General Dentistry

Regular examinations and cleans

The best way to look after your teeth for life is prevention. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends regular dental visit, every six months, to maintain good oral health and prevent future disease. Did you know that by the time you experience tooth pain, it is sometimes too late to ‘save the tooth’? This is why regular examinations, dental x-rays and preventative cleans with your dentist is imperative to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Did you also know that your dentist screens you for oral cancer and other diseases of the mouth? This is particularly important in patients who smoke and as we age. Just as you may visit your GP or dermatologist for a skin cancer check, your dentist will perform an oral cancer check.


Dental x-rays are a pivotal aspect of any dental exam, as they assist with diagnosis of even the earliest sign of decay. It is recommended that those with minimal risk of decay have regularly x-rays every two years, whereas those with increased risk of decay e.g. high sugar diet, poor oral hygiene, recent incidence of decay, poor saliva, should be having x-rays as often as every six months. If you have any concerns regarding xray exposure, speak to your dentist for reassurance. However, it is interesting to note that the amount of radiation you would be exposed to per dental xray is just a little more than what you would get when eating a banana!

Gum disease

What is gum disease? Gum disease is another term for what dentists call periodontal disease. It can often take different forms depending on the degree of progression:

  1. – Gingivitis A mild form of periodontal disease where the gums are red, swollen and bleed easily especially when trying to brush or floss. It is most often caused by inadequate oral hygiene and is reversible with proper professional dental care as well as improved home oral hygiene routine. Remember, ‘healthy gums don’t bleed!’.
  2. – Periodontitis This results when untreated gingivitis progresses, with dental plaque hardening into calculus and depositing along the gumline or underneath the gums. This acts as an irritant to the gums stimulating an immune response, which results in the destruction of the ligaments and bones that hold teeth in place. As this process advances, teeth can become mobile and be lost.
  3. Gum disease affects most people at some stage of their life. Did you know that 3 out of 10 Australians suffer from moderate to severe gum disease? The incidence increases with age, with almost 40% of Australians over the age of 55 suffering from periodontal disease.

Prevention of periodontal disease is key, as once it has commenced it can be very challenging to treat especially when there has been damage to gums, ligaments and bones. The two best ways to prevent periodontal disease are:

  1. – Good oral hygiene: Brushing teeth for 2-5 minutes twice a day and flossing daily
  2. – Regular dental visits: See your dentist for regular cleans, usually every six months, or earlier if you have active periodontal disease

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