Medical Facts


Frequently Asked Questions

We, the dental department in tajmeel dental understand that by educating patients about the treatment; reduces patient's anxiety, reduce decisional conflicts, and improve the patient's experience. Thus, the patients will have greater compliance with the therapy, which translates into better outcomes.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Adults can have up to 32 teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last to come through, right at the back. They usually appear when you are between 17 and 25, although sometimes they appear many years later. Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth – 28 teeth are often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.

Do they always cause problems?

No. If there is enough room they will usually come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth. Often there will be some slight discomfort as they come through, but this is only temporary and will disappear once the tooth is fully in position.

What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

If there is not enough room, the wisdom tooth may try to come through, but will get stuck against the tooth in front of it. The wisdom tooth will be at an angle, and will be described by the dentist as 'impacted'.

What problems should I be prepared for?

If part of the wisdom tooth has appeared through the gum and part of it is still covered, the gum may become sore and perhaps swollen. Food particles and bacteria can collect under the gum edge, and it will be difficult to clean the area effectively. Your dentist will tell you whether this is a temporary problem that can be dealt with by using mouthwashes and special cleaning methods (and possibly antibiotics), or whether it is better to have the tooth removed.

What can I do to help myself?

If your gums are sore and swollen, use a mouthwash of medium hot water with a teaspoonful of salt. (Check that it is not too hot before using it.) Swish the salt water around the tooth, trying to get into the areas your toothbrush cannot reach. An antibacterial mouthwash such as Corsodyl can also reduce the inflammation. Pain-relieving tablets can also be useful for short term.

But, what if it does not help?

If the pain does not go away or if you find it difficult to open your mouth, you should see a dentist.

Are x-rays needed?

The dentist will usually take x-rays to see the position of the root, and to see whether there is room for the tooth to come through into a useful position.

What are the main reasons for taking wisdom teeth out?
  • When it is clear that the wisdom teeth will not be able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room, and they are also causing some pain or discomfort.
  • If they have only partly come through and are decayed – as it will be difficult to clean them as thoroughly as other teeth.
  • If the wisdom tooth is causing a cleaning problem and has no real use.
  • If the wisdom tooth starts to 'over-grow' – happens if the lower one has already been removed or is impacted and cannot come through, and the upper one has no tooth to bite against. Thus, the upper one will come down too far, looking for a tooth to make contact with.
  • If they are painful.
Are wisdom teeth difficult to take out?

It all depends on the position and the shape of the roots. Your dentist will tell you how easy or difficult each tooth will be to remove after looking at the x-rays.

Will it makes any difference to my face or mouth?

Taking wisdom teeth out may cause some swelling for a few days. But as soon as the area is healed, there will be no difference to your f ace or appearance. Your mouth will feel more comfortable and less crowded, especially if the teeth were impacted.

Why is root canal treatment needed?

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

Does it hurt?

No. A local anesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.

What does it involve?
  • 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.
  • 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. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. 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.
What if I don't have the treatment?

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. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.

Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

What about aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.

Why would I need a crown?

There are a number of reasons. For instance:

  • The tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling
  • Have discolored fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth
  • Have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it
  • Have had an accident and damaged the tooth it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
What are crowns made of?

Crowns are made of a variety of materials, for example:

  • Porcelain bonded to precious metal: This is what most crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.
  • Porcelain: Look very natural and are most often used for front teeth but, not as strong as bonded crowns.
  • Porcelain and composite: Sometimes look the most natural. However, these crowns are not as strong as bonded metal crowns.
  • Glass: Look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.
  • Precious metal (gold and palladium): these crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are not usually used at the front of the mouth, where they are highly visible.
Will the crown be noticeable?

No. The crown will be made to match your other teeth exactly. The shade of the neighboring teeth will be recorded, to make sure that the color looks natural and matches the surrounding teeth.

How long does the treatment take?

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.

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

No. A local anesthetic is used 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 local anesthetic may not be needed

How long will a crown last?

The life of a crown will depend on how well it is looked after. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. It is very important to keep this area as clean as your other teeth, or decay could endanger the crown. Properly cared for crowns will last for many years – your dentist will be able to tell you how long.

Will the crown feel different?

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 it feels higher than the surrounding teeth. If it is at all uncomfortable ask your dentist to check and adjust it.

Is there an alternative to a crown?

A veneer may be an alternative to having an anterior crown. Your dentist will advise you of any suitable alternatives.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride has been researched for over 50 years and water fluoridation has been proven to cut dental decay by 40 to 60%. Fluoride is present in many different natural sources, but can also be artificially added to our drinking water. Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. Many types of toothpaste now contain fluoride.

Are fluoride toothpastes enough?

If your drinking water does not have fluoride added, fluoride toothpaste is effective. However, some people are more prone to dental decay. If so, the dentist may suggest using fluoride supplements, which can help to reduce dental decay. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually enough to lower the level of decay. In areas where the water supply is fluoridated, fluoride toothpaste provides additional protection. However, in these areas, children under 7 years old should use one of the toothpastes containing lower levels of fluoride.

Where can I find fluoride?

All water contains fluoride. Your local water supplier or health authority should be able to tell you how much fluoride is in the water in your area. Fluoride also comes in specially formulated gels, drops, tablets or mouthwashes which are recommended for those people who need extra protection.

Should children have extra fluoride?

Many areas have enough fluoride in the water to help fight tooth decay. However, where the level in the water supply is low, it is sometimes necessary for children to take extra fluoride in the form of supplements. It is extremely important that these are only taken on the advice and instruction of a dentist.

Is fluoride safe?

After many years of research the scientific conclusion is that fluoride is of great benefit to dental health and helps to reduce decay, while causing no harmful side effects to general health.

What are the side effects?

'Dental fluorosis' can occur when too much fluoride is taken. This can happen for example when the water supply is already fluoridated and supplements are taken, or when children 'eat' toothpaste.

What is Dental fluorosis?

Enamel fluorosis is a result of too much fluoride, absorbed while the Enamel of the teeth is forming. Severe fluorosis may lead to pitting of the enamel and discoloration. In its mildest form, fluorosis appears as very fine pearly white lines or flecking on the surface of the teeth. The mild fluorosis is often undetectable except by a dental expert.

Which teeth should be sealed?

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 they have examined them, and checked whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves, which will need to be sealed, others with shallow ones which will not need sealing.

What is involved?

The process is usually quick and straightforward taking only a few minutes per tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard – usually by shining an ultraviolet light onto it.

Will my child feel it?

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

How long do they last?

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 be sure that no decay can start underneath them.

How do they work?

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

When should this be done?

Sealants are often applied as soon as the permanent 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 years of age.

Do my children still have to clean their teeth?

Yes. It is still vital that they do this. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal tooth brushing. Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings your child might need.

Whom do I ask about the treatment?

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 children's teeth, and if it is the right time to do it.

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

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.

What precautions should I take?

Avoid hot food or drinks until the anesthetic 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, which can happen when there is no feeling. While resting try to keep your head higher for the first night using an extra pillow if possible.

Should I rinse my mouth out?

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.

Is there anything else I should avoid?

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.

When should I brush?

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.

What do I do if it bleeds?

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

How soon can I have a cigarette?

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.

Is there anything I can do to help my mouth?

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

I am in pain, what should I take?

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 wound bleed.

Are there any medicines I should avoid?

Aspirin should be avoided because it can thin the blood slightly. Asthma sufferers should avoid Ibuprofen-based pain relief.

I am still in pain, what could it be?

Sometimes an infection can get in the socket, which can be very painful. This is when the bony socket walls are exposed and become infected. This is called a dry socket, and in some cases, it 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.

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. Your dentist will also want to discuss the options available for you to replace your lost tooth.

Are implants safe? How long will they last?

Implants are a well-established, tried-and-tested treatment. The vast majority of modern implants last for at least 15 years.

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.

Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?

It depends on the state of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a number of special tests to assess 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 the implants requires a small operation. This can be carried out under local anesthesia with sedation or with a general anesthesia. You will not feel any pain at the time, but you may feel some discomfort during the week following the surgery. This is usually due to having stitches in place, and the normal healing process.

Can I have the new teeth straight away?

No. The implants need to bond (integrate) with the bone after they have been placed. This takes about 3 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper jaw. If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you will have a temporary restoration in the meantime. If you have complete dentures, then you can wear them throughout the healing period once they have been adjusted after the surgery.

How long does treatment take?

It takes about 12 months from the initial assessment to the time when the artificial teeth or dentures are finally attached to the implants. However, if only the lower jaw is involved then it may only take around 5 months. A lot depends on how complicated your treatment is. Your dentist will be able to give you a timetable once the surgery has been done.

Is it difficult to clean adjacent teeth?

Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that give you problems and you'll be shown methods to help.

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

Only if you don't care for them well enough. If you keep them clean, and don't smoke, then you should not have any problems.

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

Most artificial teeth attached to implants can only be placed and removed by the dentist. However, if you have complete dentures fixed to the implants by bars, then you'll be able to take them out for cleaning.

Do the implants show?

Your dentist will make sure that the implants won't show during all normal movements of the mouth and lips. You will need to be able to see them, so that you can clean them properly.

Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?

No, unless you're only having a single tooth replaced. Normally, five or six implants are used to replace all the teeth in one jaw, as each implant can usually support two teeth. For a few missing teeth, two or three implants may be used.

What if I get hit in the face?

Implants and the teeth they support can be damaged by an accident in the same way that natural teeth can. However, if the false teeth are damaged and the remnants are left in the bone then they may be more difficult to remove than natural teeth would be. After healing, new false teeth can then be placed alongside the fragments.

What happens if the implant does not bond (integrate) with the bone?

This happens very rarely. If the implant becomes loose during the healing period or just after, then it is easily removed and healing takes place in the normal way. Once the jaw has healed, another implant can be placed there.

Is the treatment expensive?

Unfortunately, yes, due to the expensive materials used in the procedure. However, in many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional treatment with crowns and bridges.

What are the advantages of veneers?

Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond, it requires very little preparation of the tooth.

When would I need a veneer?

Veneers can improve the color, shape and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right color to improve a single discolored or stained tooth or to lighten front. 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) is not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.

How long will a veneer last?

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.

How are teeth prepared for a veneer?

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 anesthetic 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'. This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer. The color of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.

How long will it take?

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 satisfied with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.

Will I need a temporary veneer between visits?

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.

What happens after the veneer is fitted?

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 to make sure that you are satisfied with it.

How much will it cost?

It is important to discuss charges and treatment options with your dentist before starting treatment.

What is a diastema?

A diastema is a space or 'gap' between teeth – very often your front teeth. This is very common in children and is part of their normal dental development. About 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have these. Most of these spaces close naturally as the mouth and teeth develop. In some cases this gap does not close naturally and a dentist's advice is sought.

What causes a diastema?

There are many factors that can contribute to the development of a diastema, such as:

  • Abnormal bone structure
  • Some extra tissue between the teeth which prevents them from touching.
  • If you bite your lower lip it may aggravate such a problem.
  • If your teeth have developed in such a way so as to allow space for the front teeth to drift apart.
  • If you have a large tongue it may push the teeth forward.
How will this gap affect me?

A gap between children's teeth often causes concern. It can have an effect on speech, aesthetics, balance and social behavior.

How will my teeth be prepared?

The surface of your tooth will need to be roughened a little so as to give the veneer more chance of bonding to your enamel. A mould will be made of your tooth and a porcelain veneer made using this to make a perfect fitting veneer. Veneers can be trimmed and shaped a little more by your dentist to make them look perfect.

Will it be painful?

No. Your teeth may be temporarily sensitive to cold.

How long will the veneer last?

Veneers can last for many years – but, they are not indestructible and can be chipped or damaged if treated roughly.

What are dentures made of?

The base of a denture is called a plate and can be made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. The teeth are normally made of acrylic and can be made to match your natural teeth. This is especially important in the case of partial dentures.

Will dentures make me look different?

Replacing lost or missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older and reduce their ability to eat and speak. Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Modern dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face.

Will I be able to eat with dentures?

Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the denture from moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you return to your normal healthy diet.

Will dentures change how I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating difficult words will help. Over time you will adjust and get used to it, so don't worry. If you find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile, reposition the denture by gently biting down and swallowing. If this continues consult your dentist.

Will my sense of taste be affected?

This is quite a common worry, but the fact is that your teeth have nothing to do with your sense of taste. Your taste buds are mainly on your tongue and they will still be there so eventually everything will not taste too different.

How long should I wear my dentures?

During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them for most of the time, including while you are asleep. This will allow you to adjust to your new dentures and let them settle in. After an initial period of adjustment your dentist may advise that you remove them before going to bed. This allows your gums to rest and helps promote oral health. If you decide to keep them in overnight, it is important that you clean them thoroughly before you go to bed, just as you would natural teeth.

Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?

Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning and evening, brush your gums, tongue and palate (roof of your mouth) with a soft -bristled brush. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. It is vitally important that partial denture wearers brush their teeth thoroughly every day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to further teeth being lost.

What is the difference between conventional and Immediate Dentures?

Conventional dentures are made and inserted after teeth have been removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months. Immediate Dentures are inserted immediately after teeth have been removed. To do this, the dentist takes measurements and impressions of your mouth during a preliminary visit. An advantage of Immediate Dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after teeth have been removed. When gums shrink, Immediate Dentures may require relining or even replacing to fit properly.

What will dentures feel like?

New dentures may feel uncomfortable for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. Should this continue, consult your dentist. It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness during this period. You may also find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. If any problems persist, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to consult your dentist as soon as possible and not wait for your regular checkup. Do not take your dentures out though, leave them in, that way the dentist will be able to see where it is sore and sort the problem out quicker.

How do I take care of my dentures?

Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped. When cleaning dentures it is recommended that you do so over a folded towel or sink of water. When you are not wearing your dentures, they should be stored in a container containing enough water to cover them. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food debris and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures becoming stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. There are special denture cleaning brushes available but a soft bristled toothbrush can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes, which can cause damage. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Over a period of time, dentures will need to be relined or re-made due to normal wear or a change in the shape of your mouth. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink causing jaws to align differently. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections not to mention discomfort. A loose or ill-fitting denture can also make eating and speaking more difficult. It is important to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

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