
be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for
consultation. See your dentist for more information.
Q34 - How is TMJ syndrome diagnosed?
TMJ syndrome is difficult to diagnose, not only because of
its potentially large number of disparate symptoms, but
also because any of those symptoms can be associated with
other conditions. Before arriving at a diagnosis of TMJ
syndrome, the doctor must first eliminate other conditions
that could be producing the symptoms. A professional
diagnosis is necessary, our professional will be glad to
Q35 - Why are ear symptoms associated with TMJ disorders?
Because of the close proximity of the ear tissues to the
TM Joint. It is not uncommon to find on x-ray that the
Condyle Head is improperly positioned in the Joint space
such that it is in intimate contact with the Tympanic
bone. The consequence often is ear pain in the absence of
infection, a sense of fullness, or stuffiness, in one or
both ears, and sometimes ringing
in the ears.
Q36 - What is a "locking" episode?
A "locking" episode can occur during opening or closing
movement. What happens is that the patient experiences an
interruption of jaw movement - a "catch" or a "stop", and
in order to complete the movement must jiggle, or somehow,
self manipulate the jaw.
I clench my teeth, especially while I sleep. What can I do
and is it harmful?
and grinding (Bruxism) are habits that develop early in
life. It is our way of relieving stress. Unfortunately,
the habit can take it's toll on our teeth, our muscles and
our temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). Bruxism is common in a
great majority of the population. Symptoms range from
broken teeth to temporo-mandibular dysfunction (TMD). A
change in life-style may or may not help. An oral
appliance, worn at night, may help to relieve symptoms.
Each patient must be evaluated individually.
Q38 - How long will dentures last?
A- With normal wear and care most dentures should last 5-7
years. In fact, we recommend replacement after that time
due to the wearing down of the acrylic and tooth
materials. Plus, the bone and tissue in your mouth change
as you age, so your denture just won't fit your mouth as
well as it should anymore. When a denture is not fitting
properly, health problems often result.
Q39 - How will dentures affect my appearance?
A new, properly fitted denture will help you look better
by providing the support your lips need, and by giving
your face and smile a more natural appearance. Having
good-looking teeth also gives you the confidence and
freedom to smile and live life to the fullest.
Q40 - Will people know I wear dentures?
Our dentures are custom-crafted by hand to ensure a
natural, life-like appearance. The acrylic has fibers
throughout so it looks like real gum tissue. Plus, we
provide our patients the choice of teeth in different
shapes and sizes with shading and blending that mimics
natural tooth enamel. We also work hard to provide you
with the best possible fit to avoid slipping, clicking and
slurred speech. The only thing people will notice is your
beautiful, natural looking smile.
Q41 - What is a partial denture?
Partial dentures are removable dental appliances for
patients who need to replace just a few missing teeth.
(Full dentures replace all of your teeth, either upper,
lower or both.) Arches are made consisting of replacement
teeth and are attached with clasps to the remaining
natural teeth for support and retention. Partial dentures
can be used on the upper or lower arches.
Should I floss or not if I brush well?
face it - many people are still not flossing. This is a
big problem if you want to keep your teeth and gums
healthy for life. Flossing at least once a day cleans
between the teeth and under the gum line where your
toothbrush can't reach and where most cavities and gum
disease start. If you're not flossing, you're missing 35%
of every tooth. If you haven't flossed recently, it'll
take a while before flossing becomes an automatic part of
your daily routine.
QUICK TIP: Floss every night before you brush, for maximum
benefit. But soon your teeth won't feel clean without it.
Don't worry if at first flossing causes slight bleeding,
but if the bleeding continues for more than ten days,
contact your dentist. Here's how to floss: Carefully ease
the floss between the teeth, right down to the gum line.
Gently wipe plaque from both sides of adjacent teeth. The
goal is to arc the floss in a "C" shape following the
contours of each tooth.
QUICK TIP: Beginners should start with waxed
shred-resistant floss because it slides between the teeth
Do I need to brush up on my dental hygiene?
you give your teeth the "brush off", you may suffer in the
future from gum disease and painful tooth loss. By
following a few simple steps you will be ensured to keep
your teeth for a lifetime. Here's how: Floss daily to
remove bacteria and reduce tooth decay. Brush twice a day,
holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, and brushing for
at least two minutes. Change your toothbrush every three
months (Quick tip: New season - New toothbrush). Avoid
eating sticky foods. Choose sugar-free snacks, fruits and
vegetables whenever possible. Don't chew foods like ice or
hard candies, which can damage tooth enamel. Never use
your teeth as a tool to open bags, nuts, and bottle caps
or to cut thread. If you play sports, always use mouth
protection to prevent injury. Taking care of your teeth
and gums is easier than you think when you form good
Are my gums healthy?
disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Why?
Because it occurs at an age when cavities are usually a
thing of the past, and the initial symptoms often go
HERE'S WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Gums that bleed when brushing; red, swollen or tender gums
or persistent bad breath. Periodontal or gum disease is a
bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments and bone that
support the teeth and anchor them in the jaw. The
bacteria, which act mainly on certain carbohydrates in our
diets, are normal inhabitants of the mouth, living in a
thin film called plaque. If plaque is not removed, it may
eventually harden into tartar, a hard mineral shell that
irritates and erodes healthy gum tissue. This early stage
of gum disease is called gingivitis. If left untreated,
pockets begin to form between the teeth and gum tissues
and may erode the tissue, which attaches the tooth to the
jaw. This stage is called periodontitis. Gum disease can
be treated at all stages, but more importantly, it can be
HERE'S HOW: Brush twice a day, floss daily, eat a balanced
diet, and visit your dentist regularly - ideally every six
months - for a preventive checkup and professional
cleaning which is essential in the prevention of gum
Does cleaning of teeth make them loose?
will not become loose because of the cleaning procedure.
The teeth are held firmly in place due to the gums and the
bone around them. The tartar gathered around the teeth
causes infection of the gums and bone. This infection
leads to receding of bone and gum levels and thus creates
gaps between teeth. This tartar if not removed
periodically (once in every 6 months) can cause loosening
of teeth. The cleaning procedure will help remove tartar
and stop the gum and bone from receding
Why do my gums bleed?
could be various reasons why one would face a problem of
bleeding gums like accumulation of tartar around the necks
of teeth, using a hard bristle tooth brush, intake of
certain medications like anti-epileptic drugs. It calls
for immediate attention by a dental professional to detect
the cause and suggest suitable treatment options.
What do I do to get rid of bad breath?
breath or halitosis is a common problem which could be
prevalent not only due to dental problems but also some
systemic diseases like diabetes, stomach upsets etc. Bad
breath can arise due to negligence of oral hygiene,
pyorrhoea in gums, food lodgement in decayed teeth,
unclean tongue. You could be either suggested the use of a
mouthwash, taught proper brushing/flossing techniques and
/or treated for dental decay or gum problems.
Is a mouthwash necessary to be used everyday?
are many mouthwashes available in the market, which are
nothing but mild antiseptics that refresh the mouth. These
can be used as temporary solutions to combat bad breath.
Prolonged usage of a mouthwash is however not advisable.
Which toothpaste is ideal for use?
toothpastes work as foaming agents that help to
clean your teeth of plaque and food remnants. The
choice of most toothpastes is governed by their
medicinal content and flavour. Any fluoridated
toothpaste is a good general toothpaste for the
family. Medicated toothpastes are available for
specific purposes and should be used under the
advise of your dentist only.
- What is the
right method of brushing?
primary means to oral hygiene is proper and methodical
brushing of teeth. This cleans away the plaque on a daily
basis and also helps to keep the breath fresh. Brushing
teeth at least twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste is
recommended to keep them clean. The fluoride in the
toothpaste makes the enamel more resistant to attack by
the decay-forming acids in the mouth. The
toothbrush selected should have a firm, comfortable grip
with soft rounded bristles on a contoured head and
replaced every 3-4 months for best results or as soon as
the bristles are frayed.
Place bristles along the gumline at a 45o angle.
Bristles should contact both the tooth surface
and the gumline.
Gently brush the outer tooth surfaces of 2-3 teeth
using a vibrating back and forth rolling
motion. Move brush to the next group of 2-3 teeth
Maintain a 45o angle with bristles contacting the
tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush
using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of
the inner tooth surfaces.
Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make
several up and down strokes using the front
half of the brush.
Place the brush against the biting surface of the
teeth and use a gentle back and forth
scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to
front to remove odor-producing bacteria.
Is flossing important?
brushing cleans the teeth, the toothbrush cannot
clean the plaque which is stuck within the gaps
between two teeth and under the gum line. Flossing
daily keeps the teeth clean and prevents the
build-up of plaque in the difficult areas. Dental
floss is a special cord made of nylon which helps
remove food particles stuck between two adjacent
teeth and near the gums. Approximately 18 inches
(40 cms.) of floss is wrapped securely around the
index fingers. With the help of the index fingers
and thumbs the floss is gently guided between two
teeth and eased up and down, going below the gum
line to dislodge the plaque and food particles.
What is the best way to brush?
well you brush your teeth is more important than how often
you brush. Remember it's the spots you miss where the
problems start. Here are five tips to improve your
brushing: Take the time to carefully and gently clean each
tooth, ideally twice a day. The average person brushes for
less than 35 seconds. A good brushing takes at least two
to three minutes. QUICK TIP: Keep brushing for as long as
a song. Be gentle, particularly when cleaning where the
gums meet the teeth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle
to the gum line, and gently work the bristles back and
forth using short strokes. Don't forget to brush your
tongue, too. Use a soft toothbrush, which is less likely
to damage your teeth and gums. Choose a size and shape
that enables you to easily reach every tooth. Be sure to
change your toothbrush frequently. Every three months is
recommended - more often if you've been ill. QUICK TIP:
New season - New toothbrush. Remember to floss too since
no amount of careful brushing can clean between your
How is smoking bad for teeth and gums?
of the most devastating effects of tobacco is the
development of oral cancer. The risk of oral cancer
increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day
and the number of years that the person has been smoking.
Some of the other oral side effects of tobacco are tooth
stains, delayed healing of oral wounds, increased severity
of gum disease and bad breath.
What are the effects of tobacco use and dentistry?
of us have smoked during our lives. Some of us have been
lucky enough to quit the use of tobacco products but there
are others who still struggle with banning the addiction
from their lives. We know how hard it is to quit and
desire to offer information and assistance to our
patients. Plus, any of our staff will be happy to discuss
the risk of smoking with our patients as it applies to
The following link, tobacco.htm, will take you to a page
that has all the latest information on the effects of
tobacco provided by the National Institute of Health and
the National Cancer Institute. Plus, pictures are provided
as the use of tobacco applies to dentistry and your teeth
and mouth. Just click on the link shown above.
Is a toddler's toothless grin charming?
always. Nursing caries in baby's first teeth occurs when
babies habitually fall asleep sucking on a bottle. The
sugar in whatever they're drinking (cow's milk, juice,
formula or sugary drinks) turns to acid, dissolving tooth
enamel. Breast-fed babies are also susceptible if they
constantly fall asleep with breast milk on their teeth.
Early signs of nursing caries include white spots/tooth
discoloration. If the process continues, rampant decay and
discomfort to the child results. Children need their baby
teeth to chew and to learn to speak properly. Fortunately,
you can protect your baby from nursing caries. Don't let
your baby go to bed with a bottle unless it contains plain
water. Never let your child use a bottle as a daytime
pacifier because all-day sucking is as bad as nighttime
nipping. Clean baby's mouth and teeth after meals and
breastfeeding. Finally, if you suspect your child has
nursing caries, contact your dentist immediately.
Do babies with not many teeth need any dental care?
One could clean the baby’s mouth with wet gauze and give
them water after every meal to ensure that the mouth is
free of any food remnants. Also, regular tongue cleaning
using a soft cloth is advised
Why do children get cranky when they are teething?
children do get cranky when teething since they may
experience the signs like drooling, irritability,
restlessness, and loss of appetite. Fever, illness, and
diarrhoea are not symptoms of teething. If your child
presents with the latter signs, they need to be evaluated
by your doctor. The best solution to comfort the child is
to have the child chew on a cold or frozen rubber teething
ring. Topical anesthetics/ gels are NOT advisable.
Root canal Treatment
What is involved in a root canal procedure? (Endodontics)
with modern dentistry, root canal treatment has become a
common form of treatment for diseased (abscessed) teeth.
Your regular dentist or root canal specialist (Endodontist)
can provide this treatment.
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: In healthy teeth, the interior of
the tooth is filled with tissue (pulp). Once the tooth is
injured, cracked, or decayed, it is necessary to open the
tooth and clean out the infected tissue in the center.
This space is then filled and the opening sealed. During
the procedure the area around the tooth is frozen.
Sometimes difficulties may be encountered during or after
root canal treatment. This may require the use of
medication or involve further treatment. A crown or cap
may be necessary to protect the tooth, once the root canal
treatment has been completed. Teeth that have had root
canal treatment can stay as healthy and last as long as
other teeth. In most instances, you won't be able to feel
or see a difference.
Is root canal treatment painful?
A-Root Canal treatment
is advised in cases where the nerve within the tooth is
affected either due to decay, trauma or fracture. It
involves the removal of the damaged or diseased pulp or
nerve, cleaning and shaping the root canal and
subsequently filling the canals with a suitable material.
This treatment is done under anesthesia and hence
The misconception that braces can only work for kids is
not true, as people of any age can avail for this type of
treatment. The treatment time may however be longer for
adult patients as the bone is denser in them. But with
newer treatment options like invisible, ceramic and
lingual braces, esthetics and time of treatment are also
not a problem.
How do braces work and how long does it take to straighten
teeth with braces?
braces apply continuous, slow pressure over a period of
time on the teeth and help in moving them into the proper
positions. Bands, wires and elastics are placed on the
teeth to move them in the right direction. Moving teeth
into a functional and an esthetically pleasing position
can take a few months to years depending on the amount of
correction required, the age, the severity of the case and
also the motivation levels of the patient
What is smile designing?
good smile involves in it more than just healthy teeth and
gums. It is a blend of symmetry, color, shape and lines
that create a balanced harmonious smile. Many of us have
good and healthy teeth as well as gums but are yet unhappy
with our smiles. In such an instance we can go in for a
smile evaluation to an esthetic dentist who will evaluate
the smile for its missing, predominant or underplayed
features and then proceed with their correction through
various means. This process is called Smile Designing.
Can I improve my smile?
you self-conscious to smile because your teeth are
chipped, discolored, or poorly spaced? Cheer up, your
dentist may be able to apply a porcelain laminate veneer
to your teeth and give them a whole new appearance.
Veneers are strong, thin pieces of porcelain that are
bonded to the teeth, making them stronger. They are used
to repair chipped, decayed or stained teeth and for
closing gaps between teeth. With a bit of contouring,
veneers can also rectify crowded or overlapping teeth. If
your teeth have discolored with age, a veneer may improve
their appearance. Veneers can also be used for cosmetic
reasons instead of crowns, which are more often used for
badly damaged or decayed teeth.
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE: Typically, the front and edges of
the tooth are selectively removed and the veneer replaces
the removed surface. Veneer preparations frequently
require the use of local anaesthetic and, depending on
color and shade, may take two or more appointments for
completion of the procedure. Ask your dentist if veneers
can help improve your smile.
Is removing a wisdom tooth always painful?
removal is always performed under local anesthesia, hence
it is painless. Wisdom tooth removal is unique in that the
teeth are situated posterior most in the mouth and carry
the risk of spreading infections into adjacent areas. Also
sometimes the shape and position of these may necessitate
Do I have to have them out?
teeth don't make you smart, but they can create problems.
These third molars are the last teeth to erupt and usually
appear between the ages of 17 and 21, but can begin
causing problems as early as age 13. Sometimes the teeth
don't always have enough space at the back of the lower
and upper jaw and develop at an angle causing the tooth to
jam and become impacted. When this happens, a cyst can
form in the tissue surrounding the tooth causing
deterioration of the jawbone or the tooth in front.
Sometimes the wisdom teeth only partially erupt and become
prone to recurrent infection and decay. This condition can
lead to swelling, pain and difficulty opening the jaw. The
development of wisdom teeth can be painful and is often
associated with sore throats, headaches and gum
infections. By checking the development of your wisdom
teeth during regular checkups and dental x-rays, your
dentist can determine whether your wisdom teeth have
enough space to erupt through the gum or if they should be
How often should I visit a dentist?
should visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular
check-ups. However, if there is toothache, bleeding gums,
sensitive teeth or any dental problem, one is advised to
visit the dentist immediately.
Is sugarless gum healthy for teeth?
sugarless gum stimulates flow of saliva. Saliva works as a
natural mouthwash by dissolving the volatile sulfur
molecules, which make the breath smell bad. Saliva also
neutralizes acids produced by plaque bacteria and helps to
clear the mouth of food that plaque bacteria usually feast
Why is dental treatment so expensive?
treatment needs to be rendered by a skilled professional
using quality equipments and materials. This combined with
a follow up of instructions after treatment results in
betterment of dental health and the overall health of the
patient. The treatment may require one or multiple visits
to the dentist. Thus considering the longevity of the
results obtained benefits far out weigh the cost
Is there a good diet for a healthy smile?
are three things you need to ensure good dental nutrition:
A HEALTHY DIET Strong teeth need a variety of foods from
each of the basic food groups including whole grain breads
and cereals, fruits and vegetables, lean meats or
alternatives, and dairy products.
ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS In particular, calcium and
phosphorus, and vitamin D are needed for strong teeth and
bones, as well as vitamins A and C for healthy gums.
Eating a varied and healthy diet will provide the
essential vitamins and minerals needed for your teeth and
gums to stay healthy and strong.
SMART SNACKING While everybody knows that eating sweets is
bad for your teeth, what you may not know is that the
amount of sweet food you eat is not as important as the
length of time your teeth are exposed to sweets. This
means that you should avoid eating sticky sweets like
toffee or hard candies like mints, because they stay in
your mouth longer. It also means that eating sweet snacks
between meals is much worse than with a meal, because at
mealtime the increased flow of saliva helps protect your
teeth by washing sugars away. Choose something without
sugar like nuts and seeds, peanut butter, cheese, plain
yogurt, or popcorn for your between meal snacks and save
your sweets for mealtimes.
is the accumulation of bacteria, microorganisms and their
products which sticks to the tooth surfaces. Dental plaque
is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing the
teeth. Accumulation of plaque can lead to gum disease
(gingivitis) and periodontal disease, as well
as tooth decay.
What is Calculus (Tartar)?
is dental plaque that has mineralized. Calculus can form
when plaque is not removed from the tooth surfaces. This
plaque becomes old and eventually forms into calculus.
Calculus can form above or below the gumline. The bacteria
that sticks to calculus can cause gum disease (gingivitis)
or periodontal disease. Calculus cannot be removed by
brushing and flossing. A dental hygienist checks for
calculus formation when you visit the dental office. It is
removed with special instruments designed to adapt to the
tooth surface affected without causing trauma to the soft
What is Gingivitis?
is inflammation of the gums. Some common features
associated with gingivitis are red and swollen gums, and
the presence of bleeding while brushing and flossing. The
cause of gingivitis is the bacteria in dental plaque. This
disease is reversible with good oral hygiene
What is Periodontal Disease?
disease affects the periodontium (the supporting
structures of the teeth). The cause of this disease is
multifactorial, but the presence of bacteria in plaque
certainly plays a major role. The supporting periodontal
structures begin to breakdown. This can mean that part of
the bone that supports the teeth or the ligaments that
hold the teeth securely in place are destroyed. This
disease process is generally not reversible and may
require treatment from a dental professional specializing
in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can develop as
a result of poor daily plaque control (e.g. brushing and
flossing). However, not everyone with poor brushing and
flossing techniques will develop this condition. It is
wise to visit your dental hygienist or dentist regularly
in order to detect early stages of the disease and to
prevent further damage.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is the destruction of the tooth enamel, dentin,
cementum and may involve the tooth pulp.
Q74 -How does a Cavity Form?
The formation of a cavity is due to many factors. For
example, the tooth itself plays a role (how strong it is);
the mouths ability to cleanse itself (your flow of
saliva); diet (frequency and selection of sugary foods);
the bacteria in your mouth (good or bad); and the length
of time the tooth is under attack by the bacteria in your
may play a major role in how susceptible you are to the
formation of a cavity, for example:
structure, size and shape of the tooth may be passed
down through generations. This includes deep pits and
grooves which are ideal "plaque traps", and therefore,
are susceptible to decay
may be a higher risk of cavities forming if your parents
also had a large number of cavities
that are malpositioned in the mouth, that are hard to
access with your toothbrush or floss may also provide an
ideal breeding ground for the bacterial dental plaque.
absence of fluoride during tooth formation and following
tooth eruption can increase the incidence of cavities.
fluoride promotes strong tooth development and
remineralization of the tooth
has a protective function in the mouth, for example:
good flow of saliva washes away food and bacteria that
sit on the teeth and gum tissues
salivary flow helps to neutralize the acids produced by
bacteria from plaque, thus a good flow helps reduce the
chances of a cavity formation
a well balanced diet from each of the four major food
groups is essential for your oral health, as well as, your
frequent consumption of high sugar foods, especially
longer the time the food stays on your teeth, the
greater the chance of forming a cavity. If you do have a
sugary snack, it's best to brush your teeth soon after
select between meal snacks that are low in sugar
concentrations such as white milk, fresh fruits, raw
vegetables, dark breads and whole grain and enriched
free candies, gum and other snacks are an option
the actual amount of sugar eaten in one sitting is not as
important as when and how often you choose a sugar
the mouth harbors many types of bacteria that are
considered to be normal in the human mouth.
bacteria, in a healthy mouth tends to live in balance,
but for reasons yet to be truly identified, that balance
can be tilted and oral disease may result
fluoride provides many benefits. It is found in many
products such as toothpaste, mouthrinse, fluoridated
drinking water and periodic topical fluoride treatments
applied by your dental professional.
aids in the development of sound enamel
helps reduce enamel solubility and increases enamel
resistance to acid attack
prevents demineralization (the white spot phase of the
beginning stages of a cavity)
enhances remineralization of beginning stages of a
cavity. Fluoride may arrest further development of a
cavity by depositing the fluoride mineral called
Fluoride used in addition to daily brushing and flossing
helps to reduce the chances of a cavity.
Signs of a Cavity Formation
The first sign of a cavity forming may be a white spot,
which in time may turn brown.
If it is a white spot, low concentrations of fluoride
applied frequently can arrest further development.
White spot phase
If the white spot phase progresses, further breakdown of
enamel will occur. At this point, a visit to your dental
professional is necessary. The cavity may be restored with
Breakdown of enamel between the teeth
Good Habits to Help Prevent Cavities
regular visits with your dental professional on an
appointment schedule that he/she recommends based on
your own needs. Regular visits will ensure you have the
benefits of preventive care and early diagnosis, as well
as, treatment for any dental problems. Guidance about
home dental care can also be provided to avoid future
plays an important role. Minimize the frequency of
sugary foods, thus reducing the amount of acid produced.
Select snacks that are less cavity causing, such as
fresh fruit, plain yogurt and raw vegetables
use of fluoride will help decrease the risk of cavity
plaque control. Maintain a strict and regular home care
routine to minimize plaque growth
it is recommended that you consult your dental
professional before using any commercial products. You
want to make a selection based
on the effectiveness of the product and your own
A Healthy Mouth Enhances Overall Health