Nine Tips For Healthy Teeth At Easter

dental check

How to keep a healthy smile intact, even with the odd Easter egg!

Easter will soon be upon us, and, as anyone who has children will know, it is seen by some as an excuse to (over) indulge in the consumption of chocolate, usually in the form of Easter eggs.

These are now rarely just shells made of chocolate as in the past, but will often have extra sweets and chocolates inside, adding to the amount of sugar eaten.

There is no reason why we should deprive ourselves of a little indulgence at this time of the year, especially if you make sure to, otherwise, take good care of your teeth. With this in mind, our Clock Tower Dental Clinic team have put together their top nine suggestions as to how our Epsom patients can enjoy their Easter eggs and still maintain healthy teeth!

Clean your teeth – This one is pretty obvious. Especially when you have been eating a lot of additional chocolate, cleaning your teeth is important. If you have children, who may well be excitable at all the extra chocolate, make sure to supervise them when they clean their teeth, especially at bedtime. No ‘last minute’ chocolate treats after their have cleaned their teeth either.

Keep consumption to regular times – Sugar on its own isn’t the entire problem; it is also how and when it is eaten. If we eat our regular meals and then eat the Easter eggs in between, we may not be allowing our teeth time to recover and this can lead to additional damage due to the enamel of our teeth softening after eating. As far as you can, try to eat your Easter eggs at the end of the meal and give your teeth a break in between.

Drink water – Easter eggs are bad enough, but chocolate can make children thirsty. Make sure that they keep their mouths and bodies refreshed with plain old water and try to avoid fizzy drinks. These enamel stripping drinks will only add to the problem of the additional sugar consumption, whilst water will also help to wash away some of the excess sugars, especially those stuck between the teeth.

Avoid stickier treats – Try to avoid the stickier type of sweets when you buy your Easter eggs. Contents such as soft toffee or fondants, such as those in a well known brand of small Easter egg, will really stick to your teeth and are best avoided if you can.

Suggest alternatives – We are not saying that children shouldn’t have their Easter eggs, but it is likely that, unless we take action, they may end up with several of them, often from relatives. Try to find out if there is anything that your child would rather have as a small gift, rather than chocolate. As long as they receive one egg, they may well be prepared to swap the additional ones for other small gifts that they enjoy.

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Why Is Smoking So Harmful To Your Teeth?

Dentist Dr Ravdeep Dhami

Advice for Epsom smokers.

It is no great secret that smoking is bad for you. Study after study has shown that smoking is a major contributor to lung diseases, heart attacks and strokes, to say nothing of our general ability to take part in physical activities. Only someone with the type of belief that thinks that the earth is flat could genuinely believe that smoking is a harmless pursuit.

It isn’t just our general health that smoking affects though. Our teeth, gums and mouth in general are all affected by it. This is logical of course, as the smoke inhaled often lingers in the mouth for a while before being expelled. At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we believe that stopping smoking is essential if you want to have good oral health, and here’s why.

Oral cancers

Let’s start with the most serious issue, oral, or mouth, cancers. These are on the rise and can result in disfiguration, or even death. Like most diseases though, if they are detected early on, the prognosis, following treatment, is likely to be more positive. To aid with this, if we detect any suspicious bumps or other potential indicators during your examination, we will refer you to your GP. This is a precautionary approach and does not mean that you definitely have cancer. There may well be other factors at play, but your GP will be able to diagnose this, or refer you to a specialist. We are simply on the front line, and, as we examine our patients every six months or so, are in an excellent position to spot any issues early on.

Oral cancers, even if treated, can lead to problems with speech and even swallowing. Stopping smoking before this happens to you is clearly the way to go!

Gum disease

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Common Questions About Dental Crowns

Dr Deepi Murphy dentist at Clocktower Dental in Epsom

In today’s blog, we look at some of the questions that our Epsom patients have asked us about crowns.

After a filling, the dental crown is probably one of the most common procedures used to restore a tooth. They are generally used where there is extensive decay, or where a tooth has been badly broken. They are also used to finish the restoration of a tooth following root canal surgery and also are the final component of a dental implant procedure.

Despite this being a relatively common treatment, there are a number of questions that arise quite frequently in discussions with patients, and we take a look at some of the most common ones below.

Is a crown necessary?

If your dentist recommends that you need a crown, then you should take their advice. If your tooth is decayed or damaged, you may have been expecting to have it filled. Dentists are able, however, to examine the tooth at close quarters and are in the best position to decide whether a filling would be suitable for your needs. In most cases, a crown will offer the best option where decay or damage is more extensive.

Will a crown look natural?

Your dental crown will be produced in the same style and shade as the rest of your natural teeth and few people will be able to notice that it is an artificial tooth. You should bear in mind though, that if you have your teeth whitened, this will not affect the crown and may make it appear a different shade from the rest of your teeth. If you are considering having this treatment, please talk to us for advice on how to minimise this effect as much as possible.

How many appointments will I need?

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Do You Play Sports? Oral Health Advice For Footballers And Athletes

Clocktower Dental Implant and Facial Centre

Looking after your teeth may not seem a priority for competitive sports people, but it should be, advises Epsom dentist, Dr Andrew Murphy

When we think of celebrities, such as actors or singers, we usually expect them to have a nice looking smile.

The same can’t always be said about some of our sports personalities though, although some have certainly undergone a teeth whitening treatment!

At The Clocktower Dental Clinic, we believe that everyone, no matter what their profession, deserves to have healthy teeth, and, if they wish, teeth that look great too, through the use of cosmetic dentistry. Playing sports though, can present its own set of unique challenges which we take a look at in today’s blog.

Physical damage

One of the most obvious risks for some types of sports are broken, or knocked out, teeth. Not all sports people run this risk, but anyone participating in a sport where there is physical contact certainly will do. Whilst some, like boxers, do wear mouth-guards on a regular basis, few footballers do, and even some rugby players don’t. Mouth guards are a good way to provide extra protection from damage to your teeth during the game.

Anyone who has lost a tooth, or damaged one to the point where it will need to be extracted, may be considering having a dental implant. Whilst we are generally happy to recommend this method  as a superior option for replacing missing teeth, those who plan to continue playing a contact sport may wish to wait until they have stopped playing before having them, and, instead, use a removable denture as a temporary measure before eventually having the implants placed upon ‘retirement’ from their chosen activity.

Sports drinks

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Broken Tooth Restoration Using CEREC Technology

CEREC machine

Cerec dental crowns offer real benefits for our Epsom patients.

When a patient comes to us with a broken tooth, we always look at all the available options for restoring it.

This could be a simple filling where the breakage is minor, or a more extensive repair using our natural white coloured fillings. For larger breaks though, it is likely that a filling would not restore the tooth effectively enough. In these instances, the use of a dental crown is one of the most likely options to be considered.

Dental crowns are a long standing method of restoring a badly broken tooth, and the procedure hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. The broken tooth is first of all shaped in a way that allows a crown to be attached. Impressions are then taken of the prepared tooth and these are sent off to a dental laboratory for the crown to be made; a process that takes a week or two and requires two visits to the dentist ……… except, at The Clocktower Dental Clinic, it doesn’t!

Modern, patient-friendly dental care

Our Epsom dental team believe in making the patient experience as positive as possible, and, to this end, we invest in modern equipment that offers value for money both in improving patient care and improving the end product. With the use of the CEREC system that we have here on site, we believe that we have achieved this.

CEREC is a system that allows us to produce same-day dental crowns that are just as good, and it is now believed by some, even better quality than those produced at a specialist dental laboratory. The system is entirely computerised and also does away with the need for impressions, something which those who find them a little uncomfortable will, no doubt, be pleased to hear.

To produce the crowns, digital scans are taken of the prepared teeth and this information is then fed into a computer. This information allows the technology that physically produces the crown to, literally, whirr into action. For those curious to see how this happens, there is an short, and rather beautiful to watch, video on YouTube here. Essentially though, the information supplied enables a single block of ceramic to be milled to the exact specification of your required crown.  Once this has been prepared, it is then attached to your prepared tooth using a strong dental adhesive, as would be the case with a regular crown.

Advantages for the patient

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Dermal Filler Safety

In trained hands, dermal fillers are perfectly safe, but whose hands are you in?

Some of our more eagle-eyed readers may have noted a recent article on the Guardian newspaper’s website about potential legislation on who can administer dermal fillers (reference 1 below). At the moment, there are very few restrictions on this and it seems that almost anybody can set themselves up on the high street and offer this facial treatment.

Dermal fillers are becoming very popular, especially for plumping up the lips. Whether we like it or not, they are also becoming increasingly popular with younger people who may not fully understand the risks that they are taking by using these high street outlets, looking to cosmetically improve their appearance. We should say, of course, that many of these outlets will operate legitimate businesses and take good care of their patients, but the problem remains that there is no easy way of knowing which ones these are.

What could go wrong?

In the very worst case scenarios, equipment used in some of these outlets may not be sterilised properly and could lead to infections that could potentially disfigure the patient. More likely though, is that the results of the treatment could go horribly wrong. The ‘trout pout’ is the best known poor outcome, with the lips being disproportionately larger than they should be.

The MP for South Leicestershire, Alberto Costa, who raised this issue in parliament, cited a patient in his constituency who suffered a “terrible injury following a botched lip filler treatment” (if you aren’t squeamish and want to see the results, you can do so here  https://www.prevention.com/beauty/a25429413/lip-filler-injection-artery-swelling-rachael-knappier/ ). In this instance, the filler was accidentally injected into the patient’s artery, causing her lips to swell to five times their normal size.

This particular outcome is a very extreme example of what could go wrong, but as there were nearly a thousand complaints about the results of this type of treatment in the UK last year, it is safe to say that there are many unhappy people out there who probably wished they had never had the filler in the first place.

Can dermal fillers be safe?

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Essential Nutrients For Healthy Teeth

Dietary advice for good oral health, compiled by your Epsom dental team.

When it comes to discussing good oral health, many things come into play. Avoiding, or at least reducing, sugar in our diet is one of them.

We also need to make sure that we look after our teeth well at home, and see a dentist every six months for a regular check up.

Our family genes also play a role and even the best diet in the world may not help you to avoid treatment if your ‘dental genes’ are not as good as they could be.

There are other things that you can do though, and diet again plays a role in this. Our bodies need a good level of nutrition to function at their best, and our teeth are no different. In today’s Clock Tower Dental Clinic blog, we take a look at some types of food that are important to help maintain strong and healthy teeth.

Cheese

Whilst we are not saying that you should eat a large amount of cheese, something which may not be good for your heart; a moderate amount of cheese is very helpful for healthy teeth. Not only does it contain calcium and proteins, both of which are essential for strong enamel, but also neutralises some acids that can damage our teeth. So eating a small quantity of cheese at the end of a meal can actually help to protect your teeth!

Yoghurts

Again, yoghurt, as with most dairy products, contains calcium and proteins. If you buy a good quality yoghurt though, and one that is not full of sugar, they also often contain live bacteria that are helpful for your mouth and gut and will help to minimise the damage that harmful bacteria can cause.

Apples

Although apples, like all fruits, do contain natural sugars, they also offer benefits too. The sweetness of an apple, along with the high water content, has a tendency to make us salivate as we eat them. This increase in saliva helps to wash away the bacteria and food particles that may have become trapped between our teeth. Of course this is not a substitute for brushing our teeth, but is certainly a helpful addition.

Crunchy vegetables

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Why You Should Consider Private Dental Care

dental check

NHS dental care has provided for many patients over the years, but increasingly, it is unable to offer what many patients want.

The Clock Tower Dental Practice is privately run. Like NHS practices, all of our dentists have to adhere to guidelines and regulations laid down by bodies such as the General Dental Council.

By offering private dental care though, we are able to offer our Epsom patients a much wider range of treatments than can be found in NHS only practices.

Over the years, funding for NHS dentistry has arguably not kept up with some people’s expectations and covers, more or less, only the basic essentials. Indeed, in the government’s announcement of £20bn for NHS funding yesterday, there was no mention of any being allocated to dental care (reference). If this comes to pass, this can only put an additional squeeze on NHS dental care, perhaps restricting options even more.

The benefits of private dental care

Although NHS dental care does offer patients ease of access to essential services, it also denies access to many newer treatments that may have superseded older ones. A classic case in point would be the use of dental implants to replace missing teeth, rather than using dentures. The difference in experiences of both of these restorative methods indicates that NHS patients are missing out on an opportunity to have what many consider to be the best tooth replacement system possible.

Private dental care also means that there is more money available to spend on the practice facilities too. Whilst we have no doubt that NHS practices have their patient’s best interests at heart and provide a safe service, funding constraints often mean that things like the waiting room are somewhat basic. Whilst this isn’t the most important thing when choosing a dentist; at the Clock Tower Dental Practice, we like to offer our patients the best overall experience possible. Whilst we try to keep waiting times to a minimum, we also like to provide a pleasant and relaxing environment whilst waiting for an appointment. This has particular relevance for nervous dental patients, with a relaxing environment hopefully helping to take their mind off their appointment a little.

Treatments – some differences

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A Brighter Smile For The New Year Ahead

Zoom teeth whitening

Christmas will be over before we know it. Plan now for your New Year smile!

With all of the preparations necessary for a successful Christmas, you have probably barely had time to think much beyond the next week or so.

Before we know it though, Christmas will be over and the New Year will be upon us, with all the usual resolutions that are made.

Although many of these do fail, for one reason or another, there is no doubt that the new year can be a good time to ‘reinvent’ yourself, perhaps treating yourself to some new clothes, for example.

There is also another way that you can make a big change to your appearance, without the stress of fighting through the new year sales. At The Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we offer a very fast acting treatment that whitens your teeth on average, by eight shades. Start 2019 with a confident, whiter smile!

Zoom2 Teeth Whitening

Whilst many dental practices offer teeth whitening treatments that use a custom made home whitening kit, which can take a couple of weeks to be effective, patients at our Epsom practice can take advantage of the Zoom2 system that whitens your teeth in as little as one hour. You can come to our practice with dull looking teeth, and then leave an hour later with a dazzling new smile!

Like the home whitening kits, Zoom2 is a non invasive treatment that causes little inconvenience. Patients are welcome to bring music or other practical entertainment to help pass the time whilst the treatment takes effect.

A prior check

Before we discuss the treatment itself, it is important to point out that this treatment should only be carried out on a healthy set of teeth, with gums also being in good health. To this end, you will need to see one of the team at our Epsom dental clinic for a thorough check up to make sure that there are no signs of decay or gum disease that need treating beforehand. Once your oral health has been given the all clear, your tooth whitening treatment can commence.

What happens in the one hour?

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Why Might You Need A ‘Deep’ Teeth And Gum Clean?

When gum disease progresses, this procedure offers the chance of saving your teeth.

Gum disease is a very common oral health issue and relatively few of us will go through life without having it to some degree. In many cases, we will probably be completely unaware and the problem may actually be short lived.

This can happen, for example,  when we are ill and perhaps temporarily neglect our teeth cleaning regime a little. For most of us though, we will probably need to have treatment to manage or try to reverse the problem, particularly where it has progressed.

Hygienist cleaning

Before we look at a ‘deep clean’, let us take a look at why we recommend that our Epsom patients see a dental hygienist at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic on a regular basis.

Over time, mineral deposits build up on the surface of our teeth. Whilst these are relatively harmless in themselves, they create a rough surface which not only makes staining more likely, but also allows bacteria to collect more easily. As bacterial deposits build up on the tooth surface, and especially just below the gum line, these become harder to remove and gingivitis is likely. At this stage, the problem can often be treated in a straightforward manner using a scale and polish procedure together with improved care at home. This involves the removal of the majority of  bacteria and tartar using a manual tool, before shattering the rest with a sonic dental implement. A final clean using a high speed brush, means that your mouth can hopefully remain free of gum disease with a short, comfortable and straightforward maintenance procedure.

Advanced gum disease

Although the above procedure can be carried out with little or no discomfort, too many people avoid this stage of oral health care and may, consequently, suffer from a more advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis. This type of gum disease may not only lead to the same problems as gingivitis, including sore or bleeding gums and halitosis, but can actually threaten the survival of your teeth.

Periodontitis attacks not only the soft tissue of the gum, but also the underlying bone. As this weakens, the tooth may start to become loose, and, if not treated, eventually fall out. If too advanced, a clean by the hygienist is unlikely to offer sufficient benefit and a ‘deep’ clean may be necessary.

What is a ‘deep’ clean?

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