South Street Dental Centre Blog

Interesting facts and news from the world of modern dentistry.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH? Wisdom teeth are the third and final molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. They are the last teeth to erupt and usually come through when a person is in their late teens or early twenties. WHEN SHOULD MY WISDOM TEETH BE REMOVED? Contrary to popular belief, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed. If they grow through straight and healthy, they can be a valuable asset to the mouth. However, as they’re the last teeth to erupt, there is often not enough room left in the mouth to accommodate them. When this occurs, wisdom teeth can become impacted (meaning they’re unable to fully erupt and are kept below the gum line), causing pain, tenderness and often infection. Wisdom teeth fighting for room can cause misaligned issues, and overcrowding which affects the front teeth. This can be rather daunting to someone who has undergone orthodontic treatment to achieve a straight smile. Reasons why people have their wisdom teeth removed: When they’re unable to erupt normally and remain impacted within the jaw. This can lead to infection, cysts, damage to other teeth roots and the jaw bone. They only partially erupt. This is often painful, making them difficult to clean, and can lead to gum disease and oral infection. Crowd nearby teeth. If they do not have enough room to erupt properly, they may crowd or damage other teeth. If they grow through rotten. If they’re difficult to clean. This could lead to not only the damage and loss of the wisdom teeth, but the neighboring tooth too. If they’re causing sinus... read more

Sleep Dentistry

WHAT IS SLEEP DENTISTRY? Sleep dentistry is the use of medication to help relax patients during procedures. Although referred to as ‘sleep’ dentistry, the patient is usually awake, with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia. WHAT IS SLEEP DENTISTRY USED FOR? Commonly offered as an option to patients who experience dental fear, sleep dentistry aids in calming the patient down and putting them into a rested state, where they are comfortable enough for the dentist to work. People with dental fear find it extremely difficult to attend their recommended yearly visits, as even the thought of setting foot in the dentist’s office often causes them to tense with fear. This usually means that dental checkups are missed and overall dental hygiene is neglected, and in most cases, they will not schedule a dental appointment until their tooth pain has become unbearable. The other circumstance, in which sleep dentistry is used for, is oral surgery or complex dental treatments, such as the removal of impacted wisdom teeth, dental implant surgery, or other greatly invasive and/or painful procedures. In these situations, it is easier to put the patient to sleep to eliminate pain and discomfort. HOW DOES SLEEP DENTISTRY WORK? There are different levels and types of sleep dentistry. The strength of sedation differs depending on the procedure or circumstance. The different levels of sedation include: Minimal sedation – the patient is awake but relaxed. Moderate sedation – the patient is awake but heavily sedated to the point of not being able to remember much. Deep sedation – the patient is on the edge of consciousness but can... read more

Dental Implants

WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS? Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, typically made from titanium, that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once secured into your jaw, replacement teeth can be mounted onto them. Generally, candidates who seek dental implants are those who have lost a tooth or several teeth, perhaps to periodontal diseases, an injury or for some other reason. HOW DO DENTAL IMPLANTS WORK? Once the dental implant is secured into the jaw bone, they provide stable support for artificial teeth. They allow for an individual tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch to then be permanently fitted into the mouth. WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS? To be a candidate for dental implants, healthy gums and adequate bone is required. The jawbone must be in a healthy condition, with enough bone to sustain having the implants fused to it. Often when patients turn towards dental implants for missing teeth, the teeth have been absent for some time. This could be because, at first, it was just one absent tooth that wasn’t too noticeable or because the patient had previously been wearing dentures. This causes a problem because when teeth are absent from the mouth, the jawbone begins to deteriorate from the lack of stimulation that the tooth root used to provide. However, if this is the case then there are other procedures that can be undertaken to get the mouth ready and in a healthy enough condition to sustain dental implants, such as bone and gum grafting. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS? Dental implants are becoming the preferred treatment for tooth... read more

Always have more than one toothbrush

In instances like this – a spare toothbrush can be handy! When you next visit us, feel free to ask for a free toothbrush that is best suited for your teeth and gums. There are no excuses for not complying with your dental routine now!... read more

Could this be your instant crown?

Here’s a little beautiful video of a CEREC milling a crown. If you are a suitable candidate for a CEREC instant crown, you are more than welcome to watch your own crown being milled in our clinic! Our staff are happy to show off and let you be entertained by this piece of machinery. Sure beats watching fish swim about… Cliek here to watch.... read more

Antibacterial 3D printed tooth

Dentistry is getting even more exciting with the advent of 3D printing and evolving materials. Lost a tooth? A new 3D-printed replacement might protect against future cavities. Published earlier this month by researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, “3D-Printable Antimicrobial Composite Resins” details a tooth made from materials that kill bacteria on contact. Read more …. Photo by... read more

Rebuilding bone in dentistry

I need to “grow” more bone before implant treatment, how do dentists rebuild bone? Thanks to research and technology, bone regeneration for implant dentistry is a usual and routine procedure in oral surgery. Understanding the principles of wound healing now allows for regeneration of bone to occur using a variety of techniques. Most include cutting through the gum to expose the bone and then augmenting the existing (insufficient) bone by adding bone grafting materials to it. Hence the name “bone grafting”. Grafting materials include your own bone (sourced from a secondary site), cadaver bone, bovine bone, or synthetic bone. All of these grafting materials have been processed so that they are inert and certified safe for human use. Your body will then grow its own bone around the graft, eventually replacing volume. Healing of the grafted material can be enhanced by using membranes which cover the grafts to promote and enhance healing. See more about how we do our bone grafts... read more

The hidden cost of missing molars

“I’m only missing a back tooth, you can’t even see it!” The real problem with tooth loss isn’t just aesthetics, it’s the subsequent bone loss. The alveolar bone, which surrounds the teeth, requires regular stimulation (piezoelectric effect – tiny stresses transmitted via the tooth) in order to stay healthy. Without such stimulation the bone will gradually be lost. It is a process of the body to take bone from where it’s not ‘needed’ to where it is needed. Studies have proven that a lost tooth can result in a 25% decrease in bone width in the first year alone, and will continue to decrease in subsequent years. As bone loses width and height, gum tissue also gradually decreases. Ability to chew and to speak can be impaired. The more teeth lost, the more function is lost. Bite collapse can occur when only some of the back teeth, which support the height of the face, are missing. This can cause the front teeth to be more stressed, squashed or pushed forward. Severe bone loss will also result in uncomfortable dentures or the inability to wear one at all. Fortunately, there is way to keep tooth loss from becoming bone loss: it’s the dental implant. Because the implant actually becomes fused to the living bone, it will continue to stimulate the bone and prevent loss. Molars, in fact, are usually the first teeth to be lost. Dealing with that first missing molar will help maintain the integrity of the jaw and the structures they support. Read here for an in-depth discussion on the benefits of dental implants and facial collapse. Photo... read more

Small procedure, big benefits – what is “crown lengthening”?

Help! I recently broke a tooth at gum level when I bit down on an olive stone. I am worried that I might lose it. Can it be saved? Please come and see us as soon as possible! Crown lengthening is a common treatment procedure used to expose more tooth above the gum line where a tooth has broken at, or near, gum level. In order for your dentist to make a restoration such as a composite filling or a crown, sufficient healthy tooth has to be exposed above the gum line so that a restoration can be securely bonded. Crown lengthening is a surgical procedure that can be carried out using local anesthesia. Numbing is the same as numbing a tooth for a filling. Tiny little incisions are made inside the gum-line, both cheek and tongue side and the gum is teased open like a little flap. A minor amount of bone is then sculpted away from the tooth to “lengthen” the tooth surface, and this is where this treatment procedure gets its name. The gum is then replaced against that tooth leaving no open wounds, therefore, healing is quick and uneventful. Self-dissolving sutures are often used and minor anti-inflammatory drugs are given after surgery. These drugs are used for comfort and aim to reduce post-surgical swelling. This procedure should not be painful. There is the same amount of pressure and vibration as that which occurs during a typical filling.  A typical crown lengthening procedure takes about 60 – 90 minutes. Post-operative discomfort is minimal and you can go about normal activities the following day, avoiding vigorous exercise... read more

New crown sensitivity

I just had a crown inserted and my tooth feels sensitive, what can I do? Yay, you have a new crown, but after a day that tooth starts to feel sensitive. Sensitivity vary from person-to-person so this can be a difficult question to answer unless you consult the dentist who placed your crown. It is helpful if you have identified as many of the facts and/or triggers for any symptoms you have. For example, are your teeth sensitive to temperature, taste, touch, pressure, or biting a certain way? It may be as simple as adjusting a minor high spot when you bite. It may even be the adjoining tooth that is sensitive. If you are having a cold, hayfever allergies or sinusitis, it may be referred pain due to the pressure in the sinuses. Some sensitivity is normal after a crown as the tooth settles down; however, increasing sensitivity or pain after a week or more warrants a follow up visit to your dentist to re-adjust and rule out newly developed... read more

Is oral surgery safe when I’m on Warfarin?

Warfarin, and even more commonly used aspirin, are potent blood thinners and many people forget or don’t realise the need to tell their dentist they are taking it before undergoing surgery. Warfarin treatment does not automatically mean you can’t have teeth removed or undergo dental implant treatment. Indirectly though, surgery for anyone on blood thinners can be more complicated because blood will not clot normally and bleeding could be more difficult to stop. However, tooth removal is usually considered minor oral surgery, especially with a minimum of trauma in careful and experienced surgical hands. The surgeon who assesses your condition should work with your medical doctor to determine the risk and monitor your Warfarin dosage appropriately. Maintaining or reducing your dosage to accommodate minor oral surgery will depend on what condition you are taking the thinners for and the type of surgery you need. Your medical doctor may reduce your Warfarin dosage based on the PT/INR levels, which together with local treatment (ie stitching) will ensure that you have sufficient ability to stop bleeding and heal well. The key is communication between you, your doctor, and your dentist. It is not considered safe for you to stop Warfarin completely without your doctor’s approval. For the surgical procedure, your dental surgical specialist will take special precautions to help insure blood clotting and healing after surgery. These include treatment of the surgical site with special haemostatic agents which helps stabilize a blood clot, carefully suturing the gum tissues to reduce the surface area of the wound opening, and putting pressure on the wound edges to prevent the capillaries (tiny blood vessels)... read more

Chip off the white block….

“Is it that big of a deal? It’s only a tiny chip…” Chipping a tooth means you have lost valuable tooth structure and potentially compromised the integrity of the tooth. It may be bad enough that you may need a root canal if the chip is close to the pulp containing the nerve. Better to have it checked out sooner than be sorry later! As for repairing a chipped tooth, our dentists can usually fix minor chips with modern bonding techniques using composite tooth-colored filling materials. For larger chips that involve more tooth structure, they may suggest a crown (cap) or a veneer. Composite resins are tooth-coloured. They are a mixture of a plastic-based matrix with inorganic glass filler. The glass filler gives the resin wear resistance and translucency. The ratio of plastic matrix to glass filler in composite resins can vary depending on the circumstance it’s to be used for; biting areas will require more filler for strength, and smile zones- less. We want translucent, pearly teeth, not Tic Tacs! But there are some limitations. The larger the chip, the less effective composite fillings become as a long term solution because the material itself is not as strong as the tooth structure it is replacing. The composite can also stain and dull as it ages. However, it’s a good interim material until a patient can receive a porcelain restoration, which could be a better long-term material selection. But for a child or teenager, composite resins are an ideal material choice because their upper and lower jaws are still developing. The pulp chambers containing the nerves of their teeth... read more

Dr Henry Chan “Master of Science (MSc.) in Oral Implantology”

It is official. Dr Henry Chan has successfully completed his Masters program at Goethe University in Frankfurt. After almost three years flying between Perth and Frankfurt, and about 10 other seminars/tutorials/conventions in between, a Master Thesis and countless formal case studies later, Henry has earned himself the title “Master of Science (MSc.) in Oral Implantology”. If you are interested to see what the Masters program involved, follow this link to the university’s website here. Congratulations Henry, there are not many dentists in Australia with this title, so we are lucky to have him here in Perth! Watch out – he’s going to need a bigger business card to contain all his long titles, lucky he has a short... read more

Facial collapse documented on canvas

Artist: Waldmueller, Ferdinand Georg (1793-1865) Title: Josefine Ernst, (born Stoeger, 1757-1862), 1856 Found during one of Henry’s travels: A painting in the Leopold Museum in Vienna demonstrates the effects of facial collapse. Facial collapse is a condition that occurs when a person has lost their teeth and his or her body starts to absorb the bone that once supported those teeth. It happens over a period of about 10 years as the bone in the jaw shrinks substantially.A person who suffers from facial collapse has a significantly altered appearance and looks much older than he or she actually is. In addition to the physical toll facial collapse takes on a person, it negatively impacts health. How does facial collapse occur? Bones need proper chewing forces to maintain their form and density. The compressive and tensile forces teeth exert on the surrounding bone stimulates the growth and density of the jawbone . When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation to its supporting bone will thus cause a decrease in bone volume and integrity. According to credible research, 25% of bone loss occurs during the first year after tooth loss and continues, sometime to the point of fracture. A tooth is necessary for the development of facial bone, and stimulation of this bone by chewing forces is vital for maintaining its structure. This phenomenon has been ignored in the past and is currently being ignored by traditional dentistry. Dentists most often overlook facial bone loss that occurs after tooth extraction. The general public is often not educated about the anatomic, aesthetic, and functional consequences of continued bone loss. In... read more

Implants deliver a second chance

An unfortunate incident saw all of Alison Diver’s top teeth pulled out by mistake. Stationed in a foreign country, Alison sought to have a root canal treatment for a cracked front tooth, but awoke from sedation with all her healthy teeth removed. In pain, unable to eat and ashamed of her appearance, she endured dentures which were “loose, bulky … uncomfortable”. But in a turn of events, Alison is now smiling again after having implant surgery which restored her health and confidence. Her case was documented by UK TV series Botched up Bodies. To see a recent article on her horror story, read... read more

Well done team

Just posting up a lovely certificate of appreciation for the funds raised during the annual HBF Run for a Reason. Thank you to all who supported the cause, and well done to our runners – Demi, Tess, Angel and Henry who devoted their day off to run for a... read more

The true cost of dental implants

There are so many pros going for dental implants, but most people find it hard to see past the cost. Sure prices do vary, depending on what type of implant is required, size, quality and sometimes even how desperate the dentist is to get you in through their door. There may be offers of “quick fixes”, “cheap” “two for one” (oh dear), plus an assortment of other “free” services. Though what goes into the cost of each implant is covered in our website and our publication, here’s another way to determine if implants are really worth it. Consider an excellent, clinically researched and warrantied German brand of implant. If its placement executed by an experienced dentist costs $5500 (not a quote), is maintained well, and last 30 years (10,956 days), the daily cost of that implant equates to 50 cents a day, or less than a cup of coffee a week. And that’s top-of-the-range stuff. Now that’s an investment. Isn’t it worth 50 cents to be able to eat well, talk properly, look and feel good? (That one cup of coffee you pass up per week is one less cup with which to stain your teeth anyway. Win)... read more

About time! (and botox)

There is now a definite place in the dental practice for both Botox and dermal filler therapy. Dentists are joining other health care practitioners who deliver these services. In fact dentists are the primary health care practitioners who would be best at delivering these procedures to the facial area in patients. Expertise, safety and convenience can be achieved by combining cosmetic dentistry with enhancing surrounding tissues, all in one location, and at one appointment (see, it is about time, really!) People often challenge that these procedures are best left to physicians, though nowadays registered nurses or physicians’ assistants are performing cosmetic treatments, from chemical and laser microdermabrasion, sclerotherapy (treatment of veins), to mesotherapy (injections as a form of fat reduction). Some registered nurses or “injection nurses” also deliver Botox and dermal fillers. Most would not have had the advanced tertiary training in facial anatomy and physiology, or understand pharmacology of the products and adverse affects. But Dentists? Dentists are advanced in their training in the oral and maxillofacial areas (that means the face from chin to forehead) than just about any other healthcare professional that is now allowed to deliver Botox and dermal fillers to patients. The dental operatory is a perfect (and convenient) setting for precise and safe delivery of Botox and fillers, and is equipped to handle complications should any arise. Every dentist that has been trained in Botox and dermal fillers completely understands why they should be performing these procedures. Dental professionals already understand the physiology, skeletal structures, vascular and nervous system of the face, as well as overall facial balance and aesthetics. There are not... read more