General Topics & FAQs
Dr. Attia and team at Evercare Dental Group are passionate in providing the very best in personalised dental care.
From our front desk staff to our dental assistants , every member of our friendly and knowledgeable team at Evercare Dental Group are dedicated to ensuring the total comfort and satisfaction of each of our patients.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from our patients. If you have any other questions, we would love to hear from you. Our friendly, knowledgeable and highly trained staff at Evercare Dental Group will be more than delighted to answer all your questions and needs.
Q: What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realise that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.
There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.
What may cause bad breath?
- Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
- Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
- Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
- Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
- Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
- Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
- Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
- Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
- Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
- See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
- Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
- Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your doctor to determine the cause of the odour and an appropriate treatment plan.
Q:Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems.
Silver fillings are safe and studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.
The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. The World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling.
There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and glass ionomer fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which is the best option for you.
Q:How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:
- Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health and also your dental health.
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
- Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
- Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
- Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
- Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line, and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during toothbrushing and scaling.
- Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).
- Review dietary habits: Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves quite a lot more than just checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so will require regular check-ups and cleanings.
Q:Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
Daily flossing will help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!
Q:What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The colour of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It is important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems is the home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mould of your teeth. The trays are worn either for approximately 30 minutes per day. It usually takes a couple of days to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!
Q:What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the softer part of your tooth that lies under the tooth enamel, called “dentine”. Dentine has tiny tubes (‘tubules’) that lead to the nerve and are filled with fluid. Eating or drinking foods and drinks that are hot, cold or sweet can cause a change in fluid movement. This fluid movement causes the nerve endings to react in response, triggering a short, sharp pain.
Exposure of the dentin can occur due to a number of factors including:
- Improper brushing technique leading to abrasion of the enamel
- Consumption of acidic drinks that cause enamel erosion and dentin exposure
- Gum recession due to age,,periodontal disease or improper tooth brushing
- Tooth grinding leads to wearing away of the enamel
- A chipped or fractured tooth may expose the dentine
Q:How can I manage tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors. At Evercare Dental Group, your dentist will assess the cause of the exposed dentine and will cater a treatment plan accordingly.
Your dentist may recommend the use of a softer toothbrush and demonstrate to you how to correctly brush your teeth to prevent further loss of enamel. A desensitising toothpaste may also be recommended to decrease the sensitivity.
If the sensitivity is caused by a decayed or fractured tooth, then a filling will be required
Ultimately, whether you need an in-office procedure or over-the-counter product, the most important step is to seek dental advice so that the exact cause of the sensitivity can be determined and treated
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth:
Surprisingly, even a gentle knock can make a tooth fall out. Front teeth often take the full impact of a knock or bump. The upper front permanent (adult) teeth are the most likely of all teeth in children to be knocked right out. This is usually due to accidents
What should I do when it happens?
- First check that your child does not have any other injuries.
- If he/she seems seriously hurt call an ambulance.
- Find the tooth/teeth and if dirty gently rinse in milk, saline (or water as a last resort), holding the crown of the tooth. Do not scrub the root.
- Put the tooth straight back into place in the mouth.
- If you cannot put the tooth in place in the mouth put the tooth straight into a glass of milk, not water.
- Contact us immediately as time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth: Contact us at Evercare Dental Group immediately. In most cases, no treatment is required, but we will assess possible damage to developing permanent tooth.
Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth: If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment.
Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Many toothpastes, and/or tooth polishes, however, can damage young smiles. They contain harsh abrasives, which can wear away young tooth enamel. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one which contains fluoride and is age appropriate for your child.
Remember, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing to avoid ingesting too much fluoride. If too much fluoride is ingested, a condition known as fluorosis can occur, which affects the surface appearance of developing enamel. If your child is too young or unable to spit out toothpaste, use only a “pea size” amount of toothpaste.
Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on their teeth during sleep. Or, the parent may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to the dentition. One theory as to the cause involves a psychological component. Stress due to a new environment, family changes, changes at school; etc. can influence a child to grind their teeth. Other times, there are no known contributing factors.
Unfortunatley, for young children, there is no treatment which would help cease this habit. If bruxism continues in the permanent dentition then an occlusal splint would be recommended.
The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12.
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers on which to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may induce sleep.
Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. How intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.
Children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four. Peer pressure causes many school-aged children to stop.
A few suggestions to help your child get through thumb sucking:
- Instead of scolding children for thumb sucking, praise them when they are not.
- Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure. Focus on correcting the cause of anxiety, instead of the thumb sucking.
- Children who are sucking for comfort will feel less of a need when their parents provide comfort.
- Reward children when they refrain from sucking during difficult periods, such as when being separated from their parents.
- Your dentist can encourage children to stop sucking and explain what could happen if they continue.
- If these approaches do not work, remind the children of their habit by bandaging the thumb at night. Your dentist may recommend the use of a mouth appliance if the habit continues
Developing malocclusions can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age.
Stage I – Early Treatment: This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. At this young age, we are concerned with underdeveloped dental arches, the premature loss of primary teeth, and harmful habits such as finger or thumb sucking. Treatment initiated in this stage of development is often very successful and many times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic or orthopedic treatment.
Stage II – Mixed Dentition: This period covers the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the eruption of the permanent incisor (front) teeth and 6 year molars. Treatment concerns deal with jaw malrelationships and dental realignment problems. This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Stage III – Adolescent Dentition: This stage deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.