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preventative dental care

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Finding out you have a bundle of joy on the way is a very exciting time. But did you know pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women? Some of these problems include gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. An increase in hormones during pregnancy can affect your body's response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth).

There is an old wives' tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby which could not be further from the truth. Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. During pregnancy, if the mother's intake of calcium is inadequate her bones – not her teeth – will provide her baby with the calcium it needs. This calcium loss is fast recovered once breastfeeding has stopped. In some women, Pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems. By ensuring you carry out proper dental hygiene at home and by seeking professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout the duration of your pregnancy.

Dental disease can affect a developing baby

Extensive research has found a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing.  Estimates have found that up to 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums. Appropriate dental treatment for the expectant mother may reduce the risk of premature birth. 

Pre-pregnancy dental health

During pregnancy, you are less likely to develop dental problems if you already have good oral hygiene habits. Suggestions include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss between your teeth daily.
  •  Visit your dentist every 6 months.

If you are planning on getting pregnant, but you have plans to have elective dental procedures, it is much more convenient to have these procedures carried out before you conceive. If you are pregnant and require dental treatment non-urgent procedures are often performed after the first trimester. 

Tell your dentist if you are pregnant

In some cases, pregnancy may affect your dental care. An example of this may be, the dentist may put off taking x-rays until after the birth of your baby. If dental x-rays are unavoidable, the dentist is able to take precautions to ensure your baby's safety. If your dental condition happens to require general anaesthesia or medications, talk to your dentist, doctor or obstetrician for advice. 

Causes of dental health problems

Some common causes of dental health problems during pregnancy can include:

  • Gum problems
  • Vomiting
  • Cravings for sugary foods
  • Retching while brushing teeth.

Gum problems

Hormones that are associated with pregnancy can make some women susceptible to gum problems including:

  • Gingivitis (gum inflammation) – During the second trimester, this is more likely to occur. Symptoms include swelling of the gums and bleeding, particularly during brushing and when flossing between teeth.
  • Undiagnosed or untreated periodontal disease – During pregnancy, this may worsen. This chronic gum infection, which is caused by untreated gingivitis and can lead to tooth loss
  • Pregnancy epulis or pyogenic granuloma – This is a  localised enlargement of the gum, which may bleed easily. This may require additional professional cleaning, and rarely excision. 

During pregnancy, the gum problems that occur are not due to an increase in plaque, but a worse response to plaque due to an increase in hormone levels. 

If you are experiencing gum problems it is important to mention this to your dentist. It may help to switch to a softer toothbrush and brush your teeth regularly, at least twice every day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride (if you're not already doing so) as this will help to strengthen your teeth against decay. 

If you suffered gum problems during pregnancy, it is also very important to get your gums checked by a dentist after the birth of your baby. While most types of gum problems caused by pregnancy hormones resolve after birth, a small number of women may have possibly developed a deeper level of gum disease that will require treatment and management.

Vomiting can damage teeth

The ring of muscles that keep food inside the stomach are softened due to pregnancy hormone. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and therefore increase the risk of decay. 

Suggestions include:

  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch and damage tooth enamel. 
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water. 
  • Follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash. 
  • If you don't have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a dab of fluoridated toothpaste on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water. 
  • Brush your teeth at least an hour after vomiting.

Retching while brushing teeth

Some pregnant women find that brushing their teeth, particularly the molars, provokes retching. However, as hard as this may be you risk tooth decay if you don't brush regularly.

Suggestions include:

  • Using a brush with a small head, such as a brush made for toddlers.
  • Take your time. Slow down your brushing action.
  • It can help to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
  • Try other distractions, such as listening to music.
  •  If the taste of the toothpaste seems to provoke your gag reflex, try switching to another brand. Alternatively, brush your teeth with water and then follow with a fluoride mouthwash. Go back to brushing with fluoride toothpaste as soon as you can.

 Food cravings while pregnant

During pregnancy, some women experience unusual food cravings (and food avoidance). Some women desire sugary snacks however this may increase your risk of tooth decay. It is recommended to try and snack on low-sugar foods instead.

If nothing but sweetness will satisfy your craving, try to sometimes choose healthier options such as fresh fruits. Rinse your mouth with water or milk, or brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.

Increase your calcium during pregnancy

It is important to increase your daily amount of calcium during pregnancy. Sufficient calcium helps to protect your bone mass and meet the nutritional needs of your developing baby.

Good sources of dietary calcium include products include:

  • Milk.
  • Cheese.
  • Yoghurt.
  • Calcium-fortified soymilk.

Increase your vitamin D during pregnancy

It is important to ensure you are getting sufficient vitamin D. This helps the body to utilise calcium. Good sources include:

  • Cheese.
  • Margarine.
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon.
  •  Eggs.

Things to remember

  • The demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women. 
  • You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits. 
  • With proper dental hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should stay healthy during pregnancy.

 

How To Know If Your Child Is Covered Under Your HBF Policy

How To Know If Your Child Is Covered Under Your HBF Policy

A lot of the time we are asked, "Will my child/children be covered 100% under my HBF policy?".

Yes, the HBF Dental Member Plus Arrangements do fully cover dependents on their parent's policy for preventative dental services, up to your particular policies annual limit.

To be 100% sure we may refer you to HBF to confirm your benefit entitlements. We are also able to do a quote for the particular item numbers needed for treatment on the HICAPS terminal. This will then let you know what HBF will pay and what your Gap payment will be. 

The Importance Of Dental X-Rays During An Examination

The Importance Of Dental X-Rays During An Examination

Many patients ask, "Why do I require regular X-rays?" That is a good question. The simple answer is to keep track of your oral health. 

Do you really need dental X-rays?

Radiographic examinations of the mouth and teeth play an extremely important role in the diagnosis as well as management of various dental conditions. By using radiographs your dentist is able to detect problems that may not be seen through visual examination alone and sometimes before symptoms become present.

Why X-rays?

X-rays, also known as radiographs, capture images of the parts of your mouth your dentist can’t see. That’s because hard tissues like bones and teeth absorb more radiation than softer gum and cheek tissues, creating a picture that clearly shows differences between these types of tissue. What does all that mean? Your dentist can use X-ray technology to uncover ‘ decay, gum disease, infection, tooth cracks, bone loss and other problems that aren’t visible to the eye.

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Eighty percent of decay occurs between the teeth. If a visual exam is done alone you miss 80 percent of potential decay. An X-ray can also show what’s under a tooth crown, for example. Other X-rays are used to examine the tooth root, or the jaw and supporting structures.

Who should have them?

If you have previously seen another dentist, a fresh set of X-rays will give your new practitioner a complete picture of your teeth and gums. Your previous records and x-rays can be requested. A new set of X-rays will make future changes easier to spot because you’ll have the initial set for comparison. But you may not need X-rays every time you have a checkup, especially if you don’t tend to have many cavities.

Children, on the other hand, have different oral care needs: A child tends to have thinner tooth enamel than an adult. This is due to the fact that their jaws are still growing and their teeth are still developing. Due to this, a child may need more frequent X-rays than their parents, especially if they have a history of cavities. If you miss a series of X-rays on a child with a high decay rate, you’re going to end up with some serious problems.

Are there different types of X-rays?

Yes, There are various different types of x-rays. The first is a bitewing x-ray. A bitewing x-ray is used to detect or confirm decay in teeth as well as help to assess the presence of gum disease between teeth. 

A Periapical film otherwise known in dental terms as a PA. A PA x-ray shows the entire tooth, tooth roots, and the surrounding bone. These images are used to examine root tips of teeth, diagnose bone loss due to gum disease, diagnosing cysts and abscesses as well as detecting inflammation of bone due to infections within the root canals of teeth. 

An Orthopantomogram or as we refer to as an OPG is a panoramic or wide view  x-ray of the lower face, which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film.  It demonstrates the number, position, and growth of all the teeth including those that have not yet surfaced or erupted. It is different from the small close up x-rays dentists take of individual teeth. An OPG may also reveal problems with the jawbone and the joint which connects the jawbone to the head called the Temporomandibular joint or TMJ. An OPG may be requested for the planning of orthodontic treatment, for assessment of wisdom teeth or for a general overview of the teeth and the bone which supports the teeth.

A Lat Ceph is a lateral or side view x-ray of the face, which demonstrates the bones and facial contours in profile on a single film. Lat Ceph x-rays are usually used in the diagnosis and treatment of orthodontic problems.

A Cone Beam CT is a relatively new technique, which is mainly used to assess the jaws and teeth. Its main advantage compared to OPGs and other dental x-rays is that it provides three-dimensional imaging (similar to conventional CT, but with a lower radiation dose).  Perth Radiological Clinic uses the Cone Beam CT system, which provides high definition, three dimensional imaging to complement our other dental imaging services including OPGs and conventional CT scanning. Cone Beam CT offers 3-D evaluation of dental anatomy and pathology: for example impacted teeth, pre-implant assessment, orthodontic assessment, and assessment for jaw and face surgery.

How often should you have dental X-rays?

Your dentist will make a recommendation based on your oral health. Some patients resist X-rays even when their dentist suggests them but this can lead to trouble. For instance, if a patient attends an examination for a dental problem, however, refuses x-rays during their visit and then returns 3 years later with a huge problem this issue could have been prevented if an x-ray had been taken.

Are they safe?

Experts will tell you: A dental X-ray is far from dangerous. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to in full mouth X-ray series is only about 1/23 of the radiation you’re already getting from natural sources each year. And with new digital X-ray technology that replaces the old film method, the radiation is reduced further.

In fact, not getting X-rays can be riskier. If your preschooler has a cavity, odds are high that there are several other unseen cavities between his or her teeth. However, an X-ray will be needed to diagnose or rule cavities out. 

If you are pregnant it is important you do inform your dentist. If you’re pregnant and have a dental infection, failure to diagnose and treat it could be more dangerous for your baby than the X-ray itself. 

Even though the level of radiation is low, precautions are taken to minimize your exposure. The X-ray machine focuses the radiation only on your mouth, and you can wear a lead apron and collar to protect other parts of your body. Your dentist and his or her staff have been thoroughly trained in taking X-rays, and the equipment itself is inspected regularly.

If your dentist recommends an X-ray of your mouth, please rest assured it is to safeguard your health, not threaten it. 

 

 

 

Yes, We See Children Under The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme

Yes, We See Children Under The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme

It’s important for your children to look after their teeth.

Having healthy teeth can prevent dental problems like cavities.  At Cambridge City Dental one of our highest priorities is to help teach your child why it is important to take care of their teeth.

So What Is The Medicare Child Benefit Scheme?

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has been introduced by the federal government to make that task a little easier if you receive benefits such as Family Tax Benefit A payments. The CDBS helps you keep your kids’ teeth in great shape by providing you with up to $1000 that you can use over a two calendar year period on a range of dental services including examinations, routine cleaning, fillings, and root canals.

What the CDBS doesn’t cover, however, are orthodontic (the straightening of crooked teeth), cosmetic dental procedures (the restoration or replacement of damaged or missing teeth), or any work that might need to be done in a hospital. If you aren’t sure what’s covered, just ask your dentist

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Your child’s eligibility

Your child is deemed eligible for the CDBS by Medicare, who administers the program, if:

  • they’re within the applicable age range for at least some of that year
  • they qualify for Medicare;
  • and you receive either Family Tax Benefit Part A, Parenting payment or Double Orphan Pension payments for at least some of that year.

Your child can still access CDBS services throughout a particular calendar year regardless even if your circumstances change. Even so, it’s still worth confirming with Medicare that your child still qualifies for CDBS before phoning your dentist to book an appointment.

Keep in mind that not all dentists perform services under the CDBS; it’s best to check with your dentist if they do prior to booking in for treatment.


Using your $1000 allocation

To ensure that you’re aware of the costs upfront, we will explain all probable expenses and get your consent in writing before treatment begins. If there’s any additional work needed following the initial examination, the costs will again be outlined and your consent obtained. This means you can then decide how quickly or slowly you use your $1000 allocation; you can use it all at once if you need to, or spread the spending out over the two calendar years. 

If you’re not sure how much of your allocation you have left to use, we are more than happy yo find this out for you, and let you know if you’ll be up for any out-of-pocket expenses.
 

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Find out more

To discover more about this beneficial program, and whether your child is eligible, call Medicare on 132 011 or visit the Department of Human Services website. Alternatively, you may also call us on 9382 8266 or click book now to make an online appointment.

Simple Ways To Overcome Your Dental Fear

Simple Ways To Overcome Your Dental Fear

We are well aware that we are not everyone's favorite place to visit. It is no secret that many people break out in a cold sweat at the thought of having to come to the dentist. This can be for a number of reasons but is most likely due to a childhood incident that has left the patient traumatised. Few people look forward to a spell in the dentist chair but serious anxiety prevents millions of people from seeking proper preventative care. 

The consequences go far beyond dental pain or lost teeth. Gum disease is a serious infection that can affect other parts of the body. Studies now link gum disease to a number of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Fortunately, with today's technology dentists are specially trained in handling fearful patients and a variety of methods and treatments are available to reduce pain and alleviate fear in the dentist chair.

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What can I do to overcome my fears? Here are some steps that may help you to overcome your fear. 

1: Be aware that your fear of the dentist is normal: There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed by your fear of the dentist. Do not be embarrassed to express your fear and phobia. It is our job to make you feel as comfortable as possible and we will take the necessary measures to ensure we do so. We suggest visiting the dentist on 6 monthly basis to maintain good oral health. Not going to the dentist regularly can lead to cavities, abscesses, broken or missing teeth and bad breath.

2: Write out your specific fears: We understand that you may be reluctant to admit that you have a phobia when visiting us. It may help to write out a list of what is causing you anxiety. You may not even be aware of your specific fears until you actually begin to think about it. If it helps bring this list to us we may be able to explain rationally what is causing your anxiety. 

3: Figure out the cause of your fears: Fear is often learned through experience or memory. Identifying the sources of your dental phobia can help you get into the proper frame of mind to start overcoming your phobia. If you are unable to identify a specific experience that is the source of your fear, it may be a dental horror story from a friend or family member. Thinking about the source of your phobia can help you gradually overcome the fear. Simply acknowledging your fears may be the only thing you need to overcome them. 

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4: Acknowledge that dental procedures have improved greatly: Before you take concrete steps to visit us it is important to understand that dental procedures have improved greatly in recent years. Understanding improvements in dental treatments may help alleviate your fears. There are many new methods for treating all sorts of dental issues. We also like to burn candles in our office which takes away that clinical smell and helps put you at ease. 

5: Locate the right dentist for you: The best way to find the right dentist for you is through family and friends and through booking an initial check up with a dentist to see if he/she is right for you. Let the receptionist know that you are a nervous patient and he/she will be able to book you in with the dentist who is most appropriate in dealing with your specific concerns. 

6: Schedule a consultation with us: Meeting and discussing your dental health and fears with a dentist can help you to feel more comfortable.  We are trained to make you feel comfortable in the dental chair and understand that patients do have anxieties. If there is anything you are unsure about or may not understand we recommend that you ask all the questions you need. Lastly, let us know what we may be able to do to make you more relaxed during your visit. 

The foundation of any good doctor-patient relationship is effective communication. Talking to your dentist before, during and after your procedure can help to minimise your fears. We will explain the procedure to you before we begin treatment in terms which you will be able to understand. Again if there is anything you do not understand we encourage you to ask.  

7. If at anytime you begin to feel uncomfortable raise a hand and we will stop: The more often you visit the dentist and have a positive experience, the more likely you will be to return. If at anytime you begin to feel uncomfortable raise a hand to let the dentist know you need a break. Treatments can also be broken up into a series of visits. 

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8: Distract yourself: If need be, bring your Ipod along to your appointment. Something as simple as playing your favorite music is enough to relax and distract you from the procedure. 

9: Bring a friend or family member along to your appointment for moral support: Consider taking a friend or family member to accompany you to your appointment. He/she can help to distract you from a procedure, and also may be able to calm you. If you are extremely nervous, ask the doctor if your friend or family member can accompany you into the treatment room. Having someone with you that you trust can also help to relax you. 

In conclusion, many patients avoid the dentist due to fear. This may be because they require complicated procedures which they may have been told by friends or family are "painful". By coming in for regular checks and cleans and making sure you adopt good oral hygiene habits you'll not only overcome your fear of the dentist but will minimise the risk of developing serious dental complications.