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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Crown?

Dental Crowns (also referred to as ‘tooth caps’) cover over and encase the tooth on which they are cemented. Dentists use crowns when rebuilding broken or decayed teeth as well as teeth that have been root filled. It will help protect the tooth below the crown to prevent further breakages and also as a method to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth. 

Crowns are manufactured in a dental laboratory by a dental technician who uses moulds of your teeth made by the dentist.  The type of crown your dentist recommends will depend on the tooth involved and your preference. They include porcelain, porcelain bonded to metal (which combine the appearance of tooth coloured material with the strength of metal), gold alloy and acrylic crowns.

Can I protect my mouth if I smoke?

No. However, there are two things that a smoker should do to help protect their health.
1)  Have regular six monthly check-up and hygiene appointments to the dentist
2)  Give up smoking. If smoking ceases in time it may be possible to maintain a healthly mouth and possibly keep teeth for a lifetime.
If you stop smoking the chance of getting oral cancer is halved and reduces further with time.

Why are mouth guards recommended?

Mouthguards are highly recommended for all contact sports, including training sessions.  Dental trauma to teeth, jaw bones and surrounding tissue is extremely painful and often avoidable.
Impressions are taken of your teeth in order for the mouthguard to fit your teeth exactly. There are many colours to choose from.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign allows you to improve your smile without most people knowing you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.  It a system that uses a series of custom-made, clear aligners.  These aligners are smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you simply wear over your teeth. These aligners gradually and gently shift your teeth into place.  The aligners can be removed by patient, allowing for patients to eat, floss and brush normally.  Average treatment length is about 18 months.

When is the best age to bring your children to the dentist for the first time?

Recommended age:  one year
 At this visit parents are informed how to:
    Care for the infants or toddler’s mouth
    .  Proper use of fluoride
    .  Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking
   .   Ways to prevent accidents that can cause damage
        to teeth and face
    .  Teething and milestones of development
    .  The link between diet and oral health

What causes teeth to crack?

Back teeth can be fractured and caused from a knock but mostly they crack due to forces applied by the jaws biting together or grinding (bruxism). Front teeth usually break due to a knock, an accident or during biting.

What does root canal therapy really mean?

Root canal or endodontic treatment is a process whereby inflamed or dead pulp is removed from inside the tooth, enabling a tooth that was causing pain to be saved and to remain.
Dental pulp is the soft tissue in the canal that runs through the centre of the tooth.  After removing the pulp, the root canals are cleaned, sterilised and shaped to a form that can be completely sealed with a filling material to prevent further infection.  The treatment can take several appointments.  It may be necessary to have a crown manufactured to protect the tooth from fracturing after root canal therapy is completed.

Tongue and lip piercings - what are the most common problems?

Piercings can result in serious problems.
Such as trauma to teeth due to constant hitting with a metal object, hypersensitivity to metals, interference with speaking or chewing, foreign debris in the pierced site leading to infection and difficultly in breathing from airway obstruction due to swelling from infection.

Why do dental rebates differ from health funds?

Assessors from health funds determine the level of rebate for individual dental items.  There is a balance between the rebate and the level of premium you pay, the type of cover and other factors such as waiting periods, annual limits and promotional offers. Most health funds have fixed rebates for treatments irrespective of the actual fees charged.  The rebates are not generally designed to have full cover.  Most schemes do not include all treatment items and some may not even be covered.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that attacks the gums, bones and supporting structures of the teeth.  This is the main reason why adults loose their teeth, and is predominately caused by plaque. Bacteria form plaque which is a sticky, colourless film that forms around the teeth and particularly around the gums.  If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing daily, early stages of this disease maybe diagnosed, called gingivitis (inflammation of gums).  Signs of this include swollen, red, sore and  bleeding gums.  This can be reversible by brushing and flossing both your teeth and gums twice daily and using a mouth rinse.
If this disease progresses to advance stage of periodontal disease (irreversible) gums may recede away from the teeth.  This then causes pockets between both the teeth and gums, eventually causing dental bone loss and supportive tissues. 
The symptoms of periodontal disease:
    Pain while chewing and brushing
    .  Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth
    .  Bad breath or bad taste
    Red, sore and swollen gums
    Loss of teeth
    .  Build of calculus
    Gum receding from teeth
    Teeth sensitivity to cold and hot
Some people are much more at risk of developing periodontal disease.  Smoking is one of the major risk factors, others are diabetes, stress, pregnancy and various medications.

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