Dental & Implant Centre in Tonbridge, Kent
Call us today on 01732 926800 1 River Lawn Road, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1EP

Adult Q & A

What is bacterial plaque?

Plaque is a film of bacteria which constantly forms and sticks to your teeth. It is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Find out more about professional teeth cleaning.

Why do I need to brush my teeth?

You need to brush and clean your teeth to remove this bacterial plaque which can feed on leftover food. You should do this thoroughly at least twice a day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Find out more about gum disease.

Why do I need to floss my teeth?

Flossing between your teeth removes food debris and plaque that a toothbrush can’t reach. You should floss regularly, particularly if you have regular food debris leftover between your teeth.

Will dental treatment hurt?

We use modern techniques to minimise discomfort and, with the recent advances in dental procedures, local anaesthesia and sedatives, dental treatment can be considered to be pain free. You may experience some discomfort during or following your treatment but we always take care to reduce this to a minimum and will explain to you what you can expect to feel during and after your treatment.

What does a hygienist do?

Your hygienist will carry out a thorough investigation of your gums to identify any areas where you may have, or could develop, gum disease. They will explain exactly what they find, and will carry out any necessary professional teeth cleaning. They will involve you in discovering the best ways for you to remove the plaque by tooth brushing, flossing and other methods. They will then assess your progress in managing any gum disease.

What is gum disease? Could I have it?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is a progressive, degenerative condition affecting the gums and the bone which support the teeth. It is caused by bacterial plaque collecting at the gum edges. Some people are susceptible to gum disease and others are not. It is not an infection but the result of plaque not being adequately removed by tooth brushing. You may get bleeding of the gums, or some swelling or soreness. If you see blood on your toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth, then this might be a sign of gum disease. You may also get bad breath. Most people suffer from a form of gum disease at some time in their life, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Smoking can also make gum disease worse because, if you smoke, the gums are more likely to get inflamed.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

If your teeth are sensitive during brushing, or during the consumption of hot or cold food and drink, it is possible that you may have enamel erosion, gum recession, or both. These exposed areas can be sensitive because the hot, cold or touch sensation can be transmitted to the nerve in the tooth, causing you pain.

What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

Tooth Sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitising toothpaste and a fluoride mouthwash, and by decreasing the intake of acid, particularly found in fizzy drinks for example. Your hygienist can offer you sealants to treat sensitivity.

Can I have my teeth whitened? How safe is it?

In most cases you can. Your dentist will assess your teeth and general oral health, and advise whether it is a suitable procedure for you, and what results you might expect.
If carried out correctly, tooth whitening is a safe procedure which does not harm or damage your teeth or gums. Some people may experience some temporary sensitivity which will resolve following completion of treatment. We do not advise using over-the-counter products, or those sold on the internet. Some may strip the teeth of enamel, damaging the teeth and leaving them more prone to staining, decay and sensitivity.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath is a common problem which has many different causes. Persistent bad breath may be caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your tongue, teeth and gums. Food particles that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. Strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem. Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be a sign of gum disease. If your mouth is healthy, your bad breath may be caused by dehydration, a dry mouth (xerostomia), sinusitis or other chronic infections in the throat, nose or lungs.

What can I do about my bad breath?

Firstly, tell your dentist or hygienist – there is no need to be embarrassed and they will be delighted to help. Secondly, ensure you brush your teeth correctly and regularly. If you suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), your dentist will be able to recommend and prescribe products to help.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial substitute/replacement for a missing natural tooth. It is anchored into the bone to support a crown or a bridge, or to secure a denture firmly in place. Implants are made from titanium, a material that is well tolerated by bone and integrates easily with bone tissue. The implant and the surrounding bone “fuse” together (osseointegration), creating a stable support for the new teeth.

I am frightened of going to the dentist. Can you help me?

You are not alone! Many people are afraid or apprehensive of dental care. Firstly, talk to us about your fear or anxiety – we will take your fears seriously and treat you gently, and at a pace to suit you, with explanations and guidance along the way. You are in control! Find out more about nervous patients.

What are the common causes of mouth ulcers?

Usually a single mouth ulcer is due to damage caused by sharp teeth biting the cheek or tongue, tooth brushing or poorly fitting dentures. These ulcers are called ‘traumatic ulcers’.
If you have a number of mouth ulcers, the usual cause is recurrent aphthous stomatitis.

How can I prevent mouth ulcers?

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;
  • regularly visiting your dentist.

What do I do if I have an emergency?

During normal working hours, please contact the practice by phone, and our reception staff will be able to offer you the first available appointment. We aim to see all people with a dental emergency as soon as possible, within 24 hours from the time you phone. On weekends and bank holidays, please phone the practice and listen to our answer machine which will give you instructions on how to access emergency dental care. See how to make an emergency appointment.

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