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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What age should I bring my child for his/her first visit?

A: Ideally before age three. Many parents opt to bring their kids in for appointments when the first baby teeth erupt by age 6-8 months. While this may seem early, it keeps dental appointments short and friendly for your child and allows them the opportunity to get used to dental visits and see them as fun!

Q: Is there anything I should do before my appointment?

A: There are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you.
Please keep us informed about:

  • whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold or sweets
  • about any changes in your gums like changes in color, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss
  • whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that causes the floss to tear
  • about any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in color
  • if you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore
  • inform us of any allergies you have
  • if you are pregnant
  • about any medicine you are taking
  • if your medicine has changed since your last check-up
  • about any health problems or medical condition that you are being treated for
  • about any other changes in your general health

Q: My child�s school has a fluoride program. Should my child participate?

A: Absolutely! Fluoride is proven to be effective in the reduction of tooth decay in children and adults.

Q: How often should I visit my dentist?

A: There is no simple answer to that question. Everyone�s mouth is different and it is our responsibility to let you know how many dental visits would be recommended annually based on your oral health status. Most patients require as least 2 visits per year, however, patients with advanced periodontal conditions can require 3-4 visits per year for routine maintenance. We will evaluate your dental health and determine the frequency of dental visits appropriate for you. Do not let your dental insurance coverage dictate your dental visits or treatment!

Q: Does Dr. Dakin require x-rays?

A: Yes! X-rays help us see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:

  • cavities between teeth, under the gums and around old fillings
  • bone loss due to periodontal disease
  • inside the bone and gums enabling us to monitor erupting teeth
  • problems below the gums such as:
    -->long or crooked tooth roots when evaluating for root canal treatment
    -->infections at the roots of teeth

Q: Are x-rays safe?

A: Routine dental x-rays use a very low dosage of radiation when compared to other medical diagnostic x-rays, especially when using digital radiography. Most people are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances in the earth, the sun and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single x-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used we target the x-ray machine only at those areas we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. We also cover the remainder of your body with a lead apron providing you with additional protection.

Q: Should I have my silver fillings replaced because they contain mercury?

A: No. You should have them replaced if they are not clinically sound (i.e., exhibits signs of recurrent decay, excessive wear, marginal leakage, fracturing, or compromised enamel around them). There are several ways to restore a tooth, we will assist you in determining which option is best for your particular situation.

Q: Why do my new fillings hurt afterwards?

A: It is very common for a new filling to be sensitive for a short period of time after the local anesthesia wears off. The process of preparing the tooth is a form mild trauma, the inflammation the pulp tissue in the center of the tooth experiences requires some time to recover after the procedure. As a rule of thumb, the larger or deeper the cavity or filling extends, the greater the length of time post operative for recovery of the tooth. After the local anesthesia wears off, if the bite feels off when you close together, come back in for immediate adjustment to the filling! Failure to do so will result in a tooth that remains very sensitive to temperature extremes as well as chewing.

Q: Why are my teeth so sensitive to hot & cold?

A: Tooth sensitivity is often experienced because the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding away. This allows the effect of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if it is causing you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort.

Q: Why do I need a crown?

A: When a tooth becomes compromised by decay, fracturing, or extensive fillings, a crown becomes a more ideal restorative option. A crown serves to �cap� over the existing tooth and help to prevent further deterioration and increase the life expectancy of the tooth. Even the most meticulously completed large direct fillings cannot match the strength and durability of a laboratory processed crown.

Q: Why do I need to replace a missing tooth?

A: When a tooth is removed, most people only consider the cosmetic ramifications. We as dentists are far more concerned with the effects on the occlusion (or bite), especially when it is a back tooth that is removed. Removing a back tooth sets in motion a gradual series of events that begin to, over time, cause tooth tipping, drifting, over eruption and sometimes TMJ disturbances. The process takes years to occur, however, the further the progression continues, the more difficult the scenario becomes to restore with implants or bridgework.

Q: Should I let my child suck their thumb/fingers/pacifier?

A: As temping as it is to let your child suck their thumb, fingers, or even pacifier, it is best not to. Chronic habits of this nature will ultimately affect not only the position of the teeth, but alter the normal growth of the jaw bones. Some methods to discourage your child from thumb or finger sucking could include: tying mittens on your child�s hands, removing a security item (i.e., blanket), or if all else fails we can fabricate and place an oral appliance.

Q: Is it OK to send my child to bed with a bottle?

A: NO! Whether it�s milk or juices, they all contain some form of sugar. Bacteria in your child�s mouth will react with sugar and cause tooth decay, clinically this condition is known as �nursing bottle caries�.

Q: Why are my jaws & teeth sore in the morning?

A: You are very likely experiencing a condition known as nocturnal bruxism. This is essentially clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep. The result is sore teeth from grinding together with up to 10X the normal bite force. The muscles responsible for moving your jaw as well as neck muscles can also become stiff and sore from over exertion. Nearly all cases can be treated effectively with a biteplane or preferably an NTI appliance.

Q: Are root canals painful?

A: Yes and no. The vast majority of root canals are no more uncomfortable than routine fillings, which with proper local anesthesia, should be relatively pain free. A small percentage of root canals procedures on teeth that are already extremely painful before the procedure even begins, can be very difficult to fully anesthetize. These types of teeth, plus teeth with acute infections are much more difficult to achieve profound anesthesia and can result in an uncomfortable procedure. To prevent this scenario from occurring, routine dental examinations can often detect the early signs of tooth problems before they reach this stage.

Q: Are electric tooth brushes better than regular brushes?

A: The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush, and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and a soft brush will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important, when the bristles begin to bend over it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over they loose their ability to remove food and plaque, it is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.

Q: Which tooth pastes are the best?

A: As long as there is fluoride in the toothpaste, there is not much difference aside from taste. With the exception of toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth (i.e., Sensodyne), buy whatever brand or flavor you find most appealing as it is the actual mechanical action of your tooth brush and floss that is doing all the cavity prevention work. Also, be sure to check for the CDA seal of approval, if the product does not bear this symbol, chances are its claims are not well founded.

Q: Are the OTC bleaching products any good?

A: Most of the bleaching products provided by drug stores work to varying degrees. None work as well as the in-office bleaching products we can provide. Using trays custom fitted to your teeth, the trays prevent your saliva from washing away the bleaching gel too quickly. AS well, the higher concentration bleaching gels we use are even more effective at getting your teeth their whitest more quickly.

Q: What does my dental insurance cover?

A: Unless you have a copy of your insurance booklet with you, we don�t know! There are many different insurance companies with thousands of dental plans, we simply cannot know all of them. We have the ability to preauthorize for certain procedures if necessary, but it is the patient�s responsibility to know what their dental plan covers. We will, however, make all efforts to assist you in understanding your dental coverage based on the information you provide us.

Q: Why do I have bad breath?

A: Many people suffer from bad breath, in fact 40% of the population has problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • eating certain foods like garlic or onions,
  • smoking,
  • chewing tobacco,
  • diseases like cancer or diabetes, and
  • dry mouth (often called morning breath)

You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. Also by avoiding certain foods you can eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean them thoroughly everyday and to remove them at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and present you with a treatment.

                  Content Copyright � 2007 - Dr. Todd Dakin Dentistry

Office Hours

Mon: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tues: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wed: 12:00pm - 9:00pm
Thurs: 12:00pm - 9:00pm
Fri: closed
Sat: closed
Sun: closed

Our Location

166 North Street
Bridgewater, NS
B4V 2V6