Tooth loss in children can happen at any age, with different consequences.
In an ideal world, our children would lose their baby teeth and then go on to have a full, even and healthy set of great looking adult teeth.
If only the world really did work in that way! For many of us, this is not the case, and a number of problems can arise which need treating by one of our Surbiton dental team.
Tooth loss is perhaps one of the most potentially dramatic of changes that can occur, often quite suddenly. If you are a parent and this happens, it is naturally quite concerning, but don’t panic, here are some tips on what to do if and when this happens.
When your child loses a baby tooth, there really is no need to be concerned. This is entirely natural. Usually, though not always, the first baby tooth to erupt is also the first one to fall out. This can start to happen around four years old and as late as seven. Whilst it can happen earlier or later, most children lose them between these years and it may be worth having your children’s teeth checked at the Confidental Clinic if you are worried that they are coming out too early or too late, just to ensure that there are no underlying problems.
The reality is that parents are much more likely to be worried about these early tooth losses than the child, who is probably more concerned with what they will spend the money on, left by the tooth fairy of course.
Make sure to monitor that the child’s adult teeth do come through. This may take a few weeks. If you are concerned that they have not come through when you feel they should have, please call our Surbiton practice for advice.
Grown up teeth
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With the new sugar tax, can we expect to see a fall in numbers of patients with tooth decay?
The sugar tax has been in the news recently, with a significant price rise for products containing higher amounts of sugar. Amongst those hit will be most types of fizzy sugary drinks which are particularly popular with young children.
Only time will tell if this new tax means that people buy less of these products or simply continue to buy them, but at greater expense. The taste for sugar is now probably well established in our taste buds, but we can always hope.
Whether we cut down on sugar because of the tax or simply because we want to live a healthier lifestyle, any reduction in consumption has to be a good thing. Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in young children. If we can change the way that they see food while they are young, there is a greater chance of them growing up with less cavities and better general health.
Reducing, or cutting out, sugar in obviously sugary products though, is not a panacea for all ills. Sugar is present in many foods, including some we may not expect. A small can of baked beans for example includes around 10% of its contents as sugar. It can even be found in many savoury dishes as well as daily staples such as bread.
Because of this, we should always make sure to keep our teeth and gums really clean, both by diligent brushing and flossing at home, as well as having our teeth professionally cleaned at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton.
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Using discrete orthodontics to address the problem in Surbiton
An overbite is a relatively common problem in both adults and children. It is often genetic but can also be caused by habits such as thumb sucking and even biting your nails excessively. It may not only affect your appearance but can cause other issues too. These include some speech defects, and in particular, a lisp, as well as potential damage to the front teeth, especially the wearing down of the enamel caused by friction between the teeth.
In order to prevent these problems, patients should consider having the overbite corrected by one of our Surbiton cosmetic dentists. Before any treatment can take place, you will be invited for an examination at the Confidental Clinic, to determine the most appropriate course of action to take.
Whilst it is important to have the overbite checked so that we can provide the right treatment for your own specific circumstances, there is a good chance that one of our most popular orthodontic systems can be used to correct the overbite. Invisalign orthodontics not only offer a high level of discretion for the wearer, but the fact that they can be removed makes for easier cleaning as well as eating.
As with other cases of crooked teeth, the trays that are used in Invisalign treatment offer a gentle way to encourage your teeth towards their correct position. This is done by using a series of individual trays, each of which works in stages to correct the teeth. Once the first tray has successfully moved your teeth to its desired position, that tray is removed and the next stage tray put into place. This process continues until your teeth are in the position that they should be.
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If you are one of the 33%, you may be letting down your teeth.
A recent study has shown that around a third of all adult UK dental patients have never had an appointment with the dental hygienist, with over half of all respondents believing that seeing the dentist was sufficient to have healthy teeth. The reason for these lack of visits is varied, including cost and the belief that people looked after their teeth well and did not need to see the hygienist.
As our Surbiton dentists will tell you though, brushing your teeth at home only reaches approximately 60% of the tooth’s surface, leaving the other 40% highly exposed to the acids and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
We know that brushing our teeth can clean the flatter part of the tooth surface, but getting in the gaps in between the teeth effectively is highly unlikely by using a toothbrush alone. As only around one in five of us use dental floss, that means that most of us make no additional attempt to clean these areas where many problems start.
We do recommend that patients floss their teeth and this will certainly help to keep these areas clean. This does not negate the need for seeing the hygienist at the Confidental Clinic though, as we will see below.
Benefits of hygienist visits
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Making conversations easier by banishing bad breath.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is not uncommon. Most of us will probably have experienced a desire to move rapidly away from someone who we are talking to, when we experience the unpleasant odour of bad breath.
Unfortunately, unless close friends tell us, we may not know if we have bad breath ourselves as it is very difficult to detect, unless you are on the receiving end, that is.
Bad breath can have a number of causes, but restoring your breath to a more naturally pleasant state is often not too difficult. Our Surbiton dentists offer a few straightforward pieces of advice below.
Full mouth cleaning
When you clean your teeth and gums (more about that later), also clean the rest of your mouth, including your tongue. Much of the smell of bad breath comes from too high a number of ‘bad’ bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria expel gases which are what we mostly smell when halitosis is present. There is no need to scrub hard, but a little gentle brushing of the tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth, as well as teeth and gums, will really help to keep your mouth smelling fresh.
Cleaning after eating
Although we are told to brush twice a day, there is no reason not to brush more. If you are in a position to brush after each meal, perhaps if you work from home, this will help to reduce the remnants of a meal from between your teeth and the gum line. These additional cleans need not be as thorough as your twice daily clean and a quick light brushing will help to remove many food particles.
If you are not in a position to do this, even a quick rinse with water, or chewing sugar free gum will help to clean your mouth after a meal.
Monitor your gum health
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‘Sleep dentistry’ – helping even the most nervous patients receive treatment.
Anxious dental patients are common and understandably we welcome them here at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton. Overall, most patients do manage to work through their anxiety sufficiently to allow them to receive any necessary treatment, but there are those who need additional assistance.
The understanding and care of our Surbiton dental team can really help most patients with this, but for some, anxiety levels are so high that not even the most reassuring dentist will be able to enable them to relax enough to receive treatment.
First of all, we need to clear up a point as this can sometimes cause confusion. You may have heard the term ‘sleep dentistry’ and understood that this is similar to the old style ‘gas’ anaesthetic which put you to sleep completely during your treatment. This is not what it is, and indeed, that type of sedation can no longer be provided within a dental practice unless a fully qualified anaesthetist is present. Where a general anaesthetic is necessary, for example to extract teeth of very young children, you will need to have the procedure done at a hospital.
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Ignoring relatively minor symptoms can have long lasting consequences.
With work commitments and bringing up a family, life can be very busy indeed, and an additional trip to the Surbiton dentist can be seen by some as just one more inconvenience. Perhaps because of this, it is possible that some patients may wait until their next general check up before acknowledging that they have had a particular issue which crops up inconveniently.
At the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, one of the most common ‘complaints’ that people have, but don’t make an additional appointment for, is sore gums. Whilst most patients will seek an emergency appointment if they are in pain with a toothache, sore gums are seen by some as relatively minor and not very serious. This could be a serious mistake to make.
Gingivitis or periodontitis?
Although other causes of sore gums are possible, there is every chance that if you have been noticing this for some time, you may have gum disease. As we have noted before, this can be more serious than some people realise and can even result in tooth loss.
The first thing that our Surbiton team will do is to thoroughly examine your gums, inspecting them for gingivitis or periodontitis. With tooth loss a real possibility, it is essential that any gum disease should be treated as quickly as possible.
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A little self education about our teeth and gums can help to improve our oral care.
Most of us go through our daily lives following long standing routines; sometimes adjusting them because of advice we have read about diet or exercise. Some of us may even tried some of the dubious ‘natural teeth whitening’ treatments that turn up from time to time on the internet, only to find that they didn’t work (note: they can also be harmful!)
If we could spend just a little time, reading up instead, about the structure and nature of our teeth, it would likely help us to understand how oral health issues can arise, and help us to adjust our lifestyle and cleaning habits accordingly.
Of course, as the dentists at our Surbiton practice know only too well, this can be deeply involved, and it is possible to read thousands of pages about oral health. This is only necessary though, if you wish to pursue a career in dentistry. For the layman, some basic knowledge about the structure of our teeth can be enough to help us look after them better.
Today, we dedicate this Confidental Clinic blog to the structure of the tooth.
This is the hard external part of the tooth that most of us are familiar with. It is the protective part of the tooth that, if kept intact and healthy, prevents problems reaching other parts of the tooth, where more serious problems can arise. Although largely non porous, it is not a solid material but is made up from a number of ‘rods’, each of which have very minute gaps between them. If we look after the enamel, most of the problems that we mention below can be avoided.
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How we help our Surbiton patients change their smile for the better.
There are many reasons why patients might want to improve the way that their teeth look. For some, problems such as crooked teeth can cause social embarrassment to the extent that they restrict their social life and, perhaps, become less outgoing.
For others, it is simply an aesthetic issue, wanting to do all that they can to look as attractive as possible.
Whilst having healthy teeth should always be the priority; with the numerous cosmetic dental treatments available at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, there is no reason why you should not have both healthy AND attractive teeth.
There are a couple of treatments that we offer which can produce quick improvements to your smile and which are two of the most popular treatments of our Surbiton patients.
White fillings – The use of white fillings to replace darker amalgam ones is a straightforward way to improve the appearance of your teeth. The filling will be created in a shade to match your natural teeth.
Teeth whitening – This fast acting and popular procedure can make a real difference to your smile. Our custom home whitening kit is a great way to really brighten up your smile. Where teeth are heavily stained, we may consider the use of porcelain veneers as an alternative.
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Why this material is key to a successful dental implant placement.
For any reputable implant dentist, using a high quality dental implant is extremely important.
Although the cost of implants does make this particular tooth replacement method more expensive than for example, using dentures; the long term benefits are significant for patients of the Confidental Clinic.
Successfully placed implants will provide many years use of a strong artificial tooth, which can be used exactly as you would a healthy natural tooth and without the need for fiddly cleaning or concerns about their stability.
If there were a cheaper implant material available that worked, we would certainly look carefully at this. Unfortunately, at the moment, titanium is the only material that has been proven to reliably bond with the jawbone, providing the secure foundation to attach the final crown. This is one of the risks, as we have mentioned before, about opting for a cheap implant procedure abroad; corners may be cut by using inferior implants that are not made from titanium, which are likely to fail.
Ironically, for all the investment in dental science, this bonding of the bone and titanium was not discovered through deliberate research, but was the result of a ‘happy accident’ when a Swedish scientist in the 1950s tried to recover some titanium rods from a rabbit as part of a different experiment altogether. On attempting to retrieve the rods, he found that he couldn’t as the rabbits bones had bonded to the rods. From this accidental discovery, further research was carried out and it was found that titanium and the bone did, indeed, bond extremely well.
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