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Common Problems

MY GUMS BLEED ON BRUSHING AND FLOSSING. SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Instinctively, most people try to avoid brushing the area which bleeds in order not to aggravate it.

Bleeding gums usually result from plaque accumulation in a certain area. Left for long enough, plaque turns into tartar (calculus) which is a hardened build-up on the teeth. Tartar requires professional removal with a dentist. Bleeding gums means the area needs a bit more attention from your toothbrush or floss. Spend some time massaging the gums with your toothbrush, and continue to floss the area.

If you need help with brushing and flossing, have a look at our ‘Brushing and Flossing’ section.

The bleeding should resolve in 3-4 days if it is cleaned properly.

If it does not, please get in contact with us and we’ll have a look at it.

WHY ARE MY TEETH SENSITIVE?

It’s that zing when you have anything cold or hot to eat or drink. If it’s severe, you can sometimes feel it when you suck in air.

Sensitivity has a number of causes. In some patients, a degree of sensitivity is ‘normal’. In others, it can result from:

  • tooth decay
  • toothbrush abrasion (exposed roots due to damaged gums from toothbrushing)
  • receded gums from gum disease (periodontitis)
  • sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses)
  • previous trauma
  • the start of a tooth abscess

Treatment depends on the cause of sensitivity. For general tooth sensitivity, a desensitising toothpaste can be used in place of your regular toothpaste – just brush with it, spit but do not rinse, and see if the situation improves. Avoid whitening toothpastes.

If the problem is ongoing, get in contact with us and we’ll help you figure it out.

WHY DO I HAVE BAD BREATH?

Bad breath has a number of causes. Some are dental, some are not.

Some of these are:

  • gum disease (periodontitis or gingivitis)
  • improper cleaning of teeth
  • tooth decay
  • smelly bacteria that live on the upper surface of the tongue
  • food debris trapped in the teeth or gums
  • food or drink that we’ve recently had
  • dehydration
  • ‘morning breath’ (stagnant saliva)
  • post-nasal drip (seen often with hayfever sufferers)

Good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing may be all that’s needed. Brushing the top surface of your tongue will help to clean away smelly bacteria that live there.

If it persists, get in contact with your dentist (and maybe your GP) to have it checked out.

I THINK MY WISDOM TEETH ARE COMING THROUGH. THE BACK PART OF MY MOUTH IS SORE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Wisdom teeth normally start to appear between 17 and 21 years of age, although we do see a wide variation.

They often cause pain because our jaws don’t have the size to accommodate an extra set of teeth.

Pain can be a result of:

  • gum infection
  • tooth decay
  • the wisdom tooth damaging the tooth in front (if it is coming out at an angle)
  • general inflammation associated with ‘teething’

You will need to have a full-jaw x-ray (OPG) to assess:

  • how many wisdom teeth you have
  • where they are
  • the angle of the wisdom teeth

We will be able to assess whether the wisdom teeth are going to come in alright, or they will require removal if ongoing problems are likely.

I’M NOTICING GROOVES ON MY TEETH NEAR THE GUMS. MY TEETH ARE SENSITIVE THERE. WHY ARE THEY THERE?

You may be suffering from a case of too-enthusiastic-brushing or a too-hard-toothbrush.

Toothbrush abrasion occurs when damage has occurred to the teeth from brushing too hard, or brushing with a hard tooth brush. The enamel is worn down and the roots may be exposed, leading to sensitivity to cold, hot, air and sometimes sweet and sour foods.

Go easy on the toothbrush (but don’t stop brushing!):

use a soft toothbrush

use small circular action and avoid ‘scrubbing’

use a desensitising toothpaste such as Sensodyne® or Colgate® Sensitive Pro-ReliefTM

avoid whitening toothpastes

You can also try rubbing the affected area with desensitising toothpaste apart from brushing times to relieve the sensitivity.

If the grooves are too deep or just too sensitive, they may require filling. Because some instances of tooth sensitivity are due to night grinding of teeth, it is always best to have them professionally checked because a night guard may be required.

Doctor Peter or Jennifer would be happy to let you know the cause of the sensitivity and the appropriate action to take.

MY TEETH ARE LOOKING LONGER AND MY TEETH ARE STARTING TO FEEL LOOSE. SHOULD I DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

We’ve all heard the saying before: ‘Getting long in the tooth’. Perhaps we’ve even used it on ourselves.

This is often a sign of gum disease.

Left by itself, severe gum disease results in:

  • bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • teeth falling out
  • infection

This is a situation where prevention is better than cure. Once symptoms are felt, the problems are quite advanced. Regular dental visits ensure that gums are checked, teeth are cleaned and that your home maintenance is optimal. If there are early signs of gum disease, we can recommend an appropriate course of treatment before significant damage is done. However, it is never too late to start looking after your teeth.

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