Adults as well as children should see their dentist at least once in every six months for a regular cleaning and check up. People with a greater risk of oral diseases should visit their dentist more often than twice a year. Your dentist will advise you how often you may need a dental check up in order to maintain good oral health as well as assist in early detection of problems associated with gum disease, including oral cancer, and cavities.
At what age should a child begin seeing a dentist?
It is advisable that children should start seeing a dentist regularly at least from the age of one and this will help in early detection of potential dental problems.
What causes decay in teeth?
The main cause of tooth decay can be attributed to plaque. This is the sticky substance that forms on teeth which, when combined with sugars (or starches) contained in the food we eat, produces acids that can damage tooth enamel. Tooth decay can be prevented by brushing teeth twice a day or flossing at least once daily. Avoidance of snacks and drinks high in sugar content can also help prevent tooth decay.
What is the cause of bad breath?
In most cases, bad breath (or halitosis) can be blamed on a dental condition such as gum disease, tooth decay, poor oral hygiene, oral cancer or even bacteria on the tongue. If you have persistent bad breath it would be wise to consult your dentist about it. Using a mouthwash will only mask the odour but not cure the condition.
Do dentists generally extract teeth as a first choice of action?
Dentists generally do not extract teeth unless there is evidence of extensive decay. This will also depend on other factors such as whether or not the patient has advanced gum disease; or if there are limited options, including whether or not the patient is financial enough to afford intensive treatment.
Do you provide sedation?
Sedation can be arranged upon request. There are several sedation techniques available including oral, inhalational (nitrous oxide), intravenous or general anaesthesia. The use of any of these will depend wholly on the requirements and/or suitability of treating an individual patient.
When is a crown used instead of a filling?
This would depend a lot on whether the decayed area is large or small. Large fillings are likely to be weak and unstable and can result in recurrent decay, and replacement with even larger fillings is not only an expensive choice but could eventually lead to the loss of the tooth. A crown, on the other hand, though more expensive initially, can add to the strength of a weakened tooth and give a better long-term prognosis.
What is root canal treatment?
The soft tissue or 'pulp' inside a tooth can sometimes get infected by bacteria in saliva entering via a deep cavity. The result is that the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels, can die. In such cases root canal treatment is recommended in order to prevent the infection from spreading to adjoining teeth and tissue. Root canal involves extracting the infected pulp, and in doing so the whole tooth can be saved.
What is an amalgam filling, and are they safe?
Amalgam used in dentistry is an alloy of silver, tin, copper and mercury. Although some patients are concerned about the presence of mercury in amalgam, the Australian Dental Association's policy, on the basis of available research, is that dental amalgam produces no harmful effects to one's health. In addition to this, the World Health Organisation, as well as the International Dental Federation, have released a joint statement confirming the safety of dental amalgam as a filling material. The Association believes that, other than for aesthetic reasons, there is no positive advantage in having dental amalgam fillings replaced with other materials.
What are dental implants?
In more recent times, with the discovery of medical grade Titanium and its compatibility with the human body, there has been widespread use of dental implants in dentistry to replace missing teeth. The option for replacing missing teeth using this method is best recommended by your dentist and is most suited if you have healthy teeth and gums but are missing one or multiple teeth.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening, which in fact is a bleaching system, is used extensively for lightening discoloured enamel and dentine. It is effective on most patients with common tooth discolouration resulting from ageing, consumption of potential staining substances such as tea, coffee, soft drinks (i.e. cola drinks) and tobacco. Trauma, nerve degeneration, consumption of excessive amounts of fluoride and antibiotics such as Tetracycline can also cause tooth discolouration.
What is the "Medicare Teen Dental Plan"?
The "Medicare Teen Dental Plan" was introduced on 1 July 2008. The plan provides financial assistance to eligible families to help assess the health of their teenagers' teeth, and to introduce preventive strategies to encourage good oral health habits. It provides dental benefits of up to $150 (indexed annually) per eligible teenager aged 12 to 17, per calendar year, to help with the cost of a preventive dental check. This includes annual clinical and radiographic examination, prophylaxis and fissure sealants as required.
Teenagers who meet the means test will receive a voucher valid only for the calendar year in which it is issued. Patients are required to bring their vouchers to their scheduled appointment, and as no gap payment will be charged, patients will be required to pay dental sense the $150 fee upon completion of treatment, at which point a receipt will be attached to the voucher from which patients can then make a full cash claim direct from Medicare.
What are my payment options for dental treatment?
Payment is required on the day of treatment. We accept cash, cheque, Visa, MasterCard and Debit Card. For patients with private health insurance, HICAPS is also available.
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