Smile Consultation

Please click on the FAQ links below to view.
If your question is not answered below you can contact Dr Helen directly with your question by filling out our enquiry form here.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

It’s a good idea to arrive five or ten minutes early for your first appointment, as we’ll need some information from you before your consultation, such as your contact details and a brief medical history.

Your consultation will commence with a discussion on what you’re looking for in your relationship with us, any problems you’ve been having, and any concerns you have about your health and well-being. Then I’ll conduct a comprehensive 21-point oral health examination, including a painless screening for oral cancer. Afterwards, I’ll discuss my findings with you. Together, we’ll come up with a treatment plan that best suits you. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and if there’s something you remember later, don’t worry, just give the office a call and we’ll answer any queries you might have.

If you have insurance cover, we can process your claim for you on the day of treatment. This saves you the time and hassle of making the claim direct to your insurer. In order for us to be able to do this, you’ll need to bring your insurance card with you to the appointment.

Can you do everything for me in one appointment?

If I can, I will. Many people go to the dentist when they have a problem, and that usually means they are in some degree of pain. The priority is always to get you out of pain. And as I say, if I can treat the problem as well as relieve the pain then I’ll do it. However, many treatments are multi-step procedures, and cannot be done in one appointment. Only after seeing you will I be able to make a diagnosis. Then, I will know what needs to be done and how efficiently it can be done for your convenience.

If your first appointment is for an examination, and you aren’t having any issues, then I’ll conduct a comprehensive 21-point examination, present you with a treatment plan and a fee breakdown. Then we can stage your treatment, depending on your time frame and budget.

I’m so busy. I just haven’t got the time to sit around waiting room.

We respect your time, in the same way that you respect ours. Ninety percent of the time, we run exactly to schedule. But, occasionally, we may run behind. The reasons for this may be that we are performing a certain procedure which has taken a little longer than we anticipated. Or, we may be seeing someone who’s been in pain, and one of our priorities will always be to get a patient out of pain as quickly as possible.

In the unlikely event that we are running behind, we’ll let you know how long we expect to keep you waiting. Please be understanding of the fact that we don’t keep you waiting lightly and there is always a good reason for any delays. And while you’re waiting, you can relax with a drink and a sugar-free snack.

So what’s wrong with in-office teeth whitening procedures?

Although I offer in-office whitening for people who need instant results, I do not recommend in-office whitening alone. Usually, it takes place in just one session. Your mouth is open for over an hour, during the procedure, which results in tooth dehydration. This, while not a problem in itself, can lead to misleading results in the short-term, as dehydrated teeth often have a whiter appearance than usual. You may see in-office whitening treatments offered by hairdressers or beauty spas. They will promote single visit treatments. What usually happens is after one treatment, further treatments will be suggested, and the price initially quoted will start to increase rapidly.

Take-home whitening is a proven successful way to achieve natural whiteness. It’s so good that I used it myself. When you choose take-home whitening, I will ensure you have a healthy mouth before proceeding with the treatment. Whitening is only offered to a patient after a thorough dental examination. Unhealthy teeth should not be whitened as they might be prone to aching and sensitivity.

What’s the process?

We will make an appointment for you to have some impressions taken of your teeth, so that personalised whitening trays can be constructed. Once your trays are ready, we will contact you, and then you can drop in for a five-minute visit so we can explain how the process works. From now, watch your smile transform!

Are there any side-effects to the whitening treatment?

If carried out according to my instructions, the only possible side-effect of the whitening treatment is a slight sensitivity in the teeth. If this is experienced, the daily whitening times can simply be reduced. Any sensitivity usually passes within a couple of days.

How long does the treatment last?

One session per day is recommended, for a maximum of fourteen days. If you miss a day, don’t worry just add a day at the end of the treatment. It’ll take you longer to achieve the desired results, but you’ll still get there.

Is the whitening permanent?

Long-lasting, yes, with good aftercare. Whitening results last anywhere from two to seven years, depending on how often you drink red wine, tea, coffee, etc. I whitened my teeth seven years ago and still haven’t had to touch them up. But if you have a special occasion looming a top-up treatment can restore initial brightness. So don’t throw your trays away! All you’ll need is some fresh gel to put into the trays, which we can supply so subsequent treatments won’t cost as much.

Are all dental implants successful?

Implants have a very high chance of success in a healthy patient who takes care of their general and dental health. There are, however, some factors that can compromise the successful placing of an implant. These include medical disease, excessive smoking or alcohol consumption, and poor diet or dental hygiene.

Will implants last a life-time?

With good care, there is a very high chance an implant will last a lifetime.

Is age a deterrent?

Health is the determining factor, not age. In fact implants are most often needed later in life after losing some teeth.

Is it expensive?

Implant procedures vary in complexity and extent. Depending on the patient’s dental and medical circumstances, implant procedures can involve a significant financial outlay. I have a high success rate and many very satisfied patients.

Will my health fund pay?

This will depend on the level of your cover. We are happy to make enquiries on your behalf with your individual health fund.

Will there be discomfort?

As with any surgery, there can be some degree of pain or discomfort. However, modern anaesthetics virtually eliminate all pain during and after the procedure.

How much time will it take?

This depends on your individual circumstances and the extent of work involved. There will usually be a series of procedures and follow-up visits over a period of some months.

How long will I be off work?

Generally patients can resume work the day after the procedure. In some cases you may experience some swelling, discomfort, or minor bruising.

What are the myths around root canal treatment?

Is it expensive?

It might look like a costly procedure when you see the treatment plan, but you won’t be paying for it all at once. The treatment is staggered and so are the payments. We can even look at ways of spreading certain parts of the treatment out to make it even easier. If you think that removing the tooth and replacing it is cheaper, think twice. Any replacement option will cost more.

Is it painful?

There are a number of myths surrounding root canal treatment– that it’s agonisingly painful, for one. This just isn’t true. I perform many of these procedures and most people are pleasantly surprised. There can be some discomfort during or after the procedure, but nothing that can’t be relieved with anaesthesia or pain relievers.

Why does it take so long?

Root canal therapy is an intricate procedure. It’s an exploration of the structures deep inside the tooth. Often, we don’t know quite what we’ll find until we’re in there. The treatment has to be precise and thorough. I need to make sure I find all the canals, and it’s important to ensure that all the infection is cleared from them. We have to wait to ensure the tooth has settled before carrying out the final stage of the treatment. Root canal treatment cannot be rushed, if the final stage is done too soon, before confirming the infection has been eradicated, we will have to revisit the problem at a later date.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just have the tooth pulled?

Yes and no. For all the reasons I’ve outlined, it’s better if possible to keep the original, natural tooth.

Extraction is always an option. And yes, it’s cheaper to take out a tooth than treat it but extraction, even of just one tooth, doesn’t end when you’ve had the tooth removed.

Post-extraction, there will be a need to replace the missing tooth, which often costs more than treating it in the first place. Although you might think you can just live with a gap in your dentition, without an adequate replacement there will be problems when surrounding teeth crowd into the space vacated by the extracted tooth. This can lead to complications with those teeth, necessitating expensive corrective procedures.

Is the treatment guaranteed to work?

Root canal treatment is a complex procedure. As we are dealing with the management of disease, there are no guarantees, similar to most medical procedures. The treatment has a long history of success and in the majority the treated teeth can function for many years. As with all procedures, there are risks involved, however these are rare occurrences.

What are the risks? I don’t want the treatment if it’s not going to work.

I always explain the possible complications of any procedure so you’re fully informed before making a decision. There are statistical risks associated with most things in life. Driving our car to work everyday can be dangerous but that doesn’t stop us from doing it. Let’s focus on the benefits of root canal treatment. If the treatment works, as it most likely will, you’ll have the full use of your natural tooth back again.

Why should you see your dentist regularly?

My teeth are OK now. Why do I need to see you again?

Just because you’re not feeling any discomfort or symptoms, doesn’t mean your teeth and gums will be given a clean bill of health. If its been a while since you last visited a dentist, and you haven’t been observing stringent hygiene habits, there’s a possibility that there may be something we need to keep an eye on. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Dental disease, like heart disease, is silent. There are no symptoms until it’s in an advanced stage. However, if detected early, dental disease can be halted and treated.

Regular preventive oral health examinations can identify problem areas, and we can treat them before they become problematic, saving you time and money in the long-run.

People say to me, “Dr Helen, I just can’t make this month’s appointment, I’m far too busy. Anyway, it’s only for my routine examination.” What they mean is, it doesn’t matter, but it does matter. Attending your regular dental examination appointments is an essential treatment, it’s not just an exam, it’s taking control of your oral health.

What is a holistic dentist?

Our oral health is connected to the foods we consume, the way we lead our lives etc. Stress can lead to dental disease, because when we’re stressed we consume more alcohol, smoke, eat sugary foods, etc.

You might’ve seen holistic dental ads. The term “holistic” implies that your dental health is looked at in the context of your overall wellbeing. We don’t market ourselves as holistic—all dentists are.

How do you select a dentist for your implant treatment?

In recent years, to meet market demands and reduce fees, many dentists have turned to lower quality, often overseas made implants. As a result, we are seeing higher failure rates, poorly fitting crowns and less aesthetically pleasing results.

When you shop around for best prices, you will find a dramatic variation in fees between dentists. Most people aren’t aware of how low prices are achieved. Several factors need to be considered in making your choice.

What is an implant?

A dental implant is a titanium “root” used to support a porcelain tooth replica or a group of teeth. A typical implant consists of a fixture made of commercially pure titanium, which after three months fuses to your jaw bone, much like a replacement hip or knee would. A porcelain tooth or teeth is then attached to the implant or denture, locking it into place.

Implant success and technical considerations

Generally a well-planned and expertly executed implant procedure has success rates in the order of 98% and most people could expect a dental implant to last for life. Implants rely on their support from adequate bone thickness and quality. However, a poorly placed or angulated implant or an implant squeezed into an area of insufficient bone, to save you money, has high risk of failure. Implants don’t fail quickly. They can take 10 years to deteriorate. Unfortunately as they fail slowly and painlessly they can cause bone dissolution at the same time. At the time of failure, there is usually insufficient bone to replace it and reparative procedures will cost you thousands, negating any savings you would’ve made in the first place. When people need a hip replacement or a kidney operation, they usually look for a good surgeon. It is important to understand that implants are not a commodity, but a delicate surgical procedure that needs to be performed by a highly qualified surgeon for long term success.

Despite popular belief, implant brand rarely determines the success of the procedure. Most modern, well respected brands manufacture high quality implants. Success is in the hands of the operator.

Implant supported crown

The tooth replica or the crown also needs to satisfy a number of requirements. It needs to be proportionate to the length and size of your implant as to not overload it and be made of high quality pure materials to prevent fractures and corrosion. It also must look like a natural tooth and fit snugly between adjacent teeth so there are no hard-to-reach areas where food can become trapped and cause infection. It must also satisfy comfort and functionality requirements.

All of this might sound quite straightforward, but in fact a crown is a well-crafted piece of dental engineering requiring great technical skill and talent on the part of both dentist and the dental technician. Great care, skill, time and honesty will determine whether you end up with a superior long-term result or a mediocre crown. The laboratory technician needs to be up-to-date with modern methods of manufacture, and comfortable working with the latest materials. These technicians are hard to come by even in Australia and their work is not cheap.


When considering implant treatment, most patients are unaware that they will most likely be referred by their dentist to one or more specialists at different stages of their treatment. This can be time consuming, expensive and stressful. For long-term success, it’s important that the dentist you select to do your implants understands, and is qualified to handle all aspects of implant treatment.

Even more alarming is the trend of going overseas to have dental treatment done. We receive several phone calls a week from people with overseas-made disasters. Once again you will reap immediate savings but after numerous trips, airfares, the cost will often come close to what you’d expect to pay in Australia. There are many skilled surgeons around the world. However, if you have any complications such as infection, crown loosening or failure, there is often no one equipped to deal with these conditions in Australia as systems used overseas are often different. Also, financially it is entirely your responsibility.


Most people are unaware that some dentist send their work directly to China; cutting out the middle man. Others use local Australian laboratories that outsource work to China. This creates the impression that the work is Australian made when it’s not.

Metals and porcelain used for veneers and crowns vary greatly in quality. This information is not freely available to the public, but to somebody who is having the procedure done, this can mean the difference is between success and failure. In addition, lead contamination has been implicated in overseas made crowns. As with most things, quality will be reflected in price.

I always encourage people to do their own research. However, no matter how thorough your research is, results are entirely in the hands of the professionals you choose.


When selecting a dentist to do your implants, be cautious and don’t let the lowest price influence you. Please consider all variables when evaluating value for money, such as the integrity and skill of the practitioner and technician, in addition to the quality of materials. Long term success should always drive your decision.

For stringent quality control, our work is crafted by a leading Australian laboratory from superior materials to ensure that what goes into your mouth is of the highest standard.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please call our office on 9510 5597. With extensive training and experience in implant procedures, we will assist you in making your decision.

What's involved with root canal treatment?

Nothing is as good as the real thing. In modern dentistry we strive to retain your existing natural teeth if possible, root canal treatment (or endodontic therapy) is a proven way to save teeth whose health has been compromised by decay or injury. Root canal treatment has an established history of success, and with care, can last you for the rest of your life.

If you are unfortunate to loose a natural tooth and choose not to have it replaced, surrounding teeth can tilt into the space left by the missing tooth. This can make chewing difficult, leading to further decay and gum disease around the tilted teeth. No matter how good an artificial tooth may be, it will never be as good and efficient as your natural teeth. Cleaning and maintenance of a natural tooth is also easier, so you should always strive to retain them.

What is involved?

Root canal treatment is staggered, taking place over at least three visits. This can help with the cost, allowing you to pay as you go.

Every tooth has a network of canals where pulp (commonly referred to as the nerve) resides. When pulp gets infected as a result of decay or injury, it needs to be removed. Canals are then cleaned, shaped and enlarged. Antibacterial medications are also used to help reduce inflammation and infection. As the tissues around the tooth heal, each canal is filled or obturated with a special root canal filling so that bacteria cannot get back into the tooth.

Root Canal Treatment is extremely effective and a treated tooth can have a very long life. However, the treated tooth loses its nourishment, and as such becomes brittle, so a reinforcing crown is always advisable. Without the protection of a reinforcing crown, the treated tooth is prone to fracture, so a crown should be fitted soon after treatment to minimise the risk of losing the tooth.

There are a number of myths surrounding root canal treatment, to learn more refer to the “Treatments” page of our website.

What is involved with a dental veneer?

I’ve heard of veneers without tooth reduction. Can anyone have them?

With the majority of cases, tooth reduction is not necessary for veneers. However, in certain situations, minimal tooth reduction will facilitate a more aesthetic outcome.

Are porcelain veneers permanent? Are they replaceable?

Porcelain veneers firmly adhere to the enamel of your teeth. With good maintenance and care, they rarely come loose and can serve you for many years before you consider having them replaced. However, no preparation veneers are fully reversible.

Will they look natural?

Not all veneers are the same. You might’ve seen people who look like they have unnatural smiles. Veneer manufacture is an intricate and time-consuming process. A skilfully crafted veneer will replicate all the details of nature, minimise decay, and preserve your tooth. Our top technician will make you high quality veneers, which can only be distinguished from natural teeth by a qualified professional. We offer them at an affordable price.

How long does it take?

It takes two to three appointments, two weeks apart, to make porcelain veneers.


Do you want whiter teeth?

When you flick through the celebrity magazines, do you notice how many movie stars have gleaming white smiles? Do you ever wonder how they do it? It’s probably because they have undergone a treatment to have their teeth whitened. No-one’s teeth are perfect. We could all do with a little help here and there. Even if you don’t have the desire to walk down the Oscars red carpet, whiter teeth will give you a confident and attractive smile.

There are two types of whitening treatments available: take-home and in-office. I usually recommend take-home whitening to our patients; I believe it is the most successful method with the most consistent results. About seven years ago, I used this method myself, with very satisfying results. Take a look at my smile on the sign outside our office when you’re next here.

You can learn more about whitening in the “Treatments” page of our website. If you’d like to discuss whether whitening is appropriate for you, please call us on 9510 5597.

Are all crowns the same?

A skillfully crafted crown will replicate all the details of nature, minimise decay, and preserve your tooth.

Dentistry is a competitive industry. With demand for cheaper consumables, dentistry has also experienced a move in the direction of budget or economy crowns. However, these differ from the traditional, higher quality crowns in that we do not have the same control over their manufacture. This is reflected in the health and appearance of your teeth.

I understand price can influence a patient’s decision when choosing their dental provider. The advice I give my patients is that you get what you pay for. A high quality crown is likely to last a very long time. Cheaper, budget crowns have a much higher likelihood of failing in the short-term.

I want my patients to have the same crowns I would choose for myself. I believe I offer quality craftsmanship at an affordable price.

What if I’m anxious?

If you experience dental anxiety, you’re not alone. Many people feel nervous about seeing the dentist. You might have expectations about the visit, or perhaps remember dental visits you had as a child. The reality of a dental appointment is usually very different from the expectation you might have. In addition to light sedation and general anaesthesia, we utilise several relaxation techniques at the studio. At the end of their appointment, most patients say, “I haven’t felt a thing!”

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Many patients have a fear of needles. The reality is that the needle isn’t what’s painful. The discomfort comes from the fluid itself. I take it easy, slowly, gently, so there’s barely any sensation. In fact, some of my most fearful patients have asked me afterwards: “Was that it?” Another common concern can be the noise of the handpiece during procedures. It brings back bad memories for some. If you prefer to not hear it, you are welcome to wear earphones and listen to your favourite music. We have music playing throughout the studio, many patients find this soothing enough for them. Feel free to bring your own music if you like.

If you wish to discuss your treatment with us, please give us a call on (03) 9510 5597

What if I am in pain?

If you are in pain, call our studio immediately. We’ll ask you a couple of questions about the nature and location of the pain, then find you a suitable appointment at the earliest opportunity. The priority is always to have you pain-free as quickly as possible, and in the meantime, there are a number of self-help measures you can take to keep comfortable.

If you have a toothache:

Here are a few steps you can apply at home to try to relieve the pain:

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Nurofen or Panadol (please make sure you are not allergic to either). However, you will need to see me as soon as possible. If you mask the pain and ignore it, the infection can spread and could become very serious.

If the pain is caused by debris lodged in a cavity, washing the area may relieve the problem.

Floss your teeth, and then run a toothpick around the gum line. This may remove debris that’s lodged under the gum.

Putting an ice pack on your face over the area that hurts may relieve the pain. Apply the ice for 10 to 20 minutes of every hour, as necessary.

If you will be travelling on a plane, the change in pressure when the plane takes off or lands may increase your discomfort. You should see me before travelling by air.

If you have a broken tooth:

If the tooth is sharp, you can temporarily use orthodontic wax or a sugar free chewing gum to cover sharp spots.

If an area is bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.

Apply a cold compress to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

If your tooth has fallen out (avulsed tooth):

If you have lost a tooth playing sport or as a result of some other trauma, the best thing to do is to suck it clean and reposition it back into the socket. Do not worry about infections as you will require antibiotics anyway.

Call us immediately on (03) 9510 5597. If you are unable to reposition the tooth in the socket, the tooth can also be placed in milk, however keeping the tooth inside the mouth (between cheek and gums) is best as the saliva will help preserve the tooth.

Do not rinse your mouth or tooth with water as this can damage the tooth.

You can also check out our youtube channel for more advice on the top ten common causes of a toothache.

What is the cost of complete teeth replacement implants?

Cost is a big consideration and the most commonly asked question from people who are considering this treatment. Using traditional methods of using 4 to 8 implants, an upper or lower arch would cost $30,000 – $50,000.

With the advent of the All on 4 procedure, the cost of rehabilitating full arch of teeth has come down. This is because there is often no need for bone grafting and allows the dentist to use only 4 implants.

In Australia, All on 4 treatment can range anywhere from $18,000 to $30,000

The wide range of fees are due to the following reasons:

  • Type of implants used for the procedure
  • Need for bone grafts to regenerate lost bone
  • Quality and the quantity of bone available in your mouth
  • Diagnostic tests before the surgery
  • Quality of the final restoration (teeth)
  • Customisation required
  • Experience/skill of your dentist/surgeon
  • Having surgery performed under general or local anaesthetic

We are a small practice and therefore we are able to focus on your individual needs, providing utmost care. Our fees reflect the highest quality of outcome we deliver. Whilst still priced at the lower end, we offer value for your money by incorporating in our fees many options often offered as additions in other clinics. If you need both upper and lower arches done at the same time, it takes less time to than if they were done individually, offering savings for both arch treatment.

In some cases, you may be able to have some cost alleviated by your dental insurance. However, most insurance companies only offer small rebates.

Remember that nothing in life worth having comes free or cheap, so be careful with big discounts or cheap overseas “solutions”. Be certain that the dentist you choose is experienced, offers ongoing care after initial treatment completion and uses trusted implant providers so that if you require a part replacement years later, components are freely available.

Though by no means this is a cheap treatment, All on 6 is an investment that will positively influence your appearance and your overall health.

We are happy to answer any questions you have specific to your situation. Please feel free to give us a call on (03) 9510 5597.

Do you offer payment plans?

We sure do! Check out some of the options here or schedule a consultation with us today by contacting the studio at (03) 9510 5597. We can give you a comprehensive treatment plan with all costs and figures and provide the best payment plan options based on your individual needs.

Do you treat patients with dental phobias?

Absolutely. Dr Helen knows how debilitating a fear of the dentist can be. She offers one-on-one consultations to discuss options, fears, and all aspects of a dental phobia to make sure you can comfortably visit the dentist for routine treatment. Dr Helen’s Dental & Implant Studio is judgment-free, if you have a dental phobia and would like a consultation, please contact the studio at (03) 9510 5597, and we will get you started on a path to pain-free, worry-free dental health. For more information, check out Dr Helen’s Open Letter to Fearful Patients.

Do you do general dentistry?

We sure do! We can perform all general dentistry services in-house.

Do you treat children?

Absolutely. To book an appointment, please ring today at (03) 9510 5597.

Do you accept Bupa, Medibank, etc.?

We accept all forms of private health cover.