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Frequently Asked Questions

What teeth brushing technique should I use?

When brushing your teeth it is best to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, aiming the bristles of your brush toward the gum line. The join between the teeth and the gum is a nice niche for bacteria and plaque to accumulate, so it is important to get to this area.

Once you have the brush at the correct angle, all you need to do is jiggle the brush gently back and forward, only brushing one or two teeth at a time. Don’t be excessively vigorous but also don’t be too mild. 

 

Maintain a 45-degree angle with bristles contacting the tooth surface and gumline. Gently brush using back, forth, and rolling motion along all of the inner tooth surfaces.

 

Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Make several up & down strokes using the front half of the brush.

 

 

Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth & use a gentle back & forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odor-producing bacteria.

 

 It’s a good idea you do your brushing in front of a mirror so you can see what you’re doing.
 
--Illustrations adapted by and used courtesy of the John O. Butler Company--


How long should I brush?
Proper brushing should take two to three minutes.  Use a timer, most people finish brushing under two minutes.
 

How often should I brush?
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Remember it is important to have the right brushing technique as poor brushing techniques can cause harm to the teeth and gums.
 

Is brushing alone enough?
NO. Good brushing is very important to help prevent dental decay and periodontal disease, however brushing alone is not enough. It is also very important to clean between your teeth. This is why flossing is so important.

How often should I floss?
You should floss every day.

What is the correct way to floss?

Wind 45cm of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a 3 – 5cm length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.

 

Keep a 3 – 5cm length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.

 

Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. Gently wrap floss around the side of the tooth.

 

Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss

 

 

      --Illustrations adapted by and used courtesy of the John O. Butler Company--


What should I do if brushing or flossing makes my gums bleed?
If your gums bleed or become sore after flossing, do not panic. If you have not been flossing regularly then the gums will be inflamed and will bleed more easily. If the bleeding persists — see your dentist.

Choosing a toothbrush
The best toothbrush is one with a small head and soft bristles. Electric toothbrushes can also be very good, particularly for people who find proper brushing techniques difficult to master.

Choosing a toothpaste
Always use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride combines with minerals in your saliva to toughen your tooth enamel and help stop decay.


Dental Emergency

What do I do first?
This is dependent on the severity of the problem. If there is a slight bruise or cut to the lip or tongue there may be no need for treatment.
 
More severe lacerations will require treatment by your doctor of dentist. Any chips or fractures of teeth should be assessed and /or treated by a dentist.
 
Traumatic injuries to the teeth and oral structures must be followed up in order to assess healing of tissues and provide further definitive treatment where indicated.
 
What if a tooth is broken, loose or missing?
It is common for a small chip to break from a tooth, a tooth to fracture, a tooth to be pushed out of position, or a tooth to be completely knocked out.
 
Generally speaking, you should not try to replace a loose baby tooth, but you should always make an appointment with your dentist to have it checked. However, a loose, displaced, or knocked out adult tooth is a different story and requires immediate attention from your Dentist!
 
What can be done?
Small chips broken from teeth do not normally require urgent treatment. Often your dentist will just need to smooth the rough edges, or if the chips are larger, repair them with some tooth coloured resin. Make sure you try to find all the broken bits as some pieces can be re-bonded to the tooth with excellent results.

A tooth that has more than a small piece fractured needs careful assessment. If the tooth is acutely sensitive to breathing air, this is usually a sign that the fracture is deep and needs urgent care. Once the fracture is covered by a protective layer, the sensitivity usually subsides.

Your dentist should assess loose permanent teeth. An x-ray will often be taken of the tooth to rule out the possibility that the root has been fractured. If the tooth is very loose, your dentist may need to splint the tooth to the neighbouring teeth to stabilise it while the injury heals.

Teeth that have been displaced are easiest for your dentist to reposition very soon after the injury, so it is best to seek immediate treatment.
 

Additional information