Bell Hill Dental

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

At Bell Hill Dental, we want to provide excellent dental care for every patient. But we also hope to educate our patients as well. In this area, you will find some common queries with their answers. We intend to work diligently to answer any questions you might have.

If you don't see what you need below, we invite you to contact us for assistance.


We are aware that the cost of dental care in Dunedin can be expensive and unexpected, and at Bell Hill Dental, we don't want costs to be a barrier to getting you the treatment you need. This fact is why we prepare such a comprehensive initial assessment that includes your treatment plan with each option itemised.

Then, we consult with you, emphasising that you decide what care and plan to include in the process. Some decisions are complicated, and we will work with you until you are comfortable with your treatment path along the way to your smile goals.

Dental Checkups and Cleans in Dunedin Are Cost-Effective

While it seems understandable that your regular check-ups and cleans will be affordable, their value in prevention is many times their costs. Cleans are vital in reducing the build-up of plaque and tartar residues that your at-home care leaves behind. But also, at these appointments, the Bell Hill Dental team can discover any potential dental problems at their earliest stages so that they require the least invasive treatments possible. 

We Offer Payment Options

We have partnered with Zip and QCard to help spread treatment costs and are happy to discuss treatment plans and phasing treatment to suit your needs. Please don't hesitate to contact our practice and ask about your options.

Bell Hill Dental is conveniently located at 109 Princes Street between The Octagon and The Exchange. Our dental practice is south of Dunedin Hospital above the Black Dog Cafe and Bar. Patients and visitors are welcome to our convenient on-street parking. 

Bell Hill Dental is easily accessible from State Highway 1 by The Octagon, Queens Gardens and The Exchange. Our family-friendly dental practice welcomes people from Dunedin CBD and surrounding areas, including Southland and South and Central Otago. 

Our caring and experienced team are always ready to greet familiar faces and welcome new patients to Bell Hill Dental. We offer a wide range of dentistry services to patients of all ages, and we are available to take your call Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

If you experience a dental emergency, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. Our dental team aims to relieve pain and discomfort and treat your specific situation promptly and with great care.

Excellent Dental Care in Dunedin, Otago

Are you ready to arrange your dental appointment in Dunedin? Our team at Bell Hill Dental welcomes you to call us on 03 477 8364 or via our online form.

We look forward to welcoming you to our dental practice! 

Cosmetic Dentistry

How important is a bright smile? Some patients may experience stains or yellowing on their teeth and seek professional cosmetic treatment despite diligent brushing and oral upkeep. In many cases, teeth whitening procedures can help reflect patients' hard work in keeping their smiles clean! 

At-Home Kits & Professional Teeth Whitening at Bell Hill Dental

Professional teeth whitening can do the trick if you'd like to achieve an excellent cosmetic appearance for your smile! At Bell Hill Dental, we offer our patients two different teeth whitening procedures that yield fantastic results.

  • Take-home kits: Patients can whiten their teeth over a predetermined length of time by wearing whitening trays (usually before bedtime). Although this option brightens teeth gradually, patients can whiten their teeth from the comfort of their homes on their own schedules.
  • In-house 'boost' whitening: With a quick 90-minute appointment, patients can walk out of our clinic with a significantly brighter, cleaner-looking smile than before.

Contact Your Cosmetic Dentist in Dunedin

Whether you are interested in teeth whitening or other cosmetic dental services, our staff at Bell Hill Dental is committed to giving you the smile of your dreams! We warmly invite new and existing patients to arrange an initial consultation and find the best way to transform your smile! Feel free to call our Dunedin dental clinic on 03-477 8387 or simply book online.

Cosmetic dentistry is one of our passions at Bell Hill Dental in Dunedin. So when we see how our patients react to their restored smiles, we can't help but smile ourselves.

Our Tools for Cosmetic Dentistry in Dunedin

The cosmetic dental process will begin with a consultation with Dr Elaine Neill's team to help us understand your smile goals. Then, we can discuss some procedures we offer, such as replacing silver amalgams with tooth-coloured materials, veneers and tooth implant restorations.

We also provide whitening treatments to help reverse the staining effects of age and everyday life items such as coffee and other foods. In addition, we offer a range of options, from an in-house Boost treatment to take-home trays for your convenience.

Full Mouth Reconstruction for Missing Teeth

In some cases, we may agree on full-mouth reconstructions to address significant wear, missing teeth and even bone loss. However, if you have suffered extensive tooth damage or have lost many or all of your teeth, we have several solutions. From single tooth implants to full dentures, implant-supported dentures and dental bridges, we can help find what works best for you.

Arrange Cosmetic Dentistry in Dunedin, Otago

If you are concerned about your teeth's colour, shape, or size, we can talk you through ways to improve your smile. Contact Bell Hill Dental to schedule a consultation with our cosmetic dentist.

Dental Cleans and Exams

The problem is once gum disease has already progressed it cannot be cured because once bone loss has occurred around a tooth the bone will not grow back. However, gum disease can be treated by removing the plaque out of the gum pocket through scaling and rootplaning therefore stopping the infection from progressing any further. The treatment aim is to gain stability and stop further gum disease progression.

Dental Cleans in Dunedin

Everybody is different depending on how healthy your gums are. Normally, if you have a history of gum disease, we try and see you every six months, to help prevent it occurring again. Occasionally we need to see you more often, if you have deep gum pockets, or if you are having difficulty with your home-care. This ensures the gum pockets remain as plaque-free as possible helping maintain gum health.

By the time we see bleeding around a pocket it is telling us that the gum condition is active and maybe getting worse again. It is important to remember that you cannot clean down into the pocket yourself at home, so professional hygienist intervention combined with good homecare is important to achieve optimal gum health.

Gum treatment of a healthy mouth should not cause discomfort. Treatment of red, inflamed gums can be uncomfortable for some people, so we have various pain control techniques available. It is important for you as a patient to let us know if you are experiencing any discomfort as this can be controlled.

The problem is that until the gum disease gets quite severe, there are very few symptoms. Pain is not a symptom until the gum disease is often very advanced. By that stage it is often too late as there has been too much bone loss around the tooth and the tooth may already be loose.

The primary cause of gum disease is plaque. If you have no plaque you will not get gum disease.

However there are many factors that can contribute and make gum disease worse. Some of these factors with latest research are:

  • Smoking: If you smoke you are four times more likely to have gum disease compared to someone who has never smoked
  • Diabetes: 2-4 more times likely to develop gum disease
  • Pregnancy: pregnant women who have gum disease may have a seven-fold increased risk of delivering a pre-term, low birth weight baby
  • Cardiovascular Disease: 2 times more likely to develop gum disease
  • Genetic factors: Evidence suggests that there is a significant genetic component to susceptibility of periodontal disease. We now know that there are at least two genes related to gum disease. Genetic testing for these genes is something that is carried out in the USA and is not available here in New Zealand as yet.

As part of providing exceptional dental hygiene care, our hygienists may:

  • Complete oral health assessments that include a review of your health history, screen for oral cancers, record gum health and signs of gum loss (recession).
  • Take and interpret xrays
  • Remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from above and below the gumline
  • Apply agents to the teeth to protect against cavities (such as fluoride and dental sealants)
  • Provide topical and/or local anesthetics if any treatment is uncomfortable
  • Show you oral hygiene techniques to improve your home-care to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums 

Dental Hygienists are trained healthcare professionals. They are licensed to practice with the Dental Council of NZ. A dental hygienists major role is the prevention and non-surgical treatment of periodontal (gum) diseases.

A dental hygienist will help guide and promote healthy oral behaviours to help stabilise and maintain good gum health. Dental Hygienists are skilled in gum scaling and rootplaning (specialized cleaning of the root surface of your tooth). 

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by plaque, and is the earliest form of gum disease. The bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums making them bleed, and they become red and swollen. You may notice this sometimes when you brush or floss your teeth. Usually there is no discomfort from gingivitis, so you may not be aware you have it.

If the Gingivitis is not treated, the inflammation can work its way down under the gum towards the bone and tissues which are the main supporting structures of the tooth. This causes a deepened space down the side of the tooth called a periodontal pocket. As these pockets get deeper the supporting structures of the tooth are destroyed. Over time this will cause teeth to become loose, resulting in tooth loss. This is termed as Periodontal (gum) disease.

At Bell Hill Dental, one of our points of pride is the unique first exam experience we provide for our patients. We take the time on your first visit to get to know you and your dental history, discuss your goals for your oral health and talk through any fears or worries you may have about treatment.

Your First Visit Experience in Dunedin

We will start with the most thorough check of your mouth that you probably have ever had and then tailor a treatment plan for you that fits your goals. We thoroughly discuss costs, the timing of treatment and give you options wherever we can. This process takes about an hour, and if you have more complex needs, we can schedule a second appointment to talk through options at no extra charge.

We Can Serve the Whole Family

From the very young and their brand-new teeth to our senior population, we are proud to offer dental services to all ages. We can offer one location for everyone so that you can seek dental care as a family. We strive to cultivate long-term relationships with our patients for years to come.

Our new patient exam costs $120, and if you require radiographs (x-rays), we take as many as you need, which we cap this cost at $60.

The dentist will refer you to a hygienist if there is gum inflammation caused by plaque and tartar buildup. To stop gum disease from progressing, the dentist may recommend periodontal therapy or deep cleaning performed by the dental hygienist to treat and get rid of bacteria in the gum pocket. Our dental hygienists have specialized equipment to clean deeply into these unhealthy gum pockets which cannot be reached by a toothbrush. 

The success of your hygienist treatment with us will be strongly determined by how well you look after your teeth and gums at home. Plaque is in our mouth all the time and it is waiting to get back down into those gum pockets again once you leave the practice after your gum treatment. Thorough gum brushing, and cleaning inbetween your teeth is very important. The dental hygienist will help advise you on how to look after your gums at home.

This will depend on the severity of the gum condition. With deeper pockets and heavy calculus deposits the appointments of deep scaling and rootplaning may be divided up into different appointments. For example, the lower right side of the mouth may be worked on in one appointment and the other three quadrants at separate appointments. Alternately one half of the mouth might be treated per appointment. This gives us time to fully focus on one area of your mouth and ensure it is plaque and tartar (calculus) free.

Appointments are usually booked in for 50-70 minutes in duration.

Dental Crowns and Implants

Implant therapies have become far more common over the last ten to twenty years and are now a fantastic option for replacing missing teeth. Additionally, their costs have come down substantially, and many people are opting for implants as they are very cost-effective and long-lasting.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

We would best describe a dental implant is an artificial tooth surgically placed within the jawbone. An implant completely restores any missing tooth because of this placement. This permanence is enhanced through a process called osseointegration, where your implant fuses into the bone. 

We work very closely with the specialists in town (oral surgeons and periodontists) who place the implants to our joint design, and we then place the implant crowns once the healing period has occurred.

Discover Implant-Supported Dentures

For our patients using partial and complete dentures, dental implants can improve your existing appliances. Instead of resting on your gums held in place by adhesive, dental supported implants stay firmly in place. These attachments can even support whole-mouth restorations.

Book a Consult with Our Dentist in Dunedin

At Bell Hill Dental in Dunedin, we invite you to call 03-477-8387 to discuss if implants are a good option for you.

Emergency Dental Treatment

Emergency Dental Care in Dunedin

We know toothache is a terrible pain, can come on quickly and often occurs overnight, causing a lack of sleep and exhaustion. We are here to help! Our emergency dentists in Dunedin aim to see all severe toothaches on the day you call. Our dentists have worked in Hospital Accident and Emergency (ED) departments, and all have experience with dental trauma.

How to Know It's an Emergency

While some dental problems are hard to define, a particular dental emergency is a knocked-out tooth. When a permanent tooth is forced from its socket, your quick action can save the tooth. Gently handle the tooth by the crown, not the root, and either place it back in its socket or a sealed container of water or saliva and call us immediately. Your quick action may save the tooth.

A Call to Our Clinic Is Step One

Some accidents need quick attention, and we will always prioritise these cases. We are registered for ACC and have five surgeries to accommodate urgent treatment to relieve pain. Our team is here to serve you.

Call 03-477-8387 as soon as you can, and we will make sure you get the timely treatment you need. 

Family Dentistry

Do you want the best for your child's smile? From a young age, access to quality dental care can prepare teeth for success by preventing the onset of decay with good habits and regular checkups. So, even though children will lose their teeth at a young age, how often should they visit our family dentists in Dunedin?

Establishing Your Child's Oral Health

Like adults, children can benefit from seeing a dentist for a regular checkup and teeth clean once every six months. At Bell Hill Dental, we want the best for our patients, and when it comes to children's dentistry, our staff can monitor dental trends and provide advice for keeping teeth clean. Some benefits of seeing a paediatric dentist include:

  • Monitoring of habits that may cause dental issues in the future (thumb sucking, teeth grinding)
  • Tracking early trends in growth
  • Children can learn how to keep their smiles healthy from a young age 
  • Children can gain familiarity and comfort when visiting a dental clinic 
  • Early prevention of detrimental conditions that may affect patients in later years

Contact Your Children's Dentist in Dunedin, Otago

We warmly invite all patients to arrange an appointment and begin the process of safeguarding their child's oral health. Our friendly staff at Bell Hill Dental goes above and beyond in making all patients feel welcome and comfortable during their visit! Please call us on 03-477 8387 or book online

Oral Surgery

At Bell Hill Dental in Dunedin, we offer gentle wisdom tooth removal so our patients can enjoy improved oral health and comfort. Our dental team is highly experienced and skilled in removing wisdom teeth, so you can rest assured knowing you are in capable, safe and caring hands. 

When Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary? 

Not all wisdom teeth require removal, but if they pose a threat to a patient’s oral health and wellness, we can safely remove them. A wisdom tooth removal may be necessary to make space for incoming or existing teeth, repair damage below the gumline (e.g., deep decay, fractures), or remove impacted wisdom teeth that haven’t yet erupted. 

Your Comfort and Safety Are Priority

Wisdom tooth removal is considered oral surgery. However, we approach each patient with specialised care to ensure the best possible outcomes and enhanced patient comfort. Our dentists in Dunedin, Otago are experts in safe, painless and efficient tooth removals, so many patients don’t experience discomfort during the procedure. 

We offer an effective local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort during the procedure. However, we can refer patients to a trusted specialist oral surgeon and anesthetist if they require general anesthesia. 

Contact Bell Hill Dental in Dunedin Today

If you need oral surgery in Dunedin, we invite you to contact Bell Hill Dental for more information or to arrange an appointment

Dentistry has come a long way in the management of pain. We are very proud of our gentle techniques and want you to be comfortable in our chair.

One thing we think is essential for our patients to understand is that dental pain is often the result of inflamed and infected tissues. In these cases, dental procedures are what address and treat that pain with efforts to eliminate it. We never want you to associate a trip to the dentist with pain. We encourage you to maintain regular cleans and check-ups to break that association.

Our Approach and Expertise Will Resolve your Pain

Everyone has a different pain threshold and tolerance. We will consult with you before any procedure to know what to expect, and we understand your relationship to tooth and mouth discomfort. Where appropriate, we provide topical cream anaesthetic, stress balls, and the latest injection techniques.

We Respect Your Needs in Dunedin

To the Bell Hill Dental team, we want our patients to know that they are the boss; we will take treatment as slow or fast as they require.  When we have patients say, “I didn’t even feel it” and “that was the best injection I’ve ever had”, we know we have hit our target.

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