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What counts as a dental emergency and when should I call my dentist?

September 11th, 2020

Dental emergencies can happen at any time, in any place. If you find yourself needing urgent help, don’t hesitate to reach out. At the moment, when practices are running reduced services and patients are worried about the Covid-19 crisis, people may be more reluctant to seek help. The message from dentists is that emergency help is available. 

What counts as a dental emergency?

There are many different types of dental ailments and some require swifter or more intensive action than others. Minor problems, such as toothache, a small chip in the tooth and tooth sensitivity, need treating, but there’s no need to seek emergency assistance. Call your local dental practice and arrange an appointment to see your dentist at a time that is convenient to you. Severe issues, such as broken teeth, intense pain, which is affecting day to day life or getting worse, severe swelling and excessive bleeding caused by facial injuries, require urgent treatment. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist as soon as possible. It’s also crucial to seek advice from your dentist or your GP if you are worried about symptoms associated with oral cancer, such as abnormal lumps or swelling and mouth sores and ulcers that take a long time (more than 2 weeks) to heal. 

If you’ve been injured or involved in a traumatic accident, which is causing facial swelling that is impacting your vision or your ability to breathe, you are bleeding heavily after an incident, or you experience loss of consciousness or vomiting, call 999. 

What happens when you see an emergency dentist?

Dental professionals understand that accidents happen, and practices have emergency appointments available to ensure that teams can treat patients promptly. If you need urgent help, all you have to do is contact your dental practice and provide some information about your symptoms. If you need assistance during practice hours, you will be given an appointment at the earliest possible opportunity. If you need help outside of standard working hours, you can call NHS 111 or contact your practice and listen to instructions on the answering service. Some practices offer out of hours care. In extreme circumstances, for example, when an individual sustains severe facial injuries, it may be necessary to visit Accident and Emergency. 

When you go for your emergency dental appointment, your dentist will ask you some questions about your symptoms and then examine your mouth to determine the underlying cause and possible treatment options. You may need an X-ray. The priority is to prevent the situation from getting worse and to alleviate pain. Your dentist may prescribe painkillers or antibiotics, depending on the diagnosis. After your appointment, it may be necessary to book another treatment session. If you broke a tooth, for example, you may have a temporary crown fitted and your dentist will advise you to visit again to place a permanent crown on the tooth. 

Summary

Dental emergencies can affect anyone, and they often happen when you least expect them. Times are strange at the moment, but dentists are keen to ensure that patients understand that they can access emergency care. If you have pain that is getting worse, you’ve been in an accident, or your mouth is swollen and the inflammation isn’t easing with medication, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. 

Self-help techniques for improved oral health

August 12th, 2020

With many dental practices running a reduced service at the moment, dentists are urging patients to take good care of their teeth and gums. The Coronavirus lockdown has caused significant backlogs, and many dental teams are working to reorganise delayed and cancelled appointments before resuming routine services, such as check-ups. In the absence of the widespread availability of dental examinations, here are some self-help techniques you can utilise to keep your smile in check. 

Oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is the most effective way to keep dental disease at bay and reduce the risk of ailments and unpleasant symptoms such as toothache, bleeding gums and infections. Ideally, your daily oral hygiene regime should include twice-daily brushing using fluoride toothpaste and daily flossing or interdental brushing. Clean your teeth for at least two minutes each morning and evening, and try and avoid brushing within 45 minutes of eating or drinking. When you brush, apply toothpaste to the bristles and gently guide the brush around your teeth, angling the head to reach right into the corners and covering every surface of each individual tooth. Try and resist the temptation to brush hard. If you brush too firmly, this can damage the enamel. It’s also beneficial to avoid rinsing after brushing to prevent removing fluoride from the tooth surface. Interdental cleaning using a small hand-held brush or floss is important for targeting areas that cannot be reached with a toothbrush. After cleaning your teeth, brush your tongue with your toothbrush or use a tongue scraper. This will help to remove bacteria and food debris and lower the risk of bad breath (halitosis).

Diet

Your diet has an essential role to play if you’re on a mission to protect your teeth and gums. While many foods, for example, dairy products, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, are good for your teeth because they contain calcium, some can be harmful. Foods that contain a lot of sugar and acidic foods and drinks carry a risk of decay and gum disease. As well as keeping an eye on what you eat, it’s critical to think about when you eat. This is because bacteria release acids when they feed. These acids attack and weaken the tooth enamel temporarily, and the teeth can only withstand a limited number of acid attacks. Aim to stick to three main meals and avoid grazing. If you snack all day, your enamel will not get chance to recover, and it may become worn and weak. 

Dental care

It might not be possible to see a dentist every 6-12 months at the moment, but it’s vital to seek advice if you do have any concerns about your dental health. Contact your dentist if you have prolonged periods of toothache or severe pain, or you notice blood when you brush your teeth. Bleeding, sore and swollen gums are symptomatic of gum disease, while pain, fever, inflammation and tenderness can be linked to dental infections. Your dentist will be able to recommend pain relief options, and they can also book an appointment for you if you need immediate treatment. 

Summary

There are several very simple steps you can take to improve your dental health and reduce the risk of oral health problems. Twice-daily brushing, eating well and seeking advice if you notice unusual symptoms will stand you in good stead to avoid dental dilemmas. 

Polishing up on dental hygiene

July 12th, 2020

Good dental hygiene is your best weapon against oral diseases, including gum disease and decay. If you’re looking to protect your smile and brush up on dental hygiene, here are some top tips to take on board. 

Brushing advice

Brushing your teeth is essential for removing food debris and harmful bacteria before they combine with saliva to create plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colourless substance, which clings to your gum line and the surfaces of the teeth. When you eat and drink, the bacteria found in plaque feed, and this causes them to release acids, which attack and weaken the protective enamel and irritate the gums. To prevent plaque formation, it’s crucial to brush the teeth twice a day, every day. When you clean your teeth, take your time, be gentle and cover every individual tooth surface. You should brush for at least two minutes each time. If your brush doesn’t have a timer, you can set an alarm on your phone or even brush along to a song. 

Studies show that electric toothbrushes remove plaque more effectively than manual brushes. There are several makes and models available, and you can now buy electric toothbrushes for less than £20. It’s really important to brush gently to protect the enamel. If you brush too aggressively, this can increase the risk of erosion. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, you shouldn’t have to exert any additional effort. Simply hold the brush and guide it around your mouth. Dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral, which helps to lower the risk of tooth decay by strengthening the enamel.

Flossing and interdental brushing

When you brush your teeth, you can cover most of your mouth, but you can’t reach every part with a toothbrush. This is why flossing and interdental brushing are beneficial. Interdental brushes are small, hand-held brushes, which are designed to remove debris and plaque from the tiny cracks between the teeth. Flossing involves passing dental floss, also known as tape, between your teeth. Ideally, you should either floss or use interdental brushes on a daily basis. It is common for the gums to bleed the first few times you floss if you’ve never done it before, or you haven’t flossed in a long time. If bleeding persists, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease. 

Rinsing

Many of us have grown up with an oral hygiene routine, which involves brushing and then rinsing the mouth out and spitting. Rinsing the mouth after brushing can actually be counterproductive, as it removes fluoride from the surfaces of the teeth, preventing it from doing its bit to strengthen the enamel. After you’ve brushed, avoid rinsing. If you use mouthwash, it’s best to wait at least an hour after brushing. 

Summary

Maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective way to keep dental dramas at bay. To protect your teeth and lower the risk of gum disease, brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, clean between your teeth daily and avoid rinsing after brushing. It’s also critical to make sure you see your dentist on a regular basis. Experts recommend at least one check-up every 12 months.

Stay Healthy Out There – Oral Health Tips for Lockdown and Beyond

April 22nd, 2020

With UK businesses now in lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visiting the dentist is a definite no-no.

Emergency treatment could be difficult to come by for the foreseeable future, so taking good care of your teeth is more important than ever. 

In April’s blog we take a look at some oral health tips to keep abscess and other painful dental nasties at bay.

Brush twice a day

Routine is bound to be the first casualty of the lockdown, but it’s important to maintain the basics – and that means brushing for three minutes, twice a day. Don’t forget proper technique: Make small circular motions, holding the brush at a 45 degree angle.

Don’t forget your tongue

The prospect of romance may be off the cards for a while, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on keeping your breath as fresh as can be by giving your tongue a daily once-over with your toothbrush. 

Go interdental

Food remnants between the teeth are another source of bad breath and plaque build up. Get rid by using an interdental brush before bed. If you haven’t used interdental already, you may be surprised at how fresh and clean they leave you feeling. 

Go electric

Interdental brushes aren’t the only gadget with potential to revolutionise your oral hygiene routine. Going electric lets you (excuse the pun) brush up on your technique and makes for an amazingly fresh feeling. Look out for lockdown deals on electric brushes.

Quit smoking    

The middle of a global pandemic might not seem like the ideal time to give up smoking but the truth is, there will never be a convenient time to kick the habit. Why not use the downtime to pick up some mindfulness techniques and focus on putting the habit behind you – your teeth will thank you!

Watch your diet

A sugary diet is one of the chief causes of dental decay. Sugar turns to acid, which attacks and breaks down the teeth’s enamel. Even acidic fruit is a culprit – so, while the temptation to binge on sugary food could be greater than ever, try to enjoy treats in moderation.    

Dental Health and Pregnancy – What You Need to Know

February 28th, 2020

Croatian blogger Ella Dvornik recently shared some disturbing images which showed Ella’s gums bleeding profusely – a common side effect of pregnancy.

Ella’s posts prompted a flurry of responses from women who had suffered similar effects while pregnant. They highlighted the need for proper dental care during those crucial nine months.

Let’s take a look at some practical advice on the subject.

Diet

Ella’s condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis.  It’s usually the result of hormonal changes which lead to an increased build of plaque, in turn causing inflammation, bleeding and other symptoms of gingivitis.

Some specialists recommend increased intake of vitamins K and C to keep gums healthy, and it’s also important to avoid excessively sugary foods – a catalyst for tooth decay and gum disease.

Increasing your calcium intake with plenty of dairy products is also great for the teeth and can also promote the healthy development of your baby’s gums and bones.

Hygiene Routine

During pregnancy – and especially when living with the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis – you may be tempted to skimp on your usual daily dental routine.

But it’s actually more important than ever to keep things ticking along with daily brushing and flossing as usual.

You may also find that gargling with salt water relieves some of the symptoms – but remember not to swallow!

Visit Your Dentist 

Advice on dental treatment during pregnancy depends on how far along your pregnancy is. The good news is that you can still visit your dentist, although it’s best to let them know you’re expecting – even if you haven’t yet told your nearest and dearest.

Dentists will generally limit the treatments carried out during pregnancy to routine checkups and hygiene, only performing more complex work when absolutely necessary. That’s especially true during the first trimester when your baby’s vital organs begin to develop. 

If you do need treatment during this early stage, your dentist may recommend postponing treatment until around the third trimester.

Though generally considered safe, cosmetic treatments like whitening should be avoided altogether during pregnancy.

Mind the Gap

January 21st, 2020

There are many reasons why a person might be missing a tooth or teeth – such as decay, disease or injury – but the general consensus is that it’s not a good look. On anyone.

Of course, missing teeth aren’t only a problem aesthetically. The loss can also affect speech and the ability to eat. Furthermore, with more space than a mouth was designed for other teeth might decide to take advantage of the room and have a wander, meaning remaining teeth shift. In some cases, bone loss can also occur around a missing tooth.

In short, a missing tooth can turn out to be a little problem with big consequences. Thankfully, however, it can be a problem easily fixed.

The main options to replace a lost tooth or teeth tend to be crowns, bridges, dentures and implants.

Crowns and bridges 

These are prosthetic devices that can only be removed by a dentist once they’re in. Crowns tend to be porcelain or ceramic ‘caps’ fixed onto damaged teeth or implants and made to match the colour of natural teeth. 

Of course, if you prefer a little bling with your pearly whites – or you’re a rap artist from Otley – gold and metal alloys are also an option. 

Bridges can also be as natural or outlandish as you like and they pretty much do what they say on the tin. A prosthetic device that spans the space where the teeth are missing, a bridge is cemented onto the natural teeth either side of a gap. 

As with crowns, there is a choice of materials for bridges and your dentist can help you decide which would best suit the location of the missing tooth or teeth. By maintaining good oral hygiene, a bridge can last a lifetime.

Dentures

These are removable appliances that restore your smile in an instant if you’ve lost most or all of your teeth. Extensive tooth loss tends to result in sagging facial muscles, so dentures can also take years off you. In some respects it’s the dental equivalent of a facelift. 

Conventional dentures are made and positioned once any remaining teeth have been removed. However, they can only be worn once the gums have healed, which could take several months. If this is a concern, some dentures can be inserted on the same day, with corrections made once the jaw has healed. 

Another alternative is the overdenture which can be placed over any remaining natural teeth. 

If it is only one tooth missing rather than a number of teeth, a partial denture might be the answer. This takes the form of a false tooth attached to a plate, which is clipped into place. As ever, speak with your dentist to find the best option for you and your lifestyle.

Implants 

A dental implant is basically a replacement tooth root and it provides the strongest possible foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. The implant is a titanium post secured directly in the jaw. The result is a natural look and feel because the implant is designed to fuse with the bone. Unlike bridges, the surrounding teeth remain unaltered by the procedure. Implants can now replace a full set of teeth in a single one-day procedure.

In conclusion, a lost tooth is not the end of the world, or even an end to smiling. Modern dentistry has made it an inconvenience easily fixed. Simply consult your dentist to find the best option to suit your needs.

Teeth Straightening – The Truth about Achieving the Perfect Smile

December 17th, 2019

All too often, overcrowding or a slight crookedness to your teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. 

Luckily, there is an easy fix. No matter your age – yes you don’t have to be a teenager to fix your teeth –  straighter teeth can make all the difference to your confidence, appearance and self-belief.

What is teeth straightening?

Straightening your teeth can do more than fix your smile. It can also improve your ability to eat; lower your risk of developing jaw/joint problems caused by overbite or overcrowded teeth (otherwise known as malocclusion), and can put a halt to tooth decay and gum disease.

In other words, by placing your trust in orthodontic treatments, you can reduce gaps and spaces between your teeth; eliminate overbite and essentially improve the position of your teeth so they look and function better.

And the treatments themselves aren’t too intensive.

The teeth straightening process 

Step One – Examination: 

Before you even sign up for any form of treatment, your teeth will first need a full assessment, including x-rays and photographs.

This will allow your orthodontist to examine your teeth and decide on the best course of action. For instance, while most people only need a brace, your x-rays may reveal that you need surgery of the jaw before one can be fitted. Similarly it might be discovered that you need extractions (teeth taken out) to create more room in your mouth.

Step Two – Choosing a Treatment

There’s a whole host of straighteners, aligners and appliances to choose from – each with its own unique set of pros and cons. If you’re wondering which straightening treatment might work best for you, it’s always better to consult a professional. 

Here are a few of the options on offer. Braces – fixed or removable, braces are designed to slowly reposition your teeth by gently applying pressure and are usually worn for between six months to two years. The length of time you’ll need to wear them will be dependent on your needs; however every two to ten weeks you’ll be expected to visit your orthodontist who will check your brace and make adjustments that will encourage the teeth to straighten.

Like we already mentioned, no brace is the same, so dependent on your requirements you could end up with a removable one or a brace that is fixed to the front or the back of your teeth:

– Removable braces: comprised of a plastic plate with wire clips and springs attached (to move specific teeth through tipping/tilting); removable braces are usually administered in mild cases of teeth crowding and need to be worn at all times (except when cleaning).

– Aligners: these removable moulds are computer generated; are based on a bite impression of your lower and upper teeth, and are made from clear plastic that needs to be changed every 2 weeks. Their goal is to move your teeth into the correct position (thus explaining why you need to change them every 2 weeks) and are commonly used in mild cases and on adults. NOTE: compared to braces these have the bonus being easy to hide and clean.

– Fixed braces: the king of all braces, this highly visible brace works by being directly attached to your teeth (through small brackets, cement and wires), where it is then adjusted by your orthodontist to influence the movement of your teeth.

-Headgear: we won’t lie, headgear is not the most appealing option; however it only needs to be worn during the evening or at night, enabling it to correct the development of your teeth and jaws, as well as straighten your teeth.

Veneers (caps): usually used in teeth whitening or to mask chipped teeth; veneers (a thin layer of porcelain/composite material) can also help to correct small gaps in your teeth.

Dental Contouring: this technique is commonly used to reshape your natural, pre-existing teeth to make them appear straighter while repairing cracks and chips.

As you can see – your options are limitless! 

So if you are unhappy with your smile and dream of straighter teeth, then why not pop down to your dentist today and discuss treatments? Whether you are 10, 25 or 40… it is never too late to achieve your dream smile.

How Much Will Quitting Smoking Help Your Teeth?

July 31st, 2017

shutterstock_114112198Most of us associate quitting smoking with improved lung and heart health, but it can also have major benefits for your mouth. If you’re hoping to quit smoking, here are just some of the benefits you could enjoy:

Cleaner, brighter teeth: smoking is one of the leading causes of tooth discolouration due to the presence of chemicals such as tar in cigarettes. If you quit, you can reduce the risk of further staining and look forward to a brighter, cleaner smile.

Fresher breath: smoking is a common cause of bad breath. If you’re self-conscious about your breath or you’re keen to make a positive first impression when you meet people for the first time, giving up smoking is an incredibly positive step.

Lower risk of gum disease: smoking reduces blood flow, which increases the risk of gum disease. By giving up smoking, you can lower your risk of gum disease and improve your body’s ability to heal after treatment.

Reduced oral cancer risk: smoking is the most significant risk factor for oral cancer, a type of cancer that has become increasingly common in the UK over the course of the last decade. Smoking is particularly dangerous when combined with drinking alcohol. If you drink frequently and smoke, you’re more than 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers who don’t drink.

Giving up smoking is not easy, but it does bring incredible benefits for your teeth and gums, as well as your general health. If you’re thinking of trying to quit, we can help, so give us a call now!

How the Inman Aligner Can Give You a Straighter Smile Quickly

July 28th, 2017

shutterstock_308565782Do you feel the need for speed when it comes to wearing braces? Many of our patients come in looking for the fastest solution for crooked, crowded and wonky teeth. The good news is that modern treatments offer a rapid alternative to traditional braces. With appliances like the Inman Aligner, we can deliver results in weeks, rather than years.

What is the Inman Aligner?

The Inman Aligner is a removable brace, which was developed in the USA. This revolutionary device offers a discreet, swift alternative to traditional fixed braces for patients who have minor issues that require limited movement. The aim of the aligner is to straighten the front teeth. This is an ideal option for those who have slightly crooked front teeth or small gaps between the front teeth.

How does the Inman Aligner work?

The Inman Aligner is a removable tray-shaped brace, which fits over the top of the teeth. It is transparent, but it has visible parts, including a metal bar, which runs along the front teeth. The aligner has two nickel coiled springs, which generate forces, causing the teeth to move into the correct position. There is one spring at either side of the brace. The forces that are produced by the component parts are gentle, but they produce a lot of movement, and this is why this treatment achieves results so quickly.

How long does treatment take?

Every patient is different, but most cases can be completed within 16 weeks. In some cases, you may only need to wear your brace for 6 weeks. We recommend wearing the aligner for around 20 hours per day for the best results.

If you like the sound of the Inman Aligner and you’re wondering if it could be a good match for you, why not pop in and see us or give us a ring and book a consultation?

How a Root Canal can Save Your Damaged Tooth

July 26th, 2017

shutterstock_6114607Root canal treatment is a much maligned treatment, but the truth of the matter is that this procedure can save your teeth. Many people are fearful of root canal therapy because they assume that it’s going to be painful, but treatment is carried out under local anaesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain.

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is a procedure, which is used to treat infected and damaged teeth. The aim of the procedure is to remove decayed or damaged tissue from the tooth once the pulp has been infected. The pulp is the tooth’s living tissue and once it is damaged, the tooth starts to die, as blood flow is reduced. At this stage, there’s a risk of infection spreading further, and the tooth will eventually become rotten. To avoid extraction, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment.

What does root canal treatment involve?

Before your dentist starts the procedure, they will numb the tooth to prevent you from feeling any pain. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your dentist will drill into the tooth to access the root canals. Any decayed or damaged pulp tissue will be removed, and the canals will be cleaned and then stuffed with material known as gutta percha. This seals the root canals and reduces the risk of further infection.

After root canal treatment, your dentist may recommend placing a new crown on the tooth to make it stronger and more resistant to damage. Initially, a temporary crown may be used, and this will be replaced by a permanent crown around 2 weeks later. We can use ceramics to make the crown, so you won’t be able to tell the difference between the crown and the rest of the natural tooth structure.

If you’re nervous about having root canal treatment or you’d like to find out more about the procedure and how it could benefit you, our dental team will be happy to help.