location3/40 Oceanview Drive Wamberal NSW 2260

Are You a Teeth Grinder?

Do you grind your teeth or clench your jaw in your sleep? Perhaps you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or have regular headaches? If this is the case, you may have Bruxism and not even know it!


This is very common with many of our patients. Bruxism can go undiagnosed for such a long time that it becomes habitual and just something patients ‘put up with’. At Terrigal Dental, we take a special interest in Bruxism cases. There are many symptoms, causes and treatments available, so why not stop it before it gets worse!

Bruxism can be caused by an array of biological, psychological and external factors. This includes, but is not limited to stress, anxiety, alcohol, or even an abnormal bite or crooked teeth. Alternatively, some clench their teeth as a coping strategy or to assist during deep concentration or to improve focus. It is harmful as it causes excessive wear on your teeth over time, as well as jaw tenderness and discomfort. Some patients grind their teeth so aggressively that their partners can hear it while the person is asleep!

Over an extended period of time, Bruxism can cause the following:

  • your teeth to fracture, loosen or break off
  • teeth sensitivity
  • injury to the joints and muscles in your jaw and/or face
  • ear aches
  • disrupted sleep

It is important to identify Bruxism before it becomes habitual as it will be easier to correct any damage. Here are some tips to stop teeth grinding:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks and foods with high levels of sugar in them
  • Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get used to and comfortable to the clenching action
  • If you notice that you are clenching throughout the day, place the tip of your tongue between your front teeth, training your muscles to relax
  • Engage in relaxing activities before bed and stretching exercises to encourage relaxation of the muscles
  • Try stress management and cognitive behaviour therapy

In addition to the above, our dentists at Terrigal Dental can provide a custom fit mouth guard made to perfectly fit your mouth. This will provide a cushion in between your upper and lower teeth so they don’t directly meet. The guard is strong enough to withstand the pressure of your jaw clenching, but comfortable enough to sleep with it in. It will prevent the erosion of the enamel and should assist with those nasty headaches and pains in your jaw which Bruxism causes.

Through regular dental visits we will be able to monitor how your jaw and teeth change as a result of the mouth guard, and alter it accordingly to get the best result for you.

Wisdom Teeth – All you need to know!

Wisdom teeth; we all have them. Some go a whole lifetime without having any issues, whilst others experience pain, infections and swelling in their late teens and early twenties and need to have one or all of them extracted.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the rear third molars that come through at a more mature age than the rest of your teeth. They are located on your upper and lower jaw. Wisdom teeth can appear by:

  • Eruption – coming through with no obstruction
  • Partial eruption
  • Over eruption – coming through but growing too long
  • Impaction – getting suck along the way as a result of the tooth growing at an abnormal angle
Why do wisdom teeth hurt?

Wisdom teeth require removal due to an array of problems they cause, usually due to the lack of space in one’s jaw and mouth. This causes the teeth to erupt at an angle, thereby putting pressure on the surrounding teeth and gums. Further resulting in food and bacteria getting stuck in the difficult to reach places around the wisdom and neighbouring teeth. If the area around the wisdom teeth become infected, it can be extremely painful and may involve swelling of the jaw, pockets of pus developing around the concerned area, difficulty opening the mouth and swallowing and severe pain.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Unless the troublesome wisdom teeth are removed by a dentist or oral surgeon, the infection and pain will generally reoccur, progressively get worse and be extremely unpleasant. Tooth decay is also caused by avoiding an extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.

The extraction

There are many misconceptions about the removal of wisdom teeth, often surrounded by the possible complications that can arise for the procedure. However, with the proper after-care and monitoring, it should not be long after the extraction procedure that you can resume your normal day to day activities.

The extraction procedure can range from being a simple ten to twenty minute appointment to an hour appointment. It all depends on how the tooth is growing and how many teeth are required to be removed.

At Terrigal Dental, most commonly a local anaesthetic is applied so you will not feel a thing. There is also the option of happy gas to assist you to relax before the extraction begins.

After care

To ensure you recover as quickly as possible after a wisdom teeth extraction, the following is often suggested:

  • Take pain relieving medication as advised by your dentist or oral surgeon
  • Hold warm salty water in your mouth for a couple of minutes each day – do not gargle
  • Don’t smoke for 48 hours after the surgery and avoid alcohol
  • Consume soft foods until you can open your jaw with ease
My personal experience

Personally, I had all four wisdom extracted in the dental chair. I had been struggling with a swollen jaw and infected third molars for a couple of weeks and tried to put the extraction off as soon as possible, however this only made my symptoms worse. The dentists walked me through the procedure and made me feel extremely comfortable in the chair. After a bit of happy gas and anaesthetic, the extraction commenced and it was over before I knew it. With a couple days of rest, salt water gargles and ice blocks, I recovered in three days. I extremely suggest wisdom teeth removal for anyone struggling with the pain associated with wisdom teeth. An extraction is a couple of minutes of your day that can prevent pain and infections for the rest of your adulthood.

Why are my teeth yellow? Teeth whitening/bleaching

Cleaning your teeth and maintaining their level of whiteness, isn’t as easy as it sounds… and we completely understand! Starting your morning without a warm cup of coffee and winding down without a glass of wine, just doesn’t sound as enjoyable.

To make things worse, it is not just coffee and wine that stain your teeth. There is a wide range of food and lifestyle choices that can inhibit you achieving the perfect level of whiteness.

Causes of yellow teeth:

  • Eating foods with staining properties such as curries, tomato-based sauces and soy sauce. The rich colours and acidic nature of these foods are (no matter how delicious they are) can lead to dental stains due to the level of pigments and sugar in them.
  • Drinking acidic beverages such as soft drink and white wine (red wines aren’t the only type of wine harmful to your teeth). The acidity in these drinks can eat away at the enamel on the surface of your teeth, eventually leading to decay.
  • Eating other pigmented foods, in particular fruits such as blackberries, blueberries and pomegranates. The pigments in these fruits are extremely powerful, and were used to dye clothing not too long ago, so regular intake of these fruits without brushing can cause dental stains.
  • Not drinking enough water. Water is not only important for hydration. It acts as a natural defence against build up and staining! It is recommended to drink water regularly throughout the day to wash away any substances lingering in your mouth, especially after a meal.
  • Smoking. Amongst the endless reasons to quit smoking, dental stains are one of them, along with gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Not brushing or flossing your teeth on a daily basis. As simple as it sounds, avoiding to brush and floss can lead to many dental issues down the track, and is one of the best ways to make sure your maintain your dental hygiene and colour of your teeth until your next dental appointment.

Obviously there are plenty more food and lifestyle choices that can stain your teeth. However, we are not here to advise you that in order to achieve the perfect white teeth you can’t live a normal life. Instead, we propose making the following changes to reduce the effects of the above!

How to stop teeth staining:

  • Diluting your curries and sauces by using some sort of milk or water based addition to the recipe. By ‘watering’ them down, you can reduce the level of pigment in them and therefore reduce the degree of dental staining.
  • Drinking acidic drinks through a straw. We know avoiding soft drinks completely can be difficult, so changing the way through which you consume them can reduce the amount of contact your teeth will have with the acids in the drinks.
  • Drinking enough water before and after meals, as well as throughout the day to ensure you (and your mouth) is not dehydrated.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups – in the case that there is an issue or concern with your teeth, the sooner it is identified the better.

At Terrigal Dental, we consider each patient part of our community and aim to provide a standard of treatment that we would expect for ourselves. We love educating our patients about their overall dental health as well as the options available to them to achieve the perfect smile – even those that they can incorporate into their daily routines at home.

For those that are finding their teeth to be victims of teeth staining, give us a call today to discuss the teeth whitening treatment we offer, or visit our website to make an appointment online!

Here is some information from the Australian Dental Association as well about aesthetic dentistry. We love making people smile.

Good Start Tumbi Umbi – Tuesday the 6th of September 2018.

On Tuesday the 6th of September, Amber and I went to Good Start at Tumbi Umbi to give the Oral Health presentation about why we have teeth and how to keep them happy and Healthy.

As we arrived, the children were outside playing in the fresh air, in the sand pits and on their bikes. There were so many fun things to play with!

We set up our presentation in front of the big colourful mat. This is where the children sit when they are listening to their teacher speak or read a book.

When we were ready, the very kind teachers brought in the bubbly cute children to sit on the mat. As we saw all the beautiful faces we thought we should get things started with a big smile from everyone. We could see so many bright and happy smiles. The children were so excited to meet Amber the Tooth Fairy and couldn’t wait to ask her some questions. One child noticed Mr Dragon sitting on the table and spotted his big teeth and yellow dots on his tail.

We used Mr Dragon to show everyone how to brush our teeth. We started by brushing the fronts of his teeth with circles and we got the children to make circles with their arms. Next we were brushing the biting areas of Mr Dragons teeth by scrubbing and the children we doing scrubbing movements with their arms. Once we had been through brushing Mr Dragons teeth, he had to spit out all the toothpaste. We explained to the children that it is good to spit out the toothpaste, but not to rinse with water so the important minerals can keep the teeth strong. We passed around Mr Dragon so everyone could have a go at brushing his big teeth.

When I asked why do we clean our teeth, a child told us it is so we do not get cavities. I was blown away with the answer! She was totally correct, we brush our teeth so the sugars from our food don’t eat into our teeth. Another way we can do this is to drink and wash our mouth with water after eating.

Looking around the room, we could see that a couple of the children had missing front teeth. It was so exciting to hear that the tooth fairy had come to their house and taken the tooth but left a little treat for them. They loved that Amber the tooth fairy was here today and wondered where she put all of the children’s teeth she had collected. However, this had to stay a secret.

We got two helpers up the front to show everyone what happens at a dental check up. They Dentist and Patient looked great all dressed up and played their roles very well. The patient had 20 happy teeth and she told us how her bottom front teeth are actually wobbly.

The children loved their gift bags and were so happy with the coloured toothbrushes!

We gave the preschool a Colgate story book with the character Brushalotamus. It talks about different ways we can keep our teeth happy. It tells us why it is important to eat healthy everyday foods, drinking lots of water, brush our teeth 2 times and have regular dental visits. The preschool teacher started reading it while Amber and I were packing up. The children were very interested in the story book.

The children gave us a big cheerful good bye and loved walking us to the door and waving through the fence.

It was really nice seeing so many little happy faces and smiles.

Sam Nowlan (Oral Health Therapist).

Terrigal Dental is now moving to 3/40 Oceanview Drive, Wamberal

Why are we moving?
1. Better parking and no dealing with Terrigal traffic!
2. Level access so no more walking up the stairs!

Having been in our current location for 50 years now it is now time for a new beginning and a new place! Along with our new location we will also be welcoming our amazing Hygienist Sam to the practice, she will be working Mondays and Tuesdays. Sam specialises in children’s dental and also does thorough cleans for adults. We anticipate our move to be completely finished by the 12th of June however we will continue to inform our patients of our location when booking appointments to avoid any confusion.

Our practice name, phone number and opening hours have not changed so all is still as normal!

We look forward to continuing to give our patients the highest possible quality of care at our new location. See you there!

What causes cavities?

Cavities or holes are formed by acid producing bacteria that live on the plaque in your mouth. When sugars and starches aren’t cleaned off your teeth, bacteria quickly begin feeding on them and form plaque. The acids in plaque remove minerals in your tooth’s hard, outer enamel. This erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel — the first stage of cavities.

Brushing and flossing your teeth as well as having them professionally cleaned by our dentists twice a year decreases the level of these damaging bacteria in your mouth. Lack of tooth brushing allows the bacteria to grow producing too much acid which then causes cavities.

Sugary foods feed these bacteria making them produce more acid! So keep brushing and flossing twice a day and keep a healthy, low-sugar diet. These good habits will hopefully lead to a cavity-free visit to Terrigal Dental!

What Toothpaste Should I Use?

Walking down the hygiene care aisle in the supermarket, we’re dazzled with “advanced formulas”, “multi-action” pastes, and even “natural” toothpastes. But all hype aside, what type of toothpaste should you be using?

From pulverised bones and crushed oyster shells to the modern-day pearly white paste, the role of toothpaste has always been to remove plaque and prevent cavities.

At Terrigal Dental we recommend selecting a toothpaste with added fluoride. Any toothpaste that contains fluoride will help to prevent tooth decay, (when used with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing). Fluoride is an ingredient added to toothpaste to help strengthen and protect teeth against decay. It can also reverse early decay. Most supermarket toothpastes will have fluoride but it is worth checking the ingredients on the back, just to be sure!

Terrigal Primary School Fun Fair

On the weekend our lovely receptionist Sam and Dr Charles participated in the Fun Fair at our local Primary School!

They had guessing competitions, prizes to be won and lots of samples to be given away! It was a beautiful day and they really enjoyed being a part of the day and talking with the community about all things dental.

Thanks for having us!

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Children’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they first erupt from the gum. They should be brushed twice a day buy an adult with water and a soft toothbrush until the age of 17 months.

For children older than 18 months, you should start using toothpaste. Be sure to use a toothpaste that is specially formulated for children. This toothpaste should have a lower amount of fluoride than most adult toothpastes. 

Once your child reaches 3-4 years of age you can start using a larger, pea sized amount of toothpaste.

Is it okay to forget about my missing tooth?

Some people don’t mind having a gap in their mouth, however it is important to be aware of the potential consequences of ignoring a missing tooth for an extended period of time. If you lose a tooth and don’t seek professional advice, it could eventually lead to a number of serious issues, ranging from aesthetic changes through to serious health concerns.

A missing tooth can lead to:

  • A resorbed jaw bone, as a result, gum tissue gradually recedes, exposing the roots. As the bone begins to resorb, your face shape can change.
  • Difficulty chewing and speaking.
  • Neighbouring teeth often drift into the space that has been vacated, causing leaning and crowding.
  • The teeth may tip or rotate, this can affect your bite and can even put strain on your jaw joint, causing you to experience unnecessary pain.
  • Problems with your gums, root decay, and sensitive teeth.
  • Losing a tooth can affect your speech – and your smile.


If you have a missing tooth, we can advise you on whether it’s best to fill that space with a denture, a bridge, or an implant, so you can keep your smile looking great and your mouth looking and feeling healthy.