November 2, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Are electric toothbrushes better?

Electric toothbrushes are designed to make it easier to brush your teeth and help you keep your mouth clean, but are they really better at keeping plaque and tooth decay at bay? Here’s everything you need to know about swapping out your manual toothbrush for an electric model. 

Electric toothbrush benefits 

Studies show that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and suffer less from tooth loss than those who use a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes do a lot of the hard work for you and some models come with self-timers that make it easy to clean your teeth for the recommended two minutes, twice per day. 

Electric toothbrushes have many benefits that make cleaning your teeth much easier. 

1. Effective at removing plaque 

Electric toothbrushes, especially ones with oscillating heads, are effective at removing plaque and food debris from teeth. The micro-movements of an electric toothbrush can clean teeth more thoroughly than a manual toothbrush. Studies show that using an electric toothbrush decreases plaque and gingivitis after just three months of use.  

While you can still get a thorough clean from a manual brush more effort is required to clean each tooth thoroughly. 

2. Perfect for all types of teeth 

Electric toothbrushes have small heads which are perfect for getting into hard-to-reach places. If you have braces, gaps between teeth or a metal bar behind your teeth, an electric toothbrush can help to clean between the wires. Manual toothbrushes often have wider heads and are harder to maneuver into small hard-to-reach places.  

3. Helpful for people with disabilities 

Electric toothbrushes are suitable for people with mobility issues or disabilities that make brushing difficult. They are a great option for kids as they can also make cleaning your teeth more fun.  

An electric toothbrush can prevent people with hand or wrist limitations from needing to make small, repetitive moments with their wrist or arm.  

Some models of electric toothbrush come with built-in timers and can ensure you are brushing for a full two minutes. 

Electric toothbrush cons 

While electric toothbrushes have many benefits, there are a few downsides. 

1. Electric toothbrushes are more expensive 

When it comes to ditching your manual toothbrush for an electric model the main barrier many people face is the cost. While the average manual toothbrush will only set you back a couple of bucks, electric toothbrushes start at around $50. You’ll also need to pay for replacement heads and swap them out every few months. 

While an electric model is more expensive, if you have trouble keeping your teeth clean it could save you money on dental bills down the line. With less plaque and less risk of developing gingivitis, opting for electric is a better choice when it comes to your oral health. 

2. Manual toothbrushes can be more environmentally friendly 

In recent years, bamboo toothbrushes have been marketed as an environmentally friendly way to brush your teeth. While bamboo or other recyclable toothbrushes can be better for the earth, they’re not always the best option for your teeth and gums. 

Some manual toothbrushes (bamboo included) can include hard bristles which are abrasive on gums or are less effective at removing plaque. Furthermore, some bamboo brushes overstate their environmentally friendly claims. An investigation carried out by found that some eco toothbrushes don’t live up to their claims of being 100% sustainable or biodegradable and included nylon and polyester in their brush bristles.  

Which toothbrush is right for me? 

At the end of the day choosing the right toothbrush comes down to personal choice. While you can still thoroughly clean your teeth with a manual toothbrush there are many benefits to investing in an electric model. Electric toothbrushes are great for people with mobility issues or braces or anyone who wants a thorough mouth clean.  

Not sure if you would benefit from using an electric toothbrush? Book an appointment with our dental hygienist. After a thorough clean, we can discuss the best brush option for you. 

October 11, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Do I Need Braces? 7 Signs You May Need Orthodontics

Dentists and orthodontists recommend orthodontics for many reasons. While there are some obvious signs a person might need braces, such as crooked teeth, an overbite or an underbite, there are other less common indicators that you may need orthodontic treatment. Having straight teeth can not only improve your confidence; they are also much easier to clean and floss between. An aligned bite can also make chewing more comfortable and fix some speech impediments. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘do I need braces?’ here are some signs you might.

1. Your teeth are crooked or crowded 

An obvious indicator that you need braces is if you have teeth that are crooked or crowded in your mouth. Crooked teeth can affect your self-confidence and make you feel embarrassed to smile. They are also harder to clean between which increases the risk of tooth decay. 

Crowding happens to teeth when there isn’t enough room in the mouth for all of the adult teeth to grow. Dental crowding is also caused by: 

  • having teeth that are larger than your jaw and don’t ‘fit’ correctly 
  • losing an adult tooth early and having another adult tooth move into the empty space 
  • wisdom teeth emerging and not having enough space to sit comfortably in the mouth 
  • over-retention of baby teeth which prevents adult teeth from growing  correctly 

2. You breathe through your mouth  

Our bodies are designed to breathe nasally. If you breathe through your mouth excessively, especially when you sleep, it could be because closing your mouth doesn’t feel comfortable. In a well-aligned mouth, the top row of teeth rests gently on the bottom row when the mouth is closed. For some, this doesn’t feel natural, which leads to breathing through the mouth rather than through the nose.  

Breathing through the mouth excessively can change the way your face looks as you develop from adolescence into adulthood. Mouth breathing can lead to dry lips, bad breath and other health issues.  

Fixing the alignment of your teeth will not only fix the way you breathe, it can also improve the appearance of the face. 

3. Your teeth don’t align properly 

Ideally, the top and bottom rows of your teeth should rest gently on one another when your mouth is closed. If you have an overbite your top row of teeth will protrude over the bottom row. If you have an underbite, the bottom teeth protrude out further than the upper teeth.  

Underbites can make it difficult to chew properly and may make closing your mouth feel uncomfortable. Many people choose to get their overbites fixed for aesthetic reasons. Overbites can lead to: 

  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Pain or discomfort when chewing 
  • Gum disease if bottom teeth aren’t brushed properly 
  • Speech problems 

4. You have a speech impediment 

Having crooked or misaligned teeth can cause speech issues such as lisping, whistling or a lateral lisp. The alignment of your teeth affects where the tongue is placed when speaking. Crooked teeth can disrupt your ability to correctly form certain words. Overcrowded teeth can make it hard for the tongue to move as freely while large gaps between teeth can cause whistling sounds, especially on ‘s’ sounds. 

When teeth are properly aligned, your tongue can produce the right sounds without obstruction. 

5. You have trouble chewing 

Misaligned teeth can cause problems with your jaw, making it harder to chew your food properly. If you experience clicking or pain in the jaw, you could also have problems with your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint. This joint connects the jawbone to your skull. Long term grinding of the teeth can also cause pain in the TMJ. 

Your dentist will be able to tell you whether or not braces can fix any problems with your jaw that make chewing difficult. For some people, braces won’t be enough. Instead, they may need jaw surgery to fix problems with their TMJ. 

6. You sucked your thumb past the age of five  

If you sucked your thumb as a child past the age of five, you may need orthodontics to correct your teeth. Sucking your thumb for long periods of time, especially in childhood when your adult teeth are emerging, can push the front teeth forward into an overbite.   

If your child is a thumb-sucker this doesn’t necessarily mean you should force them to stop. Most children grow out of the habit naturally. However, if your child is five or older there is a higher chance that their habit will change the way their teeth form and could lead to alignment issues. 

 7. You don’t like the look of your smile 

You don’t have to experience problems with your teeth to have orthodontics. Plenty of people get braces for aesthetic reasons. Whether you have a gap between some of your teeth or one or two crooked teeth, no matter how small the aesthetic ‘problem’ braces can be a great solution.  

Straight teeth can boost your confidence by fixing any issues that may stop you from wanting to smile. Straightening your teeth can also give a more harmonious look to the face and improve your jaw structure.  

Orthodontics at Gentle Dental 

At Gentle Dental we offer traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign. Traditional braces are made from stainless steel to gently move your teeth into place. Clear braces are similar to traditional braces, but use ceramic brackets for a more discreet look. Lingual braces fit to the inside of the teeth and are better suited to adults than kids or teenagers. Invisalign are a great option for adults seeking orthodontic treatment. The trays are transparent, easy to use and are barely noticeable. 

No matter what type of braces you choose, we focus on providing a gentle touch when it comes to fitting your orthodontics. While many orthodontists will remove teeth in order to create room in the mouth to align the teeth, we try to avoid removing teeth wherever possible. 

If you are interested in orthodontics for you or your child, book a consultation with us today.  

September 21, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

How to look after your child’s baby teeth

Many parents have questions about their child’s baby teeth, like when should they start seeing a dentist and what age their child will begin to lose their baby teeth. Find the answers to these questions and more in our latest blog post. 

When do baby teeth start coming in? 

Most babies develop their first tooth around  six months of age. A baby’s lower teeth usually come in first, followed by other incisor teeth in the front of the mouth. It can take three years before your child has a full set of teeth as molars take the longest to come in.  

Every child’s development is different and yours may get their baby teeth sooner or later than these timeframes. If you are worried about your child’s teeth development, you can always book an appointment with a dentist. Dental appointments are free until your child turns eighteen. 

When will your child lose their teeth? 

Most children begin to lose their baby teeth around six years old. They will continue to develop their adult teeth until around twelve years old. During this time the number of teeth in their mouth increases from twenty baby teeth to thirty-two adult teeth (including four wisdom teeth). 

Just because your child will lose their baby teeth doesn’t mean you should take their oral health for granted. In fact, establishing good oral hygiene habits in your children means they are more likely to take care of their adult teeth. 

Once all of their adult teeth have come in your dentist will be able to see what their bite looks like and can plan for orthodontics if needed.  

When should you start teaching your child to brush their teeth?  

Your baby will need their teeth brushed as soon as their first tooth erupts. Once they become a toddler you can teach them to hold a toothbrush and how to brush their teeth in front of a mirror. Children learn by doing which makes this an important step in their motor skills and self-development. As your child won’t be able to effectively brush their teeth, you should follow up by brushing any parts they may have missed. 

Children need help cleaning their teeth up until around seven years old. At this age, although they may know how to brush their teeth, it’s still a good idea to supervise them. This will ensure they are brushing for long enough and are cleaning all sides of their teeth. 

What is proper tooth brushing technique?

Brushing your teeth together is a simple way to teach kids how to brush. Make sure your child has a child’s toothbrush and give them plenty of encouragement while they learn. While brushing probably comes naturally to you as an adult, here is a refresher on how to brush: 

  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle just below the gum line. 
  • Brush backward and forward in small strokes starting at the gumline and brushing down  or up towards the opening of your mouth. 
  • Brush all sides of your teeth including the front surface, inner surface of the tooth and the tops of the teeth. Don’t forget the inside of your front teeth.
  • Brush your teeth for two full minutes every time you brush.  
  • Brush your tongue from back to front once you have finished brushing your teeth. 

Why is it important for your baby to see a dentist? 

As soon as a child has teeth, they are at risk of developing oral health problems. Most babies cut their first tooth at around six months old. This means, as a parent, you need to ensure their teeth are looked after from a very young age.  

There are some milestones that your child can achieve before you schedule an appointment with the dentist, including cutting their first tooth. However, most experts agree that you should bring your baby in to see a dentist once they have their first tooth or by their first birthday. 

You don’t have to wait until your baby has a full set of teeth to see the dentist. Even without teeth, babies can develop gum issues that can affect their teeth as they grow. Starting dental visits early ensures that your baby’s oral health is in good condition. 

Bringing your child to the dentist at a young age means your dentist can keep an eye on the development of their teeth and jaw. It also gets your child comfortable with visiting the dentist and establishes oral health as something that is important. 

 What to expect at your baby’s first dental appointment 

Your baby’s first dental appointment will last around half an hour. Your dentist may ask you about your baby’s dental history, or any symptoms you may have noticed with their teeth and gums. 

Your dentist will also examine your baby’s mouth, teeth, bite and gums to see how they are developing and will also give your child’s teeth a gentle clean.  

They will also answer any questions you have about cleaning or flossing your child’s teeth as they continue to come through. 

 How to prepare your child for their first dental appointment 

Try to book a dental appointment at a time that you know your baby or child won’t be tired. We know this isn’t a foolproof plan, but this can make the appointment more pleasant for them. Making sure your child has eaten before their appointment is also a good idea. Just make sure to brush their teeth before they arrive.  

Most children are wriggly getting their teeth examined when they are young. Your dentist may need a hand ensuring that your child is comfortable. Many young children want to be examined sitting in their parent’s lap and this can make the experience feel less scary. Either way, making your child feel as comfortable as possible is a big help. 

You can help normalise the visit by avoiding speaking negatively about the dentist. As your child gets older, they will naturally become more comfortable with each visit. Keeping up regular visits helps them get used to being examined and will ensure any problems with their teeth and gums are caught early.  

Do you need a dental appointment for your child? Book now with Gentle Dental. 

August 24, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

How to Heal After Dental Implant Surgery

Here are some tips for post-surgery care and long-term maintenance to keep your dental implants healthy.

Post-surgery care during the first 24 hours

Before your dental implants have been fitted your dentist will discuss post-surgery instructions so that you can properly prepare for healing.

You may be given anaesthetics before your dental implants are put in. In this case, you will be required to stay in the clinic until the effects wear off. You will be required to have someone drive you home after the surgery. Once home, here are some tips for healing in the first 24 hours:

  • Get plenty of rest. Avoid sleeping on the side of your implants as this will disturb the healing process.
  • Leave your mouth alone. You can ice the outside of your face for twenty minutes at a time with an ice pack or by wrapping ice in a towel.
  • Brush before bed. Brush your teeth before bed very gently. Make sure you use a toothbrush with gentle bristles and try to avoid disturbing your implant.
  • Take painkillers. You make take any medication as recommended by your dentist.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Water, milk and non-acidic juice (avoid orange, pineapple or grapefruit juices as these can sting) will help keep you hydrated.
  • Try not to move too much. Your mouth needs time to heal so keep any activity during the first 24 hours to a minimum. Avoid jumping or sudden movement if you can.
  • Eat soft or liquid foods. In order to not disrupt your surgery site, eat only liquid or very soft foods, such as smoothies, yoghurt, ice cream, soups, or applesauce.

Post-surgery care on days 2-4

  • Rinse your mouth: On days 2-4 you can begin to rinse your mouth out very gently with salt water every few hours. Doing this too soon can disrupt the healing process.
  • Eat soft foods: Continue to eat soft foods. By the end of the week you should be able to introduce soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft bread and ground beef.
  • Compress with a warm cloth: Switch the ice pack for a warm compress on the outside of the jaw. This will help relieve the pain.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can irritate your wound and prevent your mouth from healing properly.
  • Soften your toothbrush. Use a soft bristled brush and run it under warm water before you brush.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise. Avoid any exercise that involves jumping or rapid movements or is physically strenuous.

 Post-surgery dental implant care for weeks 1-4

 1. Brush and floss regularly

After day four you can rinse your mouth 3-4 times a day and start following a brushing and cleaning routine. You will need to devote extra attention to cleaning and caring for your implants. Bacteria and food can easily get stuck around your implants and gums and form plaque. This can lead to infections or gingivitis. Take your time when flossing and brushing. Use a soft toothbrush in the weeks following your dental implant surgery.

 2. Attend all your scheduled dental appointments

Dental implants are made up of three parts including the screw, abutment and the crown. Most people will need to attend several appointments to complete the procedure and ensure their implant is healing properly before and after the crown is placed. Make sure you are attending all your scheduled appointments as your dentist needs to monitor your progress after the initial surgery.

 3. Notify your dentist if you have any concerns

 Dental implants have an extremely high success rate. However, you must notify your dentist immediately if there is swelling at the implant, it seems to slip or sink under your gum tissue, or you begin to feel extreme pain. Essentially, the faster your dentist addresses any problems with a dental implant, the less likely you are to have major issues or need it replaced in the future.

 4. Eat the foods your dentist recommends post-surgery

Go easy on your tooth for at least three months. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating the foods you used to but remember that until your post-surgery recovery period has passed, it is possible that you may not be able to eat hard or sticky foods. Your tooth and gums may take some time before healing completely. Let yourself heal before eating foods that could stick or put pressure on your teeth.

 5. Follow the instructions from your dentist

When you get a dental implant at Gentle Dental, your dentist will talk to you about the recovery process, including what pain medication you can take, when to come in for a checkup appointment and what to expect during the healing process. To book a dental implant consultation click here.

August 12, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What Causes Tooth Discolouration and Stains?

Tooth discolouration and stains on teeth are common and happen for various reasons. The good news is that many of these stains are preventable. Some surface level stains are also treatable.  

Here’s what you need to know about the causes of tooth discolouration and stains and what you can do to keep your teeth looking their best.  

Types of Staining 

  • Extrinsic: The stains only affect the tooth’s enamel or surface.  
  • Intrinsic This type of stain is located within the tooth, making it more resistant to over-the-counter whitening products.  
  • Age-related: As we age, the outer enamel layer of our teeth wears away, and our gums can start to yellow. Age-related stains don’t happen overnight. Both extrinsic and intrinsic factors cause them. 

What Causes Tooth Discolouration? 

Eating, drinking, ageing, smoking, and tooth injuries all cause tooth discolouration. Certain types of food and drink can stain your teeth. Most people know that red wine and coffee can stain their teeth. However, other foods and drinks also contribute to the discolouration of tooth enamel: 

Tea: Like coffee, tea contains tannins that stain our teeth’s white enamel. The research is still out on whether using milk in your tea or coffee can help prevent staining. However, limiting the amount of tea you drink can help. 

Cola: The dark colouring of this soda, combined with acids and sugars, makes it particularly bad for teeth enamel. Soda will wear away at your teeth faster than other types of drinks. 

Fruit juices: Dark-coloured fruit juices like blackberry, cranberry, and grape juice can stain your teeth. To avoid these from staining your teeth, drink these juices in moderation. 

Tomato sauces: Tomatoes contain deep pigments that can cause teeth to stain over time.  

Soy sauce: The dark colour of soy sauce can cause tooth enamel to stain. 

While we don’t suggest avoiding eating soy sauce or tomato-based sauces, it is a good idea to limit the amount of soda and caffeine in your diet. Soda, in particular, has very little nutritional value, is high in sugar, and is highly acidic. Not only will it stain your teeth, the sugars and acid eat away at our teeth enamel and cause cavities. 

Smoking: Once you start smoking, it doesn’t take long for the enamel of your teeth to begin to stain or yellow. Nicotine causes teeth to turn brown or yellow very quickly. The best way to prevent teeth from staining any further is to quit smoking (or not start at all). Smoking is bad for your teeth and gums in a lot of ways. Nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums which causes the jaw bones to weaken and teeth to loosen over time. 

Age: Teeth naturally get more brittle with age and will stain or yellow more easily.

Injuries: If you have experienced trauma to your mouth an injuries can cause the damaged tooth or teeth to darken. It’s always a good idea to see your dentist after experiencing a mouth injury. 

Antibiotics: Some medications cause tooth enamel to discolour. When mixed with saliva, medication can cause dark spots or stains to form on your tooth enamel. Often, these stains are not permanent as they develop below the surface of the tooth. This intrinsic staining can disappear once you finish the antibiotic cycle.  

What Can You Do to Treat and Prevent Tooth Stains? 

Tooth discolouration caused by aging is natural. However, you can prevent surface staining by changing your lifestyle. 

Limit your intake of soda and caffeine. Switch to water and light-coloured herbal teas to prevent tooth staining. If you drink red wine often, try drinking water simultaneously to rinse your mouth between sips. Stop drinking soda or save it for special occasions. 

Use at-home whitening kits. Whitening kits can lift stains from your teeth in as little as one or two days. However, many at-home products can cause teeth sensitivity and gum irritation.  

Brush with a whitening toothpaste. Many effective tooth whitening products on the market are safe to use. While whitening toothpaste can remove some surface stains from teeth, it won’t change the natural colour of your tooth enamel or lighten intrinsic stains. 

When Should You See a Dentist About Tooth Stains? 

If you notice a change in the colour of your teeth and it doesn’t get better with a whitening product, it’s a good idea to follow up with your dentist. If the staining looks like a dark shadow, and nothing you try seems to remove the stain, it could be due to a deeper problem such as a cavity or demineralisation of the enamel. 

If one single tooth is discoloured, it could mean that you have a cavity or a tooth injury. In this case, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Cavities can eventually lead to infection and tooth loss if left untreated. 

The Bottom Line 

The appearance of unwanted discolourations on your teeth can occur for many reasons, mainly related to your lifestyle. Limiting coffee, tea and soda and avoiding smoking will help keep your teeth enamel whiter for longer.  

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having discoloured teeth. However, tooth discolouration sometimes signifies an underlying oral health issue. We recommend scheduling regular checkups with your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth enamel is healthy. Book a dental appointment now if you have noticed rapid discolouration of your tooth enamel. 

August 8, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

5 Types of Dental Fillings: Which Is Best?

A common misconception about dental fillings is that they are only used to fix cavities. Fillings have many uses, including filling a tooth after decay has been removed and repairing cracked or broken teeth. Dentists also use fillings to repair worn-down teeth. The cost of dental fillings differs depending on the material used. 

What are the different types of dental fillings? 


While it’s best to let your dentist choose which type of filling is best for your needs, knowing what materials your filling is made of can be helpful.   

Here are five different types of dental fillings you should know about:  


  • Silver Amalgam Fillings
  • Composite fillings
  • Glass ionomer fillings
  • Ceramic fillings
  • Gold fillings
Silver Amalgam Dental Fillings 


Over the years, a commonly used material for fillings was silver amalgam. Silver amalgam contains a range of metals, including mercury, tin, copper and silver. Not all composite fillings contain these ingredients; sometimes, they have just one or two materials.


Silver amalgam fillings have been around for decades. They are highly durable and can last up to a decade. The mercury in silver amalgam fillings is not considered dangerous. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health monitors literature on its safety and makes recommendation on its use. 

Silver amalgam fillings can be an option, but they have some disadvantages. Firstly, silver stands out against the white enamel of your teeth, and it is obvious you have a filling. Additionally, these fillings can stain and give your teeth a grey hue over time.  

Some dentists don’t like to use silver amalgam as healthy parts of your tooth often need to be removed to hold an amalgam filling. This destruction to more of the tooth structure can be avoided by choosing fillings made from other materials. This process can weaken teeth. 

Finally, amalgam can expand and contract with hot and cold temperatures. This can cause cracks and fractures to form in the tooth. For these reasons, Gentle Dental does not use amalgam fillings in our clinics.

Composite Dental Fillings 

Composite fillings are made of silica, plastic, glass quartz, and other ceramic particles added to a resin base. After the decay is removed from a cavity, the filling is bonded into the hollow cavity. Your dentist will then composite the composite using ultraviolet light. 

Composite is a popular choice of filling mainly because the resin matches the shade of your teeth. When preparing the filling, less of the tooth structure needs to be removed than when using amalgam. 

Composite fillings are also great for repairing chipped, broken or worn teeth. The material creates a strong bond which improves the strength of the tooth. 

There are some disadvantages to composite fillings. They wear out faster than amalgam. Composite fillings have a lifespan of at least five years. They also take a bit longer to set than amalgam fillings, and the cost of these fillings is slightly higher than amalgam.  

Glass Ionomer Dental Fillings 

Glass ionomer dental fillings are mainly used on children and for fillings below the gum line. Glass ionomer fillings are primarily used for their flexibility. They are easier to apply than composite fillings and create a tight seal between the tooth and the rest of the mouth. 

These types of fillings contain silicate glass powder, which contains fluoride. The slow release of fluoride from glass ionomer fillings can help to prevent future cavities and protect teeth. 

Glass ionomers are significantly weaker than composite resin fillings because they tend to wear and tear quickly. They also have a life span of fewer than five years and don’t match the tooth colour as precisely as composite. 

Ceramic Fillings 

Ceramic fillings are made most often out of porcelain. Ceramic fillings generally need to be made in a dental lab (or in one visit at Gentle Dental) and aren’t a good option for quickly treating a cavity. However, ceramic fillings last a long time and have a lifespan of around 15 years. They are more expensive than many other types of fillings.

Gold Fillings 

Gold fillings aren’t very common, but they have many advantages. They are highly durable and can last up to 20 years. They’re also super strong and aren’t likely to break or crack. Some people like how gold fillings look and are happy to pay the high price to be fitted with a gold filling.  

The downsides of gold fillings are the price. They also take longer to fit and require at least two appointments before your tooth is fully restored.  

How to Take Care of Your Dental Fillings 

Take care of your dental fillings by brushing twice daily, flossing and avoiding hard or sticky foods. These can cause fillings to come loose. Very hot and very cold temperatures can also cause amalgam fillings to expand or contract, which can lead to cracks. 

If you have fillings, you must see your dentist regularly, especially if your fillings are old. Your dentist can check that your fillings and the surrounding tooth structure are healthy and if they need to be replaced. 

Book a check-up for your fillings today at Gentle Dental. 

August 3, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

When Should I Book An Emergency Dental Appointment?

If you have a dental emergency and need to find an emergency dentist in Wellington, we can help! Sometimes it can be hard to know whether the tooth pain or dental issue you are dealing with requires an emergency dentist appointment. This blog aims to make it easy to understand when to book an emergency dentist appointment. Learn: 

● What is a dental emergency? 

● How to know if you have a dental emergency 

● When you should visit the emergency room VS the dentist 

● Tips on how to avoid a dental emergency What is a dental emergency? 

● How to know if you have a dental emergency 

● When you should visit the emergency room VS the dentist 

● Tips on how to avoid a dental emergency 

What is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are dental problems that require immediate attention or treatment to prevent tooth loss or treat dental pain. Common dental emergencies include:  

  • bleeding that won’t stop 
  • pain in a tooth 
  • a broken or knocked-out tooth 
  • loose adult tooth 
  • heightened tooth sensitivity 
  • dental abscess 
  • facial swelling 
  • wisdom tooth infection 

Dental emergencies can occur at any time. It’s a good idea to have a regular dentist nearby so that you don’t have to spend time finding a new dentist or travelling far to get your dental problem treated. 

How do You Know if You Have a Dental Emergency? 

Some dental emergencies are painfully apparent — like when you knock out an adult tooth or experience unbearable tooth pain. However, not all dental emergencies will cause extreme pain. You may think that you can wait to visit your dentist for treatment if you aren’t experiencing any pain or don’t mind your broken tooth.  

Here’s the problem: Avoiding or delaying dental care can cause issues that are harder to fix and cost you more in the long run. That’s why if something feels different or just ‘not right,’ we recommend calling your dentist for an emergency dental consultation ASAP. 

Where Should You go for Emergency Dental Care? 

 Knowing where to go during a dental emergency can be confusing. Some people think you should go straight to the hospital, but others will advise you to contact your regular dentist for advice first. But who is right?  

  • If you are experiencing an emergency, go directly to the closest hospital emergency room or call 111. This includes injuries that need immediate treatment, such as a fractured jaw, severe cuts or lacerations to your mouth, or injuries that are causing bleeding, swelling, restrictions to your breathing or swallowing, or severe redness.
  • If you have a dental emergency that is not life-threatening but is urgent, you need to book an emergency dentist appointment. Talk about your symptoms with the receptionist. They may suggest seeking medical care if your injury needs immediate medical attention.

 It can be helpful to choose a regular dentist offering longer opening hours as dental emergencies can happen anytime, including after work and on the weekends.  

At Gentle Dental, we have three Wellington locations open until 6 pm or 8 pm most weeknights (excluding Friday). We also have two clinics open on Saturdays. We also offer same-day appointments for dental emergencies, making it easy to book an emergency appointment when you need it.   

How to Avoid a Dental Emergency 

Some dental emergencies are more common than others. Here are some ways to avoid common dental emergencies: 

 Unexpected toothaches: Toothaches can appear out of nowhere, but usually have underlying issues that have been developing for a while. To avoid severe toothaches, brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months. 

Loose teeth: If you play sport, wear a mouthguard even for non-contact sports like basketball. Avoid diving into pools or performing back flips in unsafe environments.  

Chipped teeth: Don’t use your teeth to open packages or bottles. Eat a balanced diet and avoid chewing on hard or very sticky foods.   

Dental emergencies are more common than you think. Many dental issues are caused by seemingly normal activities, like eating certain foods (or failing to go to the dentist) rather than injuries or falls. If you need an emergency dentist appointment in Wellington, see our friendly team at Gentle Dental. With same-day appointments available where possible, we can ensure the health of your smile.

July 11, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What to Expect From a Root Canal Treatment

Root canals might seem scary, but the procedure is necessary for preventing infected, decayed or injured teeth from further decay and eventual extraction. Here’s what to expect from a root canal treatment.  

What is a root canal? 

A root canal is a treatment for removing decay from inside a tooth. Soft tissue, known as the pulp, is at the centre of a tooth. This pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues and extends from the tooth’s crown down to the roots. The pulp is vital to the development and growth of a tooth, while the nerves are what give our teeth sensitivity to hot and cold foods.  

During a root canal treatment, a dentist will remove the nerve and pulp at the tooth’s centre. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed to prevent further decay and to repair and restore the tooth.  

A dentist can perform a root canal. However, if your root canal treatment is complicated, a dentist might refer you to an endodontist — a type of specialist dentist that has expertise in the treatment of dental pulp. 

Why does the tooth pulp need to be removed? 

 Left untreated, the bacteria inside a tooth’s pulp can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the tooth’s roots and can’t always be treated by a root canal. The infection may be so bad at this stage that the entire tooth needs to be removed.  

When an infection spreads to the roots of a tooth, it can also cause: 

  • Swelling of the face and neck 
  • Bone loss near the tip of the root 

Dentists generally don’t like removing teeth if they can help it. Teeth provide support and structure for one another, and extraction can leave the remaining teeth unsupported without an implant or teeth bridge to fill the gap. These procedures are also more costly than preventing tooth decay in the first place. 

How do I know if I need a root canal? 

There are several reasons why the pulp inside a tooth may become diseased: 

  • Tooth trauma, or injury 
  • Cracking or fracturing of the tooth 
  • Cavities or decay 
  • Repeated dental procedures 
  • Extreme wear and tear 
  • Large fillings

If you experience the following symptoms, you might need a root canal: 

  • Severe tooth pain when biting or chewing 
  • A chipped or cracked tooth 
  • Swelling or tenderness of the gums 
  • Decay or darkening of the gums 
  • Pimples on your gums 
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lasts for longer than usual 
What can I expect during a root canal treatment? 

Root canal treatments can vary depending on how severely the tooth is decayed. A dentist will usually complete a root canal in one to two appointments. You may need an initial consultation followed by an appointment to remove the infected pulp. Tooth crowns are usually fitted at a second appointment. A root canal treatment typically includes the following steps 

  • The dentist or endodontist will take an x-ray of the tooth to see the shape of the root canals beneath the surface. The x-ray will help them determine if there are signs of infection in the surrounding bone.  
  • Local anaesthetic is administered to numb the tooth. A dental dam is often placed over the tooth to keep it isolated and prevent saliva from filling the tooth during the treatment. 
  • An opening is made in the tooth’s crown with a drill or small tool. The dentist removes the decayed tissue, pulp and bacteria from the tooth. The inside of the tooth is cleaned thoroughly, including the pulp chamber and root canals. 
  • The root canals are then sealed with a rubber-like compound called gutta-percha. In cases of infection, the dentist may wait a week before filling the tooth so that the root canals can be treated first. In this case, the dentist temporarily seals the tooth to keep out food debris and saliva. 
  • A filling is fitted to close the hole in the tooth’s crown. In some cases the patient may need a crown to restore the tooth further and prevent the tooth from breaking or cracking in the future. 
What should I do after root canal treatment? 

Most people experience sensitivity, pain or swelling in the treated area for the first few days, but can go back to school or work after treatment. 

Here are some things you can do to help recover after a root canal:  

  • Eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing 
  • Avoid hard foods or hot foods as these can hurt your teeth 
  • Listen to any advice from your dentist
  • Wait until the numbness has worn off before you eat 
  • Try to avoid chewing with the affected tooth until your procedure is completed 
  • Brush, floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash regularly 

Root canal treatment is highly successful, with tooth survival rates of 97%. After the tooth has healed, it will function as it usually does. To ensure the success of your treatment, talk to your dentist about after-care solutions and whether you need a follow-up appointment in the weeks following the root canal. 

Scheduling regular dental checkups is the best way to maintain tooth health and prevent tooth decay from becoming an infection or abscess. If you are experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, contact the friendly team at the Gentle Dental Centre to book an initial assessment. 

June 24, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

How does sugar affect your teeth?

Even if you don’t eat a lot of sweets, it’s hard to avoid eating sugar altogether. Refined  sugar is found in a wide variety of foods, especially snack foods, sauces, and even ‘health foods’.

Cutting down on sugar is important as too much sugar can affect your teeth by causing cavities. Here’s everything you need to know about how sugar affects your teeth.

Why is sugar bad for our teeth?

Sugar is bad for our teeth because when combined with the bacteria in plaque it produces acid. This acid slowly dissolves tooth enamel and can cause holes or cavities in teeth. Thousands of New Zealand kids go into hospital for dental treatment every year with diet found to be a leading factor of dental problems.

Most dentists and oral surgeons typically recommend cutting back on all sugars—from sugary drinks to lollies and even muesli bars—in order to protect your teeth from decay and erosion.

Natural sugars come from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy products and grains. Refined sugars are added to food during processing or preparation. The more sugary foods you eat, the greater your risk of developing cavities. The bottom line is that if you want healthy teeth and gums for life, you must limit the amount of sugary food and drink you consume each day.

What are the effects  of eating too much sugar?

In addition to the health risks that can come from eating too much sugar—including obesity, elevated blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes—there are also serious oral health consequences.

This can lead to cavities as well as tooth erosion—which is irreversible if left untreated.

Sugar’s damaging effects don’t stop there. Excessive amounts of sugar can also contribute to dry mouth, a condition that leaves you feeling parched and irritated. In addition, when plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing between teeth regularly (as should be done twice daily), it hardens into tartar.

Eating too much sugar has a wide range of negative effects on dental health. However, you don’t have to be eating excessive amounts of sugars or ‘bad’ foods to harm your teeth.

What are the worst sugary foods for your teeth?

The foods that contribute the most to tooth decay in children are:

  • White bread – white bread is low in fibre and can turn into a sticky paste which coats the teeth. Switch to wholegrain or brown bread. This will also keep you full for longer.
  • Fruit juice – juice is highly acidic as well as being high in sugar. Swap fruit juice for water or drink a glass of water after your morning orange juice.
  • Refined breakfast cereals – many breakfast cereals appear to be ‘healthy’ but actually contain a high amount of sugar. Weet-Bix or rolled oats are low sugar breakfast options that are better for your teeth.
  • Confectionary and cakes – baked goods are often high in sugar, and your body doesn’t get a lot of energy or nutrients from these foods.  .
  • Soft drinks – sugary sodas are one of the worst offenders for causing tooth decay. Children should not consume soft drinks regularly as they are very high in caffeine and sugar and low in nutrients. Don’t keep soft drinks in your house as an everyday drink.
  • Ice cream – dessert foods like ice cream are high in sugar and should be treated as a sometimes food rather than an everyday snack.
  • Noodles – noodles are low in nutrients when consumed on their own. Pair your noodles with vegetables and meats or tofu for a more nutritious snack. Noodles don’t contain a lot of sugar, but they are high in refined carbohydrates. The study showed that children consuming more refined carbs tended to have more cavities.
Can you have too little sugar in your diet?

Yes, you can have too little sugar in your diet. Eating too little sugar can result in low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. However, most people are getting more than enough sugar in their diet. In fact, according to some data, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of sugar consumption in the world.  Other  reports suggest kiwis consume around 37 teaspoons of sugar a day—six times as much as they should.

Even if you avoid  biscuits, lollies, soda, baking and adding sugar to your tea or coffee, you can still get enough sugar through eating:

  • Tomato sauce and paste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pasta and cooking sauces
  • Protein cookies and bars
  • Dried fruits
  • Flavoured yoghurts
  • Low fat products
  • Single serve oatmeal with dried fruits
  • Iced teas
  • Tinned fruit

How to protect your teeth from sugar

There are multiple ways to prevent sugar from destroying your teeth.

Limit your intake of sugar as much as possible

This not only helps keep your dental health in check but will help regulate your blood pressure and avoid sugar crashes throughout the day.

Eating more calcium-rich foods

Yoghurt and cheese are high in calcium which are good for tooth strength. Just avoid yoghurts with added sugar or flavours. Hard foods are also great for tooth strength. Apples, broccoli, carrots and pears are crunchy, fibrous and produce saliva which washes out your mouth.

Drink more water

Saliva is great for washing away particles in your mouth that would otherwise cling to your teeth. Drink water after every meal and make sure you’re drinking at least 2L a day. If you don’t like drinking water, try drinking natural sparkling water or adding ice cubes or a slice of lemon, kiwi, or lime to your glass.

Floss and brush every day

Drinking water will help flush out the food particles in your mouth, but it won’t help dislodge more stubborn bits of food. Brush for two minutes morning and night and floss every day.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride acts as a protective shield around your teeth. Make sure you are brushing with a fluoride toothpaste so that your teeth and gums get the benefits of strong tooth enamel.

See your dentist regularly

If it’s been more than six months since your last  checkup, you need to book an appointment with your dentist. Book your appointment for a dental consultation or checkup now.

June 2, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Should I brush before or after breakfast?

Everybody knows that dentists recommend brushing your teeth for twice a day and that brushing should take two full minutes, for healthy teeth and gums. However, when to brush is another question. Is there any benefit to brushing when you wake up rather than waiting until after breakfast? 

Most people brush their teeth after breakfast because it seems to make the most sense. After all, you don’t have to risk drinking orange juice with a minty tasting mouth. Plus, you can leave the house for work or school, knowing there’s no food lodged in your teeth.  

However, there is data that suggests brushing when you wake up is more beneficial than waiting until after you’ve eaten for the first time. 

Brushing your teeth at the same time each day can help create a regular habit. And, if brushing before or after breakfast helps you to remember to brush each morning, you may be better off sticking to your regular morning routine, regardless.   

Why it might be better to brush your teeth before breakfast 

When we sleep, we produce less saliva because our mouth is in a restful state. While this is good for our sleep cycle (and pillows) this lack of saliva dries our mouths out during the night and can leave us with a bad taste when we wake up.  

There is another downside to producing less saliva overnight. While we sleep, plaque-causing bacteria are multiplying in our mouth. Sometimes our teeth can feel like they are coated in a slippery film when we wake up because there is no saliva to wash the plaque away.  

Brushing when we wake up, washes away the bacteria and plaque that cling to our teeth. The fluoride in our toothpaste not only rids your teeth from cavity-causing nasties, but it also coats the enamel of our teeth with a protective layer that prevents acids from eating away at the tooth. 

Brushing first thing in the morning also helps to kick-start saliva production.   

The downsides of brushing your teeth after breakfast 

Brushing your teeth before breakfast is more beneficial, but are there any downsides to waiting until after breakfast? 

Dentists recommend waiting thirty minutes after you’ve eaten before brushing your teeth. For some people, there isn’t enough time in their morning routine to wait that long. However, if you brush your teeth immediately after eating breakfast rather than removing bacteria from your mouth, you can actually end up covering your teeth with remnants of acidic food. This can weaken the enamel of your teeth.  

Some breakfast foods are actually bad for your tooth enamel. This is because they can be high in acids, or sugars, or when saliva breaks them down, they turn into sugar. If you eat the following foods in the morning, don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating: 

  • Citrus fruits – these fruits are high in natural acids. While citrus fruits are high in vitamin c and other nutrients, their acid erodes enamel making your teeth vulnerable to cavities. Eat citrus fruit in moderation and wash your mouth by rinsing or drinking water after you consume these fruits. 
  • Dried fruit – dried fruit has lots of good health benefits. However, the stickiness of dried fruit can make them cling to your teeth where they leave behind sugars which attack your tooth enamel. Always brush and floss at least 30 minutes after eating dried fruits and rinse your mouth by drinking water. 
  • White bread – when you eat highly processed bread, like the white variety, the saliva in your mouth breaks down the bread’s starch into sugar. White bread also turns into a gluey paste in your mouth, coating our teeth and crevices in between them where they release sugars which attack our tooth enamel. Switch to wholegrain breads instead. 
  • Orange juice — you may think that drinking orange juice is less harmful to your teeth than eating citrus fruit, but even the juice of an orange contains quite a lot of acid. Drink orange juice in moderation or drink alongside a glass of water so that the acids aren’t clinging to your teeth.  
  • Pastries — like white bread, pastries are high in sugar and can coat the mouth in a sugary paste when you chew. Make sure you drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after thirty minutes after you eat pastries. Pastries are high in fat and sugar and should not be consumed regularly. 

Brushing after eating these foods can push the acids and sugars around your mouth where they can attack the delicate enamel coating on your teeth. However, if you brush your teeth before breakfast, the sugars from these foods will cling to your teeth for the rest of the day. So, what should you do? 

If you consume any of the above foods for breakfast, wait at least thirty minutes before you brush your teeth. This way, you’ll rid your mouth of sugars and acid which can attack your enamel through the day while avoiding brushing sugars into your teeth. 

Regular checkups are the best way to maintain and monitor oral health regardless of when you brush your teeth. If you need to book an appointment with a dental health professional, clickhere.