Helping to to relax nervous patients throughout a dental procedure.
Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias and it is thought that nearly half of us suffer from some level of it. For some, it is just a case of accepting the anxiety and simply carrying on attending their practice for check ups and treatment when needed.
Others may be able to take advantage of methods such as meditation, aromatherapy or hypnotism to help them get through the situation and these techniques can help for those with relatively mild to moderate dental anxiety.
For others though, the levels of anxiety may be such that it prevents them from even attending a dentist for regular check ups. This can, over time, lead to serious oral health issues as problems like gum disease become advanced. When this happens, tooth loss is a possibility, but it’s a condition that could so easily have been avoided. Where more invasive treatment is needed, or even requested for cosmetic purposes, anxiety can present a real challenge for both patient and dentist alike. However, there are options available to help you overcome this.
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How our Epsom dentists can restore even the most stained teeth.
For most patients who contact our Epsom dental practice wishing to have whiter teeth, a straightforward teeth whitening procedure is usually the answer.
This is not always the case though, and patients who come to us with very heavily stained teeth may only receive limited improvement with this particular procedure.
For these patients, and those whose teeth are chipped or cracked, modern dental veneers are likely to be the most effective solution to allow the patient to have great looking teeth once more.
Veneers are, as their name suggests, a replacement for the front of the teeth. Usually made from porcelain, they can be made to match the colour of the patient’s natural teeth. To allow us to fit the veneers snugly and naturally, it is first of all necessary to remove an equivalent thickness of the discoloured enamel from the patient’s teeth. Once this has been done, impressions would traditionally be taken and sent to a dental laboratory for the veneers to be manufactured. This, however, can result in a wait of a week or two.
At The Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we are fortunate to have on-site Cerec technology which enables us to produce your new veneers whilst you wait. This takes approximately one hour and saves you the trouble of a second visit; especially important for our busier patients! Once the veneers are ready, they are attached, by our dentist, to the patient’s teeth with a strong dental adhesive.
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Recent reports suggest possible links to heart problems, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.
We have touched, in our previous blogs, on gum disease and how good oral health care can keep it at bay.
In today’s post though, we want to take a look at how potentially serious this problem can be, not only for our oral health, but our overall health too. It should be noted that whilst a lot of research into some of the areas covered below are at a relatively early stage, the sheer weight of the reports indicates that these issues should be taken seriously.
As dentists based in Epsom, it seems reasonable to start with oral health issues.
In its early stage (gingivitis), gum disease can cause unpleasant soreness or even bleeding of the gums. Often, at this stage though, it can be reversed and managed through improved oral care along regular ‘scale and polish’ performed by our hygienist. Later stages (periodontitis) are more threatening and can attack not only the gum, but the bone in which the teeth are secured too. If not treated, this bone loss can cause teeth to become loose and even fall out. In fact, gum disease is responsible for more tooth loss than dental decay in the UK.
A recent study (1) of over 60,000 patients revealed that those who had gum disease problems were twice as likely to suffer from heart problems, strokes or severe chest pain than those who were problem free. Although this may also mean that those with oral health issues were likely to take less care of themselves; once adjusted to take this into account, the study still reveals that those with gum disease were still 59% more likely to have heart health problems.
With periodontitis in particular being associated with chronic inflammation, it is though that this, along with increased bacteria in the circulatory system may be behind the increased risk, although research is ongoing.
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The benefits of straighter teeth extend beyond appearance.
A newspaper recently reported that Manchester United player, Marcus Rashford has chosen to use ‘invisible braces’ to correct the alignment of his teeth. Although, allegedly, he has been on the end of some friendly ‘ribbing’ from his teammates, his choice is a wise one as this orthodontic system is barely visible to all but the most observant.
Whilst the term ‘invisible braces’ also includes those which still use the wire and bracket approach to straighter teeth, albeit with tooth coloured materials; it is the system, known as Clear Aligners which offers maximum discretion as they are made from a transparent material.
Aside from the desire of a young footballer to look good in the media, especially in those post goal scoring photos, are there any real benefits to wearing invisible braces, such as the Clear Aligner which we offer at The Clock Tower Dental Clinic? The answer is ‘yes’, and whilst most patients do, perhaps, opt for these brace systems largely for aesthetic reasons; there is little doubt that patients with nice even teeth are likely to have less dental problems than those with crooked teeth too. Of course this does rely on maintaining good oral hygiene in conjunction with routine check-ups at our Epsom dental clinic.
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Our Epsom dentist looks at replacing amalgam fillings with natural looking ones.
Cosmetic dentists play a leading role in helping patients achieve a nicer smile. Whilst good oral home care is essential, some factors, such as crooked or ageing teeth, are beyond the scope of this to a large degree, and need professional dental care to correct them and provide nicer looking teeth for the patient.
Even when teeth have been whitened and straightened though, many patients still have dark coloured fillings, often on the rear teeth where most chewing and grinding takes places. Whilst this is not generally noticeable during conversation, when someone laughs or yawns, it can often reveal the darker fillings that they have.
White teeth fillings
At The Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we have a solution to this problem in the form of natural looking white dental fillings. Whilst there have been some concerns, in the past, about the strength of cosmetic fillings, advances now mean that they are approaching the strength of amalgam fillings in all but the largest cavities. Where a cavity is too large, inlays or onlays may be used for a more natural appearance.
Whereas amalgam fillings are made from a combination of metals, including mercury derivatives; white teeth fillings are created using a combination of resin and glass particles and can be made to match the colour of the remaining natural tooth.
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Our Epsom dentist looks at some of the possible consequences of losing a tooth.
Tooth loss is, quite naturally, a major concern of our Epsom patients, and, at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we do all that we can to avoid this final stage, whether through fillings, crowns or root canal procedures.
Sometimes though, a tooth simply cannot be saved and an extraction is the only sensible option available. The question then arises as to what to do next? Let’s take a closer look at your options.
Visible and hidden teeth
If the tooth that has been lost is one of the visible teeth that we reveal when we smile, very few of us will opt to leave a gap there, for obvious reasons. What though, if it is not a visible tooth that has been lost? As no one will see the gap, does it really matter? Although, from an aesthetic viewpoint, these teeth are less important to the patient, there are a number of things that are likely to happen once a tooth has been lost. These may not be immediate, but can have a long term effect on the condition of your teeth.
Once a tooth is lost, it creates a space. Over a period of time, the adjacent teeth are likely to encroach into this space as they gradually move under the stress and strains of eating. With a tooth in place, this movement is blocked by its presence; without it though, the tooth will move more freely. Once this starts to happen, there are a number of potential ‘knock on’ problems that often arise. Firstly, once a tooth moves, that then also creates room for the one next to that to move, and so on. This can eventually lead to a ‘domino effect’, with the result being an uneven set of teeth, potentially including the visible ones.
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Lots can be gained from a simple teeth whitening procedure!
At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures that we perform is teeth whitening. Naturally, most patients requesting this do so simply because they wish to have a more attractive smile, with white instead of discoloured or stained teeth.
Whilst this is the most obvious benefit, many of our Epsom patients have reported an additional benefit which they hadn’t expected, and that is a boost in their confidence.
The following are just a couple of possible examples of situations where patients may benefit from with their new whiter teeth and with this new found confidence.
Going to an interview for a new job can be daunting. Employers look for many things at these; qualifications and experience being amongst them. Unless it is entirely irrelevant to the job though, most employers will also take into account the confidence of the interviewee, and also how friendly and sociable they are.
Many of our patients who have had discoloured teeth have told us that that it caused a loss in confidence, especially when it came to conversations, with some even attempting to cover their teeth as much as possible during conversations. Once they had their teeth whitened though, they reported that they felt more confident around people and were happier to smile; two of the qualities that many employers are likely to look for.
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Allaying fears about this effective tooth saving procedure.
Ask anybody which dental treatment they most fear, and the majority will tell you that it is root canal therapy.
This treatment seems to have seeped into people’s consciousness and even the mention of it can cause some patients to almost panic.
The reality though, is that a root canal procedure should cause no more discomfort than most other invasive procedures and is a very effective way of saving a tooth which might otherwise have been lost.
When do i need a root canal procedure?
A root canal procedure is used when the canals of the teeth, which form part of the roots, become infected. In many cases, this will be accompanied by pain, as the nerves of the tooth are stored in this area along with tiny blood vessels. Unfortunately, once infected, it can’t be ‘cured’ as such and the only option to save the tooth is to clean out and fill the canals with a special dental material called gutta percha.
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Is flossing a waste of time, as some reports suggest?
A number of patients at our Epsom practice have asked us whether they should continue flossing in light of reports that suggest that it is ineffective with few proven benefits. For many years, dentists have been trying to encourage patients to floss in order to prevent gum disease. Currently, only around 20% of people do so; but does this mean that the 80% were right all along?
Between the teeth
The fact is that, no matter how well you brush your teeth, it is not possible for the bristles of a tooth brush to effectively clean in the spaces between them. Unfortunately, this is often where problems such as gum disease and tooth decay start. Our view is that patients should continue to pay attention to this, and clean their teeth accordingly to minimise risk of gum disease and other problems. Here are a variety of ways to help your teeth stay healthy and avoid inter-dental problems:
Dental floss – In the light of these reports, some patients may wish to swap from flossing to use inter-dental brushes (see below). Some suggest that these may be more effective than dental floss and we have them available for purchase at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic should you wish to try them. We do still believe though, that dental floss is useful (especially for spaces where an inter-dental brush can’t reach). To be effective though, flossing needs to be done correctly, moving it up and down the space between the teeth, rather than in a sawing motion, as many seem to do.
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Emergency dental appointments are available at our Epsom dental practice.
It goes without saying that the best oral health care consists of quality home cleaning, along with regular examinations by one of the dentists at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom. With this, and a reasonably healthy diet, most patients should be able to maintain healthy teeth, perhaps with just a minor procedure or two.
Accidents do happen though, and, of course, unfortunately not everybody follows the above regimen. In either case, dental emergencies can arise and it is inadvisable to ignore them when they do.
When do I need an emergency appointment?
Some people consider it a dental emergency when they are experiencing severe toothache. Whilst this certainly should be classed as such, a dental emergency can also be when prompt treatment is needed to prevent further harm or damage to the teeth, gums or mouth.
For example, if a large section of a tooth has broken off, perhaps because of a fall, or biting on something harder than expected, this can be classed as a dental emergency, even if no pain is experienced. Ignoring a case like this is likely to result in further damage to the tooth, possibly resulting in its removal. On the other hand, prompt action may mean that the tooth can be saved. Sometimes a simple filling is sufficient but where damage is more significant, dental crowns or other treatments may be used instead.
How quickly can you see me?
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