Effective diagnosis of oral disease requires a
thorough examination of the entire mouth
including your teeth, gums, soft tissues, bone,
joints and muscles. Specifically each individual
tooth is examined and any existing fillings
checked for wear or break down. An examination
of your gums provides us with information about
the health of your gums. Bleeding gums and
excessive gum pocket depths are an indication of
active disease which may lead to the loss of
support for your teeth.
The relationship between the upper and lower
teeth, and the condition of the jaw joints and
muscles are also examined for any problems. Importantly the mouth is checked for any signs
of oral cancer as oral cancer is responsible for
1% of cancer deaths in Australia each year.
Additional diagnostic tests are often needed,
with the most common being radiographs
(x-rays). This can allow us to see early decay
or other problems under the gum line.
For more complex conditions, plaster casts of
the teeth, photographs, and saliva testing may
be prescribed. Careful recording of these
examination findings provides a permanent record
of your oral health and provides a baseline
against which any changes can be checked in the
Even if we are conducting a limited oral
examination for a specific problem or a
toothache, a similar approach will be taken.
Following the examination and diagnosis it is
necessary to make a plan to manage whatever
conditions, if any, have been diagnosed. There
are usually several alternatives to any
situation and discussion is essential to find a
plan which suits your dental needs and desires,
as well as your budget.
It is our practice
policy to openly discuss the cost of treatment.
Individual treatment planning can be a brief
discussion of a few minutes when treatment needs
are minimal or involve lengthy consultations
including further diagnostic tests and written
reports. Specialist dentists, such as
orthodontists and oral surgeons, may also need
to be involved in complex cases.
A full treatment plan can be printed to take away
should you desire.
What is Preventive Denstistry?
Preventive Dentistry covers all facets of dental
care that work to prevent dental disease.
Cleaning your teeth effectively is the best way
to prevent cavities (dental caries), gingivitis,
periodontitis, and many other dental disorders.
It also helps to prevent bad breath (halitosis).
Oral hygiene is necessary for everyone to
maintain the health of their teeth and mouth.
Healthy teeth have minimal or no plaque
deposits, and therefore have fewer cavities
because of decay. Healthy gums are pink and
firm, and do not bleed when you brush or floss.
Regular tooth cleaning by a dentist is important
to remove plaque and calculus (tartar) that may
develop even with careful brushing and flossing,
especially in areas that are difficult for you
to reach on your own at home. Professional
cleaning includes scaling and polishing. This
involves the use of various instruments or
devices to loosen and remove deposits from the
teeth. At Robelle Dental Centre, we recommend
having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6
months, and a routine examination at least every
year for adults. For children and teenagers
whose lives are continually changing, 6 month
examinations are preferred.
For some dental conditions, we may recommend
more frequent cleaning and examination to ensure
your optimum oral health. We can contact you
via letter, telephone, email or even SMS to
remind you of your check up.
Of course, to keep your mouth at its best, our
professional services require regular and
effective brushing and flossing at home.
Each year hundreds of preventable injuries occur
because the sporting participant was not wearing
a mouthguard. Not only does this cause pain and
suffering to the individual concerned, but
treatment can be expensive and continue on for
We recommend the fitting of a custom mouthguard
for all contact sports, and believe parents and
sporting bodies should follow an 'No Mouthguard
- No Play' rule. After taking impressions of
your mouth, plaster casts are made and the
mouthguard material moulded to the exact shape
of your teeth.
Mouthguards are available in a wide range of
colours to meet team, school or individual
needs. If well cared for, a mouthguard will last
the entire season, perhaps even two or three.
Some people develop naturally deep pits and
fissures (grooves) in the back teeth (molars and
premolars). This makes cleaning very difficult
and these teeth are prone to becoming decayed.
After the at risk tooth has been cleaned,
the fissure sealants resin is flowed into the
fissues of the tooth and then set. This prevents
bacteria from colonising the area to produce
plaque acid and tooth decay. The aim of this
treatment, is to prevent tooth decay in the
The objective for aesthetics in dentistry is to
produce a natural smile with a healthy
appearance of teeth and gums. The main
components of dental aesthetics are shape,
alignment, lip and cheek support, colour,
translucence and fluorescence as well as surface
texture and superficial gloss.
Over the years, we have learnt from many of our
patients that their goal of treatment is
improvement, not necessarily deliver a
'Hollywood' smile. Gum health is also very
important. Stained and discoloured teeth can
have their colour changed with bleaching which
can be done at home or in the dental office,
whichever you would prefer. The replacement of
old stained restorations can provide immediate
Sometimes, veneers, made from porcelain or tooth
coloured filling materials, can be used to
change colour and alignment as well as shape and
length. Crowns can also be used for this
purpose. Other procedures, including surgery to
your gums, may be needed to deliver the best
aesthetic result. Orthodontic treatment may be
required to achieve satisfactory alignment. It
is important both you and your dental team reach an understanding of the aesthetic
objectives during the treatment planning phase.
What are fillings?
The replacement of missing tooth structure
caused by disease or trauma is possible in
almost all situations, and this is termed a
dental restoration, or filling. The aim of
restorative treatment is to return appearance
and function – including speech and chewing – to
as normal as possible.
The dentists at our practice restore teeth with
a number of available materials, including
amalgam, tooth coloured materials such as
composite resin, or glass ionomer cement, gold
and porcelain inlays and crowns.
I've heard amalgam isn't safe?
Despite what you may read on the Internet,
amalgam remains a mainstay for fillings. All
available research has demonstrated it to be
safe, effective, strong and durable. It is a
powdered alloy of silver, tin, copper, with trace
amounts of zinc and indium mixed with amalgam
to make the powder set. It does
have limitations, including its colour, which is
the main reason patients would prefer something that looks natural.
Crowns, Bridges and Other Considerations
If the entire
tooth is missing then replacement with an
implant, bridge or denture can be considered.
When several teeth, or even all teeth are
missing then implants, or a denture, can be used
to restore appearance and function.
Endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy, can
help save badly broken down teeth or teeth which
have an infected pulp. In most circumstances,
we would recommend the tooth be restored with a
crown to increase its longevity.
Endodontic treatment is often referred to as
root canal treatment or RCT. This is a
procedure designed to save your own tooth
despite the pulp being irreversibly damaged.
Under local anaesthetic, the diseased parts of
the tooth are removed, and the remaining tooth
structure to the root tip are cleaned and
disinfected. The procedure is usually completed
over a couple of appointments, with a temporary
filling material used in between visits.
Once the root canal has been filled, the tooth
is ready for the final restoration. A filling
is used at this stage, however for back teeth we
recommend the fitting of an artificial crown.
What is so good about dental implants?
In a very short space of time, dental implants
have moved from experimental, university only
offered treatments, to adoption within many
general dental practices. We are very pleased
that this technology has become predictable and
available for our patients, and that we are able
to offer our patients dental implant therapy.
With dental implants, the entire tooth is
replaced with something artificial. The root of
the tooth is replaced with a titanium implant
screwed into the jaw. An articifical crown is
then attached to the implant fixture.
Unfortunately, not all spaces can be treated
with implants. A thorough assessment of
the dimensions of the gap, quality and quantity
of bone can make implant treatment more complex
and costly. If implants are not well cared for,
then they can also develop a condition call
peri-implantitis and they may fail. Patients
with a heavy bite have been known to fracture
the implant hardware. We strongly
recommend a thorough assessment and detailed
conversation with our dentists should you desire
this treatment modality.
Why would I need to consider braces?
Orthodontic treatment is dental treatment
designed to improve the alignment of your teeth.
Not only does it improve the appearance of
crooked teeth, but for many patients it greatly
improves the function of the teeth and jaws as
Even everyday tasks, such as flossing and brushing can be improved with
orthodontic treatment. Many general dental
practitioners choose to complete simple
orthodontic treatments, and our dentists may be
able to manage simple malocclusions for you.
Severe crowding and jaw discrepancies will
require the care of an orthodontist, the
specialist dentist who has completed three
additional years of university training.
Fortunately, Dr Laura Barbagallo from
Orthodontics at Indooroopilly is consulting
with us once a month.
Though a referral is not necessary, we do
recommend a check up for patients considering
Despite best efforts, we know that both
toothaches and accidents can and do happen. In
these situations, we will try to accommodate
your appointment quickly whenever
possible. If this is not possible, we will
provide you with advice and help to find another
dentist in the general area who may have time
What should I do if I knock a tooth out?
If the tooth is dirty, clean the tooth in milk.
If that is not available for a few seconds wash
the tooth with water or have the patient suck it
clean. Try to only touch the crown. Reimplant
the tooth in the socket if possible. If the
tooth cannot be placed back in the socket, wrap
it in plastic wrap or place it in milk or in the
patient's mouth inside their cheek. Contact us
as soon as possible, preferably within 30
minutes. If after hours, contact the emergency
department of the local hospital.
I have a persistant toothache, what should I do?
A dull, throbbing painful tooth is unlikely to
get better by itself and we recommend arranging
an appointment as soon as practicable. In the
meantime, over the counter pain relieving
medications may be taken. Do not place pain
relievers, especially aspirin on or near the
tooth. Continue to keep your mouth and teeth
clean, removing any obvious debris. If swelling
is present, using a cold compress on the swelling
may help, but seek medical or dental advice
What should I do if I break my tooth?
Clean the tooth with warm water, and save the
pieces if possible. Keep the fragments moist
and we may be able to bond them back into
place. Contact us to arrange an appointment as
soon as practicable.
What is Oral Surgery?
Minor oral surgery includes the removal of
teeth and biopsies for oral pathology, up to more
complex surgery such as wisdom tooth removal
that may include removing bone and sectioning
the tooth. Most simple procedures can be
completed at our practice under local
The profession of dentistry has come to learn
that your own teeth are your best teeth.
However, we recognise that there are clinical
indications when teeth need to be removed. Your
teeth could be severely decayed, have fractures
that cannot be restored or gum disease has
destroyed the bone and ligaments that are needed
to hold teeth into your jawbone. In these
situations, extraction of the tooth is
Depending on a several conditions that your
dentist will talk to you about, we ask that you give
consideration to some form of replacement. This
can be something simple as a denture or more
involved such as a dental implant.
Do you look after children?
Currently Greater Springfield is a young area,
and the single largest demographic in the area
is children. We care for a large number of
families, and we like to introduce children to
the dental environment with their parents from
an early age. We will like to complete a dental
assessment around 2 years of age.
But aren't they just baby teeth?
Yes, and this is the reason to start dental care
early. We would like to establish good habits
early, and avoid dental disease if possible.
Some children have dental developmental problems
that are often much easier to manage if
identified early. Tooth decay progresses faster
in children's teeth due to their relatively
smaller size, and again is easier to treat when
Baby teeth also have a vital role to play in the
development of the jaws and speech. Untreated tooth decay can lead to pain, abscess
formation and potential damage to the developing
adult dentition. All the more reason to
have regular dental check ups from childhood.
Why would I consider dentures?
Dentures are still a very valuable appliance for many patients. We can design a denture for a single tooth
or one to replace all the teeth in someone's mouth.
They are easy to fabricate and easy for patients
They do come with some issues, such as food
getting caught underneath them, but even now
they remain a mainstay of dentistry to replace
What is Gum Disease?
As the name suggests, gum disease is a dental
condition that affects the soft tissues that
support your teeth.
If you ever have bleeding gums when you brush,
you are experiencing one type of gum disease.
This is known as Gingivitis and is very easy to
treat. It is caused by bacterial plaque creating
a low grade infection along the gum line. Remove
the plaque by simply improving your brushing on
the bleeding areas, and the gums will often
health themselves. If it has been a long time
between professional visits, then a professional
clean to remove tartar build up may also be
Periodontitis is a moderate to severe form of gum
disease. It involves the destruction of
the supporting ligaments and bone that hold a
tooth into the jaw. It is often a painless,
chronic disease that many patients do not know
they have. It is also a disease that is very
difficult to treat, and like many chronic
diseases it is managed rather than cured.
What does treatment entail?
usually involves professional cleaning below the
gum line, usually under a local anaesthetic and
regular monitoring and review. Additional
cleaning techniques and tools are often
prescribed for a patient with periodontitis.
Some patients need specialist treatment
including gum surgery to help manage the