Hygienists: Preventative Dentistry and Children’s Dentistry

Active Maintenance

Withers Dental believes prevention is better than cure. To keep your teeth in great condition we recommend joining our Active Maintenance Program.

This program helps to keep your teeth clean, your breath fresh and your gums healthy. The dental hygienists work together with our dentists to tailor prevention plans and detect any issues in the early stages in order to avoid costly dental treatments.

Issues in the mouth - and especially the gums - can lead to more serious general health concerns. Gums that are red, puffy and bleed when brushing and/or flossing are inflamed. Left unchecked, the inflammation will cause the jaw bone to die and rot. The affected tooth will become painful and loose and will probably have to be removed. Several studies have linked gum disease to systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and pre-term delivery of low birth weight infants.

Children’s Dentistry

Dental decay and gum disease are among the most common and preventable conditions in the world. They can be avoided if children are introduced to good dental practices from an early age. Tailoring treatments to each child’s needs through education, early intervention and preventive measures will build a solid foundation for long-term oral health.

Withers Dental has a team of oral health therapists who provide quality primary dental care for children aged up to 17 years.

Our therapists offer:

  • Examination services including x-rays
  • Preventive care (plaque and calculus removal, application of fluoride)
  • Dietary advice
  • Oral Hygiene advice
  • Restoration of teeth (fillings) and extraction of baby teeth
  • Sports mouth guards

We bulk bill the Child Dental Benefits Scheme.

If your child is aged between 2-17 years, they may be eligible to receive $1000 worth of dental treatment through Medicare's Child Dental Benefit Scheme.  

Find more information here.

 

Tips for preventing dental disease from an early age:

  • Arrange regular dental visits from the time the child is one year of age or when first teeth appear; losing baby teeth too early as a result of decay can cause pain and crooked teeth.
  • Parents should help brush and floss teeth until the child is about nine years old.
  • Brush teeth for two minutes twice a day using (child appropriate) fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily.
  • Encourage the child to drink water instead of soft drink and fruit juice.
  • Provide healthy snacks such as cheese, fresh fruit, yoghurt and vegetable sticks. Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks in the child’s diet.

Gum Disease

As part of your dental exam today your Dentist and Dental Hygienist have assessed your teeth and gums and diagnosed gum disease. When gum disease is left untreated it frequently leads to tooth loss caused by disappearing gum and jaw bone. Gum disease is also known to affect health in other ways if left untreated. For example, gum disease can make it much harder to control diabetes.

Stages of Gum Disease:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the soft, pink gum tissue that sits around the teeth. The gum may appear red, puffy, and can bleed easily when brushing and flossing. It is not usually painful, but other symptoms may include bad breath and spontaneous bleeding. It is reversible.

Periodontitis

Gingivitis can progress to Periodontitis, an infection that attacks the supporting structures around the teeth, i.e. the jaw bone, and the gum and ligaments that hold the teeth in place. It is most often a painless process that often goes unnoticed because it has few obvious signs and symptoms. These are similar to gingivitis symptoms such as bleeding gums, bad taste and bad breath, however it is much more destructive. Some people occasionally notice pus and pain. Once jaw bone is destroyed around teeth it cannot ‘grow back’. Sometimes surgical bone grafting may be possible to replace bone but it is not a guaranteed fix.

What Causes Gum Diseases?

Plaque is the primary cause. Plaque is a sticky film that contains many types of bacteria. It forms on all surfaces of teeth and in the space between the tooth and gum (pocket). Plaque is soft and can be removed with a toothbrush, floss and/or interdental brush. Everyone has plaque, however some people have more types of the ‘bad’ bacteria that are known to cause gum diseases.

If plaque is allowed to accumulate on teeth and gums for long enough it calcifies and then becomes calculus, (or tartar as it is sometimes called). This cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss. It is a hard substance, like coral, that harbours bacteria.

Some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing gum diseases. These include:

  • Oral hygiene habits
  • Genetics, and family history of gum disease and tooth loss
  • Diabetes, heart disease and many other health conditions that suppress the immune system
  • Smoking
  • Old, rough fillings that trap plaque
  • The wearing of partial dentures
  • Gaps that trap food
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy

Why do I need Gum Disease Treatment?

If periodontal disease is not stabilised then teeth may be lost. If active gum disease is allowed to continue it directly increases the chance of developing, or having complications with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections and premature, low birthweight babies to name a few. Recent studies show that the health of your mouth directly impacts the health of your whole body.

Treating Gum Disease accomplishes several things:

  • Reduces gum bleeding and soreness
  • Removes hard bacterial deposits (calculus) and soft plaque from the teeth and gums.
  • Reduces pockets between teeth and gums, making them easier to keep clean.
  • Increases the chance of keeping teeth.
  • Increases overall health and wellbeing. It is proven that people with healthy gums live longer.

Treating Gum disease may take several appointments. Ongoing maintenance is also critical in the longer term for successfully managing gum disease.

A guide to the number and type of appointments you may need is as follows:

  • A periodontal examination involves gathering information on the severity of gum disease. This may include taking x-rays and recording periodontal pocket measurements on a chart.
  • Removal of hard bacterial deposits (tartar/calculus) and plaque – may take up to 4 appointments depending on individual needs.
  • Supportive Periodontal Maintenance may be scheduled at 3 monthly intervals, depending on the healing response for individual patients.
  • Occasionally unresponsive areas or sites that won’t heal properly will be referred to a specialist Periodontist to try and save teeth.

Some patients will require local anaesthetic to help complete their treatment thoroughly whilst ensuring optimal comfort.

A home care routine will be tailored to individual needs. Different cleaning aids including toothbrush type, floss aids, oral irrigators, interdental brushes, rinses, toothpastes etc. may be recommended to help reduce plaque and calculus build up.