Planning ahead for a healthy mouth this winter….
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too pessimistic and we might have an extended summer, but most of us will already have started to notice a general drop in temperature and will have a growing awareness that the colder months will soon be upon us.
Whether this year will also see significant changes to our lives due to Covid restrictions we will have to wait and see, but the dark nights and the cold can pose a challenge even without that.
Winter, and even cold autumns, can bring additional problems for our teeth and our oral health in general. However there are a number of things that we can do to minimise this and keep our teeth and gums as healthy as possible over the coming winter months.
First of all, if you haven’t had a dental check up in the last six months, make sure to book one soon. Ongoing monitoring of your teeth and gums by one of our Wickford dentists is an essential if you want to maintain healthy teeth. In addition to this, make sure to see the hygienist at the Cygnet Dental Practice to ensure that your gums are kept as healthy as possible.
Think, don’t drink
Although we often talk about eating sweets and chocolate being bad for your teeth, the fact is that many drinks can be highly destructive too. As we have discussed before, alcohol consumption often leads to a dry mouth which can be a precursor to gum disease. Alcohol comes only behind smoking when it comes to likely causes of oral cancers. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink alcohol, but make sure to think about how much you are drinking and drink in moderation, making sure to stay well hydrated with plenty of water too.
This brings us on to soft drinks. Many of these are very high in sugar and are also quite acidic. As these pass over the teeth, they can erode the protective enamel on our teeth, leading to sensitive teeth and tooth decay. Try to avoid these as much as possible and opt for water or other sugar free drinks instead.
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Improving the smile of our Wickford patients with modern orthodontic treatments
Although the pandemic with its various lockdowns and restrictions has been hard on most of us; for some, there may also be a consolation prize in the form of money saved through not taking holidays abroad or eating out etc. This presents a great opportunity for some to invest in a new and improved smile by treating yourself to that cosmetic dental treatment that you have long desired.
Those who have not been so fortunate financially can also take advantage of the various payment plans that we have available at the Cygnet Dental Practice so that you don’t miss out on this opportunity.
For anyone who hasn’t read our previous blogs and is thinking that they would like to do something about their crooked teeth, but don’t want to wear unsightly braces, this blog will hopefully be useful for you. We offer our patients a number of discreet orthodontic treatments that allow you to have your teeth straightened in a less conspicuous way than with conventional braces. Perhaps the most well known of these modern orthodontic treatments is Invisalign which we have discussed fairly recently. In today’s blog though, we are going to take a look at another popular tooth straightening system, namely Six Month Smiles.
What is the Six Month Smiles system?
Like all orthodontics, the Six Month Smiles system works by exerting gentle pressure on the teeth, ‘coaxing’ them slowly towards their end position. This gradual approach ensures that no damage is done to the teeth or the bone surrounding them. With some teeth straightening issues, treatment can take a number of years to complete. This is often when it is due to a poor bite and when the teeth at the rear and the sides of the mouth need correcting.
For many people, the desire to have their teeth straightened is largely in order to give them the confidence that an attractive smile, with an even set of teeth, brings. This is where the Six Month Smiles system comes into its own. Unlike many other orthodontic methods, this popular system is designed to correct the position of the teeth at the front of the mouth which people see when we smile, and not those at the side and rear of the mouth. These visible front teeth (also known as the ‘social six’) are more easily positioned than those at the rear and the treatment can therefore be completed in a much shorter period of time. Although the name suggests that this always takes six months, this is not the case and is just an indication of an average treatment time. For those with less significantly misaligned teeth, the treatment time can be less.
How discreet is Six Month Smiles?
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Helping your Wickford implant dentist deliver successful treatments
There are many good reasons for having a dental implant placed, many of which we have discussed previously. One particularly good reason though is their very high success rate and the truth is that providing the procedure is carried out by a trained professional, the few cases of implant failure are typically due to neglect during the immediate healing period following treatment.
It is very important to ensure appropriate care after your procedure but it is also worth noting that there are things that you can do before your treatment that will not only help the success of the treatment, but make your life immediately following your treatment, easier too.
The likelihood is that if you have not had this treatment before, you will have a lot of questions to ask about it. Please address these to the dentist at the Cygnet Dental Practice who will be performing the treatment and they will be happy to discuss any questions and concerns that you might have.
So, what can you do before your implant placement to make things as successful as they possibly can be? Here are a few suggestions that will help.
Get an oral health check
This is one of the most important things to do before your treatment and one which we will carry out as a matter of course. There is little or no point in placing a dental implant into an unhealthy mouth as it may well fail if we did so. Although the implant is not a natural material and therefore won’t decay, it does rely on healthy gums and bone structure to retain it securely. Problems like gingivitis and periodontitis are a major threat to dental implants as is peri-implantitis which can occur post treatment if oral care is poor. It is important then that any instances of gum disease should be successfully treated before you have your implant placed. This is likely to include a scale and polish that will be carried out by the hygienist and we also encourage you to improve your home oral care, such as flossing if you don’t already do so.
Stop smoking and moderate drinking
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Regulating what you eat and drink plays an important part in maintaining a healthy mouth
The prime purpose of our teeth is to break down food so that we can eat and obtain the necessary nutrition in order not only to survive, but to do so in a healthy manner. A healthy set of teeth not only enables us to do this but to also get pleasure from doing so.
There is little worse than seeing an item on a menu that you really want to eat but realise that it will prove a challenge for your teeth, often resulting in choosing something else.
We have discussed many times before, the importance of cleaning your teeth well to keep them healthy, but what we put into our mouth can also have a significant effect on both teeth and gums and we would all do well to think a little bit more about what we eat and drink.
Here then, in no particular order, is the Cygnet Dental Practice ‘top 6’ of foods and drinks that should either be avoided or eaten/drunk very sparingly.
These probably do deserve the number one spot and, for some time, have been considered to be a major contributor to tooth decay. Whilst anything containing sugar is bad for your teeth, the fact that these contain a lot of it and can also be highly acidic make them one of the worst offenders. In addition to this, as we drink them, they pass directly over and through the front teeth. Enamel erosion is a likely consequence of over indulgence in this type of drink. We recommend that our Wickford patients avoid these and drink water for hydration as much as possible instead.
These seem to be very popular with children (and a lot of adults) at the moment. Perhaps it is the ‘shock’ value of the sourness that appeals before that subsides and leaves you with a sweet taste in the mouth. As you would expect, these sweets contain a lot of sugar but the acidity used to create the sourness poses an additional threat to your teeth. In addition to this, as with any sticky sweets, the sugars can remain on your teeth for a long time due to their stickiness. Anyone not flossing regularly is at particular risk of this.
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Problems with our teeth can occur at any age, but increasingly so as we approach our middle years
Our first awareness of how painful a tooth can be when things go wrong is likely to have been when we were quite young. Although highly unpleasant, a childhood toothache probably served as a warning to us that perhaps we should take better care of our teeth and may have encouraged us to brush better and see a dentist, however much we disliked doing so as we grew up.
This lesson may have served us well throughout our twenties and thirties and possibly beyond. Eventually though, it is likely that we will start to notice problems that we weren’t expecting.
Like the rest of our body, our mouth and oral cavity come under more challenges as we grow older. That, and the simple fact of passing time might mean that we need to seek treatment for some common middle age dental problems.
This is a problem that can start to occur more easily as we become older. There are a possible number of reasons for this. One is that our saliva flow starts to reduce and can mean that we are more prone to having a dry mouth, a likely precursor to gum health problems. Diabetes is more likely to occur as we grow older too and it is well known that diabetics can suffer from both gingivitis and periodontitis more frequently.
Our Cygnet hygienist team can help you control and manage this problem by cleaning your teeth on a six monthly basis with a scale and polish treatment. Diabetics and those more vulnerable may need this doing more frequently. There are also a number of things that the patient can do too. Make sure that you drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and don’t smoke (at all) or drink to excess or regularly.
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Oral cancer – a life changing disease. How to minimise the risks….
Cancer, or ‘the big C’ as it is sometimes called, is well known to most of us and we may well know people who have had this disease. For those of us who haven’t, it can be a pretty frightening thought although treatments are much better now and the prognosis generally more hopeful than in the past. Fatalities do still occur of course but even survivors can find their lives altered quite drastically, sometimes limiting their opportunities in life.
Many cancers such as lung or breast cancer are well known but did you know that you can get oral, or mouth cancer too? This might not be as rare as you think and is responsible for one in every fifty cancers that are diagnosed. Like many other types of cancer, there is a lot that we can do to minimise our risks and today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog offers some relevant advice for our Wickford and Rayleigh patients.
Smoking – the number one cause
There is little doubt that the main contributor to oral cancer is smoking. Thankfully, many people do now realise the dangers of smoking and have managed to quit. There are still thought to be around 14% of the UK population who do smoke, a number which is still too high. It is also quite likely that many of these will be younger people who tend not to think about illness and mortality and feel invincible at that age. Sadly, taking the decision to start smoking when young is likely to lead to health problems in later life.
If you do smoke, now is the time to quit. There are many ways this can be done, from nicotine patches to vaping devices. There are also many support groups who will be able to help you quit and we recommend that you contact one of these for advice.
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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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