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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


Dentistry news in Brisbane, Qld

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Filtering by Category: children's dentist

medicare bulk billing for kids at the dentist

Leila Haywood

Just a third of the 2.9 million children eligible for government fund rebates have accessed dental care, with two million children missing out on $1000 of entitlement to  dental care every two years, with the private dentist of their choice, with 97% of dentist agreeing to provide bulk billed service. The funds have been available since 2014, but with little promotion and two government reviews to investigate the reason for the shortfall as why so few children have accessed the program.  Parents are informed about eligibility once a year in January within a general mail out, known as the current eligibility notification, which is thought to not provide readily recognisable advice of an entitlement. 

The program recently survived the government trying to shut down the funding to save money in the 2016 budget, following rejections from Parliament. A new scheme had been proposed with 30% less funding, but covering 7 million more people, including the cost of teenage braces. The plan was opposed by the Australian Dental Association because it was not means tested, and was realistically providing $42 of dental care for each eligible person per year.  Late last year the government reduced the cap to $700 after an effort to axe the program entirely, which was blocked by the Senate, but has now been signed into law, and increased back to the original cap of $1000.  The scheme is for children aged two to 17 years of age, for those in families that qualify for Family Tax Benefit A, with the benefits available for basic dental services including check ups, x-rays, fillings, extractions and root canals (braces are not covered).

free dental care for children

Seven in 10 kids under the age of nine have active dental decay and 30 000 children a year are hospitalised for urgent dental treatment under general anaesthetic, the majority of which are preventible, and where there is funding to protect children's teeth. Our next generation should have the right to the best care possible and all measures to protect their teeth, and allow healthy life habits.

(source: Herald Sun 12 February 2017)



update medicare bulk billing for kids at the dentist

Leila Haywood

If your child is eligible for the CDBS you will get a letter to confirm if you are a parent/guardian or approved care organisation.

Older children getting payments under their own name may also get a letter.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • aged between 2 and 17 in that year
  • eligible for Medicare, and
  • receiving payment for Family Tax Benefit Part A; Parenting Payment, or Double Orphan; Pension; ABSTUDY

If a child is receiving payment for any of the following, they may eligible

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Parenting Payment
  • Special Benefit
  • Youth Allowance
  • financial assistance under the Veterans' Children Education Scheme (VCES) and not included as a dependent child for Family Tax Benefit because they are 16 years or older, or
  • financial assistance under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme (MRCAETS) and not included as a dependent child for the purposes of Family Tax Benefit because they are 16 years or older

If a teenager's partner is receiving payment for the following payments, they may be eligible.

  • Family Tax Benefit Part A, or
  • Parenting Payment

Eligibility is assessed at the beginning of each calendar year and is valid for the entire year. If you become eligible part way through a calendar year, you only get benefits under the CDBS from the date of Medicare eligibility.

Eligibility may be affected if you go from getting fortnightly Family Tax Benefit Part A payments to lump sum payments, and if your payments change.

Benefits available

From 1 January 2017, benefits for basic dental services are capped at $700 per child over 2 consecutive calendar years, and has been reduced from $1000.

The 2 year cap period starts when a child or teenager first gets an eligible dental service.

If a child or teenager already started their 2 year cap period in 2016, they can continue to access the rest of the previous cap of $1,000 until 31 December 2017, provided the child is eligible for the CDBS in 2017.

If you don’t use all of the $700 benefit in the first year of eligibility, it can be used in the second year if the child remains eligible. Any remaining benefit can’t be accessed after the end of the second year.

Benefits cover a range of services including:

  • examinations
  • X-rays
  • cleaning
  • fissure sealing
  • fillings
  • root canals
  • extractions

Benefits are not available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and can not be used to pay for any services provided in a hospital.

CDBS services will not count towards the Medicare Safety Net. 

How to use the schedule

To use the CDBS:

  1. confirm your eligibility and balance amount using your Medicare online account through myGov or call the Medicare general enquiries line.
  2. make an appointment with either a private or public dentist and let them know you or your child are eligible for the CDBS.
  3. discuss the child’s treatment and any associated costs with the dental provider before you receive the services. After this has been discussed, you need to sign a consent form.

After the dental provider has provided the agreed services, they will bulk bill you for the services. 

a healthy baby

Leila Haywood

1. Breastfeed exclusively for 6 months where possible -> get support if necessary. Eat a balanced diet 

2. Introduce solids from 6 months of age- whole grains, dairy vegetables and fruit. Peanuts and eggs can be introduced. Apparently not giving baby honey, raw eggs, meat, or added sugar or salt before at least the age of 1 is recommended. It is best to give your baby nothing that is processed, and nothing out of a can. Good food made from scratch and home made is the best start for many. No juice, no sugary treats is best. 

3. Tummy time is crucial to develop strength for up to 15 minutes at a time.  

4. Eye contact and cuddles are obviously going to stimulate their brains and helps them to communicate and feel secure.  

baby teeth

5. Brush your baby's teeth from the moment they are seen in the mouth, usually at 6 months of age, however some babies are born with them.  The lower teeth will come through firstly. Do not use toothpaste. Brush them twice a day especially before night time sleeping. Don't worry if your baby does not get teeth until almost the age of 1. It is still fine to breastfeed when your baby's teeth come through. No added sugar to anything, no sugary foods, definitely nothing but milk and water is good for your baby. 

6. On the go snacks like a banana, avocado and cheese are great for your baby. Porridge for breakfast is perfect also. Mashed veges for dinner are perfect. 

7. Try to give your baby lots of options and a balanced diet from the 5 food groups. 

  • vegetables.
  • fruit.
  • grain foods – porridge , rice, corn and so on.
  • dairy – milk, cheese, plain yoghurt and so on.
  • protein – eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, tofu and so on.

teething troubles

Leila Haywood

baby teeth

Teething may cause local discomfort, with drooling, biting/mouthing, gum rubbing, irritability and a low grade fever possible. However symptoms such as loss of appetite, sleeping problems, cough, rash, high fevers, vomiting and seizures are not thought to be associated with teething.  

✔️ cold and textured teething rings are useful to decrease inflammation and apply pressure to the gums

✔️ strictly following instructions for conservative use of Paracetamol or Ibuprofen is reasonable for management for discomfort. Be careful not to give to your baby for more than 3 days, maximum daily doses are not exceeded, and dose is compared to weight and age. 

baby smile

✖️ teething remedies such as Bonjela and SM33 gel are thought to not be effective and may be harmful


Bonjela is choline salycilate - some infants have been hospitalised for salicylate toxicity in published case reports, due to excessive use. It has also been associated with Reye's syndrome (a rare and serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain in children, with symptoms including vomiting, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness).  In the UK, salicylate has been removed from teething preparations and replaced with lignocaine, an anaesthetic. Gels with salicylate are labelled as not to be used on children younger than 16, in the UK, however no warnings are required in Australia. 


SM33 is salicylic acid and lignocaine. At home use of local anaesthetics is dangerous because it is difficult to determine how much a baby is swallowing. It could numb the throat and increase the risk of choking by impairing the gag reflex. Significant amounts of Lignocaine can also cause heart disturbances and seizures.


Some teething gels are imported and have Benzocaine of up to 20%. There is an uncommon risk of methemoglobinaemia (a red blood cell disorder which can be fatal) within minutes of use, with infants at increased risk, and an alert was released to health care professionals in 2011 to warn against using these products.


A warning alert was released in 2014 as to not using any local anaesthetic gels (Viscous Lignocaine, Viscous Xylocaine or Benzocaine) to treat children or infants with teeth pain. This is following an investigation into 22 case reports of serious adverse reactions including deaths, in infants and children, aged 5 months to 3.5 years, for the treatment of mouth pain.


Homeopathy is not actually the same as natural or home-made. One teething brand was recalled due to toxic levels of belladonna (the root and leaf of a plant that can be poisonous). As well as that they were teething tablets which were little lumps of lactose with the liquid poured on top, which were known to have a tooth decay risk as well as pose a choking hazard. According to experts, true homeopathic products are based on poisons which are greatly diluted.


University testing indicates that succinic acid, which is supposed to be in a Amber beads and convey an analgesic effect, could not be detected. Also they could be a choking hazard.



healthy toddlers

Leila Haywood

toddler health dental Brisbane

Here are some tips about caring for toddlers, based on my experiences of having two healthy and happy children who are now grown up. I hope you find it useful.

1. Toddlers like routine. Good sleep patterns are helpful. Staying calm and consistent is great. If your child wakes at night, settling them is best. Some flexibility from a regular routine is better than strict observance of timing and routine.

2. Eat with your toddler at least once a day. They will generally like what you eat, if they are used to seeing you eat something. Serve your toddler a simplified version of your meal. It is not necessary for them to eat everything on the plate, and if they don't like something try to be encouraging but allow your toddler to have a variety of foods to choose from. We all have our individual selections of foods and drinks that we dislike.  It is fine for a toddler to be a messy eater.  Drink lots of water, eat vegetables and fruit, avoid packaged food, and eliminate junk food. Serve colourful meals. Give your toddler serves of food which contain calcium, such as natural yoghurt, milk and cheese. Plan outings with some food packed for your toddler.

3. Minimise screen time. Under the age of 2, no screen time is recommended, and no more than an hour a day for toddlers aged 2 - 5. It is important not to link screen time with food, to create good eating habits. No screen should be placed in your toddler's bedroom to encourage healthy sleeping. Try to not allow your toddler to watch anything intended for a mature audience, as even content that is seemingly innocuous like reality tv shows or music videos can contain inappropriate images that can skew their developing view of what reality is (in my humble opinion)

4. Brushing twice a day is crucial to creating good habits for your toddler, along with a healthy and balanced diet. Use a child's toothbrush or battery powered toothbrush (such as the Oral B power brushes for children), along with a tiny dab of children's toothpaste from the age of 1. Some toddlers don't like mint toothpaste - in this case Macleans Milk Teeth has a mild flavour that is usually accepted. Don't use adult toothpaste until the age of 6, and treat the toothpaste like a medicine. Don't let your toddler  eat the toothpaste straight from the tube. Always brush your toddlers teeth prior to bedtime. Try not to give bottles of milk overnight, and never sweeten milk or give juice, as these can destroy the baby teeth. Minimising or eliminating sugary foods and drinks, and completely avoiding junk foods is the healthiest start possible. Always brush your toddlers teeth, as they are not able to brush them correctly or thoroughly by themselves until around the age of 7 or 8.

5. Encourage activity, running, jumping and skipping, and get outdoors for some sunshine everyday. A secret cubby house even with sheets over chairs provides hours of entertainment.

6. Encourage creative avenues like a diary with pictures, and a written explanation of what the drawing is, or ask them to tell you a story and describe it in detail with the date. They are wonderful for children and teenagers to look back on when your child is older. A cardboard box is usually a fun thing to decorate and provides endless hours of fun. Little missions, like finding 5 different leaves in the garden and obstacle courses were popular in our house, and encouraged outdoor and creative play. Read everyday to your baby and toddler. Unfortunately mine hate reading, which is a complete mystery to me, however they have excellent vocabulary and spelling, so I know exposing children to a wide range of reading materials, allows them to soak up what we show them, and encourages imagination, general knowledge and background for living a balanced and healthy life.

7. Try to floss your toddlers's teeth from the age of 2.5. I know it sounds impossible, and sometimes it is impossible, but showing your child that flossing is a usual daily hygiene habit, and encouraging them to allow to floss between their teeth once a day in the evening comes under the banner of above and beyond care for your little person.

8. Spending quality one on one time with your toddler is more important than lots of time. Good quality daycare is not damaging to toddlers as far as I have seen.

9. Introduce as much as you can to your toddler, and allowing flexibility in to their lives is a good measure.

mouth ulcers

Leila Haywood

Mouth ulcers occur when the lining on the gum is destroyed leaving an inflamed area. It is not a disease in itself and can have many causes. Most are caused by local trauma, and heal within 3 weeks, but some occur because of a disease in the body. It can be a sign of problems elsewhere in the body if the ulcer persists beyond 3 weeks, is single and persistent,and is not healing, or re-occurs. Other times some medication or some ingredient in a supplement may be causing the gum to be susceptible to creating a break.

mouth ulcer

By analysing a family history, lifestyle issues, pets, occupation, travel, medical, eating, medicines, stomach problems, eye and skin issues, and respiratory problems. dentists are able to try to eliminate various issues that may have caused an ulcer. As with any sore on the body, the cause of ulcers should be investigated. There are some illnesses that necessitate immediate treatment, so please visit your dentist or see your doctor if there is an unhealed mouth ulcer anywhere. More specifically dental professionals are very concerned with any whitish area in the mouth or around an unhealed ulcer- so a referral for further investigation may be warranted. 

The best way to soothe a mouth ulcer is to use warm salt water rinses - a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of salt and swish it around in your mouth. 


Leila Haywood

The prevalence of congenitally missing laterals (second from the front top teeth are missing)  is relatively common and is reported to occur in 2% of the population. They are the third most common missing tooth after third molars and mandibular second premolars, and account for 20% of all congenitally missing teeth.

Why it happens


Disturbances during the early stages of tooth development are thought to be the reason why one or more teeth are absent, and it is thought to be an inherited pattern. 

Treatment Options

There are two main options for treatment, the first of which is to close the space and move the canine (eye tooth) in to the gap created by the missing tooth, and to then significantly reshape it. This depends on the bite and available space, and is better for teeth that are crowded, and with a well balanced facial profile. The size difference between the teeth also needs to be carefully analysed so that the shift is not apparent, and the gum lines need to be carefully considered. Another issue is that the canines are usually naturally darker and may need to be whitened or have veneers placed.  Closing the space is not appropriate for all situations. 

The second option is to open the space so that an implant or bridge can be placed at a later date.  This is best where there is no bite issue, there is good spacing of the top teeth, and unfavourable shaping of the canines and adjacent teeth.

There are important factors and considerations that create a favourable smile, one of which are the widths of the top front teeth. Treatment is a team approach, taking into account the bite, the size and shape of the adjacent teeth, and the age of the patient,  as well as the shape of the face and gums.


There must be sufficient bone, and the area typically needs some more bone added if there is a deficiency. Implants are placed when the patient's facial growth ceases, so this can not occur for girls until the ages of around 17, and around 21 for boys, although waiting longer is safer.

Assessment is necessary with a general dentist so that the complex treatment can be overseen and planned with specialists as required.

Child Dental Benefits Schedule update

Leila Haywood

On the last sitting day of Federal Parliament, with the formation of key partnerships between the Australian Dental Association and the Government, there has not yet been an attempt to introduce the legislation to close the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS).

The expiry date was set for 31 December, 2016 for funding to the states and territories for public dental services via the National Partnership Agreement. The Government is expected to make an announcement about the arrangements so that the CDBS will remain operational for both public and private dental sectors into 2017.

The ADA supports the CDBS and its benefits to as many eligible families as possible. Patients need to deliver a clear message to their local member and Senators that the scheme is one worthy of retention as it is providing invaluable care to many children who may not otherwise be able to afford dental care.

The ADA is committed to working with the crossbench and key senators to try to ensure that the CDBS remains in place.


Leila Haywood

The Federal Government has axed the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) which was launched in January 2014,  and they are replacing it with the a reformed funding for the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme (CaPDS) via the states and territories.  

The impact of the CDBS in the past 2 years was significant for children, with 9.7 million services. 

The Federal budget has confirmed that the allocated public funding for dental services for 3.4 million children was only accessed by 30% of eligible children. The new scheme allows for dental treatment for 10 million adults and children through the public system, however analysis indicates that this amounts to $42 per head, with an already over-burdened public system. 

A Report on the Third Review of the Dental Benefits Act 2008 indicates that the original target was unrealistic rather than there being any significant underutilisation, and this is attributed to minimal promotion by the government.

There is widespread support for the CDBS in the dental profession and through the greater community. 

happy tooth health

The Australian Dental Association believes that the CDBS has made a sizeable impact on addressing dental health deficiencies among Australian children and allows children to access private care and dentists of their choice. Furthermore the vast majority of dentists chose to bulk bill with the CDBS, which is a reduction in standard fees, which meant that eligible children could access the best care possible. Orthodontic work was excluded from funding. 

The House of Representatives and the Senate have to approve budgetary measures and the Department of Health has confirmed that it will continue to operate until such time. 

To support the CDBS:

☞ Sign the petition that is online via

☞ The ADA have created the hashtag #savetheCDBS