FAQ
Surgery@102 Limited
(formally named SR Vora & Associates)
Dental Terms

What is dental phobia?

Dental phobia is a fear of going to the dentist. It can be a result of many things and may include:

Previously painful or negative experiences during visits to a dentist, usually as a child. This may include careless comments made by a dentist, hygienist or other professional.
Severe discomfort with feelings of helplessness and/or being out of control in the dentist’s chair.

A sense of embarrassment of your dental neglect, and fear of ridicule and/or belittlement when you go to the dentist.

Scary stories of negative dental experiences learned from family and friends.

Negative, menacing portrayals of dentists in movies, TV, newspapers and magazines.

A sense of depersonalization in the dental process, increased by today's necessity for the use of barrier precautions, such as masks, latex gloves and shields.
A general fear of the unknown.

What is sedation?

Sedation in dentistry is an option for certain groups of people who are anxious or nervous of undergoing dental treatment. They include adults with dental anxieties or phobias, children who are apprehensive or frightened and patients with special needs. Some patients only require sedation for a specific surgical procedure. A range of sedation techniques are available which include:

- Intravenous (by injection into a vein)

- Inhalation (by breathing a mixture of gas and oxygen)

- Oral (by tablet swallowed prior to the treatment)

If you are very nervous, sedation may be an option for you. Don't be afraid to ask your dentist if they feel you may benefit from treatment under sedation.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

The dental hygienist is a significant member of the dental team whose role in patient care is becoming increasingly important. Patients are usually referred to the hygienist by their dentist. Hygienists help to treat and prevent gum disease by scaling and polishing teeth. They also advise patients how to care for their teeth through the use of various products such as toothbrushes, floss, interdental brushes, and give advice on a healthy diet.

To learn more, contact www.bsdht.org.uk

What is a dental technician?

The dental technician is a very important part of the dental team. They produce crowns, veneers, dentures, bleaching trays, gum shields and some orthodontic appliances from impressions and written instructions from a dentist.

Most technicians work in privately owned dental laboratories but some work in hospitals, general dental practices, the community dental service and the armed forces.

To learn more, contact www.dta-uk.org

What is a dental therapist?

Dental therapists can carry out the following treatments with appropriate training:

Scale and polish teeth

Apply materials to teeth such as fluoride and fissure sealants

Take dental radiographs

Provide dental health education on a one to one basis or in a group situation

Routine restorations in both deciduous and permanent teeth, on adults and children.

Treat adults as well as children

Extract baby teeth under local analgesia

Placement of pre-formed crowns on deciduous teeth.

Emergency temporary replacement of crowns and fillings.

Take impressions.

Treat patients under conscious sedation provided the dentist remains in the surgery throughout the treatment.

To learn more, contact http://www.badt.org.uk

Are electric toothbrushes better than manual?

Electric (battery or rechargeable) toothbrushes with circular bristle heads that rotate in alternating directions (oscillating) are better at removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease than ordinary manual toothbrushes, according to recent research.

The review by Peter Robinson and colleagues from Sheffield University included 42 studies and 3,855 participants. The studies compared manual, electric and battery-powered toothbrushes with a variety of bristle arrangements and motions and newer "ionic" brushes that buzz the tooth surface with small electric charges. Ionic brushes and powered brushes that did not use a circular, alternating motion were no better than manual toothbrushes in removing plaque and preventing gingivitis over one to three months, Robinson and colleagues conclude.

However, the powered brushes reduced gingivitis by 17% over the manual brushes after more than three months' use. The researchers found no evidence that powered brushes of any kind caused more gum damage than manual brushes.

Despite the better performance by the rotating powered brushes, the benefits of regular brushing "occur whether the brush is manual or powered, and the results of this review do not indicate that tooth brushing is only worthwhile with a powered toothbrush," the researchers write. "We did not want to say that electric brushes are necessary, just that they can help. It is possible to clean one's teeth perfectly well without an electric brush," Robinson says.

The review appears in http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab002281.html Library review, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Although the oscillating electric toothbrush seems more effective than the manual toothbrush, Robinson acknowledges that there is no standard for measuring how much of a reduction in plaque and gum inflammation is necessary to cause clinically significant improvements in oral health.

"There are standards proposed but they are arbitrary," Robinson says. "We can be reasonably sure that plaque causes periodontitis, and even that more plaque causes more periodontitis. But we cannot be sure by how much we need to reduce plaque levels in order to have a long term effect on periodontitis."

"Most people clean their teeth not to ward off gum disease but to feel fresh and confident. Likewise, some people simply enjoy gadgets. It would be difficult to put a value on those things," Robinson says.

Fred Peterson, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says the association has no official recommendation regarding manual versus electric toothbrushes. "Both manual and powered toothbrushes can effectively clean your teeth. If you have arthritis or otherwise need assistance with movement, a powered brush may be easier to use," Peterson says.

What are molars?

These are the teeth at the back of the mouth used for crushing and grinding food. The biting surfaces of these teeth are quite rough (fissured) and it is important to remember to brush them. When these teeth first erupt into the child’s mouth, the dentist may decide to seal them over to reduce roughness (fissure seal) and make them easier to clean. They are called number 6, 7 and 8 (also known as the wisdom teeth).

What are premolars?

These are the teeth between the canines and the molars. There are usually two, sometimes called bicuspids. One of the premolars may be removed if you need to have orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth. They are called No 4 and 5 teeth.

What are incisors?

These are the teeth at the front of you mouth. There are two central incisors right at the front on both the top and bottom jaws, and next to them a lateral incisor on either side. They are called number 1 or 2 teeth in adults or As and Bs if baby teeth.

What are canines?

These are found between the incisors and premolars. They are sometimes referred to as the eye-teeth in the upper jaw and have a fang like appearance. They are called no 3 if adult teeth or Cs if baby teeth.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to appear, right at the back of the mouth, usually when you're in your late teens. Most people have four wisdom teeth - two at the top, two at the bottom - but some people have fewer than this, or even none at all.

Because they are the last teeth to come through, there may not be room in your mouth for them. As a result, they can push the existing teeth forward, causing overcrowding in the mouth and possibly some discomfort.
For information on the removal of wisdom teeth follow this link: http://www.nice.org.uk/page.aspx?o=7373

What is fluorosis?

Fluorosis is the mottling of enamel that occurs if children swallow too much toothpaste when their teeth are developing.

Children aged less than 7 should be supervised when brushing and only use a pea sized amount of toothpaste.

During our life we have 2 sets of teeth. The first are deciduous teeth (also known as primary, baby or milk teeth), which are later replaced by permanent adult teeth.

Deciduous teeth:

When we are born we already have teeth beneath our gums. These milk teeth (deciduous teeth) begin to appear when we are about 6 or 7 months old and we have 20 of them by about the age of 3. These milk teeth are very important for chewing and speech, as well as helping develop the jaw, so it is important to look after them. Between the ages of about 6 or 7, the roots of these milk teeth dissolve and eventually the tooth falls out. Milk teeth also work as a guide for adult teeth to follow - so even though they drop out it is important to look after them to avoid damage to the adult teeth when they arrive.

Adult teeth:

Permanent teeth begin to replace the front deciduous teeth from the age of about 6. For the next 6 to 8 years there is a gradual replacement of milk teeth by adult teeth. This stage is called mixed dentition, as both milk and adult teeth will be in the mouth at the same time. By the age of about 12-14 all adult teeth should have appeared with the exception of wisdom teeth (third molars). At this stage the mouth will contain 28 teeth. These teeth have to last for life as we only get one set.
The teeth are composed of various different elements.

Tooth crown - The visible part of the tooth in the mouth.

Enamel - Enamel is the tough outer coating of the tooth and is the hardest substance in the body and gives the tooth its white appearance.

Dentine - Dentine is the softer structure that comprises the majority of the tooth substance. It is full of tiny tubes that can transmit such signals as hot, cold and painful stimuli to the pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are found. It is yellow in colour.

Gums - Firm flesh around the roots of the teeth.

Root - The tooth is like an iceberg – although all we see in the mouth is the crown, beneath the surface, embedded in the bone of the jaw is the complex structure of the root.

Pulp - A soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves, which feeds the hard dental tissues. It is often called the dental nerve. The nerves and blood vessels in the pulp are connected to the nervous and circulatory systems of the body.

Cement - The bone-like substance covering the root.

Periodontium - Tissue which keeps the tooth in place.

Jaw bone - The bone which forms the framework of the mouth and which holds the teeth in place.

There are different types of teeth in the mouth with different functions:

Incisors - Thin and sharp, used to cut and slice food.

Canines - Sharp and pointed, used to hold and tear food.

Premolars - Sharp, flat surfaces, to hold and crush food.

Molars - Broad and flat, used to chew and grind food.

You may be able to lighten your teeth by bleaching. Your dentist will first need to check you are suitable; some people may not benefit from bleaching or may have too sensitive teeth. If ok to go ahead you can either have your teeth bleached by your dentist at the surgery or they may make you thin gum shield type trays which you take home and fill with a bleaching gel and wear when convenient. The benefit of bleaching at home with the gum shields is that you can control how much you lighten your teeth and it is also cheaper in the long term as you only need to buy more bleaching gel from your dentist to top up in the future.

Your dentist may be able to show you examples of teeth they have bleached in the past - don’t be afraid to ask.

For more details or to request a quote, contact us on

020 8902 5082

We welcome all patients including those requesting National Health Service treatment, children and private patients.