Dental FAQ

How should I brush my teeth?

It is essential to use a correct brushing technique to keep your gums and teeth healthy. You should direct the head of your toothbrush towards your gums at a 45-degree angle. Use a circular motion, cleaning 2 or 3 teeth at a time. It should take you around 2-3 minutes to brush all your teeth.

You should brush twice daily (in the morning and before you go to bed). Flossing is important as well. While you should be thorough in your brushing, it is very important to be gentle and not to apply excessive pressure.

How should I floss?

Flossing is cleaning in-between your teeth, in the areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. You should take a 30cm piece of floss and wrap the ends around each of your index or middle fingers.

Make sure the piece of floss isn’t too short, as this will make it harder to floss. Gently wiggle the floss in-between the teeth and use a back-and-forth motion to clean. There are other tools to assist with cleaning in between teeth (e.g. interdental brushes).

What toothbrush should I be using?

We recommend you use a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush your teeth. You can use either a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.

If you are using an electric toothbrush, you should use a ‘soft’ bristle head.

Bendigo dentists advise not to use ‘hard’ and ‘medium’ bristle toothbrushes and toothbrush heads. It wears out the root surface of the tooth and the teeth may become sensitive to hot or cold. It also makes gum recession. It is crucial to be gentle and not apply excessive pressure when brushing.

Why do my gums bleed when I brush or floss?

There are several reasons why your gums may bleed. The most common cause is gum disease. Tartar or buildup is the primary cause of gum disease.

If your gums bleed, it is very important to see a dentist. A dentist will be able to check your gums, determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.

What type of toothpaste should I be using?

Adults should use ‘adult’ toothpaste. Adult toothpaste contains the appropriate amount of fluoride for adults. There are specific kinds of toothpaste for children, which contain less fluoride.   High strength fluoride toothpaste is also available for specific purposes.

Your local dentist will be able to check your gums and teeth and recommend the best toothpaste for you.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky substance that contains a lot of bacteria. Plaque usually forms on teeth surfaces and the gum margin.

When you get up in the morning, if you gently scratch your teeth using your fingernail you will see and feel a sticky substance. This is called plaque. Plaque can be easily removed through proper brushing and flossing.

If plaque is not removed completely, you will get holes in the teeth. If plaque near the gum margin is not removed completely, it can lead to gum disease and calculus.

What is tartar?

Tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar is a dark coloured build up or deposit around the gum margin and tooth surface. Bugs or bacteria thrive on tartar and produce toxins that cause the gum and underlying bone to recede.

If left untreated, gums will start to bleed, and teeth will become loose. The teeth will eventually fall out or require extraction.

If gums recede, it is a permanent loss and gums won’t grow back unless you see a dental specialist.

If you get your teeth scaled or cleaned every 6 months by a dentist, you can minimise gum disease.

What happens in a dental check-up?

Our dentist will check all your teeth, gums, the inside and outside of your mouth, take dental x-rays if necessary, and remove tartar or deposit.

If your brushing technique is not correct, our dentist will show you the proper brushing technique in your check-up.

How often do I need to have a dental check-up?

We recommend you attend dental check-ups every six months so our dentist can assess and monitor your teeth and oral health.

Regular check-ups may also minimise major dental procedures in the future including surgical extractions, root canal therapy and tooth implants.

Why do I need to see a dentist every six months?

1. Minimise major dental procedures and maintain optimal oral health in the future.

2. Tartar will be soft and easy for the dentist to remove, causing less sensitivity.

3. Cavities will be detected early. Therefore, dentists will cut less tooth surface to remove decay. After removing the decay the dentists will fill the holes. This will minimise the chances of getting a toothache.

4. Lesions or abnormalities in the mouth can be detected early. 

My gum has receded. Will it grow back?

If your gum recedes, it won’t grow back, and it is a permanent loss unless you see a dental specialist.

If you are concerned about your gums, consult the dentist.

I brush twice daily, can I still get gum disease or tartar build-up?

Even if you brush thoroughly and maintain good oral hygiene, depending on your salivary flow and mineral content in your saliva, you may still get tartar or calculus.

Why do you have to take x-rays of my mouth?

1. Most cavities especially in between the teeth are very difficult to detect.

2. Early caries on the chewing surface of teeth is very difficult to detect with the naked eye.

3. If cavities are detected early, our dentist at Bendigo Dental can remove less tooth structure when filling the holes.

4. Dentists can see how much of bone is lost in gum disease.

5. Dental professionals can detect abnormal lesions in the teeth and bone.

Are dental x-rays harmful?

Our dental x-ray machines emit a tiny amount of radiation. Dental x-rays are very safe.

The radiation of two dental x-rays is equivalent to a few hours of sun exposure to the sun or flying on a plane for a couple of hours.

My child has baby teeth. Do you still need to take X rays?

Taking x-rays of a child’s mouth and teeth are important.

If cavities are detected early, they are easier to fill and less traumatic for the child. If the hole is left untreated for a lengthy period, it can reach the nerve, and your child may experience a toothache.

Once the infection reaches the nerve or pulp of the baby tooth, the tooth may require extraction or root canal treatment. After root canal treatment the tooth crown will be weak. Placing stainless steel crowns will prevent fracturing the tooth.

These invasive procedures may make your child fear future dental visits. Early detection of cavities and filling the holes early can prevent this.

Can I refuse to have x-rays taken?

Absolutely. You have the right to refuse to have x-rays taken.

Our dentists respect your right to refuse x-rays. However, without x-rays, our dentist may not be able to detect cavities in their early stages.

If small cavities are undetected, they will eventually become big cavities.

If you see a hole in the tooth, it means that the hole is very large. The hole may be very deep and close to the nerve.

 I drink sugar-free soft drinks, but I still get cavities. How is that possible?

Even though sugar-free soft drinks contain no sugar, most of them contain high amounts of acid.

The acid dissolves mineral from the tooth surface, which leads to the formation of cavities or holes.

What types of fillings are available?

There are two main types of fillings available: white (composite) fillings and silver (amalgam) fillings.

White fillings are the most popular filling type. With recent advances in white filling materials, white fillings look extremely natural.

Silver fillings are stronger than white fillings and will last longer than white fillings.

Are white fillings safe?

Yes. Although white fillings are made of chemicals, only a small amount of material is used. Therefore, white fillings are safe.
If you have any queries, please contact our Dentist Bendigo.