IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19

I wanted to give you another update regarding the services we are providing at Albany Dental during the COVID-19 situation.

Dentistry is considered an essential service, so the surgery will remain open. During the lock down we will only be allowed to provide “essential dental procedures”. These include:

  • certain fillings
  • tooth fractures
  • relief of pain
  • tooth aches
  • urgent extractions
  • dentures
  • other limited treatments.

If uncertain, please call us for clarification. Don’t leave a problem to get worse.

This also means for the time being we are temporarily discontinuing routine check-up and cleans, and any non-urgent work including but not limited to: minor fillings, cosmetic work and crown/bridge work.

In this fluid environment we cannot guarantee the days we will have appointments available; however, it is our aim to have a dentist here available for you as regularly as we can. Please call us and we will accommodate you as soon as possible.

In addition to the already high standards of infection control already in place, we have introduced the further policies:

  • Each patient is responsible for swiping their own health fund card through HICAPS (with direction from staff).
  • No cash payments will be accepted until otherwise advised. Card and contactless payments only.
  • We will ask patients to remain in their car prior to their appointment, and call our reception to notify them of your arrival. Following this, a staff member will call when a practitioner is available to see you. This is to reduce social contact in the waiting room and common areas.

We are taking every step to make it as safe as possible for you to continue seeing us and endeavour to keep you updated throughout this situation.

If you are concerned about anything, please give our friendly staff a call. We are part of your community and we think of you as our extended family. If you need anything in this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Please check out our website and Facebook page for any further updates.

Cassie

Practice Manager

Important information regarding COVID-19

In line with guidelines from the Australian Government and the Australian Dental Association, Albany Dental would like to keep our patients up-to-date with how we are managing the current COVID-19 outbreak.

We have two points we would like to mention today.

First and foremost, We would like to remind our patients that Albany Dental has always had the highest infection control standards and we continue to maintain and adapt these as more information is released about COVID-19. We are well stocked with masks, gloves and antibacterial cleaning products despite global shortages. We will continue to ensure the safety of and protect all staff and patients.

• All surfaces within the practice including reception and waiting room will be disinfected every hour.
• We have also removed all magazines and toys from the surgeries and waiting room as precautionary measures.
• Hand sanitiser will be made available for our patients to use during and after their visit.
• A pre-treatment hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse will be supplied at the start of every appointment to every patient to minimise cross-contamination.
If in doubt, we suggest staying home. It is essential that we all work together to try to minimise the spread of this pandemic.

Secondly, we ask that if you have been overseas, or in close contact with someone who has been overseas, that you observe the Government’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation requirement. Please call us to defer your appointment until after that time period.

We also ask that regardless of your travel history, if you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, widespread body aches, sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, vomiting or diarrhoea that you phone us to defer your appointment until you have been 100% well for 48 hours or have had a negative Coronavirus test.

If you have questions, it is best to call your GP or Healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

We thank everyone for their understanding in this unprecedented time.

Albany Dental

Welcome Dr Leazelle Graham!

Dr Leazelle Graham

Dr Leazelle Graham will be joining us in 2020! We are so excited to have Dr Graham on board with us, and we know our patients will love her warm personality. You may see her popping in late this year to meet some patients and get a feel for the place. We know you’ll make her feel most welcome!

Due to having Dr Graham on board, we are now able to open on Fridays, as of 2020! She will be working alongside Katrina Mujana to accommodate your Friday appointment requests. Book online or call us on (02) 4324 1181 to secure your appointment.

Christmas/New Year Closures

We wish all our patients a wonderful festive season with their families and friends. Our closure dates are above. Make sure you get your appointments booked in early to avoid disappointment!

Colgate Bamboo Toothbrushes – now in stock!

We take our recommendations to our patients very seriously, so we sent our Senior Dental Assistant Shanyn home with Colgate’s new Bamboo Toothbrushes to road test. This is what she found.

“I was a little skeptical about the Colgate Bamboo Toothbrush, as I’ve tried other brands of bamboo tooth brushes in the past and found that the bristles splayed very easily and the bamboo had a funny taste. With this new bamboo toothbrush from Colgate, I found the brush had no bad taste and didn’t rub or stick against my cheek. The bristles were soft and didn’t fray. What I also love about these Colgate toothbrushes is that the bamboo is sustainably grown and sourced and each brush is coated in beeswax to help improve its durability against water. It has now been over a week since I started using the Bamboo Toothbrush and I am happy to say I will be making the switch to this eco-friendly brush from now on.” Shanyn – Senior Dental Assistant.
Colgate Bamboo Toothbrushes are now for sale in the practice at a cost of $5.50.

Why is saliva important?

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Saliva plays an important role in maintaining good oral health.

Key roles of saliva include:

  • Lubrication
    • Tissues of the mouth are strongest, the most effective and most comfortable when they are wet. Saliva lubricates the tissues and teeth keeping the mouth comfortable throughout the day and night.
  • Digestion
    • Saliva contains enzymes that aid in the processing of food before it reaches the stomach and allows for food to be lubricated and “mashed” making it easier to be broken down during digestion.
  • pH buffering
    • Saliva contains pH buffers and aids in raising the pH of the mouth back to a more neutral state (pH of 7).
  • Washing
    • Saliva dilutes and washes away food debris from the mouth keeping the teeth free of unnecessary build up between brushing.
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial
    • Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agents in the saliva slow down the development of cariogenic (decay causing) bacteria in the mouth.
  • Remineralisation
    • Minerals contained in the saliva such as calcium and phosphate allow demineralised (tooth surface that has been softened or chemically altered) areas on the teeth to remineralise and harden.

A dry mouth or lowered saliva flow is known as xerostomia and is not necessarily a condition but a symptom or side effect and may be either permanent or transient. There are several factors that may affect saliva flow, these include but are not limited to; systemic disease (such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease diabetes and many others), medication, dehydration, blocked salivary ducts or salivary stones, radiation of salivary glands, smoking, sleep apnoea (use of a CPAP machine).

Products are available such as mouth sprays, toothpaste, mouth rinses and oral gel that aim to promote or replace the saliva. The ingredients in these products aim to replicate some of the roles of natural saliva in the mouth and increase a person’s comfort.

Acid wear and how it affects your teeth

Acid wear and how it affects your teeth

Erosion is the loss of natural tooth structure due to the acid present in your mouth, this may be due to diet, reflux or regular or prolonged vomiting. This loss of tooth structure often leads to a very smooth and shiny tooth surface. Erosion can do enough damage that it is able to wear through to the next layer (the dentine) of the tooth often appearing as yellow depressions in the tooth. More severe wear can lead to tooth sensitivity to stimuli such as hot/cold or sweet food and drink.

It is generally understood that a pH level in the mouth any lower than that of 5.5 is able to begin dissolving/softening the enamel surface of a tooth. The critical point at which this happens however varies from person to person depending on the contents, quantity and quality of the saliva.

Dental erosion can often worsen the damage done due to clenching and grinding (attrition) and mechanical wear such as with a toothbrush (abrasion) as the integrity of the tooth surface is already softened or compromised.

Ways to minimise damage to the teeth due to erosion include:

  • Rinsing with water after eating or drinking acidic foods or drinks.
  • Not brushing immediately after eating or waking (times where there is high acid in the mouth).
  • The use of a fluoridated toothpaste to strengthen the enamel surface of the tooth.
  • A tooth mousse regiment to remineralise the tooth surface.
  • Reducing exposure to acidic foods and drinks.
  • Ask your doctor’s advice for treatment of reflux or vomiting.
  • Keep hydrated, this helps to provide the mouth enough saliva to buffer out and wash away some of the acid in the mouth
  • Use a soft toothbrush.
  • Avoid using more abrasive toothpastes such as charcoal toothpaste.
  • If there is evidence of clenching and grinding talk to your dentist about a grinding splint.

When left unchecked dental erosion can lead to significant damage that may require extensive reconstructions to be undertaken in order to give the teeth good appearance and function.

Why no pain does NOT mean no problem

Why no pain does NOT mean no problem.

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Problems in the mouth and damage to the teeth can come in many forms and not all problems present with a primary symptom of pain.

The dentist does not only check your teeth.

  • A dentist will visually inspect a patient when they come in. Looking for swollen glands, lymph nodes, cold sores, lesions or abnormalities on the lips. After which they may palpate some of the nodes, glands and muscles that can be felt on the outside of the body.
    • By doing this we can highlight any abnormalities that may indicate undiagnosed conditions.
  • They will conduct both a soft and hard tissue check.
    • As well as checking the teeth a clinician will look at the cheeks, lips, tongue, palate (soft and hard), tonsils and adenoids.
    • Dentists are on the lookout for lesions, lumps or abnormalities that may indicate something more sinister. These do not always occur alongside pain and often a patient will be unaware of their existence.
    • Check that the
  • The dentist will also check the teeth looking for decay “holes”, until decay becomes more severe it can often be painless. However, decay is not the only condition that effects the teeth others include:
    • Erosion – the teeth are worn away due to an acidic oral environment.
    • Attrition – tooth on tooth wear often caused by clenching and grinding.
    • Abrasion – mechanical wear often caused by brushing too hard or with a hard or medium toothbrush.
    • Discolouration – sometimes an indication that the tooth/nerve is “dying”, a sign of trauma on the tooth, or sometimes overuse of whitening products (white spots).

Often pain can be prevented or lessened when conditions can be identified early during a routine check-up.

How does my dentist know I’m grinding or clenching my teeth when I don’t?


How does my dentist know I’m grinding or clenching my teeth when I don’t?

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Many people do not know that they grind or clench their teeth throughout the day or night. Often during the night people will not notice their own habit of clenching or grinding and as not all conditions are accompanied by the sound of grinding it may not be brought to the attention of another person in the household until a significant amount of damage has been done to the teeth.

For a clinician there are many signs that indicate a patient is either currently clenching and grinding or has a history of doing so, these include:

  • Wear on the incisal/occlusal (biting) surfaces of the teeth
    • Tooth on tooth wear is referred to as attrition or bruxism this wear can range from being mild due to occasional grinding or clenching to severe where there may be a loss of vertical height of the teeth. Loss of height of the teeth can affect a person’s appearance and the way someone eats and speaks.
    • A flat biting edge or chipping on the edges to the teeth are a common outcome of attrition.
  • Linear alba
    • This is keratinised (thicker) tissue that is formed at the side of the cheek due to the muscles at the side of the mouth forcing the tissue between clenching or grinding teeth. Over time the soft tissue will become harder to prevent trauma to the cheeks.
  • Scalloped tongue
    • When active clenching and grinding is occurring often the sides of the tongue will show a scalloped shape around the edge due to being forced next to the teeth as they bite heavily together.
  • Muscles of mastication
    • Muscles can become sore or tired due to not receiving adequate rest and the intensity of the motions that each muscle goes through while clenching and grinding.
    • The muscles can even change shape with prolonged clenching and grinding, which may affect the appearance of the face.
  • Radiographic evidence
    • When viewed on an x-ray some teeth may show a widened space between the tooth and their supporting structures.
  • Head or neck ache
    • Due to the tension in the muscles when clenching and grinding people may find that they wake up or develop headaches throughout the day or night.
  • TMJ (jaw joint) problems
    • Prolonged or severe attrition may have a lasting effect on the jaw joint making it painful or difficult to open the mouth.

Treatment of grinding depends on frequency, severity, age and medical history. Unfortunately for children grinding is difficult to treat due to mixed dentition. In adults a dentist may recommend a grinding/bruxism splint to mitigate the effect of it has on the teeth. If left unchecked the damage due to grinding and clenching can lead to very extensive dental work required to rectify the bite and appearance of the teeth.

Why do you see a dentist for a toothache?

Why do you see a dentist for a toothache?

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Often when one has an ache in their bodies, they will see a doctor (general practitioner) to find out the best course of action, however is that the case when you have a toothache?

While it seems logical to visit a doctor to treat the immediate symptoms of pain due to a toothache, unfortunately the underlying cause of that pain cannot be treated in that setting. This may allow the tooth to give you further problems in the future and in most cases will generally be referred on to a dental practitioner.

There are many causes for a toothache such as gingivitis/periodontitis, decay, clenching/grinding, dental abscess’, sinusitis etc. and a doctor may provide medication to help to treat the pain whether by suggesting/prescribing pain management or the prescription of antibiotics.

The treatment of pain before seeing a dentist can occasionally make accurate diagnosis of a tooth difficult and may delay treatment until a correct and detailed diagnosis can be made (often when the tooth exhibits signs of pain again).