At Dental Care @ Berri we believe in a preventive approach to dental care. It is much smarter and more economical to prevent dental disease like tooth decay and gum disease rather than waiting until you have symptoms like pain, bad breath or loose teeth and then having to treat it.
We recommend for all of our patients to have a hygiene appointment on a regular basis. This is usually every six months, but can be more or less often determined by your dental and overall health needs. This appointment is performed by a dental Hygieneist or Oral Health Therapist (OHT) who is specifically trained and qualified in the prevention of dental diseases.
At each hygiene appointment, our gentle and caring Hygieneists/ OHTs will assess the condition of your teeth and gums and check for any concerns. They will remove the plaque and tartar buildup from above and below your gums and around your teeth. This buildup contains thousands of bacteria, some of which causes the gums to become swollen and if left to grow can eventually lead to gingivitis (red, swollen and bleeding gums) and occasionally more serious gum disease. Some bacteria also play a role in tooth decay. Your Hygieneist/OHT will remove the buildup that you can’t get to with your toothbrush. This allows the gums to become healthy again and helps to prevent dental disease.
Our hygiene team are dedicated to making your hygiene appointment comfortable and will listen to your concerns. They are fantastic at helping our patients improve their home dental care routines and work with you in a positive and supportive manner to find the best oral health products for you individually.
Our hygiene team often finish your appointment with a remineralising treatment. Using an application of fluoride or Tooth Mousse helps to lower your risk of tooth decay by replenishing the minerals in your teeth which are lost every day from eating and drinking. Your Hygieneist/OHT will discuss with you the best option for your needs.
Gum disease (periodontitis) is a condition where the bone surrounding the tooth starts to shrink away. If left untreated this can lead to loose teeth and eventually premature tooth loss.
At Dental Care @ Berri, our hygiene team checks for signs of gum disease at every hygiene appointment. Once it is diagnosed, treatment to remove the cause of the gum disease is usually carried out by our hygiene team over a series of appointments.
Gum disease is a chronic disease and the loss of bone cannot be reversed. With regular ongoing professional maintenance, the disease can be managed and gum health maintained for as long as possible.
Oral Cancer Screening
At every hygiene appointment, our practitioners will check for all pathology including any early signs of oral cancer. All of the tissues of the mouth are checked including the tongue, lips, the floor of the mouth, cheeks and palate. There is an increasing prevalence of oral cancer in the Australian population and the effects of this can be devastating and potentially fatal.
If you are concerned about something in your mouth or neck which doesn’t seem normal or you have a sore that isn’t healing, we recommend for you to make an appointment with us so it can be checked. In some cases, it’s best to monitor these areas and sometimes a pathology sample needs to be tested, or seen by an oral surgeon.
Early detection of oral cancer helps to improve the patient’s survival rate and this is another great reason to have regular examinations with our team.
Fissure sealants are a cost-effective tool in the prevention of tooth decay in the grooves and fissures of your teeth. The sealant is a plastic material which fills in and seals the deep grooves of teeth, which may otherwise collect and trap plaque bacteria, leading to decay. The placement of sealants is a painless and non-invasive procedure. Sealants are most beneficial straight after the adult back teeth erupt but are often applied to adults with deep, difficult to clean grooves.
It is very important to protect the teeth while playing certain sports where there is a risk of an impact to the face or head. Sports that typically require its players to wear a mouthguard include football, hockey, soccer, karate and combat sports, lacrosse and even basketball.
Professionally made sports mouthguards are custom made to fit your teeth, so they don’t fall out easily and they give you the best protection from injury. They can also be adjusted, if necessary, as your child grows.
There is a wide selection of colors and colour combinations to choose from, including team colours for most sports teams.
Preventing tooth wear
Dental erosion occurs due to sugars and acids in a person’s diet. When acidic foods and drinks are consumed, the acid causes the enamel of the teeth to become weaker and wear away. If the patient tends to grind their teeth, the wear is exacerbated and if it continues the surfaces of the teeth become flat and sometimes even crater-like. If left untreated, the wear can cause so much damage that the tooth becomes sensitive and eventually the nerve of the tooth can become damaged.
The best way to avoid tooth erosion is to avoid food and drink which is particularly acidic such as soft drink, sports drinks, wine and citrus fruits. If you do have these types of food or drinks, rinse with water afterwards and avoid brushing your teeth for at least half an hour.
People with a dry mouth are more likely to suffer from erosion, so it’s very important to keep well hydrated with water. There are also other products to prevent erosion which can be recommended by our team.
Toothbrush abrasion occurs when someone is heavy handed with their toothbrush or is using a brush with hard bristles or is using an incorrect brushing technique. The toothbrush damage causes wear on the side of the teeth, often appearing as a sharp groove just above the gumline. If left untreated, the wear can progress towards the nerve of the tooth and start to cause sensitivity, particularly to cold and touch.
Once the wear has become significant, it may be necessary for the wear to be covered and protected using a white filling material. This prevents further damage to the natural tooth and stops any sensitivity caused by the wear.
To avoid toothbrush abrasion, we recommend to use a toothbrush with soft bristles or a powered brush and to brush in a gentle circular motion. Try to reduce the force you apply to your teeth when brushing by using your opposite hand or gripping your brush more lightly.
Attrition and Bruxism
Attrition is the abnormal wearing of the biting surfaces of the teeth due to an irregular bite or jaw habits. It may be caused by clenching and grinding teeth (bruxism) and is particularly noticeable if some teeth are crooked or crowded. Attrition often looks like the cusps and biting surfaces of the teeth have been worn down flat.
To avoid attrition be aware of any clenching or grinding habits and try to stop doing it during the day. If you are grinding at night you may require a nightguard to stop the damage to your teeth. Stress reduction is also an important factor for many people. Other effects of bruxism may include an earache, jaw aches, headaches and migraines and trouble opening and closing. Continued bruxism can lead to problems with the jaw joint known as the TMJ. Daytime awareness helps to reduce bruxism during the night. During the day, your teeth should not touch together apart from when you are eating.