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Answers to your questions


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Can I get more than one filling done at a time?

Yes. The normal experience of most patients is that their fillings are done one at a time. However, this can be daunting if you have a lot of fillings that need replacing. Treatment can take up a lot of your time and get very tiring. We have a lot of experience in doing multiple fillings at once and have systems in place that allow us to achieve the same quality result, or even better in some cases, doing multiple instead of individual fillings. Our patients appreciate the time they save and the fewer number of anaesthetics they need.

How do I tell if my child needs braces?

If your child has grown past their jaw development stage (around 13-14 years old) the need for braces will be obvious as they will not have a pleasing smile with a nice arrangement of teeth. The challenge is to recognise growth problems early. That way, we can intervene while the child is still growing. We get a much better result and in some instances we can even avoid the need for braces if we see children early enough.

When should I start flossing/ how often to floss?

Flossing should start as soon as possible, anytime after two years old. We advise parents to supervise and help their children with flossing. The parents themselves may need to do the flossing for the child until the age of 6-7 years old. Flossing should be done once a day at a minimum, preferably twice.

Why do I need 6 monthly checkups?

Regular maintenance is very important. Apart from the customary scale and clean there are a lot of other things that we do at your six monthly check up. These include:

  • oral cancer screen of all soft tissues including lips, face and neck
  • jaw joint check for instability, clicks or pain
  • breathing check to screen for snoring, sleep apnoea
  • lymph gland check
  • muscle spasm check
  • tooth wear check
  • tooth decay check
  • gum disease and health of supporting bone check
  • adequacy of current cleaning routine check

We monitor and record all of these points every time we see you. This allows us to detect and correct problems early.

Can I hurt my gums when flossing?

Yes, it is possible to damage the gum tissues with an incorrect flossing technique. Furthermore, if flossing is done incorrectly, it won't be effective in keeping the gum and supporting bone healthy. It is very important that you have good, clear instruction and practical feedback on your flossing technique. Every person needs to floss slightly differently according to the situation in their mouth. This is why whenever we see you, we spend the time to make sure your current flossing is effective and modify your technique if required.

My gums bleed when I brush my teeth. What does this mean?

Constant bleeding of the gums is usually an indication that some form of infection is present in the gum tissues. If it does not clear up completely within a few days it is very important to have the gums assessed to determine the reason for the infection and resolve it. Long term gum bleeding should never be tolerated as the infection will almost always affect the underlying bone that supports your teeth. Gum infection can also affect the rest of your body in various ways:

  • infection and abscesses in other areas
  • suppression of the immune system (very important in chronic fatigue or immune compromised patients)
  • increased risk of stroke or heart attack from infected clots formed by gum infection bacteria

It is also very important to consider the reverse situation, that there may be an underlying systemic condition that is affecting the gums. Many a time, undiagnosed conditions will affect the gum first. There is a huge range of these conditions from minor things such as vitamin deficiency to undiagnosed diabetes to leukemia or Aids.

Does pregnancy effect my mouth in anyway?

During pregnancy there are a lot of changes in your mouth. It is important that women who have trouble with morning sickness to keep up with their oral hygiene routine even though brushing and flossing may cause gagging and the smell or taste of toothpaste may be objectionable.

There are ways of dealing with these problems, as it is important to maintain your mouth in a healthy state. It is also important for your cleaning routine to be effective as the change in your hormone levels may exacerbate any existing gum infection. If oral hygiene is allowed to lapse to the point where decay or gum infections get established, treatment can sometimes be difficult or impossible as the administration of medication at this time may pose a danger to the baby. A check up early in your pregnancy with subsequent regular reviews is thoroughly recommended.

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