1Why are baby teeth important?
  • To enable normal development of the jaw and permanent teeth
  • To maintain space for permanent teeth
  • To assist in good speech development
  • To develop a positive self-image
2When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?
It is recommended that your child attend their first dental visit six months after the first (primary) teeth have erupted, commonly around 3 years of age. The dentist will carefully examine the development of their mouth and detect any problems such as tooth decay, prolonged thumb-sucking etc. Early examination and preventative care will protect your child’s teeth and assist to establish good oral hygiene and correct brushing and flossing techniques.
3Do children before the age of three need their teeth cleaned?
The first baby tooth will erupt between 6-9 months of age. It is important that a daily cleaning routine be established. A soft cloth can be used to gently rub the erupted teeth and gums. Parents should assist their child to clean their teeth up to the age of 10 to 11 years old to ensure that it is done properly.
4I have 'chalky teeth' that decay easily. Is it because I don’t have enough calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that is used to form the enamel of the tooth, ie the very hard outer layer of the tooth. There are no blood vessels in this hard enamel, so it is not possible for calcium to be transported from your teeth to your body via your blood stream. Rather, the principal cause for ‘chalky teeth’ is erosion from an acidic environment in your mouth. These acids are a result of bacteria growing on the plaque in your mouth. Acidic drinks (eg cola drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, wine) acidic foods (eg citrus, salt and vinegar chips) and lack of saliva will cause the tooth enamel to soften and dissolve, thus commencing the cycle of tooth decay.

Your dentist will notice the pattern of erosion in your mouth during an dental examination and be able to advise on prevention and a treatment plan to save your teeth and prevent further deterioration.

5Why do my gums bleed?

By brushing and flossing correctly every day you prevent plaque from developing around the teeth and gums. However, if there is a build up of plaque or calculus (hardened plaque) in the fold or pocket where your tooth meets your gum, bacteria develop and if allowed to multiply, gingivitis develops. This can be recognised by red, swollen gums that will bleed easily. Bleeding gums should be taken seriously as if left untreated could lead to periodontal disease.

Regular dental visits will involve scaling and cleaning to remove the hardened plaque as well as soft tissue assessment and instruction on optimal oral hygiene. A program of prevention is vital for lifelong good oral health.

6How do I prevent gum disease?
By correctly brushing and flossing your teeth and regular professional scale and cleaning you can reduce your risk of gum disease. However, factors such as stress, smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, genetics and poor health can affect gum health. Dentists at Kedron Dental Centre will suggest a preventative care program to suit your individual and specific needs.
7I brush my teeth constantly but still have bad breath. What can I do?

Good daily brushing and flossing are definitely the first steps to eliminating bad breath. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria responsible for creating odorous sulphur compounds and the food they feed on. However, bacteria hide not only on and around the teeth but also on the tongue under a layer of mucous. Here odours are created.

It is best to brush your tongue daily or you may want to consider a tongue scraper. Both are extremely effective at removing this protective mucous layer from the back of the tongue.

If bad breath persists, there are mouth rinse products available. A visit to the doctor may also be necessary to eliminate other causes.

8How do I floss?
Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger for the upper teeth and between forefingers for the lower teeth with about 1 cm of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle rocking motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Avoid jerking or snapping the floss into the gums. When the floss reaches the gumline, curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance. Hold the floss against the tooth and gently scrape the side of the tooth. Move the floss away from the gum. Repeat for the other side of the gap, alongside the other tooth. Ensure all teeth are flossed, working in a set pattern.
9What happens if I don’t get my teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist?
Periodontal disease progresses as plaque and calculus are allowed to accumulate. The supporting tissues around the teeth (the gums, periodontal ligaments and bone) are lost. Pockets will form which trap even more plaque. Bad breath frequently occurs. Be mindful that once bone that supports teeth is lost, it will never regrow. Referral to a periodontist may occur.
10What are fissure seals?

Fissure seals are a plastic material used to coat the grooves or fissures on the top of teeth. It acts primarily to protect the teeth from decay as a barrier is formed to prevent plaque and bacteria from commencing the decay process.

Generally, it is applied on 6 and 12 year old molar teeth, depending on the decay risk of the child and their tooth anatomy.

The retention rate of fissure sealants is around 70-90 percent. Ask your dentist at Kedron Dental Centre about fissure sealants for your child.

11Why are X-rays necessary?

X-ray examinations are an important diagnostic tool providing the dentist with important information on the status of your teeth eg.

  • the presence of decay and its precise location
  • the presence of abscesses
  • the extent of periodontal disease
  • the presence of abnormal growths such as tumours or cysts
  • the condition of roots
  • any changes in the jaw bone structure
  • other signs of disease that may not be detected by visual examination.
Early detection and treatment of dental problems can save time, finances, unnecessary discomfort, stress and complications. At Kedron Dental Centre we use the latest radiographic equipment to minimise exposure.
12What are the advantages of a dental implant treatment?

Currently, dental implants are the closest method of having as natural a tooth as possible when a tooth is missing. The teeth on either side are not damaged or cut. Once the body has integrated with the titanium implant, it should be permanent.

Implants help solve some of the problems that people may have with traditional dentures and bridges which rest on the surface of the gums. When natural teeth are extracted, the bone which held them in place begins to shrink. This can cause dentures to become uncomfortable and ill-fitting. As implants provide points of firm attachment for dental prostheses, they can help solve problems posed by traditional dentures. Many people have reported that dental implants are more comfortable, convenient and attractive than the dentures they had previously worn.

Patients also report biting and chewing are often very similar to biting and chewing with normal teeth.

13What causes discolouration of teeth?

Discolouration of the tooth enamel can be caused by staining, aging or chemical damage to teeth. The more common causes are coffee, tea, red wine, significant amounts of cola soft drinks, cigarettes and some medications.

Genetics can also play a role in the colour of a person’s teeth – some people have a naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease and certain medications eg tetracyclines can also cause discolouration.

14Is home bleaching safe?

Dentist dispensed and supervised tray-based–at-home teeth whitening methodology has been extensively studied and reported in the dental literature. Its effectiveness and safety has been well documented.

The most common temporary side effects are mild tooth sensitivity and slight gum irritation. Bleaching is not recommended in children younger than 16 years because the pulp chamber or nerve of the tooth is enlarged until this age. Pregnant and lactating women should also forgo teeth whitening. Cavities should be treated before undergoing any whitening procedure.

Discuss tooth whitening further with your dentist at Kedron Dental Centre.

15Are whitening toothpastes very effective?
Whitening toothpastes are designed for whitening stains on the surface of the teeth, not whitening into the tooth surface. The concentration of the active ingredient in bleaching toothpastes are much, much lower than in the home bleaching kits. Additionally, they are quickly washed off the tooth surface by saliva. The whitening toothpaste needs to be on the surface of teeth for many minutes to have the slightest effect.
16Are dental instruments sterilised after each use?
We are committed to maintaining the highest standards in sterilisation and infection control procedures at Kedron Dental Centre. All dental handpieces and instruments are autoclaved following each patient’s treatment. Autoclaving uses steam under very high pressure to achieve rapid high heat sterilisation of instruments. A state of the art infection control protocol is in place at Kedron Dental Centre. Staff wear personal protective clothing and disposable items are used, whenever possible.
17How long will my mouthguard last?

A good fit is essential and every 12 months your dentist should review your mouthguard. In adults, replacement may be necessary if major changes to the teeth eg loss of teeth, restorations have occurred. In children, replacement may need to be more frequent as their mouth can change with development or when adult teeth come through.

Ask your dentist for an opinion.

18Should I have amalgam fillings removed?

At Kedron Dental Centre, white tooth-coloured plastic fillings are preferentially used.

There has been much publicity regarding the safety of dental amalgam. The World Health Organisation and the International Dental Federation have released a joint statement confirming the safety of dental amalgam as a filling material. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) policy remains, on the basis of the research available, that the use of dental amalgam produces no harmful effects.

If amalgam restorations are cracked or leaking they must be replaced to prevent bacteria from further decaying your tooth. Which material is best to use should be discussed with your dentist. Composite resin restorations are the modern material of choice due to their pleasing aesthetic appearance, in addition to their ability to bond to the layers of your teeth and favourable wear properties.

Environmental concerns now restrict the use of amalgams in Scandanavia. The Australian Dental Association takes a similar viewpoint to their counterparts in Germany and Austria by discouraging amalgam use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in children and in individuals with existing kidney disease.

19Am I too old to get braces?

Adults can be fitted with braces at any age. When constant pressure is placed on teeth, the surrounding bone remodels as one’s teeth move into the corrected position. Throughout life, one’s bone is constantly remodelling thus making braces an option at any age.

Many adults like to use the new Invisalign clear aligners to position the teeth with the benefit of not being seen. Discuss the possibility of braces with your dentist.

20What do I do when my child’s tooth is broken, loose or missing due to an accident?

Generally, you should not try to replace a loose baby tooth, but you should always make an appointment with your dentist to have it checked. However, a loose, displaced, or knocked out adult tooth requires immediate attention from your dentist!

If the tooth is knocked out completely and you are able to access a dentist quickly, you must put the tooth in your cheek to keep it moist or keep it immersed in milk until you see the dentist for an immediate assessment. Don’t rinse the loose tooth in water. Teeth that have been displaced are easiest for your dentist to reposition very soon after the injury. If you are unable to access a dentist quickly, you must wash it with saliva or milk and put it into the socket yourself. You must get to a dentist as soon as possible – preferably within 30 minutes and before 2 hours. Ring Kedron Dental Centre immediately.

In the event of a loose permanent tooth you must visit the dentist as soon as possible. An x-ray will often be taken of the tooth to rule out the possibility that the root has been fractured. If the tooth is very loose, your dentist may need to splint the tooth to the neighbouring teeth to stabilise it while the injury heals.

Small chips broken from teeth do not normally require urgent treatment. Often your dentist will just need to smooth the rough edges, or if the chips are larger, repair them with some tooth coloured resin. Make sure you try to find all the broken bits as some pieces can be re-bonded to the tooth with excellent results.

A tooth that has more than a small piece fractured needs careful assessment. If the tooth is acutely sensitive to breathing air, this is usually a sign that the fracture is deep and needs urgent care. Once the fracture is covered by a protective layer, the sensitivity usually subsides.

21What are the considerations regarding tongue piercing?

Serious risks during tongue piercing may arise and must be considered . These can include a local infection eg swelling and pain due to the difficulty to keep the mouth sterile and increased saliva flow, allergic response to metals or systemic infection such as hepatitis, AIDS due to factors in the operators’ domain. The tongue has major blood vessels within it and increased risk of bleeding problems eg blood poisoning, blood clots or excessive and difficult to control bleeding may ensue. A choking risk if the jewellery is loosened and swallowed can occur.

22What is The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS)?

The Commonwealth Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a dental benefits program that provides up to $1,000 in benefits over two years to the child for basic dental services.

A child is eligible if they are aged 2–17 years, are eligible for Medicare and receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or other relevant Australian Government payments.

Benefits cover a range of dental services including examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canal treatments and extractions.

Benefits will not be available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and will not be paid for any dental services provided in a hospital operating theatre or oral surgery environment.

At Kedron Dental Centre we bulk bill the service and claim the benefit directly from Medicare Australia.

23Why is it important to provide a medical history to your dentist?

In order to help your dentist plan the best possible treatment for you it is essential that your dentist knows your dental and medical history. A medical history form will be given to all new patients and updating of one’s history occurs on a regular basis with existing patients. Some of the details required include:

  • a list of all medicines you are taking now or have taken recently.
  • allergic responses to antibiotics or any other medication
  • history of bleeding or blood disorders
  • pregnancy
  • cardiac history
24Are electric toothbrushes better than the manual brushes?

An electric toothbrush is a device that uses electric power to move the brush head. The movement of the brush head is in an oscillating pattern that helps clean gently between the teeth and in the far corners of your mouth. It is a great experience to use the electric toothbrush. They are helpful for those who have some kind of difficulty in handling a regular toothbrush such as with elderly people or those with some kind of wrist injuries. You can benefit greatly from the comfort and less effort involved in using an electric toothbrush.

It is my opinion that all individuals can benefit from using an electric toothbrush as you can brush your teeth better with greater ease and can reach those difficult to get at areas such as the inside of the lower teeth. Additionally, less time is required.

25What do I do about my wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth usually do not push through the gums until people are between 17-25 years of age. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come through the gums and often there is insufficient space remaining in the jaw to accommodate them. The teeth would then become wedged in or ‘impacted’. Some impacted wisdom teeth remain buried and cause no trouble while others may cause severe problems eg. if there is infection around the gum, pressure or damage on the neighbouring tooth, if cysts develop or with food becoming trapped around the wisdom tooth.

The dentist may recommend that they be removed. This is a common procedure. If your wisdom teeth are likely to be difficult or complicated to remove, your dentist will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Before getting to your dentist, you can start with rinsing the area with hot salty water (ie one teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water). This needs to be done frequently (ie once an hour) to try to flush the food debris from around the tooth and provide some temporary relief.

26How can you help me when I am so scared of the dentist?

Dental anxiety or fear of the dentist can be a major stumbling block for some people, preventing otherwise intelligent and rational people from seeking dental treatment.

Their fear of dentistry is so great that it prevents them from attending the dentist regularly for maintenance and professional cleaning. They will attend only when in severe discomfort, thus reinforcing their fear.

Fear is a learned behaviour and with help you can also learn to change it. You should feel comfortable expressing your fears and concerns when visiting the dentist. Anxiety is diminished if you are given accurate information from a friendly, considerate dental team. At Kedron Dental Centre we accept that anxious people need assistance and can carefully explain each procedure that is required. We have excellent information brochures and staff that can discuss all aspects of treatment to help reduce your anxiety and offer quality care.

People concerned about a local anaethetic (injection) can have a strong topical numbing gel applied on the gum prior to any necessary injection. This will numb the gum significantly.

In addition, we can discuss before commencing any procedure, how you can indicate “Stop now” or “I need a break” to the dentist. Raising your left hand is a common indicator used.

Once you feel in control of the situation, you will come to feel more relaxed and at ease. At Kedron Dental Centre we have ceiling mounted televisions in each surgery as well as radio and CD players, which can act as excellent distractors. Children particularly enjoy the television as a form of distraction. Some people prefer to bring along their I-pods to use whilst in treatment.

Communication is essential with anxious patients. You must feel comfortable expressing your fears and concerns at all times and have a sense that you are being listened to by our staff. Kedron Dental Centre prides itself on its friendly and caring dental team who will try to make your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible. They can help to set you on the road to regular lifelong dental maintenance. When attending on a regular basis, fear is diminished.