Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a nervous or anxious patient?


If you are one of these, you are not alone. There are so many nervous and anxious dental patients out there, we have more than our fair share of them, maybe it’s because we’re just so gentle, friendly and caring. Once they come to us, they don’t want to go anywhere else. Not only that, they tell all their other nervous friends and family, and they come too! Here at Dobson Dental we love looking after you all, helping you feel more comfortable and relaxed comes naturally to us. We take baby steps, very carefully, and explain very slowly what we’re doing each step of the way.  No surprises, it’s a promise. And guess what? Many of these wonderful patients still come to Dobson Dental 40 years on.

How much is a clean?

This is not a quick answer.  The cost of cleans vary enormously, because the time required to do cleans vary. Some people need a routine 10 minute clean with their six monthly check up, and they brush and floss well, but miss a few areas.  Others have severe gum disease, and didn’t know about it until we told them, then it takes four sessions of an hour each to carefully and thoroughly clean their teeth above and below the gums, often with local anesthetic, followed by careful instruction on how to clean and floss to stop the disease. Clearly these two scenarios cannot carry the same cost. These two situations are at the ends of the cost scale, and everything else exists in between. Everyone is different, even the same person can be different for different cleaning appointments, depending how well they have cleaned themselves since the last visit. At your check up appointment we can usually give you an estimate.

Will it hurt?

Tricky question!

Cleans are usually done without local anesthetic, unless gum disease exists. However most people would say cleans are uncomfortable more than they hurt.

Fillings are very variable. In our practice we probably do at least half of the fillings with no local anesthetic. We are happy to go slowly and carefully, and pick the cases we know are likely not to be sore. Lots of people like to leave the dentist without a numb face!

But for those who just like everything numbed, we are gentle with our local anesthetic and always use a topical gel first.

Do I always need an injection for a filling?

No.  In fact more than half of the fillings we do at Dobson Dental are done with no needle.  That means no local anaesthetic.  That also means a lot of people who don’t like needles and don’t like a numb face. But it does take a gentle and careful dentist who is not in a rush. We are always that!

Many fillings that are being replaced will not be sore at all, so will not require local anaesthetic.  Also, many small fillings will usually be pain free, so will not need local anaesthetic.

Fillings done in a tooth that has a previous root canal treatment will not need local anaesthetic, as the tooth has no nerve anymore.

Repairs done to fillings also usually do not require numbing, as little tooth preparation or cutting is needed.

Should I have my ‘silver’ fillings replaced?

‘Silver’ fillings are actually amalgam fillings. They should be replaced for several reasons, including recurring decay, fracture, appearance, or root canal treatment. Dentists generally try not to replace perfectly good amalgam fillings, as this can cause problems where there were none. These problems include possible damage to or weakening of the tooth, sensitivity of the tooth, pain after the filling or unnecessary financial burden!

Will bleaching work for me?

Bleaching is a safe and effective way to brighten smiles, it has been around for over 20 years without any serious side effects. It works quickly for most people, however in a small number of people it can take weeks or even months to work fully. There are a few medical conditions that affect teeth in childhood that bleaching will not work on but we can assess this during an examination. We have information for you to consider before you make any decisions.

Why do gums bleed?

Bleeding gums are common, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay, healthy gums don’t bleed. Bleeding means that the gums are inflamed, this occurs when plaque is left on teeth, plaque is full of bacteria which then can irritate the gums. Basically bleeding gums means that your teeth aren’t clean, this is called Gingivitis, or possibly Periodontitis, which is gum disease. More rarely bleeding gums can be due to serious medical conditions.

If your gums bleed, you need to book yourself in to see us pronto.

Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?

Electric and manual toothbrushes are quite different, and as such each have benefits in different situations.

In our opinion, manual toothbrushes will usually be a better option.

However electric toothbrushes do a great job for people who struggle with manual dexterity.  They are also great for kids for a similar reason. Also because electric toothbrushes will tend to do a better job in a shorter space of time as is often the case when children are brushing their own teeth.

A word of warning for electric toothbrushes though.  Due to high revolutions, wear rates on teeth can be high, especially if the user tends to apply a lot of pressure when brushing.  A lot of people fall into this category.

What age should children start brushing their own teeth?

Most dentists recommend children can begin to brush their own teeth at about 8 years old.

Children are more dextrous by then, and more patient, so are more able to spend the required 2 minutes minimum brushing their own teeth.  By 8 years old, children have also had many years of learning the correct way to brush from both their parents and their dentist.  Parents will still need to pay attention to how teeth are being brushed, and for how long for a while yet however.

Does household filtered water have flouride in it?

Not all filtered water is equal! Water filters differ.  Fluoride will only remain in filtered water if the water filter does not filter it out.  You will need to check with the manufacturer of your water filter as to whether it filters out fluoride or not.  ‘Activated carbon’ filters (eg Brita and Pur) DO NOT filter out fluoride, however ‘reverse osmosis’, deionisers, and activated alumina filters all DO filter out fluoride.

If you want the benefit of fluoride for your family’s teeth, then it is important you keep fluoride in your filtered water.

Are Bite’N’Boil mouth guards as safe as custom made mouth guards?

There is no argument that the best type of mouthguards are the custom made type, by your dentist.  This type of mouthguard fits perfectly and tightly, and should there be a blow to the mouth, the load is evenly distributed across teeth and bony structures, so single teeth are not broken or knocked out.  If the fit is not good, the force of the blow can be taken on a single point or a small area only, allowing damage to occur.  For this reason, the ‘bite n boil’ type of mouthguard are good for short term use, perhaps until a custom mouthguard can be made.

Even young growing and changing mouths need to be properly protected from sporting injuries.

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