Category: Prevention

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.

July 7, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

When is wisdom teeth removal necessary?

Wisdom teeth – the third molars in the back of your mouth – can be a common cause of tooth problems. In many cases, wisdom teeth can cause problems when there isn’t enough room for the teeth to grow into the mouth properly. Wisdom teeth removal can help relieve pain from impaction.

Most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the top row of teeth and two in the bottom – one in each corner of the mouth.

Typically wisdom teeth grow between the ages of 17-25. By the time wisdom teeth develop, the mouth’s 28 other teeth have already long grown in. Hence the name ‘wisdom’ teeth, and why they can cause problems.

When should you have wisdom teeth removed?

When wisdom teeth are impacted, it can cause problems in the rest of your mouth. Impaction is caused when wisdom teeth grow at various angles in the jaw.

Wisdom teeth can even grow in horizontally. Problems can develop from wisdom teeth that:

  • Never erupt through the gum and stay completely hidden. When wisdom teeth are trapped (impacted), it can result in infection or cause a cyst that can damage other teeth roots or bone support.
  • Emerge partially through the gum. Partially emerged wisdom teeth can be hard to clean. It is easy for food to become trapped between the back of the wisdom tooth and the mouth. Even flossing in this area is hard. Bacteria can then form and cause gum disease or an infection.
  • Crowd out other teeth. If there isn’t enough room for wisdom teeth to come through, they can crowd or damage other teeth nearby and cause problems to your bite.
Does everyone need their wisdom teeth removed?

No. Some people will have all four wisdom teeth grow in and not experience any problems.

It is only necessary to have wisdom teeth removed if they are causing pain, infections, gum disease, decay, or damage to your other teeth.

It is important to see your dentist regularly, as even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing you pain, you may not notice problems such as decay.

Going for regular check-ups will allow your dentist to catch any problems early. You may not need your wisdom teeth removed if they are:

  • Healthy and free of decay
  • Grown in entirely and haven’t impacted other teeth
  • Not affecting your bite or opposing teeth
  • Able to be cleaned easily
Will wisdom teeth removal straighten teeth?

Wisdom tooth removal can cause a slight shift in your teeth as they settle back into your mouth. Removal may also help your bite to feel more natural. This is because impacted teeth can put a lot of pressure on other teeth, and extraction helps to relieve your teeth from stress.

If your teeth are very uneven or crooked, it is unlikely they will straighten after wisdom tooth extraction. If you want straighter teeth, you may need to talk to your doctor about braces.

How does wisdom teeth removal work?

Wisdom teeth extraction will vary depending on how your tooth or teeth are impacted. During the procedure, the dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. The dentist will then remove any bone blocking access to the tooth’s root.

Sometimes the tooth will need to be divided into sections for it to be removed. Once done, the dentist removes the pieces of the tooth and cleans the wound of any debris.

The wound is sometimes closed using stitches or gauze to slow the bleeding.

Are you put to sleep when wisdom teeth are removed?

The routine removal of a single wisdom tooth can be completed within an hour at your dentist’s office and will use a local anesthetic.

Any oral surgery clinic may take up to 90 minutes to extract a tooth, especially if the tooth removal is less routine. Some dentists are qualified to use a sedative along with local anesthetic during removal.

If your surgery requires several teeth and takes place at a hospital, it could take between 2-3 hours. Patients will usually have a general anesthetic before their operation.

Does wisdom teeth removal hurt?

You will likely experience some pain and discomfort from wisdom tooth removal. It is common to experience swelling and bruising. Here are some ways to make your recovery more comfortable:

  • Do not rinse your mouth out on the day of your surgery as this will prohibit healing.
  • Use an ice pack as much as possible during the first 48 hours. This helps reduce swelling.
  • Take time off work to recover and avoid strenuous activity.
  • The days following the surgery, rinse the mouth out three times a day with saltwater.
  • Drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking with a straw. Sucking can dislodge the blood clot that is forming.
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?

Dental care is free for teenagers in New Zealand until their 18th birthday. At Gentle Dental, the price of wisdom teeth removal varies based on the number of teeth removed and the type of impaction. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with your wisdom teeth, we recommend booking a general appointment, and we will assess your wisdom teeth to see if they need to be removed.

During this time, we can give you a price estimation and guide you through the whole process, including how best to manage your recovery. Book your appointment here.

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.

Nice teeth
February 5, 2020 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Four Reasons to Book a Regular Dentist Visit

The importance of regular trips to the dentist cannot be understated, even for those with pristinely healthy teeth.