A look at some of the treatments that you can expect if your oral health has suffered during lockdown.
At the time of writing this blog, the Synergy Clinic is still closed for all but telephone advice and urgent dental emergency referrals. As things are very slowly opening up, with outdoor markets and retail due to open in the next few weeks providing adequate protection is in place, we are hoping that dental practices opening again will not be too far away.
We know that this has been a frustrating few months and that some of our patients will, inevitably, have suffered from dental problems during this time.
Some of the most serious cases will have been referred to urgent dental care units for essential treatment, whilst most cases will have been given advice on managing their problem, or provided with appropriate medication to keep the problem at bay until such a time that it can be treated.
When we are able to open again, our priority will be to treat these patients first. In today’s blog we take a look at some of the most likely dental treatments that will be called upon.
This is likely to be the most common problem we find. As it doesn’t necessarily result in discomfort initially, you may even have the start of the problem before the closure if your last appointment was none too recent.
This most common treatment is to have the decaying material removed, followed by an amalgam or cosmetic filling. Whilst amalgam fillings are the most traditional, white fillings provide a more natural appearance and bond very well with the rest of the tooth. In cases where the decay is more extensive, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown or even extraction if the damage is too severe or prognosis too poor.
Broken or lost fillings
With anxiety levels higher in difficult times, your Addlestone dental team looks at how to prevent damaging our teeth
Although it appears that we are slowly and cautiously relaxing some of the measures around ‘lockdown’, it is likely that some restrictions will continue for some time yet. We are also seeing a reduction in the number of daily infections although there are still too many of course.
The whole lockdown period will have affected people in different ways. For some, it may have been little more than a break from normal life, whilst for others, it will have proved to be very challenging indeed and it is widely agreed that levels of stress at this time have been much higher.
Whilst we know that factors such as a poor diet and poor teeth cleaning can lead to dental problems, it is perhaps less well understood that stress can also play a significant role. In today’s Synergy Clinic blog, we will take a look at some of the damage that stress can cause.
When we are stressed, some of us will grind our teeth, usually while we are asleep. It is this factor that makes it so difficult to control. Whilst most of us probably do this on the odd occasion after a very stressful day; for those who do this on a regular basis, the damage caused can be quite significant. The most dramatic damage that can be caused through this action is when a tooth breaks or fractures. This usually only occurs where the grinding is very severe and also usually on teeth that have already been weakened.
More commonly, tooth grinding, or bruxism, causes gradual erosion on the enamel of our teeth as we grind them together. This enamel is the protective layer which helps to ward off bacteria from the more vulnerable inner parts of our teeth. As the enamel becomes worn through grinding, the inner part becomes more exposed and problems such as decay, sensitivity and even root canal issues can occur.
Although there are restorations available to restore any damage done, such as crowns and veneers, it is best to use these once the patient has managed to reduce their stress levels and have stopped grinding their teeth.
Advice from our Addlestone dental team on how to look after your children’s teeth during ‘lockdown’
The current ‘lockdown’ situation is a challenging one for most of us and for any number of different reasons.
Those of us who have children that are currently off school will have their own set of challenges, both in trying to keep them safe as well as entertained.
Like everyone else, we are waiting for signs that the lockdown might be at least eased, but it is important that this is done at the right time and that may mean that our children may not return to school until the new school year at the earliest.
Change of routines
Lots of things will have changed in our lives, and perhaps more importantly, our children’s lives. In general, kids like some form of routine that they can structure their day around. This includes having certain regular times that they clean their teeth. Under normal circumstances, this would probably be done before they left for school in the morning. As they won’t be doing this presently, this creates a risk that their morning brushing at least may be missed altogether.
Some people might believe that the morning brushing is not that important as we haven’t eaten anything whilst asleep. The fact though is that bacteria accumulate whilst we are asleep and can contribute to both tooth decay and gum disease. The morning brushing is equally important as your regular night time one.
You may need to try to instigate a new routine in the morning. You will know your children better than us and for some, that might mean getting them to brush before they do anything else and become distracted. For others, it might be better to let them wake up a bit and avoid any arguments early in the day. The important thing is to stick to whatever new routine you develop that works for your family.
Take time with younger children
Our Addlestone dentists offer some useful advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
It has been 3 weeks now, and to some of us it will likely have felt like a lot longer! The current lockdown brings different challenges for different people, with some struggling with it more than others.
All the evidence though appears to point to our imposed semi isolation starting to work, with hospital and fatality figures expected to decrease over the coming weeks. Although it has yet to be announced, it now seems likely that this lockdown period will be extended for a few more weeks at least, in this lengthy battle to defeat the Coronavirus.
As patients will be aware, the Synergy Clinic is currently closed, and will be until such a time that we are allowed to open again. At the moment, we do not know when this will be but we hope to offer our dental services once again as soon as possible.
This unexpected closure will mean that some patients will not have their twice yearly check up at the usual six monthly interval. This means that any problems that are taking place with the teeth and gums may not be detected for much longer, with the possibility of issues such as tooth decay more likely.
It is in the patient’s interest to put extra focus on looking after their teeth and gums at this time so that these problems can be avoided as far as possible. Bear in mind that we are currently unable to carry out any minor procedures such as restoring a lost filling or to treat a minor toothache. Only urgent dental emergency advice can be given at this time.
To help our patients maintain a healthy mouth until we open again, here are a few essential tips.
Brush and floss
Our Addlestone dentists look at some of the problems that most commonly occur with our front teeth.
At the Synergy Clinic we perform both restorative and cosmetic dentistry on all types of teeth, both front and rear. Although most dental issues can occur with any tooth, there are areas of the mouth where certain problems are more common.
In today’s blog, our Addlestone dentists are going to take a look at some of the problems that are most common with the ‘social six’ teeth; that is the visible teeth that we can see at the front of the mouth when we smile.
The front teeth are at risk of eroded enamel if we don’t take care to look after them well enough. The two main ways in which this can occur is through wearing down manually and through acid erosion due to our diet.
One of the ways that our teeth can suffer damage, including our front teeth, is through grinding them together. This problem, also known as bruxism, can lead to significant wear and even breaking of the teeth. The root of this problem seems to lie in anxiety and this needs to be addressed to help prevent it from happening. Even brushing our teeth too hard can cause the enamel to wear down, especially if we do so too soon after eating when our enamel is a little softer. Make sure to leave at least half an hour after eating before brushing to allow the enamel to re-harden. Also try to brush gently in a circular motion and do not ‘scrub’ your teeth too hard.
Acidic food, and drinks especially, pass over our front teeth and can cause erosion. Most soft drinks that contain sugar will contribute to this but high sugar, high acid sports drinks seem to be one of the worst culprits.
Although prevention is naturally the best option, any of our Addlestone patients who have already suffered from enamel erosion can have their teeth protected using porcelain dental veneers; effectively replacing the damaged enamel surface.
A quick look at our team member’s roles here at our Addlestone clinic.
At the Synergy Clinic, each and every one of our team strives to improve the oral health of our patients, both in preventative and restorative roles. Although most of our blogs will continue to offer general dental advice as well as discussing various treatments that we offer, we will also take the opportunity to look at the roles that individual dentists play within our practice.
In today’s blog, we will take a look at the main activities of Dr Shaimil Patel D.M.D (GDC number 253427), a valued member of our team.
Shaimil describes himself as being a ‘perfectionist’, and this is good news for our patients who want to receive the very best treatment. Shaimil, like our other dentists, insists on using only the best quality materials to provide patients with great outcomes. Dr Patel is able to carry out a wide range of cosmetic treatments and has completed the Advanced Operative Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry course at the Aspire Dental Academy to enable him to do so in the most effective way.
Today, we will take a look at three of the procedures, amongst many, that he provides for patients of the Synergy Clinic.
Why early years oral care is so important.
We often discuss how you can take better care of your teeth as adults. For babies and very young children though, they can’t take care of their own teeth and the responsibility falls to their parents to do so. Oral health care for a baby is important but sometimes gets forgotten amongst the hundreds of other things there are to do.
For mums to be and those who are mums of young children already, our Synergy Clinic dentists offer some useful advice.
It seems reasonable to think that as babies typically have no teeth you shouldn’t have to worry about them at this stage. Whilst you obviously can’t clean their teeth, you should still make sure that their gums are kept clean to prevent infections and discomfort. This can be done quite easily by using a damp clean cloth and gently wiping the gums.
Baby’s first dental visit
One parental dilemma is when you should take your baby to the dentist for the very first time. We generally recommend that this is done around the time of their first birthday. Although no dental treatment is likely at this stage, it is a good opportunity to chat about their oral health care and for any advice to be offered. It is also a good opportunity for the baby to start to get used to a dental environment. There is some evidence that suggests that early and regular exposure to a dental practice will help them to avoid unnecessary anxiety about visiting when they grow older.
Please try to make sure when you leave our Addlestone practice to book your next appointment so that you stay in the routine and don’t let their oral care slip.
Young children and first teeth
A new study shows that there has been an increase of 26% in outlets offering this popular cosmetic treatment illegally.
The teeth whitening procedure has been steadily growing in popularity for a number of years, perhaps spurred on by TV shows such as Love Island. Whilst it was once more widely used by middle aged people whose teeth had started to discolour as they got older, it is increasingly popular with younger people who are looking to achieve a perfect smile like those on the TV.
As a teeth whitening procedure performed by a professional is perfectly safe, there is little harm in this. Unfortunately though, there are an increasing number of illegal outlets which may be putting patient’s teeth at risk.
A report by the BBC indicates that there has been a rise of 26% in establishments that are offering this treatment illegally. The real number could be even higher as that figure depends on customers reporting them to the GDC (General Dental Council), which many dissatisfied customers probably do not. For clarification, only dentists registered with the GDC such as those at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, are allowed to perform this procedure.
What are the risks?
There are few risks to a teeth whitening procedure when carried out by a qualified professional. We always assess a patient’s suitability before we start and the strength of the whitening ingredient is carefully monitored. There are rarely any side effects although a few patients do occasionally experience additional sensitivity for a short time. This is typically only temporary and the teeth will return to normal soon afterwards.
There are big risks though if you use an illegal outlet. Most people working at them will not be qualified and have little idea how to use the products safely. Especially where a patient has requested a ‘super white’ smile, they may well use a strength of whitening solution that is positively harmful for the patient’s teeth. The most likely outcome if done incorrectly is that the patient will suffer from significant tooth sensitivity caused by damage to the nerves in the teeth. Unfortunately, not only is this often quite significant but it may be permanent as well, causing ongoing discomfort for the patient. Even worse than this, tooth loss is a real possibility when things go badly wrong.
Finally, it is not just the teeth that can suffer. If the soft tissues of the mouth such as the gums and lips are not correctly protected, burning is likely. This can be both painful and unsightly and simply isn’t worth the risk.
How do they get away with it?
Looking after your new dental implants is essential but fortunately, relatively straightforward
One of the biggest advances in dental technology over the past twenty years or so has been the increasingly widespread use of dental implants to replace missing teeth. Whilst dentures do have some advantages, such as removing the need for a procedure in many cases, they also have a number of drawbacks for a lot of people who wear them.
Dentures can be fiddly to clean and sometimes become unstable. There is also the problem of bone loss when a tooth root is lost. On all three counts, dental implants offer a solution to these problems. Because they include a replacement root as well as a crown, bone loss is minimised and they are much more stable. They are also easy to keep clean as we will see in this blog.
Before we move on to everyday cleaning and maintenance of your dental implant, it is worth stressing that the first 3 months after it has been placed are very critical. This is a time when damage and infections are most likely to occur and you will need to be more careful about what you eat and how you clean the implants.
You should avoid harder foods for this period and probably eat only liquid foods for a short while. Cleaning can be more difficult too as you won’t be able to brush the area for a short while after the procedure. During the initial period, you will need to use a warm saline solution tipped over the area gently with no spitting or other forceful movements. Your Synergy Clinic dentist will discuss this immediate aftercare with you in detail when you have an implant placed at our Addlestone clinic.
Long term dental implant aftercare
Once your new dental implant is established and you can eat whatever you want once more, it is still very important to continue to look after them well. Despite the fact that the crown can’t decay as it is made from an artificial material, there are still potential threats to the implants. These come predominantly in the form of periodontitis and peri-implantitis. These are infections of the gum, bone and soft tissues surrounding the implant. If these become too advanced, the bone holding the implant in place can deteriorate, causing the implant to become loose or even fall out.
The good news is that taking care of them is not at all difficult and is very similar to looking after your natural teeth.
Brushing your implants
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.