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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Dentin Hypersensitivity

tooth pain

The extremes of sensitive teeth.

Common sense says that if you bury your teeth into an ice cream and leave them there for some time, you might expect to experience some level of discomfort caused by sensitivity. The level of this will depend, to a certain extent, on the health and thickness of the enamel on your teeth, amongst other things.

Most patients of the Clocktower Dental Clinic, of course, will rarely do such extreme things and tooth sensitivity will not be an issue in their day-to-day lives.

Unfortunately for some, this is not always the case as dentin hypersensitivity is far from uncommon, causing discomfort and distress to those who suffer from it.

What is dentin hypersensitivity?

Better known to most patients as ‘tooth sensitivity’, it is a condition which causes discomfort when the teeth are exposed to either hot or cold temperatures, as well as exposure to acidic food and drinks. Breathing in very cold air will also often have the same effect.

The discomfort caused by sensitive teeth can be quite severe and cause the patient to wince with pain when it happens. It can be very unpleasant and may also restrict choice when it comes to certain food and drinks.

What causes it?

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Oral Cancers Are On The Rise. Should You Be Concerned?

Dentist Dr Ravdeep Dhami

Epsom dentist, Ravdeep Dhami, looks at the facts behind this recent rise.

We have discussed oral cancers before on our blogs, and explained that  this is something that we check for during your six monthly examinations. Our role here, because we routinely closely examine the oral cavity, is to observe if there are any unusual signs that should be further examined by a doctor.

These symptoms can vary but include red or sore patches, unexplained bumps or lesions and tongue pain, amongst others. In effect, your six monthly dental check at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom means not only that your teeth and gums are more likely to remain healthy, but that any potential signs of oral cancers will be spotted early on, helping you to receive any necessary treatment as soon as possible, should it be needed.

On the rise

As with many illnesses, there can be a tendency to dismiss them as things that happen to other people. Unfortunately, sometimes we are those ‘other people’, and, with a new report out recently that indicates that oral cancers are on the rise, we shouldn’t be too blase about this serious issue.

In fact, the report not only says that oral cancers are on the rise but that there has been a sharp increase, which is especially worrying. There are now 8,300 people each year diagnosed with mouth cancer, nearly a 50% increase from ten years ago (and 135% from 20 years ago). With just over 2,700 people dying from this disease last year, and many more suffering life changing problems because of it, it is time that patients take this seriously.

Lack of awareness

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Renew Your Smile

new smiles with cosmetic dentistry

Tooth neglect? We’re here to help!

At the Clocktower Dental Clinic in Epsom, Surrey, we firmly believe that everybody deserves a second chance.

Some of us have probably been guilty of neglecting our health, to some extent,  when we were younger; perhaps through poor diet, smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

Whilst it appears that as far as drinking and smoking go, the younger generation are generally living healthier lifestyles, it is fair to say that, for those in their middle ages and beyond, cigarettes and alcohol probably played an important role in their social life when they were younger.

Times change, and our understanding of what certain practices can do to our health evolves. As it does so, we may gradually change our diet and habits, though the legacy of these lifestyles can linger for many years. This is especially the case when it comes to the health and appearance of our teeth.

Too young to understand

As children, our teeth are just our teeth. We probably think very little about them apart from how much we really don’t want to clean them. It possibly isn’t until our first bad toothache that we start to understand a little more about why we should look after them. Even though our knowledge may have expanded by our teens, our lives are developing at such a rapid pace at this time of life that we often simply don’t worry about our teeth much at all.

As things settle down and we become a little older, and some may also say a little wiser, we may sit down and take stock of the harm that we have done to our health. It is often at this stage that we take up jogging, join a gym or eat a healthier diet. Whilst these things are all potentially good for our health, you can’t really take the same approach with your teeth.

Maintenance

When we arrive at the point that we think we should take better care of our teeth, this is certainly a good thing. However, starting to brush your teeth more diligently at this stage, will only really help to delay the decline but issues such as tooth decay can still progress.

The reality is that if you have neglected your teeth and gums up until this point, professional intervention will likely be necessary to restore them. In addition to any improvements in their health and appearance that this brings, many studies also now link common problems, such as gum disease, with other serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. By taking the initial step to see one of our Epsom dentists, you may improve your chances of avoiding other health problems, as well as dental ones.

How we can help

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Common Misconceptions About Dental Veneers

A cosmetically enhanced smile

Despite their popularity, common misunderstandings about teeth veneers still exist.

Porcelain dental veneers are widely used in cosmetic dentistry. They can be used where teeth are chipped or cracked, as well as being an alternative to a teeth whitening procedure where the teeth are very badly stained. They have long been used by ex smokers to restore the colour of their teeth, once they have managed to stop smoking.

They are also useful for people whose enamel has eroded, perhaps through excess brushing, and can be used not only to restore the appearance of their teeth, but also to help protect against sensitivity.

Despite their wide use, there are still some common misunderstandings about veneers. In today’s Clock Tower Dental Clinic blog, the team takes a look at some of these and tries to dispel the myths.

Veneers become easily detached

There is a small element of truth in this, although it is wrong to say that they become ‘easily’ detached. In fact, this is a relatively rare occurrence and is nearly always due to the patient’s lifestyle. The most common way of a veneer becoming detached is through actions such as nail biting, or using the veneer covered teeth to tear open packets etc; which clearly should be avoided.

Veneers should last for approximately ten years but as time progresses, the adhesive used to attach your veneer to the natural tooth may weaken and need to be replaced. Do make sure to have this done by one of our dentists, and please don’t attempt to do so yourself.

Good oral health care is also essential as tooth decay may also weaken the bond between your tooth and the veneer.

The procedure is painful

Having veneers placed is an invasive procedure as it involves the removal of a small layer of enamel from the front of your teeth. As with all procedures of this nature, you will be given a local anaesthetic to prevent any significant discomfort. You should not find the procedure itself at all painful, although some residual sensitivity might be present for a short while afterwards, but should soon subside.

They look artificial

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Questions To Ask When Looking For A New Dentist

Dr Andrew Murphy

Dr. Andrew Murphy advises what to look for when registering with a new dental practice.

From time to time, some of us will need to find a new dental practice. This may be because you have moved into the Epsom area for the first time, or you may simply feel that you wish to change to a practice offering a wider range of treatments. There are other potential reasons too, but these are two of the most common.

Especially if you are new to the area and don’t really know anyone to recommend a dentist to you, you will probably rely on online reviews as a starting point. This isn’t a bad place to start, although it is always worth remembering that there may be ‘fake reviews’ amongst the genuine ones. In the end, a lot will come down to how you feel when you visit the practice to register. When you do so, there are a few questions that are always worth asking before you commit to registering.

Ask about the dentists working there

You will, quite naturally, want to feel comfortable with your new dentist. After all, they will be coming into very close contact with you during your examinations and any treatment you receive. Do check out the ‘team’ page on their website, where you should find a lot of information. Don’t be afraid though, to ask more questions about the dentist you are registering with, if you need more information about them.

How well established is the practice?

Although a brand new dental practice may have all of the latest equipment and brand new facilities, it will likely not have built up a reputation yet. Although the dentists there should be fully qualified and registered with the General Dental Council, there may be less efficient organisation with appointment booking systems, for example. If you are unsure, you may wish to consider joining a long established practice such as our own Clock Tower Dental Clinic which has been owned and run by the same team for the past 20 years and has well established and trusted systems in place.

Ask for evidence

Understandably, all practices will encourage you to register with them and will promote their own services, but you should always ask them for evidence to back this up. There are reliable external checks on all practices by external bodies.

Range of treatments

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What Effect Will The Restrictions On Sales Of Sports Drinks Have?

Dr Deepi Murphy dentist at Clocktower Dental in Epsom

Dr Deepi Murphy, looks at what a ban on sales to children will mean for their teeth.

According to news reports out today, the government is considering banning the sales of ‘sports drinks’ to children. There is some debate as to whether this will apply to just under 16s or include under 18s as well. Whilst here at Clocktower Dental we believe that the latter would be the better option, even a ban to the under 16s could bring useful improvements for oral health.

We have mentioned before that energy and sports drinks have been linked to a rising number of cases of tooth decay, and, with some of these drinks containing up to the equivalent of 20 sugar cubes per can, this is not really surprising.

Caffeine and sugar

Although perhaps not creating many problems from a dental point of view, a lot of these drinks contain a large quantity of caffeine, approximately the equivalent of two espresso coffees. Most parents wouldn’t, for a second, think about fueling their children with coffee, although  they may also be unaware that their children are consuming these high caffeine drinks bought outside of the home. It seems likely that some children are choosing to skip breakfast, opting instead for a high energy drink on their way to school. Whilst this may provide a boost in the morning, some teachers have reported attention problems later in the day as the drinks wear off.

As a dentist, it is the sugar in these drinks that is a major problem for our Epsom patients. Whilst we are focusing on children regarding the ban, many adults also use these drinks to give them an instant ‘lift’, and even though sales may not be banned to them, we strongly advise taking note of the reasons for it, and reducing consumption accordingly.

Tooth decay

Any soft drink that contains sugar is harmful to your teeth. With some of these sports drinks containing more than double the quantity of sugar of regular soft drinks, the risk of decay and other dental problems are greatly increased. Sugar acts as a fuel for some of the harmful bacteria that live in our mouth and as the bacteria digest the sugars, they produce acids which damage the enamel on our teeth. Once damaged, this allows bacteria to enter the inner parts of our teeth, with decay and toothache most likely and just a matter of time.

Whilst we can restore most teeth damaged in this way, for example using a tooth coloured filling or a Cerec produced crown, it is far better to prevent this problem from arising in the first place. Good home care, reduced sugar consumption and regular dental visits are prerequisites for this.

Obesity

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Osseointegration And Implant Placement

Principal dentist at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, Andrew Murphy, explains this critical process.

Dental implant placement has been evolving since they were first discovered by Swedish scientist, Per Ingvar Branemark, in the mid 1960s.

One part of the process that has not really changed though, and is the main reason for their success, is the osseointegration period. Simply put,  this is the part of the process, following placement, where the body naturally chooses to surround the titanium implant with new bone, gradually bonding to it and providing it with its strength and stability.

Although this natural occurrence hasn’t really changed at all, what has changed is our understanding of it, and specifically, what we need to do, as both dentist and patient, to make sure that this takes place successfully.

Placing the implant

When our experienced Epsom implant dentists place your implant, they will, first of all, have checked to make sure that there is sufficient bone available. They will also have examined your general oral health to make sure that there are no problems, such as gum disease, which could compromise the outcome. Using the latest technology, they will ensure that your implant is placed precisely and safely and will also provide detailed aftercare advice.

Naturally, we will also continue to monitor your progress regularly as you heal and start to use your new replacement tooth.

The patient’s responsibility

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The Professional Way To Improved Smile Aesthetics!

Dentist Dr Ravdeep Dhami

The work of Dr Ravdeep Dhami at Clocktower Dental in Epsom.

Whilst some people may only visit their dentist for essential care, such as check ups and the occasional filing; an increasing number of patients are seeking out ways to improve the way that they look. At the Clocktower Dental Clinic, I am proud to offer my range of skills to help you achieve a great looking smile.

Teeth improvements

Before we start to work on improving the look of your teeth, you will need to have your teeth checked for problems such as decay and gum disease. There is little use, for example, in fitting a dental veneer to a decaying tooth. Doing so would render it less than effective and almost certainly result in a short lifespan for the restoration.

Once your teeth are suitably healthy, or where the cosmetic procedure to be used, such as a crown, would act to restore the tooth, we will review the best ways to give you a smile to be proud of.

Common cosmetic procedures

There are many cosmetic procedures that can be used, and I will offer advice on the best approach once you have had your initial consultation.

Amongst the cosmetic services that I provide are:

Porcelain veneers

These are attached to the front of the teeth following the removal of an equivalent thickness of the natural tooth enamel. They can be used for purely cosmetic purposes, where the teeth are heavily stained, or can be used to restore a chipped or cracked tooth. In some cases veneers can also be used to close gaps in the teeth and improve alignment.

Dental crowns

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Teenage Oral Health Care

straight white teeth

Looking after teeth and gums during the ‘independence’ years.

Keeping our teeth and gums in good health can be an ongoing challenge for most of us, but when the teenage years arrive and hormones start to change our behaviour, adequate oral health care can be difficult to maintain. This can be a worrying time for parents, not only about their children’s general behaviour, but also how well they are looking after themselves.

Providing that you have brought your children up to be diligent about cleaning their teeth, and supervised them during their earlier years, they will hopefully be well equipped to continue to look after their teeth. The rise of ‘selfies’ may also encourage some to maintain a nice smile so that they can present the best photos of themselves to others. The teenage years do throw up some specific challenges though.

Independence

The teenage years are often rebellious years to some degree. This is natural and in many ways essential for their personal growth. It does mean though, that parents start to lose control over some aspects of their life, including their teeth cleaning regimen. Appointments at our Epsom dental clinic, which should be every six months, may be cancelled or skipped altogether because they have ‘better things to do’. As adults, we know the consequences of these actions and obviously want our children to avoid the pitfalls of neglecting their teeth and gums.

Whilst all teenagers will be different, gentle encouragement should still be maintained to help them have a healthy mouth both during their teenage years and onwards into adult life.

Bad habits

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