Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs you need to understand

FAQS

1What new methods are under development to treat and prevent tooth decay?
Several new treatments are under development. One experimental technique uses fluorescent light to detect the development of cavities long before they can be detected by traditional means, such as X-rays or dental examination. In many cases, if cavities can be detected early, the decay process can be stopped or reversed. Researchers are also working on a "smart filling" to prevent further tooth decay by slowly releasing fluoride over time around fillings and in adjacent teeth. New means to prevent tooth decay are also being studied. A study has shown that a chewing gum that contains the sweetener xylitol temporarily retarded the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. In addition, several materials that slowly release fluoride over time, which will help prevent further decay, are being explored. These materials would be placed between teeth or in pits and fissures of teeth. Toothpastes and mouth rinses that can reverse and "heal" early cavities are also being studied.
2My child seems to get a lot of mouth ulcers. What can I do?

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) — to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.

Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adultswithout decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups.

 

3When will drill-less dentistry become a reality?
Yes they are. All fizzy drinks are essentially carbonic acid which erodes Drill-less dentistry, also called air abrasion and microabrasion, is being offered by some dentists now. Air abrasion can be used to remove tooth decay, to remove some old composite restorations, to prepare a tooth surface for bonding or sealants, and to remove superficial stains and discolorations. The air abrasion instrument works like a mini sandblaster to spray away the decay or stain, or to prepare the tooth surface for bonding or sealant application. With air abrasion, a fine stream of particles is aimed at the tooth surface. These particles are made of silica, aluminum oxide, or a baking soda mixture and are propelled toward the tooth surface by compressed air or a gas that runs through the dental hand piece. Small particles of decay, stain, etc, on the tooth surface are removed as the stream of particles strikes them. The remnant particles are then "suctioned" away.
4Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam?
It is possible, but fewer than 100 cases have ever been reported, according to the ADA. In these rare circumstances, mercury or one of the metals used in an amalgam restoration is thought to trigger the allergic response. Symptoms of amalgam allergy are similar to those experienced in a typical skin allergy, and include skin rashes and itching. Patients who suffer amalgam allergies typically have a medical or family history of allergies to metals. Once an allergy is confirmed, another restorative material can be used.
5What role are lasers playing in the field of dentistry?
Lasers have been used in dentistry since 1995 to treat a number of dental problems. But, despite FDA approval, no laser system has received the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which assures dentists that the product or device meets ADA standards of safety and efficacy, among other things. The ADA, however, states that it is cautiously optimistic about the role of laser technology in the field of dentistry.
6How do whitening toothpastes work and how effective are they at whitening teeth?
All toothpastes help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach. Over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching substance) that helps remove stains on the tooth surface, as well as stains deep in the tooth. None of the home use whitening toothpastes can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist’s office through chair side bleaching or power bleaching. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.
7Should my child have fissure sealing?

Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth, or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding, crowns, veneers, and re-contouring.

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth. Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth’s length, shape, or surface.

Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, "chair time" necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem.

 

8Beyond simply changing the color of my teeth, I’m interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth, or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding, crowns, veneers, and re-contouring.

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth. Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth’s length, shape, or surface.

Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, "chair time" necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem.

 

9I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist yet I recognize the importance of seeing the dentist to maintain good oral health. What should I do?

If you fear going to the dentist, you are not alone. Between 9 percent and 15 percent of Americans state they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. The first thing you should do is talk with your dentist. In fact, if your dentist doesn’t take your fear seriously, find another dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.

The good news is that today there are a number of strategies that can be tailored to the individual to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain. These strategies include use of medicines (to either numb the treatment area or sedatives or anesthesia to help you relax), use of lasers instead of the traditional drill for removing decay, application of a variety of mind/body pain and anxiety-reducing techniques (such as guided imagery, biofeedback and deep breathing, acupuncture, mental health therapies), and perhaps even visits to a dentophobia clinic or a support group.

 

10I’ve been a cigarette smoker for a number of years and am concerned about the possibility of developing oral cancer. What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

First, it’s important to note that more than 25 percent of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally. To answer your question, the following are the common signs and symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps, bumps, rough spots/crusts/,or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or changes in the voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together – a change in your "bite"
  • Dramatic weight loss.
  • If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist immediately for a professional examination.

 

11What should I look for when choosing a dentist?

You and your dentist will be long-term oral health care partners; therefore you need to find someone with whom you can be comfortable. To find a suitable dentist to meet your needs, consider asking the following questions as a starting point:

  • What are the office hours? Are they convenient to meet your schedule?
  • Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
  • Where was the dentist educated and trained?
  • What’s the dentist’s approach to preventive dentistry?
  • How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
  • What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer to help you relax and feel more comfortable during any necessary dental treatment?
  • What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dentists make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service if they are unable to tend to emergencies.)
  • Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? (If you are comparison shopping, ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.)
  • Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
  • What is the dentist’s office policy on missed appointments?

 

12What causes tooth loss?
The most common causes of tooth loss are dental caries, also known as tooth decay, and periodontal disease, which affects the gums and bone structure that supports the teeth. Dental caries is the major cause of tooth loss in children, and periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults; however, it too can afflict youngsters.
13What Causes Periodontal Diseases?
Plaque, a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates—sugars and starches—to produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth, where decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooth’s structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.
14Can Periodontal Diseases Be Prevented?
Teeth can be protected from acid attacks by removing plaque, reducing the number of times and the amount of sugar and starches eaten, using fluorides, having plastic sealants applied to teeth, and by regular professional cleaning of teeth by a dental hygienist.
15How does Plaque Attack the Gums?
Plaque can also produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal diseases. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. If plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque build up can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.
16How Do You Stop Plaque Attacks?
Two key factors in preventing dental caries are fluoride and dental sealants. Fluoride compounds are found naturally in soil, water, and in many foods. Plaque attacks can’t be stopped, but you can help to prevent plaque build-up by following a good oral care program of brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular visits to your oral health care professional.
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WESTERN DENTAL HOSPITAL
Banglow # 2, FL-6, Block-4, Near Muskan Chowrang,
Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi-75300.
+92 (021) 34967901
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