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What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers a damaged or weak tooth and fully encases the visible portion of the tooth. Crowns restore shape, size, strength and appearance whilst protecting the tooth from damage.

A crown may be needed for a number of reasons, these reasons can include:

  • To protect weak teeth
  • Restore a broken tooth
  • To cover and support a tooth with a large filling or minimal tooth structure
  • To hold a bridge in place
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Or for cosmetic modification

There are many different uses for crowns and there are also different types of crowns that can be used. There are metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, all porcelain and ceramic crowns. Each type of crown has different benefits for each person and can be chosen depending on the situation and the tooth.

Metal (gold alloy, other alloys or a base metal alloy)

Metal crowns require less tooth structure to be removed during the prepping process, the wear to opposing teeth is minimal and they can withstand biting and chewing forces well, lasting the longest in terms of wear. Metal crowns rarely chip or break although aesthetically are not ideal, especially for anterior teeth.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal

These crowns are colour matched to the adjacent teeth, making them a good choice for both anterior and posterior teeth. They do however cause more wear to opposing teeth compared to metal or resin crowns. These crowns look most like a normal tooth, although the underlying metal can show through as a dark line especially around the gums and can also chip or break off with time.

All-resin

All-resin crowns are less expensive than other types, they can be colour matched to adjacent teeth and are good for front teeth. They do however wear down over time and are more prone to fractures compared to other materials.

All-ceramic or All-porcelain

These crowns have a better natural colour match than any other type of crown material. They are most suitable for people with metal allergies, however, are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal. They will wear down opposing teeth more than metal or resin crowns but are a good choice for anterior teeth.

 

There are two visits involved in the making of a crown, the first visit is to prepare the tooth and the second visit is the placement of the permanent crown.

The first visit is very important, it is where the dentist will prep the tooth for a crown to be fabricated to fit around the prepared tooth. Your dentist may want to take some x-rays to check the roots and also the vitality of the tooth. This also helps to identify whether there is any extensive decay or if the tooth is at risk of infection, if this is the case your dentist may need to perform a root canal treatment before commencing with the crown.

The tooth will be numbed so there will be no pain or sensitivity for the patient, the tooth will then be filed down along the chewing surface and the sides. The amount of tooth structure removed will be dependant on the type of crown material used as the thickness varies between materials.  

 

How Pregnancy affects your teeth and gums

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase your susceptibility to developing gum disease. Here are some important things to keep in mind before, during and after pregnancy.

Before you get pregnant

preg-dentIf you are planning a pregnancy it is important to see your dentist for a professional clean and an oral health check. This way any problems you may have with your teeth can be treated in advance and prevent any major issues during the course of your pregnancy.

At Redcliffe Smiles, we will always endeavour to ensure that your oral health is in optimal condition before planning your pregnancy.

During Pregnancy

 It is still important to continue your routine maintenance visits, which can be performed at any point during your pregnancy.

Make sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant. Provide a list of any medications, supplements or prenatal vitamins as well as the dosage that you are taking and any specific medical advice your doctor or obstetrician has given you. We may need to slightly alter your treatment plan based on this information.

Emergency procedures are still undertaken during pregnancy, to minimise the risk of transmission of infections to your baby. However, elective treatment is generally postponed until after delivery. There are nevertheless exceptions to this, feel free to get in contact with us if you have any questions.

You are still able to get dental x-rays during pregnancy. At Redcliffe Smiles, we will venture to minimise the use of dental X-Rays, especially whilst pregnant and use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby. Our Surgery uses very low dose modern dental imaging technology, that exposes you to about 1/10 of the radiation of the traditional film X-rays.

Make sure you don’t skip your regular check-up because you are pregnant! They are even more important than usual, as the hormonal changes during pregnancy can put you at an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. It is not uncommon that a condition called pregnancy gingivitis can affect you during this time.

It is important that you pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during this time. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team if you are unsure of anything.

Morning Sickness

If you are unable to brush your teeth throughout the day, then it is recommended to change to a bland tasting toothpaste, ask your dentist what they recommend. It is also good to rinse your mouth with water or a mouth rinse after vomiting to help wash away the acid on your teeth.

Diet

We all know cravings can be a pain during pregnancy but it’s good to avoid sugary snacks. The more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay. A healthy, balanced diet is the key, as your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about three months into the pregnancy. Diets containing dairy products, cheese and yoghurt are a good source of these essential minerals and are good for babies developing teeth, gums and bones.

After Birth

If you experienced any dental problems during your pregnancy that haven’t been attended to or remain outstanding, see your dentist soon as possible after delivery. At Redcliffe Smiles, we want nothing more than for you to be able to keep your smile for life.

What are x-rays?

A dental radiograph, more commonly known as an x-ray, is formed by a controlled burst of X-ray radiation which penetrates oral structures at different levels. Dental caries, infections and other changes in the bone density are visible on these x-rays. They are used to give dentists a better understanding of what is happening in areas that aren’t visible by examining the mouth.

Why do dentists take x-rays?

There are many different types of dental radiographs, from periapical, bitewings to panoramic. Each different type is designed to look at specific sections of the tooth/mouth.

 

  • bitewingBitewing X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view. These X-rays are used to check for decay between the teeth and to show how well the upper and lower teeth line up. They also show a bone loss when severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.

 

  • periapicalPeriapical X-rays show the entire tooth, from the exposed crown to the end of the root and the bones that support the tooth. These X-rays are used to find dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, such as impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumours, and bone changes linked to some diseases.

 

  • panoramicPanoramic X-rays show a broad view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. These X-rays do not find cavities. These X-rays do show problems such as impacted teeth, bone abnormalities, cysts, solid growths (tumours), infections, and fractures.

How often do we need to take x-rays?

Bitewing x-rays are generally taken on a patient’s first visit for a check-up and clean and every two years after that to monitor any tooth decay. Other x-rays are taken on patients when they are required depending on different circumstances.

Children and the Dentist

toothy-grin-1502299-639x424There is always questions revolving around children and when they should first start seeing a dentist. Dental hygiene and regular checkups are just as important for kids as they are for adults. Good oral hygiene habits should be ingrained in us when we are young as they are essential for not only developing teeth as well as our adult teeth. If we don’t take care of our baby teeth then we can incur problems with our permanent teeth once they have developed. So this begs the question, what age do we start bringing children to the dentist and what ways can we improve their oral health?

It is recommended that kids have their first oral health check by the age of two, although it can be good to bring them in earlier during your regular check-ups and cleans, as this will help to get them used to the environment. It is not necessary to bribe your kids to see a dentist as it shouldn’t be a daunting experience, it should be portrayed as positive, interesting and fun. Appointments earlier in the day are generally better as they won’t be too tired and will be more compliable. We want them to enjoy coming to see us as this helps to prevent issues in the future as they grow older.

We find that a lot of children are left to their own devices in regards to their oral hygiene, parents should be helping and continuing to teach them until at least the age of 7 or 8. The reason you need to be brushing for your kids until this age is because they don’t have the dexterity to be able to brush their teeth properly, after this age they should be able to do a sufficient enough job by themselves.  

tidy-teeth-1-1425487-640x480Children, like adults, need to be brushing their teeth at least twice a day as well as flossing. Although their baby teeth will eventually fall out, it is imperative to look after them whilst they have got them. Losing a baby tooth early can impact the development of the adult teeth, it is something that is preferably avoided. It is advisable to avoid sugary and processed food as this is a major cause of decay, especially in young children. Tap water is always a good option as it contains fluoride which helps developing teeth to become strong and healthy.

If you have any further questions regarding children and the dentist, please don’t hesitate to ask our friendly staff. We will endeavour to be as helpful and insightful as possible. Remember the golden rule, prevention is better than a cure, it is much easier to maintain good oral hygiene than it is to fix an issue.

Is Amalgam safe?

Although our dentists at Redcliffe Smiles don’t use metal fillings. Are they really that bad for you?

This a very common question we get at our clinic and a lot of concerns have been raised over the years in regards to amalgam fillings. Known to most as mercury, or metal fillings.

say-ahh-1417603-638x440Although rarely used today, Amalgam has been used for years to fill cavities in teeth, it is a combination of metals including silver, mercury, tin and copper. Small amounts of zinc, indium or palladium may also be used. Millions of people have amalgam fillings, so what’s the issue?

The concerns raised over the years have been in regards to the mercury it contains, there has been many studies conducted on the safety of amalgam fillings. In 2009, the U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) evaluated this research, it found no reason to limit the use of amalgam and concluded amalgam to be safe for adults and children.

The reason mercury is use in amalgam is because it helps to make the filling pliable, when it is mixed with an alloy powder, it creates a compound soft enough to mix and press into the tooth. It also hardens quickly and can withstand the force of biting and chewing.

Everyone is exposed to mercury through either air, water, soil or food. As with most substances, the degree of harm caused by mercury in the body is relevant to the amount we are exposed to. Very low levels won’t cause any ill effect whereas at high levels it can cause several symptoms. The controversy surrounding amalgam fillings centres around how much mercury is released and absorbed by the body.

Small amounts of mercury are released from the amalgam fillings but is very low. It is generally less than the daily amount you are exposed to environmentally or in the food you eat.

We don’t use Metal fillings at Redcliffe Smiles. We suggest replacing them if they are worn, have decay around them, or are a personal aesthetic concern. It’s difficult to justify replacing them on the premise of Mercury poisoning, considering the volume of scientific studies supporting their safety.

Front of Redcliffe SmilesIf there is nothing wrong with them there is really no reason to have them taken out.   

However if you are concerned with the amalgam fillings feel free to pop into our practice. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Our top 5 tips to a healthy mouth

We understand that life gets busy and sometimes looking after ourselves can take the backseat for a while. We may forget to brush our teeth as we run out the door for a busy day or maybe it’s been a week since you flossed and that piece of steak stuck between your teeth is now the last of your worries? With that in mind, we have compiled our top five tips to a healthy mouth.

Oral Hygiene

tidy-teeth-1-1425487-640x480Good oral hygiene is the first step to an overall healthy mouth, but what does this entail and how can we achieve it?

Well firstly, regular brushing is imperative. This is the first step to removing all of the leftover food and debris we accumulate from eating. If we don’t brush after meals then plaque (a film that holds millions of bacteria) builds up and over time it hardens into tartar. Plaque and tartar are what cause tooth decay and gum disease. So regular brushing helps to remove this plaque and the germs that cause these problems.

When brushing it is important to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth and gums are gently scrubbed and that we spend some time giving our tongue a good clean as well.

The next step in maintaining good oral hygiene is flossing. Brushing alone only cleans three out of five surfaces of your teeth. Only flossing cleans the remaining two. It not only cleans the hard to reach surfaces between your teeth but also helps to maintain healthy gums. It is generally recommended that we should be flossing once a day at night before bed with your along with your brushing routine.

 

Be mindful of what you are eating

candies-1177401-639x430In this day and age, processed and sugary food and beverages are everywhere. We consume them daily and although we are aware of the health issues it can cause, it is good to remember the damage that it can do to our teeth and gums as well. Sugary food increase plaque formation placing you at higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Acidic food, including some fruits are also something we need to be aware of. If we are consuming too much acidic food or drinks then it can soften the enamel exposing them to wear, erosion and decay.  

It is best not to brush immediately after having something acidic as your teeth are more likely to be weakened at the time. The best thing to do is it to rinse with water and wait at least half an hour after eating before brushing your teeth.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Not only can alcohol and tobacco products affect your overall health, they also play a part in your oral health. Alcohol can decrease saliva production, resulting in a dry mouth which is a cause of tooth decay. Saliva contains proteins and minerals that help to protect your tooth enamel, prevent decay and gum disease. Tobacco use can raise the risk of oral cancer and other diseases, this can be detrimental to not only your oral health but also your general health. The nicotine in tobacco raises the chance of developing gum disease and inhibits the gum tissue from fighting infection.

Protect your teeth

A lot of us are involved in sports, whether It be recreational or professionally. With this being said, it is crucial to protect your teeth during contact sports. Wearing a custom made mouthguard from your dentist is the best way to prevent injuries to your teeth, jaw and gums that may be caused from a blow to the mouth. A properly fitted mouthguard absorbs impact, protects the gums from laceration and cushions the jaw from impact whilst playing sports.

Regular maintenance visits

Waiting roomIt is recommended that you see your dentist every six months to have a comprehensive check-up and professional clean. You still need to brush and floss daily between visits, as this will help to prevent any issues occurring during these periods. Brushing and flossing your teeth removes the majority of plaque but over time we a build-up of tartar is inevitable. This hardened dental plaque is impossible to remove by general brushing. If this is left on your teeth, it gradually worsens and can start to cause tooth decay and inflamed gums. Your dentist uses special instruments that cleans away the tartar under and around the gums and will then polish your teeth.

We only have one set of adult teeth and by following our 5 top tips you’re well on the way to minimising dental issues and keeping your smile for life.

Professional vs over the counter tooth whitening

Bright white teeth are all the rage at the moment! Who doesn’t want those pearly whites to be gleaming in all of their Instagram and Facebook photos? Some lucky people have naturally white teeth, but for those of us who don’t there are many products and different procedures available to help achieve this polished look.

As with any product on the market there are always the pros and cons to consider. There will always be questions that you ask yourself before making any final decisions: Is this the right brand? Is it going to hurt? Will this damage my teeth?

With that in mind, let’s look at the difference between professional whitening verses at home whitening.

Over the counter whitening

There are many different types of over the counter whitening products to choose from. These can be bought at your local supermarket or pharmacy. All of which are designed to be used at home. They can vary from whitening toothpastes, strips or gels used in preformed trays. The upside is that it is generally the cheaper option, however the whitening process is likely to take a lot longer. This is due to the strength of the whitening solution being a lot lower than what you would be provided by your dentist.

Some over the counter whitening products can be harmful, certain pastes may be more abrasive on your enamel and can gradually wear down your teeth.

Professional Whitening

This is perhaps the safer option when it comes to whitening your teeth, the products are all extensively tested and the process is monitored closely by your dentist.

There is the option of ‘in chair bleaching’ which is done over the course of approximately one hour and shows immediate results. The other, generally more popular option is the use of professional whitening gel using custom take home trays.

This is where your dentist will take impressions of your teeth. Special trays are then made to fit your teeth perfectly, with spacers to precisely hold the gel in the correct position. Your dentist will supply you with the whitening gel and instruct on how the process works.

Used for about 45 minutes daily over the course of a couple of weeks, your teeth become gradually lighter until you are happy with the shade. This is a great way to whiten your teeth, as you are in control and can stop when you are happy with your progress.

The main differences between the systems comes down to time and cost. So if you’re thinking about whitening, make sure to do your research or feel free to contact us at Redcliffe Smiles. We are here to help you make the choice that works best for you.

Happy whitening!

Child Dental Benefits Schedule continues to operate

On 23 April 2016, the Australian Government announced its intention to close the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) from 1 July 2016. As the legislation was not passed by Parliament before the Government entered into caretaker arrangements on 9 May 2016, the CDBS remains open.

The CDBS provides individual benefits for a range of services including examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions. Benefits are not available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and cannot be paid for any services provided in a hospital.

The total benefit entitlement is capped at $1,000 per child over a two calendar year period. The CDBS has a means test, which requires receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment.

Free Kids Dental Scheme to Stop June 30 2016!

Closure of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS)

The Australian Government has announced it’s intention to pass legislation to close the Child Dental Benefits Schedule from 1 July 2016.

Eligible children will need to receive dental treatment before 30th June 2016 if they wish to access benefits under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule before it’s intended closure.

If you would like to book in before this date to use any money on this scheme you may have then please get in touch.

Click here for more details

Dentures

Dentures are custom-made replacements for absent teeth and can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.

Benefits of Dentures

Replacing absent teeth will help to improve your appearance and smile. Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older. Dentures can help you eat and speak more comfortably.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

Full Dentures

A full denture is made to replace all missing teeth and has a flesh-coloured acrylic base that fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are designed to replace one or more missing teeth. There are different types of bases that can be chosen, either a metal chrome framework or an acrylic base. The differences between the two are cost and comfort.

Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see your dentist annually for a check-up.