COVID-19 Update: Dr Martin Jest Dental surgery open for emergencies only to minimise risks to staff and to do our bit in preventing cross infection in the community

Emergency Dental Treatment only

Heeding advice from the Australian Dental Association Queensland Branch we are now keeping open only for emergency dental treatment. We are also undertaking a few minor procedures that are aerosol free.

The problem of aerosols

Many dental procedures generate an aerosol. An aerosol is a spray of water that picks up potential virus particles in the mouth and lifts them into the air right where the dentist and dental nurse work. This means that if we have a patient with COVID-19 who is shedding virus particles they are very likely to be lifted into the air and possibly inhaled by myself or my staff (even though we use surgical facemasks) and also contaminate the surgery surfaces.

The chance of cross contamination between patients is slim because of our Infection Control policies which include barrier wrapping, sterilization of equipment, use of disposables and disinfection of surfaces between patients. We also social distance, screen for health before allowing entrance to the surgery building and regularly disinfect surfaces, doorhandles etc.

We are acting early for all our good

At this stage in the Pandemic we are acting early and not risking cross infection, consequently we will be treating emergency patients only from 27/3/2002 and even then, minimise aerosol production by using different dental techniques – use of a dental dam, and even then minimising aerosol production.

If you have any questions please ask. We are only a phone call away.

Do you have an emergency?

If you have a dental emergency we will triage and treat you if appropriate, after checking your general health status and making sure you don’t have a fever, cough, or any of the other COVID-19 symptoms. We will be here to help if we possibly can under our infection control management plan. Keep well, wash those hands and social distance to stay safe in these troubling times.

Good news – as of Monday 11th May we are back down to level 1 Dental treatment restrictions. Which means that we are treating all patients who do not have clinical risk factors of COVID-19 or have been in association with infected people. What does this mean to our patients? We will continue to treat […]

amalgam

In today’s Internet age, with a seemingly infinite amount of information available, it sometimes seems harder than ever to find a definitive answer to even a simple question. Health-related matters are often the most widely covered subjects, which makes sifting through the various sources and opinions even more difficult. A perfect example of this is the controversy over the safety of amalgam fillings, used by dentists worldwide for more than one hundred and ninety years. The purpose of this article is to briefly discuss why the controversy exists and to provide some facts from authoritative sources.

Amalgam Overview
Amalgam fillings are composed of a powdered alloy, consisting primarily of:

  • Silver
  • Tin
  • Copper

This mixture is added to liquid mercury to bind the alloy particles together and form the amalgam, which is where the controversy begins. Ingesting mercury can cause health problems.

The Controversy
Opponents of mercury-based amalgam fillings suggest that the mercury can leach from the filling into the body, causing mercury poisoning. Thanks to the Internet, the controversy has spread quickly and become a concern for many people. Dentists often receive requests to remove the fillings and replace them with another material. Though dentists often comply with their patients’ wishes, most dentists agree that the fillings pose no harm and removal is unnecessary. 

Current Research and Opinion
Extensive research by governments and universities has revealed no negative effects caused by mercury amalgam. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires dentists to warn patients, but only due to possible allergic reactions and not possible mercury poisoning, The FDA considers fillings safe for anyone age six and older. The Australian Dental Association’s official stance on amalgam fillings is: 
“Dental amalgam has been used as a dental restorative material for more than 150 years. It has proved to be a durable, safe and effective material which has been the subject of extensive research over this time”. And “There is no evidence to support an association between the presence of amalgam restorations and chronic degenerative diseases, kidney disease, autoimmune disease, cognitive function, adverse pregnancy outcomes or any non-specific symptoms.”
https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Policies/Dental-Practice/6-18-Safety-of-Dental-Amalgam/ADAPolicies_6-18_SafetyofDentalAmalgam_V1.aspx

Why Use Other Materials?
People often wonder why some dentists don’t use amalgam if they consider it safe. The simple answer is that other better materials are now available, such as white fillings.

Conclusion
As it currently stands, there’s no indication that amalgam fillings pose any health risk. The material is strong and long-lasting, making it a good choice for many people. More and more dentists are moving away from the material, but usually not from fear of its toxicity, rather because modern materials offer other benefits, particularly cosmetic ones.

dental checkup

It’s that time of the year again – seeing your dentist. You may not want to go, and may even consider cancelling the appointment, but don’t! Your dentist holds one of the keys to your overall health, both in the short- and long-term. If you remain undecided, here are four key reasons why your dental check-up is so important for your health:

They can address plaque, tartar, and cavities.
Even if you brush and floss diligently, plaque and tartar can still build up in your mouth. Regular cleanings help remove them before they lead to permanent gum damage. And a cleaning will cost less than filling a cavity. However, if your dentist does detect the start of any cavities, they can fill them before they get larger and cost more.

They can detect oral cancer and other issues under the skin.
Did you know that your dentist is trained in detecting many types of cancers such as oral cancer? Detecting cancer early is crucial in getting treatment and beating it. If not diagnosed in time, oral cancer can spread quickly, but if caught early enough, the prognosis can be very good. And what’s more, you may not recognize or even experience any obvious symptoms, but your dentist can, either visually or through X-rays. So make that dental check-up!

They can address gum disease.
Cavities aren’t the only thing that plaque and tartar can cause – gum disease is another serious issue. When your gums get swollen and infected due to plaque and tartar buildup, the infection – known as gingivitis – can seriously affect your gums and cause them to erode. This happens when gingivitis develops into full blown periodontal disease.
With regular checkups, your dentist can detect and address the early stages of gum disease to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible.

Discourage bad habits
Your part in dental care isn’t just about brushing and flossing. Anything that you put in your mouth has the potential to cause damage. We all know about sugary foods and drinks, but there’s more than that. Drinking coffee, tea, acidic beverages and alcohol; chewing gum; grinding your teeth; chewing ice; and smoking cigarettes and marijuana can all affect your dental health.
Your dentist can tell you exactly what the consequences of these actions are, and offer advice about the ways you can stop or at least decrease these habits. We are here to help not to make you feel guilty.

Additional Text
Make that call! If you think that missing an appointment is not that big of an issue, you would be wrong. Your dentist can find issues that not only affect your mouth but can also help detect other issues in your body that affect your dental health. Make that appointment today, and your overall health – not just your teeth – will thank you.

What if my mouth always feels dry?

If your mouth feels constantly dry, you may have a condition medically known as xerostomia, which occurs when saliva glands aren’t functioning properly. Not only can this result in drying of oral tissues and tongue, but it also causes chapped lips, sore angles of the mouth and even problems speaking.

Persistent dry mouth is detrimental to good oral health. The condition can cause an excess of bacteria-harbouring plaque that causes bad breath and tartar not to mention cavities and gum disease. Dry mouth can even make wearing dental appliances like dentures painful.

Finding out why your mouth is so dry is important. If a couple glasses of water do not give relief remember that certain Over the counter and prescription medications like antihistamines and blood pressure drugs can cause dry mouth. Check what’s in your medicine cabinet and the information sheets in your medication to see if any daily medications are the culprit. Also, other health issues such as diabetes and arthritis complications can result in a persistently dry mouth. Make sure to check with your doctor before stopping any medications you are taking that cause dry mouth – even though a dry mouth is irritating the medications may be saving your life or helping prevent other disease or illness!

Dentists vs dryness

If you feel like you’re holding the Sahara Desert in your mouth, make an appointment with your dentist for a comprehensive examination of your oral health to determine the cause. Let your dentist know what health conditions you have and take in a list of medications you’ve been taking. In the meantime, you can lessen the sticky feeling by:

  • Drinking more water
  • Limiting caffeine and tobacco consumption
  • Avoiding excess sugar and sweets
  • Using a saliva substitute/mouth moisturiser from the dentist or pharmacy

Keeping a bag of ice chips handy can also help. So does having a piece of sugar-free gum or a sugar-free lolly. Remember to double up on your daily oral health regime by rinsing, brushing and flossing more until you can get in to see your dentist.

No matter how old you are, everyone can enjoy good oral health. The better you take care of your teeth and gums, the better the chance they will remain healthy. However, as you age, you may need to make some changes in your oral care so that you keep your natural teeth for longer. Here are some tips for seniors dental care:

  1. Use more fluoridation: Teeth weaken over time. Using toothpaste or a mouth rinse that has extra fluoride can help minimise decay and keep them as strong as possible.
  2. Hydrate more: Dry mouth is more prevalent in seniors due to changes in the body as it ages. Having a dry mouth can encourage the growth of bacteria. But it is easy to address: drink more water, reduce your intake of alcohol, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
  3. Say no to tobacco: In any form, tobacco can lead to many health problems, including throat and mouth cancer. Even though it is not common in Australia did you know that because it can contain sugar, chewing tobacco can also increase your chance of tooth decay? No tobacco is a safe amount to consume.
  4. Be aware of your medications: While your medications improve your health in most areas, in terms of your dental care, those medications can lead to dry mouth or an increase in oral fungi. Ask your doctor or dentist about your prescriptions and how they can affect your oral care.
  5. Are your dentures right for you? If you wear partial or complete dentures, you still need to be aware of your dental health! If your dentures do not fit correctly,  if you don’t allow your dentist to maintain your dentures, or if you don’t leave your dentures out at night or clean your mouth and teeth properly it can lead to the growth of fungus and cause inflammation of the gums and early tooth loss of your remaining teeth. Don’t let that happen. Most dentures need to be relined every seven years or so.
  6. Keep your glasses well maintained. Letting the prescription lapse will mean that you cannot see plaque in your mouth properly. Don’t you hate bifocal or multifocal glasses! But leave that plaque behind at your peril… We find that patients who have kept their teeth well maintained all their lives can loose control of plaque and suffer from really bad decay because they cannot see the plaque. Ask Martin about plaque dye or disclosing solution which helps you to beat it quickly!

Keeping your teeth in shape as you get older requires good oral heath care which your dentist will teach you. In addition to the tips above, you should schedule regular maintenance visits with your dentist so that they can keep on top of any developing dental issues before they become a serious problem. Preventive care is your best defence.

Children are more susceptible to cavities than adults. Even in children with healthy teeth, the enamel in their primary, or baby, teeth is much thinner that in adults. Once decay gets through this layer decay moves faster too.

Protect Your Children’s Teeth During the Holidays

Holiday treats and foods that are not part of the child’s normal diet can increase the possibility of decay. A few simple steps can protect their teeth and eliminate future dental problems.

Limit sugar

Sugars and starchy food promote the growth of bacteria that cause decay. By limiting the amount of sugar, your child consumes the likelihood of tooth decay decreases. Even during the holidays, when chocolate and treats abound, you can reduce the effects of sugar on children’s teeth by:

  • Allowing them only one dessert
  • Preventing between meal and all day snacking on lollies and chocolate
  • Brushing as soon after consuming sweets as possible to remove bacteria

Maintain a Regular Dental Care Routine

Holiday activities and visits can upset daily dental care. Don’t allow the distractions of the season to cause your child to neglect their teeth. Plan a dental care routine during the season and maintain it. When traveling, make sure you have children’s toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss available and ensure they use them, brush together as a family and talk about what exciting things you all did together!

Avoid Crunching Ice and hard lollies

Teeth are not ice smashers. Over time regular ice chewing can crack enamel and chip teeth. Try to avoid giving your kids chewy toffee type lollies especially straight from the fridge. They have proved that sticky sugars are the worst for causing tooth decay and lost fillings. Keep in mind that an emergency visit to a dentist may be difficult during the holiday or while traveling.

Maintain a Child’s Overall Health

Physically healthy children tend to have better dental health as well. Make sure that during the holidays along with a limited intake of lollies and chocolate, they receive plenty of healthy, nutritious foods and veggies. Eating healthy crunchy fresh salads should be one of the great pleasures which we should be teaching our children to enjoy! Dr Jest loves his beetroot and fetta salad.

 

Don’t Skip Dental Appointments

With the seasonal rush, it may be tempting to skip regular dental appointments. Children’s teeth require regular exams. Don’t allow holiday events to place their dental health at risk. It is a perfect time to visit when you don’t have school or homework to worry about.

Protecting children’s teeth is essential to their future dental health. The habits of good dental care become a foundation of dental health throughout childrens adult lives. Care of the baby teeth is essential to give the best chance of avoiding crowding of the permanent teeth as they erupt.   Sound dental practices now, even during the holidays, will strengthen children’s teeth and promote healthy adult teeth. Be that good example and floss and brush your teeth with your children – that will encourage you too not to eat any more before going to bed – that’s got to be good for your holiday waistline too!

Eating Affects your Teeth

Eating habits determine the health and hygiene of your mouth as well as your general body health. Excessive intake of alcohol, junk food like pizza, burgers etc. can cause danger to your teeth and gums. Moreover if you are a sweet lover, then your health is at risk. This is because ice creams, chocolates, bubble gums and sticky sugars will remain attached to your teeth and gums and will become fodder for bacteria. This often leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

 What Can Parents Do?

Parents need to be aware of which foods are good or bad for their child’s health. Therefore they must try to include nutrient-rich food in their children’s diet so that they will get the proper nourishment needed to maximize their children’s oral health. The following tips will help children maitain that healthy smile.

Healthy Eating Tips

Dental health care professionals have listed the following important tips for children in order to keep their teeth and gums fit and healthy.

  1. Avoid eating sugary foods especially chocolates and sweets, if you need to have a sweet fix get used to eating some fruit. If you must have sugary things eat them in one go and don’t spread them over a long time. Remember the sugars they contain allow the bacteria that eat them to cause a decay environment for over an hour in your mouth!
  2. Make a habit of only eating three main meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner and always brush your teeth after a snack or meal.
  3. Use a good quality toothbrush, mouthwash and toothpaste in order to get that perfectly healthy smile.

Healthy Eating Foods

 The following food items are really helpful as far as your oral health and hygiene is concerned.

These items include:

  1. Crunchy foods

Crunchy foods like apples nuts and carrots are good for teeth. They rub away the soft plaque that sticks to teeth and causes tooth decay. Carrots have a sweet flavour and are a great sweet snack that your mouth loves! (Just remember not to go too crazy with carrots or carrot juice though as they can make your skin go yellow/orange.)

  • Sugar free Chewing Gum – breath freshening and saliva stimulation

Use of Sugar free gums after eating have proven successful in research, reducing decay by increasing the saliva flow and consequently flushing away sugars from the mouth. Remember that after every meal the bacteria produce enamel dissolving acids for about an hour and a half – so the worst thing you can for your teeth is to have a “breath freshening” mint – a flavoured sugar capsule – every hour. This causes uncontrolled decay.

  • Water

Water assists in keeping the mouth hydrated and moistened with healthy saliva. Becoming dehydrated in Queensland is a real problem. Your urine should be pale yellow and not dark. One and a half to two litres of fluid per day is the recommended intake for an adult. This includes all the fluids that you drink but for your health the majority of this should be water – definitely not soft drink or citrus juice which dissolves teeth! Saliva takes part as a defensive shield to your teeth and gums in your mouth and can help in saving teeth from acid attack.

  • Cheese

Different research studies have proven the fact that cheese is healthy for your teeth. Cheeses have special substances that can maintain the pH level of your mouth and saliva. It also helps out in the strengthening the enamel layer of teeth. So pack it in with your childrens school lunch as well as an apple. They go so well together, one bite of cheese stick one bite of apple – Yum!

Most people love their morning coffee. But, like many of our favourite foods and drinks, coffee can potentially cause problems for your teeth.

What’s the problem with coffee

Coffee contains tannins that stain teeth and creates acid that can damage tooth enamel. The addition of sweeteners also creates a bacterial playground in your mouth, setting up prime conditions for dental decay and halitosis (bad breath).

However, the most apparent effects of when coffee and teeth meet are not particularly threatening but cosmetic. Tannins in coffee will eventually stain teeth, turning those high-beam pearly whites into yellow-hued sodium lights.

Do I have to give up coffee?

Not all. Certain coffees actually have compounds that help prevent tooth decay. Besides, if we gave up everything that was potentially harmful to our teeth we’d have a bleak existence indeed. Nor is total elimination of our favourite morning beverage a practical measure. Running damage control on the effects coffee has on your teeth is a far more realistic solution.

What can I do about it?

Fortunately, there are several proactive measures you can take when coffee and teeth come together to make sure your dental health isn’t adversely affected. Like drinking your coffee without bacteria-feeding sweeteners that allow their waste products to attack tooth enamel. Limiting coffee intake is a good idea. If that’s not an appealing idea, it’s even more important for you to:

  • Thoroughly brush your teeth after you’ve had coffee.
  • Vigorously swish your mouth out with water when you don’t have immediate access to a brush and paste.
  • Have a snack. Eating before and after drinking coffee reduces the effects it has on your teeth.

Helpful hint: Apples have fibres that break down the sticky coating coffee leaves behind.

Many Dentists drink coffee too!

The most important thing you can do to counteract the damage coffee consumption can do to your teeth is to visit your dentist. Having a six-month dental exam and cleaning is key to maintaining healthy teeth and overall oral health. Plus, regular dental cleanings alleviate the stains that coffee can leave behind. Your dentist may even suggest you periodically brush with stain-removing baking soda, but wait until he suggests it – It is more abrasive than normal toothpastes and can cause tooth wear! If you are still concerned about the adverse effects coffee may have on your teeth, contact your dentist for more comprehensive information on how to maintain optimal dental health when coffee and teeth meet.

Most people love their morning coffee. But, like many of our favourite foods and drinks, coffee can potentially cause problems for your teeth.

What’s the problem with coffee

Coffee contains tannins that stain teeth and creates acid that can damage tooth enamel. The addition of sweeteners also creates a bacterial playground in your mouth, setting up prime conditions for dental decay and halitosis (bad breath).

However, the most apparent effects of when coffee and teeth meet are not particularly threatening but cosmetic. Tannins in coffee will eventually stain teeth, turning those high-beam pearly whites into yellow-hued sodium lights.

Do I have to give up coffee?

Not all. Certain coffees actually have compounds that help prevent tooth decay. Besides, if we gave up everything that was potentially harmful to our teeth we’d have a bleak existence indeed. Nor is total elimination of our favourite morning beverage a practical measure. Running damage control on the effects coffee has on your teeth is a far more realistic solution.

What can I do about it?

Fortunately, there are several proactive measures you can take when coffee and teeth come together to make sure your dental health isn’t adversely affected. Like drinking your coffee without bacteria-feeding sweeteners that allow their waste products to attack tooth enamel. Limiting coffee intake is a good idea. If that’s not an appealing idea, it’s even more important for you to:

  • Thoroughly brush your teeth after you’ve had coffee.
  • Vigorously swish your mouth out with water when you don’t have immediate access to a brush and paste.
  • Have a snack. Eating before and after drinking coffee reduces the effects it has on your teeth.

Helpful hint: Apples have fibres that break down the sticky coating coffee leaves behind.

Many Dentists drink coffee too!

The most important thing you can do to counteract the damage coffee consumption can do to your teeth is to visit your dentist. Having a six-month dental exam and cleaning is key to maintaining healthy teeth and overall oral health. Plus, regular dental cleanings alleviate the stains that coffee can leave behind. Your dentist may even suggest you periodically brush with stain-removing baking soda, but wait until he suggests it – It is more abrasive than normal toothpastes and can cause tooth wear! If you are still concerned about the adverse effects coffee may have on your teeth, contact your dentist for more comprehensive information on how to maintain optimal dental health when coffee and teeth meet.