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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Common Questions About Dental Crowns

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

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 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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