Frequently Asked Questions
It’s common to have questions about dental therapy and teeth whitening; here are the most common questions.
What can an Oral Health Therapist do?
- Obtain and assess medical and oral health histories
- Exam oral tissues and recognise abnormalities
- Take and interpret radiographs
- Take intra and extra-oral photographs
- Diagnose dental caries
- Diagnose periodontal disease
- Prepare oral health care plans
- Consult with other health practitioners and refer as necessary to the appropriate practitioner/agency
- Provide oral health education, information and counselling to patients
- Apply and dispense prescription medicines and preventive agents
- Teeth whitening procedures
- Apply fissure sealants
- Administer topical local anaesthetic
- Administer local anaesthetic
- Remove hard and soft deposits from all tooth surfaces
- Extract primary teeth
- Place fillings, performing pulpotomies, placing stainless steel crowns on under 18 year olds.
- Recontour and polish restorations
- Take impressions, recording occlusal relationships, and make study models
- Construct and fit mouthguards and bleaching trays
- Remove sutures and place and remove periodontal dressings
- Assisting the dentist or dental specialist in implementing orthodontic treatment plans and carrying out orthodontic tasks
How often do you need to get your teeth cleaned?
This greatly depends on the individual and how healthy your mouth, as well as how well you are doing with your home care. As a guideline most people will come twice a year.
I have bad breath.. what can I do?
Most commonly you will likely have plaque, tartar, and bacteria building up in the mouth and you may potentially have gum disease also. An overload of bacteria in the mouth can cause bad breath. A hygiene visit will remove all the plaque and tartar and reduce the bacterial load in the mouth. Alternatively, if bad breath persists after a hygiene visit, it could be a symptom of other health issues happening further down the digestive tract, or a lesion, or pathology in the mouth.
How do you get rid of yellow teeth?
It may be a simple fix of seeing us for a scale and polish to have the plaque, tartar, and stains on the outside of your teeth removed. For deeper stains or discolouration of the teeth, your teeth will may need bleaching to restore their whiteness.
What do you do during a dental hygiene visit?
Typically a hygiene visit will include an examination of your gums, an oral cancer screen, and review of your personal home care plan. We also scale and clean away the plaque, tartar, and calculus in the mouth and remove any stains. Lastly the teeth are polished to restore your shine and get any last stains off.
Do you clean children’s teeth?
Yes we do, I usually allow 30 minutes for a ‘scale and polish’. Unfortunately this is not funded by the Ministry of Health
How long are dental hygiene visits?
For the majority of clients, dental hygiene visits are around 45 minutes.
Do you have a referring dentist?
I am able to make referrals to a dentist of your choice. If you don’t have a dentist I would be happy to provide you with some names and numbers. As I work independently, I do not hold bias towards one particular dentist.
What are the side effects of teeth whitening?
Everybody responds differently to whitening, and sensitivity is sometimes a temporary side effect. It is possible you may get some mild gum irritation with at home whitening, however if you follow our instructions the risks are minimized.
What causes teeth discolouration?
The most common reasons for teeth to yellow or stain are:
Using tobacco, drinking certain liquids such as coffee, soft drinks, tea, red wine etc, and certain foods, as well as not taking good care of your teeth. Aging also causes teeth to be less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker. Genetics can also play a part (some people just have whiter teeth than others).
Intrinsic staining such as that from certain medications (eg: antibiotics, acne medication etc) can also cause teeth to discolour. It is possible for mild to moderate cases of tetracycline staining to be whitened although a certain level of commitment is required as this process can be slow.
Is teeth whitening painful?
You should always be comfortable when getting your teeth cleaned professionally. If the treatment is uncomfortable you need to let your hygienist know as there are methods and technologies available to prevent and reduce sensitivity. We always endeavor to create a relaxing pain free experience and can offer local anaesthetic if required.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Your teeth will always be whiter than what they previously were, however teeth will become discoloured again through the consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks, certain foods, smoking, and aging. Results from in-clinic whitening generally last 12-24 months. Although teeth do re-stain, it’s very easy to maintain a white smile for life by regular hygiene visits and the use of maintenance products.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Yes! Teeth whitening under the supervision of a dental professional has long been regarded as safe and does not damage enamel or cause harm to your teeth and gums. The active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, has been safely used for many years in the treatment of bleaching teeth. Bleaching will not weaken existing fillings or cements either.
I am a smoker – will teeth whitening work?
Yes, smoking stains can be whitened. (can link to before and after page)
I have had some whitening trays made for me in the past, I just need more gel.
Great! As long as the trays still fit, whitening gel syringes can be purchased. These are $20 per syringe. Two syringes will give you 6 applications, which is usually plenty. (link to products page)
Do you have tips for keeping teeth white after treatment?
After each whitening treatment I will thoroughly go through the post care instructions and give everyone a whitening pen to follow up at home with. Refraining from high coloured food and drink for 24 hours is recommended. Continued care of good oral hygiene is essential also. The use of home products containing hydrogen peroxide, such as Colgate Optic White 3% Renewal toothpaste is a great everyday toothpaste to use to maintain your new white smile. (can link to products page)
Does getting your teeth cleaned hurt?
No, seeing your hygienist should not cause you pain. If you suffer from sensitive teeth there are many ways we can make your visit more comfortable, and in extreme cases this may include local anaesthetic. A very few people may experience some minor sensitivity or tenderness afterwards but that is short lived and minor in nature. If you are experiencing pain after a deep cleaning it is recommended that you call your dental hygienist who can offer the best advice for you personally.
Does teeth whitening actually work?
Yes, absolutely. Prior to starting the whitening treatment, I will take a shade of your teeth from the shade guide, and take a ‘before’ photo. After the whitening treatment, I will do the same. You will be able to see first hand the new shade and the before/after photo. I do not edit or photoshop any photos. Not only that, but you will see a noticeable difference in the mirror straight away. Research states about 1% of the worlds population’s teeth will not whiten. This is a very small percentage and I am yet to have a clients teeth that have no moved at all.
Can you whiten teeth with braces?
No. As a large portion of the tooth is covered with a bracket, it is best to wait until the braces are removed, and then teeth whitening can be performed.
Do you offer teeth whitening for children?
No, teeth whitening is not recommended for children under 18. In exceptional circumstances it can be done on children over 16, however an assessment and consultation is needed first.
Do you sell at home teeth whitening products?
Legally any teeth whitening products sold online or over the counter can only have up to 6% hydropgen peroxide. As a dental professional, I am licensed to stock higher quality products, meaning to get the best quality product, I will need to consult and asses you first.
How long is the teeth whitening treatment?
The in clinic treatment takes around 60 minutes.
Do you have questions?
We are only an email away and happy to help