Dental Factsheets

Explore our library of dental factsheets.

Fact Sheets
  • Why should I Brush and Floss?

    Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth, and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:

    • Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
    • Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
    • Clean the chewing surfaces
    • For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too

    Question – How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush And Why?
    The life span of the average toothbrush is about 2-3 months. So change your toothbrush at the beginning of each season (summer, autumn, winter, spring). Toothbrushes just simply wear out after all the repetitive use morning, noon and night. The bristles breakdown and lose their effectiveness in getting into all those tricky corners around your teeth.

    The other reason to change them regularly is that they are a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria which after a while can build up to significant levels. They can also spread cold and flu viruses through families when stored together, infecting adjacent toothbrushes.

    Toothbrushes also harbour the little bugs that cause cold sores and ulcers. If you are susceptible to ulcers and cold sores you should also change your toothbrush more regularly to avoid re-infecting other parts of the mouth and possibly other members of the family.

    You should floss at least once each day. If you don’t, you are almost sure to have bad breath.

    Why is this so? Well we know that bad breath is the result of bacteria. Bacteria can be found in many places within the mouth and regular brushing can usually get rid of most of it. One place that brushing alone can’t get too is under the gum line. Apart from a professional scale & clean, flossing is the best way to remove bacteria from under your gum line.

    Bacteria left under the gum line for too long can start the onset of gum or periodontal disease, which if left untreated can lead to the ultimate loss of several teeth.

    If you are not 100% sure of the best way to floss, just ask us next time you are in and we will be happy to give you a practical demonstration.

  • How many teeth do I have?

    Count them. The normal person has 28 teeth plus 4 Wisdom Teeth.

  • Got Sore Jaw Joints?

    If you suffer from sore or painful jaw joints or jaw and face muscle pain, clicking or grinding noises during normal movement of your jaw, or you experience headaches or earaches, you may have TMD.

    Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) are a family of problems related to either one or both of your complex jaw joints. The lower jaw (mandible), is held in place by numerous muscle groups and ligaments, which also allow us to move the lower jaw forward and sideways so that we can talk, chew, swallow and yawn. These are all normal movements, which should occur without discomfort and limitation.

    60% of the population experience TMD at some stage of their life. Signs and symptoms often first appear when people are in their in their 20’s. There are numerous causes of TMD and the effects of many of them can be corrected or minimized using dentistry based treatment options.

    If you have any pain in the jaw and not in the neck, pop in and see us and we will advise you of the options available.

  • Why Replace A Missing Back Tooth?

    All our teeth balance on each other. Likewise upper teeth reply on lower teeth for something to chew against.

    When a back tooth is lost, there may not appear to be any immediate problems with the rest of your teeth. However over time, problems can develop that can lead to the loss of several other teeth.

    The reason is, when the lower back molar tooth is lost, the teeth next to it can tip over into the space left by the missing tooth. In addition, it is very common for the upper opposing tooth to overgrow and once this happens there is now way of pushing that tooth back into its correct position and it usually needs to be removed. In other words, by losing one back molar tooth and not replacing it, a domino effect usually begins, causing the ultimate loss of several other back teeth.

    Over time, other problems such as increased spacing between front teeth, abnormal bite characteristics, increased incidence of gum disease, increased decay, increased stresses on remaining teeth, headaches and jaw joint problems usually all occur.

  • How Often Should I Have A "Scale And Clean" And Why?

    The average person should have a scale and clean at least once every six to twelve months.

    Annual scaling and cleaning of teeth by your dentist removes plaque and calculus which builds up under and around the gum line of each tooth. Unfortunately regular brushing alone doesn’t stop the build up of plaque and calculus altogether. If left untreated for too long it can lead to gum disease and eventually tooth loss. More than half of all people over the age of 18 have at least the early stages of gum or periodontal disease. After the age of 35 about three out of four people are affected. Early stages of the disease are persistent bad breath generally noticed by those who come into close contact with you followed by red and swollen gums and occasional bleeding after brushing.

    The good news is that regular professional cleaning by your dentist will remove the plaque and calculus build up and that periodontal disease is treatable in early stages. What’s more, you will also eliminate that “bad breath syndrome” and catch any decay in its early stages when it’s cheaper and easier to fix.

  • I Used To Have Tooth Ache But Now It's Gone - Does That Mean It's Okay?

    Teeth don’t fix themselves!

    If you have had a toothache in the past but it seems okay now, it could be because you have the first stages of decay and the nerve of the tooth has retracted slightly to compensate. This is especially so if the original pain lasted only a couple of seconds whilst eating or drinking cold food. The problem though, is that if it’s left untreated the worst is yet to come.

    In any case, it’s best to have it checked out early so as to stop any future pain and minimise the cost of getting it fixed.

Oral Hygiene
  • Oral Hygiene for Adults

    Healthy oral hygiene practices are really important for adults as well as for children. Adult oral hygiene really isn’t that much different than oral hygiene practices for kids. The only difference comes in those things adults do that kids don’t – drinking alcohol, smoking, eating strong smelling foods, etc. Taking these into consideration good, healthy teeth and a well-cared for mouth are something to place high on your priority list and to plan for purposefully.

    Adulthood brings several dental issues to the fore, including the following:

    • Gum Disease is a progressive disease that initially starts out as Gingivitis and presents itself through swollen or reddened gums. It is completely reversible but this condition, which often leads to bad breath, if left untreated, may develop into Periodontitus which is a disease of the bone in which the teeth are held. Gum Disease has been related to diabetes and heart disease but should be carefully monitored in all adults.
    • Unfortunately, the tooth can continue to decay around an old filling or even under the filling (which is another reason for regular dental x-rays). As we get older we can also start to get decay along the root surface of the teeth. For this reason, regular checks for cavities are an essential part of your dental health toolkit.
    • As we get older the gums shrink back from the tooth exposing the root surface. This root surface is more prone to decaying and is often very sensitive to hot and cold drinks, sweet foods and sometimes even changes in air temperature. It is important to mention any such sensitivity to your dentist as there are treatments available to help lessen the impact of tooth sensitivity as you age and no need to put up with it unnecessarily.
    • Tooth strength becomes compromised when areas that have had fillings become weakened or parts of the tooth break away due to regular use. Your dentist may recommend that a crown be placed on the tooth to restore its strength or to help improve its appearance.
    • Cosmetic Dentistry has made many advances in the past years and our dentists stay fully up to date with the technology and treatments available to improve the way you present yourself to the world.
  • Oral Hygiene for Children

    Just as their new teeth are emerging so too are your children’s attitudes toward life situations such as visiting the dentist. Let us help make it a fun and nurturing encounter for your children so that they will be keen to follow our instructions and visit again to show us their special new teeth and what a great job they have been doing cleaning them. It is important to instill in your child a sense of autonomy, motivation and enthusiasm regarding their dental care.

    You will need to brush your children’s teeth until they are around three years old and we can show you a simple brushing technique which is most appropriate as you do this.

    Take your baby with you to your hygiene visits or dental exams so that your baby gets use to the environment. Then as they grow older they can be given rides in the chair and slowly introduced to the instruments until they can have a proper exam by the age of about 3 or 4. Diagnosing problems in children at an early age makes treatment easier as minor problems can be identified and treated before they become larger dental concerns.

    As your child grows, our dentists will ensure that your visit schedule is appropriate for your child’s needs and that the child is educated at an age appropriate level as to how to maximize own their dental health.

  • Oral Hygiene for Infants

    As a main focus of our mission here at Dental Integrity is about education and prevention, we strongly encourage our involvement as your children’s first teeth begin to emerge. Many aspects of your child’s life including their speech and appearance will be influenced by their emerging teeth and these will lay the groundwork for adult teeth later in life.

    Even before they have teeth, infants should have their gums cleaned using a sterile gauze pad or infant washcloth after feeds and before bed. Also be sure that the only liquid which they take to bed in a bottle is water. This can prevent “baby bottle tooth decay???.

    Just as their new teeth are emerging so too are your children’s attitudes toward life situations such as visiting the dentist. Let us help make it a fun and nurturing encounter for your children so that they will be keen to follow our instructions and visit again to show us their special new teeth and what a great job they have been doing cleaning them. It is important to instill in your child a sense of autonomy, motivation and enthusiasm regarding their dental care.

  • Oral Hygiene for Older Adults

    Oral diseases experienced by the older adult are either preventable or treatable.

    However many older persons do not avail themselves of the much needed treatment. Most persons currently older than 60 years were not introduced to the concept of preventive dentistry at a young age and thus are not used to the idea. The great news is that it is never too late. Our team of dentists can provide optimum care for teeth throughout all the stages of life and ensure that you adopt practices that will supplement their treatments perfectly.

    In order to help your dental care team, you need to inform them of any changes in your mouth and also stay alert between visits about the following:

    Changes in teeth and supporting tissue
    Tissues in your mouth, like other body tissues, change as you grow older. Soft tissues like gums and cheeks lose their ability to stretch and muscles become soft and weak. The amount of saliva produced by glands in your mouth is less. As a result, chewing becomes more difficult, and your mouth becomes more easily irritated and heals more slowly than when you were younger.

    The rate of tooth decay may increase as you grow older. This is especially true when the amount of saliva is lower. Tooth decay in older adults often appears around the teeth near the gums. Saliva is a key component of plaque formation. Without saliva, food can stick to the teeth more easily, which contributes to plaque formation. When plaque becomes harder it is called calculus. The root portion of a tooth, when exposed, is easy to decay. Gumline or root decay is difficult to repair with fillings.

    Periodontal disease
    You may have periodontal disease if your gums are swollen or if they bleed easily. Pockets often develop between teeth and gums and can pack or trap food debris. This disease is generally found in many older adults. If not treated, the disease becomes worse. In the elderly, periodontal disease is a primary cause for loss of teeth.

    Brittleness and wear of teeth
    Nerve tissue and blood vessels are found in teeth. When you were young, these nerves were very responsive to pain or anything hot or cold. Your brittle teeth may be easily broken or chipped. However, due to the reduced nerve tissue, little if any pain is experienced when even severe fractures occur.

    Teeth wear because of the grinding action of chewing. Tooth enamel becomes thinner. In severe cases, the hard enamel covering is completely worn away leaving a softer part of the tooth (dentin) exposed. Eating foods that are high in starch, such as sugars, honey or confectionary, can dissolve dentin. This can leave you with teeth with only a fragile enamel shell. These teeth are easily chipped or broken.

    Tolerance to dentures
    If you wear a complete or partial removable denture you want it to be comfortable and work well. Your satisfaction with dentures depends largely on the ability of the remaining ridges in your mouth to provide the necessary support. After teeth are removed, the remaining bone (ridge) continues to shrink to a smaller size. The gum tissue covering the ridge becomes thinner and is more easily irritated. The rigid, non-changing dentures do not fit as well. As a result, chewing hurts and can become difficult. This happens with nearly half of the dentures worn by elderly persons, and can change the types of healthy foods you might normally eat. Other factors can cause additional dental problems include:

    Oral cancers
    Oral cancer risk can increase with age. About three percent of all cancers are found in the jaws, lips, tongue and palate (roof of the mouth). The effect of oral cancers and their treatment can be awful. Surgical treatment often results in loss of a portion or all of the jaws, tongue or palate. Radiation (x-ray) therapy used to treat some oral cancers generally results in a lower amount of saliva. This means that your mouth may be sore and your teeth may decay more easily. All of these problems can stop you from eating normal, healthy foods.

    Drug therapy
    Treatment of some diseases (heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, Parkinson’s disease) may require the use of many medications. This may lower your saliva, which results in a very dry mouth and the problems we have discussed. What can we do to stop these problems, especially when you still have to keep taking your medications? Ask us for our advice.

    Improving dental hygiene
    Good oral hygiene is perhaps the simplest and most efficient way to promote comfort and help reduce the dental problems associated with aging.

    • Brushing: A medium soft brush and dental paste is recommended. For those incapable of gripping the handle, a rubber strap can be fastened to fit snugly around the hand. The brush may be easier to hold and control if a larger handle is made. Teeth, gums and tongue should be brushed at least once a day.
    • Flossing: Flossing removes materials from areas difficult to reach with a toothbrush — between the teeth and at the gum line. Flossing takes practice and is difficult if you have limitations in arm and finger movements. Ask your dentist about flossing tools to help you with this problem.
    • Rinsing: With a decrease in saliva, food particles adhere more readily to the teeth and gums. Rinsing with warm water will dislodge the particles. This is especially important if you have difficulty brushing. Rinsing, however, should not be considered a substitute for brushing. Mouthwash is helpful but irritating to gums because of its high alcohol content. Dilute the mouthwash with water.

    Denture care
    Wearing dentures does not mean that good oral care can be ignored. If you wear dentures, they should be removed after eating and rinsed with warm water. The mouth should also be rinsed well. Dentures also accumulate calculus like the teeth they replaced. Scrub your dentures with a stiff brush and cream to remove these deposits. For more information on any of the dental aids or cleaning procedures, consult one of our dentists. Our dentists can specially tailor a routine to provide the best means of cleaning your teeth and gums.

    Eat a balanced diet for good oral health
    Eating a variety of foods can help your teeth stay healthy. Foods that supply protein, vitamin A and vitamin C help to keep gums healthy. Foods with a lot of calcium and vitamin D such as cheese and milk are needed for strong teeth. Limiting sugary drinks and foods like soft drinks and high sugar snack foods may help decrease cavities.

    Tooth loss and gum disease are not an inevitable part of the ageing process. The fact is, you can have control over your dental destiny. If you brush and floss every day and see your dentist regularly, you will improve your chances of maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout your life.

  • Oral Hygiene for Pregnancy

    Pregnancy is a very exciting and busy time. There are so many changes going on in your body and your mouth is no exception. Good oral hygiene is extremely important during pregnancy because the increase of hormone levels during pregnancy can cause dental problems to be intensified.

    One of the most common dental problems associated with pregnancy is a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which usually occurs during the first trimester. Hormone fluctuations can affect your gums. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis are usually bleeding, swollen, red and tender gums.

    Good oral health during pregnancy could also be important to your fetus. Your body is its sole source of nourishment.

    The tips listed here can help you maintain good oral health throughout your pregnancy.

    • Visit your dentist for regular check ups and cleanings. This is the best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
    • Brush your teeth properly at least twice a day to remove plaque.
    • Floss your teeth daily. Flossing will remove food debris from in between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
    • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Antimicrobial mouth rinses can help prevent gingivitis.
    • Brush or scrape your tongue daily to help remove bacteria.
    • Eat nutritious meals and healthy snacks.
    • Make sure to keep your dentist fully informed of your pregnancy and of any medications you may be taking.

    Now that you know what to do to protect your oral health, sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful time in your life.

  • Oral Hygiene for Teens

    Teenagers can be tough on their teeth. They may be so busy with school, jobs, sport and social activities that it’s difficult to find time to brush. They also tend to eat a lot of “junk??? food. Combine the two and you have a situation ripe for dental decay. Not surprisingly, this is the time when may people develop a lot of cavities.

    Here are a few tips to help you get you child through the teen years free of cavities:

    • If you are a parent/guardian, talk to your teenager and encourage him or her to take good care of his or her teeth. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Teenagers care a lot about how they look. Help your child to understand that bad oral hygiene contributes to teeth staining, bad breath, missing teeth and an assortment of other dental problems.
    • Continue to set a good example. If your teenager sees that your dental health is a priority, it will reinforce how important oral hygiene is to you. Your talks and warnings will not seem hypocritical and will carry greater weight.
    • If they participate in contact sports, you may want to have a custom made mouth guard fitted during a dental visit. Mouth guards assist in providing protection against dental injury.
    • Have plenty of oral health-care supplies on hand for your teen to use. Keep soft toothbrush, floss (or plastic flossers) and good tasting toothpaste in their line of sight in the bathroom.
    • Don’t buy junk food. Instead keep lots of fruit and vegetables in the house for snacking. You can reinforce that this will also be very beneficial to their skin – a topic most teens are very sensitive about. Double benefits for them.
    • If they wear custom-made appliances or dental braces, pay special attention to keeping spaces between the teeth and wires/appliances clean by using floss threaders. Orthodontic toothbrushes are specially designed to make cleaning teeth and braces easier.
  • Bridges

    Crown and bridge treatment will restore lost teeth, support remaining teeth and help you maintain optimal dental health as well as the obvious aesthetic benefits.

    Bridges can be used to replace missing teeth if there are teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The two teeth are prepared for crowns, then a dental technician can fabricate a bridge with the missing tooth attached to the two crowns. This is all made in one piece to look like three separate teeth.

  • Crowns and Veneers

    A crown is an artificial cover that encompasses the whole tooth and can be used on any tooth. They are normally used to restore decayed or damaged teeth to their normal shape and size. Crowns are used to protect the structure of a tooth that is cracked or broken. They can also be used to change the shape of a tooth, to correct a bite or even fix a cosmetic problem. A crown can be made of gold or from other metals such as amalgam, but if you’re after that natural look you might opt for white porcelain matched to the same shade as the rest of your teeth.

    As the name suggests a veneer is a very thin fascia made from porcelain, which is stuck on to the front of an existing tooth using extremely strong adhesives. Veneers are generally only used on our front teeth to enhance our appearance or correct the unsightly look of one or more teeth. Many of our favourite actors, models and media personalities have at some stage whisked off to the dentist to have their set of veneers fitted.

    Veneers are individually made to suit the patient’s desired result and their aesthetic properties allow them to be indistinguishable from real teeth. In fact they generally look better than a person’s real teeth. By using veneers we can reshape your teeth to look longer, wider, rounder or squarer, even make them whiter. The choice is yours and, of course, we will help guide you with what look will enhance the rest of your facial features.

  • Dentures

    Dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile. This may be required in the event that you have lost your natural teeth from gum disease, tooth decay or injury.

    Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Facial muscles sag without support from a denture which makes a person look older. You will also be able to eat and speak, things that people often take for granted until they have lost their natural teeth.

    Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

    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 and profile.



  • Gums

    Some people suffer from what we call a “gummy smile???

    This usually occurs when the appearance of the teeth are small or short and there is more than usual gum tissue visible when the person smiles.

    One of the more common reasons for this condition is that during childhood development, the person’s gums simply grew a little bit more than the average. Hidden underneath that abundance of gummy skin though are healthy teeth, which have developed normally.

    To correct this particular condition is quite simple and easy. All that is required is to re-contour the gum line, so that more of the teeth are visible.

    If you have a gummy smile that worries you, ask us to discuss this with you, as some simple gum line contouring may correct your situation.

  • Implants

    For years, physicians have used various types of implants to replace damaged body parts such as hip joints. Today modern dentistry can replace missing teeth in much the same way. In fact, thousands of patients have had missing teeth replaced using dental implants.

    A dental implant is simply an artificial device, designed to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. They are surgically placed into the underlying jawbone of the mouth. The implant is then allowed sufficient time to permanently attach itself to the jawbone after which time an artificial tooth or crown is attached.

    Once the procedure has been completed and provided proper oral hygiene is maintained, an implant can last indefinitely. An implant can give the patient a result that is the next best thing to having their own natural tooth.

    Different techniques allow dental implants to be used to replace either one missing tooth or more than one tooth. Dental implants can also be used to firmly secure dentures or whole rows of artificial teeth that normally suffer from a degree of movement and discomfort.

    Implant recipients need to have healthy gums, sufficient bone structure in the jaw, and good oral hygiene habits.

    To find out if an implant is right for you talk to us next time you are in and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.

  • Orthodontics

    Many people believe that orthodontic treatment begins when the braces go on the teeth. This is not the case. Thousands of children need early orthodontic care – some even as young as six years old. Early diagnosis and monitoring allows your dentist and orthodontist to take full advantage at a time when your child’s bone structure is easier to shape. If you think the odds of a young child having orthodontic problems are remote, you may wish to consider these facts:

    • Very few people are born with “perfect teeth???
    • 75% of people have orthodontic problems, which should be treated
    • 25% of these problems are severe
    • Orthodontic problems aren’t just limited to protruding teeth or under bites
    • Often the problems relate to the overall structure of the mouth, face and bite characteristics.
    • Frequently they don’t show up in a smile as crooked or uneven teeth at all

    Therefore, if you feel that your child may need orthodontic treatment, right now is the time that you should seek professional opinion.

    However, no-one is too old for orthodontic treatment. In fact, 25% of orthodontic patients are now adults, who undergo orthodontic treatment for many reasons. Some to improve the appearance of their teeth and others to correct bite problems.

    Orthodontics has come a long way in the last 20 years and with the use of very light wire, discomfort is now minimal. Also, many adult patients feel far more comfortable in having orthodontic treatment with the advent of clear braces, and some patients may even want to consider the use of lingual braces, i.e. braces on the inside of their teeth which obviously can’t be seen at all.

    New techniques and materials have also seen an overall reduction in the required treatment times for orthodontic care. Depending on the severity of the condition most orthodontic treatment can be undertaken within six to twenty-four months regardless of age.

    For those that can’t wait that long, some problems can be overcome by using other cosmetic dentistry techniques, i.e. veneers and/or crowns. Although not always the best physiological solution, cosmetic dentistry may be the best suited option for those that need more immediate results.

  • Tooth Coloured Fillings

    White fillings, also called composite fillings, are made from tooth-coloured materials that restore the natural appearance of a decayed or previously filled tooth. Because they blend well with tooth enamel and don’t look like fillings, your dentist may recommend them if the teeth to be restored are near the front of your mouth.

    With new materials being invented all the time the usage of amalgam fillings is rapidly declining. The new materials such as composites and porcelain offer a much more aesthetically pleasing result.

  • Teeth Whitening

    Continual exposure to substances such as tea, coffee, wine and cigarette smoke can cause yellowing and staining of teeth. Sometimes though people are just born with darker coloured teeth and would like to see them a shade or two whiter.

    There are various methods available to whiten teeth but the only real effective way to whiten your teeth is to have them bleached professionally by a dentist. Bleaching is safe and the results are quite amazing. In fact many people look years younger and healthier simply by having their teeth whitened.

    Teeth bleaching is generally done at home using custom made night time bleaching trays (very thin mini plastic mouth guards) fitted by your dentist. A specially formulated bleaching gel is applied to the tray, which is worn during the night over a 7 to 14 day period. You can begin to see the results after the first one or two nights.

    The key to bleaching is the custom fit tray and the right concentration of bleach (such as carbamide peroxide) for your needs. For the really “tooth colour??? conscious person you can top up your whiteness and brightness once every 6 to 12 months by simply repeating the procedure over one or two nights.

  • Cosmetic Dentistry

    Why Change Your Smile?
    If You’re Happy With It Don’t!

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do you ever put your hand over your mouth when you smile or laugh?
    • Do you feel that you photograph better from one side of your face?
    • Is there someone you believe has a better smile than yours?
    • Do you sometimes look at magazines and wish that your smile was just like the models?
    • When you read fashion magazines are you drawn to the models mouth and smile?
    • When you smile in the mirror are you conscious of any defects in your teeth or gums?
    • Do you wish that your teeth were whiter?
    • Do you feel that you show too many or too few teeth when you smile or laugh?
    • Do you show too much gum when you smile or laugh?
    • Do you feel that your teeth are too long or too short?
    • Do you feel that your teeth are too wide or too narrow?
    • Do you feel that your teeth are too square or too round?

    If you answered “No” to all of the above questions you are content with your smile.

    However, should you wish to enhance your smile, an integral part of the first impression you make, we are here to guide you through the entire process of choosing and helping you achieve your ultimate smile. We will provide relevant and accurate information tailored to suit your needs and a nurturing environment in which it will come to fruition.

    Cosmetic dentistry is very much about appearance – making teeth whiter, straighter or more even, gums that are a healthy rich colour and smiles that appeal. We will take into account your cosmetic and functional needs to help create a beautiful smile for you.

    Our Dental Integrity team can provide you with long lasting, rejuvenated smiles that feel good and look great with strong healthy teeth for life. Aging teeth can now be restored to give you a fabulous smile at any stage of life.

  • Cracked Tooth

    When you bite down, you feel a sharp pain. It quickly disappears, and perhaps you ignore it. You avoid certain foods or chew only on one side of your mouth. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may have a cracked or broken tooth.

    What causes a tooth to crack?
    A tooth may crack due to a variety of factors:

    • Chewing on hard objects or foods such as ice, nuts, or hard lollies
    • An accident such as a blow to the mouth
    • Uneven chewing pressure
    • Stress on a tooth
    • Loss of a significant portion of tooth structure through wear, large fillings or other restorations
    • Exposure of tooth enamel to temperature extremes such as eating hot food and then drinking ice water
    • Brittleness of teeth that have undergone endodontic (root canal) treatment

    How can you tell if a tooth is cracked?
    It could be difficult. You may not even be able to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is from an upper or lower tooth. A crack may appear as a hairline fracture, running vertically along the tooth. It often is invisible to the eye and may not show even on an x-ray.

    You can help our dentists determine which tooth is causing the problem by noting when and where you have the sensitivity to heat or cold and to sweet, sour or sticky food as well as approximately where the pain is when you are chewing.


    Why does a cracked tooth hurt?
    A cracked tooth may hurt because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When you stop biting, the pressure is released and a sharp pain results as the crack quickly closes.

    Even though the crack may be microscopic, when it opens, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated. The pulp is a soft tissue that contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If the crack irritates the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to temperature extremes. If the pulp becomes damaged or diseased as a result of the crack, root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth.

    How is a cracked tooth treated?
    Depending on the size and location of the crack, treatment may vary from bonding to root canal treatment. A severely cracked tooth may need extraction. Our dentists will determine the best treatment for you.

    Tiny cracks are common and usually do not cause problems. Regular dental check ups are important. They allow our dentists to diagnose and treat problems in the early stage. If you continue to have pain, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and call Dental Integrity.

  • Dental Basics

    What Happens During a Dental Visit?
    First, it is important to find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable. Once you’ve found a dentist you like, your next step is to schedule a check-up — before any problems arise.

    On your first visit to a dentist, they will take a full health history. On subsequent visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell them.

    Most dental visits are checkups. Regular checkups (ideally every six months) will help your teeth stay cleaner, last longer and can prevent painful problems from developing.

    A thorough cleaning: Checkups almost always include a complete cleaning, either from your dentist or a dental hygienist. Using special instruments, a dental hygienist will scrape below the gumline, removing built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Your dentist or hygienist may also polish and floss your teeth.

    A full examination: Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems. His or her goal is to help maintain your good oral health and to prevent problems from becoming serious, by identifying and treating them as soon as possible.

    X-rays: Depending on your age, risks of disease and symptoms, your dentist may recommend X-rays. X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth. A modern dental office uses machines that emit virtually no radiation — no more than you would receive from a day in the sun or a weekend watching TV. As a precaution, you should always wear a lead apron when having an X-ray. And, if you are pregnant, inform your dentist, as X-rays should only be taken in emergency situations.

    Your dentist may ask for a Panoramic X-ray, or Panorex. This type of film provides a complete view of your upper and lower jaw in a single picture, and helps the dentist understand your bite and the relationship between the different teeth and your arch.

    How Long Should I Go Between Visits?
    If your teeth and gums are in good shape, you probably won’t need to return for three to six months. If further treatment is required — say to fill a cavity, remove a wisdom tooth, or repair a broken crown — you should make an appointment before leaving the office. And don’t forget to ask your dentist any questions you may have-this is your chance to get the answers you need.

  • Dental Caries

    Dental caries is the process of tooth decay. It occurs when bacteria called dental plaque, consume sugar and produce acid that dissolves tooth enamel and dentine. Immediate treatment in the form of restoration (i.e. filling) is essential.

  • Dental Fillings

    Which Type of Filling is Best?
    No one type of filling is best for everyone. What’s right for you will be determined by the extent of the repair, whether you have allergies to certain materials, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and the cost. Considerations for different materials include:

    • Gold fillings are made to order in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Gold inlays are well tolerated by gum tissues, and may last more than 20 years. For these reasons, many authorities consider gold the best filling material. However, it is often the most expensive choice and requires multiple visits.
    • Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not usually used in very visible areas, such as front teeth.
    • Composite (plastic) resins are matched to be the same color as your teeth and therefore used where a natural appearance is desired. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the cavity, where they harden. Composites may not be the ideal material for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and do not last as long as other types of fillings — generally from three to 10 years.
    • Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are produced to order in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth and resist staining. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth. Their cost is similar to gold.

    If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown, or cap, may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated in two ways: through root canal therapy (in which nerve damaged nerve is removed) or through a procedure called pulp capping (which attempts to keep the nerve alive).

    What Happens when you get a Filling?
    If your dentist decides to fill a cavity, he or she will first remove the decay and clean the affected area. The cleaned-out cavity will then be filled with any of the variety of materials described above.

    How Do I Know if I Need a Filling?
    Only your dentist can detect whether you have a cavity that needs to be filled. During a checkup, your dentist will use a small mirror to examine the surfaces of each tooth.

    Anything that looks abnormal will then be closely checked with special instruments. Your dentist may also X-ray your entire mouth or a section of it. The type of treatment your dentist chooses will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay.

  • Endodontics

    Endodontics is the dental specialty dealing with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures. Although general practice dentists can perform endodontic procedures patients are often referred to an endodontist when the case is complicated or more difficult than usual.

    To understand endodontic treatment it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer a hard layer called the enamel. The enamel is supported by an inner layer called the dentin which has at its centre a soft tissue known as the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding dentin and enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

    Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

    Symptoms indicating the need for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

  • Gum Disease

    One thing is for sure – healthy gums don’t bleed!

    If your gums are bleeding after you have brushed your teeth or if your gums are reddening, you are showing the early stages of gum disease.

    Plaque that harbours bacteria can get in under the gum line of your tooth and can start weakening and softening your gums. Because it’s under the gum line you can’t always see it and unlike tooth decay gum disease doesn’t usually hurt or cause pain. When you brush, the infected gums are irritated to the point that the weak membranes are broken causing slight bleeding. Pain is not always associated with bleeding gums as the moisture and saliva in the mouth have a natural numbing effect on the broken tissue.

    The good news is that we can treat it fairly quickly and bring your mouth back to its normal healthy condition.

    Proper brushing and flossing, and use of an anti-plaque rinse and plaque-fighting toothpaste, help inhibit the plaque build-up that causes gingivitis.

  • Implants

    For years, physicians have used various types of implants to replace damaged body parts such as hip joints. Today modern dentistry can replace missing teeth in much the same way. In fact, thousands of patients have had missing teeth replaced using dental implants.

    A dental implant is simply an artificial device, designed to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. They are surgically placed into the underlying jawbone of the mouth. The implant is then allowed sufficient time to permanently attach itself to the jawbone after which time an artificial tooth or crown is attached.

    Once the procedure has been completed and provided proper oral hygiene is maintained, an implant can last indefinitely. An implant can give the patient a result that is the next best thing to having their own natural tooth.

    Different techniques allow dental implants to be used to replace either one missing tooth or more than one tooth. Dental implants can also be used to firmly secure dentures or whole rows of artificial teeth that normally suffer from a degree of movement and discomfort.

    Implant recipients need to have healthy gums, sufficient bone structure in the jaw, and good oral hygiene habits.

    To find out if an implant is right for you talk to us next time you are in and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.

  • Root Canal Treatment

    Each tooth consists of two parts – the crown and the root. Only the crown is visible in the mouth. The root is in the bone under the gums. The centre of the crown and root is hollow and is called the pulp chamber, which extends further down the root forming the root canal.

    The pulp, which is made up of living tissue and nerves nourishes the tooth and is contained in the pulp chamber and root canal. When the pulp becomes infected, either through decay or trauma, it needs to be removed to prevent the onset of jaw inflammation and extreme pain.

    Root canal treatment is the process of removing the pulp and cleaning out all the infected tissue in the pulp chamber and root canal. This is done using tiny files until all traces of the pulp are gone. The first visit usually involves the removal of the infected pulp and cleaning out the infected chamber. Usually medication is left down the pulp chamber for a period of a few weeks to ensure that all the bacteria have been eliminated prior to sealing the tooth.

    On the second visit, if all the bacteria have been removed, the tooth can be sealed with a pink substance called gutta-percha to ensure no bacteria can get down the root of the tooth again. On the other hand, if bacteria still remain, we will keep cleaning out the infected pulp chamber and replacing the medication until the chamber and root canal is totally free of all bacteria before performing the final seal with gutta-percha.

    Because the tooth has no pulp to nourish it after root canal treatment has been done, it will become weaker than a normal tooth, turn grey in colour and be susceptible to cracking and splitting. For this reason it is recommended that a crown be fitted, so that the structure of the tooth is not compromised and its appearance remains the same.

    Usually root canal treatment is painless and, if done correctly, there is usually a 95% long-term success rate with this procedure. This is far better than having the tooth removed as we can maintain the health of all the teeth in the mouth and maintain the correct bite characteristics with the existing teeth.

  • Wisdom Teeth

    Our third molar teeth or wisdom teeth, as they are commonly known, usually erupt between the ages of 16 and 26 years of age.

    Back in the old days when we used to have much coarser diets, our back teeth would wear away leaving room for the wisdom teeth to come through. In modern times, with diets that are less coarse, very few people actually have enough room for their wisdom teeth to come through.

    Some people believe that if wisdom teeth don’t erupt, it’s all right to leave them there. If you can’t see them and they don’t hurt why worry about them. One of the main problems concerning wisdom teeth is that they can become impacted – that is they only partially erupt or they get trapped or stuck in the jaw.

    Over time impacted wisdom teeth can actually cause lots of problems by damaging, even destroying, adjacent teeth causing infections in the gums and or jaw bone forming cysts, causing headaches and other facial pain. Usually these systems don’t appear until middle age but by then the problems have already developed.

    We are able to assess through x-rays whether your wisdom teeth will become impacted or not. If required the best time to have them removed is in your late teens. This is because it is generally an easier procedure, as the roots have not fully developed yet.

    The decision to have impacted wisdom teeth removed is ultimately yours but it is generally the norm and not the exception, that they will cause problems later in life. No matter what your present age, if you have wisdom teeth that should be removed we urge you not to delay because right now is your best chance for the least complications.