Teeth Whitening

Almost all of us would like whiter and brighter teeth. If you’ve noticed that your teeth have discoloured, you may have gotten into the habit of smiling without showing them, or even covering your mouth. Tooth whitening by your hygienist can be a simple, safe and quick way to refresh your smile.

Teeth Whitening Fresh Dental Care

The causes

There are many reasons why our teeth become discoloured or stained over the years. Some people are simply born with yellow teeth and others yellow as they age. In other cases, lifestyle factors may be the main culprit – including diet, general health, and also if our teeth have taken a knock during sport or some other activity.

Teeth are made up of three layers: outer enamel, softer dentine, and the inner pulp. As we get older, enamel thins through wear and tear, and the darker dentine layer can begin to show through. This process can make older teeth appear yellow.

The DIY options

Although there are plenty of ‘whitening’ toothpaste and mouthwashes available, these are designed to help only with surface stains. Though these products can remove such stains, they are usually not effective in situations where teeth discolouration is deeper than the enamel.

You may have heard of home DIY bleaching kits, or teeth whitening procedures at cosmetic and beauty clinics. These kits chemically whiten the teeth, and come in varying levels of strength.

Why see a dental hygienist for whitening?

Dental practitioners are qualified to thoroughly assess the status of your teeth, including taking a dental history and checking that the strength of the bleaching products used on your teeth will be correct and most effective for you. They are also qualified to check for problems such as cracked enamel, cavities, restorations and exposed root surfaces that need special care.

Refreshing your smile – the treatment options

Here at Fresh, teeth whitening is one of the most popular procedures we get asked for and it’s no surprise – not a day goes by where I don’t get asked “how do I whiten my teeth?’.

We have two options available: Zoom Whitening – a fast and convenient in-surgery treatment ¬– and our Bright Smiles for Life take-home kits which you can use in the comfort of your own home.

Zoom Whitening

Zoom Whitening is the more popular and quick way to whiten your teeth. It is performed by in one visit to the surgery in one hour, taking you up to six to eight shades whiter. The procedure has proven to be very popular among the Coffs Coast because it is fast, simple and convenient. It is performed by our hygienist and leaves you with instant and lasting results.

Bright Smiles For Life

Our cost-effective alternative is called Bright Smiles For Life, and allows you to whiten your teeth at home at a time that suits you. We will have you come in for dental impressions, from which we make trays moulded to your teeth, and give you these to use at home.

The trays are designed to be worn daily for up to 90 minutes, for up to two weeks. Two syringes of product are included. You will receive a complementary syringe at your six-monthly continuing care appointments. These will allow you to boost your shade.

How long does it last?
Understandably, this is the most common question we get asked. Any whitening treatment will need a form of maintenance regime to stay white and bright and we have allowed for this in both the treatment options.

  • Zoom Whitening should take you six to eight shades whiter for a two to five-year period. During this time, the colour may go back two to three shades over time and due to lifestyle habits. For this reason, included in the Zoom cost are trays containing a 14% hydrogen peroxide treatment that can you can wear for as little as 15 minutes to boost the shade back.
  • Bright Smiles For Life needs a regular maintenance regime every six months or so once you have reached you optimal whiteness.

There are other things you can do to ensure your fresh-looking smile lasts. Along with good oral hygiene, regular dental cleans will help keep your teeth white as long as possible. However, diet, ageing, alcohol, smoking, medication and many other factors may influence the longevity of your pearly whites.

What about tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity from whitening can vary between product and treatment system as well as the individual patient.

Occasionally, teeth may become temporarily sensitive following a whitening treatment at the dentist. Sensitivity varies from patient to patient and can feel like a mild tingling or can come as a short, sharp flash. The good news is that we provide all patients with products to reduce these symptoms if they occur. More importantly, the sensitivity is only temporary and for most patients it usually eases up after 24-48 hours. Most people tell us the overall whitening process is worth every minute, however, and they love their new refreshed smile!

Are you thinking of whitening your teeth? Give us a call on (02) 6651 1350 for a chat about the options.

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6 Common Gum Disease Questions (And Their Answers)

What’s the deal with bleeding gums? How can you stop it from happening? There are a lot of questions out there about bleeding gums, gingivitis, and what you can do about them.

To answer some of the most common questions about gum disease, we sat down with Fresh Dental’s own Dr Oleg Pushkarev. Dr Pushkarev has worked in periodontics and hygiene for years, and now practices as a dentist in and Macksville locations.

Put simply, this guy knows gums.

Dr Oleg Pushkarev | Fresh Dental Care

1. What is gum disease – and why should I care about it?

Dr Pushkarev explains that gum disease is a condition where the gums and underlying tissues can become inflamed when bacteria accumulates around the teeth. This can cause the tissue to bleed or look red and irritated. If left untreated, this bacterial activity can go deeper into the bone itself.

He clarifies that there are two stages of gum disease: less advanced gum disease (gingivitis) and more advanced gum disease otherwise known as periodontal disease.

One good reason to care about your gums is that gingivitis may be reversed through proper oral hygiene. Dr Pushkarev explains that, if you’re dealing with gingivitis, “this stage hasn’t yet reached the bone.”

By contrast, periodontal disease typically requires more in-depth treatment. Without treatment, this stage of gum disease may lead to irreversible loss of bone resulting in losing a tooth or teeth. In Australia, advanced gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.[1]

6 Gum Disease Questions | Fresh Dental Care

2. Is gum disease common?

“I would consider it quite common, although this depends on the stage,” he says, noting that he sees gingivitis in patients of all ages.

Later-stage gum disease and bone loss tend to be less prevalent – but this can change as we age. “I’d estimate that about a quarter of the population experiences this stage, but it’s more common for those over the age of 55.”

Dr Pushkarev’s estimates are consistent with research evidence: one study reported that about 23% of Australians experienced moderate to severe gum disease and that there was a strong correlation to age.[2]

3. Can gum disease be cured?

“Gingivitis is reversible. Sometimes this requires professional help; sometimes it can be achieved with an oral hygiene routine at home,” explains Dr Pushkarev.

While you can sometimes reverse gingivitis with an oral hygiene routine, you may still want to consult a dental professional about the right treatment for you. Even if the bacterial activity hasn’t reached an advanced stage yet, “some plaque isn’t removable with just floss.”

If the gum disease gets worse, the answer is more complicated.

“We can’t restore bone loss,” warns Dr Pushkarev. If the gum disease enters its more advanced stages, you’re at risk of losing gum tissue or bone that you can’t get back. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing your dentist and hygienist can do, though.

“The condition can be stabilised. We can stop further gum recession and bone loss.”

4. What should I do if my gums bleed whenever I floss?

“First, don’t panic” says Dr Pushkarev. “If flossing is not a regular routine, most likely areas between teeth will contain some mature plaque, causing inflammation. Any attempt to disturb the inflamed that area will cause bleeding and it can’t get better unless the plaque will be removed. Therefore continue flossing even if you bleed on the first attempts.”

He recommends following an oral hygiene routine (brushing twice a day, flossing once a day – preferably before bed) and watching for any changes in the bleeding: “Notice if they’re bleeding after about a week of proper hygiene and see your dentist to find out why.”

You may want to swap out your toothbrush for a softer one, too. Sometimes firmer bristles can irritate your gums and make them more likely to bleed.

If your gums are still bleeding after two weeks of daily flossing and brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, you should consider scheduling an appointment at a dental clinic. Dental professionals are well-placed to help you understand the cause of the bleeding and can advise you on oral hygiene techniques. And, if the cause of bleeding does turn out to be gum disease, they’ll be able to determine the stage of the condition, use x-rays to check for bone loss and recommend a treatment plan.

5. What are the signs of gum disease?

As you might’ve guessed, bleeding gums are a common sign! Dr Pushkarev advises watching for any persistent bleeding when you brush or floss, blood on your toothbrush, and bleeding that takes time to settle.

“Teeth feeling ‘loose’ would be more extreme and can be a sign of more advanced gum disease,” he says. You should contact a dentist if you notice any looseness.

While it’s good to watch out for warning signs, only a dental professional can diagnose gum disease, determine the stage of the condition, and recommend a treatment plan to reverse or stabilise it (that’s one reason why routine hygiene appointments and check-ups are important).

6. What should I do if my gums seem to bleed spontaneously, even when I’m not in the middle of brushing or flossing?

“Spontaneous bleeding is concerning, but sometimes certain types of medications can affect this,” says Dr Pushkarev. “We normally judge gingivitis based on probing the gums and bleeding on contact, which can indicate inflammation.”

You should mention any bleeding to your dentist and you may wish to seek an opinion from your GP, too.

Got more questions?

Dr Pushkarev and his colleagues in Coffs Harbour, Macksville and Grafton are happy to advise you. Get in touch with your nearest Fresh Dental Care clinic today.

[1] Chrisopoulos S, Ellershaw A, Harford JE. Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2015. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2016.
[2]  Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, University of Adelaide, South Australia. Periodontal disease in the Australian adult population. Australian Dental Journal. 2009: vol. 54(4): 390-393

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Knocked Out! What Do You Do if Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

What happens if your fear of having a tooth knocked out ever came true?

What would you do? Firstly, locate the tooth you have lost. Avoid touching the roots and tissue at the base of the tooth by holding it at the biting end. If you can, place it in a cup of milk, this is the most tooth friendly way to stop the thin tissue covering the roots from drying out.

Did you know Fresh Dental Care can help in the case of a dental emergency? Our dentists keep time spare in their daily schedules, in case of an emergency. Simply call our clinic and explain you have a dental emergency.

Our four dental clinics fit your busy lifestyle, that’s why we have extended hours, are open late nights, and Saturdays^.

Some quick tips for knocked-out teeth:

  • Gently place the tooth back in its socket (the right way around; and only if the tooth is clean). It will have the best chance if replaced within 5 minutes.
  • Place the tooth in cold milk – NEVER place your knocked-out tooth in water!
  • You can place the tooth on one side of your mouth (between your cheek and your teeth – but don’t swallow it!).
  • Get to the dentist straight away. You may need antibiotics or a tetanus shot from the doctor as well.

Knocked Out Tooth | Fresh Dental Care

To alleviate any associated pain, take paracetamol or ibuprofen (if you are able to and as instructed by the pharmacist). They work best if taken at the same time but be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended daily dosage, always seek instruction from your pharmacist.

Call any of our four Fresh Dental Care Clinics today, we’re located in Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Grafton, and Urunga.

^ Saturday appointments are only available at our Coffs Harbour dental clinic.

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The Wisdom of it All…Wisdom Teeth and Their Removal

Some wisdom teeth appear to have a twisted sense of humour and they grow sideways. Other wisdom teeth only partially emerge, and others may become trapped within the jawbone (obviously not all wisdom teeth are very wise!). This does not mean all wisdom teeth need to be removed. It’s just the problem ones that may need to be extracted!

In all seriousness, poorly positioned wisdom teeth can cause numerous problems. Frequent bacterial infections in the gums (over or around them) causes pain and swelling. Other wisdom teeth grow through too far; this results in trauma to the gums and sometimes severe cheek biting.  Wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean and are often susceptible to decay. Others can push against the roots of the 12 year old molar next door and may cause damage to the root of that tooth, possibly even kill it.Wisdom Teeth and Their Removal | Fresh Dental Care

If you’re experiencing pain from a wisdom tooth it should be looked at straight away, as infections can develop around the tooth quite fast and needs attention from a dental professional. Your dentist will be able to assess if your wisdom teeth need to be removed. At Fresh Dental Care we have dentists who can remove most wisdom teeth, however in some cases you may need to be referred to an Oral Surgeon.

So be wise, if you’re having wisdom teeth pain, don’t delay and call Fresh Dental Care today!

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Throwback Thursday News!

In 2016 Fresh Dental Care dreamt big! We entered all the local business awards and we’re proud to say we achieved spectacular results!

In the Grafton Clarence Valley Awards we were a finalist and won the Work Health and Safety Award, an achievement we are incredibly proud to have been awarded as Fresh Dental Care strive to consistently maintain the health and wellbeing of all their team members.

Awards Won by Fresh Dental Care

In the Northern Rivers Regional Awards we were a finalist winning the Under 35 Years Executive Category. We then went on to be a Finalist at the State Awards ceremony in Sydney for the Under 35 Years Executive Award, and whilst we didn’t win at the state level it was our honour to be there.

At the Sunnys Business Awards and the Mid North Coast Regional Awards, Fresh Dental Care were Finalists in three categories in each award ceremony. To be nominated in so many categories is a proud achievement and one we hope to replicate again this year!

Fresh Dental Care are proud to be your local source of knowledge for all things dental. The business accolades we received last year are a testament to our commitment to the local communities in Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Urunga and Macksville, our favourite award is seeing our patients walk away with a happy smile when visiting us! Contact our friendly front desk team at the Fresh Dental Care clinic nearest to you and book in with an award winning team.


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Old for New Toothbrush Exchange

How often do you replace your toothbrush? The team at Fresh Dental Care make sure they switch to a new toothbrush at least every 3 months.

We want our local community to have the best optimal oral health as well, that’s why every year Fresh Dental Care give almost 1,800 local school children a new toothbrush!

The Fresh Dental Care team visit two local schools in each of our four locations (Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Urunga, Macksville) to personally hand each child a new tooth brush, whilst there we also conduct tooth brushing technique demonstration and offer our favourite tips for flossing. Read about how the Tooth Fairy recruited us to help her.Old for New Toothbrush Exchange | Fresh Dental CareThis provides our local community with a unique service and benefits close to 1000 families every year, not to mention ensuring our Fresh Dental Care team are able to share their knowledge and passion for best oral health and hygiene techniques.

Would you like your school to get involved? Then call our friendly front desk team at any of our four Fresh Dental care clinics today.

Grafton: (02) 6643 2225

Coffs Harbour: (02) 6651 1350

Macksville: (02) 6568 1335

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Accreditation News

Fresh Dental Care proudly belongs to a new age of accredited dental practices, offering the highest in quality patient care and sustainable cost structures for all patients.


“Achieving accreditation demonstrates a commitment to the provision of excellent dental care and continuous quality improvement within the practice.”- Quality Innovation Performance

Accredited Dental Practice | Fresh Dental Care

What Is QIP Accreditation?

The accreditation of private dental practices’ is based on the integration of a set of National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards into everyday practice culture and patient safety. These standards harmonise regulatory requirements passed down by both Federal and State governments, with highlights being the demonstration of clear and evidence based patient benefits when visiting an accredited practice.

What This Means For You

When choosing an accredited practice a patient can expect a reduction in clinical and general risks, as well as the peace of mind in knowing that all staff are educated and engaged in the implementation of dental systems and improvement of dental processes within their practice.

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards for Dentist’s were adopted by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2011. The attainment of these standards means a dental practice has proven to be of the highest calibre in delivering quality patient care within Australia.

We now proudly belong to a new age of accredited dental practices, meeting QIP quality standards of patient care for all patients.

What This Means For Us

We assure you we are committed to ongoing improvement of the policies and procedures that govern our dental practice, providing assurance to patients, staff, colleagues and peers that we are committed to quality, safety and excellence across all standards.

Accreditation is independent recognition that we have met the requirements based on a defined criteria and set of standards that all practices can be judged equally against. Accreditation provides assurance to our patients, staff and everyone associated with the Practice that quality and performance standards have been met and are being constantly evaluated and improved upon.

If you would like to find out more about the accreditation of our practice please call any one of our Fresh Dental Practices or click here to download the Australian Dental Association Accreditation Fact Sheet.

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