1.Why are regular 6 monthly dental checkups important?
Regular 6 monthly dental checkups help detect and prevent dental problems early. Early detection allows for simple restoration and prevents potentially painful experiences.
2. What should I expect during a regular checkup?
Most patients should expect to be doing a dental cleaning (scaling and polishing) as well as fluoride treatment. The dentist will advise you if there are any abnormalities seen and on potential treatment if required. Dental x-rays may be taken should there be a need.
3. Are dental x-rays harmful?
Dental x-rays emit very low radiation and is generally harmless. During the x-ray procedure, patients would also need to put on a leaded vest for protection against the already low radiation emission.
4. I have just gone through a session of scaling and polishing, why do my teeth feel so rough and edgy?
During a dental cleaning, the hard bacterial deposits in between the teeth and around the necks of the teeth are cleaned away, thus giving the teeth a much more defined feeling, particularly at the front teeth. This is actually a sign that the cleaning has been done very thoroughly.
5. Why do my teeth still appear so yellowish after scaling and polishing?
In the adult dentition, teeth appears much more yellowish as compared to “baby teeth”. This is due to the different structure of the teeth. Also, with age, the wearing down of the enamel in our teeth exposes the dentin, thus giving our teeth a slightly more yellowish color. As scaling and polishing removes external stains such as tobacco and coffee/tea stains, such yellowish natural color of the teeth remains.
6. How do I change or improve the color of my teeth?
If the natural color of your teeth is unsatisfactory to you, teeth whitening can be done. However, it is important to note that teeth whitening is not permanent and repeated treatment is required for maintaining the desired shade. Dental veneers may be an alternative as they give a constant whiter shade. Speak to your dentist about it so that they may give you the most appropriate treatment plan.
7. I had a dental filling done but I am feeling a sensation of slight soreness/sensitivity. What should I do about it?
In some cases, post-operative sensitivity may occur due to many reasons, the common ones being the type of materials used and how bad the decay was. The sensitivity should be monitored and should subside in 1-2 weeks’ time. If the sensitivity does get worse, please contact us and we will try to see you as soon as possible.
8. I had a tooth extraction done but it seems that the bleeding has not stopped. Why is this so?
In a healthy individual with no relevant medical problems, the bleeding should stop after 1 hour. Do not rinse or spit for 2 hours after the extractions as these may contribute to excessive bleeding. It is strongly advisable for the patient to bite on the given cotton gauze for 1 hour for the compression of the socket to stop bleeding. If it seems like the bleeding is not stopping, bite on a piece of cotton gauze for another hour, the bleeding should stop. It is also fairly common for patients to misinterpret “bleeding” as the mixture of blood and saliva may make it seem like the bleeding has not stopped. Follow the instructions given by the doctor after the tooth extraction to prevent any such incidents.
9. What are the choices I have for replacing my extracted teeth?
There are 3 main alternatives for replacing lost teeth: Dental implants, dental bridge and dentures. Dental implants are straightforward and is the closest prosthesis to our own natural teeth. Dental implants feel and look like your own teeth. Dental implants can be permanent if maintained correctly. A dental bridge basically consists of 3-4 units of crowns that are joined together to fill up the missing space. This helps to restore aesthetics and function. A denture is a removable plastic or metal mouth piece that seeks to replace missing teeth. However, some patients do not adapt well to dentures and eventually give up wearing them.
10. I was advised to do orthodontic treatment? Is it really necessary?
Orthodontic treatment is advised for patients who have misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth may result in speech difficulties, cleaning difficulties and eating difficulties. When orthodontic treatment is advised, it is most probably for one of the mentioned problems. Aesthetic concerns may also be a reason for advising orthodontic treatment.
11. When should I start bringing my child to see a dentist?
It is advisable to bring your child for his/her first dental visit as soon as the first baby tooth erupts. The first visit usually involves letting the child explore and get used to the dental clinic environment. This is important so that the child is accustomed to the dental clinic environment and this prevents future dental phobia should there be a need for other treatment.
12. I have been told by my friends/relatives that I do not need to remove my wisdom teeth if there is no pain. Is that true?
The only time where wisdom teeth do not need to be removed is when the wisdom teeth are properly erupted. Impacted wisdom teeth may cause gum swelling and decay due to the lack of accessibility of cleaning that area. This is the usual cause of pain associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Furthermore, impacted wisdom teeth may cause the other teeth in the same arch to shift and drift, leading to misalignment of teeth. Therefore, it is a good idea to remove impacted wisdom teeth as soon as they are spotted, instead of waiting till there is pain.
13. I have been told that I grind/clench my teeth. Why is that so? What can be done?
Grinding or clenching of teeth is the 3rd most common sleep disturbance condition after snoring and sleep-talking. It can be caused by allergies, nutritional deficiency, genetics and anxiety/stress. Clenching/grinding of teeth can cause an exponential rate of teeth wear which may in turn cause sensitivity and even jaw problems. Cracked teeth are also common in patients who grind/clench. In severe cases, patients may even experience migraines that are associated with such grinding/clenching behaviors. A nightguard is a customized mouthpiece that can be worn by patients when they sleep to prevent the direct force on the teeth during such subconscious behavior. Botox is an alternative treatment for patients who are uncomfortable with a nightguard as it shrinks the masseter muscles which are the primary muscles involved in clenching/grinding.
14. My tooth is loose, what I can I do about it?
Loose teeth are usually caused by gum disease. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, the tooth may or may not be salvageable. If the tooth is very loose, it may be advised for that tooth to be extracted. However, if the mobility of the tooth is not too bad, a thorough deep gum cleaning can be done and the tooth may still be preserved for a few more years.
15. I see some red/white spots in my mouth. Should I be worried?
Certain spots in our mouth may be natural and may not be a sign of anything wrong. To be sure, please see our dentists to get the spots checked out.
16. Is it advisable to use a medium or hard bristled toothbrush? It feels cleaner for me.
A soft bristled toothbrush is the most recommended type of toothbrush and it should last you 5-6 months before the bristles fray out. As our daily tooth-brushing is mainly for removing soft dental plaque, a soft bristled tooth brush is sufficient. By using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush, it may be even more detrimental due to the lateral wearing away of our teeth during the daily tooth-brushing motions.