Category: General Dental

Are You Anxious About Your Next Visit To The Dentist?

We understand that many patients are anxious about coming to see the dentist.  Some patients are even fearful of dental treatment.  At Central Brisbane Dental, we pay attention to some of the little things to make anxious or fearful patients feel more at ease.

Communication

Many patients are anxious because they fear the unknown.  They don’t know what will happen at their dental appointment and fear it will be uncomfortable or they will feel pain.  We take the time to understand a patient’s concerns and explain everything before we carry it out so there are no surprises.

Distraction

One of the best methods to relieve anxiety and fear is to make the patient think about something else, distract them.  Our dental practice is littered with pop culture references to make it less like a dental practice.  From 3D Star Wars displays on the walls of the waiting room to the collectable movie, TV show and cartoon  figurines on the shelves and windowsills, Central Brisbane Dental looks nothing like your typical dental practice.  We also have a projector in each surgery showing a DVD on the ceiling during treatment.  Reading the subtitles and following the DVD requires concentration and takes your mind off what is happening in your mouth.

Sedation

Some patients are extremely anxious or fearful and require a little something extra.  We can prescribe Valium for these patients to take before their appointment to make them feel more at ease.  The newest form of happy gas, the Penthrox inhaler, is also available.  Penthrox is controlled by the patient who can breathe in more or less of the gas as they need.  There is no worry about consuming too much as you can just breathe back out the excess.  It is commonly used before giving local anaesthetic or for extraction of teeth, particularly wisdom teeth removal.

Why Do I Take A Long Time To Numb Up At The Dentist?

Is your mouth notoriously difficult to get numb?  Does the dentist have to give you double the amount of local anaesthetic to get you fully numb?  Even then, have you thought that you may still be feeling something in your tooth even though your lips and tongue feel numb and fat?

It is not all in your head.  Some patients’ mouths are simply not easy to numb up.  There are 3 main reasons for this:

  1. Complex Anatomy

Some patients have complex anatomy which makes it difficult for local anaesthetic to reach your nerves.  To numb up the teeth in the lower jaw, local anaesthetic must enter a small in the jaw bone next to the inside of your cheek.  If that small hole is particularly obscured by thick muscle, fatty tissue or mucosa, then you may not get much local anaesthetic numbing up your nerves.  If the hole is angled towards the back of the mouth, again not much local anaesthetic may get to the nerves.  There is usually one big nerve trunk, however some patients may have more than one nerve or multiple branches of the one nerve in the area where we are trying to numb.  One nerve or one nerve branch may be numbed, but other nerves or nerves branches may still provide sensation.

  1. Not Enough Anaesthetic

If not enough local anaesthetic can reach the nerves, then you may not have very profound numbness.  If this is the case, then another dose of the same type of local anaesthetic should provide profound numbness.  If you have profound numbness, you should feel numbness in the teeth, gums and surrounding soft tissues such as the cheek, lips and tongue and have little control over these tissues.

  1. Anaesthetic is Too Weak

If an extra dose still doesn’t give you profound numbness, then a different local anaesthetic may used.  Local anaesthetics work differently.  Two different types may provide much better numbness than a double dose of the same one.  Some local anaesthetics are extra heavy duty.  These may be used in difficult to numb cases, but they do take much longer to wear off.

So what actually happens during an appointment for Zoom in-chair teeth whitening?

Exam to Check Suitability

Your dentist will check your teeth and discuss with you an information sheet detailing in-chair teeth whitening.  Your suitability for the procedure and any risks will be discussed.  Some people cannot receive teeth whitening, because they may be allergic to the whitening gel, sensitive to the special whitening light or have teeth that just won’t whiten very well.  Dental restorations such as fillings, veneers and crowns don’t change colour with teeth whitening and may need to be replaced after whitening.  If you have any dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease, you will need these treated first before any teeth whitening.  For best results, professional teeth cleaning to remove any deposits on the teeth is recommended.

Protection of Soft Tissues

Only the teeth should be whitened.  A retractor is placed in the mouth to keep the lips, cheeks and tongue away from the whitening gel.  Barriers are placed over the retractor to shield the skin surrounding the mouth.  A soft barrier is applied over the gums and set to avoid the gums becoming irritated.

Teeth Whitening

High concentration teeth whitening gel is placed over the teeth and activated by the special Zoom light for 15 minutes.  Up to 3 x 15 minute rounds of teeth whitening can be done.  Each round the whitening gel penetrates deeper into the tooth to remove colour and whiten the teeth.  If you get any sensitivity, you can opt to finish the teeth whitening procedure early.

Maintenance

For the first 24 hours, the whitening gel can still be working in your teeth.  For best results, it is best to avoid coloured food and drink for this time.  To maintain your whitening result as long as possible, you will need to brush twice a day, floss at least once a day and have your teeth cleaned at dentist every 6 months.  You may opt to have in-chair teeth whitening done again every couple of years as your teeth slowly colourise again with food and drink.  Some people use take-home whitening gel in custom made trays every 6 months or so to top up their whitening result.

 

How to Clean an Oral Appliance

Baking soda in a jar and spoon with a glass of water

Do you wear a retainer, mouthguard, occlusal splint or denture?  Does it look the worse for wear?  It may be discoloured, covered in a film or have white spots on it.  It may even have a taste and smell bad.  Usually these things are caused by a buildup of the same calculus that forms on your teeth.

It is best to bring your appliance to the dentist to have it checked and cleaned properly.  There are also brand name denture cleaning agents that can be used on all oral appliances but make sure you follow their specific instructions.  There are 2 home remedies you can try but please be careful otherwise you may damage your appliance:

Baking Soda

Baking soda can usually be found in most people’s kitchens as it is used as a leavening agent when baking.  It is a good disinfectant but is not as harsh and toxic like most household cleaners.  It is commonly used as an all purpose cleaning agent at home.  It works well against oral bacteria and neutralising acid which can damage oral appliances.

Mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste.  This paste on a soft toothbrush can be used to scrub the oral appliance.  Make sure you rinse off the appliance thoroughly after you do this as you do not want a lot of baking soda in your mouth after putting it back in place.

Baking soda in a jar and spoon with a glass of water

Baking soda is often used as a non toxic disinfectant, as well as for baking.

 

White Vinegar

White vinegar is very acidic so can remove surface buildup.  It also gently disinfects and can remove foul tastes and smells from the oral appliance.  However, vinegar itself has quite a strong smell so make sure you have a large area of open space where you use it on the appliance.

Mix an amount of white vinegar with the same amount of warm water to dilute it.  Soak your oral appliance in the mixture for 20 minutes.  A soft toothbrush can be used to scrub the appliance and then rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Bottle of white vinegar

Step 1. Plug up your nose, the smell of vinegar is strong. Step 2. Soak your oral appliance for 20 minutes in a white vinegar mixture.

 

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

If you feel a sharp sensation when you have something cold to eat or drink, you may be suffering from tooth sensitivity.  Tooth sensitivity is usually caused by exposing the inner part of the tooth.  Enamel is the outer layer of tooth structure and is very strong.  The next layer in, dentine, is more porous and allows a direct passageway to the nerves of a tooth.  When the nerves of the tooth are irritated, you get a sharp, sensitive sensation.