Answering key dental questions: topics from dentures to flossing and more

From time to time I’m asked to provide answers to questions for readers in the Daily Record’s features section of the paper.
The particular feature is called The Clinic and in it there’s a chance we can cover any topics from dentures to dental implants and from flossing to fillings.
I looked out some of the questions and answers which we’d worked on previously and thought by sharing them you’ll perhaps find them of interest.
We’re always happy to answer any questions via the website, our Facebook page or on Twitter @dentistglasgow

Q
My 65-year-old mum has worn dentures for 25 years but is now fixated on having dental implants. Is she right to change?

A

She’s correct to consider changing if she requires an improvement in the function she has at the moment. Implants can be used to improve denture anchorage so that the dentures are still removable but are held more firmly in function. Alternatively, depending upon many aspects of the case, implants can be used to provide a fixed solution without the need for dentures. Implant supported replacement teeth are anchored securely to the jawbone. Gum irritation and the pain associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.

Q
My teenage son wants an electric toothbrush. Should I buy him one?

A
The fact he wants one means he’s more likely to use it and that should be encouraged. A good electric tooth brush will improve plaque removal and keep your son on top of a positive dental hygiene regime. However, a word of caution, while the battery in the brush moves the head of the brush, care must be taken to ensure that the oscillating head reaches all areas of all teeth for maximum effect.

Q
My dentist is recommending four new crowns and has suggested zirconia, metal-free ones. Are they good?

A
These crowns represent some of the best available both in terms of materials and technology. The cores of these crowns are constructed using computer technology to produce a white zirconia substructure which is extremely close fitting and very strong. Porcelain is built up onto this structure and fused to complete the final crown that’s then cemented into the mouth. These crowns are among some of the most aesthetic crowns available as they contain no metal and over time are far less likely to show any tell tale dark lines at the gum margin. They should boost your smile factor!

Q
We’ve got an ongoing debate in the office. To floss or not to floss? Your view?

A

In addition to cleaning with toothpaste, daily flossing and brushing the tiny spaces between your teeth – the interdental areas – are recommended as part of your ongoing dental maintenance and hygiene programme. There are now electronic flossers available too – check out the Philips Air Flosser which is easy to use. In addition, there is some evidence now that ultrasonic brushes can remove some interdental plaque/debris but should not substitute floss use.