Synergy Clinic, Synergy House
24C High Street, Addlestone
Surrey, KT15 1TN

The festive season can be great fun but it is also a time of challenges for your teeth.

DentistThe 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

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Our Synergy Clinic team looks at the ever increasing range of toothpastes now available.

dental check upAsk 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.

Charcoal toothpastes

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A plant based diet may offer some health benefits, but patients should beware of potential pitfalls.

Crunching apple with good teethThere 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?

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How times of increased stress and anxiety can cause problems for our oral health

Head and jaw painIt 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

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Addlestone dentist, Dr Mani Virdee, explains why porcelain veneers offer a great opportunity to have beautiful teeth.

Beautiful teethIn 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?

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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.

Starting back

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.

Running/jogging

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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?

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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.

Cheaper implants

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

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Synergy Clinic in Addlestone offers advice on this uncomfortable problem.

Other than for check up appointments or cosmetic work, patients generally come to our Addlestone dental clinic when they have a problem with a tooth. Decay and broken teeth are two of the more routine issues that we deal when when a patient is in discomfort.

Dentists also deal with other oral health issues though, the best known one probably being gum disease. This is not the only gum issue that can arise though, and in today’s blog, we take a look at another common problem – the often painful gum abscess.

What is a gum abscess?

An abscess is said to be present when a pocket of pus forms. This can be anywhere in the body, but for our dental blog purposes, we will deal with the diagnosis and treatment of an abscess of the gum. This collection of bacteria can not only be extremely uncomfortable, but can also lead to serious complications, including sepsis, if it isn’t treated.

This type of abscess usually forms in the small space between the tooth and the gum. It is often, although not always, caused by poor cleaning in this area, leading to a buildup of bacteria. Those patients who have a weaker immune system can be more likely to suffer from this problem than a healthy patient; so those in this category should be especially diligent about their oral health care.

What are the symptoms of a gum abscess?

At the Synergy Clinic, some of the more common symptoms that we see where a gum abscess is present include:

  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth. This is caused as pus leaks from the pocket.
  • Teeth that are very sensitive to both hot and cold. This can also be caused by enamel erosion.
  • Pain and difficulty when chewing food
  • Loose teeth caused by deterioration in the bone affected by the bacteria
  • Fevers – Where this occurs, you should see your dentist straight away. Please ask us for an emergency appointment.

Diagnosis

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Addlestone dentist, Dr Shaimil Patel, helps patients understand this tooth saving procedure.

As dentists, we understand that many patients exhibit at least some signs of anxiety and worry when they need to see a dentist, especially if they know that they need to have treatment. The one procedure which is almost guaranteed to make even usually calm patients show more anxiety than usual is the root canal procedure. But there is no need to worry.

Indeed, this general dental treatment is a very good way to save a tooth under certain circumstances, which we’ll explain below.

In this blog, we will take a look at what the procedure is used for and what it entails, and also why we think that it may have gained the reputation that it has. And also why some of stories of discomfort you may have heard are significantly exaggerated!

Why you might need a root canal procedure

A root canal procedure is used for one main purpose, and that is when the ‘pulp’ area of the tooth becomes infected. This is at the very centre of the tooth, beneath both the enamel and dentin parts. The pulp includes tiny blood vessels and also the nerves of the tooth.

When the enamel of a tooth is broken or decayed issues can arise because the dentin layer beneath it is porous and bacteria can spread quite fast. Providing that it is detected and treated quite quickly, this will mostly entail filling the tooth to restore it. Where the damage is left for longer, or where the tooth breaks in such a way that the internal parts are exposed, the infection is likely to reach the root canals. When this happens, there are two options left, extraction or a root canal procedure.

Why are people so worried by the treatment?

This particular treatment seems to have built up a reputation as the worst procedure that you can have. There is no reason why this should be the case and most patients are happy to find that it is no more uncomfortable than some other invasive treatments.

Whilst no one seems to know exactly why people are so afraid of it, there is a growing consensus that it probably stems from a time before x-rays were widely available. Without the use of an x-ray, there is no way of knowing if an abscess has formed inside the tooth. Making contact with an undetected abscess during a procedure would be very painful! Patients of the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone will be pleased to know that x-rays are always now taken prior to this treatment being carried out, and should an abscess be found, the procedure will be delayed until it has been treated.

The root canal procedure

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