Amalgam/silver coloured fillings are becoming less and less popular in the UK, Our experience is that patients are becoming more concerned about the biocompatibility of the mercury in the fillings as well as the cosmetic appearance of them. So what alternatives are there?
Our Watford dentist takes a brief look at the different types of fillings and discusses your alternatives.
What are the different types of dental filling?
Fillings fall into two categories:
- Tooth coloured
- non-tooth coloured
Non-tooth coloured fillings
There are two types of non-tooth coloured filling:
Both of these types of fillings are not used anywhere near as much in the UK as they used to be, gold is used less now because of its cost and appearance, whilst some people like the gold colour, many people prefer something more cosmetic and less obvious.
Amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury, copper, tin and other trace metals.
Tooth coloured fillings
There are two types of tooth coloured filling:
Tooth coloured composite fillings
These tooth coloured fillings are made directly in your mouth by the dentist. The procedure is for the dentist to remove any decayed tooth structure, the clean cavity wall then be prepared with the bonding agent. Composite resin is a tooth coloured putty like material which the dentist applies to the cavity. Once the resin has been sculpted to the correct shape to match with the surrounding tooth structure it is then set hard with a high-powered light.
Tooth coloured composite fillings can also be used in the front teeth, not only to fill them after decay but to provide a better shaped tooth.
Tooth coloured composite fillings typically take about 45 minutes to do and can usually be completed in a single appointment.
Tooth coloured ceramic fillings-inlays
Ceramic fillings are more commonly called inlays. The porcelain/ceramic inlay procedure Is for the dentist to remove the decayed tooth structure, once all of the decay has been removed the cavity will be cleaned out and an impression taken.
You will then be fitted with a temporary filling.
The impression of the tooth, which will include surrounding teeth and opposing teeth will then be sent to a dental laboratory. A dental technician will then manufacture the ceramic inlay to exactly match the colour and morphology of the surrounding tooth.
Between 1& 2 weeks later the dental laboratory will return the inlay to the dentist.
The dentist will remove the temporary filling and ensure that the new ceramic inlay fits perfectly. Once you are happy that the ceramic inlay feels and looks good the dentist will permanently bond it in using a light cured composite resin.
Ceramic inlays typically take 2 weeks from start to finish and will always require 2 appointments.
What is the difference between porcelain and ceramic?
Porcelain and ceramic in the context of dentistry are exactly the same thing and are two terms to describe the same material.
Should I have amalgam fillings removed?
We generally recommend leaving amalgam fillings if there is nothing wrong with them clinically. Most dentists prefer to go for the most minimally invasive treatment and leaving things alone is generally the best option. Amalgam fillings are usually removed if:
- The filling is leaking. This can lead to decay underneath the filling.
- The filling has broken.
- The surrounding tooth structure has broken.
Amalgam fillings can also be removed for cosmetic reasons.
What about exposure to mercury?
Exposure to mercury with an amalgam filling is highest whilst they are being placed or removed. This is one of the main reasons why your dentist will probably suggest that amalgam fillings should be left alone unless there are underlying clinical reasons for removal.
As you can see, the primary decision is around whether you have a tooth coloured filling or a non-tooth coloured filling. Our dental practice in Watford always prefers to place tooth coloured fillings wherever possible, these are far more cosmetic and work just as well as the non-tooth coloured alternatives.
It is estimated that approximately 75% of the population are scared of the dentist and have some degree of dental anxiety with approximately 10% of the population of avoiding seeing a dentist because of that anxiety. The problem becomes self compounding, the more one does not go to the dentist for fear of what will happen the more likely it is that more work will need to be done when one does eventually go.
It really is important to see a dental professional on a regular basis to ensure that dental work is kept to a minimum, which everybody wants.
We have written this blog post to help you if you are scared of the dentist or have some level of anxiety, we hope you find what follows useful.
Definition of anxiety
Why are people scared of the dentist?
Anxiety is defined as: ” a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”, According to this definition it can be clearly seen how an anxiety of the dentist can come about, you may be worried about what will happen what the outcome will be.
This anxiety can manifest in a few ways and may include some of the following:
- Dry mouth.
- A feeling of nausea.
- An inability to stay calm and still.
- Feelings of fearfulness and and ease.
- A racing heart.
- Shortness of breath.
Anxiety about going to the dentist is often concerned with what will happen when you are there, this is a specific anxiety about the uncertain outcome at the dentist and should not be confused with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) where one feels anxious about almost everything for no real apparent reason.
Definition of phobia
A phobia is defined as: ” an overwhelming and debilitating fear of a place, situation or feeling”. The emphasis on phobia is the fact that it is debilitating, a phobia will prevent someone from doing that thing completely. A phobia can also be described as: “…an irrational fear”. It is quite rational to be anxious about any uncertain outcome at the dentist but if that anxiety becomes overwhelming it can then become debilitating and become irrational. This is when an anxiety becomes a phobia.
Scared of the dentist but need to go?
Here are some suggestions on what you can do.
When you first start thinking you need to come to the dentist, or that you need some form of treatment it can often seem like a huge mountain to climb. But we want to assure you that the journey of 1000 steps always starts with a first step. And it’s just like the joke:
“How do you eat an elephant?”
Answer… one bite at a time.
Overcoming dental fear is the same… overcome it one small step or bite at a time, take things slowly and easily and in simple small steps.
We often find that overcoming dental fear is about realising that you have a choice.
Think about it now, you weren’t born with a fear of the dentist, babies are a blank canvass and have no such irrational fears. However, as we get older we have certain experiences that shape our views, so think about it now… what experience led you to believe you were afraid of the dentist?
When you come to see us we will ask you what was the trigger that taught you this behaviour, this will then help us to help you overcome this irrational fear.
The problem is that we have these experiences once and they then shape our thought patterns by teaching us new behaviours i.e. to fear the dentist, this is a key point to understand, your fear is a learnt behaviour – and if it can be learnt, a new way of thinking can also be learnt.
Top Tips for relaxing at the dentist
- Book an appointment in the morning, this will ensure you can relax for the rest of the day as your appointment will be over.
- For regular appointments, make sure you have a good breakfast. This will set you up for the day and ensure your energy levels remain high.
- Lay off the alcohol! Not only does it dehydrate you but it can also make you worry.
- Bring a friend. Decide before hand on what you are going to talk about, make it subjects that relax you and keep you calm. Perhaps discuss a recent holiday, or where you are going next time.
- Talk openly to us. We will NOT judge you or tell you off for not coming to see us… honestly
- Agree a stop signal with us, this will ensure that YOU are in control
Specific dental anxieties
Scared of the dentist drill
The key to overcoming fear of the dentist drill is to learn the art of distraction. All dental treatments should be undertaken with adequate anaesthetic meaning you should only feel light pressure and vibration. Anxiety about the dentist drill comes from an association which has been created between the drill and pain.
Wearing headphones and listening to your favourite music can help drown out the sound of the drill. A couple of words of warning though:
- Wear headphones that don’t popout easily so that your dentist can work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Choose music which has a faster beat with fewer gaps between the tracks.
- If possible don’t wear headphones at all, most dentists will prefer to have an open channel of communication to you to offer help and advice. Your dentist can’t do this if you can’t hear them.
Scared of dentist pictures
Some people find they are scared of the pictures around dental practices or scared of the photographs they may see in books at the dentist. The easiest way to overcome this fear is to speak to your dentist beforehand, let them know you are anxious and scared of the dentist pictures, this gives both yourself and the dental practice time to prepare.
Most dental practices however don’t have gruesome pictures of dental procedures on the walls, dentists want to help you relax and will ensure images around the practice facilitate this.
Scared of gagging at the dentist
Gagging is one of the biggest fears people have of the dentist, sometimes this reflex is physiological, sometimes it is psychological. The feeling of panic as one gags can be quite overwhelming.
Here are our top tips to overcome that gag reflex:
- Always breathe through your nose, this way you know you can always catch your breath.
- Remember to breathe. Whilst breathing through your nose, gently breathe in… Wait… breathe out… Wait… breathing in and repeat. This gentle breathing can really help.
- If you have a modern FitBit activity tracker these can sometimes be set on ‘relax’ mode, this gives you a guided breathing pattern which is tailored to your heart rate.
- Over the counter throat sprays with a numbing action, the ones typically used to help with throat coughs may help.
- Talk to your dentist, let them know you have a gag reflex and they can help you relax.
Modern dentistry users some of the best equipment available, needles are now so sharp you almost certainly will have no pain during any injections, anaesthetics work so well that numbing is complete and gone are the days of forcing a patient to breathe in gas through a mask.
Dentistry today is designed to be calm and relaxed, offering you a range of treatments and alternatives truly able to help.
One of those alternatives is dental sedation, sedation can help you gently drift off into your mind in a calm and relaxed world, allowing the dentist to treat your dental problem with ease.
A recent survey by Brush-Baby revealed a great amount of confusion about a bit and the dentist:
- 72% of the mums survey said they had not seen any information about teeth and gum care for their babies
- 53% of mums turned to their own mothers for advice on managing their babies teething pain
- 17% of mums turned to their grandmothers for this same advice
- and last of all, only 10% of mums asked their dentist for any advice about their babies teeth and gums
The information gathered by Brush-Baby in their research seems to support the government statistic that 25% of five-year-olds have tooth decay within average of 3.4 teeth involved.
It’s never too early to start forming a habit of good dental hygiene, so let’s take a look at what those habits could include for your baby and children.
Baby tooth eruption sequence.
As you can see from the chart your baby’s teeth will start to erupt after approximately 6 months. Clearly, it is therefore important to begin a dental health routine at this early stage, if not before.
Brushing your baby’s gums
Even before baby has any teeth it’s a good idea to get them into the habit and feeling of having their mouth is cleaned. This will make it easier to transition into using a toothbrush when the time comes and their first teeth erupt. To clean your baby’s gums use some cause or a wet flannel and gently rub it over your baby’s gums, no toothpaste is required at this early stage.
Baby tooth brushing
When baby’s teeth first begin to erupt you can gently switch from rubbing their gums with balls oral wet flannel to using a small baby tooth brush with toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. As your baby grows slowly increase the amount of toothpaste up to a pea sized amount by the time your child reaches three years old.
Be sure to clean all of your baby’s teeth as they appear, this means you will need to regularly check to see which teeth are appearing… If baby doesn’t let you know they are teething already!
Tips to help a teething baby
These can give your baby something to chew which can help to ease any discomfort. Calling them in the fridge also creates a soothing effect on your baby’s gums, however please ensure they only ever go in the fridge and NOT in the freezer.
These gels are usually not suitable for babies under the age of four months, for older babies they can be very helpful as they contain a mild local anaesthetic which eases the pain and may also contain antiseptic which can help prevent any infection around sore gums. Apply the gel with your little finger ensuring that you wash your hands before and after applying.
Soothing a teething baby
When should I start bringing my baby to the dentist?
Many people mistakenly believe that they should only take their child to the dentist when I have all of their teeth or when there is a problem. We recommend taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears which could be as young as six-month-old, but certainly no later than 2 years old.
When you bring your child to the dentist for the first time we will normally ask for you to sit with your child on your lap, this makes it easy for you to keep them comforted and ensures they stay relaxed and calm.
Even bringing your child to the dentist when you come for your own appointments can help them see that their parent will calmly sit in the chair and that it’s nothing to be scared about, this in itself is a great lesson for your child to learn from a young age.
Bringing your child to the dentist:
- Familiarises your child with the environment and people that they will meet.
- Gets them used to the words and phrases used in a dental practice.
- Allows your dentist to take a quick look to ensure that everything is okay.
We usually recommend seeing the dentist every six months for both adults and children, progressing on to see the hygienist as soon as they have all of their teeth.
Images courtesy of Patrisyu & Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This is a question we get asked lots at our dental practice here in Watford, so we thought we would take some time to take a look at the common reasons why your teeth may not be quite as white as you’d like to be… Some of those reasons are obvious but others aren’t!
What are you eating?
It sounds quite obvious but there are many foods which have any impact on the colour of your teeth. Some foods that stain your teeth directly whilst others contribute to dental decay by being rich in sugar.
Foods which contain high amounts of sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth, the more sugar there is in your food the more this bacteria is able to feed and excrete the bacteria which then attacks your teeth causing dental decay. Teeth can then become dark either through the dental decay or by the bacteria forming solid deposits, known as plaque, which then become stained by the strong colours in some foods.
Some food on the other hand has naturally dark staining such as dark berries, tea and red wine. These may stain your teeth on their own but the staining is compound it if you have plaque on your teeth caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and sugar in the diet.
Of course, so many of us like to eat foods like this, so if we want our teeth to be bright and white then we just have to get on top of our dental healthcare!
Are you brushing as well as you could?
Even if your diet isn’t too rich in sugar and you avoid the food with strong colours then your teeth could still be yellow then you would like if your oral health care routine isn’t as good as it should be.
Your mouth contains so many bacteria, more than the population of the world in fact, so it’s really important that you keep on top of this and remove as much bacteria and food as you can after each meal.
When brushing your teeth we recommend using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice per day for 2 min each time. We also recommend flossing daily to ensure your teeth clean in between and then using a fluoride mouthwash in between meals (never after brushing as the mouthwash has less fluoride in than toothpaste).
Are you scrubbing rather than brushing?
Yes, it’s possible to clean your teeth too much! If you scrub your teeth too much then the gum can recede as it will often become irritated due to the excessive brushing. As the gum recedes it may expose the softer dentine part of your tooth which is lower down towards the root. This part of the tooth is softer than the enamel (apart which you usually see) and is therefore more susceptible to both dental decay and staining..
When you brush, go easy and don’t scrub, if you visit a dental hygienist regularly they will be able to tell you if it looks as though you may be pressing too hard when you clean your teeth. It may also be worth considering an electric toothbrush, many of these have pressure sensors and light up red if you are pressing too hard, really useful aid if you find this is a problem for you.
Your teeth just are naturally yellower!
Some people’s teeth are just not naturally as white as other peoples. Over the years celebrities have had so much teeth whitening that the commonly accepted shade for teeth is now considerably whiter than it was a few years ago.
Dental manufacturers have had to create new whiter and brighter colours for their materials to match this new trend, what was considered an average tooth colour 10 years ago would now be considered yellow.
Perhaps you are taking medication which makes your teeth look yellow?
The first thing to say is that you should never stop taking any medication that has been prescribed to you without first consulting your doctor. It has however been reported that some medications may affect the colour of your teeth, most often this happens if the medication is taken during childhood whilst the teeth forming, rather than extrinsic staining of the teeth at a later date in adulthood.
Some medicated mouthwashes can also stained teeth, so please ensure that you read the label of any medicated mouthwash that you may have been prescribed.
Rest assured though, if your teeth have been stained through using a medicated mouthwash this can easily be removed by your dentist.
Do you smoke?
Well, you knew this would probably come up at some point! Smoking darkens teeth because it changes the delicate PH balance in your mouth, it also dries your mouth out which leads to an excessive buildup of bacteria. This bacteria not only have a rather noticeable smell, but also can contribute to increased rates of dental decay.
The smoke itself also has many this colouring components which, particularly when coupled with poor oral hygiene, can stain the teeth quite noticeably.
As a sidenote, if you have any damage to the gum in your mouth then smoking also slows down the healing process, just another reason to begin the quitting process.
You are older than you were yesterday!
It’s just a fact that as we age various things happened to our body! Gravity takes over and alas, our teeth can appear yellower. The reason for this isn’t because your teeth are actually going yellow, it’s because that as we get older the outer surface of the tooth (enamel) wears away, as the enamel wears away with age the yellower underlying dentine becomes more exposed. As that dentine nears the surface it has the effect of making the teeth look yellower.
This is often more prominent on the lower teeth towards the biting in size or age, it can be noticed that there is significant yellowing or staining right on that chip area, this is known as secondary dentine and is a common concern with people in, shall we say, more senior years!
And the good news is…
The good news is that most of these problems can be quickly and simply resolved. If you give up smoking, look at your diet and ensure your oral health care routine follows the suggested procedure then you can have a big impact on the colour of your teeth. Your dentist can also whiten the teeth in a couple of ways.
If your teeth just have surface staining perhaps from smoking or food stains then this can be removed with an air abrasion technique, this blasts very small particles at the end at your teeth which very gently remove the surface stain. If however the enamel of your tooth is intrinsically not as white as you would like them teeth whitening could also be the perfect option for you.
What ever you decide, your friendly dentist in Watford, Senova Dental Studios is here to help, please contact us today to book your appointment and begin your journey to brighter, whiter teeth.
Image courtesy of nenetus and thephotoholic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The press reported only the other day that tens of thousands of children are having to have decayed teeth removed in hospital each year and, according to the latest figures, this shows an increase for the fourth year in a row. In one single year between 2014 and 2015 there were 33,781 children under 10 years old admitted to hospital to have teeth taken out, quite a shocking statistic.
One of the things which is most concerning is that 90% of this tooth decay is preventable, according to Prof Nigel Hunt, the Dean of dental surgery faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons.
So what can you do at home?
Here are 5 easy ways to prevent children’s tooth decay at home
1. Set a daily routine.
We all know that children love to know what’s coming and what’s going to happen, that’s why they love to hear the same story every night. By setting a routine your children will begin to understand the importance of cleaning their teeth and may even remind you if you forget. Forming this good habit early on in life is a critical part of helping them develop a good dental health care routine.
2. Ensure your brushing technique is good.
When you brush their teeth, use a small pea sized amount of children’s toothpaste, brush each tooth individually spending 30 seconds on each quadrant (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right). Clean all the surfaces of the tooth, the tongue side, the cheek side and the biting surfaces. As you do this, tell your children what you’re doing so that they can begin to understand the importance of good technique.
Poke your tongue out.
Get your children into the habit of looking after their whole oral health, not just their teeth. Their tongue may also harbour bacteria and is important to keep this clean also.
Visit your dentist regularly.
If your children see you visiting the dentist regularly then they will become familiar with the routine themselves. Also, you may have developed bad habits yourself with cleaning your own teeth, when you visit your own dentist they can let you know if your own dental hygiene routine is adequate or needs improvement, you can then pass this information on to your children also.
Maintain a healthy diet.
A healthy diet that is low in sugar helps to keep your dental health in good condition. Diets which are high in sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria in your mouth which can cause dental decay. This is particularly important with children who have a tendency to eat sweets and fizzy drinks regularly. Try to avoid lollipops as these keep the sugar in contact with the teeth for a long time and if your child likes fizzy drinks, encourage them to drink through a straw as this will keep the bacteria away from their teeth also. Ultimately, reducing the amount of sugar intake should be the aim.
Senova Dental Studios is a family dental practice in Watford, Hertfordshire helping the local people Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Jarrett cross with their dental health. If you or your child would like information or advice then please request an appointment today.
The low failure rates of dental implants is one of the primary reasons that they have become one of the most successful and sought after treatments in modern dentistry. Implants are often the preferred option by both dentist and patients for replacing missing teeth.
A recent press release from Transparency Market Research “Nanotechnology in Dental Implants Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016 – 2024” indicates that the use of nanotechnology has revolutionised multiple branches of medicine, including dentistry. Nanotechnology could enhance the work we do by influencing the integration process of the dental implant in to the bone and remarkably, the chances of post implant placement infection.
Dental implants are also becoming increasingly popular due to:
- The high number of patients with missing teeth.
- Increased training and education about dental implants for the general dentist.
- Public awareness about oral health.
- New technology such as nanotechnology or CADCAM (Computer Assisted Design, Computer Assisted Manufacturing)
Reasons to Consider Dental Implants
Dental implants have multiple reasons for being the preferred option, but let’s first take a brief look at the results that are possible:
Malcolm did not wish to have a denture as he liked steak too much. Following removal of all the failed teeth, bone grafting was carried out and 9 implants placed in all back areas of his mouth and veneers placed on his top and bottom front teeth to improve his smile.
Reasons that patients like dental implants
The primary reason that patients give for liking dental implants is the fact that they look so natural and appeared to ‘grow’ out of the gum like natural teeth. Dental implants in themselves also do not necessarily impact adjacent teeth, unlike dental bridges where reduction of potentially healthy teeth either side of the gap is required.
Reasons that dentists like a dental implants
The role of your dentist is to educate about dental health, carry out treatments which can prevent dental health from worsening and to restore dental health in the event of any problems. All implants both prevent dental health from deteriorating and restore dental health at the same time, here’s how…
Dental implants restoring dental health
Clearly, the function of a dental implant is to replace a missing tooth, this not only allows the patient to chew again but also may restore the way the teeth function and work together, known as the occlusion. With a fully functioning occlusion the patient is far less likely to develop any jaw joint problems which can be manifested as headaches.
Dental implants preventing dental health from worsening
When a tooth is extracted it leaves a socket in the bone. Rather than new bone form in this socket, what actually happens is that the surrounding bone collapses in. This ultimately leads to a reduction in the quantity of bone in that area. The reduction of bone can also lead to a loss of gum creating an unsightly gum line.
A dental implant is uniquely capable of preventing this bone resorption. The implant needs to be placed as the tooth is extracted, if this happens the implant takes the place of the tooth root and prevents this bone resorption from happening. Thereby maintaining the gum line.
All of the teeth in your mouth are also in very fine balance with one another. If the tooth is removed the adjacent teeth will have a tendency to tip into the gap, the opposing teeth will also have a tendency to over erupt. Having a dental implant placed will support the surrounding teeth and prevent this happening.
Our hope is that the nanotechnology continues to improve the success rate of dental implants to enable as many people as possible to enjoy smiling, eating and chewing again with absolute confidence by replacing missing teeth.
Senova Dental Studios is a Bupa accredited private dental practice in Watford, Hertfordshire. Patients travel from around the local area including Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross to enjoy the highest standard of dental implants and restorative dentistry.
So many of us have seen the adverts on TV which talk about bleeding gums whilst brushing and flossing, but is it really a problem if your gums bleed? In this blog post our Watford dentists take a walk through the dental health issues related to bleeding gums whilst brushing.
What are the causes of bleeding gums?
Gum disease or gingivitis
The most common cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis, this is the first stage of gum disease and is really simple to treat if caught early. The acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth congregate where your cleaning is not quite so efficient, usually in between the teeth. As the bacteria congregate because plaque and this plaque can irritate and infect the gums. When the gums become irritated they become swollen, tender, red and can bleed whilst brushing. Gingivitis responds well to a change in cleaning habits and a good visit to the hygienist or dentist.
Sometimes medications can have the side-effect of bleeding gums, these include:
- Phenytoin, a seizure medication.
- Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug often used to prevent transplant rejection.
- Blood pressure medications called calcium channel blockers, which include nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and amlodipine.
If you are used to using a floss or interdental brush in between your teeth and forget for a few days then you might find that your gums bleed slightly when you reintroduce this interdental cleaning. This shows how quickly the gums can become inflamed if cleaning is not consistent. If you change your technique, for example switching from flossing to interdental brushing then you may also find that the gums are slightly sensitive at the beginning. You will normally find that the gums settle down after about a week of changing your routine.
We’ve use the word ‘implements’ here deliberately. All manner of household items such as credit cards and safety pins get used to clean between your teeth. We highly recommend you don’t do this, primarily because of the risk of cross infection… Who knows where those credit cards or safety pins have been!
Smokers are at a much higher risk of gum disease than in non-smokers as the toxins in the cigarettes inhibit your body’s ability to fight disease and infection in your mouth.
During pregnancy some women find that their gums swell and have more of a tendency to bleed, this is due to hormonal changes which alter the body’s response to the bacteria that cause gum disease. So long as a healthy oral hygiene routine is maintained during the pregnancy the gums should return to their prepregnancy state afterwards.
What to do if your gums bleed
The answers to this really lie in addressing the causes which we have described above. Principally this involves:
- Making sure you clean adequately in between your teeth, for 2 min twice per day to ensure that the plaque buildup is at a minimum.
- Being aware of the medication you are on (but never stopping without the advice of your doctor).
- Addressing your cleaning technique/routine and ensuring that you clean regularly.
- Using only dental floss or interdental brushes to clean in between your teeth, never be tempted to use a pin, for example!
- Maintaining a healthy diet. A healthy diet plays an important part in enabling your body to fight infection and disease. A high sugar diet will also increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth which increases the likelihood of dental disease and bleeding.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist is able to detect the early signs of gum disease much better than you are at home. If your dentist spots the early warning signs then you can be referred to hygienist for more intensive cleaning and assistance.
Can you catch gum disease?
The quick answer to this is yes. For example, a kiss can exchange up to 80,000,000 bacteria, some good and some harmful. If your own immune system is suppressed for any reason then the concentration of bad bacteria may just tip the balance over the edge in your mouth, leading to gum disease.
It’s important to note however that gum disease is not infectious, in the same way as many other diseases are. it’s much more complex than that.
The same is true for sharing drinks or utensils such as straws or forks. Always maintain a healthy cleaning routine to ensure that the bad bacteria stays well away from your mouth!
Vitamin deficiency causing gums to bleed
Whilst this is rare in the United Kingdom, vitamin C deficiency, otherwise known as scurvy can cause gums to bleed.
My gums bleed when I’m at the dentist, why is this?
When you visit your dentist they will usually probe around all surfaces of the tooth. This is to check the space between your gum and tooth, they will be looking for the depth that the probe can go and scoring this. If this is monitored between dental appointments then the score can be monitored to see whether it goes up or down, this is then a good indicator as to whether your oral health is improving or getting worse.
During this probing process, if your gums are inflamed then bleeding may occur. You may find that your gums bleed during this probing when they don’t normally during brushing, this is another reason why you should visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your gums are not inflamed.
If you are thinking about having orthodontic braces then you may be wondering about some of the common problems that people experience, if this is you then we’ve written this blog post and laid out some of the concerns that our patients have told us about prior to going ahead with orthodontics here at our dental practice in Watford.
Whilst it’s important to be fully informed of the various issues that may arise it’s equally important to bear in mind the advantages of having orthodontic braces to help you eat, chew and smile again with absolute confidence.
We’ve written in the past about some of the problems of NOT having straight teeth which can include dental health problems caused by an inability to clean crooked teeth properly and bite problems which can lead to headaches and neck pain.
Will I have problems eating with braces?
If you have removable braces then you will probably find that eating is virtually unaffected during orthodontic treatment. However, many clinical situations require the use of fixed orthodontics and some patients find a few problems eating.
To ensure you continue to enjoy food and eat it easily we recommend you follow our top tips:
- Eat slowly. Cutting your food into smaller pieces and chewing slowly will make things easier.
- Softer food. It sounds obvious but soft food is far easier to eat than hard crunchy food.
- Avoid stringy food. Some food, like mozzarella, can be extremely stringy when pulled apart.. This can get caught in intricate braces and make cleaning very difficult.
- Reduce the amount of nuts and seeds. These can get stuck in braces and often be really difficult to remove. Popcorn is also to be avoided wherever possible.
- Change the way you bite. When you bite into something, rather than using your front teeth, try using the side of your mouth. This might be a little bit difficult to master and certainly isn’t natural you might find it easier than using your front teeth to bite.
- Make sure you can see what you’re eating. Some foods like tortilla wraps and pies can have hidden lumps or nuts. It’s best to chop this type of food up so you can see exactly what you’re eating beforehand to avoid any surprises.
- Build a recipe book of meals you can prepare quickly and eat easily. The British orthodontic Society have a recipe book which you may find useful.
- Ease the pain. If your braces are sore whilst you eat remember to use your wax in between meals can keep the inside of your cheeks pain-free. A little dab of teething gel may also help to relieve pain.
Will I get cavities around my braces?
Anyone can get dental cavities, the challenge when you have braces is to ensure that you clean the teeth properly. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a range of cleaning items such as Tepe brushes, tape and floss which can be threaded through underneath your braces.
How to clean your teeth properly with braces
- Choose the right toothbrush. A regular toothbrush may work for you but you might find that a sonic or electric toothbrush is easier to work around the brackets. You might find that the bristles wear down much faster so be prepared to change your brush more often.
- Brush the outer side of your teeth. This is the side against your cheek which you see when you smile. Most people cleaned this side of their teeth extremely well as it is so visible, but do make sure you go right to the back of your mouth cleaning this outer surface using small circles to brush the braces. We recommend you spend about 25 seconds working the toothbrush around on each bracket. You may also need to wiggle an interdental brush around the bracket between the wires.
- Brush the inner surface of your teeth. This is the side against your tongue. Many people miss this area but it’s just as important to keep clean as the outer side of your teeth. If you have lingual braces then you will need to modify the technique from .2 above, making sure you clean around the brackets on the inside.
- Brush the biting surface of your teeth. These are the parts that meet each other make sure you work toothbrush into the nooks and crannies on each tooth and between the teeth.
- Brush your tongue. The tongue can harbour many bacteria which can often lead to bad breath. Just give your tongue a quick brush with your toothbrush to ensure your whole mouth stays healthy.
- Go interdental. Clean in between your teeth, known as the interdental area. This is where plaque can build up which is as a result of the bacteria in your mouth. Using a good quality interdental brush, floss or tape can help to clean in this area.
- Rinse your mouth out. In between meals rinse your mouth with a fluoride containing mouthwash. Don’t use mouthwash after you have cleaned your teeth with toothpaste as the toothpaste contains more fluoride than mouthwash does. If you use mouthwash after cleaning with toothpaste then you actually reduce the amount of fluoride against your teeth.
Braces are very expensive how can I pay for them?
Many dental practices offer treatment finance plans to pay for your braces. Typically this can be 0% interest on anything up to one year and interest-bearing after one year.
If one things rationally about it, a mobile phone contract can easily cost £500 per year, each and every year. Over a ten-year period your mobile phone could end up costing £5000! Financing dental braces over a couple of years will have a result for life and can be considered far better value than a simple mobile phone.
Will I have bad breath with braces?
No. At least not related to the braces. So long as you keep your teeth clean and avoid smoking your breath should remain fresh. Bad breath is often caused by either a medical condition (which would be unaffected by braces) or by poor oral hygiene.
Where can I get dental braces?
If you live in the Watford, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, Garston, Gerrards Cross and Hertfordshire areas then our dental practice offers a wide range of orthodontic services, please visit our website for more information.
In this blog post our Watford dentist takes a detailed look at dental cavities and fillings.
What is a dental cavity?
A dental cavity forms when the outer surface of your teeth are attacked by acid excreting bacteria. The bacteria excrete acid as they digest sugar in your diet. The cavities can become larger as more bacteria sit in the cavity, excreting more and more acid.
In the beginning small cavities may have zero pain as they are in the outer surface of the tooth, but as they deepen and get closer to the nerve your teeth may become more sensitive or even painful whilst eating or drinking, particularly hot or cold food/drink.
What is a dental filling?
A filling is simply filling up this cavity with a suitable material, your dentist will remove any decay and then fill the cavity back up to the original contour of the tooth.
What do they fill cavities with?
The exact material used to fill a cavity depends upon various factors:
- The size of the cavity
- The location of the cavity (in between the teeth, on the biting surface, on the front of the teeth etc.)
- The philosophy of the dental practice, some practices prefer not to use mercury containing amalgam.
What is a filling made of?
Depending on the criteria listed above there are a variety of filling materials which can be used.
This is a malleable metal alloy containing mercury. It has been shown to be extremely durable as a dental filling material and lasts many years. It does not however look particularly attractive.
Gold is virtually inert and is very well tolerated by the body. It’s highly polished surface also very closely matches the surface of dental enamel when viewed microscopically. This means it does not wear the opposing teeth and can be considered a highly biocompatible material.
Many people like the look of gold, it does not however look particularly natural and some people prefer to have a more natural looking filling.
Dental porcelain is made by combining various minerals with quartz, effectively making dental granite, an extremely hard and durable material! The porcelain is naturally tooth coloured and can be made highly aesthetic to blend in with the surrounding teeth. A porcelain filling will be made by a dental technician; this adds time to the procedure which means a porcelain filling often takes two weeks to complete.
Your dentist can also use a tooth coloured composite material to pack into the cavity once the diseased area has been removed. This has the advantage of being highly aesthetic and also highly convenient as it can be placed in one appointment. Dental bonding does however tend to discolour over time so may need to be replaced more often.
The cavity filling procedure
The procedure for having a cavity filled depends upon the material being used, generally the procedure will be similar to the following:
- Either your dentist or you notice the cavity and decide to take action.
- A discussion is had as to the best material to use clinically, there may be a few options which can be discussed that have different prices.
- A decision about the material is made, based on this decision the dentist will prepare the cavity accordingly. Some materials require specific shaped cavities in which to fit and so your dentist will prepare the cavity in the correct way.
- If you are having a direct dental bonding them the composite material will be placed directly, if not your dentist will take an impression of the prepared cavity, place a temporary filling and send this impression off to the dental laboratory to have the new restoration manufactured.
- If you had a dental bonding composite filling then step 4 would have been your last stage, if a dental laboratory is manufacturing your filling then this will be returned approximately 2 weeks later and you will visit the dentist to have this fitted.
- A review of this filling will take place at your six monthly check-up at the dentist.
Tooth cavity fillings at home
There are cavity filling kits available in various pharmacies and online. They may seem like a cheap and convenient option however they should never be used as a permanent solution.
Home kits may well fill the cavity however the chances are you will be filling over bacteria which will continue to cause dental decay underneath. This means you may not notice this decay until it has reached the nerve of your tooth, by which time more expensive dental procedures may be required.
If you need to use a tooth cavity filling at home, consider this an emergency repair and always make an appointment to visit your dentist within the next week or so.
Preventing dental cavities
It is always better to prevent problems arising in the first place rather than try to cure them once they do. The best way to prevent dental cavities is to:
- clean your teeth twice per day for 2 min using a fluoride releasing toothpaste.
- Clean in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss.
- Use a fluoride mouthwash after meals but NOT after brushing.
- Visit your dentist regularly as they will be able to detect the tiniest cavities in places that you cannot see.
By doing everything you can to prevent cavities forming and then visiting your dentist regularly so that if there is any decay it can be dealt with quickly and simply, you can keep the cost of dentistry down and ensure you remain fit and healthy for life.
Our Watford based dentist is here to help you stay dentally fit for life, keeping dental decay and cavities to the absolute minimum.
Straight Teeth in a matter of weeks with the Inman Aligner
In recent years the Inman aligner has revolutionised dental braces around the world and is one of the fastest orthodontic braces available.
It has even made it to an article in magazines such as Marie Claire. Because the Inman aligner uses a unique system of springs which push and pull different parts of your tooth at the same time it is possible to straighten teeth in approximately 12 weeks.
This article takes a detailed look at the aligner, from the cost, the problems, the results and the process.
How does the Inman Aligner work?
At the beginning of treatment the aligner may only be putting pressure on a single tooth, but as the treatment progresses and that tooth moves into position other teeth will then be touched and affected which means these will also have pressure pushing or tipping them into the correct place.
The aligner has a wire on the front of the teeth and one on the inside part of the teeth with strings attached. The front part on the outside of your teeth will be pulling the tooth inwards and the inside part will be pushing the tooth outwards, thereby meaning it is rotated and pushed into the correct position.
This action is limited to smaller amounts, if your teeth are extremely rotated you may find that the Inman Aligner is not suitable for you, in which case another form of orthodontics may be best.
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What results can be expected with the Inman Aligner?
The important thing to remember is that we should be limiting our goals and expectations, we are not trying to achieve the perfect result using this type of rapid orthodontics. We’re not necessarily trying to fix your bite although the bite can be affected and often improved.
With the Inman Aligner we are focusing on the front (anterior) six teeth and moving them to a more acceptable cosmetic position.
The process of having an aligner
The actual dental process is very simple.
- Your dentist will assess your teeth for suitability and have a discussion with you about the pros and cons of using an Inman Aligner.
- Dental impressions will be taken and sent off to the laboratory.
- About two weeks later the brace will be sent back to the dentist ready for your appointment.
- You have your dental brace fitted and the dentist will give you instructions on how to look after it and wear it.
Problems with the Inman aligner
One of the biggest problems people experience is not wearing the Inman Aligner for long enough each day. The recommended daily amount is to wear your Inman Aligner for 20 hours per day, only taking it out whilst you eat and brush your teeth.
This means it takes some effort on your part to ensure that you do your thing to be part of the process and help things along.
If you only wear your liners for 11 hours per day you could end up doubling the amount of treatment time, which contradicts one of the main reasons for using this type of rapid orthodontics in the first place.
Will I be able to eat with an Inman aligner?
You will not be able to eat whilst wearing your orthodontic brace. You need to remove the aligner whilst eating and for cleaning.
What will the results be like after wearing the Inman Aligner?
How much does an Inman Aligner cost?
Would the Inman aligner work for me?
The inner man aligner is typically suitable for people with:
- Crowded upper teeth
- Crowded lower teeth
- Protruding front teeth
- Gaps between the teeth
- Uneven teeth
- Misaligned teeth
It is less suitable for people with biting problems and cannot be used to move back teeth.
The aligner can also be used in what is known as pre-restorative alignment.
You may have a chipped or broken down tooth, typically we could use dental bonding or dental veneers to restore this tooth but if the body of the tooth is in the wrong place this can be compromised.
By using an Inman aligner to move the body of the tooth into the correct place it allows your dentist to restore them using veneers, bonding or crowns in a more conservative and natural way.
Does the Inman Aligner hurt?
They should not normally be any pain when wearing this type of orthodontic brace. You may find that your teeth feel a little tender for the first week or so but as the pressure from the brace reduces you should become more accustomed to this pressure.
Here’s a great video which shows a patient having an Inman Aligner From Start To Finish…
What does the Inman Aligner look like?
The Inman Aligner. is almost imperceptible, the part which wraps around the front of your teeth is clear and unobtrusive. Also, because the Inman Aligner is only worn for a couple of months it is a highly acceptable form of orthodontics.
Senova Dental Studios is a dentist in Watford offering cosmetic and general dentistry, for more information please call the number above or request an appointment online. You may also find our page on how to find an orthodontist near you quite useful.