A comprehensive treatment for advanced gum disease
We often talk about the importance of good gum health in our blogs, and hopefully this message will have been suitably received by our Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton patients. The fact is that many of us will have experienced tooth decay and not want to go through the pain of a toothache again, but gum disease, sometimes, doesn’t register in the same way.
There can be some soreness when your gums become infected and in many cases this can be reversed with better home oral care and a professional scale and polish carried out by the dental hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care. These relatively ‘minor’ symptoms (when compared to a toothache) can lead to a false sense of security in some people who may think that it isn’t all that serious and can be easily treated. The real problems arise when treatment is avoided in these early stages (gingivitis) and then the problem becomes much more significant.
Early stage periodontitis is similar in some ways to gingivitis and the layperson may not be able to tell the difference. In all cases we encourage you to make an appointment with us if, for example, your gums feel sore or have started to bleed when you brush your teeth. As with all dental problems, it is far better to treat any issue sooner, rather than later.
If not treated, the gums will start to pull away a little from the teeth. This may not be noticeable to you but it allows pockets to form between the tooth and gum which allows bacteria to collect there. As this worsens, it is not only the soft gum tissue that becomes infected but also the jaw bone which supports your teeth. Over time, this will deteriorate and be less able to hold your teeth securely. You may initially find that your teeth become loose and may well eventually fall out.
Alexandra Dental Care offers some optimism for the year ahead
Very few of us will be sad to see the back of last year. For many of us, it will have caused frustration, isolation and for some, the loss of friends and family. All of us will be hoping for a better year ahead and there is some hope despite the current surge in new cases. The first Oxford Zeneca vaccine was given on Monday and as this can be more easily stored than the Pfizer version, it will hopefully be distributed much faster, immunising a larger number of people in as short a time as possible.
Providing that people conform to the guidelines, and with the new vaccine roll out, things might start to look a little brighter by spring or early summer, a perfect time for us to emerge into the warmer spring and summer months. We are sure that our Burton and Ashby patients are already, at least mentally, planning some activities and holidays to make up for those missed last year, and what better way to make the best of this ‘new dawn’ than to look at ways of making your smile more attractive?
You might be thinking that there is little point in having a cosmetic dental treatment now as it may be several months before our social life returns to anything like normal. Whilst this may be true for some treatments that produce very quick results such as our popular teeth whitening procedure, others can take a little longer to work and starting treatment in the near future may produce results around the time that you start to socialise again.
The following is a guide to some of the cosmetic dental treatments that we have available at Alexandra Dental Care.
Although you may not want to have your teeth whitened just at the moment, it is worth spending time considering to what degree you would like them improving. Younger patients, for example, may wish to go for the maximum whiteness possible, whereas older patients may feel that going from dull teeth to ones that are too brilliantly white might look a bit too obvious and may not blend in well with their general appearance. We are always happy to offer advice on this and can, if required, whiten your teeth to just a few shades above where they currently are. This may provide the natural look that some are looking for.
A little gentle oral care advice to help you have a problem free Christmas
Undoubtedly, for many of us, this will be a very different Christmas than in previous years. Some of us may choose not to meet up at all whilst others may be more careful than before. In many areas, pubs and clubs will be closed and the usual socialising at this time of the year is likely to be heavily curtailed.
Having said all of that, Christmas will go ahead of course, and some things will almost certainly not change. The exchanging of gifts, the traditional Christmas dinner and also some of the traditional habits that can be potentially harmful to our teeth and gums. In the hope of minimising the number of post Christmas dental ‘emergency’ visits to Alexandra Dental Care, we offer some timely advice on how to look after your teeth and gums this Christmas.
Go easy on sweet treats – We know that most of us will indulge over the festive period and boxes of sweets, toffees and other sugary products will be eaten. Try to keep this to a sensible level though and especially try not to ‘graze’. It is better to eat several sweets in a short period of time and then leave a gap than it is to eat the same number over a longer period of time. Short bursts allow saliva to flush away the sugars whilst grazing provides an almost constant supply of sugar for our oral bacteria to feed upon.
Mind the alcohol – By all means enjoy yourself, and for many of us, that means having a drink or two. Alcohol is potentially harmful, especially for our gums. This is due to it often causing a dry mouth which allows the bacteria that can contribute to gum disease to multiply. If you do drink, make sure to stay well hydrated by drinking water as well. Too much alcohol can also lead to accidents and a broken tooth could result in a visit to have it restored using a crown.
Ensuring your children see a dentist regularly
We suspect that some of you reading this blog will be amongst the many thousands, and even millions, who wish that they had looked after their teeth better when they were younger. Unfortunately, despite the advances in dentistry and the excellent restorations, such as dental implants, that are currently available, dentists are not able to turn back the clocks and undo any damage that has occurred.
It is hoped that those of us who didn’t exactly look after our teeth as well as we could have, will have learned a lesson and will pass on better tooth care habits to their own children. We know that children take in a huge amount of information very early on in life and both good and bad habits taught during this early stage of their life can stay with them forever.
Very young babies
At a very young age, babies are totally and completely dependent on us for their survival. Although they are without teeth for the earlier part of their lives, their gums still need to be wiped with a soft clean cloth. We recommend also that you bring them for their first visit to Alexandra Dental Care around the time of their first birthday. Although it is highly unlikely that there will be any problems at this stage, it is still a good idea to have their mouth health monitored. There is also some evidence that exposure to the dental environment at this age helps them to avoid the anxiety that some patients feel as they grow into adults.
The ‘terrible twos’ and sometimes longer, can be a challenge for any parent, although there are always fun times to be had too. This is an age where we need to teach our children discipline when it comes to cleaning their teeth. For whatever reason, many kids will do their best not to do this, much preferring to go to bed with sticky toffee and other tooth damaging things stuck to their teeth. It doesn’t take a great imagination to know why this is a bad thing and the last thing that most parents want is to see their children distressed and in pain with a very bad toothache.
You should definitely supervise them when they clean their teeth as they may otherwise only brush for a few seconds before shouting ‘done’. Stand with them and make sure that they brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes. This doesn’t include the time spent talking to you with the toothbrush in their mouth of course.
By this stage, you should also be bringing them to our Swadlincote practice, conveniently situated for Burton and Ashby patients, every six months to have a check up.
Keeping your gums healthy during the second lockdown
We are already a quarter of the way through the second national lockdown to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It is thought that even as this comes to an end on 2nd December, there are likely to still be some significant restrictions in place, possibly reverting to the previous ‘tier’ system. Despite the positive news of a likely vaccine, these few weeks and perhaps months, might still be a challenging time for many of us.
With stress and anxiety often come a number of coping mechanisms. Whilst these are understandable and sometimes necessary, they are not without potential consequences and some can have an impact on our gums and overall oral health. In today’s blog, the Alexandra Dental Care team take a look at some of the issues which may arise.
Changes to routines and coping mechanisms
Many of you are likely to be working from home again and this can have advantages as well as disadvantages. It does mean that many of us will not have our usual routine to stick to and that can create some challenges.
Some of us will probably clean our teeth at a certain time in the morning so that they are clean before we leave for work. If we are working from home, we don’t have that time restriction and may even forget to brush our teeth altogether. We recommend that if you are working from home, you create a new routine and stick to it, naturally making sure that brushing your teeth has its place.
Some of us will also have a sweet tooth, but one that is sometimes held back at work due to a lack of access to sugary supplies. At home, this isn’t an issue and we might find ourselves raiding the biscuit tin more often than we really should. If you are prone to snacking, make sure sweets and biscuits are kept well away from where you are working and keep a supply of tooth friendly snacks close to hand for when you get the urge to ‘nibble’.
One big concern amongst dentists is that the stress and strains of lockdown, perhaps for those who are most isolated, is that some people could revert to their previous smoking and drinking habits. As you will know from previous blogs, both smoking and excess alcohol consumption are very bad news for your teeth and gums. In addition to this, the risk of oral cancer is significantly higher amongst this group. If you feel yourself getting the urge to smoke or drink to excess, please seek professional help before it’s too late.
Our practice is open!
The increasing popularity of this alternative to a full set of dentures
It is well known that in most medical fields, prevention is better than a cure. For many of us though, this is an ideal world that might require us to time travel to our younger years and tell ourselves how important it is to look after our teeth, perhaps much better than we actually did! Long term neglect is one of the main reasons why many of us suffer from tooth loss. It is not the only reason though and some things out of our control, such as accidents or side effects of medication or treatment can also result in this.
As we can’t yet time travel, some of us will inevitably arrive at the point where our teeth are in very poor health and may either fall out or need to be extracted. We are then left with a decision as to the best options available to us.
Leave or replace?
Although we may be tempted not to replace an individual missing tooth if it is not one that is visible, this isn’t a good idea for a number of reasons that we have discussed previously. Where multiple teeth, or a full arch are missing, it is highly likely that our Burton and Ashby patients will want to replace them. If you find yourself in this situation, the team at Alexandra Dental Care recommend that you consider the increasingly popular All On 4 tooth replacement option.
In order to have this treatment, you will need a prior consultation so that we can determine whether this is the most appropriate solution for you. If you still have a few teeth left on the affected arch, there may be other suitable alternatives. Alternatively, it may be preferable to extract these, especially if they are in poor health, and then replace the full arch with a new set of replacement teeth.
What is an All On 4?
This procedure is also sometimes referred to as ‘teeth in a day’. The reasons for this will become clear shortly. It is a procedure that involves the use of dental implants, but instead of replacing each tooth individually, a number of implants, often 4 but occasionally more depending on circumstances, are placed at strategic points in the jaw. Once these are in place, a full bridge of teeth can be attached to replace all the missing teeth.
In just one day?
However well intentioned, amateur dental advice could ruin your teeth
We have issued words of caution in the past about DIY dentistry. There is certainly no shortage of suggestions on ways to whiten your teeth or even straighten them using elastic bands! In some ways, some of these seem so extreme that you would struggle to imagine anyone trying them, but the reality is that some do, probably especially within the younger generation.
There have been a couple of new ones recently on the increasingly popular Tiktok platform which have hit the headlines. Hopefully our Ashby and Burton patients wouldn’t attempt these but, just in case, Alexandra Dental Care offers our thoughts on them below.
Filing down of teeth
A teenager who was unhappy with her teeth being uneven at the edges, decided that rather than see a dentist to determine what to do about it, she would try to correct this herself using a nail file. Having ‘successfully’ achieved this, she posted it on the social media platform and the post became widely popular and equally widely condemned by dentists.
You mighty wonder what could go wrong if you are just filing down a few rough edges from the bottom of your teeth? Well, quite a lot actually.
Your teeth are not a solid block of enamel and once you have worn away the hard enamel layer, there is a softer part of the tooth underneath. This part, known as dentin, is porous and once exposed can be affected by bacteria, eventually leading to tooth decay and even root canal infections. There is also every chance that anyone doing this will notice an increase in sensitivity, often a painful one, when they eat or drink hot or cold food and drinks.
If you really are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, even what might seem a minor issue such as this, please never try to do anything about it yourself. The staff at Alexandra Dental Care will be only too happy to offer their professional advice.
Flossing with your hair!
As colder and duller days approach, why not bring a bit of brightness back into your life?
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a tough year for many of us, and the signs are not looking great at the moment with Covid-19 figures rising. Add to that, the political turmoil that constantly dominates the news and it’s no wonder that some of us are struggling to lift our spirits at the moment. The fact is that the next 6 months or so are likely to be hard work for many of us and anything that we can do to bring a little brightness into our lives is well worth exploring.
Although our Swadlincote dental team would love to be able to wave a magic wand and make things return to ‘normal, unfortunately we can’t. We can, however, provide a range of cosmetic dental treatments that offer patients of Alexandra Dental Care the opportunity to have a whiter, brighter smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures that can help you to have a great looking smile. Which one you need will, of course, depend on your own situation. By far the most popular one though is the teeth whitening procedure. The market for this is large and growing as can be seen by the number of tooth whitening products currently being advertised on TV. As we have mentioned before; due to legal restrictions, these are only allowed to include a small quantity of the active ingredient that whitens your teeth and anyone using them should not expect to see very significant results.
By far the best way to make successful improvements to your discoloured teeth is to allow a cosmetic dentist to whiten them professionally for you.
A healthy smile
Whilst a teeth whitening procedure is a straightforward one, it is essential that your teeth and gums are healthy before we start. There is little point in having a white smile if parts of the teeth are decaying or if gum disease is present. At Alexandra Dental Care we firmly believe that our Burton, Ashby and Swadlincote patients deserve to have a healthy smile and we will always examine your mouth and provide any necessary treatment before we start to whiten your teeth.
Why a good understanding and communication between the patient and dental team is important.
Medical knowledge and advances in dental technology have been very beneficial for patients, whether you have a damaged tooth that needs restoring or wish to improve the way that your teeth look. These advances have been important but the relationship and communication between the patient and their dentist still have very important roles to play in ensuring that you receive the best treatment possible.
Putting patients at ease
Like other dentists Alexandra Dental Care sees its share of patients who exhibit various degrees of anxiety about their visit. Whilst some stoically manage their way through it, others are much more nervous and need reassuring throughout their treatment. We do all that we can to make sure that you feel at ease, taking time to explain the procedure and answering any questions that you might have. In many cases, the calm and gentle manner of our dentists is enough to put the patient at ease, but IV sedation is available if required.
Our Burton and Ashby patients come to us with a variety of problems. Some of these are visibly obvious, such as a broken tooth. Whilst we do have x-rays and scanning equipment to help us diagnose any issues, it always starts with the patient explaining what the problem is that they are experiencing. We encourage you to let us know if you are experiencing any issues with your teeth, even if they don’t seem that important to you. For example, an occasional and minor ‘niggle’ with a tooth may seem like something you can ignore, but letting us know these things will enable us to detect and treat a problem, if there is one, as early as possible. This will also help us to preserve more of the natural tooth if we do need to intervene.
Life often throws up challenges, some of which can result in harm to your teeth and gums
Few would disagree that 2020 has not been a good year. Every headline seems to bring negative and often stressful news, whether it be the Covid-19 pandemic or the trauma caused by the current examination results. At every turn, it seems like there is something happening which just wants to make our lives more difficult. It is no wonder then that many people are reporting that they are feeling more stressed than at any other time in their life. This probably isn’t helped by the difficulties involved in getting away for a break from it all!
It is well known that stress can contribute to a number of health issues including heart problems and it is therefore important that we do what we can to manage this. We will offer a few tips on this later on. Although we often associate stress problems with the heart, it can also play a role in the deterioration of teeth and gum health as well.
Ask almost any of our Burton or Ashby patients and they will probably admit that their diet has changed over the last few months. Whilst some may have taken the time to do more home cooking, many will have turned to comfort foods to try to help ease the strains and stresses. In the majority of cases, these are likely to be unhealthy and potentially tooth damaging foodstuffs. Cakes, biscuits and sweets offer those with a sweet tooth something pleasant to take their minds off other things. Whilst the odd one won’t do too much harm, as long as we clean our teeth well, a regular habit may lead to both tooth decay and/or gum disease.