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FAQs

We get asked many questions about different treatments by our patients. Here are some of the most commonly asked ones. If you can’t find the answer to your question here please contact us. We’ll be pleased to help!

Bridges and partial dentures

What are my options for replacing missing teeth?

This depends on the number of teeth missing, where they are in your mouth, and the condition of your remaining teeth.

There are three main ways to replace missing teeth.

1. Removable false tooth (or teeth) – called a partial denture.

2. Fixed bridge. Usually used when there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.

3. Dental implants. This is where an artificial root is placed into the bone of the jaw and a crown or bridge placed on top of this.

What's the benefit of a metal denture over plastic?

Plastic partial dentures are less expensive but,unless they are designed very carefully, can damage the teeth they fit against.

Metal partial dentures are usually made from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than plastic ones.

How long will the treatment take?

It is best to allow up to six months for your gums to heal properly after an extraction. A temporary denture can be put in the gap meanwhile, before the bridge is fitted.

Are there reasons why I may not be able to have a bridge fitted?

You can have a bridge only if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support or dental implants that can hold the bridge in place. The dentist can advise on the best options for your mouth.

How do I look after my dental bridge?

You should care for your dental bridge by cleaning it every day. This will help to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You should also clean under the false tooth every day. We will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss to reach this tricky to get to areas.

I've heard implants are a better option. Is this true?

One of the benefits of dental implants is that you may be able to replace missing teeth without having to have crowns on other teeth. Talk to the dentist about the options and the pros and cons of each.

Checkups - Your First Examination

What should I tell the dentist during my first visit?

  • Your overall health — Tell your dentist if you’ve been diagnosed with any diseases or are taking any medicines. It is important to tell your dentist about all medicines you take. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Your dental health — Before the examination starts, tell your dentist if:
    • You think you have a cavity
    • Your teeth have become sensitive
    • You feel lumps inside your mouth
  • Your fears — Many people have fears of the dentist that go back to childhood. Pain control and treatment techniques have improved greatly in recent years. The things you fear most may not exist any longer, or there may be new and better ways of dealing with them. If you fear you have a particular disease or condition, let your dentist know. He or she can look for signs and either diagnose the problem or set your mind at ease. Often, just talking about your fears will take some of the edge off.

What happens during the first examination?

Our dentists will look at much more than just your teeth. They will check other areas inside and outside your mouth for signs of disease or other problems. For example:

Head and neck — Your dentist will check your head and neck, temporomandibular (jaw) joint, salivary glands and lymph nodes in your neck area. He or she will look at your face, neck and lips to make sure there are no unusual swellings, lip dryness, bleeding or other abnormalities that need to be checked further.

Your temporomandibular joint is the joint that guides your lower jaw when you open your mouth. It’s often called the TMJ. To see if the joint is working properly, your dentist will ask you to open and close your mouth and to move your lower jaw from side to side. You will be asked if you have had any pain or soreness in the joint. Your dentist may touch the joint while you open and close your mouth. This allows the dentist to feel for hitches or catches in movement that may indicate problemsYour dentist also will touch salivary glands and lymph nodes in your neck area. Swelling or tenderness there may indicate infection or disease.

Soft tissue — The soft tissues of the mouth include the tongue, the inside of the lips and cheeks, and the floor and roof of the mouth. Your dentist will check for spots, cuts, swellings, growths or other abnormal areas that may indicate problems with oral health.

Periodontal — A periodontal examination involves checking the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. First, your dentist will look at the gums for signs of redness or puffiness. He or she will poke them gently to see how easily they bleed. These symptoms may indicate gum disease. If your dentist determines that you have periodontal disease, he or she may refer you to a periodontist. This is a specialist who treats diseases of the gums. You will be able to see a periodontist at your own CFD practice

Occlusion — Your dentist may check how well your teeth fit together by examining your bite. First, you will be asked to bite naturally. If the teeth don’t seem to fit together properly, your dentist may have you bite down on special wax or paper. Your teeth make an impression in the wax that can help show how your teeth meet. The paper makes temporary marks on your teeth that show where your teeth come together.

Clinical examination of teeth — Your dentist will check for decay by looking at every tooth surface (using a mirror to see the back sides of teeth). He or she will also investigate your teeth with a tool called an explorer to detect cavities. Decayed tooth enamel is softer than healthy enamel. If you have fillings, permanent bridges, crowns or other restorations, your dentist will check to make certain that they remain whole and sound and that the teeth around them have no sign of decay.

X-rays – These will be taken to help your dentist look for decay (cavities) or other oral health problems that cannot be seen during the clinical exam. X-rays also provide the best way for the dentist to see a need for root canal treatment, or bone loss that may indicate advanced gum disease. After the x-ray you will be able to look at the result on you chair side screen. It is a great tool in helping you understand where problems may occur.

What happens after the examination?

Treatment recommendations — If your dentist finds any problems, he or she will recommend steps to fix them. Your treatment plan will be printed out for you to take home. The dentist will explain each part of the treatment plan in detail and it is essential you feel comfortable and understand the plan and any associated costs. The dentist will give you leaflets to take away, or you can check the treatment section of this website for more information.

What about visiting the hygienist?

You may be referred to the hygienist for further cleaning. The hygienist typically will check your gums and teeth, clean and polish your teeth, and talk to you about caring for your teeth and gums properly at home.

Cleaning — The purpose of professional dental cleaning is to remove the hard calculus (also called tartar) from above and just below the gum line. Brushing and flossing at home removes plaque. Only dental instruments can remove calculus.

Polishing — After the calculus is removed, the crowns of your teeth (the parts that show) may be polished to remove plaque and surface stains. Typically, but not always, an abrasive substance is applied to the teeth with a small rotating rubber cup or brush. This helps to scrub away stains. The polishing substance will feel gritty in your mouth. You will be given chances to rinse.

Prevention — The hygienist may offer instructions for oral care at home based on the results of the exam. He or she may demonstrate how to brush and floss properly. Sometimes, the hygienist will teach you to use a disclosing agent to test your brushing ability. This shows up areas where teeth need to be more thoroughly cleaned.

Children's dental check up and treatment

When should I first take my child to the dentist ?

It is best to discuss this with your dentist first, but you could take your baby to your own routine check-ups. This can help the baby to get used to the surroundings. Your dentist will be able to offer advice and prescribe medicines for teething pains, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Your child’s own check-ups can start any time from about six months or from when the teeth start to appear.

What if my child is nervous about going to the dentist?

Here at Centre for Dentistry we overcome a lot of adult and child fears about visiting the dentist. If your child is nervous, pop in a few times before their appointment when you are doing your shopping. Our teams are really friendly and welcoming. They may give them a balloon and let them have a climb on the dentist’s chair (if no one is in it!) .

Children can sense fear in their parents, so it is important not to let your child feel or hear any fears you may have. Try to be supportive if your child needs to have any dental treatment.

Regular visits to the dental team are essential in helping your child get used to the surroundings, so that, if and when, they do need any treatment, they feel relaxed and happy at the dentist.

When do my child's teeth come through?

All children are different and develop at different rates, however, the following is a general guide.

First or ‘baby’ teeth have usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around six months. All twenty baby teeth should be through by the age of two-and-a-half.

The first permanent ‘adult’ molars (back teeth) will appear at about six years, behind the baby teeth and before the first teeth start to fall out. The adult teeth will then replace the baby teeth. It is usually the lower front teeth that are lost first, followed by the upper front teeth shortly after. All adult teeth should be in place by the age of thirteen, except the wisdom teeth. These may come through at any time between eighteen and twenty five years of age.

 

Dental Crowns

Why do I need a crown?

Crowns repair broken teeth and make them strong again. You may also have a crown if you’ve had root canal therapy and need to protect what is left of the tooth. Sometimes crowns are required to hold a bridge or a denture in place.

How long is the treatment and does it hurt?

You will need to have at least two visits. In the first visit, we prepare the tooth, take impressions and record the shade of the tooth. We then fit the temporary crown. In the second visit, we fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 1 to 2 weeks between appointments.

It shouldn’t hurt. You can have a local anaesthetic and the preparation work should feel no different from a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, you may not need a local anaesthetic.

Will the crown look and feel different?

The crown will be made to match your other teeth as closely as possible.

The shape will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned, but within a few days you will not notice the difference. If your bite does not feel comfortable, come back and ask us to check and adjust it.

What is the crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials. Some of the most options are listed below.

Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.

Porcelain: these crowns are made completely from porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns. But they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.

All-ceramic: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

Glass: these crowns look very natural and can be used anywhere in the mouth.

Gold-alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it very hardwearing. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.

Dentures

Why do I need dentures?

Wearing dentures replaces lost or missing teeth and allows you to eat your food comfortably and smile with confidence.

If have gaps between your teeth where teeth are missing, then your other teeth may move to take up some of the space, so you could end up with crooked or tilted teeth. This could affect the way you bite and could damage your other teeth.

 

Can I have dentures straightaway after having teeth removed?

Yes, usually dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called ‘immediate dentures’. You will need to visit the dental team beforehand for them to take measurements and impressions of your mouth.

With immediate dentures you don’t have to be without teeth while your gums are healing. However, bone and gums can shrink over time. If they do, then your immediate dentures may need relining, adjusting or even replacing.

Sometimes we advise waiting until your gums are healed, as this can result in a better fit. Healing may take several months.

 

Will dentures change my appearance?

A full denture gives support to your cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person look older and they will find it harder to eat and speak properly, so dentures should actually enhance your appearance if you have had missing teeth previously.

Partial dentures can be made to closely match your natural teeth.

 

Is it easy to eat with dentures?

Eating with dentures takes a bit of practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth at the same time to stop the denture moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you get back to your normal healthy diet.

If you are concerned about this, please talk to us about other dental options available to replace missing teeth, such as dental implants and bridges. You may find these suit you better.

Will dentures affect the way I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may take practice. Practice reading out loud and repeating difficult words and you will get used to talking with dentures.

If you find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile, reposition them by gently biting down and swallowing. If this happens a lot, come back to see us as it may be that the fit is not right.

If you are considering dentures and concerned about this, have a chat with the dentist and he will outline other options, such as dental implants and bridges, that may be available to you instead.

 

When I first get dentures, how long should I wear them for?

During the first few days, we may advise you to wear them for most of the time, including while you are asleep. After your mouth gets used to the dentures, we may advise you to take them out before bed. This allows your gums to rest and helps keep your mouth healthy. If you are not wearing your dentures at night, it is best to store them in a small amount of water to stop them warping.

Will I need to use denture fixative?

You shouldn’t need a denture fixative. Some people like to use one to give them extra confidence or if their dentures start to become loose before they have them replaced. A poorly fitting denture may cause irritation and sores, so please pop in to see us if you are having problems with your dentures.

How should I care for my dentures?

This will be explained to you when we fit your dentures.

Always take care when taking dentures in and out. Dentures may break if you drop them. Clean dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them.

To clean dentures, brush them before soaking them, to help remove any bits of food. Use an effervescent denture cleaner to remove stubborn stains  – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, using toothpaste and a small- to medium-headed toothbrush. Clean all surfaces but be careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.

If you notice a build-up of stains or scale, ask our dental team for advice and help.

With dentures, do I still need to clean my mouth?

Yes. Every morning and evening, brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft brush. This removes plaque and helps the blood circulation in your mouth. If you wear partial dentures, it is even more important that you brush your teeth thoroughly every day. This will help tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to you losing more of your teeth. Ask the dentist for advice if you are unsure.

If I have full dentures do I still need to visit the dentist?

Yes, regular check ups are still important.  These examinations allow the dentist to spot any infections, mouth conditions or even mouth cancer at the earliest stages. Check with us about how often you should visit.

Do dentures last for ever?

If you treat your dentures well, they should last for several years. However, they will need to be re-lined or re-made because of normal wear and tear or because your bone and gum ridges have shrunk, causing your jaws to meet differently. Loose dentures can cause discomfort, and health problems including sores and infections, as well making eating and talking more difficult. It is important to replace worn or badly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

Fissure Treatment

What is involved?

The process is quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard., sealing any fissures and pits so that they do not develop into cavities.

Will applying a sealant cause any discomfort or pain?

No – both during and after the application you should feel no discomfort or pain.

How long will the sealant last?

Sealants usually last for many years, but we will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes we need to add some sealant to make sure that no decay starts underneath.

How does it work?

The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier by covering grooves and dips in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay can happen if these grooves are not sealed.

Can I brush my teeth with the sealant on?

Yes. You’ll find the smooth, sealed surface is much easier to keep clean. Use a fluoride toothpaste, last thing at night and at least one other time during the day.  Fissure treatment reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need, so with good brushing and avoidance of sugary drinks and snacks, you’re on to a winner!

Root Canal Therapy

Does root canal therapy hurt?

No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. There may be some tenderness afterwards but this should gradually get less over time. You will probably feel relief as, if you have previously been suffering from an abscess, that can be extremely uncomfortable!

What stages of treatment will I need?

Normally you will need at least two appointments.

In the first, the infected pulp is removed and any abscesses drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

In the second visit, the tooth is checked and, when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.

Will my tooth look different after root canal therapy?

In the past, a root-filled tooth would often darken after treatment but with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments that you can have to restore the natural appearance.

What if I choose not to go ahead with root canal treatment?

The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can’t heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth.

Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible in order to help keep the remaining teeth stable and retain the natural line of the jaw.

Will the tooth be stable after treatment?

Yes but because a ‘dead’ tooth is more brittle, you may be advised to have a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

How do I care for my tooth after treatment?

Root-canal treated teeth need to be cared for in just the same way as your other teeth. Clean twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, minimise consumption of sugary foods and drinks and have them only at mealtimes if possible, and have for regular dental check-ups.

Tooth extraction

What should I do on the day after having my tooth out?

Take it easy for the rest of the day. Rest as much as you can and don’t exercise.

When resting, keep your head up and,  for the first night using an extra pillow if possible. It is also a good idea to use an old pillowcase, or put a towel on the pillow, in case you bleed a little.

 

 

Is there anything I should avoid?

Avoid hot food or drinks until the anaesthetic wears off. This is important as you cannot feel pain properly and may scald your mouth. Also be careful not to chew your cheek. This is quite a common problem, which can happen when there is no feeling.

Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours, as this can encourage bleeding and delay healing. Eat and drink lukewarm food as normal but avoid chewing on that area of your mouth.

Avoid eating on that side or letting your tongue disturb it. This can allow infection into the socket and affect healing.

If you are a smoker, try to avoid smoking for at least a day.

Can I rinse my mouth out?

Do not be tempted to rinse the area for the first 24 hours. It is important to allow the socket to heal, and you must be careful not to damage the blood clot.

Can I brush my teeth?

It is important to keep your mouth clean after an extraction. However, you do need to be careful around the extraction site. Brush carefully.

What should I do if it bleeds?

Some slight bleeding in the first day or so is normal. A small amount of blood mixed with a larger amount of saliva, can look more dramatic than it really is.

If you do notice bleeding, do not rinse out, but apply pressure to the socket. Bite firmly on a folded piece of clean cotton material such as a handkerchief for at least 15 minutes. Make sure this is placed directly over the extraction site and that the pad is replaced if necessary.

If the bleeding has not stopped after an hour or two, please get in touch with us.

Is there anything I can do to speed up the healing process?

After the first 24 hours, you can gently rinse with a  teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water twice a day to help to clean and heal the area. We recommend continuing this for at least a week.

It is important to have a healthy diet and possibly take a Vitamin C supplement to help your mouth to heal.

If I am in pain, can I take pain relief tablets?

There will usually be some tenderness in the area for the first few days, and in most cases some simple pain relief is enough to ease the discomfort. What you would normally take for a headache should be enough, but do not take aspirin as this can lead to bleeding.

Occasionally, an infection can get in the socket and cause pain. If you are getting a lot of pain,  it is important to see your dentist, who may place a dressing in the socket and prescribe a course of antibiotics to help relieve the infection. You may also feel the sharp edge of the socket with your tongue and sometimes small pieces of bone may work their way to the surface of the socket. This is perfectly normal.

Veneers

Is it easy to have a veneer fitted and what's involved?

Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy. Very little preparation of the tooth is needed as veneers are very thin and are held in place by a special, strong adhesive. Some veneers don’t need any preparation at all. Generally a veneer will require two to three dental visits.

A small amount of the outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed in the first visit – the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted – so that the tooth stays the same size. A local anaesthetic may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but often this is not required. Your tooth will look the same but just feel a bit rougher. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dental team will take an impression of the tooth so that the veneer can be custom made to fit. The colour of the surrounding teeth will be matched on a shade guide to get the right colour and ensure that the veneer will look like a natural tooth.

In the second visit, the dentist will show you the veneer to check you are happy with the shade and then bond it to the tooth. Our dental team may want to check and polish your venner a week or so after it is fitted, and make sure that you are happy with it.

How long should my veneer last?

Veneers should last for many years but, as with normal teeth, they can chip or break, so you do need to take care of them. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.

What's the alternative to a veneer?

Natural-coloured fillings can be used for minor repairs to front teeth but sometimes the tooth will not support the filling and it can be very difficult for broken tooth corners. You will always see a join between the tooth and the filling material, so they are not as attractive as veneers.

Crowns are better when teeth which need to be strengthened – either because they have broken, have been weakened by a very large filling, and sometimes more extensive root canal treatment may be required if the tooth’s nerve has been damaged.

White fillings

Are white fillings as good as silver amalgams?

White fillings used to be less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings but nowadays they are almost as good as silver amalgam. How long the white filling lasts will depend on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. We can advise you according to where in your mouth the filling is required and the state of the tooth.

How much will a white filling cost me?

We charge from £70 (£63 if you are one of our Dental Plan members). The cost varies depending on the size and type of white filling used and the time it takes to complete the treatment. We will give you a clear price prior to you deciding on treatment.

Should I replace my old silver amalgam fillings with white ones?

It is usually best to change fillings only when they need replacing. If your filling does need replacing, you can ask to have a white filling instead and your dentist will advise you accordingly.