Extractions – Immediate Aftercare

What to do directly after a problematic tooth has been removed

Dr Andrew MurphyExtracting a tooth is nearly always a last resort. This procedure can be used where a tooth has badly decayed or is broken to the point where a filling or crown would not be practical and wouldn’t offer any significant benefit if carried out.

There is no getting away with the fact that extracting a tooth requires invasive dental treatment. Some teeth come out relatively easily whilst others, such as impacted wisdom teeth are often more problematic and may even require hospitalisation in order to extract them.

Whatever the nature of the treatment though, it is important for patients of the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre to remember that once the tooth has been removed, care needs to be taken in the area where it has been extracted.

Initial care

As you would imagine, once a tooth has been removed, the area will bleed slightly. The first step is to stop this. This is done by placing a piece of clean gauze over the area and asking you to bite on it for a short time. Not only will this absorb the initial blood but will encourage a blood clot to form which will fill the cavity that has been left. This is an important part in the recovery process as this blood clot protects the cavity and will eventually allow it to heal fully.

Care at home

One of the most important things to do at home is to take care not to dislodge the blood clot. If this happens very soon after leaving our Epsom dental clinic, the likelihood is that it will bleed again and, using either the spare piece of sterile gauze we provide you with or, if not to hand, a clean handkerchief or similar, start to repeat the process. If the clot is dislodged and is not bleeding, you may well be left with a ‘dry socket’. Although this may eventually heal on its own, it can be painful and feel quite similar to a toothache. Even if the pain is not too bad, we do recommend that you contact us. In many cases we can help to resolve the problem by replacing the missing clot using a special type of dressing.

Because a blood clot is not very strong it can be dislodged if we simply return to our usual routine. There are a number of things that we can, and should, do in order to make sure that it remains in place.

First of all, do not use a toothbrush in this area. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to keep it clean though and we recommend that you use a warm (but not hot) saline solution which you gently tip over the area and allow it to fall from your mouth. You should neither ‘swill’ the solution or spit afterwards as these violent actions could cause the clot to fall out.

As time goes on and the clot becomes more established, you will be able to start bruising the area, albeit very gently and with a toothbrush that has soft bristles.

Eating and drinking

Read more ›

Your Options For Mercury-Free Dental Fillings At Our Epsom Clinic

People are increasingly avoiding amalgam teeth fillings for both aesthetic and health reasons

white teeth smilesFor a very long time, anyone attending a dental practice with tooth decay would probably be given a standard filling to restore the tooth. For a long time, these fillings have been made of a substance known as amalgam.

This is made from a combination of metals including silver, copper, tin, zinc, and most controversially, mercury.

Why is mercury a ‘controversial’ ingredient? Well, the fact is that mercury is a toxin that can lead to quite serious health problems. It is used as part of an amalgam filling to bind the other alloys together to form a solid mass. Despite some people having concerns about their safety though, amalgam fillings have been deemed to be safe to use in this form by the General Dental Council.

Although deemed safe, there are still drawbacks to the use of this material in fillings. Despite its strength, which you would expect with it being made from metal, amalgam is certainly not an aesthetically pleasing solution as it is a dark colour which is easily seen when people with these fillings either laugh or yawn. The visibility is even more so when a fillings is used on one of the more visible front teeth.

While there has been an agreement to phase out the use of amalgam, largely due to concerns about the leaking of mercury into the environment, many patients of Clocktower Dental Implant & Facial Centre have already taken the opportunity not to use this material to restore their teeth and choosing instead,  more aesthetic alternatives that we will take a look at now.

Aesthetic tooth restorations

Many tooth restorations have long been produced in a colour to match the natural teeth. These include crowns, veneers etc. Fillings have perhaps been slower in being produced but there are now a number of ways to restore a tooth more discreetly than if amalgam were used.

Before we look at the type of available fillings, it is important to remember that you should take your dentist’s advice where tooth restoration is concerned. You may have set your heart on a white filling, for example, but too much damage to the tooth may mean that a crown will be needed instead.

Types of aesthetic dental fillings

Read more ›

Oral Health Heatwave Tips

How to maintain a healthy mouth during hot weather

dental checkNo one can have missed the fact that the next couple of days are going to be extremely hot, and potentially dangerously so. There are many risks to our health if we don’t take sensible precautions for this period of time.

Most of these have been widely covered elsewhere so we won’t repeat them here. Although this will be a short but intensely hot period, before cooler weather returns, it now seems likely that these hotter periods will become more frequent and possibly even hotter!

Given the heat over the next two days and the fact that this type of weather may return more frequently, our Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre clinical team have chosen today’s blog to look at what you can do to protect your teeth and gums during periods of hotter weather.

What’s the problem?

In addition to general health issues that the heat can cause, it can also pose a number of challenges to our oral health.

Dehydration and a dry mouth

This is a fairly obvious and all too common problem. Many of us will have woken up with a dry mouth after an evening of drinking alcohol, but this can happen during our waking hours too, especially when the weather is hot. In addition to being an unpleasant sensation, a dry mouth also encourages growth in the number of potentially harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria can attack not only the enamel of your teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay, but also your gums. Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are more likely if you don’t drink enough liquids and become dehydrated.

Although we might have a drink of water if we feel dehydrated, we should really drink well before it reaches this stage, especially in extreme heat. Make sure to drink water regularly throughout the day and also as much as you feel you can before you go to sleep. If you have to go out in the heat of the day, make sure to take a bottle or flask of water with you so that you don’t become dehydrated and start to feel ill.

Avoid alcohol

Read more ›

Visit Our Epsom Clinic For Total Dental Care For All The Family

From young to old, we are here to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your life

People of different agesAs we progress in years, the condition of our teeth and gums will inevitably change. In today’s blog we will take a look at different stages of life, how those oral health challenges arise and how we can help you manage them.

Babies

Babies typically have no visible teeth when they are born and it can be easy to think that they need no dental care at this age. Even though they are toothless for a while, you should still keep their gums clean by wiping them gently with a damp clean cloth or gauze, twice a day. This should be done from around the age of three months and  will help to keep their gums healthy ready for when their first teeth start to erupt.

Generally speaking, we recommend that parents bring their child to us for a first visit at around the age of one year old. Although it is very unlikely that any treatment will be needed, it will help accustom them to the sounds, smells and sights of a dental practice and may help them to feel more comfortable about seeing a dentist as they become older.

Young Children

We still have a lot of control over our children at this age and it is important that we make sure that they develop a good oral health regimen at this age as this will often remain with them throughout their life. As they will probably want to brush their teeth with you, it is also a good time to refresh your own approach and improve on it where possible. Make sure that you supervise your children while they brush their teeth until you are confident that they are doing it correctly and consistently and don’t be afraid to remind them.

Hopefully, by this age, you will be booking them regular appointments at our Epsom family dental clinic. Although they will eventually lose their baby teeth, it is important that this doesn’t happen prematurely as it can cause their adult teeth to erupt unevenly. A regular check up with us every six months is recommended.

Early teens

Read more ›

Missing A Tooth? What Are Your Options To Replace It?

Leaving a gap in your teeth is not a good idea for several reasons. Our Epsom dentists discuss the replacement options….

Single dental implantWe all hope that it won’t happen, but even if we look after our teeth extremely well, there is always the possibility of an accident that could cause you to suffer from tooth loss.

Gum disease and long term tooth neglect can also have the same result.

If the missing tooth is not obviously visible, we might be tempted to not replace it, but this is a bad idea as we will discuss in a minute. Anyone losing a front tooth will naturally want to replace it as soon as they can for very obvious reasons.

Ideally, any missing teeth should be replaced, even less visible ones. This is because as a gap appears, caused by the loss of the tooth, the teeth on either side of the gap will start to encroach into that vacant space. In doing so, they will also create their own gaps for other teeth to move into. As this continues, you will start to notice that your teeth are becoming crooked and uneven. Replacing the missing tooth can help to avoid this problem.

If we leave aside the option of not replacing the missing tooth, or teeth, there are three options that we can offer you at the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre.

Dentures

Perhaps the best known tooth replacement method, dentures have been around for a very long time. Modern dentures are more advanced than their predecessors and the artificial gums can be made to match the colour of your natural ones to make them more discrete. Some dentures even flex with the mouth for additional comfort.

Whilst these are all beneficial improvements, dentures are not without their drawbacks for some wearers. Although they can be produced to look fairly natural, some people do find that they are not as comfortable or practical as they would like. Partially due to the fact that bone loss occurs in areas where a tooth has been lost, dentures can sometimes move around in the mouth a little. In addition to any embarrassing moments this might cause, this can lead to gums becoming sore and some patients find that it affects their speech for a while too.

Dentures are also quite fiddly to clean and require their removal for overnight soaking.

Bridges

Read more ›

Why Do People Turn To Private Dentistry?

With NHS dentistry arguably in crisis, now might be a good time to consider our Epsom dental practice

Clocktower Dental Implant and Facial CentreSince the closure of dental practices for all but emergency treatments during the Covid lockdowns, many practices have struggled to continue, especially NHS dentists.

It has been almost impossible to escape the disturbing and upsetting stories of people who have pulled out their own teeth as they couldn’t get an appointment. Nobody wants to see people in this kind of distress and at the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre we hope that we can help people avoid this kind of pain.

Not only do we offer general and routine care, but, along with other private dental practices, we can also offer other treatments alongside, which can also help you have great looking teeth and also younger looking skin.

What’s gone ‘wrong’ with NHS dentistry?

This is a big question but one of the key factors is that NHS dental care is subject to politics as it depends on large swathes of its funding from government sources. Whilst some governments may be willing to part with large amounts of cash, others may be much less so. NHS dentists then can only provide whatever their budget allows them to. This means that only routine dentistry can be provided and certainly no cosmetic procedures.

There is also the problem of staffing and the return of a number of overseas dentists post Brexit hasn’t helped the situation. This has meant that as well as having to wait much longer for an appointment, the time allocated for each person is less than might be ideal in some cases.

Private dentistry

Read more ›

The Clear Benefits Of Discreet Braces

Effective, discreet and very beneficial for Epsom patients who want straighter teeth

Modern dental bracesCrooked teeth are the bane of many people’s lives. No matter how well they look after their teeth, and even if they have undergone teeth whitening treatments, there is one thing that is sure to spoil an otherwise great smile and that is when teeth are crooked or uneven. Whilst teeth can be whitened in a short space of time, straightening teeth is not so simple.

Because care has to be taken not to damage the teeth or the bone surrounding them when repositioning them, this has to be done quite slowly, although the time taken will depend on each case. This is sometimes a deterrent for those who would like to have straighter teeth, but it is a reality that needs to be taken into account when making a decision to have your teeth straightened.

Aesthetic orthodontic options

We know that many people tend to think of the old style dental braces when they are thinking about straightening their teeth. These are no longer the only option available though and at the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre we have a selection of what are often described as ‘invisible braces’ that allow patients to wear the orthodontic for the required time but in a much more discrete manner. Of course, the orthodontics aren’t entirely invisible, but these new modern orthodontics no longer using the metallic wires and brackets of old and instead use either transparent medical grade plastic or teeth coloured wires and brackets.

There are essentially two types of ‘invisible braces’ that are used in different situations. One for ‘cosmetic’ corrections such as a minor overlapping of teeth that are visible and one for more significant correction of crooked teeth including those that are not necessarily so noticeable. Let us take a look at both of these types now.

Six Month Smile

This orthodontic system is mainly used where the patient needs to have some minor corrections made to the visible ‘social six’ teeth at the front of the mouth. Although there are other benefits that straightening these teeth brings about, the main reason for having this treatment is usually to have a great looking, even smile. Although its name might imply that this treatment always takes six months, this is not the case and is simply an average time that it takes. In some situations, where only a minor correction is needed, the time taken can be much shorter.

The Six Month Smile orthodontic system does use the traditional ‘wire and bracket’ approach to teeth straightening but does away with the visible metal and instead uses more discreet materials that can be matched to the colour of your teeth. Although these may still be noticeable if people look closely, they are much less visible to the casual observer.

Clear Aligner

Read more ›

What To Do About Chipped Teeth?

Although sometimes thought of as a ‘minor problem’, chipped teeth may mean trouble ahead

dental checkThere are some types of dental problems that we can’t miss. Issues like tooth decay or root canal infections are likely to make us pick up the phone to see a dentist as soon as we can. Not all dental problems are as obvious and potentially as painful as this though and we might be tempted to ignore some others for as long as we possibly can.

One of these problems is when we chip a tooth. Sometimes we may barely even notice that we have done this and even if we do, we may choose to do nothing about it if it is not causing us too much inconvenience. As we always advise our Epsom patients, you should never ignore a problem with your teeth, however minor it might seem to you. A small problem today could prove to be a much bigger problem in the not too distant future.

Causes of chipped teeth

There are a number of things that can lead to us chipping a tooth. This can be through doing things that our teeth were not designed for, such as opening crisp packets. Other times, we may accidentally bite down on a stray piece of something hard that has found its way into our food. Both of these are annoying of course, but we can at least eliminate the first cause by using the correct implements for the job!

Whatever the cause of the problem, it can lead to a number of issues, either immediately, or over a period of time.

Immediate problems

One of the most likely problems you will notice almost immediately is that the chip has left a sharp edge to the tooth. This can easily cause small cuts and grazes to soft oral tissue such as the lips or tongue. This can be quite painful, especially when we eat or drink something that causes it to sting. Although we might become used to this over time, we really shouldn’t. In addition to any discomfort, there is also a possibility of infection too.

The other problem, depending on the location of the tooth, is that it might be noticeable to others. A chipped front tooth can spoil what would otherwise be an attractive smile.

Longer term problems

Read more ›

What Bad Breath Might Mean For Your General And Oral Health

Smelly breath can be very unpleasant for those around you, but might also indicate other problems too

FlossingMost of us will have had bad breath on occasion. Often this results from food that we have eaten, with garlic being a classic example. Although this can be unpleasant for people around us, it is harmless and will usually go once the effects have worn off.

Some instances of bad breath may be more of a concern though, especially if it persists, even with good oral health care.

In today’s Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre blog, we are going to take a look at what might be causing your bad breath and steps that you can take to prevent and reverse the problem.

Food related bad breath

As mentioned earlier, garlic can cause bad breath but it is not the only thing. Alcohol, coffee and smoking are also likely to make your breath smell; and in the case of smoking in particular, can cause serious harm too. If your breath smells, try cutting out food and drinks that can cause this and see if your breath freshens. If it doesn’t, there might be medical reasons for this.

Medical causes of bad breath

There are a number of medical problems that can have bad breath as a symptom. These include the following:

Kidney problems

Along with symptoms such as blood in the urine or frequent urination, poor kidney health can produce a ‘fishy’ type of odour on the breath. If you are feeling run down and have any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP for advice.

Reflux problems

Acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) causes stomach acids to rise up in the oesophagus. This can cause a sour taste in the mouth and sometimes a burning chest sensation. This problem can sometimes be controlled by changes in your diet and you should see your GP for advice.

Diabetes

Read more ›

Appropriate Care For Ageing Teeth And Gums

Good oral health can be preserved with the correct long-term care….

Mature smiling coupleMany of us are born with the opportunity to have strong and healthy teeth for very many years. Apart from accidents which we have no control over, any deterioration is usually due to our own eating and drinking habits along with neglect in correct cleaning. How well we look after them may depend on how we are taught as children, as many habits that we carry into our adult years are established then.

If you are fortunate enough to have been taught well and have maintained good oral health habits throughout your life, you may well arrive at your more mature years with teeth and gums in very good health. Unfortunately, this will not be the case for everyone, but prior neglect does not mean that you can’t turn things around to some degree with better home care and help from the dentists at the Clocktower Dental, Implant & Facial Centre.

Where to start?

The most basic thing that you can do, but which is essential to restore your teeth and gums, is to make sure that you have a good quality toothbrush that isn’t worn out, together with the use of dental floss. These are the very bedrock of good oral health care and using them appropriately is an excellent place to start.

You should also try to stop smoking if you currently do. This not only increase the risk of serious health issues like oral cancer, but quite commonly also increases the likelihood of gum disease too.

Finally, if you don’t currently have an appointment booked to see both the dentist and the hygienist at our Epsom dental clinic, you should make one as soon as you can. Ongoing monitoring of your teeth and gums, along with a thorough cleaning by the hygienist are great ways to start to reverse any oral health issues you might have.

‘Mature’ oral health issues and how to address them

Problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can strike at almost any age, but there are reasons why they might become more common as we grow older. One obvious reason is simply the years of wear and tear on our teeth as we use them daily to chew and grind our food. It is almost inevitable that there will be some wearing down of the enamel over time, although this can certainly be reduced by looking after your teeth well. Gum disease is also more common as we tend to produce less saliva as we become older. This not only means that we don’t flush away bacteria and food debris as efficiently, but often we also have a drier mouth which allows bacteria to multiply more effectively. This can lead to an increased risk of gum disease with its symptoms which may include bad breath, sore gums and even receding gums.

Treatments

Read more ›