Considering Some Smile Improvements For The New Year?

Our Wickford cosmetic dental team looks at ways to achieve a great looking smile!

Great new smileAlthough this time of year can be very busy, planning for festive get togethers and Christmas present shopping, some of us will also be starting to contemplate what we would like the next year to be like. The start of a new year often sees a time when we attempt to improve our lives, whether that is with a change of direction or improving something about the way that we look.

It is also often a time when some of our patients at the Cygnet Dental Practice take the plunge and decide to do something about their teeth, whether that be a significant improvement to teeth that are heavily discoloured or misaligned or just a minor correction to an issue that has been bothering them for some time.

With this in mind, we take a brief look at some of the cosmetic dental procedures that we offer which can help to improve your smile.


Orthodontics, or dental braces as they are sometimes better known, are a great way of straightening crooked or uneven teeth. This has benefits not only for the appearance of your teeth but also improves the chances of keeping them healthier, as straight teeth are easier to clean and food doesn’t get trapped between them as easily.

We have a range of orthodontics available that can treat different types of problems. One of the most popular of these is Invisalign, an almost invisible orthodontic system that is ideal for significant corrections which include the rear teeth. It is discrete and removable, enabling you to eat and to brush your teeth more easily than when wearing traditional braces.

For those seeking a minor correction of the front teeth, a fast acting orthodontic system is available called Six Month Smiles. This uses the more traditional wire and brackets approach to teeth straightening but in finer materials and natural tooth like colours so that it is less visible. We are happy to advise which option would be most suitable for you, following a consultation.

Teeth whitening

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What’s On Your Christmas Dental Shopping List?

A few festive suggestions for gifts that can improve your oral health.

Great oral healthIt is now officially December, and few of us can have avoided the obvious signs that Christmas is just around the corner.

While some of us may be last minute shoppers, many will be planning what to buy their friends and relatives for Christmas presents already.

At the Cygnet Dental Practice, we thought that we would make a few suggestions of presents that we consider to be tooth friendly. Some of these are especially ideal as stocking fillers, whilst others may involve a slightly larger outlay.

In no particular order, here are some of the suggestions that our Wickford dentists came up with.


Although perhaps not the most glamorous of Christmas presents, a new toothbrush is one that can really improve oral health. Too many people are believed to be using a toothbrush that is too old to be effective and with bristles that are so worn that they don’t clean the teeth of food and bacteria sufficiently.

For families that still use a manual toothbrush, this is a good opportunity to switch to an electric toothbrush. These are now widely acknowledged to provide better cleaning and are especially useful for young children where the rotating bristles do much of the work that small tired arms sometimes don’t. Where children are concerned, there are also a wide range of brushes now available with different colours and characters from their favourite cartoons and TV shows.

Sweet and chocolate alternatives

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‘Playing Politics’ With Dental Care?

Oral examinations and patient responsibilities.

Dentist doing examinationSome of you will probably have read about the promise of free dental check ups by one of the main political parties in the forthcoming general election. There is no doubt that check ups are an essential part of an overall health care plan so the more people that have them the better. Whether this is the way to go though can be debated by the political parties and we aren’t about to enter that debate here.

As check ups will probably now be fresh in people’s minds, the team at the Cygnet Dental Practice thought that this would be a good time to look at the importance of this particular appointment as well as the patient’s response to it.

Why have a check up?

Check ups may seem to be a ‘waste of time’ for some patients, especially those who do look after their teeth well and are always given a clean bill of health. Even if this is the case, check ups should not be avoided. Teeth can crack for a number of reasons and however well you clean them, there is no guarantee against that. Any cracked or chipped tooth is more vulnerable to tooth decay so early intervention is essential.

For those who may not clean their teeth perfectly or are at a higher risk of dental problems, such as diabetics, the six monthly check up that you have at our Wickford dental practice is essential to monitor your oral health and to act promptly when problems are detected.

For the majority of people, a regular oral examination not only allows us to treat any problems in their early stages but also allows us to offer advice regarding better oral care. For example, we might detect a slight build up of tartar in a particular area which isn’t being cleaned as well as it should be. Directing a patient to this issue enables them to focus better on that area and thereby hopefully avoid the problems that gum disease can bring.

Oral cancer

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Should You Pull Out A Wobbly Tooth Yourself?

Wickford dentist, Himesh Patel, offers advice to anyone considering doing this.

Dentist Himesh PatelThere is a reasonable chance that many of us, as children, will have had one or more of our first wobbly teeth pulled out by a parent or relative.

Some of these will have been done gently, whilst others may have been done using more aggressive methods, the type of which you may have seen on YouTube and the like.

But there are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t aggressively remove a loose tooth, whether as a child or indeed an adult. Let’s take a closer look at why in today’s Cygnet Dental blog.

Children’s wobbly teeth

Children tend to lose their ‘baby’ teeth anywhere from around 4 years old. Whilst most will lose the rest at a regular pace from then on, some of us may still have a few of them even into our teens. A wobbly tooth to a child can be an inconvenience and cause problems for them when eating if it stays like that for some time and doesn’t come out quickly. For this reason, (and the fact that we are probably getting pestered because they want money from the tooth fairy!), it is not unnatural that we may want to speed up the process.

Where this is the case, you should make sure that you have clean hands and very gently manoeuver the tooth a little. If it does not come away from the gums very easily, please don’t use force. Doing so could cause tissue damage to the gum and may prove to be very sore for the child too. If the tooth does not come away easily, just give it a little more time.

Although some of the videos available on how to pull out a child’s tooth in unique ways may seem amusing and may appeal to some of you, please don’t do this. It can cause significant trauma to the gum tissue and, where it doesn’t work as planned, can be quite traumatic for the child too.

If your child has a tooth that is causing problems because it won’t fall out even though it feels ready, please allow one of the Cygnet Dental team to remove it safely for you.


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Have You Heard Of “Itchy” Teeth?

This frustrating problem can have a number of potential causes.

Hygienist VickiWe probably all know what a toothache feels like. It can range from a mild throbbing sensation to an excruciating pain that causes us to reach for the phone to make an emergency dental appointment to get it addressed ASAP.

Even a mild toothache is a fairly certain sign that something is wrong and hopefully few of us would choose to ignore it.

Pain isn’t the only sensation that we can feel with our teeth though. A less usual, but not uncommon one, is when our teeth start to itch.

This can be frustrating as we can’t really scratch our teeth like we can, say, our head if it itches. Itching teeth are not only be irritating but could also be an indication of a genuine dental problem that needs resolving. In today’s blog, our Cygnet Dental Practice team look at some of the potential reasons why our teeth might start to itch.

Structural damage

If any of the internal structures of a tooth have been damaged, this is likely to cause some sensation. While most of us would probably presume that this means a toothache, it can also lead to an itching sensation, at least initially. This may just be the start though and if left untreated, further discomfort in the form of a toothache may well follow not too long afterwards. For this reason, we recommend that you let one of our Wickford dentists take a look if you find that your teeth start to itch at all.

Foreign objects

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Looking After Your Teeth At University

Young people with nice smiles

Don’t let hard work and too much fun ruin a healthy mouth!

It’s that time of the year when many students will be going to university for the first time, possibly promising their parents that they will be good and won’t do anything that their parents wouldn’t!

Of course, no parent really believes this even if they want to hear it, and going to university, especially away from your home town, can be a great and life building experience.

In all the excitement and initial confusion of finding your way initially, it can be all too easy to forget some of the basic things that we do at home, and some standards may slip a little as we find our way into a new world.

We hope that any of our younger patients from the Wickford and Rayleigh area that are starting university will remember to look after their teeth and gums, but just in case, here is a reminder of some of the potential pitfalls to look out for.

Basic oral health care

Above everything else, make sure to brush and floss your teeth well on a daily basis. Hopefully you do this at home and will continue to do so at university. We know that there are likely to be times when social events mean that this might be more difficult, but you should make sure to find those few minutes each day to do so.


We have mentioned before about keeping your toothbrush renewed every few months to keep the bristles healthy and effective. Whatever you do though, if you attend a party and stay over the night, please don’t share anyone’s toothbrush, however well you feel that you know them. This is a very risky thing to do and can lead to problems like gum disease and even more serious viral infections. If you don’t have access to a toothbrush, use some rough tissue paper, or even just your finger rather than share a brush. Make sure that you return to you regular cleaning regimen as soon as possible.


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Sensitive Teeth – Causes And Solutions

Teeth pain

Advice for our Wickford patients who suffer from this uncomfortable problem.

Although most of us probably associate dental pain with a toothache, for thousands of people, a usually less intense form of discomfort in the form of sensitivity, is a more common problem.

Patients who suffer from sensitive teeth often find it difficult to consume very hot or cold food and drinks. At the more severe end, even opening the mouth on a cold day can cause significant discomfort.

This problem isn’t inevitable, and even if you do suffer from it, there are solutions available at the Cygnet Dental Practice that can help to restore your teeth to a more comfortable state.

Causes and treatment of sensitive teeth

There are three main issues that might lead to sensitive teeth. There are others too, but these are the most common ones that we tend to see at our Wickford practice.

Cracked teeth

This is one of the more serious potential reasons for teeth that are sensitive to extremes of temperature. Not only is this problem in itself uncomfortable, but it will almost certainly lead to tooth decay or possibly breaking of the tooth unless it is treated. Especially if you notice this occurring in an individual tooth, or you are aware of it being affected by a blow to the mouth, do make sure that you ask one of our dentists to examine it as soon as you possibly can. Not only will this help us to stop the sensitivity but prompt treatment will also help prevent further deterioration of the tooth.


If the tooth is cracked, it is likely that this will need to be filled. A surface crack may be sealed using a composite material, but where the crack is deeper, and especially where the dentin layer of the tooth is affected, a deeper filling may well be necessary. There is no need for concern about this being visible if it affects a front tooth, as here at the Cygnet Dental Practice, we now have white dental fillings available for a great aesthetic result.

Receding gums

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Repeating A Dental Implant Procedure At A ‘Failed’ Site

A dental implant in the jaw

If an implant fails, can another be placed in the same area?

As with any dental or medical procedure, there is always at least an outside risk that it may not work as hoped. This applies to dental implants too, and although their success rate is very high, it isn’t unknown for them to fail and to either fall out or have to be removed because they are failing.

This can be a devastating blow to a patient who had set their hopes on having this popular and effective tooth replacement method and was looking forward to their new found confidence and ability to eat as they want.

In today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog, we take a look at the possibility of repeating this procedure where the initial implant placement was unsuccessful.

Why do implants fail?

Before we look at whether a ‘repeat’ procedure is possible, it is worth looking at why not all dental implant placements are successful. In the early days, this was a relatively unknown procedure and the technology was not as developed as it is now. Because of this, implant failure would have been more common. With modern 3D imaging and scanning, along with the availability of more refined tools and implants, this procedure is rarely unsuccessful when it is performed by an experienced implant dentist.

There are a few main areas where implant failure may be more likely to occur.

The first of these is where a ‘cheap dental implant’ offer is taken up without due diligence. Simply trusting a random advertisement without investigating further is asking for potential trouble. We have covered this is more detail in a previous blog but, briefly, it can be difficult to ascertain the level of skills and experience where procedures are carried out abroad. There is also a risk that a few corners may have been cut to save money. One area in particular that can affect the outcome, is where cheaper and inferior implants are used. These may bond less well with the bone and subsequently fail.

Another area is where the patient has failed to follow the guidelines for looking after their new implant, especially in the first three month period where the implant and bone start to bond. General poor oral hygiene and continuing habits such as smoking, against the dentist’s advice, mean that dental implant failure is significantly higher.

Very occasionally, a person may simply reject an implant but fortunately these failures are quite rare.

Repeating the implant procedure

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Dental Care Is Not Expensive When Compared To The Cost Of Neglecting Your Teeth

Cygnet Dental Wickford Logo

Affordable tooth care at our Wickford dental practice

Many of our blogs focus on damage and potential harm to your teeth, often associating it with the pain and discomfort that can be experienced. This is obviously the main reason why our Cygnet Dental Practice patients should try to keep their teeth as strong and healthy as possible. But there is another factor – cost.

It isn’t unusual for people to tell us that treatment is expensive. We actually don’t think that it is for the value that people get, but we do understand that it can have an impact on your personal budget. The fact is though, that in most cases and accidents aside, much of the treatment needed is down to patients not looking after their teeth as well as they could have.

Preventative vs Restorative

Using our prices at the date of this blog, if we take a look at the comparative costs, we can see that a private examination is around £45 and an NHS one £22.50. Add to this, the cost of seeing a hygienist every six months for a scale and polish and you will be spending somewhere in the region of between £100 and £200 per year on preventative dental care. All in all, we think that this is a small price to pay for healthy teeth and gums.

If we take for example, someone who perhaps doesn’t look after their teeth quite as well as they should, and has say two fillings done during the year, on top of check ups and hygienist appointments you could be adding an extra £125 to £150 to your dental costs. Remember that these are for relatively minor treatments and there is no guarantee that if you neglect your teeth, this is all you will need. More significant treatment such as a root canal procedure and say a single tooth extraction, could add in the region of £300 upwards, on top of examinations and hygiene cleans.

The point we are making is not that having dental treatment at our Wickford dental surgery is expensive, but that this type of cost is largely avoidable if you take a conscious decision to take better care of your teeth.

Taking personal responsibility

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White Spots On The Teeth – What Does This Mean?

Dr Suky Ghuman

Dr Suky Ghuman explains what causes this and how to treat it.

Tooth discolouration is common, especially in those who eat or drink teeth staining foods and drinks, and also in older patients as the teeth start to yellow with age.

Understandably, many patients who suffer from this will come to the Cygnet Dental Practice to have their teeth whitened to alleviate the problem.

There is also another condition which causes patients to feel unhappy about the appearance of their teeth, and that is when the surface enamel appears to have a number of ‘white spots’ on them. This can be caused by a number of things, which we will take a look at now.

Causes of white spots on your teeth

Some of the causes of this particular problem are preventable, while others are not. Some are specific to young children, whilst others can happen at any time in our lives. Below are some of the most common causes of this problem.


This specifically occurs in young children whose teeth are developing. It is not harmful to the teeth but it does leave them looking an uneven colour. By and large, this is preventable and reversible as it is caused by exposure to too much fluoride when they brush their teeth. Whilst using a toothpaste that contains fluoride is a good thing, it is important that they don’t use too much of it as this can lead to uneven discolouration of the tooth enamel.

For babies and toddlers, you only need to use the smallest smear on the toothbrush. For young children, an amount roughly equivalent to the size of a pea is ideal.


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