Understanding what to expect
The Check Up
Regular dental exams are an important part of preventive health care. During your check up we look for any issues that can be treated to avoid future problems arising.
The dentist will clean your teeth and check for cavities and gum disease. We will also evaluate your risk of developing other oral health problems, and discuss lifestyle factors than may affect your oral health. A dental exam may also include dental X-rays or other diagnostic procedures.
What to expect
Your regular dental examination will:
Evaluate your general health and oral hygiene practice, this may involve understanding any medications you are taking and any impact they may have on your oral health
Assess risk of gum or bone disease, detect tooth decay, root damage or decay.
Offer advice and recommend suitable treatment.
Discuss any need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
Check your jaw and bite
Take dental x-rays (See Are X-Ray’s safe for me)
If you have dentures or bridges these will be assessed to ensure they fit well or need any adjustments.
Are Dental X-ray’s safe for me?
Today’s dental x-rays emit very low radiation levels. X-ray methods have advanced significantly from the past. Reduced radiation exposure allows regular x-ray checks to identify problems that aren’t easily seen. This is a great advantage to patients to identify problem areas before they progress, with only tiny amounts of radiation exposure.
If you have had substantial exposure to radiation from cancer treatments or other screening tests discuss this with your dentist to address any concerns you may have.
Mouth and soft tissue exam
During the exam your dentist will check the insides of your mouth, cheeks, lips, under your jaw and the sides of your neck to check for any signs of oral cancer. This check will also look at your tongue and the roof of your mouth for anything unusual.
At the end of your check up the dentist will recommend the best time to return for a follow-up visit. If you require ongoing treatment the work and timeframe will be explained in full, quoted and booked in a timeframe to suit.
This is also an opportunity to discuss possible cosmetic improvements to your teeth, including straightening or whitening your teeth. This can include using crowns and veneers to improve your smile!
We offer pain free treatment. If you feel anxious about dental visits, let us know and share your concerns with us. We will adjust your treatment so that you can feel more comfortable.
Types of Filling
With many choices of filling options your dentist will help you decide which is best for your situation.
This can be related to the location or type of tooth, the extent of decay or the costs and process involved.
Below is a list of commonly prescribed options:
Gold: Gold fillings can last up to 15 years. Robust and non-corrosive they are often considered more attractive that silver (amalgam) fillings. Costs are on a par with Ceramic Crowns, and require more than one visit to fit.
Ceramic: Made from porcelain this option is both durable and looks natural and attractive. As with gold fillings they require more than one visit to fit.
Composite: A popular choice, while not as durable as metal fillings these can be matched to the colour of your tooth for barely visible result.
Silver Amalgam: Providing a similar strength and durability to gold fillings for less cost. Amalgam can be prone to expanding and contracting which can lead to a crack in the underlying tooth. Many people prefer the look of other options available.
Glass Ionomers: Made from acrylic and glass these are a suitable choice for children’s teeth that are still changing. With the option to include a slow release fluoride they can also provide a preventative measure to reduce tooth decay.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is common, symptoms and signs are more prevalent in people aged in their 30’s and 40’s.
- Bleeding or tender gums
- Swelling, red or swollen gums around teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Gums that are receding showing a ‘longer’ tooth
Gum disease develops when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. Bacteria thrives in this environment causing inflammation of the gums and if left untreated can advance to more serious forms of gum disease resulting in the loss of otherwise healthy teeth.
Preventing gum disease will allow you to keep your natural teeth and avoid more invasive treatments.
A good personal cleaning regime and regular dental visits will manage this build up.
Including hygienist services as a regular part of you oral healthcare checks will ensure any signs of gum disease are monitored. Gum disease can be reversed, treated or stopped if caught early.
During your hygiene visit you will receive advice on good cleaning practice, using a toothbrush, floss and/or interdental brushes.
Your visit includes the removal of plaque and tartar build up and professional cleaning.
Removing tartar and plaque build up will benefit you in the following ways:
- Prevent Bad Breath (halitosis). Bad breath can be caused by bacteria living under the gum line, an area that only a professional can clean.
- A whiter smile, restoring your teeth to their natural colour. Cleaning and removing external stains that build up on your teeth cannot be removed by brushing alone. Often these are the result of tea, coffee, tobacco, red wine or other dietary factors.
- Disease prevention – poor dental hygiene has been linked to the development of several diseases including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems.
- Eliminating gum inflammation resulting in bleeding gums (or seeing blood when you spit after brushing). This can be an early sign of gum disease. If caught early it is often reversible. A thorough cleaning of hard deposits from your teeth and around your gums will keep this in check.
- Keeping your teeth – rather than the loss of a tooth due to gum disease. As a tooth loosens with gum disease, it becomes prone to infection and pain. It is our number one mission to prevent this happening, by treating and preventing gum disease.
Some people have excellent oral hygiene. If this is you, you may not need a hygiene visit so often but it is still extremely important to add that professional layer to your care to keep your oral hygiene at its best. There are always parts of your mouth that you just won’t be able to clean as effectively as a professional.
Dentures – Good Practice
Dentures do need to be regularly checked once a year to assess any changes in occlusion (bite) or small fractures that might give future discomfort or effect the appearance of the face or health of the jaw.
This is also a time to check oral health, evaluating the condition of your mouth. Your dentist will check gums, checks, tongue and the roof of your mouth for any abnormalities including lumps, inflammation or sore spots.
Often things can be picked up before any obvious pain is present and fixed more easily than if left untreated.