Frequently Asked Questions.

Aesthetic Dentistry

I am not happy with my smile as my job requires me to deal with customers. Have you any suggestions?
ANSWER

An aesthetic or cosmetic dentistry will improve your smile which in turn will change the way you look. Cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry covers many dental procedures to improve the appearance of teeth. In today’s advanced dental technology, most teeth conditions such as stained, dark, chipped, crooked, gapped or missing teeth can be restored, repaired, reshaped and implanted. Not only dental techniques have improved tremendously offering painless experience but the quality of the materials used for teeth has increased significantly for long lasting natural looking results.

Tooth Whitening - Using a whitening gel with high peroxide concentration, the dentist carefully applies the gel on your teeth and uses heat from a light source (usually a laser) to whiten the teeth in a short time. Post treatment care includes avoiding coloured food and drinks for up to 24 hours.

Micro-abrasion - Where stubborn stains or discolouration of teeth are the issue, micro-abrasion using a special paste containing abrasive materials is used to remove the outer surface of the tooth enamel. If the discolouration is deep in the enamel your dentist may need to remove the affected enamel with a bur and place an adhesive tooth coloured filling.

Bonding - A treatment where tooth coloured resin fillings are used to repair chipped teeth, close small gaps between teeth, alter the shape of teeth, cover discoloured teeth or replace old fillings. Bonded resins are simple to repolish and replace if they eventually discolour.

Veneers - Veneers are teeth shaped porcelain (about 0.5mm thick) which are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. The dentist will shape the veneers to improve your smile by changing the shape and/or colour of the teeth, masking stains and covering exposed gums or small pieces of fractured teeth.

Your dentist should be able to advise you which procedure suits your need.

FILLINGS

My teeth filling has come out. What shall I do?
ANSWER

Visit your dentist who will examine whether there is a fracture or decay present and fix it before applying new filling.

What are fillings made of?
At Livingwell Dentistry, we do not use fillings containing mercury for health reasons as mercury can leak into your body. We use tooth coloured dental composite made up of resin with filler particles.

TEETH WHITENING

I have nice teeth but they are yellow and I am not comfortable. What can I do about it?
ANSWER

You may consider our 1 hour Tooth whitening procedure. Our process is clinically proven to whiten teeth by an average of 9 shades in just an hour. It has no significant effect on the strength of the tooth enamel. Your dentist can discuss with you the achievable tooth shade for your case.

Discolouration of the tooth enamel can be caused by staining, aging or chemical damage to teeth. The more common causes are coffee, tea, red wine, significant amounts of cola soft drinks, cigarettes and some medications.

Genetics can also play a role in the colour of a person’s teeth – some people have a naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease and certain medications eg tetracyclines can also cause discolouration.

‘White teeth is more desirable as it makes one’s smile more attractive. However, there is no one standard white colour that suits all as the key is to achieve a natural bright smile where the colour of your teeth needs to match your skin tone and lips. There are many shades of ‘white’ to choose from that your dentist can determine for you so your teeth colour sits well together. Teeth tend to darken and yellow with age, hence the need to touch up whitening treatment over the years.


Orthodontic Dentistry

BRACES

I would like to use braces. Can you tell me the various types & procedure?
ANSWER

At Livingwell Dentistry, we have orthodontist specialising in such procedure who can discuss the different types of braces with you. Many adults like to use the new Invisalign clear aligners to position the teeth with the benefit of not being seen. The treatment consists of a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners that you change every two weeks for the next set of aligners, each individually manufactured for your teeth, and your teeth only. As you replace each aligner, your teeth will move - little by little, week by week - until they have straightened to the final position prescribed by your dentist.

When constant pressure is placed on teeth, the surrounding bone remodels as one’s teeth move into the corrected position. Throughout life, one’s bone is constantly remodelling thus making braces an option at any age.

An faster alternative to Invisalign is CFast, which stands for ‘Cosmetically Focused Adult Straight Teeth’. It is primarily designed for individuals who want to align their front teeth without having to endure a long treatment process or do not want to shape their teeth to accommodate for ceramic restorations such as veneers or crowns.

It is a minimally invasive system to give you a significant improvement in the appearance of your teeth, discreetly, with minimal discomfort and without significantly changing your biting position. By focussing on just the front six teeth – the “social six” that make up most of your visible smile we can usually complete treatment in around 4-6 months.’ How does it work? The CFast system uses orthodontic brackets and Ni-Ti wires to quickly and effectively align teeth within 4-6 month. It is aesthetically pleasing as it incorporates clear brackets and Teflon coated wires. The system allows teeth alignment while also focussing on gingival margin symmetry. Aesthetic enhancements such as whitening and composite bonding are carried out after alignment is completed to further enhance appearance. Discreet retainers are issued to the patient once treatment is completed. The CFast system also includes Anterior Repositioning Trays (ART) and the Simple Lingual system as options for alignment.

Implant Dentistry

I have a few missing teeth. I don't want to use dentures. What other options do I have?
ANSWER

Your options are either Implant or Bridge or a combination of both.

Bridge - A bridge is an appliance permanently fixed in the mouth to replace missing teeth, using the remaining teeth to support the new artificial tooth or teeth. This is a less expensive option compared to Implant, however it requires supporting teeth beside the missing one/ones.

Implant - A dental implant is like an artificial tooth root that is submerged or implanted into your jawbone. It is made of a very strong bio compatible material to your body. When the implant is buried in the bone, it should be left undisturbed under gum tissue during the healing phase. After this phase, your dentist will uncover it and connect the implant with a small metal post that secures and supports the artificial tooth. The bone then grows and gets bonded to the implant. This fortifies the implant. The process is called 'osseo integration'.

How long does it take?
ANSWER

It depends on the type of bone and the location of the implant in your mouth. Generally it takes between 4-9 months and may need to be lengthened should the bone needs to be grown or grafting needs to take place.

Is everyone suitable?
ANSWER

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implant. Your dentist will examine your X-Ray to see how much bone you have and whether there is enough space for an implant. If you don't have enough bone, it is possible to grow bone or even graft bone from elsewhere.

What are the advantages of the implant treatment?
ANSWER

Dental implant replaces lost tooth where the adjacent teeth are not damaged or cut in any way as in a bridge. It helps to prevent bone loss. Implants can also be used to stabilise loose dentures or even replace them with fixed bridges.

Why dental implants?
ANSWER

Dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth your dentist can give you. They feel and function much more naturally and firmly than the traditional removable dentures. If several adjacent teeth are missing, a fixed bridge may be attached to dental implants as an alternative to a removable partial denture plate.

Are implants complicated?
ANSWER

It is not complicated, if there is sufficient bone to accept the implant. The procedures can all be carried out at the dental clinic, under local anesthesia. During the first phase, the implant root component is inserted into the bone site. This procedure takes about an hour. After six to ten days, the stitches are removed and the buried implant is allowed to heal for about 3-6 months. During this period, the bone grows into the implant surface to secure it. During the second phase the buried implant is uncovered using a small incision in the gum tissue to allow a post to be attached to the implant. It takes less than an hour to complete. The final prosthesis will take about 2 weeks to be ready. There is minimal discomfort and your dentist can prescribe medication to alleviate discomfort and anxiety. Once your new prosthesis is ready and fitted onto the implant, you will see improved aesthetics, function and quality of life and know that it is worth it.

How long will an implant last?
ANSWER

Research has proven that once the implant is integrated with the bone, it lasts a long time but it still depends on how well you care for your oral hygiene, your diet and nutrition.

What is the cost of an implant?
ANSWER

The cost of implants depends on the quality of the materials used and the unique restorative need of each patient which will be discussed by your dentist.

Are there any limitations?
ANSWER

Yes. Insufficient bone and some medical reasons can be the limitations to one receiving an implant. Xrays can determine bone sufficiency to receive the implant. Where there is deficiency, the bone can be augmented through several means which will be discussed by your dentist.

Restorative Dentistry

CROWNS

What is a crown?
ANSWER

Dental crown encases the tooth on which it is cemented. It is made at a dental lab by a dental technician who uses the moulds of your teeth made by your dentist. Crowns are used on teeth that have been rebuilt as a way to strengthen them and improve the cosmetic appearance of the teeth.

Why are crowns more expensive than fillings?
The making of a crown involves several steps and processes requiring highly skilled technician and dentist to work together. Its materials used are more expensive than filling and it requires several dental visits to complete the process. While the permanent crown is being made, your dentist will make temporary crown to cover your tooth. Adjustment to the permanent crown colour and size needs to be made to ensure great results.

Painless Dentistry

I am afraid of pain during dental procedure. Is there a way to avoid this?
ANSWER

Treatments at Livingwell are comfortably painless. We use No Drill laser technology on both hard and soft tissues for precise and efficient treatment, free of injections or drills.

To relax you while attending to your dental needs, we use inhalation sedation or conscious sedation. It is ideal for the extremely anxious patient or who has a large amount of dental needs or simply want the most pain-free experience possible. Sedation dentistry is a safe procedure that still leaves you semi-conscious and able to respond to simple instructions. We do not recommend it on patients with asthma or who are pregnant.

Preventive Dentistry

CRACKED TEETH

How can I prevent my teeth from fracturing?
ANSWER

A cracked tooth has a potentially exposed nerve. Each pressure or movement potentially stimulates the nerve and causes pain. Most fractures happen when we least expect them and some cannot be avoided.

However, you can reduce the risk by:

  1. Stop clenching your teeth during waking hours. 
  2. Avoiding chewing or biting onto hard objects (eg bones, pencils, ice, nuts)

If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) , ask your dentist for a bite guard or a splint to absorb most of the grinding pressures while sleeping. Heavily decayed teeth or heavily filled teeth are weaker than the original teeth so early dental care will benefit in keeping teeth healthy and strong to prevent fracture.

MOUTHGUARD

I play sports , how do I protect my teeth?
ANSWER

Mouthguards should be worn during any sports with high impact or high collision leading to high chance of injury. A person suffering from bruxism will need to wear a biteguard to prevent teeth damage.

Will a mouthguard affect my speech or breathing?
A properly fitted custom made mouthguard will not affect breathing and should only minimally affect your ability to talk.

Periodontic Dentistry

GUM DISEASE

My gums always bleed when I brush my teeth?
ANSWER

Bleeding gums is often an indication of gum infection or inflammation associated with periodontitis, aggressive brushing or other serious medical condition. Your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease such as

  • Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth.
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Receding gums.
  • Sensitive teeth or gums.
  • Loose teeth or teeth that have moved.

"Gum disease" is described as a range of conditions that affect the gums, the deeper tissues of the bone, root surface and the ligament that connect the tooth to the bone. Most gum disease can be prevented if proper oral hygiene is maintained.

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that form a sticky film on your teeth and around the gum line. Some bacteria reside deep in the gap between the gum and the tooth causing inflammation that leads to bleeding and ultimate loss of tooth. Unhealthy habits such as smoking or sickness such as diabetes can contribute to periodontal disease.

Can gum disease be treated successfully?
ANSWER

Yes. The sooner this disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the results will be. The main aim is to control the bacteria to a level that the body's defence mechanisms can handle. Treatment typically includes:

  1. Achieving the best possible home care
  2. Professional cleaning of the teeth above and below the gum line (into the pockets) to remove the plaque and hard deposits (calculus / tartar), and
  3. Regular reviews

Minor Oral Surgery

WISDOM TEETH

What are wisdom teeth?
ANSWER

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are a set of four teeth that erupt into the back four corners of the mouth, behind the 12 year old molars.

My dentist told me my teeth is impacted. What does it mean?
ANSWER

It means your wisdom teeth will not grow into a position that allows them to be functional. Impaction may be due to soft tissues (i.e. gums), or hard tissues such as other teeth or bone. Teeth that become impacted are generally more likely to cause problems.

The most common problems associated with impacted teeth are infection, decay and resorption of adjacent functioning teeth, and gum disease around the molar teeth. Rare complications are cysts and tumours that can grow around impacted teeth. Impacted teeth can create a point of weakness around the jaw.

While antibiotics can be used to treat the infected area, the real way to treat it is to remove the source of the problem - impacted teeth.

My wisdom teeth don't bother me now. Why not wait until they cause me problems?
ANSWER

It is not advisable to wait until trouble erupts because sometimes the damage is done without any warning signs. The older you get, your wisdom teeth will get more difficult to remove. If they are impacted, prevention is better than cure.

Does everyone need to have his or her wisdom teeth out?
ANSWER

No. If the wisdom teeth erupt or move into the correct position, they become functional as other teeth and need not be removed.

Endodontic Dentistry

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT

I have a tooth that has been giving me pain. How can I save my tooth?
ANSWER

A toothache happens when there is an infection or inflammation in the roots. A decaying tooth with dead pulp or aching tooth with inflamed roots is treated by removing the pulp from the inside of the tooth, enabling the tooth to be saved and pain reduced. Such tooth can function almost as well as a normal healthy tooth and if well cared for, it can be in service for many years. This is called the Root Canal Treatment.

If you have a damaged tooth and ignore it, it cannot repair itself and will continue to decay and eventually die if left untreated. A root canal treatment may help to retain it by removing the inside of the tooth. A fracture in a tooth or a deep cavity commonly cause pulp death, as the pulp is exposed to bacteria found in your saliva. When the pulp becomes infected, it is best to remove it before it spreads to the tooth and surrounding tissues.

Prosthodontic Dentistry

DENTURES

What is the difference between a denture and a crown or bridge?
ANSWER

A denture is the least expensive option of the 3 to replace missing teeth. Unlike a crown or bridge, a denture is removable where the wearer can remove and replace at will. These types of dentures can replace one tooth, all your natural teeth, or any number of missing teeth in between. A crown or a bridge is fixed or cemented in place and cannot be removed.

Why does my denture need to be relined?
Following an extraction, the bone and gums will shrink, causing the denture to be ‘loose’. It can be relined by your dentist to achieve a tighter fit . All dentures lose their fit over time through natural changes in your mouth or habits such as gum chewing, nail biting, teeth grinding or even weight loss can accelerate this.

Sleep Apnoea

I wake up very tired every morning and my wife complains that I snore very loudly when I sleep. What do I need to do?
ANSWER

You may be suffering from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. First, you will have to undergo a Sleep Test Study in the convenience of your own home. Depending on the results, an oral appliance may be prescribed by your dentist to be used when sleeping to facilitate breathing.

Children, Elderly and Special Patient Dentistry

I have an autistic child. Can I seek treatment in your clinic?
ANSWER

Yes, dentists at Livingwell Dentistry are trained to treat special patients including autistic children, the elderly and the nervous.

My baby’s teeth have decay. Should they have fillings too?
ANSWER

Yes, they can be filled to prevent toothaches, further decay and assist in holding the right amount of space for the adult teeth. However, if the baby teeth are going to be exfoliated soon, then it is not always necessary to fill the teeth. Your dentist should be able to advise you.

Are baby teeth essential?
Yes they are important to hold spaces for the development of permanent (adult) teeth and the development of speech, besides the use for appearance, smiling and eating.

Miscellaneous

How often do I need to visit my dentist?
ANSWER

It is recommended that you visit your dentist every 6 months for your routine scaling & check up. This will also allow preventive treatment like fillings to be done if necessary thus avoiding expensive treatment from neglect.

Are Dental X-rays harmful to me?
ANSWER

No. The level of exposure to radiation is very low and targeted.