Dental Fissure Sealants

Dental fissure sealants (also known as fissure sealants) are defined as a preventative dental treatment, where a clear material is flowed in the pits and fissures (grooves) or chewing surfaces of permanent molar & premolar teeth at the back of the mouth.

Why do we recommend them?

Most adult molars (mainly the 6 year old and 12 year old molars) erupt with very deep grooves in the chewing surfaces. The grooves (called pits & fissures) are able to trap and harbour bacteria easily. It is very difficult to clean these areas when we brush our teeth. Most fissure sealant materials are fluoride releasing as well, which adds even more protection for the tooth surface.

Are the invasive? Do they hurt?

Fissure sealants are a very conservative minimally invasive treatment. We do not drill away any tooth. We do not need to give local anaesthetic. We use a special etch to wash the teeth and grooves and then flow a clear resin varnish over the grooves to protect them from bacteria and furthermore decay. This resin material is set hard with our high intensity blue light and the patient is able to eat on them and carry on as normal straight away.

When should they be done?

Fissure sealants are best done when the tooth is newly erupted (usually when children are age 6 & 7 and then again at age 12 & 13) when we know that there is little bacteria in the grooves already. Doing them at a later stage after the tooth has erupted for some time is unfavourable. we can risk trapping bacteria in the grooves under the seal and this can cause decay to form.

Gaps, Worn or Chipped Teeth

This patient presented with large gaps and worn down and chipped teeth. We placed 6 composite resin veneers and the patient was elated at what we had acheived for an affordable cost <$3000 ! Less than half of what porcelain veneers would cost. This was also able to be done in 1 visit ! Any chips or repairs needed in the future are quick and easy.

INSERT BEFORE AFTER IMAGES

Get the right dental advice first!

There are many things to consider before having cosmetic dentistry done. Some procedures, such as veneers and crowns are irreversible and may be required to be done more than once in a patients’ life time. So make sure you get as much information on your options as possible. Do the research and ask all the right questions in order to choose the most comprehensive treatment plan for your teeth.

Certain factors such as oral hygiene habits, diet, smoking and age can cause staining and/or exposure of margin areas of crowns and veneers due to gum recession. Case selection by the dentist is very important, because unsuitable patients can usually expect an unfavorable cosmetic and functional outcomes. The most successful outcome for suitable patients is heavily dependent on both the technique and precision used by the dentist and laboratory technician. Its all in the planning! We take plaster models and intra and extra oral photos of your teeth and mouth so we can plan together and with our dental lab the best way forward.

What is Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease, is inflammation and infection of the gums caused by plaque. Plaque is a thick, sticky build up of bacteria on the teeth or fillings. If left on the tooth surface, plaque hardens to form calculus (tartar). It causes teeth to be uhealthy generally, undermines the stability and straightness of your teeth and leads to an overall poor smile.

Poor oral hygiene allows the plaque and tartar to build up causing irritation to the gums, which if left untreated can lead to bone loss and even tooth loss. Excellent brushing and flossing combined with routine checkups, x-rays and cleans by your dentist or periodontist is the only way to slow down or prevent the disease. A dentist or periodontist will use a periodontal probe to measure “gum pockets”. A healthy gum pocket is 2-3mm.

Early Stages: Gingivitis
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Bleeding when brushing and flossing is usually a sign of gingivitis and at this stage is easily treated with regular scale & cleans and thorough but gentle cleaning.

Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. Treatment of periodontitis requires deep scaling and root planing of the teeth below the gum to remove all of the hard build up of tartar and smooth over any rough edges on old fillings or crowns to make cleaning at home easier. Continued routine scaling and cleaning is then required at least on a 6 monthly basis.

Greater Risk Patients
Smokers and immuno-suppressed patients can be at a greater risk of developing gum disease due to the decreased ability to fight the oral bacteria that causes this disease. Furthermore, some studies have shown a definite link between periodontal disease and heart disease.

Early Detection
Some common signs of periodontal disease are;
  • Red, inflamed and/or bleeding gums
  • Sore gums
  • Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Gums that appear to have shrunk causing gaps in between teeth
  • Loose teeth or teeth that have drifted apart

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth (also called third molars) usually do not attempt to erupt until we are in our late teens or early twenties. Most of us are unfortunate enough to have all 4 of them present and most of us experience having them cause pain because they are “impacted”. Simply meaning that the jaw does not have enough space for them to come through and the tooth becomes wedged in at an angle which can create severe discomfort and sometimes infection or decay to the tooth infront.

Wisdom Teeth Pain
Some impacted wisdom teeth remain in place under the gum or partially erupted and cause no pain or problems but more likely than not these impacted teeth cause pain and discomfort. The pain caused by the wisdom teeth is only a symptom – what’s happening inside your gums is far more important. If left untreated, the pain will ordinarily get far worse.

Getting the Right Treatment for your Wisdom Teeth
We usually recommend removal of these wisdom teeth. We require a full mouth x-ray to be taken before we can proceeed to investigate the removal of any wisdom teeth. This is called an OPG (Orthopantomagram) x-ray. This shows all of your teeth and your jaw bone on one film and enables us to see where the roots of your widom teeth are located in relaltion to your nerves and sinuses. This x-ray is usually taken at an x-ray imaging place using your Medicare Card and a referral from us. If their removal is likely to be difficult or complicated we usually refer you to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon to have them removed. After inspecting your mouth and the OPG x-ray we are able to disdcuss the diagnosis with you and proceed to either arrange for an appointment for us to remove them or refer you to an Oral Surgeon if they are compliacted.

Investigate Wisdom Teeth Removal
We recommend to have wisom teeth removed as early as possible when they begin to cause pain so as not to get infection around the wisdom tooth or risk decaying the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth as food can easily be caught in this area where the wisdom tooth is impacted. Some people choose to arrange wisdom tooth removal before they give any symptoms or cause any pain.

Dental Erosion

Not to be confused with the plaque acid that ferments and causes dental decay, DENTAL EROSION is caused by prolonged and regular consumption of acidic foods and drinks that we consume in our diet such as (but not limited to) CITRUS FRUITS, FRUIT JUICES (INCLUDING FRESH), ANY CARBONATED BEVERAGE INCLUDING SODA WATER & SPARKLING WATER ( whilst these drinks have no sugar – they both contain carbonic acid to make them carbonated) …, VINEGARS, ANYTHING PICKLED, WINES & CIDERS ETC & ANYTHING THAT IS ‘SOUR’ OR ‘TART’. When we diagnose dental erosion it is very important to identify the following; the acid source (s), AND whether it is currently active or older/previous damage. Whilst most erosion is slow moving – irreversible tooth substance loss can result in functional and aesthetic problems. The period of time erosive dietary acids remain in contact with teeth and the frequency of contact are the biggest indicators of severity and rate of progression. In some cases erosion damage can be so severe it requires extensive treatment to restore function. The extent of the damage can also be ‘modified’ by; amount and quality of saliva, the patients’ oral hygiene practices and the presence or absence of fluoride to repair the early reversible damage. if active dental erosion is identified in its early stages we can educate the patient and implement strategies and regimes to stop any progression and irreversible damage. early signs include: rounding of sharp line angles and edges in teeth , yellow patches where dentine has been exposed, dentine cupping or scooping (very common), thinning or translucent enamel and ‘flat looking teeth’ Who is most at risk? people whose lifestyles include; Illegal or prescription drugs people who consume various gym preparation drinks and people that experience dehydration following frequent extreme exercise like Cross Fit, Boxing or any other high intensity sport or fitness regime. chronic asthma sufferers – through the prolonged and regular use of various puffers adolescents and people who are regular consumers of ‘high energy’ drinks such as V, RED BULL, MOTHER, GATORADE, LUCOZADE & MANY MORE the elderly who have reduced salivary flow and people on selected medications that gives them Xerostomia (or dry mouth) Some regimes we can suggest for early damage are; 1) USE A FLUORIDE MOUTHWASH TO TRY AND RE-HARDEN DAMAGED AREAS 2) RINSE MOUTH WITH WATER AFTER ACID ATTACKS 3) REFRAIN FROM BRUSHING FOR 30 MINS AFTER ACID ATTACK SO THE PROTECTIVE LAYER CAN REBUILD 4) DRINK MORE WATER – PARTICULARLY BETWEEN MAIN MEALS WHERE SALIVA FLOW IS REDUCED 5) LIMIT FREQUENCY OF ACID ATTACKS TO A MAIN MEAL WHERE MUCH MORE SALIVA IS PRODUCED FOR PROTECTION 6) CONSUME DRINKS THROUGH A STRAW 7) USE PROFESSIONALLY PRESCRIBED TOOTHPASTES TO RE-MINERALISE ENAMEL. Dental Erosion is a very common problem amongst the community. People who live both healthy and unhealthy lifestyles are all at risk. As always early detection is the key!