The University of Queensland says dozens of children are missing out each week on the chance to have free dental work, as chairs in its $134 million oral health tertiary centre sit empty.
The Herston centre, which replaced a Turbot Street site in the CBD after 73 years , is used to train dental and oral health students who perform dental work for the public.
Most of the services provided at the UQ Oral Health Centre are free, and there is a waiting list of up to six months for adults.
However the take-up rate for children has been underwhelming, UQ Bachelor of Oral Health program coordinator Andrea Maguire said.
She said the school lost many of its regular child patients after an initiative with a Queensland Health dental facility in Yeronga ended in 2014.
Ms Maguire said the university was hoping to see about 70 children between the ages of 3 and 17 each week.
Services on offer include examinations, x-rays, fillings, extractions, stainless steel crowns, cleaning, polishing and fluoride applications.
“The students are very well supervised by registered dentists and oral health therapists,” Ms Maguire said.
“Generally speaking, [children’s teeth] are not in good health. It’s certainly not as good as we’d like to to be, that’s for sure.”
A Queensland Health survey of more than 5000 children taken between 2010 and 2012 found one in three children under six had never been to the dentist.
The survey also showed half of the children aged between 5 and 10 had decay in their primary teeth, and only three quarters of all children brushed their teeth twice a day.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one third of Australians aged between 25 and 44 have untreated tooth decay, and about a third had not visited the dentist in the last 12 months.
Every evening as I get my two year old son Felix ready for bed he will look at me reproachfully – and then run away. I chase after him with pleas and bribes, before resorting to threats about what will happen should he refuse to do as I say. When that, too, fails, I corner him in a headlock, prise his mouth open and force his toothbrush inside. Afterwards there are cross words and tearful recriminations – from me as well as my toddler.
I have always found cleaning my children’s teeth an emotionally-charged nightmare – as do millions of other parents. A report last month found that 42 per cent of parents have to force their children (aged up to 11) to brush their teeth, with 80 per cent of youngsters throwing temper tantrums as they do so. Only a quarter of the 1558 parents surveyed by Aquafresh believe their children are brushing their teeth properly and one in 10 are so demoralised by the process they send their offspring to bed without cleaning them at all.
But our acquiescence comes at a cost. A national dental health survey published in May revealed almost half of eight-year-olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth, while a recent report by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) found that tooth decay was the most common reason five to nine year olds were admitted to hospital. Nearly 26,000 children in that age group were admitted in 2013-14, an increase of 14 per cent from 2011.
Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Royal College of Surgeon’s dental faculty, says the state of our children’s teeth has reached “crisis point” adding that“ it is absolutely intolerable that in this day and age, in a civilised country, children are having so many teeth out for decay, which is over 90 per cent preventable.”
Sugary treats and drinks – cheaper and more readily available than ever – cause decay by reacting with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that weakens tooth enamel . Prof Hunt has called for the amount of sugar in food and drink to be better labelled, and last month Tesco took the unprecedented step of banning some of its most popular sugar laden drinks – including Ribena and Capri-Sun – from its supermarket aisles – ostensibly to tackle childhood obesity but presumably the company is aware of their effects on children’s teeth too.
But substandard brushing and infrequent dentist visits are also to blame for rising child tooth decay – and I am complicit in all three. I find it hard to resist Felix and his four-year-old sister Rosie’s incessant demands for sweet treats and our fraught tooth brushing sessions usually fall short of the NHS recommended twice daily two minutes. And shamefully, until very recently I had yet to take either child to the dentist. A fear of how they would react was the deterrent. With every passing month I grew more worried that my neglect would lead to lasting dental problems, and retreat further into denial.
However, the spate of news stories on the state of our children’s teeth jolted me into action, and so it was that one day last month, Rosie and Felix were sitting in my dentist’s reception awaiting their first check-up. I tried to build enthusiasm for the visit, but both were nervous. “Are you scared of the dentist, too, Mummy?” asked Rosie, and although I didn’t admit as much to my daughter, my own fear has almost certainly exacerbated my children’s reluctance. Indeed, research by a US dental insurance company found that over a third of kids were frightened of the dentist and that this was often a learned behaviour, picked up from parents.
Problems with my own teeth have also left me distrustful of NHS dentistry – which I feel has failed me – so I took my children to my dentist, Dr Mervyn Druian, who runs a private practice in North London. Dr Druian encourages parents to bring their children in from the age of two. “As long as parents are brushing their baby’s teeth, I can’t see the point of bringing them to the dentist any younger” he says. “It’s unnecessary until they have grown around 75 per cent of teeth.”
Antonia Hoyle with her children Rosie and Felix who hate brushing their teeth
But, he warns: “Many parents mistakenly believe that milk teeth don’t matter because they are going to fall out anyway. But they act as ‘space maintainers’ for the permanent teeth that replace them. If a decaying milk tooth has to be removed the ‘wrong’ tooth may come forward in its place.”
After a few minutes of the children riding up and down in Dr Druian’s chair, Rosie was relaxed enough to have her check-up. On the pretence of “counting her teeth” Dr Druian used a hand-held mirror to inspect her molars as Felix looked on. It took a matter of minutes and afterwards Dr Druian told a delighted Rosie (and her mum) that her teeth were “absolutely fine.”
Felix, however, had by this time hidden in the corner of the room and was resolutely refusing to open his mouth. Dr Druian was reluctant to force him but after bribes of Spiderman stickers Felix eventually permitted a brief flash of his bottom front teeth, during which , eventually causing tooth decay.
My heart sank but he told me: “It is unlikely to have led to damage at this stage. I sometimes give children a scale and polish to get rid of it,but because this is his first visit it would be too overwhelming for him.”
We arranged another appointment for six months’ time, in the hope Felix would be more compliant then.
If his junior patients need extensive dental work, Dr Druian sends them to specialist children’s dentist (also in private practice) Jeremy Kaufman who is experienced in performing fillings on children as young as two. I asked Dr Kaufman how I can make brushing my children’s teeth less traumatic. “Use star charts, bribery and begging – all the strategies to get a child to do something they didn’t want to,” he advised. “Try and make it fun – let your children choose their toothbrush. Let them use an electric tooth brush if they want. Stand behind them with your hand under their face and give them a cuddle as you clean their teeth. Allow them to start brushing if they want to, before you carry on.” While child-friendly toothpastes like strawberry are also available although somewhat bizarrely, my kids like them even less than the standard mint.
The evening after our visit to the dentist – chastened by the plaque developing on my son’s teeth – I was determined to embark on an adequate cleaning session. Rosie – enthused by the princess-decorated toothbrush Dr Druian had given her, managed to endure a full two minutes. Felix, alas, ran away before I resorted yet again to the headlock technique. But he insisted on taking his new pirate toothbrush to bed and his last words before falling asleep were “I go to the dentist again soon.” I live in hope.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health was shocked with the results of a research carried out among the dental hospitals of the country for the last 20 years.
In its review of dental admissions to hospitals, a Ministry-commissioned report found a fourfold increase in admissions between 1990 and 2009, with the biggest spike in admissions from children aged under 8.
Moreover, children as young as 18 months, who only start cutting teeth, have them completely rotten, and they should be pulled out. Some child’s teeth are dissolved down to the gum line and are bleeding.
The reason as it turned out is that parents feed their toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles, and chocolate biscuits.
Principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Rob Beaglehole recently extracted 11 teeth from a 3-year-old whose parents had let him drink Coke from a sipper bottle to “keep him happy”.
Another 3-year-old needed four stainless steel crowns, had four teeth pulled and was given four fillings the child’s parents put Milo in a baby bottle to sip on overnight.
All these procedures, performed under general anaesthetic , cost the Nelson Marlborough DHB about $4000 each.
Each year 35,000 children aged under 12 have rotten teeth extracted because of excessively sugary diets – mainly from sugary drinks and other junk foods.
Struggling through school with the pain and distraction of rotting teeth could cause behavioural and development problems, while the early loss of baby teeth could cause adult teeth to grow irregularly and trigger the need for braces and other orthodontic interventions, Beaglehole said.
PITTSBURGH – Most people dread going to the dentist to get a crown on one of their teeth.
The procedure can be long, tedious and often uncomfortable. Once in the chair, patients must bite down on a putty-like material – which can trigger the gag reflex – to create an impression of their teeth. Patients must wear temporary crowns for a few weeks until their permanent crowns have been made from the impressions, sometimes returning to the office for corrections if one falls out or is uncomfortable.
Traditionally, crown fittings take three weeks and multiple visits to the dentist to complete. These permanent tooth-shaped “caps” – made of durable material such as steel, porcelain or ceramic – are put on to protect a weak tooth, restore a broken tooth, cover and support a tooth with a large filling or serve other uses.
Fortunately, this slow process may soon be history in most dental offices. New 3-D video imaging technology is speeding up the time it takes for dentists to create lab-quality dental restorations – from weeks to a couple of hours.
Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing – known as CAD/CAM technology – consists of a scanning wand no bigger than a large toothbrush and an on-site milling machine.
The new system allows dentists to create and insert crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers in a single appointment. The scanning wand takes a 3-D image or video of a dental region in as little as 15 seconds.
A block of a durable material such as lithium disilicate is then milled into shape and baked before it is inserted into the patient’s mouth.
“There’s always the sense of amazement when patients experience (CAD/CAM technology) for the first time,” said Jeffery Verner, a dentist in Bethel Park. “I’ve even had some patients put the block in the machine themselves, and others call back afterward saying it was a cool experience.”
Christine Trice, office manager for dentist Rick Rivardo in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, said the shorter time makes it easier for working people to better care for their teeth. Finding time in patients’ schedules for several appointments is the main reason treatment is delayed or even avoided, she said.
Trice said because the new technology eliminates the need for putting in temporary crowns, there is also a reduced risk of irritation and increased tooth sensitivity.
Despite these advantages, use of the new technology is not the standard in most dental practices, said Charles Sfeir, director of the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. While the cost to patients does not change compared with the traditional approach, dental practices must pay about $100,000 for the equipment.
Additional training is needed to operate the new devices, which may dissuade some older practitioners from adopting it, Trice said.
Harve Dailey, 63, a retired chemist who has a rare nickel allergy, said the technology has spared him the severe gum irritation and bleeding he had with his old crowns. “This new procedure is much better from a patient point of view,” he said.
Still, a growing number of dental practices in Allegheny County are making the investment.
Meredith Fennell, a dentist in Chicora, Pennsylvania, has had the equipment for nearly two years, and Rivardo, the Monroeville dentist, introduced it recently. Pitt dental students have been getting training on the new equipment over the past few years, Sfeir said.
“I don’t think a lot of people know about this,” he said. “We really are moving into the digital era and increasing convenience for patients.”
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
There are lots of myths when it comes to your teeth. How much do you know? When it comes to teeth, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
Larry Lieberman, DDS, from General, Cosmetic, and Laser Dentistry in Palm Harbor, Florida says at one point or another, most of us will have a dental problem.
“Periodontal disease affects over 85 percent of the population. That’s a really big deal,” Lieberman told ABC30.
One way to avoid being part of that statistic: don’t believe teeth myths. The first, you should use a hard bristle brush.
“Leave the hard toothbrush for cleaning the jewelry, and the soft toothbrush for cleaning the teeth,” Lieberman told ABC30.
Another myth is that everyone should use a whitening toothpaste.
“We find that people that come in that use a lot of whitening toothpaste have more sensitivity,” Lieberman told ABC30.
Stick with a basic paste. Another fallacy is that chewing on ice is harmless.
Lieberman told ABC30, “We see a lot of people that you know bite down on things they shouldn’t. We see people who really do open up beer bottles with their teeth.”
Other common myths, is that aspirin next to a tooth will help with a toothache. It can actually burn gum tissue! Another is that all fillings will need to be replaced. It depends on your oral hygiene. And babies can’t get cavities, well they sure can and the cavities can even spread!
One more myth is that kids get way more cavities than adults. Thanks to fluoride in tap water, decay in school-aged children has been cut in half in the last 20 years. However, dentists are seeing an increase in cavities in older adults because of medicines that dry out the mouth. They reduce saliva, which protects the teeth.
Toothaches and tooth loss are two common reasons why people might go to a dental office located in New York City. Both of these conditions might also necessitate the application of a dental crown, an essential dental device that dentists use for both restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures. If you are unfamiliar with dental crowns, the following questions and answers demonstrate how important they are to dentistry and your dental health.
How can dental crowns improve oral health?
Dental crowns serve multiple functions. As mentioned, a dental crown may be needed when a patient has a toothache. Toothaches typically signal the presence of an infection that has penetrated the interior of the tooth. If a dentist determines that the dental pulp inside the tooth is diseased, he may need to perform a root canal to save the tooth from extraction. Part of this procedure is the placement of a dental crown over the treated tooth that can protect it from future disease and trauma. A dental office that performs dental implant surgery can likewise utilize these versatile devices. Dental implants can alleviate the cosmetic and functional complications of tooth loss. Once the post and abutment are stable in the mouth, the dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth, is added to complete the procedure.
What materials typically make up dental crowns?
In the past, dentists often used different metals to create dental crowns. Metal is a durable material that can withstand pressure much like tooth enamel can. It can also prove useful for temporary crowns, such as those for children with tooth decay as they await the eruption of their adult teeth. However, metal can contrast greatly with the look of natural teeth and draw unwanted attention. Advances in cosmetic dentistry now allow for the creation of ceramic dental crowns that are virtually indistinguishable from real teeth. Like metal crowns, they are also resistant to damage, making them ideal for dental patients who want a natural-looking smile. Crowns are normally made to the specifications of each patient as well, so once they are placed over the tooth or abutment, they can blend flawlessly with the rest of the teeth.
Dental crowns can correct cosmetic concerns and enhance oral health. This video explains the reasons why a dentist serving New York City might recommend these dental devices.
Healthy teeth can still be misshapen teeth, and dental crowns can help you achieve a uniform smile. A cosmetic dentist can apply crowns to teeth that exhibit an unusual shape or are too small for your mouth. He might also use dental crowns if you require root canal therapy. While root canals are sometimes necessary to remove infection and prevent extraction, they can leave teeth in a weakened state. Dental crowns cover the exterior of teeth, protecting them from future infection and potential fractures. So if you want a more attractive smile, or you require root canal treatment, ask your dentist about his dental crown options.