Custom-made protective mouthguard

Custom-made protective mouthguard

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished that your mouth was more protected? Whether it’s playing contact sports, grinding your teeth at night, or just getting into a random scuffle with someone, having the right protection for your mouth can make all the difference.

That’s why custom-made protective mouthguards are so important – they provide an extra layer of safety and security for your lips and teeth when you need them most. Not only do these guards help prevent serious injury to yourself, but they also offer peace of mind knowing that you have something reliable on hand if things get out of hand.

Am I a candidate for mouthguards?

Your dentist may recommend a custom-made mouthguard if you participate in activities that involve contact or risk of impact to the face and mouth, such as boxing, football, hockey, wrestling and skateboarding. Teeth grinding or bruxism, which is a common sleep disorder, is another situation where your dentist may suggest using a mouthguard (night guard) to protect the teeth from wear and tear.

How do custom-made mouthguards work?

The process starts by taking a mould of your teeth, which will then be used to create an exact replica of your dental structure. This mould is then used to craft a customised guard that is tailored specifically to fit your individual needs. From here, the guard is ready to go and can be used immediately.

Not only do these custom-made guards provide optimal protection, but they are also incredibly comfortable to wear. They fit snugly against your teeth, providing a secure fit that won’t cause any discomfort or issues while in use. Plus, because of the material they’re made from, they won’t cause any irritation or discomfort to your gums or lips.

Dental problems that mouthguards treat

Custom-made mouthguards are designed to treat a variety of dental problems including:

  • Teeth grinding: A custom-fitted night guard can help to stop the teeth from grinding against each other.
  • Dental trauma: Custom-made mouthguards can help to reduce the impact of any accidental injuries during contact sports and provide additional protection for your teeth and gums.
  • Gum recession: By providing a cushion between your teeth, custom-made mouthguards can help to stop the gums from receding while also preventing any gum irritation.
  • Jaw misalignment: Mouthguards can help to reduce any pain caused by a misaligned jaw by keeping the jaw in the correct position and helping reduce the severity of a potential injury.
  • Sleep apnoea: If snoring is a problem for you, a custom-fitted mouthguard, known as a mandibular advancement device (MAD), can help open the airways and reduce the symptoms associated with sleep apnoea.

Keep your smile safe

Having the right protection for your teeth and gums is essential, especially if you’re constantly engaging in activities that put them at risk. Making the right decision when it comes to protecting your mouth is key. With a custom-made protective mouthguard, you can make sure that you have the right kind of protection when it counts most.

The highest risk factors for tooth decay in children

The highest risk factors for tooth decay in children

Poor oral care and hygiene can lead to toothache and pain, with child tooth decay being the most prevalent oral condition among Australian children today. Approximately 42% of children aged 5 to 10 years old have experienced tooth cavities. While there are a range of socio-economic factors – including social, economic, cultural and environmental factors – affecting the oral health of Aussie kids, tooth decay is basically caused by accumulations of pathogenic oral bacteria.

The type of oral bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on food residue left on teeth after eating refined carbohydrate sugars and starches. These include soft drinks, dried fruits, candy, cake, cookies, fruit drinks, cereals and sweet breads. Oral bacteria metabolise these carbohydrates and produce bacterial acids. As more bacteria and acid is produced, it combines with saliva to form sticky bacterial plaque which spreads over tooth chewing surfaces and the gum line.

Over time, the bacterial acid damages tooth enamel. Once the bacterial acid penetrates the tooth enamel, it starts to damage the dentine inner layer inside the tooth to cause a cavity.

Risk factors for child tooth decay

The factors that significantly increase the risk of a child experiencing tooth decay include:

  • High levels of pathogenic oral bacteria causing tooth decay, including Streptococcus Mutans (S. Mutans) and Lactobacillus spp., which are present during cavity onset and development.
  • A diet high in sugars and starches, especially sweet drinks.
  • Non-fluoridated home water supply.
  • Poor oral care and hygiene.
  • Reduced saliva flow.
  • Acidic or low pH saliva.

Signs & symptoms of child tooth decay

Keep in mind that children may not even experience any symptoms of tooth decay until a dental visit. So, late detection of tooth decay is also a risk factor. Early signs and symptoms of tooth decay to look out for include:

  • Chalky white spots on tooth enamel show decalcification.
  • Early cavities have a light brown colour.
  • Deepening cavities have a dark brown or black colour.
  • Toothache and pain.
  • Sensitivity to food and temperature.
Best cleaning tools to remove plaque in infants & toddlers (3 months-3 years)

Best cleaning tools to remove plaque in infants & toddlers (3 months-3 years)

You might think that removing plaque happens automatically with brushing their teeth. But not all parents clean their child’s teeth and gums in equal measure. Some opt for a quick light brush and miss the hidden plaque behind teeth. Other more scrupulous parents ensure that 100% of tooth and gum surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with the right cleaning tools – and inspected for missed plaque with a dental mirror! Not surprisingly, it’s the latter group that that has the right attitude towards brushing their child’s teeth – it’s all about removing bacterial plaque every time, wherever it may be in the mouth.

Oral cleaning tools for infant teeth and gums 3-12 months old

Starting oral care for your infant can begin well before their first teeth appear. When your child turns 3 months old, you can gently wipe their gum surfaces with a clean, moist pad, finger gauze or cotton-gauze baby oral cleaner swabs – in the mornings and evenings. Gum care, especially along the gum line where primary teeth are emerging, keeps gums clean and healthy. Check other oral surfaces behind the lips, between the inner cheeks and gums. You’d be surprised by what you can find. Infant tongues need cleaning too with a baby tongue cleaner. Give them a quick sip of some water to wash away dislodged plaque and food residue still remaining in the mouth after you’ve completed cleaning. Drinking lots of water during the day keeps their mouths clean too.

When the first teeth pop up, start using a soft, infant toothbrush or silicone finger toothbrush with water to clean them. You can purchase a wide range of age-specific infant teeth & gum cleaning products from your supermarket or chemist. If your child resists a toothbrush at first, make a slower transition and continue using the moist pad or gauze technique to wipe clean 100% of the surfaces of each individual tooth. Don’t miss their gum line and make it fun with song and games. Your child will look forward to brushing their daily oral care and hygiene routine.

Oral cleaning tools for toddlers teeth and gums 1-3 years old

Toddlers need to have their teeth cleaned twice daily – morning and night – just like everyone else. And they will need your help and supervision while they’re doing it. They’ll be using a toothbrush with water until they reach 18 months after which they brush with a small dab of low-fluoride toothpaste. Focus on cleaning each tooth with 360 degree coverage of tooth surfaces. Young toddlers probably won’t spit or rinse when told, so gently wipe away excess toothpaste residue, but leave a thin smear on teeth for its fluoride benefits. By about the age of 2, your toddler should be able to hold the brush while you their hand and guide it in all the right brushing angles and motions.

Stand in front of the bathroom mirror so you can both see into their mouth. You can try cupping their chin for better stability. In effect, you are being a puppeteer and controlling their movements while they get to hold the toothbrush. Angle bristles appropriately to remove plaque from the front, back and between the teeth. To remove plaque build-up from the gum line, angle bristles towards this area and brush in an expanding circular motion to incrementally “shave” off plaque. Make sure you ease the toothbrush off a little when it comes in contact with gum tissue, so as not to cause irritation. Let them hold the tongue cleaner while you guide their hand movements and start teaching them to spit.

New dental technology can benefit toddlers once they’ve got the hang of manual brushing. Infant electric toothbrushes with timers are very effective cleaning tools but a toddler has to unlearn their manual brushing technique to use them. Electric toothbrush are held in a stationary position and moved across each tooth – tooth by tooth. Always store their toothbrush away from other brushes and allow to air dry. Cross bacterial contamination with older family member’s toothbrushes can introduce new bacterial species into your child’s oral cavity. Replace brush or brush heads every 3-4 months.

Buying my child’s first toothbrush – toothbrushes for infants & toddlers

Buying my child’s first toothbrush – toothbrushes for infants & toddlers

You’re a parent and your young toddler has just got their first tiny front teeth. So, it’s time to start cleaning them after ‘feed’ time. But do you use your finger or a damp cloth? Or head off to the supermarket to buy them a toothbrush?

Toothbrushes are the most effective cleaning tool for infants & toddlers

Most dentists recommend toothbrushes as the most effective cleaning tool for your child’s first teeth. Some oral health experts say that using a soft, moist cloth is a better option. So the choice is up to you and may depend on how your child responds to this daily activity. However, keep in mind that bristles are the most effective, quickest way to gently scrub off sticky plaque. You should note brand labelling to select the correct type of toothbrush for your child’s age group. The key point to remember when buying a toothbrush for your young child is that it has to have a small brush head with a soft, rounded end, a small easy-grip handle and soft bristles. You don’t want to irritate your young child’s sensitive gums!

When should you start brushing your infant child’s teeth?

Dentists advise parents to start brushing with water as soon as their first teeth appear. That’s because dental plaque can start forming on tiny tooth surfaces as soon as they erupt out of the gums into the oral cavity. And long term plaque can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Continue to brush your infant’s teeth twice daily until they have enough dexterity to brush, rinse and spit without supervision.

Protect your child’s oral health now for the future

For most children, untreated plaque, tooth decay and cavities are oral conditions that are entirely preventable. However, due to a modern diet with instantly addictive sugary foods, tooth decay and cavities are highly prevalent among children in the 2020s. Inadequate oral care is also an issue. In Australian children aged 3 years and under, 14% didn’t brush, 44% brushed once daily and 42% brushed twice daily (as recommended). That means well over half (58%) of Aussie infants and toddlers are not keeping their teeth clean enough to prevent plaque, decay and cavities. These negative statistics highlight the need for parents to be actively and consistently involved in their child’s oral care and hygiene from the earliest age. This way, good oral habits are formed and maintained throughout their childhood, teen years and into their adult life – for healthy teeth and a healthier life.

CDBS 2022-2023 Dental Treatment Schedule

CDBS 2022-2023 Dental Treatment Schedule

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) was introduced back in 2014 to provide financial support for eligible children aged 2-17 years old to receive essential dental services. This benefit covers the cost of preventative and restorative dental treatments up to a maximum cost of $1,000 over a consecutive 2 years period.

70% of eligible children are missing out on $1000 dental treatment

According to the University of Queensland and Telethon Kids Institute research, 70% of children from low income families are either unaware or not using the CDBS. This has impacted on the oral health of Aussie children with approximately 26,000 kids hospitalised annually for mostly preventable dental conditions. With many frontline dentists being sidelined because of Covid-19 restrictions across Australia, 2020 & 2021 has seen a dramatic drop in preventative dental visits. This could result in delayed diagnosis, deferred treatment, and long-term dental disease problems for Australian children (and adults) in years to come. UQ researchers have recommended that timely eligibility reminders and redesigning eligibility letters to look more like vouchers are what are needed – to get the message out.

CDBS service rebates set to increase in 2022-2023

As of 1 January 2022, CDBS will allocate $1,013 for eligible children to spend on dental services over a consecutive 2 year period, while on 1 January 2023 that amount will increase to $1,026. The CDBS covers a wide range of preventative and restorative treatments not including cosmetic dental. They include:

  • Regular dental exams/check-ups
  • Clean, polish & scale
  • Digital x-rays
  • Fillings
  • Fissure sealants
  • Tooth extractions
  • Root canal treatment

Leeming Dental welcomes CDBS-eligible families

The easiest way to find out if your family is eligible for the CDBS is to call the Medicare General Enquiries line on 132 011 or to access your Medicare my.gov.au account. Another quick indication of eligibility is if you have a current Medicare card. If your children are eligible, simply contact Leeming Dental to schedule a dental appointment. We can examine, assess and recommend suitable treatment options to treat their dental issues. All CDBS treatment is bulk billed so you won’t have to make any out-of-pocket payments. For all CDBS-related enquiries, call our helpful reception on 08 9310 3367 for assistance.

Why do you need retainers after teeth straightening?

Why do you need retainers after teeth straightening?

Most people are unaware of the effects mouth breathing has on orthodontic treatment until after they get their teeth straightened or realigned. Whether they have received braces or Invisalign aligner treatment, a relapse usually occurs to some degree, even after a 100% successful realignment. In the event of a relapse – where the straightened teeth start to gradually shift back towards their original positions – retainers may need to be worn temporarily to allow supportive gum tissue more time to strengthen and stabilise realigned teeth. However, there is another potential risk factor that may be constantly forcing realigned teeth to shift back – how you breathe and your tongue posture.

The tongue – nature’s perfect retainer for straight teeth

Long before the availability of braces or aligner treatments to straighten teeth, nature provided the perfect “retainer” to ensure that your teeth develop and erupt evenly – your tongue. In opposition to the inward forces exerted by the cheek muscles (buccinators), your tongue provides an opposing lateral force that pushes the teeth out. When both forces are equally balanced at approximately 500 gm and your dental arches are well developed, your primary teeth should erupt evenly in all their proper positions during childhood.

How mouth breathing causes straightened teeth to shift back

If you are a mouth-breather – as opposed to a nasal-breather – your bottom jaw sits lower which results in low tongue posture. This leaves your upper jaw (maxilla) without the support and outward force required to counteract the cheek muscles’ inward forces. Without this counterbalancing effect, the inward force exertion causes the arches to narrow during development thus creating a narrow arch, less space for erupting teeth and misaligned or crowded teeth as a result. Now, when you jump forward in time to the teen or adult that has received orthodontic treatment, it is important to understand the very same oral forces that have caused teeth misalignment issues during development are probably still in play after treatment. 

Orthotropic treatment can help minimise the need for retainers

While orthodontic treatment such as braces and aligners focuses on straightening teeth, orthotropic treatment focuses on rectifying breathing and postural habits that cause teeth to misalign in the first place. When children and teens receive orthotropic treatment, adopting new mouth and tongue postural habits can improve their oral development. This can result in better teeth alignment all the way into adulthood. However, just because you’re an adult receiving orthodontic treatment, it doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on all the benefits of orthotropics. By simply ensuring that you breathe through your nose, keep your mouth closed and position your tongue correctly on the palate of the mouth, you can help minimise the forces acting against your newly positioned and straightened teeth. This allows supportive ligaments to strengthen and stabilise teeth in their sockets sooner rather than later – and less time spent wearing retainers!