News & Tips from Somerset Dental

Get the latest news and up-to-date tips in oral care from Somerset Dental's dentistry team.

Store Bought VS Dentist: The Mouthguard Chronicles

Store Bought VS Dentist: The Mouthguard Chronicles

When most of us last wore a mouthguard, we were far younger than we are now, and they were usually purchased from a sports store and came in a hard, plastic container that was slightly less malleable than the mouthguard itself. If you had lost yours and needed to buy one on the way to the game, chances are you knew you were in for a painful game. And not because of the opposition.

Having a mouthguard properly fitted by a dental professional is an important step to safe game play. The benefits to having a custom-fitted mouthguard are quite extensive. Apart from being better fitted and more effective in protecting your mouth, most reports point to no negative impacts on athletic performance.

Mouthguards can be custom made to provide the best fit and protection for your teeth. The dentist makes an impression of your teeth and creates a plaster model to ensure the closest possible fit. A good mouthguard needs to be at least 4mm thick to provide a cushioning effect that protects against impact. Also, a snug fit that still allows the wearer to talk is vitally important in a big game.

On the other hand, boil-and-bite or store bought mouthguards can be purchased at a sports store. They are self-fitted by immersing in boiling hot water, then rapidly cooled then bitten in to the malleable plastic so that it takes the shape of your teeth and gums.

A product like this can be less effective and far more uncomfortable, due to it not conforming perfectly to your bite or anatomy of your jaw. What’s more, boil-and-bite mouthguards had no report of negative effects due to discomfort and breathing difficulties.

Having said this, if you are in a bind, any mouthguard is better than none.

At Somerset Dental Care, we can take moulds of your teeth and have a custom fit mouthguard made to ensure maximum protection and comfort. To book an appointment to come and see us, please feel free to call on 1300 707 046, or use our online appointment form here, and one of our team will contact you for confirmation as soon as possible.

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Is Chewing Gum Bad for My Teeth and Gums?

Is Chewing Gum Bad for My Teeth and Gums?

In essence, this question may seem a little silly, but in actual fact it has some merit to it. However, before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s take a little trip in time to where it all began.

While many believe chewing gum, or ‘gum (depending on where you are from), to be a recent invention, however, the ancient Greeks were gnawing on a chewy tree sap called Mastiche, which was derived from the Greek word ‘mastichan’ meaning ‘to chew’. But, they were not the only ones to take up this practice.

On the other side of the world, the Mayans enjoyed chewing on Tsictle, the sap of the Sapodilla tree. Farther north, Native Americans living in what is now known as New England, enjoyed the sap of Spruce trees. By the mid-1800s, entrepreneur John Curtis introduced Spruce-sap based chewing gums in to the US, which were sold as ‘Maine Pure Spruce Gum’.

From Spruce-sap based gums, came another formula made with petroleum-driven paraffin wax, which gum makers added to sugar to make it sweeter. Eventually, makers returned to a trusted source; tree sap. The preferred sap to be used as the basis of the gum was the Mayans’ Tsictle, known as ‘Chicle’ in the US, which came to dominate the market.

However, this article is about the effects of chewing gum on your teeth and gums, not a history lesson. Nonetheless, it’s still kind of interesting. Now, to the question at hand:

 

Is chewing gum bad for my teeth and gums?

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), it all depends on the type of chewing gum you use.

Firstly, you need to know the benefits of the physical act of chewing gum. When you chew gum, your mouth generates saliva which helps neutralise and wash away the acids produced when food is broken down by the plaque on your teeth. Over time, this acid wears down the enamel, creating ideal conditions for decay. Increased saliva flow also carries more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

As a result, the ADA recommends that you chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating, in order to prevent tooth decay. Of course, we all know the damage that sugar can cause to your teeth, so sugarless chewing gum is the preferred recommendation. It will ensure that you get all the benefits that chewing offers, without compromise.

As with many dental queries, the correct answer depends on many factors. Chewing gum is not bad for your teeth or gums depending on the type of chewing gum you use. The next time you are lined up at the registers and just want something to freshen your breath, or to just chew, sugarless chewing gum is by far the best option.

At Somerset Dental, we will always advise that chewing gum is by no way a replacement for a good, thorough brushing twice daily. If you, or any of your family start to complain of sensitivity or pain to a tooth or their gums, please contact us on 1300 707 046, or you can make an appointment by filling out our online form here and someone will be in contact with you to confirm your booking.

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KIDS This is how you get the most out of the tooth fairy

KIDS This is how you get the most out of the tooth fairy

It’s no secret the Tooth Fairy values teeth. After all, they pay good money for the ones you leave under your pillow. However, what is not widely discussed, is how the Tooth Fairy determines the amount you get for your teeth. But wonder no more, we’re happy to tell you.

The Tooth Fairy bases her decision on the condition of your teeth. So, if you are interested in getting top dollar for your teeth, here are some suggestions (you can pass on to your parents) on how to best care for your teeth:

No matter your age, you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride in it. For kids, it’s usually recommended that a low-fluoride toothpaste be used for the first eight years. Brushing twice a day will reduce tooth decay and help keep your teeth in great condition. If you’re under 18-months, you probably can’t read this but it’s time to start investing in the condition of your teeth

A child’s toothbrush is quite different from an adult’s, as it usually has a small oval head, soft bristles and a non-slip, cushioned handle designed for little hands to hold. They tend to have cartoons and colourful designs on the handle, making them a fun tool for dental hygiene. When storing your toothbrush, it’s best to not have them touching others to avoid spreading decay-causing germs (otherwise known as ‘cooties’).

Also, for the younger audience out there having their siblings read this to them, you can get infant ‘tooth and gum wipes’ that will start you on the right journey to investing in your future.

Most people tend to believe that flossing should only happen when the permanent teeth come through, but this is not the case. Once your teeth start to touch, it is time to floss. The next time you go shopping with mum & dad, make sure they get you some floss, so that food can be removed from between your teeth, ensuring bacteria causing germs can’t build up. It is recommended that you floss daily, maybe at the end of the day is best, because all meals should have been eaten before bedtime comes around.
Even

Even if you’re great at doing all of the above, it’s always a good idea to come and see your dentist at Somerset Dental Care. Think of it as a progress report on your investment. We will be able to check the condition of your teeth and make recommendations on how best to combat any potential issues, and provide assistance on the best methods for keeping your teeth in great condition.

Now that you know how to protect your Tooth Fairy Fund, don’t forget to share this with your little siblings, friends at school and especially with your parents. They will be happy to hear how the Tooth Fairy determines the value of your teeth, and will be more than happy to help ensure you do everything you can to increase their value.


Your first step is to get your dentist to look at your teeth. Your age plays a role, too. If you’re having trouble with your wisdom teeth, and you’re still not ready to part with your molars, you can talk to one our friendly consultants at Somerset Dental Care and find out what the best option is for you. Call us on 1300 707 046 to make an appointment.

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THE GREATEST SMILES IN HOLLYWOOD & HOW THEY GOT THEM.

THE GREATEST SMILES IN HOLLYWOOD & HOW THEY GOT THEM.

The rich and famous of Hollywood always appear to have perfect smiles. Everything from their lives to their pets, hair, clothes, shoes, accessories, cars and their teeth appear perfect.

It’s almost reasonable to imagine that most Hollywood actors and actresses have had some work done on their teeth. How else would they get those perfect smiles with super straight and white teeth?

Maybe some of them took extra care of their pearly whites as they were growing up. Maybe others had a whole lot of dental work done.

We’ve put together a list of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and the dental work they’ve had done.

Tom Cruise

Like many starting out in the industry, Tom caught attention based on his talent. Once he had established himself, he looked at ways to improve his physical appearance. It is understood that what started out as basic whitening and straightening of his teeth, eventually became an upgrade to a mouthful of veneers (custom made porcelain shells placed over teeth to improve appearance).

Zac Efron

Before he shot to stardom in Disney’s High School Musical, Zac Efron’s teeth were uneven, with a noticeable gap at the front. Since those early days, he has had his teeth straightened and whitened, which has seen the gap reduced to almost nothing.

Demi Moore

Over a decade ago, actress Demi Moore’s (Ghost, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle) teeth were looking a little yellowed and aged. Although she considered a number of cosmetic dentistry options, she finally settled on veneers, which provide a straight, white and natural look.

Jim Carrey

When you see an actor in a movie, you often think that their appearance is a result of make-up or special effects. This is not so with Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas. The chipped front tooth was a real chip that Carrey had suffered. The funny man had it bonded (tooth-coloured resin bonded with adhesive to the tooth) over ten years ago. He is known to remove the bonding for fans from time to time.

Celine Dion

Blessed with the voice of an angel, the Canadian born singer now has the smile of one as well. Back in the 1990’s, when her career was taking off, Celine had work done to her teeth that has seen them reduce in size, as well as becoming whiter.

At Somerset Dental, we are able to help you obtain the ‘Hollywood smile’ with our Veneer and Teeth Whitening treatments.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells that are designed to cover the front of your teeth. A model of your teeth will be made and sent to a dental laboratory, where a dental technician will replicate the model for your use.

When it comes to teeth whitening, Somerset Dental has a few options that you can choose from to suit your needs:

In-office Bleaching is a procedure conducted in the dental office, where a protective gel or rubber shield is placed on your gums to shield them from the dental bleach that will be applied to your teeth.

Home Bleaching is a method that uses whitening gel and a custom-fitted mouthguard to apply. Depending on your needs, some treatments may require twice-daily or overnight applications for two weeks.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste is another option that can be applied at home. While all toothpaste removes surface stains, ‘Teeth Whitening’ toothpastes have special chemicals and polishing agents to provide extra assistance with stain removal.

It’s easy to imagine that famous actors are born with perfect smiles, but just like all of us, they too need to visit a dentist. Therefore, if you are considering getting the ‘Hollywood smile’, let the team at Somerset Dental help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to schedule your consultation, and start your journey towards a brighter smile.

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AND THE WINNER IS…

AND THE WINNER IS…

THE ‘FUNNY’ SIDE EFFECTS OF LAUGHING GAS

The team at Somerset Dental Care were super excited by the responses to our Somerset Selfie Competition. There were a variety of entries which were judged on their individual merits based on:

  • Creativity
  • Personality
  • Originality

We’re pleased to announce that Angela Mihok is the winner of the Somerset Selfie Competition with the winning photo of her daughter Amelia Mihok. Congratulations Angela (and Ameila 😉), we hope you enjoy your iPad mini.

Somerset Selfie Competition Winner

We were so impressed with the quality of entries that we’ve decided to award a commendation prize to an additional eight entries. These entrants will receive a gift card from United Cinemas Narellan. We’ll be in touch shortly to let you know if you have been chosen.

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with all things Somerset by following us on Instagram @SomersetDental or Facebook SomersetDentalCare. Thank you to all of our patients who entered the competition.

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A HISTORY OF SMILES IN PHOTOGRAPHY

A HISTORY OF SMILES IN PHOTOGRAPHY

We live in an era where taking a picture is as natural as breathing, and photography is more accessible than ever with cameras attached to almost every mobile device. The obsession of many to document every moment of our lives is such that it has birthed the term ‘selfie’ (The Chainsmokers even made a song about it).

With such a photographic society, where smiling faces flood your timeline and Instagram feed, it is almost impossible to believe there was a time when people didn’t smile for photos. But such a time did exist.

History of Smiles

An image like the one above is pretty much the standard for today. But in the early days of photography this wasn’t the case.

History of Smiles

There are a few popular theories as to why people wouldn’t smile in pictures, of which the most popular is that dental hygiene practices were almost non-existent. Much like today, it is believed that bad teeth were the reason behind the lack of smiles. However, others argue that as dental problems were quite common, it wouldn’t have been a standout problem like today.

Another theory is that long exposure times (time it takes for the shutter to open and close) stopped people from smiling. It has been said that in the very early days of photography (great advancements were made in the years following), a photograph could take up to 90 minutes to be taken, so people would strike a pose that was comfortable.

A third and interesting theory is that wide grins were often associated with undesirable qualities, such as madness or lewdness.

However, a theory that may have more substance than any other, is that early photography was guided by portraiture, where smiles were unconventional. The reason? It was believed that a portrait was expected to show the inner essence of the subject (from the artist’s point of view) or a flattering representation, not just a likeness.

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1894) stated: “The only expression allowable in great portraiture is the expression of character and moral quality, not anything temporary, fleeting, or accidental.”

No matter what the reason was behind people not smiling, we do know it didn’t last. Historians believe smiles started appearing in photographs in significant quantities around the 1920’s or 30’s.

But today smiling is widespread, and we prefer it that way. If you’re not confident enough to smile in your pictures because you’re unhappy with your teeth, and would like to have the confidence to smile more, feel free to contact us on 1300 707 046 or contact us via our website and we’ll be more than happy to help you looking your ‘selfie’ best.

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THE ‘FUNNY’ SIDE EFFECTS OF LAUGHING GAS

THE ‘FUNNY’ SIDE EFFECTS OF LAUGHING GAS

THE ‘FUNNY’ SIDE EFFECTS OF LAUGHING GAS

Laughing Gas, or nitrous oxide for the science buffs, wasn’t invented so much as discovered in 1799 by chemist and inventor Humphry Davy. And when we say “discovered”, it’s more along the lines of “I wonder what would this do to people if it was inhaled?”

The experiments began, firstly on himself, then, after realizing it wasn’t fatal (except if taken in extremely large doses), Davy allowed others to partake in the trials.

After initially trialing it on his patients, he then started testing it on perfectly healthy people like friends and family (including the heir to a pottery empire, the future compiler of Roget’s Thesaurus and two notable poets). As a scientist, he requested that all his subjects record their experiences.

One such record of the testing is below:

“[When] I first inspired the nitrous oxide, I felt a highly pleasurable sensation of warmth over my whole frame, resembling that which I remember once to have experienced after returning from a walk in the snow into a warm room. The only motion which I felt inclined to make, was that of laughing at those who were looking at me.” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/heres-what-it-was-discover-laughing-gas-180950289/)

While the effects of laughing gas on patients has not changed since 1799, the recording methods of the effects have improved greatly.

Where once a reflective, written record was the only way scientists could gain first hand insight in to the effects of treatments on their patients (apart from personal observations), we now have video.

On video sharing sites such as Youtube, there is a treasure trove of videos that parents and friends have uploaded featuring their loved ones experiencing the effects of laughing gas.

Apart from being amusing, these videos can also prepare you for the possible reaction your child may have to the effects of common anesthetic:

Best Wisdom Teeth Aftermath (Catwoman & Super Powers)
Two siblings have their wisdom teeth removed, but one has a far greater reaction to laughing gas than the other.
https://youtu.be/IWKPmfOrlGI

Jack After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Jack (the hero) shares his unique perspective on love, life and his leaking face. Along with deep questions like “who built the ocean?”
https://youtu.be/pdA_T9UMKlg

Brothers Convince Little Sister of Zombie Apocalypse
With a little forethought and planning, you too could convince a sibling or child the Zombie apocalypse has begun. Hats-off to the brothers for effort they put in to the prank, and to mum for getting involved.
https://youtu.be/-hVWEefD5ag

While we don’t encourage you to film your children for the laughs, these videos do provide a unique insight in to the possible effects laughing gas will have on your children if they ever need it.

As with all drugs there are risks associated with misuse so it should only ever be administered by a dentist who is familiar with your medical history and knows whether laughing gas is an option. Speak to the friendly team at Somerset Dental about what the best procedure is.

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Keeping kids calm before, during and after the dentist

Keeping kids calm before, during and after the dentist

Dentist trips are not the easiest thing for a seasoned adult, let alone a child. However, these trips are necessary in order to promote good hygiene habits from an early age. So, how can you keep your child calm, or get them familiar with the idea of visiting the dentist?

Below are a few suggestions we’ve compiled that we believe will make it easier for everyone involved, especially the child.

Start Them Young

The earlier they visit the dentist the better. As soon as their first tooth appears, take them to a dentist. These early visits will imbue a sense of trust in the child towards the dentist.

Keep Things Simple

When getting ready for a visit, especially their first one, keep the details to a minimum. We’re not suggesting that you lie to your child, far from it. As any parent or guardian knows, kids are inquisitive, and the more you tell them, the more questions they will have. A simple: “We’re going to the dentist so he/she can look at/count your teeth,” or something similar, should be enough to quell further questions. Try to sound positive when you tell them they’re going to the dentist, as they can pick up on the slightest bit of anxiety in a parent’s voice. It’s also best not to tell them they’ll be fine, even though it’s your first reaction to quell their anxiety, because if the dentist needs to carry out any work, the child will lose trust in you and the dentist.

Watch What You Say

Children are very attentive and pick-up on any, and every thing that is said around them. That’s why we recommend you don’t use the ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘N’ or ‘P’ (Shot, Hurt, Needle or Pain) words around them, as they’ll pick up on this and easily get agitated. It’s best to let the Somerset Dental staff introduce kids to their own vocabulary, which stems from being tried and tested over the years, and is now a fine-tuned instrument of comfort. This has helped other children, and will help yours, get through difficult situations, now and in the future.

Play At Pretending

Kids love to play and pretend they are other things or people they have seen or met, so maybe consider playing pretend ‘Dentist & Patient’ games prior to their first visit to the dentist. Keep it simple by letting them brush the teeth of their favourite stuffed animal, or just count their teeth using numbers or the alphabet. Although it probably doesn’t need to be said, avoid making drilling sounds or lining up instruments beside them.

‘Sharing’ Is Not Always ‘Caring’

Some parents like to try and relate to their children by sharing stories of past experiences and procedures, or by taking their children to their very own dentist to show them there is nothing to worry about. But this is not always a good idea.

Telling ‘war stories’ of procedures you’ve had may do more harm than good, especially if they are about procedures a child may never have to go through, like root canals or fillings. This could create further anxiety for no reason.

Also, taking your child to your dentist, may have the reverse effect to what you were hoping. Where a paediatric dentist’s (Children’s Dentist) office is kid friendly, an adult’s office tends to be clinical and sterile. Plus, you may have your own anxiety towards your visit, which will be easily picked up by your child.

Here Come the Tears

It’s completely normal, and age-appropriate, for younger children to cry, whine, squirm and be extremely vocal about not wanting to be examined by a stranger. Which, of course, will have you worked-up seeing your child like that. Stay calm and trust the dental staff to guide you, as this is not the first, nor the last time a child will do this.

Avoid Bribery

Many experts don’t recommend bribing your child with a special treat if they behave at the dentist. A pre-emptive: “If you don’t cry or whine, I’ll get you a lolly,” will not only have them questioning: “What’s so bad at the dentist’s that will make me cry?” But will also send the wrong message after the dentist has been placing emphasis on clean and healthy teeth by avoiding sugary treats.

As mentioned earlier, these are just some recommendations if you find it difficult to take your child, or children, to the dentist’s, and if none of these work, please feel free to ask our friendly staff at Somerset Dental Care for other methods that may help. 

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