Your Six Monthly Dental Examination

Dentist Harminder Sehmi

Dr Harminder Sehmi explains why it is important to maintain regular visits.

Whether you are young or old, you should always try to see your local dentist for an examination every six months or so. Those in a high risk group, such as diabetics (1), may need to keep these appointments more frequently to be able to keep their teeth and gums in good health.

For most people though, once every six months should be sufficient unless any problems arise in between. If this does happen, you should not wait until your next check up date, but call our Wickford practice to make an appointment to be seen by a dentist as soon as possible.

Visiting us once every six months is a small price to pay for having a healthy mouth. Anyone who has neglected to do this for a lengthy period of time will almost certainly have problems such as sore gums or toothache, and burying your head in the sand is not a good idea when it comes to your oral health!

What happens at your examination?

Whatever your appointment time is, please try to arrive at least ten minutes or so beforehand. This will give our reception team sufficient time for any paperwork (though much of this is now done digitally). Making sure that you are on time allows our dentists to see patients at their allocated times and helps to reduce any delays.

Once the ‘paperwork’ has been done, you will be called in to see one of the clinical team. Once seated in our comfortable dental chairs, we will first of all make sure that your medical records are up to date. Please do be honest with us when we ask you questions about your general health. Neglecting to tell us about a medical condition could, potentially, put you at risk if you need certain treatments. The same applies to any medications that you are on. Blood thinning medication, for example, may mean that you need to receive treatment in hospital in certain instances.

During the examination itself, we look for a number of things. Most obviously, we look for any signs that you may have tooth decay. This can be quite minor at first, but will require treatment even if this is the case. Small cavities will not ‘heal’, and, if left alone, will almost certainly become larger and may even result in a very painful tooth. If we detect any small cavities, we will ask you to arrange a treatment appointment where we can complete a small filling for you. In some cases, very minor work might be completed on the same day.

It is not just your teeth that we inspect though. Your gum health is important and we will look for any signs of gum disease which is often straightforward to reverse if detected early enough. Symptoms such as inflamed or receding gums, means that a thorough clean by one of our hygienist team is necessary to clear the teeth and gum line of any hardened bacterial deposits known as tartar. If the issues have progressed, additional treatment may be required, possibly with a dental specialist.

Finally, we will look for any possible signs of oral cancers. This is a growing problem in the UK, and especially in smokers or heavy drinkers. Signs of possible oral cancers may include the likes of lesions or red or white patches on the tongue. These can be caused by other things too, but if we do detect anything, we will refer you to your GP for further investigation. It is important to have a an additional medical check quickly so that you can receive rapid treatment should anything untoward be uncovered.

X-rays

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Stop Smoking – Jumping The Gun On ‘Stoptober’!

Dr Suky Ghuman

If you are planning to stop smoking in October, why not now? Says Dr Suky Ghuman of Cygnet Dental.

Traditionally, October is the month for the anti smoking campaign, ‘Stoptober’, run by Public Health England. Throughout the country, there are exhibitions and roadshows, along with general publicity to help people stop smoking.

Although we are a month away from the start of this campaign; if you are thinking of stopping anyway, or are a smoker who hasn’t yet taken action to do so, why not take the step a few weeks earlier?

There are many good reasons to stop smoking. The effect on your pocket is certainly one that deters some people, with a dramatic rise in the price of tobacco products over recent years. Whilst you will obviously benefit financially if you stop smoking, there are other reasons, from a health perspective, why you should do so.

Cancer

Let’s start with the big one. Most people now understand cancer to be very serious, and potentially fatal. Lung cancer is the one most associated with smoking, but other cancers may be caused by the habit too. One type of cancer which certainly is, is of particular concern to the dentists at the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford i.e. mouth cancer.

Oral cancer

Smoking is considered to be the most significant risk factor for oral, or mouth, cancers. Whilst others, such as alcohol, may also contribute, stopping smoking is the biggest thing that you can do to prevent this problem which has seen a rise of just under 70% (1) in the past twenty years.

Oral cancer can prove fatal or life changing (2) and should not be ignored. As part of your regular six monthly check up at our practice, we make sure to check for any potential symptoms that may indicate oral cancers If we do find any, we will refer you to your GP for further investigation. If we do this, please remember that our role is a front line role to detect any changes in your mouth. We are not able to diagnose cancer directly, which is why we refer you to your GP. It may well be that there are other reasons for the signs that we have noted, so please don’t panic if we refer you.

Gum disease

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Fed Up With Your False Teeth?

If so, now is the time to consider dental implants, says Dr Michael Gulnezer.

False teeth, or more specifically, dentures, have been around for a very long time. Evidence has been found of early attempts, using stones or even seashells to replace a missing tooth. This would not have been very successful from a practical viewpoint, but may have achieved some minor success from an aesthetic angle.

Fortunately times have moved on considerably and we are now happy to offer a more practical alternative in the latest dental implants, for those who require them.

Dentures do still have a role to play of course. They do a reasonable job of maintaining the appearance of a full set of teeth, and have a reasonable level of functionality for eating. Despite this though, for some patients, there are restrictions on what they can eat successfully and a lack of stability can also be an issue, with the dentures moving around in the mouth.

Stable and secure implants

Whilst dentures act to replace lost teeth, they can ‘float’ around on the gum surface a little. Dental implants, on the other hand, replace not only the tooth, but the root of the tooth as well. This is an important distinction as placing the new artificial root of the tooth into the jawbone is what gives it its excellent level of stability and strength. With good aftercare, a dental implant can last for twenty years or longer, providing a ‘gold standard’ replacement tooth.

We do know, from talking to some patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice, that one of the biggest deterrents to having dental implants, is the thought of placing the implant into the bone. For those patients, we offer a few words of encouragement.

How ‘painful’ is a dental implant placement?

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Great Reasons To Floss Between Your Teeth

Our hygienist, Samantha Henly, explains why this should be done on a daily basis.

Some people find the process of using dental floss to be tricky. Some attempt to do this and give up, whilst others either don’t attempt it or are not aware of why they should.

In fact, with only around 20% of us using dental floss to clean between our teeth, overcoming this challenge is probably one of the easiest and most significant ways of improving our oral health.

Why you should floss

The most obvious reason to floss between your teeth is to remove any pieces of food that have become stuck there. Nothing says ‘poor hygiene’ more than walking around with a piece of meat or spinach visibly stuck between your teeth. Whilst this may be immediately embarrassing, it is the least of your problems if you leave pieces of food between your teeth for any length of time. Even picking away the food with your fingers may still leave traces and even the smallest morsel of food will eventually break down, with the residual materials often leading to tooth decay.

The other reason to clean between your teeth is to remove bacteria that collect there. There are many different types of bacteria in our mouths, some good, some bad. Those bad bacteria though can lead to gum disease if not removed. This can have serious consequences. Much bacteria is removed when we brush our teeth, but toothbrushes can’t reach in some of the spaces between our teeth and therefore, dental floss is needed.

How to use floss correctly

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Keep Your Mouth Extra Clean When Wearing Braces

teeth and gum cleaning

Avoid dental problems when wearing ‘wire and bracket’ style braces.

Dental braces, or orthodontics, can be used to correct the alignment of your teeth, giving you a better bite, or simply to improve the appearance of your smile. Whatever the reason, many orthodontics, even modern ones, still use a series of wires and brackets to straighten your teeth.

Whilst patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice are able to take advantage of a range of discrete orthodontics that use finer, tooth-coloured materials; even these more user-friendly versions can still create a few problems for those who wear them.

Stay clean

Modern orthodontics may be more discrete and comfortable to wear than older versions, but the wiring used still means that it is easy for food to become trapped in them. Certain foods, spinach being a classic example, may be very visible when this happens, but even those that aren’t, can cause significant harm to your teeth and gums.

Everyone should pay attention to cleaning their teeth each and every day, but our Wickford orthodontic wearers should take special care to keep their teeth and gums clean. If you don’t, trapped food may well lead to decay and gum disease becoming a problem.

Cleaning your teeth

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The Difference Between A Hygienist Clean and A ‘Deep’ Periodontal Clean

A closer look at two different types of cleaning for gum disease problems.

The consequences of gum disease are often not fully understood by the general public.

Spitting the odd bit of blood after cleaning your teeth may not worry you too much, but this is just the start of a problem that, unless treated, could even result in the loss of some of your  teeth.

Whilst prevention is still key to avoiding gum disease, the use of dental procedures are sometimes necessary to restore your gums to good health and prevent further damage.

Dental hygienist cleaning

This is the most commonly carried out type of cleaning, and whilst it can be used to reverse the early stages of gum disease, it can also be considered to be a preventative treatment. We recommend that our Wickford and Rayleigh patients have their teeth professionally cleaned by our hygienist at least once every six months.

The procedure is non invasive and no anaesthetic is necessary. Any hardened bacterial deposits will be removed with a manual implement before the rest is painlessly shattered using a sonic tool. Finally, your teeth will be given a thorough clean using a high speed brush. Most patients find this to be a comfortable and effective procedure that leaves their mouth feeling much fresher and cleaner.

Deep clean

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Chipped A Tooth? – Your Next Step….

Guidance from your local Cygnet Dental Practice Team in Wickford

Chipping a tooth is not an unusual dental problem. It can happen in a number of ways including a blow to the teeth from a fall, or whilst playing sports. Even eating something like muesli can cause this to happen if you bite down onto a small piece of stone that has made its way into the final product.

The treatment necessary to restore the tooth will depend on both the size and location of the chip and can range from very minor treatment, to the need for a more invasive procedure. Whatever you do though, you should always have a chipped tooth checked out at our Wickford practice.

Consequences of ignoring a chipped tooth

Whilst a very tiny chip from a tooth may only affect the appearance and pose no real risks, even this can cause discomfort if it has left a sharp edge. This can cause irritation to the lips and tongue with discomfort and possibly also infection. More significant chips may have exposed the dentin layer of the tooth and if this is the case, bacteria are likely to enter, and decay or root canal infection may follow. Avoiding early treatment for this ‘minor’ problem could cause much more extensive issues later on.

Treatments

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Smile Improvements Without Dental Surgery In Wickford

Nicer teeth without invasive treatments!

There are many procedures, such as dental implants, crowns and veneers that are excellent for restoring damaged or missing teeth. All of these, however, do require invasive treatment and the need for a local anaesthetic to make it possible.  Whilst our Wickford and Rayleigh patients may be prepared to undergo these treatments where necessary, some may be less inclined if it is for cosmetic improvements only.

This does not mean that if you wish to avoid more complex dentistry, there are no options left. Whilst the options may be fewer, there are still treatments available which can help the cosmetic dentists at the Cygnet Dental Practice bring you a nicer looking smile without surgery!

Dentures

If you have a missing tooth, especially one that shows when you smile, you will naturally wish to replace it. However, both dental implants and bridges do require work to be done on your teeth. Modern dentures though, typically require no treatment and do offer an acceptable solution for anyone who wants a surgery free solution. Although these will never be as strong or stable as implants, modern dentures offer a satisfactory solution for many.

Teeth whitening

Perhaps the best known non invasive cosmetic dental treatment is teeth whitening. This is a pain free procedure that can have really dramatic results, often greatly improving the whiteness of a smile within just a week or so of using our home teeth whitening treatment. What’s more, it is a perfectly safe procedure that can be repeated when you feel that your teeth have lost the whiteness from the initial treatment. Unfortunately, gradual discolouration, will return as the internal parts of our teeth darken and exacerbated by food and drink that stains.

Bonding

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When Food Gets Stuck Between Your Teeth

flossing teeth

This irritating problem may cause more than strange looks from others!

If you have ever been out for the evening and had a great time, only to return home to find that you had a large piece of spinach stuck between your teeth for most of the night, you are probably not alone. Although this may be a cause for embarrassment, it is probably not the worst of your problems.

If food becomes easily trapped between your teeth on a regular basis, tooth decay and gum disease could well become a problem. Although you may choose to avoid eating obviously visible foods such as spinach, even those that won’t be seen will still cause the same dental problems if not removed.

Why does food become trapped?

We all have small spaces between our teeth and these act as a natural ‘trap’ for many foods. Chewy foods, like meat, are especially likely to become trapped, as are very sweet and sticky foods; toffees being a very obvious example. Providing that you remove these on a daily basis though, this should keep any damage to a minimum.

Prevention

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Dental Care In Hot Weather

teeth and gum cleaning

Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford advises to protect your teeth during the heatwave.

It’s unlikely that many people will be complaining about this spell of hot weather we are currently having; something that we see very little of in this country.

The hot weather is not without its drawbacks though, and our oral health can suffer because of it if we are not careful. In today’s blog, our Wickford dentists examine some of the ways that you can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy whilst this hot spell lasts.

Dehydration

It is very easy to become dehydrated when it becomes hot for a long period of time. Not only will this sap energy levels but also poses a threat to your gums. As our mouths become dry, the number of potentially harmful bacteria in our mouth also grows. Consistently allowing our mouths to become dry is a likely precursor to the early stages of gum disease. Avoid the temptation to quench your thirst with soft drinks as these are often acidic and also often contain large quantities of sugar. Water is better for your health and for your teeth and gums too.

Alcohol

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