Back To School Oral Care Tips

Your Epsom dentists offer some timely advice for local parents.

It might only seem like five minutes ago that the children broke up for the summer holidays. Or perhaps for some, it might seem like forever, with the constant chaos and pleas of “I’m bored .. let’s do something” or the constant backdrop of cartoons on TV and fractious children!

It may sound like a horror show, but most of us love our kids really, and want the best for them and hopefully this applies to their dental care too.

Given that the children will be returning to school in the next few weeks, the team here at Clock Tower Dental Clinic thought it would be useful to offer a timely reminder about how you can help to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Be prepared

Their first day back at school can be a bit of a shock to the system. All of a sudden, there is a time restriction to get them washed, fed and clothed in order to get them to school on time. In the rush, there are a number of potential pitfalls that can be detrimental to their young teeth. Breakfast can often be a rushed affair, especially if you have a larger family. High sugar cereals might be the order of the day, perhaps with a sugary and acidic fruit drink. These are far from ideal ways for young teeth to start the day, with sugar being a leading cause of tooth decay, and acidic drinks especially harmful to the enamel on children’s teeth.

Try to make time for a more organised and tooth friendly breakfast. Suggestions that are ideal for young children include unsweetened yoghurts, egg on toast (or boiled with ‘soldiers’), cheeses and fresh fruit. This gives them a healthier and more dental friendly start to the day.

If you pack their lunch too, try to make sure that it is a healthy option, perhaps with a small treat. Don’t be tempted to give in and provide an unhealthy high sugar lunch for them.

Clean teeth

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Reducing The Number Of Younger Smokers

Would increasing the age limit for buying cigarettes to 21 improve the nation’s oral health?

A campaign group called Action On Smoking And Health (also known as ASH) (http://ash.org.uk/home/) has called for the age limit for purchasing cigarettes to be increased to 21. It is hoped that by doing this, fewer people will start smoking at all.

Evidence currently suggests that few people actually start smoking after this age and most smokers of 21 or thereabouts had started a few years earlier.

There are a lot of reasons why people smoke and it may be seen as the the “done thing” within the family or peer group. We often have a carefree attitude towards our health when we are young too, as our mortality seems to be a very long way off. Other factors such as advertising and TV personalities and characters that smoke may have an effect too.

What effect would increasing the age have?

At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we see many cases of oral health issues that have either been caused, or aggravated by smoking. Apart from failure to clean the teeth, it is one of the biggest risk factors for a healthy mouth. From treatable problems like gum disease, to potentially life threatening ones such as mouth cancer, smoking cigarettes is a serious threat to the nation’s oral and general health.

We believe that if the age was increased, we would slowly but surely see the incidence of these problems fall. They would not cease overnight and there are still potential problems such as the illegal sale of black market cigarettes. It could be quite effective though, as can be seen by the big drop in the number of smokers since it was banned in public spaces.

Stopping smoking

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Prosthodontics – Replacing Missing Teeth At Your Local Epsom Dentist

From dentures to dental implants, there are several ways to replace missing teeth.

With good care, regular brushing and flossing, and perhaps a little luck, many of us will hopefully reach our later years having lost few, if any, of our teeth. For some though, lost teeth will unfortunately be a feature.

It isn’t just poor dental care that causes tooth loss; some illnesses such as diabetes and even some side effects of medication can increase the risk. There are also accidents as well, especially traumatic ones such as a car crash that can cause significant mouth damage, including the loss of many teeth.

Whether it is a single tooth that is missing, or a full arch, the team at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic are here to help rebuild your mouth and your smile.

Replacing missing teeth

Perhaps the best known method of tooth replacement is to use dentures and this is a treatment many patients still choose. Whilst it does have its advantages, such as the fact that often no surgery is required, patients are increasingly turning away from this method due to issues such as denture instability and also the fact that wearing them can make eating certain foods a little difficult.

Dentures can be used to replace individual teeth or a full arch and whilst still widely used, are slowly but surely being overtaken by dental implants.

Dental bridge

A bridge typically consists of a replacement tooth that is held in position by the two crowns that are attached to teeth on either side of the gap. This method does allow for more stability and strength than dentures but also requires the preparation of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Especially where these teeth are in otherwise good health, it it is understandable why some patients prefer to avoid using a bridge.

Dental implants

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INJEX – A Solution For Needle Phobic Patients

Techniques to help nervous dental patients in Epsom, Surrey.

Dental phobia is very common. Recent research has shown that around 80% of Brits are scared of going to the dentist, with around a quarter having cancelled appointments for just this reason (reference 1).

For a significant number of people, their fear and phobias have meant that they have not seen a dentist in the last three years.

Visiting the dentist can be challenging, even for some dentists when they need treatment themselves; so no-one is really going to pretend that it is a fun thing to do. It is however, very necessary, not only for the sake of your teeth and gums, but with oral health issues increasingly being linked with serious medical problems, perhaps even for your life too.

The ‘needle’

We will take a look at other anxiety issues a little later, but, for now, let us focus on the needle. Some people are nervous of any type of injection, whilst others are generally fine where it is in the arm. When it comes to putting a needle into the gum though, we often see even the calmest patient start to tense as the needle gets close.

What may interest some of our patients to know is that you barely even feel the needle as it enters the gum. Any sensation should be little more than a pin prick. What patients actually feel when they think this is causing the pain, is when the injected anesthetic meets the bloodstream. Whilst this can feel unpleasant, it usually only lasts for a few seconds before the area becomes numb. It would also be impossible to perform most procedures without it.

INJEX

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Dental Restorations – What Are Our Patient’s Main Concerns?

Epsom dentist, Ravdeep Dhami, addresses patient’s questions about teeth restorations.

The days seem long gone now when dental practices offered little else other than fillings, extractions and dentures. The options for restoring both damaged and missing teeth are now much more extensive and offer some excellent opportunities for strong and realistic looking tooth restorations.

Even with a common treatment such as a filling, some patients have a number of questions and concerns. When it comes to more complex, and sometimes misunderstood, treatments such as dental implants, it is probably not surprising that patients want to know more about the treatment that they are about to receive.

Most patients have a range of questions that often vary from individual to individual; but there are a number of questions that occur regularly, and we take a look at some of these below.

Will the treatment hurt?

This is a question that we hear a lot from our more nervous dental patients, but even those who feel more confident about their treatment are often interested to find out if the procedure will be uncomfortable. There is little use in us pretending that dental treatments are an enjoyable experience and very few would would believe us if we did! The reality though is that treatments need to be carried out for a reason, even if it does mean a little discomfort for a short period of time. In many cases, the discomfort would become far greater if treatment was not carried out.

We can assure our patients that, with the use of a local anaesthetic, any discomfort felt will be kept to a minimum, often painless, and our dentists will be as gentle as possible. For those undergoing more extensive or longer treatments, IV sedation is available to enable you to have the treatment in a more relaxed state if you feel this would be beneficial.

Will it look natural when it is completed?

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Don’t Use Your Teeth For This!

A look at some of the bad, and potentially dangerous, habits that we sometimes use our teeth for.

A study that was carried out as part of National Smile Month has highlighted the fact that some people in the UK use their teeth for things other than eating food. Whilst some of these seem relatively natural things to do, they can be harmful for your teeth. Other habits fall more into the ‘foolish and dangerous category’!

Our Epsom patients should remember that our teeth are not solid objects like a block of marble, but are made up of a number of things which include nerves in the softer inner pulp, making them very sensitive to pain if the outer layer gets compromised.

Before we look at the many techniques the team at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic have in their portfolio to repair damaged teeth, let’s take a look at some of the worst and most common of the bad habits which can cause damage in the first place.

Sellotape

By far the most common misuse of our teeth is for tearing sellotape from the roll. Despite the many technological advances and general tools available, it seems that we revert to caveman like instincts when it comes to certain simple tasks. Although tearing tape in this way may see relatively harmless, the impact on the teeth are likely to cause them to chip, and if they are already weakened, possibly even break.

In a similar way to tearing sellotape, many people also admitted to opening crisp packets with their teeth which can also cause damage in the same way as above.

An extra hand and biting habits

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Looking After Your Teeth In Later Life

Taking care of your teeth as you age is just as important as in your youth.

We all hope to grow old one day, however far away that may seem at the moment. Younger people especially, may find it hard to imagine what it is like to be old, but it’s an inevitable route for most of us.

There is no getting away from the fact that there certainly are some disadvantages of reaching our later years, though many also find happiness comes easier in later life, once the stress of work and families etc has disappeared into the background a little more.

One of the most important factors regarding how much you enjoy your later years is how healthy you are. The better your health, the more likely you are to participate in events and meet up with friends etc. To most people, that is common sense. Perhaps too few though, tend to think about how the condition of their teeth might also affect them later on.

Eating and speaking

Having a healthy set of teeth in later life can make a big difference to the quality of our lives. It can mean the difference between tucking into your favourite food, or having to select only softer foods because your teeth can’t handle harder varieties. It can mean the difference between feeling confident that your teeth look OK and avoiding people because of your discoloured teeth. Many older people also wear dentures which may move around in the mouth, causing embarrassment and also sometimes affecting speech.

There are a number of cosmetic dental treatments now available at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom that can help to rectify these problems and we will take a look at these a little later on.

The problems associated with older teeth

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Does Your Dentist Offer Dental Implants?

Dr Andrew Murphy Asks, “Are you accessing the widest range of treatment options?”

Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular. Despite this, there are still a significant number of dentists who don’t offer this tooth replacement system at their own practice. There may be many reasons for this, including the fact that, in order to place them, you need to undergo extra training for a number of years in order to do so.

Older dentists, who may be heading towards retirement for example, may not wish to take up this option. This is completely understandable of course, but it does mean that their patients may then not consider this excellent treatment.

As dental implants offer a strength and stability that is second to none, we are firm believers that this treatment should be an option for anyone who wants it, and, at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we offer this treatment for patients who have lost a tooth, or a number of teeth.

Your current situation

Let us assume for a moment that your current dentist does not offer implants directly. In a hypothetical situation, you may have fallen from your bike, or had an accident which has knocked out a front tooth. This is actually quite common, and almost everyone will want to replace the missing tooth rather than have a gap in a very visible place.

You will probably, quite naturally, make an appointment to see your dentist who will explain the available options. These may well include the more traditional options such as a partial denture or bridge, but both of these options have some disadvantages when compared to modern dental implants. Instability and the need to prepare adjacent teeth are but two.

Even if they do not provide dental implants themselves, your dentist may then also discuss the possibility of having them placed at another practice, usually one close to their own location.

Bridges or implants?

Dental professionals are aware that patient choice is important, and, even though they may not offer implants themselves, they will be able to explain the procedure in layman’s term, and offer a referral to a nearby dental implant clinic. At least then you will be able to access the full range of teeth replacement options, even if they are not all at your “home” practice.

Referrals

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Nine Tips For Healthy Teeth At Easter

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?

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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