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.
Book now for Saturday September 26th or Saturday 10th of October
Have you ever taken a look at your teeth and thought that they would look better if they were nice and even? If you have, you may have considered having them straightened but been put off due to the visibility of many dental braces on the market. This is understandable but there is now a wide range of modern orthodontics which allow teeth to be straightened in a much less visible, more discreet way.
One of the most popular orthodontic systems currently available is Invisalign and, at our Addlestone Synergy Clinic, we are offering patients a chance to have this treatment at a greatly reduced price if you attend our open days. Not only this, but we are also offering a FREE teeth whitening treatment as well.
Why straighter teeth? – A reminder
The main reason that most people want to have straighter teeth is for aesthetic reasons and there is no doubt that a straight and even smile is more attractive than a crooked one. First impressions count and whether you are going on a date or for a job interview, a great looking smile will do you no harm at all and will help to boost your confidence as well.
Straight teeth are also often healthier teeth. The fact is that they are easier to clean and food doesn’t become as easily trapped as it might if your teeth overlap for example. Naturally, you will still need to brush and floss well and see a dentist/hygienist on an ongoing basis, but straighter teeth will give you a better chance of them staying healthy.
Your Invisalign options
Advice from our Addlestone practice on giving your teeth their old sparkle back
With a significant lockdown now generally over and with restrictions being eased all the time, (albeit with a degree of caution), we seem to be slowly returning to some sort of normality again. Although some people can’t wait to get back out into society, understandably, others may just be slowly and cautiously emerging and may take a little longer to get their confidence back.
As we take stock of what we currently can and can’t do, we will also probably start to think of the impact that the restrictions of the last few months have had on our lives, and where it is a negative one, what can we do to start to reverse this. From a dental point of view, for those of you who have noticed that your teeth have lost the whiteness that you once took for granted, the Synergy Clinic can help.
Reasons for discolouration
Of course, it isn’t just in lockdown that tooth discolouration can occur. It can, and does, at any time in our life. Lockdown though may have led to us changing certain habits or indeed, increasing the regularity of those that we already have. These might include, for example:
Tea drinking – Whilst stuck at home, we may well have drunk more tea than we normally would. The tannin in tea is notorious for staining your teeth.
Alcohol – Especially if you are a red wine drinker, this is likely to have taken its toll on your teeth. White wine and many alcoholic drinks are also acidic and can lead to a rougher tooth surface which helps to attract and trap staining.
Smoking – Hopefully one that everyone avoided, for both general and oral health reasons. It goes without saying that if you did start, or increase the number you smoked, the tar will almost certainly have caused some tooth discolouration.
Time to get the ‘shine’ back!
Modern clear aligners, in the form of Invisalign, are available at your Addlestone dentist!
Recent events may have seen some of us examining our appearance and wondering how we could improve it as things slowly move back to some sort of normality. Hair style?, new clothes? And maybe even having our teeth whitened?
All of these can be done relatively quickly and without too much difficulty.
The same can’t be said about those crooked teeth though. The more we look at them the more annoying and crooked they appear to be. Unlike other improvements, there really isn’t a ‘quick fix’ to correct this problem. Teeth have to be moved back into position very gently so that they are not damaged, and, as we know, this means having to wear dental braces!
Many of you are probably stuck with an image of children who had mouthfuls of metal braces when you were at school. We all know that some of these children suffered from bullying because of it too. Although, as adults, we don’t expect that to happen, there is little doubt that we would feel quite self conscious if we had to wear braces like that in our daily working lives. Thanks to advances in cosmetic dental treatments that are available at the Synergy Clinic, you no longer have to.
Braces yes, but not as you remember them
Our Addlestone dental team examines this topical subject
A lot has happened in the last few months and we are probably not out of the woods yet when it comes to the Coronavirus. Hopefully, a better knowledge of the virus and how it spreads will help to keep it under control in the months ahead. One thing that has been discovered during this time is that obesity is a very significant factor for those who get the virus and that being overweight increases the risk of mortality.
This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise as it is widely accepted that being obese brings with it many health issues. One that hasn’t really been examined in too much detail though, is the impact that obesity can have on our teeth and gums.
At the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, we believe that a holistic approach to oral care is important and that, whilst we will do all that we can to restore damaged and decaying teeth, we also offer advice on how to prevent this from occurring in the first place.
Although some of us are more predisposed than others to being overweight, with genetics playing a part, the reality is that for most people, it is what we eat and also how much, that contributes most to us being overweight. Although fast foods, with their often high fat content play a significant part in this, so do cakes, biscuits and sweets etc. Indeed, whilst we might eat fast food in place of a home cooked meal, it is the cakes, biscuits and sweets that we are most likely to reach for at times when we are inactive and perhaps watching TV.
As dentists have known for a long time, sugar is responsible for most tooth decay and our fondness of sweet products makes this a problem. As the bacteria in our mouth breaks down the sugar, it produces acids. These acids then erode the enamel on the teeth, allowing bacteria to enter the porous area beneath. Eventually, teeth affected in this way are likely to need to be filled or even, potentially, extracted.
Synergy Clinic Addlestone offers parents some advice surrounding this common childhood habit
Nearly all children will suck their thumbs for a while and this happens most often during the transition from breast or bottle feeding to eating solid foods. Stress and anxiety can also cause children to suck their thumbs to help them stay calm. Although relatively unusual, this can even continue into adulthood.
Although any long term thumb sucking is potentially harmful for a child’s teeth, it can be divided into thumb sucking that is done gently, such as when they are going to sleep, and that which is done more aggressively, usually in the case of anxiety. We hope that this blog will help our Addlestone patients who are parents understand the problems that this can cause and help them to wean their children from this habit effectively.
What’s so bad about thumb sucking?
Aside from the occasional sore thumb caused by sucking it too much, there are longer term implications for the teeth of a young child. With most children sucking their thumb so that it is positioned behind the rear of the top teeth, this creates pressure which will tend to push them outwards, making them more pronounced. This movement can also cause other teeth to move into any spaces created and multiple crooked teeth are a possibility as they develop.
When to stop sucking
According to the British Orthodontic Society, providing that a child manages to stop sucking their thumb by the age of 7, there is every chance that the teeth will correct themselves providing that good oral health and normal child development is present. After this age, there is a likelihood that this will not happen and the child may need to have orthodontic treatment in order to correct their bite and reposition any crooked teeth.
Encouraging children to stop
Dental implants may be the ideal solution for you!
If you have lost a tooth either relatively recently or maybe some time ago, you have probably had occasions where you thought it would be a good idea to do something to replace it. Especially where the gap is visible, it can have an obvious negative impact on your smile. Even where it is less visible, such as towards the rear of the mouth, it can still affect your ability to eat certain foods.
There are also good practical reasons to replace a missing tooth. The fact that a gap exists where the tooth once was means that other teeth can start to encroach into that space, leaving small spaces of their own. Over time this can lead to your teeth becoming crooked and uneven.
Tooth replacement options
It is likely that a lot of people believe that dentures are the only way to replace a missing tooth. This was certainly true at one time but bridges have also been used for some time too. Both of these offer aesthetic improvements as well as a degree of practical benefits. In our opinion though, neither come close to the benefits of dental implants which we are pleased to provide at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone. As our aim is to offer impartial advice to our customers, it is only fair that we allow you to choose a solution which suits you most, guided by our professional advice. Below, we offer a brief guide to these three tooth replacement options and, of course, we are always happy to discuss any of these in more detail with you to help you to make up your mind.
This is one of the most widely used methods of replacing missing teeth. Modern dentures are much improved on older style ones and offer a reasonably effective replacement, aesthetically. From a comfort perspective, they are also improved with some now available which flex with the movement of your mouth. Despite this, some people do still find them a little uncomfortable, occasionally causing sore gums. They may also move around in the mouth a little and lack the stability that most wearers would ideally want. You may also find that you start to avoid some foods because they are a little difficult to eat. Cleaning can also be a little fiddly and requires removal of the dentures from your mouth. On the plus side, dentures are one of the most affordable options and typically do not require invasive dental surgery.