didcotdentist.co.uk    |    Dr. James M Brown & Associates    |    8 Lostock Place, Didcot, OX11 7XT

Tel: 01235 815000 | email: enquiries@didcotdentist.co.uk | Twitter: @ladygrovedp

Frequently Asked Questions: General

Q. I want to take better care of my teeth and gums but the thought of a dental appointment terrifies me. Is there any way I can reduce the panic?
A. There are a number of methods that your dentist can use to calm your nerves and make your treatment more comfortable. These range from simple relaxation techniques to intravenous sedation. Which treatment is best for you will depend on the severity of your anxiety.

Q. If I choose to have my treatment under intravenous sedation, will I be put to sleep?
A. Intravenous sedation will relax you to the point where you probably won't even remember the appointment - but you will be conscious throughout.

Q. I find the numbing sensation of local anaesthetic really unpleasant but I'm reluctant to have any treatment without it. What can I do?
A. Many dental procedures can now be carried out without anaesthetic but if a particular procedure does require it, ask your dentist about the possibility of only anaesthetising the tooth that needs treatment. This will reduce the numbness in your mouth but you still won't feel a thing.

Q. I've read about a plastic coating that can be applied to teeth. What's this for?
A. These plastic coatings protect the biting surface of the tooth from food and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

Q My black fillings look so awful that I feel self-conscious when I laugh. How can I improve the appearance of my teeth?
A. This black filling material is amalgam, and although it's a very strong and practical way to fill teeth, it can look unattractive. Ask your dentist about the possibility of replacing your amalgam fillings with another, less visible, material like porcelain or white composite.

Q Are white fillings expensive?
A. The cost really depends on the type of white filling you want. For white composite fillings in your back teeth, expect to pay between £40 and £70.

Frequently Asked Questions: Wisdom Teeth.

Q. What are wisdom teeth?
A. Wisdom teeth are the four teeth that sit the furthest back in your mouth. They are the last of your 32 teeth to come through.

Q. At what age should I expect my wisdom teeth to come through?
A. Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. In some people they can erupt much later; in others they never come through.

Q. I can feel my wisdom teeth inside my gum but they don't seem to be able to break through. Why is that?
A. Your jaws may only have room to accommodate 28 teeth. So when the last of your 32 teeth – the wisdom teeth – try to erupt, there's no room.

Q. Does everyone need to have their wisdom teeth removed?
A. No. Your wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they are decayed or if they are causing you pain.

Q. I think I may need to have my wisdom teeth taken out but I'm afraid that it will be too painful. Does it really hurt that much?
A. With local anaesthetic you should not feel any pain during the extraction, but you may experience swelling and some discomfort for a few days after the teeth have been removed.

Q. I'm due to have my wisdom teeth removed and I'd prefer a general anaesthetic. Can I have one?
A. Yes. It is possible to have a General Anaesthetic but most dental surgeries can now offer intravenous sedation. You'll be awake throughout but you won't feel a thing and you won't even remember the appointment.

Anxious Patients

Q. Will I need to go to hospital to have my wisdom teeth removed?
A. Not necessarily. In most cases it's possible to have your wisdom teeth extracted at the dental surgery, but more complex cases may be referred to an oral surgeon.

Q. What risks do I need to be aware of before I decide to have my wisdom teeth removed?
A. Any form of surgery involves an element of minor risk and some patients experience pain and swelling after surgery. When lower wisdom teeth are removed, there is a risk of bruising to the nerves at the root of your teeth, which can cause temporary numbness and tingling in your lips and tongue.

Q. Will I need to take time off work when my wisdom teeth are taken out – and if so - how much?
A. This varies from person to person and can depend on the difficulty of the extraction. As a rough guide, allow for 4 to 5 days recovery time.

Q. My upper wisdom teeth need to be removed. Will I suffer pain after the procedure?
A. Upper wisdom teeth are relatively easy to extract and you shouldn't experience any significant post-operative pain. Your dentist will supply analgesics to deal with any discomfort you suffer and, if you are nervous about the procedure, the treatment can be carried out under conscious sedation.

Q. If my lower wisdom teeth are removed will the shape of my face change?
A. No. The shape of your face shouldn't change because your jaw line is defined by your lower jaw - not by your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions: Orthodontics.

Q. What does orthodontics mean?
A. Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry that deals with improving the alignment and function of teeth.

Q. What is the best age to have braces fitted?
A. Braces can work for adults but the treatment will take considerably longer so the earlier your braces are fitted the better.

Q. I have crooked teeth and I'd like to try a brace – what types are available?
A. The two most common types of dental braces are: fixed braces and removable braces. Fixed braces are attached to teeth by small brackets connected by wires and only a dentist can remove them. Removable braces are made of plastic with wires that hold the brace in place. You can remove this type of brace to clean it.

Q. What type of brace is most suitable for me?
A. Your dentist will use x-rays and models of your teeth to decide which type of brace is most suitable for you.

Q. I need fixed braces but I don't like the way they look – what can I do?
A. The brackets that hold fixed braces in position are usually made of stainless steel. Ceramic or plastic brackets are tooth coloured and blend in to your teeth much better. They are an increasingly popular choice.

Q. Do braces hurt?
A. You won't feel any pain when your brace is fitted but you might feel some discomfort as the brace starts to work and your teeth begin to move.

Q. For how long will I have to wear a brace?
A. The length of treatment can vary but most braces take 18 months to move your teeth into the correct position. Another type brace - called a retainer - is then fitted to hold your teeth in place for the next few months.

Q. Can braces damage my teeth?
A. Braces use very gentle pressure to move your teeth into position so, as long as you avoid tooth decay by keeping your brace and your teeth clean, it won't do any damage. See orthodontics.

Q. Does orthodontics work for adults?
A. Yes. Orthodontics can be used to correct problems in adults but the treatment can take a lot longer.

Frequently Asked Questions: Emergencies.

Q. What is the best thing to do if a whole tooth is knocked out?
A. In surgery hours contact the practice immediately on 01235 815000. Outside surgery hours contact NHS Direct. Keep the tooth in the inside of your cheek, or wrap it in a clean cloth and store it in a container filled with milk. It may be possible to re-implant the tooth within half an hour of the injury.

Q. What should I do if my child falls and breaks a tooth?
A. Call the surgery to ask for advice and make an appointment as soon as possible. Use the recommended dose of Calpol to ease any pain or discomfort, stick to soft foods and keep the affected area as clean as possible by washing with hot salt-water and brushing gently.

Q. If my crown comes away from the tooth what can I do to hold it in place until I get to the surgery?
A. Denture adhesive will hold the crown in place for a short while and sugar free chewing gum is an emergency solution but never use superglue to fix a crown and always get to the surgery as soon as possible.

Q. What should I do if I break my denture and need an urgent replacement?
A. If your denture breaks, never stick the denture together with superglue. Contact the practice during surgery hours on 01235 815000. If the surgery is closed, use the phone book to find the nearest Dental Technician who can repair your denture.

See Dentures

Q. What should I do if I break a tooth while eating?
A. Call the surgery as soon as possible on 01235 815000 to make an appointment, keep the tooth clean and avoid biting down hard.

Q. Can clove oil ease the pain of toothache?
A. Clove oil has anaesthetic properties and it can ease the pain but, if you are suffering from toothache, always make an appointment with the surgery as soon as possible.

Q. Can teeth that have suffered a sharp blow and turned blue/black be repaired?
A. Root canal therapy can help to save the tooth and, depending on the severity, the colour can be restored by tooth whitening, veneers or crowns. Your dentist will advise you of the best option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions: Pregnancy and Children.

Q. Why is it so important for pregnant women to visit their dentist?
A. Hormonal changes in a pregnant woman's body can result in gum problems, including swelling and bleeding, so it's important to visit your dentist and keep up with routine appointments.

Q. When should I bring my baby to the dentist for the first time?
A. A baby's first teeth appear at around six months old but, unless there's a problem, we would not normally examine them until the last baby teeth appear at around 26 to 36 months. But try to introduce your baby to the dentist as soon as possible by bringing them with you on your next check up. This will help your baby to get used to the practice, become familiar with the dentist and feel more comfortable when we count their teeth for the first time.

Q. Will I need to give my baby fluoride supplements?
A. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps fight tooth decay. If your water supply does not already contain fluoride, it can be beneficial to give your baby fluoride supplements from about the age of 6 months. But always take advice from your dentist first.

Q. Is it safe to have dental treatment when I'm pregnant?
A. Any dental treatment is safe during pregnancy but it's better to avoid x-ray and, unless the treatment is urgent, it's usually better to wait until after the baby is born. The Department of Health advises against replacing amalgam fillings during pregnancy, but this can be done safely if it's absolutely necessary.

Q. Are low sugar drinks better for my child's teeth?
A. They're certainly better than drinks that contain lots of sugar, but even low sugar drinks can cause cavities. It's always better to give your child water or milk, and always make sure their teeth are brushed after drinking any sweetened or fizzy drinks.

Q. When is the best time to start brushing my baby's teeth?
A. It's best to start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they come through.

Q. What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A. Use a special baby toothbrush with water or a ‘milk teeth' toothpaste to gently brush your baby's teeth and gums. Only use a small amount of toothpaste as babies usually swallow it. For more information on infant dental care, ask your dentist.

Q. When should I encourage my baby to stop sucking a dummy?
A. A dummy can affect the growth of a child's jaws if the child continues to use it beyond 16 to 24 months. But before this age a dummy will do no real harm.

Q. What can I do to relieve my baby's teething pains?
A. Consult your dentist to check that there is no other cause of the pain. If your child is definitely suffering from teething pain, then the recommended dose of Calpol or a teething gel can help.

Frequently Asked Questions: Dentures.

Q. I've had my dentures for years, when do I need to replace them?
A. In general terms, Dentures should be renewed every 4 to 5 years. But always make an appointment to see your dentists if your dentures become, sore, loose or comfortable.

Q. I need to have all my teeth removed. How soon can I get dentures to replace them?
A.

Q. My upper false teeth keep breaking. What can I do to stop this happening?
A. A denture with a metal palate would be stronger and something you may like to consider.

Q. I had my old dentures for years. Since I replaced them, I'm finding it hard to get used to my new set. Why?
A. New dentures often don't feel as comfortable as your old pair as the muscles in your mouth will need time to adjust to the new shape and position of the teeth.

Q. My dentures look too perfect. How can I make them look more realistic?
A. A variety of stains and effects can be used to make dentures look more natural. You could even have filling put into your dentures for a more a more authentic look.

Q. I have complete dentures. How often do I need a check up?
A. You should have a check up at least once a year but, depending on your treatment, your dentist may recommend more regular visits.

Q. What's the best way to keep my dentures clean?
A. The best and safest method is to use a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can, also, use proprietary cleaners but please follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Q. What's the best way to fix loose dentures?
A. Dentures usually become loose because your gums have shrunk. Visit your dentist to find out whether your dentures can be tightened and to check whether they need to be replaced. If it's not possible to make your dentures tighter your dentist can recommend a good quality adhesive.

Q. How can wearing dentures cause thrush in my mouth?
A. Thrush is an infection caused by a yeast called Candida, which is present is everyone's mouth. Candida is attracted to the material used to make dentures, so it's fairly common for denture wearers to develop the infection. Thrush can cause the areas under the denture, or at the side of the mouth, to become sore and reddened. It can't be passed from person to person and it's relatively easy to treat by applying an anti-fungal cream to your mouth and soaking your dentures in a sterilizing medium.

Q. I'm afraid of losing my dentures. What can I do to put my mind at rest?
A. Ask you dentist about making a copy of your dentures.

Q. I wear complete dentures but I'd like to switch to something more fixed. What are the alternatives?
A. Implants are the only solution for people who have no teeth. Your dentist will be able to recommend the best type of implants for you.

Q. Why is it important to retain broken teeth when having a denture fitted?
A. Retaining teeth and roots helps to preserve the surrounding bone and provides support for the denture. In some cases retained roots can be fitted with attachments to help hold the dentures in place.

Q. What should I do if I break my denture and need an urgent replacement?
A. If your denture breaks, never stick the denture together with superglue. Contact the practice during surgery hours on 01235 815000. If the surgery is closed, use the phone book to find the nearest Dental Technician who can repair your denture.