A Seasonal Dental Quiz

A little fun for Confidental Clinic patients to see how good your memory is!

In June 2015, we published the very first dental blog on our website. Since then, hopefully, we have provided our local Surbiton patients with a wide range of information, helping them to become more aware of dental issues and how to prevent them.

In the spirit and tradition of the end of year quiz, we thought we would see if our patients could remember some key facts that have been mentioned several times whilst writing these blogs.

Questions follow, with answers towards the bottom of the page. How well will you do?

  1. Name 2 types of gum disease
  2. How often should you change your toothbrush?
  3. What is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK?
  4. Are you actually asleep during dental sedation?
  5. Name the two available options if you have an infection in the root canals of your teeth
  6. How often should you see a dentist for a check up?
  7. Why do we examine your cheeks and tongue during your checkups?
  8. Can dentists diagnose mouth cancer?
  9. Should you brush your teeth immediately after eating?
  10. What are sometimes described as ‘false fingernails for the teeth’?
  11. What is ‘bruxism’?
  12. (Well, there are 12 days of Christmas!) Name the process where the bone and titanium implant fuse, following a dental implant placement?

We hope that you enjoyed our little quiz and that it acted as a refresher in your quest for the best oral health possible. We are always happy to cover any topic that you are interested in, within the dental realm, and you can contact us via our website if you have any questions you would like us to cover in our dental blog.

There will probably be one more blog before our Christmas break, but allow us to wish all of our patients a Merry Christmas from all the team at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton.

(Please note that we will be closed during public holidays. If you do have a dental emergency during this time, please contact us in the usual way on 020 8399 1291 where further information about emergency dental care will be available).


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Nail Biting And Other Bad Habits

Confidental in Surbiton

Keeping an eye on those habits that can be harmful to our teeth.

In a number of Confidental Clinic blogs, we have mentioned the oral health issues associated with habits such as smoking; habits which generally have potentially serious consequences. There are though, many other habits which may not cause the same degree of harm as smoking, but can still cause damage to our teeth, nonetheless.

The level of risk is variable but here is a quick summary so our local Surbiton patients have a degree of awareness of the damage they may be causing to their teeth and overall oral health.

Nail biting

We have written previously about the small risk to dental veneers when you bite your nails and other hard objects. This action can, on rare occasions, cause veneers to become detached. Even if you don’t wear veneers though, this action could still cause chips to appear in your teeth. It is not the nail itself which causes the damage, but when your teeth slip off the nail, coming into sharp contact with your other teeth. Although any damage is likely to be minor, even small chips in the teeth can become larger and potentially allow bacteria to enter the tooth, leading to decay.

Thumb sucking

Although a few adults may still do this, this habit is largely confined to younger children, often as a way to soothe themselves. Although this is entirely natural, care should be taken to minimise the amount of time that they do this. Sucking their thumb can cause the top front teeth to start to protrude and may need to be corrected with orthodontics as they grow older.

Opening bottles and even crisp packets

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Fed Up With Loose & Uncomfortable Dentures?

Dentist Dr Jignesh Patel

Dentist, Jignesh Patel explains how unstable dentures can be a thing of the past.

Dentures have long been the ‘go to’ solution for replacing missing teeth. They have also long been the butt of many a joke of the type often seen on older style holiday postcards.

Whilst most denture wearers have hopefully avoided them shooting across the room when they sneeze, their stability certainly can be an issue.

As well as the potential embarrassment if they become loose at an inappropriate time, there are a number of other issues associated with loose fitting dentures. These include:

  1. Difficulty in eating certain foods, sometimes leading to the wearer eating a more limited diet.
  2. Digestive problems caused by the inability to chew our food well enough to start the digestive process correctly
  3. Sore and irritated gums, caused by the friction between dentures and gums
  4. Potentially affect speech, sometimes to the degree that it can have an effect on the wearer’s confidence

Of course, these may not apply to all dentures wearers, with many patients of our Surbiton dental practice being perfectly happy with theirs. Some though, may experience one or more of these problems, especially after they have been wearing their dentures for some time, with their facial shape changing due to the bone loss associated with missing teeth. No matter how well your dentures have been made and fitted, changes in their fit over time can lead to problems.

Bone loss?

When a tooth has been lost, the bone that previously held it in position no longer has that role to fulfill. The body being an efficient user of available resources, will then reabsorb the bone material for use in another area of the body.  Although there is no actual physical need for the bone to be retained in the jaw, losing it can have a negative aesthetic effect, especially if a number of teeth are missing. It can also cause subtle changes to the jawbone, meaning that your once well-fitting dentures may no longer be as secure. Denture adhesive may help with this, but it can be messy and is not really a long term solution.

Resolving the problem of unstable dentures

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How Our Teeth Change Colour Throughout Our Life

Older couple smiling

Some tooth discolouration is preventable, but age still plays a part in the way that our teeth look.

One of the most common concerns we hear expressed by patients at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, is that their teeth no longer look white like they used to when they were younger.

It is probably no coincidence then, that the teeth whitening procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments currently available. There are many different causes for darker coloured teeth, some of which are in the patient’s control, whilst others are not.

In today’s blog, we take a look at the colour of our teeth throughout our lives and also how we can keep them as white as possible, for as long as possible.

Babies and very young children

This is an age where first teeth come through, followed by secondary teeth. Whilst it is very important to keep young teeth healthy at this stage of life, the colour should be of little concern. Providing that parents help them to brush their teeth and make sure that they eat a reasonably healthy diet, most children will have white teeth at this age; albeit it should be noted that genetics do play a part.

Early teens

During this period, hopefully no significant discolouration will occur; but that said, our teeth can very quickly come under attack from the foods we eat and our lifestyle choices. Lack of care when brushing, and a diet high in acids, perhaps including too many sugary drinks, can cause the enamel on our teeth to erode, leaving a rougher surface. The small pits and cracks created by this are likely to trap food staining materials, and discoloured teeth may be just around the corner.

Late teens/early adult

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Stoptober – How Are You Doing So Far?

Confidental Clinic Outside

Just 4 days in, we look at why you should keep going with your quit smoking campaign.

Stoptober is a yearly initiative by Public Health England, to encourage people to stop smoking, or at the very least, to significantly cut down the amount of cigarettes that they smoke.

During this month, you are likely to see more anti smoking promotions in the media, and an increased awareness of where to access help and information for those who want to quit.

Like many things that we are determined to do, we often start out with an unbridled enthusiasm, only to find that reality hits us as we get a few days into it. The addictive nature of nicotine means that many people who try to stop smoking, will find it difficult to stop after the initial enthusiasm has waned. Our advice is not to let your addiction beat you! Remember, millions of people have already succeeded in giving up, and there is no reason why you should not be successful in doing so too.

Why stop smoking?

We can probably keep this section short as most of the health issues associated with smoking are fairly well known. From a dentist’s view point though, some patients may still not be aware of the link between smoking and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. These, in turn, have been linked with other medical issues such as heart disease and an increased risk of a stroke.

One of the most serious oral health issues that is strongly linked to smoking is mouth cancer. This can be very serious and can even prove to be fatal, especially if it remains undetected for too long. We check for signs of this during your regular check ups at our Surbiton practice, so please make sure that you have one at least every six months.

From a purely cosmetic viewpoint, smoking will also stain your teeth, often quite badly.

Anti smoking resources

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What Happens To Your Teeth When You Become Ill?

sensitive teeth

With Winter now on the horizon, dentist Reena Jasani looks what happens to our teeth when viruses strike.

It probably seems a bit premature to talk about winter, with the nice hot summer not so far behind us. It won’t be too long though before we are all donning our hats and coats before going outside.

Although the colder weather does have its fans, it is also usually the start of a season of sniffles and sneezes and reaching for the honey and lemon. Colds and flus can make us feel terrible, but our teeth can also suffer when we become ill. Dr Jasani takes a look at the potential problems in our blog:


When we are laid on the sofa with our box of tissues and favourite box set on the TV, it may seem too much effort to get up to have a drink. However, staying well hydrated is helpful for our teeth and gums and drinking water especially, will not only help to remove food debris from between our teeth, but also keep our mouths moist and help to reduce the spread of potentially gum disease causing bacteria. Some of the medications that we take for colds and flus may also dehydrate us, so do try to drink more water at this time.

Comfort foods and drinks

The idea of eating a healthy salad will almost certainly not occur to us when we are ill. On the menu are often foods that offer comfort, but potentially little nutritional value. High sugar drinks, cakes and packets of biscuits may well be not too far out of our reach, but try to keep this to a minimum to avoid an overload of sugar which is obviously harmful to your teeth.


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Extracting A Tooth – When And How We Do It

Dr Minesh Patel of Confidental Surbiton

Dentist, Dr Minesh Patel, explains the reasons and methods for this common procedure

With modern dental methods and an increasing range of procedures at our disposal, any dentist will, quite naturally, want to preserve a natural tooth wherever this is possible. Even where a tooth has become badly decayed or broken, there are other options besides the common filling we can employ. Crowns, inlays, onlays and other methods can all be used to restore a tooth, depending on the type of work required.

Sometimes though, it simply may not be possible to save a tooth, or the prognosis for a damaged or infected one may be so poor that extracting it is the most sensible option available. When an extraction is needed, you can be sure that you will be in very capable hands at the Confidental Clinic here in Surbiton.

No gas?

Older patients who haven’t had any teeth removed for many years are sometimes surprised to hear that we no longer administer ‘knockout’ gas, as it was often known. It has been illegal for dentists to administer this since January 2002 (1) , and anyone who has medical needs that require this, will have to have their teeth removed in hospital, where a qualified anaesthetist is present. A good example of this is where a young child needs a tooth extraction. Whilst adults may be expected to work with the dentist using a local anaesthetic, a small child would be unable to do this and may present some danger to themselves during the treatment.

Instead of using nitrous oxide, modern dental practices use a very powerful local anaesthetic which works to prevent the patient from feeling any significant discomfort. This may appear to be little consolation to patients who are very nervous about invasive treatments; so to help them, we are pleased to provide IV sedation. This does not put the patient to sleep, but will leave them in a deeply relaxed state and able to undergo treatment without the stress.

We will also make sure that we are up to date with your current medical information. It is important that you do tell us any changes in medication as some of these may impact upon the treatment.

Removal of a damaged or decaying tooth

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Are You In A High Risk Group For Gum Disease?

Janice Andrews, our dental hygienist asks if patients are aware of their own risk of gum problems.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are a risk to all of us. There are always “bad” bacteria present in our mouth which can lead to gum problems if we do not keep them under control. A combination of eating the wrong diet, along with failing to keep our teeth and gums clean, makes it highly likely that we will start to notice some of the symptoms of gum disease, including sore or bleeding gums.

Whilst this applies to all of us, there are certain groups for whom gum disease might be a particular problem.


It is a well known fact that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of gingivitis and periodontitis than those who are not. People with poor blood sugar control are likely to suffer from this problem more regularly, and sometimes more severely too. There is also some current thinking that having gum disease may also increase the risks of having diabetes.

To help to counteract this, it is important to make sure that you take care to keep your mouth in the best condition possible. Whilst we recommend that all patients have a scale and polish at our Surbiton practice at least twice a year, this is especially important for diabetics, and we usually recommend that these are carried out more frequently to help to combat this potential problem.


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Looking For The Latest Dental Braces?

Our specialist orthodontist, Dr Cleopatra Darwish, offers some advice.

For many people, the idea of wearing dental braces is likely to evoke memories of the metal braces that they were familiar with in their childhood. The good news for those who need them, is that the latest teeth braces, or orthodontics, to give them their correct title, are now more advanced and are both more discreet and comfortable to wear.

Looking for the ‘best braces’ is not a straightforward issue. Most UK dental practices will provide you with good quality orthodontics and the real question is which of these is the most suitable for your own situation.

It starts with a consultation

When patients come to the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton because they are unhappy with their crooked teeth, the first thing we will do is to discuss this with them and see what they would like to achieve. We will then look at the various types of orthodontics which might help them to have straighter teeth. Some systems, such as the Inman Aligner, are designed for smaller corrections on the visible front teeth, whilst other systems like Invisalign can be used where more extensive correction is needed.

Once your treatment has been chosen, you will need to undergo a thorough general examination so that we can treat any outstanding issues, such as gum disease or decay, before we move onto fitting your dental braces.

Comfort is an important factor

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Dispelling The Myths About Anti-Wrinkle Injections

Why this popular facial aesthetics treatment is both safe and effective.

For a while now, we have been seeing an increasing number of patients come to the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton to receive facial aesthetics treatment. This perhaps, in spite of some of the ‘procedures that go wrong’ kind of TV programmes and magazine articles that seem to be popular these days. Whilst sensationalism is a great way to sell programmes, it rarely reflects the realities involved!

We should just say that, yes, some facial aesthetic procedures have gone wrong, sometimes producing significant unwanted facial changes. However, providing that you use a reputable practitioner, such as the members of our Surbiton facial aesthetics team, you should have nothing to worry about at all.

At our practice, we use Azzalure in our anti wrinkle treatments. The active ingredient in this is Botulinum A, commonly known as Botox. It is this ingredient that has received most of the negative publicity over the years, but in today’s blog, we look at the truth surrounding some of the scare stories about it.

It’s dangerous

It is true that Botox is a ‘toxin’, and, if used in excessive doses, could potentially be dangerous. However, the quantities used during anti wrinkle treatments are very small and should present no danger to our patients. Our team are fully trained and highly experienced, adding an extra layers of safety to this treatment. We will always discuss your general health and check to make sure that there are no circumstances why Botox would not be suitable at that time.

The effects of facial aesthetics can be extreme

Again, if used incorrectly, this is true, with the ‘trout pout’ being one of the most well known problems for patients seeking to have thinning lips plumped up, in this case using collagen fillers. It is probably notable that it seems to be celebrities who suffer from this, quite possibly due to requesting a more exaggerated outcome. Our team will offer full advice about the expected outcome of your treatment and reserve the right to refuse any treatment that we feel may be unsafe or result in too extreme an outcome.

The Botox stare

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