Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a range of frequently asked questions we get asked most frequently.
If you have a different question click here and let us know.

Dental Questions

What is a prosthodontist?

Prosthodontics is the dental specialty primarily concerned with the restoration and replacement of lost or damaged teeth. Sometimes called the “architects of the smile,” prosthodontists are highly trained specialists with a unique understanding of all the elements that go into a beautiful, functional and natural-looking smile – not just the teeth, but also the gums, lips, and facial features.

What do prosthodontists do?

As their name implies (“prosthesis” = addition or attachment, “odont” = tooth), these specialists plan and carry out procedures related to the replacement of natural teeth, in part or in full, with biocompatible substitutes. Some of these treatments include porcelain veneers, crowns, dental implants, fixed bridges and dentures.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place, or to support a denture. Implants are made of titanium. The implants can then be used to support new crowns, bridges or dentures.

Do dental implants last for life?

Once a dental implant has integrated into the jaw bone, studies have shown a survival rate in excess of 90% after 15 years. However, studies have also shown that this is reliant on a high standard of dental hygiene, regular observation and maintenance with a dental professional.

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a thin shell made of porcelain. It is custom-made and cemented to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers can be used to change the shape or colour of teeth, or close spaces between them.

How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

A beautiful smile showing clean, white teeth gives a tremendous boost to your confidence. Most people experience some discolouration of teeth over the years, either from surface or extrinsic stains or internal ones. Treat stains caused by coffee, wine, tobacco and pigmented foods with at-home whitening or have a professional, in-office whitening done regularly. For intrinsic discolouration, consider composite bonding or the application of veneers to the affected teeth, which provides a more permanent solution.

How often should I get a dental check-up?

Dental health varies from person to person, but the normal adult patients visit a dentist once or twice a year even if their mouth is in excellent condition. This enables you to get your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis and ensure that any potential problems are identified early.

What are the best ways to practice good oral hygiene at home?

It’s vital that all adults engage in daily brushing and flossing, but to take your oral hygiene to the next level, follow a handful of particular steps to good dental health. These include:

  • Using products that contain fluoride.
  • Limiting snacks that are high in sugar.
  • Eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoiding tobacco in any form.
Why should I have dental X-rays taken?

Your dentist takes a full set of dental X-rays early into the doctor-patient relationship. This helps to examine and record your mouth’s hidden areas for issues that need comparing against changes that occur between appointments. Most adult patients have bitewing X-rays every year and a full mouth series every four to five years. But those with a higher risk for dental caries problems may need them every six to 18 months.

How do I prevent tooth decay, gingivitis and other problems?

The best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to follow a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly – while maintaining your oral care routine twice a day. Conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS can also affect your dental health, as well as medications and certain types of chemotherapy. Protect yourself against problems that can advance quickly by discussing these dental questions with your practitioner.

What is tooth sensitivity and why do I have it?

Patients with tooth sensitivity feel pain when they consume items that are hot or cold, sweet or acidic. This comes from thinned tooth enamel, which doesn’t protect the tooth pulp or dentin from exposure to extreme temperatures. In some patients, this may be a result of:

  • Receding gums
  • Tooth grinding during sleep
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Tooth whitening
  • Orthodontics and fillings

Your dentist will examine the affected teeth and recommend treatment to reduce your sensitivity.

Why should I consider dental implants?

Dental implants are the ideal way to replace missing or weakened teeth. Most adult patients are good candidates for implants because they can help to prevent the remaining teeth from moving or loosening as a result. Implants are permanent and serve as a good alternative to dentures for anyone with an otherwise healthy mouth and jaw.

At what age should my child first see a dentist?

Studies show children can develop their first cavities by two years old, so it is recommended to book the first visit once their first tooth erupts – or, at the latest, their first birthday. This helps your dentist catch potential problems that can affect the child’s overall health and well-being as more teeth erupt over time.

When do their baby teeth typically fall out?

Most children begin losing their baby teeth between the ages of six and eight, and they typically fall out in roughly the same order in which they erupted. Keep in mind that all patients are different. Children’s and adult’s oral condition depends on how long they’ve gone without an appointment, how long your kids’ baby teeth last and even some things to which you are naturally more sensitive. With these questions queued up, you’ll never be in doubt as to the state of your mouth’s health.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Gums bleed when they are irritated and inflamed which is not considered normal. This is due to plaque (a soft film of bacteria) being left on the teeth which causes inflammation called gingivitis and if not addressed can develop into gum disease. Over time, if not cleaned off through daily brushing and interdental cleaning, the plaque can turn into a hard deposit called tartar or calculus which will require professional scaling by your dentist or hygienist to remove it.

It is important even if your gums bleed they are still brushed to keep the mouth clean otherwise the bacteria build up in the mouth will make gum inflammation worse. After a few days of thorough cleaning, your gums should stop bleeding. If this does not happen you will need to ask the advice of your dental team as you may need professional cleaning. 

A good oral care regime should be able to prevent your gums from bleeding if done correctly. We would always suggest that you have regular examinations at your dentist. This can help diagnose and treat anything unusual in your mouth so you get the correct care and advice.

You may have to use a softer brush whilst the gums are inflamed until they become healthier. It is also important to clean in between teeth daily using interdental brushes or floss.

Smoking can cover up a gum problem as it restricts the blood flow to the mouth. If you have recently given up smoking this could allow the gums to get a better circulation and therefore start to bleed.

What is the difference between a silver and a white filling?

The main difference is the material they are made of. Silver fillings are made of mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metals. White fillings are made of glass particles bonded together by resin. Other differences are strength, appearance and longevity.

What should I do if I knock one of my teeth out?

If the tooth is clean and if you can, try to put the tooth back in. Hold the tooth by the crown and place it firmly back into the socket. Bite on a clean handkerchief for 15-20 minutes.

If you cannot get the tooth back in, it has more chance of survival if you can keep the tooth in your cheek until you can get to an emergency dentist. If this is not possible, keep the tooth in some milk.

The tooth needs to be replaced ideally within 30 minutes, so seek dental attention promptly.

Administrative Questions

Can I receive treatment with Dr. Bronner with my medical insurance cover?

The quoted clinical fees are NOT in accordance with those that will be refunded by your Medical Aid (The rate published by health care funders like Discovery Health, Momentum, Medscheme, Denis, etc, previously known as the NHRPL). My fees are subject to recommendations made from time to time by the South African Dental Association (SADA) and are determined by an inflation-based increase from the tariff list of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (last published in 2006.)

You are personally responsible for payment of your account, even if you are a member of a medical aid, and then make the appropriate claim from your Medical Aid. The bill for your first visit is payable in full on the day of consultation by credit card or in cash. Cheques will, unfortunately, not be accepted as a means of payment.

How can I make an appointment?

We run a practice in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, KZN. Feel free to call our practice to make an appointment.

Pietermaritzburg – 033 347 7540

Durban – 031 201 8087

Alternatively, you can email us at

Do I need to be referred?

No, a referral is not necessary.

Where is the practice located?


Suite 2 Brookside Offices

8 Montrose Park Boulevard, Victoria Country Club Estate,

170 Peter Brown Drive



033 347 7540


Chelmsford Medical Centre 3

St. Augustine’s Hospital

107 J B Marks Road



031 201 8087

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