You don’t have to settle for a smile you aren’t happy with!
As we gradually ease out of lockdown (hopefully for the final time), it seems like a good time to remind you of some of the cosmetic dental procedures that we have available for our Ashby, Swadlincote and Burton patients. With the warmer weather in the coming months and the ability to socialise more, now could be a good time to consider ways of boosting your smile.
This especially applies, although not exclusively, to those of you seeking to meet a new partner. Many studies have shown that the first thing that most people notice and are attracted to on the initial meeting is your smile. The chances are then, that you are more likely to find love if you have an attractive and white smile than one that is dull and discoloured and possibly crooked too.
Below, we offer a brief description of the benefits of some of the cosmetic dentistry treatments that we have available at Alexandra Dental Care.
Teeth whitening – This is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments that we offer. It is fast acting and affordable and can make a significant difference to how your teeth look when you smile. Our straightforward treatment means that you can whiten your teeth by several shades in just a short period of time.
Teeth straightening – Some instances of crooked teeth require lengthy treatment of a year or more to correct them. This isn’t always the case though where minor corrections are needed. With modern orthodontics such as Invisalign, Six Month Smiles or Inman Aligner, your crooked teeth can be straightened in a relatively short time.
White fillings – Our local patients who have fillings made from amalgam, the dark material that is widely used to fill a tooth, can now take advantage of modern white fillings instead. These are made to match the natural colour of your teeth and can replace the amalgam fillings that you already have through the amalgam removal service that we provide.
Dental veneers – A more permanent treatment than basic whitening that is growing in popularity. The veneers usually replace the surface enamel of teeth and are largely used where staining or discolouration is very significant or where cracks and chips are present. Whilst, with teeth whitening, this has to be repeated at intervals to maintain the whiteness, veneers should maintain a consistent colour for around ten years providing that you look after them as instructed.
How these near invisible orthodontics can help you build a great looking smile
Have you ever wondered how so many celebrities that we see on TV seem to have such great looking and even teeth? If you have ever asked the question, you may have concluded that they must have spent a small fortune on surgery to correct their teeth and that this is financially out of your reach. Most people will also conclude that the alternative would be to wear dental braces with all the images or wired teeth that this conjures up.
Whilst it is true that cosmetic dental treatments are not available on the NHS and therefore have to be paid for privately and in full, we think that you will be surprised at the value for money that these provide in return for a great looking smile.
With regards to the ‘wired up’ teeth; whilst these are still available, more and more of our Ashby and Burton patients are turning to a very discreet teeth straightening system; namely Invisalign.
Yes, Invisalign belongs to a new generation of orthodontic treatments that allows teeth to be straightened but eliminates the use of wires and brackets altogether. As we will see, this has a number of advantages beyond the most obvious one which is that they are barely visible when being worn. Like traditional braces, significant corrections in teeth repositioning takes time. This is because it is important not to put too much pressure on the teeth in order to avoid damage to both them and the supporting bone. Ultimately, this is the only way to do this safely but when wearing Invisalign orthodontics this becomes much less inconvenient as well as providing additional comfort.
What we eat and drink can have a significant impact on the health of our teeth and gums
Ask most people what the worst food for our teeth is and the vast majority will say ‘sugar’. This is largely true, but it also ignores the impact that other foods can have as well; often foods that we might not even consider to be harmful, and indeed may even think of them as being healthy.
In today’s Alexandra Dental Care blog, we will take a brief look at a few types of food and how these might affect the oral health of our Burton and Ashby patients.
Sugars – Let’s get this one out of the way first. We know that sugar is bad for our teeth but why? The fact is that sugars provide an excellent food source for bacteria which break them down to produce acids which then erode the enamel of our teeth; leading to gum disease and decay. Whilst some foods quite obviously contain sugars, such as sweets and cakes, it is also often hidden in many savoury products as well.
Fruit – Fruit is widely considered to be one of those things that are nothing but healthy and something that we should eat a lot more of. Whilst this might be true, it is also worth remembering that these contain a natural type of sugar, especially in the case of citric fruits such as oranges and lemons. These are also quite acidic and can damage the enamel of our teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and sensitive teeth. Fruit is good for us but is best eaten in moderation.
Wholefoods – Again, a healthy food that can cause problems for our teeth. It is far from unusual for us to see teeth that have been chipped or cracked through biting unexpectedly into a hard grain in a wholemeal loaf of bread or a bowl of muesli. Even worse, occasionally, a small stone from the milling process may find its way into the product and if it comes into contact with your teeth when you bite, your teeth are very likely to suffer damage. Don’t avoid these foods but please be aware when you do.
Dairy products – Again, milk and the like can contain sugars in the form of lactose, but dairy does offer some benefits as well. It is a good source of calcium which along with other vitamins and minerals is an essential building block for strong and healthy teeth. Cheese also is a very healthy food for our teeth. Not only does it contain calcium, but eaten at the end of a meal, it will help to neutralise the acidity in the mouth which can be damaging to our teeth.
Alexandra Dental Care Dentist, George Savva, recommends ‘stub it out’ for good!
Every day, our teeth and gums face challenges and the foods we eat and our daily habits all contribute to potential harm. Some of the things that we do such as eating are fundamental, although we can choose wisely of course. Other things that some of us do though, are unnecessary and indeed are harmful not only to our teeth and gums but also to our general health; none more so than smoking.
Although fewer people smoke than in the past when a large number of us did, there are still thought to be in the region of 7 million people still smoking in the UK. This means that in addition to increased risk of gum disease, there will almost certainly be a significant number of premature deaths through cancers and heart disease.
With this in mind, we thought it was worth reminding you of some of the very good reasons to quit the smoking habit.
1) As mentioned above, smoking poses a very big risk to your general health and wellbeing (we will discuss oral health separately). Lung diseases, including cancer, are a real possibility if you smoke, whether that be cigarettes, cigars or even a pipe. Even if you don’t die of one of these, the chances are that as you become older, you will feel less able to do simple things such as run for a bus or even go for a pleasant walk without being out of breath. It really isn’t worth the risk.
2) Smoking is a very expensive habit and anyone smoking, say 20 cigarettes a day, can expect to pay somewhere in the region of over £4,000 a year. That is a very significant amount of money that we suspect most of you could find better uses for.
A dental implant to replace a missing tooth is a great option, but what do they feel like?
As many cosmetic dentists will agree, an increasing number of people are expressing an interest in having dental implants instead of dentures when they have lost a tooth or a number of teeth. There are many good reasons for this as we have mentioned before, but to briefly recap, they are strong, stable and, with good care, they can last for 20 years or more.
In addition to their strength, enabling the wearer to eat whatever they want, implants look more natural than a denture. Although dentures have definitely improved in aesthetics over the years, they still look less natural than a dental implant does. One question that we do get asked reasonably frequently at Alexandra Dental Care though, is what do they actually feel like? This is understandable and some people do find the idea of having one placed into the jawbone a little off putting. Let’s take a look at this, both the procedure and the longer term ‘feel’ of dental implants.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for any of our Burton and Ashby patients who are considering implant placement is the idea of the implant being placed into the jawbone. There is no getting away from it that this might, on the surface of it, appear to be quite painful. The reality is different though. Whilst we are not about to claim that you will enjoy the procedure, you shouldn’t find it any more uncomfortable than many other invasive dental treatments.
The procedure is performed using the latest technology including scanning equipment to ensure that the implant is placed in exactly the right position. You will also be given a powerful local anaesthetic which will minimise any discomfort that you might feel. You might also wish to consider having IV sedation for this treatment. This is generally used for nervous patients but can also help for treatments which take longer, such as teeth implants.
Poor teeth can affect our confidence and our social life says Burton and Ashby dentist, Usha Sirdevi
Although teeth make up a very small part of the human body, we are probably more conscious of them than we are about some of the larger parts. Although we may wish to lose weight or build muscles, most of us probably think about our teeth much more than we do our other limbs etc.
One possible reason for this is that they are located so close to the brain and other sensory organs such as the lips, eyes and ears, making us much more aware of them. Another is that, as psychologists have shown, our smile is a very important indicator to others about our friendliness (or not). It is said that most of us, on meeting a new person, will make a decision about them in the first few seconds. Of course, this can change over time and friendships can develop. But if that initial meeting doesn’t provide a ‘spark’, a friendship may never be allowed to develop.
What is the first thing we notice when we meet someone for the first time? Almost certainly, it is their smile. If we greet someone and they don’t smile, that is not going to give a very good first impression. If they do smile, but their teeth are discoloured or crooked, however nice that person is, we may be less than impressed, especially if the meeting is a first date!
Most of us will happily get dressed up and wear smart clothes for this sort of meeting and whilst this is not as straightforward when it comes to our teeth, cosmetic dentistry now offers the opportunity to do the same for your smile.
We have discussed options for replacing missing teeth recently so let’s presume that you have a full set of teeth, but perhaps ones that are crooked or that have become stained or discoloured over time.
Straightening your teeth
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.