How often should I get a dental check up?
This depends on the frequency of decay or gum disease in your mouth – most people should see their dentist for an exam at least once a year. Picking problems up while they are small will definitely help to reduce the potential for discomfort, pain and expensive treatment.
Why is a healthy mouth important for general health?
Our mouths are like a window to the rest of our body. It is important to be able to chew properly to provide our body with the nutrition it needs. Poor health in general is often first noticed within the mouth. Your dentist checks not only your teeth and gums but is on the look-out for other signs of medical problems that you may have.
What can I expect on my first visit to a dentist?
Unless your first visit is for the relief of pain, your dentist will carry out a full exam of your teeth and the surrounding tissues. The dentist will normally take x-rays to check between the teeth and see under old fillings. Your dentist will then come up with a treatment plan with your agreement and arrange a series of appointments as required for you to get your dental work done.
How long do dental appointments take?
This depends on what is required; 15-30 minutes for an exam or consultation or up to an hour for more complex procedures. At Tooth Works, we try to tailor our patients’ appointments to suit them, their finances and lifestyles as much as we can.
When should I remove my wisdom teeth?
Your dentist will be able to advise you of this. There is no “right time” and some people may never need their wisdom teeth removed. It all depends on how much space there is, whether they are causing symptoms or at risk of getting decay or causing decay in the neighbouring tooth. If you have a niggling wisdom tooth, it is worth getting them checked as some just aren’t suitable to get out in an emergency situation. It is certainly a good idea to get them checked prior to overseas travel or before starting a family.
What is the best toothbrush to use?
Research has shown that the most effective cleaning is done with a good electric toothbrush such as the Philips Sonicare range of rechargeable toothbrushes. However, these are not always the best option for some patients. The best manual toothbrush is a soft brush, in good condition (i.e. no splayed bristles) with a fairly small head so that it can be easily manoeuvred into all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.
There are also a great range of interdental brushes, special little brushes for getting between the teeth, where an ordinary brush misses.
Why do I need to have x-rays taken?
There is a lot more to a tooth than the part that can be seen in the mouth. X-rays are a valuable tool for getting “the whole picture”. They enable your dentist/hygienist to gain a lot of information that may otherwise be missed. With x-rays, we can determine the bone levels between your teeth, see spots of decay forming between your teeth and see underneath any fillings. They are also used to help diagnose abscesses under or between the teeth. If x-rays are taken on a regular basis, they also provide a great picture of any changes that could be occurring. Occasionally they may help detect other problems within the jaw such as a cyst forming.
When I get my teeth cleaned, will they be whiter?
Unfortunately, not always. Tooth cleaning is designed to remove unwanted plaque and calculus (tartar) from the surfaces of the teeth. These are basically huge populations of bacteria that can badly affect your teeth and your gums. The process of teeth cleaning will also remove surface stains on teeth e.g. tea. coffee or smoking stains. It does not penetrate the teeth so will not whiten stains that may be caused below the surface or at the edges of old fillings. Sometimes, bleaching or replacement of old, stained fillings may help with whitening.
Why do my gums bleed?
The most common cause of bleeding gums is gum disease. This is when plaque and tartar cause inflammation to the soft tissues and bone that surrounds your teeth. This can be very minor but can progress to becoming more severe. If you have bleeding gums, it is well worth making a visit to a dental hygienist for assessment, cleaning and some expert homecare advice.
What can ACC cover for my dental visits?
ACC normally cover any accident to your teeth that has not occurred during normal eating. For most treatment, ACC do not pay dentists the full amount and so we usually charge a surcharge to bring the fee up to the same cost as a private fee. In most cases, the treatment on children under the age of 18 years will not incur a surcharge.
Occasionally, if the tooth in question is already deemed weakened by a previous dental treatment, then ACC will reduce their cover accordingly. In this case, the patient may be sent an account to cover the difference.
If you or your child receives any bumps to your teeth, it is a good idea to get them checked and have the accident registered with ACC as soon as possible.
Do I have to pay if I have private health insurance?
Yes. Most health insurance providers ask that the patient pay first then reimburses them after the claim has gone in, however we now offer Southern Cross members easy-claim. We submit the claim to Southern Cross at reception directly after your appointment and then you only need to pay the balance that Southern Cross does not cover. Depending on your policy type there may be no charge for your appointment.
Does Tooth Works accept payment plans?
No, Tooth Works prefers payment in full at the time of treatment. If payment is likely to be difficult, please let your dentist or the receptionist know at the first appointment. We do understand that dental care is expensive and difficult to budget for. There are sometimes ways that we can help you to spread out the treatment and therefore the charges.
Why does dentistry seem so expensive?
There is no doubt about it, all health care is incredibly expensive. Dentists receive no government subsidies apart from ACC and the school dental benefits system. The overheads for running a quality dental surgery are high and continuous.
Take a look around, next time you are at the dentist.
- Dentists employ a number of support staff to enable more efficient work and to prevent the likelihood of cross-infection.
- Dentists have strict rules (rightly so) for the sterilisation of dental tools – take a look at the expensive gear in the sterilisation area.
- Dentists’ procedures often require a large number of small but expensive materials and disposables.
- Most dentists are computerised now; there is a substantial cost in providing and regularly updating the hardware and software required.
- Those big dental chairs and equipment around them are all imported from overseas. They need regular maintenance and upgrades.
- We need x-ray machines to take x-rays and an expensive scanner to process them.
- Tooth Works conforms to the latest safety standards, right up to the body-protected power. Details such as these power points, lots of plumbing, the high-volume suction lines and compressed air lines and other invisible items are all expensive, compared with setting up an ordinary office, for example.
What do I bring if I am a new patient?
What are your payments and fees?
- Your dentist can provide you with an estimate for your treatment and, if requested, a full quote can be given in writing by your dentist at the end of your consultation.
- For complex cases, if requested we are able to send a letter outlining your treatment options and costs.
- Payment is required on the day of your appointment.
- A cancellation fee may be charged if you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept the following payment methods at Tooth Works:
- Personal Cheques
- Direct Credit (internet banking, phone banking)