Cerec technology working for you at Alexandra Dental Care.
Anyone who has had a dental crown fitted to strengthen a damaged tooth will know of the inconvenience that results from the need for two separate appointments. At most dental practices, an appointment will be necessary where the tooth is prepared and shaped, ready for a dental crown to be fitted. In most cases, this will mean a delay of a week or so for the patient.
Few dental practices have the facilities to prepare the crowns on site (more of that later). This means that, instead, impressions have to be taken of the patient’s prepared teeth and these are then sent away to a dental laboratory, where the crowns are produced. Usually a temporary crown will be fitted to protect the tooth, but, as these are not a perfect fit, they are not ideal.
It doesn’t have to be this way though, and, at Alexandra Dental Care, we are able to offer our Burton and Ashby patients a ‘one stop shop’ for their dental crowns.
Instead of taking an impression of the prepared tooth to be sent to a laboratory, we are able to avoid this sometimes unpleasant aspect of a crown preparation, by using a 3D camera to scan an image of the prepared tooth. This is completely non-invasive and takes just a few seconds.
The information from this image is then sent to a computerised milling system located within our practice, and your dental crown is then prepared whilst you wait, from a single block of porcelain. This whole process is completed in approximately one hour, during which time, you are free to wait in our comfortable waiting rooms, or even take a walk if you wish. We would recommend that you don’t eat or drink during this time though as your prepared tooth may be sensitive.
Using this process, there is no temporary crown to be removed, and your new crown can be fitted in the normal manner, same day, using a strong dental adhesive.
Invisalign – stress free, discreet braces for adults and teens.
It is probably true that most people associate teeth straightening with traditional metal braces. These do work well, but bring with them a number of disadvantages, the most obvious of these being the fact that they are very visible. In addition to this, some patients find them to be uncomfortable to wear, which can be a particular problem as some braces may need to be worn for a year or more to fully achieve their aims.
Many modern cosmetic dental braces, based on a traditional design, have addressed some of these problems by using finer, tooth coloured materials for their construction. However, these types do still tend to use the wires and brackets of old style metal braces.
At Alexandra Dental Care, we are pleased to advise our Ashby and Burton patients that we can now straighten their teeth using a modern system known as Invisalign. This system avoids the use of wires and brackets altogether. In addition to the discreet benefits of these braces, most patients find them to be very comfortable and convenient to wear, even for long periods of time.
Whiter and brighter teeth for a more confident smile.
Do you feel a tinge of envy when you turn on your TV and see the people in the whitening toothpaste adverts who seem to have near perfect teeth? Perhaps not, but it is noticeable that most of the actors and actresses in such adverts, don’t really appear to have discoloured teeth to any great degree in the first place?
This, unfortunately, is the reality of teeth whitening toothpastes. Whilst they do technically work, they only have a minimal effect, due to the tiny amounts of the whitening ingredient allowed. This makes them suitable for minor top ups, or for those people whose teeth are already white, such as the celebrities employed to advertise and endorse them.
For the rest of us who are concerned about our yellowing or stained teeth, the results of using a whitening toothpaste are likely to be very disappointing indeed.
Reasons for stained teeth
There are essentially two causes of discolouration of the teeth; those on the surface enamel and the ageing effect on the inner part of the tooth.
Surface enamel staining can be caused by diet or lifestyle choices. Some foods such as dark berries, along with drinks such as tea, coffee and colas can causes staining to the surface of the teeth, especially where the enamel has worn, leaving tiny pits for the stains to enter. Smoking too, will cause dark, and possibly brown, teeth as well as being a serious threat to your oral health in general.
Internal discolouration is actually caused by the inner part of the tooth becoming darker as we get older, albeit some people have naturally darker teeth. This can often leave a yellowing appearance and unfortunately, there is little that we can do to avoid this effect.
Our Burton and Ashby dentist takes a look at the pros and cons of each material.
Dental veneers are one of the many possible treatments used as part of a smile makeover treatment at Alexandra Dental Care. They are also widely used to whiten teeth where they are too badly stained for a regular teeth whitening procedure to be fully successful. They are excellent too, at providing a beautiful, replacement tooth surface where the natural tooth is chipped or cracked.
There are two materials that are commonly used to make dental veneers; porcelain and composite. In today’s blog, we take a look at the pros and cons of each of these materials.
Composite resin offers a simple and relatively effective way of creating dental veneers. There are both positives and negatives to this approach though.
Pros – Composite veneers are often prepared chairside and can be applied to the tooth the very same day. This is especially ideal if a patient chips a tooth, for example, just before their wedding day. A composite veneer, once fitted, shaped and polished, would leave the tooth looking natural, with adequate strength for some time.
Cons – Composite veneers are not the strongest available. Over time they are more likely to chip than porcelain although more composite can be added to restore it. Composite is also more porous and, over time, staining may affect the colour of the veneer, making it appear different to the other teeth. The life span of composite veneers is usually in the range of four to eight years, although, as noted before, by this stage they may not look especially attractive.
One of the many ways our Burton patients can benefit from this tooth replacement method.
For many years, dentures were seen as the only viable option for replacing missing teeth. Very rudimentary dentures have been discovered that were made around 700BC and were made from either animal or human bone. It is highly likely that these were produced for cosmetic purposes only and would have had little or no role to play in the breaking down of food. Modern dentures, made from porcelain, have been around since the late 1700s.
Whilst these dentures offered patients an alternative to having a visible gap in their teeth, their practicality would also have been limited. Without access to modern-day equipment, such as we have here at Alexandra Dental Care, it is likely that these dentures would have been quite loose fitting and offering limited practical use.
However, even modern dentures can move around in the mouth a little, as the patient’s bone structure changes following tooth loss. This can cause people to avoid certain foods, and may well result in a loss of confidence when in social circles too.
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.