Smoking is a significant contributor to oral health issues amongst other things.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Is to stop smoking one of them? If so, you will be one of many thousands who attempt to do this each year. Some will succeed while others will fail to maintain it for very long and there are good reasons for this. Apart from the fact that it is often a social habit and one that is sometimes influenced by our peer group, cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can lead to withdrawal symptoms when we deprive our bodies of it by not smoking.
Unfortunately, by not keeping up our pledge to quit smoking, we put our health at risk. Smoking has long been associated with heart and lung diseases amongst other things but it can also have a significant negative impact on our oral health as well.
There are three key areas where smoking affects our oral cavity and our Addlestone dentists discuss these below.
Let us start with the least serious of the problems that smoking can cause. We see many patients at the Synergy Clinic who have teeth that have been stained through years of smoking. The tar in cigarettes is a sticky substance and will stick to the surface enamel of our teeth. Over time this starts to discolour them and can lead to anything from a light yellow to a dark brown appearance depending on the extent of your smoking habit. Although stopping smoking won’t reverse this discolouration, it will mean that it won’t get any worse. Once you are satisfied that you have successfully stopped for good, you might wish to consider rewarding yourself with the money you will save by having the whiteness of your teeth restored with one of our cosmetic dental treatments.
Depending on the extent of discolouration, your teeth can be whitened using a teeth whitening procedure; either a fast acting one done ‘in clinic’ or a custom home whitening kit. Both offer excellent results and the choice is often down to your own preferences. For more badly discoloured teeth, dental veneers may prove to be a better option. We will be able to advise following an examination of your teeth.
Our Addlestone dentists are here to help you have a great looking smile in the New Year!
This will be our last blog post before Xmas so we thought that we would use it to look forward to the year ahead, and especially for patients of the Synergy Clinic who may be considering some improvements to their smile in 2020.
Each and every one of our patients is an individual, and you will need to have a consultation with us so that we can put forward an effective treatment plan for your new smile. Some patients may need just one step whilst others might need several.
With that in mind, here’s a typical route to a full smile makeover from a relatively unhealthy mouth in our four step guide:
A healthy mouth
For all the improvements that we can help you with to make your smile more attractive, these mean little unless your mouth is in good health. There is no point in having a beautiful white smile if your gums are sore and inflamed for example.
The first step is to have a thorough oral health check to make sure that no decay is present. Where it is, restoration will be necessary, possibly using our tooth coloured fillings or a dental crown. You will also need to see the hygienist who can clean your teeth and remove hardened tartar from them, along with your gums. Once this has been done and we are satisfied with your oral health, your cosmetic dental treatment can start.
The festive season can be great fun but it is also a time of challenges for your teeth.
The tinsel is up and the TV is constantly promoting products for sale which can only mean one thing; it’s nearly Christmas. Love it or not, this is a time of year when many of our routines are broken as we prepare ourselves for a few days of relaxation and probable excess.
It is also a time of year when, as dentists, we are also fully aware of the additional risk to oral health that the season brings. In today’s blog, your local Addlestone dental team examine some of the risks to oral health and what you can do to minimise them.
Sweets and Chocolate
Let us start with one of the most obvious ones. Most of us will abandon any attempt to eat healthily at least for a few days of the year. Shopping sprees and stocking fillers mean that most of us will consume chocolates and sweets in a far greater quantity than we do the rest of the year. It doesn’t take much to work out how damaging this can be for our teeth!
The most obvious advice is not to overindulge but this is probably unrealistic to expect. Do try though not to eat these sweets to excess and if you want to snack whilst watching TV, try swapping some of them for more tooth friendly snacks such as nuts, cheese and crispy vegetable dips.
Teeth cleaning regime
Our Synergy Clinic team looks at the ever increasing range of toothpastes now available.
Ask almost anyone to name the two most fundamental pieces of dental equipment necessary for healthy teeth and they will almost certainly say toothbrush and toothpaste.
We will look at the question of manual or electric toothbrush in a future blog, but today, your handy Addlestone dentists take a look at some of the different toothpastes that are now widely available in supermarkets, and also how suitable they are for patient use.
It is no longer just a case of choosing between different brands, but differently targeted dental issues too. Whether for teeth whitening, gum disease, or decay prevention, an awful lot of money is currently being spent on advertising these products.
Teeth whitening toothpastes
This type of toothpaste is probably the most widely advertised, but do they work? It is entirely understandable that people want to have nice looking white teeth, and if using a toothpaste designed for that purpose works, then it makes absolute sense to use it, doesn’t it?
Patients should be cautious. From a whitening teeth perspective, you are unlikely to see anything but the smallest improvement if you use these. The reason for this is that whilst they do contain a whitening ingredient similar to that used in a dental practice for a supervised teeth whitening treatment, they do so in much smaller quantities. The amount of whitening ingredient is restricted for safety reasons. Not only could it cause potential burning to soft oral tissue if it was too strong (these tissues are protected when done professionally), but young children may accidentally swallow toothpaste, or even eat it in some cases. This could be potentially dangerous and therefore the quantities in these toothpastes are kept very low.
In addition to this, some toothpastes aim to clean the surface of the teeth better through the use of additional abrasives. Whilst this may result in slightly whiter teeth, it may also cause damage to the enamel on your teeth which could lead to sensitivity and even decay due to lack of protection.
A plant based diet may offer some health benefits, but patients should beware of potential pitfalls.
There are now thought to be in excess of half a million vegans in the UK according to the Vegan Society. Add to that, a growing section of the population who are increasing the number of plant based meals they consume, and it would appear that this is a growing trend that may be here to stay.
There have been many studies which have advocated the health benefits of a vegan diet, with the caveat that care needs to be taken to obtain the right nutrition.
There have also been notes of caution from the dental profession as there are risks to the teeth, especially if you follow this diet without being aware of the potential harm to your teeth in doing so if you don’t take the correct precautions.
A restricted diet?
When patients come to our handy Addlestone dental clinic, we don’t generally ask them about their diet, although some chose to tell us so. We do sometimes detect signs that their diet may be falling short of what is necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy though, and we will come to those in a minute.
We should say that the purpose of this blog is not to deter or encourage people to choose (or not) a vegan diet, but to present some of the facts so that you can make your own decisions.
A vegan diet can be said to be a ‘restrictive’ diet as it cuts out a lot of products that are available to us. The same can be said for some other diets such as the Keto diet. Vegans will point out that it also introduces new foods which we may otherwise not have eaten, and whilst this is true, it is also true that a plant only diet can mean certain challenges in getting the right nutrition.
What is ‘lacking’ from a vegan diet?
How times of increased stress and anxiety can cause problems for our oral health
It might be that you are revelling in the intricacies of the political world at the moment. It is probably more likely though that you are wishing that politicians would disappear from our TV screens, at least for a little while, to give us some breathing space.
Whatever your view, research has found that anxiety levels are on the increase at the moment, perhaps unsurprisingly.
Whether this has affected you or not, there is little doubt that stress is a much more significant issue in our lives than it was in the past. From Brexit to personal concerns, stress is on the rise, and with it comes a whole host of medical problems.
General and oral health
There is plenty of evidence to indicate that stress can contribute to medical issues such as heart disease. We will leave the discussion on that to those who are experts in that field though and concentrate on our own area of interest, oral health.
At the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, whilst we are able to offer a large range of restorative dental treatments to repair damaged teeth, we believe in taking a more holistic and preventative approach where possible. Stress reduction can certainly help with this.
Impact of stress on our teeth
Addlestone dentist, Dr Mani Virdee, explains why porcelain veneers offer a great opportunity to have beautiful teeth.
In an ideal world, we would all have a full set of healthy, even and beautifully white teeth. In reality, this is very rare indeed without the intervention of cosmetic dentistry.
There is a lot that we can do to keep our teeth healthy, with regular brushing, flossing and six monthly dental examinations, but life and ageing usually eventually takes it toll, especially when it comes to the appearance of our teeth.
Even with the healthiest of teeth, most of us will find, as we get older, that our teeth have lost the sparkle of our youth and often look dull and discoloured. Providing that this is not too severe, a professional teeth whitening treatment is often an effective way to restore the whiteness. For those whose teeth have become very discolored, perhaps through lifestyle choices such as smoking, or drinking red wine over a period of time, or whose teeth have been affected by chips and cracks, this may not be the most effective solution however.
Permanently damaged tooth enamel
At the Synergy Clinic, we strive to help our Addlestone patients keep their teeth in as good a condition as they can. Where heavily stained or chipped teeth are a problem though, we are able to provide dental veneers as a solution when the enamel of the teeth has been permanently affected in this way.
This is an excellent way to restore the appearance of your teeth and provide you with that great looking smile that you may have thought was a thing of the distant past.
What are dental veneers?
New dental implant? Take care when exercising during the first few months.
Many of our Addlestone patients exercise on a regular basis which is perhaps unsurprising, as going to the gym, running, swimming and other forms of sports and exercise are now more popular than ever before.
Once a dental implant has been placed and is fully integrated with the bone, there should be no limit on the type of exercise that you do, though you may still want to bear some of the following advice in mind. However, the key three month (approx) period after you have had your implant placed, is a time when you do really need to be careful about what exercise you do, and how you do it. The complex osseointegration process, where the implant bonds with the jawbone, could be severely disrupted and even damage caused to the implant, if you don’t take care and push too hard.
We do recommend that Synergy Clinic patients who are due to have dental implants placed, try to improve their fitness before the procedure, as improved health and blood flow will help the healing process. This can be as simple as walking a bit further and you don’t really need to go “all out” at the gym. Afterwards though, you do need to take extra care when you exercise as follows:
The first few days
Unless you are a really dedicated fitness enthusiast, you probably won’t feel much like exercising for a few days after your treatment anyway. There is likely to be some residual soreness in the treatment area and you should certainly rest for a couple of days at least, to allow the healing process to get off to a good start. We would suggest that you discuss any restarting of physical exercise with the dentist as each case may be different. As a rule of thumb though, we strongly suggest that you rest as much as you can, at least for a few days.
After the first week or so, providing that there are no complications, you can start to think about exercising again. It is important though to ease yourself into this. Even seemingly simple activities such as jogging, can have a detrimental effect on your new implant if you don’t take care.
Below, we look at some common sporting activities and how our Addlestone dental implant patients might want to approach them post procedure.
Addressing recent questions asked by our Addlestone patients.
On the whole, we try to write full and comprehensive articles on topics related to dental care here on our blog. These may be general dentistry topics or surrounding a specific procedure.
Sometimes though, we are asked questions that don’t perhaps warrant a full blog post and so we have used today’s blog to address some of the more commonly asked questions that we get asked at the Synergy Clinic. Let’s begin….
How long can I leave a cavity before it needs filling?
The answer to this is very simple. If you suspect that you have a cavity, you should arrange to have it examined as soon as you can. Cavities will not stay as they are but will almost always get bigger and bigger and deeper and deeper. As a worst case scenario if you delay having it checked, you may have very painful toothache indeed. At the best, you will need to have a larger dental filling than you would if you had contacted us straight away.
I need treatment but I’m scared of the dentist, what can I do?
It may surprise some of our patients to know that we do understand how you feel when you are in this situation. Even some dentists are not overly keen on receiving treatment, but we do know that it is necessary. There are two aspects to this answer. The first more or less replicates the previous one in that delaying any treatment is never a good idea. From a pragmatic viewpoint, if you do suffer from dental anxiety, please let us know. Our dentists have successfully helped numerous anxious patients and you can be sure that you will be treated as gently as we possibly can.
Is having my teeth whitened really worth it?
Cutting corners may save you money initially, but you could end up paying for it in the long run!
With the benefit of dental implants now being more widely understood, it is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in interest in this particular treatment at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone. Patients are increasingly aware that this is a semi permanent and long lasting tooth replacement option that provides both strength and security to a level that dentures simply cannot match.
One area where dental implants can’t match dentures is in price. Unfortunately, dental implants are only available privately, and the materials, skills and additional training required to place them means that they may not be as affordable as dentures; at least in the short term. Although the initial cost is larger, the long term benefits of dental implants pay off for those who have them. A better quality of life for a little extra money is a price many people are willing to pay. We also offer a number of finance plans to help our patients spread the cost of this type of treatment.
It is fair to say that most of us love to find a bargain, especially where it is for something that we really want, rather than buying it just because it is cheap. Understandably then, people will often look to save money on dental implants when they can. There are sometimes genuine offers, usually time limited, at dental practices where they are promoting this treatment. Indeed, we are currently offering free no obligation implant consultations at our Addlestone dental clinic at the moment.
Where these implants are placed by experienced and skilled implant dentists in the UK, there should be few problems. Many special offers that are advertised, however, relate to implants being placed at dental practices abroad. But should you go for it?
Weighing up the risks