Care For The Kids

Dentistry is now one step closer to eradicating the dreaded dental needle. With the introduction of Australia’s first needle free injection system, Injex, needle phobics, you needn’t worry any longer.

INJEX is a new needle-free injection system with broad applications including in dentistry and medicine. (It is now used by diabetics as an alternative way to deliver Insulin.) Its use is less painful because the skin is penetrated by an extremely fine jet of medication. This is a tremendous help to patients who are uncomfortable or fear the use of traditional needles.A shorter duration of soft tissue numbness is a positive side effect.


  • NO NEEDLE (the biggest advantage of all!)
  • Tooth is ready to start treatment within a minute, no waiting around
  • Numbness wears off a lot faster than with a needle so you can eat after your appointment earlier!
  • Numbness is only around the particular tooth/teeth requiring treatment, not the whole side of your jaw


  • Pressure and pop from the anesthetic going in, like being ‘flicked’ on your gum
  • As the numbness doesn’t last as long, may need a top up for lengthy procedures
  • Area of anesthetic insertion may be sore for longer than with a needle
  • Not able to be used for all procedures on all teeth

We have been trialling this for several months now and have received very positive feedback. We have now introduced Injex into both of our clinics, be sure to ask for it the next time you need some work done.

Care For The Kids

Adult teeth start coming through at around age 6, these are the lower front ones. Often, when the space is insufficient they can come through rotated. It is not an immediate concern as this can correct itself with time as the jaw grows but it is something that should be looked at if the problem is still there around 8-9 yrs of age. The last baby teeth are lost around 12 years of age and then the wisdom teeth come around 18-25. (this can be extremely variable, the other day I had a patient who was 74 and his wisdom just came through and he suddenly felt a lot smarter too).

Fluoride or not?

A lot of my patients from this area are on tank water. As such you do not get any Fluoride that is contained in the town water. From a dental standpoint, it is important that Fluoride from the water comes into contact with the tooth enamel. If you are not getting this, perhaps you should consider Fluoride drops from the chemist and adding some into the jug of water daily.

Teens and brushing and regular check ups, diet

Teenagers are notorious for brushing poorly. This coupled with their new-found independence, frequent consumption of soft drinks and junk foods leads to damaging results on their teeth. It is very important that teens are regularly brought to the dentist for monitoring of their teeth, to catch decay before it gets irreversibly damaged. Regular bite wing xrays are necessary in order to detect any early changes in the enamel before it is too late. Often when caught early, a cavity can be fixed with a filling rather than needing a root canal treatment.

Fissure seal molars at 6, 12

The first adult molars come through at age 6, the next set at age 12. It is a great idea to seal the fissures in these teeth with a plastic sealant (just like no more gaps in the kitchen) so that bacteria does not penetrate through the enamel and cause decay. It is fast, easy and effective preventive treatment. Ask your dentist about this the next time you are there.


We start to assess children for braces from around 8 years old. If the problem is severe and there would be advantages to starting treatment then this is the case. Otherwise, we often wait until all of the baby teeth are lost before commencing orthodontic treatment.

Better Baby Teeth

How old should the baby be before I bring then to see a dentist?

We recommend the earlier the better. As soon as you notice that your baby has their first tooth, this can vary from 3 to 12 months, then it is wise to bring them in for a ‘ride’ in the chair. Much like how we start the baby in the water when they are young to get them used to it, it’s a great idea to desensitise the baby from a young age, to get them used to the environment even if it is just for a quick check and not for any particular treatment.

My baby sucks their thumb and I can’t get them to stop what to do?

Digit sucking is common and difficult to treat. The rule of thumb (pardon the pun) here is that if the child sucks for at least 6 hours continuously then they can start to move teeth and cause damage. As parents there are many things that you can try, from putting chilli on their fingers, putting a long sock on their arm when they sleep, I have even heard of children having their arm cast in plaster for severe cases.

As dentists, we offer fixed solutions such as braces stuck on the back side of the upper teeth, and other oral appliances that discourage this habit.

If you are concerned at all, please speak to your dentist about it.

My childs tooth is coming out crooked is this a concern?

On average, childrens teeth start to come through at 6 months and finish around 2 years. They should have 20 baby teeth in total. Unlike in adult teeth, where gaps are undesirable, in baby teeth gaps are a good sign. As the adult teeth are wider, it means that there is more room for the other teeth to come through. Commonly, when all the teeth are straight, but there is no gaps, or if there is crowding, then this suggests that there may be a lack of space for the adult teeth. Depending on its severity, the dentist would usually wait until the child is older before commencing any active treatment. If you have a tooth that is coming out behind another tooth, then if you leave it, you will find that with time, it will sort itself out. It is something you should ask your dentist about the next time you are there, but its not an emergency by any means.

Finding a kid-compatible dentist

Keep in mind that not all dentists like or are particularly good at dealing with infant patients. It is important to find a dentist who is, and whom you are comfortable with. It is a particularly difficult part of dentistry due to the variability in co-operation of the child. Some days the child might be very well behaved, other days the same child may not want to sit in the chair at all. It is most important that we are never forceful with the child, that we never use restraint and risk potentially scarring the child for life.

It is far better to refer the child off to a specialist childrens dentist for treatment in these situations.

We see many patients with a dental phobia. And on a majority of occasions, when asked about the reasons for this, the answer is that they were traumatized at the dental surgery as a child. The memory has been carried with them for the rest of their lives. It is a particularly difficult fear to overcome for many people.

Getting Long in the Tooth

First wrinkle. You’re getting old. First grey hair. You’re getting old. Gum `disease kicking in, teeth looking longer. You are NOT necessarily getting old.

The saying “getting long in the tooth” actually comes from horses, because horse teeth continually grow as they get older and you can tell a horses age by their teeth. For humans, we also associate this saying with increasing age. For dentists, we associate this with receding gums. Your teeth then look longer and longer. You start to get gaps in between your teeth, food gets wedged in after each meal, and you find that it actually gets sore when you drink cold water due to sensitivity. Ever experienced any of this? I bet you have.

As gum loss typically begins to occur between the ages of 30-40, many adults in its beginning stages attribute tooth sensitivity and other changes to the aging and forget it. Left unchecked, the gingiva, or gums, can recede greatly to the point of exposing the roots of a tooth. The danger of gum loss is that the gingiva does not grow back once it is gone and treatment for such a condition can require extensive surgery in the long run. Healthy gums are the key to keeping healthy teeth.

It has been found that a number of factors contribute to the problem of receding gums, among them:

  • Gum disease
  • Imbalanced occlusion or bite pattern
  • Heredity
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Major illness and/or medications
  • Either inadequate dental habits or overzealous brushing and flossing

Depending on the cause and the amount of gum loss, treatment for receding gums can be as simple as prescribing an agent for desensitizing teeth with recommendations for a softer toothbrush and gentler brushing techniques.

Recommended techniques for managing or preventing receding gums and long-term damage are as following:

  • Brushing teeth and flossing at least twice a day
  • Using a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Rinsing the mouth regularly
  • Eating balanced and healthy diet
  • Learn to de-stress in healthy ways
  • Ditch the smoking habit or use of any other tobacco products
  • See a dentist every 6 to 12 months

Beat Bad Breath

Hands up if you have ever been around someone with bad breath? Perhaps at work, at the shops, at home? Maybe, even, that person is yourself! I certainly have. If you have never done the “lick test”, to smell what your breath is like then give it a try now. Firstly, put down that cup of coffee you have and get both hands free. Secondly, make sure no one is around, its like getting changed, a lot of people find this embarrassing and disgusting, but hey, its your own breath! Next I want you to lick, by dragging the whole of your tongue up the back of your hand. (If you put your palm facing the floor, then you lick the side where your knuckles are). Yes, that’s right, coat the back of your hand in your own saliva, go on, it’s the only way you can test your breath. Have you done it yet? Once you have done that, then leave it be for 20seconds. Tick, tick tick. 20 seconds later, go back to it and smell it. That is the smell of your own breath. Well, are you still alive? Or do you now want to go and by a gas mask? Or are you now embarrassed now you know what others are putting up with when you talk with them? If you want to beat bad breath, then read on.

The medical term for bad breath is Halitosis, and is an unpleasant odour from your mouth. In most cases, its caused from bacteria in your mouth breaking down organic substrates (food). The main product are whats called VSC’s (volatile sulphur-containing compounds).

Halitosis can be classified into:

  • Genuine halitosis (either oral – from the mouth or non oral – elsewhere in your gut)
  • Pseudo- halitosis (others can not perceive it, but you are adamant it is present)
  • Halitophobia (there is no physical or social evidence suggesting its presence, but you persist that you have bad breath)

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on genuine halitosis.
The available methods leading to lowering of oral malodour level can be divided into:

1. Masking the smell – mouth rinses, breath sprays, mints. This is like putting on perfume, but not having a shower! You must shower first and then put on perfume right?
2. Getting rid of the bacteria by brushing, and flossing, and using a tongue scraper, and getting a professional scale and clean. If the bugs are there and are not removed in the first place then you will NEVER get rid of the smell. Do this FIRST!
3. Using special chemicals in mouth rinses to control the bacteria – short term use of chlorhexidine and hydrogen peroxides have proven to be very effective
4. If after diligent use of the above techniques, it is still a problem, then a diagnosis of non-oral halitosis is made and a referral to a specialist like an otorhinolaryngologist is required.

Now, go your homework is to go and tell all your friends about the “lick test”. (Be sure that they lick their OWN hand, not yours…)

Top Five Ways to Top Teeth and Great Gums

Here are the Top 5 Tips to keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

1. Use a straw when drinking acidic beverages – soft drinks, fruit juice and the like. Have you tried beer through a straw? This ensures that the liquid bypasses your teeth and goes straight down your throat. Never drink, swish it around your mouth before you swallow it. It is not mouthwash!
2. Never wear your dentures at night – this can often lead to denture thrush. An oral fungal infection called denture stomatitis. Your gums need some time to ‘air out’ and breathe just like your feet need to be free from socks and shoes.
3. Never use toothpaste on your denture – this is particularly damaging to the denture acrylic and scrubs it all away. Instead, use normal fragrance free laundry soap. Yes, sunlight soap is the best.
4. Do your gums bleed when brushing? For a lot of people, yes is the answer. If this is the case, it means that you quite likely have gingivitis. You need to not only brush your teeth, but more importantly, brush your gums. Angle your tooth brush into the gum line and jiggle it, feel the bristles massaging your gums. Do this for a week and the bleeding will go away.
. Bad breath? Brush your tongue, a lot of the bugs that cause halitosis (bad breath) lives on the tongue surface. Try it, if you don’t gag first…
Remember to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a check up as prevention is always better than cure!

Yellow Teeth


Dear Jeff,

I have yellow teeth. Many years ago, I used to have teeth that were much whiter. I don’t smoke cigarettes, drink tea or coffee. What can I do about this?

– Jane M. 42, Greenbank.


Dear Jane,

We usually think of staining being caused by foods. However, there can be many other factors that can stain your teeth.

The most common causes of teeth staining are tobacco, tea and coffee. Other causes are:

Red wine
Soy sauce
Dark cola beverages
Dark fruit juice
Age and thinning of enamel
Thinning of the tooth enamel results in more of the underlying dentine (yellow) to show through. This most commonly occurs with age, but can also be caused by consumption of acidic foods that can erode tooth enamel.

Although I am not advocating to discontinue consumption any of the above foods, I am advising that when you do have them, brush your teeth or at the very least, rinse your mouth afterwards and not let the stain stay on your teeth for long periods of time.

How to get rid of stains

If your teeth are mildly discolored, stains can be removed by tooth whitening, polishing or microabrasion. If the stain is severe or deep in the tooth, it can be covered with bonding, a porcelain veneer, or a crown.

It is always best to schedule an appointment with your dental professional for a consultation for a proper diagnosis.

Grey Amalgam Fillings


Dear Jeff,

I am worried about my grey amalgam fillings. I hear that they may cause health problems and am thinking of having them replaced. Is this a good idea?

– Marcia J. 53, Jimboomba


Dental amalgam is the most commonly used material for restorations in the world. The origins of which date back to the 1500’s in China. Today, there are many concerns regarding the use of dental amalgam in teeth. Claims have been made that the mercury in the amalgam impairs renal and liver functions, the immune system, and many other areas of the body.

To date, there is no known statistical difference in the health status of persons with amalgam fillings compared to those with no fillings in their teeth! This has been shown to be the case in numerous controlled studies.

It has been well established that mercury from dental amalgams that has been ingested into the stomach is poorly absorbed through the digestive system and is not an important factor in raising the serum mercury level. The vast majority of elemental mercury that shows up in the bloodstream is from mercury vapor which is absorbed through the lungs. The amount of mercury actually absorbed via both routes is so small that it has no practical toxic effect on the human body.

Studies show that the average daily intake of mercury from ordinary food and water is between 4 and 15 times the amount that is ingested due to the presence of a mouthful of dental amalgam restorations.

This viewpoint has been supported by the Australian Dental Association, the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control amongst others.

I am not against removal of amalgam restorations when they are cracked, broken or for cosmetic purposes. However, to remove these fillings for possible purposes is not substantiated.

Advances in dental technology today means that there are many alternatives to dental amalgams: composite (tooth coloured) fillings, porcelain, and gold are all commonly used instead of silver amalgams.

It is always best to schedule an appointment with your dental professional for a consultation for a proper diagnosis.

Smile Series I

This article is Part one on a series on better smiles and what dentists can do to help you have a nice set of teeth. We will be covering topics such as implants, dentures, Invisalign amongst others.

Part I: Veneers and Crowns

Each day I have patients who come to me wanting to have “nicer looking” teeth. There are many ways dentists can help you achieve this goal. Smile solutions often involve cleaning, whitening, Invisalign/orthodontics, veneers/crowns.

Today we will focus on veneers and crowns. The question I am commonly asked is “What is the difference between a veneer and a crown?” A veneer covers the front part of the tooth, whereas a crown covers the entire tooth. Furthermore, a veneer is a thin custom-made porcelain shell designed to fit discreetly over the teeth, making them indistinguishable from our natural teeth. Veneers may be used for modifying the colour or position of teeth. On the other hand, crowns cover or cap the entire tooth, restoring them to their natural size, shape, and colour. They are needed when there is a need to strengthen teeth that are mechanically weakened (e.g. teeth with large cavities).

Veneers and crowns can improve the appearance of your teeth in the following situations:

  • Discolored teeth due to root canal treatment, stains from medication, excessive fluoride or other causes, or large resin fillings that have resulted in the tooth being discoloured
  • Worn down teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Uneven, misaligned or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth

Often, in as little as two appointments you can achieve your nice smile result.

It is always best to schedule an appointment with your dental professional for a consultation for a proper diagnosis.


Before and After photos of a patient who presented with chipped, worn, stained, discoloured teeth. In two appointments, she left with her perfect smile.

Smile Series II

This article is Part Two on a series on better smiles and what dentists can do to help you have a nice set of teeth. We will be covering topics such as implants, dentures, Invisalign amongst others.

Part II: Straighter teeth with Invisalign

Each day I have patients who come to me wanting to have “nicer looking” teeth. There are many ways dentists can help you achieve this goal. Smile solutions often involve cleaning, whitening, Invisalign/orthodontics, veneers/crowns.

Today we will focus on Invisalign. Most of us would have known or seen somebody who has worn braces to straighten their teeth. Perhaps that person was you. Nowadays, braces are a becoming a thing of the past. Since 2002 Invisalign has treated nearly one million patients. Invisalign is the invisible new way to straighten teeth without braces. It uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires. It combines 21st century technology and revolutionary manufacturing to customise treatment for each patient.

In most cases, Invisalign has proven to be as effective as straightening teeth as traditional braces.

Main benefits of Invisalign include:

Invisalign is nearly invisible – you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.
Invisalign is removable – you can eat and drink what you want in treatment; you can also brush and floss normally
Invisalign is comfortable – there are no metal brackets or wires to cause mouth irritation: no metal or wires also means you spend less time in the dentist’s chair getting adjustments.
It is always best to schedule an appointment with your dental professional for a consultation for a proper diagnosis.


The Invisalign aligner being worn. You can barely see it.