From personal experience, Dr Ian Harper really understands what it is like to have dental work performed. He would like to share his story:
At the age of 40 I knew that I would still want my own teeth when I’m 80. It was at that age that an experience prompted me to recommend to myself to have two gold crowns and three porcelain fillings placed in my teeth.
The incident involved a tooth breaking, right out of the blue, when I bit into a sandwich, but there was nothing hard in the sandwich. I had realised that at some point this would happen, because I have seen countless patients come in with the same story, and I always knew that my teeth were heavily filled—I could see the black and grey for myself.
In our twenties we can throw as much abuse at our health as we like and it “bounces off”. But in our forties you start to realise that you have to do something to conserve your health. Forty appears to be the cut-off for a lot of my patients, as it has been for me. As everyone older than 40 knows, reaching that milestone age means sporting injuries don’t heal as quickly and somehow your body becomes less resilient to everyday stresses.
Even though I had always been aware of this vulnerability in my mouth, I had never taken any action, as there had been no real reason to. Like everyone who is a patient, even as a dentist I could still think of many other things I could do with my money and time than sit in a dental chair. It wasn’t until the tooth broke that I realised I had, for a long while, needed these preventive procedures.
Once the need was established due to the fracture, I didn’t want to end up with regret at the age of 60—trying to fix all the problems at that stage, then finding that I had missed my opportunity and that an extraction would be the only solution. Implants are a great option for a missing tooth, but of course the best option of all is keeping the tooth you already have.
So it was in 2007 that I had the work completed and it has performed beautifully since then. It has been fantastic to have taken the action that prevents slow collapse of my mouth health. Nothing lasts forever in this life, but I know that I have given myself the very best chance of keeping my teeth into my old age. I don’t ever want to have a tooth extracted!
FAQsWhy do you take an hour for the first exam, when other dentists don’t? There are many problems that a patient can present with on their first appointment. Sometimes the health of your teeth and all the structures that surround your teeth are perfect. But we don’t know what we will find when we’re seeing a patient for the first time. So before we can give you the “all clear” we feel that we have to set aside enough time to explore all your presenting issues (and not just the obvious ones that are quick to spot.) You can rest assured that our standard fee is charged for this comprehensive 1 hour appointment.
Comprehensive Exam Why do I need to see a hygienist? Can’t the dentist just clean my teeth? Will they cost more? Hygienists’ training is dedicated to caring for gums, whereas dentists cover a much wider field of diagnosis. A narrower, more detailed focus generally means that more problems can be diagnosed at an earlier stage when treatment is easier, cheaper and with a better prognosis
Hygienists usually spend more time with you, thoroughly cleaning your teeth. They also can provide you with advice on how to take really great care of your smile. And, it doesn’t cost any more to see a hygienist!
Gum health requires more regular checking than the teeth. The hygienist is an economic way for you to have your teeth cleaned regularly without having to see the dentist every time—similar to seeing your GP when you have the flu, rather than getting an appointment with a specialist surgeon.
Maintaining Healthy Gums I haven’t been to a dentist in years & I’m worried about what they might find. At Dentistry @ Ballarat our team understands that fixing dental problems that may have been brewing for years can see the bills mount. That is why we’ll make certain that you get a treatment plan that allows you to be aware upfront of indicative costs and time. We also offer GE credit to assist with payment plans so that you can rest assured that you can budget accordingly.
We always focus on preserving teeth as much as possible and practicable. Dental problems compound if left untreated and that generally means the optimal time to start is straightaway. While the prospect of getting a number of procedures to fix your dental problems can be worrying, the best place to start is with a roadmap that will let you know where we need to go.
Services What’s the difference between a porcelain filling
and a cheaper one? Porcelain fillings are incredibly strong. A porcelain filling gives the tooth back its strength. Research has shown that the strength of the tooth is restored by porcelain to between 80–100% of its original strength. A usual (composite) filling comes nowhere close to that. Amalgam (silver) fillings are even worse—actually sometime causing teeth to fracture.
Porcelain fillings are more compatible with natural teeth than any basic filling material. Composite wears much faster than enamel and can break down base of the tooth, allowing decay to get into the tooth. No filling carries a 100% guarantee, but porcelain fillings come closer than any other basic filling material.
Cosmetic Dentistry How do our dentists look
aftertheir own teeth? You can read about Dr Ian Harper’s personal experience here. Why do I need X-rays?
Do they do me any harm? The fear of X-rays is understandable. However, the dosage of dental X-rays is very low compared to medical X-rays. In fact, X-rays surround us constantly whether we are at the dentist or not, in the form of background radiation, something which is given off by every object. You would need to take nearly 100,000 dental X-rays to equal the dosage of background radiation you experience over an average lifetime. Our digital X-ray system makes them even safer, reducing dosage by 50%.
We cannot always see where decay has managed to enter the tooth. X-rays prevent unnecessary fillings and allow us to do only the fillings that need to be done. Early diagnosis of decay also prevents the need for root-fillings into the future. If it isn’t currently broken,
do I need to get it fixed? A “stitch in time saves nine” describes our approach perfectly.
Our teeth have to serve us from when we are 6 to 106, and while the rest of the body can repair itself after being damaged, our teeth depend on us to be fixed.
Sometimes a tooth can be fixed after it has fractured; then again, sometimes the fracture is catastrophic and the only alternative is to extract it. No matter how easily it can be fixed, the prognosis for the tooth is always better if there is more of the tooth left to fix. That implies that the dentist and any assisting team members should use their experience and knowledge to identify those teeth which are heading in the direction of catastrophic failure and advise the patient accordingly.
The same preventive principles also apply to the other two most common causes of tooth loss: decay causing abscess and gum disease.