1. What do I do in a dental emergency?

Toothache/Broken tooth/Swelling & Pain

Clean around the sore tooth by rinsing with warm, salt water to displace any trapped food between the teeth. Try Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin to alleviate the pain for a few hours but do not place aspirin on the tooth or gums. Keep hot and cold liquids away from the sore tooth. Applying a cold compress against your cheek will help with pain and swelling. Sharp edges can be removed with a nail file or by applying wax or chewing gum.

Knocked Out Tooth

Baby teeth cannot be put back in place. If the adult tooth looks clean, try and put it back in its place. Rinse the tooth by holding it by crown end and not the root end. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, then carry it in a cup of cold water or milk and get to a dentist as soon as possible. If an adult tooth is reinserted within 10-20 minutes, there is a greater chance that it will take root again.

2. What causes tooth loss?

Tooth decay and periodontal disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth’s mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a cavity has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the build-up of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis.

3. How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

Most dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal (and flossing at least once a day) is also a good way to maintain dental health.

4. When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?

A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday. Many dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when his first tooth comes in.

5. What causes oral cancer?

Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer. Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer. Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease. Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer.

6. What are the warning signs of oral cancer?

Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing.

7. Why Replace Missing Teeth?

Missing teeth detract from your appearance and make eating and speaking more difficult. Missing teeth, if not replaced, will cause a loss of space by drifting of adjacent teeth into this space. This gives rise to food accumulation, difficulty in cleaning the teeth and hence leads to decay and tartar formation. As the pressure of chewing is not evenly distributed because of loss of tooth, it may lead to destruction of gum and bone.

8. What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth; no one will ever know that you have replacements teeth. When teeth are missing, the surrounding bone begins to shrink and eventually your jawbone will recede. Dental implants can prevent deterioration of the jawbone caused by loss of teeth, and your face will retain its natural shape.

Saving existing teeth with dental implants does not sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth like a traditional bridge. More of your own teeth are left untouched, an important long-term benefit to your oral health.

10. How will I know if I need a root canal?

Symptoms include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness felt when chewing, discoloration, swelling of the gum, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. It is possible, however, that there will be no symptoms at all.

11. What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay describes the condition wherein the tooth, under a variety of harsh conditions, breaks down leading to the formation of a cavity. It starts with a hole/opening in the enamel. If this is not treated, it progressively reaches the deeper sections of the tooth, where the pulp and the nerves are causing the tooth to become sensitive to a variety of stimuli, a variety of gum problem such as inflammation and swelling, pain, and ultimately tooth loss.

12. How is a crown different from a veneer?

A Crown, often called a “cap” covers the entire tooth, unlike a veneer which covers only the front surface of a tooth. A crown requires more shaping of the tooth structure and is often used to strengthen a weak or broken tooth. Crowns are extremely durable, aesthetic and are commonly used in the front and the back of the mouth.

13. What causes tooth discoloration?

Teeth can discolour due to a variety of reasons.

  1. The most common discoloration is due to smoking or tobacco.
  2. Food and beverages such as tea, coffee, colas and red wine can be the culprit.
  3. Age can cause a natural darkening of teeth.
  4. Certain medications such as tetracycline, taken at a very young age.
  5. Increased exposure to fluoridated water.
  6. Dental infection, faulty or old fillings, and dental treatment such as root canal treatment.