General Dentistry

Homemade dentistry - Brushing & Flossing!

Top tips for brushing:

  • minimum twice daily
  • You have got to floss Regularly
  • Electric tooth brushes are worth it but not if used simply to reduce brushing time and as a short cut.
  • There are no shortcuts!
  • It does freshen your breath – IF you also FLOSS!!
  • If you bleed you’ve got inflammation – usually this means you need to floss and brush better and there is an issue that needs to be addressed. See a dentist or hygienist for second opinion.
  • Clean your teeth, gums, and tongue!

Proper brushing is the first step in maintaining healthy teeth and gums and only requires 2 minutes. Here’s an example of an effective way to brush:

For the outer tooth surfaces, place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum lines.

Use a circular motion.

Use this same motion to clean the chewing and inner tooth surfaces.

To clean the inner front tooth surfaces, hold the brush upright and use gentle up and down strokes with the tip of the brush.

Don’t forget to brush along the gum line, and make sure you reach those teeth right at the back.

And while you’re at it, give your tongue a brushing –it’ll help keep your breath fresh!

Is brushing twice a day enough?

Brushing is important, but it’s only part of the program.

Did you know if you don’t floss, you’re leaving as much as 40% of your tooth surfaces untouched and uncleaned? A two-step process of brushing and interdental cleaning is the key to helping maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your life.

 

What should I look for in a toothbrush?

Choose a toothbrush with a brush head design that helps you to get to the hard-to-reach places of your mouth. Your toothbrush should also have soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums.

 

Toothbrush replacement —it’s a good policy

Studies have shown that a new toothbrush removes up to 30% more plaque than one that is 3 months old.

 

What about power toothbrushes?

Newer designs that incorporate advanced technology remove plaque more effectively than manual toothbrushes and are reliable and safe to use.

When using a power toothbrush, refer to the brushing instructions supplied with your toothbrush. Here’s an example:

When using a power toothbrush, make sure you guide the brush head slowly from tooth to tooth, following the curve of the gum and the shape of each tooth.

Hold the brush head in place for a few seconds before moving on to the next tooth.

Don’t forget to reach all areas, including the inner and chewing surfaces, and behind your back teeth.

Direct the brush head along the gum line. It isn’t necessary to press hard or scrub. Simply let the brush do all the work.

 

Interdental brushes

If you have widely spaced teeth, braces, bridges or implants, you may benefit from an interdental toothbrush. This toothbrush has a very small tapered or cylindrical head with fine bristles.

 

Interdental woodsticks

This is a triangular-shaped stick made of wood, used to help clean in between your teeth and massage your gums.

 

Is there anything else I can do?

Yes so much!!

Keep sweets and sugary foods to a minimum. Instead, choose sugar-free foods for snacking. Good choices include vegetables, fresh fruits, bread and plain popcorn.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Tobacco stains the teeth and the ‘yellowing’effect on teeth cannot be removed by brushing alone. Your dentist can recommend other options, such as teeth whitening for removing these stains.

Cut down on carbonated soft drinks. Many, including diet soft drinks, contain acids that can damage tooth enamel.

If you can’t brush right after eating, a piece of sugar-free gum is a good substitute. That’s because chewing gum increases your saliva, which is the mouth’s built-in defence system to neutralise plaque acids against the development of harmful plaque.

 

Flossing…It’s as important as brushing.

But its a skill – if you’re not good at it we can show you how so that every second you spend counts! Kids who learn it early benefit enormously for a lifetime!

After you’ve brushed the fronts, backs and tops of your teeth, you need to get between them –to get to areas beyond the reach of your toothbrush. Did you know if you don’t floss you’re leaving as much as 40% of your tooth surfaces untouched and uncleaned?

 

Interdental cleaning makes your teeth and gums feel clean because it reaches areas a toothbrush can’t reach. It also keeps your breath fresh and, more importantly, it can stop gum disease in its tracks. Besides keeping your gums healthy, flossing can also play a role in preventing tooth decay from developing in between your teeth.

 

Remember, the earlier you start flossing, the more likely it will become part of your daily routine. There’s no time like the present to help yourself to healthier teeth and gums!

 

When you think about it, ‘keeping clean in between’simply finishes the job brushing starts. And, when you do a good job at home, you’ll find that your visits to the dentist become more pleasant and relaxing, too. So start taking some positive action, after all, you wouldn’t wash only part of your face, so why only partly clean your teeth?

 

IF you cant floss there are other ways and accessories to get in-between your teeth we can help you with this.

Bad Breath

If you are concerned about your own or your partner’s breath, speak to us. We can assess the situation and put you on the road to fresh breath.

 

The 90% of cases of bad breath come from the mouth. The presence of decay or gum disease along or justa lack of adequate  oral hygiene causes the problem. This is because our mouth is full of bacteria that through disease or poor hygiene can get out of control this causes bad breath.

 

Most adults and many children suffer from bad breath (halitosis) at one time or another, and for some, bad breath never goes away. The medical term for this condition is halitosis. Worse yet, a person with bad breath is normally unaware that they have it until someone tells them.

 

There are two types of halitosis: transitory and chronic. Transitory halitosis is caused by foods such as onions or garlic, but only lasts 24–72 hours. Chronic halitosis does not improve with time and breath fresheners and supermarket mouthwashes only camouflage the problem for a few hours. The odour of halitosis results when bacteria in the mouth, teeth and tongue cause the formation of volatile sulphur compounds.

 

So what can you do?

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.
  • Thorough dental examination is required to detect areas of decay and gum disease. Areas where food can trap between teeth and broken fillings lead to a build up of bacteria and therefore bad breath.

– Tongue cleaning. Having stated that most odours originate in the mouth, studies show that 50% of oral bacteria live on the surface of your tongue. Brushing the surface of your tongue with a tongue scraper removes these bacteria.

– Special mouthwashes are now available which actually eliminate the volatile sulphur compounds  the cause of the bad breath.

Sensitive Teeth

Some studies indicate this can affect one in 3 adults, it can be mild to severe and have a significant   impact on a persons ability to enjoy allot of food and drinks.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Caries/Abscess

Bacteria begins to destroy the enamel of the tooth making its way to the next layer in, which is dentine. The dentine is directly connected to the pulp of the tooth via little tubules. Once exposed, they conduct hot/cold/sweet sensations to the nerve of the tooth, consequently making the tooth sensitive.

This infection will then continue if not treated and may progress to bea constant ache.

Tartar

Tartar is a hardened substance that adheres to the surface of the tooth. It is made up of several components being bacteria (plaque), saliva and food. The bacterial component destroys the gingiva (gum) causing gingivitis and progresses to destroying the bone holding the tooth causing periodontitis. This exposes the root of the tooth (recession), which is very close to the nerve causing sensitivity.

Toothbrush abrasion

People who use a very hard toothbrush or an incorrect brushing technique can destroy the gingiva (gum) around the tooth causing it to recede and expose the root of the tooth.

Abfraction

People who grind or clench their teeth (see TMD section) cause the tooth to flex along the gum line. This can cause the gum to recede and start to destroy tooth structure at this point. Combine this with a poor brushing habit, the surface of the root is worn away making the tooth very sensitive.

Grinding/Clenching

This habit wears away tooth structure. Also, the constant severe forces placed on the teeth causes the nerve to be over stimulated and consequently very sensitive.

Due to the many causes of sensitivity, we suggest you visit your ourdentists to determine the exact nature of sensitivity and the best treatment.

Tooth Decay

WHAT IS TOOTH DECAY?

Dental caries is the process of tooth decay. It occurs when bacteria called dental plaque, consume sugar and produce acid that dissolves tooth enamel and dentine. Immediate treatment in the form of restoration (ie filling) is essential. Even better preventive treatments can eliminate the need for a filling – but as there are no symptoms in the early stages you need to see a dentist regularly to pick them up early and make you aware.

The first stage of tooth decay is called demineralisation, and it can be reversed at this time.

We suggest to patients to get it fixed now rather than waiting for the hole to grow bigger, but the option is always in your hands.

Factors affecting dental caries

Plaque

Plaque produces acid, dissolving the enamel. Saliva neutralises the plaque acid and contains minerals to repair the tooth structure. However, the bacteria is held together by a sticky film that excludes the saliva. If the plaque is not removed the tooth underneath it is constantly being dissolved and never repaired, leading to caries formation. Regular tooth brushing and flossing are essential to remove the plaque and let the saliva do its job.

Saliva

Our saliva is the bodys natural defence against caries. We all have an individual saliva flow rate and mineral composition. It takes about two hours of normal flow to remove the plaque acid produced after eating and return the mouth to resting phase. You can speed the process up by chewing a sugar free gum for 5-10 mins. Smoking, stress, some medications, and caffeine and alcohol drinks slow down the saliva production and increase the risk of caries. Minimising these factors and drinking tap water to keep well hydrated will make the most of your saliva.

Diet

Plaque bacteria live on carbohydrates, in particular, sugars. By limiting sugary snacks, or eating them with meals, you are reducing the amount of damage the plaque acid can do. The consistency of the food is important too. Sticky lollies or dried fruit, for example, are in your mouth longer as they stick to the tooth surface.

Time

Time could be a factor if you are eating or drinking anything containing sugar more frequently than every 2 hours. Your mouth would never get a chance to rest. The longer the time your teeth are in an acid environment the more likely they are to decay. Caries doesnt form overnight. Long term bad habits in diet and or cleaning, or deficencies in your saliva, are to blame. If you are unsure if you are putting yourself at risk, talk to your dentist or hygienist.

Tooth structure

Your tooth structure or shape can affect caries as some teeth have deeper groves than others, making cleaning more difficult. Fissure sealants can be placed in these grooves to reduce the risk of caries. You can strengthen your enamel by using fluoride toothpaste regularly. Fluoride works to prevent caries because when it is incorporated into the enamel structure is takes a stronger acid to dissolve the tooth. Fluoride supplements, like any medication, need to be in a dose appropriate to your age and decay rate.

Your best protection against dental caries is daily brushing, flossing, using fluoride toothpaste and maintaining regular dental visits. If you think you have a high caries rate, talk to you dentist or hygienist about toothbrushing and flossing techniques and aids, remineralising agents and fluoride, saliva testing, fissure sealants or dietary counselling.

Mouth Guards

CUSTOM-FITTED MOUTHGUARDS

A custom-fitted mouthguard can help you avoid dental injuries, such as fractures or loss of teeth which are common occurrences. A large proportion of these injuries occur as a result of playing sports. contact us for our mouth guard month specials!

Contrary to popular belief, players of contact sports such as football experience fewer dental injuries because it is more likely players will wear a professional custom-fitted mouthguard.

People playing non-contact sports such as basketball, cricket and hockey are twice as likely to suffer a dental injury as the use of mouthguards in these sports is not compulsory.

Rehabilitating a knocked out tooth can be 20 times more expensive than having a mouthguard properly fitted. We recommend that any person playing sport contact our reception and arrange an appointment to discuss your mouthguard needs, before its too late.

Custom mouthguard vs store-bought mouthguards

As always, prevention is far better than cure. A properly fitted mouthguard made by our clinicians  is the best form of protection. These mouthguards fit firmly, which facilitates breathing and talking. There is also less chance of the mouthguard falling out at the crucial time as it is made to fit the shape of your mouth.

Mouthguards fitted professionally by a dentist are 82% more effective in preventing dental injuries, compared to chemist or supermarket bought mouthguards, which only prevent up to 40% of injuries.

Child Dentistry

YOUR CHILDS DENTAL VISIT

Its important for your children to visit the dental clinic early to ensure they are off to a good start with their oral health. Their first dental visit is an extremely important step for your childs life long oral health.

Your first visit to our clinic

Often a first visit is simply a time to acquaint your child with the clinicians and the practice. As a parent, you should reassure your child that the visit is not scary or something about which to be afraid of. Short, successive visits can build the childs comfort with us.

What happens during your dental visits?

Depending on the childs age, a dental visit will involve:

A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas

A gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up and stains

Small in-the-mouth x-rays to determine if there are any developing holes

Large out-of-the-mouth x-rays to determine the position of all teeth, and any potential underlying issues

A demonstration of how to properly care for your childs mouth and teeth at home with an assessment of the need for fluoride or tooth mousse

Nutritional counselling

Preventative treatments such as fissure-sealing.

Want an orthodontic opinion?

An incorrect bite can lead to long-term dental problems. We can assess if your child needs early orthodontic intervention during their growing years or if they want their teeth straightened during their teenage years.

Our staff will answer any questions you have and will make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit.

Crowns

A DENTAL CROWN WILL SAVE YOUR TOOTH

A dental crown is a covering that goes completely around a tooth. They can be made from various materials but usually from pure porcelain that is fused to a metal substructure, often gold or from porcelain only. Over the last 10 years, we have implemented the latest in German and korean engineering technologies in dentistry, which allows us to digitally create your dental crown with cad cam technology.

Crowns are used to support a tooth and decrease the tooths chances of fracturing. They are especially useful when a tooth has been heavily filled or root-filled and the remaining tooth is weak or there is not enough tooth structure left to hold in a filling. Crowns are also used for aesthetic reasons when we need to change the shape or colour of a tooth.

What does the procedure involve?

The length of time it takes to prepare a tooth for a crown depends on the difficulty of the situation. Usually a minimum of 1 hour is required in the dental chair. An impression (mould) is taken of the prepared tooth and sent to a dental technician who takes approximately 5-10 working days to construct the crown. A temporary crown is made of plastic and is placed on the tooth for this time, so that you can eat properly and the tooth looks normal. It takes approximately 30 minutes to cement in the new crown on the next visit.

Bridges

A DENTAL BRIDGE WILL REPLACE MISSING TEETH

Bridges can be used to replace missing teeth if there are teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The two teeth are prepared for crowns, then a dental technician can fabricate a bridge with the missing tooth attached to the two crowns. This is all made in one piece to look like three separate teeth.first bite dental cosmetic dentistry bridge

Depending on the difficulty of the situation it will take a minimum of 90 minutes in a dental chair to prepare the teeth for a bridge. An impression (mould) is taken of the prepared teeth and sent to a dental technician.

Two weeks later the dentist takes about 30 minutes to cement in the bridge. Your new bridge should last for approximately 10 years as long as the supporting teeth stay healthy.

The patient below presented with a broken down back molar and a missing first molar. This was causing the upper and lower teeth to start drifting apart, changing her bite. This also started placing more pressure on the front teeth, causing them to wear as they were now used for chewing.

During treatment the back molar had to be reconstructed to remove all decay and fractures.

Root Canal Treatment

This is performed when the nerve of a tooth is irreversibly inflamed of infected. This is a painfull condition that requires winter two options – a the tooth is removed or b the tooth is kept but the pain causing nerve is removed and the canal filled allowing the tooth to be kept.

Commonly asked questions on root canal treatment

How will root canal treatment affect the appearance of my tooth?

The tooth may darken after root treatment, especially if the tooth has received a heavy blow resulting in some bleeding into the tissue.

Is root treatment always successful?

More than 80% of root treatments are successful.

Is root canal treatment costly?

Costs are high due to the degree of skill required and the length of time needed to carry out this treatment.

Do teeth have more than one canal?

Front teeth usually have one canal whereas back teeth have two or more canals.

Gum Disease

Also known as a silent killer of teeth, gum disease is the biggest pathological cause of tooth extraction and n the great majority of cases gum disease does not cause pain and for that reason goes undetected for too long. 

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. These bacteria produce toxins that can irritate the gums and damage teeth.

You know that brushing your teeth every day can help you avoid cavities. But avoiding cavities alone is not enough to keep your teeth healthy. You may be surprised to learn that most tooth loss in adults is not caused by tooth decay, but by gum disease.

Gums cover and protect the bone that supports your teeth. This bone is like a foundation that supports a building if the foundation becomes weakened, the building may fall down, even though theres nothing wrong with the building itself. Similarly, if the gums are not cared for, the bone underneath can become infected and damaged. You can lose your teeth if the bone is not strong enough to hold your teeth in place even if youve never had a cavity in your life!

Signs of gum disease

Your gums might be tender, swollen, or red.

Your gums bleed when you brush or floss.

You cant get rid of bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

Your teeth are loose or separating.

Your teeth or dentures no longer fit together correctly.

Am I at risk for gum disease?

Yes, gum disease can affect you at any age; however, it most often affects adults. In fact, about three out of four adults over age 35 have gum disease now or have had it in the past.

Your risk of getting gum disease may increase if you smoke or have certain medical conditions. It is therefore vital to keep your dentist informed of your general health.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease characterised by inflammation of the gums. It develops when develops when plaque collects above and below the gum line. Many of us will experience gingivitis at some time in our lives. (Nearly 75% of people over age 35 now have gum disease or have experienced it previously.) Fortunately, with immediate proper care, this type of gum disease is completely reversible.

Gingivitis is caused by infrequent or incorrect brushing and flossing which results in plaque build up on tooth surfaces, between teeth and under the gum line. Symptoms occur when bacteria in the plaque produce toxins that irritate gum tissue, causing gum tenderness, inflammation and pain.

If the disease is allowed to progress, gum infection will occur, accompanied by a tendency to bleed during brushing. In cases of acute gingivitis, more severe symptoms occur.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a disease that occurs when bacterial toxins penetrate the gingiva and cause inflammation of the gums, ligaments and the bone structure, which support teeth. Although the effects of this inflammation may be irreversible, the diseases progress can be halted and controlled.

Because periodontitis may occur without visible symptoms, it is important for your dentist or hygienist to examine regularly for increased gum pocket depths, one of the earliest signs of the disease.