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.


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.

A mouthguard failure serves as a prompt reminder for Sign-on season.

Defending your smile with a custom-made mouthguard

In the news….

Young veterinary graduate Christina Johnson was wearing a Boil-and-Bite style of mouthguard from the chemist when she sustained facial injuries in a split second incident during a hockey match. Apart from painful lacerations, Christina also lost 2 of her front teeth and fractured a third. She was wearing a Boil and Bite mouthguard and thought she was protected.

Like Christina, many Australians LOVE sport!
While adults and children alike are signing up for their favourite sport it is timely reminder to be aware of the risks of facial trauma at any level of sport.

The cost of an injury to the teeth or jaw far exceeds the cost of a mouthguard.

Unfortunately dental injuries can lead to:

– Painful and disfiguring damage
– Lengthy recovery and expensive treatment
– Time off work or study

A mouthguard, custom-fitted by your dentist, is considered to provide the best protection for the teeth, lips and jaw.

Unfortunately not all mouthguards are created equal.
When considering mouthguard options for yourself or your family the Australian Dental Association suggest comparing the additional protection a custom-made mouthguard to inexpensive over-the-counter options. Over-the-counter mouthguards are infamous for being uncomfortable, ill-fitting and move around during play which can be dangerous at the time of impact.

  1. Over-the-counter stock mouthguard – are the cheapest option available at retail outlets. They are preformed, fit poorly and uncomfortable. They interfere with breathing and speech and give a false sense of protection.
  2. Boil-and-Bite Style – sold in chemists and sport retailers. When warmed they can be used to try to mould to the shape of a players’ mouth. They are uncomfortable and move around during play. The Australian Dental Association doesn’t recommend these and they should only be used in the short-term if there is no other alternative.
  3. Custom-made mouthguard are fitted by dental professionals. They are made from an impression (or mould) made from the patient’s mouth. They are the most comfortable option and are designed to allow speaking and normal breathing during play. There are also a range of mouthguard designs giving different levels of protection depending on the type of sport and the likely impact that will be sustained.

Wear the mouthguard at all times, including games and training sessions.

The 5 main reasons the ADA advocate custom-made mouthguards:
  • help protect teeth against impact
  • jaw joints are more protected
  • protect oral soft tissue
  • helps prevent injuries to the neck and jaw
  • helps reduce the incidence of concussion.

While signing up for your favourite team this year, we highly recommend investing in a well-fitting mouthguard. Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment for a custom-fitting on 3379 9300.

Kids Toothbrushing Tips and Strategies for Parents

Did you know only children over 8 years of age should be brushing their own teeth?

Even babies and toddlers can learn great habits from regular routine brushing. However, children lack the dexterity to clean properly for several more years. It is a great idea to allow your child to have a go at learning how to use a toothbrush, but an adult generally should be in charge of the cleaning twice daily for most children until the child is around 8 years old.

You should start brushing your baby’s teeth and gums twice daily from when the first tooth has erupted. Here are some handy tips and strategies we have come up with over the years which seem to have the greatest success.

Routine is the key

If daily brushing is predictable, expectations are clear and rewards are in place then brushing will become a normal part of the everyday routine.

7 Toothbrushing Tips and Strategies for Parents

  1. Kids Brushing Tips- Elmo Song
    A fun and catchy video your toddler will love.

    Small babies and toddlers will often need a distraction as you brush. This can be something as simple as looking at themselves in the mirror, swaddling, lying upside down on your lap or a funny tooth brushing song.

  2. Babies and Toddlers  – can have a “turn” at brushing. This can be a reward after the adult has done the brushing.
  3. Let them brush your teeth – this can give them a better perspective on what you are doing in their mouth during brushing time. If the toddler finds this fun, it can also be used as a reward for sitting still.
  4. For young children a fun weekly reward chart can work well to establish a routine. After a few weeks you could go shopping together for a new toothbrush. We have created one here for you to download, print and hang in the bathroom.

^CLICK TO DOWNLOAD – Toothbrushing Reward Chart

5.  DO – talk about germs, the nasty things they get up to and the damage they cause. Kids are fascinated by ugly germ stories !! But…DON’T – talk about a visit to the dentist, drills and needles as a negative consequence for not brushing properly. This will only cause anxiety about visiting the dentist in the future.

6.  Handy Tech Tips –  Using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer has made the biggest difference to many of our older kids and adult patients’ brushing routines. It also has alerts for when to move to the next part of the mouth so the molars are not forgotten.

There are toothbrush timing apps which can be useful such as:

Toddlers and preschoolers – Oral B Disney Magic Timer  – A fun and colourful app filled with Disney favourites and virtual calendar, stickers and rewards unlock more characters and albums with regular brushing. It can be used with or without purchasing the Disney branded toothbrushes and toothpaste.

For older kids and even adults Brush DJ – An award winning app. For an upbeat, energetic start to the day, play 2 minutes of your favourite songs from your phone or iPod with a visual reminder to move the brush around your mouth. Make brushing less boring while rediscovering your music collection.

7.  For extra-sensitive children – We understand that children have sensory challenges and a very low tolerance of anything touching their face, lips and teeth. With a bit of patience and desensitizing they will be brushing happily twice a day.

Start with very small achievements:

  • Child’s Soft Bristle Toothbrush or even start with using a face washer or soft flannel cloth to touch the chin and lips. Desensitizing the child using a predictable firm strokes starting at the cheekbones, nose and upper lips then moving to chin and lips.
  • Allowing the child to watch the mirror and count with you to the same number each time. Once you reach a certain number – brushing is over until next time.
  • Although a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste is needed for enamel protection, you may want to start with plain warm water at first if the child is very sensitive to taste.
  • If your child is particularly sensitive and you are concerned about their first dental visit, give us a call for a chat. We can discuss your particular concerns and strategies we find helpful.



Little smiles play a big role

Did you know that your child’s baby teeth play a huge role in their current health and development, as well as their future dental health?

At Sherwood Dental we are passionate about smiles of all sizes. Many of our patients ask us when is the best age to bring children in to have a dental appointment. Many people also wonder if a child’s baby teeth (otherwise known as deciduous) are important to their current and later dental and overall health.

It is important to bring your child in as early as possible to have their first dental appointment. In addition to this, your child’s baby teeth play a significant role in the development of their health and their future dental health.

The prevalence of dental decay in baby teeth may surprise you….

While baby teeth are very important to a child’s dental health, tooth decay in baby teeth is extremely prevalent. In a survey taken by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare the statistics reported that 48.7% of children aged 5-6 that were surveyed had a history of dental decay in their baby teeth. In addition to this statistic, the survey also reported that the average number of missing, decayed or filled baby teeth was 2.0 per child.


What can cause dental decay in a child’s baby teeth?

There are a number of different factors that can cause dental decay in baby teeth.


Why you should care about dental decay in baby teeth

While you child will develop a second set of teeth, a child’s baby teeth play a very important role in their health.

  • Baby teeth allow children to develop correct speaking patterns and pronunciation
  • Children are able to draw sufficient nutrients from their foods they are eating by chewing and digesting, which is enabled by baby teeth
  • Baby teeth act as placeholders for the adult teeth
  • The dental hygiene routine your child employs when they are young can stay with them for life and can shape their continuing relationship with their dental health

Tips to avoid dental decay in children

Parents can help their children avoid dental decay with a number of different steps. Some tips our dental professionals suggest is:

  • Supervising and being involved with your child’s dental hygiene, which includes helping them brush and floss their teeth until they can do it properly themselves
  • With regular dental check-ups with our team at Sherwood Dental we can treat and prevent the development of dental decay before it causes cavities and toothaches
  • Avoiding soft drinks and foods that are high in sugar, these things should only be enjoyed occasionally
  • Ensuring that their school lunches and the food and drinks they have at home are health


Comprehensive dental care for children

At Sherwood Dental we believe that children should start to visit our dental practice as young as possible, normally around three years of age. We also encourage our patients who are parents to bring their children in to their dental appointment so they can become familiar with visiting the dentist.  Our skilled dental professionals provide comprehensive dental care for every member of your family.

If you would like to know more about children’s dentistry, or to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact our Sherwood dental professionals.