Frequently asked questions

Here you will find the answers to some frequently asked questions in the area of dental medicine. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • How can we stop teeth grinding?
  • Do children also grind their teeth?
  • When should the dummy fairy come?
  • How can you treat halitosis?
  • What is the correct amount of fluoride for children?
  • What should you do if a tooth is knocked out?

How can we stop teeth grinding (bruxism)?
Teeth grinding is common and can lead to pain and other various health problems. If you wake up in the mornings with pain in your teeth or tense jaw muscles, you should consult your dentist. People with bruxism unconsciously clench or grind their teeth together or press the tongue against their gums and teeth. The dentist will recognise the tell-tail signs of teeth grinding. Often the problem is due to badly constructed crowns or false teeth, in which case it will be necessary to correct the problem. It is also possible that teeth griding occurs as a result of a misaligned jaw or teeth, which can be diagnosed through functional analysis of the jaw anatomy. See Functional Diagnostics for more information.

The main reason for bruxism is however stress or anxiety. It activates the vegetative nervous system which subconsciously causes us to counter the stress with grinding.

To solve the problem of teeth grinding we first construct a brace. This fits exactly over the teeth and can be worn at night to protect them from the effects of the grinding. However a brace only stops the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. That is why it is also important to find ways of dealing with stress. The more relaxed you are when you go to bed the better the chances of recovery.

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Do children grind their teeth?
This is quite a usual occurence in childhood. Many children grind their teeth to help them "fit" together during growth. Although the grinding noises can be quite disturbing it is usually nothing to worry about. A quick visit to the dentist will help put your mind at rest.

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When should the "dummy fairy" come?
It is completely normal for a child to suck its thumb, fingers or dummy for the first 2-3 years of life. At the age of three however it is time to stop as further sucking can lead to a serious misalignment of  the teeth or to deformation of the jaw. Parents are usually quite panic-stricken at the idea of weaning the children off the dummy or thumb. We recommend that you consult your dentist as he will be able to help.

The family usually only suffers a few days (or nights) of unrest and then the matter is forgotten.

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How can you treat bad breath (halitostis)?
In 70% of all cases of bad breath the reasons are to be found in the mouth itself. The source of the smell is often bacteria which are to be found in nooks and recesses between and around the teeth and gums.  In many cases a layer of bacteria on the back of the tongue is responsible for the unpleasant smell. There are a number of other factors which can exacerbate the problem such as snoring, stress, smoking, reduced saliva production or the habit of breathing through the mouth. The first thing you should do is see your dentist who will check your fillings, crowns and gums and any other areas in the mouth that can be responsible for bad breath. The first step in the treatment of halitosis is always an intensive clean and instruction in the correct oral hygiene, including flossing and daily tongue brushing. Sprays, mouth-washes and chewing gum will give temporaray relief but will not solve the problem.

What is the ideal oral hygiene routine for bad breath?
It is most important to remove bacteria from the tongue twice a day using a special tongue cleaner. The gaps between the teeth should be cleaned using interdental brushes or floss. Antibacterial mouth washes can help the whole process along. We seriously recommend that you visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning. The hygienist will remove hard-to-reach plaque and then polish your teeth to stop bacteria resettling so quickly. You should also drink plenty of water to cleanse the mouth and to help increase saliva production. You can also stimulate saliva production by chewing sugar-free gum between meals or ensuring that you eat plenty of healthy, solid foods, such as raw fruit and vegetables and whole wheat products.

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What is the correct amount of fluoride for children?
Fluoride occurs naturally in tap water and in mineral water. It is also in our saliva. Furthermore you can buy fluoride tablets, toothpaste, gels and laquers containing fluoride and salt with added fluoride. Recent studies have shown that fluoride works best when it comes into direct contact with the teeth. For this reason the following recommendations are now given:

From the appearance of the first tooth to the age of 2: The teeth should be cleaned twice a day, once with water and once using a pea-sized amount of childrens' toothpaste containing max. 500ppm fluoride.

Age 2 to start of school: The teeth should be cleaned twice a day using a pea-sized amount of childrens' toothpaste containing 500ppm fluoride. It is also recommended to use salt with added fluoride.

From school age on: The teeth should be cleaned twice a day using a toothpaste containing 1000 to 1500ppm fluoride. It is also recommended to use salt with added fluoride.

If the teeth are not cleaned with a fluoride toothpaste, nor is fluoride salt used then it may be necessary to give fluoride supplements in the form of tablets. This should be discussed with your dentist on an individual basis. Children with an increased risk of caries many require high dosage fluoride laquer or gel solutions which are to be given under supervision of the dentist.

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What should you do if a tooth is knocked out?

A broken or lost tooth can often be saved and can potentially last you a life-time if the tooth is correctly treated right away.

How long can a tooth survive once it is knocked out?25 to 30 hours in a special tooth rescue box available from chemists

  • max. 6 hours at room temperature in UHT milk
  • max. 60 minutes in water
  • 30 to 60 minutes in aluminium foil or plastic film
  • max. 30 minutes in a handkerchief

Do not try to clean the tooth and always store it at room temperature. Do not touch the root and go to the dentist immediately.

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