Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Tooth Decay?
It is a microbial disease of the teeth, resulting in demineralization of the organic portion and destruction of the inorganic substance of the tooth. The tooth Structure becomes weak and may fracture or break off in small fragments.
2. Do Black Discolorations on the top surface of the teeth (without any pain/sensitivity) require any treatment?
YES. Painless Black Discolorations might indicate initiation of Decay process. Your Dentist will determine whether it is decay or just a stain. If it is decay, it needs to be restored with a good quality Filling Material.
3. What happens if the Decay is left untreated?
The outermost covering of teeth is Enamel. Subsequent layer is Dentin and then there is Pulp (Nerve & Vessels). When the initial decay starts it is Painless. As it reaches Dentin, Tooth may feel some sensitivity to hot & cold food and when decay reaches the Pulp, it becomes infected. Then it causes severe excruciating pain which gets aggravated on lying down called as irreversible pulpitis.
4. What are Cosmetic Fillings (Restorations)?
A Filling (Restoration) is the name of a dental procedure in which a Bio-Compatible material is used to treat a decayed (Cavitated) tooth. This material is placed into the tooth where it repairs the damage and replaces the natural lost tooth structure.
The traditional type of filling is of silver amalgam which has got a long life but is not aesthetically pleasant. Newer Composite is a Tooth colored Filling material which matches with the colour of the tooth.
Also there have been questions regarding the safety of silver amalgam fillings due to their mercury content.
Apart from filling dental cavities, composites can also be used for replacing old silver fillings, repairing broken teeth, closing gaps between teeth and smile makeovers (veneers).
5. When does the Tooth start to Pain?
Decay is PAINLESS till it is in enamel. When it enters dentin, tooth becomes hot and cold sensitive. The decayed portion can be removed and filled using various cements and materials. But when the decay reaches the innermost layer (pulp), it becomes painful and a root canal treatment (RCT) needs to be performed.
So, in the initial stages of tooth decay there is no pain and that’s why we recommend you to get dental check up done every 6 months to get the initial decay detected and restored.
6. What is a Root Canal Treatment (RCT)?
Root canal treatment is a procedure in which the decay and infection are removed from the tooth completely till the end of the root with special instruments (reamers & files). After completing the disinfection, the root canals are filled with a special filling material (gutta-percha) and sealed on top with a post endodontic restorative material.
7. Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?
NO. RCT is a Painless Procedure which is done under small dose of Local Anaesthesia. You will not feel any pain during the procedure and after the procedure you will start with the prescribed medicines. So the procedure will be Completely Comfortable.
8. Is Capping of the Tooth is necessary after the Root Canal Treatment?
Yes, it is necessary. Because after root canal treatment, the tooth will become non-vital and brittle which may cause the tooth to be fractured. So a crown is required after a root canal treatment to increase the lifespan of the tooth.
9. What are the different types of Crowns (cap) available?
Many different types of crown materials are available. Mainly they are Full Metal Crown, Metal with acrylic facing, Metal with Ceramic facing, Full ceramic (Porcelain fused to metal or PFM), All ceramic (Metal free Crowns- Zirconia, E-Max etc).
10. What are the Treatment Options for Tooth Whitening?
There are various options for whitening teeth like Dental Bleaching, Veneers (Composite & Ceramic), Crown/ Cap (in very severe cases) etc. Best Treatment required for you will be decided by your dentist after your dental examination.
11. Is Tooth Whitening (Bleaching) Harmful?
NO. Dental Bleaching is not harmful for you if done with proper care & good quality Bleaching Material including adequate gums protection. You may feel little sensitive only for 1st few days after bleaching that is normal and it will subside on its own.
12. What are the options for closing Gaps between My Teeth?
Gaps if generalized can be treated using fixed orthodontic treatment but your dentist will determine whether you are a good candidate for the same. Gaps can be closed using Light Cured Composites or Ceramic Veneers.
13. What are the causes for Severe Sensitivity on eating or drinking hot & cold food?
Sensitivity is mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, Tooth Enamel got worn away exposing the inner sensitive layer (Dentin). Causes of Enamel loss may be Tooth Decay (Cavity), Attrition, excessive use of colas or aerated drinks etc. Secondly, gum tissue got displaced from its position exposing the root part of the tooth which may be caused by faulty Brushing Technique or cervical erosion or cavities near gingival part of the tooth.
14. What is its Treatment for Severe Sensitivity?
It depends upon the cause of sensitivity entirely. In very mild cases where in the cause is acid reflux or colas etc., desensitising toothpastes can be used. Topical Fluoride application or Bonding agents can be applied (By the Dentist) on the affected area. In case of enamel loss or decay, it is treated by restoration (cavity filling) or covering the exposed part of the tooth. If decay is close to pulp it is treated by Root Canal Treatment. If it is cervical erosion or cavity near gingival region, it needs to be restored by the dentist.
15. What is the reason for Gum Bleeding and what is its Treatment?
The most common reason for bleeding gums is deposition of Plaque, Tartar/calculus between the gums & teeth. The initial treatment for gum problems is scaling (cleaning) and polishing in which the stains & all deposits are removed from the teeth & also between the gums & teeth using ultrasonic Scaling Device. This device if used properly doesn’t damage the enamel of the tooth.
16. What is the Treatment for Bad Breath?
Bad smell is because of the bacteria present in your mouth. You can use a prescribed mouthwash. Dentist can do your Scaling (Cleaning of Teeth and Gums) which will remove all the deposits, plaques & Tartar from your mouth.
17. What I can do to prevent Bad Breath?
Initially you need to change few of your habits so as to remove the cause of it. First of all you need to Brush your teeth after you eat or brush twice daily. Start Flossing teeth at least once a day. Use a tongue cleaner to clean your tongue. Keep all Removable teeth or Prosthesis or dentures clean and out of your mouth in the night. Store them in clean water.
18. What are the side effects of Scaling on gums and Tooth strength?
There are NO SIDE EFFECTS of scaling. It is basically a routine procedure for oral hygiene improvement. It improves the health of the gums and oral cavity.
19. How often Scaling should be done?
It has to be decided by the dentist by assessing the tartar deposition. So a dental check-up is advised once in six months.
20. What is a Flap Surgery (Gum Surgery)?
Flap Surgery means Separating the gums from the teeth and cleaning them off all the deposits and tartar (Sub-gingival Calculus). Bone around the teeth is reshaped and grafting is done (if required). Then the gums will be stitched back in place.
21. What is the treatment for Dark colored Gums?
Mostly gums are darker in colour due to Genetics. That is most of the times not pathological. There tends to be higher pigmentation in individuals with darker skin. These darker gums are not alarming and need not worry about them. They can be dark and healthy at the same time. But if you want the pink colored gums, it can be done easily with a minor surgical procedure.
22. Is Tooth Extraction (Removal) Painful?
Before Tooth removal, anaesthesia is given in the particular area. So there won't be any pain. It is a PAINLESS procedure.
23. When the Tooth needs to be Removed?
Tooth is removed mainly when major tooth structure is damaged and it cannot be repaired by Root Canal Treatment. Secondly, when the supporting tissues (bones & gums) are damaged to an extent where it cannot be repaired by gum surgeries or bone grafts.
24. When the Wisdom Tooth requires to be Removed?
Wisdom tooth will mostly appear in the oral cavity from 18 to 25 years of age, and it is the last erupting tooth in the oral cavity. Sometimes there is not enough space for the wisdom tooth and it may get impacted in the bone or may erupt in wrong direction or gets partially erupted and will keep on impinging the adjacent teeth and tissues. In those conditions it needs to be removed.
25. Is Removal of Wisdom Tooth simple like the other tooth?
No. wisdom tooth removal is different from the normal tooth. Because most of the time it will be surrounded by the dense bone and may also be tilted in other directions rather than being straight. So some bone removal has to be done but it is totally a PAINLESS procedure which is done under local anaesthesia.
26. Is there any complication during Tooth Extraction if I have a big swelling and tooth infection?
There are high chances of Local anaesthesia not working in such conditions. You will need to start Prescribed Antibiotics and Anti-inflammatories reduce the swelling and infection after which your tooth will be removed without any discomfort.
27. Is it necessary to Replace a Missing or Extracted Tooth?
Yes. It is absolutely necessary. If a missing tooth is not replaced then firstly you will have decreased chewing efficiency. Secondly the teeth adjacent to the space will tend to migrate & tilt towards the empty space. Then the opposing tooth will tend to come towards the empty space. All these factors will lead to space closure and change in positioning of teeth.
28. What are the Methods to Replace a Missing Tooth?
There are mainly three methods: Removable Dentures, Fixed Teeth Replacements and Dental Implants.
29. What is a Removable Denture?
There is a small plate of acrylic (a type of plastic material) in which the teeth are fixed and it is placed inside the mouth. It has to be worn in the mornings and removed every night and stored in water.
30. What is a Fixed Denture (Fixed Teeth Replacements)?
Fixed denture (Dental Bridges) means the missing teeth will be replaced permanently in the mouth which cannot be removed by the patient. They function like the natural teeth. There is no acrylic plate with these teeth.
31. What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a surgical screw type biocompatible object that is placed into the jawbone to support the overlying crown/ bridges or any prosthesis. Implant is placed in the bone and allowed to fuse with the bone over the next few months. These are nowadays considered the standard of care for replacement of missing teeth.
The Dental implant acts as a replacement for the root of a missing tooth (artificial tooth root). A Dental Implant is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth because it stands on its own without affecting or taking support from the adjacent teeth.
The process of fusion between the Implant and jaw-bone is called "osseo-integration." Most dental implants are made of titanium, which gets integrated with bone comfortably without being recognized as a foreign object in our body.
32. Are Implants Better then Removable Dentures?
Removable Dentures are the more a cheap and quick option for missing teeth replacement but are the least desirable because of the inconvenience of a removable appliance in the mouth. Furthermore, dentures can affect your taste and sensory experience with food.
Dental bridgework was the more common restorative option prior to the relatively recent shift to dental implant treatment modality. The main problem with Bridges is that it depends upon adjacent teeth for support whereas Implants are supported by bone only and do not affect surrounding natural teeth.
The Decision on which option to choose from depends on many factors which your dentist can describe you and help you in choosing the best one for you. A Clinical Examination along with a good radiograph is necessary to determine whether the patient is a good candidate for a dental implant.
33. What are Invisible Braces?
Instead of Metal Brackets and Wires, Transparent Trays are used to properly align the teeth. Invisible braces are also called as Clear Aligners. The trays are custom made for every patient.
34. At what age I should get my Children started with Tooth Brushing?
You should start cleaning children’s teeth as soon as the 1st tooth appears in the mouth (approx. 6 month of age). You can start cleaning your baby's teeth by wiping with a soft cloth or brushing with a small soft toothbrush and water. At 1.5 years, start using a pea sized amount of dentist prescribed toothpaste to brush your child's teeth.
You can also use a finger brush to brush your child’s teeth.
35. What can be done to Avoid Tooth Decay in Children (at home)?
This is not a onetime process but few habits need to be changed. Teach your child to brush every day twice daily. Prevent prolonged contact with sugars in the milk. Provide your baby with healthy foods instead of sticky and sugary food.
36. What can be done to Avoid Tooth Decay in Children (Professionally)?
There are 2 main methods for decay prevention in children, Dental Sealants and Topical Fluoride application.
Sealants are a safe, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They help in blocking the narrow pits and fissures which are responsible for food lodgement and hence cavitation.
Topical Fluorides are gel like material put in trays and placed in mouth for 2-3 minutes. They react with the enamel of teeth and make it harder and resistant to acid attack and decay.
37. Should I use Electric Tooth Brush or not? Is it better than the manual brush?
Both Electric and Manual Toothbrushes are effective at removing plaque and soft deposits which cause dental decay. Both Toothbrushes have their own merits & demerits.
Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate/ rotate to help you remove plaque build-up from your teeth and gums. They are especially helpful for people with limited mobility diseases like Arthritis or Neuro Muscular in-coordination or Developmental Disabilities etc. Electric Toothbrushes are also helpful for orthodontic patients as it make brushing better between the wires and braces. In-built timer with an electric toothbrush can help you brush for appropriate timing.
Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual ones. So, Manual Brushes are cost-effective. But some-times, people were more likely to brush too hard if they used a manual toothbrush versus Electric Brushes which can damage your teeth and gums.
38. When should I change my Tooth Brush?
Ideally all toothbrushes need to be replaced every 3-4 months. They should be replaced sooner if the bristles look frayed or damaged. But early fraying of bristles also indicates that you are using excessive pressure while brushing which can damage your teeth and gums.
39. What food items are good for Teeth Health and which all should be Avoided?
Fruits and vegetables (esp. Green Leafy Veg.) are good for dental as well as general overall health. They have a lot of fibre content which is very good for your teeth. Intake of Sugary & Acidic food items should be reduced. Increase Water intake as being very important for our body functioning and repair it also can help in washing out some of the sticky food and to neutralize the acid in saliva.