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Common questions about your dental care

All about implants, root canals, crowns and more

Neil is very informative of the future procedure. I am very happy with the welcome to the surgery, the punctuality of the appointment, all the supporting staff are caring and helpful. Neil keeps you informed of the procedure.

John M

Take a look through our answers to some of the most common questions about dentistry and oral hygiene.

If you want to learn more about any of these topics, feel free to contact us with your query.

Questions about general dental treatments

  • What happens if I don’t get a cavity filled?

    Dental decay is a bacterial infection. Leaving a cavity untreated can allow the infection to spread to other teeth, and the original cavity can also grow until it turns into a painful dental abscess. 

    If your tooth becomes abscessed, the tooth will probably have to be extracted or treated with root canal treatment. An abscess can potentially cause dangerous health complications if it spreads to your throat or brain. 

    Fortunately, our team is able to treat tooth decay at any stage. We can help you treat a cavity or abscess and we can help you avoid dental decay, altogether.

  • Are dental X-rays safe?

    Yes, modern dental X-rays are absolutely safe! At our practice, we utilise digital X-ray technology which produces less radiation than traditional film X-rays. 

    We only recommend X-rays when they are absolutely necessary to making an accurate diagnosis or planning your treatment, and we will take added precautions to avoid unnecessary X-ray exposure to any other part of your body.

  • Does it hurt to get a dental crown?

    No, you won’t feel any pain when we fit you for a dental crown. We will make sure that you are comfortable and that your tooth has received an adequate supply of local anaesthetic before we begin your treatment. It will feel no different from getting a small dental filling.

  • Is there an alternative to getting root canal treatment?

    If getting root canal treatment is not an option, then your best alternative is to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant, bridge or denture. Root canal treatment is generally indicated as a last-resort to save a damaged or infected tooth, so if you do not take this step, then the tooth in question could develop a painful infection and require extraction. Sometimes, even a dentist may recommend extraction if it appears that root canal treatment is not likely to succeed.

  • What are my options for replacing a tooth after extracting it?

    After removing a diseased, damaged or loosened tooth, you can replace it with a bridge or denture or even a dental implant. Contact our team to schedule an appointment where you can explore your options.

Questions about gum disease and dental hygiene

  • What happens if I don’t get a cavity filled?

    You may have some degree of gum disease if you have:

    • Gums that look swollen, puffy, red or rolled at the edges

    • Gums that easily bleed when you try to floss or brush

    • Tender or sensitive gums

    • Chronic bad breath

    • Receded gums

    • Loose teeth

      If you notice any of these signs, contact us right away to schedule a check-up.

    •  Is gum disease reversible?

      The good news is that gum disease is treatable, but the damage it can cause is harder to reverse. You may still have gum recession and some deep pockets around your teeth even after you have had treatment for gum disease. Our experienced dental team will help you explore your options for rebuilding your smile and stabilising your gum tissue.

    • How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

      Most people need a simple scale and polish one to two times per year. If you are prone to decay, gingivitis or developing heavy tartar, then we may recommend that you have your teeth cleaned once every four months.

    • Is gum disease contagious?

      Yes, the bacteria involved in gum disease can be transmitted from one person to another. These bacteria are found in everybody’s mouth, in fact. But there are other factors that determine whether you develop the disease such as your individual immune response, and your ability to remove dental plaque on a daily basis.

      When you visit our team for regular gum health assessments, we can help you to understand your risk of developing gum disease and show you the best ways to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

    • I have soft teeth. How can I prevent cavities?

      Many people believe that their genetics doom them to a lifetime of dental woes. But tooth decay is easier to prevent than you may think, and it has little to do with tooth texture.

      Tooth enamel is actually the hardest substance in your body. However, it is quickly dissolved in the presence of acids and cavity-causing bacteria. By avoiding acidic foods and sugary carbohydrates, you can protect your enamel and prevent the overgrowth of microbes that cause decay.

      Your oral hygiene routine plays an equally important role. Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss daily to remove the bacterial plaque that forms on your teeth.

      Regular dental check-ups at our Halifax practice will also help you to stay on top of your dental health.

    Questions about tooth replacements

    • Is a dental bridge better than an implant?

      Dental implants and bridges are equally effective restorations. For some people, a dental bridge is their best tooth replacement option. Others may prefer to get an implant. 

      Both restorations have unique advantages, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons in light of your unique smile goals and oral health needs. When you visit us for treatment, we will help you determine which one is best for replacing your tooth.

    • Will anyone notice if I have a denture?

      No one will notice that you are wearing a denture, provided it is made well. Today’s dentures are very natural-looking, and our dental team is experienced in crafting dentures that are as beautiful as they are functional.

    • How can I make my denture more stable?

      It can take a little time to get used to wearing a denture. After you get a denture for the first time, you may choose to stabilise it using a denture adhesive product. With time, your confidence in your new smile will grow. 

      As long as your denture fits well and feels comfortable, you will not have to worry about it falling out. If you do have any issues, we are here to help you make the needed adjustments

    • How do I clean my dental bridge?

      Cleaning your bridge is essential to keeping the surrounding teeth and gum tissues healthy. Visit us for a dental check-up where we will show you how to use special kinds of floss and brushes to clean around and under your bridge.

    • How do I choose between a bridge and a partial denture?

      You will want to consider the pros and cons of both bridges and dentures before you make a decision. A Halifax dentist can help you compare all the factors to determine whether a fixed or removable tooth replacement is right for you.

    Questions about Invisalign®

    • How does Invisalign® work?

      Invisalign® is a system of clear aligners that look like gum shields. Each set of custom-fitted aligners is designed to be a bit too tight on your teeth. As you wear your aligners over the course of about two weeks, the pressure should cause your teeth to move slightly. After your teeth have shifted to match the current set of aligners, it is time to move on to the next set which should help your teeth move even farther. This process continues for several months until your teeth are all in healthy alignment.

    • What are the benefits of using Invisalign® to straighten my teeth?

      Invisalign® clear aligners are removable, so you can take them out to lean them and to eat whatever you want. This also makes brushing and flossing your teeth much easier. Being clear, the aligners allow you to straighten your teeth discreetly. Additionally, there are no sharp metal wires to bother you when you straighten your teeth with Invisalign®.

    • Can my child get Invisalign®?

      Yes, Invisalign® can work great for children and teens, too. It may not be the ideal orthodontic treatment method for all children, however, so consult with your child’s dentist or orthodontist to find out which treatment is right for him or her.

    • How do I clean my Invisalign® aligners?

      Clean your aligners at least once every day by rinsing them in cool water. Use a toothbrush to clean debris from the grooves on the teeth and gently scrub your aligners with a mild liquid soap. Do not use hot water, abrasive agents, bleach, alcohol or any other chemicals on your aligners as these things can damage them.

    • Is Invisalign® right for me?

      Book an appointment with an Invisalign® dentist to find out if this clear aligner system is the best way to help you get straighter teeth.

    Questions about dental implants

    • What is a dental implant?

      A dental implant is a metal post that fits into the bone of your jaw with a small piece that sticks out above the gums to support a dental restoration. The metal portion becomes integrated with the bone tissue to provide a secure foundation for the restoration which is usually a dental crown. An implant can place an individual tooth, or provide support for a multi-tooth restoration like a bridge or denture.

    • Does it hurt to get dental implants?

      No, you will not feel any discomfort during your dental implant surgery. We will make sure that the treatment site has been sufficiently numbed with local anaesthesia. It will feel similar to getting a regular dental filling.

    • Will anyone notice that my implant isn’t a real tooth?

      No one will ever know that your implant is not a real tooth unless you tell them! Even then, they may not believe you unless you show them an X-ray. The metal portion of an implant is completely hidden beneath the gums, and the visible restoration will be designed to look just like one of your natural teeth.

    • What does it feel like to have a dental implant?

      A dental implant does not have sensation the way your natural teeth do, so you will not feel temperature or pain with your implant. It is also much stronger than your other teeth and it does not have that slight ‘bounce’ your natural teeth have because they are cushioned by ligaments whereas an implant is anchored directly in the bone. Regardless, your implant will soon feel like a natural part of your mouth and it will help you to speak and chew normally.

    • How can I afford dental implants?

      Few people pay for their dental implants all at one time. A flexible payment plan can help you to afford your dental implant treatment with convenient monthly payments.

    Questions about teeth whitening

    • Is teeth whitening safe?

      Yes, teeth whitening is a very safe cosmetic dental treatment, provided it is done by a trained and qualified dental professional. At our practice, we will thoroughly examine your teeth beforehand to make sure that they are in good condition for whitening. We design custom bleaching trays that prevent the gel from reaching your gums, and we provide detailed instructions to ensure that you can safely use the gels. With professional supervision, your teeth whitening treatment journey will be a safe one.

    • What if whitening my teeth makes them sensitive?

      Sensitivity is a temporary and common side-effect of teeth whitening for many people, though not everyone experiences it. If you do struggle with sensitivity, then we will explain how you can strengthen your teeth and whiten them at a rate that keeps you comfortable throughout your treatment.

    • Will teeth whitening bleach make my dental crowns whiter, too?

      While professional whitening gel can have a powerful effect on natural teeth, it is not effective on dental restorations, unfortunately. This is because bleaching gel only lifts stains from the porous enamel of teeth and it cannot alter the permanent colour of restorations. 

      However, if you would like to ensure your crown matches the rest of your teeth, we recommend bleaching your teeth first. After that, we can make you a new dental crown to match your new shade so that you will never again have to worry about your crown looking too dark next to your natural teeth.

    • How do I keep my teeth white?

      You can maintain your current tooth colour by practicing good oral hygiene and avoiding dark-coloured foods and smoking. Your teeth will naturally darken with age and exposure to pigments in food, but you can counter these effects with the occasional teeth whitening touch-up.

    • What if teeth whitening doesn’t work for me?

      Professional teeth whitening treatments are normally effective to some noticeable extent for most people. Occasionally, one or more teeth cannot be bleached due to an internal injury or stain that makes them severely discoloured. When you visit our practice, the dentist will examine your teeth and let you know whether teeth whitening is worth a try. If you have any teeth that do not appear likely to respond to whitening, then we may recommend covering those teeth with dental veneers or crowns, instead.

    Questions about veneers

    • How do I take care of my veneers?

      Caring for your veneers is as easy as caring for the rest of your teeth. Floss daily around all of your teeth, including the ones that have veneers. Brush at least twice per day with a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. If your dentist or hygienist recommends it, rinse your mouth with a mouthwash that is gentle on porcelain restorations. Schedule regular dental check-ups to have your veneers examined on a regular basis.

    • How much is a full mouth of porcelain veneers?

      Very few people can afford to have veneers placed on all of their teeth, but the reality is that it is neither practical nor necessary to have that many veneers. Veneers are best for front teeth where they will not experience too much bite force. If you have veneers placed on your back teeth, they will be more likely to pop off due to the pressure of chewing. 

      Instead of getting a full mouth of veneers, you may prefer to combine a variety of cosmetic dental treatments to achieve your ideal look. For example, you might choose to whiten all of your teeth, get veneers on just the few front teeth that need them and then put dental crowns on one or more of your back teeth that need some structural enhancement.

    • Which are better: composite or porcelain veneers?

      Composite veneers and porcelain veneers both aim to enhance the aesthetic appearance, but there are differences in the way they are applied. Composite veneers are applied directly to teeth as a putty-like material and are shaped and cured onto the teeth with little to no alteration of the tooth enamel. Porcelain veneers are created separately outside the mouth and then bonded to the teeth after a small amount of the enamel has been removed.

      We cannot say which is better because both types of veneers offer unique advantages. It’s up to you to decide which advantages are most important to you and your smile goals.

      We offer porcelain veneers at our practice because porcelain is a durable material that closely resembles natural tooth enamel. Visit us to find out more about the benefits of both types of veneers.

    • Are porcelain veneers permanent?

      Yes, a porcelain dental veneer is a permanent restoration. Once you get a dental veneer, your tooth will always need to be covered by either a veneer or a dental crown. However, there is no guarantee that a veneer will last indefinitely. As long as you take good care of your teeth and avoid damaging your veneers, then they can last you for several years.

    • What if my veneer falls off my tooth?

      A well-made porcelain veneer will not easily fall off a tooth, so you do not have to worry about this too much. The porcelain material is bonded to your tooth enamel in a process that is much stronger than simply using a dental cement. 

      A veneer can pop off, however, if the tooth experiences an unusual amount of stress, such as if you bite into hard objects with a veneer-covered tooth. Losing a veneer may also happen if the underlying tooth develops a cavity. 

      In any case, there is no need to panic. Simply call our practice and tell us what happened and we will see you ASAP. Bring the veneer with you to your appointment where the dentist will carefully examine your tooth to find out what happened. We will either reattach the veneer with a secure bond or recommend getting a new veneer if the old one is damaged.

    Questions about your oral hygiene and home care

    • Is it okay to sleep in a denture?

      Generally, we recommend that you take your denture out at night before going to sleep. This is because your saliva production slows and your mouth dries out while you sleep, and this creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria that cause bad breath and gum infections. Let you gums ‘breathe’ and give your mouth a rest at night by leaving your denture in a glass of water.

      However, if you choose to occasionally leave your denture in at night for social reasons, that is okay. Just make sure you remove your denture at another time to give your mouth a break.

    • What foods should I avoid to prevent cavities?

      Stay away from sweetened beverages like fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks and soft drinks. It is also wise to limit your consumption of simple carbohydrates like white bread, biscuits and crisps. These sugars provide fuel for cavity-causing bacteria, so reach for whole foods that are high in fibre and protein to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

    • Can I just try whitening my teeth at home?

      DIY whitening is not as effective as professional teeth whitening treatments, and it can damage your gums or tooth enamel if you do not do it correctly. There are treatments you can buy online or in shops, but these are quite weak and may not get you the results you want. Your safest best is to invest in high quality professional treatment.

    • Will the dentist really know if I don’t floss?

      Yes, it is true that dentists can tell when patients have poor oral hygiene! Flossing may not seem like much, but it is actually necessary for removing plaque from between teeth. Those are spots that a toothbrush cannot access. Those gums between your teeth will appear slightly swollen and irritated from the presence of the plaque, and this is what tells a dentist that your flossing has not been regular.

    • What should I do if I have a toothache?

      First, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to remove debris and soothe the ache. Take a look in the mirror to see if there are signs of decay or infection. Look at the gums around your tooth and note whether there is any swelling or redness. Try gently flossing around your tooth to dislodge any debris that may be stuck near it. If these steps do not resolve the pain, take a pain-relieving medication that your physician has approved for headaches and other minor pains. Place a cold compress on the outside of your cheek against the sore tooth. Call us right away to schedule a dental check-up.

    Have we answered all your questions?

    If you are ready to explore the possibility of getting treatment here at Skircoat Green Dental Practice, call us or book an appointment online.

    We will be happy to answer more of your questions during your first dental check-up with us!

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    Skircoat Green Dental Practice
    341 Skircoat Green Road
    West Yorkshire
    HX3 0LX

    opening times


    8:30am - 5:30pm


    8:30am - 5:30pm


    8:30am - 5:30pm


    8:30am - 5:30pm


    8:00am - 4:30pm