Why You Need Your Local Gosford Dentist

Gum disease is one of the most common reasons people need to see a dentist but it’s also one the most common reasons people put off seeing a dentist.

Moderate gum disease affects 22.9 per cent of the Australian population and while gum disease is strongly linked to age, with older generations having a much higher prevalence than younger people it can be controlled with good oral hygene and having regular checks with your dentist.

So, what exactly is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth becomes infected. A build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth that irritate your gum tissue cause it, resulting in inflammation and eventually recession of the gums away from your teeth. There are a few signs that you may have early gum disease including:

    • Gums that are swollen, red, or tender
    • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
    • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
    • Receding gums, or longer-looking teeth
    • A change in the way your bite fits together
    • Loose teeth

Types of gum disease

There are two main types of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis.

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It occurs when the gums become red and swollen. The gums may also bleed easily when they are brushed. Bad breath is another sign of gum disease.

If gingivitis is not treated, it may cause a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis may cause the area of the gum closest to the tooth to become weak. Spaces may form between the tooth and the gum, and these may trap germs, leading to even more swelling. Over time, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost, causing the teeth to become loose and possibly fall out.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque, which is a sticky layer of germs that builds up on teeth. Plaque irritates the gums, causing them to bleed easily. If the plaque is not brushed off, it can become hard and further irritate the gums. Hardened plaque is called calculus or tartar. It can only be removed by a dental health professional.

How do you prevent gum disease?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent gum disease:

  • The obvious one is to brush your teeth and gums twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. If you’re not already doing this, it’s time to start – now!
  • Quit smoking. Overall, smoking is probably the single most significant, modifiable risk factor for periodontal diseases. If you need help on how to quit smoking check out some useful tips from the Australian Department of Health.
  • You should also visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and cleaning. At Albany Dental we pride ourselves on focusing on preventative care with regular check-ups to prevent mild gum disease like gingivitis turning into severe periodontitis.

If you have any questions about gum disease, we are more than happy to answer any of your concerns.

Book an appointment today and we can start on your preventative plan.

 

Overcoming Dentophobia – A Fear Of The Dentist

An enormous number of adults all over Australia are terrified of the dentist. If you are struggling with Dentophobia, Albany Dental want to show you some ways to overcome your fears.

 

Why are some people afraid of the dentist?

There are a few reasons why people might be afraid of the dentist, even some of the friendly team at Albany Dental have some dental fears!

● Firstly, they may have had a bad experience as a child, which has left them reluctant to go again. Pain, bad manners or nagging can all lead children to hate the dentist.

● Secondly, they may have been taught to fear the dentist by the way their parents acted. Children can often be subconsciously influenced by parental fears.

● Thirdly, you do your best, but your teeth seem prone to enamel loss and chipping. This is not rare, and your dentist may be able to find ways to help you that don’t involve fillings or extractions.

 

Meet your dentist

If you want to start breaking your phobia, then you can meet with the local Albany Dental team. Getting comfortable with the space and learning to trust your dentist can really help to ease your fears.

 

Accept your fears

We understand you might be afraid, so we can help you by encouraging you to communicate. If you ever start feeling afraid, or you experience pain or anxiety during treatment by the hygienist or the dentist, simply let us know, and we can stop whenever you like.

 

Help us decide your treatment

One thing which can really ease your dental phobia is having more control. This means that you can talk to us about your treatment, including the instruments that will be used and alternatives. If you don’t like needles, then you may want to talk to your dentist about alternatives that will make this more pleasant for you.

 

Find a dentist that is sympathetic

If you have had a bad experience with a former dentist, it can be hard to put your trust in others. However the Albany Dental team is experienced and we are a well-established Gosford dental clinic that is willing to help you overcome these fears.

Learn how you can do it today by sending us a message or talk to us on (02) 4324 1181 now.

Whitening, what’s the difference?

Shade match

We love a bright smile and there are so many different ‘whitening’ solutions out there at the moment that it can all get a little confusing.

First let’s cover the two different types of staining:

Extrinsic staining is caused by outside sources for stain being adhered to the tooth and changing the surface colour and texture, common causes for this type of stain may include tea, coffee, red wine or high pigment foods. Extrinsic staining may be removed with a scale and prophylaxis treatment by your dental practitioner.

Intrinsic staining has an internal origin and changes the underlying colour or dentine of the tooth. This can not only be removed with a simple scale and prophylaxis treatment and requires a whitening agent to change the underlying colour of the tooth.

What’s out there?

  • Whitening system prescribed by a dentist
  • In chair whitening not prescribed by a dentist
  • Toothpastes
  • Charcoal
  • Whitening strips
  • Gel trays (such as HiSmile)

There are many tooth whitening systems on the market however not all of them are able to achieve the same results. It is always a good idea to check a product has a whitening agent and is not only going to act upon the extrinsic staining on a tooth surface.

Why do we recommend a dentist prescribed tooth whitening solution?

Tooth whitening can be very variable and it is important for patients to know what results they can expect before committing to a procedure that could permanently alter the appearance and sensitivity of their teeth. In general we recommend having a check-up before whitening (or recently) to discuss:

  • What to expect for each person’s case.
    • Not everyone will get the same result. Due to the many factors that contribute to the effectiveness of tooth whitening it is important to remember that not everyone’s experience would be the same.
  • Are fillings or restorations present?
    • The presence of crowns, veneers, bridges or restorations (fillings) in the front (anterior) teeth is an important consideration in the tooth whitening process as the colour of these restorations will be unchanged by tooth whitening.
  • Is there any recession?
    • When the roots of teeth become exposed due to recession the structure of the tooth is behaves differently to the tooth covered in enamel. The process of tooth whitening is designed for teeth covered by enamel and therefore may have only a minimal effect on areas of recession creating a higher shade contrast between the crown of the tooth and these area where recession is present.
  • How much sensitivity can you expect?
    • Cases where patients already experience a higher degree of sensitivity may be treated in a different way, such as use of desensitising toothpaste before treatment, lower doses or different types of the whitening agent; treatment being more spread out. In some cases, people with high levels of pre-existing sensitivity maybe be advised against whitening.
  • Discolouration due to the formation of the tooth such as fluorosal spots, intrinsic staining or hypomineralisation.
    • Whitening in cases such as these can have highly variable results, with some teeth appearing mottled, due to the difference in the formation of the enamel.
  • Discolouration due to knocks, root treated or non-vital teeth.
    • These teeth are resistant to whitening as it is not the enamel that is discoloured but the layers beneath appearing darker.
  • Is there a need for a clean before commencing whitening?
    • Teeth with moderate to high levels of extrinsic staining or calculus can produce variable results due to the solution acting on the stain and calculus.
  • The effects of whitening treatments on pregnancy has not been observed and is therefore not advised.

What options do we offer?

Due to sensitivity and reliability of results we offer a personal (with an individually fitted tray) whitening system with the highest amount of active ingredient that can be prescribed in a take home kit. For patient preference we offer either hydrogen peroxide (for shorter day wear) or carbamide peroxide (for night wear).

The impressions needed are quick and painless and we can have your kit made for you within a few days. Full instructions are given and how ‘white’ you go is completely controlled by you. To make a booking, call the practice on (02) 4324 1181.

Quitting smoking? What help is available to me?

Quitting smoking? What help is available to me?

Dentist office illustration.

The decision to quit smoking is life changing and not without its’ trials and temptations but a successful attempt is very rewarding mentally, physically and financially.
How do you know if you are ready to quit smoking?
• You have made the decision to quit
• You have sought out support and any information you may need
• You have started or made a plan
• You have decided on a date
You are not alone. Quitting smoking can seem overwhelming and may take several attempts but there is help available.

Quitline
Quit kits are available by contacting 13 7848 (13 QUIT) or visiting iCanQuit.com.au.
These kits help you to create a quit plan, give you access to professional support 7 days a week and advice. Professional advice can increase you chance of quitting significantly as compared with those that seek no advice. NSW quitline reports that “Multiple calls with the NSW Quitline: 25-50% increase (quitting)” (iCanQuit, 2019).
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
NRT releases smaller and slowly absorbed levels of nicotine into the body as compared with smoking. The purpose of NRT is to minimise the severity of withdrawal symptoms and to reduce the intensity of cravings.
NRT products available include:
• Nicotine patches
• Nicotine gum
• Nicotine lozenges
• Nicotine mouth spray
• Nicotine inhaler
• Combination therapy
• Cut down to quit

Consulting your doctor
Attempts at quitting can be made more successful when using prescription medication. Professional medical intervention can make you up to four times more likely to succeed in quitting. Remembering that “Smoking is not just a ‘bad habit’. It’s an addiction – a chronic condition” (Pfizer Australia Pty Limited, 2018). Seeing a doctor can help to manage the physical repercussions of quitting.
A range of applications and support programs are also available to help keep you motivated.
If you are unsuccessful in quitting permanently take the time you managed to quit as a win. Remember that you just have to choose another date and try again.

Choosing the right toothbrush

There are many different options of toothbrushes currently on the market. The most important things to look at before purchasing is: toothbrush head size and bristle softness.
Always look for a toothbrush with a smaller head – this will enable you to get to the back teeth and the hard to reach places a bit easier. Soft or ultra-soft bristles are also advisable, anything harder than this could potentially cause damage to the enamel tooth structure particularly if used with the incorrect technique.
A powered/electric toothbrush is a good alternative to a manual toothbrush. It can do a better job of cleaning the teeth, especially for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity.

Charcoal, friend or foe?

A recent trend in oral health has been that of using charcoal to accompany or even replace toothpastes however there are some risks associated with it’s use.
Charcoal is very abrasive and as a result can affect the surface of the teeth by beginning to wear away the shiny and protective outer layer (enamel) of the tooth. This damage can lead to abrasion wear facets, a matte/scuffed looking enamel and sensitivity. As well as wearing away the enamel of the tooth abrasion can also wear away the gums and cause recession, making the tooth appear longer and possibly exposing the neck of the tooth which is generally darker in colour than the enamel and more open to sensitivity.
In some cases charcoal may have a negative effect in the mouth including discolouration of non-natural material such as filling material. Some people, especially those that experience minor abrasions and ulcers may find that their soft tissue is also affected by charcoal as it may cause some irritation to these areas.
Studies are being currently being conducted and early results are showing that on a microscopic level the abrasives in charcoal products are doing significantly more damage to the surface enamel of the teeth than a standard toothpaste. There have been no proven studies to show whether clinically the charcoal in these products are effective in tooth whitening, oral hygiene and prevention.

Why are ‘baby’ teeth so important?

It can be difficult to get kids on board with brushing and taking care of their teeth and while they do lose their deciduous (baby) teeth the early habits and oral conditions can have an effect on the permanent adult teeth that follow them.
Teeth aid in a child’s ability to smile, speak, chew and gives structure to the face all of these things can affect a child’s social interactions and self-esteem. They are space maintainers for the permanent teeth so that they may hopefully be guided into the correct position in the mouth and promote correct oral health behaviours that will be used for a lifetime.
To aid the baby teeth it is important to look at several factors including:
Diet – while diet has an effect on oral hygiene it can also change when a child is severely affected by caries as children may be continuing to eat foods that have a negative impact on oral health or may turn to softer easier to chew foods. Be sure to monitor a child’s sugar intake as sugar is metabolised by the bacteria that is able to create decay.
Systemic disease – certain diseases such as diabetes can have an effect on oral health both at a young age and later in life. Building good habits at a young age will aid in allowing children to keep their teeth healthy and hopefully prevent need for major dental work.
Brushing and flossing – it is important to brush twice per day (morning and night), when plaque builds up on the teeth for prolonged periods of time it can begin to affect the enamel surface of the tooth. This change will first it will appear as a new white spot on the tooth (at this stage if it is kept clean it may not result in a cavity) and after this may further progress into a cavity. It is important to brush your child’s teeth from the appearance of the first baby tooth up until an age where they have the dexterity to brush alone. Assisted/shared brushing is advised even to the age of 8-9 often with the adult doing the nightly brush and the child being allowed to handle the morning one. After ceasing to brush it is still important to monitor the child/adolescence’s teeth so that a high standard of oral health can be achieved.
Behaviour – there are several behaviours that can affect the placement of the teeth and the promotion of jaw growth including sucking on a dummy or thumb, a tongue thrust, clenching and grinding and open mouth breathing. Each of these actions may have an effect on baby teeth but may also have long term consequences and effects on adult teeth that may require intervention at a later point.
Taking children for regular dental check-ups (especially when nothing is wrong) is an important step in building trust, pointing out any areas of concern early and creating a good hygiene habit for later life. Early dental visits can make intervention much easier on the child, parent and practitioner as they have previous good experiences to reflect back upon.

Why does my dentist ask for my medical history every visit?

Image: Bigstock.com

When first attending a new dental surgery, patients will be asked a series of questions regarding their health including things such as allergies, previous dental history, previous and current medical history including conditions and medications, smoking status and even dietary information.
All allergies are important to disclose as there may be products that are used in a patient’s mouth that contain surprising ingredients or agents that a patient may react to; this includes food, medication, preservatives, dyes, metals, minerals and compounds.
While some questions may seem trivial they play an important role in the dental experience. There are some conditions and surgeries for which a patient may be required to take antibiotic covers before any treatment these may include some heart conditions, joint replacements and prosthetics or as advised by a GP or specialist.
Oral disease can be affected by the state of one’s oral health and vice versa, poor oral hygiene has been linked as a contributing factor for conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s and therefore may require some thorough attention. Alternatively, conditions and lifestyle choices such as diabetes, systemic disorders, radiation therapy, diet, alcohol intake and smoking status can affect the teeth, gums and tissues of the mouth and may explain some changes that are observed over subsequent appointments.
Medications play a significant role in the treatment of oral disease, there are a high number of medications that cause xerostomia (dry mouth) which can have a significant impact on some patients. Certain medications such as those to treat osteoporosis (such as Prolia) and blood thinners (such as Warfarin) may require treatment such as extractions to be delayed to lower the risk of bone necrosis or excessive bleeding.
All medical information is confidential and kept on record for the purposes of dental treatment.

What are veneers?

Veneers are a thin layer of material that sits on the front surface of the tooth to change it’s appearance. They can be used to improve the appearance of the teeth including colour, shape and position by coating the surface in a thin layer of porcelain or composite.
Porcelain veneers are prepared and fitted over two appointments, they are more robust, have a high lustre and require less maintenance however they may still chip or break with certain habits such as a heavy bite, fingernail biting and grinding.
Composite veneers are more cost effective and can be completed in a single appointment (depending on the number of teeth), they are colour matched to each patient’s needs using several shades of composite material for a great aesthetic result. This material requires some maintenance and polishing and is slightly more prone to chipping than porcelain.
To find out whether veneers are suitable for you feel free to make an appointment with us on (02) 4324 1181.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

The signs and symptoms associated with gum disease will vary from person to person but may include:
– Tender gums
– Red or purple appearance of the gums around the teeth
– Bleeding when brushing or flossing
– Bad breath (halitosis)
– Swollen or spongey looking gums
– Recession
– Suppuration (pus)
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and at this stage considered reversible. The gums may show some of the symptoms including bleeding and inflammation however with a thorough cleaning and a good home oral care regime it may be rectified with no long-term repercussions.
If left unchecked or continued poor oral hygiene gingivitis may progress to periodontitis at this stage not only the visible gums (gingiva) are affected, but also the underlying structures and bone (periodontium) that hold the teeth in place. The destruction of these structures is irreversible and may lead to tooth mobility and even tooth loss.