What We Look For During Your Dental Check Up

Our Epsom dentists explain how your oral health is monitored.

Most patients of the Clock Tower Dental Clinic come to us at six monthly intervals to have their teeth and gums checked by one of our dentists. Providing that good care has been taken to keep both the teeth and gums clean in the period between, it is likely that no treatment, or only minor treatment will be needed.

So is a six monthly check-up always needed? Our recommendation would be that, unless you have a long history of completely trouble-free teeth and gums, then leaving it longer between appointments increases the likelihood of problems arising and needing more extensive treatment when they do.

What we look for

When we perform an oral health check for a patient, we look for many things. The following are some of the key points of a routine dental check up:

Dental decay

Sometimes, dental decay can be obvious to the naked eye and we examine a patient’s teeth closely for signs of this. Sometimes though, it may occur under the surface of the tooth, and, in order to check for this, an x-ray may be necessary. These can reveal not only tooth decay, but also any initial signs of bone loss caused by the onset of gum disease. X-rays at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic use low doses of radiation and are perfectly safe for most people. If you are pregnant though, please let us know, as x rays are usually avoided during this time.

Inter-dental cleanliness

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A Whiter Smile For Spring!

white teeth smiles

Fast acting teeth whitening treatment at our Epsom dental practice.

With Spring now officially here, and even a few pleasant days already behind us, many of us will be starting to put away our thicker darker clothing and bringing out the brighter colours for Spring. For many people too, this is a time when they start to think about having a teeth whitening procedure to brighten up their smile for the sunnier days ahead.

For those who have had stained or discoloured teeth for some time, this may appear to be a wish that can’t easily be fulfilled. No doubt many will have tried the wide range of whitening toothpastes now available and will, quite probably, be disappointed with the results.

There is good news for anyone in this situation, in that a professional teeth whitening procedure will produce much better results that can leave your teeth up to eight shades whiter than they were before.

One hour treatment

Using the Zoom 2 teeth whitening system, the dentists at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic are able to whiten your teeth in just one hour. No local anaesthetic is necessary and you should feel quite comfortable during the procedure. A guard will be fitted which prevents your lips and gums from coming into contact with the whitening gel, which is a form of clinical bleach. This prevents any potentially painful and unsightly burning. Once we are happy that you are protected, the whitening gel is then applied to your teeth.

A special dental light is used which activates the whitening ingredient and begins the process. During the hour or so once the treatment starts, you are free to just relax or read or listen to music or watch TV. Finally, once the treatment is over, the gel will be removed and you should be able to see an amazing improvement in the whiteness of your teeth.

Maintenance

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Do You Still Smoke?

If so, you might want to consider the increased risk of these dental problems….

Whilst smoking is on the decline, it is still thought that around one in every seven of us still indulge in the habit. Despite the now well known risk to our health, it seems as though nicotine is still a difficult drug for many to kick.

What many people don’t take into consideration is that, as well as general health problems, smoking can affect your mouth in many ways, both aesthetically and medically.

Your Epsom family dentist takes a look, below, at some of the ways that smoking can have a negative impact on our teeth and oral health in general.

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Gum Disease Prevention – The Scale And Polish Procedure

dental check

How this essential Epsom hygienist treatment helps to keep your gums healthy.

Whilst most people probably associate going to the dentist with keeping their teeth healthy, dentists are not only concerned with the teeth, but also the patient’s gum health. If the gums become infected, this can lead to damage being done to the underlying bone structure which holds the teeth securely in place.

The biggest threat to a patient’s gums is gum disease. Whilst later stage gum disease, known as periodontitis is the greatest danger, and often needs specialist periodontal treatment, early stage gum disease, or gingivitis, is easier to treat and to prevent.

Hygienist visits

Regular visits to the hygienist at our Epsom practice are an excellent way of helping to keep on top of your oral health regimen and many patients here at Clock Tower Dental Clinic find that the discussions and advice given, helps them to improve their oral health care at home.

Whilst the guidance given by the hygienist, concerning dietary improvements and better flossing techniques, for example, will greatly improve your chances of avoiding gum disease; the professional cleaning procedure, usually known as a ‘scale and polish’ performed by our hygienist, will also help to look after your teeth and gums.

Scale and polish

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From Amalgam To A Tooth Coloured Filling

Safe removal of dark amalgam fillings at an Epsom dentist in Surrey

Along with discoloured teeth, one of the things that can really detract from an otherwise nice smile is when a number of teeth have been filled with the dark coloured amalgam fillings which are commonly used. Whilst this type of filling certainly offers a high level of strength, it also comes at the price of being highly visible.

Increasingly, and largely because of this factor, patients of the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom are turning to the natural looking tooth coloured fillings that we offer as an alternative.

Amalgam removal

Use of tooth coloured fillings follows a similar pattern to regular fillings and no particularly special treatment is required to place them. Many of our patients have been so pleased with their new natural fillings that they have gone the extra step to have their current amalgam fillings removed and replaced with new, natural-looking cosmetic versions. At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we offer safe amalgam removal for patients from across Surrey, offering them the chance to swap a smile spoiled by dark fillings to one when they are virtually invisible. There are also some patients who prefer to avoid amalgam fillings because of the mercury component which is used within them.

To remove the amalgam, a local anaesthetic is given as it would be for a regular filling. Patients are also given the option of having a face covering to protect them from any particles of amalgam which become airborne during the procedure. Some people prefer these extra safety protocols which we have developed for our patients having amalgam removal in Epsom, Surrey.

The amalgam filled teeth which are to be treated are isolated from the other teeth using a rubber dam and other specialist equipment. Next, the amalgam is removed using a dental drill leaving a clean cavity which is finally filled using the natural looking cosmetic filling. This is then shaped and the bite checked so that the patient not only has nice looking, but comfortable fillings too.

We also offer the option of natural lavender essential oils which can help patients to relax during the procedure.

Post procedure care

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The Importance Of Emergency Dental Care

Don’t suffer in silence if you are suffering discomfort from teeth and gums

Here at Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, your comfort and oral health are of paramount importance to us.

If you are suffering at all from any kind of discomfort or pain, in either your teeth or gums and you require emergency dental treatment, then you should contact us here at the surgery on 01372 720136 to book a fast appointment with one of our team of highly experienced and caring dental practitioners.

Why suffer in silence when relief from your pain and distress can be just a quick phone call away ?

It is extremely important that if you are experiencing any kind of dental pain, that you seek prompt dental treatment or advice. This will not only hopefully put an end to your distress and pain, but it can also be an effective preventative measure against future dental problems and often costly treatment.

Unfortunately, it’s often the case that if a dental problem is ignored and left untreated for too long, it can begin to develop into something that is far more serious and even more painful; this will then often result in you requiring a far more prolonged, invasive course of treatment. It can also unfortunately, sometimes lead to the loss of the tooth.

A cavity if left untreated can quickly become infected, leading to a nasty and extremely painful dental abscess. This will need antibiotics, then often the only treatment available to the dentist is either an extraction, or a root canal procedure.

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Bone Loss And Dental Implants

Enabling Epsom patients with degraded bone structure to proceed with dental implants.

Here at our Epsom dental practice, in the majority of cases, we can place a dental implant without the patient needing any precursory treatment. In some cases though, bone loss can occur in the area of a missing tooth, leading to insufficient bone to hold an implant securely in place.

When this happens, a procedure known as a bone graft, or bone augmentation, can take place to build up the underlying jaw structure so that an implant can be placed successfully.

Bone loss

Bone loss can occur for a number of reasons. Two of the most common are because of advanced gum disease or simply because a tooth has been missing for a long time.

Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis, not only affects the gums but also gradually erodes the bone in the jaw. It is for this reason that teeth can be lost as the bone has insufficient density to secure a tooth effectively. Even when the bone has been rebuilt and an implant placed, diligent gum gum care is very important as gum disease and peri-implantitis remain a threat. Naturally, any diagnosis of gum disease will need treatment before a bone graft can take place.

When a tooth has been lost or extracted, bone loss will follow. In essence, the brain signals that as a tooth is no longer there and the bone no longer has the role to play of holding the tooth securely in place. Consequently, the bone will gradually erode.

Bone graft

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Saving A Tooth With A Root Canal Procedure

When a tooth becomes infected, a root canal procedure may avoid the need for extraction.

Many teeth are lost through external damage, and through decay of the hard outer enamel layer. A somewhat surprising number of teeth are also lost through infection of the inner part of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal, this contains the nerves and many minor blood vessels.

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it can break down and bacteria can begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and a painful abscess may eventually form. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth

Root canal treatment is a procedure that can be performed as an alternative treatment to tooth extraction and during the procedure, the infected material is removed. A tooth’s nerve is not essential to a tooth’s function once the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its main function is sensory, i.e. providing the sensation of hot or cold, so the presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

Procedure

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Dealing With Dental Anxiety

nervous

Three steps to help you receive the dental care that you need.

If you are afraid of going to the dentist, you are certainly not alone. It is thought that more than half of the population of the UK experiences some level of anxiety as their dental appointment approaches.

In most cases, patients will go through with their treatment, realising that it is essential for their health and well being, and, in most instances, treatment should not take too long to perform.

Once the procedure is complete, they can relax again.

Raised anxiety

Unfortunately, probably around ten per cent of those who do experience dental anxiety do so at a much higher level. This can cause severe symptoms for the patient, and, in many cases, appointments are cancelled or patients simply don’t turn up due to their fear. Despite probably understanding that missing appointments will inevitably mean more extensive treatment later on, as dental problems become worse, severely anxious patients may prefer to defer their treatment in the hope that it simply won’t happen i.e. taking a ‘head in the sand’ approach.

At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we completely understand patient’s anxieties about their dental visits and do all that we can to help.

Therapies

Many of our patients have told us that they find certain therapies and techniques useful. These include aromatherapy, relaxation techniques etc. These, combined with the relaxed and friendly approach of our dentists can help some patients to, if not entirely overcome, then certainly reduce their anxiety levels enough to receive the treatment that they need.

The Wand

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Natural Looking Dental Fillings

Tooth coloured fillings as an alternative to amalgam at our Epsom dental practice.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, dental fillings are one of the most common procedures that we carry out. Providing that dental decay is detected in its early stages, a small filling is usually all that is necessary to restore the tooth, but even a small filling can spoil the appearance of a tooth where amalgam is used.

This material, a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury is extremely strong but does have the disadvantage of being very dark in colour, and therefore very visible, especially on teeth at the front of the mouth.

At the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom, we offer an alternative by using tooth coloured materials which are made of powdered glass, ceramic and a resin base. Previously considered inferior to amalgam from a strength perspective, advances have now been made and these “cosmetic” fillings are now much more robust than they once were. For larger rear fillings though, amalgam is still considered stronger, or, alternatively, an inlay or onlay can be made which offers a more aesthetic appearance as well as offering strength for the rear teeth where food is ground up when we chew.

No more dark coloured fillings

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