FAQ

FAQs for Kids

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FAQs for Adolescents

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FAQs for Adults

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FAQs for Mature Adults

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FAQs for Kids
Why are baby teeth so important?

Baby teeth are of great importance as they pave the way for proper growth and development of the jaw. They also maintain space for the adult teeth and are beneficial in speech development and eating. Premature loss of baby teeth can lead to the need for Orthodontic treatment later in a child’s life. Recent research has shown that infections from teeth can cause heart disease and damage overall health. Rheumatic heart disease is one such condition brought about by infected teeth.

When should I start cleaning my child’s teeth?

You can start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they start to come through the gums. This will generally be around 6 to 9 months of age. Start with a soft cloth wrapped around your index finger. Then move to a soft toothbrush. We can assist you train for this step in your caring for baby.

How should I clean my child’s teeth?

Begin cleaning your child’s teeth with a soft, damp cloth to wipe gently over their teeth. You can start to introduce a children’s toothbrush as soon as you feel your child will accept it. Use a Kid’s toothbrush and toothpaste without fluoride.

Why is fluoride important, and when should my child start using fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride in drinking water hardens tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to plaque acid. We recommend that children start using a low fluoride based toothpaste between 2 and 6 years of age. Once they switch to fluoride toothpaste, we recommend using a very small amount (approximately half the size of a pea), because most children will swallow a small amount of the paste.

When do the baby teeth fall out?

Children generally lose their front 8 baby teeth between 6 and 8 years of age. At this time the first permanent molars will also come through behind the baby teeth. Then between 10 and12 years of age the remaining baby teeth are lost and are replaced with adult teeth. Preventive dental care involves monitoring the growth and eruption pattern of children’s teeth because often kids teeth do not shed on time and the permanent teeth get pushed into an incorrect position.

What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is accidentally knocked out?

Unlike baby teeth, if a permanent tooth is knocked out it should be REPLACED IN THE SOCKET STRAIGHT AWAY. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth, the less likely the tooth will survive. As soon as the accident occurs call your Dentist and organize an appointment immediately. If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, place it into a glass of milk in the meantime.

What should I do if my child’s adult tooth is accidentally knocked out?

Unlike baby teeth, if a permanent tooth is knocked out it should be REPLACED IN THE SOCKET STRAIGHT AWAY. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth, the less likely the tooth will survive. As soon as the accident occurs call your Dentist and organize an appointment immediately. If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, place it into a glass of milk in the meantime.

How often should a child see the dentist?

Your child should see a Dentist every 6 months for a check up.

Is it ok for my child to suck a dummy?

The desire to suck is natural for an infant and a dummy helps to satisfy this need. Using a dummy is generally fine after six weeks of age. It is very important to never dip the dummy in sugar, honey or anything sweet as this can lead to tooth decay.

Is it ok for my child to suck their thumb?

Sucking a thumb or fingers is generally a normal activity up until the age of four years. Continued and forceful sucking may lead to permanent displacement of your child’s teeth and / or jaw structure. If stopped early, lip pressure can reverse the damage. Forceful stoppage of sucking can cause psychological issues with the child.

How can I soothe my child’s teething?

As chewing or biting usually provides relief from teething, try unsalted breadsticks or crackers. Approved commercial teething rings may also be helpful. You should discuss the use of teething gels or ointments with your Doctor or Dentist prior to using them.

Should I put off taking my child to the Dentist if they are extremely frightened?

Fear is usually developed in children if they hear adults and friends voice such opinions. It is therefore important to talk to your child in a positive and calm manner about a visit to the dentist.
Take your child to the Dentist as early as possible to avoid creating a fear of the Dentist. It may help, to role play a visit with your child, and explain to them what they will see when they go into the room and to outline what the Dentist does. Setting a date and telling your child when they are going will enable the child to mentally prepare for the visit. It is important to advise the dental team about your child’s emotional abilities to cope with the visit.

FAQs for Adolescents
Why is it important to look after my teeth?

Adolescents want to look and feel great – period. Maintaining your teeth and gums, keeps you looking youthful and attractive. Whilst exercising and eating right, regular health checks are as important as looking after your teeth and gums. Good dental health will help you to keep your dazzling smile for life.

Why should I smile with my teeth?

Did you know smiling and laughing are actually healthy for you? It’s true! As well as being attractive; smiling and laughing are beneficial to your entire well-being! The activity of smiling releases natural antidepressant chemicals from your brain, beneficial to your entire being. Laughing also has a direct affect on the body. The popular saying “laughing makes good blood” is scientifically accurate. When we laugh, we produce rapid rhythmical contractions of the diaphragm. These contractions; stimulate abdominal organs and pulmonary function, modify breathing and heart rate. The psychological value of smiling and laughing is just as impressive. These activities release inner tension and repressed tendencies. When a person is tired or unhappy, it is better to relax through smiling and / or laughing than any other non-active means.

Do I need to wear a mouthguard?

It is very important to wear a mouthguard during all forms of contact sports, i.e. football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics and volleyball. It is your only protection against broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. We provide state of the art custom made athletic mouthguards. These mouthguards are custom made to your individual requirements so that they are comfortable to wear and protect appropriately for the level of competition.
There is a big difference in fit, protection and cost between a mouthguard bought off the shelf and a customized one. Get the best one for your level of sport, is saves!

What should I do if my tooth is knocked out?

Firstly call Caring 4 Smiles® ASAP! If you can see a Dentist within 30 minutes of the incident, there is an 85% chance that the tooth will survive. The first step after you have lost a tooth is to find it. Once you have found your tooth handle it very delicately, and do not touch the fragile root as it will be needed intact to encourage re-attachment. You must also resist the temptation to clean your tooth off with water. If the tooth is clean, place it gently back into its socket immediately and apply slight pressure. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it using milk and place it back into its socket. Otherwise keep the tooth moist by placing it in a glass of milk or tuck it into your cheek until you can visit your Dentist.

Is it dangerous to have an oral piercing?

The popularity of oral piercing is growing. It involves the insertion of jewellery into soft oral tissue – such as the lips, tongue and cheek. Oral piercings can cause serious health complications, including; complex infections, allergic responses, tooth fractures, speech impediment, blood poisoning and blood clots, damage to nerves and veins, loss of taste and permanent numbness. Whilst widely practised, the associated long term costs make it an expensive choice.

My friends and I smoke, is it hurting our teeth?

Everyone is aware of how bad smoking is for the lungs, but many people forget about how much long term damage it does to your gums, tongue and teeth. The main concern for most smokers is not merely the discolouration and staining of teeth, the build up of plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. Smoking will also cause bad breath, leave a bad taste in your mouth and make your gums pull away from your teeth. Seek help to quit smoking today. Your whole body will thank you for it!

Is soda bad for your teeth?

Soda tastes great; however, copious consumption is bad for your teeth. The sugar found in Soda reacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth and promotes decay. The gas in the drink is acidic and this will erode tooth enamel. We recommend drinking soda in moderation and rinsing after a drink.

I have bad breath what can I do?

A healthy mouth means fresh breath! Bad breath can make you feel embarrassed and place a strain on your relationships. The main culprit behind bad breath is bacteria! Our mouths contain millions and millions of bacteria, which can quite easily get out of control. Plaque, tartar, gum disease, tooth decay, dentures and your tongue are all places where bacteria can thrive. To resolve your bad breath, we recommend home and professional care:

  • Brush your tongue
  • Approximately 80% of oral bacteria live on the tongue. Brush it off daily with a soft toothbrush.
  • Use Breath Fresheners and Mouthwash
  • Breath Fresheners and Mouthwash can also help to eliminate bad breath.
  • Professional care – make a hygiene appointment at Caring 4 Smiles®
  • Attend a check-up to determine the cause of your bad breath (i.e. the cause may be tartar, gum disease, tooth decay etc). We will then be able to isolate and fix the cause of your bad breath.
What is tooth decay?

A tooth develops a thin sticky bacteria layer (plaque) over its surface. The plaque bacteria ferments to produce acid which softens and dissolves away tooth enamel and a cavity is formed. Enamel layer does not contain any nerves, so you won’t realise that decay is progressing rapidly. Only when a cavity is in the advanced stages will you feel sensitivity and then pain. This pain will occur when you eat or drink anything particularly hot, cold, sugary or acidic. Saliva tries to help by washing away and neutralizing the acid and it also contains minerals that try to strengthen decaying enamel.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the back of your mouth. Usually, they erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth may need to be extracted if they affect other teeth – often referred to as “coming in sideways” or “impacted wisdom teeth”. This failure to erupt properly may occur either because there is not enough room in the jaw for the tooth, or because of their abnormal position. Many oral health specialists will recommend the removal of wisdom teeth, as early extraction will help to eliminate problems.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in many foods and some water supplies. It is also used in many consumer dental products. Fluoride strengthens teeth by making enamel more resistant to decay. It is important to use fluoride containing toothpastes, mouth rinses, and gels topically to gain the added benefit of preventing sensitivity and tooth decay.

FAQs for Adults
Why is it so important to maintain dental health?

We have just one set of permanent teeth which we would want to keep for life. As we grow older, the stress of years of chewing and various foods makes our teeth wear down. Maintenance from an early age is definitely the first step to keeping teeth for life. False teeth are no substitute ‘for the real thing’.

What can I do to improve the health and appearance of my smile?

If your teeth become damaged, lost or simply worn over time, there are a number of options available to treat these problems. If teeth are lost, then Implants, Dentures or Bridges may be an option for you. If a tooth needs rebuilding, then Crowns, Inlays or Onlays could be the solution.
For cosmetic changes, Tooth Whitening, Veneers and Bonding are amongst some of the treatments that you could consider.

What are the main benefits of quality dental treatment?

Quality dental treatment does not merely address the present condition of your teeth, but can assist you with predictions on issues that can arise over the coming years. It is vital that you enjoy the privilege of proactive care, rather than reactive care. The latter is always addressing an emergency and costs more. For example:

“My filling has not dropped, why replace it?”
A proactive dentist will have noticed that the existing filling has chipped / developed leaking edges and a black halo of decay. Timely replacement and treatment will prevent the tooth becoming painful and needing a root canal and a crown.

“I am not in pain, why fix it?”
A painful tooth means that the nerve has been affected. It may then need an expensive root canal and a crown, if you wish to save it from an extraction. Would you really hold for expensive dentistry rather than timely treatment?

“Do I really need x-rays every year?”
A bite-wing x-ray lets the dentist review the levels of your bone and if decay has started between your teeth. Small changes every year can be monitored at subsequent visits, and this is why digital x-rays makes record keeping so vital to a thorough check-up.

“I am concerned about x-ray radiation”
Digital x-ray views need 1/10th of the radiation when compared to film x-rays and hence are very safe. Caring 4 Smiles® has ch

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic Dentistry is the ultimate mixture of art and dental science. These procedures endeavour to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing smiles; utilising the latest restorative technologies and materials.

Who is a candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry treatment?

Previously, Cosmetic Dentistry was only for Hollywood. Little could be done for Joe Average to attain the smile he always dreamed of. Today, cosmetic treatments are available to anyone so every smile can be beautifully enhanced.

Is Fluoride only for kids?

Fluoride is applied to teeth whenever there is the risk of decay. As our body chemistry changes, we need help to ward off decay. A pro-active dentist will easily pick up changes in your mouth and initiate a changed oral care plan which may include fluoride application on a regular basis.
Prevention – Prevention – Prevention.

Do teeth get cracks? What is ‘cracked tooth syndrome?’

A common problem is that teeth will crack, either due to trauma, grinding, clenching, decay or heavily filled teeth. “Cracked Tooth Syndrome” relates to a variety of symptoms and signs caused by a crack or many cracks in a tooth. Early diagnosis is needed to improve the chances of saving a cracked tooth. Symptoms include:

  • Sharp and erratic pain upon chewing or after release of biting pressure: not all cracks cause pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot foods/drinks, or sweets
  • Difficulty in pinpointing which tooth hurts, either upper or lower
  • If you suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, discuss this with your Dentist. Timely treatment can save it from more extensive and expensive care.
I have a number of black fillings. Can I opt to change this?

The black filling material used in your teeth is dental amalgam. This is a mix of silver and mercury, used as a filling material for over a hundred years. It is still one of the strongest materials available but is being removed from mouths electively. Dental amalgam is an unattractive filling material. There are a number non-toxic tooth-colour filling materials currently available that can be used to replace old amalgams. Caring 4 Smiles® is an amalgam free practice.

What’s the best way to prevent gum disease?

Conscientious removal of plaque by flossing, brushing and regular professional care will minimise your risk of gum disease. However, there are other factors that can affect the health of your gums, such as heart disease, stress, diabetes, genetics, medication and pregnancy.

What happens if I just ignore getting my teeth cleaned?

As plaque and calculus accumulate, periodontal (gum) disease is strengthened. Supporting tissues around the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, bone) are damaged. Periodontal pockets form between teeth and trap additional plaque. Bad breath and bleeding often accompanies this condition. Once the bone that supports the teeth is lost, it will not regrow without surgical intervention. Expensive bone grafting may be the way forward so pro-active care is critical to long term care.

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.

It is best to brush your tongue daily or you may want to consider a tongue scraper. Both are 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 to neutralise the odorous sulphur compounds, instead of simply covering up the odour. However, the dentist and hygienist are the key persons in your management. Caring 4 Smiles® has a bad breath protocol to assist you control this condition.

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 ASAP as an emergency. Caring 4 Smiles allocates emergency time slots daily for patients in pain. Please feel free to call the Practice Manager on (09) 631 5416.

FAQs for Mature Adults
Why is it so important to maintain dental health?

By this stage in your life, you have been caring for your teeth for a long time and it would be a shame to lose them now due to age changes in saliva. You have come to expect more out of life and maintaining our teeth and gums is an important step in this direction. Good dental health will help you lead a long, happy and healthy lifestyle.

Do bad gums and teeth affect general health?

Oh yes it does. Infections in the mouth can play havoc elsewhere in the body. For a long time it was not known that bacteria in gum disease affects other parts and organs in the body. However, research demonstrates that gum inflammation affects heart muscle, joints, the internal digestive organs and in women, the unborn child. Research and experts agree that there is an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.

What can I do to improve the health and appearance of my smile?

Keep up with regular checks and care. You can then consider bleaching your teeth to revitalize your enamel and get that youthful appearance back.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic Dentistry is the ultimate mixture of art and dental science. These procedures endeavour to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing smiles; utilising the latest restorative technologies and materials.

Who is a candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry treatment?

Previously, Cosmetic Dentistry was only within the grasp of Hollywood. Significant progress has been made in this coverage and now anyone can attain the smile they always dreamed of. The treatment available to treat chipped, stained or crooked teeth were limited. Yet, today with the vast range of Porcelain, Zirconia and other metal free restorations, every smile can be aesthetically enhanced.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is applied to teeth whenever there is the risk of decay. As our body chemistry changes, we need help to ward off decay. A pro-active dentist will easily pick up changes in your mouth and initiate a changed oral care plan, which may include fluoride application on a regular basis.
Prevention – Prevention – Prevention. Preventing sensitivity and tooth decay, Fluoride has a tremendous role to play in young children and mature adult mouths.

Why do teeth get cracks?

A common problem is that teeth will crack, either due to trauma, grinding, clenching, decay or being heavily filled. “Cracked Tooth Syndrome” relates to a variety of symptoms and signs caused by an incomplete crack or cracks in a tooth. Early diagnosis is needed to improve the chances of saving a cracked tooth. Symptoms include:

  • Sharp and erratic pain upon chewing or after release of biting pressure: not all cracks cause pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot foods/drinks, or sweets.
  • Difficulty in pinpointing which tooth hurts, either upper or lower.
  • If you suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, discuss this with our dentists.
I have a number of black fillings, can I opt to improve this?

The black filling material used in your teeth is amalgam. It has been used as a filling material for over a hundred years; it’s still one of the strongest materials available. However, it’s about as unattractive a filling material as you can get. There are a number of other tooth-colour restorative materials currently available that can be used to replace old amalgams. Caring 4 Smiles® has metal free options for all restorations because many patients have been found to react to the mercury and heavy metals in amalgam fillings.

What’s the best way to prevent gum disease?

The first step in eliminating gum disease is to recognize it as a real and constant threat. 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. Having a Biofilm management plan in place is the most important part of oral care.

What happens if I just ignore getting my teeth cleaned?

The first outward sign of gum disease is bad breath and bleeding. As the plaque and tartar accumulates, the periodontal disease continues downwards along the root surface. Supporting tissues around the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, bone) are damaged and recede. Periodontal pockets form a trap where additional plaque builds. Once the bone that supports the teeth is lost, it will not regrow. At this stage, only surgical intervention will stem the disease.

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

Whilst brushing and flossing are definitely the first steps to eliminating bad breath, body chemistry and diet are major players in creating 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 back of the tongue under a thick mucus layer. Here they are free to create odours. It is best to brush your tongue daily or you may want to consider a tongue scraper. Both are 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 chlorhexidine. The chlorhexidine neutralises the odorous sulphur compounds, instead of simply covering up the odour.

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

If you are not in any pain then ring the dental practice as soon as possible and make an appointment, but try and keep the tooth as clean as possible and avoid biting hard on it. If you have pain, then you will need to call our dentists as an emergency.