Yogi Savania offers our Burton and Ashby patients some essential tips during teeth straightening treatment.
The number of people seeking treatment to straighten their teeth is thought to be increasing and there are likely to be a number of factors contributing to this. The rise of ‘celebrity culture’ and the success of image based social media platforms probably means that people have become more self conscious about their own smile and are prepared to do something to improve it.
Another factor is likely that there are now a wider selection of orthodontic braces treatments available; many of which avoid the worst of the aesthetic aspects of wearing traditional braces.
But even with the highest quality braces and care, there are a number of things that patients of Alexandra Dental Care need to remember for the duration of their teeth straightening treatments to help make it a real success.
Visit your dentist regularly
This should be a given. Especially as orthodontic treatment can sometimes take over a year to correct the positioning of your teeth, there is a lot that can go wrong in that time. Both tooth decay and gum disease are common problems if teeth are not looked after correctly. Wearing braces can present a particular challenge from this perspective (more on that later), and it is essential that you maintain regular appointments to have the general health of your teeth checked. There is little point in having a set of teeth that are beautifully even if you have tooth decay and inflamed gums!
Have your teeth professionally cleaned regularly
Ashby and Burton Dentist, Dr Moe Issa, offers some dietary advice beneficial for your teeth.
At Alexandra Dental Care, we have a wide array of modern equipment at our disposal, including digital scanners and x ray technology. These are hugely beneficial when it comes to advanced procedures such as root canals and dental implant placement.
But despite these advances in modern dental care, basic oral health care is still essential of course. The majority of this comes down to how well we clean our teeth, but also what we eat; whether the food and drink that we consume is beneficial or harmful for our teeth. There are those who argue that ‘healthy eating’ is almost a ‘cure all’, but this is not always the case!
Beware of ‘natural’
We are not ‘anti natural’ but feel that it is very important to say that because something is natural, does not mean that it is safe. There are many ‘natural’ poisons in the world that are quite capable of killing you. Anyone who watches wildlife programmes will also know that nature is quite often far from being kind and gentle, and can indeed be quite brutal.
A good example of this in dentistry is the temptation by some to take a ‘natural’ approach to whitening their teeth. Rather than have it done professionally by a trained cosmetic dentist, some people have tried using lemon juice on their teeth. The logic is that the lemon juice will ‘bleach’ the teeth and whiten them. The reality is that lemon juice is an acid and will actually wear away the enamel. Needless to say, this DIY approach should be avoided!
Foods that are beneficial for our teeth
A quick look at what happens to our teeth as we grow older.
Apart from very early on in life, most of us will have at least some of our teeth right up until we die. The quantity and quality of those teeth will depend on how well we take care of them and whilst some people may think that teeth are only important to help us to eat, they also play a big part in other aspects of our lives.
An attractive smile can help to form relationships and friendships, and, in addition to eating, our speech depends quite heavily on having healthy teeth. If you want to test this, try talking without your tongue touching your teeth; it is almost impossible!
As our teeth are important, it is useful to understand how they change as we grow older.
When we are first born, we have no teeth, or rather, they have not yet erupted through the gums. This usually happens at around 5 months onwards, although this can vary from child to child. Even before they come through though, parents should keep the gums of the baby clean as this can help to prevent problems when they do finally erupt.
Although baby teeth are not permanent, they should still be looked after well. Not only will they help a child develop by enabling them to eat a wide range of foods, but poor quality teeth, or teeth that have to be extracted, can also affect speech development. If this happens, it can have a significant impact throughout their lives.
Baby teeth last for a number of years and tend to fall out at various stages. Some even last into our early adult years. Because of this, we should take good care of them and not let our oral care slip just because they will eventually fall out.
The teenage and early adult years
Gum disease treatments explained.
In today’s blog, we are largely going to focus on the ‘deep clean’ that is sometimes carried out for patients who have periodontal disease. Before we discuss this though, let us take a look at the type of more routine cleaning that a dental hygienist does.
Scale and Polish
The cleaning provided by the hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care is known as a scale and polish and is partially a preventative treatment. We will all have plaque on our teeth, most of which will be removed if we brush and floss effectively. Any remaining plaque will eventually harden though, and turn into tartar. This provides a rough surface that makes it easier for bacteria to stick to, eventually harming teeth and gums. It is not possible to remove this with regular brushing.
When the hygienist cleans your teeth, they will ‘scrape’ away the excess tartar, then shatter much of that which remains using a special sonic tool. Finally, a high speed brush will be used to remove any that is left. This treatment will leave your teeth free of tartar and greatly improve your chances of avoiding gum disease.
A ‘deep’ clean
Our Ashby and Swadlincote dentist explains the differences.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, or have only just come across the term ‘dental sedation’, you may well be a little confused about what these terms mean, and which ones are available and appropriate for you. In the past, nitrous oxide (or ‘laughing gas’) was widely used in the UK for dental treatment. This is no longer the case, as you will see later.
Anaesthetics and sedation all make the dental experience more comfortable for patients undergoing treatment, and, at Alexandra Dental Care, we aim to make each visit as pleasant and comfortable for all of our patients as we possibly can.
If you look back to the early days of dental care, you will find images of patients being held, or strapped down, to enable the dentist to carry out their work. A quick look at this page shows rudimentary equipment, such as clockwork drills and some rather unpleasant tools for extracting teeth!
Even with modern equipment, such as the high speed drills which allow fillings to be carried out faster and more effectively, the procedure could be very painful for our Ashby and Burton patients if it weren’t for the use of a local anaesthetic.
Lidocaine is one of the most widely used local anaesthetics which is very powerful and numbs the area where the procedure is to take place. It is injected into the target area, and although some patients think they experience pain from the needle, it is actually the anaesthetic entering the bloodstream that causes some temporary discomfort. Without this though, the procedure could not go ahead. There are no long lasting effects from this type of anaesthetic and it is relatively short lasting, with your mouth returning to normal not too long after the completion of the procedure.
Social media can be useful, but it can also communicate potentially harmful advice.
Whilst there may be some of our Swadlincote, Burton and Ashby patients who refuse, point blank, to use social media; for most people it is a great way to stay in touch with others and also to keep up to date with certain hobbies and interests. By and large, this is a useful addition to our daily lives, but of course, not everything that we see on social media is necessarily true, or even safe.
One increasingly used tactic by manufacturers is to use ‘influencers’ to promote their products. These are usually young social media celebrities, often with their own popular video channels. They may do a whole video on a product or sometimes simply ensure that they mention the product a few times during their videos. Naturally, most of these influencers will be paid, either in money, or free goods, for their services. In nearly all cases, they will have little knowledge of the product that they are promoting, beyond the basic information.
One of the most popular dental products that these influencers promote are teeth whitening solutions. We are all familiar with the beautiful white teeth that some TV celebrities have, and this may encourage other younger people to attempt to use these products too.
There are two key issues surrounding this as follows:
Firstly, the age group that these influencers usually target is quite young, sometimes even in their teens. The fact is that no one at this age should really need a teeth whitening procedure in the first place. Although some in their early twenties, who perhaps may have smoked for a while or with naturally dark teeth might consider it, there are very few circumstances where younger teens should need to whiten their teeth.
The second issue is around regulations. Any advert that appears on TV has to pass certain standards, and anything that appeared not to be sufficiently safe would almost certainly fail to pass this test. The internet though, as we well know, is much less well regulated and almost anything could be promoted which could fall far below the safety standards that we expect.
Although it is probably more likely that any teeth whitening treatments offered via social media platforms will be ineffective, rather than dangerous, there are no guarantees, and however much you generally like the people doing the influencing, it is important to remember that they will almost certainly not have any dental qualifications. Hence they are not really the people you should be listening to about having your teeth whitened.
Do it safely
Thinking ahead can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy when at a music festival.
Whilst the events are still a few months away, some of the festivals, including Glastonbury, the biggest one, have started to announce headline acts. In all probability, that particular one will have already sold out, but there are many more around the country which are increasingly popular.
If you have got your ticket, or are thinking of buying one for one of the other events, it is worth thinking about how you will look after your teeth whilst you are away from your Burton and Ashby homes for a few days.
Not a hotel
Few people that attend these festivals stay in nearby hotels, where it would be easy to maintain your usual oral health regimen. To get the most ‘authentic’ experience, most people will sleep in tents and use communal toilets etc. This can be great fun, but the whole festival experience can make keeping your teeth clean much more difficult. Even though these festivals usually only last for a few days, it doesn’t take long before neglecting your oral health will start to tell. This is especially the case with your gums, and failing to keep them clean even for a few days, may well be a precursor to gingivitis.
As you will probably be living in a tent, with no running water for a few days, what can you do to minimise any potential problems for your teeth and gums?
If your teeth are uncomfortable, or painful, when biting down, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
When we talk about having sensitive teeth, we usually mean sensitivity to both hot and cold temperatures when we eat or drink. This type of sensitivity is often caused by an erosion of the enamel surface on the teeth. This can be prevented with better general dental care and an altered diet, albeit those already affected can have various treatments including special toothpastes and even dental veneers to help.
This is not the only type of sensitive teeth that we see at our Ashby and Swadlincote dental practice though. Although less common, some people find that their teeth are prone to sensitivity when they bite down on them, even when eating. This can range from merely a little uncomfortable, to downright painful. Whatever the level of discomfort though, you should have this checked by one of the team at Alexandra Dental Care as soon as you can.
Causes of teeth that are sensitive to pressure
There are a number of potential issues that can lead to this problem and this is why it is important to have it professionally evaluated. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the cause of the problem and treat it accordingly.
One of the most likely causes of this type of discomfort is that you may have a broken tooth. This may not be obvious, and the tooth may even look complete when you look at it in the mirror. Even a small crack though, can cause a tooth to become sensitive when pressure is applied. This discomfort is only likely to get worse if the tooth is not treated.
Depending on the nature of the break, a filling or a dental crown are likely treatments which will restore the tooth and eliminate any associated discomfort.
Loose or cracked fillings
Helping you to avoid that ‘long in the tooth’ look
If you have ever wondered why some older people are referred to as being ‘long in the tooth’, there is a good reason for it. Receding gums are more common in older people and it is almost certain that in the past, the level of preventative dental care now available, simply wasn’t there. In effect then, it isn’t that your teeth are growing longer, but more of them are showing as the gums recede.
At Alexandra Dental Care, we believe in helping all of our Ashby patients to prevent dental problems, rather than just treating them (although we do that too of course!). So, if you want to do all that you can to prevent your gums from receding, please read on.
One of the most common reasons for receding gums is gum disease. It is one of the symptoms often associated with this oral health problem. With good care though, it should be straightforward to avoid. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth and gums daily, and also have a professional clean every six months with our dental hygienist.
Unfortunately, one the things that can cause receding gums is your family genes. In this instance, there is probably little that you can do. However, you should still look after your oral health to keep any recession to the bare minimum.
Looking (and smelling) your best for this romantic occasion!
Whilst those who are happily single may be relieved that they won’t have to put any effort into Valentine’s day, many of those in relationships will be looking to book restaurants etc to celebrate the day with their partner. Although the real St Valentine was allegedly beheaded, with a little effort we are sure that for most, it will be a happy occasion!
Romance, of course, involves intimacy and closeness, and any issues such as bad breath are going to be a real turn off on the night. It is not too late though, for our Ashby and Swadlincote patients to make sure that their oral health is in tip top shape before the big day.
Get rid of smelly breath
Probably the biggest romantic turn off is poor hygiene and bad breath. Poor general hygiene we can’t really help you with, but bad breath can be addressed using the services of our dental team.
The first thing that we should say is not to rely on the use of breath fresheners. Whilst these may offer some benefit in an emergency situation, they really aren’t the solution to the problem. At best, they will mask the smell whilst completely ignoring the underlying problem. If your breath is normally OK, then, providing that you don’t eat or drink anything that is well known to cause bad breath, such as garlic, you should be all good to go for the big day. If you find that bad breath is persistent though, we recommend that you arrange to see the hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care as soon as possible.
If you have persistent bad breath, it is very possibe that is is caused by gum disease. This is a problematic disease that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. We won’t go into that aspect of it today though, but look, instead, at its relationship with halitosis.