Frequently asked questions

Questions about abroad dentistry? Get them answered here.

Other treatments

Why should I consider white fillings?

Most people have fillings of one sort or another in their mouths. More Nowadays fillings are not only functional, but can be natural looking as well. Many people don’t want silver fillings that show when they laugh or smile because they are more conscious about the way they look. Less

Are white fillings as good as silver amalgam fillings?

White fillings have always been considered less long lasting than silver amalgam fillings. More But there are now new materials available with properties comparable to silver amalgam, and these are proving to be very successful. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite. Less

Is it worth replacing my amalgam fillings with white ones?

Absolutely. More It is usually best to change fillings if you take care of your appearance, and want to avoid problems of metal allergy. If so you can ask to have it replaced in a tooth-coloured material. Less

What are tooth-coloured fillings made of?

This can vary, but they are mainly made of glass particles, synthetic resin and a setting ingredient. More Your dentist should be able to give you more information about the particular material they use. Less

Are there any alternatives to fillings?

Adhesive dentistry is another form of this treatment. More This involves bonding the filling to the tooth. The dentist has to remove less of the tooth, which is obviously better. As we have already said, there are alternatives such as crowns and inlays although they can cost a lot more. Veneers can be used on front teeth instead of crowns or fillings. Less

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. More It cannot make a complete colour change; but it will lighten the existing shade. Less

Why would I need my teeth whitened?

There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. More Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older. Your teeth can also be stained on the surface through food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth. Calculus or tartar can also affect the colour of teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains. Less

What does tooth whitening involve?

Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening. More Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are. First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect the soft tissue. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a gum-shield. The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter. Less

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

The effects of whitening can last up to three years. More However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask your dentist for their opinion before you start the treatment. Less

What are the side effects?

Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. More Others report discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing. Less

What about tooth whitening home kits?

Home kits are cheaper. More But because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure you should only have it done by a dentist, after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. Less

Can a single tooth which has been root filled be whitened?

Yes. More Many dead teeth go discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated, the canal (which previously contained the nerve) may be reopened. The whitening product is applied working from the inside to whiten the tooth. Less

When might tooth whitening not work?

Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. More Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as dentures, crowns and veneers. If your dentures are stained or discoloured visit your dentist and ask for them to be cleaned. Stained veneers, crowns or dentures may need replacing; again ask your dentist. Less

How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?

You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you have that can stain teeth. More Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouring and staining. Less

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. Less

Why is root canal treatment needed?

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. More This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out. Less

What does root canal treatment involve?

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. More The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled. Less

What happens if I don't have the needed root canal treatment?

The alternative is to have the tooth out. More Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible. Less

Will the tooth be safe after the root canal treatment?

Yes. More However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. Less

What is root canal aftercare?

Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. More Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups. Less

What will I need to tell my dentist before starting treatment?

When you have your first dental check up, you will be asked to fill in a medical history form. More In this you can tell your dentist about any medical conditions, recent operations, allergies, and tablets or medicines you are taking that may affect your dental treatment. You may think that some conditions are not important enough to mention. However, quite often these conditions are just as important. The information will help your dentist and the dental team work together to make sure you are treated in the safest way possible and are not put at any risk during treatment. Less

Is this information given to the dentist confidential?

Yes. More It will be put in your dental notes and kept confidential by the law. Less

Can I have dental treatment if I am taking any medicines?

You will need to tell your dentist if you are taking or rely on any medicines. More This should include any inhalers, a recent course of antibiotics or regular medication for an on-going complaint. It is also important to remember to tell your dentist if you have taken any over-the-counter medicines or tablets recently, have had a recent prescription from your GP or take recreational drugs. You should also tell your dentist if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. This is in case you need a course of antibiotics. These can cause the pill to become less effective and you will need to take extra contraceptive precautions. All this information is needed to make sure no dental treatment; drugs or materials will affect your health. Less

Can I have dental treatment if I have a heart complaint?

If you need dental treatment which could involve bleeding, such as a tooth extraction or a scale and polish, your dentist may give you a dose of antibiotics one hour before your appointment. More This is to make sure there is no risk of infection of the heart valves. The dentist may also choose to use a different kind of local anaesthetic (without adrenalin). Less

Can I have dental treatment if I have a heart murmur or rheumatic fever?

If you suffer from either of these you may need to take a dose of antibiotics one hour before certain dental treatments to prevent infection. Less

Can I have dental treatment if I have asthma?

People who suffer from asthma should tell their dentist when they register. More It is important to take your inhaler to every dental appointment and tell your dentist if you feel unwell or out of breath. Patients with severe asthma may find they are unsuitable for treatment under general anaesthetic or sedation, and therefore the safest option would be a local anaesthetic. Less

Can I have dental treatment if I am taking warfarin?

It is important to tell your dentist before treatment if you are taking warfarin, particularly if you need to have a tooth out. More You may be asked to have routine blood tests before starting treatment to make sure your blood will clot enough to stop the bleeding. Your dentist may suggest stopping your warfarin for 2 to 3 days before your dental extraction. However, for some patients there is no need to alter the medication and there should be no risk of complications following the extraction. Less

Should I tell my dentist if I am taking anti-depressant drugs?

Yes. More It is important to tell your dentist if you are taking any of these medicines. The local anaesthetic may interfere with tricylic anti-depressants and therefore the dentist may recommend an alternative brand of anaesthetic. A side effect of some anti-depressant drugs is dry mouth. The reduced saliva flow can increase the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Less

Can I have dental treatment if I have haemophilia?

Haemophilia is a blood disorder. More You must tell your dentist at your first check up if you are suffering from this condition. If the blood does not clot it may cause serious problems during dental treatment. If you need to have a tooth out, the dentist will need to refer you to the local hospital to be treated by a specialist and in the situation safest for you. After a tooth has been extracted, a clot needs to form in the socket to help it heal. Many patients take tablets for haemophilia and it is important to inform your dentist if you are on any medication. Less

Will chemotherapy affect my dental treatment?

If you are going to have a course of chemotherapy, visit your dentist as soon as possible to make sure any dental treatment you need is finished before you start. More External or internal radiation therapy can often cause damage to the salivary glands, leading to a permanently dry mouth. Due to the lack of saliva, there is more risk of dental decay so it is important to have regular dental check-ups. Chemotherapy can cause gum ulcers or the gums to bleed. Regular appointments with the dental hygienist should help to keep this under control. The hygienist will also tell you if you are brushing correctly and will check that you are maintaining a good oral hygiene routine at home. Some cancer patients find the chemotherapy causes a sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and in some cases partial or complete loss of taste. Less

Should I tell my dentist if I am allergic to anything?

Yes. More You will be asked at your first dental check up if you have any allergies to certain medication, foods or materials. If you have a penicillin allergy it is very important to tell your dentist in case you ever need a prescription of antibiotics. In this case, there are several alternative antibiotics that will be safer for you. Patients and dental staff can be allergic to the dentist’s gloves, which are usually made of latex. Dental materials and drugs used in routine treatment can sometimes produce skin reactions. This can usually be overcome by the dentist using a low-allergy brand of gloves or alternative materials. It is important to tell your dentist if you have had a reaction at a previous appointment. This can then be avoided at your next appointment and marked on your notes for future reference. Less

Will epilepsy interfere with my dental treatment?

It is important to tell your dentist if you have epilepsy, or have ever had any sort of fit in the past. More This is to make sure the dental team are fully prepared if you do fall ill during treatment and can have drugs on hand if necessary. Epileptic patients may find they are more likely to have fits when they are anxious. Tell your dentist if you have any concerns before or during your treatment. The dental team will make sure the surgery is safe for you and there is no risk of harm to you. Less

Will diabetes affect my teeth and gums?

People who suffer from diabetes can have severe gum disease if their condition is uncontrolled. More Therefore it is important to follow a thorough oral care routine at home and to visit your dentist at least once a year. You may also find that you heal more slowly after surgery and you should discuss this with your dentist before you have any treatment. Less

Will I need to tell my dentist if I am pregnant?

It is important to tell your dentist as soon as you find out you are pregnant. More If you need dental treatment, it may have to wait until after the birth of your baby. In most situations x-rays should be avoided, particularly during the first three months of pregnancy. Some pregnant women find their gums bleed during pregnancy and need closer attention. You may be referred to the dental hygienist, if the practice has one, for regular cleaning and advice on how to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home. Less

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