FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Dental Hygiene

What is a Dental Hygienist?

Dental Hygienists are specially trained members of the dental team who work together with the dentist to provide fully integrated comprehensive dental care. They play an important role in oral health by providing individualised preventive treatment and demonstrating the correct home care procedure to patients to help prevent dental disease and tooth wear.
Hygienists perform 4 main functions;

  • Dental hygiene education tailored to your specific needs including instruction for correct care of your gums and teeth as well as information on dietary habits and health conditions which may be adversely affecting your oral health.
  • Work with your dentist to plan an oral health maintenance program including the evaluation of any radiographs.
  • Removal of hard calculus deposits, plaque and stains from teeth.
  • Application of decay and gum disease preventing agents and recommendation of products for home use.

Why is dental care at home so important?

Dental disease can be prevented. Effective home plaque control techniques help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Such problems are less likely to progress into more serious dental ailments resulting in extensive and costly treatment.

Is it expensive to see a Dental Hygienist?

Prevention is always cheaper than cure, so any preventive care will ultimately lead to savings. Depending on the type of treatment carried out and the length of the appointment, costs will vary but fees will be discussed with you and a treatment plan issued prior to commencing treatment.

Why doesn't the dentist do the work?

Dental Hygienists have spent over 3 years being specially trained to perform preventive treatment and maintenance for your mouth, teeth and gums. They have a very specific set of skills making them the best person for the job as they dedicate their career solely to preventive treatment modalities. Our hygienist, Kate, has over 11 years of experience and has a commitment to continuing education and staying at the forefront of dental hygiene as well as a commitment to exceptionally high standards.

Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root Canal Treatment is a procedure performed to treat inflammation or infection of the nerve of the tooth commonly called the ‘pulp’. In a root canal infection, bacteria reach the nerve and the products of infection often spread through the tip of the root into the surrounding bone often forming an abscess that lead to severe pain and sometimes swelling. Causes of pulp injury or damage include deep dental decay, traumatic blows to teeth, loose or leaking fillings, cracked teeth and excessive wear and tear of teeth.

What does Root Canal Treatment involve?

The treatment involves 2-3 stages and can take several appointments depending on how complex your root canal anatomy is.

  • Stage 1 – The canals of the tooth are located and the infected pulp and necrotic tissue is removed. The tooth then has a sedative dressing placed to help the tooth settle down and relieve pain prior to temporisation.
  • Stage 2 – The canals of the tooth are cleaned, shaped and medicated in order destroy any remaining bacteria and prepare the tooth to receive the root canal filling.
  • Stage 3 – The canals of the tooth are obturated or ‘filled’ to prevent re-infection. At this stage a post and core may also be performed depending on the nature, quality and quantity of the remaining tooth structure.

Is Root Canal Treatment painful?

Root Canal Treatment is a comfortable procedure which involves little or no pain as every step is taken to completely numb the area. Sometimes you may experience slight discomfort after the appointment while the toxic bacteria are being killed by the antibiotics. This may take a few days to settle and sometimes a mild analgesic may be required.

Why Couldn't You Just Remove the Tooth?

There are many disadvantages to losing a tooth. When a tooth is removed and not replaced, the teeth next to the empty space begin to shift from their normal position. This may cause teeth to become crooked or crowded, which decreases chewing and biting efficiency and may make them more prone to dental disease because they are harder to keep clean and may have an altered biting relationship. As a result, further teeth may be lost if the missing tooth is not replaced.

A replacement tooth (an implant or a bridge) is usually more expensive than root canal treatment and may involve more extensive dental procedures on adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment can safely and comfortably save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. In fact, root canal therapy is successful approximately 98% of the time.

Snoring

What causes snoring?

Snoring is a result of a partial blockage of the upper airway. When you fall asleep your muscles lose tonus or ‘relax’, these muscles also include those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissues at the back of your throat can sag, narrowing the airway and incoming air then makes the tissues at the rear roof of your mouth vibrate making the sound we
know as snoring.

Will my snoring lead to other health problems?

Loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is where the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing momentarily stops, this is called an apnoea. The brain then detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to draw breath. Breathing may stop dozens, even hundreds of times a night, with each stoppage lasting from 10 seconds to over a minute.
OSA is a serious medical condition. It has been linked to excessive tiredness, memory problems, depression, reduced resistance to infection and increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

What are the treatment options for snoring or OSA?

The main options are –

  • Lifestyle changes – weight loss, smoking cessation, reduction of alcohol consumption, changes in sleep hygiene.
  • Oral appliance – An oral appliance like the SomnoMed MAS is a discreet, easily tolerated, portable appliance which is worn at night to maintain a patent airway, keeping it open throughout the duration of sleep.
  • Surgery – Surgery may be option to address chronic or serious snoring problems. A Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is irreversible and can be considered a drastic measure, this form of treatment should be discussed at length with a professional.
  • CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the use of continuous positive pressure to maintain a continuous level of positive airway pressure. Some patients are often reluctant to use this therapy, since the nose mask and hose to the machine look uncomfortable and feel clumsy. Patients generally adjust to the treatment within a few weeks whilst others struggle for longer periods and some discontinue treatment entirely A major issue with CPAP is non-compliance. Newly developed oral appliances are helping some people wean off their CPAP.
  • Combination Therapy – use of the Oral appliance in conjunction with the CPAP.

Tooth Whitening

Is it safe to whiten your teeth?

Teeth whitening works by applying a gel which allows a chemical oxidation reaction to occur within the tooth enamel pores, this harmless reaction enables the breakdown of pigments into smaller molecules as well as the production of oxygen which can then lifts the stains from the enamel.
Tooth whitening has been used in dentistry for many years and no serious adverse affects have been reported for the procedures provided by accredited dentists. Tooth Whitening performed by dentists does not damage or soften the enamel or tooth structure nor does it affect the quality of existing restorations.

How much lighter will my teeth be?

We generally find an improvement of several shades quite rapidly and a continued improvement with continued usage, depending on the whitening procedure undertaken. The whitening will generally improve with increased frequency of use however individual results vary and will depend largely on your initial tooth colour, base enamel/dentine shade, type and cause of stain, oral hygiene habits and diet.

How long does Tooth Whitening last?

Typically, Tooth Whitening is considered semi-permanent if you are compliant with the treatment instructions, however with continued consumption of products which contain pigments such as wine, cigarettes, colas, coffee, beetroot, soy sauce etc the shade can suffer bounce back and the fresh whiteness may only last for 3-6 months before a top up or booster session is required. As a general rule, we often tell our patients that anything that can stain your clothes will stain your teeth.

What are the side-effects of teeth whitening?

Sensitivity during the teeth whitening process may occur with some patients. Some in-chair/laser whitening patients may experience minor tingling sensations after the procedure however this always subsides relatively quickly. Some patients who use Take Home Kits may also experience tooth sensitivity and for those patients we may recommend whitening their teeth every second or third day as well as using a desensitiser during the whitening process.

Cosmetic Dentistry

What is cosmetic dentistry?

The term cosmetic dentistry refers to all procedures used to improve the health and beauty of your smile. This includes procedures such as porcelain veneers, bridges and crowns, implants, teeth whitening, bonding and white fillings. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), cosmetic dentistry has been shown to improve a person’s overall health and emotional well-being. An improved smile can boost a person’s self-image, making them more confident in their daily lives. Cosmetic dentistry is for anyone who desires to improve the quality of their smile, their oral health and their quality of life. Nearly every dental procedure has 2 fundamental elements: Aesthetics and function. Quality cosmetic dentistry takes both of these elements into consideration, so that one may rest assured they will not only look great, but enjoy hassle free, harmonious long-term results

The only thing wrong with my smile is my yellow teeth. What can I do?

We offer several different teeth whitening options that can be done in our office or in the privacy of your own home. To determine which option is best suited for your needs, we recommend you contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.

My smile is crooked, what can I do about it?

Although orthodontics is the ideal way for children and some adults to correct this condition, sometimes an alternative is a “Smile Makeover”. By using restorative treatment including dental bonding, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges or implants we can create a very pleasing result. As an adult, dental bonding or porcelain veneers can achieve aesthetically correct results in two visits or less.

I have a “gummy” smile, what are my options?

Sometimes people have too much gum tissue or there is an asymmetry of the tissue across the smile however with the advent of laser dentistry, a gummy smile is corrected very easily and painlessly in most cases. Tissue sculpting or gingivoplasty using the specialized soft-tissue laser is an important adjunct to achieving a beautiful, healthy looking smile.

My crown in the front doesn't match my teeth and it looks fake. What can be done?

Many restorations are designed with a metal lining and a porcelain covering, commonly called ‘porcelain fused to metal’ or PFM. They appear “dull” and lifeless because the metal does not let light pass through like a natural tooth does. There is often an undesirable dark line along the gum line, this occurs because often there is metal exposed which irritates the gum tissue in the form of an allergic reaction. Many dentists will say that this crown is porcelain. And it is but only on the outside. At Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants we provide 100% all-porcelain restorations. A skilled aesthetic dentist will not only match the color and contour of the adjacent teeth but ensure your smile will look perfectly natural using all-porcelain restorations. When correctly placed, they are as strong as or stronger than their metal counterparts and the appearance is strikingly similar to a natural tooth.

Why would I need a Crown?

A porcelain crown is often the best solution to replace large worn fillings, repair a tooth that has cracked, has undergone Root Canal treatment or fix a tooth which has a very large cavity. The crown covers and provides increased protection for the underlying natural tooth structure beneath it as well as improve the tooth’s overall appearance.

What is the difference between a crown and a bridge?

Both crowns and bridges are referred to as restorative dentistry. They are used to return your teeth to their desired look, strength and stability. A crown is used when a single tooth is damaged. A bridge is used when one or more teeth are missing. Crowns and bridges both add stability to the surrounding teeth and give your teeth a more natural beautiful look.

What are veneers?

Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth coloured porcelain (ceramic) facings that are carefully crafted to bond to, cover and strengthen the front of teeth in a similar way to an acrylic fingernail. The veneer covers dark or yellow teeth, fills unsightly gaps, lengthens short or stubby teeth, straightens a crooked smile and in general improves your smile. Veneers create a very life-like tooth appearance with their translucency as they mimic the light absorption of your natural tooth enamel. Veneers are a more conservative treatment than a crown and can often be used as an alternative if the underlying tooth is strong and healthy.

How long do Veneers & Crowns lasts?

Porcelain veneers can last for years, depending on how well you take care of them. Veneers are stronger than simple resin restorations and are particularly resistant to permanent staining and chipping. They are by far the most conservative aesthetic restorations available in dentistry today and when well looked after, porcelain veneers can last from ten to
fifteen years.

What types of conditions can porcelain veneers and crowns fix?

Porcelain veneers and crowns can be used for various purposes including:

  • Reinforcing heavily restored or root canal treated teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth
  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Veneers can be used on multiple teeth – either top or bottom or both for smile makeover cases

How much tooth structure is removed when doing veneers?

When considering veneers, a common question that arises is the degree to which the natural tooth structure is reduced. As you might expect, Modern metal-free dentistry has evolved to a point where we can be much more conservative with tooth preparation however the answer lies in the specifics of the Smile Makeover design and the technical / artistic skills of the cosmetic dentist. At Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants, we use our expertise to carefully plan and design each step of your Smile Makeover so that a minimum amount of natural tooth is altered when you get your veneers.

Why are porcelain fillings better than amalgam?

Porcelain fillings are superior to both resin and amalgam fillings for a variety of reasons. The first is that a bonded porcelain restoration has the strength and density needed to reinforce your tooth as well as superiorly adhere to your teeth thus preventing staining, leakage or secondary decay if well maintained. Secondly, porcelain restorations have the exact color and sheen of your natural teeth and so are supremely aesthetic. Finally, the porcelain does not contain any hazardous materials such as mercury or other heavy metals. If you stick to the recommended dental hygiene practices, porcelain restorations should last for decades, in fact at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants ours come with a written guarantee.

Are porcelain fillings more expensive than metal or resin fillings?

Yes, initially porcelain is more expensive but only in the short term. Due to the superior properties of porcelain over all other restorative materials, porcelain fillings last significantly longer than all other fillings thus over time the cost ends up less as you have to replace them much less often, less likely to break or fail and once bonded properly much less likely to have further complications such as root canal.

What's the difference between porcelain and plastic fillings?

Plastic fillings are made directly in the mouth by placing a thick resin putty into the cavity within the tooth and setting or “curing” it with a blue light. Porcelain restorations are fabricated from a solid porcelain block and is a significantly more durable, tooth reinforcing and longer lasting material. Plastic resin fillings are best suited when kept small or where the tooth is not biting against the opposing tooth. When resin is used for medium to large restorations, they can have a relatively short life span. Medium to large restorations are ideally restored with bonded porcelain.

Amalgam Removal

Should I have my old mercury amalgam fillings replaced even if they aren’t broken or decayed?

It is definitely more appealing to see white when you smile rather than the old silver fillings that many people have. Your amalgam fillings are a mix of silver, copper, tin and mercury, with mercury making up about 50%, they usually last 5 to 8 years and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, they also expand with heat, which slowly weakens and often cracks the tooth. The cracking of teeth is a prominent cause of tooth loss or very extensive restorative measures. We regularly do preventative and conservative ‘filling upgrades’ to more safe, aesthetic and tooth reinforcing materials with options such as white fillings or porcelain inlays.

I have decay and need a filling. Is there an alternative to the amalgam fillings?

White fillings are quickly replacing the old silver fillings for several reasons. Although both kinds of fillings serve the same purpose, white fillings are more cosmetically appealing whilst reinforcing the tooth. Current gold standard of treatment for medium to large size restorations is bonded porcelain.

How can mercury in your filling hurt the rest of you?

With daily function including chewing, tooth brushing, and perhaps teeth grinding, the mercury in the filling very slowly gives off mercury vapor, which may be absorbed by the surrounding soft tissue and build up in the body. There have been numerous research studies done worldwide to discover where in the body the mercury is stored and have found it present in the brain, adrenal glands and breast milk to give just a few examples. Some studies have connected it with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Despite the many studies, there has yet to be a formal agreement established as to exactly how much mercury from fillings does hurt us.

How is the Amalgam safely removed?

There are several measures taken to ensure that your amalgam fillings are removed in accordance with the strictest protocols. We take every step to ensure your safety including:

  • Rubber Dam Isolation
  • Heat and vapour reducing Tungsten Carbide burs designed specifically to remove amalgam
  • Copious irrigation to dampen mercury vapour and cool the site
  • High and low volume evacuation used simultaneously
  • Air purification systems

Dental Implants

Is the procedure for Dental Implants painful?

No, The procedure for having dental implants placed is virtually painless with only a small local anaesthetic required. However we offer sedation for those who have anxiety about
the surgery.

Why is it important for me to get Dental Implants if I lose some of the teeth?

If you happen to lose one or some of your teeth, it will create gaps between your remaining teeth. This gap may lead to other complications such as movement of your other teeth leading to an unnatural bite or further tooth loss. Tooth loss without replacement may also cause added pressure on your remaining teeth and gums, which may result in tooth and gum deterioration. By replacing the missing tooth with Dental Implants, it will prevent avoidable complications from happening.

Why should I get Dental Implants instead of traditional dentures?

Dentures can become loose, uncomfortable and even move around in the mouth. The bulkiness and movement of dentures feels unnatural to most which makes it uncomfortable for the person wearing the denture. With Dental Implants, the denture will have more stability in addition to looking and feeling more natural.

TMJ / Neuromuscular Dentistry

What does TMJ stand for?

It stands for Temporomandibular Joint. The Temporomandibular joint is located in front of the ear where the jawbone attaches to the skull. The acronyms TMJ and TMD are commonly used to describe Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or disorder.

What are the most common symptoms of TMD & how can it be diagnosed?

The most common symptoms of TMD are jaw muscle pain, headaches and migraines, face, neck, shoulder and back pain, ringing in the ears, dizziness and grinding or clenching of the teeth. For a comprehensive list of symptoms, please visit our TMD & muscular pain page. TMD is diagnosed using a physical and postural examination, patient history questionnaire as well as readings from special diagnostic computer equipment that evaluates your bite, jawbone, and associated muscles for correct alignment and activity.

What treatments are available for TMD?

Treatments range from mild medications and self-care to establishing a healthy resting position for your bite using an orthotic. Once the orthotic has relieved your symptoms and you have ‘healed’, permanent restorations or orthodontic treatment can be used to permanently correct and eradicate your TMD.

Orthodontics

What kind of treatment can I get for straightening my teeth?

Straightening teeth is an Orthodontic treatment modality, at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants, we offer the latest technology in Orthodontic treatment called Invisalign. This revolutionary new system uses clear, removable, invisible braces with amazing results. We also offer the Social 6 lingual orthodontic system which puts braces on the tongue side of the teeth rendering them invisible.

Braces or veneers?

If you are happy with the shape and color of your teeth, then orthodontic teeth straightening may be the best option for you. Clear teeth aligners provide a great alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign is the latest generation of “invisible” teeth aligners. However, if you want to enhance the colour, alignment and shape of your teeth then cosmetic dentistry will give you the fantastic results you are looking for in a significantly shorter time frame.

Sedation

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry commonly referred to as ‘Twilight Sedation’ is using a combination of techniques that safely and comfortably allow you to virtually sleep through your dental visit ensuring that you remain calm, relaxed and anxiety free. It is a real breakthrough.

What type of sedation do you use?

There are many types of sedation. General anesthesia is the one most people think of. This type of sedation requires a machine to help you breathe. At Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants we use IV sedation, IV sedation is used by many cosmetic dentists as it is wonderful for short appointments, simple and a safe medication with wonderful properties.

How does sedation dentistry work?

On the day of your appointment, the sedationist will go through some basic questions and then administer the sedatives. Prior to treatment we will make certain that you’re relaxed and completely comfortable. You will be monitored very closely while you are sedated. Many patients feel NO DISCOMFORT whatsoever during and after treatment, and have little or no memory of the visit although you will remain conscious and breathe on your own throughout the whole appointment.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Sedation Dentistry protocols have been used safely for many years for millions of dental procedures. Before starting any treatments, your sedationist will review your medical history and explain how Sedation Dentistry can work for you. During treatment the dedicated sedationist will constantly monitor each patient with a computerized pulse oximeter and heart monitors, which measures heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. We also have several reversal agents on hand that reverses the effect of the medicine almost instantly. We have treated numerous patients safely and comfortably. We want you to feel good about going forward towards a healthy, new smile.

Am I really asleep?

Most patients do tend to feel as though they have been asleep the whole time, however you can still respond to verbal commands but will have no recollection of the procedure. Even the most apprehensive patients have been ecstatic with the results.

Will I remember anything?

A wonderful effect of this medication is amnesia. Patients remember little or nothing of their dental appointments. This is very appealing for those with high anxiety.

Are there any side effects?

Drowsiness on the day of your appointment is to be expected. Some feel slight nausea, but that is due to the fact that they have not eaten. Normally, patients feel fine after eating, taking in some fluids and a little rest.

How long will I be out of work & Will I be able to drive?

Most sedation patients return to work the day following their appointment. We ask that you do not return to work the day of your sedation appointment for your safety. We recommend that you do not drive for about 24 hours after your appointment. We require that someone bring you to our office and take you home after your appointment.

General Enquiries / Housekeeping

Can I pay my treatment off over time?

Any treatment completed at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants must be finalized on the day of treatment unless under an alternative financial arrangement. We have HICAPS facilities to claim with private health funds on the day of your treatment, so that you can receive immediate benefit and avoid the inconvenience of having to go to your health fund. Should you have any financial concerns, we can provide support to investigate options, such as GE Care Credit – a health specific finance solution. In many cases, full taxation benefits apply to
your treatment.

What about my dental insurance? Will it cover costs?

Following constant surveying of dentists, most dental insurances have a maximum benefit of anywhere from $800 to $2,000 dollars. This can usually cover some of your expenses but not all and in most cases there will be a gap payable. However, we suggest you consult your own health fund if you have any queries as benefits paid vary greatly from patient to patient depending on your level of cover and your insurer.

What are the services offered at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants?

Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants offers all facets of dentistry. Although we focus on Cosmetic Dentistry, Neuromuscular & Reconstructive Dentistry, we also offer:

  • General Dentistry
  • Laser Dentistry
  • Orthodontics – teeth straightening with Invisalign or braces
  • Endodontics – Root Canal Treatment
  • Periodontics – Gum treatments
  • Sedation Dentistry

How can I maintain my teeth and gums as I get older?

Routine 6 monthly visits to your dentist are of great importance. By visiting the dentist for a thorough examination and clean it allows us to detect any dental problems early and limit the extent of the problem. It is also advisable to brush at least twice each day and implement flossing once a day. Good oral hygiene and preventative care will help to prevent decay
and gum disease.

Is general or cosmetic dental work expensive?

General and Cosmetic dental work is probably not as expensive as you think. The cost of the dentistry depends on how much you want or need. Like any process, costs will vary with the amount of product or services you desire.

Why should I invest in a new smile?

At Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants, we commend people who improve their smile in order to boost their self-confidence. We are proud to have gone along that journey with a number of our patients and would be honoured to have the opportunity to go down that pathway with you. Achieving optimal dental and overall health has the power to change your life for the better.
Some of the major benefits, our dental treatment may provide include;

  • Improved confidence and self-esteem
  • Improved oral health and general well-being
  • Improved facial appearance
  • Improved occlusal ‘bite’ comfort

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