Preventative, Restorative, Cosmetic & Emergency Dental
We provide a full range of dentistry services to the local community and are able to provide referrals for highly complex and advanced dental requirments.
Clean teeth and gums are essential to oral health and general well-being. Oral hygiene begins at home, and good habits should start early in life. This includes daily brushing and flossing, and having a healthy diet. Regular check-ups are important for the maintenance of good oral health. At your regular check-up appointment, we will thoroughly examine your teeth to check for tooth decay, oral hygiene, gum disease and other diseases and abnormalities visible in the mouth. Radiographic examinations (dental X-rays) are important in the diagnosis and management of many dental conditions. Using radiographs your dentist can detect problems that may not be seen during a routine examination, and sometimes before symptoms appear. Dental plaque is responsible for most tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Plaque can be removed by thorough daily brushing and flossing. Once plaque hardens, it becomes tartar, which cannot be removed by normal brushing. At your regular exam and clean appointments we will remove these build-ups and develop an individual care plan to help you care for your teeth and keep good oral health.
Many clinical studies have shown that fluoride prevents tooth decay in children and adults. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water and foods. It helps to build strong teeth that are more resistant to acids produced by plaque, which causes cavities. In addition to dietary intake, topical fluoride in toothpaste, gels, varnishes and mouthwash are effective in protecting teeth. Topical fluoride or other remineralising agents might be applied at your exam and clean appointment or recommended for home use. They may help to repair a tooth where decay has just started. We will recommend the correct fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash after a thorough examination.
Fissures are the grooves that naturally occur on the biting surfaces of teeth. If the fissures are deep and narrow, toothbrush bristles cannot fit inside to clean out food particles. Trapped food attracts bacteria, resulting in tooth decay. Fissure sealants are plastic coatings that fill the fissures and protect teeth from dental plaque and decay. The treatment is painless and non-invasive, with a coat of sealant applied to a cleaned tooth. The best time to apply fissure sealants is immediately after the permanent teeth appear. However, it is usual to wait until a tooth is fully erupted before applying a sealant. It is common to treat only those teeth most at risk of decay.
Dental fillings are the most common restorative procedures we undertake. A filling restores a decayed or damaged tooth back to its normal function. A filling involves removal of the decay, thorough cleaning of the cavity and then filling it with a material that seals the tooth, to prevent bacteria from entering. There are several materials available for tooth fillings, including composite resin, Glass Ionomer Cement, amalgam and porcelain. The best material for your needs will depend on many factors, including the size and shape of the cavity, location in the mouth, cosmetic considerations, cost preferences and oral environment.
The aim of root canal treatment is to save the tooth that has been badly damaged due to decay, disease or injury. It is preferable to save a tooth as it will generally function better that an artificial tooth.
The pulp is the soft tissue deep inside a tooth. It contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Infection or inflammation of the pulp can be caused by deep decay, trauma/fracture, repeated dental work on the tooth, breakdown of a filling or crown or extreme wear.
Symptoms may include:
- sensitivity to heat or cold
- pain on biting
- tooth discolouration
- swelling and soreness in the gums surrounding the tooth.
If the pulp cannot repair itself, it will initially become inflamed. If it is not treated, it will die and become infected. Root canal treatment is then needed to save the tooth. To improve the chances of success, root canal treatment should start as soon as possible. If it is not treated quickly, severe pain and abscess can occur.
During the root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth. The internal canal structure is then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, enlarged and shaped. To protect the inside of the tooth and prevent further infection, the root canals are filled, and the pulp chamber is sealed. After a root canal, the pain resolves and the damaged surrounding tissues start to heal.
X-rays are taken during the procedure to determine the number, shape and precise length of canals. This is vital to ensure that all canals are thoroughly disinfected.
Root canal is usually performed over several appointments to allow time for the medications to disinfect the canals. A temporary filling will protect the inside of the tooth between visits. The use of local anaesthetic ensures that the procedure is comfortable. For some complex teeth, it may be necessary for us to refer you to a root canal specialist (endodontist).
A crown is a tooth cap, placed over the top of a tooth to restore its shape, function and appearance. Crowns may be needed to restore a broken down tooth due to:
- trauma (such as a fall)
- tooth decay
- large fillings
- root canal treatment
- age-related wear and tear.
- Crowns can also be used to improve the appearance of irregularly shaped teet
A bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. It consists of an artificial tooth anchored to the adjacent natural teeth. If a tooth is lost due to an accident, or is too badly decayed to save it with a crown, a bridge may be the treatment of choice.
Crowns and bridges are often made of porcelain and metal alloy. Porcelain is strong and can be made to match the colour of natural enamel on the teeth.
Metal alloy is used for its strength, hardness and durability. It is especially useful for molars, which must withstand the forces of grinding and crushing. In most cases, at least two appointments are needed for preparation and fitting of a crown or bridge. Firstly, impressions are taken to make an accurate reproduction of upper and lower teeth, as required for the laboratory to construct a crown. The tooth is then prepared by removing 1-2 mm of tooth structure over all the surfaces. A temporary crown is then placed while the permanent crown is prepared in the lab. Finally, the crown is cemented with dental cement. The end result is a long lasting and hard wearing restoration.
Crowns and bridges should last for many years. However, as with natural teeth, their longevity depends on good dental hygiene, oral health and the forces you apply to your teeth. Therefore, regular dental check-ups and cleans are advisable.
Dental implants are artificial roots that are inserted into the jawbone to replace missing natural teeth. Implants and their attached crowns closely mimic the look and function of real teeth. They are a good alternative to dentures and bridges.
- prevent bone loss in the jaw (this may reduce the risk of adjacent teeth becoming loose)
- prevent the formation of collapsed or hollowed cheeks that can occur after tooth extraction
- are usually surrounded by gum tissue like natural teeth
- may prevent gum recession
- unlike bridges, do not require the cutting of neighbouring healthy teeth
- are firmly secured in the jaws
- are usually more comfortable that dentures
- like natural teeth, are cleaned by dental floss and brushing with regular toothpaste.
- A dental implant is designed to last for many years, but poor oral hygiene can shorten its lifespan.
In order to achieve a good outcome, a patient’s case may need to be managed by several practitioners. In our practice, we work closely with a periodontist, who manages the surgical part of an implant, while we manage the fitting of the crown on top. After a careful examination and discussion we will formulate a treatment plan that best suits your individual needs.
Tooth whitening is a non-invasive procedure which uses bleaching agents to lighten the colour of teeth.
The normal colour of tooth enamel varies from person to person, however it can be discoloured by various factors including:
- surface stains due to lifestyle (smoking, coffee, tea or red wine) age
- poor oral hygiene (irregular brushing and flossing)
- certain medications (for example tetracycline)
- dental problems such as tooth decay, tooth injuries, thin enamel, tartar and old fillings which turned yellowish, brown, grey or black
- excessive fluoride, which can discolour and mottle teeth if taken during early childhood.
Teeth discoloured by surface stains or age usually respond best to whitening treatment.
After a careful examination we can recommend a treatment to ensure the best results for you.
At our practice, we use a take home bleaching system. We take a mould of your teeth to make plastic trays that fit closely the contours of your teeth. We then give you tubes of bleaching gel and instructions. You may wear the gel-filled trays at home at your convenience, usually for only half an hour per day. The normal course of whitening can take from 10 days to 4 weeks.
Occasionally, some sensitivity develops during the course of treatment. In that case, we recommend to stop the treatment for a couple of days, and use sensitive toothpaste or a GC Tooth Mousse Plus. The sensitivity usually resolves in a day and treatment can be resumed at your convenience.
Although it is not possible to predict the level of whiteness at the end of treatment, teeth are usually noticeably whiter by 2-3 shades. You may use your custom made trays to top up the whitening once or twice a year, for one or two days. The gel can also be easily purchased over the counter at our surgery.
Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-coloured porcelain shells that are carefully crafted to bond to and cover the front of your teeth. They are more conservative that artificial crowns and can sometimes be used as an alternative, if the underlying tooth is strong and healthy.
Veneers are excellent for treating chipped, discoloured, slightly misaligned or misshapen teeth, or gaps between the teeth.
Two to three visits are usually required to prepare the teeth and fit the veneers. To prepare each tooth, the dentist will remove a thin layer, about the thickness of a fingernail, from the surface of the tooth. This allows room for the veneer to be glued into place later. The veneer is prepared by a dental ceramist. Finally, it is cemented with dental cement, after which it is trimmed and polished.
Care of your veneers will ensure that they last longer. Good dental hygiene is important, as well as regular check-ups with your dentist.
If you have a dental emergency such as dental pain, fractured tooth, facial swelling or a tooth that has been completely knocked out (avulsed) please contact our surgery and we will endeavour to see you as soon as possible.
What to do in case of a knocked out (avulsed tooth):
- Locate the lost tooth as quickly as possible Handle the tooth only by the crown, not the root
- If the tooth is clean: replant the tooth immediately in the gum socket, using other teeth as reference. Hold it in place with your finger or bite down gently.
- If the tooth is dirty: gently rinse it in milk or suck it clean. Do not scrape or rub the root surface.
- If not certain how to or unable to replant: keep the tooth moist by submerging it in milk or get the patient to hold it in his mouth next to the cheek.
- Never let the tooth dry out. Seek dental treatment immediately.
- Time is the most critical factor in saving these teeth. Teeth that are replanted within 30 minutes have the best chance of surviving.
In the event of an accident that happens outside the surgery hours please contact 24/7 Dental on 03 9044 0777.
Wisdom teeth (also called the third molars) usually do not push through the gums until people are in their late teens, twenties or even older. They are usually the last teeth to come through the gums. Most people have four wisdom teeth, however the number varies greatly and some people have no wisdom teeth.
Often there is little space at the rear of the jaws for wisdom teeth to come through. If the jaw does not have enough room, the tooth will become wedged in or impacted.
Some impacted wisdom teeth remain buried and cause no trouble. However, other impacted wisdom teeth may cause severe problems.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the following problems:
- infection around the top of the tooth ( which can manifest itself as pain, swelling and jaw stiffness)
- pain caused by pressure from the wisdom tooth
- crowding, where a wisdom tooth may push nearby teeth out of their correct position
- cyst – a sack of fluid around the tooth
- damage to nearby molars
- ulcer on the side of the mouth
- food trap between the wisdom tooth and the molar next to it.
After inspecting your mouth, jaws and X-ray films, we can discuss the diagnosis with you and recommend a treatment.
Removal of wisdom teeth is a very common procedure. If your wisdom teeth are likely to be difficult or complicated to remove, we may refer you to an oral surgeon.
In the past people often had teeth extracted due to dental problems. Today, teeth are extracted less frequently because retention of teeth is nearly always better that extraction. However, there are times when extraction is the best treatment option.
The most common reasons for extraction are:
- extensive damage to a tooth
- periodontal disease (gum disease due to build-up of plaque and tartar, which in turn damage the underlying bone)
- prevention of complications, such as infection or abscess of the tooth or spread of infection through the blood stream
- to improve appearance
- teeth with no function
- vertical cracks in the tooth root.
Removal of a tooth is only done after careful consideration and discussion with the patient. Every effort is made to preserve teeth because they function better than artificial teeth.