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

The Sugar Time Bomb

Dentist Jaymish Patel

Why is sugar harmful to our teeth and do you know how much you really consume each day?

It has long been established that sugar is harmful for our teeth and this is something that our parents, and their parents before them understood. Many of us will have heard this from numerous sources and accept it without really understanding why.

We also probably consume far more sugar than we think we actually do. In today’s Synergy Clinic blog, we look in more depth at the problems surrounding sugar in the diet of our Addlestone dental patients.

Why is it harmful?

Sugar is bad for your teeth, but why?

Few people probably realise this, but it isn’t really the sugar that damages your teeth. Without it though, any damage would be far less. The reason for this is that sugar is not the active element that harms your teeth but is the fuel for that element, namely some types of oral bacteria.

There are thought to be over 700 strains of bacteria that are alive in our mouths at any given time, with up to 1 billion bacteria on each tooth if the mouth is not kept thoroughly clean. Even where good oral practice is carried out, there are thought to be up to 100,000 living on each tooth surface. Not all of these bacteria are harmful by any stretch, and some fulfil important roles in helping us to break down and digest our food.

These bacteria cannot survive in a void though and require fuel to be able to live. Have you guessed the fuel source yet? Correct; it is sugar.  As the bacteria consume the sugar, they produce acids and it is this that damages the enamel on your teeth, eventually leading to cavities in the tooth. When this happens, you are likely to need an invasive dental procedure such as a filling or even a root canal treatment.

Where does the sugar come from?

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Safe And Unsafe Teeth Whitening Methods

Dr Mani Virdee Synergy Clinic Dentist

Dr Mani Virdee discusses the risks some people take with unsafe tooth whitening methods.

First of all, let us be clear; a teeth whitening procedure when done correctly, is both perfectly safe and a really effective way of improving a smile.

Unfortunately, perhaps because it is not an invasive procedure, some people try to find shortcuts or cheap ways of whitening their teeth. This is a very risky approach and is likely to lead to damage and pain.

This is probably a good time to remind patients of our Addlestone dental practice, that teeth are a living thing. They are not like our fingernails, for example, which have no nerves. A tooth is made out of three main components; a hard protective enamel surface, a softer and more porous dentin layer beneath it, and finally, the pulp and root canals where blood vessels and nerves are located. If you cut your fingernails, you will feel nothing. If you damage a tooth, you almost certainly will.

Illegal teeth whitening

For some time now, it has been illegal for anyone but a qualified dentist to administer a tooth whitening treatment. Despite this, there are still a few illegal outlets offering this, presumably, because the risk of being caught is financially deemed to be worth it. In many of these places, the staff may not be qualified and there have been some horrifying stories in the press regarding the damage done. One of the problems is that, in order to produce a brilliant white smile, the strength of the bleaching agent used is often well above the recommended safe level. This has left some patients in agony and can cause very significant long term sensitivity.

We would also exercise caution about buying any teeth whitening products online. Although some of these may be relatively safe, such as those bought from chemists, this is not always the case as can be seen by the prosecution of Samuel Madine in Ireland who was said to be selling whitening products that would be the equivalent of “brushing your teeth with bleach”. (reference 1)

‘Natural’ remedies

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Can Anybody Have Dental Implants?

Single dental implant

Dr Werner Krohn looks at who may, or may not, be suitable for this popular tooth replacement procedure.

There was a time, not so long ago, when hardly anybody had even heard of dental implants. Now though, it is one of the most popular tooth replacement methods, alongside dentures and bridges. All of these have their pros and cons and we will be discussing these in more detail in a future blog.

In a nutshell though, whilst all of these procedures offer aesthetic benefits, both dentures and bridges can be more inconvenient to look after, and also lack the same degree of strength and stability of implants.

It is this, along with the fact that once the procedure is completed, the implant should last for more than twenty years, that we see an increasing number of people coming to the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, seeking to have this treatment, when they have lost a tooth.

Assessing a patient’s suitability

For a successful dental implant procedure to take place, there are certain criteria that must be in place. The key one being that there needs to be sufficient bone into which the implant can be placed.

Whilst we all have a jawbone, these can vary in substance, especially when a tooth has been lost. If you see us soon after the loss of the tooth, it is likely that we will be able to place the implant straight away. If, on the other hand, you have decided to replace a missing tooth some time after the loss, it is quite likely that some bone loss will have occurred. This naturally happens when we lose a tooth as the body then reabsorbs the minerals for other purposes as it no longer has a role to play in that area.

It isn’t just tooth loss though that can cause this. Smoking can have a significant effect, as can the side effects of some medications.  Older patients too, may have experienced bone loss over the years. As sufficient bone density is essential for this procedure, we will always check for this before any treatment starts.

Bone loss – diagnosis and solutions

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The Importance Of Good Dental Care In Our Later Years

Dentist

Why looking after our teeth well now, can have a significant benefit for our quality of life in the years to come.

When we are young, we tend not to think of the health issues that might affect us as we get older. This is natural, and few parents would want their children to worry about various ailments that become more common with age.

Whilst preventative health measures such as stopping smoking and keeping fit are becoming increasingly popular, the same is not always true of our oral health care.

This is all too often a part of our daily routine which is done largely out of habit, with perhaps too little focus on its importance. This should not be the case though and looking after your teeth and gums now can make a big difference to your quality of life as you become older.

Gum disease and medical issues

The link between periodontal diseases and medical problems is increasingly being investigated. Possible links have been found between periodontitis and health issues such as strokes, heart disease, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease. Whilst these illnesses can affect us at any age, most are more likely to occur in older people, and such risks may even increase in older age if we find it more difficult to take care of our teeth. However, here at the Synergy Clinic, we believe that poor oral health is not inevitable, and a good combination of home and professional dental care is a very effective way of managing this problem.

Quality of life

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Do You Suffer From Bad Breath?

Dental inspection and clean

If so, it may not just be the food and drinks that you are eating and drinking that are causing it.

Most of our Addlestone patients probably associate bad breath with the foods that we eat. Garlic, to take a classic example, is well known for causing bad breath (as well as keeping vampires away of course!) Other substances, such as coffee, can also cause smelly breath, and, to a degree, we can control this by what we choose to eat, or rather, what we choose not to eat.

Generally speaking though, unless you eat and drink these products every day, your bad breath should only be occasional, rather than something that you suffer from on a daily basis.

Persistent bad breath is not only anti social, but could also be a sign that you have an oral health problem that needs to be addressed.

How will you know if your breath smells?

If you try to breath out through your mouth and then sniff the air to see if your breath smells, this simply won’t work. Your breath disperses in the air far too quickly for any odours to be detectable by ourselves. There are a couple of ways that can be helpful though. Firstly, try licking the inside of your wrist, and presuming you aren’t wearing perfume there, if it smells unpleasant, then it is very likely that your breath will do so too.

Another way to tell how offensive your breath is, is if you notice people starting to leave a wider distance between you and them when you are speaking to them. If your breath is really offensive, they may not be able to avoid turning their head away from you, or may even make up an excuse on the spot to walk away from you. Even in everyday situations this would be bad enough, but important occasions, such as an interview, could be a success or failure depending on what your breath smells like!

What to do about persistent smelly breath

Food and drink

The most obvious thing to do initially, is to eliminate or at least cut down, on most of the foods that can cause your breath to smell. The following are some examples.

  • Garlic (of course)
  • Coffee
  • Onions
  • Tuna
  • Some dairy products (does not apply to everyone)
  • Cigarettes (more of that later)

If your breath is purely caused by food and drink products, it goes without saying that eliminating or reducing them will improve your breath significantly.

Your oral health

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Why Regular Dental Examinations Are Important

dental check up

Regular monitoring of your oral health is essential for healthy teeth and gums.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, seeing a dentist every six months or so for a check up is key to maintaining a healthy mouth. Some patients, such as diabetics, for whom gum problems can be more likely, may be requested to have check-ups more frequently to detect and treat any problems that arise much earlier.

One thing that we must emphasise is that if any of our Addlestone patients find that they have a problem between these appointments, they should not simply wait until their check up appointment is due, but call us for a prompt appointment. Depending on the issue, leaving it for a few more months, or even a few weeks, could make all the difference between needing a minor procedure to restore a tooth and a more comprehensive one, or even the loss of the tooth. If you are in doubt, please call us for advice.

Cancellations

At the Synergy Clinic, we do understand that life sometimes gets in the way of appointments that you have already made. If this happens to you and you have to cancel your appointment, please let us know as soon as you possibly can. We also recommend that you book a new appointment at this time so that you don’t ‘let things drift’ and end up not seeing a dentist for a much longer period of time, during which, your oral health situation may have deteriorated.

Your examination

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Rejuvenate Your Complexion With Facial Aesthetic Treatments

Facial aesthetics in action

Wrinkle reduction and dermal fillers now available at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone

We are firm advocates of having a great looking smile. We know, from what many of our patients have told us over the years, what a difference it can make to their lives.

Not only is it always nice to see an attractive face looking back at you in the mirror, but it is also likely to be reflected in your confidence during your daily life. This same confidence can be of real benefit when attending a job interview or going on a date, for example.

Whilst we often put an emphasis on the quality of your smile, and improving it through cosmetic dental treatments such as teeth whitening, it is also important not to forget the rest of your face too. An attractive smile, but with tired looking and wrinkled skin, will usually only get you part way to where you would really like to be.

The ageing effect

However much we think it will never affect us whilst we are young, we will all eventually notice those tell tale signs of getting older; the wrinkles that gradually appear on our face and the thinning out of some of our facial features, especially on the lips. Whilst make up, used skillfully, can help to ‘mask’ some of these signs of ageing for a little while, it is really just postponing the inevitable.

Thankfully, our Addlestone facial aesthetics team are able to help you. Following a thorough consultation and using a range of treatments, including wrinkle reduction and dermal fillers, we can help to rejuvenate your skin and give you a younger and more natural looking appearance.

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Invisalign – Comfortable And Discreet ‘Dental Braces’

Invisalign clear teeth aligner

Addlestone dentist, Dr Mani Virdee explains why this is a popular teeth straightening solution for many

The need to have dental braces fitted is not something that most people would hope for. The idea of a highly visible set of wires and braces showing when you smile may even lead to some people deciding not to have them fitted at all, and simply put up with crooked teeth instead.

This is not a good idea, and not just for long term aesthetic reasons either.

Crooked teeth are likely to become even more so if not straightened. In addition to this, uneven teeth are much more difficult to keep clean and are more likely to lead to problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

It is not all ‘bad news’ for those with crooked teeth though. At the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, we are able to provide a solution that ticks all the right boxes.

Say hello to Invisalign!

Invisalign orthodontics are not ‘braces’ in the conventional sense, avoiding the use of wires and brackets altogether. Whilst conventional braces use metal wiring, there are other cosmetic orthodontics that use a similar system, but replace the metal wires and brackets with finer tooth coloured materials, helping them to be more discreet. Invisalign orthodontics though, go one step further.

Say goodbye to wire and bracket braces

Instead of using wires and brackets, Invisalign uses medical grade transparent plastic to produce a series of trays which are designed to fit directly over the patient’s teeth. These are produced following scans, and each tray is designed to progressively move your teeth towards their final desired position. Each tray is worn for a week or two and is then removed and replaced by the next in the series. This continues until your teeth are correctly aligned. We will, of course, be available to monitor your progress and make any adjustment deemed necessary during the course of your treatment.

What are the main benefits of this method?

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Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

pro teeth whitening before and after

Why having this popular cosmetic treatment performed by a dentist is safer, and more effective, than attempting a DIY approach

One of the most straightforward ways to give your teeth a visible boost is to have them whitened. You will, no doubt, have seen numerous advertisements on TV for whitening toothpastes and other similar products.

There is no doubt that these companies are tapping into a lucrative market, but unfortunately, the products on offer can produce disappointing results, as we shall see in a few minutes.

At the Synergy Clinic, our professional teeth whitening treatment is one of our most popular. We offer two ways of achieving this; either a one hour ‘in clinic’ treatment, or a custom kit that you can use at home, but which takes a little longer to achieve the same level of whiteness.

Teeth whitening toothpastes

Before we look at the treatments that we offer at our Addlestone dental clinic, it is worth investigating the pros and cons of using a whitening toothpaste. These are now widely available and it is natural that patients are tempted to use them. Unfortunately, any improvements produced are likely to be relatively minor and users may well be disappointed. There may even be some risk to the health of your teeth in some cases.

There are two ways in which a whitening toothpaste may attempt to whiten your teeth. Some may include additional abrasive elements that are designed to remove surface staining from your teeth. These can also damage the enamel surface of your teeth, especially if you brush too often or too hard. Others use a whitening agent similar to that used by dentists. The difference is that, because this ingredient is potentially dangerous if misused, toothpaste manufacturers are restricted by law in the amount that they can use, and can only use a fraction of the amount that professionals can. The end results are likely to fall a long way short of what the user had hoped for.

These toothpastes may have a useful role however, if used following a professional whitening treatment, and may help to extend the length of time before the results of the treatment start to fade. We are happy to discuss this with you during your treatment consultation.

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Gum Disease And Other Health Issues

Dental treatment

Periodontal diseases may increase the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and other health problems

When we talk about dental care, most people probably generally think about their teeth. As these are very visible when we smile, and are also necessary for eating, that probably isn’t  too surprising. Unfortunately, it may also be one of the reasons that some people don’t always give their gums the care that they deserve. Gum health is important for maintaining healthy teeth and increasingly too, their health is being linked with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, amongst others.

At the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, we believe in full mouth care, and your regular six monthly examinations allow us to check the health not only of your teeth, but also of your gums and other soft tissues. Keeping your gums healthy is important for many reasons; some of which we discuss below.

Discomfort and antisocial effects

Before we look at some of the more potentially serious implications of having gum disease, it is worth looking at some of the ‘stand alone’ effects that it can have. When gingivitis occurs, patients are likely to  suffer from sore and swollen gums. These may also bleed when brushed. Sore and tender gums will make it more difficult to eat and will almost certainly spoil the enjoyment of your food. Halitosis, or bad breath, is also a distinct possibility and is caused by the gases that are expelled by the bacteria that are present with gingivitis and periodontitis.

Loose or missing teeth

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