27 May Our most commonly asked dental questions
We get a lot of questions here at Boulton Dental and we stand by the idea that there are no “stupid” questions. But just in case you did have a question but were a bit too afraid to ask; we have gone ahead and compiled 6 of most commonly asked questions and given them our best answer.
What is the best type of toothpaste?
There are a myriad of toothpaste options that line the supermarket aisles. And the big problem with all the shiny tubes and big promises is that they were designed by marketers to sell you a product. So how do you cut through all the marketing and get down to what’s important in a toothpaste?
Before we get into which toothpaste to choose we felt it’s important to note: No toothpaste is going to magically solve all your dental hygiene concerns. You need to be consistent in your brushing and flossing routine in order to have proper dental health.
Back to our options though. First thing you will probably see on the packaging is flavouring and sweeteners. These offer no immediate benefit or drawback besides the taste when brushing (and maybe a minty fresh breath for a while after). The only potential pitfall here are allergies, so take care to carefully read the list of ingredients on the back.
Second thing you will notice is likely “For Sensitive Teeth”. If you are someone that experiences pain when brushing then choosing these toothpastes are the best move as they often contain compounds that block the pain signals caused by hot and cold drinks, which help stop sensitivity.
Lastly you may consider fluoride or fluoride free pastes. Fluoride is important in preventing tooth decay and is recommended if you want to get the best care for your teeth. Natural options may feel fine in your mouth, but usually just leave you feeling fresh and offer no lasting protection.
How often should I visit the dentist?
We recommend visits once every 6 months. There are some obvious exception to this rule, the first being if you experience discomfort, pain or excessive bleeding of the gums when brushing. It is best to come in for a checkup the moment you experience any form of discomfort in your mouth.
Further if you have a history of gum disease in your family, we may recommend that you come in for more regular preventive care and maintenance appointments.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Short answer: Absolutely!
Long answer: Have you ever flown on a domestic flight? If so, the amount of radiation you absorbed during the flight is basically the same as the amount of radiation that a dental x-ray produces. For all our scientists out there who want exact measurements, a dental x-ray has only 1 microsievert.
How do I get whiter teeth?
Everyone wants whiter teeth. Unfortunately there is no blanket approach to whitening teeth and really need to be considered on a case by case basis. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the colour of your teeth and without an in-office consult it is difficult to advise exactly what will suit your specific case.
By and far the most effective way to whiten your teeth is to come in for a professional assessment and have a treatment plan designed specifically for you. At Boulton Dental we usually make custom trays which you wear for a few hours at home or work.
What is a cavity?
It’s surprising how many people just associate the word cavity with something bad but don’t actually know what it is. A cavity is a small hole that forms as a result of tooth decay. The decay has eaten away at the structure of the tooth and leaves empty space as a result.
Usually cavities don’t cause any pain until they reach the nerve, at which time you will probably be dealing with a very bad toothache. Not ideal. Early cavities are not that easy to see and dentists need special lights and x rays to find them early. It is important to stop the advancing bacteria by sealing the cavity up or by removing the decay and placing a filling.
Do fillings last forever?
Unfortunately, your fillings don’t last forever. While your dentist will always do their best during the restoration procedure fillings can eventually become loose or break down just as teeth will and other artificial body parts such as hip, knee and shoulder replacements. Just like looking after your teeth, maintaining proper dental hygiene will ensure that your fillings will last as long as possible.
If you do feel a filling or other restoration has decayed or is starting to come loose, make sure to schedule a check-up with your dentist.