• Pretty in Pink

    Pretty in Pink

    04 November 2010 . Posted by Sarah in What's new

    Everyone lent a hand for our Pink Ribbon Breakfast – even the Smile Dental chooks!

    While they got to work laying, the rest of the team poached – serving our early morning visitors with pink eggs and ham all topped with baby beetroot, goats curd, beetroot vinegar, beetroot hollandaise and microherbs.


    Pretty in Pink
    Pretty in Pink
  • More confident than ever

    01 September 2010 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    As a successful real estate agent Jason knows a thing or two about the power of confidence. Part of the way he has created that confidence has involved paying special attention to his clothes and appearance.

    But there was one thing that kept his confidence at bay. Something that he didn’t want to think about for the fear of what might lay ahead.

    “Aesthetically I wasn’t happy with my teeth. I had a little gap down the bottom and the teeth were crossed over at the front. I’d look in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw,” Jason said. “But I’d had some very bad experiences as a young child with dentists and I was very frightened and fearful of the whole thing.”

    The avoidance of dentists due to previous dental trauma is a story Dr Cameron Arnold is very familiar with.

    “Jason had this paradoxical situation where he was so scared of getting his teeth done that he neglected his teeth,” says Cameron. “He was embarrassed by his teeth and he didn’t smile as much as he should have. Overall that can affect somebody’s confidence.”

    But Cameron’s softly, softly approach eventually overcame Jason’s resistance so some real work could begin. “As Cameron got me in bit by bit into the chair, with very gentle things, I got some courage to go the next steps” says Jason.

    And once he got comfortable in the dental chair, he was ready to do whatever it took to get the smile of his dreams. Smile Dental established a new bite, did a full mouth reconstruction, prepared every tooth in his mouth for porcelain crowns and restored his whole mouth to where it is today.

    “I didn’t realize how much it would adjust how I felt until after the work was completed. I am a reasonable confident person everyday but what I have found is that I smile a lot more, definitely,” Jason says.

    Jason’s smile is now whiter and brighter than anybody else in town and that’s the way he likes it!

  • A stitch in time

    27 June 2010 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    Many of us think that if a tooth is lost at the back of the mouth, that it is not really a big deal. As long as nobody can see it when you smile, it doesn‘t really matter, right?

    Dr Cameron Arnold sees things a bit differently.

    “A lot of people who have a tooth removed say, “It’s down the back of my mouth, don’t worry about it. You can’t see it, so there is no consequence.” But that is so far from the truth,” says Cameron. “You lose those posterior teeth and it has an impact on the rest of your mouth.”

    Sandy, who moved to Townsville 12 years ago, couldn’t agree more. “I’ve gone with an implant because I had a tooth removed on one side and I know how uncomfortable it can be to have a tooth missing in your mouth. It’s also a situation that I would rather look after my teeth now then lose them later.”

    So apart from the constant awareness of a space between your teeth, what are the implications of leaving a gap between teeth?

    "When a tooth is lost, it may cause neighbouring teeth to tilt into the empty space which creates mal-alignment of teeth. This can lead to food getting stuck in awkward spaces between the teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease,” says Cameron.

    “Not only that but tilted teeth are not able to withstand the forces of chewing well, so these teeth may slowly become loose. That means more teeth will be lost.”

  • Loving life…pain free!

    27 April 2010 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    Imagine a life where the first thought when you open your eyes each day was, “How bad will the pain be today?” It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but Sofia lived with this reality for most of her adult life.

    “I would wake up each morning and my jaw would be so locked that I had to physically pry it open with my hands. I had shooting headaches through my temples, behind my ears and down my back,” Sofia says. “I was popping painkillers every day and I felt like if I could just get rid of my head I would be fine.”

    Lucky for Sofia, Dr Cameron Arnold had been undertaking training in the groundbreaking new field of neuromuscular dentistry and he began to see that this might be a solution for Sofia’s problems. “When you are sitting in these (neuromuscular) lectures and the lecturers are talking about the different symptoms, in your minds eye a patients face sort of jumps out and a lightbulb clicks on. Sophia was definitely one of those patients.”

    But Sofia wasn’t that easily convinced. “At first my husband, Frank, and I were pretty skeptical because it was a pretty expensive process and we had been to so many experts in the past and nothing had helped,” Sofia said. “But there was a temporary stage that you could do that wasn’t prohibitively expensive and it was also a reversible process so we decided to give it a try. And to our amazement it worked. So we decided to go ahead with the full procedure.”

    After embarking on orthotic work to improve Sofia’s bite and improving Sofia’s jaw position, Sofia also had crowns put on her bottom teeth and veneers put on her top teeth to refine the look of her smile.

    So has it made a difference? “My clicky jaw is gone. My headaches are gone. My pain is gone! Having done this procedure really has changed my life.”

  • What lies beneath

    15 November 2009 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    To look at Peter you would never know he had a serious fear. He is a busy doctor, musician, father and husband, and a committed scuba diver and cyclist. But lurking beneath his confident exterior Peter was suffering from dental phobia.

    By definition, dental phobia (also known as dentophobia or odontophobia) is an unexplained fear of dentistry and of seeking dental care. And while this is essentially a psychological and behavioral problem, it easily becomes a physical issue once dental problems arise and people are not able to seek proper treatment.

    “I had let my teeth get to a stage where I had the molars of a hobo. I looked ok but there were lots of things I couldn‘t eat or which hurt to eat. I knew once we started we were going to have to do a fair bit of work,” Peter says. “I have logged nearly 200 Scuba hours including caves and wrecks, and all sorts of things for which confidence and training is needed, so I don’t think of myself as a fearful person. It struck me as a bit odd that I couldn’t sit in the dentists chair.”

    Dr Cameron Arnold is no stranger to the effect of dental phobia on people’s mental and physical health. “You see this in people that they tend to neglect their mouth a bit because they are paranoid about going to the dentist. They just put having treatment off until it reaches a crisis point when it is too uncomfortable to bear,” Cameron says.

    “For people like Peter, who are nervous to begin with, they only want to put their trust in one person. For that reason it was good that we were able to do everything from his root canal to his restorative and aesthetic work under the one roof.”

    So how is Peter’s dental phobia now?

    “I just recently had a five hour session in preparation for crowns and it was no drama at all. I think that means I am officially cured!” Peter laughs.

  • A smile that lights up a room

    01 October 2009 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    If there’s one thing Jenny’s work as a hairdresser has taught her, it is that people who make the effort to look good usually end up feeling good about themselves as well.

    So it is hardly surprising that when Jenny decided she wasn’t happy with the look of her teeth she decided to do something about it. “Obviously I have to deal with fashion and the way people look, and I guess I wanted to feel better about the way I came across as well,” Jenny says.

    Given that Dr Cameron Arnold saw Jenny regularly (as one of her hairdressing clients), it was inevitable that she would voice some of her concerns about her smile to him during his time in her chair. As always, Cameron was happy to talk teeth.

    “Essentially we had someone with a very pretty face and very photogenic but then when she smiled she had spaces in between her front teeth and some damage to the enamel which detracted from everything,” Cameron says. “When you have that sort of damage to front teeth it really prematurely ages you and so (when you correct it) the reverse applies.”

    After the addition of 4 veneers to her upper front four teeth, Jenny is having a difficult time keeping up with the compliments. “It’s given me a lot of confidence. Everyone always comments on how nice my teeth are so I don’t feel self conscious. I am more than happy to flash my pearly whites now!” 

  • Even more reasons to smile

    29 July 2009 . Posted by Sarah in Smile Stories

    Anita loves her new retirement lifestyle. She has time to slow down, paint, and enjoy the glorious sandy beaches near her home at Mission Beach.

    But it wasn’t so long ago that her attention was focused on more painful things. The many years spent smoking in her youth combined with a fear of going to the dentist meant that she was faced with a problem most people would rather avoid.

    “It’s always hard to tell a patient they are going to lose teeth,” says Dr Arnold. Anita remembers being so shocked to hear that she was going to lose her whole set of top teeth that she broke down in response. “I wasn’t ready for it at all,” says Anita.“But we were able to save the bottom teeth so it was lucky for me that I went to him early enough.”

    The days when your only option for missing teeth was to put up with a gap or to get full dentures are gone. Instead, many people these days are choosing dental implants. Dental implants provide several advantages over other tooth replacement options. But basically their major selling point is that they look and function like a natural tooth. This meaning that they are locked solid into your jaw so you can bite into all of your favourite foods. And implants are cleaned exactly like you would your natural teeth.

    “They don’t move and I really, really like them,” says Anita.

    Cameron is happy with the results as well, “She just lights up when you ask her to smile and she looks completely natural.”

  • No more migraines

    03 September 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

    Danielle Dixon, a young marine biologist, came to our practice to see if there was anything we could do to help alleviate the migraines and jaw problems that had plagued her since childhood. They’d become so severe of late that her GP had referred her to an oral surgeon, who recommended surgery.

    From sixth grade, Danielle had suffered from what she described as “wicked headaches” – migraines with vomiting. She had undergone a myriad of medical tests, which had failed to identify any illness or tumours. Ultimately, she had to deal with the pain using medication.

    In ninth grade, Danielle was involved in a car accident. She sustained head injuries and suffered subsequent jaw dislocation and seizures. The migraines became so severe she was taking up to 20 painkillers a day and was occasionally hospitalised. Some years later, Danielle was involved in a second car accident, further exacerbating her headaches. From time to time, her jaw would lock open.

    Danielle is currently researching clown fish for her masters degree in marine biology. As a result of her studies, she spends a lot of her time underwater, kitted out with scuba-diving gear. Danielle was finding it increasingly difficult to hold the regulator in her mouth and stay underwater for extended periods.

    Her research had taken her to Papua New Guinea, and she was terrified of being stuck in PNG’s jungles with her jaw locked open!

    Danielle had heard about the work we’ve been doing with neuromuscular dentistry. She thought she’d give us a go before facing the surgeon’s knife. Using a computer system that creates a 3D analysis of the jaw, we measured Danielle’s jaw muscle activity and digitally tracked the movement of her jaw. This enabled us to identify Danielle’s ideal jaw position. We then made an orthotic to temporarily adjust her bite. Danielle noticed an improvement immediately.

    Only 10 weeks later, she was totally symptom-free. No headaches. No jaw dislocation. And no medication.

    Today, Danielle is happily diving again, completing her masters research. She couldn’t thank us enough for getting her work back on track and putting the smile back on her face.

  • I loved to laugh but I hated my smile

    I loved to laugh but I hated my smile

    05 July 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

    When Debbie Bellamy came to us, we took her through our usual getting-to-know-you procedures – everything from a comprehensive oral health examination to a lengthy discussion about her dental health, medical history and general concerns, complaints and desires.

    After listening to Debbie for some time, it was obvious her teeth were giving her grief. Debbie wasn’t happy with the appearance of her smile. “I love to laugh,” she told us, “but I’ve always hated my smile. To me, it’s ugly. No matter how much time I spend dressing up, I’ve never felt pretty.”

    Debbie explained how she’d cover her mouth when laughing, avoid the camera at weddings and never wear lipstick, not wanting to draw attention to her mouth.

    She had a few gaps between her teeth and some old crowns that were starting to show their age and look a bit lifeless. She was keen to see what her options were for improving her smile. We did a ‘smile assessment’ and prepared a treatment plan for Debbie, showing her how porcelain veneers could improve the colour, shape, size, angulation and orientation of her teeth to give her the smile she’d always dreamed of. She couldn’t book in fast enough.

    We showed Debbie through our ‘smile catalogue’ and helped her choose the right style of veneer to suit her face, mouth and existing teeth, as well as appealing to her personal preferences. Debbie chose a very feminine, natural-looking smile.

    We then set about getting the colour of the veneers just right to perfectly suit her complexion. Debbie’s new smile was then prepared and completed over two visits. She now has a beautiful and, most importantly, perfectly natural looking smile. Her porcelain veneers are indistinguishable from her own teeth.

    Debbie says she can’t stop smiling. She even wrote us a beautiful card to say thank you. “You’ve given me a great smile and changed the way I feel about myself. I cried from the time I left your surgery until I got home,” Debbie’s letter said.

    “I feel more confident. I even got a promotion I never thought I’d get. For 25 years, I had a smile I was ashamed of and it took you three hours to correct. Thank you for what you have given me. I can’t stop smiling. You should see the lipsticks I’ve bought!”

  • Baby Talk

    14 May 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

    When Alita Parry called us asking if we had a dental laser, the young mum was thrilled to discover we did indeed. Alita then went on to explain that her 10-month old baby Thomas was ‘tongue-tied’ – the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth was too tight, restricting the free movement of the tongue.

    This meant the baby boy was unable to poke out his tongue, and, more to the point, unable to breastfeed. Left untreated, the condition would also result in speech problems and poor development and positioning of the teeth as Thomas grew.

    You may be surprised to know this condition isn’t uncommon, with research suggesting three to four per cent of babies are born tonguetied. Dentists and oral surgeons regularly perform a procedure to correct the problem, removing the restrictive tissue to enable full movement of the tongue for correct feeding and speech.

    However, the procedure typically requires anaesthetic. To make matters worse, Alita was told there was a two-year waiting list to have the procedure performed in hospital.

    So she started casting around for a second opinion, wondering if a dental laser could provide a solution. We assured her that, yes, it could. 

    “The dental laser has revolutionised surgical and tooth preparation
    procedures, making life much easier for the dentist and patient alike,”
    says Dr Cameron Arnold. “It’s so gentle, most patients report no discomfort whatsoever without anaesthetic. It’s also very precise, so there’s no risk to surrounding tissue. And healing time is reduced considerably. So it’s ideal for performing such a delicate procedure as correcting a tongue-tie on an infant.”

    Cameron was able to fix baby Thomas’ tongue-tie quickly and easily, without anaesthetic. And the treatment site healed quickly. Thomas clearly wasn’t in any pain, either during or after the procedure.

    “The first thing he did afterwards was poke his tongue out at me,” says Cameron. “It was great to see because he’d never been able to do that before! Needless to say, his mum Alita was very relieved and grateful for the result.”