Some Oral Health facts and general myths and misconceptions in dentistry (frequently asked questions):
- Does cleaning of teeth make them loose?
Teeth 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.
- Is root canal treatment painful?
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 Anaesthesia and hence painless.
- Can I change the color of my teeth?
Yes, it is possible to brighten your teeth by a procedure called Teeth Whitening. It is simple procedure with predictable results and can be done at the dental clinic (Office Bleaching) and followed by a Home Bleach treatment if required. Superficial stains caused by smoking or excess intake of tea/coffee, wine can be effectively and conservatively removed for an instantly brighter smile.
- Why do my gums bleed?
There 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?
Bad breath or halitosis is a common oral health 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?
There 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.
- Why is dental treatment so expensive?
Dental 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 outweigh the cost involved.
- Is removing a wisdom tooth always painful?
Tooth 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 surgical removal.
- How often should I visit a dentist?
One 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?
Chewing sugarless gum stimulates flow of saliva. Saliva works as a natural mouthwash by dissolving the volatile sulphur 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 on.
- Why do children get cranky when they are teething?
Yes 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.
- How do braces work and how long does it take to straighten teeth with braces?
The 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.
- Which toothpaste is ideal for use?
All 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 advice of your dentist only.
- What is the right method of brushing?
The 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.
Step 1: Place bristles along the gum line at a 45o angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gum line.
Step 2: 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 and repeat.
Step 3: Maintain a 45o angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gum line. Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.
Step 4: Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up and down strokes using the front half of the brush.
Step 5: 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 odour-producing bacteria.
- Is flossing important?
Though 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.
- Do babies with not many teeth need any dental care?
Yes. 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.
- What is smile designing?
A 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.
- What is the right age for braces treatment?
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 is smoking bad for teeth and gums?
One 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.