FAQs On this page you can find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions we have been asked at Smile Pros Dental. What is a prosthodontist? The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency defines prosthodontics as: “The branch of dentistry that deals with the restoration and maintenance of oral health, function and appearance by coronal alteration or reconstruction of the natural teeth, or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with substitutes.” A prosthodontist is a specialist in this field. They are more skilled and qualified to perform prosthodontic treatments than a general dentist. To become a registered specialist prosthodontist, at least three years of full-time post-graduate education is required at an accredited university and teaching hospital. This involves scientifically based training in the dynamics of a smile and how to effectively preserve a healthy mouth. This education and training is in addition to two years general practice experience after graduating as a general dentist. Read more: What level of training should you feel comfortable with before committing to treatment? Should I whiten my teeth if they’re looking a bit yellow? Teeth whitening is a personal choice, if you’re not pleased with the colouring in your teeth, then you can consider whitening them. Over time you may have experienced the protective top layer of your teeth becoming thinner and thinner and revealing the less white dentin layer. Teeth whitening helps reverse that process and gives you a healthier glow. Do certain foods make my teeth yellow? Yes definitely, certain foods we really love like soda, candy and bread are very unkind to our teeth. Some foods also contain acids that are very harsh on the enamel of our teeth. Even though you can’t avoid all such foods, you can have them at a smaller scale and take better care of your teeth. Other foods which contain harmful acids are citric fruits, coffee and alcohol. If I whiten my teeth, how long will the treatment last for? Depending on your lifestyle, food consumption, and oral routine your treatment should at least last you a whole year, it would be best to come in for regular check-ups with your dentist. Once you’ve had your treatment, we should be able to advise regarding when to book your next appointment. I am told that ten veneers would make an ideal smile for me is that true? Applying ten veneers may result in severe long-term consequences to your oral health and can also mean expensive treatment is required as a patient ages. Many patients are only interested in the ‘here and now’ of cosmetic dental procedures and may not understand the long-term consequences that are associated with these treatments. However, porcelain veneers in selected cases, with minimal subtraction of enamel can be an excellent treatment. Read more: Does Your Cosmetic Dentist Have “Veneerial Disease”? What is a suction denture? Ultra Suction Dentures use a valve system to create suction against the gums, keeping the dentures in place. Two tiny Ultra Suction valves are inserted into the denture, one each side. Read more: What is a suction denture and do they help? I have been told the all on four is minimally invasive and revolutionary is this so? Specialist prosthodontist, Dr Darryl Beresford has created 4 videos answering these questions: Is an All on Four revolutionary? Maintenance and complications, some things you need to know about Implant-Supported Dentures When not to do an All on Four Other options, mini implants and conventional over dentures Find them here: All on 4 video series I am told I have TMD and my dentist has suggested changing the bite, will this help? Dr Darryl Beresford has written a blog article explaining the approach promoted by the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) which believes that TMD has a primary physical/functional basis, and that neuromuscular dentistry and providing a therapeutic dental “bite” (occlusion) provides a scientific treatment with the joints, muscles and teeth in harmony. Read more: Neuromuscular dentistry and the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) What is the best way to whiten teeth? The best way to whiten your teeth depends on what has caused your teeth to discolour. If your teeth are discoloured for cosmetic reasons, and are in good health, Zoom! Teeth Whitening and dental veneers are an ideal solution for whitening teeth. Zoom! Teeth Whitening can be performed in the dental practice or in the comfort of your own home. Dental veneers provide two options. Porcelain and composite. Both can be excellent choices for improving the appearance of your teeth. Your Smile Pro professional can discuss your options with you. Why should I replace a missing tooth? Replacing a missing tooth has health benefits. Especially if you have the tooth replaced with implant dentistry. Unlike other forms of tooth replacement, implant dentistry replaces the whole tooth. The benefit of which is it takes care of your jaw, gums and surrounding teeth. By replacing a missing tooth, you prevent jawbone deterioration as well as teeth on either side of the gap shifting. How often should I come in for a dental check up? Ideally, you should visit your dentist every 6 months for a check-up and clean. This is great way of maintaining optimal oral health. It can also help to ensure any little issues are resolved before they become serious problems. Read more: The Future of Dental Hygiene is at The Smile Pros Dental! Why should I have root canal therapy? Root canal therapy alleviates pain caused by infection and decay. This procedure also helps to stop the spread of infection which can lead to further tooth loss. Another advantage of this treatment is that it saves the tooth from extraction, which also has health benefits for your whole mouth. Read more: Myths about root canals When should I bring my child into the dentist? We recommend bringing your child to the dentist when their first tooth erupts. At this time we can help you child get used to visiting the dentist in a positive way. Will teeth whitening cause tooth sensitivity? When undergoing a teeth whitening procedure, tooth sensitivity is a fairly common side effect experienced by patients, especially early on in the treatment when going through the bleaching process. However, the sensitivity that occurs is usually temporary and will leave once the teeth whitening process has been completed. Ingredients such as potassium nitrate and fluoride found in the products are used as desensitisers and they help to reduce tooth sensitivity as well as prevent discomfort. If your teeth are extremely sensitive and the sensation persists then we recommend that you meet with us so that we can advise you on what measures to take. What does teeth whitening treatment involve? Professional teeth whitening treatment is sometimes known as bleaching and both of these terms can be somewhat misleading. Now while we say teeth whitening what we really mean is stain removal. Teeth whitening actually refers to the removal of the stains on and in your tooth that reveals their natural brightness. Not everyone is a suitable candidate for teeth whitening treatments and this will be discussed with you during your first consultation. The active ingredient in teeth whitening treatments is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These active ingredients start a kind of chain reaction where oxygen is released into the enamel of your teeth and breaking down the molecules of the stains themselves. What can I do to maintain my brighter smile? There are a number of fairly simple ways that you can keep your teeth looking bright and healthy between teeth whitening treatments. Most of them don’t even require anything else except a dedication to your own good oral hygiene. Of course, one of the most straightforward examples of this is to try and avoid the foods and drinks that was likely responsible for staining your teeth in the first place. Anything from wine, coffee and chocolate to cigarettes can dramatically change the colour of your teeth. Brushing twice a day or after meals and flossing at least once a day are also inexpensive ways to ensure that your smile lasts. We also recommend that you touch up your teeth with a new whitening treatment about every six months or so. What causes the discolouration of my teeth? There are many factors that may cause the discolouration of your teeth. The most common are red wine, other kinds of food and drink, certain medications and illnesses as well as smoking. Another factor is ageing since your teeth get darker as you age. Certain kinds of trauma to the teeth may also cause them to become discoloured. And so if you would like to whiten your teeth and enhance your smile you should take preventative methods to stop them from darkening and meet with your dentist who can advise you on what you need to do to achieve your ideal results. What are the side effects of teeth whitening? The most common side effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. Your teeth will most likely become sensitive to beverages that are either hot or cold. You do not need to worry though since the side effects generally last for between 24-48 hours and so are not lasting. If you are feeling sensitivity in your teeth after the whitening process we recommend that you try to use a toothpaste that acts as a desensitiser to these effects. Sensodyne is a popular over the counter toothpaste that many patients choose to use. Does bleaching also work on fillings and crowns? Bleaching and teeth whitening does not work on fillings and crowns because they are not made out of the same components as your teeth. We recommend that you get advice from your dentist on how best to accommodate your crowns and fillings, in some cases, they may need to be replaced. If teeth whitening is not a viable option due to your fillings or crowns then veneers, in conjunction with both your crowns and fillings, are often a more appropriate course of action for patients. However, these decisions can only be made with the help of your dentist or oral hygienist. Are there any risks associated with teeth whitening? The primary risks associated with teeth whitening are the possible side effects that can happen after the procedure. The two most common side effects are tenderness in your gums and sensitivity in your teeth. Tooth sensitivity usually occurs immediately after the treatment whereas the mouth and gum tenderness is commonly caused by the bleaching agent used for your procedure or an ill-fitted mouth tray. These symptoms are temporary since they usually last between 1 to 4 days after having your treatment done. However, should these symptoms persist or worsen then you should consult with your dentist immediately. How often does the teeth whitening need to be touched up? It is important to remember that going in for teeth whitening is not a permanent solution to having a brighter and whiter smile, so it will need to be regularly touched up. If you consume foods and beverages like beetroot, coffee, wine and sodas, then you may notice the results from your treatment beginning to fade in under a month and so you should avoid them as much as possible. Your teeth whitening results may last for up to a year; however, we recommend that you get a touch up every 4 to 6 months in order to fully maintain your brighter smile. Do teeth whiteners damage existing dental restorations? Teeth whitening agents have been used for many years, with most of them containing a percentage of carbide peroxide. These products have not shown any indication of damaging fillings or any other dental restorations. Although it is important to remember that any pre-existing tooth-coloured dental work you may have, such as fillings, crowns and veneers are not made up of enamel and so do not lighten like your natural teeth will during the treatment. It is common for people who want to have their teeth whitened to get their existing dental restorations replaced so that they match the new shade of their teeth.