What is an Oral Health Therapist?

What's an Oral Health Therapist?

An Oral Health Therapist is a registered dental practitioner with a dual qualification as a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Therapist. Here at Sherwood Dental we have a full time Oral Health Therapist: Xuru Chambers. Xuru (pronounced ‘sha-roo’) graduated from the University of Newcastle Bachelor of Oral Health program in 2013. She’s been practising as a Dental Hygienist, working closely with various general dentists and dental specialists in Sydney and on the NSW Central Coast. Prior to completing her Bachelor of Oral Health degree, Xuru was an experienced dental assistant with extensive knowledge in the industry.Learn more about Xuru.

An Oral Health Therapist can perform dental therapy and treatment services to children and adolescents, and dental hygiene services to people of all ages. Oral Health Therapists have a strong preventive focus and are committed to fostering positive attitudes towards oral health.

Preventive Treatment

Oral Health Therapists are considered preventive clinicians. They provide preventive treatments such as oral examinations, scale/cleans, periodontal treatment (for gum disease), fluoride treatments, radiographs (x-rays) and fissure sealants. Here at Sherwood Dental, our passionate Oral Health Therapist Xuru is looking after our patients’ hygiene needs, ensuring optimal health of their teeth and gums.

Adult Restorations

An Oral Health Therapist can place simple composite resin (white) fillings, where the majority of the natural tooth is still intact. Those that are more complex will be referred to our dentist, Dr Craig Duval – he’ll let you know about your restorative options.

Children’s Dentistry

Oral Health Therapists provide high quality dental care for children under the age of 18. This includes all treatments such as fillings, fissure sealants, deciduous (baby) tooth extractions, placing stainless steel crowns, deciduous tooth pulpotomies (partial root canal treatment), trauma and orthodontic assessments.

Your Child’s First Visit

Your Child’s First Visit
Toddlers usually have all 20 baby teeth by the age of two to three years old. We encourage all children by the age of 3 to come in for their first dental visit. This is always carried out in a fun, low-stress way to ensure they have positive dental experiences from the very beginning. We take them for a ride in the chair, and count their teeth. Sitting in Mum or Dad’s lap is fine, too! It may also help to attend dental appointments with older siblings, until they feel ready.

Periodontal treatment / Bleeding gums

Many of us have experienced bleeding gums at some point, usually when flossing. Many people see bleeding, and floss LESS because of it. Most people don’t know that healthy gums actually shouldn’t bleed. It often takes MORE flossing, and a professional clean with an Oral Health Therapist, to address it. The bleeding is most commonly caused by gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums – this occurs when plaque (bacteria) builds up between the teeth and under the gums, and isn’t removed properly (or often enough).

Fortunately, with professional care and diligent cleaning at home, gingivitis is a reversible condition. Left untreated, though, it can lead to the irreversible condition of periodontitis – permanent loss of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Left unchecked, people can lose teeth entirely. As part of our comprehensive hygiene program, Xuru will assess your gum health and help to improve your oral hygiene habits.

Teeth Whitening

Xuru has completed accredited studies with the Australian Dental Association QLD to assess and provide whitening services in a safe environment to suitable patients. Teeth whitening can commonly be performed in two ways: in-chair and take home whitening treatments.

In chair Whitening

A 2 hour session using a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide gel over 4 sessions of 15 minute treatments, accelerated by a special LED light to achieve an average of 4-8 shades whiter teeth. In chair whitening is a perfect choice to achieve overall significantly whiter teeth in a short period of time giving an almost instant result.

Take home whitening

Take home whitening is carried out in the comfort of your own home. Wearing custom made trays loaded with a lower concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide over a 2 week period for 30 to 60 minutes per day.

We offer FREE whitening consultations! Please feel free to contact our friendly staff to make an appointment, or if you have any further enquires.

Orthodontics

Xuru has extensive experience in orthodontics and can carry out most orthodontic adjustments. Dr Craig Duval will initially place the braces and provide a personalised treatment plan for each orthodontic patient.

Dr Craig and Xuru are committed to achieving your best oral health and look forward to seeing you all soon.

Tips to help make this a happy and healthy Christmas

Now, on a more serious note! Our sincere hope  is that everyone has a happy and healthy Christmas.

We’d like to remind everyone of some foods notorious for causing dental emergencies at this time of year. To avoid these ‘Christmas Culprits’, please take care when eating:

Pork crackling

Olives with pits (and even pitted olives may contain pits!)

Old-fashioned Christmas pudding, if Nanna hides the traditional coin inside

Boiled lollies

Ice – never use your teeth to crunch ice

Nuts – be sure to open shells with a nut cracker, not your teeth. 

Popcorn – part of a kernel wedged between teeth or under the gum may become infected, and often feels like severe toothach

Healthy teeth can cope with most foods, most of the time. In reality though, most of us have some compromised teeth. Chewing something hard or crunchy on teeth with fillings, or cracks, can lead to the tooth chipping or breaking, and likely toothache as well.

Some chewy, sticky morsels can pull fillings out – just the kind of emergency you’ll want to avoid over the holidays!

Consume high sugar foods and drinks in moderation. And beware of drinks that are both sugary AND acidic (a bad combination for tooth enamel): fruit juices, soft drinks, energy drinks, some sports drinks.

Alcohol – any alcoholic drink can cause dehydration and bad breath, but those sugary drink mixers can also be especially harmful to tooth enamel. 

Take care having fun these holidays.  Apart from food, certain summer holiday activities and Christmas gifts have been known to cause accidents and trauma to teeth: trampolines, diving into swimming pools or hitting the edge, falling off scooters and bicycles, and of course summer sport! Cricket, especially. 

We hope “everything is AWESOME…” this Christmas! So ‘kids’ (big and small), please remember….Lego sets now come with a brick separator tool!!

Do Wisdom Teeth need to be removed?

Not everyone has wisdom teeth; many people have less than 4. The number of Wisdom Teeth you have may depend on your ethnicity and just random genetic chance. 

Problems can arise during wisdom tooth development, due to your jaw size and/or the angle of the tooth, causing impacted wisdom teeth. It can also cause soft tissue irritation, especially if the area is difficult to clean.

Here are a few frequently asked questions we hear about Wisdom Teeth:

What problems can Wisdom Teeth cause? 

Inflammation and Infection

Inflammation and infection often starts around the top of the tooth. This is sometimes made worse by food trapping between the last two teeth or around soft tissue.

Crowding

Growth and eruption of wisdom teeth can cause nearby teeth to be pushed out of their correct position.

Cyst

A sac of fluid can build up around the tooth destroying bone and damaging nearby teeth.

DAmage to nearby molar

Pressure against the adjacent molars’ roots can cause decay and an abscess, resulting in serious damage to both teeth over time.

What symptoms can Wisdom Teeth cause?

The soft tissue over the wisdom tooth area can become red and swollen when your wisdom teeth are moving and trying to erupt.

When Wisdom Teeth are impacted there can be additional symptoms:

 · Jaw stiffness an/or swelling around the jaw.

 · Tender or bleeding gums.

 · Cheek irritation when tooth erupt sideways and rub on soft tissue.

 · Bad breath.

 · An unpleasant taste in your mouth.

 · Difficulty opening your mouth.

Often there are no apparent symptoms being caused by wisdom teeth even though problems are occurring under the gum.

Even if you can’t see your wisdom teeth, they shouldn’t be ignored. Impacted wisdom teeth can be sitting invisibly under the gum, and over time can cause problems with healthy adjacent teeth and even jaw problems or invisible abscesses. Periodic radiographs at routine dental visits are the best way to assess the development and potential for future problems.

Assessing your Wisdom Teeth

An OPG radiograph.

The best way to assess a wisdom tooth’s position and development is using OPG radiographs (sometimes called a full-jaw x-ray).  Depending on the position of your teeth position and your preferences, you may be referred to an oral surgeon for a general anaesthetic, however, most wisdom teeth are removed by a dentist under local anaesthetic, if they are currently causing symptoms or if they are likely to in the future.

When wisdom teeth need to be removed…

If a dentist or oral surgeon suggest that your wisdom teeth need to be removed, extraction of wisdom teeth is usually best done at a younger age if possible.  Removing the teeth before the roots have fully developed and while the surrounding bone is still less young and dense is usually advisable. Wisdom teeth removal in older people usually means a more intense recovery and longer healing time.

Sometimes, they can develop into functional molar teeth and cause few difficulties.

In many people however, they can cause problems, pain and infection. This is why wisdom teeth removal has become a common procedure.

If you are between 16 and 24 years old and haven’t had your Wisdom Teeth assessed recently, it is time to make an appointment. Early assessment and intervention can avoid painful and costly problems later.

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Why should you see a dentist regularly?

Why should you see a dentist regularly?

Our patients will know that at our practice we call regular routine visits and examinations,“Active Maintenance”.

We use this term on purpose because these visits are far more than a “check up” and are much more important than many people realize.

Keeping abreast of the latest advances in oral health research helps us to be able to keep the high standards of care that our patients really appreciate. A thorough clinical exam, oral cancer screen, professional clean and fluoride treatment are included routinely as part of an Active Maintenance visit at Sherwood Dental.

We use this term on purpose because these visits are far more than a “check up” and are much more important than many people realize.

Keeping abreast of the latest advances in oral health research helps us to be able to keep the high standards of care that our patients really appreciate. A thorough clinical exam, oral cancer screen, professional clean and fluoride treatment are included routinely as part of an Active Maintenance visit at Sherwood Dental.

Early Detection

Active Maintenance visits help to find small problems early so they can be addressed before becoming a painful and expensive burden or inconvenience… hence avoiding a painful emergency situation, also saving time and money.

This is important because the most common oral health problems including active decay, gingivitis and even periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) can be completely “silent” and not even noticed until they are very advanced.

Just like servicing the car …

…the time and effort it takes to make regular Active Maintenance visits greatly outweighs the inconvenience and expense of having an avoidable, time consuming and painful problem.

 

 

 

 

 

How often to see the dentist

The intervals between Active Maintenance visits at our practice are most commonly 6 months but can vary depending other oral and health factors. Some patients have higher risk factors, including family health history, chemotherapy or other medications may mean adjusting these intervals for certain patients to ensure the best care.
Most Sherwood Dental patients visit us for regular examinations and professional cleans That way they can receive optimal preventative care. Our patients are able to then maintain ideal dental health and hygiene between visits without being concerned about avoidable problems arising at the most inconvenient times.
This all too often means that many potential problems like a broken tooth, tooth abscesses needing root canal, or even tooth extractions can be avoided.

An Unfortunate Cycle


Some patients visit when they have a concern or even a painful problem in their mouth. When these patients start regular Active Maintenance and have they oral health stabilized, they no longer find themselves having to deal with one unpredictable dental emergency after another.
The benefits of having fresher breath, a renewed confidence to smile and to eat the food they like is such a relief. It also removes the constant worry about whether another painful emergency is just around the corner.

A Personalized Plan 

No two patients are alike so the Active Maintenance visit also includes a chat and advice about any required areas of FOCUS for oral hygiene between visits.
We team up with our patients to create a plan and identify any particular areas to REVIEW at the next visit.
If you are concerned that you may have some risk factors associated with gum disease; or if you would like to have an assessment and an active maintenance plan to specifically address your particular needs, we’d like to help. Please call our friendly team for an appointment or visit sherwooddental.com.au

Tips for Flossing your Teeth

Flossing Habits Sherwood Dental 2

Flossing Do’s and Don’ts

Flossing your teeth should be a daily habit for everyone. Understanding the importance of flossing daily is one thing. Getting into the habit of actually doing it is another. The more we floss and the healthier our gums are, the less sensitivity we have when flossing.

The more practice you have, the easier, quicker and more effective your technique will become.

DO hold your floss properly. Wrap it around your middle fingers and using thumb and index finger to control a short mid-section. Like this:

DON’T be miserly with your floss. You  will find it easier, quicker and more effective when using a 30-40cm length of floss. If the length is too short, it will be difficult to hold and control and may also fray quicker.

DO remember to floss ALL your teeth. The old saying that you only needing to floss the teeth you want to keep is a good one to keep in mind.

DON’T think that mouthwash is just as effective as flossing. It just isn’t. Mouthwash kills bacteria that sits on the outer surface of plaque. The mechanical action of flossing removes the plaque altogether.

DO floss all sides using the floss. Floss is most important for cleaning the “contact” (C) point between 2 teeth and for cleaning under the gumline at the base of each tooth.  

Allow the floss to gently slide down the tooth, below the gum line. This should be repeated for the adjacent tooth as well. (A and B)

DON’T pull the floss back and forth between your teeth. This can cause damage to the tooth and gum. Always use an up and down “scraping” motion using the floss in a C-shape.

DON’T pull the floss down onto your gum. Always direct the pressure against the side of your tooth, not in the direction of your gum. Using the floss in a C-Shape around your tooth will help with this.

DO brush after flossing. Flossing dislodges debris which it may still remain in between or around your teeth.

DON’T floss many times a day. Just floss effectively once a day. 

DO floss when you have enough time available so that you do a good job. Removing plaque and bacteria just before bedtime is a good idea because when we sleep, saliva flow reduces making our mouth less protected from bacterial damage.

DON’T be concerned if you notice a little blood after flossing. If this continues after 3-4 days of daily flossing, give us a call as your soft tissue health may need to be checked.

DON’T ignore areas where floss is starting to catch or snag. This could indicate a problem with your tooth or perhaps with a filling or crown in that area. Give us a call if this occurs to avoid dislodging your dental work. 

Dental Health Tips for Seniors

Senior’s Week 2017

FINDING A DENTIST THAT SUITS YOU:

Many people don’t think about seeing a dentist until something happens to a tooth.

 

It can be quite stressful to start to look at finding a dentist when you have a tooth that has cracked or you are in pain. Having already found a trusted dentist or dental practice can make a huge difference in such an emergency.

 

We recommend a regular visit to keep an eye on your dental health. This way any changes that occur to your teeth or soft tissue can be addressed early and quickly.

 

Emergencies never happen at a convenient time. Just like a good doctor, when you find a dentist you like and trust, you know you have someone to call when you have a question or dental problem.



Some tips on finding the dentist for you:

Are they local?

Are they easy to access with parking or public transport and ground floor entry?

Do they offer the kinds of services you may need? For example good quality crowns, denture care or dental implants.

 

What should you expect at your first visit.

At your first visit, did you feel comfortable?

Did you feel well informed and have any concerns addressed?

Was the setting and staff professional but also friendly and attentive?




A word on Private Health Insurance:

Beware if health funds recommending their “preferred providers” or “contracted dentists” for a reduced out of pocket expense. If you can find a dentist that isn’t contracted to a private health fund, you are much more likely to receive the important benefits of continuity of care with your dentist. Australian Dental Association have helpful information regarding private health insurance.

If you’d like to get to know Sherwood Dental you can pop in or give us a call on 3379 9300… or…

 

If it has been some time since your last visit and you really would like to get your oral health back on track, you may like our FRESH START program.

Why do adults get braces?

More and more adults are choosing to have orthodontic treatment.

Braces are not just for kids and teens anymore.

More and more adults are choosing to improve their smile in various ways and for many different reasons.  Here at Sherwood Dental about 70% of our orthodontic patients are adults.

 

0%
of our ortho patients are ADULTS
0%
are FEMALE

Smiling confidently has a huge impact on self esteem and lifestyle.

More and more adults of all ages are choosing to straighten their teeth because the feeling of having a great-looking, healthy smile is worth the investment.

Being proud to show off your smile is one of the really important factors influencing self-esteem.

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you and can have a really positive impact on those around you.

Are you embarrassed to smile?

If crooked teeth, difficulty cleaning or even jaw pain is causing you to smile less, then it may be time to consider an orthodontic assessment.

Transitioning from being afraid or embarrassed to smile…

… to being able to smile FREELY and CONFIDENTLY, not only has a huge impact on the way you feel but also the way people interact with you.

Why have my teeth moved recently?

Even if your teeth were once straight, as you get older your teeth can move.

This change of position can occur because of:

  • a change in your facial muscle tone
  • wisdom teeth development
  • loss of tooth support from periodontal disease
  • injury or some medical conditions

Other health reasons for straightening your teeth

You not only want your teeth to look great, they also have a job to do.

Properly aligned teeth are needed for eating, speaking and smiling with ease and comfort.

Teeth position

  • accidental cheek biting
  • poor food chewing
  • poor brushing and flossing
  • tooth decay and infection
  • gum disease
  • wearing away of enamel

   Jaw position

  • jaw clenching
  • jaw pain
  • severe headaches
Correctly aligning your bite can allow jaw, face and neck muscles to relax and work in harmony.

Now there are more advanced techniques that also LOOK better

You no longer need to be embarrassed or self-conscious about the way your orthodontic treatment looks.

Gone are the days when all braces were the “train track” metal brackets and wires.

Improved orthodontic methods are now available.

Compared to years gone by, modern orthodontic treatment is far more efficient and looks better.

  • You can now have your teeth straightened in as little as 6 months.
  • Modern methods are less painful

There is a now a choice of discrete options to move your teeth.

  • Removable plastic aligners ( Invisalign ). Removable aligners also allow you to eat, brush and floss normally.

 

Braces are now more affordable

  • Over the years, with improved research and development, orthodontic treatment has become more affordable.
  • Some general dentists have had additional orthodontic education and training. They are able to help many of their patients with orthodontic services, rather than referring them to a specialist.
  • As an adult you are able to make your own decisions about the way your smile looks, unlike when you were a teenager.
  • Many heath funds allow benefits to be paid for orthodontic treatment.
  • No-interest payment plans are available and are very popular for adults. You can start improving your smile now and pay small amounts over time.

No-interest PAYMENT PLANS

Start improving your smile & pay over time. 

The cost and timeframe of orthodontic treatments vary widely. The severity of tooth crowding or misalignment are the most significant factors determining treatment time and therefore cost.

Contact Sherwood Dental to organise a FREE orthodontic consultation. You can find out what is possible and most importantly, what options will best suit your needs and lifestyle.

You will not only have lovely straight teeth and a confident smile, your teeth will also be easier to keep clean and healthy.

Call our friendly team now (07) 3555 7975.

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5 Things that can happen in your mouth every night (the good the bad and the ugly)

Apart from your usual oral hygiene routine, you probably don’t think about your teeth very much during the day. So it’s quite likely that while you are sleeping, your mouth is the last thing on your mind. You spend much of your life sleeping, so what’s actually going on in there while you’re in dreamland?

  1. REPAIR

After brushing before bed, the fluoride from your toothpaste goes to work to help remineralise teeth so they can recover from the acid attacks of the day.

  1. BACTERIA DON’T SLEEP

Now we know that our patients always brush before bed, but in case you were ever tempted to skip a night….brace yourself, it’s ugly….

…bacteria that naturally live in your mouth feed on the food you eat. Just like every other living organism, these bacteria excrete waste products after a meal. This waste is so acidic, it breaks down tooth enamel, which leads to active decay and toothache.

  1. YOUR MUSCLES MAY RELAX

Ideally, your muscles relax and rest while you are sleeping to regenerate and restore energy for the next day. For certain people with particular skull, jaw and facial anatomy, this can lead to closing of the airway and snoring. In some it can even lead to a dangerous condition called obstructive sleep apnoea.

  1. OR YOUR MUSCLES MAY TENSE

If you are one of the 16% of the population who involuntarily grind and clench their teeth when sleeping, you may be surprised to hear your teeth are undergoing pressures of 17kg/cm² of tooth surface, night after night.  It’s no wonder the effects on tooth structure can be compared to those caused by geological forces and erosion. Protective night splints can help prevent damage to tooth structure and the pain associated with jaw problems.


  1. SALIVA DECREASES

Saliva production decreases. This makes sense right? We don’t really need it while we’re asleep and it’s a natural mechanism to prevent dehydration. However, bacteria that are present in your mouth become more active and numerous when there is no saliva to wash them away. So during the night, bacteria proliferate and party-on, feeding on mucus and breaking down protein, releasing sulphur gasses (rotten egg gas) … Yes that’s what many of us know as morning breath.

We all think MORNING BREATH  is unpleasant. Contrary to many beliefs, it’s also NOT NORMAL and can be a sign of unwanted infection, gum inflammation and other systemic diseases.

To talk to us about ensuring a healthy mouth 24 hours a day, please call our friendly team on  07 3555 7975.

Wishing our patients a happy and safe Easter break

It’s this time of year where we all enjoy an Easter treat or two.

We have some tips to enjoy Easter and keep your teeth healthy too.
  1. Brush after eating sweet treats.
  2. Consider some low sugar food alternatives as well as fun Easter holiday crafts for kids that don’t involve sweets.
  3. Avoid Easter eggs within a hour of bedtime.
  4. Try to keep treats to meal times.
  5. Try giving children small portions of chocolate which won’t stay in their mouth for too long.
Here are some fun ideas and websites to check out this Easter break.

Click these images for recipes:

Easter Bunny Bagels
Easter Bunny Bagels
Easter Bunny Soldiers
Easter Bunny Soldiers

 

 

 

 

Easter Carrot Cheeseball
Easter Carrot Cheeseball

 

 

 

 

Health Insurance Policies – Do you get what you pay for?

The government has given the green light to the next rise in health fund premiums in April.

Many of our patients are in health funds, including my own family. It’s timely that we should be reassessing our available options to ensure we can be confident that our extras insurance policies represent good value for money?

With NIB, Medibank Private and BUPA all reporting record profits over the last few weeks, we really need to assess whether a ‘Mutual Fund’ is better rather than the ‘For Profit’ funds. We also encourage our patients to consider whether to drop their Extras cover completely, as a survey by Choice showed 85% of Australian patients who responded showed 3 years or more in a row where they paid more for extras cover than they received back.

The Medicare surcharge only applies if you do not have hospital cover, so extras cover really is optional for most patients.

We’ve put together some information and independent resources you might find helpful.

Australian Dental Association

Understandably the ADA has been proactive in ensuring dental patients are well informed before the April price rise. 
Some suggested points to consider:

• How much of your treatment costs does your fund cover?
• Are you aware that you may be better off with a not-for-profit insurer that can give you higher benefits and lower premiums than for-profit funds?
• Does your fund let you choose your own dentist without any restrictions?

ABC news

“Consumer advocates said the annual rise in premiums provided a good opportunity for people to review their options…”

Read the full article here

 

CHOICE – online

has some unbiased resources to help make a decision that makes sense for you and your family in 2017. Read Choice’s article here.

Sometimes patients ask who we’d recommend and it’s hard to recommend any fund that puts the profit it returns to shareholders above what it pays back to members. So, if you feel you need Extras cover, then we’d always recommend one of the smaller mutual funds. It’s also possible to have your Hospital cover with one insurer and your Extras cover with another. We hope this information has helped you make an informed decision as to whether you even need Extras cover.