Your quick guide to restoring your teeth and alleviating pain following damage.
At The Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we encourage our patients to take good care of their teeth on a daily basis. It is though, impossible to know if and when an accident may arise that causes sudden damage to our teeth. Sometimes this may just be relatively minor damage, but even so, should still be investigated promptly, as even a small crack in a tooth can allow bacteria to enter, potentially leading to decay or even root canal problems.
In today’s blog, we offer some simple advice about what you should do in the case of a dental emergency in Epsom.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need urgent medical care. This would apply, for example, if you were unfortunate enough to have been in a car accident. Even if you feel OK, if there has been head trauma, always have this checked at the A&E department at the nearest hospital to rule out any serious injuries before you do anything else.
Your next step should be to contact us to see an emergency dentist at our Epsom practice. Remember, the quicker you call us, the sooner we are likely to be able to see you and we will always try to see you the same day if at all possible, especially if you are in pain.
When you call us, try to be clear, as far as you can, as to the nature of the problem. Our reception team will try to prioritise more urgent cases and also offer temporary care advice where appropriate.
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Using the Six Month Smiles orthodontic system to create beautiful smiles in Epsom!
Dental braces are something that most people will want to avoid if they can. Whilst some are fortunate to have nice even teeth, even those people with crooked teeth sometimes decline treatment to have them straightened, preferring instead, to live with a crooked smile.
One of the reasons people give for not having their teeth straightened is that they do not wish to wear uncomfortable and very visible dental braces, possibly for quite a long period of time. This is understandable perhaps, but also unnecessary with some of the modern orthodontic braces now available at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic.
The ‘Social Six’
Whilst braces can be worn for lengthy periods of time to correct misaligned teeth throughout the mouth, many people are only really concerned with how crooked front affect their smile. Where there are no additional functional concerns, it makes sense therefore, to focus efforts on straightening the teeth that are most visible. These are the six top and bottom teeth, sometimes referred to as the ‘social six’.
Although there are certainly benefits to straightening all of your teeth, it is possible, using the Six Month Smile cosmetic braces system, to straighten out the visible teeth in a much shorter period of time.
Six Month Smile
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How we help anxious Epsom patients manage dental anxiety.
If you feel anxious when your dental appointment is approaching, don’t worry, you are far from alone. Whilst some people may exhibit little anxiety, the fact is that relatively few people look forward to their dental visits, with some becoming extremely anxious indeed.
Whilst this in itself, is a deeply unpleasant feeling, taking the easy way out and cancelling your appointment is to simply store up problems for the future.
Regular dental care is necessary for a healthy mouth, and any minor procedure that you might need now can help to preserve the tooth, whilst also potentially avoiding the need for more extensive dental surgery later on.
Different people find different ways of managing their dental anxiety. This can be a process of trial and error but some suggestions include relaxation exercises, meditation, hypnosis and aromatherapy – these techniques can also be useful for other anxieties such as a fear of flying. Whilst such “therapies” can help to reduce anxiety to a level where most are able to keep their appointments at their local dentist, this unfortunately may not be the case for very anxious patients. In this circumstance, we offer additional aid here at our Epsom dental practice, to help them through their appointments and procedures.
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Avoiding gum disease – start with the basics.
Amongst approximately seventy other different types of bacteria, gingival bacteria is ‘ever present’ in our mouths. On a day-to-day basis, these do us little harm, and regular brushing and flossing helps to keep them under control.
Problems arise however, when we neglect our daily home care. Whilst temporary poor brushing, such as during illness, may cause an increase in bacteria, this will generally not cause any problems once the regular routine is restored. Longer term neglect though, can cause very serious problems for our oral health!
Whilst early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, can be unpleasant and may produce symptoms such as bleeding or sore gums, along with bad breath, this can generally be treated and reversed at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic. Problems really start to occur though, when we do not deal with gum problems at this stage and allow them to develop.
Once periodontitis, the later stage of gum disease, has taken hold, it is not only sore gums and bad breath that we need to be concerned about. The real danger here is that the infection will have reached below the gum line and is likely to affect the bone in which our teeth are held. As this comes under attack, the bone degrades and its grip on our teeth is lessened. This can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss in some cases.
What can we do?
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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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