Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are silver fillings safe?
Silver fillings (amalgam) comprise of 50% mercury and 50% other metals. There have been no conclusive studies that have shown amalgam fillings to be dangerous, mercury on its own however is very toxic. There are now alternative resins and composite fillings available that are tooth coloured and non toxic. These are the preferred filling material used today.
What is an abscessed tooth?
What is an abscessed tooth? An abscessed tooth is an infected tooth. This can include pus and swelling of the soft gum tissues surrounding the tooth – and in more severe cases cause facial swelling. Once the infection happens, the infection could spread throughout the mouth and whole body. It is imperative that you see the dentist ASAP if you suspect you have an abscessed tooth. Root canal treatment is usually the only way to save an abscessed tooth.
What is Calculus?
Calculus, also known as tartar, is the hardened residue that forms on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If you brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, calculus should be minimal. If tartar is allowed to remain on the teeth below the gumline, it can lead to decay, infection and inflammation. The only way to have this hard calculus removed is by the dentist or hygienist.
When should children make their first visit to the dentist?
When should children make their first visit to the dentist? Within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. This is also a good way to get your child used to visiting the dentist. This is generally quite a fun visit for the children.
What can I do about bad breath?
What can I do about bad breath? Brushing and flossing are the first steps in helping to prevent bad breath but this will not always eliminate the problem. Bacteria can also hide on the tongue under a layer of mucous and cause halitosis (bad breath). Tongue scrapers are available that can remove this mucous layer and reduce the problem. Toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain chlorine dioxide will help neutralise the odour.
How often should I see the dentist or dental hygienist for a clean and examination?
This time frame will vary between patients but generally most children and adults should see their dentist every six months. People at greater risk (ie: smokers, diabetics, pregnant ladies, patients with perio / gum disease) will need to visit more regularly. The time frame will be discussed at your appointment. During pregnancy, increased hormone levels can cause red, swollen and tender gums accompanied by bleeding when you brush your teeth. This is known as “pregnancy gingivitis” and is most common between the second and eighth month of pregnancy. While good oral hygiene is important for everyone it is even more vital for pregnant women.
What to do if a permanent tooth is knocked out?
• Trying not to touch the root of the tooth, place the tooth in a solution of saline or in milk and see the dentist ASAP. • If you are unable to get to see a dentist quickly rinse the tooth in milk or saline and being careful not to touch the root, insert the tooth carefully back into the tooth socket. Make sure you have the tooth the right way around. See a dentist as soon as you can.
Can I catch infectious diseases from dental instruments that are not sterilised properly?
Yes it is possible which is why we take extra precautionary steps in our sterilisation procedure at Mary Street Dental. Not only do we autoclave our instruments, we firstly wash our instruments in an ultra sonic bath then put them through a high temperature, disinfectant dishwasher. Instruments are then wrapped,dated and finally autoclaved where the instruments will be steam heated under pressure to 121 degrees C. You will find that many dental centres will not have this level of infection control.