FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any specific questions, please contact Darlinghurst Dental and we will answer your queries. We have listed some commonly asked question to get you started:

Problems:

1. Why do my gums bleed?

Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease. You should have your teeth professionally cleaned and your dentist will check for periodontal disease (advanced/damaging gum disease) to assess if further treatment may be needed. If gum bleeding occurs frequently for you it may be a sign that your oral hygiene is not good enough or that you are especially genetically susceptible to gum disease. Either way your dentist will advise what to do.

2. Why do I have bad breath?

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors. Gum disease and tooth decay are common causes. Any infection can cause halitosis (bad breath). Bad breath can also be unrelated to your mouth and come from your throat stomach or sinus. Certain foods (garlic, onion, coffee) can be a trigger. This can be beyond the actual food as it can trigger stomach problems. Smoking causes bad breath due to the actual smoking itself, combined with a drier mouth and a change in the normal oral bacteria in your mouth

3. Why do I get tension headaches?

Tension headaches can be caused by bruxism, such as tooth grinding or clenching. This can be caused by stress, poor sleep or other factors. It can damage your teeth, so a night splint is recommended to protect the teeth, muscles and your jaw joint. Headaches can be caused by many other problems, so if you are getting frequent headaches it is important to investigate it with your doctor and dentist.

4. Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Most people need to get their wisdom teeth removed at some stage as they frequently cause problems due to coming through at strange angles (impaction) or difficulty cleaning causing decay or gum infections (pericoronitis). Not all should be removed however, as there are risks associated with any procedure. As part of your regular check ups, your dentist will check your wisdom teeth in your mouth and/or on an OPG panoramic x-ray.

5. Why do I get mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers can occur for no reason in unfortunate frequent sufferers. For most however they are caused by stress or trauma (sharp foods or slight knocks). They can also occur due to being low in Iron or Vitamin B12. Common ulcers heal in 10-14 days, so if it lasts longer, you should seek advice. As for everything, seek advice sooner if you are concerned.

6. Why are my teeth sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many factors including gum disease, decay and gum recession. For all of these, the main reason is exposed dentine, the tooth substance under the enamel. Enamel can be damaged from brushing teeth too hard and from dietary or stomach acids. Sensitivity should be investigated to find the cause in your case and your dentist will come up with a plan to help to ease it. In some cases, this may be as simple as changing your toothpaste.

Costs:

1. Do you accept my health fund?

Darlinghurst Dental is registered with Medicare and HICAPS so we can accept the majority of Australian Health Funds and claim for you on the spot. We will assist you with claiming for any other funds or if you find your card is faulty. You can check your fund’s participation at the HICAPS website.

2. Do you allow payment plans?

Payment plans can be arranged. Please contact us for more information relevant to your treatment plan.

3. How can I pay my account?

We can claim from your health fund straight away. You can pay in cash, eftpos, credit and debit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB cards.

4. When do I need to pay my account?

Your account should be settled on the day you have your treatment. If this will not be possible, please discuss prior to treatment so an approved payment plan can be made.

5. Do you accept Medicare benefits?

Medicare do not normally provide benefits for dental treatment. In certain cases they do and if possible, we are happy to claim for you and are registered with Medicare for this. We participate in the Child Dental Benefits Scheme and this can be bulk billed through Medicare if your child is eligible. For more information contact us, or Medicare.

Treatments:

1. Is teeth-whitening damaging?

Teeth whitening can cause sensitivity but when done safely there should be no long-term damage. To minimise sensitivity, doing it slower helps. Instead of in chair whitening, at home whitening may hlep reduce discomfort. There are slow release and low dose formulas available, which may be more suitable for those with existing sensitivity.

2. Why do a need an x-ray?

X-rays allow your dentists to check areas of the tooth that cannot be checked visually. For most patients taking ‘bite-wing’ x-rays every two years helps to detect decay between the teeth before any pain arises.

3. Why do I need root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is only required when a tooth has died or is dying and this treatment removes the dead or dying tissue and allows you to retain the tooth preventing any infection or abscess.

4. How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

For the average person, we recommend every six months however those patients who are highly susceptible to gum diseases should have their teeth cleaned every three months. Your dentist will advise you what category you fall into.

5. Will my treatment hurt?

Modern dental treatment with the use of anaesthetics should not cause you any pain. If you do feel any discomfort during a dental procedure, you should let your dentist know straight away. If you are going to have a complex treatment, your dentist may recommend sedation.

Children:

1. When should my children first come to the dentist?

The sooner they have a first dental visit, the better, as it creates good habits for life and reduces anxiety about a dentist visit. Any time after your child turns 2 years old is ideal and they should certainlhy come in before their first adult teeth come through at approximately 6 years old.

2. Best way to explain a dental visit to my children?

Many children’s TV shows now feature doctor and dentist visit that can help them in understanding what it is all about. One technique is to have a ‘practice run’ at home by lying on the bed using a torch and ‘counting their teeth’. It is important to not introduce anxiety by saying things such as ‘there is no need to be scared’ as children have no fear of a dentist unless it is instilled in them. Instead in can be a fun visit where they get a ride in a magic chair with a reward at the end. Prior to your child’s first visit, it is good for them to see either you or a sibling have their visit first. This should not be done if the person they are watching has anxiety issues.

3. Should I come in with my children during treatment?

For all children under 6 years old you should be present as there may be separation anxiety. After this age, it may be beneficial for them to undergo the examination without you being in the room, as they may tend to react more when you are in the room. However, this is a matter entirely for you and you should discuss this with your dentist.

4. How can I prevent problems with my childrens’ teeth?

Instilling good habits from a young age is the best form of prevention. This should include brushing twice daily and avoidance of sugary foods and drinks, sticking to main meals, avoiding using food as rewards. We recommend avoiding fruit juices and stick to mild and water. Remember when young they can only eat and drink what you give them. If they are not introduced to sugary foods and drinks, they will not know they exist! It is crucial when as a baby, if they are bottle-feeding, the bottle is not left with but taken as soon as they are finished. Constantly having milk in the mouth can cause tooth decay in babies, who have a weak immune system.

5. Is a dummy damaging to my child’s teeth?

The evidence on this question is mixed however there does not seem to be any strong evidence of long-term damage provided the dummy is stopped being used well before they get their adult teeth. There is some evidence to support that speech development may be delayed with the use of a dummy.

Home Care:

1. Are electric toothbrushes better than manual?

If you are cleaning well with a manual toothbrush then an electric toothbrush will not clean any better. However, most people miss some areas when manually cleaning, so an electric brush is useful in these situations. Ultimately, it is all about technique.

2. Do I really need to floss?

Yes. Flossing at least once a day leads to a significant reduction in plaque build-up and gum disease. For the back teeth, up to half of the tooth surface is missed by brushing alone. Dental flossing between the teeth is the key to maintaining your smile.

3. How often should I brush?

Brushing should occur at least twice a day. Some people prefer to brush after every meal however, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything acidic (e.g. fruit juice). The most important time to brush is prior to going to bed due to the lower saliva flow during your sleep.

4. Is mouthwash any good?

Mouthwash is useful as an adjunct to brushing and flossing but it is the physical cleaning that is most effective. Mouthwash can reduce gingivitis.

5. What toothpaste should I use?

The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride which is in most commercial toothpastes. However, if you have a specific problem your dentist may recommend a certain toothpaste for you (e.g. sensitive toothpaste for sensitive teeth)

Practice hygiene and safety:

1. How is the equipment cleaned?

Some dental equipment is disposable, so we throw it away after a single use. For most of the dental equipment you will see it is sterilised after each use. We clean the equipment using a top of the range Miele thermal disinfector. It is then bagged and sealed and placed in a steam autoclave to completely sterilise. This eliminates all bacteria, viruses and fungus microorganisms making the equipment safe for reuse. Darlinghurst Dental goes above and beyond Australian requirements as very few practices in Australia have a thermal disinfector.

2. What cross-infection policy do you have?

We have thorough staff training on all cross infection matters. We use zoning to identify at-risk areas, barrier protection to ensure that there is no transfer between areas and we use medical grade disinfectant for any work surfaces that are used. All reusable equipment is sterilised before use in the mouth, or a suitable barrier is used where sterilisation is not possible. We barcode and track each cycle of cleaning to verify the complete sterilisation process, allowing us to not only  know it is sterile, but also when and who disinfected and sterilised it. Our full policies and guidelines are available to view on request.

Privacy and medical information:

1. Is my medical information protected?

Darlinghurst Dental takes all precautions to protect your personal and medical information. The practice software we use is cloud based and is encrypted and protected in accordance with Australian law. We take your privacy very seriously. We will from time to time ask you to update your information as current medical information is important in your treatment. If you have any concerns about your personal or medical information, please discuss this with the dentist or the Practice Manager. Our privacy policy provides further details about our commitment to protecting your privacy. We understand that your personal health and dental information is some of the most private information about you.

2. Who has access to my medical information?

Your personal and medical information is only access by authorised members of Darlinghurst Dental staff (including third party contractors) for the purpose of providing you with outstanding dental treatment. The only person outside of Darlinghurst Dental who can access your personal and medical information is you or a person(s) who you have authorised. This is your information and we respect your privacy.

3. Can I access my medical information?

You can access the information we hold about you at any time. Send an email to [email protected] and we can provide the relevant information to you. You may seek to have that information amended and we will do so in accordance with our Privacy Policy. If you move to Darlinghurst Dental from another dental practitioner, let us know and we can obtain your dental records on your behalf (this can save you some money as new x-rays and examinations might not be required).

Trivia:

1. Why are they called ‘wisdom teeth’?

Wisdom teeth are called wisdom teeth as they usually come through as an adult between 18 and 21. It is thought that we are wiser than when the rest of our teeth come through as a child. In Korea they are known as the love teeth as rather than wiser, it is thought that you will have had your first love by this time.

2. What are teeth made of?

Teeth are a complex mix of different layers. The white enamel we see is just the surface. Underneath the tooth is mainly comprised of dentine, which has a cementum covering over the root. The centre of the tooth contains the pulp which has the nerve and blood supply. As we age, the pulp shrinks and lays down new dentine. Unfortunately, the blood supply to our teeth is poor which is why they are susceptible to decay and cannot repair themselves like other body parts.

3. How many teeth do I have?

Usually we all get 20 deciduous teeth as a child and then 32 teeth as an adult. However sometimes people can be missing teeth and sometimes we can have extras. Spare a thought for people who have wisdom tooth surgery to remove six or more wisdom teeth instead of four!