FAQs

Answers to common patient questions





General Patient Questions

  • How do I register with the Practice?
  • As a patient I get very nervous, what can you do to help?
  • When should I first bring my child to the dentist?
  • What happens if I have to cancel or fail to attend my appointment?
How do I register with the Practice?

Registering could not be simpler. All you have to do is contact the Practice and give us your details. You can phone, email or even pop in past to see us in the Parade.

As a patient I get very nervous, what can you do to help?

We pride ourselves in creating a relaxed, friendly atmosphere to put patients at their ease. We will explain what is involved with your treatment, helping you through it the whole way to make the experience as relaxing & calming as possible. We often have patients fall asleep while they are receiving treatment. If you really struggle to cope with your treatment we can also organise for you to have sedation so that you are completely relaxed during treatment.

When should I first bring my child to the dentist?

The slightly glib answer is – before they need anything done. In truth, the sooner you can acclimatise your child to sights, sounds & smells of the dental practice, so much the better. Ideally bring them in at about 18 months to 2 years. We can get them to sit in the chair, look at their teeth if they will let us and of course they will get a sticker. If they won’t let us have a look or sit in the chair, it doesn’t matter – it is all about getting them used to coming to see us.

What happens if I have to cancel or fail to attend my appointment?

We all lead busy lives and we understand that people may have to change their plans at the last minute. The sooner you can let us know that you cannot make an appointment the better. Ideally we would like at least one full working days notice, so that we have the opportunity to offer your appointment to someone else.  If we do not receive enough notice and cannot fill your appointment then unfortunately we may have to charge a cancellation fee.

The same applies if you fail to attend your appointment, we may have to apply a fee to cover our expenses. After all if you book an airline fight and do not use it, you still have to pay for it.


Dental Treatments and Terminology

  • What should I do about my sensitive teeth?
  • Why do I need a root treatment?
  • Why do I need a crown?
  • What’s the difference between a crown and a veneer?
  • Should I replace a missing tooth?
  • How can I replace a missing tooth?
  • What is a denture?
  • What is a bridge?
  • What is an implant?
What should I do about my sensitive teeth?

Firstly, it is important to establish why your teeth are sensitive. Have you lost a filling? Have you got tooth decay? Have you got recession? Are you cleaning your teeth properly? So the first thing to do is to have a check-up to assess what the problem is and come up with a treatment plan. It may involve a change in diet, different tooth brushing technique, using sensitive toothpastes or some active treatment.

Why do I need a root treatment?

A root treatment or root canal therapy is required when the nerve in a tooth has died off or become infected. If bacteria get into the nerve of a tooth this can lead to the death of the nerve. Once the nerve has died it becomes a source of infection & can therefore lead to an abscess, pain, discomfort and swelling. To prevent that happening the root canal is disinfected, cleaned and filled.

Why do I need a crown?

A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it when a large amount of the tooth has been lost. Heavily filled teeth are more liable to fracture, wrapping them up in a crown protects the tooth. Back teeth which have been root treated are more brittle and should therefore be crowned.

What’s the difference between a crown and a veneer?

A crown is used to protect a tooth by wrapping it up in metal or porcelain, and to restore its shape and function. A veneer is a more cosmetic treatment which is usually used on front teeth. It is used to change the shape and colour of the tooth, and involves the removal of as little tooth as possible.

Should I replace a missing tooth?

If you lose a tooth at the front of your mouth then there are obvious aesthetic reasons to replace it, but what about the ones at the back? If a tooth is lost at the back the remaining teeth can tip into the space creating food-traps and making them more difficult to clean. The opposing tooth can over-erupt into the space, again creating difficult areas to clean. If you lose too many back teeth your bite will be effected putting more strain on your remaining teeth.

How can I replace a missing tooth?

You can replace a missing tooth with a denture, a bridge or an implant.

What is a denture?

There are different types of dentures. Hard acrylic dentures are made of a hard pink plastic. They are quite bulky & take up quite a lot of room in the mouth. They rest on the gums for support and like all dentures are usually taken out at night. Soft acrylic dentures are made out of Valoplast, a flexible material which can be used to engage undercuts in the mouth therefore helping to keep the denture in place. Metal dentures have a chrome cobalt framework with pink plastic to keep the plastic teeth in place. The metal denture is supported by the teeth as well as the gums. Dentures take up more room in your mouth than the teeth they replace, but are a relatively simple solution to the problem of missing teeth.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is a false tooth which is kept in place by the teeth either side of the gap that you are trying to fill. The bridge is cemented into place and the teeth have to be prepared to help keep the bridge in place. This is much more like having your own tooth but you do lose some tooth substance in their preparation. The bridge stays in all the time and doesn’t get taken out at night.

What is an implant?

An implant is a metal stud which is placed in the bone to retain a tooth or teeth which have been lost. An implant can be used to replace a single tooth, to replace several teeth or even to provide stability to a denture. The implant is placed in the bone and is then allowed to heal so that the bone surrounds the metal or osseo-integrates with it. Once this has happened the crown, bridge or denture can then be placed on top.


Gum Treatments and Terminology

  • What causes gum disease?
  • What should I do about my gums bleeding?
  • What is gingivitis?
  • What is periodontitis?
What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is infection of the gums (gingivitis) or gums and bone (periodontitis). It is caused by poor or inadequate tooth brushing which allows plaque to build up on the teeth. If the plaque is left on the teeth it then hardens into tartar or calculus as it is also known. The tartar cannot be brushed off and needs to be professionally removed by your dentist or hygienist. Leaving the tartar there irritates the gums, makes them recede and can also lead to loss of bone around the teeth. Some patients are more prone to gum disease than others and have to be much more careful with their oral hygiene.

What should I do about my gums bleeding?

Bleeding gums are a sign that the gums are inflamed and tender, and maybe an indication of gingivitis. The body reacts to infection by sending blood to the infected site. In the case of your gums it can make them swollen, sore, red and liable to bleeding. You need to see your dentist who will recommend how best to proceed. It may be that you simply need to improve your tooth brushing or you may need to see the dental hygienist.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is when the gums become tender, inflamed and prone to bleeding. It is caused by not cleaning your teeth properly or frequently enough. If left un-treated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is infection of the gums and bone which hold the teeth in place. This is caused by failing to clean your teeth properly. Your dentist and hygienist can help you to keep your teeth clean and show you how to clean them properly. If you ignore periodontitis it can lead to the loss of teeth as the bone shrinks back from around the teeth, and they become loose and can be lost altogether.


Oral Hygiene Treatments and Terminology

  • Why do I need to go to the hygienist?
  • How can I get whiter teeth?
  • Why should I use an electric toothbrush?
  • Should I take my dentures out at night?
  • What should I do about my bad breath?
  • What is plaque?
  • What is tartar?
  • What is calculus?
  • Do I need to see the dentist before I can get a Hygienist appointment?
Why do I need to go to the hygienist?

It isn’t just a nice feeling to have clean teeth, it also benefits the teeth and gums to keep them clean. Hard deposits, calculus or tartar, build up on the teeth over time. Tartar is the home for bacteria which produces acid which irritates the gums, makes teeth sensitive and also leads to tooth decay. If the tartar is left in place the gums will recede and try to get away from the tartar leading to recession, sensitivity, bone loss and gum disease. Tartar can only be removed by professional cleaning. Gum disease has also been implicated in systemic diseases such as heart disease.

How can I get whiter teeth?

Obviously it is important to clean your teeth and visit the hygienist regularly if you want whiter teeth. We can also bleach your teeth to lighten them. This is done using bleaching trays which we make up for you and you wear at night. This usually takes a couple of weeks but gives the best most consistent results. If your teeth are very mottled, or are full of old discoloured fillings, you can have veneers or crowns placed. This can be done to change both the colour and the shape of your teeth.

Why should I use an electric toothbrush?

An electric toothbrush is a much more efficient way of cleaning your teeth, and because they also tend to have smaller sized brushes, make it easier to clean those hard to reach places at the back.

Should I take my dentures out at night?

If you have a partial denture, i.e. you still have some of your own teeth, you should remove your denture at night time to give the gums a chance to rest and recover. You can leave your full dentures in at night, provided they are comfortable and fit well, but you have to ensure that you keep them clean.

What should I do about my bad breath?

Bad breath can have many causes. It may be caused by stomach and gut problems but it can also be caused by gum disease.  Plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth if you do not brush your teeth properly. The plaque and tartar is a home to bacteria which can lead to bad breath and gum disease.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a protein layer which forms on teeth if they are not brushed. Bacteria make their homes in the layer of plaque and as it grows thicker, the bacteria start to produce acid which causes tooth decay, and can also lead to sensitivity of the teeth.

What is tartar?

Tartar or calculus is plaque which has hardened on the tooth surface. It leads to gum disease, tooth sensitivity and ultimately tooth loss.

What is calculus?

Calculus or tartar is plaque which has hardened on the tooth surface. It leads to gum disease, tooth sensitivity and ultimately tooth loss.

Do I need to see the dentist before I can get a Hygienist appointment?

NO – Under DIRECT ACCESS rules, you can now visit our Hygienists even if you are a patient at another practice or you just want that feeling of a lovely clean mouth.


Other Common Issues

  • Is there anything you can do to help me stop snoring?
  • I grind my teeth at night – what should I do about it?
Is there anything you can do to help me stop snoring?

Snoring happens because as you fall asleep you lose muscle tone and your tongue falls back blocking your throat. This makes it difficult to breathe and creates the noise that your partner has come to hate. We can make an appliance that holds your lower jaw forward to prevent this happening. It prevents the noise of snoring and should also help you to have a better night’s sleep.

I grind my teeth at night – what should I do about it?

Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can cause damage to not just your teeth but can also cause tension in the muscles that support the jaw in the head and neck. This can also cause headaches, and even contribute to migraines. We can treat it by using different types of splint which prevent tooth to tooth contact, and also lessen the amount of force on the teeth and muscles.

We Can Help

Established for over 40 years, our professional and experienced team offer a whole range of treatments to make sure your teeth are as fit and healthy as they can be.