South Street Dental Centre Blog

Interesting facts and news from the world of modern dentistry.

Can teeth be too white? Not if you’re an actor!

These days, people in the media are expected to have brilliant white teeth. Unfortunately it makes some viewers strive for unnaturally white teeth. While it is desirable to have your pearly whites, well, white – overdoing it can result in teeth sensitivity, gum irritation, and an increased porosity of the enamel. Having teeth bleached by a professional and over a longer period of time is the safest and more permanent way to whiter (and healthier!) teeth. On to something lighter (no pun intended!), here’s a humorous article about anachronisms of the dental kind. Read here.   Photo by Vox... read more

Wine can erode teeth

Think a wine taster has the best job? Research now shows that wine can soften teeth enamel almost immediately after a drink. Research from the University of Adelaide suggests wine lovers take preventative measures against erosion. According to an article published in the latest edition of the Australian Dental Journal, demineralisation occurs as early as 10 minutes after enamel has been exposed to the organic acids of the beverage. Previous research only found a softening effect in teeth exposed to wine after 1 hour. This places wine-tasters especially at increased risk of tooth wear, the researchers said. Professional tasters usually test up to 150 wines per day, and wine judges even more. With wine-tasting, the beverage is retained in the mouth for up to 60 seconds before it is spat out. The research simulated the conditions of the process by exposing extracted teeth repeatedly to white wine and artificial saliva. At 1 and 10 minutes, a nano-scratch test was conducted and the result was an increasing scratch depth (softening of the enamel). Surface roughness of the enamel also increased by almost 200 per cent. With pH values of 3 and 4, the acidity of wine is comparable to most soft drinks due to their high concentration of organic acids. The researchers recommend preventative measures for wine lover drinkers including chewing gum and rinsing with water immediately after drinking. The application of remineralisation agents, such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride in special toothpastes are also encouraged. Of course if you drink red wine, there is the added risk of staining and premature yellowing of teeth. All the more important to... read more

“Nightmare Dentist”

Horror Dental stories are a thing of the past. We make sure of it here. However there’s a recent article of some poor kids receiving shoddy and painful “treatment” from a pediatric dentist in Florida. It’s all because if their “Medicaid” (similar to our Medicare) system that pays dentists per procedure – 4 teeth extracted instead of 1 equals 4 x more pay, they bill per item number per tooth so this particular dentist is now in trouble for being greedy. Read the following from kidspot “Nightmare” dentist pulled kids’ teeth out for no reason. And hug your kids tighter… (or tell them you’ll move to Florida if they don’t brush their teeth). Photo by Samuel M.... read more

Ice use destroys teeth

A recent article in the Sunday Times report crystal methamphetamine users can destroy their dentition in as little as a year. Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “Ice” come in powder form, pills, crystal meth and a paste called base. As it could be smoked rather than injected, it has greater appeal amongst younger users. Frequency of daily and weekly use rose from 9.3 to 15.5 percent from 2010-2013 according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Side effects of Ice use include dry mouth and oral hyperactivity resulting in excessive grinding and clenching. The ADA is reporting a growing number if 20-30 year old Australians are having all their teeth extracted due to the “severe destruction” of methamphetamine. If you require more information on the effects of amphetamines or want to know how to help a loved one the following links may be useful. Photo by kevin... read more

Tooth decay index

As we all know, sugar has always been a major culprit in causing tooth decay. Here’s a great chart to better demonstrate the effect of certain foods on our teeth. Source:... read more

Pregnancy and tooth loss

You’ve probably heard that for every child she has, a mother loses a tooth.   The fact is, although losing a tooth for every pregnancy has long been considered an old wives’ tale, there may actually be some truth to the legend of the lost tooth.   Long seen as a myth, a recent study has shown that a correlation does exist between tooth loss and pregnancy. The study suggests that the more children you have, the more teeth you would lose.   Although further research is needed to determine how pregnancy directly affects tooth loss, the following are contributing factors: Pregnancy Gingivitis – Pregnant women are highly susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis due to the change in hormones. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease that can result in tooth loss when left untreated. Frequent occurrences of pregnancy gingivitis due to multiple pregnancies may increase your chances of developing gum disease. Poor Oral Care – Mothers often have less time for themselves, and as more children enter the picture, personal time dwindles. Unfortunately, busy moms may not take the time needed to focus on their oral hygiene and eating habits, which can greatly affect their dental health. Acid reflux and vomiting – Oh the joys of nausea and acid burps. Frequent vomiting and reflux can corrode teeth and break down the integrity of the gums. Changes to diet, medications and lots of rinsing with water will make a difference. Avoiding the Dentist – One pregnancy fable can get your teeth into major trouble. You may have heard you should avoid dental treatment during your pregnancy, but that’s not recommended! Sometime... read more

Should I request for a particular brand of dental implants?

Yes – reputable brands, that are backed up with research and product warranties. There are over 2000 dental implant manufacturers today, but only a few have the research and statistics to back their product. All of these companies comply with the basic manufacturing rules in order to get the license to be sold. The following mentioned brands are amongst a few that have proven themselves in countless, documented trials. Nobel Biocare + Branemark. Of course, Professor Branemark is the “father” of modern dental implants. Nobel Biocare has since acquired the Branemark company, and still includes the Branemark concept in its range. AstraTech – The first company with a documented research record. Originally branching from a pharmaceutical company, AstraTech documented everything the same way, just as if it were pharmaceuticals. (No other dental implant manufacturer did this at first!) AstraTech has the longest research record of any company. Ankylos is one of the most well-researched system with a very high reputation. Straumann / ITI is a system from Switzerland. ITI stands for International Team for Implantology. This is a group of top dentists who banded together to agree on set standards for dental implants. This group is still active, and has a very close association with Straumann. However Because you are unique, the implant ecosystem is much more complex than the simple question of best brand: How can I be sure that implants are needed? What’s the basis for your diagnosis? How much experience with implantology have you had? Do  I have enough jawbone? What kind of life can I expect for the types of implants recommended for me? Do... read more

The Dental Eye

No, it’s not like the “evil-eye”, or some disease, or a Ferris wheel. The Yashica Dental Eye was camera developed for medical and dental photography on 35mm film (remember those?) It basically only has one setting, and a macro lens built within a ring flash. How neat. Though now with the digital revolution we now lug around a huge Canon DSLR with a mounted ring flash instead for all our dental photography. The term “dental eye” came about when this camera with its ring flash, was used on portraits – giving the trademark “ring” reflected in the subject’s eyes. See and read more on the camera... read more

CEREC technology makes instant crown for a lioness

Ever wanted a new tooth, but don’t want to wait weeks to return to the dentist’s chair? Well neither did Naomi, a 12 year old lioness in Ree Park Safari, Denmark. She had a problematic canine which required a root canal and a crown. CEREC technology allowed this procedure to be done in minimal time, and in one single procedure. (Come on, which lion really wants to go back for that second appointment?) Importantly, it saved her from having a second round of anaesthesia – had it have been a conventional two-visit restoration. Our patients too, can benefit from this technology here and now. Instead of waiting for 1-3 weeks for a new tooth to be created by the dental lab, patients can have their new tooth in one visit, one procedure. CEREC is “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics”, or “CEramic REConstruction”, using CAD/CAM (computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing) technology. For those who don’t like injections, CEREC technology is ideal. Patients can have the procedure carried out in one session so there is only the need to have one set of injections, if at all. And hands up to those who like impression material? The gaggy expanding-foam-no-more-gaps type substance which comes in an oversized horseshoe-like tray. Be gone! 3-D scanners, like our dentists, are good-looking, slim, quick, precise and very safe. CEREC technology also takes the control of the tooth creation away from the lab, who never sees the patient, and enables the dentist to create the tooth making any minor adjustments without having to send the tooth back and forth to the lab. The 3D... read more

10 Weird facts about teeth

Just a fun post this week! Did you know people used to think tooth “worms” were the cause of root pain? Ever heard of “Mountain Dew Mouth”? Teeth “bling” was so yesterday! (2,500 years ago in fact). Follow the link here for an interesting... read more

Wisdom teeth – to keep or not to keep?

Historically, wisdom teeth removal was deemed a rite for passage of teenagers. Because they emerge after the jaw and other teeth have stopped growing, around ages 17-25, wisdom teeth often end up misaligned and impacted. Is it better to be safe (by removing them early) than sorry? There are some good reasons for early surgical intervention. The ease of removal is optimal before the wisdom teeth roots have fully formed, before they extend closer to the nerves. In the younger patient, the jawbone is softer, and recovery is quicker. (Most private health funds will cover wisdom teeth extraction surgery fee for patients below 18 and still under their parent’s policy.) If removal of otherwise trouble-free wisdom teeth is not justified, then these young patients are exposed to the risks of anaesthesia and surgery. Patients, their parents and dentist should discuss whether to keep symptom-free wisdom teeth until (and only if) issues develop. However, statistics show that 60% of these symptom-free wisdom teeth end up developing gum disease or cavities due to their position in the mouth. Surgery to remove wisdom teeth after disease has taken hold may add complications to recovery. In addition, fully developed wisdom teeth, after the age of 25, have large roots that are notoriously close to the nerves of the jaw. However, most dentists now agree that wisdom teeth that are completely erupted and functional, painless, cavity-free, in a hygienic environment with healthy gum tissue should be OK to keep – on the condition that it is monitored by regular exams and X-rays. Still, those healthy teeth pose a dilemma, because there’s no hard evidence... read more

Stem cells in wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, they don’t do much – do they? In some people, wisdom teeth are great at growing sideways, well known for sitting on nerves, and usually have a buddy called Abscess. Though most of us would like or need them out at some stage, there is something special about them. The dental pulp of wisdom teeth contain stem cells which researchers claim can be used to make neural, bone and other cells. University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences are demonstrating that stem cells from the dental pulp of wisdom teeth can be ‘coaxed’ to become cells of the eye’s cornea and could one day be used to repair corneal scarring due to infection or injury. Read an article on the research... read more

3D scanned and milled crowns

We have a CEREC machine. What exactly does CEREC stand for? Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEramic REConstruction. It is essentially a 3D scanner and milling machine which allows a final crown to be made within the day, or hour! CEREC uses CAD-CAM technology. What does CAD-CAM stand for? Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing, technology developed by W. Mörmann and M. Brandestini at the University of Zurich in 1980. That gagging caused by impression material no longer needs to be endured when CAD-CAM is  used. The digital mapping technology of CEREC charts the inside of the patient’s mouth completely accurately and down to the last detail ensures that there is no issues, unlike the conventional and comparatively less accurate dental impression. This technology reduces the amount of follow-up work and time-intensive occlusion adjustment that was often necessary in the past. Not to mention there is no longer a need for temporary crowns when the final product is being milled onsite! Of course, as with everything, some cases may be the exception to the rule. A bridge with many units, for example, will be better made in an external laboratory (Australian of course!). Some case studies from the CEREC website may be found here. You want a crown to be milled into a shape of a teddybear? It can be done! (But we won’t do... read more

Ancient false teeth

Think dental implants are only a recent development? Archeological findings prove otherwise. Humans have being replacing teeth with root-form implants for thousands of years. Pegs of metal “teeth” have been found in the jawbone of 2000 year old remains from ancient Egypt. Other materials people in the ancient times have employed include seashells, bamboo, ivory and even teeth transplanted from other humans. Imagine what the patient had to endure to replace a lost tooth! Though some were “functional”, with reports of plaque buildup, one cannot imagine the number of failures! May last year saw the discovery of ancient false teeth in a woman of the Iron Age, some 2800 years ago! Read the article here. Fortunately the “modern” dental implant has had many years of research since its conception in the 1950s and with techniques better than ever, we can be thankful for less complications and higher success rates. Oh and bamboo, ivory, and shells are no longer used.... read more

Sedation should be taken seriously

Anxious about dental procedures? More anxious about how sedation will work (or not) for you? The most minimally invasive techniques are inhalation sedation and oral sedation. Inhaled (nitrus oxide plus oxygen) – also known as “laughing gas” act as a mild relaxant with only a  short effect. Oral sedation involves pills which cause drowsiness, and depending on dosage, may allow the patient to fall asleep during the procedure and awaken over time or by a gentle shake. In IV (sometimes referred to as “twilight”) sedation the sedative drug is administered through a vein and must be continually monitored and adjusted. There are IV sedation courses offered to dentists who prefer to administer IV sedation to their patients. General anaesthesia renders a patient totally unconscious and should only be administered in a hospital setting and carries the highest risk. As such, the patient’s vital signs has to be monitored carefully and reversal medications must be on hand. Only specialist doctors with appropriate anaesthesia training and certification can administer this form of sedation. So how safe are sedation techniques in dentistry? There is always a risk in getting anesthesia. It is usually safe, though, when given by experienced doctors. Our dentists never perform IV sedation, as we employ a fully qualified anaesthesiologist who will be 100 per cent monitoring the level of sedation and monitoring vital signs. More importantly, an anaesthesiologist is trained and experienced in revival techniques. (The time you really need an anaesthesiologist is not when they are putting you to sleep, but rather, when they are waking you up!). Having an anaesthesiologist monitoring the patient means our dentists... read more

Dermal filler and the dentist

There is one huge advantage dentists have in delivering botox and dermal fillers over most healthcare professionals. Many physicians and nurses use topical anaesthetics and ice on the skin to numb the treatment area. Some may learn how to give dental anaesthesia but very few are proficient at it. Dentists are the best professionals to deliver these applications is that they are the notoriously the best injectors around. Dentists inject anaesthetic for a living and they know how to make these injections as comfortably and quickly as possible. Dermal fillers are used to plump-up creases and folds in the face in areas that have lost fat and collagen. After age 30, we all lose approximately 1% of hyaluronic acid from our bodies. Hyaluronic acid is the natural filler substance in your body. The skin of the face will start to lose volume and appears aged with deeper nasolabial folds (“marionette” lines), a deeper mentalis fold, and corners of the lips will turn down. Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm are then injected under the skin into the troughs of these folds to replace the volume lost which creates a younger look in the face. Dermal fillers in dentistry is often used for high lip line cases, asymmetrical lips around the mouth and lip augmentation. Dentists trained in dermal fillers complete cosmetic dentistry cases by creating a beautiful frame around the teeth. You deserve to be confident with your whole smile! The effect of dermal fillers typically last from 6 to 12 months, depending on the material used and the treated area. Repeats at that time will be... read more

Choose Australian dental laboratories

We are proud of our high standards, and the way we strive to maintain quality is by choosing to have all our dental prosthesis made here in Australia. By keeping all our lab-work (your teeth) in our shores we are not only assured a great product, but a great future. All our prostheses are manufactured in Australia by local and interstate laboratories operating under strict standards from authorities like the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration.) We do not use so-called “Australian” dental labs that actually subcontract the work overseas to countries with less stringent quality control in a bid to cut costs. Unfortunately some dental clinics do, and still not necessarily pass on those cost savings to the patient! Australian-registered dental laboratories operate under tight regulations that serve to maintain a high standard of safety, infection control, fair working practices, qualified technicians and quality materials. These standards protect you from unscrupulous practices and substandard products that could negatively impact your health. More information about regulations and standards can be found here. Cheaper dental imports from unregulated manufacturers cannot provide any of these guarantees. If this is a product you want in your mouth for a very long time, it’s well worth the effort and cost to make sure it is done in an accredited laboratory. Choose Australian-made, we... read more

We have moved!

A new year and a new surgery! If you haven’t already noticed, we have relocated from 3/386 South St to 2/50 Ladner St – literally around the corner. We apologise for any inconvenience caused over the past week during our move into our new facility. We’ve had an uneventful (though hectic) transition and a successful soft opening week. However there are still small things like crossing the “t”s and dotting the “i”s (we want this perfect) so we regret any disruptions that may occur over this next week. We employed the talents of Michael Wilson, from Plan Design Build, to take the atmosphere of our clinic to the next level. No run-of-the-mill dental mold design! Clean, serious, no frills. And serious we are, decking out with a top of the range dental chair for comfort and precision, 3D-imaging, CEREC instant crown milling machine, intra-oral cameras, IV sedation facilities and a recovery area. Should you be waiting longer than expected we have magazines, free wifi and chilled filtered water on tap. Drop by to say “hi”, and don’t forget your next appointment will be at this brand new purpose built facility.... read more