A closer look at this increasingly popular alternative to amalgam fillings.
Most of us will probably have had a filling at some point in our lives. In most cases, at least some of these will have been filled using the standard amalgam dental fillings that have been around for a very long time. Amalgam does provide an extremely strong material to fill a tooth, but, at the same time, it would be hard to find a filling material that was more obviously noticeable!
There is also the fact that mercury is one of the components of amalgam (along with other metals). Although its use has been deemed to be safe by the British Dental Association, some patients are still concerned about potential health implications and the general guidance for dentists is to reduce its use over a period of time.
Alternatives to amalgam
In the past, the ‘problem’ of replacing amalgam fillings with more natural looking, mercury free ones, has not been their lack of availability, but the lack of strength that they provided. Until recently, the use of cosmetic white fillings was deemed to be suitable only where relatively little force would be placed upon the tooth in question. But recent advances mean that The Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom can now offer our local patients a natural coloured dental filling which has been shown to be strong enough for all but larger fillings. Our patients can now kiss goodbye to dark coloured amalgam fillings with confidence!
Pros of white fillings
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Our Epsom dentist explains the benefits of dental implant placement.
Losing a tooth, especially if it a sudden loss such as in an accident, can be a traumatic event and leaves you assessing options to replace it. Whilst some people may choose not to replace a missing tooth at all, especially a hidden tooth, this is not advisable.
This is because the loss of just one tooth can have an impact upon our other teeth too; but treatment here at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom ensures that patients can overcome this problem and lower the risk of any “knock on” effects.
If the lost tooth is visible at the front of the mouth, very few people will opt to leave the gap. Instead, they will look to the various ways in which this could be replaced. Whilst a denture may provide a reasonably aesthetic solution, few people want the risk of a visible front tooth becoming loose and wobbling around during a conversation. Bridges offer a more secure solution, but also require work to be done on the teeth adjacent to the gap. However, a dental implant is firm, secure an natural looking and hence why many people consider it to be the best option to replace a missing tooth.
Rear and hidden teeth
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Wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems if they do not erupt correctly.
Wisdom teeth are so called because they are the last teeth to arrive. This usually happens at around the late teens or early twenties, a time when we are supposedly wise! Many people never get wisdom teeth, but for those that do, most will erupt successfully, with nothing more than a little soreness to show for it. When they do not erupt correctly though, they can create problems.
Due to the fact that, when wisdom teeth arrive, all of our other teeth are already through. This can mean that there is insufficient space into which the wisdom teeth can erupt, causing them to partially erupt, or to come through at an angle. This is usually referred to as an impacted tooth.
Wisdom tooth problems
If you are concerned about a wisdom tooth that is coming through or appears not to be coming through correctly, it is advisable to contact the Clock Tower Dental Clinic for an appointment. Signs that all might not be well may include symptoms such as soreness or pain in the area and should not be ignored. If there is no discomfort or other signs that there may be a problem, there is no need to contact us and we will monitor the tooth during the course of your regular dental check ups.
If you do wish to have the tooth examined, we will x ray it to see where your problem originates. In the case of impacted wisdom teeth, a common problem is that both bacteria and food which is decaying, can become trapped. This can result in problems such as decay and gum disease. Initially, our Epsom dentists will clean this area well, which may rectify the immediate problem, leaving the tooth to erupt normally. Where this does not prove to be successful, it may become necessary to extract the wisdom tooth.
Extracting a wisdom tooth
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Sensible advice from your Epsom dental team.
It is likely that most of us rarely think much about our teeth until it is time for a dental visit. For some people, preparation for this can mean an ‘extra special’ brush, just before they go, as though this will eradicate any problems that they might have – I suspect many of us have done it!
Looking after our teeth correctly though, involves long term care, so below we look at some of the mistakes that some of us may make which can contribute to dental problems.
We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but sucking certain types of sweets, particularly the “boiled” variety, is especially bad. The reason for this is that this type of sweet stays in our mouths for a long time, particularly if this is a regular habit. This provides the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease with an almost constant sugar supply. Other than for very occasional treats, we’d advise trying to avoid this type of product as much as possible.
Tearing open packets
Your teeth are there to enable you to bite and chew food, and are not a tool to perform daily chores. Although ripping open a packet may not seem particularly destructive, the force required to grip something very thin between the teeth is quite strong and may result in the tooth breaking, especially if it is not strong and healthy, as might be the case with a heavily filled or root treated tooth.
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Improving the appearance of your teeth need not be a lengthy process.
Most of us will probably have been in the situation where an occasion has suddenly arisen that we are unprepared for, such as a last minute holiday or surprise family occasion. When this happens, we can sometimes struggle to get everything organised for the day .. clothes, hair etc.
Given a shortness of time, most people who are not entirely happy with the way that their teeth look, may abandon hope of having them improved in time for the event. This is not necessarily the case though, and a quick smile makeover at our Epsom dental practice can provide you with a much improved smile in time for the big day!
Although some aesthetic dental problems may take longer to correct (and we will cover these a little later); there are a number of procedures available at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic that can make significant improvements to your smile in just a short period of time.
Teeth whitening – Our chairside teeth whitening procedure enables us to whiten patient’s teeth by up to eight shades in just one hour. This is an entirely pain free procedure that can leave you with a beautiful white smile in no time at all.
Composites – Sometimes, a smile can be almost perfect except for a small chip on one of the visible teeth. There are two main options here; one is to use a dental veneer (see below), but another fast and speedy method is to build the tooth up using a composite material prepared in the natural colour of your teeth. This is an excellent ‘quick fix’ where time is very short. Veneers may offer a better long term solution, but we will assess on a case-by-case basis.
Dental veneers – Veneers can be used in the situation mentioned above, but also equally for teeth that are heavily stained or have visible cracks that spoil their appearance. To fit veneers, a fine layer is shaved from the enamel at the front of the teeth and replaced with one of our beautiful Cerec veneers which we manufacture on-site whilst you wait.
Longer term makeovers
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Simple tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy….
It is well known that the foods that we eat can have an impact on our oral health. Other factors can also contribute of course, including how well (or otherwise!) you clean your teeth.
Probably few people consider the impact of hot weather on our teeth and gums, but it does pose some additional risks which are worth considering.
Below, our Epson family dentist looks at some of the ways that hot weather can adversely affect our oral health and what you can do to minimise the risk.
Water water water…
One of the most important things that you can do to keep teeth and gums healthy in hot weather is to drink plenty of water. For many people, doing this is common sense. A lot of people though may be more tempted by the ice cold carbonated drinks that are on sale. Unfortunately, whilst these may help to quench your thirst, they often contain high levels of sugar and can be quite highly acidic. In addition to this, they will not hydrate you as well as water does.
So why is hydration so important for a healthy mouth? Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in the UK and the bacteria which make this more likely, thrive in warm and dry environments, such as a dry mouth. If you are not properly hydrated, your mouth is more likely to become dry, especially during the night whilst we sleep, allowing the number of bacteria to increase.
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The Clock Tower Dental Clinic – helping you have strong and healthy teeth.
Have you ever paused, when looking at a menu, and eventually chosen a meal that is less challenging for your teeth?
Many people are thought to compromise in this manner due to their lack of faith that their teeth, natural or otherwise, are simply not up to the task of chewing harder foods.
This is a shame and is also unnecessary. There is a wide range of procedures available at our Epsom dental practice that can restore your teeth to a strong and stable state, or, where teeth have been lost, replace them with secure replacements.
Below are just some of the ways that we may be able to help you to have teeth that will allow you to tackle even the most challenging foods.
General dental care
Healthy teeth are usually strong teeth and there is no better way to ensure that this is maintained than by having regular oral health checks performed by one of our friendly Epsom dentists. Problems such as gum disease can be detected early on and treated before it starts to weaken the bone that holds your teeth in position. Decay can also be treated with a minor filling, where necessary, rather than allowing the decay to spread. In cases where a patient has not seen a dentist for a while and more extensive treatment is needed, our Cerec produced dental crowns offer a speedy and effective way to restore a more badly damaged tooth.
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What we can offer former NHS dental patients at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic.
Over the years, we have seen a number of patients at our Epsom dental surgery who have decided to join us after many years with an NHS dentist. Sometimes this is simply because they have relocated to this part of Surrey, but equally, some patients are attracted by the additional treatments that we offer.
This is not to undervalue NHS dental treatment and we are sure that the quality of dentistry is high in most practices. But due to the nature of funding of these practices though, they are often only able to carry out a limited range of procedures.
We will look at some of the more advanced procedures that we can offer patients in a moment, but first, let us take a look at one of the most common procedures that people have; the dental filling. At an NHS practice, the filling that is typically used is made from amalgam, a combination of metals. Whilst there have been debates about the safety of mercury in traditional amlagam fillings, we would like to focus on the aesthetic aspect of them. Anyone who has an amalgam filling will acknowledge how dark and highly visible they are.
At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we do not use amalgam in our practice, but offer a tooth coloured cosmetic filling instead. This allows our patients to have natural looking teeth even after they have been filled. Additionally, we are also one of only a few dental practices offering amalgam removal in Surrey for anyone who wishes to replace their current dark fillings safely.
Advanced cosmetic dentistry
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You local Epsom dentists discuss the pros and cons of these two teeth replacement methods.
One of the hardest decisions for a patient to take when they have lost a tooth, is the choice of tooth replacement method, especially if it is in the visible zone.
At one time, the answer would have been straightforward as dentures were the only method available. With modern advances though, the advantages of dental implants are increasingly apparent and they are starting to challenge dentures as the most popular choice available.
Below, your Epsom dentists take an unbiased look at these two options and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Modern dentures are more attractive than the older type ones and look more natural. From a cosmetic viewpoint, there is little wrong with wearing dentures. The problems arise when it comes to functionality as they can limit the type of foods that you can comfortably eat. Some wearers also find that they sometimes irritate the gums when they move around slightly. There is also the potential for embarrassment for those whose dentures no longer fit well and become visibly loose when speaking.
The most significant ‘plus’ for dentures is that their fitting often requires no invasive dental treatment. Impressions are taken and the dentures are then created from this. This potentially makes it an easier process for nervous dental patients.
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Using the ‘fast and fixed’ method, you may be able to have new teeth in just one day!
Dental implants are now widely used in the replacement of lost teeth. Most people though, are probably more aware of their use for replacing individual teeth.
At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic however, we can also replace a full arch of missing teeth using implants.
These missing teeth are not replaced individually, a process that would be both lengthy and very expensive, but can be done by using a small number of implants (usually four) to secure a fixed bridge of teeth in place.
Fast and fixed
There are various other names for this procedure, including ‘same day implants’, ‘teeth in a day’ and ‘all on 4’. Essentially though, these procedures are the same, or very similar. They involve the use of four dental implants, although occasionally more, two of which are standard implants and the other two are specially designed for this purpose. The key benefits to this procedure, in addition to the ones provided by individual implants, i.e. strength, security and stability, are that they can be used for people who have suffered bone loss in the jaw area, often without the need for a prior bone graft. For some cases, the procedure can also be completed in a single day.
First of all, your Epsom implant dentist will take x-rays and scans to examine the bone structure in your jaw to determine where nerves are situated so that these can be avoided. Where four implants are used (which is in the majority of cases), two regular dental implants will be placed towards the front of the mouth. In order to offer security and stability for those people whose bone structure is compromised, two specially designed implants are then placed into the jawbone at an angle. This provides a strong and stable anchor to support a fixed bridge.
This procedure can even be used to replace your dentures, even if you have worn them for years.
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