Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to give us a call and our team at Clonakilty Dental Centre will be happy to assist you.


How often should I visit the dentist?

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Catching these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and harder to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. This should be done for 2 minutes. You should floss once a day also.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly.
1. Firstly, make sure to use a soft bristled brush. ideally an electric one. Hard bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

2. Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.

3. Use short back and forth strokes or tiny circular movements to brush your teeth. Each movement should be no bigger than the size of each tooth.

4. Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth. Using an electric toothbrush prevents you from using too much pressure.

5. Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

6. Finally, don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.

What is the proper way to floss?

The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly.
• Take 18" of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1-2 inches in between for cleaning.

• Gently move the floss up and down the spaces of your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage.

• As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up and down against the surface of one tooth. Gently clean at the gumline as well. Repeat this for the other tooth.

• Repeat this process for all of your teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.


Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing, as well as tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?

The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
• Gums that bleed while brushing

• Red, swollen, or tender gums

• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth

• Bad breath that doesn't go away

• Pus between your teeth and gums

• Loose teeth• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

• A change in the fit of partial dentures

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Also make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth.

Teeth Whitening

Why do our teeth turn yellow?

While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow color substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.

How do I whiten my teeth?

Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Whitening Kits:

Take-home whitening kits are now accepted to be the best way to safely whiten your teeth. These kits which include the whitening gel and custom made trays are purchased from your dentist for use at home. The whitening gel used in these kits whitens the teeth gradually over a period of time and is the best way to get your teeth whitened safely. There is an option of using 12 or 16% carbamide peroxide. We recommend using the 12% initially to minimize any sensitivity.

The trays are worn for 2 hours every day or ideally overnight. It can take from 1-4 weeks to whiten the teeth depending on the teeth. At Clonakilty Dental Centre we review our patients after two weeks and if desired result are not yet achieved whiten them for a further short period.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening usually lasts from one to three years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.

What can I do about bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so that you can take steps to eliminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth which emit odors. It will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease), caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist). Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.

Dental Implants

Are implants the right decision for me?

Implants are made of titanium, a bio-compatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be a more attractive option for most people. Some benefits to implants include:

1. They are integrated into bone and act like a tooth root to support new teeth.
2. They do not decay or have the same gum disease risk as natural teeth.
3. Implants look, feel and act like natural teeth unlike other options.

Are implants or bridges a better choice?

A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. A bridge requires the neighboring teeth of the space to have the majority of external tooth structure removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, and leave the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.

Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?

Implants can also be used to multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease and be lost as well. Implants are placed and preserve bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement not available otherwise.

Are implants expensive?

To replace a single tooth an implant is usually less expensive than any alternative in our office. The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of tooth loss and the position of the implant in the mouth.

How long do implants last?

Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! Under professional care, implants have a potential for lifetime durability. Ask us about our warranty.

What if I do not have enough bone in my jaw for implants?

Minor grafting can improve and restore the bone lost from your extraction years ago. We do this in the office frequently where additional bone is required for success of our implant care. It is possible to have an implant for virtually any situation with expert care and planning.

When an implant is surgically placed how long until I get my new tooth?

For front teeth we strive to place teeth the same day in a temporary form. Posterior teeth are often left to rest 6-8 weeks prior to placing a functional chewing force on them. In cases where there is uncertainty about the strength of the bone more time may be required to ensure longevity (7-10 months). In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. We always plan for long-term success and we do not rush.

How can I get a full set of teeth in one day?

With the use of CAT scan planning we can plan for immediate teeth replacements and the ultimate in surgical precision. Planning takes all the time in these cases, however we can deliver exceptional care quickly and never leave you without teeth regardless of your particular need or treatment.


What are veneers?

Porcelain veneers are a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front, edge, and small portion of the back of anterior teeth. Veneers are used for cosmetic as well as reconstructive purposes; to cover up stained and worn down teeth, as a means to straighten slightly crooked teeth, to change the shape and color of your teeth or to restore teeth with failing older, unsightly white or mercury fillings.

How much of my tooth is removed with veneers?

Compared with older fashioned crowns, you don't have to take away a lot of enamel with veneers, and some veneers don't require any removal of tooth structure at all! Proper planning and expertise always lead to the optimal aesthetic success and beauty.

Will my veneers change color?

Porcelain doesn't stain like most other dental materials or even natural teeth, keeping the shade of the veneers stable for their lifetime.

How long does it take to get a set of veneers or even just one?

We can work quickly if that is your request or we may take a longer period of time to ensure your satisfaction with the aesthetic result. Cosmetic dentistry is an art as well as a technical exercise. The beauty that is in your mind's eye is not always easy to arrive at. We take the time necessary to produce exquisite smiles. We can also work as quickly as one week from start to finish if that is the request.

How many veneers do I need?

This question is best answered by looking into your own smile. If you check out your upper smile from the side as well as the front, a veneer candidate will frequently count from 8 to 10 teeth that matter in the display of a good smile. The lower teeth may matter less or even more so to some people. Frequently a full makeover entails 20 teeth. A conservative plan considers 4 to 8 for a moderate change.

How long do veneers last?

Veneers can chip or break under severe conditions, and may have to be replaced. In my experience, only the strongest materials we have today are more durable than the teeth they are restoring!

What is the easiest way to improve my smile?

The least invasive route is whitening your teeth. This can be done in the office or at home. Keep in mind, whitening does not work well for tetracycline stained teeth, and does not whiten tooth colored fillings or porcelain very much.


What are composite fillings?

Composite is a tooth colored resin/ceramic filling material of many different forms that can be bonded to your teeth to often create an excellent restoration. Resin is used for white fillings, and in some cases, as an in-office veneer material. Resin veneers are less expensive and less invasive than porcelain veneers, but don't have the some longevity. These materials are not the most ideal due to the presence of the resin plastic that is excellent but not as ideal as the porcelain restorative choices available.