Q. I have teeth implants and I want to whiten my teeth. Will the implants whiten too?
Unfortunately dental implants do not whiten. They can be cleaned by a hygienist, which may help them appear whiter. You should be sure to let your dentist know that you intend to whiten your teeth before the dental implants are fitted, so the shade can be adjusted.
Q. Should I brush my teeth before or after my breakfast?
There is actually no evidence to say whether you should brush before or after breakfast. The ideal situation would be to brush before breakfast, and then again half an hour after breakfast but most people are too busy in the mornings for such a routine.
Brushing before breakfast reassures you that the bacteria that has accumulated in your mouth over night is removed before it is given a food to turn into acid – however this can make your breakfast taste unpleasant. Brushing after breakfast can be damaging to your teeth if you have not waited half an hour (as the enamel softens slightly after meals and needs some time to harden again). I would recommend brushing before breakfast and then chewing xylitol gum on your way to work.
Q. Why should I be using mouthwash? My breath doesn’t smell so I’m not sure how it could benefit me.
Mouthwashes don’t only tackle bad breath – they are antibacterial and also contain fluoride, which helps strengthen your teeth. The best time to use mouthwash is at a different time to brushing (preferably after lunch) to kill the bacteria and give your teeth a boost of fluoride.
Q. My dental implants feel like they are moving – what should I do?
Make an appointment to see your dental implantologist as soon as you can. Dental implants are not 100% successful and can fail in some rare cases. A wobbly implant suggests that the titanium screw and jaw bone have not fused together correctly.
Dental implants are also susceptible to a type of gum disease – invading bacteria cause the tissue around the implant to break down, allowing it to wobble. Be sure to clean around your implants daily with either floss or interdental brushes.
Q. My front tooth got knocked about ten years ago and I think it is changing colour now. It seems to look darker than all the rest. Is there anything I can do?
The tooth sounds like it is either dead or dying due to the trauma. Though it may not be causing you any pain, it would be a good idea to have a root canal treatment done (a type of filling that goes down the root canal of the tooth) to rid the tooth of any dead tissue.
The breakdown products of living tissue inside teeth can stain the dentine brown and yellow, meaning that some dead teeth look darker than others. You could have the tooth internally and externally bleached. This would involve having a small hole made at the back of the tooth that you can insert a tooth whitening bleach into at home, along with laying it over the front of the tooth. Speak to your dentist about root canal treatments and internal tooth whitening.
Q. Why do dentists call out numbers when they look at your teeth?
Normally when a dentist speaks to his/her nurse during your examination, it is merely to inform them which teeth and fillings you have. Each tooth is allocated a different number. They may also mention teeth that need some treatment doing, but not every number you hear suggests you need work done!
Dentists will also check your gums for disease and will grade their findings on a scale from 0-4, where 0 means healthy gums and 4 means severe gum disease. Ask the dentist to clarify if you are ever unsure about what they have said, or you do not understand.