FAQ

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, please feel free to drop us an email or call us.

GENERAL

Every patient is unique, and we are committed to providing you with high quality, state-of-the-art periodontal and implant care based on your individual needs. Above all else, we want to make your visit to our office a pleasant experience.

Your first visit will include the following: 

  • An introduction to your doctor and team.
  • Review of your dental and medical history
  • Review of your dental x-rays and/or taking new x-rays or a 3D image as required
  • An examination focusing on your presenting needs and/or concerns

 

We will discuss our findings and answer any questions you may have about treatment. Our goal is to help you come to an informed decision regarding your care.

With sedation dentistry, patients can have a comfortable, anxiety-free experience.

The type of sedation required will depend on the extent of the work and the needs of the individual patient. All the forms of sedation offered may make you sleepy, forgetful or affect your concentration and co-ordination. It is mandatory that you do not drive or perform hazardous chores until you have recovered from the effects of these medications.

The three different methods of sedation offered are:

Oral Sedation

For patients who require minor procedures and are anxious about having work dental work done oral sedation is more than adequate. The sedation is achieved by taking a tablet prior to the procedure. Patients are still able to communicate verbally and follow simple instructions throughout the procedure. The procedures are done in the dental chair at the practice.

Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation is a light form or anaesthesia during which a patient does not loose complete consciousness. Sedative drugs are administered by qualified doctors in low doses. Patients are still able to communicate verbally and follow simple instructions throughout the procedure. The procedures are done in the dental chair at the practice.

Full general anaesthesia in theatre

Full general anaesthesia is done at one of the hospitals or day clinics. The patients are unconscious during the procedure. The theatre charges include the hourly rates for the anaesthetist and for the use of the theatre apart from the periodontist’s clinical fee. Most periodontal procedures are not covered by medical aids to be performed in theatre. Please contact your medical aid for further information if you a medical aid plan.

Please complete the online patient information and medical and dental history forms prior to your visit if possible. We have printed forms available at the office should you prefer to fill the forms manually.

You may also want to write down any questions or concerns you have regarding your dental health and bring this list with you. This will help to ensure all your concerns are addressed. We will make sure that you understand the problem and all the treatment options available for the management. We are also available to answer any further questions that you make have. Please call us, email us, or send us a message. We believe that this is the most important prerequisite, for patient satisfaction and a favourable treatment outcome.

ORAL HYGIENE

Four reasons why you should have regular professional teeth cleaning 

  1. Even the best brushing can’t substitute for professional cleaning

Even if you are brushing and flossing twice a day tartar can still form on your teeth. Tartar, which is a build of plaque on the teeth can only be professionally removed. While your toothbrush probably does a good job of cleaning the surface of your teeth, tartar can still collect between your teeth, around your gum lines and under your gums. Stains may also form on the surface of your teeth, as you eat and drink. These cannot be removed with regular brushing and will require a professional removal.

  1. You can’t see everything that goes in your mouth

Your mouth might look clean in the mirror, but you can’t see in between your teeth, or in the corners of your mouth. A dental cleaning will get to all those hard-to-reach areas.

  1. A professional cleaning reduces your risk of gum disease

A clean mouth is your best defence against the development of gum disease. Did you know that dental cleaning is considered a prophylaxis or preventive treatment? This is because it can protect you against the onset of gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease

  1. Screening for oral disease

Apart from preventing gum disease, regular teeth cleaning can also detect decay that may be developing below the tartar build up and screen for more serious diseases such as oral cancer.

 

What can you expect during a teeth cleaning and how often should I have a cleaning?

Your dental cleaning has been designed to remove tartar and plaque deposits from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains a lot of bacteria and often cannot be seen by the naked eye. We use specialised equipment to remove the tartar build up from your teeth. Each tooth needs to be individually scaled to ensure it is free from tartar. Once this has been done your teeth will be polished to brighten your smile.

Ideally everyone should have a dental cleaning every 6 months.  If you have extensive and advanced gum disease, the specialist will advice cleaning every four months.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. If you are not sure of the technique to use, please get advice. Different techniques of brushing are recommended for different situations. People who have gingival recession (receding gums) should not follow the regular technique as it will cause further deterioration.

DENTAL IMPLANTS

A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root which is attached to the jaw bone. Eventually, a replacement tooth or bridge will be firmly fixed to this root, restoring complete function to the tooth. The key to a successful and long-lasting implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone has been lost due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus floor augmentation can raise the sinus floor to allow for new bone formation.

 

In the most common sinus augmentation procedure, a tiny incision is made near the upper premolar or molar region to expose the jawbone. A small opening is cut into the bone and the membrane lining the sinus on the other side of the opening is gently pushed upward. The underlying space is filled with bone graft material and the incision is closed. The implants are placed after healing has occurred; this will depend on the individual case. Sinus augmentation with bone has been shown to increase the success of dental implant procedure

GUM DISEASE

Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms.

One of the earliest symptoms of gum disease is bleeding gums. When the disease is in the more advanced stages, teeth are mobile. Radiographs taken at this stage usually would show damage to other teeth in your mouth. 

The other signs and symptoms are:    

Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.

Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.

New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.

Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.

Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.

Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

Pocket reduction surgery (also known as gingivectomy, osseous surgery and flap surgery) is a collective term for a series of several different surgeries aimed at gaining access to the roots of the teeth in order to remove bacteria and tartar (calculus).

Reasons for the pocket reduction surgery

Reducing bacterial spread – Oral bacteria has been connected to many other serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Oral bacteria can travel to various parts of the body from inside the bloodstream and begin to colonize. It is important to decrease bacteria in the mouth in order to reduce the risk of secondary infection.

 Halting bone loss – The chronic inflammatory response induced by oral bacteria leads the body to destroy bone tissue. As the jawbone becomes affected by periodontal disease, the teeth lose their rigid anchor. When the teeth become too loose, they may require extraction.

 Facilitate home care – As the gum pockets become progressively deeper, they become incredibly difficult to clean by the patient. The toothbrush and dental floss cannot reach to the bottom of the pockets, increasing the risk of further periodontal infections.

 Enhancing the smile – An oral cavity that is affected by periodontal disease is not attractive to the eye. In fact, smiles may be marred by brown gums, rotting teeth and ridge indentations. Pocket reduction surgery halts the progression of gum disease and improves the aesthetics of the smile.

The bone grafting procedure is an excellent way to replace lost bone tissue and encourage natural bone growth. A bone graft may be required to create a stable base for dental implant placement, to halt the progression of gum disease or to make the smile appear more aesthetically pleasing.

Reasons for bone regeneration/ grafting

 

There are a wide variety of reasons why bone grafting may be the best option for restoring the jawbone.

 

  • Dental implants are the preferred replacement method for missing teeth because they restore full functionality to the mouth; however, implants need to be firmly anchored to the jawbone to be effective. If the jawbone lacks the necessary quality or quantity of bone, bone grafting can strengthen and thicken the implant site.
  • A sinus lift entails elevating the sinus membrane and grafting bone onto the sinus floor so that implants can be securely placed.
  • Ridge augmentation – Ridges in the bone can occur due to trauma, injury, birth defects or severe periodontal disease. The bone graft is used to fill in the ridge and make the jawbone a uniform shape.

What does bone grafting treatment involve?

Bone regeneration/ grafting is a fairly simple procedure which may be performed under local anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the gum tissue, bone grafting material is then placed at the affected site and the site is sutured. Bone grafting is a highly successful treatment and a good base for further periodontal restorations.

PERIOPLASTIC SURGERY

Crown lengthening is generally performed in order to improve the health of the gum tissue, or to prepare the mouth for restorative or cosmetic procedures. In addition, crown lengthening procedures can also be used to correct a “gummy” smile, where teeth are covered with excess gum tissue. Crown lengthening exposes more of the natural tooth by reshaping or recontouring bone and gum tissue. This treatment can be performed on a single tooth, many teeth or the entire gum line, to expose a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reasons for crown lengthening

Restoration of damaged teeth – Periodontal disease can cause severe damage to the teeth, as can trauma and decay. Where teeth have been broken beneath the gum line, crown lengthening can be used to prepare the area for a new restoration to correct the damaged teeth.

Cosmetic uses – Extra gum tissue can make teeth look unnaturally short, and also increase susceptibility to periodontal infections. Removing excess gum tissue can restore a balanced, healthy look and thus improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile.

Dental crowns – Crown lengthening serves to provide more space between the supporting jawbone and dental crown. This prevents the new crown from damaging gum tissues and bone once it is in place.

What does crown lengthening involve?

Any crown lengthening procedure is normally performed under local anesthetic. The amount of time this procedure takes will largely depend in how many teeth are involved and whether a small amount of bone needs to be removed, in addition to the soft tissue. Dr Chandran will explain the process in detail during your consultation visit prior to the surgery. 

Pocket reduction surgery (also known as gingivectomy, osseous surgery and flap surgery) is a collective term for a series of several different surgeries aimed at gaining access to the roots of the teeth in order to remove bacteria and tartar (calculus).

Reasons for the pocket reduction surgery

Reducing bacterial spread – Oral bacteria has been connected to many other serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Oral bacteria can travel to various parts of the body from inside the bloodstream and begin to colonize. It is important to decrease bacteria in the mouth in order to reduce the risk of secondary infection.

 Halting bone loss – The chronic inflammatory response induced by oral bacteria leads the body to destroy bone tissue. As the jawbone becomes affected by periodontal disease, the teeth lose their rigid anchor. When the teeth become too loose, they may require extraction.

 Facilitate home care – As the gum pockets become progressively deeper, they become incredibly difficult to clean by the patient. The toothbrush and dental floss cannot reach to the bottom of the pockets, increasing the risk of further periodontal infections.

 Enhancing the smile – An oral cavity that is affected by periodontal disease is not attractive to the eye. In fact, smiles may be marred by brown gums, rotting teeth and ridge indentations. Pocket reduction surgery halts the progression of gum disease and improves the aesthetics of the smile.

The pinhole surgical technique is a minimally invasive procedure for correcting gum recession and saving teeth. Since it is a minimally invasive procedure, patients can expect minimal post-operative symptoms like pain swelling and bleeding. 

The benefits of Pinhole surgery are:

  • Gum recession can be corrected in one treatment session 
  • Minimal discomfort and swelling 
  • The surgical area heals within 24 hours in most cases 
  • Can prevent tooth loss and the need for other costly procedures such as implants or dentures 
  • The treatment can be completed in as little as one to two hours 
  • Most patients are back to normal light activities within 24 to 48 hours after the surgery   

ORAL MEDICINE

When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective. Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible. During the oral cancer exam, the dentist and dental hygienist will be scrutinizing the maxillofacial and oral regions carefully for signs of pathologic changes.

The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:

  • Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous) changes.
  • Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous or may become cancerous if treatment is not sought.
  • Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathological problems.

If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.

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