Category: Blogs

August 26, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

The Best Oral Hygiene Habits for Healthy Teeth

Adopting good oral hygiene habits is essential for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Simple dental habits like brushing and flossing must be done correctly to protect your mouth from plaque and bacteria. Follow these oral hygiene habits for healthy teeth.

Brush your teeth twice a day for good oral hygiene

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day to rid the mouth of plaque and bacteria. Skipping a brushing session can result in the buildup of food and debris and cause bad breath. Brush for two minutes morning and night to thoroughly clean your mouth.

Try to avoid brushing directly after eating. If you have consumed acidic foods, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Citric foods can soften tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can damage it while it’s weak.

Brush your mouth gently. Most dentists recommend using a soft to medium toothbrush as these are hard enough to remove food but soft enough on gums. There is no need to use a toothbrush with stiff bristles and if your mouth feels agitated after brushing, try switching to a brush with softer bristles.

Brush your whole mouth, including your tongue

If you find it difficult to brush your teeth for two minutes, it could be because you are not doing a thorough enough job. Hold your toothbrush at an angle, and make sure you brush each side of your teeth — front, back, and side to side. Doing a poor job of brushing your teeth can leave behind food and bacteria and won’t keep your teeth protected.

Brush your tongue each time you brush your mouth. If you don’t like the feeling of tooth bristles against your tongue, a tongue scraper is a good option. Brushing your tongue also helps improve your breath.

Some parts of your mouth can be hard to reach. If you have a bar on the back of your teeth to keep your teeth aligned, make sure you are brushing behind it. Switching to an electric toothbrush can be helpful. The smaller head may be able to clean and polish parts of your mouth a manual toothbrush head struggles to reach.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

There are many brands of natural, whitening, and flavoured toothpaste on the market. Whichever toothpaste you choose, make sure it contains fluoride. Unfortunately, many natural brands exclude fluoride from their ingredients, and this leaves your teeth unprotected.

Some people have concerns over the safety of fluoride. However, fluoride is a natural substance found in the air, sea, soil, plants and freshwater. Therefore, there is nothing unnatural about using fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride helps protect our teeth from decay by:

  1. Strengthening the surface of the tooth
  2. Preventing the growth of bacteria which causes cavities
  3. Repairing the early stages of tooth decay

Whenever we eat and drink, we increase the levels of acidity in our mouths. Acid strips minerals from our teeth and leads to tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water and brushing with fluoride toothpaste increases the amount of fluoride in our saliva and mouth and acts as a repair kit to neutralise the effects of acid. If you live in an area that does not have fluoride added to its water supply or drink bottled water, use fluoride toothpaste to keep your teeth healthy.

Floss your teeth at least three times a week

Brushing twice a day is effective at removing bacteria on the surface of our teeth but not so excellent at removing food and debris that gets stuck between the teeth. If you aren’t flossing, try adding it to your oral hygiene routine at least three times a week. From there, you can build up to flossing once a day.

If you find flossing uncomfortable, a floss made from softer, wider material may be more comfortable for you. How you floss is also essential. Dentists recommend holding a strip of floss at both ends and gently pushing it down between your teeth.

  • Push the floss down to the gum line and then hug one side of the tooth in an up-down motion.
  • Leave the floss in between the same teeth and push it up and down on the side of the opposite tooth.

This technique is more effective at removing plaque than just pushing the floss up and down.

Understand how mouthwash can help protect your teeth

Mouthwash is not an essential part of your oral hygiene routine. However, you  can use mouthwash in addition to brushing and flossing to keep the mouth healthy. The mouth wash ingredients contain antimicrobials that help kill bacteria, reduce plaque and halitosis, which causes bad breath.

Mouthwash is helpful in alkalising the PH of your saliva. You can use it after eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods. It reduces the erosive effect that acid has on teeth and promotes enamel mineralisation.

Some types of mouthwash can cause local irritation in the mouth. If you find a particular kind of mouthwash too harsh, use it less frequently or switch to a brand with gentler ingredients.

Be wary of the food and drink you consume 

Sugar converts to acid in the mouth, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Cutting down on the amount of sugar and sugary drink you consume is good for your teeth. Crisps and nuts can quickly get stuck in between your teeth and can be hard to remove. In general, cutting down on processed food is good for your teeth.

Tea and coffee can also stain the enamel on your teeth over time. While you don’t have to eliminate these foods, be mindful of how often you consume them. Whole foods are less likely to get stuck between teeth, and carrot sticks and cucumbers are easy to snack on without compromising the health of your teeth.

See your dentist at least twice a year

Without regular visits to the dentist, it’s impossible to know the proper health of your teeth. Your teeth and gums may look fine but hide problems that are hard to see. Plaque buildup can eat away at your teeth over time. Make sure you are booking regular visits to your dentists so that they can check the status of your teeth and gums.

Your dentist can spot the buildup of plaque,  which, left untreated, can lead to gingivitis and other tooth problems. They can also spot potential problems before they get too bad. Ultimately, seeing your dentist twice a year is the best way to prevent serious tooth problems.

Change your toothbrush regularly

Practicing good toothbrush hygiene is vital for the health of your mouth. Make sure you change your toothbrush or swap the head of your electric toothbrush for a new head regularly. A good rule to follow is changing your toothbrush with the seasons. This means you should update your brush every three months. You should also replace your brush if the bristles become flat or splayed.

After cleaning your teeth, make sure you rinse off your toothbrush and store it in a clean place. Avoid keeping your toothbrush in a closed container or keeping a toothbrush cover on it for long periods. This can encourage bacteria to grow.

At Gentle Dental, our friendly team are experts in keeping your smile healthy. Keep on top of your oral hygiene habits and book an appointment to see us today.

June 9, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What are Dental Implants and How Do They Work?

In New Zealand, the percentage of adults who have missing teeth increases with every age group. While good dental hygiene is important to prevent the loss of a tooth, there are aesthetic solutions for their replacement.

Dental implants are excellent for people who need to replace one or more teeth. They are a permanent solution, are unparalleled in a cosmetic sense, and are nearly impossible to detect even when fitted next to real teeth.

So how do they work? A dental implant works like a screw-in tooth, with a receptor (the part that the crown screws into) insert placed into your jawbone to hold it in place. The receptor is usually made of an incredibly strong alloy or titanium. The crown (which is the tooth part) is made specifically to blend in with the rest of your teeth — making for a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result.

The most common practice for installing implants is very straightforward and simple. In fact, it’s often possible to remove a tooth, install the insert and place the implants all in the space of a single day.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

The benefits of having dental implants fitted is that they can replace one or more damaged teeth without needing to be anchored to your other teeth. This makes them a more permanent and natural solution than dentures or a dental bridge.

Dental implants are firmly secured into the jawbone which makes them incredibly durable. They provide a strong foundation that acts just like the root of a tooth does. They create a firm bone structure within your jaw and look and feel like natural, functioning teeth.

Dental implants do not require care in the same way that dentures do. As the results are permanent, you can look after your dental implant with brushing and flossing, as you would your regular teeth. Many patients enjoy the simplicity and freedom that dental implants offer when compared to less permanent options.

How are dental implants fitted?

The process of fitting dental implants always starts with a consultation. This is arguably the most important part of the process, as it’s paramount that the right details, dimensions and requirements for your surgery are taken into account. During the consultation, it’s common to undergo a clinical examination, X-ray scans and a CT scan Dentists use this scan to create a model to ensure optimum results.

Sometimes, there isn’t enough natural bone in the patient’s jaw to properly secure a dental implant, resulting in the need for bone to be grafted in to secure the insert. This involves leaving the graft in for a period of time during which it will bond to the natural bone of your jaw. This process provides more stability for your implant.

What does dental implant surgery involve?

Implant surgery is a common and well-established procedure, usually with a complete recovery. There are, of course, some discomforts associated with surgery — but these can be accounted for and often negated with the right consultation and care.

Before your surgery, you will be given instructions on what to do in the lead up to the procedure. This can include (but is not limited to) rinsing out your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, not eating on the day of the surgery if you’re being sedated and taking prescribed antibiotics a few days before the procedure begins.

During the surgery, your dentist will place the titanium implant into your jawbone, right below the gums. This procedure can take one to two hours to complete, per implant. Most dentists will wait up to 3 months for the implant to heal before completing the final restoration. It is important that your gums and bone heals properly before they can secure the crown.

Once your healing period is complete, your dentist will fit the abutment and crown to the implant. An abutment is placed between the titanium implant and the crown to act as a shock absorber.

What is the cost of dental implant surgery?

Dental Implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.

As surgery requirements can differ from patient to patient, book a consultation at Gentle Dental, and we can give you a more accurate cost of the procedure.

What does post-surgery care involve?

After your implant surgery is completed, it’s important to take care of your new replacement teeth. Take extra care to carry out a thorough oral hygiene routine and come back to visit the dentist regularly to see how your implants are getting on.

All told, dental implants surgery takes longer than some other procedures, but the end result is totally permanent. At Gentle Dental, our friendly dentists can walk you through the process and tell you whether a dental implant is the best option for your smile. Book an appointment to see us today.

May 12, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Where Can I Go For Great Dental Care in Upper Hutt?

Gentle Dental have been offering gentle, professional dentistry to Wellington patients since 1992. As one of Wellington’s largest privately-owned dental practices, we are pleased to be expanding our dental practice with the opening of our new location in Upper Hutt.

As a large group practice, now working out of three locations, we have a team of highly qualified experts that can help with everything from wisdom teeth removal, to braces, and even dental surgery including wisdom teeth removal. Create your perfect smile at Gentle Dental Upper Hutt by booking an appointment today.

Choose the gentlest dentists in Upper Hutt

Gentle Dental have been offering dental care in Wellington for nearly thirty years. With two locations in the Wellington CBD — one on Ghuznee Street and one on Lambton Quay — we thought it was about time we brought our brand of friendly, professional, and gentle, dental services to patients in the Hutt Valley.

Our newest Gentle Dental practice is located at 22 Royal Street, Upper Hutt. Whether you are experience toothache, or dental pain, are due for a dental examination, or would just like to find a dentist closer to you, our practice is open and taking on new patients. Whatever your needs, the friendly Gentle Dental team can help!

The Gentle Dental difference

Our vision has always been to provide professional, exceptional care that treats people how we would like to be treated. That’s why we’re so excited to be extending our practice into Upper Hutt. When you book with us, you’ll experience the Gentle Dental difference.

Firstly, we’re a service focused team, and your comfort is our top priority. We focus on supporting you through each visit and our bedside manner is second to none. If you’re anxious, apprehensive or worried our team are here to help. We’re also happy to explain each step of the process as we go along.

When you book in with us, you’ll meet with one of our team of experienced professionals. Our dentists have 125 years of combined experience, so you know you’re in good hands.

It’s not just our staff that takes a gentle approach to dental care. From digital x-rays to cameras that help us diagnose decay, we utilise the best state-of-the-art dental technology to make your appointment quicker, and more comfortable. Our intra-oral cameras also allow you to see what’s going on in your own mouth. If you’d rather zone out while you’re in the chair, you can watch movies or listen to music, to feel more at ease.

Booking a preventative dental appointment is the easiest way to keep your smile in good health. That’s why we like to make sure you’re comfortable while in our care. Book in your appointment with Gentle Dental today and experience our difference.

We make getting a dental appointment easy

We know how hard it can be to book in an appointment with a dentist. That’s why we’re open longer than many other clinics. Can’t find the time to visit us between work and family commitments? Our Upper Hutt dental clinic is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

We’re also open late on Tuesdays  until 8:00pm. Need a weekend appointment? No worries! Pop in on Saturday and we’ll get you sorted.

While we know the importance of preventative dental care, we also know that accidents happen. If you’re experiencing toothache or pain, or have a dental emergency – like losing a tooth — we try our best to get you in for a same-day emergency appointment.

No matter what type of dental service you require, we make accessing dental care easy. Call our friendly receptionists today to book in an upcoming appointment at any one of our three clinics.

Get the dental care you require

As a locally owned dentist practice, we’re here to make sure Upper Hutt residents have access to the best dental care in Wellington, without having to drive into the city for something as simple as a check-up.

While our Upper Hutt dental centre is slightly smaller than our Wellington practices, you’ll still get the benefit of being part of the Gentle Dental family. With three locations, our team of dentists have expertise in most aspects of dentistry. This includes wisdom teeth removal, surgery and even full mouth rehabilitation and enables us to treat most cases in-house without having to refer you to a specialist.

For our Upper Hutt clients, this means if you require a more specific service or surgery, we can still handle it at one of our city clinics.

Whether you need an emergency appointment, preventative care, orthodontics, restorative or cosmetic treatment you can get it all at Gentle Dental.

Become a new dental patient at our Upper Hutt practice

At Gentle Dental, our technology, expertise and gentle approach allows us to produce top quality results in all aspects of dentistry. With longer opening hours, same-day emergency appointments and weekend appointments, our Upper Hutt clinic is open and ready to help! Book your dental appointment in now and keep your mouth smiling.

April 15, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of a Cracked Tooth

Our teeth go through a lot. From grinding and chewing to eating sticky or hard foods, it’s no surprise that every now and then our teeth will crack or break.

What Causes a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth can happen for a variety of reasons. Teeth grinding can put pressure on teeth causing cracks to form over time. Large fillings can also weaken the integrity of the tooth and cause fractures.

More common causes of cracked teeth are biting hard foods such as toffee and other sticky hard sweets, ice, and nuts. Injuries also cause a large proportion of teeth cracks. Changes in temperature in the mouth can weaken teeth — eating extremely hot foods then cooling the mouth with ice can cause stress to teeth. Age is also a leading factor of tooth cracks. As a large percentage of our population reach old age, cracked teeth, will become more of a problem.

What Are The Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth?

Not every cracked tooth is painful, or even noticeable. Some cracks are harmless and don’t require treatment. There are many more extensive types of crack that require dental treatment. If you suffer from any of the following you could have a cracked tooth:

  • Swollen gums particularly around the cracked tooth
  • Pain when eating, especially when chewing
  • Mouth or tooth pain that tends to come and go
  • Teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to sweetness
  • Discomfort around the teeth and gums that is hard to pinpoint
  • Teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to hot or cold foods
Are There Different Types of Cracks?

Commonly, there are five different types of cracked teeth. Each one is slightly more serious than the last and require more attention.

Craze Lines: These are superficial cracks that don’t cause pain to the teeth. Craze lines appear as thin cracks in the enamel of the tooth. They are natural and don’t require treatment.

Fractured Cusp: This type of crack will usually occur around a dental filling. These fractures usually don’t occur in the middle of the tooth where the nerve centre is and don’t cause much pain. It’s still a good idea to get a fractured cusp check out by your dentist.

Cracks to the Gum Line: If your tooth has a crack in it that goes all the way down to the gum line, the crack could run beneath your gums. This tooth will probably need to be extracted as the fracture could run deep. The best chance you have of saving this tooth is to get it examined by a dentist as soon as possible.

Split tooth: This is a crack that runs from the surface of the tooth to below the gum line and splits the tooth into two parts. While your dentist might not be able to save the whole teeth, they may be able to save half of it. A split tooth needs dental attention immediately.

Vertical root fracture: A vertical fracture starts below the gum line and travels upwards. Unless the tooth is infected vertical root fractures don’t always cause pain. It’s likely that this tooth will need to be pulled out.

What to do if You Have a Cracked Tooth

If your tooth is broken or fractured, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or get infected. This can increase the chances of losing your tooth and lead to other health problems.

In the meantime, try the following self-care measures:

  • If the tooth is painful, take an over-the-counter pain relief.
  • Rinse your mouth with saltwater.
  • Eat soft food to avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
  • If the break has caused a sharp edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue.

Treatment for a broken tooth will depend on how critical it is damaged. If only a small piece is broken off, it’ll be repaired in one sitting. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure.

How a Broken Tooth is Diagnosed

Since not all broken teeth are painful, or even obvious, a good dentist will have to do a visual examination on your teeth. They may ask about your dental history, whether you chew on hard foods or grind your teeth to figure out the cause of the breakage.

During the examination your dentist might:

  • Use a magnifying lens to do a visual examination to find the crack.
  • Run a dental explorer over the tooth to see if it catches on any broken parts.
  • use a dental dye to temporarily stain your teeth and make any cracks stand out.
  • Probe your gums to look for inflammation, particularly to identify vertical cracks.
  • Get you to bit down on something to identify where the pain is located.
Treatment for a Broken or Cracked Tooth

Depending on what type of crack your tooth has, your dentist will likely recommend one of the following treatments.

Bonding: This is a simple procedure, where plastic resin is used to fill in the crack in your tooth. This restores the look and functionality of the tooth.

Crown: A porcelain or ceramic crown is fitted over the top of your tooth to protect it. This process may take a couple of weeks as the dentist may have to make a mold of your tooth, and send it away to get the crown made.

Root Canal: If a crack extends into the tooth pulp (the softer centre of the tooth where the nerves live) a root canal can remove the damaged pulp and restore the tooth. 

Extraction: If the structure of the tooth is too damaged, a dentist may opt to remove the tooth completely.

How to Prevent a Cracked Tooth

Good oral hygiene is important for the health of our teeth. Avoiding hard or sticky foods is recommended as well as wearing a mouthguard during sport.

If you are concerned about cracks in your teeth, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. At Gentle Dental, our expert team of dentists can gently examine your teeth and recommend a suitable treatment plan. Book an appointment today.

March 10, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What To Do When You Have A Toothache

Dealing with toothache can be anything from a nagging annoyance to completely debilitating. Whether you are feeling a slight pain in your jaw, a sharp pain in a tooth or dull aching pain, toothaches are usually a symptom of an underlying issue. Wherever the pain is located, getting a dentist to check your teeth to make sure your mouth, teeth, and gums are healthy is important.

What causes toothache?

There is no one cause of toothache but experiencing tooth pain can often be the symptom of a number of underlying tooth problems. If you have orthodontics and have just experienced a tightening of your braces, or have had dental work done, there’s a high chance that your pain is a result of work being done in your mouth. But, day to day, experiencing tooth pain is not normal, and is not something you should have to live with. Causes of tooth pain can include:

Tooth Decay

There’s a reason dentists love to encourage their patients to brush and floss twice a day. The plaque on your teeth is filled with bacteria and this can erode the enamel on your teeth. With less enamel, your nerve endings are more exposed and will feel more sensitive. Left untreated decay can infiltrate into the centre of the tooth and cause all sorts of problems. Get to a dentist quickly, and make sure brushing twice a day (and flossing) is a firm part of your morning and nightly routines.

Gum Disease

Your gums are just as much of an important part of your mouth as your teeth are. Healthy gums keep your teeth healthy, and any care routine should include giving your gums a gentle brush. Gum disease is caused by plaque — yes those guys again — beneath the gum causing damage to your gums, which in turn affects the roots of your teeth. Gum disease can cause a dull achy pain and result in teeth loosen and falling out over time.

Tooth trauma

Cracked, chipped, and broken teeth are painful and yet, dentists still see patients who have been living with teeth years after trauma has happened. The best thing patients can do when experiencing tooth trauma is booking an appointment with a dentist right away. At Gentle Dental, our team of dentist are available throughout the week for same day emergency appointments.

Impaction

Impaction is a common form of toothache, especially when it comes to wisdom teeth. As teeth don’t always come through the gums in a nice, orderly fashion, an impacted tooth can end up pushing against its neighbour, if there is not enough room in the mouth. This can obviously cause a lot of pain. Wisdom tooth pain can often be dull and achy, but getting to a dentist early will leave you with a healthy mouth, and far less toothache.

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism

If you are experience jaw ache and headaches, teeth grinding could be the culprit. Many people that grind their teeth at night are unaware that even do so. Teeth grinding wears down teeth over time and cases exposure to the sensitive middle layer of the tooth. A dentist can fit you for a mouthguard and check out your teeth to make sure your mouth is healthy.

Trapped food

Crisps, nuts and other snack foods can be terrible culprits for getting stuck between teeth. Sometimes, even brushing and flossing won’t work if food is trapped in hard to reach places, such as between impacted teeth or wisdom teeth. Trapped food can cause a dull, persistent ache and only a visit to the dentist will be able to clear out the trapped food.

Misaligned teeth

Misaligned teeth can cause pain from teeth that put pressure on the mouth, or from having a bite that doesn’t close properly. If you are experiencing tooth pain from misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment can help realign your teeth, give you a better bite, and a neat straight smile. At Gentle Dental, we specialise in gentle braces that are less painful than many types of orthodontics.

What to do when experiencing toothache

If you are experiencing toothache, you should book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Toothache is a symptom of an underlying problem and should always be treated as serious. Oral health complaints don’t usually go away on their own, so waiting on the problem is likely to only make it worse. The longer you delay the problem, the worse it can become.

When you book an appointment with a dentist, make sure to tell the receptionist if you are experience high levels of pain and discomfort. At Gentle Dental, we take toothache and pain seriously and can see patients for emergency appointments if neccessary.

A dentist will examine your teeth and recommend a suitable treatment. It is important to be honest with your dentist about your tooth care. If you don’t floss or brush regularly, it’s important to be honest with your dentist. Getting back into a regular toothcare routine is one way to prevent future tooth problems.

Remedies for toothache

If you have booked a dental appointment but still have to wait to see the dentist there are a few things you can do to help. Take a painkiller to ease the pain. Taking over the counter medicine such as panadol or aspirin can relieve pain temporarily, enough to make you comfortable until you can see a dentist.

Salt water can help kill bacteria and reduce swelling in the mouth. Stir salt into a glass of warm water. Gargle the water and swish it around your mouth before spitting it out. You can repeat this every few hours.

For temporary pain you can also hold a pack of ice against the side of your mouth to help relieve pain. Make sure the ice is wrapped in a tea towel. Don’t hold it directly against your teeth. Your teeth are sensitive and this will cause more pain and discomfort.

Prevent toothache by adopting a tooth care routine

Ask your dentist about how to prevent the specific type of toothache you have experienced. For teeth grinders they may recommend wearing a mouthguard. Cutting down on snack foods that can be lodged in between teeth can also help prevent food from becoming stuck between teeth.

A thorough flossing and brushing routine will help your mouth, teeth, and gums to stay healthy, prevent cavities, get rid of plaque, dislodge food debris, and keep your teeth protected. Twice yearly check-ups with your dentist will also help catch any tooth problems before they get worse. The team at Gentle Dental make seeing a dentist a comfortable, and pain-free experience. Book in now if you are experiencing toothache and we can get you back to having a healthy, happy smile.