How old fashioned toothbrushes and toothpicks have been superseded.
It is quite rare to see toothpicks these days, and also very rare to hear anyone use the term ‘picking your teeth’. Although some people will always try to hold on to traditional methods of ‘cleaning’ their teeth, we thought it would be useful to see how modern dental developments have replaced them; in particular the toothbrush and toothpick.
Using a toothpicks to remove larger pieces of food that have become stuck between your teeth is better than nothing, but quite limited in effect. Whilst this method will remove larger pieces of residual food, smaller pieces are likely to remain, as will potentially nasty oral bacteria. In addition to this, you may cause your gums to bleed if you misdirect the toothpick!
A much better method is to use dental floss to clean the spaces between your teeth. This allows smaller amounts of food and bacteria to be removed from between the teeth and also the gum line and is an effective tool in the fight against gum disease. If you do not already floss, we recommend that you add this to your daily routine. If you are unsure how to use it, we recommend an appointment with our hygienist who can show you how, along with offering other useful oral care advice.
Methods used to ease the anxiety of nervous dental patients.
If you are afraid of going to the dentist, you may well have done some research, knowing that regular dental visits are essential for a healthy mouth. Where this acknowledgement is combined with anxiety though, theory is not always born out in practice and many nervous patients do miss their dental appointments, to the detriment of their teeth and gums.
Some of you might remember the days when dental ‘gas’ was given to many patients who were about to have an invasive procedure. This would put you to sleep and enable the dentist to perform the procedure effectively. Unfortunately, this method proved to be dangerous for some patients and is no longer allowed without an anaesthetist present. Consequently, procedures done in this manner can only be performed in a hospital environment and not at your dentist.
Instead of gas, dentists now use a powerful local anaesthetic which is injected into the gum in the area that the procedure is to take place. This is very effective and should ensure that no significant discomfort is felt. Some people dislike the sensation of the needle, but interestingly, it is not really the needle itself that you feel, but the anaesthetic entering the bloodstream.
The effect of a local anaesthetic may take a few hours to wear off and it is advisable to avoid using the affected side of the mouth following a procedure, partially to allow the treatment to complete fully, but also to avoid biting your cheeks etc due to lack of feeling.
Don’t let lost teeth compromise your diet as you get older.
Very often, as we grow older, our appetites start to decrease and we may eat less food as we become less active. This can present problems in obtaining sufficient nutrition to keep our bodies as healthy as they could be. Add to this, the fact that many older people may have lost a lot of teeth, or wear dentures, and the problems are compounded.
So how can our older patients from the Burton and Ashby areas avoid this by having dental implants, a strong, stable alternative to ill fitting dentures, placed? Increasingly, implants are becoming a solution for the many, not the few, and although the cost can seem quite prohibitive on first inspection, the medium/long term benefits are considerable and well worth it.
The ‘problem’ with dentures
Whilst dentures do provide a very good cosmetic replacement for missing teeth, their stability can be an issue for some patients. This is largely due to bone loss in the jaw which occurs when teeth are lost. This can make dentures less secure and move around in the mouth.
When this happens, it leads many denture wearers to become cautious about what foods they are prepared to eat in an effort to avoid embarrassment. Whilst it is possible to have a healthy diet of soft foods, any restriction on variety can present problems as well as significantly reducing the enjoyment people experience when eating their meal.
Why put up with dark coloured fillings in your teeth?
At Alexandra Dental Care, we believe in offering our local patients not only excellent restorative dental treatments, but ones that also help them to retain the natural appearance of their teeth. This not only applies to those treatments which can be considered to be solely cosmetic, such as teeth whitening for example, but also restorative procedures which could otherwise leave patients with less than attractive teeth.
The most common procedure carried out at dental practices across the UK is the filling of a tooth, or teeth. This is the preferred restorative method for cases where small to medium parts of the teeth are decayed or damaged. For more advanced cases, dental crowns may be preferred as a stronger option.
Most dental cavities are filled using amalgam; a mixture of metals which includes silver, tin and mercury amongst others. Not surprisingly, this produces a dark material which, whilst offering excellent levels of strength, leaves the patient with dark tooth fillings that show when they reveal their teeth. For years, it was considered that cosmetic alternatives were not strong enough to replace this traditional material, but, over the years, alternatives have improved and now offer a strength approaching that of amalgam.
Many of our Burton dental patients now routinely opt to have their teeth filled using a white dental filling. This is created using a mixture of prepared medical glass and plastics in a resin base. This offers a very good level of strength, though for larger rear tooth cavities, other options may still be advised.
How your mouth can be affected if you smoke or consume tobacco products.
For those of us of a certain age, it doesn’t seem so long ago that workers smoked as they went about their daily job. At one time, even doctors recommended cigarettes to help with stress! Those days are now long gone with a better understanding of the health risks, along with the very high cost.
In 2015, just over 17% of the population still smoked, getting through just over eleven cigarettes a day (1). This is still a significant amount of people, although compared to approximately 50% of people smoking in the UK in 1970, this is definitely an improvement.
Anyone that does still smoke though, is putting both their general and oral health at risk, and, below, we take a look at some of the risks that smoking can cause to your mouth.
Oral cancers are the most serious risk, and one that kills over two thousand people a year in the UK, with many more suffering other problems including facial disfigurement. At Alexandra Dental Care, we always check the soft tissues of the mouth when our local patients receive a check up. If we notice any areas of concern, we may recommend that you are checked by your GP.
Helping your children maintain strong and healthy teeth.
There is no getting away from the fact that our children’s oral health is in danger. Reports have indicated that in a single day, 160 children will be admitted to hospital to have teeth extracted (1). Irrespective of any strain that this may put on hospitals, it is absolutely unnecessary for so many children to have to suffer in this manner.
At Alexandra Dental Care, we offer a family dental service for patients in the Burton area, for adults and children alike, and try to offer help and advice to prevent your child from suffering in this way.
Healthy teeth for your children starts with preventative care. Parents have an important role to play here and should take responsibility for their child’s teeth from an early age. Diet plays a huge part and children should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet rather than one high in sugars. As most parents will acknowledge, this is easier said than done and children do seem to be drawn towards sugary foods and drinks. Our advice would be for these to be given as a treat only and not to form an everyday part of their diet.
Left to their own devices, most children will, at best, give their teeth a cursory brush in the morning and before bedtime. Parental supervision here is important and a child should brush for two minutes in a gentle circular motion. Do not allow the child any food or drink, other than water, once they have brushed their teeth at bedtime.
Your braces questions answered by our Ashby and Burton dentist.
Of all the ‘invisible’ braces that we provide at Alexandra Dental Care, Invisalign is probably the best known system. Over the years, we have used these modern orthodontic appliances to straighten many patient’s teeth, resulting in nice even smiles.
As you’d expect, along the way, we have been asked many questions. The ones below are just a selection of those most commonly asked.
1. Are they really invisible?
No; that would be impossible to achieve and would leave you unable to find them should you put them down when cleaning! However, Invisalign are very transparent and most patients who have had them fitted say that hardly anybody noticed that they were wearing them unless they mentioned it. They are made from a durable medical grade plastic and we are confident that you will be happy with the way that your teeth look whilst wearing them.
2. How long do they take to work?
This really depends on each patient and their specific needs but we will be able to give you an estimated time frame during your consultation. What we would say is that this is not the fastest method to straighten teeth, and, if you are looking for a quick result, options such as the Six Month Smile or Inman Aligner may be a better choice, where appropriate. The ‘pay off’ in using these though is that they are more visible and use the traditional wire and bracket system to move your teeth. Whilst Invisalign may take longer, many find them more comfortable and convenient which compensates for the extra time taken to achieve the end result of straighter teeth.
3. Are they really easy to remove?
How osseointegration is integral to the success of your implant placement.
As we have our dental implant open day for Burton and Ashby patients coming up on the 25th May, something we we covered on our previous blog, we thought that we would take a look at one of the most important aspects of this procedure; one that essentially determines its success.
Whilst, undoubtedly, the skills required by the implant dentist, and the technology used to determine the exact placement position is essential, it is the part that the human body plays which is critical to the success of the procedure.
Immediately after the dental implant is placed, it is not yet secure enough to complete by adding a dental crown. In fact, it will take approximately three months for it to reach this stage. During this time, a process known as osseointegration takes place. First discovered during a non dental related experiment by a Swedish scientist, Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark, it was found that titanium rods placed into a rabbit, had actually bonded so well with the bone, that they were virtually impossible to remove. Subsequent tests showed that this could be repeated, and so, the idea of using a replacement tooth root made from titanium began.
The first implant placement took place in the 1960’s and, as you would expect, many advances have been made since then which have increased the success rate to close to 100%. Essentially though, the osseointegration period still holds the key to their success.
Take advantage of our dental implant open day offer!
At Alexandra Dental Care, we believe that dental implants are perhaps the best method currently available for replacing missing teeth. There are other options, including dentures and bridges which also perform the task acceptably well but, unlike implants, neither replace the root of the tooth and therefore bone loss in the jaw will occur progressively.
In addition to this, a dental implant offers the most realistic way to replace a tooth, leaving it as strong as a natural tooth and not restricting you in your choice of foods. Even the chewiest toffees can be eaten with an implant in place and few would likely risk that with dentures!
With this in mind, we are holding a dental implant open day for local patients including the Ashby and Burton areas, on May 25th. During this you will discover how we place dental implants and we will take any questions that you have regarding the procedure itself and what to expect. As dentists, we know that there is nothing to fear from this treatment, but we are aware that some people are a little nervous about having it done, despite the significant benefits.
In addition to learning more how implants can be of benefit to you; by attending our implant open day, you will also receive:
- A free initial assessment – Usually costing £99, we will examine your mouth and your general suitability for dental implants. We will take scans to determine the bone density in your jaw and discuss whether you would be able to have an immediate implant placement or whether you might require a bone graft or sinus lift prior to it.
- 10% off implant treatment for those who attend the open day – This is an excellent opportunity to have dental implants at a significantly reduced price. We are aware that dental implants are not a cheap option, but the fact that they could well last for over twenty years means that your money is well spent. Even with the 10% discount, our regular dental payment plans are still available to help you to spread the cost of your implant placement over a period of time, in order to help you with the financial aspects.
Here at Alexandra Dental Care we offer patients smile makeovers options which include teeth straightening, teeth whitening, composite bonding, crowns and veneers. You may have heard of some of these before and we would be happy to explain how they work in detail at your next appointment 01283 216347.
Here are five things we would like you to know about smile makeovers:
1. Improving your smile
Dentists use the term ‘smile design’ to describe the process of creating the smile that you dream of. This is because there are various elements that come into play with an enhanced smile, it’s not just all about looks. It’s a very clever process that takes into consideration the aesthetics and symmetry of the whole face in order to provide balance and harmony as a whole. Not only that, there are also factors like function that have to come into play; what’s the point of beautiful looking teeth that cant chew or bite properly?
2. Techniques used
Smile design can incorporate a number of techniques in order to achieve your goal. This can include short-term orthodontics to move the teeth into the desired position in a relatively quick period of time. There are many different brands available for this such as [insert ones used at practice including hyperlinks], many of which are so discreet they are almost invisible. These systems can also be used with other methods of smile enhancement to provide a straighter basis to work from. For example, veneers or composites can then be used to make the final perfections to a smile. Veneers are very thin layers of porcelain that fit over the front of the tooth, a bit like a false fingernail. Composite is a dental material that can be used to build up teeth in a similar way. Both treatments can be used where gaps need to be closed or if a tooth has been broken. We also use Boutique whitening tooth whitening in conjunction with most treatments because it gives that extra enhanced and healthy looking edge to any smile.