Blue September – Men’s Cancer Awareness Month

Blue September is a campaign aimed at raising awareness about cancer in men, the goal is to encourage men of all ages to take preventive action by improving life style choices and having regular checks with their GP.

Statistics from Prostate Cancer Australia show that in 2017

  • 16, 665 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed
  • 23.1% of all new cancer cases were male
  • 12.7 % was the percentage of male deaths from cancer.

While the Blue September organisation does an amazing job at raising awareness for prostate cancer, the team at Riverside Dental Spa would like to use this month to raise awareness for the less talked about oral cancer.

Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancers, it is the 7th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

Historically death rate is particularly high due to the fact it is often only discovered in its later stages.

The early stages of oral cancer can go unnoticed by the patient as there are often no recognisable pain or symptoms, there is an increasingly high risk for these types of cancers metastasising to other parts of the body such as lymph nodes of the neck.

In 2017 the Australian Government published statistics showing

  • 4,956 new cases of head and neck cancer – 3,625 were males.
  • 3.7% in total of new cancer diagnoses
  • Tragically there were 1,026 deaths from head and neck cancer, 777 were males.

So, what are the risk factors for oral cancer?

Age is frequently named as a risk factor for oral cancer, with most cases being in patients over 40. However, it is shown that accumulative damage from other factors such as the following listed also contribute to the instance of head and neck cancers,

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Ultra-violet radiation (frequent sun exposure)
  • And persistent viral infections such as HPV (human papilloma virus)

As mentioned above, early detection is crucial for these types of cancers, it is important if you notice an area of the mouth changing in terms of redness, discolouration or ulceration and it doesn’t appear to heal after 14 days that you seek the advice of a dentist or GP.

At Riverside Dental Spa we endeavour to keep up to date with all of the latest technology and equipment to assist our patients in having the healthiest mouth possible. At your preventive dental check one of our practitioners will use our Oral ID screening device to screen for early changes in the tissues of the mouth allowing for an early detection of potentially nasty lesions, early intervention and possible referral to the appropriate head and neck specialists.

For more information on oral screening, contact our practice on 4323 4323 or visit

Alternatively, for further information visit;


Jaw Pain

Jaw Pain!
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain is a disorder which effects a lot of us, particularly in the high stress lifestyles of the 21st century. People who experience TMJ or jaw pain often find it to be an on going problem with times where you may experience one or a number of the following symptoms:

• Jaw or neck pain
• Persistent headaches or earaches (in particular waking up with a headache). The headaches can also lead to dizziness and/or nausea
• Clicking or popping upon opening of the jaw – even to the extent of locked jaw
• Regular headaches when walking
• Limited opening

Causes of TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of factors such as:

• Stress
• Trauma – clenching/grinding of the teeth, or physical trauma to the jaw area in the event of an accident
• Medical conditions such as arthritis
• General wear and tear of the joint with the ageing process
• Oral habits. For instance, frequent chewing gum behaviours

If you are having any of the above symptoms please seek assessment and advice from your Dentist/Hygienist. At this visit they will assess your TMJ by placing their fingers on the TMJ and ask you to open and close several times. Here they will be able to listen and feel for the movement of the joint to help advise of management or treatment recommendations.

There are a number of management and treatment options that may be suggested to you, this could include one or more of the following:

• Simple steps such as ‘relieving stress’ (easier said than done right?)
• Anti inflammatories
• Relaxation techniques/exercises of the jaw
• Occlusal splint – may be advised by your dentist to protect the teeth from further wear as well as eleviate jaw pain
• In selected cases botox can be administered into the TMJ to help relax and relieve the symptoms.

Simple measures are usually advised first and if no relief a referral may be given to see a Specialist who is highly specialised in this area.


Advanced techniques for cleaning teeth, introducing the EMS Air flow.

Advances in technology today are inevitable and here at Riverside Dental Spa we are always striving to provide the most up to date techniques while looking at ways to make your dental visit as enjoyable as it can be. Our Hygienist are very excited to have this new technology available for our patients… So whats all the fuss about? Well, we have purchased the latest device on the market, which is the most effective and comfortable way to have your teeth cleaned and uses the most up to date technology. This new product is known as an Air-flow cleaning device and it combines air, powder and water to effectively and efficiently remove soft plaque and bacteria from your teeth.

How does this differ from the traditional way that we clean teeth?

Traditionally we use an ultrasonic tip (the vibrating tool) that breaks away the hard deposits on the teeth and then follow with what we call a prophylaxis. The prophylaxis procedure involves the use of a polishing cup and paste to remove soft plaque and light stains from the teeth. This is often quite messy, time consuming and leaves you with the feeling that you have sand in your mouth following the hygiene visit.

What to expect from this new technique

When using the Air-flow device, firstly your Hygienist will place a coloured dye on the teeth that shows where the plaque and biofilm resides in the mouth – biofilm being the main cause of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. This is a great educational tool to show you areas that you may need to spend a little bit more time with on a daily basis or areas that are little hard to reach, our hygienist will then give you a few tips or tricks in getting to those areas.

The device uses air, water and powder to remove these deposits from the teeth and as the hygienist is using the Airflow tip you might feel a light sensation from these elements. Another great benefit of this device is that it works amazingly well at removing those stubborn stains that you may have from drinking a lot of tea or coffee.

Unfortunately, the Air-flow tip does not take away the need for Hygienists to use the ultrasonic (the vibrating tool) to remove the hard calculus deposits from the teeth. With that in mind generally speaking, it does help minimise the amount of time in which the ultrasonic tip is needed, this means that it may not have to be used on every tooth in the mouth, further reducing the time needed to have a thorough clean.

Many of our team members have already fallen in love with this advanced technique during their regular preventative care appointments with our hygienists. Next time you come in to see us here at Riverside Dental Spa be sure to ask our hygienists, dentists and other team members about this new device. You’ll be amazed by how gentle it is and how great your smile looks and feels after just one visit.


What to expect when seeing a dental hygienist

Here at Riverside Dental Spa we are lucky to have a team that are dedicated to providing quality and exceptional care to our patients. Part of that team are our dental hygienists. Our dental hygienists are university trained and specialise in preventive dentistry, focusing on reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

At each appointment our dental hygienists will throughly assess the health of your gums, this is done in a few different ways.

  • Firstly, they will ask you about any medical issues or changes, this is to ensure your safety and assess any risks to your dental health that can be associated with different medications and/or conditions. There are a number of links between general health and oral health that people are unaware of, if relevant we will discuss this with you.
  • Secondly, the gums will be checked with a specialised measurement instrument. This will allow your dental hygienist to note things such as plaque, calculus, bleeding, recession and pocket depths. This is essential in assessing the health of the gums and usually feels like a slight pressure around the gum surrounding each tooth. If there is any pain or hypersensitivity associated with this part of the exam (due to the gums being inflamed) you have the option to have numbing gel placed on the gum (although this is often not needed).
  • Once these first two steps have been done the dental hygienist may talk through with you any areas of concern and give you some tips and tricks in getting to those hard to reach areas. If it has been sometime since your last dental check up and or if there is a larger amount of plaque and calculus around the teeth, the hygienist may need another appointment to complete cleaning the whole mouth, this is to ensure that you are provided with the best possible treatment.

It is generally recommended that x-rays (radiographs) are taken every two years to ensure that a very thorough clinical examination can be conducted. Without regular radiographs, clinically it is impossible for any Dental Professional to be 100 per cent accurate in diagnostic purposes. Of course, if you are pregnant please ensure you have discussed this information at the beginning of the appointment as we would advise holding off on the radiographs until after the arrival of your little one.