Tips

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!

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.

Dental Trauma

What is dental trauma?

Dental trauma refers to injury/damage to the teeth and/or gums. Most commonly caused during contact sports and high contact physical activities.

Prevention

Regular use of a mouthguard during sports and other high risk physical activities is the most effective prevention for dental trauma. However, injuries can still occur whilst wearing a mouthguard as users are not always aware of the best makes or sizes, which results in a poor fit. This is why a custom fitted mouthguard is essential during physical contact sports and activities.

What to do if an adult tooth is knocked out?

  1. Find the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown (the white part), not by the root (the yellow part).
  2. If clean, replant immediately, if possible using gentle pressure
  3. If contaminated, rinse shortly with cold tap water and put the tooth back in its place.
  4. Hold the tooth in place. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
  5. If you cannot put the tooth back in, place it in a cup of milk or saline. When milk or saline are not available place the tooth in between your cheek and your teeth.
  6. Seek dental treatment as soon as possible.

Mouthguards

Why should I wear a mouthguard?

Mouthguards should be used by anyone — children and adults — who not only participate in full contact sports like football and boxing but they are also recommended for lesser contact sports like soccer, basketball, and hockey.

When should I wear a mouthguard?

Mouthguards should be worn at all times during games and training for any sport that may involve contact to the face.

What does a mouthguard do?

Mouthguards are worn as a preventative measure to minimise the effect of trauma. They are made of a flexible material that is fitted to the upper teeth. Whilst being worn you mouthguard provides protection to the jaw, teeth, gums, lips and face. By dispersing and absorbing the force of a blow.

What types of mouthguards are available?

1. Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can be bought at most sporting goods stores. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and hence provide very little or no protection.  

For this reason they will often spend more time out of your mouth than in it. Dentists including us at Redcliffe Smiles do not recommend their use.

2. Boil and bite mouthguards do work better than plain stock mouthguards and also can be bought at many sporting goods stores.  

The “boil and bite” mouthguard is made from a mouldable material.  It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth with your fingers. Although their fit is better than a plain stock mouthguard their bulkiness often makes them difficult to wear.

3.Custom-fitted mouthguards

At Redcliffe Smiles we recommend all players especially those playing in contact sports, wear a custom made and fitted mouthguard. These are individually made, to fit you perfectly to ensure that they provide the best possible protection and are comfortable.

Our dentist’s Redcliffe Smiles are committed to providing the best fitting, affordable mouthguards possible.

We can personalise your mouthguard with almost unlimited colour options, decals and graphics.


Redcliffe Dolphins Rugby League ClubAs proud sponsors of the Redcliffe Dolphins RLFC all Dolphins, all senior and juniors receive 20% off all Custom fitted mouthguards.

So call us on 3203 7177 for more information or visit us at www.redcliffesmiles.com.au.

Why is a professional clean so important?

Here at Redcliffe Smiles we are passionate about sharing valuable information about preventative dental care. This helps ensure that our patients have the best possible understanding on how to maintain good oral hygiene in between dental visits.

Why is a professional clean so important?

tidy-teeth-1-1425487 (1)Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day it important but this alone will not completely care for your teeth. Food and debris can become trapped under your gums where your toothbrush and floss cannot reach. If left untreated, over a period of time this can cause problems such as decay or periodontal (gum) disease.

Signs of bleeding while brushing and flossing are indicators of unhealthy gums. The gums become inflamed and irritated. This is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the crevices and gaps surrounding your teeth and beneath your gums.

To avoid gum problems and cavities it is recommended that you see a dentist once every six months for a professional clean and evaluation.

At Redcliffe Smiles we use specialised tools designed to remove plaque and bacteria above and below the gums. This helps to maintain optimum oral health and minimise the potential for expensive dental procedures in the future.


How can I care for my teeth after my professional clean?

Are you aware that there is a correct way to brush? Brushing correctly takes at least two minutes, most of us don’t even come close to that time. Tilt the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line, flick away from the gums and use short, gentle strokes. Make sure to pay extra attention to the gum line itself and hard to reach areas in the mouth (such as back teeth, crowns or any other restorations).

  • Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the chewing surfaces
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and to freshen your breath.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?

Choosing the right toothbrush is extremely important, a soft-bristled brush or powered toothbrush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can get the hard to reach areas of the mouth.

How important is the Toothpaste I Use?toothpaste-1-1414249

If you look in the shops for a toothpaste you will notice there is a wide variety to choose form. Each may be designed for specific uses including, cavity protection, protection from gingivitis, whitening, stained teeth and sensitivity.

During your general check-up and clean our dentists can assess your mouth and can recommend the best toothpaste option based on your dental needs.

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush when it begins to look worn or every three months, whichever comes first.

By maintaining a consistent oral health regime, practising proper cleaning techniques and visiting us for your regular clean and oral evaluation, you’ll be well on the way to maintaining a healthy smile and keeping your teeth for a life.

Do I really have to floss my teeth?

Dental Floss

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important for maintaining good oral hygiene, but did you know that daily flossing is equally important?

Dental floss helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay by getting rid of food and plaque from between your teeth. Areas that are inaccessible to your toothbrush.

How to use dental floss

There are many different types of floss that you can find at your local supermarket or pharmacist. Essentially there is no real difference in their effectiveness. It comes down to proper technique. Follow your dentist’s advice about using dental floss. If you use dental floss incorrectly, it can damage your gums.

Here are some tips

  1. Use a piece of floss about 30 cm long. Winding it gently around the middle fingers of each hand.
  2. Hold the floss with your thumb and forefinger of each hand so that the floss between your hands is about 2-5 cm long.
  3. Gently guide the floss up and down against the sides of the teeth and under the gum line stopping when you feel gentle resistance against the gum.
  4. Make sure you floss between every single tooth concentrating on sliding the floss along the sides of both teeth. Not just passing the floss through the gap.
  5. Flossing at night is better than flossing in the morning

What if my gums bleed?

Initially your gums may be tender and bleed a little as you start to get rid of any plaque build-up. Continue flossing your teeth and the bleeding should stop, as your gums become healthier.

If you notice continued bleeding after a few days, please don’t hesitate to call us on 1300 428 715, we will be more than happy to assist you with any questions that you may have.

Floss HolderWhat if I find flossing difficult?

If you find holding the floss difficult, you could try using a floss holder. Floss holders hold the floss making it easier to reach more difficult areas. You can buy these from pharmacists, supermarkets or come and see us at Redcliffe Smiles. We have a vast range or oral hygiene products that will help keep you smiling for life.