What causes decay in teeth?
- Increased sugar intake.
- Poor oral hygiene.
What are the causes of a tooth loss?
The two commonest causes of tooth loss are –
- Tooth Decay
- Periodontal (Gum) disease
Another cause is trauma (injury). Sometimes, a tooth fails to be formed; with the result it appears lost, while it is actually missing.
How can I keep my teeth clean?
- Proper brushing of teeth, twice a day – Once in the morning and the other at bedtime.
- Using a dental floss once a day.
- Rinsing your mouth with a mild antibacterial mouthwash, once a day, preferably at bedtime.
Why should I get my teeth cleaned? How often should I get my teeth cleaned?
- In spite of your best efforts and regular home-care measures, there could be areas where your cleaning measures are not effective. Plaque and tartar starts growing from such places in your mouth. By opting for professional cleaning (called Scaling) periodically, you could be assured of thoroughly clean teeth and healthy gums.
- At ‘Vardhman Dental Care’, we assess your requirement for a professional cleaning, and advise it accordingly. It could be anywhere from 3 months to 1 year.
Will my teeth get loose/sensitive/thin after professional cleaning (Scaling)?
- At ‘Vardhman Dental Care’ we use ultrasonic scaling equipment for teeth-cleaning. The procedure is gentle, comfortable and only involves the removal of the tartar & stains sticking on the teeth, without causing any damage to the teeth.
- In some people, there could be a mild to moderate temporary sensitivity to cold drinks & foods. Typically, this self-corrects within a couple of days.
- The widespread myth of teeth getting loose after cleaning has been largely spread by people who had loose teeth before getting them cleaned; but never realized that, because the heavy tartar deposits on teeth had got wedged between teeth. On removing the tartar, the teeth would feel loose. It was the tartar deposit itself that had caused the loosening of teeth in the first place! We recommend potentially weak teeth to be ‘Splinted’ prior to cleaning appointment. This is a process by which the loose teeth firm-up and remain so even after cleaning.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Sources of radiation include sunlight, minerals in soil, home-appliances, dental x-rays, etc. Exposure to all these can damage body tissues. Moreover, the radiation during a dental x-ray is very low. At Vardhman Dental Care, we take care of minimizing even this exposure by the following steps-
- Using Lead Aprons to protect you from any stray radiations.
- Using high-speed x-ray films. These need a very short exposure time.
- Using x-ray only when it is justified.
What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?
- Dental Sealant is a thin, plastic material which is made to flow into thin and deep grooves, pits & crevices of teeth. It then solidifies to create a protective seal that effectively prevents food from leaking inside and causing decay.
- The procedure of sealing requires absolutely no grinding or drilling of the tooth.
- We recommend a dental check-up for children as soon as their teeth appear in their mouth, following which the teeth susceptible to decay are selected for the sealant-protection. Even adults can be benefited from dental sealants.
- Sealants are long-lasting, but should be periodically checked for any chip-offs.
- Sealants are not meant for teeth once they develop any decay. Such teeth require fillings.
I’m interested in changing the shape of my teeth. How can this be done?
There are some options available, depending upon the situation –
- Long or large teeth:
- Re-contouring or Re-shaping in form of mild grinding (Coronoplasty/Enameloplasty)
(For excessively large teeth) Crowning, with or without Root Canal Treatment (R.C.T.)
- Short or small teeth:
- Veneers – A layer is placed on the teeth to give them the desired length and shape. Types of veneers-
- Direct – These are prepared during your visit to the clinic. This means, you walk out of the clinic with a new smile. The direct veneers are made of Composites.
- Indirect – The procedure requires two sittings – First, to prepare the teeth and recording their measurement to be sent to the dental laboratory for fabrication of veneers. The second sitting involves placement of the prepared veneers. Indirect veneers are of any of these two types –
- Ceramic – Made out of ceramic, which has got tooth-like properties. Superior esthetics.
- Composite – Composites of today have approached closer to ceramics than ever before. Cost-effective.
- Gum re-shaping by Laser – This is required if you have a gummy smile along with small teeth. A single-sitting procedure is needed to produce the desired result with minimal discomfort, no bleeding, no need for stitches and speedy recovery.
- Orthodontic (braces) treatment to close spacing between teeth.
- Veneers – A layer is placed on the teeth to give them the desired length and shape. Types of veneers-
- Badly-shaped teeth:
- Coronoplasty/ Enameloplasty
- Bonding – A layer of composite material is applied to the teeth to increase their size. With improved bonding strengths, they can give a long-lasting solution. They are often repairable in case of minor chipping-off, and might require some touch-up or polishing from time to time.
- Broken/Chipped Teeth:
- Bonding – The missing portion of such teeth is built-up using composites.
- Teeth with gaps:
- Overlapping Teeth:
- Lopsided/Skewed/Reverse Smile-line:
There are so many toothpastes to choose from. Which one is good for me?
- Toothpastes with Fluoride have been shown to protect against decay to an extent. The toothpastes meant for children (younger than 6years of age) have lower fluoride content. This is so that if they were to accidently swallow a bit of it, it would not harm them.
- Different toothpastes come with different purposes – Gum-protection, Whitening, Relieving sensitivity, Caries-Protection etc. We routinely suggest specific toothpastes for you as per your requirement.
- You might have a personal preference for a particular flavor or type (gel or paste). These also have a role in helping you choose the toothpaste of your choice.
- Lastly, what matters more is not the type of your toothpaste, but the manner of your tooth-brushing.
How do whitening toothpastes work and how effective are they?
- Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives & polishing ingredients which lighten the surface stains to some extent. Some toothpastes might also contain chemicals, such as mild bleaching substances. These can lighten your teeth by about 1 shade. In contrast, the lightening achieved by professional whitening is from 3 to 8 shades. Whitening toothpastes can be used following professional whitening to sustain its effect.
What’s the difference between the bleaching I can do at home with a kit from the store and the bleaching that my dentist does?
- You might come across teeth-whitening kits at stores. The differences between such over-the-counter (OTC) kits and the ones your dentist selects for you are –
- Everybody has different requirements for whitening. While it could be due to darkening of teeth caused by stains & abrasion in some, it could be due to an inherent deficiency, developmental defect or an injury. The OTC kits cannot differentiate between the different approaches needed for different causes of discoloration of teeth.
- OTC kits can provide only mild whitening, if at all (1 to 2 shades lightening). The whitening process used by your dentist could give you a more profound whitening (3 to 8 shades).
Do I really have to go to the dentist every six months? Do I need x-rays at each visit?
Your visit to your dentist, in absence of any of dental problem, would depend on factors such as the tendency of your teeth getting cavities, the health of your gums and other tooth surrounding regions of your mouth, the efficacy of your cleaning methods. Typically, this means a six monthly visit. However, your dentist might feel the need for a check-up sooner (e.g., three monthly), if your mouth health is unpredictable. It is important that rather than getting apprehensive about such visits, you should have a feeling of being cared for. The purpose of a regular check-up is
- To check for the integrity of your old fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, etc.
- To carefully check your teeth for any new or developing cavities (This would require dental x-rays).
- To assess your oral hygiene methods and the condition of your gums, tongue, lips, cheek-lining and palate.
(In answer to the second part of your question) X-rays are an important aid to detect developing problems of hard tissues, which in case of dentistry, includes teeth and surrounding part of the bone. We recommend full-mouth x-rays every 6 months (if you have a tendency to develop dental problems) or at least once a year (if you are free from dental problems). The exposure to radiation is very low, well within the permissible limits. On top of this, we use adequate protection (lead-apron) to prevent any stray radiation from coming in contact with you.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
The care of your child’s oral health has to begin even before he/she gets the first teeth. This should be in form of a moistened clean and sterile gauze/cotton swab used to gently wipe the gum pads. Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be when the first teeth appear in his/her mouth. We utilize this appointment to check for any tendency of the child to develop dental decay (e.g., nursing bottle caries), and to guide you about dental-care to ensure a good dental health for future. Subsequently, 3 or 6 monthly visits would be advised for your loved one.
What is a Dental-Implant?
A Dental-Implant is an artificial ‘tooth’ directly placed into the jaw-bone to replace a lost tooth. Unlike a bridge or a denture, it does not need any support from either teeth or gums. Implants can be used to provide support for bridges and dentures, even when the jaw-bone has deteriorated a lot. It is interesting that the history of implants dates back to 3000BC! The current concept originated in the 1950s. Hence, the use of dental-implants is not new.
Are there any age-limitations for getting a dental-implant?
One can get a dental-implant at any age. More important are factors such as one’s general health and the condition of the jaw-bone.
Is getting a dental-implant painful? When can I resume my normal routine?
The procedure for placing an implant is done after temporarily numbing the region (similar to that done at the time of a root canal treatment, tooth-removal etc.). Some medicines are prescribed so that your recovery period stays comfortable for you. You could resume your normal routine within 24 hours, unless a situation requires further rest.