• 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.”

  • A better bite

    12 March 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

    Errol Wolf came to us for a routine check-up. He mentioned in passing that he’d been suffering from bad headaches and migraines, which had been gaining in frequency and severity. He couldn’t fly or drive long distances without getting a migraine. Some could last three days.

    Errol was at a loss as to the cause of the headaches and what to do about them. He had his eyes tested – negative. He noticed that eating certain foods or missing meals could aggravate the problem. So he eliminated the problem foods from his diet and made sure never to miss meals. But the headaches persisted. He consulted various medical and healthcare practitioners – to no avail. And, to make matters worse, painkillers had little effect.

    I really felt for Errol – he was clearly in a lot of discomfort – and I was confident Neuromuscular Dentistry could help him. I explained what it was all about. He may have thought it sounded strange but I think he was ready to give anything a go.

    So we examined Errol’s teeth, bite and jaw. We determined his ideal bite and jaw position, then prepared an orthotic to adjust his bite. We hoped to see a result in two to three months. We would continue to adjust the orthotic every two weeks as Errol’s bite improved.

    Errol kept a headache diary to monitor our progress. Before we commenced treatment, he was suffering 30 headaches a month. After a month of treatment, the number of migraines he suffered were reduced by 90 per cent.

  • A natural smile for life

    A natural smile for life

    14 February 2007 . Posted by Cameron in Smile Stories

    Maintaining good oral health isn’t just about having a nice smile and staying out of the dentist’s chair. Healthy teeth and gums are also essential for eating the wide variety of foods our bodies need and our tastebuds enjoy.

    In fact, researchers estimate that people who retain their natural teeth live an average of up to 10 years longer because of better nutrition and therefore better health. Poor oral health and hygiene can lead to problems ranging from communication difficulties to debilitating diseases. But with the right care, both at your dentist’s and at home, you can look forward to keeping your natural smile for life.

    Maureen Balgue is living, smiling proof. Maureen is one of our many long-term patients. She’s fit and healthy and won’t mind me saying that, in 72 years, she’s lost only one tooth – a considerable achievement.

    There’s no reason anyone needs to put up with dentures, now or in the future. Regular visits to your dentist and dental hygienist, combined with carefully following a customised home-care plan prepared for you by your hygienist, will help you maintain your natural smile for life.

    But if you do lose a tooth or part of a tooth, whether through an accident,
    deterioration or disease, there are many solutions for filling the gap. Crowns, bridges and dental implants, for instance, are vastly superior to
    dentures in appearance, performance and ease of care.

    Whatever your age, there are particular aspects of your oral health that
    should be closely monitored and managed. Of particular concern for
    seniors are dental cavities (especially on the root surfaces), gum disease
    (the single leading cause of adult tooth loss), oral disease/oral cancer,
    dental stomatitis (irritation of the tissue under a denture), dry mouth, tooth
    erosion and tooth sensitivity (resulting from worn enamel or receding
    gum tissue).

    Whatever your age, I think we can all take a page from Maureen’s book.

    “What’s important to me,” Maureen says, “is good nutrition, exercise and
    having fun with family and friends. How sad to think ‘I wish I’d looked after
    my teeth...’ Prevention is better than cure.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.