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Frequently Asked Questions

At DesignDentistry we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions.

We understand that taking in all of your treatment information during your consultation can be difficult. For this reason DesignDentistry has developed the Questions & Answers area of our website. Containing the answers to the most commonly asked questions we hear from patients, our Q & A’s are updated on a regular basis and cover all areas of dental treatment.


What are wisdom teeth?

They’re the last teeth to erupt in the back of your mouth. Usually, they erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Occasionally, though, they find their way out much later than that; some never erupt at all.

Thanks to evolution, we’re evolving into the proud owners of smaller jaws; unfortunately our teeth aren’t quite keeping pace. Most of our jaws only have room for 28 teeth although we have 32.

Basically, this means that the last teeth to erupt, which are the wisdom teeth, have nowhere to go if there’s not enough room remaining.


What’s the best way to prevent gum disease?

Conscientious removal of plaque by flossing, brushing and regular professional cleanings will minimise your risk of gum disease.

However, there are other factors that can affect the health of your gums, such as stress, diabetes, genetics and pregnancy.


What happens if I just ignore getting my teeth cleaned?

As the plaque and calculus accumulate, the periodontal disease continues. Supporting tissues around the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, bone) are lost.

Periodontal pockets form which trap additional plaque. Bad breath often accompanies this condition. Once the bone that supports the teeth is lost, it will not regrow without surgical intervention.


What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria found in plaque. If plaque is not regularly removed, it calcifies into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. By-products of bacterial metabolism irritate the gums, making them red, tender, swollen and more prone to bleeding.

Eventually, the supporting periodontal structures begin to breakdown. The result of this slow process is tissue loss, bone loss and eventual tooth loss.


What does periodontal treatment involve?

In the earlier states of gum disease (mild to moderate periodontitis), most treatment involves scaling and root planning. The procedure aims to remove plaque and calculus from the surface of the tooth adjacent to gum tissue.

The periodontal pockets around the tooth are cleaned as well as the hard and soft tissue of the mouth. In the majority of early gum disease cases, treatment entails improved home care techniques and scaling and root planning.

Advanced cases may require surgical treatment.


While biting hard food I broke one of my teeth. What should I do?

If you are not in any pain then ring the dentist as soon as possible and make an appointment, but try and keep the tooth as clean as possible and avoid biting hard on that tooth. If you have pain, then you will need to go to your dentist immediately as it is an emergency.

When a tooth is pushed out of position:
Attempt to reposition the tooth to its normal alignment using very light finger pressure, but do not force the tooth.

Bite down to keep the tooth from moving.

Your dentist may splint the tooth in place to the two healthy teeth next to the loose tooth.


My tooth was knocked out, how soon should I see a dentist?

Immediately. Getting to a dentist within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth. When a tooth is knocked out:

Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment.

Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root. Touching the root (the part of the tooth below the gum) can damage cells necessary for bone reattachment.

Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not scrub.

Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and the gum to keep it moist.

It is important not to let the tooth dry out.

It is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk.


What can gum disease mean for a diabetic?

Gingivitis is an infection within the gums caused by bacteria found in plaque. A diabetic’s body doesn’t respond as quickly to infection as a non-diabetic. If the infection persists, it can spread to the underlying bone that supports and anchors the teeth.

It has been shown that diabetics who keep their condition under control and maintain good oral hygiene have a far better chance of combating infections than those who are poorly controlled.


Why do I need X-Rays?

Radiographic or x-ray examinations provide your dentist with an important diagnostic tool that shows the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones.

An x-ray can help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumours. X-rays can also show the exact location of impacted teeth. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through visual examination (such as changes in the jaw bone structure as a result of systemic disease).


When should my child first see a dentist?

The ideal time for your child to meet the dentist is six months after their first (primary) teeth erupt.

This gives your dentist a perfect opportunity to carefully examine the development of their mouth and catch problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations and prolonged thumb-sucking early.


I brush my teeth constantly but still have bad breath. What can I do?

Brushing and flossing are definitely the first steps to eliminating bad breath. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria responsible for creating odorous sulphur compounds and the food they feed on.

However, bacteria hide not only on and around the teeth but also on the tongue under a layer of mucous. Here they are free to create odours.

You might want to consider a tongue scraper. They’re extremely effective at removing this protective mucous layer from the back of the tongue.

The latest products on the market for bad breath are toothpastes and mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide. The chlorine dioxide neutralises the odorous sulphur compounds, instead of simply covering up the odour.


What Is Physiologic Based Dentistry?

Rather than looking at one particular tooth, physiologic dentistry focuses on the relationship of the jaws along with their impact on muscular patterns as they relate to the head, neck and overall posture. Establishing a balanced relationship between the upper and lower teeth improves musculoskeletal function as well as aesthetics.


What Does Neuromuscular Dentistry Mean?

Neuromuscular dentistry is a holistic consideration of how the function of teeth impact the joints, ligaments, tissues and systems around them. The “bite” or occlusion of how teeth come together can have a secondary impact on things like the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), headaches, head and neck pain, etc. Adjusting occlusal (biting) patterns of the teeth and hyperactive muscle tissues can thereby alleviate musculoskeletal pain seen in TMJ disorder and migraine headaches.


What Treatments Are Used in Neuromuscular Dentistry?

Creating a centric occlusion is key to establishing a healthy physiological relationship. We may do this by adjusting the way teeth bite together, modifyng how “high” or “low” specific teeth are, using electromyography (EMG) to assess muscle tone and implementing low-frequency TENS treatments to facilitate muscle relaxation.


Do I Have TMJ?

Everyone has a TMJ, that is, a temporomandibular joint. But when the joint is experiencing chronic pain, irregular function or internal damage, the condition is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder, otherwise known as TMD or TMJD.

Some symptoms of TMJ disorders include

  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Muscle pain in the face, neck, shoulders and back
  • Vertigo, dizziness and ringing in the ears
  • Clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Flat, worn or chipped teeth
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Misaligned teeth

What Is Occlusion?

Occlusion is the relationship between upper and lower teeth and how the jaws fit them together. Dentists pay particular attention to occlusion when creating new restorations or performing orthodontic therapy. However, occlusion greatly impacts overall physiology of the mouth, head and neck. As such, it’s a key factor in neuromuscular dentistry treatments.


If you have additional questions, please contact DesignDentistry today!