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Elsternwick Family Dental

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M: 0404 695 356
P: 03 9528 4359
Dental FAQ
Dental FAQ's

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.



Q: What should I do if I have bad breath?

A: Bad breath can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.


Q: What causes tooth decay?

A: Tooth decay is caused by acids which are produced by bacteria in the presence of sugar. To prevent decay these bacteria, sugar and acids must be periodically removed by way of brushing and flossing.


Q: What is the best kind of toothbrush?

A: Generally speaking, a soft bristled toothbrush is best. Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric, anything harder than soft, is too hard. Stiff bristles may give you that clean feeling, but they can also abrade your teeth and cause gum recession.


Q: How many times a day should I brush my teeth?

A: Most dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day.  Brushing after every meal (and flossing at least once a day) is also a good way to maintain dental health.


Q: When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?

A: A child should have his first dental appointment no later than his third birthday.  Many dentists recommend a child have his first appointment when his first tooth comes in.


Q: How often should I get dental checkups?

A: For most people, a checkup and cleaning every 6 months is standard protocol. Depending on a person's dental health, however, a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months may be recommended.


Q: What causes oral cancer?

A: Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer.  Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer.  Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease.  Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer.


Q: What are the warning signs of oral cancer?

A: Early symptoms of oral cancer include: a sore on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat that does not heal; a lump on the lip, in the mouth, or in the throat; a red or white patch found anywhere in the mouth; unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth; swelling of the mouth; and any difficulty or discomfort felt in chewing or swallowing. 


Q: What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

A: Cosmetic Dentistry is the ultimate mixture of art and dental science. These procedures aim to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing smiles; utilizing the latest restorative technologies and materials and preserving as much tooth structure as possible.


Q: Who is a candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry treatment?

A: Previously, little could be done to attain the smile you always dreamed of. The treatments available to treat chipped, stained or crooked teeth were limited. Yet, today with the vast range of Cosmetic Dentistry treatments available, every smile can be aesthetically enhanced.


Q: When should my little one have their first check-up?

A: Your child’s first visit should occur at about 12months of age or at the first eruption of their teeth. However it is never too late to have a first visit. You will experience our philosophy of non-judgment service and care.


Q: How often should my child see the practitioner?

A: A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, we can advise about a custom plan based on your child’s oral health.


Q: What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A: A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime. We can provide you with a free brush suitable for your baby.


Q: Is thumb sucking and/or dummies harmful for my child's teeth?

A: Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, your dentist can discuss a plan with you.


Q: When should we use toothpaste and what amount should we use?

A: Prior to the ages of 2-3 you can clean your child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. At about the age of 3 you are able to introduce toothpaste in your child’s brushing routine. Ensure you observe your child and make sure that no more than a pea-sized amount is used. Encourage your child to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing.

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