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4 Rogers Street
Spring Hill, QLD, 4000
Australia

+61 7 3391 2504

Brisbane Dentist - excellence in general and aesthetic dentistry with Drs Amy Daley, Leila Haywood, UQ graduates with 20 years of experience in Spring Hill, Brisbane

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dentistry life at Brisbane Smile Boutique

The life and times of our dental practice, up to date news in dentistry and celebrations, happy moments in dentistry. Our blog outlines dentistry life at Brisbane Smile Boutique in Spring Hill in inner city Brisbane

Filtering by Category: Dentist Brisbane City

COLA DRINKS AND TEETH

Leila Haywood

A 375ml can of Coke has 40 grams of sucrose - a can a day adds up to 15 kg of sugar consumption in a year.
The sugar content of Cola drinks contributes to dental decay.
The acid contributes to dental decay, as well as the tooth structure softening and dissolving away, in a process known as 'dental erosion', which can strip the enamel off the teeth, and expose the yellowy softer dentine underneath. This can lead to sensitivity, and the teeth are more vulnerable to developing cavities.
The caffeine causes less saliva flow, which normally washes over the teeth to help to protect them.
There is concern about there being an interaction with Cola beverages and calcium in the body, with the drinks being linked to osteoporosis.
The acid, in combination with the sugar, changes the bacteria in the plaque that forms in the mouth.
Caffeine energy drinks and cola drinks are a mix of sugar, acid and caffeine which can cause catastrophic damage to teeth, not to mention the effects on weight, and general health.

COLA AND TEETH

About gingivitis

Leila Haywood

HOW IS GINGIVITIS TREATED?

The best cure for gingivitis is to catch it early. This is especially true for people who are prone to developing periodontal disease, a bacterial infection where the bone is eaten away from around the roots of the teeth causing them to become loose and wobbly. This happens to around a quarter of the adult population.

Gingivitis is the earliest, mildest stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums may become red and slightly swollen and they may bleed easily. Most people experience very little discomfort on a day-to-day basis, at this stage, so they may not bother to see the dentist. Even if you see your dentist regularly, schedule an extra appointment as soon as possible if you notice redness, swelling or bleeding in your gums, even if it isn't painful. Early intervention is the key to combatting the infection before it becomes serious.

Some medical conditions make you more likely to develop gingivitis. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, are being treated for cancer, or having other hormonal changes, you are at increased risk.  Even if you are perfectly healthy, you should still pay attention to your oral health and see your dentist at the early signs of gingivitis.

Your genes may be against you. Research has shown that approximately 30 percent of the human population overall is at increased risk for gum disease independent of other health factors.

The best intervention for gingivitis is twice yearly professional dental cleaning. Then it’s up to you to maintain a consistent oral health care routine of twice-daily toothbrushing and daily flossing. In addition, your dental hygienist or dentist may recommend a mouth rinse as part of an early intervention to help keep plaque at bay,  although this is usually only if the condition of the gums is exceptionally bad.

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MY GUMS BLEED WHEN I BRUSH. IS THIS A PROBLEM?

We would be very concerned if another part of our body was bleeding when we touched it.  Bleeding from the gums is a sign that there is disease either in the gums around the teeth, or the bone that supports it.  In some cases, with professional scaling and cleaning, careful monitoring of the gums and modifications to home care, the gums can become healthy again. In other cases, where there is irreversible and extreme damage, extensive dental treatment may be required with your dentist, dental hygienist and specialist care.

About periodontal disease and gum inflammation

Leila Haywood

Periodontal disease is  loss of the jaw bone from around the teeth, and ranges from gum bleeding and inflammation, called gingivitis - to severe loss and infection of the gums and jaw bone, called Periodontal disease. In the worst cases, teeth may be lost, when they become infected, or so loose that they hurt to bite on.

Gum disease - or gingivitis - begins with plaque bacteria, which causes the gums to be inflamed and swollen. Gingivitis is present where there are bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, and persistent bad breath,. Progression of the disease may cause loss of the jaw bone and gum that holds the teeth in.

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Once the bone is damaged in periodontal disease, it is an irreversible disease, so it is critical that it is picked up at an early point for preventive measures or treatments, which can make a big difference.

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Prevention is by far the best treatment for periodontal disease, and visiting your dentist each six months for a complete check up and preventive care, including periodontal screening and digital x-rays each two years to look for deposits of plaque and calculus, and loss of the jaw bone, allows any dental issues to be identified, controlled and treated early.   

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SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red, swollen or inflamed gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth that appear longer

TREATMENTS

Many people with mild gum disease don’t show any symptoms, but if you notice anything different about your mouth or teeth,  please tell your dentist. If you do have periodontal disease, the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. Severe periodontal disease treatment may involve a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, in which the dental hygienist or dentist removes tartar - or calculus - from both above and below the gum line and smooths rough spots on tooth roots where plaque-causing bacteria lives and likes to stick on.

Regular dental care at home of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, plus regular visits to the dentist for active maintenance and professional scaling and cleaning each 6 months, allow any problems to be picked up at an early stage. 

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Tooth grinding solutions and muscle relaxant injections

Leila Haywood

What is bruxism?

Excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth, is called bruxism, and is thought to be caused by physical or psychological stress, or a sleep disorder. If untreated, bruxism can cause excessive wear of the teeth leading to permanent damage of the teeth and sometimes of the jaw joints. Treatments involve repairing worn or damaged teeth with restorations, crowns or inlays, to replace the damaged tooth surface, and making an occlusal splint, or night guard, custom made from hard plastic that fits over the top teeth, and is worn at night to prevent further wear of the tooth surfaces, and to allow the jaw joint and muscles to relax. 

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TMJ disorders and muscle relaxant therapy

Disorders of the jaw joint, or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) are not uncommon and may lead to symptoms of pain and discomfort in the jaw called temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) . Patients may complain of earaches, headaches and a limited ability to open their mouth.  Other symptoms can include clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint,  pain when opening and closing the mouth,  a general tightness and pain in the muscles of the jaw, or broken teeth due to the excessive forces.

Muscle relaxant injection treatments are available for jaw pain caused by excessive tooth grinding. These can reduce the muscle activity of the jaw and provide relief from wear in the joint system, and can prevent the teeth grinding excessively.

Dentists will try to determine the cause of tooth grinding and associated symptoms, and offer a range of treatment options to reduce the discomfort and intervention before the excessive forces damage your teeth. There are several treatment options that can be used to immediately stop  clenching or tooth grinding , and hopefully relieve the jaw pain.   

People who clench or grind their teeth are able to relieve the pain in the jaw joints and muscles with physiotherapy treatments, pain relief, prescribed sedatives, occlusal splint therapy or therapeutic use of muscle relaxant injections into the jaw muscles. 

Current management for bruxism

Current management by dentists for jaw muscle pain caused by grinding or clenching is with occlusal splint therapy or night guards made by the dentist, orthodontics, pain relief, full mouth rehabilitation,  muscle relaxant injections, and very rarely, surgery. 

Muscle relaxant injections with Botulinism Toxin A can decrease the destructive effects of tooth grinding. A diluted form of the muscle relaxant is injected in the jaw muscle to partially weaken muscles for a period of 4 to 6 months.  

Bruxism is a disorder of repetitive and unconscious contraction of the masseter muscle, the large muscle that moves the jaw.  Muscle relaxant injections weaken the jaw muscles enough to reduce the effects of teeth grinding and clenching, but not so much as to prevent proper use of the jaw muscle for eating and normal facial movements. A muscle relaxant treatment typically involves injections into the masseter muscles. It takes a few minutes per side, and you can start to expect feeling the effects after 5 days.

What is the muscle relaxant injection? 

The muscle relaxant injection is Botulinism Toxin A, a prescription medicine which contains 100 units of muscle relaxant liquid and is a natural, purified protein that is used therapeutically in medicine to relax facial muscles, and is approved by the FDA (US) and TGA to treat medical conditions such as cerebral palsy. It is widely known for its uses in cosmetic work, as anti wrinkle injections.  

How are muscle relaxant injections used in  dentistry? 

Dentists who have undergone appropriate training can use muscle relaxant injections to treat muscular pain and headaches due to muscle contractions in the head and face, focusing on the jaw area.

Severe and undiagnosed tooth grinding and clenching can lead to headaches, pain in the jaw joint, muscles of the jaw, enlarged masseter muscles, tooth wear and broken teeth, and is thought to be cause by fatigue, stress and emotional extremes. 

How does the muscle relaxant injection work?

Approximately 90% of all headaches are thought to be caused by muscle contraction. Pain is minimised with muscle relaxant injections into the muscles of the jaws so that they cannot be contracted fully, therefore the pain is minimised.   

What does the treatment involve?

Muscle relaxant injections are usually administered by a very fine needle into the muscles that are causing the pain (eg. masseters, temporalis, frontalis) with a selected appropriate dose. The rest of the muscles still can function normally therefore chewing is mostly unaffected. No anaesthetic is required since the procedure has minimal discomfort, with just a slight sting at the injection site.  The treatment generally takes around 15 minutes for a full treatment. The muscle relaxant treatment takes around 5 days to begin taking effect and up to 7 days for the full effect to be felt.   

How long does it last? 

This varies from individual to individual but usually 3-6 months.  Repeat injections may result in the effects being prolonged.   

Contraindications to using muscle relaxant

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Allergy to albumin
  • an infection, skin condition or muscle weakness 
  • Have Eaton-Lambert syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease or myasthenia gravis.

Risks

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we recommend that you ask any questions that you wish, advise of any associated issues and seek a second opinion from another qualified health practitioner.   

What are the Side Effects? 

The amounts are carefully measured appropriately for your case and the injection site is very localized therefore the side effects are minimised.

Possible side effects include but are not limited to discomfort, burning/stinging, swelling, redness or  bruising around the injection site. Side effects are minimised by using a trained professional and usually minimal.   

    First visit to the dentist & Child's Dental Benefits Schedule

    Leila Haywood

    Dental visits for kids

     

    Seeing the dentist at an early age is important to make that the children's teeth and gums are healthy. 

    Around 30% of preschoolers have never seen a dentist with many parents realising the benefit of having their child's teeth checked with the dentist before they’re three years old.  Around 25% of primary school aged children in Australia have tooth decay with 10% ending up needing a tooth extraction.  

    Some other data indicates that one in 3 children aren't brushing their teeth twice a day. 

    Tooth decay is preventable but is on the rise in Australia and affecting young children, even resulting in hospital admissions for dental treatment of severe infections.

    When tooth decay is untreated it can result in chronic infection and pain, and can affect a child's growth, development and general well being. In the long term, dental disease is known to be linked with poor health, including heart disease in later life.

     

    when a child should visit the dentist

    It is recommended that children be taken to the dentist when the first tooth comes through or at around 1 year of age. Early visits are important to ensure that an infant's teeth and gums are healthy, and to offer support and education before tooth structure gets damaged, because it happens with time, and can not always be seen easily. Changes to routine or diet can be implemented to prevent toddlers from experiencing damage to their teeth. Some children around the age of two have been admitted to hospital with severe damage and infections in their teeth, requiring removal of their baby teeth, with statistics showing that the number in Australia is over 20 000 children requiring these kinds of treatments in a year.  

    Regular checks of teeth allow issues with the teeth to be identified and addressed, and allows a dental professional the opportunity to treat issues at an early stage and to prevent complex issues developing.  

    Some parents are concerned about the cost of seeing a dentist, however there are some free public dental care services available for children in Australia, and the federal Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides eligible families with $1000 worth of dental treatment over two years, which can be used for a child between the ages of 2 and 17,  to see a private dentist. This is available for families who received a parenting payment or family tax benefit Part A.

    when should children brush their teeth?

    Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bed time, is the best way of reducing the chance of tooth decay in children.

    When a baby's first tooth comes through, this should be brushed with water and a child's toothbrush. 

    From the age of 18 months, a tiny dab of children's strength toothpaste can be used. Adult strength toothpaste can be used from the ages of six. It is important to brush your child's teeth until the age of 8, because children don't do it thoroughly. 

    Most children lose the baby teeth around the age of 6, with the last baby tooth being lost around the age of 12. Even though the baby teeth do fall out, they need to be kept in a healthy and strong condition so a child can chew and eat properly. They also save space for the adult teeth and for the bite to line up properly. 

    Most children will begin losing their primary teeth, also known as “baby” or “milk” teeth, from around the age of six. The last falls out about age 12. One in five parents indicated they thought it didn’t matter if young children got tooth decay since their baby teeth fall out anyway. 

     

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    Photo credit: Children's Books Daily

    notes about diet?

    Putting a child to bed with sweetened drinks or milky drinks is strongly linked to tooth decay and allows sugar to pool around the teeth for long periods of time. From the age of one babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup and should be put to bed after their teeth have been brushed. 

    More than 90% of tap water in Australia is fluoridated, which helps to make teeth stronger and prevent tooth decay.  Most bottled water in Australia has very little to no fluoride. 

    Most parents know that sugary food and drinks cause tooth decay, but more that 60% of Australian children exceed the recommendation from the World Health Organisation for sugar intake. 

    The recommended maximum daily intake of added sugar for children should be no more than five teaspoons.