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Wisdom teeth causing you problems? 5 issues they are commonly linked to

Wisdom teeth, the dreaded pain that you don’t ever want to deal with. Wisdom teeth, also known as your third molars – reside at the back most region of your mouth, bringing the total number of teeth in your mouth to 32. Wisdom teeth come through at a much later age than the rest of your permanent teeth. The average age for wisdom teeth to erupt are around 18-25 years old, however, this can vary and, in some cases, they may never erupt or potentially erupt at a much later age. The eruption of wisdom teeth in the mouth are often associated with an unpleasant pain which can affect eating, talking and chewing. In most cases, the pain will disappear after the wisdom tooth has erupted ‘enough’. Others may not be so lucky and may suffer from persistent issues that require further intervention.

Unfortunately, many patients suffer from impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth. This basically means the wisdom teeth refuses to erupt straight, and so, the wisdom teeth will erupt at an angle or potentially get stuck halfway. In some cases, your wisdom teeth, whether they have fully erupted or not, may be fine without any need for intervention. However, it is important to consult with your dentist to determine what your options are. The team at True Smiles Dental are well equipped to assess your wisdom teeth and give you an indication of what the best treatment options are for you and how to best prepare. In rare cases, patients may not present with wisdom teeth and all – The only way to figure that out is with an x-ray!

Why do the wisdom teeth erupt in such an odd manner? One theory suggests that due to our changing diet, humans are consuming more processed foods that don’t require as much chewing and tearing. This has possibly resulted in a reduction is jaw sizes with evolution. A smaller jaw is less accommodating for the eruption of all our teeth. And hence, wisdom teeth, which come out at a much later age, often do not have enough space to fully erupt. Although this is just one theory, the reasons for why wisdom teeth come out at a weird or funny angle is still uncertain. For the general populace, wisdom teeth should generally be removed for a number of reasons. We’ve listed a few of the common issues that are associated with wisdom teeth below:

1. Swelling

Swelling is commonly associated with wisdom teeth that have either erupted or partially erupted. The gum or fleshy part around the wisdom tooth can create a space for food and debris to trap under. Overtime, as the gums become irritated from the foreign debris – swelling, redness and pain can ensue. In most cases, food may dislodge itself and the issues resolve. Mouth rinsing or cleaning aids can be used to dislodge the debris. Although this may work in the early stages, overtime, the space may enlargen, making it trickier to remove debris that may trap itself underneath the gum.

Swelling can be painful and impact daily activities such as eating and talking. And in some severe cases, it can affect your mouth opening. If you notice a drastic increase in swelling size in a short period of time, we recommend you seek medical advice immediately.

2. Decay

Wisdom teeth don’t always erupt in the mouth straight and in line with the rest of your teeth. Impacted wisdom, or otherwise known as the ‘sideway’ wisdom teeth often find themselves trapping copious amounts of food between itself and the tooth in front (your second molar). Despite the best of intentions to keep the area clean, the deepest areas will tend to leave some food debris behind. And it is this food debris and its unwelcomed stay which is responsible for tooth decay. Our mouth has a finite amount of space, and our ability to keep all teeth clean can be quite difficult with teeth that are located further back in the mouth. As a result, our penultimate teeth, namely our second molars or wisdom teeth are often not kept as clean as we would like them to be.

Tooth decay can appear on either tooth, your wisdom tooth or the second molar tooth which lives in front. Unfortunately, decay that appears on the second molar tooth is difficult to detect without appropriate x-rays and close monitoring. Furthermore, should decay arise on the second molar tooth, the methods of treatment may be quite complex and costly due to the difficult nature of the decay. In some cases, the tooth may require root canal therapy, or even extraction due to the extensive tooth loss.

Should the decay affect the wisdom tooth, then treatment options generally recommend extraction of the wisdom tooth. In some circumstances, placing a filling on the tooth may be possible. A thorough exam of your teeth is highly recommended to detect any signs of decay on your teeth. Standard small film x-rays known as bitewings may not be enough to detect decay or issues with your wisdom teeth. An OPG (orthopantomogram) is recommended to assess the position of your teeth and its impact on neighbouring teeth.

3. Pain

Wisdom teeth can be quite troublesome when they start to erupt. Pain is often the first sign of your wisdom teeth coming through. Thankfully, the pain will dissipate with time as the wisdom tooth stops erupting. Unfortunately, we are unable to determine exactly when the wisdom tooth will stop erupting and, in some cases, wisdom teeth will continue to erupt throughout adulthood, and one may experience varying bouts of pain over a course of many years.

The pain you experience varies from individual to individual and is often dictated by the direction of your wisdom tooths eruption. The pain may inhibit eating properly as it can impact chewing or even talking. Over the counter pain relief medication may be useful for patients once wisdom teeth have started to erupt. If pain persists, we recommend seeking advice from your dentist.

Pain can be associated with infection, swelling, normal eruption, or complications associated with decay. Careful assessment with the team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville can accurately determine what the issue is and can help you to devise a plan for treatment.

4. Infection or cyst formation

Infection is a complication that can be associated with swelling and pain. As mentioned previously, food can trap itself underneath the overlying gum tissue of your wisdom tooth. With time, swelling, pain and infection can develop. Infection in the area is when bacteria has multiplied and nestles itself underneath the gum tissue. Common signs include pus exudate which may be released upon pressure around the swelling.

In some circumstances, the infection can spread to more sinister areas and can result in facial swellings. Some infections can be slow and with the help of antibiotics, the infection may subside for a period of time. However, so long as the wisdom tooth remains, infection and swelling has the opportunity to return. We recommend removal of wisdom teeth that have experienced multiple bouts of infection to reduce the burden of constantly treating infections.

Cysts, are known as a sac like envelope that are often filled with fluid, air and other substances. Cysts can develop around wisdom teeth that haven’t fully erupted. So, even if you don’t see your wisdom teeth or haven’t had any issues with them, x-rays should be taken to determine whether there are any issues associated with your unerupted wisdom teeth. In rare instances, cysts may be present which require intervention with an Oral Surgeon. At True Smiles Dental, our new patient packages include an OPG x-ray, this allows us to carefully assess your entire jaw for abnormalities such as cysts.

5. Cheek biting and ulceration

Wisdom teeth have the tendency to not erupt fully, or often erupt at an angle. This can result to cheek biting which can be a painful experience, affecting talking and chewing. Cheek biting often develops into an ulcer, and the size of the ulcer can vary. Ulcerations can be quite painful and can take up to 2 weeks to heal.

We recommend an examination to identify the cause and suggest treatment options for the prevention of cheek biting and ulceration. Removal of your wisdom teeth may be indicated to prevent further cheek biting and mouth ulceration.

We’ve list 5 of the common issues that are associated with your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth issues have become ubiquitous amongst young adults, and we suggest patients receive thorough oral examination along with x-rays to determine the nature of your wisdom teeth. In some lucky individuals, they may not even have them at all, saving you the trouble of dealing with the above complications.

The team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville are experienced in dealing with wisdom teeth complications and wisdom teeth removal. We employ the latest technology utilising 3D imaging to accurately assess your wisdom teeth for careful planning before removal. Are you experiencing any of the above complications? Call us on (02) 7228 7272, or book online at https://truesmilesdental.com.au/appointment

What to expect after dental implant surgery?

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Dental Implants are widely used to replace missing individual or multiple teeth. They replace the roots of your teeth and allow for a connection with the crown, thus replacing the original missing tooth. They are an impressive feat of engineering that allow individuals to regain their smile and most importantly, function.

The success of a dental implant is dictated by careful assessment of your mouth, including x-rays (CT scans), along with careful planning. The process requires a sufficient amount and quality of bone in your jaw to tightly hold the dental implant. Treatment may vary depending on each case, and thus this can affect the healing after dental implant surgery. Your dentist will explain the procedure to you so that you know exactly what to expect on surgery day and after surgery.

Dental implant surgery can be surprisingly simple and with the right hands, and planning, dental implant surgery can be relatively pain free. The use of anaesthetic and proper techniques can leave patients impressed with how quickly everything heals, along with how easy the recovery can be.

If you’ve decided you are ready for a dental implant, but are a little concerned about the surgery involved, and the after care. Like most people, its normal to feel slight trepidation to any type of surgery. Thankfully, dental implant surgery has advanced allowing patients to recover as quickly as possible and thus minimising the disturbance to an individual’s day to day activities.

Similar to any type of surgery, dental implant surgery come with small risks also, fortunately, complications are rare and once identified can be treated and resolved. With the right after care protocol, patients can recover quickly with minimal discomfort.

The placement of a dental implant may occur over a period of one or two sessions, this variation is dictated by your bone and the type of procedure required to place an implant that will be successful. Your dentist will go over the plan with you and discuss what you should expect post-surgery with each appointment.
We’ve listed a few things that you should keep in mind prior to surgery day and what to do after your surgery.

Pre-surgery day

Our team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville are an experienced team that can help you prepare for any treatment you may undergo. We will give you instructions prior to treatment and are here to help you with any questions you may have. Some of the common questions that are asked include:

  • Can I drive after?
    • Depending on the surgery involved, and how we proceed with treatment, whether you are sedated or not, will dictate whether you need someone to accompany you. If you are deciding to have treatment under IV sedation, then we advise all of our patients to be accompanied for treatment and to aid with escorting you home.
    • Patients that do not have sedation and choose to have treatment under anaesthesia, technically, are able to drive following treatment. We recommend you have someone with you to accompany home just to be safe
  • How many days off do I need?
    • Implant surgery can be vary depending on the surgery that is required, but in general, we recommend patients taking at least 1-2 days off work for recovery. Although some patients may recover quickly, everyone is different, and so it is difficult to anticipate how much time you will need off. Keep in mind, that more extensive surgery is associated with an increased recovery time. Your dentist will advise you accordingly beforehand.
  • Do I need antibiotics beforehand?
    • In most situations, antibiotics prior to any surgery is reserved for individuals with underlying medical concerns. For the larger populace that are otherwise healthy, the use of antibiotics prior to treatment is not warranted.
  • How much pain am I expecting?
    • During treatment, anaesthetic will be provided and is more than sufficient to render a pain free surgery. Treatment is straightforward once anaesthesia has been administered, with most patients only complaining of slight pressure if at all.

Post Treatment

After treatment is completed, our team will outline your post operative care instructions prior to discharge. It is imperative that you maintain good oral hygiene for the success of your implant, along with maintaining the rest of the mouth. The success of an implant can be decided based on how well you take care of the surgery site, so it is important to address some of the issues that may arise after your implant surgery. Even after your implant has healed and a new crown has been placed, an implant should be treated like any other tooth in the mouth. Therefore, to avoid future problems, we recommend you maintain regular dental check-ups and practice good oral hygiene.

Shortly after implant surgery, some patients may experience a variety of symptoms, we’ve listed a few that are commonly associated with implant surgery:

  • Pain
    • A slight bit of discomfort is common at the surgical site due to the procedure required to place. Most patients will only feel a little bit of pain which can be easily managed with over-the-counter medication.
    • More involved surgery may result in further discomfort for patients, your dentist may prescribe you with medication to help. The pain and discomfort will usefully subside within a few days after surgery.
    • We recommend following pain relief instructions as indicated by the packaging or as instructed by your dentist.
  • Swelling
    • For most implant surgeries, there is little to no swelling around the surgical site. Some patients may feel the area will swell slightly, but not so much that it will be obvious. An ice pack shortly after surgery will help keep the swelling to a minimal.
    • Swelling should subside within a few days after treatment. Use of ice packs after the first day will not be effective.
  • Bleeding
    • It is normal that you may experience a small amount of bleeding shortly after implant placement. Your dentist may place some stitches in your mouth to help cease bleeding. By applying pressure from a piece of gauze for 20-30 minutes, bleeding should subside. If bleeding continues, we recommend using another gauze pad for another 30 minutes until bleeding stops. In most cases, this should be sufficient to stop any bleeding. Should the site continue to bleed, we recommend contacting your dentist immediately for further advice.
    • Bleeding is important for proper healing of the site, so we are not concerned with a small amount of bleeding in the area. We do not want the area to be bleeding profusely. Most bleeding can be stopped with good pressure from a piece of gauze for 30 minutes.
  • Infection
    • Although unlikely, infection is possible should the surgical site be agitated for any reason. This can result in bacteria forming around the site which can lead to infection. Ensuring good oral hygiene and following the after-care instructions provided by your dentist should prevent this.
    • Use of antibiotics may be prescribed to you from your dentist, this may not always be the case.
  • Food and drink
    • Similar to teeth extractions, we recommend a soft diet for the first few days. A soft, and warm diet is recommended to minimise the risk of agitating the area. The treatment site may be tender and sore, so it is best to start with foods that don’t require too much chewing to begin with. We recommend avoiding any seed like foods that are small and can get stuck in the surgical site which can result in infection.
    • Fluids is important, and we highly recommend staying hydrated
  • Exercise
    • In order for your surgical site to heal as fast as possible, we recommend restricting any physical activity for at least 1-2 days after treatment. Taking a few days off to rest is recommended
  • Oral Hygiene
    • Your oral hygiene is imperative for healing, but also for long term success of your implant. A warm saltwater rinse on the night of surgery is recommended or a chlorhexidine mouth rinse. We recommend 2-3 times daily for about a week. It’s important to remember that rinsing should not be vigorous as to not agitate the surgical site and cause unnecessary bleeding.
    • Brushing can be performed as normal, but extra care is to be taken around the surgical site
    • Flossing is always recommended!

Ensuring the success of an implant is not just up to the dentist, your responsibilities in home care will dictate successful healing and a good outcome. We’ve listed the most common issues that may arise following implant surgery and hope that this will help to reinforce the message or provide valuable information for those that are interested in dental implants. For most cases, dental implant surgery can be straightforward with minimal to no pain associated. Combined with the appropriate measures to ensure a healthy mouth through regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments, dental implants can be safe, predictable and life changing.

The team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville are well equipped to provide you with any further questions regarding dental implants, call us on (02) 7228 7272, or book online at https://truesmilesdental.com.au/appointment

Are Electric toothbrushes or manual toothbrushes better?

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At True Smiles Dental – we firmly believe in preventative care and patient education when it comes to looking after your teeth and gums. That is why your Marrickville dentist or Oral health therapist will usually take some time during your routine check-up and clean appointments to go through your brushing habits and techniques. Patient education enables a better understanding of our dental health, which helps us prevent dental problems and in turn saves our patients from possible pain, time and money.

One of the most commonly asked questions we get at True Smiles Dental is whether an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is better. Truth be told, both types of toothbrushes will remove plaque as well as the other, however there may be reasons why one would be recommended a powered (electric) or manual toothbrush over the other.

But before we get into the specifics of electric and manual brushes: there are 2 main important features most dental professionals would recommend with regard to electric and manual toothbrushes:

1. Soft bristle brushes: when brushing our teeth and gums, we want to be doing so gently. Over time, if we brush too hard or over-brush our teeth and gums, we can cause the gum and bone to recede. When this happens, our teeth start to feel more sensitive to hot, cold, sweets and acidic food and beverages due to the exposed dentinal surface. Your dentinal surfaces are a layer in your tooth that appears yellow in colour, and can be exposed from over-brushing. Using a soft bristle toothbrush will help to minimise the risk of over-brushing or traumatising the gum. Leave the medium or hard bristle brushes for scrubbing your floors!

2. Small compact head: small and compact head toothbrushes allow us to reach our back molars better (especially if you still have your wisdom teeth!). This is because they are easier to manoeuvre and are able to get into the crevices of our teeth better

What is the difference between an electric toothbrush and manual toothbrush?

Hand-held toothbrushes require manual movement to move the bristles around for plaque removal. This movement is usually in a circular motion along the gum line. Electric toothbrushes remove the mechanical element and will either oscillate/rotate or vibrate to disrupt the plaque. No scrubbing motion is needed when using an electric toothbrush as the brush will ‘do all the work for you’.

At the end of the day, both an electric and manual toothbrush can achieve a similar result – plaque removal – so why choose one over the other? Let’s break it down further.

Why choose a manual brush?

Benefits

  • Control: manual brushes help us feel like we’ve got more control over our brushing as we ‘manually’ move the brush around. It allows us to brush more gently in areas that may be sensitive.
  • Pressure: the ability to have more control also sequentially allows us to manually apply less pressure when brushing
  • Size: standard manual toothbrushes come in all shapes, sizes and colours. When compared to powered toothbrushes they are usually smaller and more compact in size which is handy for travelling.
  • Cost: Manual toothbrushes are cheaper than powered brushes and therefore more cost-effective. Don’t forget, toothbrushes/toothbrush heads are often recommended to be replaced every 3 months.
  • Carbon neutral options: biodegradable toothbrushes are available on the market including bamboo alternatives which are eco-conscious and good for the environment.

Disadvantages

  • Technique sensitive: more effort and focus are required when using a manual brush to ensure we are adopting the correct technique and brushing well.
  • Easier to brush too hard: Although we all may try to brush gently with our toothbrushes, a lot of us may not know our own strength and surprisingly enough it can be super easy to brush too hard and damage our gums, which can result in gingival recession.
  • Thinner/smaller handles: thin handles on manual brushes may be difficult for those with dexterity issues or arthritic hands.

Why choose an electric/powered toothbrush?

Benefits

  1. Pressure sensors: this is an important feature to have when looking at electric toothbrushes! Pressure sensors on electric toothbrushes alert us when we’re brushing too hard through a light up feature or vibration change depending on the brand. So, this is the number one feature to look for when shopping for an electric toothbrush
  2. Timer: Timers are great to ensure that we are brushing for long enough. The recommended average time for brushing our teeth should be around 2 minutes. This helps us to take our time and in turn hopefully improve the quality of brushing
  3. Dexterity: Patients with limited dexterity will often be recommended to use electric toothbrushes as they generally have a larger handle to hold.
  4. Motivation: Powered toothbrushes have advanced a lot over time and now offer an array of features for their users including beautifully designed handles, stands and travel cases, while some even offer in-app services to track your brushing habits. This makes using an electric toothbrush more exciting and fun, which increases our motivation to want to use the brush morning and night.
  5. Technology: The technology behind powered are also scientifically backed. Depending on the brand of choice, the technology may differ. Oral B electric toothbrushes have an oscillating-rotating technology which offers 48,500 strokes per minute verses a 300 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.

Disadvantages

  • Cost: The initial cost of an electric toothbrush is more expensive than a manual toothbrush and the ongoing cost of brush head replacements can easily add up.
  • Size: Electric toothbrushes are bulkier than manual brushes and can be an inconvenience for those who travel
  • Carbon negative: Electric toothbrushes need to be charged to operate. Therefore, they are not as energy efficient as manual brushes.

Which toothbrush is better for my child?

Whether your child would benefit more from a manual or electric toothbrush will depend on how well they are currently brushing and which one they are more inclined to use. This is why it can be good for your children to try both manual and electric toothbrushes to see what they’re most comfortable with.

Letting your child pick their toothbrush whilst at the supermarket can help to motivate them to use it more.

Electric toothbrushes for kids can offer excitement when it comes to brushing time. A lot of children’s toothbrushes may have flashing lights, songs, timers or feature their favourite character to help with motivation and make brushing fun.

Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may also benefit from an electric toothbrush as orthodontic appliances such as braces can make it much more difficult to clean. By taking out the guesswork for children, the electric toothbrush can help keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy for the duration of their treatment.

Some kids however, may not like the sound or vibration of an electric toothbrush. Children with sensory sensitivity may prefer to use a manual brush. Manual brushes often come in a variety of colours and can also feature their favourite cartoon characters.

Overall, children are more likely to develop healthy long-term habits if they enjoy brushing from a young age, so making it fun with reward charts or allowing them to pick their own toothbrush can help with this. The team at True Smiles Dental looks after smiles of all ages and encourage kids to see a dental professional every 6 to 12 months to ensure all teeth are developing on track and all their teeth are healthy.

Oral Hygiene

Regardless of toothbrush preference, maintaining good oral hygiene habits is important to maintaining a healthy mouth. This may include:

  • Brushing twice daily, morning and night with the toothbrush of choice for at least 2 minutes
  • Flossing/cleaning in between your teeth daily to remove interproximal plaque
  • Cleaning the tongue
  • Visiting your dentist every 6 months for a routine check-up and clean

Verdict

Ultimately, whether you decide to use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush will come down to personal preference and overall experience. Provided the correct brushing technique is adopted, a manual toothbrush can still provide an effective clean and help protect your teeth against gum disease and dental decay. However, those with dexterity challenges, younger children and those seeking an easier brushing experience may wish to consider investing in an electric toothbrush.

If you’re uncertain about the best toothbrush or oral hygiene tool for your needs, your Marrickville Dentist or Oral health therapist at True Smiles Dental can help provide the best advice. During our hygiene appointments, we adopt a Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) protocol which means we plaque disclose your teeth to identify missed areas of plaque and biofilm in your mouth prior to a professional clean with our EMS airflow. This helps to tailor our oral hygiene advice specifically to each individual as needed.

Contact the team at True Smiles Dental, Marrickville today for an appointment on (02) 7228 7272 or book online today at https://truesmilesdental.com.au/appointment to make an appointment.

10 Tips For A Healthy Summer Smile

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Summer in Sydney is the best time of year! With longer days and warmer weather, there’s the potential for endless fun and activities all Summer as parents take a much-needed break over the holiday season and school is on break!

But we all know that the new season ushers in plenty of schedule change for the whole family. More time is spent outdoors travelling, on social sports and outdoor fun which can often put our oral health priority on the back burner.

So here are some handy tips to ensure you and your family keep a healthy oral health routine that will be sure to keep you smiling all year long.

1. Stick with a routine

Getting off track over the summer can be as easy as getting back on track! Not having to wake up for work or school as early as you normally would can definitely throw off your routine. Resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime or let it slide to the next morning. It’s vital to consistently brush and floss during the summer and this also helps keep the kids on track for back-to-school dental visits. Help your little ones with staying on track with their brushing habits by creating a fun reward system or charts to motivate them with brushing morning and night. By building healthy dental habits early on, this aims to reduce the chances of developing dental problems later in life.

2. Set healthy new year’s resolutions

Haven’t been flossing much lately? Or forgetting to brush your teeth in the morning (or night) while you’ve been at home more? With Sydney’s summer spreading over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, what better way to set healthy dental goals than by adding them into your new year’s resolution. Start by incorporating realistic expectations and goals to help you achieve them. Handy tip – Try keeping floss out on the counter-top where its visible so that you’ll remember to use it!

By going the extra-mile to make a routine of cleaning your teeth this will set you up for a life-time of habits.

Did you know? According to Australian data 75% of adults rarely or never floss and clean between their teeth, and about 1 in 5 adults brush only once per day.

Following proper oral hygiene instructions ensures that we maintain a healthy summer smile.

Follow this protocol to ensure clean teeth and a healthy smile:

  • Brushing twice daily, morning and night with a soft bristle brush or your favourite electric toothbrush, aiming the bristles of your brush 45 degrees towards the gum line.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel.
  • Clean in between our teeth to remove the sticky plaque that builds up daily. Flossing helps to reach areas where your toothbrush isn’t able to!
  • Don’t forget to also brush your tongue as biofilm and bacteria can also harbor there

3. Give up smoking

Following on from our new year’s resolution goals, another goal to consider is to give up those cigarettes!

Smoking not only has an impact on our dental health but our overall health, so what better time than now but to ditch those sticks!

4. Pack healthy snacks and beverages

Whether your family is off on a road trip, relaxing on the beach or headed to the local park for some fresh air and fun activities, it can be very tempting to grab quick and easy snacks such as packaged cookies, chips, dried fruits and fruit juice to keep the family fueled while on the go. Packaged snacks, although a big time-saver – can often contain lots of hidden sugars which can result in cavities and tooth decay. Instead, we recommend healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit, vegetable sticks and dips (i.e., Hummus), cheese cubes/sticks, popcorn, whole grain pretzels and nuts to keep your family and children energized throughout the day.

Similarly, keep in mind the hidden sugars that can be found in some beverages. Sports drinks are a popular choice on social sport days as they contain electrolytes however many sports drinks contain high levels of sugar and every sip leads to an acid attack in the mouth. Keep water containers available for your child to utilize during their sporting events to reduce tooth decay and to save money. Water is the best option to help with rehydration in Sydney’s warm climate.

Handy tip – If your child doesn’t like plain water, try adding a few frozen berries, some mint leaves or cucumber slices to provide some flavour!

5. Be mindful when grazing at social events

With the holiday season being a popular time for social gatherings, there can also be high temptation for grazing on the limitless amounts of available sweets, food and alcohol. Remember, everything in moderation is key. Grazing on snacks or sipping on our favourite wine can lead to not just dental decay but also dental erosion.

Using a straw when drinking beverages can also help to minimize the effects of any dental erosion that may occur.

6. Use a mouthguard when playing sports

If your kids play in summer sports, depending on the sport, a mouthguard may be recommended. Sports injuries to the mouth and teeth are common and can result in trauma to the lips, gums and teeth in severe circumstances. To help prevent those injuries that can occur in sports such as soccer or football, encourage your kids to wear a mouthguard. The team at True Smiles Dental are able to make custom mouthguards which are better fitted when compared with store-bought boil and bites. Speak to your dentist in Marrickville about a custom mouthguard today.

7. Wear protective lip balm

Before enjoying that day out in the sun, don’t forget to apply sunscreen! Most people won’t remember to apply sunscreen to their lips. Sunburns on your lips are not only painful, but they can increase your risk for oral cancer. So, opt for a lip balm with SPF in it for extra protection.

8. Be mindful around swimming pools

Swimming pools are a great option for exercising or just relaxing during the hot summer days. However, be aware that swimming pools contain chlorine, a chemical that is used to keep the pool water clean. Chlorine when exposed to your teeth can cause damage to your teeth when levels are not properly monitored. Water that is over chlorinated (such as many community pools) may cause tooth enamel erosion and staining of teeth due to the high acidity of the water.

9. Ditch the hype

With an increased number of social events occurring over the summer, the desire for whiter teeth also increases. If you have been thinking about teeth whitening, speak to a trained dental professional for advice to ensure that your teeth are suitable for teeth whitening and that it is completed in a safe manner. Permanent damage can occur to not just the gums and soft tissues but also the teeth if not done correctly. At True Smiles Dental, we assess your teeth and gums to ensure they are suitable for whitening prior to commencing and discuss all the different options of teeth whitening available. Everyone’s teeth are unique and different, so it’s important to understand that results can always vary. Avoid the hype seen on social media and think twice about going to your local beautician or ‘at-home’ mobile whitening service when considering teeth whitening.

10. Schedule dental appointments for the whole family

Before kick-starting another great year ahead, the best time for the whole family to get their dental checkup is during the summer holidays! This ensures that everyone’s dental health is in tip-top shape before heading back for the next school term or to work.

Alternatively, if you have a holiday or trip planned, many patients choose to get their check up before going away. This is to avoid any nasty surprises that might pop up whilst you’re away. A toothache can ruin most good days, let alone whilst you’re away. So, get your teeth sorted before jet-setting off!

Handy tips to remember while packing for your holiday can include:

  • Packing all your normal oral hygiene tools including toothbrush, floss and mouth-rinse as needed. This makes sure we don’t have any excuses while away!
  • Pack plenty of sugar-free gum and sweets to avoid over-loading on sugary treats while out and about

Of course, after following all these wonderful summer dental tips and taking all the necessary precautions to maintain your teeth, don’t forget to smile! Studies have found that there is a direct correlation between smiling and the impact it has on your self-confidence, making you feel happier overall.

At True Smiles Dental, Marrickville we recommend getting a check -up and clean once every 6 months or at least twice a year. Contact the friendly team on (02) 7228 7272 or through our website, https://truesmilesdental.com.au. Alternatively, visit us at 235 Marrickville Road, Marrickville to book your appointment today.

Pull your tooth or save it? Which is Best?

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Oh no, a sore tooth, a broken tooth, or a wobbly tooth? There are many reasons for visiting the dentist and dental emergencies are one of the most common appointments made. We often are faced with the hard decision of whether or not we should remove a tooth or save it. This decision can be difficult at times as we factor finances, time, or pain. Our goal at True Smiles Dental is to assess the situation and determine what treatment options are best for you and your tooth. Often, the pain from a toothache can dictate our decision making and we turn to tooth extraction as a quick solution in alleviating the said pain. An understanding of the situation and the possible solutions have allowed our team to save many teeth which would otherwise have been extracted.

We’ve listed some of the common issues that arise where patients aren’t sure whether they should save their tooth or not. These issues may arise and cause us discomfort or pain, and once assessed, we are faced with the decision of saving or removing the tooth.

 

1. Root Canal or Not?

Often, a tooth ache can cause excruciating pain, a throbbing pain that lasts all day and night, it disrupts your sleep and pain killers are not effective. Such pain most likely indicates a tooth that may require root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is an effective way to save your tooth and rid you of the pain you are experiencing. The nerve that lives inside your tooth tells you whether something is hot or cold and when bacteria from tooth decay digs deep enough and encounters the nerve, pain ensues. The pain often dictates our decision and its not uncommon for patients to request the tooth to be removed.

Removing the tooth is an option, but is it the best option? Root canal therapy has been well documented as a viable treatment option for saving teeth. Unfortunately, not every tooth can be saved and after careful examination, the team at True Smiles Dental can ascertain whether your tooth can be saved.

2. My tooth is mobile?
Increased mobility in a tooth can be a result of periodontal disease or a large infection. Many patients believe that a tooth that is moving needs to be removed. In certain situations, this may be true, but with the correct treatment, it is very possible to improve the mobility of the tooth and save the tooth in question. We may need to start periodontal treatment, root canal therapy, or a combination. Mobile teeth are generally trickier to save, but not impossible, with careful investigation and the right approach, we can make the impossible possible.

It is very important to seek advice from your dentist to aid in making the important decision of saving or removing a tooth. At True Smiles Dental, we employ the latest x-ray technology to assess your teeth and make the most accurate diagnosis for you. This allows us to confidently tell you what the problem is and how we can address your issue.

Some factors we take in to consideration when assessing if a tooth can be saved or not:

– How big is the hole or cavity?

o Some teeth are heavily decayed and unfortunately have lost far too much tooth structure for long term success. Even with root canal therapy, the pain may improve, but the underlying issue of a large cavity in the tooth may deem the tooth hopeless. Unfortunately, such teeth would require extraction despite our best intentions. Thankfully, most teeth with cavities can be restored. And so, treating the tooth with root canal therapy and the placement of a crown on completion should allow us to save your tooth!

– Is the tooth functional?

o Is your tooth utilized in biting and chewing? This determines if a tooth is ‘functional’, and plays a large role when deciding what to do with your tooth. If the tooth of concern does not serve a purpose in normal mastication. Then often, we may consider removing the tooth as opposed to saving it.

– Mobility of the tooth?

o Teeth can often become mobile due to a large infection or because of periodontal disease. These situations are challenging and commonly lead to extraction due to difficulties in saving the tooth. However, if you are willing to try and save the tooth. Treating a mobile tooth with root canal therapy can often save the tooth and stabilise the tooth.

– How large is the infection?

o The bacteria that colonises in the tooth from tooth decay generally spreads to the apex of the tooth root. Some infections can be quite large and weaken the surrounding bone that holds your tooth in place. The extent of the infection can be seen in x-rays and often dictate the success of treatment.
Reasons for saving your tooth

We’ve listed the many reasons for when we need to make that important decision of saving your tooth, but it is just as crucial to address some important points as to why we should save your tooth.

– Preventing migration of teeth

o Teeth tend to tip or migrate forward as we age. Removal of a tooth allows for teeth neighbouring to start to move or tip over. Teeth that sit adjacent to the offending tooth can tip into the space of the to-be extracted tooth which can lead to issues with biting, food trapping, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
o Overeruption of opposing teeth can occur after the removal of a tooth. The opposing tooth (the tooth that comes into contact when biting) can start to over-erupt – meaning the tooth can start to come down or up further than its neighbouring teeth. Since there is no longer a tooth to bite on, the opposing tooth tends to move upward/downward. This can lead to cheek biting, food trapping, along with tooth decay or periodontal disease. Consequently, with time, the opposing tooth may need to be removed also.

– Loss of facial height

o Did you know that your teeth dictate the height of your face? Losing multiple back teeth can lead to a reduction in your facial height. This tends to make one look older than they are.
– Eating and chewing
o Loss of teeth will ultimately change the way we bite. Believe it or not, but every tooth serves a purpose when we eat and chew. Your incisors are for biting into food, your canines are for tearing apart food, premolars and molars are for tearing, grinding, and crushing food. Loss of one or more teeth will affect how we eat or chew going forwards.

– Increased risk of fracture/damage to remaining teeth

o When teeth are taken out, the remaining teeth will have to undergo further stresses due to the reduced support from the extracted tooth. If your existing teeth have large fillings, then it is very common for issues to arise after the removal of a tooth. The increased pressure, and reliance of the remaining teeth increase their risk of issues that can develop.

– Keeping your own natural teeth

o Your natural teeth are exceptionally strong and outperforms any dental filling. The natural feel of your tooth is also important, and many patients prefer to keep their teeth to maintain this sensation.
– Cost saving
o Removal of a tooth may seem like the easier option at times. But replacement of a missing tooth can be costly and more time consuming than trying to save the tooth.

Reasons for removing your tooth

At True Smiles Dental, we feel your teeth are very important and we do our utmost to save your natural tooth where possible. Unfortunately, not every tooth can be saved, and tooth extraction may be the only option. Below are a few examples of teeth that can’t be saved and require extraction:

– Cracked tooth

o A cracked tooth is one of the most commons reasons for tooth extraction. A split in the tooth can travel toward the gum or into the roots of the tooth. We call this a vertical root fracture, and to prevent the harboring of bacteria and infection, unfortunately, the best solution is extraction.

– Severe periodontal disease

o Periodontal disease if left untreated, can result in tooth pain, tooth mobility and infection. When severe enough, treatment would provide no benefit and to prevent further damage to surrounding structures, tooth extraction is recommended.

The removal of a tooth is a multifactorial decision, and each situation is unique. We’ve listed the common reasons for saving a tooth and when to pull the tooth out. To aid your decision, the team at True Smiles Dental can make a thorough assessment of the tooth and consider all factors to help you make the right choice. It is our goal to ensure everyone understands the rationale behind the treatment and we strive to make it as pain free as possible. Reach out to us at (02) 7228 7272 or book online at http://www.truesmilesdental.com.au

What are dental x-rays and are they safe?

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There can be a lot going on inside your mouth, a lot of which is not always visible to the naked eye. During your routine dental examination appointments, your dental practitioner may recommend to take dental x-rays to have a better idea of what is happening overall.

Dental x-rays, also known as radiographs are pictures of your teeth that can provide valuable information about the inner layers of your teeth and its surrounding structures.

Depending on the type of x-ray, these radiographs can provide an array of information including:

  • – Presence of decay (cavities) including small areas of early decay in between teeth not visible during clinical examinations
  • – Size and proximity of decay to the nerve of the tooth
  • – Integrity of existing fillings, root canal treatment, implants as well as old crown and bridgework
  • – Existing bone levels and areas of bone loss
  • – Presence of interdental subgingival calculus (build-up of tartar underneath your gums)
  • – Presence of tooth infection or dental abscesses
  • – Injuries to the teeth or jaws
  • – Presence of extra teeth or absence of missing teeth
  • – Dental cysts and tumours in the jaw bone
  • – Show problems of tooth/root fractures and bone fractures
  • – Number of teeth present including the presence of wisdom teeth and whether they are in the right orientation
  • – Proximity of roots to the sinuses and presence of sinus infection
  • – Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) abnormalities
  • – Amount of bone needed for dental implants

 

Why do dental x-rays need to be taken?

Even if you attend regular dental check-ups every 6-12 months, clinical examinations are not enough. This is because your dentist or oral health therapist is unable to see every nook and cranny of your teeth, particularly the spaces in between or underneath any old fillings (we wish we had x-ray vision!). Therefore, without routine dental x-rays it can be hard to say with 100% certainty that there are no areas of concern.

Thanks to advancements in technology, dental x-rays are safe and take almost no time at all to take (literally a few seconds). Routine radiographs are therefore excellent diagnostic tools to help us see things before they become a problem. Early detection of dental problems such as dental decay allows for far better outcomes. This could include:

  • – Preventing smaller areas of decay from growing: not all carious lesions need to be drilled and filled. By detecting early signs of decay in between your teeth, we are able to recommend preventative options including switching to a stronger fluoride toothpaste or incorporating fluoride treatments to strengthen those areas.
  • – Smaller fillings: Smaller fillings often means that less tooth structure is removed in the process. This can result in a longer-lasting filling and less need for replacement or re-treatment in the future. Larger, more complex fillings have shown to have a higher rate of failure and risk of requiring further treatment in the future.
  • Treating the decay before it reaches the nerve of the tooth: By the time you can feel or see a hole with the naked eye, it often means that a simple filing may not be enough. Dental decay that is identified too late often ends up needing root canal treatment or extraction. This can be time consuming and a burden financially.

 

Are they dental x-rays safe?

Dental x-rays are safe for children as well as adults of all ages. Of course, as with any x-ray, there is a small amount of radiation. The amount of radiation involved is extremely low and is equivalent to the sort of exposure you’d receive spending 30 minutes in the sun or on a 1–2-hour flight (depending on the x-ray). This means that even if you’re pregnant you can have x-rays taken (although they are generally kept to a minimum during this period)

Although dental x-rays are important diagnostic tools, it is important to note that they are not taken at every appointment. The decision to take a dental x-ray, and the type of X-ray taken, will be influenced by factors such as your past and present oral health. A clinical examination of your mouth, age, and disease risk influence whether we should take x-rays or not.

 

What are the different types of dental x-rays?

 

Bitewings

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Bitewing radiographs are extremely useful in detecting cavities or decay in between the back teeth. This is because your back teeth are normally more at risk of developing cavities. These radiographs do not show the whole tooth structure because they are aimed at providing information about the spaces in between our teeth. Bitewing x-rays can also highlight any problems underneath existing dental fillings and areas of heavy plaque deposits (calculus or tartar) under the gums.

 

Periapical (PA)

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Periapical x-rays are often taken to look at the whole length of specific isolated teeth. They can help identify signs of decay, infection at the root (abscesses), bony defects and crown or root fractures. Due to the nature of periapical x-rays only showing specific teeth, they are often taken at emergency appointments to have a closer look at the problem area.

 

OPG

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Orthopantomograph’s (or OPG for short) are radiographs that look at the whole jaw and are most commonly taken to assess for the presence of wisdom teeth and whether they need to be removed. The proximity of the roots of your wisdom teeth to the nerve structures that run through the lower jaw (inferior-alveolar nerve) is another important assessment that is considered when looking at wisdom teeth removal.

 

OPG’s also provide a lot of information about the anatomy of both the upper and lower jaw bones and are used to assess the health of the bone surrounding the teeth. OPG’s are therefore very useful for patients who have periodontal disease.

 

They can also be taken for children to assess overall development and identify whether a child has the correct number of developing teeth. The presence of extra teeth or absence of teeth is common and can dictate whether a child may need to see an orthodontist later in life. At True Smiles Dental, OPG’s also allow us to assess the nasal region and whether a child may be susceptible to sleep and airway issues.

 

OPG’s are also important diagnostic tools to assess for the presence of any dental cysts and tumours. Although rare, jaw bone abnormalities do occur and routine OPG’s can help to save a life.

 

Do children need dental x-rays and are they safe?

 

Yes! Dental x-rays are safe for children. At True Smiles Dental, we will often recommend radiographs for children for specific reasons. The most common reason dental x-rays are taken for children are to assess for the presence of dental decay in between the teeth.

 

Australian data has shown that 1 in every 3 children under the age of 6 will have at least one decayed tooth. By assessing for the presence of any areas of decay (big or small) at a young age, we can ensure that we take the right steps toward preventing a life time of problems. Studies have shown that children who develop dental decay at a young age are more likely to develop decay on their permanent teeth.

 

The second most common reason dental x-rays are taken for children are to assess for the presence of impacted, extra or missing teeth and to ensure that their dental development is on track.

 

At True Smiles Dental, the team are thoroughly trained in taking dental x-rays for children of all ages. We will of course ensure that your child is comfortable enough to take a dental x-ray before proceeding. Taking a good image is just as important as the reason we need to take them.

 

How often do dental x-rays need to be taken?

It is important to note that dental x-rays do not need to be taken at every appointment. Depending on the type of radiograph required, how often you need to take x-rays is dependent on varying risk factors. For example, someone who is more at risk of developing dental decay (cavities) may need to take x-rays more regularly (every 6-12 months) compared to someone who is at lower risk of decay (every 18-24 months).

Factors that can determine your risk include oral hygiene habits, oral environment and salivary flow, diet, lifestyle factors or medication and medical history.

 

What happens during a dental x-ray?

At True Smiles Dental in Marrickville, we have the most up to date, state of the art technology to be able to take a majority of the most commonly required radiographs in-house within seconds to minutes. And the best part – images are displayed onto the computer screen shortly after so that we can go through them with you instantly in your appointment.

 

If you think you might be due for dental x-rays or would like to know more about them, ask the friendly team at True Smiles Dental at your next dental check-up. Call us on (02) 7228 7272 or visit us at 235 Marrickville Road, Marrickville NSW 2204.

Braces Vs Invisalign?

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Historically the only method of correcting ones crowding, cross bite, deep bite, or underbite would require traditional orthodontic braces. They were the metal bars that you commonly saw on kids’ teeth at school during their teenage years. Fast forward to the present and the advancements of technology and understanding of tooth movements have introduced a new era of orthodontic correction, Invisalign – a popular option for patients that wish to correct their smile without the metal look on their teeth. Invisalign has fast become a popular treatment choice as it provides a great solution for both adults and teens without the cumbersome appearance of conventional braces.

Braces have long been used by general dentists and specialist orthodontists to correct smiles. They have corrected millions of smiles and still have a rightful place in Orthodontics. One of the biggest nuisances of conventional braces is that they are stuck onto your teeth, which can lead to various issues that many patients need to consider. We’ve listed a few issues that may arise from conventional braces:

 

  • Appearance
    • – Not everyone will happily want metal braces on their teeth that will stay with them for the duration of their treatment, on average 18-24 months.
    • – For this reason, adult braces are not a popular option amongst growing teens and adults.
  • Difficulties with oral hygiene
    • – With braces, the metal brackets are adhered to the tooth. This means our oral hygiene needs to be at its best. Conventional flossing can become challenging. Therefore, you may need to use alternative cleaning tools such as superfloss or piksters to help remove plaque and food debris from in-between your teeth.
    • – All the metal appliances fixed to your teeth unfortunately increases the risk of food trapping. This results in more effort when it comes to brushing and flossing, and sequentially, an increased in the amount of time you have to spend in the bathroom cleaning your teeth.
  • Risk of decay and periodontal disease
    • – Without the right oral hygiene protocols in place, there is a higher risk of dental decay and periodontal disease associated with braces. Fortunately, this does not occur frequently, but it is something to consider before embarking on your orthodontic journey. A careful assessment of your teeth is highly recommended to identify any issues early on so we can address them immediately.
  • Mouth ulcerations
    • – Metal braces and wires fixated on your teeth can rub against your cheek and in some instances, may cut them when they are first put on. This can lead to mouth ulcerations and difficulties in eating and talking for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, this resolves quickly, and the use of orthodontic wax during treatment can aid in the prevention oral ulcerations.

 

It may seem that the above reasons are good enough to avoid conventional braces. Thankfully, the concerns listed above can be easily managed. One of the issues, the metal colour, have been solved by the introduction of ceramic braces. Ceramic braces are like your conventional metal braces, but instead of metal, the brackets are ceramic in colour. Ceramic brackets blend in with your teeth shade better and can improve the overall look when you smile during orthodontic treatment. Likewise with metal braces, they still result in difficulties with oral hygiene and increased risks of decay and periodontal disease.

For patients that wish to have braces but not have anything show when they smile, technology has created ‘lingual braces’. These are also known as ‘inside braces’, which are popular with patients that don’t want anything to appear on the front surface of their teeth. Although they are more subtle in appearance, they are just like braces and so one should maintain the strictest of oral hygiene regime during treatment. Lingual braces may be quite appealing due to their discreet nature, but they can affect your speech more so than conventional braces. As the lingual braces sit on the inside of your teeth, they are in direct contact with your tongue. This can lead to changes in speech, which will eventually improve with time. Tongue trauma is also common with lingual braces.

The introduction of Invisalign has allowed patients the opportunity to correct their smile and improve their bite without the need of metal braces affixed to your teeth. This has become increasing popular as teens and adults seek an improved smile without the look of metal braces. Invisalign’s discreet aligners gradually correct your teeth with reduced risks associated with conventional braces. Some of the benefits of choosing Invisalign include:

  • Discreet appeal
    • – Invisalign are ‘clear’ aligners which are ideal for patients that don’t want the metal look on their teeth. This is increasingly popular for both teens and adults.
    • – Invisalign aligners can be quite difficult to recognise when they are in your mouth. In comparison to metal braces, this is one of the main reasons people choose Invisalign.
  • Ability to remove them for meals and oral hygiene
    • – An incredible advantage of Invisalign is the ability to remove them for meals and oral hygiene. This allows patients to eat freely without the risk of food trapping, thus, reducing their risk of decay and periodontal disease. Furthermore, patients can brush and floss with no challenges.
  • Less impact on speech
    • – Invisalign aren’t as bulky as conventional braces, and so your speech won’t be as affected. Naturally, when something new is placed in your mouth, your speech may change in the short term. Thankfully, your speech adjusts quite quickly with Invisalign due to their slimmer nature.

Some things to consider with Invisalign include:

  • – Although it is seen as an advantage, there is the associated disadvantage of being able to remove your Invisalign aligners. The ability to freely remove them at the patient’s discretion, leaves much of the treatment success up to the patients’ compliance. Orthodontic correction requires constant pressure for movements to successfully be achieved. Removing your aligners removes these pressures and will undoubtedly delay treatment or in some cases, lead to failure due to lack of wear. We recommend patients wear their aligners 20 to 22 hours a day for the best results. Each aligner gradually shifts your teeth into place, and it is imperative that patients follow the strict protocols when it comes to wearing their aligners. It is always best to follow your dentist’s advice. Failure to do so may lead to unsuccessful orthodontic treatment and subsequently a costly lesson if treatment needs to start again due to lack of compliance. Conventional braces do not have this issue as they are affixed to your teeth, so whether we like it or not, they are there to stay until your orthodontic journey is complete. It isn’t uncommon for patients to remove their aligners when starting due to ‘discomfort’ or ‘pain’, such experiences are common at the early stages of treatment, and quickly subside within the first week or two.
  • – Increased risk of staining of teeth can occur during treatment. Coloured food and drinks can lead to an increased attraction of staining of your teeth, aligner and attachments. This is often very difficult to remove and can become quite noticeable. It is best to avoid certain food and drinks whilst receiving Invisalign treatment to prevent this from occurring. Tea, coffee, red wine and saucey meals are the biggest culprits when it comes to staining. If you love any of the above list, then we recommend an increased water intake shortly after consumption.

 

No one treatment is better than the other. Depending on the amount of crowding, spacing, or bite, the treatment recommendations may differ. Technology has allowed us to correct smiles through a variety of means, and in some cases, a combination may be implemented. Once all options have been carefully explained and discussed, we can help you achieve that perfect smile. Whether your teeth are best suited for conventional braces or Invisalign, our goal is to ensure the best result for you and your teeth. Every case is different and treatment goals should consider your needs as the patient, and careful consideration of what treatment modality would be most successful. In some cases, a referral to an Orthodontist may be required due to the complexities involved. The team at True Smiles Dental assess your teeth regularly during your routine checkups. This allows us to identify possible issues, and suggest a timeframe for intervention. This is particularly important for growing children as orthodontic intervention can start in their early mixed dentition.

 

We’ve listed several reasons where conventional braces and Invisalign may benefit you to help give patients a better understanding of both treatment modalities. At True Smiles Dental, we strive to accurately assess your teeth and aid in guiding you to the best treatment option. Results are important and so both options should always be considered when it comes to achieving that perfect smile. The team at True Smiles Dental can help assist you on your teeth straightening journey. Call us on 02 7228 7272 or book online at http://www.truesmilesdental.com.au

Best Oral Hygiene Tips

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If you want to know more about your oral health, how to clean your teeth or what’s good for your teeth and gums, there are no better people to ask than your local Marrickville Dentist or Oral health therapist at True Smiles Dental.
Every day we get asked questions about product recommendations or technique advice. So, we’ve round up a few of the most commonly asked questions and compiled them into one place for your convenience.

1. Is an electric toothbrush or manual toothbrush better?

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this. Studies show that there is no significant difference between using an electric or manual toothbrush. Therefore, the technique of how you brush and floss is more important that the type of toothbrush you use.

However, there can be many reasons as to why an electric toothbrush may be more beneficial for you.

Brushing too hard: Many patients believe that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be. Sadly, this can be incorrect on many levels as brushing too hard can actually have the opposite effect and cause varying degrees of damage to your teeth and gums. This can result in gingival recession, toothbrush abrasion and increased sensitivity. In these circumstances, switching to an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor, can be helpful with pressure control. The team at True Smiles Dental recommend only switching to an electric toothbrush if it has a pressure on it and once you have learnt to use it correctly – you should aim to allow the electric toothbrush to do all the work for you and not use it like a manual toothbrush

Motivation: electric toothbrushes for children can be great for on-going motivation. We understand that children may get bored of brushing, so electric toothbrushes can make it fun and exciting. Some children’s electric toothbrushes come with timers, music and flashing lights to help make brushing more fun and interactive.

Limited dexterity: electric toothbrushes can be great for patients with limited mobility and arthritis as its power rotation does not require manual movements – it will do all the work for them. Ease of use is perfect for those with dexterity issues, thus improving oral hygiene.

2. Should I brush my teeth before or after breakfast?

Always brush before breakfast and rinse after. Brushing before breakfast allows you to protect your teeth before eating with the fluoride in your toothpaste. Brushing straight after breakfast or eating in general can lead to dental erosion. If you have the time in the morning, we recommend to normally wait at least 30 minutes after eating and drinking before brushing your teeth.

If you want to cleanse your mouth after eating, we recommend to rinse your mouth and then chew on some sugar free chewing gum. Chewing gum can help to stimulate saliva which in turn help with clearing food and debris from your teeth. In addition to this, sugar-free chewing gum with Xyitol specifically, is beneficial as it is good for decay prevention. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that tastes like sugar, but is actually good for your teeth! It can help to kill the bacteria responsible for dental decay by up to 90% and helps to neutralise plaque acids, making it harder for plaque to stick to your teeth in the future.

3. Should I use a mouthwash?

Mouthwashes can be great in certain circumstances but regular mouth rinses don’t provide a whole lot of benefit.

If you want to incorporate a mouth rinse into your regime, we recommend to use it prior to brushing and waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing. This is because using a mouth rinse after brushing can be counter-intuitive in that it will wash away the fluoride protection you’ve just applied when brushing. We also recommend to select a mouth rinse that is non-alcohol base, as alcohol ingredients can dry out your mouth. A dry mouth is known to increase your risk of tooth decay – something we are trying to prevent!

Occasionally, your Marrickville dental professional may recommend a specific mouth rinse to aid in decay prevention (for higher risk patients or patients undergoing orthodontic treatment) or gum disease.

For example: Mouth wash such as Colgate Neutrafluor 200 or 900 have additional fluoride whereas Savacol or Curasept contain a chlorhexidine ingredient which can be anti-inflammatory to aid in controlling gum infections and inflammation.

It is important to note that mouth washes with additional properties such as those listed above should only be used under the guidance of a dental professional. Long term use of certain mouthwashes can lead to issues in the future. Speak to the team at True Smiles Dental today to find out if incorporating a mouth wash is right for you.

4. What’s the best toothpaste to use?

We recommend using a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth’s core which is scientifically proven to prevent tooth decay or cavities.

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, opting for a sensitive formula toothpaste can definitely help minimize the symptoms of sensitivity. Dental sensitivity can however, be caused by a number of reasons, so it’s important to visit your dentist to assess the cause before investing in sensitive toothpaste. Check out our previous blog on dental sensitivity if you want to know more.

The use of toothpaste for children is completely safe provided we use an age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste for children aged 2-6 years old. Once your child has started to develop adult permanent teeth (usually after the age of 6), it is OK to switch to an adult-strength fluoride toothpaste. Children younger than 2 years old are OK to use non-fluoridated toothpaste if they are unable to spit after brushing.

No matter the brand, always ensure your toothpaste is approved by the TGA (Therapeutic goods administration) and ADA (Australian Dental Association). This is because they have been tested and proven medically to be safe and effective.

5. Is there any toothpaste we don’t recommend?

On the opposite spectrum, we do not recommend using a toothpaste without fluoride where possible. This is because it can increase your risk of dental decay and the need for further dental treatment.

In addition to this, we do not favour whitening toothpaste. This is because they do not work well and can be more abrasive to your enamel in the long term which can result in increased dental sensitivity and other problems. Similarly charcoal toothpastes have no scientific evidence on their effectiveness to whiten teeth or remove stains and are considered more abrasive than regular toothpaste.

6. Do I need to floss and what can I use? Are waterflossers better?

Yes! Brushing your teeth alone will only clean approximately 60% of all teeth surfaces. The remaining 40% of teeth surfaces in between your teeth cannot be fully reached with a toothbrush alone. That is why flossing or cleaning interdentally daily is just as important in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.

So what products are available to clean in between your teeth? There is an array of options when shopping for dental cleaning tools. Floss and interdental brushes are the gold standard in most cases as they manually ‘disrupt’ the plaque that can wedge themselves in between your teeth.

Water flossers can be a good alternative for those who have prosthetic dental work (including crowns, bridges and dental implants) however for individuals with natural teeth, we recommend regular conventional floss or interdental brushes! Ask us at True Smiles Dental which interdental cleaning tool might be right for you.

7. Is teeth whitening Safe and what is the best way to whiten my teeth?

Yes, teeth whitening is safe when done correctly. We recommend to speak to a dental professional about any teeth whitening concerns to see what may work best for you. As there are different reasons for why your teeth may be discoloured. It is important to identify if whitening will be enough. Unfortunately, over the counter products such as the above-mentioned whitening toothpaste or charcoal toothpaste can be more abrasive to the tooth enamel resulting in the underlying dentine shining through. Funnily enough, this secondary layer of your tooth is actually yellow in colour which results in the opposite effect of brightening your smile.

Professional whitening under the guidance of a dental professional will allow you to achieve better, more realistic results. See our blog on teeth whitening for more information.

8. How often should I visit the dentist?

It is important to have your teeth checked and clean at least twice a year. Regular dental visits allow us to screen for early signs of dental decay, gum disease or even oral cancers. Unfortunately brushing and flossing alone is not enough to completely avoid these problems. There are often areas that can be missed despite our brushing and flossing efforts. Regular check up and cleans allow us to clean these areas up for you.

Is it time for your next dental check-up? Visit the friendly team at True Smiles Dental at 235 Marrickville Road, Marrickville NSW 2204 or call us on (02) 7228 7272.

Why are my gums bleeding?

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If you suffer from bleeding gums, then you may not be alone. Bleeding gums is one of the most common concerns from our patients, so much that some think it’s normal as they have been experiencing it all their lives.

It might be easy to ignore and overlook bleeding gums and think it is harmless, when in reality – if we ignore this early warning sign, we could end up losing our teeth. Healthy gums are needed to support healthy teeth and so bleeding gums is often the first sign of an unhealthy oral environment and should be tended to.

But what causes it? Bleeding gums can be due to a variety of reasons. Here are the 6 most common causes for why your gums may be bleeding:

 

  1. Gum disease or gingivitis

The number one cause for bleeding gums is gum disease, which is essentially an inflammation of your gums. This inflammation is commonly caused by the plaque and bacteria that sticks to your teeth. If we don’t brush adequately or floss for a while, plaque can build up on the uncleaned tooth structure and as the bacteria multiplies, it can cause irritation to your gums.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and the most common symptoms can include bleeding gums, gum tenderness, or sensitivity, gum swelling or bad breath.

 

Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible. Improvements in oral hygiene and home care can help to resolve symptoms when they appear, but a professional clean to remove the harder deposits are often needed to fully revert the gums back to a healthier state.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more advanced form known as periodontal disease. At this stage, the bone surrounding the teeth can start to deteriorate. This bone loss is irreversible and can weaken the support of the teeth and eventual loss of the teeth. People with chronic periodontitis often require regular and ongoing professional dental treatment to prevent the disease from progressing.

 

Gum disease and periodontal disease both have systemic links to other health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

 

At True Smiles Dental, your dentist or oral health therapist will always check the health of your gums by doing a periodontal screening as part of your check-up prior to your dental cleaning. This periodontal assessment is conducted using a periodontal probe which measures the pockets between your gum and your tooth as well any clinical signs of disease. This helps with determining your risk category for gum disease and is used to place you on a regular 3-, 4- or 6-month recall system accordingly. This is the time frame in which you should return for another dental cleaning to ensure your gum health is in tip-top condition.

 

  1. Medications

The most commonly prescribed medications that may result in bleeding gums can include blood thinners, anti-depressants or blood pressure medications. If you have started a new medication and have since noticed bleeding gums, talk to your dentist or doctor about the new medication to see if it could be causing your bleeding gums. This can be important as your dental professional can help to put together an oral health regime which can be gentler on your gums.

 

  1. Pregnancy

Your teeth and gums can also be affected by a pregnancy, just like other areas of your body. During pregnancy, the changing hormones can cause women to be more susceptible to developing gingivitis. As discussed above, gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and commonly causes bleeding gums. If you’re pregnant and suffering from bleeding gums, it is important to talk to a dental professional about incorporating additional steps to your dental hygiene routine to protect yourself from gum disease.

 

  1. Just started flossing/change in oral hygiene products

Not flossing enough? Surprisingly, brushing your teeth only cleans approximately about 60% of tooth surfaces. This means that about 40% of your daily plaque accumulation remains in between the teeth – which increases by the day the more we forget to floss. This plaque results in gum inflammation, which when disturbed with the floss results in bleeding.

The use of a hard or medium bristle brush can also result in irritation to our gums and can cause more damage than good. Leave those hard/medium bristle brushes for cleaning the floors and stick to a soft bristle brush to protect your gums.

 

  1. Underlying health conditions

Bleeding gums are a common symptom of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Patients with diabetes often have a harder time fighting off infections. This can include infections in the mouth like gum disease. Because of this, gum disease in diabetic patients can easily get out of control and progress much faster than in individuals without diabetes. If you have diabetes and bleeding gums, it’s important to notify your dental professional so they can evaluate your gum health and create an oral health plan for you.

Other medical conditions which can increase your risk of gum disease include osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

 

  1. Unhealthy diet or lifestyle

Individuals with a higher intake of sugar and carbohydrates can have an increased risk of gingivitis as sugar creates the perfect conditions to encourage increased plaque accumulation. Increased plaque scores result to readily irritated and inflamed soft tissues, which can result in bleeding gums.

Studies have also shown that a deficiency in vitamin C and other minerals may lead to bleeding gums.

 

What can you do to stop your gums from bleeding at home?

As previously mentioned, the number one cause for bleeding gums is inadequate oral hygiene and plaque being left behind on our teeth. So going back to basics to improve your oral hygiene regime can definitely help with improving the symptoms of gingivitis at home.

Tips for brushing and flossing

  • – Using a soft bristle brush, start in one quadrant of your mouth with the bristles aimed at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line.
  • – Treat brushing the gum line like a massage, working in a circular motion. Avoid scrubbing as much as possible as this can run the risk of damaging the gum, causing them to recede.
  • – Aim to brush for at least 2 minutes, twice daily – morning and night.
  • – The most common tool to clean in between the teeth is dental floss. If this doesn’t work well for you, try flossette picks or interdental brushes!

 

A big reminder is to not be afraid if you see bleeding when you brush or floss. This is often a sign that there are bacteria in the area and needs to be cleaned out thoroughly. Studies have shown that the use of an electric toothbrush has been found to be more effective than a manual brush at removing plaque. To find out which electric toothbrush might be right for you, speak to the friendly team at True Smiles Dental.

 

Will cleaning my teeth at home be enough? 

If your gums continue to bleed after brushing or flossing, it may be time to visit your dentist or oral health therapist for a thorough professional dental cleaning. Soft plaque can be controlled and removed at home, however, once it calcifies onto the tooth surface, it needs to be professionally and safely removed with our special dental instruments.

 

Is it normal for my gums to bleed during a dental clean appointment?

If your gums are exhibiting signs of inflammation or there is some notable plaque or tartar build up on your teeth, it can be normal to see some bleeding during your dental cleaning. Once your teeth have been professionally cleaned, your dentist or oral health therapist will run through how to clean your teeth properly at home to ensure that your gum health improves. This can include a mixture of brushing technique, interdental cleaning, specific toothpastes to use and perhaps mouthwash (as directed). Improvements in your gum health may take up to 1-2 weeks before the inflammation settles and the occasional bleeding stops.

 

How often should I have my teeth professionally cleaned?

For healthy, well-maintained teeth and gums, it is recommended that you visit your trusty Marrickville dentist every 6 months. If your gums need more attention, you may be told that you need to attend more frequently for professional dental cleanings. This can be every 3 or 4 months until your periodontal health is stable. During these visits the health of your gums (and teeth) will be assessed and any essential treatment or preventive options are recommended.

 

At True Smiles Dental, we have invested in the latest technology to ensure the most comfortable, pain-free dental cleaning services. Our EMS airflow uses a mixture of air, warm water (can be heated up to 40 degrees Celsius!) and fine powder which offers a quicker, gentler and effective teeth clean than ever before. Our ultrasonic scaler, which is used to remove hard tartar build up is also designed with a patented ‘no-pain’ technology for your comfort. To find out more, call our friendly team on (02) 7228 7272 or visit our dental clinic at 235 Marrickville Road, Marrickville NSW 2204.

Sensitive Teeth: Is this normal and how can I fix it?

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Imagine this, you’ve just finished dinner and decide to head over to the fridge to grab an ice-cream as a post dinner treat. As you bite down, you feel a zap-like jolt or pain coming from one or more teeth. The pain is momentary, but it keeps re-occurring with each bite.

You then go and brush your teeth before hopping into bed, again that same ache occurs from the cold running water and the motions of brushing. Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth the discomfort and pain goes away.

What is happening? Is this normal?

Tooth sensitivity – it is extremely common and can go untreated in many individuals.

What are sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a common name for dentine hypersensitivity and can result in a pain like sensation when the tooth is exposed to cold, hot, sweets, acidic or sour food and beverages. This pain can be mild (like a tingle) or a short and sharp pain shooting through the inside of your tooth (‘nerve pain’). The pain then dissipates as soon as the stimulus is removed.

What are some different triggers?

  • – Cold air
  • – Cold/hot food and beverages
  • – Acidic foods and beverages
  • – Sour foods and beverages
  • – Brushing teeth: especially when using a medium/hard or electric toothbrush
  • – Mouth wash
Symptoms associated with tooth sensitivity can range from mild to intense and may come and go depending on the stimulus. The symptoms then usually dissipate once the stimuli are removed. In some severe cases, the teeth can feel sensitivity all the time, despite removing the trigger.


Why are my teeth sensitive?

In order to understand the mechanics of tooth sensitivity, it is important to understand the anatomy of our teeth.

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Our teeth are made up of 3 predominant layers. This includes the:

  • – Enamel: This is the hard outer layer of the tooth and covers the top portion of the tooth. The enamel is very dense, composed of a crystalline structure that protects the dentine and pulpal layers. It serves primarily as an insulating barrier that protects the tooth from physical, chemical and thermal forces. The white shiny surface that we can see in the mirror is our enamel.

Fun fact: enamel is one of the hardest substances in our body

  • – Dentine: This is the second or inner layer of the tooth and makes up the majority of the tooth. The dentine is comprised of a multitude of tubules (dentine tubules) which connect from the outside of the tooth to the inside of the tooth (pulp). Dentine is generally a yellow/orange colour.
  • – Pulp/nerve tissue: This is the most inner layer of the tooth and consists of the nerve tissue and blood supply. Having a nerve and blood supply means that our teeth are essentially ‘alive’ and can be subject to different sensations such as pain.The other surrounding support structures for the tooth include the gums and the underlying bone. The roots (or ‘legs’) of our teeth sit in the bone and the gums cover the bone, the top portion of the roots and a portion of the tooth enamel (only marginally).Dentine hypersensitivity

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Over time, our gums can become damaged or recede as a result of age, gum disease or brushing too hard. This exposes the root surfaces of the tooth and the underlying dentinal tubules which can react when they come into contact with cold, hot, acidic, sour or physical stimuli (such as brushing or touching the tooth).It is important to note that not everyone experiences sensitivity to the same degree. Some individuals may experience a lot of sensitivity when a small amount of dentine is exposed, whereas others may not experience anything at all for the same amount.

What causes our teeth to be sensitive?

Of course, it’s not fair or expected you’d have to avoid all the good pleasures in life such as ice cream to escape sensitivity – so by understanding why our teeth are sensitive, we can work out ways to minimise the symptoms.

Tooth wear, is reasonable for the majority of tooth sensitive cases.

Here are a few reasons why your teeth might be sensitive:

  1. Worn tooth enamel from brushing too hard or using a hard/medium bristle brush

Although our enamel is one of the hardest substances in our body, it can still be worn away. Remember when brushing your teeth, it is important to use a soft bristle brush and apply gentle pressure. Don’t brush your teeth like how you would scrub our pots and pans. If you’re using a scrubbing motion – you’re doing it wrong.

Some of us are actually stronger than we think, so if you find it hard to control the pressure, it may be time to consider an electric toothbrush. Technology in certain electric toothbrushes now come with pressure sensors to indicate if you are applying too much pressure on your teeth.

  1. Dental erosion

Dental erosion is caused from exposure of our teeth to a highly acidic environment. This can be due to the acidic foods we consume or underlying health conditions such as reflux.

Drinking water after consuming acidic foods and beverages can help with increasing salivary flow and diluting the acidic levels in your mouth. If your dental professional has mentioned you may have dental erosion, considerations such as not brushing straight after a meal/beverage can be helpful in limiting further erosion.

  1. Tooth decay/ broken teeth/ worn down fillings

Tooth decay, broken teeth or worn-down fillings can cause exposure to the inside of the tooth, which can result in sensitivity. The tooth therefore may require fillings to replace the missing tooth structure and protect the exposed dentine.

  1. Gum recession

Gum recession can be a result of brushing too hard or a result of gum disease. Plaque and calculus that builds up near the gum line has the potential to push the gums down further. This exposes the underlying root surfaces which are not covered in enamel. Regular professional dental cleanings are important to remove the build-up in a timely manner before they cause damage to the gums.

  1. Grinding or clenching your teeth

Grinding your teeth can cause serious wear to your teeth. This can cause your enamel to be slowly worn down over time exposing the underlying dentine. Similarly, clenching forces are also cause areas of the enamel to break off (most predominantly near the gum line). This is known as ‘abfraction’.

Treatment for clenching and grinding include construction of a custom occlusal splint (night guard) to protect your teeth from further wear or muscle relaxants in the jaw muscle.

  1. Developmental Enamel defects

In some cases, some people are born with weaker enamel. Hypomineralised or hypoplastic teeth are defects in the quality and quantity of enamel respectively and one of the biggest side effects can be sensitive teeth. There are many ways to manage enamel defects, but it is always best to speak to your dental professional to determine which treatment is best.

  1. Post-dental treatment sensitivity

This can be a common reason for tooth sensitivity but is usually temporary. After procedures such as large fillings, crowns or even teeth whitening, our teeth can become a little sensitive. These symptoms normally subside within a few weeks post-treatment.

Managing sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth can often be managed at home first with symptoms resolving within a week or two. The following suggestions may help, however, it is important to speak to your dental professional to see what may work best for you.

  1. Desensitising toothpaste: specific sensitive toothpaste such as Sensodyne or Colgate sensitive pro-relief have ingredients in them which can help to block and cover the exposed dentinal tubules, which can improve or in some cases eliminate teeth sensitivity.
  2. Soft bristle toothbrushes: Using a soft bristle brush (and even soaking it in warm water to soften it further before brushing) can help as this is much gentler on the gums and won’t irritate them as you brush.
  3. Specialised dental products: your dentist or oral health therapist may recommend specialised products such as Tooth Mousse Plus or a higher fluoride toothpaste depending on your circumstances. It is always best to speak to a dental professional before using specialised dental products to see if it is right for you
  4. Fillings: If tooth sensitivity cannot be managed with at-home products, in some cases, dental fillings may be required to cover up any exposed tooth or dentinal surface.
  5. Surgery: In more severe cases where the gums have dramatically receded and you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, gum grafting may be a solution to bring back the gums.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or are unsure if you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, contact the friendly team at True Smiles Dental in Marrickville to see if we can find a treatment or solution that works for you. Call us on (02) 7228 7272 or book online at www.truesmilesdental.com.au