Why do I need to have x-rays, are they safe?

Many dental problems are not obvious by simply looking, even under magnification.  For this reason your dentist may recommend x-rays to check the proximal or ‘in between’ surfaces where decay often starts, or to assess the tooth roots and surrounding jaw bone for problems such as gum disease, a dead nerve, cysts or tumours.  We use digital x-rays which give a much lower dose of radiation than conventional films and while the dose is very minimal we only take x-rays when absolutely needed. 


I’ve never had any pain from my teeth, why do I still need to visit the dentist regularly?

Many dental problems are painless, and often pain only arises once the disease is severe and treatment to rectify the problem is therefore more expensive and involved.  By having regular check-ups and cleans your dentist can detect and manage problems while they are small, which means less invasive treatment, less pain and generally less cost for you!


What should I do if a tooth is knocked out or broken?

As a general rule – remain calm but seek dental advice as soon as possible. 

If the tooth is knocked out; locate the tooth, hold it only by the crown (the part that is normally seen in the mouth) to prevent damage to the cells that coat the tooth root.  If the tooth is dirty it may be washed in milk before being placed back into the socket – do not rub or scrub the tooth, or let it dry out!  If unable to do this place in milk, saliva or seal in plastic wrap and seek dental advice as soon as possible.  Time is of the essence, the sooner the tooth can be placed back into the socket the better.

If the tooth is a baby tooth do NOT replace it in the socket, if in doubt place the tooth in milk and present to your dentist as soon as possible. Ask your dentist about custom fabricated mouthguards, which are the best way to prevent such injuries.  


Which toothpaste should I use? Are ‘natural’ toothpastes ok?

The main benefit of using toothpaste is that it coats the teeth with fluoride, which is an excellent ingredient for preventing tooth decay.  Natural toothpastes generally do not contain any fluoride hence their benefit is limited if any at all. 


Why does my dentist recommend a professional fluoride treatment?

Professional fluoride treatments are a much higher dose than the fluoride than what is found in tap water and are recommended for patients with high risk of tooth decay or demineralisation, to prevent it progressing to a cavity. 


Is water fluoridation of benefit? What about bottled water?

Research shows the decay fighting benefits of water fluoridation since its introduction in America in 1945. Although toothpastes contain fluoride the additional benefit of consuming fluoridated drinking water is recommended by dentists.  The safety of water fluoridation has been widely studies and its safety proven.  Bottled water does not contain fluoride.  For children exclusively drinking bottled water it is best to consult with your dentist about any additional preventive measures that may be needed.  


Do I need to have all my amalgam/silver fillings replaced?

Amalgam fillings need not be replaced for fears relating to mercury content.  There are significant amounts of good quality research which support the safety of continued use of dental amalgam.  White fillings are available at Maritana Dental because they provide a more tooth-like appearance, not because amalgam is unsafe. 


What happens to my fees if I have private health cover?

We accept all Health Funds and are also preferred providers for BUPA.  We have HICAPS which allows you to claim your rebate on the day provided you have your health fund card.  We have no control over the rebate that your provider gives, as this depends on your level of cover.  Once we have seen you for assessment we can provide details of the required treatment so that you can contact your fund directly to determine approximate rebates. 

What are the recommended fees for dentists?

Fees vary from clinic to clinic and there is no such thing as ‘recommended’ or ‘standard fees’ for dentists. 


Why do I need to floss as well as brush? Are mouthwashes of benefit?

Tooth brushing does not adequately reach the proximal, or ‘in-between’ surfaces of the teeth, and if left uncleaned this can lead to bleeding gums or even gum disease.  Daily flossing is an essential part of home dental care.  Mouthwashes can be used in addition to twice daily brushing and daily flossing, but do NOT replace either.  It is recommended to use an alcohol-free mouthwash if you feel that you wish to use one. 


Could I have a dead nerve in my tooth without knowing? Is it safe to leave a tooth with a dead nerve?

Yes, you may not know very often a tooth with a dead nerve may sit dormant without symptoms. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time before the infection builds up enough to cause pain. For this reason regular check-ups and x-rays are important so that your dentist can try to detect such problems, allowing you to have it fixed before pain arises. 


I only drink diet soft drinks, isn’t this better for the teeth since there is no sugar?

Diet soft drinks may not contain sugar but they are still very acidic and can cause damage to the teeth by demineralisation or ‘acid wear’. If you cannot eliminate these drinks from your diet they are best kept to a minimum, consumed only at meal times rather than sipped throughout the day and taken through a straw.