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Better Oral Health During And After Invisalign Treatment

2022 August 3
by admin

Having straighter teeth means more than just a more attractive smile. Your mouth can be healthier too….

Most of you hopefully follow a good oral health regime, with regular brushing, flossing and appointments with both the dentist and hygienist at our Swadlincote dental practice. You may even think that there is little else that can be done to improve the way that you look after your teeth?

If you are doing the above, then you are going a long way to the best oral health possible; but there is one other factor that can act as a bit of a barrier to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

However well you brush and floss your teeth, the chances are that you have some teeth that are difficult to keep clean, especially in the gaps between them. Teeth that are pressed closely together or that overlap, can be notoriously difficult to keep clean, even when using dental floss. There is little doubt that straighter teeth are easier to maintain than crooked and uneven ones.

Not just cosmetic dentistry

Whilst it is true that most people who have orthodontic treatment at Alexandra Dental Care do so for aesthetic reasons, usually wishing to have a more attractive smile, this is not the only benefit. As we have said earlier, straight teeth are easier to brush and floss than crooked teeth and through the use of one particular orthodontic system, you can also maintain good oral health more easily throughout the duration of the treatment.

Although the end outcome of having even teeth is beneficial, patients that have traditionally used regular braces to achieve this sometimes find that problems can occur during the treatment process itself. Traditional braces use a combination of wires and braces that gradually correct the position of the teeth and unfortunately it is quite common for food to become trapped in the mechanism. However hard you might try to remove this and clean the area, there is a strong possibility that a tiny amount will remain trapped between the wire or bracket and the tooth. Over time, this will attract bacteria that damages the enamel of the tooth and can result in tooth decay.

Invisalign

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Oral Health Education For Children

2022 July 21
by admin

How to get your kids off to a good start in looking after their teeth

It is a well known fact that much of what we learn during our lives, we learn from a very young age. Things like how to walk, communicate and socialise with others becomes automatic without any real awareness and certainly not by reading books etc. Much of this comes from our parents, carers and those around us. This can also be beneficial for their oral health as they will pick up habits from their parents who also have a role in educating them and getting them off to a good start in life.

So, what can parents from the Burton and Ashby areas do to help their children have healthy teeth and gums as they grow up and develop good habits that they can take into their adult years?

Babies

Although you won’t need to brush their teeth for them for a while as they won’t have come through yet, it is a good idea to wipe baby gums gently with a damp cloth. This will help to remove any bacterial growth on the gums but will also accustom them to the sensation of cleaning around this area. This should start at around 3 months old or as advised by your care professional.

When they reach their first birthday, we recommend that you start to bring them for regular checks at Alexandra Dental Care. While it is unlikely that there will be any need for treatment so early on in life, these visits can help to acclimatise them to the sights, sounds and smells of the dental environment. Some studies have indicated that doing this helps to allay fears of visiting the dentist as they become older.

Young children

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The Advantages of Mercury-Free Cosmetic White Fillings

2022 June 27
by admin

Amalgam fillings are gradually being phased out. What other types of tooth restoration are available?

For a long time, the traditional dental filling has been made from amalgam. This is a combination of metals that include tin, silver, zinc and most controversially, mercury. It is this last ingredient that has been the cause for concern for an increasing number of patients over the years. Although amalgam has raised other issues such as picking up radio transmissions as suggested by actress Lucille Ball who claimed to have picked up Japanese radio transmissions during WWII. Tests have been done to try to replicate this but to no avail, so patients clearly shouldn’t worry about that!

A more legitimate concern is that the fillings contain mercury compounds and mercury is a toxin that can be poisonous. Understandably, some patients are worried about this and some claim to be more sensitive to it than others. Research has been done though and the BDA (British Dental Association) has concluded that there is no significant risk to the patient from its use. Mercury use is, though, gradually being phased out, largely in an attempt to reduce the quantity that finds its way into the environment and especially the water supply. You can read more about the BDA’s stance on this at https://bda.org/amalgam .

What fillings?

As amalgam has been the most common filling material used, there will obviously need to be alternatives if they are phased out. At Alexandra Dental Care, we have been offering alternative options for some time now, and many people have used these, probably largely because they are also more aesthetic, offering a more natural appearance than the darker coloured amalgam fillings.

Let us take a look then, at available alternative methods of restoring a tooth, where amalgam fillings would traditionally be used. Thankfully, there is a good selection available for our Ashby and Burton patients.

White fillings

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Don’t Economise On Your Oral Health

2022 June 15
by admin

Finances might be getting tighter, but please don’t deprioritise your teeth and gum health

It is impossible to avoid stories about the poor state of the economy at the moment and  things seem likely to get worse before they get better. The increase in the cost of fuel will also add to people’s fears that a recession might be looming. Whatever the situation, there is little doubt that a lot of people will be looking to cut back on their expenditure over the next year or so.

Some things can be cut back on with reasonable ease. Cheaper holidays can be found and some investments, such as a new kitchen, can often be delayed in some cases. One area that we urge you not to cut back on though is your oral health.

Teeth and gum maintenance

The reality is that everyday home oral health care is actually pretty cheap. Aside from replacing toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss, there is really no major cost associated with looking after your teeth and gums. This daily maintenance is both essential and affordable and there is really no excuse to neglect it.

Where people are looking to cut back spending, they might be tempted not to see the dentist, and especially the hygienist as often as before, perhaps going yearly instead, or even not at all. This would be a huge mistake and could well result in potentially serious oral health issues if problems are not dealt with early on. At Alexandra Dental Care, we are firm believers in preventative oral health care and regular dentist and hygienist visits play an important part in that.

Minor dental issues

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Men And Cosmetic Dentistry

2022 May 26
by admin

Why ‘modern man’ is turning to treatments like teeth whitening to improve their appearance

Even 50 years ago, the archetypal man would probably be, as poets might say, ‘rough hewn’. Men were supposed to be tough and not overly concerned about their appearance. If lines appeared on their face, they wouldn’t dream of using moisturising cream, and similarly, if their teeth became yellow (often through smoking) they would simply stay that way.

Things have certainly changed for the better, and even though many men may not want to go all the way for a full ‘Love Island’ look, there is little doubt that men are much more concerned about their image than they used to be. Some of this might have started with the early ‘mens mags’, with tips on grooming etc, but there is little doubt that the internet has moved things on rapidly, especially for those who use dating sites, hoping to find love and romance where a picture, as they say, paints a thousand words.

Given the wider acceptability of cosmetic dentistry for men, it is hardly surprising then that we have noticed a growing number of men booking appointments at our Swadlincote dental practice. Whilst fewer men might use our facial aesthetics service than women, for now anyway; our cosmetic dental treatments are becoming ever more popular.

What then, are the most popular treatments that our male patients from Burton, Ashby and surrounding areas, likely to choose?

Whiter teeth

It isn’t just on programmes like Love Island that you are likely to notice that people have whiter teeth. Even news readers and presenters are likely to have undergone cosmetic treatment to make their teeth more attractive. Better quality and larger TV screens make any faults with their teeth more obvious and it has probably become more widely expected that those fronting the news should have a reasonably attractive smile. Given their growing acceptability, male patients of Alexandra Dental Care tend to take advantage of one of the following teeth whitening treatments.

Teeth whitening – This is usually the first step for most people looking to have a whiter smile. It is a non-invasive treatment that produces fast results, with the effects lasting for a long time. The treatment can be repeated as often as required with no harm being done to the teeth. Some men prefer to wait until they notice that the results are starting to fade before repeating the treatment, whereas others may book regular appointments to keep the degree of whiteness at a regular consistency. Your choice will probably depend on your reason for wanting whiter teeth and we are happy to offer advice.

Dental Veneers – Although less people smoke than in the past, there are still a significant number who have smoked but now managed to quit. They may be left with the legacy of having stained or yellow looking teeth. Smoking isn’t the only way that this can happen, although it is one of the most common, Some food and drinks can stain teeth too. Although a teeth whitening procedure may be helpful; if the teeth are quite badly stained, porcelain dental veneers may provide a more durable and effective solution. This treatment does require some invasive work being done to the teeth but provides the patient with a great looking smile that can last for ten years or more if well looked after.

Missing teeth

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How Dental Hygienists Can Improve Your Mouth Health

2022 May 13
by admin

This sometimes overlooked service can be of real benefit to our Ashby, Burton and Swadlincote patients

It is widely understood that you should see a dentist every six months or so for a general checkup. This makes sense as not only can we monitor the general health of your mouth but any treatment that is needed can then be carried out at an early stage, usually meaning that less extensive treatment is required. Of course, accidents can happen and you may require an interim emergency appointment, but a regular six monthly check up is an excellent way to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

There is also another appointment that you should keep every six months, and one that an increasing number of patients of Alexandra Dental Care are doing and that is seeing the oral hygienist. There are a few misconceptions about the role of a hygienist and it can sometimes be thought of as an ‘optional extra’ rather than an important part of your overall health care.

Why see a dental hygienist?

There are many ways that a hygienist can help you have the healthiest mouth that you can. Their role consists of two parts; an educational one and a practical one.

A visit to see the hygienist is quite a relaxed one and some time will be spent discussing your general oral health care. This can include things like how well you brush your teeth, along with suggestions on how to improve this. You may also be encouraged to use floss and we may demonstrate how to do so correctly. It may also include a discussion on your lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking and alcohol consumption. Dental hygienists are not there to ‘moralise’ but the reality is that some choices, such as smoking, can have a terrible impact on your teeth and gums and it is important that the patient understands this so that they can make an informed choice as to whether to continue smoking or make an effort to stop.

The other part of the hygienist role is more practical and largely consists of a treatment known as a ‘scale and polish’. This is used to clean the teeth of tartar, or ‘calculus’, a hardened ‘crust’ that consists of bacteria and minerals. Because it is hard, it can’t be removed through regular brushing and will continue to build if not removed manually. It also forms a rough surface that makes it easier for bacteria and staining products to stick to. This can lead to gum disease as well as causing additional surface staining of the teeth.

What then, does a scale and polish procedure consist of?

The scale and polish procedure

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How Do Root Canal Infections Occur?

2022 April 27
by admin

How to avoid a root canal procedure (and why you shouldn’t be concerned if you need one….)

Most of us are probably familiar with the words ‘root canal’ but most likely not what it actually entails. Even though the ‘horror stories’ about this treatment are greatly exaggerated, it is definitely something that should be avoided if possible, predominantly for the health of your teeth.

So what actually causes root canal infections? There are a number of ways in which this can happen, but essentially it occurs when bacteria finds its way through the enamel and dentin parts of the tooth and enters into the root canals where the soft pulp, including the nerves,  is stored.

Protecting your tooth

The best way to maintain healthy teeth of course is to make sure that you keep them clean and have a regular examination at Alexandra Dental Care. Patients from the Burton, Swadlincote and Ashby area who do this should hopefully avoid the need for a root canal procedure, but this can never be guaranteed unfortunately.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria enters the tooth through the compromised enamel. Providing that you see your dentist in time, it is usually enough to remove the decaying material and fill the tooth. This should prevent it spreading further into the root canals of the tooth. The longer you delay treatment, the bigger the chances are that the decay and bacteria will spread so make sure you have your teeth checked regularly.

A cracked tooth is another common cause and especially if the crack is nearer to the root, the infection can occur before you even notice any symptoms of tooth decay. Just because a tooth doesn’t initially hurt after an accident, such as from a fall; if your teeth have suffered an impact, do make sure to have them checked by one of our dental team. This is a good way of reducing the risk of any infections of the root canal.

How will you know if your root canals are infected?

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Porcelain Veneers For That ‘Perfect Smile’

2022 April 13
by admin

If you are looking for your best possible smile, dental veneers might be the answer….

As we approach the warmer months and we start to think of summer holidays, we are also likely to think about how we can look our best for them as well as the other social gatherings that often occur when the weather is nicer.  New clothes can be bought of course and other things are relatively straightforward to give us a boost. Even the best clothes and hairstyles though can be spoiled if your teeth are stained or even cracked or chipped.

All teeth will discolour with age and this is just a physical fact of life. Discolouration can happen at any stage of our life if we eat or drink things that stain our teeth, but after a certain age, the dentin part of the tooth that lies below the enamel surface starts to darken in colour and this inevitably shows through the translucent enamel, giving our teeth a dull and often yellowing appearance.

Teeth whitening

The most straightforward treatment to rectify this is to have your teeth professionally whitened. This is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments that we provide for our Ashby and Burton patients at Alexandra Dental Care. It is certainly an excellent technique, being both non-invasive and repeatable when necessary, but it can’t rectify all visual problems that can occur with our teeth.

Some of us may have teeth that are chipped or have fine cracks in the surface of the enamel. Whilst these might not be deep enough to cause problems like decay, they can be quite visible and even a teeth whitening procedure may not hide them. Chipped teeth may be even more noticeable with whiter teeth as people are more likely to pay attention to a whiter smile.

So, what can you do to improve imperfect teeth?

Dental veneers

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Nervous About Your Upcoming Dental Appointment?

2022 March 28
by admin

Covid has meant a delay in seeing a dentist for many. For anxious patients, this can be a real problem….

Covid had many negative effects, with severe illness and even death amongst them. It has affected many areas of our lives and may do, at least to some extent, for some time to come. Although dentists across the UK are now getting back to something like normal, there are still patients who haven’t seen their dentist for some time due to the restrictions that were put on practices at the peak of the pandemic. Inevitably, for some, this will mean the need for treatments that could otherwise have been avoided. For nervous dental patients, the very thought of this can be enough to fill them with fear.

The real danger is that patients who are afraid of seeing a dentist may decide that after not visiting for a long time, and especially if they have had no obvious problems, simply decide not to go anymore. Whilst this might seem understandable, it is a ‘head in the sand’ approach that will almost inevitably backfire at some point in the not too distant future. For those considering this approach, we hope that the following advice from our Alexandra Dental Care dentists will be helpful.

Should you stay away?

The simple answer to this is ‘no’. Dental appointments are not there to scare you but are a necessary step to ensure that you maintain a healthy mouth. Dentistry is not just about preventing tooth decay, though it  does, obviously, include this. It is also about problems like gum disease which, aside from oral care issues, has increasingly been linked with other serious medical illnesses such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and also to check for any possible indications of oral cancers. Early detection is key in both of these issues and starting treatment as soon as possible should bring about the most positive outcome for the patient.

Even leaving aside these important issues, almost everyone who has neglected their teeth will tell you that they really wish that they hadn’t. Aside from any discomfort caused by toothache etc, having a poor set of teeth can take a lot of enjoyment from your life. From difficulties in eating certain foods to a lack of confidence in smiling, poor quality teeth can have a significant negative impact on your life, and one that is quite unnecessary with regular care.

That’s all very well, but I’m scared….

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Planning Your Summer Holidays? Don’t Forget About Your Teeth

2022 March 17
by admin

Ensure that your teeth are healthy before you go away on holiday or you could run into problems!

We are probably being a little premature and over excited at seeing some springlike weather just starting to creep in, but we also know that this is the sort of thing that can trigger people to start booking a holiday abroad for the summer. After all, it’s fair to say that we probably all need one after the last few years!

There are obvious things to consider when booking a holiday such as hotels, things to do for the kids etc, but one thing that we often don’t think about is the health of our teeth. Good oral health is important at any time, of course, but if something goes wrong when you are in another country, it can cause additional problems that are less easily resolved than when you are at home.

A spoilt holiday

The most obvious problem caused when you have a dental health issue on holiday is that it can really spoil your break. Whilst some issues may only be inconvenient and perhaps cause you to eat only softer foods, others, such as a raging toothache, can totally distract you from all the things you were looking forward to and ruin your holiday completely. A bad toothache on day one can leave you wishing the rest of your holiday away so that you can see your own dentist to get it treated.

Dental care abroad

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