How To Look After Your Dentures

People with dentures

This widely used tooth replacement method benefits from diligent care.

It is widely acknowledged that, as people now generally live longer, there will be a higher proportion of older people in our society as time goes by.

As many of our older Surbiton patients will already be aware, the longer you live, the more likely you are to lose several of your teeth, and even perhaps, all of them.

This isn’t inevitable of course, and good home maintenance and professional care from a dentist at the Confidental Clinic will certainly give you a fighting chance of avoiding this.

Whilst some older patients do opt for dental implants to replace their missing teeth, and with good reason to do so, many patients still continue to choose to have dentures. There are a number of reasons for this, with one common one being that no invasive treatment is necessary. Another reason is initial cost.

Which dentures to use

There are a number of types of dentures now available, and we are able to provide most of these at our Surbiton practice. These are all high quality cosmetic dentures and we will discuss the various options with you during your appointment. The options range from the standard acrylic type to those, such as Valplast, that are designed to be flexible when being worn, typically offering a greater degree of comfort for the patient.

How to look after them

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Diastema – An Aesthetic Benefit Or A Dental Problem?

Dentist Sana Luqmani of Surbiton

Surbiton dentist Sana Luqmani explains more about gaps between the front teeth.

You may have noticed a slight trend for some catwalk models and celebrities to have a gap between their upper front teeth. To some people, this adds to the attractiveness, and it is a natural occurrence rather than a cosmetic adjustment. As far as we are aware, at the moment, nobody is offering to actually create this gap, but many of those who already have it seem to be quite happy with the way that it makes them look.

It is not for us to say whether a diastema adds to a person’s aesthetic qualities, but it is the role of our Confidental Clinic team to point out where instances such as this can have an effect on your oral health in general.

What is a diastema?

Whilst a diastema can be a gap between any teeth, the term is predominantly used when the gap occurs between the two upper front teeth. It can occur for a number of reasons, but some of these are genetic and connected to facial shape.

They can also occur, or become more prevalent, when poor oral health is a factor. Weakened bone structure caused by periodontal diseases may cause the gap to widen, perhaps to a point where even the most avid fan of this look would not be happy!

They can also develop early on in life, often exaggerated through thrusting our tongue against the teeth when we are young. Thumb sucking too can have the effect of pulling the front teeth forward a little, helping to create this gap.

Is it a problem?

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Is Vaping Better Than Smoking When It Comes To Oral Health?

Dentist Dr Jignesh Patel

Principal Dentist Dr Jignesh Patel looks at this increasingly popular habit.

Whether the smell of cigarette smoke or the sweet shop aroma given off by plumes of vapour from people who ‘vape’ is worse, is open to debate. There is no doubt though that more and more people are taking up this habit.

Whilst some may be doing this as their first ‘smoking’ habit, the majority probably come to it in order to replace the more traditional cigarette, often in the hope of avoiding the health issues associated with them.

By and large, the move from tobacco products to vaping is considered a positive thing as far as both general and oral health goes. There is plenty of evidence linking smoking tobacco products with a number of serious oral health issues, including periodontitis and mouth cancer. If vaping is the only way in which our Surbiton patients can manage to stop smoking, then vaping is probably a step in the right direction. As long term vaping effects are not yet fully understood though, we would encourage patients to try other ways to stop completely first.

Is vaping harmful?

As mentioned above, there may be long term health issues caused by vaping. Sometimes, the evidence only comes to light after many years. Traditional tobacco cigarettes were actually once promoted by some doctors as a means of relaxation and were once considered to be perfectly safe, but of course we now know the real truth!

Although we don’t yet know whether vaping is entirely safe or not, there seems to be little doubt that it will prove to be less harmful than cigarettes. There are, however, a number of oral health issues that patients of the Confidental Clinic may wish to consider before taking it it up, even as a substitute for traditional tobacco products.

Receding gums

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Your Checklist For Stronger Teeth In Later Life

Dr Minesh Patel of Confidental Surbiton

Surbiton dentist, Dr Minesh Patel provides some useful tips for older patients.

Ideally, almost from the word ‘go’, you will have avoided eating or drinking anything that damages your teeth, as well as diligently cleaning your teeth twice a day. In addition to this, you will never have missed a dental appointment at all. Does this apply to you? Likely not, and a large number of us have probably neglected our oral care at least to some degree at some stage.

Few of us are ‘saints’, and unless you are a rare exception, there may be some concerns about the condition of your teeth as you approach and pass middle age, and head towards the later years of your life.

This shouldn’t mean that all is lost though. With some useful advice that we offer below, and perhaps some occasional restorative work carried out at the Confidental Clinic Surbiton, there is no good reason why you shouldn’t have strong and healthy teeth later on in life.

Eating healthily

This doesn’t mean that you have to follow a restricted diet at all, but to eat a good selection of foods that are largely tooth friendly. Try to keep foods that are high in sugars and starches to a sensible level and make sure to consume mineral rich foods, such as dairy products, that will help to keep your tooth enamel strong and healthy.

Brush and floss

Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of good oral health care. Around 80% of us though, never, or rarely, use dental floss. This can be a little tricky to get the hang of, but will pay dividends when you have mastered it. Flossing removes plaque and food pieces from between the teeth and just under the gum line. It is a practise that is worth persevering with. Our dental hygienist is always happy to show you how to do this during a consultation, so don’t be afraid to ask! This is a great simple addition that will help to prevent both decay and gum disease.

The dentist is your friend

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Save Your Smile!

Inman Aligner Smiling Couple

A natural looking smile is worth saving. Our Surbiton dentists offer some tips that can help.

In the USA, April is ‘Save Your Smile’ month. Whilst this doesn’t exist in the UK, we thought that it was a good idea anyway, and that we would share some advice based on that, with patients of the Confidental Clinic.

Much of the American campaign seems to revolve around wearing protective headgear when playing American football but we believe that the campaign should extend beyond that!

Face and mouth protection

Given the focus of the USA campaign, we probably shouldn’t ignore the real risks to our teeth when we take part in certain sports. Some, such as boxing or rugby, involve significant risk to the teeth and it makes common sense to wear a mouthguard during these activities. Most sports will contain an element of risk though, and whilst there may be less contact, there is still a real possibility of being hit in the mouth by a stray cricket, football or even hockey ball. Patients who take part in these, and similar, activities, may wish to consider some form of mouth protection too.

Maintaining healthy teeth

Some of us may require cosmetic dentistry to help us get to a stage where we are happy with our smile, whilst others may be born lucky and have a naturally attractive smile. Whichever is the case, once this has been attained, it doesn’t mean it will always remain that way, and we need to be conscious that if we don’t look after our teeth, what was once an attractive smile may eventually be anything but.

The most obvious thing to say here is that all patients need to maintain good oral care, both at home and with the assistance of our Surbiton family dentists. Consistent brushing and flossing should be an essential component of this, as should regular appointments, approximately every six months, with the hygienist.

When things go wrong

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The Lowdown On Charcoal Toothpaste

Our Surbiton dental team recommends taking care if you are considering this product.

If you look in the dental section of a supermarket, you may well be overwhelmed by the different types of toothpaste and flossing equipment currently on sale. Contrast this with how it would have been when our parents were the same age as us, and it is perhaps not surprising that choosing the best toothpaste for you can be somewhat confusing.

Add to this, the money that is spent on promoting some of the more ‘niche’ toothpastes, along with the endorsements by celebrities, and it is quite possible that we may end up buying a product that is not particularly effective, and may well even be harmful to our teeth.

Charcoal toothpaste

We have discussed before, about why we believe that teeth whitening toothpastes are not very effective. In the main, this is due to legal restrictions on the active ingredient that is allowed in these toothpastes. There is another type of toothpaste though, which often doesn’t contain this, but is still claimed to be successful in whitening your teeth, and that is charcoal toothpaste. In addition to its whitening properties, it is also claimed that it can reduce gum problems through effective removal of bacteria from the gum line.

Let us take a look at these two claims now.

Bacterial removal

It is true that charcoal is widely used to treat some stomach conditions and also, in treating certain drug overdoses. Charcoal is well known for absorbing toxins, which is why it can be effective in the cases just mentioned. It is this basis that the claim to remove bacteria from the gums is based upon.  At the Confidental Clinic, we can understand the logic of this argument but must emphasise that little or no detailed research has yet been done regarding this, and therefore these claims are just that, with no real factual evidence to currently back them up.

Teeth whitening

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Sugar – The Tasty Toxin?

Hygienist in Surbiton

Can we really kick our sugar habit, for better general and oral health?

The vast majority of us will eat sugar on a daily basis, most of us probably in larger quantities than is good for us. Even if we don’t add spoonfuls of sugar to our tea, coffee or morning cereal, sugar is everywhere, hidden in ready made products and often ‘disguised’ using names such as fructose and sucrose.

In today’s Confidental Clinic Surbiton blog, we take a look at how and why we consume too much sugar, the damage that it does to our teeth and overall health, and finally, some advice on how to kick the sugar habit.

Why do we eat too much sugar?

Sugary foods are almost always a popular choice with young children. For some, this taste carries on into our adult years, even if we don’t eat quite as much of it as we thought we might do, once we had the freedom to. It may be that some of its appeal is simply holding on to childhood memories, but it is also true that sugar is ‘hidden’ in many foods and drinks; even savoury ones in many cases, leading to us consuming it ‘accidentally’ in many instances.

The coffees that we buy from coffee shops can be very high in sugar too, sometimes exceeding NHS guidelines for daily consumption in just one drink. ‘Sports’ and high energy drinks are also high in sugar and seem to be gaining in popularity these days.

The reality is that sugar, to most of us, tastes great, so why is there a problem?

Our health

The rise in consumption of sugar has contributed, along with high fat foods, to an obesity epidemic. Over time, this is likely to lead to an increase in illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems, and, despite medical advances, it is quite possible that life expectancy will fall in the years to come unless this issue is addressed. As dentists, we see many of our Surbiton patients that need fillings or extractions due to an over consumption of sugar. Although a good cleaning and flossing regimen will help to minimise this, if you eat too much sugar, you will almost certainly eventually need dental treatment.

How to kick the sugar habit

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How To Avoid A Painful Dry Socket Following An Extraction


Tooth extraction aftercare advice from your Surbiton dentist.

Thanks to modern dentistry, there are now a wide range of treatments available that can be used to restore a damaged or decayed tooth, and ultimately, enable the patient to keep the natural tooth for many years to come. Sometimes though, this is not possible, or if it were, the prognosis is so poor that it is simply better to remove the tooth altogether.

Most of us will have teeth extracted with no problems. Occasionally though, a dry socket can follow the procedure. When it does, it can be quite painful and you will need to see the dentist. In today’s blog, we take a look at how and why you should try to avoid a painful dry socket.

Immediately following extraction

When a tooth is extracted, as you would expect, the area from which it has been removed starts to bleed, sometimes quite markedly. To simply leave it to bleed until it heals itself would be fairly unpleasant (and messy) for the patient, and so we take action to stop this flow as soon as the tooth has been taken out. Whilst, in a few more complex cases such as some wisdom teeth extractions, stitches may be required, this usually isn’t the case with relatively straightforward extractions and a gentler method is used to stem the blood flow. To do this, we place a piece of sterile gauze on the area. This is then kept in place for just a few minutes to allow a blood clot to form. It is this which starts the healing process of that area.

When we are happy that a clot has formed, you will be free to leave our Surbiton dental surgery. Just in case the clot does becomes dislodged, we will also provide some spare gauze for you  to repeat the process. If this problem continues though; whilst you can also use a clean handkerchief for this purpose, you should contact the Confidental Clinic to let us know and potentially allow us to take a look to make sure that there isn’t an underlying problem.

Why do blood clots become dislodged?

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How Bulimia Can Affect Your Oral Health

Confidental Clinic Outside

With eating disorders remaining a problem for many, we look at the impact that this illness can have on your teeth.

There is some debate as to whether social media is at least partially responsible for eating disorders, with teenagers especially, likely to compare the way they look with others.

There may also be groups online who actively promote problems like bulimia as a ‘healthy way of life’. Sadly, this is a battle that is likely to run for some time, but any family who has someone suffering from this will know how tragic the illness can be.

With Eating Disorders Awareness Week being from 25th February to the 3rd of March, we thought that now would be a good time to take a look at the potential oral health risks that this illness can cause.

What is bulimia?

It is worth reminding readers that bulimia is an illness that affects many people, although younger girls are one of the most severely affected groups. Often seeing themselves as overweight, even where they are quite the opposite, causes them to ‘binge eat’ before deliberately vomiting. As this often happens soon after eating, the body is unable to obtain the nutrition needed for good health. Long term bulimia can lead to serious general health issues and can even be fatal if not treated.

How does it affect your teeth?

Whilst the most important thing for any bulimia sufferer is to get help to overcome the illness, this can be a long road, and some of the problems that it creates happens over a period of time. This is also the case when it comes to the teeth of a bulimia sufferer.

There are two key ways in which this illness can affect the health of a patient’s teeth and gums.

Lack of nutrition

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Chipped Tooth Treatments

dental surgery

Even the smallest chip in a tooth should be examined by your dentist.

One of the most common types of damage caused to a tooth, other than  tooth decay, is a chipped tooth.

This can happen in a number of ways; from biting something harder than expected, grinding your teeth or even due to a fall or an accident. Sometimes, the chip may be quite large, but others may be quite small and seem almost irrelevant. Whatever the size though, you should always make an appointment to allow one of our Surbiton dental team to take a look at it.

Even a small chip in a tooth can have an effect on the health of your tooth, and mouth. Here are some possible solutions to correct it.

Leave the chip?

Sometimes, it may be better to do nothing when the chip is very tiny indeed. This is not a decision that the patient should take though, without consulting a dentist first. Even the smallest chip can cause problems by cutting or grazing the cheeks and tongue. Not only can this be sore, but may also lead to infections too. If the chip is causing no other problems, but has a sharp edge that causes this, your dentist may simply smooth off the sharp edge for you.

Composite bonding

If the chip in the enamel has not caused the underlying dentin layer to become exposed, an alternative to smoothing off any sharp edges, would be to use cosmetic bonding. This is a resin based material that can be shaped and used to restore the appearance of a chipped tooth, smoothing off any rough edges in the process. It is not as strong as enamel though and its use may be dependent on the strain that particular tooth edge may be subject to within the mouth.

White dental fillings

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