Teeth implants can last for twenty years or more but need appropriate care
Dental implants are a growing market with more and more people choosing them as their preferred tooth replacement option. Whilst dentures and bridges continue to be used by a significant number of people, we believe that implants may well overtake them as a first choice option due to their practicality and longevity.
Out of the three types of tooth replacement methods available, dental implants are also the easiest to maintain. Both dentures and bridges can be quite fiddly to keep clean, and in the case of dentures especially, may become damaged when cleaning if dropped. Implants, once secured in place, should be the most straightforward to keep clean and healthy.
Despite this ease of maintenance, it is still a very important thing to do and neglecting to do so can lead to infections and, ultimately, failure of the implant. To help our Wickford patients maintain good oral health and protect their implants, we have put together a basic guide to maintaining healthy dental implants.
Post implant procedure
Your new implants are perhaps most vulnerable in the first few months after they have been placed. During this time you will need to take special care of them including being careful about what you eat.
Your initial diet will need to be very soft in nature that puts no strain at all on your new implant. This might seem a little boring but it is for a short period of time out of the twenty year plus lifespan, and your long term goal should be kept in mind. Rather than wonder what you are going to eat once you have had your treatment, it is worth looking into foods you can eat beforehand and planning accordingly. For example, you could make and freeze a number of different soups to help your diet be more varied and interesting.
As time goes on, you will be able to introduce slightly firmer foods into your diet such as mashed potato and well cooked pasta (not al dente) and gradually, as the implant becomes more established, start to eat slightly harder foods. After approximately three or four months you should be able to return to your usual diet as directed by your dentist.
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A look at the various ways we can help you achieve a more attractive smile!
Most people will probably now be aware of the teeth whitening treatment that is so popular and so widely used by celebrities and other media personalities. We have come a long way from when stained teeth on a news reporter were all too common, and presentation is now considered to be important in getting a message over to the public.
Interestingly, one of the procedures we will discuss, dental veneers, actually came about as a result of Hollywood actors needing a more attractive smile during close up shots as many were heavy smokers who had badly stained teeth.
Our friendly Wickford dentists are here not only to ensure that you have healthy teeth but a more attractive smile as well. In today’s blog. We will take a look at the various teeth whitening options that we offer our patients.
Scale and polish
Let’s start with the most ‘basic’ and one that isn’t specifically designed for improving your smile. A scale and polish is provided by the dental hygienist as part of your regular visit. It is designed to remove hardened bacteria and minerals, known as tartar or calculus which can contribute to gum disease. The final part involves the use of a high speed rotating brush in order to do this. This also has the result of removing some surface staining. This can improve the appearance of your teeth in a limited way and is also a significant contributor to your oral health.
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Some helpful advice for Wickford halitosis sufferers
Most of us will experience bad breath on occasions. We may have been in such a rush to get to work that we forgot to clean our teeth, or perhaps we smoke. These and bad breath caused by foods such as garlic are common and with the exception of smoking, usually temporary.
Aside from any social problems this may cause, temporary bad breath is rarely a significant issue and will usually go away once we have stopped doing whatever it was that caused it in the first place. Those who suffer from ongoing bad breath though should take a look at what the underlying causes are as they could be potentially quite serious.
What is bad breath?
The obvious answer is breath that smells, but what actually causes the smell? In most cases, the smell comes from sulphur which is released by bacteria in the mouth. Garlic and some other foods can also create smelly breath in a different way. Apart from the smell of the actual product, our digestive system absorbs their byproducts into the bloodstream and this eventually finds its ways into our lungs. No amount of brushing our teeth is going to remove that.
The latter cause, whilst unpleasant, is generally not serious or long lasting. It is the first cause which is a potentially serious issue and one which we may be able to help reduce or eliminate at the Cygnet Dental Practice.
If your bad breath is persistent and not directly linked to a food like garlic or a bad habit like smoking, there is every likelihood that it is being caused by gum disease. This is often a result of poor oral hygiene over a period of time but, providing that it is detected early enough, it can often be reversed and managed. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is caused when the number of potentially harmful bacteria in our mouth grows beyond a manageable number. These will attack the soft tissue of our gums, releasing obnoxious smelling fumes as they do so. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect bad breath on ourselves and it may be only when we notice people moving away when we speak that we become aware of it.
At this stage of the problem, it can be treated by our Wickford dental hygiene team who can carry out a scale and polish (more on that later). If the problem isn’t dealt with at this stage, the bacteria can go on to also attack the roots of the teeth and surrounding bone, This requires more invasive surgical intervention.
Can you simply ‘mask’ the smell?
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Guidance on orthodontic care for our Wickford patients
If you are on social media, there is a good chance that you will have come across advertisements offering ‘invisible braces’ that you can buy online and use at home without visiting your dentist. For some people, this might appear a good option, especially if visiting the dentist isn’t one of your favourite things to do.
In some cases, these offers might seem to be a cheaper option too, but as is usually the case with cost cutting, this doesn’t mean that you are going to get the best, or even the right, treatment.
If you want to have a healthy smile as well as an attractive one, the best way, in our opinion, is to make sure that you consult your local dentist at Cygnet Dental who will be able to work with you from start to finish to make sure that you have the best outcome possible.
Why you should use your local dentist
Straightening teeth needs to be done carefully and usually slowly as well. Applying too much pressure to the teeth by ‘forcing’ them into position too fast through excess pressure can damage not only the teeth, but the underlying bone as well. Our Wickford dentists will make sure that your treatment is safe as well as effective and will monitor and supervise the treatment throughout its duration – this is done face-to-face rather than remotely and we feel that this is the best option for our patients.
Another important aspect of orthodontic treatment, which gives your local dentist an advantage, is that it is very important, before any teeth straightening techniques start, to ensure that your mouth is healthy. If this is not done, there is a real danger that problems like tooth decay, gum disease and even dental abscesses might be present and may cause problems during the treatment period. Indeed, these problems may become worse and not only, potentially, be painful, making the trays difficult to wear, but may also result in additional costs for treatment.
Not just teeth straightening
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A look at the benefits and financial implications of cosmetic dental treatment.
One thing that we hear a lot at our Wickford dental practice, and we are sure that other dentists do too, is along the lines of “I’d love to have nicer looking teeth, but I can’t afford it”. We know that finances can mean that having a nicer smile is a challenge for some people but it may not be quite as problematic as you think.
As cosmetic dentistry is not available via the NHS, Cygnet Dental Practice patients will have to pay privately. We acknowledge that this can be a deterrent but having a nicer smile may be more accessible that you realise!
Affordable cosmetic treatments
There is one particular cosmetic treatment which is very popular, partially because of its effectiveness, but also because it is relatively inexpensive. The teeth whitening procedure is now widely used, sometimes for one off occasions such as a wedding, whilst others use it to maintain attractive white teeth over a longer period of time. This non-invasive treatment not only improves the whiteness of your smile by several shades but many who have had this done report a sense of increased self confidence, especially in situations where they are likely to smile. An attractive smile like this for example at a job interview, might just give you that edge and could pay you back handsomely for the small investment that you have made.
Whilst a tooth whitening procedure is one of the most affordable cosmetic treatments at the Cygnet Dental Practice, we acknowledge that some other treatments are more expensive, certainly as an initial outlay.
There are two things to consider here though. Firstly, although finding the money to pay for a treatment might be a challenge, please remember that we offer our patients a range of payment plans which allow you to make repayments over a period of time. These are low, or even no, interest payment plans depending on the options that you choose and how long you pay back over. It is also worth considering the longevity of the results of the treatments. Whilst a teeth whitening treatment lasts for several months, it does have a limited life span. Other treatments though can be much longer lasting and may even be effective for the rest of your life.
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Endodontic treatment can save an infected tooth and here’s why you shouldn’t worry about it
Before we take a look at what a root canal treatment entails, let us address the elephant in the room. Root canal treatment has often been used as a benchmark to measure pain, and nearly always at the top end of the scale.
So, how did this come about and how true is it? We know that many patients possibly feel this way about the procedure, so let us take a look at this particular myth.
Whilst it is true that a root canal procedure is an invasive one, the fact is that it should cause you no more discomfort than most invasive dental treatments. As with others, it will be performed using a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort and you really should not experience any pain.
If this is the case, then why does it have the reputation that it has? Whilst nobody can be 100% sure, it does appear that it may have come from a time when x-rays were not in common use. Without an x-ray, there was a risk that the dentist could drill into an abscess. We are sure that you can imagine how painful that would have been, especially with less effective local anaesthetics than we have today. Although this must have been incredibly painful, there is no reason why this should happen today. X-rays are routinely taken at the Cygnet Dental Practice before we start a root canal procedure. These are used not only to diagnose the need for this treatment, but also to check for the presence of any abscesses. If any are found, the abscess will be treated before the root canal procedure can take place.
Once we are sure that there are no abscesses, your treatment can start. As a powerful local anaesthetic is used, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort during the treatment although you may experience some sensations, such as vibration, when we access the tooth.
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If you have missing teeth, dental implants may provide the ideal solution.
Tooth loss can occur for a number of reasons and one of the most common is long term neglect of your teeth. They can be lost through accidents as well though, especially if you take part in contact sports such as football. Finally, longer term problems such as periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Knowing how teeth can be lost is one thing, but if it happens to you, what is the best way to replace them?
To a lot of people, the only way to replace missing teeth is with dentures, or possibly a bridge. However, the idea of wearing dentures isn’t a very attractive one for some patients, including those at the Cygnet Dental Practice and, although dentures have much improved over the years, some people do still find them a little problematic.
The ‘issues’ with dentures
Dentures do offer a reasonable way of maintaining an attractive smile with a full set of teeth; they are not without their disadvantages though. Some people find them uncomfortable and sometimes unstable. This is often due to bone loss in the jaw which makes the dentures fit less securely and therefore move around in the mouth. This can also cause the gums to become sore from the friction. In addition to this, cleaning dentures can be fiddly as they have to be removed for cleaning. It is essential to do this to remove bacteria which could affect your overall oral health otherwise. Interestingly, this is one of the most common ways for dentures to become damaged or broken, when they are dropped into the sink when cleaning them!
So, what other options are available? A dental bridge is one one option, but one ruled out by many people as teeth that are otherwise healthy have to be shaped, damaging the structure of the tooth. The other option available to our Wickford patients are dental implants.
Why have dental implants?
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Spending a little more time taking care of our gums will pay dividends – here’s why….
How healthy are your gums? Do you pay them much attention or even give them much thought at all? Well, if you don’t, you really should. Most of us take time to look after our teeth, probably having experienced toothache at some point in our lives.
Our gums are less often considered and it may even be thought that they will just look after themselves, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
Some of our Wickford and Rayleigh patients have reacted with surprise when told that they have gum disease. This is understandable, especially in the earlier stages where the symptoms may not be too pronounced. Some gum disease symptoms build up so slowly that we take things like some tenderness of our gums as being ‘normal’. The fact is though that your gum health is important and our team at the Cygnet Dental Practice can play a role in helping you look after them.
Why is good gum health important?
As with any part of our anatomy, we should always strive for good health. If we don’t, we may pay a price for it and the same thing applies to our gums. The disease itself can display some unpleasant symptoms which we will look at shortly. Ultimately though, it can lead to tooth loss if left to progress to an advanced stage.
What causes gum disease?
Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by harmful bacteria produced in the mouth. With good oral care, this is controlled fairly easily but if we let our cleaning regimen slip and/or partake in activities such as smoking which make it more likely, the number of bacteria will grow and start to attack the gums. If not treated, it can go on to progress below the gum line and can also damage the roots of the teeth and even the bone surrounding it. When this happens our teeth can become loose and, ultimately, fall out.
What symptoms should I look for?
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How to protect against the discomfort of sensitive teeth, plus treatment for those who already have them.
When we think about painful teeth, we probably mostly think about tooth decay and the toothache often associated with it. Without a doubt, this can be excruciatingly painful but it is generally short lived as most patients will contact the Cygnet Dental Practice to have it treated, whether through a filling or in some cases where the tooth cannot be saved, extraction.
For one group of people though, a more persistent tooth pain is common and that is in those with sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity varies in degrees as to how painful it is. For some, it is a relatively light discomfort where they are simply more aware when they eat or drink something very hot or cold. For others though, the same experience can produce sharp pains that cause them to wince in pain. Although this isn’t the persistent pain of a toothache, it can be very painful indeed and many people will avoid extremes of temperatures to avoid it. Even those with relatively minor discomfort with this problem should probably take that as a warning sign of worse to come.
Healthy tooth enamel
So why do some people have sensitive teeth whilst others don’t? The answer lies in the enamel on the teeth. People with healthy enamel are more resistant to pain caused in this way as it protects the underlying layers from the heat and cold. The problem arises when the enamel has either been damaged, perhaps through a crack or a chip, or equally often, eroded, causing it to become thinner.
The key to avoiding sensitivity is to look after the enamel on your teeth. This obviously means making sure that you brush, floss and see your dentist and hygienist at our Wickford dental clinic on a regular and ongoing basis. In between these appointments, there are some things that you can do, other than brushing and flossing, to help keep your tooth enamel healthy.
- When you brush your teeth, make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure. A gentle circular motion is all that is needed. The problem with putting too much pressure on is that this will gradually wear away the enamel causing it to thin. Some electric toothbrushes now have pressure sensors that allow them to cut out if too much pressure is applied. This could prove to be a good investment.
- The second thing is to be careful about what you eat and drink. A diet high in acidic foods will gradually erode the dental enamel. These can even be healthy foods such as citric fruits but include a wide range of food and drinks. The following are some of the ones to avoid or at least limit your intake of:
- Acidic fruits and even some vegetables such as tomatoes. Eat these in moderation
- Sweets and even dried fruits as these contain high levels of sugars and are prone to stick to the teeth for a long period of time
- Wine, whether red or white is quite acidic and potentially damaging to your teeth
- Soft drinks, and especially those labelled as ‘sports drinks’. These are highly acidic and are perhaps one of the worst culprits when it comes to enamel erosion
There can be other factors such as medication and eating disorders. The latter causes the teeth to come into contact with stomach acid where vomiting is common, This is quite a strong acid and many people with bulimia especially, often have poor teeth as well.
Easing tooth sensitivity
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Helping our Wickford patients bite and chew with confidence
How many of us can truthfully say that we have every confidence in our teeth to withstand the pressure when we eat our food, and especially when we eat harder foods such as nuts?
Even some foods that we might not expect to be challenging, such as bread, can contain harder particles such as seeds or grains that are much harder than we were expecting.
However careful we are about what we eat, we can never be sure that our weakened teeth aren’t going to encounter something that might cause them to chip, crack or break.
Even if we do manage to avoid hard foods such as these, isn’t it potentially limiting our nutritional intake, as well as the sheer enjoyment of eating too? Opting for foods from a menu that you know your teeth will be OK with whilst eyeing a far tastier, but riskier, meal, can certainly take away some of the fun of eating.
Don’t just ‘make do’
Too many of us perhaps put up with our teeth, perhaps thinking that there is little that can be done about them. Others may know that there are options available but prefer to avoid seeing a dentist for all but essential treatment. At the Cygnet Dental Practice, we know that dental anxiety is a real issue for some people and you can be sure that you will receive excellent care available when you attend our Wickford practice. We do understand that most people have some degree of nervousness when seeing a dentist and we will do all that we can to put you at ease so that you can receive your treatment in as a relaxed manner as possible.
So, what are your options for having stronger teeth that can withstand the strains of daily life without having to navigate around certain foods? The answer to this question will depend on the nature of the damage to your teeth. The first thing that you should do is to have your teeth examined by one of our dental team. There may be an undetected problem that is causing the issue. A small crack or fracture of a tooth can significantly weaken it and needs to be treated before it breaks or decay sets in.
The goods news is that there are a number of options available for dentists to treat teeth that are causing us problems.
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