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FAQ & Children's Dentists on the North Shore

Here are some answers to many of the most common questions we receive. If you can't find the answer to your inquiry here, or would like information, please contact our helpful team.

Are you good with children?

Absolutely. We warmly welcome children, and we pride ourselves on our effective approach to children’s dentistry. This reputation and trust have made us the official PLC School Dentist for the past 25 years. We are located just 250 metres from Pymble Ladies College (PLC) School as well as a short two-minute walk from Pymble Railway Station, making it easy and safe for children to reach us for an appointment.

What age is a good time to start bringing my child?

The process of establishing good dental care should start early. It’s a good idea for a child as early as the age of three to accompany a parent to one of their check-ups. This will give the child an introduction to the dentist in a comfortable manner, helping to establish a positive relationship. Often the child will volunteer to sit in the chair for a ride! After the initial introduction, it’s a good idea to bring the child in for his own first preventative visit, and continue this habit every six months. It is crucial that all children visit the dentist at five or six-years-old, when their first permanent teeth begin coming through. In this way, they will begin caring for their new teeth and prevent future problems.

Do you do teeth whitening?

We have a number of methods depending on your preference and clinical needs. When you schedule a consultation, we will happily explain the different options available to fit your needs.

How easy is car parking?

We are happy to offer our patients free, unlimited-time car parking on-site. Free two-hour street parking is also available.

Thanks to Pymble's central location on the Sydney North Shore, our practice is conveniently located for all patients in the area, especially residents of the suburbs of Wahroonga, Turramurra and St. Ives.

Can I get there by train?

Frequent train access from the City and Hornsby makes reaching us by train simple and convenient. Exit the station on the Pacific Highway side and walk past Domino’s Pizza heading towards the city for 50 meters. At the Livingstone Avenue traffic lights, cross towards the Sandstone Church and continue down the hill for 50 metres. Our practice is located on the right, on the corner of Everton Street.

I’m very nervous and haven’t been to the dentist in a while. Is that ok?

Don’t worry! Our team understands your nerves and we treat all of our patients in a gentle and comforting manner. We are equipped with Nitrous Oxide “happy gas” for very nervous patients, and can ensure you painless injections thanks to the latest technology.

We encourage you not to wait any longer to make a visit to the dentist. Small problems can quickly become bigger and more difficult to manage if left untreated.

Do you care for PLC boarders?

We are the official PLC School Dentist and have developed a close relationship with PLC over the past 25 years in the routine and emergency care of their boarders. We warmly welcome and care for PLC boarders who can easily and safely walk the short distance to our office.

Dr Cooke’s daughter went to PLC

Do you accept Medicare Child Dental scheme vouchers?

Yes, we are registered with Medicare for the Child Dental Benefits Scheme.

Do you have Hicaps machine for private dental health insurance?

Yes, we are happy to offer this facility to save our patients the hassle of making a trip to the health fund office to claim their rebate. We also accept all private health insurance.

I need to be seen urgently for toothache or emergency dentistry, is that possible?

Every day we set aside reserved appointment times for people with a toothache or other emergency needs. In the meantime, check our tips for what to do in an emergency.

How up to date are your dentists and facilities?

Professional courses are regularly attended by all dentists, both interstate and overseas. We also regularly attend conferences, the most recent being the Australian Dental Association Annual Conference in September 2012 and the American Dental Association conference in November 2012.

The practice is regularly re-equipped and upgraded with the latest state of the art equipment such as hospital-grade steriliser, digital x-rays and digital panoramic x-rays. The practice was completely renovated last year.

How can I get my teeth whiter?

There are three main methods for teeth whitening:

  • Daily cleaning – Brush at least twice daily, and floss once daily to reduce plaque and stain build-up between teeth. Colgate Total is our recommended toothpaste.
  • Whitening in office – This procedure takes about an hour and is best when immediate results are required, for example a wedding or job interview.
  • Whitening at home – Using professional products approved by the American Dental Association, we find this produces the best long term results.

Why are my teeth going darker and yellow?

  • Some possible reasons for teeth discolouration are:

    • External stains from smoking, coffee and tea, or red wine.
    • Thinning of enamel. As the protective layer of enamel wears, the underlying tooth shows through and appears darker.
    • Medications such as antibiotics can cause discolouration when used in childhood.

Should I have teeth whitening before or after my crown, bridge or implant?

If you are considering teeth whitening, then you should discuss this with us before we proceed with any major dental work. We suggest that whitening be carried out first, so the artificial tooth or teeth can be matched to the shade of your teeth after you’ve undergone a whitening procedure.

Are electric toothbrushes better than manual brushes?

Most people, despite their best efforts, do not brush with the perfect technique needed for manual brushing. For this reason, we recommend electric brushes, as technique is not quite as critical. They can be more efficient if people only use them for a shorter time, so it is important not to over-brush in one area when using an electric toothbrush.

I have recently cracked my tooth but do not know why as I have healthy gums and look after my teeth. Could there be another problem?

A toothache caused by a cracked tooth without associated cavities or gum disease can cause severe sharp pains. A broken tooth can be caused by chewing or biting hard objects such as lollies, nuts, ice or chewing on your pen, or heavy teeth grinding (bruxism). You are especially prone if you already have a heavily filled tooth.

Often a cracked tooth may need a crown to protect and restore it.

Can I defer placement of an implant after an extraction?

This is usually not desirable, as there is continuing bone loss from the extraction site. If left too long there may not be enough bone left to place an implant. Ideally an implant should be placed within three to four months after an extraction. Find out more about dental implants.

What causes tooth decay?

Sugar is the main cause of decay and it is found in many of the foods we eat and drink every day.

Bacteria that have settled on a tooth thrive on sugar, multiplying rapidly. Unfortunately, when bacteria and sugar get together, a chemical reaction occurs that produces acid which eats away at the enamel of the tooth. The more sugar we eat results in more bacteria, which produces more acid, increasing the chance of decay.

Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it harder for the acid to eat its way into the tooth. However, once the decay process has started, it accelerates at a rapid rate. After eating through the enamel, the decay then attacks the softer dentine. If left untreated, the decay will engulf the tooth eating its way further down to the nerve, resulting in toothache and need for root canal.

It is therefore important to try and limit the amount of sweet foods and drink that we consume and to brush our teeth shortly after every meal - including lunch.

Do you have patient testimonials?

The Dental Board of Australia has prohibited testimonials for all Australian dental practices since July 2010. If you see testimonials on other Australian dental websites, it may be that the website has not been updated since July 2010.

However, we can say that our practice has been operating for 85 years in Pymble, and a large percentage of patients have been attending for 20 or more years. Some have been attending continuously for 61 years! And yes, we warmly welcome new patients.

Can you offer some tips for children’s teeth and dental health?

Some useful dental tips for mothers of young children are:

  • With a normal diet there is no need to take extra fluoride during pregnancy.
  • Many babies have no trouble when teething, but if your baby shows signs of discomfort during teething, seek advice from your doctor or dentist.
  • Baby teeth start erupting at about six months of age,usually the lower front teeth.
  • Permanent molars erupt behind baby molars around six years of age and a lot of care should be taken to keep these molars decay free.
  • Avoid giving your baby a bottle as a pacifier while baby is sleeping.
  • If your baby requires a bottle to go to sleep, take it away as soon as possible and replace with a bottle containing water.
  • Fluoridated water is good for teeth.
  • As soon as the baby's teeth appear, start cleaning them with a small soft brush and water.
  • When baby is a little older, use a pea sized amount of junior fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush.
  • Clean baby's teeth at least once a day.
  • Dental floss should be used after the age of eight.
  • It is a good idea that your baby/child should have the first visit to the dentist as early as possible to familiarise the child to the dental environment.This is best done by bringing them to one of your check-ups.