Illegal Teeth Whitening – The Dangers

BBC report indicates that some illegal outlets are still offering this treatment.

A cosmetically enhanced smileAs many of you will already know, the teeth whitening procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments currently available. There are several good reasons for this. It is very effective and fast acting, it requires no surgery and is also very affordable for many people.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the treatment though, there are things that can still go very wrong if it is carried out incorrectly.

We have written before about the potential dangers of attempting DIY teeth whitening treatments, but even using established methods can be dangerous if carried out by unqualified or inexperienced practitioners.

It is for this reason that the law now states that teeth whitening can only be carried out by dental professionals like those at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic who are registered with the GDC (General Dental Council) and is why most high street outlets that once offered teeth whitening are now no longer able to do so. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous outlets still continue to do so illegally.

What are the risks?

There are a number of possible risks if you opt to use an illegal outlet. It is very likely that the staff will not be sufficiently trained, if at all. There have, in the past, also been many cases of the incorrect strength of whitening solution being used, causing significant harm to the patient. Where the strength of the solution is too great, patients may well experience significant and possibly severe teeth sensitivity. This can be extremely painful and make eating and drinking many foods and drinks a real problem. There is also a serious risk of burning to the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth. If the solution is too strong, it is even possible that it can result in tooth loss.

Why do people choose to have it done illegally?

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The ‘Love Island’ effect – the search for the perfect smile

How far do people go in the desire for perfect looking teeth?

white teeth smilesWhether you watch the TV programme or not, it is very difficult to escape it. Whether on the news or social media, the effects of Love Island, particularly on the younger generation can easily be seen.

One of these is that younger people are starting to pay more attention to how attractive their smile is.

Perhaps this has always been the case, but with apps such as Instagram now allowing people to show theirs off, the pressure is possibly that much greater.

There is nothing wrong with a fantastic looking smile of course. Many patients of the Clock Tower Dental Clinic have told us how much better they feel about themselves after treatments such as teeth whitening. Whilst we are always happy to encourage patients to have great looking teeth, there is also practical guidance that come with it.

Considered improvement

A patient’s teeth can nearly always be aesthetically improved. Everybody is different though and some cases may require a lot more work to be done. Especially when you are very young, you might be tempted to spend way over your budget in an attempt to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, but this could put you in debt and cause other problems too. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek improvements. Our Epsom cosmetic dental team are here to offer advice and can suggest ways to improve your teeth either within a given budget, or through the use of our beneficial payment plans. We will not ‘push’ you towards treatments that you don’t need or cannot afford.

That ‘perfect’ smile

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Recuperating From Dental Surgery

Looking after yourself following treatment will help comfort and aid healing.

Kind dentistFor some nervous patients, a lot of the conversation around a forthcoming dental procedure is the possible anxiety and discomfort that might be felt whilst undergoing it. This is understandable and we have covered it and tried to allay any fears in earlier blogs. Today, we thought that we would take a look instead at what happens after a procedure when you have left our Epsom practice with a restored or extracted tooth.

While immediate aftercare begins in the dental surgery, patients should also consider how they will approach the next few hours or even days in the case of more extensive treatment.

The team at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic look at some examples of recovery below.

Fillings

For most people, recovering from a filling is straightforward. You should take care not to eat anything hard, or better still, anything at all until the local anaesthetic has worn off. This is usually just for a short time of a few hours. You should also allow around 24 hours before you use that tooth to bite anything hard and softer foods are better initially to give the filling time to fully settle. Recovery is usually straightforward with a filling but if you are in discomfort when the local anaesthetic has worn off, please get in touch with us straightaway.

Extractions

If you have a tooth extracted, the dentist will typically apply a piece of sterile gauze to the treament area. This will help a blood clot to form which you should not ‘poke’ at with your finger, tongue or any implement. This is essential for healing and if it does come out you may suffer from a painful condition known as a dry socket. Whilst an extraction is usually a straightforward procedure, it can feel quite traumatic and we recommend that patients take it easy for at least the rest of that day, taking time off work where possible. We also recommend that you avoid physical activity for a few days to allow yourself to fully recover. You should also avoid alcohol and cigarettes (if you do smoke) for a few days at least to minimise the risk of infections.

Teeth whitening

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A New Year, A New You?

With help from our Epsom cosmetic dental team, you can have a new and improved smile in 2020!

smiling older coupleChristmas and the New Year celebrations are over for yet another year and most of us will now be starting to get back to ‘normal’, whatever that may be for you.

Some of us will have made some very definite new year resolutions, whilst others may simply have a very loose idea of things that they want to change in 2020.

One of the most common areas for new year targets is self improvement. This can be educational, perhaps taking an evening class,  getting fitter by joining a gym or cutting out unhealthy foods, or improving our appearance. It is in this latter area that the Clock Tower Dental Clinic team can help.

Life takes its toll

For many of us, our daily lives present challenges, whether this be at work or bringing up a family. Both of these take both time and energy from our lives, often leaving us with very little time to dedicate to ourselves. Hastily grabbed meals, a lack of exercise and too little time for shopping and beauty treatments can sometimes leave us looking a little older than we really are.

There comes a point when some of us will look in the mirror and not be entirely happy with what they see. A new year presents an opportunity to take charge of this and do something about it. Eating healthily and making sure that we take more exercise, even if only walking to the shop instead of driving, is a good start. When it comes to improving how we look though, professional help is at hand.

Age reducing treatments

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Maintaining Great Oral Health Over The Festive Period

Your Epsom dentist advises how to keep your teeth and gums healthy at this time of the year.

healthy familyWith Christmas just a week or so away, some of us will be getting excited whilst others will be working on last minute shopping for presents and food for the big day. Christmas is a great time to get together with family and friends and we often overindulge a little in our favourite things as well.

Without wishing to spoil the fun, our Clock Tower Dental Clinic team knows that this time of the year can result in specific risks to your teeth and oral health in general. It doesn’t have to be this way though and with just a little additional care, we can have a great holiday without endangering our oral health. To help with this, we offer some Christmas oral health tips below.

Sweets, chocolates and other sugary foods

We know that many of our patients will likely increase their consumption of unhealthy high sugar foods over the festive period. Sometimes we do this simply because we have been given chocolates as presents and break into these straight away. It is widely accepted that sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of tooth decay though and we should bear this in mind.

Where possible, try to reduce the amount of sugary foods that you eat, perhaps replacing them with alternatives such as nuts or crisps. If you do feel the need to eat your tempting box of chocolates on the day that you open them, do make sure to clean your teeth well so that any residual sugary deposits are removed.

Starting smoking again

A lot of you will probably be all too aware of how difficult it was to stop smoking. There is no doubt that in doing so, you will have benefited your general and oral health greatly. Christmas, however,  is a time when we can easily waver and be tempted to start smoking again, especially when alcohol has been consumed.

Our advice is to resist this temptation. Smoking is heavily linked with gum disease and oral cancers amongst other well-known health issues. Accepting a cigarette or cigar with the intention of it being ‘just one’ may well be anything but, and we may find ourselves craving cigarettes again.

Alcohol consumption

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Planning To Go Abroad For Your Dental Implants?

Your Epsom dental team recommends considering the potential implications!

Dental implantsIt’s coming up to that time of the year when, once Christmas is over, many of us will start to look at ways that we can improve our lives in the new year. This sometimes takes the form of resolutions; but even those of us who are not keen on making those, will still probably have a few thoughts about ways to improve in 2020.

It is probably no coincidence then that this is a popular time for advertisers and especially those in the ‘self improvement’ business. Cosmetic dentistry tends to fall into this bracket and many of you will probably have noticed an increase in the number of advertisements offering cheaper dental implants, particularly on-line but also in some magazines too.

If you are considering taking up one of these offers, please read on. The offers may not quite be all they seem!

Dentists abroad

The fact is that whilst you will get special offers from time to time which can reduce costs a little, most UK dentists’ prices for dental implants tend to be quite similar. Some of these advertisements though are from dental practices abroad and offer not only cheaper dental implants but some also include flights and accommodation. Where this is the case, this should certainly set off a few alarm bells.

Because of the cost of the titanium implants and the lengthy training needed to be allowed to place them in the UK, you can be sure that when you have an implant placed in this country, the dentist carrying out the procedure will be suitably qualified. If the cost is significantly lower abroad, you could be risking having your implant placed by someone who is under-qualified, or at the very least, less experienced.  As this is a complex procedure, it is especially important that it is done correctly and in our opinion, it isn’t worth the risk of using a dentist that you aren’t familiar with.

It is also worth mentioning that qualifications can vary widely from one country to another and you should, at the very least, investigate the level of skills and experience of the dentist you are considering.

Inferior materials

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Is A Daily Coffee Habit Ruining Your Teeth?

Will the rise of the coffee shop contribute to a decline in our oral health?

dental checkCoffee was first introduced to England in 1637 by a Turkish student at Oxford University who then founded a coffee club. In more recent times it has probably played a secondary role to tea drinking in the UK, until now that is.

Drinking coffee, it seems, is now perhaps our number one pastime as can be seen by the huge amount of chain coffee shops, along with some local speciality ones, in most towns and cities.

But does this matter for our teeth? Like anything, it depends on how we consume it. A black coffee alone will have no effect on the health of our teeth whatsoever if taken without sugar, apart perhaps from long-term staining effects. Unfortunately, as we shall see, many of the more ‘speciality’ coffees that these establishments sell could well have dire consequences for our teeth.

Cosmetic considerations

We said earlier that a no sugar black coffee won’t harm the teeth. This is true but it may well have an effect on how they look, especially if you drink them regularly. Coffee stains as anyone who has spilled it on themselves will be all too aware. It can also have this same staining effect on the enamel of our teeth, especially where the enamel has eroded, leaving a rough surface. Any coffee will do this, although stronger ones such as espressos are likely to have a more significant effect.

Brushing your teeth well will help to limit the staining and, as part of a healthy gum regimen, a scale and polish will also remove a lot of surface staining. Where it has become more severe, you may wish to consider either a professional teeth whitening procedure or even dental veneers.

Too much sugar

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Dental Veneers, Then And Now

Veneers were invented in the late 1920s. Clock Tower Dental in Epsom looks at how they’ve developed.

CEREC machineDental veneers are commonly used for replacing damaged or discoloured surface enamel on the teeth, especially where staining and discolouration is too significant for a teeth whitening procedure to be fully effective.

They are a popular and long lasting solution to this common problem and now more affordable than ever before.

Teeth veneers have not always been around though and were initially created to address a particular aesthetic problem.

In 1928, Charles Pincus, a dentist from California, USA, created the first veneers which were used for an actor with poor looking teeth on a film shoot. These would have been very rudimentary of course and probably provided an aesthetic benefit only.

Inspired by the visual success of these first veneers, he then developed the idea further, arriving a number of years later, at a type of veneer that could be attached using an adhesive. These early veneers were made from acrylic and were not very strong but did provide a convenient aesthetic solution.

Advances in veneer production

As the idea took off, it was only a matter of time before improvements were made in the practicality of this new cosmetic dental treatment. The most obvious area to address was in their durability and over time, veneers started to be produced in both resin and porcelain, as many are still today. Even with this new material, there were still problems that needed to be overcome. One of these was in the difficulty of keeping the veneers attached for any length of time.

A solution to this problem came in the late 1950s with the introduction of ‘etching’. This involves the use of a mild acid being used on the prepared tooth surface before the adhesive is added. By doing so, it creates a rougher surface and allows the dental adhesive to bond much more firmly. This is still widely in use today.

The next problem (and how we can help!)

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Receding Gums

What Causes It And How To Prevent It

Oral health concernsHopefully, after reading our various blog posts about gum disease and checking in with our hygienist, most of our Epsom patients are aware of the need to pay attention to gum health, equally as much as they do for their teeth.

Good gum health will help to protect your teeth and also avoid the soreness and bleeding often associated with gingivitis and periodontitis, the two main types and degrees of gum disease.

When it comes to gum health, there is an issue which sometimes affects us and mostly happens over a period of time. Because of this, people often don’t notice it is happening until somebody else points it out to them. This is the issue of receding gums.

Why is it an issue?

The most obvious thing that happens when your gums recede is that it reveals more of the tooth and can make your teeth look longer than normal, producing a ‘toothy’ affect. As getting older is one of the things that can contribute to this, it is probably no surprise to learn that this is where the phrase ‘long in the tooth’ comes from.

When our gums recede it is the root part of the tooth which is exposed. This is less well protected than the crown of the teeth (the part that usually shows above the gum line) and patients in this situation are more likely to experience sensitive teeth and are also at a higher risk of decay in the exposed area.

Whilst we can do nothing about getting older, gum recession can be prevented, or at least significantly slowed down, through making sure that we look after our gums and also avoid habits that contribute to our gums receding.

Healthy gums

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Caring For Baby Teeth

Early years care – critical for the development of healthy teeth.

In a recent blog, we looked at what you, as parents, can do to help your young children have healthy teeth when they start back to school.

It is worth remembering though, that having a healthy mouth starts with good oral care starting even earlier on in life. From the moment we are born, the risk of oral health problems are there.

At least up to the point where our children start school (and probably a few years beyond), we are largely in control of how well they look after their teeth. Although we might encourage them to start to take some of the responsibility themselves, it is important that we supervise this so that they develop good teeth cleaning habits.

Although some parents have started to take better notice of their young children’s teeth and gums, with a reduction in the number of extractions needed being reduced by 8% since 2014, there were still over 21,000 extractions carried out on children last year. That is 21,000 too many!

In today’s Clock Tower Dental Clinic blog, your local Epsom dental team takes a look at some ways that you can help your very young children have healthy teeth and gums.

Clean the gums from a very early age

Even before a baby’s teeth come through, you should take care to clean their gums. This can be done just using water and a soft damp clean cloth. Do not use toothpaste at this stage as their gums may still be sensitive. This simple action will help to remove some of the potentially problematic oral bacteria and food debris from the mouth.

Their first toothbrush

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