Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a Medibank Private or BUPA preferred provider?

I am proud to say no! Most people don’t understand how the “preferred provider system” works. These preferred providers are not vetted for quality control by the health funds in any way at all. They are only preferred by the Insurance Health Funds because they are willing to charge less for treatment, and have entered into a contractual arrangement with them.

I don’t like the Health funds to tell me what to charge my patients and therefore indirectly how much time I give them. I like to give a new patient 45 minuites to talk about oral hygiene, show them how to floss and make sure that they understand how to maintain their teeth in good condition once I have cleaned and restored them to good health. Rushing patients through is not my style. I prefer to give personal and individual service. I believe it leads to the best quality dental treatment and care.

Do whitening toothpastes work successfully?

Unfortunately I have found that none of the proprietary toothpastes successfully whiten the teeth to any great extent. They do remove surface stain, however, and do this by their abrasive action, but no toothpaste is able to stay on the tooth for a sufficiently long time to penetrate the surface of the enamel and break down stain molecules inside the tooth to an extent large enough to whiten it.

Do you have a Seniors Discount?

Yes, we have a 10% Seniors Discount for most services.

How do I find a good dentist?

There is a simple way to find a dentist who can help you and your family to maintain your teeth, just ask your friends! We sometimes forget that people who live in the area are often our best guide to finding a Dentist who you can rely upon and trust with your dental care. Relying upon flashy ads and web site design etc doesn’t really help although it can give us information about the services that are provided.

One of the best things about word of mouth is that you can find out about the personality of the dentist and discover how much time they are willing to give you to explain about why they might recommend a specific treatment plan. Remember to just ask. Never be worried about asking why things are being done. Most dentists are glad to help you understand what is happening because they want you to be happy with your treatment.

How do you bleach teeth successfully?

There are two main methods of bleaching teeth that are used at the dentist, these are the home bleaching technique, and the in surgery technique. I personally prefer the former because it is the most successful when used by itself and gives the best long term results with the present techniques.

Read about Home Bleaching.

What is Amalgam Filling Material and is it safe?

Amalgam filling material, the black or silver restorative material that most people are well acquainted with is slowly becoming used less and less. There is no indication that the material is harmful when used as a filling material. It has the advantage of being used for over a hundred years. There has been much debate in the popular press over the alleged harm that Amalgam can cause. I personally no longer use the material as a routine restorative but don’t feel that it is dangerous to use as a filling material.

Amalgam is a mixture of Metallic Mercury (Hg) and a finely divided alloy of Silver (Ag) and Tin (Sn) with traces of other metals including Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn). When mixed together they form an amalgam (which is a metal dissolved in Mercury mixture), this amalgam remains plastic for a period of time and then sets as a solid silver mixture. This material as it oxidizes  and corrodes slowly, goes black in the mouth. It remains silver if abraded by brushing or if it is flushed by acid. The small amount of Mercury that is released by both methods mostly passes through the digestive tract, but trace amounts are absorbed into the body. Most of this is readily excreted by the Kidneys, with no net toxic effects. In patients with Kidney failure amalgam is probably best not used, as it cannot be excreted, and builds up in the tissues over time.

Why do my teeth have crack lines in them?

Teeth are made up of three main tissues:

  • The outer hard Enamel shell that covers the crown of the tooth and stops it wearing.
  • The deeper more resilient Dentine, that gives the tooth it’s strength.
  • The dental pulp which is a vital tissue in the middle of the tooth.

Cracks most commonly occur in the outer Enamel layer of the tooth and are most obvious when light shines across the surface of the tooth. This layer is hard and crystalline, and needs to be, due to the fact that it copes with the constant wear and trauma of eating when teeth hit against each other. The enamel shell is bonded to the underlying dentine by a very clever system of collagen fibres and a scalloped surface which stops the outer enamel layer from delaminating, and breaking away.

With trauma – when you get a severe blow on a tooth, and unfortunately with the constant  stress of chewing over many years, little crack lines form in the enamel. These are termed ‘infraction lines’. These lines will be worse with people who grind their teeth. Normally they are nothing to worry about because the enamel is still firmly attatched  to the dentine. However they can stain over time especially if you drink a lot of coffee or tea.

Although it is more rare, the crack lines can go deeper into the dentine especially if the tooth has lost it’s supporting dentine due to decay. These enamel plus dentine crack lines are generally not visible in front teeth.

There is no way to treat crack lines in enamel. They can only be masked by veneering the tooth with porcelain or composite resin (tooth coloured filling). Dark staining in cracks responds very well to bleaching with Carbamide Peroxide gels that your dentist can dispense.