If you have questions about our service at Mount Druitt Dental or how to take care of common dental problems, read our FAQs for answers.
FAQs about problems
If your gums are bleeding, it could be a sign of gum disease. Get your teeth professionally cleaned and checked for periodontal disease (advanced/damaging gum disease) to see if you need further treatment.
If this occurs frequently, you might need more advice on oral hygiene. You could also be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Either way, your dentist can advise you about what to do.
Many factors can cause halitosis (bad breath), including gum disease, tooth decay, or an infection. Bad breath can even come from your throat, stomach or sinus.
Certain foods (such as garlic, onion and coffee) cause bad breath and create stomach problems, which can lead to bad breath.
Smoking is also a common cause of bad breath, due to the cigarettes themselves, as well as a dry mouth and a change in the oral bacteria in your mouth.
Tension headaches can be caused by teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), usually during sleep. This can be caused by stress, poor sleep or other factors.
As well as causing headaches, bruxism can damage your teeth. One solution is a night splint to protect your teeth, muscles and jaw joint. Read more about nightguards and splints.
However, headaches can be caused by many issues, so start by talking to your doctor and dentist to establish the cause.
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by gum disease, decay and gum recession. All of these are usually due to exposed dentine, which is the tooth substance under the enamel. Your enamel can be damaged by dietary or stomach acids, or just brushing too hard.
Your dentist will look for the cause of your sensitivity and give you some options to relieve it. This might be as simple as changing your toothpaste.
Mouth ulcers are very common and can occur for no apparent reason. Sometimes, stress or trauma (like sharp foods or slight knocks) can cause an ulcer to develop. Additionally, they may occur if you’re low in iron or vitamin B12.
These ulcers usually heal in 10–14 days, but see your dentist if they last longer.
Most people have their wisdom teeth removed at some stage. These teeth often create problems like coming through at strange angles (impaction) or decay or gum infections (pericoronitis) because they’re difficult to reach and clean properly.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone should get them removed. As with all procedures, there are risks involved. Your dentist can check your wisdom teeth either in your mouth or on an x-ray to advise whether they should come out. Read more about tooth extraction.
FAQs about treatment
Teeth whitening can cause sensitivity, but doesn’t cause long-term damage if it’s done safely.
One option to minimise sensitivity is to go through the whitening process more slowly. Instead of doing it in one session at the dentist, we could custom-fit a whitening guard for use at home. Slow release and low-dose formulas might be more suitable for you.
Read more about teeth whitening.
X-rays allow your dentists to check areas of your teeth that they can’t see visually. They will usually take ‘bite-wing’ x-rays every two years so they can detect and treat any decay before it becomes a major problem.
Most people should get a regular check-up every six months. However, if you’re highly susceptible to gum disease, you should get your teeth checked and cleaned every three months. Your dentist can advise if you need more frequent check-ups.
Read more about regular dental check-ups.
Modern dental treatment is improving all the time. Now with the use of anaesthetics, you should not experience any pain. If you’re having a complex treatment, your dentist might even recommend general anaesthetic so you can sleep through the procedure.
Of course, if you do feel any discomfort or pain during a treatment, tell your dentist immediately.
FAQs about children
The sooner a child has their first kids dental visit, the better. This will establish good dental habits early in life and reduce any anxiety about the dentist.
Any time after they turn two is ideal, and definitely before their first adult teeth come through at around six years. Read more about early dental visits.
Many children’s TV shows feature visits to the doctor and dentist to help kids understand what it’s all about.
You could have a ‘practice run’ at home by having them lie on the bed and counting their teeth using a torch.
Avoid saying things like ‘There’s no need to be scared’ because they won’t actually have a fear of a dentist unless the idea is put into their head. Instead, describe it as a fun visit where they can ride in a magic chair and get a reward at the end.
They could also accompany you or an older sibling to watch their dental visit to see what happens (unless the person they’re watching has anxiety issues).
If your child is younger than six years old, you should stay with them. After this age, they might benefit from having their examination without you in the room. (Some children react more when parents are present.)
You know what’s best for your child and you can always discuss it with your dentist.
The best way to prevent dental problems in children is to instil good habits early. This includes:
- brushing twice a day
- avoiding sugary food and drink, including fruit juices
- avoiding snacking
- not using food as reward.
When your children are young, they will only eat and drink what you give them. So if you don’t introduce them to sugary food and drink, they won’t know it exists!
If you bottle-feed your baby, remove the bottle as soon as they’re finished rather than leave it with them. As babies have a weak immune system, their baby teeth can develop tooth decay if they always have milk in their mouth.
There is no strong evidence that dummies cause long-term damage to teeth if you stop using it well before the child gets their adult teeth. However, there is some evidence that a dummy can delay speech development.
FAQs about home care
If you clean your teeth well with a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush won’t clean any better.
However, most people do miss some areas when cleaning manually, so an electric brush can be useful in these situations. Ultimately, it’s all about technique.
Yes! Flossing at least once a day significantly reduces plaque build-up and gum disease. When brushing, most people miss up to half of the surface of their back. Flossing between your teeth is the key to dental health.
You should brush at least twice a day. Some people brush after every meal, but you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything acidic (e.g. fruit juice).
The most important time to brush is before you go to bed, as your saliva flow is lower while you’re asleep.
Mouthwash can be helpful to use with brushing and flossing, but the physical cleaning is the most effective part. However, mouthwash can reduce gingivitis.
The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride, which is in most commercial toothpastes. So any of those is usually fine.
However, if you have a specific problem, your dentist might recommend a toothpaste to help with it. For example, you might need sensitive toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth.