Frequently Asked Questions
Is a root canal treatment painful?
Root canal treatment usually involves no more discomfort than a routine filling appointment. In fact, most treatments inside the tooth relieve pain. Stories of painful root canals are passed down from the days before modern techniques and effective anaesthetics (numbing up). During the root canal treatment you shouldn’t experience any pain as the tooth will be anaesthetised. Root canal treatment is done over two to three appointments of one hour each. After the first appointment, the tooth might be slightly tender but the symptoms settle down, and the tenderness usually lasts a day or two. Most patients experience a lot of relief from the tooth ache they initially presented with. Pain killers such as Myprodol, Mybulen, Genpain etc can be used if necessary.
Is the injection painful?
Topical Anaesthesia (or “numbing gel” in dentist-speak) is used to numb your gums or other tissues before an injection, so that you can’t feel the needle glide in. Numbing gel contains an anaesthetic agent, most commonly benzocaine (usually at a concentration of 20%). A cotton swab or q-tip is used to apply a small amount of gel to the injection site.
Is a cleaning painful?
A dental cleaning is a fairly routine procedure that is rarely painful. Those who fear dentists or who have marked tooth sensitivity may feel more discomfort than the average patient. Additionally, people who have not had their teeth cleaned in a long while may expect to experience a longer cleaning, and some extra pulling or scraping to remove plaque from teeth. For most people, however, a dental cleaning is more inconvenient than painful. Most dental cleanings take between 30 minutes to an hour.
Will I have pain after my dental treatment?
This will depend on the specific treatment that you have done. After a cleaning, fillings, crowns etc. you may occasionally experience some sensitivity. After an extraction – some pain and tenderness can be expected as this is part of the healing process.
Why should I replace my defective metal fillings?
Silver amalgam fillings, which are composed of 50% mercury and 50% silver alloy, eventually need to be replaced. It may surprise you to know that the average life span of a silver filling is five to eight years. Your dentist can tell you when they appear to need to be replaced due to leakage, breakdown or recurrent decay.
If your concern is strictly cosmetic, there are many new methods available to replace the fillings with beautiful, functional long lasting restorations. Options such as white filling materials, porcelain inlays/onlays, crowns and veneers may be used to give you the smile you are seeking.
Why should we restore milk/baby teeth?
Baby teeth that have decay should be repaired to prevent the decay from spreading. Decay can spread, and result in the premature loss of teeth.
Baby teeth should be cared for as they serve the same important purposes as the permanent teeth, and should be kept in place until they are replaced by permanent teeth. They reserve the space for the permanent teeth to grow into. If baby teeth are lost too early, the adjoining teeth can drift into the spaces that are needed for the permanent teeth.
This can then cause crowding problems, because there is insufficient space for the permanent teeth.
How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
A scale and polish should be done every six months as internationally recommended. Certain patients may require a three monthly cleaning.
From what age should I bring my child to the dentist?
Our practice has a specific dentist that treats children. From the age of one year you should bring your child for their first dental check-up. The importance of this visit is to introduce your child to the environment and interact with the dentist. Children are more co-operative to have treatment done in the chair when their first experience isn’t painful.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Exposure to all sources of radiation — including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays — can damage the body’s tissues and cells and can lead to the development of cancer in some instances. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small.
Advances in dentistry over the years have led to the low radiation levels emitted by today’s X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed, higher speed X-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results, and the use of film holders that keep the film in place in the mouth (which prevents the film from slipping and the need for repeat X-rays and additional radiation exposure). Also, the use of lead-lined aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost non-existent with the modern dental X-ray machines).