Patient Handouts

We would like to offer free access to a wealth of information on dental subjects for all patients, not just those we treat.

Find an extensive list of categories of dental problems and treatment options with detailed explanations in clear everyday language, free of medical jargon!

Here at NQ Surgical Dentistry we want to de-mystify the whole dental picture for you and offer you clear information and an understanding of dentistry like never before.

If you’re well informed you can have a far more meaningful discussion with your dentist and make better-informed treatment choices.

I hope you enjoy reading these leaflets. Please click the title of the handout to read it.

Review of Today's Appointment - Ph-01

BRUSHING: Still the most important method for cleaning your teeth. Following the technique below will help to prevent and treat gum disease, halitosis (bad breath) and prevent decay. Using this precise method you will be unlikely to skip a tooth when cleaning.

The Mysteries of Denture Care - Ph-02

Recently we have been asked by several patients how they should care for their dentures and it seemed a suitable subject for a short article in our website media centre. We hope this is helpful to many of our readers.

Single Stage Implant Therapy - Ph-03

As the name implies, a Titanium dental implant is placed into the bone and a healing abutment (a small cylinder) is fitted on the implant at the same time. This healing abutment perforates the gum and can just be seen in the mouth.

Two Stage Implant Therapy - Ph-04

Congratulations on the success of your implant - Ph-05

Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy - Ph-06

Periodontal Maintenance Therapy - Ph-07

Once a patient who is susceptible to gum disease has received initial periodontal therapy and the gum disease has been stabilised by reducing or eliminating the gum inflammation, it then becomes the responsibility of the patient to maintain the best possible standard of plaque control to prevent “triggering-off” the inflammatory response again in the future.

Phase 2 Periodontal Therapy - Ph-08

At the 6-8 week Periodontal Reassessment appointment the progress made, after root surface cleaning and excellent home cleaning, will be assessed. It is often the case that this initial “non-surgical therapy” is all that is required to control your gum disease and that you can then move on to Periodontal Maintenance Therapy provided periodically either 3, 4 or 6 monthly as indicated.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea - Ph-09

  • Snoring is extremely common resulting from partial collapse of the soft tissues around the upper airway with a resulting “vibrating” of the soft tissues leading to the snoring sound.
  • Snoring is often associated with episodes of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)…

Oral appliance therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea - Ph-10

Many people who snore find a reduction in snoring on the first night they wear their mandibular anterior-positioning splint, however others may have to have the splint adjusted before they enjoy this benefit.

Medication fact sheet for oral surgery patients after general anaesthetic - Ph-11

When to take your medications prescribed by Dr Priestland………

When you are asleep in the operating theatre the anaesthetist may give you a large dose of antibiotics intravenously along with pain-control drugs and anti-inflammatory medications.

Instructions for immediate denture patients - Ph-12

Medication fact sheet for oral surgery patients after local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation - Ph-13

Dry socket mainly a complication of lower molar extractions - Ph-14

A dry socket is a localised area of painful inflammatory response within the bone at the site of a recent tooth extraction, most commonly at the back of the lower jaw. It usually occurs between 3 and 7 days after the tooth has been removed and is characterised by increasing severe pain, which may feel as if it is radiating along the jaw or up into the temple or ear.

Third molars - the whole story - Ph-15

FACT: Wisdom teeth have been causing problems for human beings for thousands of years. They continue to do so today and will continue to do so in the future.

FACT: The decision to remove them or leave them alone is not always straightforward.

Oral care and cancer treatment - Ph-16

Sadly cancer has become a significant community problem affecting larger and larger numbers of patients worldwide. Many cancer sufferers are receiving their cancer therapy as outpatients and as a result, more dentists are likely to see patients suffering from cancer in their practices. Managing oral conditions that relate to cancer or to cancer therapy is becoming more and more important.

What type of anaesthesia is best for you? - Ph-17

There are three options when considering how to perform a dental or oral surgical procedure. These options involve how we ensure the procedure can be made pain-free and acceptable to the patient. The options are local anaesthetic (LA), general anaesthetic (GA) or local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation (LAWS).

Keep your children's teeth healthy - Ph-18

The Australian National Oral Health Survey results released by the University of Adelaide show that dental decay affects a significant proportion of children. Over 40% of children between the ages of 5 years and 10 years have decay in their primary (baby) teeth and one quarter of children in that age group have not received dental care for their decay.

Gum Disease - the Basics Explained - Ph-19

Firstly it is essential to understand that gum disease is an inflammatory condition. The plaque bacteria present in the mouth consume nutrients from your food and metabolise these chemicals producing highly toxic waste products.

Keep your teeth healthy - Ph-20

They say “Prevention is better than cure;  Nowhere is it more relevant than when we apply it to dental decay and gum disease. These two dental diseases account for most of the dental work throughout the world.

Intravenous Sedation - Ph-21

Intravenous sedation is a supportive procedure in addition to the primary treatment aimed at managing patient anxiety. It involves the introduction of a canula into a small vein in the arm to allow administration of a sedation drug, called Midazolam, directly into…

Implants: the whole story- Ph-22

Dental implants have been available for around 50 years since the pioneering work of Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark in Goteborg, Sweden. A Swedish orthopaedic surgeon…

Overdentures may be the best answer for lower complete dentures - Ph-23

For many years upper and lower conventional removable complete dentures have been worn by patients with varying degrees of success. Generally upper complete dentures work well but sadly the lower complete denture is often extremely unsuccessful.

Preventive dental information for young adults - Ph-24

  • Dental decay and gum disease account for most of the dental disease requiring treatment by dentists and hygienists throughout the world.
  • BOTH of these diseases are entirely preventable

Dental decay is the direct result of the interaction between teeth, plaque bacteria and sugars from the diet - Ph-25

Gum recession and options for treatment - Ph-26

Regular thorough dental checks and minimum interventive dentistry - Ph-27

Preventive dental health education varies from area to area and between different communities throughout Australia. Education is probably one of the most important factors in preventing so many medical and dental diseases including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and stroke.

Frenectomy - Ph-28

An increasing number of children, as young as 18 months, are being referred to me for a surgical procedure called a frenectomy. The term frenectomy means the removal of a frenum;  a frenum being the tissue that attaches the lip or cheek to the gum margins.

Treatment of damaged teeth- Ph-29

Trauma to the face very often results in damage to the teeth and the soft tissue of lips, the gums and the hard tissues supporting the teeth (the jaw bone).

X-rays: are they good or are they bad? - Ph-30

First it is necessary to understand that to obtain X-ray films it is necessary to irradiate the body with gamma radiation that has sufficient energy to pass through human tissues to record an image on a film or electronic sensor.

Hygienists save implants - Ph-31

Implants can be a great way to replace missing teeth. However, like your natural teeth, dental implants need to be looked after carefully to maintain health and this involves both patient care and professional care.

Temporo-mandibular (TM) Joint Problems and Therapy - Ph-32

This article aims to give a slightly simplified but clear explanation of the various problems that may arise in the temporo-mandibular joint or jaw joint. To do so obviously requires some understanding of the anatomy of the jaws and joints and some explanation of the physiology of how the muscles work.

Tooth wear - Ph-33

Teeth are hard calcified tissues but they can be damaged in several ways. A fall can result in trauma and a fracture of a tooth. However, teeth can be damaged in other ways that may take place within the mouth described as tooth wear.

Dental Crowns - Ph-34

There appears to be a great deal of confusion amongst some patients over what crowns are, why they are used and the different types of crowns that exist. This article aims to clear up this confusion and provide a clear overview on the use of crowns in dentistry.

Tooth wear - Ph-33

Teeth are hard calcified tissues but they can be damaged in several ways. A fall can result in trauma and a fracture of a tooth. However, teeth can be damaged in other ways that may take place within the mouth described as tooth wear.

Dental Crowns - Ph-34

There appears to be a great deal of confusion amongst some patients over what crowns are, why they are used and the different types of crowns that exist. This article aims to clear up this confusion and provide a clear overview on the use of crowns in dentistry.

Your medical history and surgery - Ph-35

Like all medical and dental practices, at NQ Surgical Dentistry, we need to obtain an accurate, detailed medical history from all our patients. The medical history form is the first stage in collecting this information.

Sports drinks, nutritional products and your mouth - Ph-36

Dental decay and tooth erosion are two very common conditions that continue to affect an increasing number of young Australians. Sadly the increase in prevalence in the young is at least in part due to the increasing use of…

Adverse effects of anti-inflammatory drugs - Ph-37

Information concerning tooth extraction & oral surgery - Ph-38

Frequently asked questions concerning topics like pain after surgery, painkillers after surgery, swelling after surgery, post-operative infection, dry socket, post-operative bleeding, surgery for patients taking Warfarin and so on…

What to do about failing teeth? - Ph-39

Summary of radiation dose equivalents for patients - Ph-40

When a patient is irradiated in order to take an X-ray, an area of their body is exposed to “ionising radiation”. This form of radiation has the potential to damage normal tissue cells if it is used in a high dose for a prolonged time.

The dental hygienist, the central asset in our practice - Ph-41

Many patients appear to be unclear about the role of the dental hygienist and the amazing benefits that they can provide to patients in a dental practice. It is the intention to explain their role and a number of the benefits that you can enjoy from visiting our dental hygienist, Sharon Everett.

Adverse effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - Ph-42

An association has been found to exist between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory dugs (NSAIDs) and raised blood pressure that can occasionally result in heart attack or stroke.

What dental issues can occur in your 40’s? - Ph-43

There are a number of oral health issues that can arise in your 40’s. Unfortunately, dental work doesn’t last forever so this is the decade when you might expect some tooth repairs.

What dental issues can occur once your reach your 50’s and beyond? - Ph-44

For those Australians who have access to dental care and who can afford regular dental examination and treatment when required, it is likely that the current generation in the workforce will retain a large number of natural teeth well past their 50’s and into their old age.

What is an apicectomy? - Ph-45

When a tooth suffers from severe trauma, or extensive dental decay, or is subject to considerable cavity preparation using a dental drill to remove the decayed tooth structure, living tissues within the pulp chamber and root canal may become inflamed as a response to such stimuli.

Breast-feeding and oral health - Ph-46

Midwives, lactation consultants, child health nurses and other healthcare professionals give new mums and dads a great deal of advice, at prenatal classes. However, there is often relatively little specific information provided on…

Inhalers and the health of the mouth- Ph-47

What asthma and lung disease patients need to know…

1. It is critically important to provide all known details of all your medications, naturopathic remedies and supplements to all healthcare professionals…

Crown-lengthening Surgery - Ph-48

Tongue and lip tie - Ph-49

Tongue and lip tie is a fascinating subject but so much of the information relating to these oral restrictions remains unknown by many healthcare practitioners. This leaflet is aimed to provide a basic level of knowledge for patients who have an interest.

Connective Tissue Grafts - Ph-50

This leaflet provides the reader with knowledge of the soft tissues found in the mouth, including their functions. It identifies the way in which tissue type is controlled and how, by surgical means, we are able to change the type of tissue growing around a tooth or implant, improving not only current soft tissue health and contour, but long term health of the soft tissue around both teeth and implants.  

Dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) - Ph-51

This article covers the salivary glands,  what saliva does, Symptoms of reduced saliva, results of reduced saliva, causes of reduced saliva, Need for careful dental examination in head and neck radiation therapy patients….

Tooth whitening - Ph-52

Tooth whitening uses the bleaching effect of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, both of which will diffuse through the tooth enamel into the dentine and lighten the colour of the tooth. Whitening /bleaching is most effective for teeth with a yellow discolouration within the tooth.


For years very little has changed in the basic approach to the prevention of dental diseases including both tooth decay and gum disease.  The simple message for all patients has always been, and remains the same: “eat less sugars and clean teeth better”.

Bone grafting for implant therapy - Ph-54

Following tooth extraction, there follows a period of healing during which there is loss of bone from around the tooth socket. This takes place over a few months but continues at a slower rate over the years that follow. Therefore if a tooth has been missing for a period of years, it is common to find that there is insufficient bone remaining to support an implant in its correct position.

Dental clearance and tooth replacement options - Ph-55

There are many reasons why people have to have multiple teeth removed or even all their remaining teeth removed. It should not be a reason for embarrassment for patients as this is one of the areas of patient care in which we deal every day.

LORAZEPAM – For premedication before intravenous sedation - Ph-56

For patients with particularly high levels of anxiety concerning dental or surgical treatment, it is helpful to take one to two 1mg tablets of Lorazepam around 1 hour before your surgical appointment time with a very small amount of water.

Gum Recession - Ph-57

Gum recession in the past was frequently blamed on incorrect tooth brushing using firm brushes in a scrubbing technique. It was assumed that this damaged the gums and the attachment to the root surface of the tooth. However this is often untrue and generally not supported by scientific evidence.

Root surface decay - Ph-58

Tooth decay affects many people of all ages. However, root surface decay is the decay beginning on the dentine root surface of the tooth rather than on the crown of the tooth that is covered in enamel. Root decay invades the root very quickly and can lead to tooth loss in a mater of months.

Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain! - Ph-59

Do you have sensitive teeth? Do you suffer from sharp pain with cold drinks or even pain with cold air? These are symptoms of highly sensitive dentine or tooth surfaces. So why and how does it happen, and what can be done about it?


There are several sub-types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) varying in their ability to infect people and in their potency as an infection.  It is now known that HPV is associated with the increased prevalence of oro-pharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) accounting for around 70% of OPC cases.

Nutrition and oral health - Ph-61

Nutrition encompasses the intake of food, digestion, absorption of nutrients, nutrient transport to targetsites, storage of nutrients, metabolic use of nutrients and the elimination of the metabolic waste products from the body.

FDI tooth numbering system for patients! - Ph-62

To help you understand your dental report from Dr Colin Priestland, it is necessary for you to know how the Federation Dentaire Internationale (FDI) tooth numbering system works so you understand which tooth I am identifying when outlining your treatment plan in your report. 

Oral care and cancer treatment - Ph-63


Periodontal diseases (gum diseases) are now classified according to the condition present, its stage affecting the patient, the extent of involvement of the dentition and the rate of progression. This leaflet is to clarify for patients and members of the dental team what the classification is and how it relates to the level of periodontal disease that affects a patient.

I have a tooth that is going to be removed! How do I find out if I can have an implant? - Ph-65

You’ve are going to lose a tooth! It’s a shock and upsetting but now you need to have a consultation and discussion with your dentist about how you will replace that tooth. If you chose to have an implant then the you can start taking appropriate actions to help retain the bone at the site to get the very best result and obtain the most natural appearance with your future implant and crown.

Dentistry as a career - Ph-66

The field of dentistry supports a number of careers to provide employment, satisfaction and pleasure to many varied personalities and people with varying academic abilities including jobs such as dental specialists (13 different specialty streams), general dentists, oral health therapists, dental nurses/assistants…