Below is a list of frequently asked questions to assist you with your dental health.
If you have a question which is not listed below please contact our friendly team and we will be more than happy to assist you.
Care and comfort:
- I’m scared of the dentist, how can you help me?
All of our staff will be respectful of your feelings and concerns. On your first appointment we’ll take the time to listen first and discuss any concerns. So regardless of your previous dental experience we’ll make you feel at ease, your comfort is our priority. Our caring nature means that even the most nervous patients feel at ease with our team.
- Can I refer my family and friends?
Our patients are our greatest ambassadors. We welcome your referrals and like to know who recommended you in order to thank them personally. Stellar Smiles has built a proud reputation of exceptional care of our patients for many years. Today, we’re one of the most progressive, most comprehensive dental practices in Adelaide. We’re also one of the friendliest and most welcoming.
In fact, many of our patients will tell you this is the best dental practice they’ve ever visited. The practice has grown over the years through the referral of friends and family of many of our delighted patients.
- Will I be comfortable during my appointment?
Patient comfort has always been a priority at Stellar Smiles. We look forward to caring for you with kindness, attention and dental excellence at all times. From the first contact to the last we will endeavor to make your visit comfortable.
- What should I do to cure a toothache?
If you are suffering from a painful toothache contact us as soon as possible so we can organize an appointment as quickly and conveniently as possible for you to address the underlying problem of your toothache. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol are recommended; do not exceed the maximum dose
- What should I do if I have a swelling?
Swellings are caused by an infection. Contact us immediately so that we can address the reason for your swelling.
- What should I do if I have fractured my tooth?
Fractured teeth can usually be restored so there is no need to panic. If the tooth is painful, avoid hot or cold and avoid eating or biting on that side Painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol may help.
- What if I have lost a crown?
Keep your crown safe so it can be re-cemented as soon as possible to avoid damage or the need for root canal treatment.
- What if I have knocked a tooth out?
- The tooth needs to be re-implanted into its socket immediately.
- Try not to handle the tooth root to protect the fibres around the root surface.
- If possible, place the tooth back into the socket and splint in place with silver paper.
- DO NOT place the tooth in water
- DO place the tooth in cold milk or on one side of your mouth between your teeth and cheeks
- Contact us immediately
- What if I have broken my denture?
Broken dentures can usually be repaired relatively easily. Please resist the temptation to glue them together your self as this often makes a repair very difficult. Contact us to organise repairing your denture for you which it some cases can be done the same day.
- How do i transfer my old dental records to stellar smiles?
We can request all your old dental records be forwarded to us on your behalf. 19 Simply fill in one of our ‘Release of Records’ forms and we’ll fax it off to your previous dental practice and follow it up for you.
- What happens at the first dental visit?
At your first visit to Stellar Smiles you will be greeted by one of our front office co-ordinators who will welcome you and ask you to complete a medical history form. Complimentary refreshments can be provided for you.
During your first appointment we will thoroughly assess your dental status by clinical examination and using a combination of digital dental x-rays and introral photography to record our findings.No treatment will be carried out at this appointment, unless previously arranged, such as in the case of emergency appointments. A significant amount of time will be dedicated to understanding your dental concerns and to discuss the results of our findings. Should any treatment be required we will present you with all your options so you may consider if and how you would like our help.
- Why are my teeth sensitive?
Sensitivity is a very common complaint. The idea of eating ice-cream or having a cold drink is enough to make many of us cringe. Commonly sensitivity results from a loss of enamel protection on teeth. This can occur due to many causes including intake of large amounts of acidic food and drinks such as carbonated soft drinks, cracked teeth, gum recession leaving the tooth root exposed, excessive brushing damaging the enamel – commonly around the gum margin of the tooth and, cavity development, to name but a few. The good news is that sensitivity can often be managed and does not have to be accepted as a normal part of life.
In some cases, sensitivity which lasts for a significant period of time after the initial stimulus has been removed can indicate more ominous underlying issues such as damage to the “nerve of the tooth”. The important thing to remember is that not all dental problems cause discomfort straight away and it is important to continue regular dental examinations to avoid problems, or manage them early.
- What can I do about a bad breath?
The reasons for bad breath or halitosis are diverse and the first step towards improvement is determining the cause, which can be as simple as inadequate oral hygiene habits that can be altered by your oral health team to achieve optimal efficiency. Smoking is a very common underlying cause of bad breath. The components of cigarette smoke reduce our salivary flow, limiting the protection offered by our saliva and allowing for bacteria to flourish. Bacteria produce odorous gasses, and in large numbers this can lead to unpleasant tastes and smells in the mouth.More complex causes of bad breath can include gum disease or infections of the oro-nasal area. Individuals are often very selfconscious about halitosis, but advising your dentist of your concerns regarding bad breath could be the first step towards a healthier mouth.
- My dentures are uncomfortable, what can I do?
Most denture wearers experience similar problems with their dentures particularly the lower denture. Loose ill fitting dentures that move around when 20 eating, rub, fall down and are generally uncomfortable. This leads to frustration, embarrassment and anxiety due to a lack of confidence in their dentures. Today we can offer a real alternative to these problems with the use of a very simple implant procedure to enable your dentures the stability they need to be truly functional. One of our dentists will be happy to discuss this treatment option with you and discuss the advantages of implant retained dentures.
- Do you remove wisdom teeth?
Yes we do remove wisdom teeth. There is a big variation in the degree of difficulty associated with the removal of individual wisdom teeth, which can be determined by your dentist. In particular cases you may be referred to an oral surgeon for treatment either under local or general anaesthetic. When deemed suitable for removal by your dentist, the procedure is often simple and made as comfortable with the use of adequate anaesthesia and relative analgesia or “happy gas” where required.
- Why do I need to floss?
Despite diligent brushing and use of fluoridated toothpaste, the need for flossing cannot be overemphasised. Bacteria in plaque are protected within a protein film requiring dislodgement in order for our salivary enzymes and the components of toothpaste to be effective. Without regular flossing, plaque stuck between our teeth remain resistant since tooth brushing is ineffective at dislodging plaque within these areas due to the close proximity of our teeth to one another. If plaque remains in these areas it promotes cavities and gum disease.
- I grind my teeth, how can I stop this?
Also known as Bruxism, teeth grinding is a term used to describe the action of grinding and clenching teeth. You could be grinding habitually whilst sleeping, or during the day due to anxiety or stress.
Grinding is an extremely common problem that could result in a number of serious problems if left untreated.
Grinding side effects:
- Permanant damage of the structure and surface enamel of your teeth
- Jaw pain known as TMJ pain
- Loose teeth
- Gum sensitivity. It may be hard to tell if you are grinding, especially if it happens while you’re sleeping. However, if any of these symptoms apply to you, then you could have a grinding problem.
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
- Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of tooth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Muscle tightness
- Earache – because of severe jaw muscle contractions
- Chronic facial pain
After an examination your dentist will often recommend a custom fabricated night guard.
- Do you do implants?
Yes. Stellar Smiles is highly successful in implant placement. The implant process is straightforward with little downtown involved and will leave you in very little discomfort, even the day after you have it done. Dental implants are very successful and Dr Jason Pham has developed a highly respected reputation for his skills in this area, so you can be completely confident in your treatment.
Dental implant procedures can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or to fabricate an implant-supported denture or bridge. Unlike a conventional crown or bridge, a dental implant replaces both the tooth and its root. It looks and feels natural, and it’s strong and durable.
The dental implant doesn’t rely on surrounding teeth for support, and no healthy tooth structure has to be lost in the process
- Why do I need to see a hygienist to have my teeth cleaned?
Many patients are still new to the concept of a dental hygienist despite them being around for many decades. Dental hygienists are supremely skilled and efficient at cleaning your teeth. Our practice philosophy is to have your dental hygienist look after your teeth cleaning and gum health, whilst your dentist can look after the more comprehensive dental procedures. Being looked after by two dental professionals means nothing is likely to get missed.
Our dental hygienists are registered health professionals who are experts in managing gum disease and preventing tooth wear and decay. They are an integral part of the Stellar Smiles team – caring for you with specific treatments, advice and patient information.
Your hygienist works with your dentist to tailor your preventive treatments. Treatments and procedures can include taking digital x-rays, fitting mouthguards, removing plaque and tartar, evaluating and treating gum disease, checking for soft tissue pathology, fluoride treatments, home care advice and oral health education, saliva assessment and whitening treatments.
Regular hygiene appointments can greatly reduce the need for future, complex dental treatments. We look forward to looking after you and seeing you smile.
- How often should i have my teeth cleaned?
Typically, adults should have their teeth actively maintained every 6 months. Even the most motivated tooth brusher out there can’t get to all the nooks and crannies in the mouth, where tartar can easily build up and cause dental disease. Patients who have established gum and jawbone disease, or patients with orthodontic braces, need more regular teeth cleaning. These patients are usually seen every 3-4 months
- How long will my crown last?
With the recommend care and maintenance your crown will last many years. We recommend regular continuing care and good oral hygiene between visits. It is not uncommon to see crowns that have been in place for 20 years.
- When should my child have their first dental visit?
We recommend you bring your child with you from an early age preferably within 6 months of the first tooth appearing. Initially, this can be done when attending your regular appointment. This way your child becomes accustomed to coming to the dentist and. Sometimes very young children won’t have an actual examination on their first visit, but they will get a chance to sit and play in the dental chair. It is a great way to familiarise them to a new environment and to introduce them to the dentist as a fun and non-scary person. Early dental visits are essential to preventing dental problems. Starting at an early age when no treatment is needed also helps to form good dental habits and reduce the risk of dental phobias developing
It is well recognised that children who are used to coming to the dentist from a young age seldom develop dental phobias and enjoy better dental health throughout life.
- Do you see children?
Yes. Children are very welcome at Stellar Smiles, in fact, many of our younger patients are now parents themselves and bring their children to see us as well. We see many family members who go back several generations. We firmly believe in building lasting relationships with our patients and their families. We’ve got a great team of dentists and staff to make coming to the dentist fun.
- When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
As soon as teeth appear, a baby toothbrush with tap water should be used at night after the last feed. Children’s (low fluoride) toothpaste can be introduced at 18 months and brushing should increase to twice daily by 3 years of age. As their manual dexterity is still developing, children require assistance with brushing and flossing until about 8 years of age.
Health and wellbeing
- Are amalgam fillings bad for you?
There has been a lot of publicity regarding the health effects of amalgam fillings. The World Health Organisation and the International Dental Federation have jointly confirmed the safety of amalgam for dental treatment. Amalgam restorations are a viable long lasting option in certain cases where “white fillings” are not recommended. Replacement of amalgam restorations though not essential, may be indicated in cosmetic areas, due to recurrent decay, failure of the filling or the tooth.
- Is smoking really bad for my teeth?
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your mouth. It is the leading
- Is the dental equipment cleaned after each appointment?
At Stellar Smiles we have a state of the art sterilising equipment and all sterlizing practices are strictly adhered to. Our equipment is the most modern available.
- Do I really need x-rays? Aren’t they harmful?
Dental X-rays serve as an essential diagnostic tool, providing your dentist with information that otherwise would be impossible to ascertain. Due to advances in technology, dental X-rays deliver radiation at very low doses which is localised to the area of the dental film. Dental X-rays may be required at your first visit to our practice, if you present with an emergency dental complaint, or periodically to compare to baseline records. Several types of dental X-rays are available, all used for different purposes. Information obtainable from such films include an overview of the jaw and jaw joint, bone levels surrounding the teeth, areas of decay or infection and, location or presence of teeth.
- How often should i have dental x-rays done?
Dental x-rays are crucial in helping dentists examine areas between your teeth and under your gums that we cannot see with the naked eye. ‘Best practice’ guidelines suggest that routine dental x-rays should be done every 18 months to 2 years, depending on your age and dental disease risks. OPG jaw scans are recommended every 5 years.
Sometimes dental x-rays need to be repeated more frequently, but this is the exception to the rule and your dentist will specify when this applies to your particular situation.
- Is teeth whitening safe?
Yes. When performed by a well trained dental professional, tooth whitening is a safe and easy cosmetic procedure. The degree of whitening achievable is dependant on each individual case, and mild, short term, post operative sensitivity occurs occasionally. However, when used appropriately in combination with remineralising agents suggested by your dentist or hygienist, results are optimised and sensitivity reduced.
- Can I claim on Medicare for dental appointments?
Dental Examinations and Treatment undertaken on adults are not covered under Medicare at Stella Smiles, or other private dentists. There are government dental centres throughout Adelaide but you must meet an eligibility criteria and there are often lengthy waiting times for appointments. You can, however, claim a portion of your dental expenses in your tax return if your net medical expenses are over approximately $2,000 for the financial year and you meet the eligibility criteria set out by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a new Government funded dental benefits program for eligible children aged 2-17 years. Eligible children are provided with up to $1,000 in benefits for basic and preventive dental services. It replaces the Medicare Teen Dental Plan. Stella Smiles is accepting new Child Dental Benefits Schedule patients and existing eligible Stella Smiles Patients will be transferred to the new scheme. Stella Smiles will be providing bulk billed services under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.
- Will there be a gap after I claim on my Health Fund?
There is usually a gap after claiming on your health fund depending on your level of cover with your health fund. Stellar Smiles is a preferred provider with Bupa, HCF and Medibank, which means there will be a lower gap to pay compared to other non preferred practices.
We have HICAPS facilities so that you can make instant claims to your health fund and only pay the difference at the time of your appointment.
- Can i claim on my dental insurance the same day?
Our practice is HICAPS ready so if you are in a dental health fund, we can swipe your card and claim your rebate straight away. This saves a trip to the health fund office and means you only pay any gap fees on the day
- Will I know how much my treatment is going to cost?
Yes. We will always give you an estimate of treatment costs and if possible several treatment options to suit financial and cosmetic preferences
- Can I get a list of prices?
Due to the nature of dentistry it is often difficult to advise our patients how much an appointment will cost before they have seen the dentist. When you come in for an examination appointment you will be given a written estimate outlining the costs of all recommended treatment. Our friendly Front Office Coordinators can assist you with any enquiries you may have.
- Are you accepting Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) patients?
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a new Government funded dental benefits program for eligible children aged 2-17 years. Eligible children are provided with up to $1,000 in benefits for basic and preventive dental services. It replaces the Medicare Teen Dental Plan.
Stellar Smiles will be accepting new Child Dental Benefits Schedule patients and existing eligible Stella Smiles patients will be transferred to the new scheme. Stellar Smiles will be providing both bulk billed services under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.