Frequently Asked Questions

Portland Laser Dentistry & Orthodontics

Our aim is to provide the widest range of dental services available in SW Victoria in one clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Comprehensive Dentistry?
Many dentists advertise that they provide comprehensive dentistry. They claim to be able to sort out complex cases and the patient ends up with a lovely smile.

Be aware that very few dentists have the expertise and experience in orthodontics, laser surgery, periodontics, implant surgery and restorations to be able to truly claim to provide comprehensive dentistry in house.

Always ask about the treatment alternatives, risks involved in treatment and the benefits to you before you decide. Australian dentists are not allowed to provide website testimonials about their treatment by law. Ask how many cases like yours has the dentist done. Perhaps you would like to talk to these previously treated patients?

The Cosmetic question?
Should dentists promote their skills in providing attractive smiles? Do patients need these treatments?

It is a well known fact that people with attractive smiles do better in social and business life. The aim of cosmetic dentistry is to idealize the colour and arrangement of teeth to suit your face. To achieve this the dentist has to assess if colour is the issue, or arrangement of the teeth is the issue or is it a combination? Once the cause is determined; can it be dealt with simply, or is a more complex solution needed?

Most people want to know what they will look like after the correction. This can be done with Photoshop type programs, but simulations can be inaccurate. A diagnostic wax up is slower to do but more accurate. A mock up can be temporarily placed onto you teeth to give you an idea of the end result.

Many patients want to have their smiles renovated. At Portland Laser Dentistry & Orthodontics we have the expertise and equipment to do gum lifts, orthodontic alignment, bonding and veneers, crowns, implants etc.

We will ask you once if you have any concerns about the appearance of your teeth. If the answer is “No” then that is the end of the discussion. We won’t push the issue.

What is an Oral Health Therapist?
Oral Health Therapists are dental professionals, who are dually qualified in Dental Therapy and Dental Hygiene. Oral Health Therapists can perform examinations and cleans on patients of all ages and can perform fillings on patients, among other treatments.

Why don’t you refer all surgery cases, implant cases, root canal cases, orthodontic cases, gum disease cases, children’s dentistry cases to specialist dentists like other dentists do?
We have the training and equipment to be able to tackle all, but the most demanding cases. We can do more than the average dentist, but we apply the question, “Would I treat my own child with this condition, or refer to a specialist”?
It is expensive and inconvenient for patients to travel to see a specialist. This often influences people to extract teeth that could otherwise be saved.
Our outcomes are good and patients have been satisfied over the last 35 years.
Rest assured that if your case looks tricky we will offer referral to a specialist that we trust.

Is finance available?
Our policy is that we expect payment on the day of service. We provide credit card facilities for Visa, Mastercard and American Express holders.

For extensive treatment plans we offer payment plans. Application forms are available at the front office desk.

I want my amalgam fillings removed. Do I need a holistic dentist in the city?
Much misinformation has been written about the safety aspects of dental amalgam. While we don’t routinely place amalgam fillings any more, we have to remove them on a regular basis. The safe way to do this is under copious water spray with rubber dam in place. This allows removal without the debris being ingested by either the patient or the staff. There is no scientific evidence that supports the benefits of various holistic methodologies used as adjunctive therapies. We are happy to work in conjunction with alternative therapists as long the methodology being prescribed will not harm the health and well being of the patient and staff.

Other Information

Knocked out tooth
Find the tooth.
Only hold it by the crown, do not touch the root.
Carefully clean any debris form the root (wash with milk or saline or have the patient suck it clean).
Replace the tooth into the socket immediately the right way around.
Get the patient to close their teeth gently to hold it in position/or use aluminium foil adapted to the teeth.
If you can’t replace the tooth, either wrap it in Clingwrap or store under milk.
Call a dentist 0468 930 431
Arrange tetanus shot ASAP.

Broken tooth
Keep the remnant tooth piece
Call the dentist 0468 930 431
If any other head trauma, call the hospital immediately.

Temporary Crown has fallen off
Inform the dentist asap. If it won’t reliably stay in position when repositioned, do not sleep with it in place.

Bleeding Gums
This is the first sign of gum and bone disease. See your dentist. If acted upon quickly the infection can be easily controlled. The disease does not give any pain until the final stages, just before tooth loss. You will notice bad breath issues.

Orthodontic appliance is broken or lost
See your dentist without delay. To avoid unwanted tooth movement retainers should be replaced promptly. We can repair most fixed appliances (braces) promptly.

Broken tooth/ lost filling
Once a tooth has lost its seal it rapidly becomes infected by bacteria in the saliva. Depending on how close to the nerve the bacteria have invaded, the tooth will react with slight sensitivity to throbbing pain. To avoid a root canal therapy being needed, see your dentist promptly.

Most dental pain can be controlled with the use of Analgesics (pain killers). Antibiotics have no place in treating toothache, unless you have a spreading facial swelling.
The cause of the dental infection causing the pain needs to be attended to promptly. Call 0468 930 431 for help.