There is more to dental hygiene than brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing, and visiting your dentist twice a year. For some people with particular conditions and those with very particular curiosities about what should and should not be done with teeth, dental hygiene may mean practicing cautionary habits and knowing some very specific information. Here are some of the more often asked questions surround dental issues — from dental implants to the effects of tongue piercings.
Are amalgam fillings dangerous? Should I have them replaced?
The Australian Dental Association’s position on amalgam fillings is that they produce no harmful effects and that replacing them with other materials will not deliver any positive gain, except for aesthetic purposes. Dentists usually replace amalgam fillings because of recurring decay, fractures, or endodontic treatment, and for appearance’s sake.
However, pregnant or lactating women may need to defer replacement or removal of amalgam fillings as a general guideline.
My child cracked / broke a tooth — what should I do?
It depends on the severity of the damage. Small cracks may be filled. Another option would be to put in a crown. But for cracks that are far too vertical, dentists may opt for dental implants, bridgework, or dentures to damaged tooth and replace it with an artificial one.
My child sucks his/her thumb. What dental problems will it cause?
Thumb sucking can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment, which can lead to an open bite and even change the shape of your child’s face. With the teeth out of their normal position, there is also a possibility that your child may develop a lisp.
I grind my teeth. Can dentists do something to help?
Grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism) can cause tooth wear. This may lead to tooth sensitivity and inability to chew properly. Overlays or crowns may be used to reshape the chewing surfaces and reconstructive treatment could correct the wear. Some dentists may prescribe mouth guards to prevent further damage or recommend proper practices for mouth and jaw position to prevent grinding.
My husband snores. Can a dentist help with snoring?
The treatment will depend on the reasons behind the snoring and the magnitude of snoring. There are dentists who have the qualifications and training to treat sleep disorders and they may prescribe an oral appliance to control a patient’s snoring. But you need to go to a properly trained and qualified dentist who can carry out this type of dental work because the fitting, maintenance, risks, and benefits of an oral appliance will need to be explained.
I am scared of the dentist but have a toothache. What should I do?
Patients with anxiety and fear can go to a dentist who offers sleep or sedation dentistry, which will put you in a relaxed and comfortable state while undergoing dental procedures, from tooth extraction to teeth cleaning.
Why do I have bad breath?
Bad breath or halitosis may be due to poor dental habits (like not brushing and flossing your teeth daily) and/or could be a symptom of other health issues (e.g., gum disease, chronic acid reflux, or liver problems).
Can badly stained teeth be improved with teeth whitening?
Results will vary with each patient. It would be best to consult your dentist about which teeth whitening treatment would work for you. Some treatments may be mistakenly used and may lead to dental problems like severe tooth sensitivity and damaged and inflamed gums.
I hate needles but need to get a tooth filled. Will it hurt if I don’t have a needle?
Local anaesthesia, which means an injection, is needed to numb the tooth for removing the decay (if present) using a drill and cleaning it before the filling is put in. So yes, there will be some discomfort if you choose not to get an injection. But there are some fillings, like small ones and cosmetic dental bondings, which might not need anaesthesia. If you are afraid, just call us to arrange a consultation.
My daughter wants to get her tongue pierced. Is there any risk that her teeth will be damaged?
Tongue piercings can cause trauma to her teeth because the metal object may come into contact with the teeth constantly, chipping or fracturing the enamel and leaving exposed nerves. Microscopic cracks can also lead to severe pain and foreign debris from the piercing may cause infection. In extreme cases, oral surgery may be required when a stud becomes loose and a pin is lost in the tongue.