Explore frequently asked questions about oral health.
What are some of the signs and symptoms for teething?
The appearance of primary teeth is commonly called ‘teething’. Many babies experience some discomfort during teething. Most babies are irritable when new teeth break through their gums. Signs and symptoms of teething can include:
- Frequent crying and crankiness
- A mild fever
- Reddened cheeks and drooling
- Loss of or reduced appetite
- Mild diarrhoea
- Sucking or gnawing on toys
- Pulling the ear on the same side as the erupting tooth.
It is extremely important not to ignore symptoms such as fever and diarrhoea in your child. If these symptoms occur, seek medical advice to eliminate other reasons for the symptoms.
What do I do if my child is crying because of teething and how can the pain be controlled?
Try and distract the child away from the pain. Try affection and attention. Some light pressure with something cold may help such as a soft wash cloth. Don’t press too hard and not too cold. Chilled (not frozen) teething rings may help with pain relief. If a child uses a dummy or pacifier don’t put anything sweet such as sugar or honey to try and get rid of the pain. If the child is in distress you can go to your nearby pharmacy and administer over the counter pain relief medication for the child such as Ibuprofen or Panadol. See a health care professional if you think the pain is out of control.
What is Cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a type of dentistry that deals with the overall appearance of your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth therefore improving your smile. A consultation with your dentist is essential to establish just what can be done for you and at what cost. Once a treatment plan is defined you can choose to have your treatment in stages that suit your budget.
I have cracked my tooth- Why does it hurt?
When you crack your tooth it exposes the dentine which lead to the pulp (nerves). The dentine has fluid filled tubules and when you flex the tooth there is movement in these tubules which simulates the nerves to cause pain.
What should I do if I think I have a cracked tooth?
See your dentist as soon as you can. If the crack is small enough, it may be removed by replacing the filling. Amalgam fillings and bonded white fillings will hold the tooth together making it less likely to crack. Sometimes the cracked part of the tooth fractures off during the removal of the filling and this can be replaced with a new filling. Your dentist may first place an orthodontic band around the tooth to keep it together. If the pain settles, the band is replaced with a filling that covers the fractured portion of tooth (or the whole biting surface). Other options include the placement of gold or porcelain fillings or even a crown. If the crack goes too far vertically, there is a possibility the tooth may need to be removed and replaced with an artificial one. If the nerve is affected then root canal treatment will be required.
Crowns & Bridge
How do I know if I need a crown and not a filling?
A very large filling is unstable and is likely to break or leak over a period of time. A crown strengthens a weak tooth and will provide it with a good long term prognosis. Treatments like filling onlays and veneers allow dentists to strengthen teeth without having to sacrifice more tooth structure.
What is the difference between a filling and a sealant?
If your tooth has decay then fillings are used to restore teeth to their normal appearance and shape and function.
As decay occurs most often on the back (molar ) teeth , fissure sealants help to prevent tooth decay as they are used to fill in the natural pits and fissures.
Why do my gums bleed?
Most commonly gums bleed due to plaque build-up on teeth which causes inflammation (gingivitis) of the gums. Your oral hygiene might need improvement. Visit your dentist regularly for an overall check-up. Other factors like stress, diabetes, genetics and pregnancy also affect the health of your gums.
Recent research has conclusively shown that there can be very serious health consequences from untreated gum infection. These include –diabetes, heart disease, preterm and low birth babies, osteoporosis and certain respiratory conditions.
What is a dental Implant?
A Dental Implant is a device designed to permanently replace missing teeth. Dental Implants restore full functionality and appearance with a natural looking tooth. The replacement of missing teeth is important to a patient’s oral health and overall wellbeing.
What is Invisalign® technology?
Invisalign® uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan for straightening your teeth. It determines the initial position of your teeth and the final desired position. A series of custom-made, clear “aligners” are produced to realign the teeth. Each “aligner” moves teeth incrementally and is worn then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
My child plays sport and was told to wear a mouthguard. What are the different kinds?
A properly fitted mouthguard should be worn during any contact sport or activities where there is risk of an injury to the teeth. Without a mouthguard, sports injuries and accidents can result in damage and injury to the gum, lips or teeth, tooth fractures, knocked out teeth and jaw fractures.
Types of mouthguards:
- Custom-fitted – constructed and fitted to the shape of your mouth by a dental professional. These mouthguards have been proven to reduce the number and severity of mouth injuries in sport and during training.
- Boil-and-bite – once the lining is softened in boiling water, the person bites on the mouthguard to help it take the shape of their mouth. The process of biting down onto the softened lining can decrease the guard thickness and therefore its effectiveness. These mouthguards can be uncomfortable to wear.
- Ready-made – these are ready-to-wear mouthguards available over the counter at sports shops and chemists. While these are the cheapest mouthguard, they also offer the least amount of protection. They are bulky and hard to keep in the mouth due to their poor fit.
Root Canal Therapy
What is a root canal treatment and why should I require it?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that replaces damaged or infected pulp in the tooth’s root canal, with a filling.
If you have damaged or infected pulp in one or more of the roots of your teeth, or an abscess has developed, you may need a root canal treatment. This infection may be due to decay beneath a filling, untreated dental decay or by other factors.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of removing stains and discolouration from teeth to produce whiter, more natural looking teeth. Their colour is improved through a bleaching process to make them look “whiter??? and “brighter???.
Teeth Whitening is very effective for stained teeth due to coffee, tea, and smoking and by consuming certain medications.
Avoid using over the counter quick fixes to teeth whitening and treatments performed by unqualified staff at beauty salons which can have serious health consequences. See your dentist to see what options there are such as “at home bleaching??? or “in chair??? tooth whitening treatments.
I might need my wisdom teeth removed what is the right time?
If wisdom teeth extraction is required it should be performed sooner than later. Using x-rays, your dentist can determine which wisdom teeth need to be removed. Sometimes, a person may need all the wisdom teeth extracted. Depending on the complexity of the issue, the operation may be performed in the chair using local anaesthetic or in an operating theatre under a general anaesthetic.
Your jaw and gum are likely to be sore, swollen and prone to bleeding for a few days after the operation. One of the possible post-surgery complications is a dry socket where the site doesn’t heal as well as it should. This can be successfully treated by your dentist.
Why do I need dental xrays?
Dental radiographs (x-rays) show the structures of your teeth and mouth that cannot be seen visually during your clinical examination by the naked eye. Dentists take x-rays every 2-3 years to check for any problems. X-rays also allow us to see the very early signs of decay which means dentists can start treatment early if required and prevent further damage.
X rays are also taken for other reasons such as to check on unerupted teeth in the jaws e.g. wisdom teeth.