Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Should I have a regular checkup and clean if I don’t have a problem?
The purpose of a dental check-up is to screen and detect any issues and problems before they become serious. The plaque and dental calculus (tartar) that form around your teeth and gums can cause all sorts of problems including bad breath, cavities and gum disease. A visit to the dentist every 6 months for a regular clean will help prevent gum disease, dental decay, other oral problems and the need for extensive dental treatment.
Why do we use fluoride and is it safe for my child?
Fluoride is the ion that comes from the naturally occurring element, fluorine. Fluoride is used to reduce the number of cavities an individual will develop in their life by about half. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in plaque create acid, which attacks the surface of the tooth. Fluoride helps repair any damage before it becomes serious. A constant low level supply of fluoride is best for this.
The benefit of fluoridation applies to all teeth and all age groups. Despite the availability of other sources of fluoride (tablets, drops, toothpaste) water fluoridation is still shown to be the most appropriate means of reducing tooth decay in the 21st century. Currently, 75% of Australia is fluoridated.
Children benefit from the tooth decay preventative effects of water fluoridation with less tooth decay in their first and second set of teeth. Suggestions for children include:
- Brushing their teeth without toothpaste until the age of 18 months
Introducing a low-fluoride toothpaste when a child is approximately 18 months old, until the age of 6
Use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles
Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, smeared over the toothbrush
Encourage children to spit out toothpaste, not swallow it. Don’t rinse
Supervise children when they brush their teeth until you are sure they can do it well
Use an adult fluoride toothpaste for children when they reach six years old
Don’t use fluoride supplements in the form of drops or tablets to be chewed or swallowed. They can affect the development of your child’s adult teeth
Are dental x-rays safe?
Dental x-rays are safe as the radiation involved is extremely low. It is equivalent to the sort of exposure you’d receive on a 1-2 hour flight. This means that even if you’re pregnant you can have x-rays taken, however they are generally kept to a minimum during this period.
Dentists and their team leave the room while taking x-rays as they take numerous x-rays all day and this method limits their ongoing exposure to radiation.
At Gentle Care Dentistry, a lead apron is available if you have any concerns on the radiation exposure.
What can I do to make sure my child's teeth are healthy?
Some of our suggestions to make sure your kids' teeth remain healthy include:
- Using a children’s fluoride toothpaste
Regular dental visits from when their teeth first start to appear
Start good brushing habits early e.g. small circles near the gum-line to remove as much plaque as possible. Good brushing habits last a lifetime
Brush teeth twice daily and floss regularly
Be their role models for good hygiene, and encourage them to become role models themselves for any younger siblings- bring your little ones along with older siblings
Parental supervision on brushing
Make sure they eat a healthy diet
Limit the frequency of snacking to allow saliva to replenish. It is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay
Night time is the most important time to brush
Look inside your child’s mouth regularly for white spots at gum line which is an early sign of tooth decay
Drink tap water
What kind of toothbrush or toothpaste should I use?
We recommend you use a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean your teeth to minimise damage and trauma to your teeth and gums. Nowadays, electric toothbrushes are also a great option because they are more efficient at cleaning with a consistent amount of force, so you are not brushing either too hard or too soft.
Any toothpaste that contains fluoride is beneficial to the teeth. Some people may require special toothpastes if they have problems such as sensitivity to temperature or gum inflammation.
If you are unsure what is right for you then please don’t hesitate to ask us at your next visit.
What can I do to make my teeth whiter?
Our teeth are naturally slightly yellow in colour, and it is normal for them to darken as we age. Other factors that cause discolouration of teeth include:
- Congenital defects
Staining from certain foods and drinks
Stained/defective old fillings
There are different dental procedures available depending on what the causes of the discolouration are, such as replacing old fillings, cosmetic dental veneers and crowns, professional teeth whitening and take-home kits. Please book a consultation with us today if you have any concerns.
Does everyone need to have his or her wisdom teeth out?
Wisdom teeth are a set of four teeth that erupt into the back four corners of the mouth. This usually occurs between the ages of 17 to 21.
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed - it depends on analysing the risks and benefits involved.
If there is enough space to accommodate the wisdom teeth, and if oral hygiene is good and achievable, then there is no need to remove them. However if the wisdom teeth are hard to clean and have signs of decay or infection of the gum around them, then their removal is recommended.