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Frequently Asked Questions

Here in our FAQ 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 on 03 5448 3326 or email us at reception@epsomdental.com.au, and we will be more than happy to help.

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Our patients most frequently asked questions…

  • If you have bleeding gums, it could be an indication that you have some form of gum disease. The most common cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque along the gum line, which makes the gums become red or inflamed. This condition is called gingivitis.
  • If the plaque is not removed for a while, it will turn into calculus (another name for tartar) which causing further bleeding. The tartar traps bacteria in the gums, which can then lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.
  • Periodontitis causes your jaw bone to slowly dissolve and your teeth may then become mobile because of this lack of bone support.

  • Other causes of bleeding gums include:
    • Bleeding disorders
    • Unsatisfactory brushing and flossing technique
    • Pregnancy
    • Serious medical conditions (usually if bleeding is chronic and ongoing)
    • Unsatisfactory dentures
    • Tooth or gum infections
    • The use of blood thinners
    • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Frequent visits to the dentist (usually every 6 months) can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, in turn lessening the chance of getting gum disease.
    We often recommend you to brush gently with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to prevent the plaque from accumulating between the teeth.
  • A filling is a material used to restore a tooth that has been damaged in some way, usually because of decay or a fracture. It can also be used to change the shape and colour of a tooth in order to improve its aesthetics and function.
  • When deciding on what filling material is best for you, the dentist will provide you with advice on the advantages and disadvantages of each type so you can make an informed decision for your tooth.

  • Several types of filling materials include:
    • Resin Composite (Plastic)
      Tooth-coloured filling that usually lasts between 7-12 years, but depends on how damaged the tooth is and how well the filling is placed by the dentist. This type of filling is moderately priced, and is completed in a single appointment.
    • Amalgam
      Silver-coloured filling material that usually lasts between 10-20 years, but depends mainly on how well the tooth is maintained by the patient. These fillings have a low cost, and contain silver, tin, copper, zinc and mercury. However, the mercury component has been condemned by many people, and along with its silver colour, this has caused a fall in its popularity in the last 2 decades.
    • Glass Ionomer Cement
      Tooth-coloured filling material that often contains fluoride. This type of restoration is weaker than other filling materials, and often wears much quicker as well. With a lower longevity (3-7 years), they are most commonly used as temporary fillings, fillings for baby teeth, or in patients with a high risk of decay.
    • Ceramic
      Tooth-coloured restorations that may cover some or all surfaces of a damaged tooth, and usually last between 10-20 years depending on how well the tooth is maintained by the patient. These restorations are pricier than other types of fillings, although they often last much longer. It is best used in moderate-large sized restorations for any tooth, and requires at least two appointments.

  • Having sensitive teeth is a very common problem. It often occurs when cold and hot food and drinks are consumed, causing a sudden onset of pain emanating from inside the tooth.
  • There are many causes of sensitive teeth, including:
    • Caries (decay)
      When a tooth has decay, bacteria have caused damage to the tooth and may expose the dentine (second layer of the tooth). Small tunnels connect the dentine to the nerve of a tooth, and therefore if the dentine is exposed, the nerve will react and cause sensitivity.
      If left untreated, the decay can make its way into the nerve of the tooth and infect it. After a while, the nerve will eventually die and an abscess may form, causing a painful toothache for the patient.

    • Grinding
      Grinding causes your teeth to wear down, exposing the dentine of the tooth which can sometimes make the nerves sensitive and over-stimulated.

    • Calculus (tartar)
      If plaque remains along the gum line for a while, it will turn into tartar (also known as calculus). Tartar sticks to the surface of a tooth, and causes gums to become inflamed (gingivitis), and potentially bone loss to occur (periodontitis). This in turn will cause the root of a tooth to become exposed, which is very sensitive to cold and hot stimuli.

    • Toothbrush Abrasion
      People who use a hard toothbrush or who have an aggressive brushing technique can damage the gum around the tooth. This will cause the gum to recede, expose the root of the tooth, and cause sensitivity for the patient.
    • Cracked Tooth
      If a tooth has cracked due to grinding, clenching or trauma, the nerve inside the tooth becomes very sensitive as it is exposed hot and cold stimuli through the crack. Cracked teeth have to be managed very carefully by your dentist, and often require a full-coverage crown to stabilize the symptoms. Root canal treatment may also be needed.


Take-home whitening

  •  Take-home whitening starts off with approximately 15 minutes in the dentist chair. The dentist will take moulds of your teeth, from which a bleaching tray will be provided to you at the subsequent appointment.
  • You will be able to whiten your own teeth with this tray at home every night for approximately 2-3 weeks, depending on how many shades you wish to improve.
  • You may top-up your whitening if you feel that your teeth have gotten darker over time. This may be especially important for significant life events (i.e. weddings) that are coming up soon.

In-chair whitening

  • In-chair whitening takes approximately 60 minutes in the dentist chair (4 cycles of 15 minutes each), and can improve your teeth many shades lighter in a relatively short time. A consultation would be required for all patients prior to in-chair whitening to determine if they are suitable for the procedure.
  • Most stains cannot be removed by in-chair whitening, and so a full mouth clean beforehand is often recommended to provide a better end-result.
  • Patients will receive a take-home whitening kit after the procedure in order to top-up when necessary. Instructions on how to use the take-home whitening kit after in-chair whitening will be provided to you by the dentist, in order to achieve the best long-term results.
  • Root canal treatment is often done on teeth that have severe sensitivity, tenderness to biting, decay that has reached the nerve, or after trauma. In some scenarios, you may not have even felt any pain until after the nerve has died. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected nerve inside the tooth and replacing the empty space with a biocompatible filling material.

  • The procedure involves the same dental anaesthesia as if a filling were to be done. A small entry hole is made into the nerve of the tooth, which is then cleaned with specialized thin dental instruments called files. Multiple x-rays are taken in order for the dentist to adequately clean the inside of the tooth. The empty space is then filled with a material that is biocompatible in the mouth. Root canal treatment is often done over 3 appointments.
  • Root canal treatment is necessary to get rid of the infected nerve tissue, however the tooth inevitably becomes brittle and prone to fracture. It is highly recommended that a crown is placed after root canal treatment, in order to protect it for multiple years to come. If coverage is not provided, you may be left with a broken tooth in the future.
  • The tooth may darken after root treatment since the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth have been removed. The dentist can inform you on ways to improve the colour of your darkened tooth.
  • Root canal treatment usually has a success rate of 90-94% if done correctly.
  • There are situations where you may have to see a specialist in order to complete the root canal treatment.
  • The cost of a root canal treatment depends on how many nerve canals are inside the tooth (ranging from a single canal up to 4).

Completely knocked out (avulsed tooth):

  • Don’t panic!
  • If it is a baby tooth (baby teeth are often small and have small or no roots left), do not worry. Address any bleeding and contact the dentist for advice
  • If it is an adult tooth, find the tooth, grab it by the crown (the larger end that is normally seen in the mouth), not the root (the part of the tooth normally in the gums).
  • If the tooth is covered in dirt, rinse it very gently with water, but refrain from damaging it
  • If possible, place the tooth back into the socket in the correct orientation (smoother and flatter side facing outward), but do not give too much force as this could cause significant pain
  • If you are not sure how to place the tooth back into the socket, or it is not possible, carefully place the tooth in a container with milk, or tap water (if milk cannot be obtained).
  • Contact the dentist ASAP
  • The quicker a tooth is placed back into its socket, the higher the chance that it will not have complications in the future

Partially dislodged tooth

  • Don’t panic!
  • Apply gauze or any other soft protection between your teeth, but don’t bite hard
  • Apply an ice pack over the affected area (over the skin)
  • Contact the dentist ASAP
  • Take ibuprofen for temporary pain relief if you desire

Broken or chipped tooth:<br
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  • If you have broken or chipped a tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm water, as well as any of the broken pieces you have found. Control any bleeding with gauze (or a tissue if you don’t have gauze) on the site for about 15 minutes until it stops. If there is noticeable swelling, place a ice pack on your cheek / mouth over the affected area (over the skin)
  • Contact the dentist ASAP
  • Take ibuprofen for temporary pain relief if you desire

Lost filling

  • Contact the dentist ASAP
  • You may use temporary dental filling material (available at most chemists or pharmacies) to fill the cavity if you cannot see the dentist straight away
  • Do not attempt to glue the filling back in. This will do more harm than good
  • Take ibuprofen for temporary pain relief if you desire

Lost crown

  • Contact the dentist ASAP
  • Place the crown in a small container and bring it to the appointment. Avoid doing further damage to the crown.
  • Do NOT attempt to stick the crown back on, especially with any type of glue. This will do irreversible damage to the tooth
  • Clove oil may provide temporary relief if you cannot see the dentist ASAP
  • Temporary dental filling material can also be used temporarily to cover the exposed tooth if you are unable to see the dentist immediately.
  • Take ibuprofen for temporary pain relief if you desire
  • Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when low-acidity drinks or sugary are left in a child’s mouth for prolonged periods of time. This also includes pacifiers. The combination of sugar, acidity and bacteria in the mouth causes decay of the child’s teeth.

  • Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs when the child is put to sleep with a bottle/pacifier that contains liquid high in sugar.
  • Unsatisfactory oral hygiene for the child would exacerbate this condition.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the permanent teeth

  • Ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
    • Follow your dentist’s advice on how to maintain good oral hygiene habits for your child.
    • Avoid putting your child to sleep with a bottle.
    • You may clean the inside of your infant’s mouth with clean gauze after feeding.
    • Brush your child’s teeth with a soft tooth brush and plain water (not toothpaste).
  • The World Health Organization recommends children to have their first dental visit at 12 months, in order to help alleviate dental anxiety and promote good oral maintenance habits.
  • Rinsing your mouthguard with just water is often not enough to clean it.
  • Use a toothbrush and toothpaste (as an abrasive) regularly in order to remove any debris, then rinse it under water.
  • Soaking your mouthguard in vinegar and water once in a while can also help to it.
  • Bring it to your next dental visit and ask your dentist to clean it for you!
  • Rinse the splint well with cool water.
  • Use a toothbrush and toothpaste to give your splint a scrub every now and then to prevent buildup of debris.
  • Try to prevent toothpaste from remaining on the splint after you have cleaned it.
  • Dry it well before placing it back into its container.
  • Soaking the splint in vinegar and water once in a while can help.
  • Bring it to your next dental visit and ask your dentist to clean it for you!

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OFFICE ADDRESS
EPSOM DENTAL
72 Midland Highway, Epsom, 3551
Tel: 03 5448 3326
Email: reception@epsomdental.com.au

OFFICE HOURS

Monday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Tuesday 8.30am – 7.00pm
Wednesday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Thursday 8.30am – 7.00pm
Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday 9.30am – 1.30pm
(Sat by appointment)