Frequently Asked Questions

At Smile Hawthorn, we will always try to assist you with all your concerns and questions. These are general answers to commonly asked queries. Please speak to your dentist for more specific assistance to your concerns.

Some commonly asked questions may be found under the following categories:

Emergency Dental Care

 

 

Emergency

A swollen face may be caused by a dental infection. This can be quite serious and should be managed as soon as possible.

  • Contact our clinic on (03) 9939 8006 or send us an email via our contact us page.
  • Depending on the cause, we will endeavour to reduce the swelling, infection and pain.
  • If it is after hours, please contact the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne on 1300 360 054 or your nearest emergency department

At Smile Hawthorn, after a tooth is removed, we will provide you with post-operative care instructions and a few packets of sterile gauze. In summary:

  1. To stop the bleeding: bite firmly but gently on the gauze placed in the surgery for 20 minutes. Continue biting for 30‐40 minutes if you take any blood thinning medications. If the bleeding does not stop after this time, please contact our clinic (03 9939 8006) or attend your nearest emergency department for further management.
  2. To stop the bleeding and to promote healing: avoid rinsing and spitting for the first 24 hours. Commence gentle salt water rinses after the first 24 hours. Postpone your regular oral hygiene routine until after the first 24-48 hours.
  3. To help with post-operative discomfort: swallow 1‐2 tablets of Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) or Paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) as soon as reasonable after the extraction and continue 1 tablet every 4‐6 hours for the first 1‐2 days – as directed on the packaging. Do not exceed 8 tablets in one day.
  4. To avoid trauma and infection, and to promote healing: avoid hot foods and drinks and hard foods for the first 24 hours.
  5. To avoid infection and to promote healing: avoid smoking and rinsing with/consuming any alcohol‐based products for at least 24 hours.
  6. To promote healing: drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.
  7. If stitches have been placed, do not try to remove them ‐ they will dissolve on their own unless otherwise informed.

Click the following link to save a copy of the instructions.

 

 

Preventive

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is as easy as:

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day
  • Visiting a dentist at least 1-2 times a year.

These simple tasks will not only keep your mouth in a healthy condition, but it will also reduce the need for extensive major dentistry.

Brushing Adult Teeth - Electric or Manual Brushes

  1. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  2. For the outside and inside surfaces, aim the brush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums and use gentle circular motions.
  3. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  4. Spit out the toothpaste after brushing. You do not need to rinse, as the small amount of fluoridated toothpaste left in your mouth after spitting continues to protect against tooth decay
 

The following information has been provided by Dental Health Services Victoria

 

Brushing Children's Teeth - Birth to First Tooth

  1. Clean the mouth and gums with a soft cloth.
  2. Sit the child in your lap, facing away from you, or stand behind taller children. Tilt the child's head back against your body so you can see all the surfaces of the teeth.
 

Brushing Children's Teeth - First Tooth to 18 Months

  1. Use a soft children's toothbrush with water.
  2. Sit the child in your lap, facing away from you, or stand behind taller children. Tilt the child's head back against your body so you can see all the surfaces of the teeth.
  3. For the outside and inside surfaces, aim the brush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums and use gentle circular motions.
  4. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
   

Brushing Children's Teeth - 18 months to 2.5 Years

  1. Try to use a childrens toothbrush if possible with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  2. Sit the child in your lap, facing away from you, or stand behind taller children. Tilt the child's head back against your body so you can see all the surfaces of the teeth.
  3. For the outside and inside surfaces, aim the brush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums and use gentle circular motions.
  4. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  5. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and not swallow and not rinse.

The following information has been provided by Dental Health Services Victoria

 

Brushing Children's Teeth - 4 Years

  1. Start teaching your children to brush their teeth.
  2. Still supervise them and help them to ensure that their teeth have been cleaned..
  3. For the outside and inside surfaces, aim the brush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums and use gentle circular motions.
  4. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  5. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and not swallow and not rinse.
 

Brushing Children's Teeth - 6 Years

  1. Switch to an adult toothpaste.
  2. Supervise your child brushing their teeth.
  3. For the outside and inside surfaces, aim the brush at a 45 degree angle towards the gums and use gentle circular motions.
  4. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  5. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and not swallow and not rinse.
  6. By age 8, your child can brush and floss unsupervised, but regular dental checkups are still advised.
 

How to Floss

  1. Flossing should be routine for all ages the moment 2 teeth touch.
  2. Ensure you use enough floss so that you can wrap it around your middle fingers. Use your thumbs and index fingers to guide the floss.
  3. Gently ease the floss between two teeth and form a ‘C’ shape against the surface of one tooth.
  4. Pull the floss so that it is tight around the tooth and gently guide it up and down from the chewing surface to under the gum. Repeat for each side on all teeth.
  5. If your child does not spit out the toothpaste, ensure you use a low Fluoride toothpaste and use tissue to wipe away the extra toothpaste. There are toothpastes for various ages
 

The following information has been provided by Dental Health Services Victoria

Dental bacterial plaques are soft accumulations that are easily removed with soft bristled toothbrushes.

There are as many toothpastes as there are toothbrushes available on the supermarket shelves. Fluoridated toothpastes help to strengthen tooth enamel, kill bacteria and reduce dental decay. Most toothpastes have fluoride in the form of either sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate.

Fluoridated toothpastes are generally not required for infants under 18months of age. Depending on the risk level for tooth decay, children up to 6 years of age are generally recommended to use toothpastes with fluoride concentrations of up to 500ppm. Beyond the age of 6, children are generally recommended to use adult toothpastes provided that they spit the toothpaste out. Up to the age of 12, these toothpastes tend to come in a low mint flavour/menthol concentration to improve comfort during brushing. Adult toothpaste is normally found with fluoride concentrations of 1000ppm, which can increase to 5000ppm for individuals with an increased risk of tooth decay. For sensitive teeth, any desensitizing toothpaste can be effective with time.

When soft plaque and hard calculus build up around the teeth and gums, the gums become irritated and inflamed resulting in a reddish and swollen appearance and a tendency to bleed easily. This is termed gingivitis.

Gingivitis, if left unmanaged, may be associated with a more severe type of gum disease known as periodontitis due to further accumulation of plaque and calculus. Periodontitis affects not just the gums but the bone and tooth supporting ligaments as well. Periodontitis can result is extensive gum shrinkage, bone loss, bad breath and tooth loss.

At Smile Hawthorn, we assist you in minimising the risks of developing periodontitis via our oral health promotion regimes.

Depending on your level of disease risk, we recommend having a dental examination every 6-24 months to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy.

Routine examinations ensure that any problems are identified early and can be resolved with minimal biological and/or financial costs.

X-rays are an important diagnostic tool utilised in all forms of health that provide the clinician with information that cannot be gleaned through visual examination alone. This can include:

  • Decay: its location and extent
  • Periodontal disease and the associated loss of bone
  • Presence of cysts, tumours and teeth in the bone
  • Abnormalities of the roots and bone

If any problems are detected early, appropriate management may be instituted to reduce adverse outcomes.

At Smile Hawthorn, we employ the latest in digital x-ray technology, which significantly lowers the amount of radiation exposure to the patient.

At Smile Hawthorn we recommend the following simple steps:


  • Strengthen your teeth: Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste twice daily.
  • Win the battle against bacteria: Floss your teeth at least once a day (at night is better).
  • Don't let oral bacteria setup colonies on your teeth: Avoid snacking on sweet sticky foods, and after eating sweet foods: follow-up with a savoury item within 20minutes.
  • Keep your immune system strong and hydrated: Establish healthy eating habits and drink plenty of water.
  • Engage the Professionals for extra protection: Maintain regular dental checkups and ensure you get the highest quality dentistry available.

 

 

Children

Baby teeth are important because they:


  1. Facilitate normal development of the jaws and face.
  2. Facilitate in the development of speech.
  3. Maintain space for the adult teeth.
  4. Create and promote positive self-image.
  5. Allow for the chewing and digestion of food for growth and development.

It is recommended that a child's first dental visit should occur around their first birthday. It is a great way to introduce them to the dental clinic and for a check to be undertaken to review their oral condition.

A few simple things to do:


  • Strengthen their teeth: For children up to 18 months - Wipe/brush their gums and teeth gently with a soft cloth or a children's toothbrush. From 18 months - Brush with age-appropriate fluoridated toothpastes twice daily
  • .
  • Help them win the battle against bacteria: Brush and floss their teeth until they are old enough to tie shoelaces (roughyl 8 years). Let them start of the process, but their teeth will be cleaner if a parent finishes it off.
  • Don't let oral bacteria setup colonies on their teeth: Ensure that baby bottles are filled with milk or water only and avoid settling your baby to sleep with the bottle at night. Introduce cup feeding by 6 months and wean them off the bottle by 12 months. Keep sweet foods to meal times and follow-up with sugar-free foods/drinks within 20 minutes.
  • Keep their immune system strong and hydrated: Establish healthy eating habits and encourage them to drink plenty of water.
  • Engage the Professionals for extra protection: Maintain regular dental checkups and invest in effective preventive dentistry.

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic evaluation be conducted at the first sign of orthodontic (jaw or teeth) problems. Alternately, this evaluation should be conducted no later than 7 years of age. At this early age, your specialist orthodontist will be able to advise whether treatment is needed and anticipate the most effective age for treatment to commence.

 

 

Orthodontics

An Orthodontist is a Dentist, but a Dentist is not an Orthodontist.

In Australia, the specialist training of an orthodontist involves an additional 3 years of university studies at a Clinical Doctorate level. Apart from clinical training, the specialist programme also involves extensive research in order to advance the field of orthodontics. By having your orthodontic treatment performed under the guidance of a specialist, you are ensuring that you receive the highest level of care possible with the most up-to-date methods available.

At Smile Hawthorn, you do not need a referral to see the Orthodontist.

Your consultation can be booked via our online booking portal or by telephoning our clinic for an appointment.

Prior to your appointment, we will send you some information on our practice and orthodontics, as well as a brief questionnaire and an x-ray referral form for an orthopantomogram of your teeth and jaws to bring to your first visit.

At this first appointment, we will listen to your concerns, address any questions you may have, and gather all the relevant information to advise you:

  • about whether orthodontic treatment will be able to meet your goals and expectations,
  • about the various treatment procedures available to correct the problem/s and which is the most appropriate,
  • when would be the best time for orthodontic treatment to be most effective,
  • estimated duration of treatment,
  • cost of treatment and
  • payment options available to best suit your financial situation.

Since treatment plans and payments options may be discussed, we ask that a parent or guardian be present for the first visit if the consult is for a child.

Like most things in dentistry, orthodontics is not painful. As with new shoes, orthodontic appliances can take a bit of getting used to in the beginning. Orthodontic appliances move teeth by applying gentle pressure to stimulate a localised inflammatory response that allows the teeth to move through the bone. This response may result in some tenderness after an interval of 6-8hours, which usually only lasts for 24-48 hours. Panadol may be helpful in reducing discomfort caused by the body's response to the appliances.

Orthodontics can be performed at any age. However, for some individuals, treatment may be more effective when performed during a particular stage of facial growth. At Smile Hawthorn, the orthodontist will determine which options are best suited to reach your goals and advise you on the best timing for your treatment.

Treatment time varies depending on your concerns and treatment goals. At Smile Hawthorn, the orthodontist will advise you of an approximate treatment duration that is based on your treatment needs. The orthodontist will also guide you in the maintenance and care of your appliances so that your treatment proceeds as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

All forms of treatment have some risks and limitations. Fortunately orthodontic complications are infrequent and when they do occur they are usually of minor consequence. Depending on the type of treatment required, there will be different risks and complications involved. At Smile Hawthorn, the orthodontist will discuss the risks and complications specific to your treatment prior commencement and will answer any questions you may have about your care.

 

 

Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that uses the chemical process of oxidation to break down stains and discolouration in your teeth.

When conducted by a dentist, teeth whitening is a safe and effective cosmetic procedure. However, all forms of treatment have some risks and limitations. At Smile Hawthorn, we will determine which options are most effective for you in achieving a whiter and brigher smile, discuss any risks or limitations involved in your care and answer any questions you may have about the procedure.

All our products are TGA approved and your treatment is conducted in a clean and safe professional environment to ensure that you achieve the brightest smile possible in the most effective and efficient manner available.

There are several factors that determine the effectiveness of teeth whitening. For example:

  • The improvement will be less obvious the whiter your teeth are at the start of treatment.
  • Any fillings/crowns present will not improve in colour with whitening procedures.
  • Certain intrinsic staining and discolouration cannot be changed with external teeth whitening alone.

At Smile Hawthorn, we utilise a personalised approach in achieving a brighter and whiter smile for every patient.

These products tend to have a lower concentration of whitening agents when compared with professionally prescribed whitening systems. Thus they tend to be effective, over a longer period of application.

Dentists are trained in the indications for teeth whitening, which involves an understanding of the products, procedures and risks involved. At Smile Hawthorn, your whitening procedure is assessed, conducted and monitored at all times by a fully registered dentist. All our products used are TGA approved and are produced by world leading manufacturers. We assess your overall dentition and health, and advise which types of teeth whitening procedures are effective in brighting your smile.


As we age, our teeth tend to darken or yellow as the inner dentine layer of the tooth thickens. Fortunately, the effect of teeth whitening may be maintained with the use of touch-up kits. Touch-up kits are an easy and affordable way to also remove staining caused by coloured foods/drinks, which may have caused the original discolouration.

 

 

Trauma

The following guidelines have been provided by the International Association of Dental Traumatology (IADT).

 
  1. Find the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown (the white part)
  2. If the tooth is contaminated with dirt or debris, rinse shortly with cold tap water and the place the tooth back in its place. This can be done by the child or an adult and should be done immediately if possible.
  3. Whilst holding the tooth in place, gently bite on a handkerchief/napkin to hold it in position and go to the dentist immediately.
  4. If you cannot place the tooth back in the mouth, then place it in a cup of milk or saline. When milk or saline are not available, place the tooth in the mouth (between the cheeks and gums)
  5. Contact your nearest dentist immediately

Children between 7 and 10 years of age are more like to experience avulsion (the tooth being pushed out of the bone) due to the elasticity of the bone at this age. Good oral hygiene is critical during the healing period


DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PLACE A BABY TOOTH BACK IN AS IT COULD DAMAGE THE DEVELOPING ADULT TOOTH


The following information has been provided by the IADT:

If you are in pain, contact us by booking online, contacting our clinic on 03 9939 8006 or send us an email via our contact us page.

If you have the broken piece, keep it in a moist environment (milk or saliva - NOT WATER) in a zip lock bag and bring it with you to your appointment. In some cases we may be able to bond the broken fragment back.

We will guide you through what can be done to fix your broken tooth.

At Smile Hawthorn, we recommend using a mouthguard for anyone playing any form of contact sport.

We especially encourage young children playing, football, soccer, netball, basketball, hockey etc. to play with a mouthguard to minimise the chance and the effect of any traumatic incident that might occur.

Mouthguards can be made in a relatively short time period and can usually be done in your favourite colours.

 

 

Root Treatments

Infected teeth are painful. This pain is caused by the bacteria inside the tooth and the body's inflammatory reaction. In such cases, root treatments are helpful as a means of relieving pain and assisting recovery. Adequate anaesthesia is important when initiating root treatments on painful teeth to prevent discomfort and ensure success of the procedure.

Caps/Crowns assist with achieving a tight seal on the root filling and keeping weakened parts of the tooth together, reinforcing the tooth and preventing root fracture. It also assists with ensuring that optimal aesthetics is achieved following root treatment. Best practice dictates that, where there is extensive damage, a crown is usually advisable.

 

 

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed. It depends on their position, whether they are causing any discomfort or have the potential to cause any problems.

The need to go to hospital is entirely dependent on whether you would like the procedure to be done under a General Anaesthetic. Some wisdom teeth can be easily removed in a dental chair setting.

If you choose to be seen in hospital, the treatment is generally organised and managed by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Additionally, if the removal procedure is complex, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is usually better equipped to remove these teeth, and a referral will be provided.

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