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Frequently Asked Questions

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Your Dental Queries Answered

Whether you’re a new patient or a familiar face, we’ve curated a list of responses to the questions we frequently encounter. Explore information about our range of dental treatments, appointment procedures, and billing inquiries. Our FAQs aim to provide clarity on various aspects of your dental care journey. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team. We are here to ensure you have all the information you need for a positive and informed experience with Orchard Cottage Dental. Browse through our FAQs below to make the most out of your dental care with us.

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Why is it so important to maintain dental health?

Maintaining your teeth and gums as you age is an important step in sustaining your general health and well-being. Whilst exercising, eating right and regular health checks are important – looking after your teeth and gums is also essential. Good dental health will help you to lead a long, happy, and healthy life.

What can I do to improve the health and appearance of my smile?

If your teeth become damaged, lost or simply worn over time, there are several options available to treat these problems:

  • If teeth are lost, then dentures or bridges may be an option for you.
  • If a tooth needs rebuilding, then crowns, inlays or onlays could be the solution.
  • For cosmetic changes, tooth whitening, veneers and composite bonding are among some of the treatments that you could consider.

What are the main benefits of quality dental treatment?

Achieving optimal dental health has the power to change your life for the better. Some of the major benefits dental treatments can provide include:

  • Improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved oral health and general well-being.
  • Improved facial appearance.
  • Improved comfort
  • Improved speech
  • Improved dietary habits and nutrition.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is the ultimate mixture of art and dental science. These procedures endeavour to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing smiles, utilising the latest restorative technologies and materials.

What’s the best way to prevent gum disease?

Conscientious removal of plaque by flossing, brushing and regular professional cleanings will minimise your risk of gum disease. However, other factors can affect the health of your gums, such as stress, diabetes, genetics and pregnancy.

What happens if I just ignore getting my teeth cleaned?

As the plaque and calculus accumulate, the periodontal disease continues.

Supporting tissues around the teeth (gums, periodontal ligaments, bone) are lost. Periodontal pockets form which trap additional plaque. Bad breath often accompanies this condition. Once the bone that supports the teeth is lost, it will not regrow without surgical intervention.

I brush my teeth constantly but still have bad breath. What can I do?

Brushing and flossing are the first steps to eliminating bad breath. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria responsible for creating odorous sulphur compounds and the food they feed on. However, bacteria hide not only on and around the teeth but also on the tongue under a layer of mucous. Here they are free to create odours.

It is best to brush your tongue daily or you may want to consider a tongue scraper. Both are extremely effective at removing this protective mucous layer from the back of the tongue.

The latest products on the market for bad breath are toothpaste and mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide. The chlorine dioxide neutralises the odorous sulphur compounds, instead of simply covering up the odour.

I broke one of my teeth while biting hard food. What should I do?

If you are not in any pain, then ring the dentist as soon as possible and make an appointment but try and keep the tooth as clean as possible and avoid biting hard on that tooth. If you have pain, then you will need to go to your dentist ASAP as an emergency.

Will my appointment be on time?

We try very hard to make sure that we run late as infrequently as possible. We also ensure that our receptionists inform patients if they must wait more than 15 minutes. However, equipment can break down and a patient’s treatment can be more complicated than we anticipated, so yes, we may sometimes run late.

What happens if I miss an appointment or cancel an appointment too late?

We are not allowed to charge NHS patients for failing to attend their appointments. So, we have had to institute a policy that if 3 appointments are missed or cancelled without 24 hours’ notice within a year, then we may no longer be able to see that patient under the NHS.

Any patients that fail to attend or cancel a private or hygienist appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice will be liable to a charge.

Do I have to pay for an urgent or emergency appointment?

Yes, this will usually be a Band 1 fee (£23.80) to get you out of pain. If you require further treatment, you will be required to pay either Band 2 (£65.20) or Band 3 (£282.80) on top of the original Band 1 emergency fee.

What happens if I am unable to return for treatment after treatment has been planned?

If you are unable to attend your treatment, please let us know as soon as possible. This can be done by calling us on 01480 213999. If we are not kept informed, the course of treatment will be closed within 2 months of your last visit. You may then incur additional NHS charges when you return for treatment.

Why do I need to see the hygienist?

They provide a comprehensive level of treatment that is not available on the NHS. We generally refer our patients to see the Hygienist as part of our long-term preventative protocol. In our opinion, patients who visit the Hygienist regularly and follow the regimes prescribed to them generally have fewer dental problems.

Who Is a Candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment?

Previously, little could be done to reach the smile you always dreamed of. The treatments available to treat chipped, stained or crooked teeth were limited. Yet, today with the vast range of cosmetic dentistry treatments available, every smile can be aesthetically enhanced.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts of many foods and some water supplies. It is also used in many consumers’ dental products. Fluoride strengthens teeth making it more resistant to decay. It is important to use toothpaste, mouth rinses and gels that contain fluoride to gain the added benefit of preventing sensitivity and tooth decay.

Why do teeth get cracks?

A common problem is that teeth will crack, either due to trauma, grinding, clenching, decay or heavily filled teeth. “Cracked Tooth Syndrome” relates to a variety of symptoms and signs caused by a crack or many cracks in a tooth. Early diagnosis is needed to improve the chances of saving a cracked tooth. Symptoms include:

  • Sharp and erratic pain upon chewing or after the release of biting pressure: not all cracks cause pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot foods/drinks, or sweets
  • Difficulty in pinpointing which tooth hurts, either upper or lower
  • If you suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, discuss this with your Dentist.

I have several black fillings, what can I do to improve this?

The black filling material used in your teeth is amalgam. It has been used as a filling material for over a hundred years, it’s still one of the strongest materials available. However, it’s about as unattractive a filling material as you can get. There are several other tooth-colour restorative materials currently available that can be used to replace old amalgams.

Why do I have to sign the orange form given to me by reception?

This is a legal requirement for accepting treatment under the NHS. Every patient must sign a similar form for every course of treatment, even if this consists of only a check-up.

What if I cannot bring proof of the benefit I am on?

We will still treat you as though you are on the benefit however, we are required to note that we have not seen proof and you will have to sign the Government form which indicates which benefit you claim to be on and that entitles you to free treatment. If you are not telling the truth this can result in the Government charging you a fine of up to £100.

Why does the NHS not provide white fillings and crowns on back teeth?

This is because they are not a clinical necessity. The NHS only provides metal fillings and crowns, on back teeth. If you would like a white filling or crown the Dentist can provide this as a private treatment and will advise you of the cost.

I have already provided you with my medical history, why do you ask me to do it again?

The General Dental Council requires Dentists and Hygienists to check and note that they have checked a patient’s medical history before treatment. Whilst this will be a verbal check, to evidence that we have checked and to ensure that we have up-to-date information, it is important that patients complete and sign their medical history form on a regular basis.

Will I be seen if I arrive late?

The receptionist will check with the Dentist to see if they can still see you. This is easier with shorter appointments but with long appointments, it is often impossible to fit a patient in. This is because our Dentists are busy and usually fully booked. They also need the full time allocated to do complicated work such as root canal treatment or preparing laboratory work which cannot be rushed. We may sometimes give you the option of waiting to see if the next patient arrives, just in case a slot becomes available.

How do I make a complaint?

In the first instance, you must contact the Practice Manager who will do everything she can to help sort out any problem. Please refer to our Complaints Policy for more information.

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Interested in getting a dental treatment from Orchard Cottage Dental? Please use the contact form below to book an appointment. A member from our friendly team will be in touch shortly.