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Call TODAY to place your order 01788 539793 or visit www.dentalhealth.org Copyright © British Dental Health Foundation | www.dentalhealth.org


Q

Will mouthwash help?

A

Most mouthwashes only disguise bad breath for a short time. So if you find that you are using a mouthwash all the time, talk to your dentist. Some mouthwashes that are recommended for gum disease can cause tooth staining if you use them for a long time. It is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions or ask your dentist about how to use them.

Q

How can I prevent bad breath if I wear dentures?

A

Take them out at night to give your mouth a chance to rest and clean them twice a day. Clean them thoroughly with soap and lukewarm water, a denture cream or a denture-cleaning tablet. Use a denture brush kept just for the purpose. Remember to clean the surfaces that fit against your gums and palate. This will make sure your dentures are always fresh and clean, and avoid the plaque build-up on the denture that may cause bad breath.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Bad Breath

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Q

How can I tell someone they have bad breath?

A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C The chances are we all know someone who has bad breath, but very few people feel brave enough to discuss the problem. It is obviously a very delicate matter to tell someone they have bad breath. There is always the risk that they will be offended or embarrassed and may never speak to you again! However, bad breath may be the result of any number of problems. Once the person knows they have bad breath, they can deal with whatever is causing it. You could try talking to their partner or a family member, as the bad breath may be caused by a medical condition which is already being treated.

You may like to leave this leaflet where the person in question is likely to see it. Or you could try a more subtle approach, for instance asking if the person has been eating garlic lately!

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 02/12


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

How can I tell if I have bad breath?

Q

What else causes bad breath?

Q

How can my dentist help?

A

Lots of small signals can show that you have bad breath. Have you noticed people stepping away when you start to talk? Do people turn their cheek when you kiss them goodbye?

A

Bad breath can also be caused by some medical problems. Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition that affects the flow of saliva. This causes bacteria to build up in the mouth and this leads to bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by some medicines, salivary gland problems or by continually breathing through the mouth instead of the nose. Older people may produce less saliva, causing further problems.

A

If you do have bad breath, you will need to start a routine for keeping your mouth clean and fresh.

If you think you might have bad breath, there is a simple test that you can do. Simply lick the inside of your wrist and sniff – if the smell is bad, you can be pretty sure that your breath is too.

If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may be able to recommend or prescribe an artificial saliva product. Or your dentist may be able to suggest other ways of dealing with the problem.

Or, ask a very good friend to be absolutely honest, but do make sure they are a true friend.

Q

What causes bad breath?

Q

Can other medical conditions cause bad breath?

A

Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes.

A

Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs; sinusitis; bronchitis; diabetes; or liver or kidney problems. If your dentist finds that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family GP or a specialist to find out the cause of your bad breath.

Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will decay and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. So correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C However, strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem.

The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay. One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Again, your dentist or hygienist will be able to see and treat the problem during your regular check-ups. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.

Q

Can smoking cause bad breath?

A

Tobacco also causes its own form of bad breath. The only solution in this case is to stop smoking. As well as making your breath smell, smoking causes staining, causes loss of taste and irritates the gums. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from gum disease and also have a greater risk of developing cancer of the mouth, lung cancer and heart disease. Ask your dentist, pharmacist or practice nurse for help in quitting. If you do stop smoking, but still have bad breath, then you need to see your dentist or GP for advice.

Avoid strong flavours

Regular check-ups will allow your dentist to watch out for any areas where plaque is caught between your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to clean all those areas that are difficult to reach. They will also be able to show you the best way to clean your teeth and gums, and show you any areas you may be missing, including your tongue.

Smoking causes bad breath

Q

Can I prevent bad breath?

A

To keep your breath fresh, you must get rid of any gum disease, and keep your mouth clean and fresh. If you do have bad breath, try keeping a diary of all the foods you eat and list any medicines you are taking. Take this diary to your dentist who may be able to suggest ways to solve the problem. • Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to clean your tongue as well. • Cut down on how often you have sugary food and drinks. • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

• Floss your teeth – brushing alone only cleans up to about 60 percent of the surface of your teeth. There are other products you can buy to clean between your teeth (they are called ‘interdental brushes’). • Use a mouthwash – some contain antibacterial agents that could kill bacteria that make your breath smell unpleasant. If you continue to suffer from bad breath visit your dentist or hygienist to make sure that the mouthwash is not masking a more serious underlying problem. • Chew sugar-free gum – it stimulates saliva and stops your mouth drying out. A dry mouth can lead to bad breath.


Q

What are bridges made of?

A

Bridges are usually made of porcelain bonded to precious metal. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength. There are also new bridges made entirely of a special type of strong porcelain.

Q

What will a bridge cost?

A

Costs will vary according to the size and type of bridge you need. Always get a written estimate and treatment plan before beginning any dental treatment. Although a bridge may seem expensive it should last many years.

Q

How do I look after my bridge?

A

You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.

Q A

Q A

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Bridges & partial dentures

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Are there other methods for fixing false teeth?

There are other methods, such as using a combination of crowns and partial dentures that can keep the retaining clips out of sight. These are quite specialised dentures, so you should ask your dentist about them.

Can I have teeth which attach to the jawbone?

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

Yes, by having implants. The success of this technique means you may be able to replace missing teeth without crowning other teeth. See our leaflet “Tell me about Implants” for more details. Remember that it is as important to care for your remaining teeth as it is to replace the missing ones.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £5 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 09/10


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

Why should I replace missing teeth?

Q

How do I choose the best type for me?

Q

What is the alternative to a partial denture?

A

Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.

A

Be guided by your dentist. He or she will know the condition of your remaining teeth and will be able to advise you on your individual situation. In most cases a metal-based partial denture gives the best result.

A

The main alternative is a fixed bridge. This is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the space, and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space.

Q

Can I have a bridge fitted straight after having a tooth removed?

Q

How are missing teeth replaced?

A

A

This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in the mouth. The condition of the other teeth also affects the decision.

In many people it can take up to 6 months for the gums to heal properly after an extraction. This means that you may need to have a temporary denture for 6 months before the bridge is fitted.

Q

How do I look after my denture?

A

The general rule is: brush, soak, brush. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher – always follow the manufacturers’ instructions - then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, being careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.

There are two main ways to replace the missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.

Q A

Q A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What is a partial denture?

This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may be all plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Both types may have clips (clasps), to help keep the denture in place in the mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clips may show when you smile or open your mouth.

Another option is an adhesive bridge. This has wings that are bonded to the back of the supporting teeth with very little drilling involved.

Q

Can I always have a bridge to replace missing teeth?

A

Bridges are only possible if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support. Your dentist will help you decide which is the best way of replacing missing teeth.

Most dentists advise using a small to medium headed toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which comes into contact with your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative.

What is the difference between a plastic partial denture and one that contains metal?

1. Space left by missing tooth

2. Teeth are prepared

3. Bridge bonded into place

4. Natural smile is restored

If you notice a build up of stains or scale, have your denture cleaned by your dentist or hygienist.

Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make. But unless they are designed very carefully they can damage the teeth they fit against.

Metal partial dentures are usually from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and they are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and naturallooking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than the plastic ones.

This is all made in the laboratory and then cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge cannot be removed for cleaning.

Q

Should I take my denture out at night?

A

Your dentist may recommend removing your dentures at night to give your mouth a chance to rest. If you remove your dentures, it is important to leave them in water to prevent any warping or cracking.


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Q

How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?

A

The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar and acid in the diet, but how often it is eaten or drunk. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. It is therefore important to keep sugary and acidic foods to mealtimes only. If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to vegetables, fruit and cheese. Try to limit dried fruit as it is high in sugar and can stick to the teeth. It is also worth remembering that some processed baby foods contain quite a lot of sugar. Try checking the list of ingredients: the higher up the list sugar is, the more there is in the product. Sometimes, on labels, sugar is called fructose, glucose, lactose or sucrose. Thorough brushing for two minutes, twice a day, particularly last thing at night, will help to prevent tooth decay.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Children’s teeth

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Q A

What if my child is very nervous about going to the dentist?

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Children can sense fear in their parents, so it is important not to let your child feel that a visit to the dentist is something to be worried about. Try to be supportive if your child needs to have any dental treatment. If you have any fears of your own about going to the dentist, don’t discuss them in front of your child.

Regular visits to the dentist are essential in helping your child to get used to the surroundings and what goes on there. A child can be much more anxious if it is their first visit to a dental practice. Pain and distress can happen at any time and it is important to prepare your child with regular visits.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 04/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

When should I take my child to the dentist?

Q

How should I clean my child’s teeth?

A

It is recommended that children go to the dentist with their parents as soon as possible. You should then take them regularly, as often as your dentist recommends. This will let them get used to the noises, smells and surroundings and prepare them for future visits. The earlier these visits begin, the more relaxed the child will be.

A

Cleaning your child’s teeth should be part of their daily hygiene routine.

Q

Should I use fluoride toothpaste?

A

Fluoride comes from a number of different sources including toothpaste, specific fluoride applications and perhaps the drinking water in your area. These can all help to prevent tooth decay. If you are unsure about using fluoride toothpaste ask your dentist, health visitor or health authority. All children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). After three years old, they should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm.

• You may find it easier to stand or sit behind your child, cradling their chin in your hand so you can reach their top and bottom teeth more easily. • When the first teeth start to come through, try using a children’s toothbrush with a small smear of toothpaste.

• It is important to supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least seven.

You can check the level of fluoride on the packaging of the toothpaste. You should supervise your children’s brushing up to the age of 7, and make sure they spit out the toothpaste and don’t swallow any if possible.

• Once all the teeth have come through, use a small-headed soft toothbrush in small circular movements and try to concentrate on one section at a time. Teach your children how to clean their teeth

Q A

When will my child’s teeth come through?

• Don’t forget to brush gently behind the teeth and onto the gums. • If possible make tooth brushing a routine – preferably in the morning, and last thing before your child goes to bed.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C First or ‘baby’ teeth have usually developed before your child is born and will start to come through at around 6 months. All 20 baby teeth should be through by the age of two-and-a-half. (For more information, see our Tell me about Dental Care for Mother and Baby leaflet.)

What sort of brush should I use?

A

There are many different types of children’s toothbrushes. These include brightly coloured brushes, ones that change colour, ones with favourite characters on the handle, and some with a timer. These all encourage children to brush their teeth. The most important point is to use a small-headed toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles, suitable for the age of your child.

Q

What could cause my child to have toothache?

A

Toothache is painful and upsetting, especially in children, and the main cause is still tooth decay. This is due to too much sugar and acid, too often, in the diet.

• Remember to encourage your child, as praise will often get results!

2

1

1

2

3

The first permanent ‘adult’ molars (back teeth) will appear at about 6 years, behind the baby teeth and before the first teeth start to fall out at about 6 to 7. The adult teeth will then replace the baby teeth. It is usually the lower front teeth that are lost first, followed by the upper front teeth shortly after. All adult teeth should be in place by the age of 13, except the wisdom teeth. These may come through at any time between 18 and 25 years of age.

Q

3

4

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

All children are different and develop at different rates. The diagram to the right gives an idea of where the adult teeth come through.

8

8

7

7

6

6

5

5

4

4

3

3 2

1

1

2

The permanent teeth 1 Central Incisor 2 Lateral Incisor 3 Canine 4 1st Premolar 5 2nd Premolar 6 1st Molar 7 2nd Molar 8 3rd Molar (Wisdom Teeth)

Teething is another problem which starts at around 6 months and can continue as all the baby teeth start to come through. If your child needs pain relief, make sure you choose a sugar-free medicine. Remember to check with the doctor or pharmacist that you are being prescribed sugar-free medicines at all times. If the pain continues then contact your dentist for an appointment.


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Q

Will the crown be noticeable?

A

The crown will be made to match your other teeth as closely as possible. The shade of the neighbouring teeth will be recorded, to make sure that the colour looks natural and matches the surrounding teeth.

Q

Will the crown feel different?

A

Because the shape of the crown will be slightly different from the shape of your tooth before it was crowned, you may be aware of it to begin with. Within a few days it should feel fine, and you will not notice it. The crown may need some adjustment if your bite does not feel comfortable and if this is the case you should ask your dentist to check and adjust it.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Crowns

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

Q

What will it cost?

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

A

Costs will vary according to the type of crown and material used. It is advisable to get a written estimate and treatment plan before beginning any dental treatment.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

Q A

Q A

• visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C How do I care for my crown?

How long your crown lasts depends on how well you look after it. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. Therefore, to prevent decay affecting the crown, it is important to keep this area just as clean as you would your natural teeth. Brush for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean in between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

How long will the crown last?

Properly cared for crowns should last for many years. Your dentist will be able to tell you how long the crown may be expected to last.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 04/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is a crown?

Q

What is a crown made of?

Q

A

A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’.

A

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials and new materials are continually being introduced. Some of the most popular options are listed below.

A

Q

Why would I need a crown?

A

Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. A crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance:

Porcelain, bonded to precious or non-precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious- or non-preciousmetal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it.

Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns, but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.

• you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth

All-ceramic crowns: this modern technique offers a metal-free alternative, which can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown. Therefore it is suitable for use in all areas of the mouth.

• you may have had a root filling which may need a crown to protect what is left of the tooth

Gold alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metal alloys to increase its strength, which makes it a very hardwearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in colour.

• it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Before

If a root-filled tooth is not completely broken down, it may be possible to build it up again using filling material. This ‘core’ is then prepared in the same way as a natural tooth and the impressions are taken.

Q

What will happen between visits?

A

A temporary crown or temporary filling will be placed so that you can use the tooth while you wait for the crown to be made. This crown may be more noticeable but is only a temporary measure.

Q

How is the crown fitted?

A

When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place.

Q

How is a crown prepared?

Q

How long does the treatment take?

A

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mould) of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together.

A

You will need to have at least two visits the first for the preparation, impression, shade taking and fitting the temporary crown and the second to fit the permanent crown. There will usually be about 1 to 2 weeks in between appointments.

Q

Does it hurt to have a tooth prepared for a crown?

A

No, you will have a local anaesthetic and the preparation should feel no different from a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, and a post crown is being prepared, then you may not need a local anaesthetic.

The impressions will then be given to the dental technician, along with an appropriate shade and other information needed for the crown to be made.

After

Crowns can improve the appearance of teeth

Are there any alternatives to post crowns for rootfilled teeth?

Q

What is a post crown?

A

In root-filled teeth it may be necessary to insert a post before placing a crown. A post provides support and helps the crown stay in place. The weakened crown of the tooth may be shortened to gum level. A post can be made of prefabricated stainless steel which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal, or a custom-made post can be constructed by the dental technician to accurately fit the shape of the prepared root canal. The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.


Q

What can I do to prevent decay?

A

The best way to prevent dental decay is by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, making sure that you brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. Using dental floss, tape or interdental aids also helps remove plaque and food from between your teeth and gumline. These are areas a toothbrush can’t reach.

Q

Is there anything I can do to protect my teeth against decay?

A

As the adult molars appear, and if the tooth is free of decay, a ‘fissure sealant’ can be used to protect the tooth. The sealant is a plastic coating that fills all the little crevices in the tooth surface, creating a flat surface that is easier to clean. This is called a ‘pit and fissure sealant’. Adults can also have this treatment if the teeth are free of decay.

Q A

Is there anything else I can do?

A

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, and have sugary and acidic food and drinks less often. Avoid snacking between meals as this limits the times your teeth are under attack from acids.

Chewing sugar-free gum for ten minutes after a meal can help your mouth produce more saliva, which helps to neutralise any acids which have been formed.

Q

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Dental decay

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

How can my dentist and hygienist help me prevent decay?

Your dentist or hygienist will show you what areas you need to take most care of when cleaning. They will also show you how to brush and floss correctly.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £5 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 09/10


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is dental decay?

Q

What is plaque?

Q

What happens if I have a cavity?

A

Dental decay happens when the enamel and dentine of a tooth become softened by acid attack, producing a cavity (hole).

A

Plaque is a thin, sticky film that keeps forming on your teeth. It contains many types of bacteria.

A

Once the cavity has reached the dentine your tooth may become sensitive, particularly with sweet foods and drinks, and acidic or hot foods.

Q

What causes dental decay?

Q

Why do my teeth decay?

A

Dental decay is caused by plaque acids that gradually dissolve away the enamel and dentine of the tooth to produce a cavity. Dental decay is the same as tooth decay and is also known as ‘dental caries’. Decay damages your teeth and may lead to the tooth needing to be filled or even extracted.

A

Q

What is enamel?

A

Enamel is the hard protective outer coating of the tooth and is the hardest part of the body. It does not contain any nerves or blood vessels and is not sensitive to pain.

Decay happens when sugars in food and drinks react with the bacteria in plaque, forming acids. Every time you eat or drink anything containing sugars, the bacteria reacts with it to form acid. These acids attack the teeth and start to dissolve the enamel. The attacks can last for an hour after eating or drinking, before the natural salts in your saliva cause the enamel to ‘remineralise’ and harden again. It’s not just sugars that are harmful: other types of carbohydrate foods and drinks react with plaque and form acid. (These are the ‘fermentable’ carbohydrates such as the ‘hidden sugars’ that can be added to processed food, natural sugars like those found in fruit, and cooked starches.)

A

Q A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What is dentine?

Dentine lies under the enamel, forming most of the tooth and can be very sensitive to pain. Dentine covers the central pulp of the tooth.

What is the pulp?

The pulp is a soft tissue which contains blood vessels and nerves and is in the middle of the tooth.

Q

What are the signs of dental decay?

A

In the early stages of dental decay there are no symptoms, but your dentist may be able to spot an early cavity when they examine or x-ray your teeth. This is why you should visit your dentist regularly, as small cavities are much easier to treat than advanced decay.

Enamel

Dentine

Pulp

Initial stages of decay

Images courtesy of DR RAKESH JIVAN

Q

Snacking on sugary or acidic foods and drinks can increase the risk of decay, as the teeth come under constant attack and do not have time to recover. It is therefore important not to keep snacking on sugary foods or sipping sugary drinks throughout the day.

As the decay gets near the dental pulp you may suffer from toothache. If the toothache is brought on by hot or sweet foods this may last for only a few seconds. As the decay gets closer to the dental pulp the pain may last longer and you may need to take painkillers – paracetamol or ibuprofen – to control the pain. You must visit your dentist immediately as the tooth is dying and you may develop a dental abscess if it is not treated.

Q

What happens if I don’t get it treated early?

A

Toothache is a sign that you should visit a dentist immediately, as it is a warning that something is wrong. If you don’t do anything, this will usually make matters worse, and you may lose a tooth that could otherwise have been saved.

Q

What areas of my teeth are more likely to decay?

A

The biting surfaces of the teeth and the surfaces between the teeth are most likely to decay, as food and plaque can become stuck in these areas.

Q

What treatment will I need?

A

If the decay is not too serious, the dentist will remove all the decay and restore the tooth with a filling. Sometimes the nerve in the middle of the tooth can be damaged. If so the dentist will need to carry out root canal treatment by removing the nerve and then restoring the tooth with a filling or a crown. If the tooth is so badly decayed that it cannot be restored, the only option may be to extract the tooth.

Q

Will I always need a filling?

A

No. In the very early stages of decay, your dentist may apply a fluoride varnish onto the area. This can help stop further decay and help ‘remineralise’ the tooth. However, it is important to continue with a good oral hygiene routine, using fluoride toothpaste to prevent further decay developing.


Q

Should I use any other special products?

A

We recommend you use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Threeyear-olds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm. In severe cases fluoride supplements such as rinses and gels may be used once a day. Your dentist or hygienist will tell you the best supplement to use.

Q

How can it be treated?

A

Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check ups your dentist can prevent the problem getting any worse and the erosion going any further. In other cases it is important to protect the tooth and the dentine underneath to prevent sensitivity. In these cases, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. However, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer. (See our leaflet ‘Tell Me About Veneers’.)

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Dental erosion

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Q A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C How much will treatment cost?

Costs will vary, depending on the type of treatment you need.

It is important to talk about all the treatment options with your dentist and get a written estimate of the cost before starting treatment. References:

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

An investigation into the effects of sport supplement drinks on dental health. R Kidner, Dental Health Vol 42 No 2 of 6 March

Dental erosion – changing prevalence? A review of British national children’s

surveys. J Nunn and others, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, Volume 13, Issue 2, Page 98, March 2003

Dental Erosion and Acid Reflux Disease. Schroeder and others, Annals of Internal Medicine, 1 June 1995; 122: pages 809-815

Dental Erosion and Acid Reflux Disease. Schroeder and others, Annals of Internal

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

Medicine, 1 June 1995; pages 809-815

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 06/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is dental erosion?

Q

Can my diet help prevent dental erosion?

Q

Are sports drinks safe?

A

Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.

A

Acidic foods and drinks can cause erosion. Acidity is measured by its ‘pH value’, and anything that has a pH value lower than 5.5 is more acidic and can harm your teeth.

A

Many sports drinks contain ingredients that can cause dental erosion. However, it is important for athletes to avoid dehydration because this can lead to a dry mouth and bad breath.

Q

What can I do to prevent dental erosion?

A

• Keep acidic products and fizzy drinks to mealtimes, to reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.

Q

How do I know I have dental erosion?

A

Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower colour than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth can also be more sensitive to hot, cold or acidic foods and drinks.

Q

What causes dental erosion?

A

Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly neutralise this acidity in your mouth and restore it to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny particles of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth.

Q

Acidic foods and drinks such as fruit and fruit juices, particularly citrus ones including lemon and orange, contain natural acids which can be harmful to your teeth, especially if you have a lot of them often. ‘Alcopop’ drinks that contain acidic fruits and are fizzy can cause erosion too. Still water is the best drink for teeth, and milk is also good because it helps to neutralise the acids in your mouth.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Are there any medical problems which can cause dental erosion?

• Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help neutralise the acid.

• Chew sugar-free gum after eating to help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.

How some everyday drinks may erode your teeth pH

Acidity Levels

2.5

High

Carbonated orange

2.9

High

Grapefruit juice

3.2

High

White wine

3.7

Medium

Cola drinks

• Drink quickly without holding in or ‘swishing’ around your mouth. Or use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.

Beer/bitter

3.9

Low

Bulimia is a condition where patients make themselves sick so that they lose weight. Because there are high levels of acid in the vomit, this can cause damage to tooth enamel.

Lager

4.4

Low

Buxton sparkling water

5.1

Low

Perrier water

5.2

Low

Acids produced by the stomach can come up into the mouth (this is called gastro-oesophageal reflux). People suffering from hiatus hernia or oesophageal problems, or who drink too much alcohol, may also find they suffer from dental erosion due to vomiting.

Buxton still mineral water

8.1

None

• Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again. • Brush your teeth twice a day with a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. Images KINDLY SUPPLIED BY DERWEB LTD

A

Fizzy drinks can cause erosion. It is important to remember that even the diet brands are still harmful. Even flavoured fizzy waters can have an effect if taken in large amounts, as they contain weak acids which can harm your teeth.

Adapted and printed by kind permission of Independent Dentistry, April 1999

Dental erosion on upper front teeth


Q

What should I drink?

A

Still water and milk are good choices. It is better for your teeth if you drink fruit juices just at meal times. If you are drinking them between meals, try diluting them with water and rinsing your mouth with water after drinking. Drinking through a straw can help the drink go to the back of your mouth without touching your teeth. Diluted sugar-free squashes are the safest alternative to water and milk. If you make squash or cordial, be sure to dilute the drink 1 part cordial to 10 parts water. Some soft drinks contain sweeteners, which are not suitable for young children – ask your dentist or health visitor if you aren’t sure. Fizzy drinks can increase the risk of dental problems. If they contain sugar this can cause decay and the acid in both normal and diet drinks can dissolve the enamel of your teeth. The risk is higher when you have these drinks between meals.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Diet & My Teeth

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

Q

Should I brush my teeth after every meal?

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

A

It is important that you brush for two minutes, twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. The best times are before breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

Eating and drinking naturally weakens the enamel on your teeth, and brushing straight afterwards can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. It is best not to brush your teeth until at least one hour after eating.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C It is especially important to brush before bed. This is because the flow of saliva, which is your mouth’s own cleaning system, slows down during the night and this leaves your teeth more at risk from decay. Children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Three-yearolds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm of fluoride.

Q A

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card.

Does chewing gum help?

www.dentalhealth.org

Chewing gum makes your mouth produce more saliva, which helps to cancel out the acid in your mouth after eating or drinking. It has been proven that using sugar-free chewing gum after meals can prevent tooth decay. However, it is important to use only sugar-free gum, as ordinary chewing gum contains sugar and therefore may damage your teeth.

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 11/11


Q

Why is a healthy diet important for the health of my mouth?

A

Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. This is because the sugar will react with the bacteria in plaque (the sticky coating on your teeth) and produce harmful acids. So it is important to cut down on how often you have sugary foods, which will limit the amount of time your teeth are at risk.

What foods can cause decay?

A

All sugars can cause decay. Sugar can come in many forms, for example: sucrose, fructose, maltose and glucose. These sugars can all damage your teeth. Many processed foods have sugar in them, and the higher up it appears in the list of ingredients, the more sugar there is in the product. Always read the list of ingredients on the labels when you are food shopping.

Acidic foods and drinks can be just as harmful to your teeth. The acid wears away the enamel, and will leave the dentine uncovered. This is called ‘dental erosion’, and makes your teeth sensitive and less attractive.

When you are reading the labels remember that ‘no added sugar’ does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free. It simply means that no extra sugar has been added. These products may contain sugars such as those listed above, or the sugars may be listed as ‘carbohydrates’. Ask your dentist if you aren’t sure.

A diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fresh fruit and vegetables can help to prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and cause bad breath. The diagram below shows you what you should eat as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

A

Q

How do acidic foods and drinks affect my teeth?

A

Some foods and drinks are more acidic than others, and some are acidic enough to attack your teeth directly. The acidity of a product is measured by its ‘pH value’.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C REPRODUCED WITH KIND PERMISSION OF THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY

Q

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay damages your teeth and leads to fillings or even extractions. Decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. This forms the acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel. After this happens many times, the tooth enamel may break down forming a hole or ‘cavity’ into the dentine. The tooth can then decay more quickly.

Q

Can I eat snacks?

A

It is better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day plus no more than two snacks, instead of having lots of snack attacks. If you do need to snack between meals, choose foods that do not contain sugar. Fruit does contain acids, which can attack your teeth. However, this is only damaging to your teeth if you eat an unusually large amount. Try to limit dried fruit as it is high in sugar and can stick to your teeth. If you do eat fruit as a snack, try to eat something alkaline such as cheese afterwards. Savoury snacks are better, such as:

The pH values of some food and drinks are listed below. The lower the pH number; the more acidic the product. Anything with a pH value lower than 5.5 may cause tooth erosion. ‘Alkalines’ have a high pH number and cancel out the acid effects. A pH value of 7 is the middle figure between acid and alkali. Vinegar

pH 2.0

Red wine

pH 2.5

Cola

pH 2.5

Pickles

pH 3.2

Grapefruit

pH 3.3

Orange juice

pH 3.8

Lager

pH 4.4

Cheddar cheese

pH 5.9

Celery

pH 6.5

Milk

pH 6.9

Breadstick

pH 7.0

Mineral water (still)

pH 7.6

Walnut

pH 8.0

Carrots

pH 9.5

Acid (High)

Neutral

0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.00 11.00 12.00 13.00 14.00

Alkaline (Low)

• • • •

raw vegetables nuts cheese breadsticks

Q

Can I eat sweets?

A

The main point to remember is that it is not the amount of sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it. Sweet foods are allowed, but it is important to keep them to mealtimes. To help reduce tooth decay, cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and try to choose sugar-free varieties. Sweets and chewing gum containing Xylitol may help reduce tooth decay. Sugary foods can also lead to or worsen a range of health problems including heart disease and being overweight.


Q

What else may be needed?

A

Once your teeth are clean, your dentist may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed. This is known as ‘root planing’. You may need the treatment area to be numbed before anything is done. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hours.

Q

Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?

A

Periodontal disease is never cured, but it can be controlled as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught. Any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular check-ups by the dentist and hygienist.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Gum Disease

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 11/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is gum disease?

Q

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

A

Gum disease is the swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main types of gum disease: ‘gingivitis’ and ‘periodontal disease’.

A

Q

What is gingivitis?

A

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when you brush them.

People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease. Smoking may change the type of bacteria in dental plaque, increasing the number of bacteria that are more harmful. It also reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth and makes them more likely to become inflamed. Smokers’ gum disease will get worse more quickly than in people who do not smoke. Because of the reduced blood flow smokers may not get the warning symptoms of bleeding gums as much as non-smokers. Gum disease is still the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

Q

What is periodontal disease?

A

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone fixing the teeth to the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.

Q A

Q A

Q

How do I know if I have gum disease?

A

The first sign may be blood on your toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

Q

What should I do if I think I have gum disease?

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Am I likely to have gum disease?

A

The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.

Q

What happens if gum disease is not treated?

A

Unfortunately, gum disease usually develops painlessly so you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this is what makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

Q

What treatments are needed?

A

Your dentist will usually clean your teeth thoroughly to remove the scale. You’ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or hygienist.

Probably. Most people have some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

What is the cause of gum disease?

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. You can do this by brushing your teeth, and by cleaning in between them with interdental brushes or dental floss.

1. Healthy gums

2. Gingivitis: Tender swollen gums bleed easily

3. Periodontitis: Gum detach from teeth

4. Advanced Periodontitis: Supporting bone is detached and teeth may be lost


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What happens if the implant does not fuse with the bone?

A

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period, or just after, it is easily removed and your jaw will heal in the normal way. Once your jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there. Or the dentist can make a bridge, fitting it to the implanted false teeth that have ‘taken’.

Q

Can I get the treatment on the NHS?

A

Unfortunately not. Implants are only available privately. However, in many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional private dental treatment with crowns and bridges. Over the longer term, implants are usually a more costeffective and satisfactory option.

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world.

There are other advantages to implants, too. If you have an implant to replace a single tooth, there is no need to cut down the teeth either side of it. If you had a bridge, your dentist would need to do this and fit crowns to these teeth to support the bridge.

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

A

The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Normal dentures often mean you can’t eat or speak well, because the dentures move about. But teeth attached to an implant don’t cause this problem as they are anchored to the bone more firmly than natural teeth.

Q

Implants

Where do I get this treatment?

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

Talk to your dentist, so they can refer you to an experienced ‘implantologist’ for assessment and treatment. Your dentist may already carry out some or all of this type of treatment and will give you the advice you need. Remember to ask: • • • •

exactly what treatment is proposed what experience the dentist has in this work the total cost of the treatment; and what the alternatives are.

Make sure you get a treatment plan, along with an estimate, and ask if a guarantee is included for your treatment. If you are unhappy with any of the answers you get, then do ask for a second opinion. You will be spending a lot of time, effort and money, so you must be sure that you know what you are getting at the end of the treatment.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 11/11


Q

What are dental implants?

A

A dental implant is used to support one or more false teeth. It is a titanium screw that can replace the root of a tooth when it fails. Just like a tooth root, it is placed into the jawbone.

Q

Are implants safe and how long will they last?

A

Implants are a safe, well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.

Sometimes your dentist might give you a sedative if you are very nervous or if the case is a complicated one. General anaesthetics are rarely used for implants and are generally only used for very complicated cases.

Q

How long does the treatment take?

A

Your dentist will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts.

If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.

Q A

Q A

Q A

Usually the permanent false teeth are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are put in. Some teeth can now even be fitted at the same time as the implants (these are called ‘immediate implants’) but you should check with your dentist to see whether these are suitable for you. Sometimes treatment takes longer and your dentist will be able to talk to you about your treatment time.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?

Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.

Q

What about after care?

A

Your dentist will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. They may give you some painkillers after the surgery – or check whether you have them at home – to take over the next few days if you need them.

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth? It depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to find out the amount of bone still there. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.

Do implants hurt?

Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anaesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time, but just like after an extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.

Are the implant teeth difficult to clean?

A

No. But aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. Your dentist should give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach and you’ll be shown methods to help you. You may need to visit your hygienist more often but your dentist will be able to talk to you about this.

Q

If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the implants?

A

Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean and have them regularly checked by your dentist you should not have any problems. Smoking also affects the health of natural teeth and implants. So, if you smoke, you may need to look after your implants more carefully.

Q

Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?

A

Most teeth attached to implants can only be fitted and removed by the dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, then you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.

Q

Do the implants show?

A

Most implants look exactly like natural teeth.

Q

Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?

A complete or partial denture can be attached to a number of implants

How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last. If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to that found on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d Q

Q

What happens next?

A

After your implants have been placed, the bone in your jaw needs to grow onto them and fuse to them. This usually takes a few months. Sometimes the implants may be stable enough when they are fitted for the false teeth to be attached sooner than this. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you have full dentures, you can keep wearing these while your implants are healing. Your dentures will need altering, to fit properly after the surgery, and a ‘healing cap’ will usually be placed onto the implant site to protect it.

A

If you have a single tooth missing, you will need an implant to support it. If you have a number of teeth missing, and these are next to each other, you could still have one implant for each tooth. Or you may find that two or more implants may be able to support more than one tooth each. Your dentist will talk to you about the best option for you.

Q

What if I have an accident?

A

Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. So it is important that you wear a professionally made mouthguard if you play sports that involve contact or moving objects. If just the teeth are damaged, they can usually be removed from the implant and replaced. However, if the titanium implant itself is damaged beyond repair, it can be safely left in the jaw if it is too difficult to remove. Another implant may be fitted alongside it to replace the damaged one.


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Q

How can I make sure that my mouth stays healthy?

A

• It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol. • When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks. • When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips. • A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers. • Cut down on your smoking and drinking. Regular visits to your dentist could save your life

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Mouth Cancer

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 11/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is mouth cancer?

Q

What are the signs of mouth cancer?

A

Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.

A

Q

Who can be affected by mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips. Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.

A

Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women. There are, on average, almost 6000 new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. The number of new cases of mouth cancer is on the increase.

Q

How can mouth cancer be detected early?

A

Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good. Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.

Q

Do people die from mouth cancer?

A

Yes. Over 1,800 people in the UK die from mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.

Q A

Q

What is involved in a full check-up of the mouth?

A

The dentist examines the inside of your mouth and your tongue with the help of a small mirror. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.

. l w a t w n Š w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What can cause mouth cancer?

Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking are the main forms of tobacco use in the UK. However, the traditional ethnic habits of chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous.

Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are consumed together the risk is even greater. Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips. Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.

Your dentist can check for mouth cancer

Smoking and drinking put you more at risk

Q

What happens if my dentist finds a problem?

A

If your dentist finds something unusual or abnormal they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital, who will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. A small sample of the cells may be gathered from the area (a biopsy), and these cells will be examined under the microscope to see what is wrong.

Q

What happens next?

A

If the cells are cancerous, more tests will be carried out. These may include overall health checks, blood tests, x-rays or scans. These tests will decide what course of treatment is needed.

Q

Can mouth cancer be cured?

A

If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure. However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.


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Q

Do I still have to clean my teeth?

A

Yes. It is still vital that you do this. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal tooth brushing. Using a fluoride toothpaste will also help to protect your teeth. Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need.

Q

Where can I find out about the treatment?

A

If you would like to know more about the treatment, ask your dentist or hygienist. They will tell you if fissure sealing will help your teeth and if it is the right time to do it.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Pit & Fissure sealants

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 04/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What are sealants?

Q

Which teeth should be sealed?

Q

Will I feel it?

A

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that stops food and bacteria getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

A

Sealants are only applied to the back teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. Your dentist will tell you which teeth should be sealed after examining them, and checking whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves which can be sealed, others form with shallow ones which may not need sealing.

A

No. It is totally pain free, and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards.

Q

How long does the sealant last?

A

Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to make sure that no decay can start underneath.

Q

How do they work?

A

The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier by covering all the little grooves and dips (pits and fissures) in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay easily starts in these grooves.

Q

When should this be done?

A

Sealants are often applied as soon as the adult teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear, which can be any time between 11 and 14.

Q

What is involved?

A

Sealing is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and then dried. The liquid sealant is then put onto the tooth and allowed to set hard – usually by shining a bright light onto it.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C The tooth surface is cleaned, conditioned and dried

Sealant is dropped onto the tooth surface and flows into position

Sealant sticks to the tooth and is hardened under a blue light

The tooth is sealed giving full protection


• Use a mouthwash – this can help to freshen your breath. Many mouthwashes contain antibacterial ingredients to help prevent gum disease, and fluoride to help prevent decay.

Q

Is there anything else I can do?

A

Yes. You can take other steps to help prevent tooth loss, decay and the need for treatment. • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • Use a straw when you have fizzy or acidic drinks – this helps the drink to go to the back of your mouth and reduces the acid attacks on the teeth. • Chew sugar-free gum – it makes your mouth produce more saliva and stops your mouth drying out, and can help to prevent dental decay and erosion. • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Q A

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Preventive care and oral hygiene

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What oral care products should I use?

There are now many specialised toothpastes, including total care toothpastes and toothpastes made specially to help with plaque and gum disease, sensitive teeth and whitening.

Mouthwashes can help, and there are different types, including ones with antibacterial ingredients.

Adults should use a toothbrush with a small- to medium-sized head and soft to medium filaments (bristles).

Tests have shown that electric toothbrushes with an oscillating, rotating action can remove up to twice as much plaque as a manual toothbrush. If you are unsure, ask your dentist or hygienist for advice on the one that best suits your needs.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 08/11


Q

What is preventive dentistry?

A

Preventive dentistry is the modern way of helping you keep a healthy mouth. It helps you to keep your teeth, and means you need to have less dental treatment. The two main causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease. The better we prevent or deal with these two problems, the more chance people have of keeping their teeth for life. When the dentist, hygienist and patient work together, this can help to prevent the need for treatment and avoid the traditional pattern of fillings and extractions. Your dental team may recommend a course of treatment to get your mouth into good condition, and then work out a ‘maintenance plan’ to help you keep it that way.

Q

Can everybody benefit from preventive dentistry?

A

Yes. Preventive dentistry will benefit anyone with some of their own teeth. People who don’t have any teeth can also benefit, because conditions such as mouth cancer and denture stomatitis can be spotted during regular visits to the dentist and then treated. It is excellent for children and young people, but it is never too late to start.

Q A

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

• The hygienist will probably talk to you about your diet, and any habits such as smoking and drinking. • Your dentist will also make sure that all your fillings are in good repair and there are no rough edges to make cleaning difficult.

• The dentist or hygienist will show you the best ways to brush and clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss to remove the bacterial ‘plaque’ which forms constantly on your teeth. When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in the plaque turn the sugar into acid, which may cause tooth decay. Plaque can also cause gum inflammation (swelling and soreness) if it is not regularly and thoroughly removed. The hard tartar (or ‘calculus’) which builds up on the teeth also starts off as plaque.

A

Food and drinks containing sugar cause decay. If you cut down on how often you have sugary snacks and drinks this will help a lot. Foods such as cheese, fruit, nuts and vegetables are better for your teeth.

Will my dentist recommend treatment?

Q

What is ‘dental erosion’?

A

A ‘preventive dentist’ will often recommend treatment to strengthen a tooth to make sure it does not break. For example, if the dentist sees that a tooth is cracked, or is weak and in danger of breaking, they may advise a new filling or perhaps a crown or ‘onlay’ to protect it. This is always better than waiting until the tooth breaks, and then dealing with it as an emergency.

A

Dental erosion is the loss of enamel caused by acid attack. When the enamel is worn away it can lead to pain and sensitivity. Foods and drinks that contain acid, such as citrus fruits, fizzy drinks, smoothies, fruit juice and fruit teas, can all cause dental erosion if you have them often.

Q

Can I prevent dental erosion?

A

Acidic foods and drinks can be harmful if you have them often in large amounts. Try to keep acidic food and drinks to meal times and drink acidic drinks through a straw.

Q

What else can the dentist and hygienist do to help prevent tooth decay?

A

Fluoride helps teeth resist decay. If your dentist thinks extra fluoride would be useful, they may recommend applying a fluoride varnish. They may also suggest fluoride rinses, tablets or drops to use at home as an extra help against decay. Children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Three-year-olds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm of fluoride.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C • The hygienist or dentist will thoroughly ‘scale and polish’ your teeth.

Can diet affect my teeth?

Q

What is involved?

Your dentist will first check your teeth and gums, and talk to you about any treatment you need. The main aim is to help you get your mouth really healthy. In a healthy mouth it is unlikely that decay or gum disease will continue to be a problem.

Q

Q

What are pit and fissure sealants?

A

The biting surfaces of teeth can be protected by applying ‘sealants’. These make the tooth surface smoother and easier to clean, and stop decay starting in the difficult-to-clean areas. Your dentist will suggest whether this would be right for you. (See our ‘Tell me about’ leaflet Pit and fissure sealants.)

• You will be told which oral care products are the best ones for you to use.

Ask your dentist for advice about products

We recommend that you do not brush your teeth for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything. Every time you eat or drink, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Waiting for an hour or so will allow your saliva to slowly restore it to its natural balance.

Q

Can smoking and drinking affect my teeth and gums?

A

Yes. Smoking can cause tooth staining, tooth loss and mouth cancer, and make gum disease worse. If you smoke, you may need to visit the dentist or hygienist more often, but the best advice is to try to give up. Alcoholic drinks can also cause mouth cancer and if you smoke and drink you’re more at risk. Some alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar, and some mixed drinks may contain acids. So they can cause decay or erosion if you drink them often and in large amounts.

Q

What can I do at home?

A

It is very important that you keep up a good routine at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy. We recommend that you: • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste – this will mean brushing in the way your dentist or hygienist will have shown you. • Clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss – brushing alone only cleans up to about 60 percent of the surface of your teeth.


Q

Where can this treatment be carried out?

A

Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you. However, sometimes your dentist may refer you to an endodontist, who is a specialist in this type of treatment.

Q

What about aftercare?

A

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist as often as they recommend for regular check-ups.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Root canal treatment

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 05/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is root canal treatment?

Q

What does it involve?

Q

What if it happens again?

A

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.

A

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.

A

Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back, the treatment can sometimes be repeated.

Q

What if I don’t have the treatment?

A

The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can’t heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth.

Q

Why is root canal treatment needed?

A

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed, and any abscesses can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.

Q

What will my tooth look like after treatment?

A

In the past, a root-filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.

Q

Does it hurt?

A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. There may be some tenderness afterwards but this should gradually get less over time.

1. Infected tooth and abscess

Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.

2. Tooth cleaned and shaped

3. Root filing replaced

Q

Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

A

Yes. However, as a dead tooth is more brittle, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

4. Permanent filing or crown replaced


Q

What can my dentist do for me?

A

Your dentist will carry out a regular examination to make sure that your teeth and gums and whole mouth are healthy. Your dentist will also examine your cheeks, tongue and throat for any signs of other conditions that may need more investigation. They may also be able to put you in touch with organisations and self-help groups who will have the latest information to help you stop smoking.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Smoking & oral health

Q

Will I need any extra treatment?

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world.

A

Your dentist may also refer you to a dental hygienist for further treatment, thorough cleaning and to keep a closer check on your oral hygiene.

The Foundation promotes three key messages:

Your dental hygienist will be able to advise you on how often you should visit them, although this should usually be every three to six months.

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 06/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

How can smoking affect the health of my mouth?

Q

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

Q

What about mouthwashes?

A

Most people now know that smoking is bad for their health. It can cause many different health problems and, in some cases, fatal diseases. However, many people don’t realise the damage that smoking does to their mouth, gums and teeth.

A

People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease. Smoking may change the type of bacteria in dental plaque, increasing the number of bacteria that are more harmful. It also reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth and makes them more likely to become inflamed. Smokers’ gum disease will get worse more quickly than in people who do not smoke. Because of the reduced blood flow smokers may not get the warning symptoms of bleeding gums as much as nonsmokers. Gum disease is still the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

A

People who smoke may find they are more likely to have bad breath than non-smokers. Fresh-breath products such as mouthwashes may help to disguise the problem in the short term, but that is all they will do.

Q

How often should I visit my dentist?

A

It is important that you visit your dentist regularly, both for a normal check up and a full mouth examination so that any other conditions can be spotted early.

Smoking can lead to tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss and – more seriously – mouth cancer.

A

How is smoking linked with cancer?

A

Most people know that smoking can cause lung and throat cancer, but many people still don’t realise that it is one of the main causes of mouth cancer too. There are more and more new cases of mouth cancer each year, and thousands die every year from the disease. (See our leaflet ‘Tell Me About Mouth Cancer’.)

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Tooth staining caused by tobacco

Q

Q

Why are my teeth stained?

One of the effects of smoking is staining on the teeth due to the nicotine and tar in tobacco. It can make the teeth yellow in a very short time, and heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking.

Q

Are there special dental products I can use?

A

There are special toothpastes for people who smoke. They are sometimes a little more abrasive than ordinary pastes and you need to use them with care. Your dentist may recommend that you use these toothpastes alternately with your usual toothpaste, for example by using a special toothpaste in the morning and your ordinary one at night. There are several whitening toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. Therefore they may improve the overall appearance of your teeth.

You should visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. People who smoke are more likely to have stained teeth and gum disease, and therefore may need appointments more often with the dental hygienist.

Smoking can cause many problems in the mouth


Q A

Can a single tooth which has been root-filled be whitened? Sometimes. Many dead teeth go discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated, the canal (which contained the nerve) may be reopened. The whitening product is applied from the inside to whiten the tooth.

Q

When might tooth whitening not work?

A

Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as dentures, crowns and veneers. If your dentures are stained or discoloured visit your dentist and ask for them to be cleaned.

Q A

How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Tooth whitening

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C We recommend the following tips to care for your teeth:

• brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

• visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. References:

‘Incidence of tooth sensitivity after home tooth whitening’ by Jorgensen and Carroll Published in JADA p 1076 – 1082 (August 2002)

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 07/11


Q

What is tooth whitening?

A

Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.

Q

Why would I need my teeth whitened?

A

There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older. Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth. ‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.

Q A

A

Q

What other procedures are there?

A

There is now laser whitening or ‘power whitening’. During this procedure a rubber dam is put over your teeth to protect the gums, and a bleaching product is painted onto your teeth. Then a light or laser is shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light speeds up the reaction of the whitening product and the colour change can be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening is said to make teeth up to five or six shades lighter.

Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are. First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a gum-shield.

How long does this take?

The total treatment can usually be done within three to four weeks. First, you will need two or three visits to the dentist. Your dentist will need to make a mouthguard and will take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will need to continue the treatment at home. This means regularly applying the whitening product over two to four weeks, for 30 minutes to one hour at a time.

Q

What are the side effects?

A

Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing. If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.

Q

How long does laser whitening take?

Q

What about home kits?

A

Your dentist will need to assess your teeth to make sure that you are suitable for the treatment. Once it has been agreed, this procedure usually takes about one hour.

A

Home kits are cheaper. Because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure we advise that you always talk to your dentist before starting the treatment.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What does tooth whitening involve?

The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.

Q

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

However, there are now some new products which can be applied for up to eight hours at a time. This means you can get a satisfactory result in as little as one week.

Q

How much does tooth whitening cost?

A

You cannot get whitening treatments on the NHS. Private charges will vary from practice to practice and region to region. Laser or power whitening will be more expensive than professional bleaching. We recommend you get a written estimate of the cost before you start any treatment.

Q

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

A

The effects of whitening are thought to last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask your dentist for their opinion before you start the treatment.

Before

After

Many kits sold in the UK do not contain enough of the whitening product to be effective and some kits sold over the internet may contain mild acids and abrasives.

Q

What about whitening toothpastes?

A

There are several whitening toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. Therefore, they may improve the overall appearance of your teeth. Whitening toothpaste may also help the effect to last, once your teeth have been professionally whitened. We recommend that you look for our accreditation symbol on the packaging of oral care products. This is a guarantee that the claims made about the product have been scientifically and clinically checked by an independent panel of experts.


Q

How can I prevent mouth ulcers?

A

You may be able to reduce the risk of mouth ulcers by: • maintaining good oral hygiene • using high-quality toothbrushes (to reduce the risk of damage to your mouth) • eating a good diet which is rich in vitamins A, C and E and which includes foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables (to lessen the risk of mouth cancer)

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Ulcers

• regularly visiting your dentist.

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world.

Q

Should I worry about my ulcers?

The Foundation promotes three key messages:

A

Most ulcers heal up on their own. However, if they don’t heal within three weeks you should visit your dentist. Your dentist will be able to examine your mouth to check that the problem is an ulcer and not something more serious such as mouth cancer.

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C If you suffer from ulcers that come and go often, you should visit your dentist or doctor to check that there is not an underlying medical cause.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

Golden rules if you have mouth ulcers

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

Always see your dentist or doctor if:

• the ulcer lasts for more than 3 weeks • you are unwell

• the ulcers keep coming back.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 04/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What are mouth ulcers?

Q

Are there different types of recurrent mouth ulcers?

Q

Can cancer cause mouth ulcers?

A

Ulcers are painful sores that appear inside the mouth. They are usually red or yellow. They are different from cold sores, which appear on the outer lips and are due to a virus.

A

Yes.

A

Cancer of the mouth can first appear as a mouth ulcer. The ulcers caused by mouth cancer are usually single and last a long time without any obvious local cause (for example a sharp tooth).

Q

What are the common causes of mouth ulcers?

A

Usually a single mouth ulcer is due to damage caused by say biting the cheek or tongue, sharp teeth, tooth brushing or poorly fitting dentures. These ulcers are called ‘traumatic ulcers’.

• Minor ulcers are the most common. They can appear inside the cheeks, on the lips, tongue and gums and, more rarely, on the roof of the mouth. Most of these ulcers are the size of the top of a pencil and can sometimes come in clusters. You can get four to six at any one time.

If you have a number of mouth ulcers the usual cause is ‘recurrent aphthous stomatitis’.

• Large ulcers are more severe and can longer to heal. Any ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks should be checked out by your dentist. Large ulcers may appear near the tonsils and can be very painful, especially when swallowing. You usually only get one at a time.

Q

How do I know if I have a traumatic ulcer?

• It is also possible to have up to 100 very small painful ulcers which last for one to two weeks.

A

Traumatic ulcers are usually on their own, are next to the cause of the damage and go away once the source of the problem is removed.

Q A

However, these last two varieties are very rare.

You may get ulcers in other parts of the body such as your eyes or genital area. It is important to tell your dentist about this.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C What are the signs of recurrent aphthous stomatitis? Recurrent aphthous stomatitis is a common problem and leads to repeated bouts of mouth ulcers in otherwise healthy children and young people. The cause is not known, but it is not infectious and is unlikely to be inherited.

Ulcers are painful sores that appear inside the mouth

Q

What are the less common causes of mouth ulcers?

A

Infections can cause mouth ulcers. Herpes simplex often leads to widespread mouth ulcers in children and some adults. Other less common viral and bacterial infections may cause mouth ulcers, but this is rare. Mouth ulcers can be caused by anaemia and occasionally by other blood disorders and some skin or gastrointestinal diseases. Sometimes the mouth ulcers are the only sign of an underlying disease.

Any ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks should be looked at by your dentist. Ulcers caused by cancer usually appear on or under the tongue, but may occasionally appear somewhere else in the mouth. Cancer of the mouth is usually associated with heavy smoking and drinking. Doing both together greatly increases the risk.

Q

Can I catch mouth ulcers?

A

Mouth ulcers cannot be caught by kissing or sharing drinks and utensils as they are not caused by an infection.

Q

What types of treatment are there for mouth ulcers?

A

The treatment depends on the cause of the ulcers. Sometimes all that is needed is for a sharp tooth to be smoothed down or a denture adjusted, although some patients may need a variety of mouthwashes or tablets.

Q

What should I do if I think I have mouth ulcers?

A

If an ulcer lasts more than a few weeks you should always ask your dentist or doctor for advice. They may be able to tell you the cause and provide treatment, or they may arrange further tests or refer you to a specialist if necessary.


Q

How long will a veneer last?

A

Veneers should last for many years; but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. Your dentist will tell you how long each individual veneer should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.

Q

What about alternatives?

A

A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This is excellent where the tooth supports a filling, but may not work so well for broken tooth corners. There will always be a join between the tooth and the filling material. Crowns are used for teeth which need to be strengthened – either because they have broken, have been weakened by a very large filling, or have had root canal treatment.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Veneers

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UKbased charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C

• visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £5 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card.

www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation

Printed 09/10


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

What is a veneer?

Q

How are teeth prepared for a veneer?

Q

How long will it take?

A

A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Sometimes a natural colour ‘composite’ material is used instead of porcelain.

A

A

Q

When would I need a veneer?

A veneer takes at least two visits: the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit it. Before bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.

A

Veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of your teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right colour to improve a single discoloured tooth or to lighten the front teeth. A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again. The porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.

Some of the shiny outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed, to make sure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. The amount of enamel removed is tiny and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted, so that the tooth stays the same size. A local anaesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but often this is not necessary. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an ‘impression’ (mould). This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer. The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.

Q

Will I need a temporary veneer between visits?

A

Because the preparation of the tooth is so slight you will probably not need a temporary veneer. The tooth will look very much the same after preparation, but will feel slightly less smooth.

Q

What happens after the veneer is fitted?

A

Only minor adjustments can be made to the veneer after it is fitted. It is usually best to wait a little while to get used to it before any changes are made. Your dentist will probably want to check and polish it a week or so after it is fitted, and make sure that you are happy with it.

Q

How much will it cost?

A

The costs for this treatment can vary from practice to practice so it is important to discuss charges and treatment options with your dentist before starting treatment.

Q A

What are the advantages of veneers?

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy. Because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is needed.

Before

After

Images courtesy of Dr Paul A Tipton BDS, MSC DGDP, UK

Q


Q

What can I do to help the hygienist?

A

You can do a great deal to help yourself and the hygienist, as you are in control of your mouth between visits to the practice. Your hygienist will have shown you how to remove plaque with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. They will also have shown you how to clean between your teeth with interdental brushes, floss or tape. There are many oral care products now available including specialist toothpastes, powered toothbrushes, and mouthwashes. Your hygienist will recommend those that are best for you. We recommend you follow three simple steps to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Visiting the hygienist

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1350ppm (parts per million) of fluoride

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks

• visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Cutting down the amount of sugar in your diet, and the number of times that you eat during the day, can help to reduce decay. Your hygienist can help you by looking at your decay problem and your diet, and by making some recommendations for you to consider.

Chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes after meals can also help to prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum makes your mouth produce more saliva, which in turn cancels out the acid produced in your mouth after drinking and eating.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 06/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

What is a hygienist?

Q

Why is this treatment important?

Q

What help is there for children?

A

Dental hygienists are specially trained to work with the dentist to give care to patients.

A

Regular professional cleaning, combined with looking after your teeth and gums well at home, will help keep your mouth healthy. A clean and healthy mouth will improve your appearance, help you to keep your teeth and give you fresh breath.

A

Children can benefit from having their teeth polished. The hygienist can also apply fluoride gels and solutions to help prevent decay.

They play an important part in dental health care and are mainly concerned with gum health – showing people correct home care and helping to keep the teeth and gums healthy.

Q

What does the hygienist do in the practice?

A

The hygienist’s main work is to professionally clean the patient’s teeth. This is usually called ‘scaling and polishing’. However, perhaps their most important role is showing people the best way to keep their teeth free of plaque. Plaque is a sticky coating that forms constantly on your teeth. They also give advice on diet and preventing dental decay. The hygienist will work with your dentist to give you care that is tailored to your needs.

Can a hygienist do anything else?

A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Q

Can a hygienist help prevent dental disease?

A

This is what the training of the hygienist is all about. Carefully removing the hard deposits of tartar (or ‘calculus’) that build up on the teeth and teaching you how to prevent them coming back, will go a long way towards slowing the progress of gum disease.

If the dentist suggests that you have fissure sealants, they may refer you to the dental hygienist because this is one of the treatments they are trained to carry out.

Q A

By talking to you about your diet, and recommending other preventive measures, the hygienist can help you keep to a routine that will slow down the rate at which your teeth decay. Regular visits and advice will help build your confidence in keeping your mouth healthy.

Does every practice have a hygienist?

Not all practices have a hygienist. However, more of them now offer this as part of the service to patients, using part-time and full-time hygienists. Hygienists can now work when a dentist is not there, as long as the patient has been seen by the dentist and the treatment is prescribed for the patient. If your practice does not have a hygienist, your dentist can either refer you to another dental practice or a hygienist practice.

Q

Why doesn’t the dentist do this work?

A

Some dentists will do this type of work. However, many now realise that the hygienist has been specially trained to carry out scaling and polishing and can spend longer with you. They are also expert at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums. Often the hygienist will spend a number of appointments getting the gums healthy ready for the dentist to restore the teeth with crowns and fillings.

Q

Will the treatment hurt?

A

Scaling and polishing is usually pain free. However, if you do have any discomfort the hygienist can use anaesthetic creams, or give you some local anaesthetic. It is important that you let the hygienist know at the time so they can help with your pain.

Q

Is the treatment expensive?

A

Costs of treatment with a dental hygienist will vary depending on what is being done, and from practice to practice. It is important to find out the cost before you start, by getting a written quotation.

Hygienist gives instructions on the best way to clean your teeth

Q

Dental hygienists are now able to take dental x-rays. The dentist will use these to help diagnose problems and decide on the possible treatment. All hygienists that take x-rays will have had proper training and will hold a certificate.

The permanent (or ‘adult’) back teeth can also benefit from having the biting surfaces sealed. This is done by applying a special plastic coating to the biting surface soon after the teeth come through. For more information see our ‘Tell me about’ leaflet Pit and Fissure sealants.

Q

What other help can adults get?

A

Adults who have a lot of decay can benefit from having fluoride applied. They can also have anti-bacterial gels and solutions applied under the gum to kill the bacteria causing gum disease. Another very important part of the hygienist’s work is showing you and telling you how to look after your mouth at home. The hygienist may also suggest giving up smoking, as this will reduce staining. Recent research has also shown that smokers have more gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers. Your hygienist will be able to advise you on various ways of giving up smoking.

Practices should have a price list at their reception giving a guide to the prices they charge for the service.


Q

Are there any medicines I should avoid?

A

As we have said, it is important not to use anything containing aspirin as this can cause further bleeding. This happens because aspirin can thin the blood slightly. Asthma sufferers should avoid Ibuprofen-based pain relief. Again check with your chemist or dentist if you are worried or feel you need something stronger.

Q

I am still in pain, what could it be?

A

Sometimes an infection can get in the socket, which can be very painful. This is where there is little or no blood clot in the tooth socket and the bony socket walls are exposed and become infected. This is called a dry socket and in some cases is worse than the original toothache! In this case, it is important to see your dentist, who may place a dressing in the socket and prescribe a course of antibiotics to help relieve the infection. You may also feel the sharp edge of the socket with your tongue and sometimes small pieces of bone may work their way to the surface of the socket. This is perfectly normal.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

What to do following an extraction

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Q A

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Will my dentist need to see me again?

If it has been a particularly difficult extraction, the dentist will give you a follow-up appointment. This could be to remove any stitches that were needed, or simply to check the area is healing well.

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 06/11


n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Q

I’ve had my tooth out – what should I do now?

Q

Is there anything else I should avoid?

Q

Is there anything I can do to help my mouth?

A

Take it easy for the rest of the day. Take as little exercise as you can, and rest as much as you can. Keep your head up to avoid any bleeding.

A

Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours, as this can encourage bleeding and delay healing. Eat and drink lukewarm food as normal but avoid chewing on that area of your mouth.

A

Q

What precautions should I take?

Q

When should I brush?

A

Avoid hot food or drinks until the anaesthetic wears off. This is important as you cannot feel pain properly and may burn or scald your mouth. Also be careful not to chew your cheek. This is quite a common problem, which can happen when there is no feeling.

A

It is just as important, if not more so, to keep your mouth clean after an extraction. However, you do need to be careful around the extraction site.

Different people heal at different speeds after an extraction. It is important to keep your mouth and the extraction site as clean as possible, making sure that the socket is kept clear of all food and debris. Don’t rinse for the first 24 hours, and this will help your mouth to start healing. After this time use a salt-water mouthwash, which helps to heal the socket. A teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water gently rinsed around the socket twice a day can help to clean and heal the area. Keep this up for at least a week or for as long as your dentist tells you.

If you do rest, try to keep your head higher for the first night using an extra pillow if possible. It is also a good idea to use an old pillowcase, or put a towel on the pillow, in case you bleed a little.

Q

What do I do if it bleeds?

A

The first thing to remember is that there may be some slight bleeding for the first day or so. Many people are concerned about the amount of bleeding. This is due to the fact that a small amount of blood is mixed with a larger amount of saliva, which looks more dramatic than it is.

Q

Should I rinse my mouth out?

A

Do not be tempted to rinse the area for the first 24 hours. It is important to allow the socket to heal, and you must be careful not to damage the blood clot by eating on that side or letting your tongue disturb it. This can allow infection into the socket and affect healing.

It is important to keep to a healthy diet; and take a Vitamin C supplement, which will help your mouth to heal.

If you do notice bleeding, do not rinse out, but apply pressure to the socket. Bite firmly on a folded piece of clean cotton material such as a handkerchief for at least 15 minutes. Make sure this is placed directly over the extraction site and that the pad is replaced if necessary.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C

If the bleeding has not stopped after an hour or two, contact your dentist.

Avoid alcohol and hot drinks

Q

How soon can I have a cigarette?

A

It is important not to do anything which will increase your blood pressure, as this can lead to further bleeding. We recommend that you avoid smoking for as long as you can after an extraction, but this should be at least for the rest of the day.

Take is easy after having your tooth out

Q

I am in pain, what should I take?

A

There will usually be some tenderness in the area for the first few days, and in most cases some simple pain relief is enough to ease the discomfort. What you would normally take for a headache should be enough. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and if in doubt check with your doctor first. Do not take aspirin, as this will make your mouth bleed.


Q

Where can I get them done?

A

Most dental practices offer white fillings as a normal part of the treatment they give you.

Q

Are there any alternatives to fillings?

A

There are alternatives such as crowns and inlays although they can cost a lot more. Veneers can be used on front teeth instead of crowns or fillings. For more information, see our ‘Tell me about’ leaflets on crowns and veneers.

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

White fillings

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent, UK-based charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to the public throughout the world. The Foundation promotes three key messages:

• brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C

Before and after

Look for our ‘Approved’ symbol on oral health products. You can trust these products to live up to the claims on their packaging.

The Dental Helpline is the Foundation’s own confidential advice service. Qualified dental professionals are available to answer your questions personally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can send us a question by email from our website at any time.

www.dentalhelpline.org

It costs the Foundation £9 for every enquiry we answer. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque to the address below, or phone 01788 539793 to donate by credit or debit card. www.dentalhealth.org

British Dental Health Foundation, Smile House, 2 East Union Street, Rugby CV22 6AJ, UK. © British Dental Health Foundation Printed 06/11


Q

Why should I consider white fillings?

A

Most people have fillings of one sort or another in their mouths. Nowadays fillings can be natural looking, as well as doing the job they’re meant to do. Many people don’t want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are more conscious about the way they look.

Q

Are white fillings expensive?

A

Because many white fillings are classed as a ‘cosmetic’ treatment, you can only have them done privately. So costs can vary quite a lot from dentist to dentist. Costs usually depend on the size and type of white filling used, and the time it takes to carry out the treatment. Costs may also vary from region to region, but your dentist will be able to give you an idea of the cost before you agree to treatment.

Q

Are they as good as silver amalgam fillings?

A

White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings. But there are now new materials that are almost as good as silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. How long a white filling lasts can depend a lot on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. Your dentist can tell you about how long your fillings should last.

Q A

n o i t a d g r n o . u h o t l F a e h h t l l a a t n e e H d

Amalgam filling in the teeth shown with the use of a rubber dam

Composite fillings in the teeth

Q

What are tooth-coloured fillings made of?

Porcelain inlays

A

It can vary, but they are mainly made of glass particles, synthetic resin and a setting ingredient. Your dentist should be able to give you more information about the material they use. Here are some of the choices.

Your dentist can now use computer technology (called CADCAM) to design and prepare perfectly fitted porcelain inlays in just one or two visits. Porcelain inlays can also be made in a laboratory, but this will need at least two visits to your dentist. Porcelain can be hard wearing and long lasting, and it can be coloured to match your own teeth. This type of filling can be quite expensive.

. l w a t w n © w e D t h h g i s r i y t i p r o B C Is it worth replacing my amalgam fillings with white ones? It is usually best to change fillings only when your dentist decides that an old filling needs replacing. When this happens you can ask to have it replaced with a tooth-coloured filling.

Composite fillings

Composite fillings are strong, but may not be as hard wearing as ordinary amalgam fillings.

Composite fillings are tooth coloured and are made from powdered glass, quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. The dentist will choose a shade to match your own teeth, although over time the filling can get stained. After the tooth is prepared, the filling is bonded onto the area with an adhesive and a light shone onto it to set it. With this type of filling, the dentist may have to remove less of the tooth, which is obviously better. Glass ionomer

Some dentists prefer not to put white fillings in back teeth as they are not always successful. One way around this would be to use crowns or inlays, but this can mean removing more of the tooth and can be more expensive.

Glass ionomer fillings form a chemical bond with the tooth. They may also release fluoride, which helps prevent further tooth decay. This type of filling is fairly weak. Because of this, they are usually used on baby teeth and non-biting surfaces, such as around the neck of the tooth. Little preparation is needed as the filling bonds directly to the tooth.

Composite filling


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Prestige

Call TODAY to place your order 01788 539793 or visit www.dentalhealth.org Copyright © British Dental Health Foundation | www.dentalhealth.org

Information:

Leaflet Title White fillings Bridges and partial dentures Implants Cosmetic dentistry Crowns Mouthguards Different filling materials Tooth whitening Dry Mouth Lichen planus Ulcers Cold sores Bad breath Gum disease Geographic tongue Dental decay Mouth cancer Medical conditions and oral health Living with my brace Preventive care & oral hygiene Oral care products My teeth Denture cleaning Dentures Caring for my teeth Children’s teeth Teens teeth Denture Stomatitis Dental care for mother and baby Dental care for older people Dental care for people with special needs Visiting the Hygienist Orthodontic treatment What to do following an extraction Pit & fissure sealants Cracked teeth Knocked out tooth Jaw problems and headaches Root canal treatment Dental erosion Smoking and oral health Diet My fear of the dentist Fluoride Healthy mouth, healthy body Sensitive teeth Relaxation and sedation X-rays Wisdom teeth Veneers

Pack Size 100 100 100 75 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 50 100 100 75 100 100 75 50 100 100 100 75 100 75 100 50 100 100 100 100 75 100 100 100 100 75 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Tell Me About Range Non Member £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50 £12.50

Tell Me About Range Member £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38 £9.38

Prestige Range Non Member £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 n/a n/a £14.97 n/a n/a £14.97 n/a £14.97 £14.97 n/a £14.97 £14.97 n/a n/a £14.97 n/a n/a n/a n/a £14.97 £14.97 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 n/a n/a £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 £14.97 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a £14.97

Prestige Range Member £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 n/a n/a £11.98 n/a n/a £11.98 n/a £11.98 £11.98 n/a £11.98 £11.98 n/a n/a £11.98 n/a n/a n/a n/a £11.98 £11.98 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 n/a n/a £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 £11.98 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a £11.98


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