Dr. Sar­rah Om­ran

Australian Health Today - - Aht Experts -

An ex­pe­ri­enced den­tist with a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence in all types of den­tal prob­lems. Her in­ter­ests lie in cos­metic den­tristry and smile makeovers.

I brush my teeth sev­eral times a day and some­times bleed a lot. Is it true that it is good if your gums bleed? Does the type of tooth­brush make a dif­fer­ence? Soft, medium or hard bris­tles? (Tom, 27)

It’s great to hear you’re brush­ing reg­u­larly Tom, how­ever gum bleed­ing is not a good thing and is a clas­sic sign of gin­givi­tis (gum dis­ease). Brush­ing with the in­cor­rect tech­nique and lack of floss­ing are the big­gest cul­prits con­tribut­ing to gum bleed­ing, which is due to be­ing left be­hind. Go­ing for long pe­ri­ods with­out a pro­fes­sional scale and clean at your den­tist is an­other ma­jor fac­tor. It’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that hard or medium bris­tled tooth­brushes clean bet­ter. The truth is, they can ac­tu­ally cause dam­age to your teeth and gums. A soft bris­tle tooth­brush is al­ways best, as it will gen­tly but ef­fec­tively re­move plaque build up from tooth sur­faces, as long as the right tech­nique is be­ing used.

I want to have brighter, whiter teeth. I’ve tried a few whiten­ing tooth­pastes but none of them re­ally worked for me. What is the cheap­est, most ef­fec­tive treat­ment that is safe and long last­ing? (Sue, 28)

Who wouldn’t love to have whiter, brighter teeth! The truth is, whiten­ing tooth­pastes are usu­ally only ef­fec­tive at re­mov­ing su­per­fi­cial stains such as those from tea and cof­fee, how­ever they are not ca­pa­ble of chang­ing the nat­u­ral colour of your teeth. Some ‘over-the-counter’ whiten­ing treat­ments, whilst cheap, can cause prob­lems if used in­cor­rectly. For a safe and ef­fec­tive treat­ment to whiten teeth, there are sev­eral op­tions avail­able from your den­tist, such as a pro­fes­sional take home whiten­ing kit that will give you great re­sults with­out hav­ing to take out a mort­gage! A proper con­sul­ta­tion is needed so that your den­tist can rec­om­mend the best so­lu­tion tai­lored to you.

I hate go­ing to the den­tist. I don’t sleep for a week be­fore my ap­point­ment. I hate the nee­dles go­ing into my gums. I hate the lit­tle plas­tic film put un­com­fort­ably in your mouth to take an xray. I hate the sounds of the equip­ment. I’ll pro­long go­ing to visit the den­tist un­til I have a prob­lem. Is there any­thing that I can do to make the fear less? (Betty, 49)

Betty, you’re def­i­nitely not alone on this one, and I feel for you! Den­tal anx­i­ety is a huge prob­lem for many peo­ple. The good news is that den­tistry has come a long way, mean­ing that there are sev­eral op­tions to make your den­tal ex­pe­ri­ence as pleas­ant as pos­si­ble. From sim­ple so­lu­tions such as noise can­celling head­phones, numb­ing creams and an­tianx­i­ety med­i­ca­tion, to even hav­ing all of your treat­ment com­pleted whilst you are ‘asleep’ (se­da­tion den­tistry), tak­ing the fear out of vis­it­ing the den­tist can be quite achiev­able. Re­mem­ber, it’s im­por­tant to find a den­tist who you trust and feel com­fort­able with, who you can com­mu­ni­cate your spe­cific fears to.

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