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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do all dentists not charge the same amount?

This is a common question posed by consumers of dental services. Many people consider dental care to be a commodity, when it should be considered in terms of the actual service provided. For example, I would consider products like televisions and cars to be commodities. There are certainly many different makes, models and options available, but you can at least compare the same make and model offered by two different stores or dealers. Some stores and dealers might provide superior customer service or financing options, but the product itself is the same.

The same can not be said of dentistry or any other health-care service. There are huge variations in terms of technical skill, training, experience, technology, materials, philosophy and laboratory work. There are a tremendous number of details that go into making a crown or providing any other dental service, and these details (and the results) are never going to be identical from one dentist to another.

That makes comparing crowns and the associated fees just about impossible!

Fees are generally based upon the costs associated with rendering treatment and the care, skill and judgment of the particular dentist. That having been said, it is very difficult for patients to assess the quality of care they are receiving.

There are several basic guidelines that can be considered when evaluating a dental team, however. It is important that they ask questions about your medical and dental histories and spend time listening to and recording your responses. They should thoroughly examine your entire mouth and come up with a personalised treatment plan.

Most importantly, you should feel that your dentist and team are your dental advocates and that they really listen to you and want to help you stay healthy.

Your objective should be to receive services at a good value (quality at a fair fee) than it is to receive an inexpensive service that might not stand the test of time.

by Dr Jim Arnold, Times Correspondent

Which tram stop is near your practice?

Tram 51, Corner of Keilor Road and Bradshaw Street

Will a tongue piercing affect my mouth?

The tongue is an extraordinary muscle that has many functions. The mouth is the first place from which a baby explores life. With thousands of taste buds on the upper surface, the tongue is a muscle of pure sensation and pleasure.

The tongue serves us in many ways. Consider its role in the following activities:

  • Swallowing
  • Speaking
  • Eating
  • Tasting
  • Kissing
  • Spitting
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Putting a thermometer under it
  • Licking your lips
  • Masticating the bolus

As well as being a taste/temperature detective, the tongue has one of the larger nerve supplies compared with other organs in the human body and it is full of blood vessels that supply it with nutrients.

People pierce their tongues for various reasons; because it’s trendy, peer group pressure, friends are doing it, rebelling against parents, increasing sexual pleasure, something to toy with etc. But here are the reality checks on the complications that can be triggered by piercing the muscle that is a brilliant engineering feat of nature:

  1. Nerve damage
  2. Rupturing of blood vessels
  3. Gum disease – the ring and hole in the tongue becomes a pit of bacteria. The spread of this bacteria extends not only throughout the mouth but also down the throat.
  4. Halitosis (bad yucky breath)
  5. Fractured teeth
  6. Soft tissue damage such as the roof and floor of the mouth and cheeks.
  7. Ripping of tongue if the ring or stud gets caught on something or locks ‘horns’ with your partner’s ring!
  8. Reported case of a brain abscess through infected tongue.

As we age, the numbers of taste buds on our tongue decreases. Why deliberately speed up this process by inflicting injury on our tongues?

In-chair teeth whitening or take-home teeth whitening?

In-chair teeth whitening

  • Procedure time: 50 minutes
  • All new patients need a 15 minute consultation first. This to assess if a clean is needed, as whitening alone will not remove the stains
  • Patients also receive a whitening kit to take home and continue their at-home treatment.
  • How often should I whiten my teeth? After in-chair whitening, don’t whiten for a few days as teeth are already white. After a few days then whitening can be done again.

Take home teeth whitening

  • Procedure time: 10 minutes
  • How long do you leave the solution on for? No longer than an hour.
  • How long should I do my whitening for? People do vary – patients can take up to 2–6 weeks to get the shade they desire. Once you are happy with the brightness you can stop and resume every 2–3 weeks before an event. They will come up bright again!
  • How do I clean my retainers? Rinse them under cold water (not hot) or soak in vinegar.

How do I get rid of sensitivity caused by using Teeth Whitening gel?

We recommend Tooth Mousse to strengthen teeth and to reduce sensitivity. You can purchase Tooth Mousse from FirstBite.

What is Tooth Mousse?

Tooth mousse is a calcium-based product which help with desensitising and provides extra protection for teeth. This product is used for patients who whiten their teeth and for those who need to strengthen their teeth.

How do I clean my mouthguard?

Clean your mouthguard with a tooth brush and toothpaste. Soaking in vinegar and water once in a while is a good idea as well.

How do I clean my retainers?

Rinse retainers under cold water (not hot). You can also soak them in a solution of equal-parts white vinegar and water for a couple of hours. The vinegar eats the film away inside the retainers.

How long do I need to wear retainers for?

The upper retainer must be worn full-time for 6 months. The lower retainer must be worn at night-time only for 12 months.

After 6 months full-time wear, the upper retainer is worn for another 6 months at night time only, with the lower retainer.

The retainers are then worn 2–3 times a week to ensure teeth stay straight.

How do I clean my splint?

Using your tooth brush and cold water. You can also use toothpaste or white vinegar to freshen your splint.

What happens if my splint is loose or not fitting properly?

Depending on how poor the fit is, either bring your splint in to your next appointment and we will refit it, or make an appointment to have it fitted again.