Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we provide answers to many of our patients' most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your questions here please contact us and we will be happy to help.
Some of the information provided below has been obtained from the Australian Dental Association
If your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, you can wipe her gums with a clean warm wet cloth after every feed. Once she gets her first teeth, make sure you clean them after feeds with a warm wet cloth and avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle. Do not allow your baby to drink anything else but milk or water from a bottle. Your toddler can have their teeth brushed the same way as the rest of the family. Until they are three years old they may not be able to spit, so avoid putting too much toothpaste on the brush and use only a smear rather than a blob of paste to brush their teeth. You may choose to use a milk teeth toothpaste with less fluoride until the first permanent teeth start erupting, but using regular toothpaste is also fine, as long as you use it in small quantities.
Each time you have an appointment with our hygienist, your teeth are professionally scaled and polished, and remineralising agent is applied. We screen your mouth for gum disease, malignancies and tooth decay. Preventing problems is vital to good health, so our hygiene team will discuss with you how to best look after your teeth and gums at home. A dental therapist is a vital part of our team, offering a wonderful service treating dental concerns in children. A dental therapist is a great alternative to seeing a dentist, especially for young children. Our therapist has a great way of making children's visits fun and enjoyable.
Cosmetic dentistry is dedicated to brightening and enhancing the appearance of your smile. Whether your teeth are crooked, discoloured, too close together or too far apart, too short, too long or too gummy, today’s technological advancements can make an amazing difference. Techniques include porcelain veneers, crowns, dental bridges, gum lifts, bonding, tooth whitening and implants. Get the smile you've always dreamed of...
Crowns are coverings for the entire visible part of the tooth. They are used when teeth are broken; old and large fillings are lost; teeth are badly decayed or severely discoloured. They improve the appearance of your natural teeth and can brighten your smile. National Dental Care offers both porcelain and gold materials, taking into consideration where in your mouth the crown is to be placed.
Dental crowns improve the structure of the tooth. As time goes by, it’s not unusual to find our teeth are no longer structurally sound. Things like lost fillings, decay, chipping and cracking of the enamel can all lead to large-scale problems in a tooth’s surface. If the whole surface of the tooth is problematic but the root system is intact, a crown might be the ideal solution.
Bridges are the traditional way of replacing missing teeth. A dental bridge is a false tooth, fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in the area left by a missing tooth. The two crowns holding it in place are attached to teeth on each side of the false tooth.
There are several types, and which one we recommend depends on where it will go in your mouth, your bite and also the aesthetic and functional considerations.
A bridge will keep teeth from drifting into the space created by a missing tooth, helping preserve normal function and a normal bite for the jaw joint. In the most common type of bridge, crowns are applied to the two teeth on either side of a gap (where teeth have been removed). This involves joining three crowns, including a crown to fill the gap.
A bridge is suitable in areas where teeth on either side of the gap have been filled and would benefit from restoration with crowns. If the teeth beside the gap don’t have fillings, it might be better to explore options such as implants. This avoids having to cut otherwise-perfect teeth.
Dental implants are an ideal way to replace missing teeth. National Dental Care can create a plan that gives you stable, beautiful and functional new teeth. Because quality and precision are crucial when it comes to implant dentistry, we take utmost care in planning and carrying out your treatment. You can be confident in the advanced materials and technologies we use to give you great results. Whether it’s to replace a single tooth or to create a full set of secure and stable new teeth, implants are a proven, long lasting alternative to bridges and dentures. Replacing the root of your natural teeth, implants bond with the bone to form a stable foundation for permanent replacement teeth that look, feel and function like the real thing!
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, or a loose lower denture, dental implants may be right for you. But there are many aspects to consider. The health and condition of your gums and bone play a major role in the decision process. That’s because, without the healthy structure in place, the implants will not be able to thrive. If you would like to speak to one of our expert professional team about implants, just let our front desk team know. They will add in extra time for discussion at your next visit.
Root canal treatment (also called endodontic treatment) is a procedure that specifically treats the nerve of the tooth and tissues surrounding the root of the tooth.
The aim of root canal treatment is to save a tooth that has been damaged by decay, disease or injury. The dead tissue is removed from the canal, medications such as antiseptics and localised antibiotics are used to clean the inside of the tooth, and the canals are filled. Root canal treatment is successful in most cases and if you take good care of the treated tooth, it can last for many years – possibly for the rest of your life. However, your tooth will not be treated unless the treatment is likely to succeed. In some cases, root canal treatment may not be appropriate and extraction may be the best option.
The great news is that you can now get straighter teeth without the look of metal braces. For decades, traditional braces have been the only option for adults who wanted straighter teeth. Now there’s Invisalign™. This amazing straightening product is custom-made to suit you perfectly. And because Invisalign™ is nearly invisible, your teeth can be straightened without anyone even knowing.
Invisalign™ uses 3D computer imaging technology to show you the complete treatment plan, from the initial position to the final desired position before treatment even starts.
As soon as you are happy with the computer simulation, a series of custom-moulded ‘aligners’ are produced. The clear, removable aligners gradually straighten teeth, positioning them into a wonderful new smile.
As well as being almost invisible, they’re removable. So you can eat and drink whatever you like during your treatment. You’ll also be able to brush and floss as normal.
Invisalign™, like everything, is not always right for everyone. The aligners work extremely well for a vast majority of patients, both adolescents and adults. Invisalign™ suits people whose teeth are crowded or have spaces between them, and those whose teeth may have shifted after having worn braces in their youth.
Much less! Most people experience minor temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is usually described as a feeling of pressure. That’s a sign that Invisalign™ is working, sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away a couple of days after you insert the new aligner.
The convenience and ease of Invisalign™ have made it the choice of over half a million people. You can live your normal lifestyle and still end up with an incredible smile, thanks to the comfort, convenience and virtual invisibility Invisalign™ provides during treatment.
Be as active as you like! And of course you can remove your aligners for special occasions.
It’s different for everyone. Invisalign™ treatment can range from 9 to 18 months, depending on what’s needed to get your smile straight and beautiful. Your dentist or orthodontist will determine the time frame and let you know before starting treatment.
The science of NMD is based on the understanding that your jaw needs to be in its most relaxed position at rest. Your National Dental Care dentist will weigh up the complex relationship between your teeth, jaw joints and muscles. NMD principles will then be applied to rebuild your bite, giving you healthy muscles and joints as well as a beautiful smile.
NMD begins by relaxing the muscles around the jaw, using a Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS) device. This is an ultra-low frequency unit that deprograms and relaxes muscles, allowing us to correct and re-align your bite. A K7 machine is then used to find your optimal jaw position. This very sensitive measuring tool uses electromyography, sonography and jaw tracking scans to record your muscle tension and listen to your jaw joint, while at rest and while functioning.
As a National Dental Care patient, you’ll be provided with personalised orthotic devices to gently align your jaw. In this treatment, you will wear a removable (or fixed, in some cases) dental appliance that will maintain the position of your jaw in a more relaxed position. This device is individually made for you, according to your condition or to the position of your jaw.
Other restorative techniques are then used to restore your teeth; they can include Implants, Empress CEREC and Invisalign™.
We also offer aesthetic services including teeth whitening and veneers. We provide custom-made individual bleaching trays, so you can achieve that beautiful smile by whitening your teeth at home.
A check up appointment at an National Dental Care practice usually starts with a thorough pre-clinical discussion regarding your medical and previous dental history. The dentist then completes a comprehensive examination of your face, neck and full mouth (including a cancer check of the soft tissues). The dentist and the nurse may take some photographs, digital scans or x-ray images to better visualise your mouth. They will then sit down with you and discuss their findings. The dentists will inform you of your condition and what options are available for you.
You may decide that you would also like a clean performed on the day of your check up. The dentist or the hygienist will then perform a thorough removal of plaque and stain from your teeth. If you suffer from more advanced gum disease or have a lot of build up on your teeth, this visit may not be enough to remove all the build up, but it’s a great start towards improving your oral health. You may need to return for an additional visit to complete your cleaning appointment.
Depends, but ideally 6 monthly, unless your dentist specifies otherwise.
Good diet, great overall health, good hydration, good oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist and hygienist.
There are links between poor oral health and other systemic diseases. Most studies show that it is not a causative link (i.e poor oral health does not cause heart disease), rather those patients already affected by a chronic systemic disease (such as heart disease and diabetes) have more problems trying to manage their disease if their oral health is poor. It is more difficult to maintain good oral health if you are already chronically ill or on medication, so making sure excellent oral health is maintained while you are healthy will pay dividends in times of illness.
It's never too late to achieve a beautiful straight smile... Braces aren’t just for kids any more. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. Having orthodontic treatment can dramatically improve your appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.
The really good news? The days of metal bands wrapped around each of your teeth individually are long gone! The new techniques and appliances National Dental Care uses greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits and shorten treatment time. There are also several options available, including metal braces, translucent braces or Invisalign. During your initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. We can also outline the treatment plan, the timeframe required and the approximate cost. Metal braces are the most common. They are made of high-grade stainless steel and are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive than ever. Clear (or ceramic) braces are made of translucent material. They are very popular with adult patients. The only drawback is that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolour between orthodontic visits.
When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. Your final orthodontic result depends on you wearing your retainers, so follow through with the work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before eating, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth. Alternatively, we can fit you with a permanent fixed wire retainer on the inner surfaces of your teeth.
As we all know, straight teeth can have a big influence on the aesthetic appearance of our smile. Orthodontics specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dental and facial irregularities in children and adults. Crooked and crowded teeth can be more difficult to clean and maintain, contributing to tooth decay, eventual gum disease and tooth loss. So orthodontics plays an important role in reducing the need for future dental treatment. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function and excessive stress on gum and bone. Misalignment of the jaw joint can even cause chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.
Veneers are a wonderful way of improving your smile. A specially prepared shell-like material is custom made for you. It’s permanently bonded to the tooth, giving a natural look and feel, plus outstanding durability and strength. Just two visits is all it takes.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common condition. Apnoea literally means absence of breath and an obstructive apnoea episode is defined as the absence of airflow for at least 10 seconds. Yet people often don’t even know they have it.
OSA occurs when tissues in the upper airways come too close to each other while you’re sleep, temporarily blocking the inflow of air. During normal sleep, the muscles lining the upper throat relax slightly but stay strong enough to keep the airway open, allowing air in and out of the lungs. Some people have a narrower airway and the relaxation of these muscles during sleep causes it to close. Loud snoring and laboured breathing are the result. When complete blockage of the airway occurs, air cannot reach the lungs and the sufferer wakes briefly. This wakefulness restores the airway and sleep returns. This cycle can be repeated as many as 500 times each night, leaving you tired and lethargic next day, and desperate for a good night’s sleep.
During the day:
- Excessive tiredness eg, inability to stay awake while reading or watching television
- Waking without feeling refreshed
- Morning headache
During the night:
- Snoring, usually loud, habitual, and bothersome to others, is found in almost all patients with OSA. However, not all snorers suffer from OSA.
- Pauses in breathing that often interrupt the snoring and end with a snort
- Gasping and choking sensations that intermittently arouse the sufferer from sleep
- Restless sleep (insomnia), with people often complaining of frequent arousal and tossing/turning during the night
Several simple lifestyle changes can reduce the symptoms in many patients:
- Weight loss (via meal replacement programs, drugs or surgery)
- Giving up smoking
- Avoiding alcohol and sedative medications, particularly before sleep
- If symptoms are worse in one position eg, when lying flat on your back, avoiding this position may help Many patients with OSA will require further treatment.
- Oral appliances, worn at night. They pull the jaw forward and are designed to prevent the collapse of the upper airway during sleep. They can be used for mild and moderate disease.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via nasal mask. This is a machine that blows air through a mask into your mouth and nose during sleep. The pressure of the air keeps the throat open, preventing the airway from collapsing. It is the most effective treatment for OSA, reducing daytime sleepiness and improving sleep quality. However, some people find the mask or feeling of pressure difficult to tolerate.
- Surgical treatment is rarely used. Several procedures have been trialled, including uvulopatatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which is designed to remove some of the soft tissues of the throat that collapse the airway during sleep. However, while UPPP may reduce snoring, it is often ineffective at treating true obstructive sleep apnoea.
If untreated, OSA may have serious consequences. It affects the cardiovascular system due to the periods of poor oxygenation during sleep and the stress on the body during attempts to re-initiate breathing. This may result in heart failure, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), or hypertension (high blood pressure). Poor sleep due to recurrent arousals may result in excessive daytime sleepiness, personality changes, memory loss and intellectual impairment.
In chair teeth whitening uses a strong active ingredient, which can only legally be prescribed and applied in the dental practice. This type of whitening can only be applied for an hour at a time and if multiple visits are required, they must be at least one week apart. While this whitening process may result in a dramatic change in brightness, it also causes more sensitivity and temporary tooth dehydration.
One visit may not be sufficient to get your teeth to the brightest shade they can be. Because this treatment is done in surgery, there is a higher cost associated with the treatment. Take home whitening is gentler, has a mild active ingredient and is safe to use without constant professional supervision. However, some professional supervision is still advised as all whitening can cause side effects like tooth sensitivity and even chemical burns.
It is important to follow instructions from your dentist, therapist and hygienist regarding the safest application of your home whitening kits. You should also check in with your NDC dental team regularly to ensure you are on track for the best results. Take home whitening is also very economical: once you have been issued your custom made home kit and starter gel, you will only need to top up your whitening once per year and the gel can be supplied at minimal cost by your National Dental Care dental practice during your preventative care visits.
The temporomandibular joints are located on each side of your head. They make it possible to open and close your mouth, and work together when you speak, chew or swallow. These joints also control the lower jaw as it moves forward, backward and side to side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMD or temporomandibular disorder.
If you have TMD (also referred to as TMJ) you will experience a lot of pain, especially chronic headaches or migraines, or pain in the neck, shoulder and back. Other symptoms can include:
- Ringing or congestion in the ears
- Loose teeth
- Worn, chipped or cracked teeth and fillings
- Pain and sensitivity in the teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Fractures at the gum line
- Pain or clicking and popping in the jaw joint
- Difficulty swallowing
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers
- Limited opening of the mouth
- Loss of chewing efficiency
TMJ disorders are generally caused by a combination of problems with the joint, and stress on its surrounding structures. Some causes of joint problems include:
- Arthritis, injury and dislocation of the joint, which can be due to an improperly-aligned bite or joint hyper-mobility (looseness of the jaw).
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can put significant stress on the jaw muscles. People who clench their teeth during the day and grind their teeth while asleep will often suffer from muscle pain and tightness, as well as damage to the teeth.
- Poor posture (eg, holding your head forward while looking at your computer screen) can also strain the muscles of your jaw, face and neck. The onset of TMD can be gradual or sudden.
Fortunately, TMD is treatable. Through Neuromuscular Dentistry, we are now able to gently and gradually correct the position of your jaw. In most cases, by aligning the jaw and getting it back to its proper position, we will eliminate the recurrence of the symptoms.
Dental fillings are used to restore worn or damaged teeth and treat tooth decay. Since different types of fillings are better for different conditions, your dentist will help you decide which is right for you. And we endeavour to minimise the need for fillings by helping you prevent future dental problems.
We offer sophisticated, gentle procedures using state of the art materials. Fillings are available in tooth coloured resin or porcelain.
The simple answer is: not necessarily. Nature doesn’t create redundancies, there is usually a reason we have all the body parts we have. However, due to many factors, impacted and problematic wisdom teeth are becoming more and more frequent. Your dentist will advise whether your wisdom teeth are fine the way they are or if they are likely to be problematic. If so, extraction may be recommended. This can be done in the general dental surgery, under local anaesthetic or under general anaesthetic or under sedation. Occasionally a referral to an Oral Surgeon (a dental specialist) may be required.
Your dentist or Oral Surgeon will advise of best care after wisdom teeth removal. Typically, you will be advised to:
- protect the area where the tooth has been removed and avoid touching it with your tongue or hands
- avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours, as this may cause the wound to bleed
- avoid rinsing your mouth and swishing water or mouthwash for 24 hours as this may dislodge the blood clot in the tooth socket and cause further complications
- if you experience bleeding, apply gentle pressure on the site with a clean gauze pack
- do not smoke for 2-3 days after the procedure and avoid drinking alcohol as this can cause serious complications and delay healing
Not all wisdom teeth extractions are difficult or complicated. Most wisdom teeth can be removed in the dental surgery setting and under local anaesthesia. Other forms of anaesthesia and sedation are available to relieve anxiety about the procedure. If you feel that you are anxious about the procedure and would prefer not to remember it, you may choose to have your wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthesia either at a Hospital Day Surgery or at an National Dental Care practice offering general anaesthetic services. (Find a National Dental Care practice with general anaesthetic).