FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions.

For more information, it is recommended to organise a consultation with your clinicians.

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Emergencies:

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 email us 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:
    • Take 1-2 tablets of Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) or Paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) or other applicable pain relief medication as soon as reasonable after the extraction.
    • Continue for the first 1-2 days – as directed on the packaging.
    • Do not exceed the maximum daily dosage of any medication.
  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.

Trauma:

When dental trauma occurs, it is a stressful time for everyone involveed.

Baby (Deciduous) Teeth

If your child knocks out a ‘baby’ tooth, remain calm and follow the steps listed below:

  • Find the tooth, and hold it by the crown only, not the root.
  • If it is a baby tooth, do not reinsert back into the mouth. If you are unsure, place the tooth in milk or saliva to transport it to your dentist.
  • See your dentist straight away.

NOTE: The crown is the part of the tooth visible inside the mouth while the root anchors the tooth to the jawbone and is not normally visible. Depending on your child’s age, the baby tooth may not have much root structure remaining. This is because the root resorbs for the tooth to become loose before falling out.


Adult (Permanent) Teeth

Remain calm and act quickly, ideally try to see your dentist within 30 minutes.

  • Find the tooth and hold it by the crown only, not the root surface.
  • If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk or tap water very briefly. Do not scrub it.
  • Place the tooth back in position inside the mouth.
    • Make sure it is facing the right way around
    • Gently bite down on soft cloth or tissue or use aluminium foil or your mouthguard to hold it in place.
  • If you can’t replant the tooth, transport it to your dentist in milk or saliva. Do not store in water.

NOTE: The crown is the part of the tooth visible inside the mouth while the root anchors the tooth to the jawbone and is not visible normally.

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.

Preventive Dentistry:

There are just 3 simple things to do to keep your teeth and gums health. By doing this, you not only maintain good oral health but can minimise the need for extensive and expensive dentistry.
In summary:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.

  • Floss at least once a day.

  • Visit your dentist at least once a year.

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.

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 childrens 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.

Brushing Children's Teeth - 2.5 - 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.

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.

How to Floss

  1. Adding flossing to your daily tooth cleaning regimen should be introduced when 2 or more teeth touch.
    • This can be challenging in children, but it is a good habit to try and implement, even if you do it slowly, as it will hopefully set them up for good oral hygiene in the future.
  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.

Toothbrushes

  • There are a few types of toothbrushes available in the supermarkets and pharmacies
    • Hard
      • These are good for cleaning dirty pots and pans.
    • Medium
      • These are the most available brush and although are good, can sometimes cause gum shrinkage.
    • Soft
      • What most dentists recommend as they have a good balance between cleaning and not causing gum shrinkage.
    • Extrasoft
      • For people with sensitive teeth.
    • Specialised Soft
      • These are special brushes designed for people who are undergoing cancer therapy to minimise ulceration and gum discomfort.
    • Denture Brush
      • Use to clean dentures - you can also use a normal soft or medium brush
  • As a general rule, you should replace your toothbrush every 6 months.

Toothpastes

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.
  • If you have sensitive teeth, a desensitizing toothpaste is recommended. Try different types as sometimes, people find certain brands work better for them than others.
  • Up to the age of 12, these toothpastes tend to come in a low mint flavour/menthol concentration to improve comfort during brushing.

N.B. There is not a lot of research that has been done on the long term effects of charcoal toothpastes so caution is advised when using them.

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 (gum) 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.

The interval for a checkup and clean varies from person to person.

At minimum, it is recommended to have a checkup at least once a year.

Unlike seeing a medical doctor when something is wrong, teeth and gums do not always have symptoms in the early stages of disease. Waiting for symptoms can result in requiring more extensive and expensive dental care.

By having routine checkups, we can highlight issues early and the management can be easier and more affordable.

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.

Childrens Dentistry:

Children generally start getting baby teeth at about 6 months of age and usually have all their adult teeth by about 13 years of age.

There are some variations to these dates.

Baby teeth are important because they:

  • Facilitate normal development of the jaws and face.

  • Facilitate in the development of speech.

  • Maintain space for the adult teeth.

  • Create and promote positive self-image.

  • Allow for the chewing and digestion of food for growth and development.

As a rough indication, it is good to to take your child to see the dentist when their first tooth comes through or at about 1 year old - whichever comes first.

At this appointment, there could be discussions about:

  • Teething and management of discomfort.

  • Brushing techniques.

  • Habits such as thumb sucking.

  • The risk of decay and how to prevent it.

  • Nutritional advice.

Don't worry if you have missed this date, just do it as soon as possible.

The team at Smile Hawthorn will guide you through the development of baby teeth to adult teeth.

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:

  • 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 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.

  • You do not need a referral to see the orthodontist at Smile Hawthorn

  • Contact our clinic on (03) 9939 8006 or email us via our contact us page.

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.

Teeth Whitening:

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

Teeth whitening is really a process where the colour of the tooth is "lightened" rather than it physically making your teeth "whiter".

    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.

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

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

  • The improvement will be less obvious the lighter 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.

Therefore, we offer a complimentary consultation to discuss with you thesuitability of your teeth for whitening procedures and hte best option that suits your lifestyle.

These products are effective when used correctly and are a great option to reduce minor staining or just lightening a shade or two

However, as they are applied via an imprecise method, such as a strip or a pen or a non-customised tray, the concentration of the whitening agent is lower and can take longer to achieve a lightened result.

Some whitening kits that are available online are not always checked by the Therapeutic Goods of Australia for safety and quality

Some gels can even cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, making them look dull over time

Poorly manufactured trays can lead to gum trauma and even burns if they do not contain the whitening gel properly

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.

The longevity of a whitening procedure depends on:

  • The original colour of your teeth.
  • The colour change achieved with the whitening procedure
  • Habits like drinking coffee or smoking

Most whitening procedures will be effective for about 12 to 18 months

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.


The information contained on this website is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek advice from a dental professional.

Still have questions?

Smile...so the world smiles with you

Smile Hawthorn

About Us

Smile Hawthorn is a modern family dental and orthodontic practice that provides comprehensive dental and specialist orthodontic services to the community.