Advice for our Ashby and Burton patients who are considering this procedure
Having unhealthy gums is something of a ‘catch 22’ problem. Poor gum health means that there is an increased risk of tooth loss, whilst at the same time, it may also present problems when it comes to replacing them. Even a non-invasive tooth replacement option, such as dentures, could prove difficult as they might cause discomfort if unhealthy gums are sore and inflamed.
Today though, we are going to take a look at dental implants, or more precisely how and why having unhealthy gums can mean problems for those looking to have teeth implants placed.
The ‘root’ of the problem
The main innovation of dental implants, compared to other tooth replacement options, is that they provide a substitute ‘root’ part of the tooth as well as the crown. It is this that makes them so strong and secure in the mouth once fully integrated with the underlying jawbone. For patients, this means that they will not move around as dentures sometimes do, and there is no limit on what you are able to eat.
For an implant placement to be successful, both in the short and long term, it is essential that the artificial root has sufficient healthy bone for it to be placed into. Insufficient or unhealthy bone could well mean that the implant will not be as secure as it should be and may even fail altogether. For this reason, the implant team at Alexandra Dental Care will take care to make sure that your gums are healthy before the procedure starts.
The most common threat to our teeth and dental implants is periodontitis. This is a form of gum disease that has usually been allowed to progress beyond soft tissue problems and has now affected both the root of the tooth, where it is still present. Even more importantly for dental implant placement, it may also have affected the bone tissue too. This can mean that the quality and quantity of bone tissue are insufficient to successfully place an implant into.
What ‘red boxes’ can you open to save you money and have a healthier mouth?
With yesterday’s budget currently being analysed by experts, it seemed like an opportune moment to discuss our own personal budget and its relation to your oral health. It is fairly well accepted that the pandemic has changed things greatly and some of us will find that we have to tighten our belts a little in the next few years. Sometimes this will mean cutting back on things like holiday expenditure, but it can also be a good time to take a look at what we spend on a regular basis and how spending less on some of these, can also be beneficial to our teeth and gums.
But even where money isn’t an issue you can still benefit from reading this blog; so please read on!
Some people may also want to consider using these savings towards cosmetic dentistry at Alexandra Dental Care to give their smile a significant boost! There a lots of options to investigate with the help of our experienced team.
This is the big one and if you only do one thing on this list, stopping smoking should be it. As we have noted before, smoking is a key contributor to so many dental problems. These include oral cancer, gum disease and even dental implant failure. Stopping smoking is one of the best things that you can do to improve your mouth health. On top of that, it is a very expensive habit indeed. If we take someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day, with cigarettes costing around £11 a packet as a rough average, this will cost you £4015 per year for something that can cause significant harm.
How dental professionals are doing all that they can to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums
A recent report on the dentistry.co.uk website has highlighted what appears to be a rise in the number of patients who, it seems, are taking out their anger and frustration on some dentists in the UK when they arrive for their appointment.
All of us at Alexandra Dental Care are aware that there has been a level of frustration with dental appointments nationally over the last year or so, and it has been frustrating for dentists too. We pride ourselves on taking good care of our patients and we are always more than happy to discuss any problems that might arise so that your appointment goes as smoothly as possible.
We do request that you please try to be patient with us, and, as the vast majority of our patients do, please remain as polite and helpful as we always try to be with you.
Oral health restoration
Let’s take a look at where we are with looking after our patients, 18 months into the pandemic.
Inevitably, there has been a backlog which was caused by the almost total initial lockdown, followed by many restrictions on dental practices which meant that we were able to see significantly fewer patients each day. We qquickly reorganised and were able to re-open as an emergency dental centre, but the need for social distancing and the use of PPE has contributed to some interruptions. One possible beneficial ‘side effect’ during this time is that people have become more aware of their teeth, with many taking more time to brush their teeth well and possibly even added flossing to their daily routine. All of this helps to avoid tooth decay and toothache!
As some of us will know though, even when we do this, accidents can happen that require treatment. We would like to remind our patients that if this happens to you, we will always try to see you as soon as we can. Should you find yourself in this situation, please call our reception team and ask for an emergency dentist appointment. We will endeavour to see you as soon as possible.
Colds, flu and even Covid can lead to poor oral health
Although Covid is still the main virus in the news, many doctors have noted a steep rise in other winter viral infections, with some noting that people have been complaining of having the ‘worst cold ever’. The good news is that these are rarely harmful in the long term although we can often feel quite ill for a while. There is a possibility that some of this is caused by the loss of immunity due to wearing masks and avoiding social contact last winter, an immunity which has to be built up again.
There is plenty of advice online about how to look after yourself if you are unfortunate enough to get one of these viruses (though you should also take a Covid test to be sure). What is often less considered is the impact that these illnesses can have on your teeth and gums. In today’s Alexandra Dental Care blog, we offer some helpful advice for our Burton, Swadlincote and Ashby patients.
Keep to a regular oral health regimen
This is one of the most important things that you can do at any time, and that includes when you are ill with a heavy cold, flu or even Covid. However much you really don’t feel like dragging yourself away from the sofa or bed, you must maintain a good teeth cleaning regime. This does include flossing, and being ill shouldn’t be an excuse to skip it. Failing to brush and floss your teeth when you are ill could well lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease. It might be hard to motivate yourself, but just those few minutes each day can make all the difference.
It used to be said that you should drink plenty of fluids to flush viruses from your system. Whilst this is no longer proper medical advice, it remains a fact that staying hydrated is good for you for many reasons. One of these is the health of your teeth and gums. We have mentioned in a number of blogs about how dehydration is a significant factor in many cases of gingivitis and periodontitis. Make sure that you always have water nearby and do try to drink regularly throughout the day to maintain a good level of hydration.
Taking care of your teeth and gums as colder weather approaches
No doubt, some of you will already have debated whether to put the heating back on, sensing that the colder weather is creeping up on us, and some of you may even have done so. With September only just starting, there is perhaps a little optimism that we might yet have more nice weather but the cooler air tells us that Winter won’t be that far away.
What does the weather have to do with our teeth you might ask? The fact is that a lot of things can affect both our teeth and gums and our habits do change over the year, often in line with the weather. For the benefit of our dental patients in Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton, we thought it would be useful to look at some of these factors and discuss how you can maintain good mouth health during the colder weather to come.
While those who have sensitive teeth tend to breathe through their nose as much as possible, this isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially if you are exerting yourself through exercise. As the colder air passes over the teeth, anyone who has compromised enamel is likely to experience an increase in their tooth sensitivity, sometimes painfully so.
You could wear a scarf over your mouth, which would help but it is also worth looking at a longer term solution such as a tooth sensitivity toothpaste, or for a more permanent solution, ask our dentists about dental veneers.
How our range of orthodontic treatments can help you have a more attractive smile as well as healthier teeth
Despite the advances of orthodontics over the years, it is still not uncommon to see people who have crooked teeth. There may be many reasons for this. Perhaps they aren’t too concerned with their appearance or think that having their teeth straightened wouldn’t significantly improve it? Perhaps too, they are from a generation that just accepted this as ‘normal’. In many cases though, it will be because they simply don’t wish to wear what they perceive to be ugly and cumbersome dental braces.
Thankfully, attitudes are changing, and younger people especially are more conscious of their appearance and are prepared to undergo some short term inconvenience for the sake of a more attractive smile. In fact, with the modern orthodontics that we have available at Alexandra Dental Care, there is significantly less inconvenience when it comes to having your teeth straightened.
Why should you aim for even teeth?
The most obvious reason why people choose to have their teeth straightened is, as mentioned above, to have a more attractive smile. Having crooked teeth can make some people very self conscious, and the fact that a smile is one of the first things that we notice in others means that even relatively minor crookedness is very noticeable. There is little doubt that straighter teeth means a more pleasant and confident smile and that this is the main reason that most people have them straightened.
What is perhaps less well known but is also a good reason to have your teeth straightened is that uneven teeth can cause an uneven bite. By this we mean that your teeth don’t meet as they should. This can put undue stress on some of these teeth and can cause them to weaken and wear away prematurely. This could lead to eventual breaking of the teeth. Where teeth overlap or press tightly together, they can also be very difficult to keep clean, yet bacteria will almost certainly find a way into the tightest of spots. Left uncleaned, these areas are likely to see tooth decay eventually, and gum disease may be a problem too.
Are there alternatives to dental braces?
From discoloured teeth to a whiter and brighter smile near Burton
Most of us have, at some time or another, probably taken a look at a photograph of ourselves and wish that we could change at least one thing about our appearance. Although cosmetics can help, there is little that can be done to stop the physical effects of getting older. That said, it doesn’t mean that we have to put up with looking old before our time.
One thing that happens as we get older, and can do so much earlier if we indulge in habits that affect them, is that our teeth become discoloured, often appearing as a shade of yellow. Some habits such as smoking will cause this to happen prematurely, but even with the best cleaning in the world, our teeth will eventually become duller and darker in colour.
The journey to whiter teeth
Some of our Ashby and Burton patients will probably have tried using teeth whitening toothpastes to reverse this discolouration and will have found the results lacking. It is only natural that we want to try the cheapest and most simple methods initially, but unfortunately, in this instance, any results seen are likely to be very small indeed.
It is usually at this stage that anyone wishing to have whiter teeth will turn to their dentist. Like many other dentists in the country, Alexandra Dental Care offer cosmetic treatments that can help you to have whiter looking teeth.
Once you have made your appointment to discuss improving your smile, we will be able to establish which treatment would be most appropriate for your own circumstances. Essentially, there are three options open to our patients, depending on their needs.
Scale and polish
A brief look at some of the common tooth filling options available in UK dental practices
Most of our patients will probably be familiar with a filling. As cavities form in our teeth due to tooth decay, a filling is needed to restore the tooth and give it sufficient strength to function normally. Even with a common treatment like this though, there are many choices available at Alexandra Dental Care and other UK dental practices.
The type of filling used will depend on the nature and degree of the restoration needed. Whilst aesthetics plays an important part in the decision, the ultimate aim is to provide our Burton and Ashby patients with a restored tooth that is fit for purpose.
Let us take a look then at the most common filling materials that are currently used today.
Amalgam was first used as a dental filling just under 200 years ago in 1826. It has been a tried and trusted material, offering a high degree of strength for a long time. There is little doubt that this is probably still the strongest filling material available but it is not without its drawbacks.
The most obvious drawback is its colour. Amalgam is a very dark material and is easy to spot if used on the front teeth. Larger fillings at the back of our mouths can also be seen when we laugh or yawn as well. There is also a practical disadvantage in its use too. In order to place an amalgam filling, it is often necessary to remove some healthy tooth too so that the amalgam can be placed securely. It also shrinks over time, sometimes leaving tiny gaps at the edges where bacteria can enter and may lead to further tooth decay.
Finally, although it has been deemed safe for use in dental fillings, amalgam contains mercury compounds and this can deter some people from using it.
Maintaining healthy teeth during the hot weather
It probably won’t take long until we start to complain about the heat (if it lasts that long, of course), but many of us will have been taking full advantage of the recent hot weather this weekend. Especially with the various restrictions that we have had in our lives recently, it is understandable that we want to let our hair down, especially when we can safely do so outdoors without donning our hats and scarves!
Hot weather can contribute to a few dental problems though, but these are largely avoidable with a little care. So, for our local Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton patients, here are a few words of advice on maintaining a healthy mouth during this mini heatwave.
Dehydration can be very dangerous in some cases but most of us will have easy access to drinks and, providing that we remember to rehydrate, this shouldn’t really be a problem. It is important that we do drink regularly in this type of heat though, not only to minimise the risk of heat related problems but also because dehydration will leave you with a dry mouth. As regular readers of Alexandra Dental Care blogs will be aware, this is often a good indicator that gum health issues could follow.
Whilst we do encourage you to stay well hydrated during the hot weather, it is also important that we avoid or minimise the consumption of certain types of drinks that can cause significant harm to our teeth.
From mild to severe; many patients experience a degree of apprehension when a dental visit is due. We can help.
Although most people accept that seeing a dentist is an important thing to do and one that will help to keep their mouths healthy and perhaps help them have an attractive smile too, these visits often come attached with a degree of anxiety. A fear of the dentist is almost as common as a fear of flying and whilst we can choose not to go on an aeroplane, it really is a bad idea to choose not to see a dentist.
Most people that suffer from anxiety when an appointment is due possibly feel not only nervous, but potentially embarrassed too. We know that our fears are largely unfounded yet we just can’t stop feeling anxious and often display symptoms of it when we sit in the chair awaiting treatment. We can assure you that you needn’t feel embarrassed and that we see a lot of nervous patients each week at Alexandra Dental Care. Some of these are only mild but we do also come across a number of folk who feel very anxious indeed.
Why do people feel nervous?
It is generally thought that the reason that dental visits cause such anxiety is that the dentist will be working in the oral cavity which is closely connected to the other senses. Not only can we feel the dental implement in our mouth but we can see the procedure happening right in front of our eyes. We can hear the whining sound of the drill as it happens so close to our ears and can even smell some aspects of the treatment too. It is not surprising then that we experience some anxiety.
Whilst some of our Ashby and Burton patients only experience mild anxiety and certainly nothing that stops them receiving treatment, there are others who may cancel an appointment rather than face their fears. Nervous patients are also often more difficult to treat as they tend to move around more or pull away during treatment. This obviously makes it more difficult for the dentist but also prolongs the treatment for the patient which only adds to the anxiety.