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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Cosmetic and NHS braces to straighten your teenage children’s teeth.
Having crowded teeth is a relatively common problem amongst teenagers, and many may need the help of orthodontic treatment to correct it.
Before any braces are fitted, it is important for our Surbiton dentists to thoroughly examine your children’s teeth, not only to determine if they require braces, but also to ensure that their facial features are sufficiently developed to justify them at this stage.
NHS braces for children are available for under 18’s that qualify for funding under current NHS requirements. There are criteria known as ‘orthodontic treatment need’ which determines whether the child is eligible for NHS braces. Unfortunately, as NHS funding is limited, those deemed not to have teeth that meet the requirements are unable to have orthodontics funded by the NHS. It should also be said that modern NHS braces, whilst certainly not offering the discretion of many cosmetic braces, are more refined than in the past and do a very good job at straightening teeth.
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Awareness and action are key to minimising the risks.
You may have noticed recently, quite a large number of articles in the media about oral cancer. It is quite possible though, that unless you read our Surbiton dental blogs regularly, you may have never even heard of this form of cancer before.
Unfortunately, oral cancers are on the increase and are forecast to rise even further, with men currently thought to be twice as likely as women to suffer from this. It is expected that around ten thousand people will die of it this year.
Should you be worried? We would say that there should be no major concern providing that you follow some straightforward advice. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee against all possibility of having oral cancer, but it will significantly reduce the risks.
Good oral care
It all starts with good oral health care, both in the way that you maintain your teeth and gums, but also in how we treat our health. Below, we list a few things that you should do to make sure that you are at minimal risk of this potentially fatal disease.
Smoking is by far the biggest cause of this type of cancer, and stopping smoking, will greatly reduce the risks. With the price of cigarettes and the anti social aspect of it now widely accepted, this is a good time to finally break the habit.
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Some festive ideas for maintaining teeth and gum health over Christmas.
As we start to wind down for the Christmas holidays, it is worth taking a few moments to consider how we can ensure that we don’t have a problem with our teeth whilst dental practices are closed.
Whilst emergency dental care will be available, it can be more stressful if you need to have treatment from an unfamiliar dentist, however good they might be.
At the Confidental Clinic, we have given this some thought, and here are some of our top tips for avoiding the dentist this Christmas.
Don’t skip the teeth cleaning – However tired you feel, or however much you have overindulged on the wine, you should always make an effort to brush your teeth, and preferably, floss too. Given the sugary food excesses at this time of the year, your teeth may well suffer if you don’t.
Avoid accidents – Although we can’t always avoid accidents, the fact is that many of them happen because of circumstances that we create. Two of the most common causes of broken teeth (and worse) at this time of the year are caused either by opening bottles with the teeth, or using them to crack open nuts. This is what bottle openers and nutcrackers were invented for!
Moderate alcohol intake – Alcohol is likely to increase the risk of falls and other mishaps. It is also a leading cause of dry mouth syndrome; something which, in turn, increases the likelihood of gum infections. Try to drink in moderation, and drink plenty of water throughout the day to reduce its effect and help you to stay well hydrated.
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Teeth grinding is a difficult habit to break, but when you have, our Surbiton dentists can help.
It is quite possible that you grind your teeth without really being aware that you do so.
The majority of people suffering from bruxism generally grind their teeth whilst they are asleep and for various reasons including this, it can be a very hard habit to break.
It is widely thought that bruxism results from stress, and certainly, many people do find today’s world to be a stressful place to be, whether that is in the home or in the work environment.
Of course, stress can also play a significant role in heart and other problems too, so, if you are suffering from stress, you should see your GP.
How we can help
Although we are unable to help with stress, aside from obvious suggestions such as relaxation exercises etc, we can certainly help to restore any damage that has occurred to your teeth when you grind them together. Damage can range from relatively minor wearing of the enamel, through to badly broken teeth, depending on the general condition of your teeth and how hard you grind.
There are a number of possible treatments available at our disposal, and the most appropriate of these can be decided following a consultation with the dentist at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton. Briefly, these are some of the most likely treatments for the various levels of damage you might suffer through teeth grinding:
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Our Surbiton dentists discuss vaping, the most popular alternative to smoking.
If you are planning to include stopping smoking on your new year resolution list, then we are delighted for you. Not only will this mean that you are less likely to suffer from heart related problems and lung cancer, but your oral health will benefit too.
As we have previously mentioned, smoking not only increases the likelihood of gum disease, but potentially that of oral cancers too.
There are many ways that people do manage to stop smoking, including patches, gum, and of course, will power, but there is little doubt that one of the most popular methods has been the switch to vaping, or e-cigarettes.
Vaping is probably the most popular option as a cigarette substitute, as it replicates the actions, both with the hand and the mouth, of smoking a cigarette. This helps to make the transition seamless for a lot of people.
As vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, little is currently known about the long term effects on health, and studies are being carried out to find out about this. Whilst it is not in the remit of our Surbiton dentists to decide whether this is a safe option or not, the general consensus is that it is very possibly safer than tobacco based products. However, we cannot and would not endorse its use.
Vaping – effects on oral health
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It is possible to eat without any teeth, but is this a good idea?
Although perhaps much rarer these days, it wasn’t unusual, in the past, to see an older person eating an apple simply by using their gums. It probably wasn’t a pretty sight, but it seemed to work for them, so why should we not do this now?
If you have lost your teeth or are due to have them extracted because of their poor condition, this might be one of the options that crossed your mind, especially if you are concerned about having dental implants, or do not wish to wear dentures.
Jaw and gum problems
One of the more immediate consequences of eating without teeth is that it puts additional strain both on the gums and on your jaw when breaking down the food into small enough pieces to swallow. Whilst this might not be too damaging if done once or twice; if you are doing so on a daily basis, you should certainly expect some problems in the near future.
Your gums will almost certainly become sore and inflamed. This will make it even more difficult to eat, and your mealtimes will be something that you perhaps dread, rather than enjoy. Your jawbone too will have a lot of additional force placed upon it, and, over time, you may have problems with the jaw including pain, clicking, or even a stress fracture.
You could, of course switch to a liquid diet, but this would not be very enjoyable after a while and you could also end up lacking in nutrition.
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Dermal fillers complementing a teeth whitening procedure.
There are many aspects of our bodies that change as we get older, usually for the worse! With regards to our facial features, our skin becomes wrinkled and our teeth often darken simply because of our age.
Because of this, a number of our Surbiton patients have wrinkle reducing treatments and a teeth whitening procedure to help make them look younger again. Even with these treatments though, there is still scope to improve your smile even further.
Once you have had your teeth whitened by the cosmetic dentists at the Confidental Clinic, it is almost certain that a lot of people will notice your new whiter teeth. As their attention is drawn to your new improved smile, they are also likely to notice your lips that may have thinned over time.
As we grow older, the amount of collagen in the facial area is reduced which leads to less elasticity and can also cause certain features to change. Our cheeks may appear more sunken, and the lips start to thin, for example.
Fortunately, through the use of dermal fillers, the appearance of thinning lips can be reversed. This is a straightforward procedure which is performed in a similar manner to that of Botox treatment.
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