FAQs Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, TLC dentists, Richmond NSW and Waverton Dental-TLC dENTISTS Richmond & Waverton
Disclaimer: this FAQ section provides brief general advice only and quite often, we expect to have to give completely different advice to different patients, so please use these as a general guideline only.
Q: What tooth brush should I use?
A toothbrush with soft bristles. Ensure every surface (5 surfaces) of every tooth (28 teeth) is cleaned with a toothbrush or floss (for the gaps).
Q: I can’t floss, what should I do?
Flossing is very important but if you cant floss then try proxibrushes or pikster brushes, in combination with fluoride mouthwash.
Q: How do I whiten my teeth ?
If the darkness is due to food stains then a professional dental scale and clean is usually enough to whiten them. If the darkness is coming from inside the tooth then a home whitening or in-clinic whitening procedure may be suitable. Tooth decay is dark and does not whiten, which is why we recommend a thorough dental check up before any whitening. If you try to whiten tooth decay then it will worsen and you may end up breaking your tooth or needing root canal treatment to fix it.
Q: Should I use an electric toothbrush?
If you are cleaning well with a normal manual toothbrush then stay with it. If you consistently miss areas of plaque or have poor manual dexterity then an electric toothbrush is good for you.
Q: Why are dental check-ups timed for every 6 months?
Preventive or conservative treatment is best as no artificial replacement is as good as real teeth and gums. 6 monthly check-ups mean that we can catch problems early, while they are small problems. For example, decay grows at about half a millimeter every 6 months. If we can catch a decay while it is still just a structural weakness instead of a hole, we can treat it conservatively with, fluoride, calcium or a sealant rather than a filling. For some patients, regular check-ups are phased at 3, 6, 9 or 12 month intervals depending on their need.
Q: What are crowns made of?
On back teeth, at TLC we like to use the very long lasting robotised computer designed furnace hardened crowns that act like a helmet on the weakened tooth. On front teeth we like to use ceramic crowns which have the closest colour and appearance to real teeth, and prefer to design them to look as natural as possible.
Q: Why are dentists so expensive?
It is important to think of it as value. Dentistry is the repair or maintenance of your teeth which have to last you a lifetime. The materials, the regulations, the sterilizing, the very high standards in Australia—all make it expensive, but as long as it is good dental treatment that fulfils your needs and lasts a long time or reduces pain—then it is good value. For the price of a long weekend holiday, you could have a filling that lasts for 5 to 10 years or more, and you would be using this tooth many times every day.
Q: I hate my teeth—can you take them all out?
Yes but the alternative—false teeth– is a much worse option. There is still nothing as good as natural healthy teeth.
Q: Why are my teeth so bad? I always brush them.
Brushing is just one part of keeping teeth healthy. Tooth decay is caused by 3 factors combined: germs, sugar and time. Get rid of germs by brushing, flossing and mouthwashing, Get rid of sugar in your diet by not having sweet food or acidic food that weaken the tooth. Get rid of both these things as quickly as possible within minutes, and your teeth will not weaken as much as if you leave them on your teeth for hours. If you can control any of these 3 factors completely, then you are unlikely to get tooth decay.
Q: My tooth has a hole but its not sore—why should I do a filling?
A hole means that germs are getting in and causing a problem even though you don't feel it. The deeper the germs eat in to the tooth (decay), the more you will feel it, and the more complicated the procedure to save the tooth. It may even get to the stage where the tooth needs complicated root canal to save it or if unsaveable - may need extraction.
Q: Do different dentists do things differently?
Very differently, each dentist has their own treatment philosophy. Some will fill a tooth with a dark spot, others will whiten it, others will just keep an eye on it in case it becomes decay. At TLC dentists, each dentist has their own favourite techniques, but we all share the same philosophy of providing Reliability, Comfort and Value.
Q: Why do you ask me questions when you have both hands in my mouth during dental treatment and i can only mumble ?
Don’t worry, I still understand you after years of listening to mumbles.
Q: Can I get braces?
OK. (We had better check your teeth to see why you need braces first though).
Q: What are some ways to decrease the cost of good dentistry?
At TLC we understand that all dentistry is a cost, and especially good, reliable dentistry. Several strategies are available: firstly, preventive dentistry is always less costly and less painful than emergency dentistry. Second, overall planning and preplanning can minimise cost, for example, if possible, having 2 fillings in one appointment rather in separate appointments can be less expensive. Thirdly, make sure that the dental treatment is suitable, solves the problem and lasts a long time, such as what we aim to do at TLC.
Q: I have friend who have gone overseas and gotten really cheap good dentistry - what do you suggest ?
Australian standards are some of the highest in the world for dentistry and healthcare. Singapore and Japan also has some of the best dentistry in the region albeit with different treatment ideas. In Australia, we tend to take the high standards for granted. In some countries, you cannot even drink tapwater because it is such a low hygiene standard. Many complex dental treatments take time and cannot be rushed in a 7 day medical holiday. For example, a dental implant should really be healed properly in to the bone before any load is placed on it in the form of a tooth. At TLC this may take 3 to 6 months of regular assessment of the healing before we are satisfied enough to finish the reconstruction. If not, failure rates are very high, and in some cases no subsequent repair of the area can be made.