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Patient FAQ's


  • I am petrified of visiting my dentist. Why is dentistry so painful?

    Dental anxiety stems from several causes, such as negative conditioning in childhood by parents, memories of an unpleasant past experience, transferred anxiety from the experiences narrated by others, negative impressions perpetuated by media, associations of dentistry with other unpleasant environments like hospitals, and the perception of having no control over the situation. Dentists today can help mitigate all these concerns to make it easier for you!

  • Can’t it be made painless?

    Modern dentistry is largely painless- Potent local anesthetics and refined injection systems are used liberally to render profound numbness for virtually every procedure to eliminate pain. Dental clinics also focus on minimizing ambient stressors by providing warm décor, soothing music and even hi-tech eye wear to keep your mind off the surroundings. If you are extremely anxious, anti-anxiety premedication or even treatment under general anesthesia is a safe option.


  • Apart from chewing, why are my teeth important?

    While chewing is their primary role, teeth play multiple other roles too- they assist in your speech, support the face structure, preserve the health of the jawbones, and make you look and smile better!

  • Will my teeth fall off when I am old?

    Teeth are designed to last a lifetime, as with any other body part-they may fall off only due to neglect or poor maintenance.

  • Aren’t my teeth dead structures?

    They are definitely not dead structures- they have a tough exterior coated with the hardest substance in the body, the enamel-but deep inside each of your teeth is soft core (known as the pulp), which contains blood and nerve supply to nourish the tooth from within.


  • Even after brushing twice a day, why do I get dental Problems?

    Toothbrushes clean 60% of the teeth- the remaining 40% between the teeth can be only cleaned by dental floss. Certain situations need additional cleaning aids, especially naturally deep pits and fissures. Your dentist can give you a customized oral hygiene plan.

  • Aren’t hard toothbrushes good?

    Hard toothbrushes abrade the teeth, and are only suitable for cleaning dentures- our teeth need only soft to medium tooth brushes to remove plaque deposits.

  • Flossing is a pain- is there any alternative?

    Flossing takes some practice, but is extremely effective, and has no alternative yet. It is, therefore, worth your effort to learn the right way to floss!

  • Can I regularly use a mouthwash to preserve the teeth?

    Mouthwashes are good for occasional use or during certain therapeutic phase where tooth brushing is difficult. As such, regular use of mouthwashes can upset the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria present in your mouth, and is best avoided.

  • Do tongue-cleaners help?

    Tongue cleaners are helpful in removing large accumulation of bacteria that grow on your tongue and recommended for daily use.

  • Which is the best toothpaste?

    Most toothpastes contain similar ingredients, and it is best to use one which you like, so that you are motivated to brush!


  • Can sugar cause cavities?

    Sugar is the “public enemy number one’’ when it come to cavity formation! Sugar is fermented by bacteria in the mouth to produce acids, which eat into your tooth enamel and initiate cavities.

  • I don’t eat much of chocolates or sweets, why do I still get cavities?

    Sugar is present in many foods (not just chocolates or sweetmeats) - high carb items like cakes, fruit juice, ice-cream, sweetened tea/coffee, jam, biscuits---all contain sugar! Every time your teeth are exposed to sugar, there are chances of an acid attack –so, apart from reducing the use if sugar, you also need to cut back on the number of times you consume it through the day.

  • Are there any foods which protect against cavities?

    Cheese, nuts, unsweetened dairy products, tea, and even coca have anti-cavity properties! Maybe you can treat yourself to an occasional bitter chocolate without guilt!


  • Can I take calcium to make my teeth stronger?

    Calcium is the building block of teeth and bones, and gives them their hardness. Calcium supplements are most helpful for expectant mothers and young children, as it helps in new teeth formation. Adults don’t need calcium for their teeth, as their teeth have already formed, but they need calcium for their bones! Balanced diets provide sufficient daily intake of the most important nutrients needed for dental health: Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin D, Fluoride, Vitamin C, etc.

  • What would be the best diet for dental health?

    A diet containing seasonal & green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lentils, eggs, dairy, fish and lean meat provides nearly all the nutrients needed for your overall as well as dental health. Raw, crunchy foods also provide exercise for your teeth, and clean them in the bargain! Surgery and processed foods are best avoided.


  • Can milk bottles cause cavities in my child’s teeth?

    Baby bottles left in the mouth when your child dozes off are an major source of cavity formation- the milk, usually sweetened, pools around the upper front and all the back teeth, causing severe decay.

  • Do milk teeth need dental treatment? Aren’t they going to all off anyway?

    If milk teeth are lost before time, it obviously affects your child’s ability to chew, leading to poor food habits. It also causes embarrassment for your child, affecting speech and appearance. Very importantly, milk teeth “hold” the space for permanent teeth that are yet to arrive, and early loss of milk teeth can cause future alignments to go wonky. So, treating them is a must!

    To keep milk teeth in good health, the dentist’s role is invaluable: milk teeth can receive preventive treatments to avoid decay, and therapeutic treatments to treat decay (like fillings and root canal treatments), misalignments, and so on. Dentists can also provide you credible information regarding proper diet, correct oral hygiene techniques, etc.

  • When should tooth-brushing be started for milk teeth?

    You need to start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they arrive in the mouth- starting in the early days with a soft cloth, you can move to a baby toothbrush when more teeth arrive. By the age of two, when the molars are in place and adjacent molars are touching each other, you can start flossing too.


  • Why do I get cavities?

    The root cause of cavity formation is the deposition of bacteria on your teeth in a sticky film( Known as dental plaque.) Plaque can be brushed or flossed away, but it is allowed to remain undisturbed on the teeth, and gets to feed on sugar from our diet, it can set the stage for cavity formation. Acids produced by plaque bacteria start dissolving tooth enamel, allowing access to the deeper layers of the tooth.

  • My dentist says I have cavities, but I have no pain- is this possible?

    Pain is not a reliable an indication of the severity of cavity formation- early cavities in the enamel layer are usually painless, with symptoms of sensitivity or pain occurring when deeper layers are affected. However, depending on the response of your tooth to the cavity, you may have no discomfort with even deep cavities.

  • How do I know if I have cavities?

    Cavities often form on the chewing surface of the back teeth, where you can see them as blackish discolorations or as depressions where food particles collect. However, many cavities occur in between adjacent teeth, and these are not easy for you to detect- they are best diagnosed by a dentist.

  • Can cavities recur after treatment?

    Most cavities are treated by fillings, but a filled tooth can also decay further, so periodic monitoring by a dentist is crucial.


  • How do I know if I have gum disease?

    Most sufferers are unaware of the presence of gum disease, but the commonest symptom of gum disease is bleeding gums. Bad breath, itchiness in the gums, gum-boils and looseness of teeth are other indications of gum disease you can watch out for. Most stages of gum disease are usually painless.

  • Why is it important to keep the gums healthy?

    Healthy gums are vital to keep the teeth well anchored in the jawbone, and to keep them firm and functioning well over the years. Healthy gums ensure that you don’t suffer bad breath or tooth sensitivity, and they also enhance the beauty of your smile!

  • Is gum disease treatable?

    Gum disease is treatable- early stages respond well to periodic cleaning by the dentist (a procedure known as scaling). Progressive stages of gum disease may need gum surgery, medications, etc. The success of gum treatments hinges on good daily maintenance of oral hygiene, which are in your hands!

  • What are the consequences of not treating gum disease?

    Untreated gum disease can lead to loss of the supporting jawbone, which in turn can cause looseness of teeth, and eventually, loss of the tooth. There is also a dark association between untreated gum disease and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, so don’t ignore gum disease!


  • Why do my teeth feel so sensitive?

    The outer layer of enamel on our teeth protects against unpleasant sensations from reaching the sensitive inner layers get exposed, either due to gum recession, exaggerated wear & tear, or erosion of the enamel, you start feeling the sharp discomfort to cold, sour or sweet stimuli, which dentist term as ‘’ dentinal hypersensitivity.’

  • Can dental procedures cause sensitivity?

    Teeth can become sensitive in the aftermath of certain procedures, such as tooth whitening, scaling, or fillings. Your dentist can advise you on how to counter this.

  • Are commonly advertised desensitizing toothpastes effective against tooth sensitivity?

    Yes, there are several ingredients in desensitizing toothpastes that are effective in controlling the sensitivity. However, it is best to see your dentist to identify the sources of the problem, which may need both dental treatment, as well as desensitizing pastes to control.


  • My wife complains that I have bad breath- but why can’t feel it?

    Most sufferers of bad breath are not aware of it, as their sense of smell has got accustomed to it. It is usually a friend or a friend or a spouse who points it out.

  • What causes bad breath?

    Your mouth is home to more than 600 types of bacteria – many are harmless, but some of these (called anaerobic bacteria), thrive in the absence of oxygen. These culprits cause putrefaction of residues in the mouth, leading to foul- smelling by- products. While this is the main source of bad breath, there are many more!

  • Where do these odor-causing bacteria thrive in the mouth?

    These anaerobic bacteria thrive at the rear portion of the tongue, under the gumline in gum disease, in crevices found in damaged teeth or fillings, in unclean dentures, and so on.

  • How can I avoid bad breath?

    The most important step is to maintain good oral hygiene, which definitely includes a thorough tongue- cleaning! Attending to the source of bad breath is very important- clean the dentures, avoid smoking and alcohol, shun smelly foods, and let your dentist attend to cavities and gum disease.

  • Does using a mouthwash help?

    Temporarily, yes, it masks the odour. However, prolonged use of mouthwashes can aggravate the problem (ironically, some alcohol-based mouthwashes actually dry the mouth, leading to more bad breath).


  • Do adults really grind their teeth? I thought only children do this?

    Tooth-grinding or gnashing is called bruxism, and is very common in adults too- in fact, adults may actually be more affected than kids!

  • Does my tooth- grinding habit damage the teeth?

    Yes, it causes exaggerated wear-and tear on the chewing surfaces, as well as loss of protective enamel along the necks of the teeth, leading to lots of teeth sensitivity. The damage also extends to the joints where the lower jaw meets the skull bones (known as the TMJ or temporomandibular Joints) - these joints get worn down, leading to headaches, earaches, pain in the jaws, soreness in the neck muscles, etc.

  • Can my tooth-grinding habit be controlled?

    Most of the grinding happens in deep sleep, when it is impossible to have knowledge of the habit, or to exercise voluntary control. The dentist can help by making a customized “night-guard’ for you to wear on the teeth, which will prevent the grinding. Psychological stress is a leading trigger for tooth-grinding, so relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes will help in the long term.


  • My dentist said I have a cavity, but he drilled out a huge hole to put in a filling….. Isn’t this causing more damage to my teeth?

    Tooth decay often looks like a small hole, but cavities tend to spread a lot under the surface. Before filling a cavity, your dentist needs to remove all the decayed tooth substance, and this may seem like a huge hole is being drilled- but rest assured, your dentist will never remove healthy tooth substance, just the rotten part.

  • Silver fillings were cheaper than cosmetic fillings my dentist recommends-what’s wrong with silver fillings?

    Silver fillings have been used for nearly two centuries, and are strong, yet relatively inexpressive. However, to be strong enough, they need a minimum thickness, needing the dentist to remove some healthy tooth structure beyond the decayed areas, especially in shallow cavities. Secondly, they look blackish, and don’t really bond to your tooth. One of the main concerns with silver fillings is that they have significant mercury content, and mercury is a toxic material, and may have long-term health implications.

  • Are cosmetic fillings strong and durable?

    Today’s default filling material is known as Composite Resin-its colour can be perfectly matched to your teeth, and it is very strong and durable too. It is firmly bonded onto your tooth, and doesn’t come off easily. Most often, these are placed directly into the cavity and set into place- but some versions can be prefabricated outside, and then bonded into your tooth. Irrespective of the type of filling you opt for, do remember that a filled tooth can also decay further, and it needs periodic monitoring by your dentist.


  • Why have I have only heard horror stories about Root Canal treatment?

    Versions of Root Canal Treatment have been around for centuries, when preventing pain was never really possible. Today, most Root Canal treatments (known as Endodontic treatment) are uneventful, painless procedures (caution: you may even get bored!) Pain-management is a prime priority for today’s dentists, and they will take every measure to keep all procedures painless.

  • Once a tooth has received Root Canal Treatment; doesn’t it become a dead tooth?

    In Root Canal treatment, the contents of the central core (pulp) of the tooth, i.e. the nerve and blood supply, are totally removed, and replace with a filling material. However, by virtue of its physical structure, and the fact that the tooth is still firmly anchored within the jawbone, the tooth remains fully functional for chewing. This is the greatest benefit of Root Canal treatment- it saves teeth that would otherwise need to be pulled out!

  • Haven’t I read that Root Canal treatment leaves toxic dead material and bacteria within the roots, which can lead to many other bodily ailments?

    These are unsubstantiated, unscientific reports, which are nothing short of scare mongering. Root Canal Treatment protocols ensure thorough cleansing of all residues from within the tooth. Additionally, the roots of our teeth are surrounded by a robust network of blood vessels- this keeps protective blood cells and antibodies in close proximity to this eliminate any chances of bacteria or toxins from persisting inside the roots.

  • My dentist has recommended a cap for my molar tooth after the root canal treatment- in view of cutting costs, can this not be avoided?

    After Root Canal treatment, the tooth undergoes dehydration, and is prone to brittle fracture- a cap, or crown, by covering the entire visible part of the tooth, provides protection against this. Your dentist can offer crowns across price ranges –from low-cost metal caps to premium Zirconia crowns.


  • I don’t want to lose any of my teeth- but my dentist has recommended a tooth extraction…can’t all teeth be saved with modern technology?

    Here’s a little secret: dentists hate removing teeth! If you dentist has recommended getting a tooth pulled, it must be damaged beyond salvage, either due to decay, gum disease or injury, or it may be stuck within the jaws, causing an infection (common in wisdom teeth)

  • How long will my extraction take? How soon will I recover?

    Tooth extractions can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the condition of your tooth. All extraction are preformed painlessly after the tooth is numbed, and you can get back to your activities almost immediately. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions on post- extractions care, and healing is mostly uneventful. Minor dietary modifications, wound care instructions and pain- killing medications are usually advised.

  • A part of my root broke inside the jaw when my dentist removed my tooth, but he has left it behind. Will this be a problem?

    Dentists rarely leave behind any fragments during a tooth extractions, as they have various instruments and techniques to retrieve these. However, dentists occasionally decide to leave a fragment behind if they judge that it is safe to do so, especially if the attempt to remove such fragments can damage the jawbone or nerve/blood supply within the jaw.


  • I Have a couple of missing teeth, but I’m managing perfectly well. Why should I get them replaced?

    Your teeth work together as a unit, with each performing a separate role. A wheel with missing spokes can still roll, but have no assurance of reliability- similarly, missing teeth put extra load on the remaining teeth, which may fail over time

    They also lead to creation of gaps in adjacent teeth, tilting or overeruption of neighbouring or adjacent teeth, and unbalanced chewing forces. Missing teeth can also cause esthetic or speech issues, so it is best to replace them.

  • If I have just one or two missing teeth, can they be replaced?

    Yes, your dentist can replace one or more missing teeth, and even the entire set. A few missing teeth can be replaced with partial dentures, which may be removable of fixed, or your dentist may suggest dental implants.

  • I can’t handle removable dentures- can’t I always get fixed tooth replacement?

    Your dentist will always prefer to give you fixed teeth- however; this is subject to certain conditions, such as health of the neighbouring teeth, or the health of the bone in the area of the missing teeth. If your dentist judges that fixed teeth are not possible for you, you may have to accept removable dentures.

  • What is a bridge?

    When one or more teeth are missing, and dental implants cannot be planned, your dentist may recommend a bridge—a tooth replacement that is permanently fixed onto the neighbouring teeth. The neighbouring teeth will need to be shaped down to accept a bridge.

  • My teeth need lots of dental treatment- isn’t it better to remove all of them and have a new set?

    There is no substitute for natural teeth- everything your dentist does is a repair Job! Replacement teeth come with their own set of issues- they can be expressive, cumbersome, need lots of maintenance, are prone to breakages, and so on. Here’s an eye-opener: the chewing efficiency of conventional Complete Dentures is barely 15-20% of that of natural teeth! The shape of your jawbone is also determined by your natural teeth, and preserving the jawbone after teeth are removed is an extremely challenging issue. Many of these issues can be addressed by opting for dental implants, which begs the next question!


  • I’m doubtful about new technologies- are dental implants time tested?

    Dental implants have evolved from research started way back in 1964! A dental implant is much like a thick metallic screw, made primarily of titanium, which is inserted into the jawbone, and unites with the bone in due course. Over this implant, teeth can be fixed rigidly.

  • I see many ads claiming to provide fixed in a day- is this possible?

    Yes, it is possible to have your teeth removed, and on the same day have implants put in, which will be able to support a preliminary set of usable fixed teeth. However, these are complex procedures, and are not everyone - in any case; dental professionals are not allowed to advertise their services in India.

  • Inserting a foreign body inside the jawbone, is it no dangerous?

    Titanium, the metal used for manufacturing dental implants, is one of the most bio- friendly materials, and rarely manifests any adverse reactions. Well- maintained implants can last for years with no adverse effects.

  • Can implants replace one or two teeth, or are they meant for replacing the whole set?

    Implants are versatile- individual teeth can be replaced, or a pair of implants can support a bridge to replace more teeth, or set of implants can be used to support fixed replacement teeth for the entire jaw.

  • Are there any drawbacks in getting dental implants?

    The first hurdle is the cost factory- implants usually cost more than other options for tooth replacement. The success of implants depends largely upon the strength of the jawbone, which needs to be closely assessed by your dentist. Some people, like those with uncontrolled diabetes, or smokes, are poor candidates for implants.


  • My Child’s teeth seem to be growing crooked- what’s the best time to consult the Orthodontist?

    For Children, the best age for their first orthodontic consultation is between seven and eight. Early problems can be identified and nipped in the bud, or some therapy can be initiated to set the stage for later treatment.

  • I missed the bus for getting braces as a child- now, as an adult, will orthodontic treatment work for me?

    There is no age bar for getting orthodontic treatment! Teeth can be realigned at any age, but in adults, the treatment is slower. Additionally, adults may feel embarrassed to show a wired mouth, or their work & travel schedule may not permit the regular visits needed for the treatment.

  • My upper front teeth are protruding quite a bit- my dentist advises orthodontic treatment, but can’t I get a cosmetic quick- fix instead?

    Orthodontic treatment works best for permanent, successful correction of teeth alignment. Cosmetic alternatives work best for certain types of corrections, and cannot always be an alternative for orthodontic treatment.

  • I have read about invisible braces- are these for me?

    Invisible braces, or clear aligners, require your dentist to fabricate a sequence of aligners (clear plastic moulds) to be worn over the teeth for a few hours each day. After one aligner has induced a minor tooth movement in a few weeks, you switch to be the next one in sequence, which continues the work, and so on. These are removable, and near invisible when worn. However, they work best for minor corrections, and are not universally applicable. They also cost significantly more than conventional orthodontic therapy.



  • Can dental treatment help improve my appearance?

    Apart from the more functional dental therapies for pain and discomfort, all other dental treatment could easily fall into the category of cosmetic therapy!

  • Which types of routine dental treatment can make me look better?

    Here’s a surprise: a tooth extraction, especially of a crowded of disfigured tooth, can produce cosmetic result too! Orthodontic treatment produces very pleasing changes to your appearance by improving the alignment of your teeth. A routine session of dental cleaning (scaling) leaves your teeth cleaner and brighter, removes dark deposits, and gets your gums glowing healthily too. Some gum surgeries can improve the contour or colour of your gums, leaving much more acceptable results. Cavities look ugly, and fillings with tooth- coloured restorative materials can restore your good looks. Even a simple denture to replace a missing front tooth can make you look stunning!

  • I’m confused here- is this what is called as Cosmetic Dentistry?

    No, cosmetic Dentistry refers to a set of procedure meant solely to enhance or improve the appearance your teeth & smile per se, and gets its own of question below!


  • Are all movie stars God- gifted with stunning teeth?

    Mostly, no! They have very skilled dentist working to enhance the appearance of their teeth, using procedure collectively referred to as Cosmetic Dentistry.

  • Does Cosmetic Dentistry involve getting coating bonded onto your teeth to change their appearance?

    Broadly, treatments under Cosmetic Dentistry fall into three categories:

    • Colour change of your teeth: eg. Tooth Whitening/ Bleaching.
    • Subtraction: eg. Subtly reshaping your teeth to improve their appearance.
    • Addition: wherein tooth- coloured materials are fixed or bonded onto the teeth to change their shape, fill spaces, modify the sense of alignment, etc. All bonding procedures and dental laminates fall under this category.
  • My friend had sever tooth sensitivity following tooth bleaching- is it normal?

    Tooth bleaching is perfectly safe, provided you follow all the instructions. Tooth sensitivity ia a known but transient side effect, and can be well manage by your dentist.

  • Can I get the celebrity smile?

    Your dentist can advise you can on the possibilities of enhancing your smile, and give you a realistic assessment. The appearance of your teeth and your smile can be changed within certain limits, and if you are lucky, yes, you could start rehearsing your Oscar speech!


  • I see my dentist whenever I have a problem- how will preventive visits help?

    Just as you are diligent in following servicing schedules for your car, your air- conditioners, and even your water purifier, you shouldn’t miss a crucial biannual schedule: your dental check-up!

    Preventive Visits help your dentist detect problems early, resulting in simpler, less- expensive treatment for you.

  • Can I not feel a problem developing, and then see my dentist?

    The early stages of cavity formation and almost all stage of gum disease are totally painless!

  • Can the dentist detect anything else by examining my mouth?

    Dentists frequently help diagnose cancer in the mouth- again a painless condition in the early stages. Many other health conditions leave telltale signs in the mouth which dentists are trained to decipher: diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, blood-related disorders, heart diseases, skin diseases, HIV- nothing escapes the dental examination. By pointing out the diagnosis, your dentist can pave the way for you to seek timely treatment.


  • Dental treatment is too expensive, shouldn’t it be cheaper? I have got two very different estimates for the same job!

    Surely you have heard of the axiom, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’? Procedures to treat dental problems that are diagnosed early are really inexpensive! A routine cleaning or small fillings are very affordable. The prime reason for the cost escalation is delay!

    Late- stage dental disease requires intensive, high-tech treatment spanning over weeks, which obviously pushed up the cost. The field of dentistry is very space-and capital intensive, and runs with high overheads. Quality materials, sourced from high-class manufactures, can cost more than gold in terms of weight.

    As a rule, treatment costs can be cut by using more basic materials, simpler procedures, or when performed by less-experienced dentists, and in a facility that is not in a prime location: which is why it is not possible to run cost-comparisons across a range of dental clinics.

  • I hate multiple visits to the dentist- can I not have something quicker?

    In the last decade, there has been a sea change in the nature and speed of dental procedure! Refinements in equipment, procedures and expertise have dramatically shortened the time needed for extractions, scaling, root canal treatment, as well as getting crowns, bridges or dentures fabricated. Dentists prefer to also schedule more optimally, working an extended session for you to minimize visits. If you thought dental treatment was like a soap opera, brace yourself: it can be a blink and-miss job!

  • I need to work and party, will my dental treatment come in the way?

    During the course of dental treatment, teeth may have to be removed or shaped down, and there may be a time lag while crowns or bridges are expected from fabrication. However, your dentist will ensure that your appearance is not compromised- esthetic temporary caps or bridges can be made on the spot in the dental clinic, so that you are not left gap-toothed! Even orthodontic treatment can be planned with esthetic opposite to minimize or eliminate the metal-wired look.

  • Can I catch an infection at the dentist’s?

    Dentistry falls under the category of surgical treatment- protocols for maintaining strict hygiene are built into the routine. Disposables are widely used, and reusable instrument go through processing and sterilization before reuse. This means that at the dentist’s you can sit back and relax- the only thing you may catch is an infectious smile!