expert type icon EXPERT

Hendrik B. Lai

Dentist

Dr. Hendrik Lai is a Dental Surgeon practicing in Australia. Dr. Lai specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures, and performing examinations, among many others.
Hendrik B. Lai
  • BDS at University of Adelaide
  • Accepting new patients

What can be done for chipped tooth?

For reasonably priced options, you could look at bonding a tooth-colored filling to the tooth or, depending on the size of the chip and its location on the tooth, you could consider READ MORE
For reasonably priced options, you could look at bonding a tooth-colored filling to the tooth or, depending on the size of the chip and its location on the tooth, you could consider an odontoplasty (cosmetic recontouring).

How long will a teeth whitening treatment last?

It depends on the technique you choose - at-home whitening usually takes around 1-2 weeks and costs do vary. In-office whitening takes around 90 minutes. Costs again vary between READ MORE
It depends on the technique you choose - at-home whitening usually takes around 1-2 weeks and costs do vary. In-office whitening takes around 90 minutes. Costs again vary between dentists. OTC whitening products are very effective and compare favorably to professional options. Costs range between $15-$70.

Are raisins good for your teeth?

A box of raisins contains nearly as much sugar as a can of coke so I’m not entirely convinced that they will help to fight cavities. However they can be a good source of antioxidants. READ MORE
A box of raisins contains nearly as much sugar as a can of coke so I’m not entirely convinced that they will help to fight cavities. However they can be a good source of antioxidants.

Do dental whitening toothpastes contain bleach?

Whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach. Do not use any that do! Most whitening toothpastes whiten by removing surface staining through mild abrasives. Some like Colgate OpticWhite READ MORE
Whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach. Do not use any that do! Most whitening toothpastes whiten by removing surface staining through mild abrasives. Some like Colgate OpticWhite contain hydrogen peroxide. This is effective and generally safe to use in the longer term on healthy teeth.

Braces

Strictly speaking no one really ever needs braces. Having misaligned teeth is not a life or death matter. A single displaced tooth is probably more a cosmetic concern. If you can READ MORE
Strictly speaking no one really ever needs braces. Having misaligned teeth is not a life or death matter.
A single displaced tooth is probably more a cosmetic concern. If you can keep everything clean you can likely avoid braces unless the misplaced tooth bothers you

My front tooth got chipped at the bottom. What can be done about it?

Sounds like you’re not experiencing any nerve pain, so a simple filling or possibly crown/veneer should be all that’s needed

I had a root canal and the area still hurts. Is something wrong?

There is likely a residual infection. This can occur if not all of the infected material is removed. You may need the tooth removed or to have endodontic retreatment. There is READ MORE
There is likely a residual infection. This can occur if not all of the infected material is removed. You may need the tooth removed or to have endodontic retreatment. There is a small chance of a root fracture. This will not normally cause throbbing pain - more pain in biting.

I recently read an article that said poor dental health could cause respiratory problems. Is it true?

Yes a high bacterial load in the mouth inhaled into the respiratory tract can cause some problems. It is wise to maintain meticulous oral hygiene.

How long will I have to wait for my next session after first round of root canal?

That should be a safe period. The main thing to look out for is that you avoid eating on the tooth as it may break or you could lose the temporary filling.

Are electric toothbrushes any better for the teeth?

Electric toothbrushes are more efficient in removing plaque. They are very good for people with poor manual dexterity - children, people with severe arthritis in hands and wrists. READ MORE
Electric toothbrushes are more efficient in removing plaque. They are very good for people with poor manual dexterity - children, people with severe arthritis in hands and wrists.

How should I select my toothpaste?

Really any sugar free fluoride toothpaste will do the trick. Choose one that is not too abrasive and that you like the taste of.

Are OTC products recommended for teeth whitening?

Yes. Generally speaking many of the OTC prodcuts like strips compare favorably to professional products.

Do I have to be numb?

Pain has a massive psychological component - so you don’t have to be numb for any dental procedure. It really depends on what you are willing to put up with and what your pain READ MORE
Pain has a massive psychological component - so you don’t have to be numb for any dental procedure. It really depends on what you are willing to put up with and what your pain tolerance level is. Think about child birth - some women request an anesthetic, others don’t.

I have performed many procedures from fillings to dental extractions without anaesthetic, so technically there is no reason you can’t have the procedure without it.

Is water-flossing as effective as regular flossing?

From a clinical perspective- yes a WaterPik seems to be just as effective in regular floss.

What can I eat or avoid eating to reduce plaque?

You sound like you are doing all the right things. I might suggest that you start to use a toothpaste that contains an anti microbial agent such as triclosan. This will help to READ MORE
You sound like you are doing all the right things.

I might suggest that you start to use a toothpaste that contains an anti microbial agent such as triclosan. This will help to reduce the bacterial load.

You could also try to reduce the amount of proline rich foods you consume. These include jelly, meats and peanuts. Proline rich proteins facilitate the adhesion of plaque bacteria to the dental pellicle.

What if only one tooth is crooked?

Generally, orthodontic treatment is almost always elective - you never need it - it is not life threatening to have crooked teeth. Having said that, orthodontics can be used to READ MORE
Generally, orthodontic treatment is almost always elective - you never need it - it is not life threatening to have crooked teeth.

Having said that, orthodontics can be used to correct single tooth misalignment: the force will be applied to the one tooth. You may need to have some enamel shaved between your teeth as well.

Wisdom teeth removal

This is more to do with the experience, training and confidence of your dentist. In theory, a dentist should be able to remove any wisdom tooth. However, in some cases such as READ MORE
This is more to do with the experience, training and confidence of your dentist. In theory, a dentist should be able to remove any wisdom tooth. However, in some cases such as where the tooth is near to a nerve or there is a risk of perforating the sinus, your dentist may choose to refer to an oral surgeon, who can better manage complications that might arise.

Indeed, there are some general dentists whose practice is limited to oral surgery.

Can I whiten my teeth with baking soda alone?

Baking soda won't whiten your teeth but you may be able to remove some extrinsic surface staining using it. Baking soda acts as an abrasive so in theory it can damage teeth however READ MORE
Baking soda won't whiten your teeth but you may be able to remove some extrinsic surface staining using it.
Baking soda acts as an abrasive so in theory it can damage teeth however in practice straight baking soda has a very low dentine abrasivity. Most commercial toothpastes will have a higher abrasivity, so prima favor baking soda is safe to use.

Bloody painful gums, what should I do?

First I recommend seeing your dentist to get a diagnosis. In the meantime you might wish to use a salt water mouth rinse after each meal and beforehand bed at home. A hydrogen READ MORE
First I recommend seeing your dentist to get a diagnosis. In the meantime you might wish to use a salt water mouth rinse after each meal and beforehand bed at home.
A hydrogen peroxide based may mouth rinse (around 1%-1.5% hydrogen peroxide) may also be useful as a home measure. Again use it after meals and before bed.
It goes without saying good home based toothbrushing and flossing is a must.