How Important Are Baby Teeth?

Dentist Harminder Sehmi

Just because we will lose our first teeth doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look after them, says Wickford dentist Dr Harminder Sehmi.

Baby teeth, milk teeth or even first teeth, call them what you will, but we will all have them and we will all lose them.

Because our first set of teeth are temporary, some parents may not be too worried about their children not looking after them as well as they should do. This is bad news all round, and, whilst it is true that we will all lose our first teeth, some of them can last us well into our teens and even beyond.

Baby teeth also have a purpose and, like the teeth that will follow, should be looked after correctly for a number of different reasons.

Ability to eat

As children switch from soft foods to eating harder foods, it is obvious that they will need their first teeth for eating. If these teeth are not looked after well and cause discomfort when eating, a child may be reluctant to eat some foods and this could result in a somewhat restricted diet. This could potentially even affect their growth and development.

Tooth decay

Yes, children will lose their first teeth but surely no parent wants to see their children in severe pain because their teeth have extensive decay. In fact, the number one reason for children to have hospital treatment is to have teeth extracted because of this problem. Because you couldn’t expect a young child, say of toddler age, to sit still to have a tooth extracted using a local anaesthetic, they have to be anaesthetised for this procedure and this can only be done in hospital. Although small, there are also additional risks when any medical procedure is performed using general anaesthesia. Making sure that they have regular six monthly examinations at the Cygnet Dental Practice will help to minimise the risk of decay, alongside good care at home.

Speech development

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Versatile Dental Crowns

Dentist doing examination

This restorative treatment offers many benefits for our Wickford and Rayleigh patients.

After the use of a filling, a dental crown is one of the more common procedures used to restore a decaying or damaged tooth.

They offer an excellent means of providing strength to a tooth, where no other procedure can. They are also often used to complete both a root canal procedure and a dental implant placement.

Although our teeth are generally quite strong, providing that they are healthy, there are still many ways in which they can become damaged.

These include:

  • Excess force being used to bite on hard foods
  • Damage to a tooth weakened by cavities
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding
  • General wear and tear caused by age
  • Teeth that have been weakened through chips and cracks

Whilst, at the Cygnet Dental Practice, we will always try to treat a patient using the least invasive procedure possible, this has to be balanced with the likely outcome. Although a filling may be a minor procedure, and is an excellent option in its own right, it is not always suitable for more significant damage to the teeth.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown, also sometimes known as a ‘cap’, is a tooth shaped object which is used to replace the damaged or decaying part of a tooth where a filing would not provide sufficient strength. They are also usually used to strengthen the tooth following root canal treatment. To fit a crown, the tooth will need to be shaped so that the crown can be attached in a way that offers maximum security and strength. Both the shape and the colour of the rest of your natural teeth will be taken into consideration so that your new crown appears as natural looking as possible.

How are crowns produced and fitted?

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Recovery Following Root Canal Treatment

Dr Krupa Thakrar at Cygnet Dental

The period of time following treatment should be used to maximum effect, says Wickford dentist Dr Krupa Thakrar.

We have discussed before, the reasons why patients should not fear having a root canal procedure at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Although it is invasive, it is a long standing, and usually successful, method for restoring a tooth where the root canals have been infected.

This is done by removing the top of the tooth, extracting the infected material and cleaning out the hollow canals. Gutta percha is then used to fill the cavities, and, in most cases, a dental crown will then be attached to give the tooth both additional strength and a natural appearance.

In a nutshell, that is the procedure that is used to save the tooth. Equally important though is what happens after the procedure has been completed.

What should you expect?

Because many patients are in some pain when they need to have this treatment, there can be an expectation that, once the anaesthetic wears off, they will still feel some discomfort, even if not as bad as before. This simply shouldn’t happen though, as part of the procedure involves the removal of infected nerve tissue, meaning that the tooth is in effect, a ‘dead’ one that feels no sensation.

You may experience a little tenderness in the surrounding area but this should not be too significant and should soon go of its own accord. You may wish to take some suitable painkillers afterwards though, if you are especially sensitive to discomfort. If you are still in discomfort, a week or so following the treatment, please contact our Wickford practice to have it checked. In the highly unlikely event that you are in significant pain following the procedure, please call us as soon as possible.


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Is Your Coffee Habit Affecting Your Teeth?

Dentist Dr Nabiha Farooqi

The rise in coffee consumption in the UK could pose a challenge for the health of our teeth suggests Cygnet Dental Practitioner, Dr Nabiha Farooqi.

At the moment, it seems that we don’t hear much good news about the economy at all. One area though that seems to be ever expanding is the omnipresent coffee shop. Even the smallest town now appears to have least one, with Wickford being no exception. The British  simply can’t get enough of this product, but does this popular beverage pose any threat to our oral health at all?

One of the appeals of coffee, of course, is the quick energy burst that the caffeine provides. This is a naturally occurring substance that is present in a number of plants, including tea leaves. There are also other recognised benefits of caffeine such as its anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are even some sources which claims that drinking coffee might lower the risk of some oral cancers (reference 1 below).

One of the problems with some of these findings though is that to have any significant effect, between 4 and 6 cups of coffee a day need to be drunk. This can lead to other side effects such as increased heart rate and ‘the jitters’. It could also have an effect on your teeth and gums too.

Caffeine and your teeth

Whilst caffeine might reduce the risk of gum disease, it could, potentially, cause damage to your teeth if you drink a lot of it. ‘Caffeine’ addicts may become agitated and jittery if they drink too much of it, and some have argued that this leads to an increase in bruxism (teeth grinding), or perhaps rather, the intensity of it. As we know, this is a habit that can be very harmful and destructive to our teeth and it is best if we moderate our caffeine intake to help to prevent it.

The other most visible effect that coffee has on our teeth of course, is staining. Especially when strong and intense coffee drinks, such as espressos, are drunk, the dark staining properties are soon very visible for all to see. A teeth whitening procedure can be used to reverse this, but for those who prefer to prevent it in the first place, coffee is probably not the beverage for them.

The sugar threat

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Practical Advice To Assist Successful Dental Implant Placement

dental implant next to natural tooth

If you are considering having implants to replace missing teeth, here is what you need to know.

A lost adult tooth means that it is gone forever. There is no natural replacement tooth waiting to come through as they do when you lose a ‘baby tooth’. Whilst you could, feasibly, just leave a gap, most people will want to replace it, especially if the gap would be visible.

There are arguments for dentures being suitable, particularly as they typically require no surgery to have them. Many wearers though, find them to be uncomfortable and, at times, unstable. They can also be quite difficult and inconvenient to keep clean and have to be removed from the mouth to do so.

None of the above issues apply to dental implants. Once fully integrated with the bone, most people find that implants not only look like, but also feel like, a natural tooth once they have become used to them. Because the titanium ‘root’ is now firmly bonded with the bone, implants will not move around. They can also be cleaned exactly as you would your natural teeth.

The above are likely reasons that dental implants are popular. The success rate is also very high, but there are a number of things that the patient can do to help the success of their treatment.

Choose your implant dentist wisely

We have likely mentioned this in a previous blog, but it is worth reiterating. Be very cautious about opting to have your treatment abroad, especially where the price may seem cheaper than in the UK. There are many reasons why this could be the case. A positive way of looking at it is that some countries are simply cheaper to live in. However, and especially where the prices differences are significant, the reasons may be less innocent.

It can be hard to determine the qualifications of dentists in some countries and it may well be that you are signing up to have your implants placed by someone with little experience. They may also use cheaper implants which can compromise the bonding process and may lead to the implants failing. On a human level, you should also think about potential language barriers which can make communication between dentist and patient more difficult. Whilst most European dental practices should have a good level of hygiene, this may not be the case if you decide to combine your implant treatment with a long haul holiday to further flung regions of the world.

If you are considering having implants, talk to the team at the Cygnet Dental Practice about them before making any rash decisions to go abroad.

Pre-treatment planning and preparation

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How To Look After Your Invisalign Trays

Invisalign invisible braces

A practical and healthy approach to caring for this teeth straightening system.

Invisalign orthodontics are growing in popularity. This is hardly surprising, given their near invisibility and the fact that they are made to be removed for eating and when cleaning your teeth.

This makes them a very practical and convenient teeth straightening solution and also offers a comfortable method as they are created from impressions that are taken of your own teeth.

In addition to the above, food is less likely to become trapped in the trays as they are removable, which not only allows you to clean your teeth effectively, but also means that the trays are easy to keep clean too. This is very important if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy whilst you receive your orthodontic treatment.

The basics of hygiene

We can’t state often enough, how important good basic oral hygiene is for our patients. This is no different when you are receiving treatment to have your teeth straightened. Invisalign trays make this much easier to do, and, as you can remove the trays, you can easily continue with your regular brushing and flossing regime.

As well as your teeth, you also need to make sure that you keep your trays clean. In today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog, to assist our Wickford and Rayleigh patients, we take a look at how you can do this effectively.

Dining out

The golden rule, when wearing orthodontic trays, is not to trap food in them for any length of time. At home, this is less difficult, but if you are out for the day and have just eaten at lunchtime, it may be some time before you are able to clean your teeth and trays properly. Even so, you should attempt to clean them as best as you can, perhaps in the washroom of the restaurant.

Giving your mouth a good swilling around with clean water will at least remove some of the food pieces and bacteria from your mouth, and a good rinse of your trays will mean that they are reasonably clean when you return them to your mouth. If you do have the opportunity to clean your teeth and trays more fully, then please do take it. This method though, at least assures a reasonably good level of cleanliness.

Home cleaning

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Long Term Dental Issues?

Dental implant in place

Oral restoration options at the Cygnet Dental Practice.

For most people, having a healthy set of teeth is not overly difficult. With good home care and regular dental visits, most of us will go through life with relatively healthy teeth, perhaps having a few fillings and even the odd extraction.

On the whole though, our oral health does not affect our lives too significantly. This is not the case with everyone though, and some people seem to be ‘plagued’ with poor dental health throughout their lives.

Some of this may be down to long term poor oral health care or even long term medical issues. Others may just be unfortunate to have very poor quality teeth due to genetics. This can have a major impact on people’s lives, both from a practical viewpoint, but also from a mental health perspective too. Being so embarrassed about our teeth can lead us to avoiding social events, or even people, altogether.

In today’s blog, we take a look at the treatments that we have on offer that can help our local Wickford and Rayleigh patients restore their teeth and get their oral health back on course.

Make an appointment

Whatever the reason for your poor oral health, it is never too late to do something about it. Whilst we may not be able to give you a new set of natural teeth, there are many procedures now available that make a great job of restoring damaged teeth and, where that is not possible, replacing them with a realistic alternative.

Before any of this is possible though, the patient has to take the first step and make an appointment to see one of the dentists at the Cygnet Dental Practice for a thorough examination. This will enable us to discuss an effective treatment plan for your own particular situation. The first step will be to treat any issues of immediate concern such as decaying teeth or gum health issues. Once we have achieved a good level of general oral health, we can then start looking at restoring your teeth to a condition where they are both functional and visually appealing.


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Starting Your Regular Daily Flossing Regime

flossing teeth

A look at some of the challenges and tips for better oral health through flossing.

It is the start of a new year, and perhaps no better time to start to make changes to our lives. There are many pieces of advice that we offer our Wickford patients to help them to have better oral health, but perhaps one of the most simple of these is the introduction of dental floss into their daily routine, for those who currently don’t do it.

There is every chance that you don’t use dental floss at this point. Nearly four in five of us don’t do this, yet it is a simple task that takes very little time, yet really can contribute significantly to a healthier mouth.

Types of flossing

Before we look at the ‘hows’, it is worth acknowledging that there are now a variety of methods available. Not only the string type of floss that most of our patients are probably familiar with, but also inter-dental sticks and even water flossers. Whilst all of these have their advocates (and opposers), the view of our Cygnet Dental Practice team is that the standard ‘string’ type of floss is more than adequate for the job.

Starting to floss

We know, from patient feedback, that some people really do find it a struggle to floss between their teeth. It is true that it can be a little fiddly initially, but most people soon get the hang of it and it is certainly worth persevering with. If you really do struggle after watching tutorial videos etc, then pop along to our Wickford dental practice. We will be only too happy to offer our help and advice!

When you start flossing, it is worth remembering that you only need to do so in the evening (though some may wish to remove stubborn food directly after a meal too) and should be done, ideally,  after you brush your teeth. If you can only brush before though, or find that much easier to do, it is much better to do so than not to floss at all.

Initial bleeding

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Your End Of Year Dental Quiz!

A little festive fun to see how much our Wickford patients have learned about their oral health this year.

As this will almost certainly be the last Cygnet Dental Practice blog until 2019, we thought that we would have a little change, and, rather than provide further insight into oral health issues, we would see how much you have learned so far. This is, of course, just for fun and there are no prizes other than perhaps serving as a reminder about how you can care better for your oral health. After all, a great looking smile is a real winner.

So, without further ado, here are your questions, with the answers at the bottom of the page … no cheating please 🙂

  1. How long does the Six Month Smiles orthodontic system take to work?
  2. What is the sometimes ‘controversial’ material used in amalgam fillings?
  3. Name the disease that can very occasionally occur in patients that have dental implants placed, and which can cause them to fail.
  4. What is it called when there is a gap between the front teeth?
  5. Why are fruits, such as oranges and lemons, potentially harmful for your teeth?
  6. Why do teeth discolour specifically with age?
  7. Aside from leaving a gap, name the three available options for replacing a missing tooth
  8. Name the dental instrument that we use for removing a fine layer of enamel from your teeth when dental veneers are being fitted
  9. How long, after eating, should you leave before cleaning your teeth?
  10. When should you change your toothbrush?


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Tooth Remineralisation

How a healthy mouth contributes towards this important process.

Many patients tend to think of teeth as solid objects, whereas they actually consist of several layers. The exterior enamel layer is hard and offers the necessary strength to chew and bite our food.

The layer beneath, the dentin layer, is softer and porous and allows ‘access’ to the nerves which are stored in the root canals of the tooth. It is the enamel layer which we see when we look in the mirror though, and what many of us may be unaware of is, that when we eat, we lose some of the minerals from this layer, causing it to soften just a little.

This softening is not something that our Wickford patients would notice, but for a short period of time, with the loss of some of these minerals which include calcium and phosphate, our teeth are a little more vulnerable to problems such as decay and acid damage.

A word about brushing your teeth

Before we move on to discuss the remineralisation process, it is probably a good time to mention that, due to the softer nature of our teeth following a meal, it is a good idea to allow at least 30 minutes to lapse after we have finished eating before we brush our teeth. If we brush before then, the enamel is softer and more vulnerable and may result in some enamel erosion. Doing this on a regular basis can cause significant long term damage to our teeth.

What happens during remineralisation?

As we lose minerals from our teeth when we eat, so these are restored afterwards, or at least where our overall oral health is good. The minerals that are used to restore the enamel of our teeth are contained in our saliva. Finishing a meal with something that promotes good saliva flow is an excellent idea as this will help to speed up the remineralisation process. Cheese is ideal for this as it not only stimulates saliva flow but helps to reduce the potentially tooth damaging acid environment in our mouth as well.

It is also important that we stay well hydrated in order to keep a healthy saliva flow. This should be done by drinking sufficient water, not only in hot weather, but in cold too. High sugar drinks are not a suitable replacement for water and their high acid levels are also likely to contribute to further mineral loss.

Signs of demineralisation

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