Invisalign – a more attractive smile and potentially healthier too!
Dental braces have been in use for many years. In fact, they are believed to have been used as far back as 2000BC by the ancient Egyptians. The use of metal and animal parts wrapped around the teeth which have been found in mummies is not something that most of us would recognise as dental braces these days!
Even some modern traditional braces can seem off putting for some people though. The thought of having to wear metal braces that are visible for all to see means that some people choose instead to settle for having crooked teeth.
Thankfully, advances have been made over the years and some, like the Invisalign orthodontics that we provide at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, offer patients the opportunity to have an even smile without the visibility and inconvenience of traditional metal braces.
Why have braces at all?
Most of you will probably associate orthodontics with cosmetic dentistry and you would be largely correct in doing so. There is little doubt that this is the main incentive for most people who choose to have their teeth straightened and it is true that a smile that reveals a set of crooked teeth is far from ideal.
A smile that you are unhappy with can also have a ‘knock on’ effect on your confidence and may mean that you choose to avoid certain situations and are reluctant to smile when mixing with others for fear of revealing your crooked teeth.
Whilst aesthetics are the main reason most people choose orthodontic treatment, it is also worth noting that having straighter teeth usually means that you have a better chance of having healthier teeth and gums. Where teeth are crowded or overlap, pressing against each other, it can be very difficult to get the bristles of a toothbrush in these areas and even flossing may be a challenge. Where areas such as these are not properly cleaned, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease is heightened as sugars and bacteria collect in these hard to reach places.
Discreet teeth straightening
Synergy Clinic Dental Hygienist, Adam Mohsen, offers some useful advice on having a healthy mouth
When we think about dentistry, we tend perhaps, to think largely about our teeth. After all, anyone who has neglected their teeth and had a painful toothache will know just how bad that can be.
Whilst focussing on our teeth, it is possible to forget that we also need to look after the soft tissue in our mouth. Increasingly this, and especially gum disease, is being linked to other health issues as well as being a contributory factor for tooth loss.
In addition to being linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other health issues, there are now claims that people with gum disease are nine times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those with healthy gums ( https://dentistry.co.uk/2021/02/04/covid-patients-gum-disease-die/ ). Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have gum disease, this will happen to you, it seems clear that should you be unfortunate to find yourself seriously ill in hospital with the virus, your chances of recovery are better if you have a healthy mouth.
Hopefully, most of our Addlestone patients will already carry out most of the tips below, but we suspect that most will find one or two of these tips that they can add to their routine to keep their mouth in the best health possible.
Taking advantage of this important part of oral health care during lockdowns and restrictions.
As some of you will be aware, many dentists are currently having to limit the number of patients they can see each day due to the Covid restrictions. The essential cleaning of equipment and practice areas between patients means that we currently aren’t able to see quite as many patients as before. This does mean that there may be longer gaps between your usual check up appointments and it is important that you are even more diligent with your personal care regimen and keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible during this time.
We have covered general oral care a number of times in our blogs and it is important to stress that you need to maintain good brushing and flossing at all times, but especially perhaps, under the current restrictions.
One thing that you can do which will really help to protect both teeth and gums is to make an appointment to see the dental hygienist at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone.
The role of a dental hygienist
Whilst a dentist can perform restorative procedures where damage has already occurred to your teeth, the dental hygienist’s role is more of a preventative one. Gum disease prevention is one of the most important roles that they have, and this in turn, helps to protect your teeth as well.
We have discussed before how teeth can become loose or fall out if periodontitis is present, but even where gum disease is not present, tartar can form on the teeth and gum line creating a rough surface where bacteria can easily collect, increasing the risk of problems in the future. A professional clean helps to remove this roughness and helps to prevent issues arising.
There are three key roles that a dental hygienist has.
An important part of a hygienist’s role is to talk to you about your current oral health and its care and discuss ways in which this can be improved. This may involve a discussion on your current lifestyle choices such as whether you smoke or drink a lot of alcohol, but may also include suggestions on what type of toothpaste or mouthwash to use. Your diet might also be looked at and changes suggested.
None of this means that you will be ‘lectured’ by the hygienist. Their role is to offer advice and encouragement, but ultimately the action taken will be yours alone. We do recommend that you follow advice though as the more you do, the less likely you are to need dental treatment later on.
Checking and Cleaning
2021 will hopefully be a better year for our Addlestone patients and give us all reasons to smile!
Few of us will have found many reasons to laugh or smile over the last year. Without a doubt, it was a terrible year and sadly some of us may have lost friends or relatives who succumbed to Covid-19. Others will have been affected by it either through illness or through the effect on jobs or even lack of social interaction.
Most of us are keeping our fingers crossed for 2021 and whilst the numbers are currently very bad indeed, there are glimpses of light with the vaccination programme now starting to gather pace. Eventually, our lives will start to become a little more like what they used to be.
With all the worry and stress of last year, it is likely that some of us will have noticed new ‘frown lines’ appearing on our faces. The lack of fresh air and possibly a less healthy diet caused by lockdown and comfort eating may well have left our skin looking less than youthful.
Optimism for Spring
With the current high levels of Covid-19 and the dull relentless grey and damp weather, it may be hard to imagine the better days ahead. Eventually though, many of us will have had our vaccines and the sun will be shining (well, some days anyway, after all, this is the UK!) It may even feel like we are emerging from our cocoons when we finally start to socialise with our friends again.
When the time comes, it makes sense that we will want to look our best and, no doubt, many of us will be spending on clothes and fashion items again for the first time in what seems like ages. What better time than now then, to start to think about what we can do to look our best?
Lose the wrinkles
A lack of fresh air and sunshine may well have left us looking a little tired and our skin more wrinkled than usual. We do offer a range of beauty treatments at Synergy Clinic that can help to refresh the skin, but for those of you who have noticed an increased number of lines and wrinkles on your face, our facial aesthetic treatments are just what you need to restore your youthful looks.
Which facial aesthetic treatments are available?
Dr Mani Virdee offers our Addlestone patients some seasonal dental advice
As this will be our last Synergy Clinic blog of 2020, we thought that it would be timely to take a look at the festive season ahead and the sorts of things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums in good health at this time. Although year round dental care is very important, there is little doubt that Christmas and New Year pose some particular challenges to our oral health. In addition to that, many dental practices will be closed for some of the time making seeking treatment more tricky if you do have a problem.
On that subject, in the event that you do need to see a dentist urgently, either because of a severe toothache or significant damage to your teeth, please call us in the first instance. If it is on a day when we are closed, please listen to the recorded message which will advise you on what steps you need to take next in order to receive treatment.
So, onwards to our advice. Christmas and New Year are times when we tend to over indulge in many things, some of which are potentially harmful to our teeth. With the year that we have all just had, it may well be that this is even more so the case this year. You can still have a great Christmas though, without causing harm to your teeth and gums. The following are a few suggestions to help you do just that.
Moderate your sugar intake
Ask any dentist at the Synergy Clinic and they will tell you that sugar is one of the worst things for our teeth. That fact is pretty well known but still we consume large amounts of it. This is likely to be even more the case over the festive period as we eat our way through chocolates, cakes, mince pies and numerous other foods that are laden with sugar.
It doesn’t matter how bad these are for our teeth, we all know that we will eat them. The key is to try to do so in moderation and remember that we should leave some time between each one so that our teeth can recover and our saliva wash some of the sugars away before we eat any more. This is a better approach than the constant ‘nibbling’ that we are likely to do throughout the day.
Addlestone implant dentist, Dr Andrew Gough, explains your options following the loss of several teeth
Tooth loss is not uncommon. For most people that lose teeth, it is usually the odd one or two, perhaps caused by an accident rather than poor oral health care. This is not the same for everyone though and some people can suffer from numerous oral health problems or have a traumatic accident that results in the loss of a significant number of teeth.
When this happens, few of us would choose to leave large spaces where our teeth should be. Whilst we could, perhaps, ‘hide’ a single missing tooth (though we recommend that you don’t do that) if it was a less visible one, this becomes next to impossible when multiple teeth are missing.
What are the options then, for any of our Addlestone patients that find themselves in this situation?
Seek professional advice
It should go without saying, but if you are looking for the best way to replace missing teeth, then you shouldn’t rely on searching the internet. Although there is some good advice available there, there is also a lot that isn’t, and even the best advice can not take account of your own individual circumstances. In order to make the correct decision as to the best tooth replacement method available to you, a visit to the Synergy Clinic to discuss your case with us is essential. We will then be able to examine your mouth and discuss your aims and any other relevant information such as your medical history, so that the correct treatment can be recommended.
The Synergy Clinic team discusses this common dental issue
Do you remember, as a child, when you had competitions with friends to bite into an iced lollipop and see who could keep their teeth there the longest? If you did, you would probably not do so now, and for some of us, just a second of doing this could cause a lot of discomfort.
For many of us, the pleasure of consuming a hot drink on a cold day or an ice cold one on a hot day, is tempered by the discomfort caused by having sensitive teeth.
This is a relatively common problem that your local Addlestone dentists see on an almost daily basis. Unlike tooth decay, it is unlikely to cause constant discomfort and occurs only in circumstances such as those just mentioned. It is still uncomfortable though and is also a potential warning sign that further trouble could lie ahead if ignored.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Although teeth that are overly sensitive can be caused by tooth decay, and this will be checked by us if you have this symptom; in many cases it is caused by the erosion of the external tooth enamel. This is the protective layer of our teeth and once it has thinned or become cracked, the more porous dentin layer beneath it allows the sensations of hot and cold to reach the nerves in our teeth much more easily.
Sensitivity can also be caused by receding gums. This tends to happen as we become older, but can also be a symptom of gum disease. As the gums recede, they expose the root part of the tooth which is less well protected and therefore more sensitive to hot and cold.
Keeping enamel healthy
If we can keep the enamel on our teeth healthy, this will help us to avoid problems such as sensitivity, but also decay and root canal infections. It actually isn’t all that hard to do providing that accidents are avoided. Good healthy enamel care should start from a young age with diligent brushing and good oral health habits taught. For those of us too old for that though, it means having a solid brushing routine, but without exerting too much pressure as this can wear away the enamel. Acidic foods and drinks are also responsible for much enamel wear and should be kept to a minimum. Naturally, having regular checks of your teeth at the Synergy Clinic is also essential if you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Managing sensitive teeth
Our Addlestone patients can still access dental care.
Closing dental practices during the first national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 caused a great deal of stress to patients and dentists alike. Whilst it was understood why the government chose to do this, it has created problems of its own.
With such a long closure, it was inevitable that some people would not receive the treatment that they needed and that backlogs for routine preventative appointments would also grow.
This has proven to be the case and since the Synergy Clinic reopened in June, we have been doing all that we can to catch up on those missed appointments and to treat any patient in need. Unsurprisingly, a few nerves were jangling when it became clear that a second lockdown was looming. Thankfully, this time, all dental practices are allowed to stay open!
Why is this?
Aside from the realisation that there was a real threat to the nation’s oral health if dentists were made to close this time around, many things have changed since the first lockdown. Although your handy Addlestone dental practice has long had systems in place to minimise the risk of cross infection, the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation has meant that these have been extended even further. Not only are hand sanitisers widely available throughout the practice, along with notices about social distancing, but PPE is now widely available and regularly used when seeing patients.
These new restrictions are essential to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within the dental environment but some do have certain consequences for our patients. In addition to the aforementioned, we now have to allow more time between each patient appointment so that the treatment room can be fully cleaned. As you can appreciate, this takes time and it does mean that we are able to see less patients per day than before.
If you are registered at the Synergy Clinic, you may have had your routine dental checkup appointment cancelled. If you have, we can assure you that we are doing all that we can to work through the backlog as quickly and safely as possible. If you do experience any problems though, such as a toothache or broken tooth, please contact us as soon as you can to request an appointment.
Ideal for correcting flaws in your teeth, porcelain veneers offer an excellent solution for a great looking smile!
We suspect that a number of you may have wondered how the seemingly endless number of TV celebrities all seem to have perfect looking teeth? If so, we are going to let you into a little secret; they have almost certainly paid to have them look that way. Very few people have naturally perfect looking teeth, and even if they do, factors such as age will gradually start to discolour them.
Most of us will not only find that our teeth become duller in colour as we grow older, but that they are likely to suffer from small cracks and chips of the surface which can deter from an otherwise attractive smile. A teeth whitening procedure can help with the discolouration and give you whiter teeth, but it won’t do anything for the cracks and chips we may have. Indeed, it may highlight these even more.
So, how do celebrities attain that perfect smile? The answer often lies in dental veneers.
A brief history
Modern veneers such as those provided by the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone are semi-permanent and can typically last for approximately ten years with good care, before needing to be replaced. This hasn’t always been the case though and veneers were originally seen as a temporary solution for Hollywood actors whose teeth were less than attractive. It is worth remembering that many actors such as Humphrey Bogart were regular smokers and almost certainly would have had fairly heavily stained teeth.
In general scenes in a film, this wouldn’t have been a major problem, but for those close up romantic kisses that Hollywood was so famous for, it certainly was. This was a major problem for filmmakers until Dr Charles Pincus came up with the idea of attaching an artificial surface to the front of the teeth.
These original veneers would have served a practical purpose and simply been stuck to the front of the teeth in a temporary manner and would not have had the longevity of dental veneers today.
Looking after a root canal treated tooth
Given the amount of ‘scare stories’ that have built up around root canal treatment over time, it is probably not surprising that some patients of the Synergy Clinic react negatively when told that they need to have this done in order to save a tooth.
The reality though is that this is the only treatment available to save a tooth where the root canals have become infected. The only other option is extraction.
As for the ‘pain’ factor, well, it is an invasive procedure but, with a local anaesthetic, should cause no more discomfort than most other invasive dental treatments, and so the adverse reputation is not really deserved.
It might help a little to understand why the treatment needs to be carried out and what actually happens during it.
Why might you need a root canal procedure?
The root canals of a tooth are the place where the nerves of the tooth are stored, along with tiny blood vessels and other soft pulp material. If a tooth has cracked or has become decayed, there is a possibility that this area can become infected with bacteria. As the nerves are located there, it can be very painful indeed.
The only option, other than extracting the tooth, is to remove the infected pulp material and fill the root canals. This is done by first of all numbing the area with a local anaesthetic. The top part of the tooth is then accessed so that your Addlestone dentists can reach the root canals. The infected pulp is removed through the use of suction and special files before being thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria present. Once the dentist is satisfied that the canals are clean, they are then filled with a special filling material called ‘gutta percha’. Finally, in most cases, a crown will be attached to the tooth to provide strength, protection and a natural appearance.
This is an effective way to preserve a tooth that has been affected in this way. It should enable you to eat more or less normally, although it will not be quite as strong as a healthy tooth and there are certain precautions that you should take.