Protecting Against Tooth Sensitivity

How to protect against the discomfort of sensitive teeth, plus treatment for those who already have them.

Wickford Principal Dentist Dr PabariWhen 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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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Strong Teeth – A Confident Bite

Helping our Wickford patients bite and chew with confidence

Dental implant in placeHow 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.

Tooth restoration

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.

Fillings

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Which Dental Filling Material Should You Have?

Would you choose to have amalgam or a tooth coloured filling? Some advice for our Wickford patients.

Dental repairsHowever well we look after our teeth, few of us will be lucky enough to avoid going through life without needing a filling or two due to tooth decay. In the past, this would have been done using an amalgam filling as there were no other options available. More recently, white fillings became available but initially these didn’t offer the same high level of strength as amalgam did and so were not that widely used.

White tooth fillings have come a long way since those days though and advances in dental technology mean that some white fillings now offer a level of strength almost comparable to that of amalgam. Where a large and deep filling is required, and where white fillings may not be suitable, there are other aesthetic alternatives available which we will discuss later.

Why not amalgam fillings?

There are positive things to be said about amalgam fillings. The main one being that they offer a high degree of strength. This should probably come as no surprise given that it is made from a combination of metals. There though, the benefits really end, and, as many patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice are now discovering, there are better alternatives available.

Despite the strength of amalgam fillings, there are a number of disadvantages. These include:

  • It is a dark coloured material which is easily visible when you laugh or even speak, depending on its location in the mouth
  • Over time, the filling may shrink slightly and may leave spaces between the filling and the tooth. If bacteria enter, further decay may follow
  • It sometimes requires more of the natural tooth to be removed in order to prepare the tooth for the filling to be placed
  • Some patients have concerns about the use of mercury in amalgam. Although it has been deemed to be safe, there are still concerns about the mercury leaching into the environment and dentists are being encouraged to phase out its use in some circumstances.

So, what are the alternatives?

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Do You Have Plans For A Smile Makeover in 2021?

Options available at our Wickford practice to help you on the journey to great looking teeth!

Great new smileMany of us will be holding our breath, waiting to have our vaccination and then allowing it to take effect before we venture back out into the world again.

It won’t, of course, be the world exactly as we knew it before, and there are likely to be some Covid restrictions for a short time at least.

As the vaccine roll out continues though, we will slowly start to resume some of those things that we haven’t been able to for some time.

From simple pleasures like meeting a friend for coffee in a cafe, to more exotic events like that long delayed holiday in the sun. Slowly but surely, life will hopefully start to return to something like normal and when it does, we will want to be ready for it and looking our best, ready for our new found freedom.

It is fair to say that 2020 was largely a ‘holding’ year, and most of us will have probably spent little on clothes, hair, nails and other beauty products as we simply weren’t socialising. This is likely to change, and what better way to highlight the new you than having a great looking smile to go with it?

Cosmetic dentistry

There are still some people who may be unaware of the improvements that cosmetic dentistry can make, both to your smile, but to your sense of well being also. An attractive and friendly smile can go a long way to endearing others to you and is not as hard to achieve as you might think.

Although good oral health is the most important thing for anyone, this doesn’t mean that your teeth shouldn’t also look attractive. At the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford, we have a wide selection of treatments available to help you achieve just that.

Here are a few of the cosmetic dental treatments that we have available, along with guidelines to how long these take to have their desired effect.

Teeth whitening

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Season’s Greetings And A Healthy Attractive Smile!

Your Wickford dentists share a few thoughts for the Christmas period and a few ideas for the new year ahead

Cygnet Dental Wickford LogoI’m sure we aren’t the only ones that are looking forward to the Christmas break, even if it is likely to be a little strange this year. Some of us will have made plans and others may still be wondering how to approach Christmas day given the current Covid situation.

Most of us though, will celebrate it in some way or another, either on our own or in smaller groups than usual.

Christmas is a time when we can allow ourselves a few excesses that we may not usually do. These are usually enjoyable, hence why we do it, but some of them can have a negative impact on our oral health.

In today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog, we take a look at a few of these and also offer some suggestions for the new year for those of you who may be thinking of giving your smile a new year boost.

Christmas tips

Watch what you eat – Nobody is going to start a ‘healthy eating’ diet on Christmas day but that doesn’t mean to say that we shouldn’t at least keep an eye on what we are eating. Chocolates, toffees and other sweets are consumed in great quantities at this time of the year and, as we know, this can be very damaging to our teeth. Try to limit your consumption of tooth damaging foods where you can.

Drink alcohol in moderation – Alcohol can cause a dry mouth which, in turn, increases the risk of gum disease. You are also more likely to have an accident if you have drunk too much and that could result in the need to see our Wickford emergency dentist. By all means, enjoy yourself, but just monitor your alcohol intake.

Don’t start smoking – Even if you have been drinking, do try to resist the temptation to start smoking again if you are an ex smoker. Christmas is an easy time of the year to let this slip, but would be a serious mistake. Smoking not only greatly increases the likelihood of gum disease but you also will be at a higher risk of oral cancer than non smokers.

Brush your teeth – Even if you always do this, without fail, there is a possibility that you may not feel like brushing your teeth after a long day and may just want to fall into bed to go to sleep. Please try to make sure that you don’t do this. Brushing and flossing your teeth is important on any day, but especially at Christmas as your teeth are likely to be coated with a lot of sugar from your festive consumption. It only takes a few minutes but is a very good use of your time.

2021 – A happy new year?

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A New Smile With Aesthetic Dental Braces

Wickford dentist, Himesh Patel, discusses orthodontic options to straighten teeth.

Dentist Himesh PatelAlthough it might not be the foremost thing on our minds right now, given everything that is happening in the world; many of us will have, at some time, taken a look at our teeth in the mirror and wished that they were straighter. A crooked smile, or even just one tooth out of alignment, can really detract from your smile and can in some cases, make us feel quite self conscious about it.

Despite this, it is quite possible that we have also been deterred from doing anything about our crooked and uneven teeth due to the fact that we know that the only way to correct this is to wear braces, possibly for some time. The biggest deterrent factor is usually the visibility of most braces. With traditional braces there is simply no hiding the fact that you are wearing them.

Better aesthetics

Although the traditional wire and bracket metal braces are highly effective at straightening teeth, their visibility has long been a problem for patients, including some at the Cygnet Dental Practice. The good news for our patients is that more discreet aesthetic braces are now available which allow you to have straighter teeth without that high visibility factor.

Two of the most popular orthodontic systems that we provide at our Wickford dental clinic are Invisalign and the Six Month Smiles. Both of these are effective at straightening teeth but are designed for different types of orthodontic problems.

Invisalign

This system does away with the use of wires and brackets altogether and instead, you will be given a series of transparent trays that are made from impressions that we take of your teeth. Each tray works by applying a gentle pressure to the teeth, encouraging them a little towards their desired position. The trays are designed to be worn for at least 22 hours a day but most patients find them to be perfectly comfortable once they have become accustomed to having them in their mouth. The trays can also be removed when eating food and when cleaning the teeth, allowing for more convenience and better oral hygiene.

Invisalign orthodontics are predominantly designed to correct the alignment of numerous  teeth. In most cases this will mean that they need to be worn for a significant length of time, possibly up to 18 months. Their comfort and discretion factor though, make this much less daunting than it might sound. It is natural that patients considering a commitment of this length of time will want to discuss the treatment with us. This can be done at your free non clinical consultation where you can ask any questions about the treatment that you may have concerns about.

Six Month Smiles

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Tooth Implant Recovery

Post treatment care and advice for our Cygnet Dental implant patients

Single dental implantDental implants are becoming increasingly better known and the fact that some celebrities have openly admitted to having this treatment to improve their smile has probably helped to increase the number of people that are now aware of the procedure. As people see the results of this treatment, a growing number are also looking at these as their first option, rather than dentures, when they lose a tooth and wish to have it replaced.

Although placing a dental implant is a sophisticated procedure that requires both the use of modern technology, such as scanning equipment, along with the skills of a dentist specifically trained to carry it out, the fact is that much of the success of the treatment comes from the way that the implant is cared for after it has been placed.

This procedure does have a very high success rate, providing that it is carried out with a registered dentist in the UK such as at your own Wickford dental clinic. Where implants do fail, it is usually because they have been placed by someone without the relevant skills and/or where the patient has not followed the important aftercare instructions given to them. In today’s blog, we will take a look at the importance of good aftercare and what you need to do in order to keep your new implants healthy.

Immediate aftercare

When you have undergone an implant placement, it is only natural that you may feel sore and there might also be some localised swelling and possibly bruising too. This is natural and it is important that you are kind to yourself and your new tooth implant as this settles down.

To keep yourself comfortable, you may wish to take your usual painkillers until the discomfort subsides. Your dentist will be happy to offer advice on this and how to be as comfortable as possible. You will also be given full instructions on how to keep your new implant clean at this stage of its life.  You will need to be careful about what you eat as well and in the very early stages, only liquid food should be taken. These first few days are important to allow the osseointegration stage, where the implant and bone start to bond, to start to take place.

Intermediate aftercare

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Second Lockdown – Will It Affect Our Wickford Patients?

As we start the second ‘lockdown’ to slow the spread of Covid-19, we look at whether this will have any impact on our dental services

Wickford Principal Dentist Dr PabariWhat felt increasingly likely to happen in the last few weeks has finally done so. We are now just a few days into the second lockdown which is due to end on December 2nd although there is some debate on whether that might be extended. Given that there is now better knowledge in both how to prevent and treat the illness, such as the wearing of masks, it is hoped that a short ‘break’ will be sufficient to bring the numbers back down to a manageable level.

Inevitably, the question of whether this will affect our dental practice arises.

The good news this time around is that it should have minimal impact on the services that we are able to offer at the Cygnet Dental Practice here in Wickford. Unlike the first lockdown, dental practices are able to open this time around. This is good news and will allow us to keep working our way through the backlog of appointments from the first lockdown.

Why can dentists open this time?

Some people might be a little confused about why we can open this time but not before. There are a few possible reasons for this.

Firstly, practices are much better prepared and protected this time. Following our re-opening, a lot of changes have been made to the way that we operate. A combination of better protective PPE, social distancing and even better cleaning procedures now exist. More  ‘fallow’ time between patients is now allowed to thoroughly clean the treatment room, meaning that our Wickford practice is now a very low risk place for the spread of Covid.

Secondly, there has been widespread recognition that the closure of dentists the first time around has had a major impact on the nation’s oral health. Although we, and other dentists, have all done our best to treat patients in need of emergency dental treatment since reopening, the reduction in the number of patients we can see each day means that some of you may not have had a check up for longer than your usual six months. Inevitably, this will have meant a deterioration for some people. For example, where a small filling might have been needed, if it hasn’t been detected, it will continue to become larger and may require more extensive treatment when you do see us.

What to do if you need treatment

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Putting The Brakes On Deteriorating Oral Health

Even if your teeth and gums are unhealthy, our Wickford dentists can help to restore them!

Dentist doing examination‘Challenging’ is one word for the times that we are living in. The first lockdown was difficult, but for many, manageable, and even gave some of us opportunities for new discoveries such as country walks and even new business ventures.

With new restrictions coming into force though, more and more of us are perhaps wondering when it will all end.

This stress and anxiety is taking its toll not only on our mental health, but also very likely, our oral health too. Dental practices are doing their best to catch up on missed appointments from the first lockdown but restrictions mean that most can see fewer patients each day, prioritising the most urgent. This means that, as time goes by, some of us may find that our teeth and gums start to suffer in some way.

The present situation

We don’t know when, and we don’t know for certain, but scientists are optimistic that a vaccine will be available in the not too far off future which will help us all to get back to some sort of normality. In the meantime, we have to cope as best as we can. This applies to how we look after our teeth and gums too.

For those of you with a significant dental issue such as a toothache or sore or bleeding gums, we encourage you to call your local Cygnet dentists and we will do all that we can to see you as soon as possible. With a little care, and perhaps a little luck too, this type of appointment can hopefully be minimised.

To help with this, we encourage all of our Wickford patients to remember, and put into practice, the very basics of good oral health care.

  1. Try not to eat or drink foods that are high in sugar and especially those that stick easily to your teeth.
  2. Remember to brush your teeth both in the morning and the very last thing at night using a fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Use dental floss. Many problems start in the areas between the teeth where a brush struggles to reach.
  4. Drink plenty of water. This will not only keep you hydrated but will flush away some sugars and potentially harmful bacteria from your mouth.
  5. Try not to do anything foolish that might damage your teeth, such as opening bottles with them!

There is no guarantee that these will mean that you have zero dental problems, but they will minimise the risk and certainly help.

Going forwards

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The ABC OF Dentistry – Q – Z

We conclude our look at some dental terminology you may have heard but not understood

Dentist Dr Nabiha FarooqiWe hope that you have enjoyed the last 2 posts on this topic and found it useful. We know that we may sometimes use terms that you are unfamiliar with, especially when discussing treatment within the team.

This can be a little unnerving for some patients and would like to remind our Wickford patients that we are always happy to explain, should you wish to know.

In today’s blog, we end this series with a look at some dental terminology from Q through to Z.

Q – Quadrant – If you hear a dentist mention this at the Cygnet Dental Practice, it is simply referring to a section of your teeth. From the gap between the front teeth to the very back tooth equals one quadrant, so a filling on the upper right quadrant, for example, is simply an explanation of where the filling is.

R – Root canal – This procedure is often offered up as an example of extreme pain in everyday conversation, but fortunately this is not accurate. No one seems quite sure how this originated but it is thought to stem from pre x ray times when it would have been impossible to detect any abscesses that were present. A root canal procedure requires access via the top of the tooth so that the canals can be cleaned and filled before restoring the tooth with a dental crown. Whilst it is an invasive procedure, there is no reason why it should be any less comfortable than most others.

S – Saliva – We know that this is a widely understood term but is worth mentioning because of its importance to a healthy mouth. A healthy saliva flow not only helps to remove food particles that become trapped but also washes away some of the bacteria that can contribute to gum disease. Poor saliva flow, and especially a dry mouth, are prime conditions for the onset of gingivitis and other gum diseases.

T – Tooth straightening – As most of you will know, teeth are straightened using dental braces. These have become greatly refined over time with some, such as Invisalign, no longer using a wire and brackets approach. This method uses clear trays that sit over the teeth and offers a comfortable and discreet method of straightening your teeth.

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