What should I do in a dental emergency?
If you experience a dental emergency, it is important that you contact our practice immediately. The practice can be reached on (07) 4943 1243. All genuine dental emergencies will be looked at on the day. For more detailed instructions, please visit our What To Do In An Emergency page.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry dedicated towards improving the appearance of a patient’s smile.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium screws that are fused into a patient’s jawbone. They are the best solution to missing teeth.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers form part of our modern cosmetic dentistry treatment that allows us to treat discoloured, worn or chipped teeth.
What are crowns and bridges?
Dental crowns and bridges are a form of restorative dentistry treatment that allows us to treat cracked or damaged teeth.
How often should I have a dental checkup?
We recommend patients visit our practice every 3-6 months.
What is a gummy smile?
A gummy smile is a condition where excess gum is seen when a person smiles.
Do you offer free dental consultations?
We believe that every patient deserves to smile with confidence. Click here to view our current special offers.
Children’s Orthodontics FAQ
What age can my child start orthodontics?
Facial and dental development often needs guidance form an early age. This depends on the underlying problem, the growth stage of the child, the cooperative age of the child and other factors. Mostly we start around 9-10 years, but some children need treatment starting as young as 4 years of age. The best way to determine when to start is have your child examined regularly from a young age and we will monitor the growth.
What is preventive orthodontic treatment?
Preventive orthodontic treatment is intended to keep a malocclusion (“bad bite” or crooked teeth) from developing in an otherwise normal mouth. The goal is to provide adequate space for permanent teeth to come in. Treatment may require a space maintainer to hold space for a primary (baby) tooth lost too early, or removal of primary teeth that do not come out on their own so to create room for permanent teeth.
What is interceptive orthodontic treatment?
Interceptive orthodontic treatment is performed for problems that, if left untreated, could lead to the development of more serious dental problems over time. The goal is to reduce the severity of a developing problem and eliminate the cause. The length of later comprehensive orthodontic treatment may be reduced. Examples of this kind of orthodontic treatment may include correction of thumb- and finger-sucking habits; guiding permanent teeth into desired positions through tooth removal or tooth size adjustment; or gaining or holding space for permanent teeth. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can take place when patients have primary teeth or mixed dentition (baby and permanent teeth). A patient may require more than one phase of interceptive orthodontic treatment.
What is comprehensive orthodontic treatment?
Comprehensive orthodontic treatment is undertaken for problems that involve alignment of the teeth, how the jaws function and how the top and bottom teeth fit together. The goal of comprehensive orthodontic treatment is to correct the identified problem and restore the occlusion (the bite) to its optimum. Treatment can begin while patients have primary teeth, when they have a mix of primary and permanent teeth, or when all permanent teeth are in. Treatment may consist of one or more phases, depending on the nature of the problem being corrected and the goals for treatment.
Orthodontic care may be coordinated with other types of dental treatment that may include oral surgery (tooth extractions or jaw surgery), periodontal (gum) care and restorative (fillings, crowns, bridges, tooth size enhancement, implants) dental care. When finished with comprehensive treatment, the patient must wear retainers to keep teeth in their new positions.
What is a space maintainer?
Baby molar teeth, also known as primary molar teeth, hold needed space for permanent teeth that will come in later. When a baby molar tooth is lost, an orthodontic device with a fixed wire is usually put between teeth to hold the space for the permanent tooth.
Why do baby teeth sometimes need to be removed?
Removing baby teeth may be necessary to allow severely crowded permanent teeth to come in at a normal time in a reasonably normal location. If the teeth are severely crowded, it may be that some unerupted permanent teeth (usually the canine teeth) will either remain impacted (teeth that should come in, but do not), or come in to a highly undesirable position. To allow severely crowded teeth to move on their own into much more desirable positions, sequential removal of baby teeth and permanent teeth (usually first premolars) can dramatically improve a severe crowding problem. This sequential extraction of teeth, called serial extraction, is typically followed by comprehensive orthodontic treatment after eruption of permanent teeth has brought about as much improvement as it can on its own.
After all the permanent teeth have come in, the extraction of selected permanent teeth may be necessary to correct crowding or to make space for necessary tooth movement to correct a bite problem. Proper extraction of teeth during orthodontic treatment should leave the patient with both excellent function and a pleasing look.
How can a child's growth affect orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other. A common orthodontic problem to treat is protrusion of the upper front teeth. Quite often this problem is due in part to the lower jaw being shorter than the upper jaw. Upper teeth may also be the primary cause of the protrusion if they stick out too far. While the upper and lower jaws are growing, orthodontic appliances can be beneficial in reducing these discrepancies. A severe jaw growth discrepancy may require orthodontics and corrective surgery after jaw growth has been completed, although this is rare.
The AAO recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7 so that growth-related problems may be identified and so that treatment can be commenced at the appropriate time for each patient.
What kinds of orthodontic appliances are typically used to reduce the severity of jaw-growth problems?
A process of dentofacial orthopedics (guiding the growth of the face and jaws) with orthodontic appliances may be used to correct jaw-growth problems. The decision about when and which appliances to use for this type of correction is based on each individual patient’s problem. Some of the more common orthopedic appliances include:
- Headgear: This appliance applies pressure to the upper teeth and upper jaw to guide the direction of upper jaw growth and tooth eruption. The headgear may be removed by the patient and is usually worn 10 to 12 hours per day.
- Fixed functional appliance: The appliance is usually fixed (glued) to the upper and lower molar teeth and may not be removed by the patient. By holding the lower jaw forward, it reduces the protrusion of the teeth while the patient is growing and helps bring the teeth together. The appliance can help correct severe protrusion of the upper teeth.
- Removable functional appliance: This removable appliance holds the lower jaw forward and guides eruption of the teeth into a more desirable bite while helping the upper and lower jaws to grow in proportion to each other. Patient compliance in wearing this appliance is essential for successful improvement; the appliance cannot work unless the patient wears it.
Palatal Expansion Appliance: A child’s upper jaw may be too narrow for the upper teeth to fit properly with the lower teeth (a crossbite). When this occurs, a palatal expansion appliance can be fixed to the upper back teeth. This appliance can markedly expand the width of the upper jaw. For some patients, a wider jaw may prevent the need for extraction of permanent teeth.
Can my child play sports while wearing braces?
Yes. But wearing a protective mouth guard is advised while riding a bike, skating, or playing any contact sports, whether organized sports or a neighborhood game. Your orthodontist can recommend a specific mouth guard.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
Playing wind or brass instruments, such as the trumpet, will clearly require some adaptation to braces. With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of musical instruments.
Why does orthodontic treatment time sometimes last longer than anticipated?
Estimates of treatment time can only be that – estimates. Patients grow at different rates and will respond in their own ways to orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist has specific treatment goals in mind, and will usually continue treatment until these goals are achieved. Patient cooperation, however, is the single best predictor of staying on time with treatment. Patients who cooperate by wearing rubber bands, headgear or other needed appliances as directed, while taking care not to damage appliances, will most often lead to on-time and excellent treatment results.
What is patient cooperation and how important is it during orthodontic treatment?
Good “patient cooperation” means that the patient not only follows the orthodontist’s instructions on wearing appliances as prescribed and tending to oral hygiene and diet, but is also an active partner in orthodontic treatment.
Successful orthodontic treatment is a “two-way street” that requires a consistent, cooperative effort by both the orthodontist and patient. To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must carefully clean his or her teeth, wear rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed by the orthodontist, avoid foods that might damage braces and keep appointments as scheduled. Damaged appliances can lengthen the treatment time and may undesirably affect the outcome of treatment. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their desired positions if the patient consistently wears the forces to the teeth, such as rubber bands, as prescribed. Patients who do their part consistently make themselves look good and their orthodontist look smart.
To keep teeth and gums healthy, regular visits to the family dentist must continue during orthodontic treatment.
I recently took my child to an orthodontist for an orthodontic check-up. The orthodontist recommended treatment. Should I seek a second opinion?
You should review the recommended treatment with your family dentist. If you would like a second opinion, feel comfortable in arranging for one. You may have already had more than one orthodontist recommended to you by family, friends or your dentist. Seeking out a member of the AAO assures that your second opinion is from an educationally qualified orthodontic specialist. You should feel confident in the orthodontist and his or her staff, and trust their ability to provide you with the best possible care.
What is two-phase treatment?
Two-phase treatment simply means that the treatment is carried out in two stages. The first is the interceptive orthodontic phase and the second is the comprehensive orthodontic phase.
Some of my children’s friends have already started treatment, but our orthodontist says my child should wait a while. Why is there a difference in treatment?
Each treatment plan is specific for that child and his/her specific problem. In some cases, children mature early (e.g.: get their permanent teeth early) and in some cases early treatment is indicated to prevent a more severe problem from occurring. Your orthodontist is the best person to decide the most optimum treatment plan. If you have questions, you should discuss them with your orthodontist.
Adult Orthodontics FAQ
Can orthodontic treatment do for me what it does for children?
Yes. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children. Orthodontic forces move the teeth in the same way for both adults and children, but adult treatment may take longer due to the maturity of the bone. Complicating factors, such as lack of jaw growth, may create different treatment planning needs for the adult. This is why a consultation with an orthodontist, the dental specialist who aligns teeth and jaws of patients of all ages, is essential.
How does adult treatment differ from that of children and adolescents?
Adults are not growing and may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and the bone that supports the teeth. Orthodontic treatment may then be only a part of the patient’s overall treatment plan. Close coordination may be required among the orthodontist, oral surgeon, periodontist, endodontist and family dentist to assure that the treatment plan is managed well. Below are the most common characteristics that can cause adult treatment to differ from that of children.
No jaw growth: Jaw discrepancy problems, including both width and length, in the adult patient may require jaw surgery. For example, if an adult’s lower jaw is too short to match properly with the upper jaw, a severe bite problem results. The amount that the teeth can be moved in some cases, with braces alone, may not correct this problem. Establishing a proper bite relationship could require jaw surgery, which would lengthen the lower jaw and bring the lower teeth forward into the proper bite.
Gum or bone loss (periodontal breakdown): Adults are more likely to have experienced damage or loss of the gum and bone supporting their teeth (periodontal disease). Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Many people are unaware that they have gum disease because there is usually little or no pain.
Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes inflammation in the gums.
The mildest form of the disease is called gingivitis. The gums redden, swell and bleed easily. Gingivitis is often linked to inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is often reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis (see photo below), a more severe form of gum disease. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body, in essence, turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
The good news is that teeth that are properly aligned are less prone to gum disease.
Special treatment by the patient’s dentist or a periodontist may be necessary before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable. Adults who have a history of or concerns about periodontal disease might also see a periodontist (a dental specialist who treats diseases of the gums and bone) on a regular basis throughout orthodontic treatment.
Worn, damaged or missing teeth: Worn, damaged or missing teeth can make orthodontic treatment more difficult. Teeth may gradually wear and move into positions where they can be restored only after precise orthodontic movement. Damaged or broken teeth may not look good or function well even after orthodontic treatment unless they are carefully restored by the patient’s dentist. Extra space resulting from missing teeth that are not replaced may cause progressive tipping and drifting of other teeth, which worsens the bite, increases the potential for periodontal problems and makes any treatment more difficult.
I have painful jaw muscles and jaw joints - can an orthodontist help?
One of the problems commonly associated with jaw muscle and jaw joint discomfort is bruxing, that is, habitual grinding or clenching of the teeth, particularly at night. Bruxism is a muscle habit pattern that can cause severe wearing of the teeth, and overloading and trauma to the jaw joint structures. Chronically or acutely sore and painful jaw muscles may accompany the bruxing habit. An orthodontist can help diagnose this problem. Your family dentist or orthodontist may place a bite splint or nightguard appliance that can protect the teeth and help jaw muscles relax, substantially reducing the original pain symptoms. Sometimes structural damage can require joint surgery and/or restoration of damaged teeth. Referral to a TMJ specialist may be suggested for some of these problems.
My family dentist said I need to have some missing teeth replaced, but I need orthodontic treatment first - why?
Your dentist is probably recommending orthodontics so that he or she might treat you in the best manner possible to bring you to optimal dental health. Many complicated tooth restorations, such as crowns, bridges and implants, can be best accomplished when the remaining teeth are properly aligned and the bite is correct.
When permanent teeth are lost, it is common for the remaining teeth to drift, tip or shift. This movement can create a poor bite and uneven spacing that cannot be restored properly unless the missing teeth are replaced. Tipped teeth usually need to be straightened so they can withstand normal biting pressures in the future.
My teeth have been crooked for many years - why should I have orthodontic treatment now?
It’s never too late! Orthodontic treatment, when indicated, is a positive step-especially for adults who have endured a long-standing problem. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function. And teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter the age.
Is orthodontic treatment affordable?
Patients are finding that braces are more affordable today than ever. The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and the length of treatment. Your orthodontist will be glad to discuss the cost with you before treatment begins. Most orthodontists have a variety of convenient payment plans. Often there are combined plans available for parents and children who have treatment at the same time. In addition, many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits. Dollar for dollar, when you consider the lifetime benefits of orthodontics it is truly a great value.
I am pregnant and want to begin orthodontic treatment. Is this OK?
Pregnancy brings on bodily changes that can affect the mouth. Soft tissues such as gums become much more susceptible to infection. The possible need for x-rays during the pregnancy is not advised. Discuss this question with your medical practitioner/physician and orthodontist before you start orthodontic treatment.
My orthodontist wants to do something called enamel stripping to make my teeth smaller. I have never heard of this. Is this something new? Is it safe?
This procedure goes by many names: enamel stripping; interproximal reduction; slenderizing; reproximation and selective reduction. The goal is to remove some of the outer tooth surface (enamel) to acquire more space for your teeth. The procedure has been used in orthodontic treatment since the 1940s and has been shown to be safe and effective. Some studies among patients who have had this procedure show that it neither makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay nor does it predispose patients to gum disease.
I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. Will that give me straight teeth?
Crooked teeth should be evaluated by an orthodontist so that the most appropriate treatment plan can be suggested.
How does orthodontics work?
You usually think about your jaw as being solid like a rock, but when you are growing your jaw is really more like clay. If you apply pressure to your jaw, you can get your jaw to stretch. If you pull your jaw apart, your jaw will get wider. If you push your jaw back, your jaw will slowly move back. Your jaw does not actually stretch. Instead, when you pull on your jaw, your jaw grows in the direction you are pulling. Still, the important thing is that when your braces pull on your jaw, the braces change the shape of your jaw.
In the same way, if you push on your teeth, your teeth will move around in your mouth.
The orthodontic practitioner pushes your jaw to stretch your mouth so all your teeth fit. He then pushes on your teeth so they are all in the proper places. If your top jaw is too small, your orthodontist can install a special gadget called a “palatal expander” to get your jaw to grow wider. If your teeth stick out, your orthodontic rationed can install another gadget called a “facebow” to push your back teeth back. In that way, your orthodontist is able to move around individual teeth and expand your jaw so that all of your teeth fit correctly in your mouth.
Why should I get Braces?
It is hard to believe when you are going through it, but braces will improve your smile and make you look excellent.
Your smile is the most striking part of your face. Look in the mirror. Do you like your smile now. Well, the orthodontic practitioner will make your smile look fabulous. You will end up looking great. Think about how looking great will improve your social life.
Dental Implants FAQs
Why is a bone graft needed?
Bone grafting is performed to reverse the bone loss / destruction caused by periodontal disease, trauma, or ill fitting removable dentures. It is also used to augment bone to permit implant placement, such as augmenting bone in the sinus area for implant placement, or augmenting bone to enhance the fit and comfort of removable prostheses, or to enhance esthetics of a missing tooth site in the smile zone. When one loses a tooth, as in an extraction, the surrounding bone collapses. To preserve this bone for future implant placement or for esthetics, a bone graft is used.
What are the types of bone graft?
- Autogenous – bone taken from one area of the patient and transplanted to another area requiring such grafting
- Allograft – either synthetic bone or bone from a bone bank (cadaver bone)
- Xenograft – bovine / cow bone
Which graft is used and when and why?
Autogenous bone is the “gold standard” and oftentimes has the most predictable results. This is described as the best type of graft because such bone is live bone with live active cellular elements that enhance bone growth, whereas other types of grafts are devoid of any active cellular material.
Allografts and Xenografts both do not require a second surgical site as does the autogenous bone. Ample amounts can be easily obtained.