This may include the initial consultation and diagnostics such as x-rays, as well as many common procedures that are offered by our general dentists and hygienists including: fillings, extractions, cleans etc.
At Brisbane West Dental our focus is always on you, and ensuring that all your general dental needs are met. It is important to remember that dental health is not just about your teeth; in fact, modern research has shown that good dental health is linked to good overall health in many ways.
At Brisbane West Dental we are committed to providing the highest level of dentistry for every single patient.
A Dental Implant is a manufactured replacement for the root of a single tooth, it is a small screw shaped unit made from titanium, which is placed into the jawbone to provide a strong foundation for a permanent replacement tooth. Implants are the longest lasting way to replace missing teeth, this is because they are fixed into your mouth and therefore won’t move or come out.
There are two stages to getting a dental implant. The first stage is when the sterile titanium implant is placed into the jaw bone by a specialist periodontist or oral surgeon. The second stage involves the placing of a naturally looking tooth over the top of the implant by a general dentist.
Dental implants have a very natural look and they have been used for many years in dentistry and they show an almost 100% success rate under ideal conditions (patient must have enough bone structure to hold the implant stable, they must be in good health. Some conditions that may prevent success are decay, periodontal disease, diabetes, blood pressure, osteoporosis and smoking.
At Brisbane West Dental Group, we will ensure that we provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision regarding your implant surgery.
A comprehensive treatment plan, x-rays and an idea of expenses, timeframes and procedures involved will be given to you. Furthermore, to ensure that the work we do is of the highest quality, we use local Brisbane laboratories for all our work and we do not send any work overseas. For any queries relating to dental implants, feel free to make an appointment with our friendly team at Brisbane West Dental!
Fillings may be required if tooth structure has been lost due to decay or trauma. During a regular check-up, your dentist will examine your teeth for these defects, and using X-rays to pinpoint the location and extent of decay, will then decide on the best method to restore the integrity of your tooth, which may include fillings.
When good fillings go bad
Constant wear and tear can cause fillings to wear, chip or crack, opening the seal between the tooth and the filling, allowing food particles and decay-causing bacteria. However, if you're seeing your dentist regularly, they'll look after this before it becomes serious. While prevention through brushing and flossing is definitely better than cure when it comes to caring for your teeth and gums, should tooth decay develop, your dentist has a range of options for restoring your teeth's shape and function.
An array of filling materials are available,when a filling is required there is a variety of materials that can be used, all of which have unique properties and advantages. Some factors which influence the type of material to be used will be the type of tooth, the strength requirements and the way your teeth bite together. Your dentist will give you advice on what is appropriate for your situation.
Amalgam is a durable material, but requires more of the tooth to be removed, and it can blacken with age. While amalgam is increasingly giving way to tooth-coloured filling materials such as resin, it is still in use, safe, and there is no need to replace your amalgam fillings just for the sake of it.
Composite resin is a commonly used white or tooth-coloured filling material., It can be "glued" to the surface of the tooth, and a matching tooth colour can be picked so that the filling is almost invisible. On the other hand, the composite resin material is more difficult to use, which makes the restoration a bit more expensive when compared with amalgam.
Glass-Ionomer Cement (GIC) is also tooth coloured; however it is not as durable and strong as composite resin, although it does bond well to the tooth and it has some decay-preventing abilities. Glass-ionomer cement is often used for the areas of the tooth where there is not much biting force, and also to fill baby teeth.
Gold & Porcelain
Gold fillings tend to be the most durable over the long-term, while ceramic fillings are both strong and able to be matched to your tooth colour to produce a very long lasting and aesthetic filling. Both gold and porcelain fillings take longer to prepare and manufacture, meaning more appointments and more cost.
Short-term (‘temporary’) fillings may be used when multiple appointments on a tooth are required, if there is insufficient time to complete the treatment in one visit, or during emergency treatment.
After the filling
Following treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive to things like pressure, cold air, sweet foods or changes in temperature for a few days. If this persists, return to your dentist so the cause can be investigated.
Whitening, Crowns and Veneers:
Aesthetic dentistry, often incorrectly referred to as “cosmetic dentistry”, is the term used to describe treatments which change the way your teeth look. There is far more involved than simply changing the appearance of your teeth.
While a cosmetic procedure like tooth whitening is included in aesthetic dentistry, the field is mostly concerned with orthodontic treatment which involves teeth straightening, and restorative dentistry, which involves the insertion of crowns, veneers and dental implants.
As the name suggests, this treatment is all about lightening stained or discoloured teeth.
While you can buy over-the-counter, use-at-home toothpastes and strips, your dentist is best qualified to determine if you need teeth whitening. They can diagnose the reason for the discolouration and its type, and can then advise the most effective treatment for you.
You may be tempted to go to a shopping centre booth or a beautician to get your teeth whitened, but neither are staffed by suitably qualified personnel. Incorrect use of bleaching agents may cause irreversible damage to your teeth and gums. DIY bleaching comes with all sorts of risks, and anecdotal treatments such as rubbing strawberries, lemons, or even bicarbonate of soda on your teeth, can do a lot of damage to your teeth and gums for no real whitening gain.
Keep in mind is that crowns, veneers and fillings don’t change colour when you have your teeth whitened.
Veneers are thin, tooth-coloured porcelain or glass/plastic layers fixed onto the front of your teeth that can be a suitable option if you have teeth with gaps, that are stained, discoloured, broken or chipped, crowded-in or crooked, oddly-shaped or badly-aligned.
If your broken or decayed tooth needs to be rebuilt, it’s possible your dentist will use a crown to do the job. Crowns are generally made from materials such as porcelain, and porcelain/metal combinations. Not only do they make your teeth look more attractive, but they also give them added strength, durability and stability.
Dental Trauma and first aid
“Accidents happen” is one of those phrases we casually throw around without thinking. But the reality is that accidents can have quite serious consequences for our teeth. The good news is that much of the trauma of dental injury can be minimised if you know what precautions to take and what to do in the unfortunate event you suffer damage to your teeth.
Don’t assume anything -Teeth can be cracked, chipped or become loose from accidents in ways not visible to the naked eye, and failure to get them checked out quickly by your dentist may mean sustaining otherwise-avoidable long term damage. But there’s also quite a bit you can do before you reach the dentist.
Children-You only need to be around babies or toddlers for a second to realise that bumps, knocks and spills are a standard part of growing up. If your child knocks out a tooth, quickly following these steps can minimise any long term damage:
1. Find the tooth, make sure it’s clean and hold it by the crown only, not the root.
2. Place the tooth back in position, making sure it’s facing the right way round (if it’s a baby tooth, don’t place it back in.)
3. Get to your dentist straight away, and if you can’t replant the tooth, transport it in milk or saliva.
Dental trauma can also take other forms.
If your child develops a toothache, book an appointment with your dentist straight away; in the meantime, rinse your child’s mouth with salt water, use paracetamol to alleviate pain and if there’s swelling present, use a cold compress. This doesn’t apply to babies who are teething.
If your child’s braces or retainer becomes broken or bent, they shouldn’t wear it again until it’s been fitted or adjusted by their orthodontist.
Adults-Again, the key thing is to act quickly so get to your dentist as quickly as possible, ideally within 30 minutes.
1. Find the tooth and hold it by the crown only, not the root.
2. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk but don’t scrub or soak it.
3. Place the tooth back in position, making sure it’s facing the right way round; once in, gently bite down on soft cloth or tissue, or use aluminium foil or your mouthguard to hold it in place.
4. If you can’t replant the tooth, transport it in milk or saliva.
If you play sports (this also applies to children and teenagers), it’s also a good idea to get a custom-fitted mouthguard made by your dentist to minimise the chance of any damage resulting in the first place.
Teeth grinding, or Bruxism as it's officially known, is one of those tricky conditions that you could be suffering from without even knowing it. An involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of the teeth, it doesn't always display its symptoms in ways that are immediately noticeable.
Most people aren't even aware they are grinding their teeth until their partners tell them or advanced symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches and worn down, sensitive teeth start to emerge.
Symptoms of tooth grinding- What makes working out if you grind your teeth so challenging is that while you may have some symptoms when you first wake up, they can quickly disappear; and if you grind teeth during waking hours, symptoms won't be noticeable until later in the day.
So what should you be looking out for?
Fractured, chipped or loose teeth
A dull headache, sore jaws and/or ear pain
Aching teeth, and stiffness in the face and temples, particularly after you've just woken up
Sore jaws while you're eating, especially at breakfast time
Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
Intense jaw clenching
Even if you're not sure that teeth grinding is responsible for the symptoms you're experiencing, telling your dentist as soon as you suspect something’s wrong means they can perform a diagnosis and devise possible treatment options.
Problems caused by tooth grinding-All those niggling, sometime painful symptoms may be pointers to even worse damage being done. Teeth grinding places a lot of pressure on your teeth, cracking their protective enamel, fracturing them and breaking things like crowns and fillings, while placing great stress on your jaws joints and muscles.
You might also find your teeth are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and more painful to bite down on as the fibre that attaches them to the bone gets inflamed.
Causes and treatments-The range of likely causes of bruxism are physical and psychological meaning that any treatment will often need to address both these things. Your dentist, of course, will take care of the possible physical causes such as overly-high fillings, or missing or crooked teeth, and may fit you with an occlusal splint if you grind your teeth at night to prevent further damage to your teeth.
There’s a lot going on in your mouth that is not visible to the naked eye, and dental X-rays allow your dentist to see what’s happening below the surface. By taking X-rays, your dentist is provided with a comprehensive assessment of the health of your mouth.
No visible signs of trouble-Tooth decay can be sneaky – it doesn’t tend to show physical signs of its presence early on. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool that allows your dentist to confirm if you have tooth decay, or if you have any problems such as infection around the roots of the tooth, or bone loss. Spotting it early means your dentist can deal with the problem before it becomes significant.
Safe for everyone
Regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, you can have X-rays safely taken of the inside and outside of your mouth. The amount of radiation involved is extremely low, and is equivalent to the sort of exposure you’d receive on a 1-2 hour flight. 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.
Oh, and that thing about your dentist leaving the room while the X-rays are taken? Nothing to worry about there – they’re taking lots of X-rays all day long and stepping out of the room limits their ongoing exposure to radiation.
Why X-rays are needed-The types of X-rays your dentist will take will depend on the conditions for which you are being assessed. The decision to take an X-ray, and the type of X-ray taken, will be influenced by such things as your past and present oral health, an examination of your mouth, your age, risk of disease and any early symptoms of oral disease.
What can dental X-rays detect?
• Small areas of decay between teeth not visible in the mouth
• Problems with existing fillings, root canals, crowns or bridges
• The presence and severity of gum disease
• Abscesses or other sorts of infections
• Tooth development issues such as malformed teeth, extra or missing teeth etc.
• Cysts and some types of tumours
• Traumatic injuries such as tooth and bone fractures
• Proximity of teeth to nerves and sinuses
• The development of wisdom teeth and if there is a need for them to be removed
• The amount of bone needed for dental implants
If an X-ray shows decay, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you, which may be preventive to slow or stop further progression of the decay, or may involve a filling if there is an actual cavity.
If you play a contact sport, and a lot of Aussies do, you risk injuring your teeth.
Many sports have risk of contact and therefore serious dental injury. These sorts of injuries are often difficult to treat, and often involve a lifetime of expense.
The damage done
Mouthguards can protect you from some serious sporting injuries, such as broken jaws, fractured, cracked or knocked-out teeth, cut lips and tongues.
And you don’t just have to be playing obvious contact sports like rugby union, rugby league, AFL, hockey and boxing to sustain those kinds of injuries. Even non-contact sports like cricket, basketball, netball, touch football, skateboarding and soccer, carry a real risk of accidental collision, and resulting dental trauma.
How a mouthguard works
A custom-fitted mouthguard works by absorbing and spreading the impact of the damaging blow, and is fabricated based on an impression of your teeth and jaw taken by your dentist.
A mouthguard that is custom-fitted by your dentist is far superior to an over-the-counter mouthguard because it’s specially designed to fit the exact contours of your mouth, is resilient, balances your bite and allows speech and normal breathing. If properly used, stored, and checked by your dentist every year, a custom-fitted mouthguard should last several seasons.
In contrast, self-fitted, over-the-counter mouthguards, which include what are commonly known as boil-and-bite mouthguards, should not be used. They do not protect the teeth, are loosely fitted, impede breathing and speaking, and can even wedge in the back of the throat at impact which could be life threatening.
Wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard
Custom-fitted mouthguards, by virtue of their exact fit, let you talk normally, don’t restrict your breathing and stay firmly in place, allowing you to concentrate on playing the sport you love. You should consider it a mandatory part of your sporting equipment, no matter your age or experience.
To keep your mouthguard in tip-top working order, you’ll need to keep it out of the sun, wash it in cold water after use, keep on the supplied plastic model cast and get your dentist to make sure it’s still OK when you go in for your regular check-ups.
Only dental professionals can design and manufacture a custom-fitted mouthguard that provides adequate protection.
Our teeth have a significant impact on the way we live our life. They influence how we look, how we speak, how we eat, and their absence greatly affects how we perceive ourselves and how others see us.
So if we are missing some or all of our teeth then our quality of life and sense of confidence can be compromised. One alternative to replacing these lost or missing teeth is to have dentures fitted by your dentist.
Not your grandmother’s dentures
While dentures are often the target of ridicule in popular culture, the truth is they are an effective replacement for teeth lost to decay, gum disease, or trauma. If you have experienced partial or total tooth loss, it’s likely your dentist will talk to you about having dentures fitted.
Dentures are typically made of acrylic and resin, specialist plastics and occasionally lightweight metal and are designed to look like your natural teeth.
There are three main types of dentures:
1. A full denture
Replacing all your natural teeth, these rest on your upper or lower jaws or both, providing support to your face and giving it a natural, more “filled-in” look.
2. A partial denture
Replacing lost or missing teeth, this is held in place by clasps around your remaining teeth and may have a cobalt-chrome base for added strength.
3. Implant retained denture
An alternative to standard dentures, these replace one or more single teeth and are held in place by implants fixed into the jaw.
Dentures are customised by your dentist or prosthetist to fit your mouth to prevent them from being the cause of bleeding gums, swelling, and ulcers; however, even the best made dentures will feel a little irritating at first as you adjust to how they feel in your mouth. You may need to return to your clinician for minor adjustments.
If you’re having teeth removed and need a denture, your dentist may suggest waiting a few months after the teeth have been removed so that your gums can heal and the need for adjustment is minimised. However, if you need a denture immediately after a tooth is removed and it is fitted during the same visit (an 'immediate' denture), then more frequent adjustment may be necessary.
Keeping your mouth healthy
Even when your dentures are comfortably in place, it’s still important to see your dentist regularly so they can make sure they are fitting you correctly and remain beneficial to your oral health. A yearly check-up, which involves monitoring of cheek, tongue, gums and palate, and screening for oral cancer, is usually all that’s required.
At Brisbane West Dental, our first priority will always be to save your teeth.
Occasionally however, there may be instances where a dental extraction or removal of the tooth becomes the only option: reasons for extractions may be if there is extensive decay or damage to your tooth, periodontal disease, vertical cracks ,infection underneath or around the tooth, severe gum disease, severely impacted teeth (e.g. wisdom teeth) or in preparation for orthodontic (braces) work.
Our dentists are trained in the safe removal of your teeth and with the use of our modern equipment and local anaesthesia, the extraction is usually very quick and completely painless!
If the extraction appears to be a difficult one we will refer you on to a specialist to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Our dentists and the team at Brisbane West Dental will take full care of you and support you before, during and after the procedure.
If you require follow up care, our friendly staff will organise to give you a follow up phone call or appointment to make sure you are recovering well.
Cancer treatment and your oral health
Being diagnosed with cancer is arguably one of life’s most traumatic events. You will be given a lot of information about your treatment options so it’s understandable that the first thing you think of will not be how your mouth and teeth will be affected.
But it’s important that you speak to your dentist about your diagnosis. Your dentist can assess the health of your teeth and mouth in the context of proposed cancer treatment(s) and determine if any dental work, by themselves or a specialist, is needed before you commence your treatment.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can have oral side effects, which may be temporary or long-term, such as soreness and ulcers in the mouth, gum infections, bleeding gums, dry mouth and altered taste and your dentist is best placed to advise on how to treat them. Patients at the highest risk of oral complications include those receiving radiation to the head and neck region, those who require bone marrow transplants, or patients receiving specific chemotherapy agents.
Oral health side effects -One main oral side effect you may notice is xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth. This condition is the result of damage to your salivary glands caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments, and adverse effects from medicines.
You’ll find that your saliva is less abundant and thicker, and less able to neutralise the acids produced by dental plaque, which puts you at increased risk of tooth decay. You may also find you suffer from more sores and mouth infections, such as oral thrush.
A dry mouth may also make it difficult to wear dentures. Your dentist will be able to suggest a moisturiser or adhesive to help your denture stay in place.
Managing dry mouth-The good news is that you may be able to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth. You should consult your dentist prior to commencing treatment to determine which dental products, such as saliva substitutes, mouth-rinses to fight infection and products that stimulate the salivary glands, will work best for you.
Once your treatment is completed your dentist may recommend that you use specific fluoride rinses and gels, high concentrated fluoride toothpastes, and other products designed to help you lower the risk of tooth decay.
After treatment-Oral side effects such as dry mouth usually clear up after treatment although this may not be the case if you’ve had radiation treatment for head and neck cancers. Symptoms may persist into the long-term however, especially if your treatment was directed at the salivary glands, in which case you should see your dentist more regularly than usual, possibly as frequently as every 3 months.