FAQs (General Oral Hygiene)

General Oral Hygiene

My gums bleed every time I brush my teeth. Is this a problem?

Let’s draw an analogy - would you be concerned if your hair was bleeding when you brushed it? Gum bleeding is not normal; it may be an indication of infection or a symptom of gum disease. Please see a dentist for a checkup. Most adults need a professional cleaning every 3-6 months with a rigorous home care program (proper brushing and flossing twice daily) to maintain good oral health.

What is the cause of bad breath, and what can be used to cure it?

Halitosis or “bad breath” has a number of causes. Food odors, gum disease, tooth decay, stomach problems, sinus problems, and even certain diseases can all cause halitosis. The cures vary. Our doctors advise patients to have a good cleaning and examination, followed by a review of their homecare oral hygiene regimen. Our doctors can help you figure out the exact cause and draw up treatment plans. There are also tongue scrapers available in most pharmacies to remove buildup on your tongue, or you can just take a little toothpaste, stick out your tongue, and carefully brush it.

How often should we see a dentist for check -up?

Patients are usually advised to visit the dentist every 6 monthly, unless prescribed by your dentist.

What do Oral Hygiene Therapists do?

If you take good care of your teeth, you will probably spend less time in our office getting fillings and more time with our Oral Hygiene Therapists.

And even though most patients usually refer to this time as a “cleaning”, the Active Maintenance routinely include the following services:

  • Diagnostic: This means examination of your teeth to find decay, cavity-detecting radiographs, and an assessment of your gum tissue.
  • Our Oral Hygiene Therapists also looks at your biting, chewing and swallowing patterns, reviews your medical history and reassesses your overall treatment, evaluating areas such as cosmetic enhancements for your smile.
  • Preventive: This could mean screening for oral cancer, checking blood pressure, and applying fluoride and pit and fissure sealants.
  • The Oral Hygiene Therapists also cleans and scales teeth to remove plaque, tartar and surface stains, and polishes fillings and crowns.
  • Educational: This could include brushing and flossing instruction, nutrition counseling, explanations of dental treatments, and answers to questions about future treatment such as orthodontics and periodontal therapy.

So there is no such thing as “just a cleaning”. And remember: no matter how much we can do for your teeth, the most important part is what you do for your teeth at home. Hygiene services begin in our office, but they must always be followed by proper brushing, flossing, and healthy eating at home. If you are not sure how, ask our Oral Hygiene Therapists at your next appointment.

Gum Care

What is gum/ periodontal disease?

Inflammatory disease that affects the periodontium- tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth eg. gum and bone. Two types: 1. Gingivitis (reversible) 2. Periodontitis (irreversible).

What are the symptoms of Gingivitis?

Symptoms can include red and puffy gum which bleeds easily during brushing or flossing. These can be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleaning with a dentist or hygienist.

What are the symptoms of Periodontitis?

When gingivitis is left untreated, the condition can advance to periodontitis. Some symptoms of periodontitis may include bad breath that won't go away, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, painful when chewing, loose or sensitive teeth and receding gums or longer appearing teeth.

What can I do for gingivitis?

Treatment of gingivitis must begin with a dental examination. This will determine what type of gingivitis you may have, and whether there is bone loss or a systemic disease to consider. Then, the appropriate level of hygienic care can begin. Our doctors or Oral Hygiene Therapist will thoroughly clean out the diseased structures, known as Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning). Laser Disinfection may follow to effectively remove bacteria causing gingivitis. We will also provide you with directions for the proper home care regimen, which includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.

What can I do for Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a more advanced stage of periodontal disease in which the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets, and alveolar bone is destroyed. Periodontal disease is irreversible, but we can help you slow down the progress of periodontal disease by root planing, to get rid of the infection and stop damage to the teeth and gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease WILL result in receding gum, bone loss and teeth loss.

Cavities (Decay), Tooth Loss

Can you get cavities under your braces? If so, how are those cavities treated?

With braces, teeth can decay just as easily as they would without them. Your oral hygiene, including frequent brushing, water picking, fluoride rinses and supplements, and frequent cleanings during orthodontics treatment is impaired. Usually cavities can be fixed while braces are still on. But sometimes, they do have to be removed first.

What causes tooth loss?

Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease are the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay takes place when most of the tooth's mineral makeup has been dissolved away and a cavity (hole) has formed. While tooth decay primarily affects children, periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects mostly adults. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the buildup of plaque, and its earliest stage is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, periodontal disease WILL result in receding gum, bone loss and teeth loss.

What does it mean when my tooth turns into an opaque dark colour?

Discolouration or darkening of a tooth usually results from a tooth that has been traumatized from an injury and caused damage to the nerve. This discoloration usually happens 2-3 weeks after the accident. If the tooth turns gray, brown or black, it is because the blood capillaries are damaged. Baby teeth usually do get lighter over time (about 6 months on average), and if the tooth doesn’t bother your child you can leave it alone. If an adult tooth changes colour, that implies the nerve inside is dying, and root canal therapy is most likely necessary to save the tooth.

Crown, Implant, Bridge, Denture care

Does a crowned tooth require any special care?

While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the underlying tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day -- especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. See our Oral Hygiene Therapist and doctors for Active Maintenance Care every 6 months to detect and treat decay at the initial stage.


Teeth Sensitivity

What causes teeth to become sensitive to hot and cold?

Receding gum tissue could be the cause of sensitivity. As gum tissue pulls back away from teeth, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. A soft tissue graft would be the recommended treatment. Switching to toothpaste made specifically for sensitive teeth may help relieve sensitivity temporarily.

Please visit our doctors for a Comprehensive Examination and Diagnosis to locate the cause of the sensitivity. Your teeth may have hairline cracks, or the cavity decay is very deep, such that the tooth nerve is exposed to air. Many clenchers and grinders (also known as night bruxism) may be unaware of their night clenching and grinding activities, which subject their teeth to tremendous stress, resulting in sensitivity.

Using Medisave

When can I use Medisave to pay? How is the process like? 

Patients can choose to pay via Medisave for surgical procedures. The common ones are wisdom tooth surgical removal and implant surgery.

Am I allowed to use my Medisave Account to pay for my family members? 

Yes, you can but it is restricted to immediate family members only, i.e. spouse, children, parents, grandparents. However, in the case of grandparents, they must be either Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident.

Can I use my Children Development Account (CDA/Baby bonus) Nets card for payment at your clinic? 

This CDA fund can be used by the child and his/her siblings to pay for expenses incurred at our clinics. Siblings include adopted children and stepchildren.