More and more dental offices are outsourcing their labwork these days. Cutting costs is a big factor as is convenience. But what does that mean to you?
Crowns, bridges, veneers, and even mouthguards are being sent overseas to China and surrounds to be fabricated for a much more economical fee. Some of these labs turn these crowns around in 24 hours and then have them back to be inserted by your dentist within a week. Why does that matter?
Australia has a very high standard of infection control as well as a very regulated industry as to what is safe to be used in the mouth. Unfortunately when you have products being fabricated OUTSIDE of Australia, it becomes an issue of not knowing what exactly you’re getting into. Or rather, what might be getting in to you.
Some of the downsides – certain metals that we would deem unsafe in Australia to use in the mouth may not necessarily get the same stamp of disapproval elsewhere. “The Australian Dental Association are now trying to push for disclosure from dentists using overseas crowns and bridges, which account for 50% of all crowns and bridges now made in Queensland, and stress the importance that the patient be told exactly where their crowns come from and any potential risks associated with them.”
We work so hard to avoid chemicals where we can, whether it be in our food, cleaning products hand creams etc…Why would we risk putting something in our mouths long-term that does not meet our level of safety in Australia?
As it stands now, there is no regulation regarding disclosure of where the crown and bridgework has been fabricated and Australian dentists are free to use labs from across the world. Many dental practices, like ourselves choose to use local labs where they know the technicians and know where their materials are sourced from, but there are many more practices that don’t.
Fun fact: Ancient Egyptians were said to have used animal teeth and even bone pieces as a more primitive replacement. Nowadays though, with our advancement of technology, we have found and continue to improve on the quality of materials used to fabricate our crowns.
When it comes to quality and care it is important to ask your dentist where their crown, bridges and other labwork is made. Not only to support your local economy, but to ensure you are getting a quality, Australian standard of safety approved fixture placed in your mouth.
According to research conducted over the last 5 years, Australians (both sexes) put a lot of time, effort and money in to their appearance. But what exactly is that 8 billion dollar a month industry made up of?
As it turns out clothing, shoes and hair account for almost half of the 8 billion dollars spent monthly, with *cosmetic enhancements, manicures/pedicures and accessories making up most of the rest. Sadly , there is no specific data collected on how much people spend on their teeth in this report but in an Australian government statistics report, total expenditure on dental services in Australia was $7,857 million in 2010–11.That is a small fraction (less than 1/12th or roughly 8 percent) of the “Looking Good” fund. This is especially interesting considering how much of an impact a smile has.
(*Cosmetic enhancements meaning- Plastic surgery, botox, fillers etc…)
Often people are reluctant to spend money on their teeth and make up excuses to avoid the dentist, but they will spend $200-300 in one visit on hair that needs to be maintained every 4 -10 weeks (maybe not many men spend this amount, but women often do). And that is only on HAIR SERVICES. Not shampoos and conditioners. Throw in skin care products, some makeup and this is thousands and thousands of dollars on something we often use only a handful of times before we move on to something new. Does this even have any health benefit to it? (Perhaps psychologically – but I am not a psychologist so…moving on….)
Teeth however are an incredibly aesthetic part of our health. Teeth that have active decay or cavities don’t just LOOK bad: they are BAD. They can even SMELL bad. So now you have spent $1000 on your beautiful hair, shoes and makeup for a date or a job interview but you have a tooth that you can’t chew on and you are popping breath mints to cover some bad taste you have had in your mouth for a week. Hmmmm….
From just a purely aesthetic standpoint it is a great investment to take care of your teeth. And, if necessary, spend the money to have them improved structurally and aesthetically- if only the top front 6 teeth (which is what most people see when you smile).
It is something that may not be obvious to you until you see a comparison like beautiful Catharine here :Most celebrities will spend a small fortune on their smile as soon as they have the finances to do so, as it takes them from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY and it doesn’t come with the same judgement or taboo that nose jobs or other physical enhancements may come with.
Everlasting white smiles are obtainable by dentists who make natural looking and beautiful, yet functional, smiles come to life. At Jeremy Keating Dental Practice, we have been working with smile makeovers for the past 20 years and have taken yellow, chipped smirks into beautiful beaming white smiles while taking years off of our patients’s appearance. (These same patients often tell us stories of how people tell them they look great but cannot quite place what it is they have had done. Which we think is pretty cool.)
Maybe she’s born with it….(but probably not)
Sometimes people will want very white teeth and pick a photo of a celebrity who has the shade they are after. Generally speaking it is often crowns or veneers that this celebrity has had placed on their front teeth and isn’t really going to be obtainable for natural teeth, under natural, coffee-drinking and red wine-swirling conditions. (And not likely even with professional whitening). The material that crowns and veneers are made of won’t stain so you are in the clear and can keep that white smile white!
Back to the 8 billion dollars spent monthly, on cosmetic enhancements, manicures/pedicures and accessories – teeth not included. Forty seven percent of people surveyed reckon the first thing they notice about a person when they first meet them is their SMILE (according to an American Study by Philips -and they are not alone on this). With that in mind maybe we should be spending more on our mouths and smiles than on perfume, clothing and hair COMBINED (which we are not). We all know how important a first impression is and (according to Dictionary Online ) “In psychology, a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person”. So it may sound to reason if the first thing people notice when they meet you is your smile, perhaps a greater investment from your cosmetic budget should be re-directed here.
Fixing problems with your teeth whether they are functional, aesthetic or both is something that we could make higher priority. I know it doesn’t seem like as much fun going to the dentist for regular cleans and checkups every 6 months and maybe getting those 1 or 2 teeth fixed BUT it actually is going to make you healthier and statistically, maybe even sexier. Taking care of the healthy teeth you have by way of regular check ups and professional cleans and a great at-home oral hygiene routine, will save you money and pain in the long run. And put in perspective with some of the other things we spend A LOT of money on, it really doesn’t seem like all that much, does it?
*References:**(AIHW 2014. Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures trends 2014. Cat. no. DEN 228. Canberra: AIHW.
The Holidays are upon us and the celebrations are in full swing…
With the holidays inevitably come the food and the drinks as well as the running around and playing with the kids. With all this festive fun happening nobody wants to put a dent in it with a cracked or sore tooth!
Some tips for avoiding dental related problems during the Holidays:
STAY HYDRATED – hydrated teeth are happy teeth! And yes teeth get dehydrated too. So with all that running around and the consumption of any sugary and/or alcoholic beverages, make sure you drink your H20. Water helps the body and mouth keep hydrated so saliva production is high which equals GOOD.
ICE BLOCKS- Wow that mojito sure was refreshing! Stop there! Do not attempt to continue that drink onward by biting any last drop of mojitoey goodness from the ice it has been mingling with. Ice blocks can, and do, break teeth. Period. Letting it melt in your mouth is ok as long as you are not tempted to chew on it.
ALCOHOLIC BEVVIES – Many of these drinks contain a lot of sugar and can be quite acidic. Neither sugar nor acid are very good for our pearly whites. So whilst enjoying a few beverages is totally fine, perhaps brushing thoroughly and even supplementing your routine with a product such as ToothMousse is a good idea to help balance out the mouth. This can help combat any effects those two culprits may be doing to your teeth.
OPENING ANYTHING WITH YOUR TEETH
OK. Gift wrap is one thing but tearing off piece after piece of sticky tape or (Heaven forbid) opening a bottle of beer with your teeth is not always (read NEVER) the best option. Ask Santa for a bottle opener. Merry Christmas 😉
THE BEST WAY TO AVOID DENTAL PROBLEMS DURING THE HOLIDAYS– If you are feeling that a tooth is on-the-fence or a possible dental-emergency-waiting-to happen- you should probably see a dentist before the Holidays. We often wait until something is so painful we can barely eat or sleep but that is often a bad idea.
We are always here for you even during the holidays if you happen to have any dental emergency.
Wishing you safe, happy and healthy Holidays and a fantastic New Year!