The World Health Organisation recommends that children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every 6-12 months.
Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer, tooth decay or gum disease may need to come in more often. Your dentist and hygienist can help you work out how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
Tooth discolouration is categorised by either internal or external stains.
External stains can be removed and are usually black or brown. They build up on the surface of teeth from foods, wines, smoking, teas and coffees. You can also have yellow staining which is usually a plaque accumulation caused by inadequate tooth brushing and flossing.
Internal stains are more difficult to treat. This discoloration can vary significantly. If the teeth look very even but have dark brown – greyish colouring – it is usually caused by antibiotics or sickness when the teeth are developing (as a child). If the teeth have small black/dark brown shadows – this is usually tooth decay and can be repaired by removing the decay and placing a filling.
If just one or a few teeth become greyish or darker than the others it usually indicates the pulp/nerve is infected. This is often caused by trauma and is treated with a root canal and bleaching.
If there are white patches or yellow patches on the tooth – these are usually caused by poor oral hygiene and are signs of demineralisation (early tooth decay) from plaque sitting on the tooth surfaces for extended periods of time. These can also be caused by trauma when the tooth is developing or fluorosis (extra fluoride when the tooth is developing).
Tooth decay or cavities are formed when plaque builds up on the tooth from inadequate brushing and the bacteria in the plaque combines with sugars and starches in our diet and produces an acid which weakens the tooth surface.
Some people may be more susceptible to tooth decay than others due to diet, fluoride exposure, oral hygiene routines, medications or the amount of saliva (dry mouth).
Early stages of tooth decay are, in most cases, quite painless. Only a professionally trained eye can spot and eradicate tooth decay.
If cavities are left untreated they will continue to grow and eat away more tooth structure. They can become very painful and the nerves can become infected.
Cosmetic dentistry is a term used to describe treatment which improves the appearance of someone’s teeth or gums.
It includes but is not limited to implants, bleaching, veneers, bonding, bridges, gum surgery, and orthodontics (braces) or Invisalign (invisible braces).
A smile makeover treatment is done to improve either the aesthetics/cosmetic, function or both of an individual’s mouth.
The initial phase is a comprehensive assessment comprising of x-rays, study models, photographs, measurements, scans and diagnostic work up.
Following the initial consultation and records a full tailor made treatment plan is created for the patient including various suitable treatment options.
Invisalign is the latest orthodontic treatment offering an invisible method for straightening teeth without traditional metal braces.
Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners (like thin mouthguards) used to shift your teeth into correct alignment. The average treatment time is around 12 months.
The benefits of invisalign are:
- Invisalign is clear, so you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.
- The aligners are removable. Unlike braces, you can eat and drink comfortably during treatment. You can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Invisalign allows you to view your own treatment plan before you start—so you can see how your teeth will look when your treatment is complete.
Dental implants are small titanium fixtures that serve as the replacement for the root portion of missing teeth.
Implants are a great alternative for patients who have missing teeth or are wearing dentures. Because implants are so much like natural teeth, most people are unable to feel the difference.
You are able to talk, laugh, eat and chew with confidence. The procedure involves the initial placement, and then a healing process that usually takes three months, before it can be completed by restoring with crowns.
‘All-On-4’ is a full mouth rehabilitation technique which refers to a whole arch of teeth being supported on only four implants. It is a modern technique where the back implants are angulated so more teeth can be supported by less implants.
This technique is usually completed in just three days; on day one the implants are placed and on day three the new bridge teeth are inserted- so you leave with your new smile!
Dental Whitening (sometimes called “bleaching”) is a popular dental procedure used to whiten and brighten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while others just want a lighter shade.
There are a number of different ways to whiten teeth, in-office whitening which usually takes 45 minutes and is done using a light activated technique with peroxide gel in the dental surgery.
Or at-home whitening kits which are custom made mouth guards used with self application of a peroxide gel and used over a two week period.
Crowns are designed to fit over the portion of the tooth which lies above the gum. They are cemented on to the prepared remaining tooth structure or implants to rebuild extensively broken down teeth.
The main benefit of a dental crown is that they cover and encase the tooth to provide strength, this is especially important if a tooth has a crack, a root canal or has had a very large cavity.
There are many different types of materials used including; gold, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal. The dentist will help you decide which is the best material for you.
There are many different types of materials including amalgam (silver) and composite resin (tooth coloured), porcelain and gold. Fillings are used to restore teeth once the decay has been removed or to build up teeth if they have fractured or chipped.
If you need a filling you can expect the dentist to use a topical cream to numb the gum near the tooth and then he will use ‘The Wand’ (painless injection) to give some local anesthetic solution so that you won’t feel the procedure.
The dentist then places a rubber material called rubber dam in your mouth and around the tooth to isolate the area. They will then remove all the decay and prepare and clean the tooth to make it ready for a filling.
There are a number of steps to prepare the surface for placing fillings and these depend on the material used. Once the material is placed the dentist will check that your bite is OK and adjust the new filling as required.
Sleep apnoea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnoea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep – sometimes, hundreds of times a night.
The dentist can offer assistance with an oral appliance, similar to a mouth guard. This is called a mandibular advancement splint and works by preventing the soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing and obstructing the airway. These splints are scientifically proven as an effective and comfortable treatment for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
There are three main things which ensure you have optimum oral hygiene.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice daily for at least two minutes. The best technique is to use a pea sized amount of toothpaste on a soft, small headed tooth brush. Angle the bristles to about 45 degrees to the gumline and use a small circular motion. Be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth.
- Floss at least once a day between every tooth especially behind the very back ones. The best technique for flossing is to use about 30cm of floss and gradually easing the floss down between the teeth; you want to wrap the floss around the tooth forming the shape of a “c” then slide the floss up and down the tooth surface to remove the plaque. You will need to go just slightly below the gum (about 2-3mm) but be sure not to press down the gum or snap the floss onto the gum because you can traumatise the tissue.
- Have regular check ups and a professional clean with your hygienist.
It is important to visit a hygienist regularly to maintain good dental health.
A typical hygiene and check up appointment involves a careful inspection of your mouth, teeth and gums. The dentist and hygienist are looking for any signs of gum disease, loose or broken teeth, damaged or failing fillings, tooth decay or oral cancers.
The hygiene appointment also involves removing bacterial build up called calculus, removing surface stains from coffee, tea, red wine and smoking and a fluoride treatment to help strengthen and remineralise the enamel (the outer layer of the teeth).
The hygienist will also show you how to best care for your teeth and gums to minimise the need for treatment in the future, including the best brushing and flossing techniques.
Chatswood Dental Centre has national accreditation.
Accreditation is based on the integration of a set of national safety and quality health service standards into every day practice culture and patient safety.
The attainment of these standards means a dental practice has proven to be of the highest calibre in delivering safe quality patient care.