Dentist in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Charlbury Dental Practice
The Spendlove Centre, Enstone Road, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3PQ

q & a

Adults Q & A


Why do I need to brush my teeth?

You need to brush and clean your teeth to remove bacterial plaque which can feed on food debris and which is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease. You should do this thoroughly at least once and preferably twice a day. Find out more about gum disease.

What is bacterial plaque?

Plaque is a film of bacteria which constantly forms and sticks to your teeth. It is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Find out more about professional teeth cleaning.

Why do I need to floss my teeth?

Flossing in between your teeth removes food debris and plaque that a toothbrush can't reach. You should floss your teeth at least once a day after brushing them.

Will dental treatment hurt?

We use modern techniques to minimise discomfort and, with the recent advances in dental procedures, local anaesthesia and sedatives, dental treatment can be considered to be pain free. You may experience some discomfort during or following your treatment but we always take every precaution to reduce this to a minimum and will explain to you what you can expect to feel during and after any treatment.

What does a hygienist do?

Your hygienist will carry out a thorough investigation of your gums to identify any areas where you may have, or could develop, gum disease. She will explain exactly what she finds and will carry out any necessary professional teeth cleaning. She will involve you in discovering the best ways for you to remove the damaging plaque from all the nooks and crannies where plaque collects, by tooth brushing, flossing, and other techniques. She will subsequently assess your progress in managing any gum disease.

What is gum disease? Could I have it?

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is a progressive, degenerative condition affecting the gums and the bone which support the teeth. It is caused by bacterial plaque collecting at the gum edges. Some people are susceptible to gum disease and others are not. It is not an infection but is the result of plaque not being adequately removed by tooth brushing.

You may get bleeding of the gums, or some swelling, or soreness. If you see blood on your toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth, this might be a sign of gum disease. You may get bad breath.

Most people suffer at some time in their life from some form of gum disease and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Smoking can also make gum disease worse because, if you smoke, the gums are more likely to get inflamed.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

If your teeth are sensitive on brushing, or to hot or cold food and drinks, it is possible that you may have enamel erosion or gum recession, or both. These exposed areas can be sensitive because the hot, cold or touch sensation can be transmitted to the nerve in the tooth, causing pain.

What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

Sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitising toothpaste and a fluoride mouthwash, and by decreasing the intake of acid-containing, particularly fizzy, drinks. Also your dentist can help by applying sealants and other desensitising treatments such as ozone.

Do whitening toothpastes really work?

Whitening toothpastes, like most other toothpastes, contain mild abrasives for removing surface stains; they may have additional polishing agents and special chemicals that are more effective against stains than regular toothpastes. While whitening toothpastes can make your teeth appear a little lighter, by getting rid of stains, they do not actually change the colour of your teeth.

Tooth whitening toothpastes are great for people who smoke, drink coffee and tea, and eat certain foods that can stain your teeth. Tooth whitening toothpastes are also good to use after you have undergone tooth whitening at the dentist, to keep surface stains from building up on your teeth.

Can I have my teeth whitened? How safe is it?

In most cases, yes you can. Your dentist will assess your oral health, and your teeth, and advise whether it is a suitable procedure in your case, and what results you might expect.

If carried out correctly tooth whitening is a safe procedure which does not harm or damage your teeth or gums. Some people may experience some temporary sensitivity which will resolve following completion of treatment.

We do not advise using over-the-counter products, or those sold on the internet. Some may strip the teeth of enamel, damaging the teeth and leaving them more prone to staining, decay and sensitivity.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath is a common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath may be caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your tongue, teeth and gums. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. Strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem. Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be a sign of gum disease. If your mouth is healthy, your bad breath may be caused by such things a dehydration (not drinking enough fluids), a dry mouth (xerostomia), sinusitis and other chronic infections in the throat, nose or lungs.

What can I do about my bad breath?

Firstly, tell your dentist or hygienist - there is no need to be embarrassed and they will be delighted to help. Secondly, correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.

If you have gum disease or dental decay, your dentist and hygienist will help to deal with these problems and will advise you on keeping your mouth fresh. If you suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), your dentist will be able to recommend or prescribe products to help. If the problem is a sinus infection, your dentist can suggest ways to minimise the resulting bad breath.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial substitute/replacement for a missing natural tooth. It is anchored into the bone to support a crown or a bridge, or to secure a denture firmly in place. Implants are made from titanium, a material that is well tolerated by bone and integrates easily with bone tissue. The implant and the surrounding bone “fuse” together (osseointegration), creating a stable support for the new teeth.

I am frightened of going to the dentist. Can you help me?

You are not alone! Many people are afraid or apprehensive of dental care. Firstly, talk to us about your fear or anxiety – we will take your fears seriously and treat you gently, and at the pace which suits you, with full explanations of what is happening. You are in control! Find out more about nervous patients.

What are the common causes of mouth ulcers?

Usually a single mouth ulcer is due to damage caused by say biting the cheek or tongue, sharp teeth, tooth brushing or poorly fitting dentures. These ulcers are called ‘traumatic ulcers’.
If you have a number of mouth ulcers the usual cause is ‘recurrent aphthous stomatitis.

How can I prevent mouth ulcers?

You may be able to reduce the risk of mouth ulcers by:

  • maintaining good oral hygiene
  • using high-quality toothbrushes (to reduce the risk of damage to your mouth)
  • eating a good diet which is rich in vitamins A, C and E and which includes foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables (to lessen the risk of mouth cancer)
  • regularly visiting your dentist.

What do I do if I have an emergency?

During normal working hours, please contact the practice by phone and our reception staff will be able to offer you an appointment, We aim to see all people with a dental emergency on the day you phone. On weekends and bank holidays, please phone the practice, and our answer machine will give you the instructions on how to access our emergency dental cover. See how to make an emergency appointment.