Our Cross Infection Control Promise

Minimising the risk of infection for patients and dentists at our Wickford practice.

Cygnet Dental Wickford LogoViruses are currently headline news and whilst most of us will have a viral infection from time to time, most of these will be usually relatively minor. Even with a relatively mild virus though, it is still important to take them seriously and limit the risk of cross infection.

As you would expect, the team at the Cygnet Dental Practice come into contact with a lot of patients each week and obviously we do all that we can to protect both the patient and members of our dental team.

What we do

Even before the current headlines, our dentists have always  taken the issue of cross infection seriously and worn the appropriate protection. All of our dentists will wear disposable face masks as well as disposable surgical gloves when treating a patient. These are safely disposed of after examining or treating each patient as viruses and bacteria may linger on them.

Understandably, most of the equipment and implements that we use are not disposable as they are very sophisticated and are therefore expensive. These are thoroughly sterilised though in order to kill any germs and bacteria that might linger on them. We will never use the same equipment on different patients without it having undergone this thorough sterilisation process in between.

Finally, our Wickford practice is kept thoroughly clean, not only in the general reception areas but especially the treatment rooms which regularly undergo a deep cleaning process to keep them as hygienic as possible.

Finally, you may have seen reports that there is a shortage of face masks following the present situation. Currently, this is not an issue for us but we will make alternative arrangements should it become necessary.

What can you do?

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Straighter Teeth With Fast Acting Orthodontics

‘Six Month Smile’ braces available at our Wickford practice.

Young people with nice smilesIt is one thing to wish to have straighter teeth; it is another to undergo the treatment required to have them. Although there is usually no dental surgery involved, it does require a commitment of time and a little patience to achieve this aim.

The biggest barrier in patient’s minds is often the thought of having to wear teeth braces for a lengthy period of time. As we will discuss a little later though, things have changed, and patients of the Cygnet Dental Practice will find that it is now not the challenge that it once may have been.

Why straighter teeth?

Before we look at the role of orthodontics, it is worth asking why you should bother having straight teeth. After all, even crooked teeth will enable us to chew our food in most cases. For most people the answer is aesthetics. Badly crooked teeth can affect a person’s confidence when it comes to their smile. Even a slight overlapping of visible front teeth can detract from an otherwise pleasant smile.

It isn’t just aesthetics though. Crooked teeth, and especially those that overlap, are much more difficult to keep clean. Tiny particles of food and bacteria can easily become trapped in the very tight spaces provided; spaces that a toothbrush and even floss may not be able to reach. This can lead to tooth decay with the likelihood of fillings and possibly even an extraction needed. In more complex cases, there is also the issue of “bite” where misalignment can lead to further problems such as headaches and an aching jaw.

Which dental braces?

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Winter Viruses And Your Teeth

Colds and related illnesses – we look at how these can affect your teeth and gums.

Dentist Harminder SehmiWhether on public transport, at work or in a supermarket, it is likely that you will have noticed an increased number of people coughing and sneezing all around you. Perhaps you have been fortunate to have avoided these illnesses so far, but there is little doubt that Winter is a time when many of us are struck down by various sickness bugs.

Some of these bugs can make us feel quite ill and reluctant to come up from underneath the duvet. It is important that we take care of ourselves when we are ill like this, with suitable rest. It is also important to be aware of the effect that illnesses like these can have on your oral health.

Colds and viruses can also have an immediate effect on our teeth and you may find that your teeth are causing you some discomfort. This is most likely caused by a buildup of pressure in the sinuses and other affected areas. There is usually no need to seek dental attention for this, but if you are concerned about any pain, the Cygnet Dental Practice is only a quick ‘phone call away.


As some of our Wickford patients will know if they have read our previous blogs, dehydration can have a negative effect on our teeth and gums, especially if this happens over an extended period of time. Saliva is important as it washes away bacteria and food particles from our mouths. Without it, bacteria thrive; some of which may contribute to problems like gum disease. Because we sneeze a lot when we have a cold, we lose fluids that way as well as sometimes not drinking enough if it is too much effort to get up from bed or the sofa. Although the saying that drinking water flushes the viruses from your system has been challenged, there is little doubt that it will make us feel better and is also good for our mouth health.

However difficult it may seem, do try to drink plenty of fluids, and especially water, whilst you are ill.

Our diet

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Restoration And Replacement Of Molars (Rear Teeth) In Wickford, Essex

Our molar teeth come under a lot of pressure and sometimes need repairing, or replacing

Dental repairsIf you have previously had a dental filling, the chances are that these will be on the teeth at the rear of your mouth that we call molars. These flat surfaced teeth are designed for chewing and breaking down of food. We also tend to use them to bite or break harder foods as they are our strongest teeth.

Inevitably, from time to time, we bite on something that is too hard and a tooth can crack. Decay is also more likely due to the nature of the flat surface and the fact that some people may not clean our rear teeth quite as well as we do the more visible ones at the front.

At the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford, we believe in prevention of decay and damage where possible. Where this does occur though, patients can be assured that we have a range of treatments that can be used to restore these hard working teeth.


This is the most common restoration method for when a tooth has suffered damage or decay and it is especially useful where the damage is not too severe. Traditionally, amalgam has been used for this type of repair. This is a metal based filling which is very strong and therefore ideal on rear teeth. It is not without its disadvantages though as it is very dark in appearance and can be very visible when you laugh or yawn. It also has a tendency to shrink a little over time, exposing small gaps around the edges, leading to further decay in this area.

There is an alternative in tooth coloured fillings. These have improved over time and are now almost as strong as amalgam in many cases. Because of the pressure applied to the molars though, and depending on the size of the cavity, we may recommend that an inlay or onlay is used instead. These provide a stronger solution whilst also being made in the same colour of the tooth to keep it as natural looking as possible.


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Dry January – A Look At Our Alcohol Consumption in 2020

Wickford dentist, Dr Nabiha Farooqi, looks at how reducing our drinking can benefit our oral health.

Dentist Dr Nabiha FarooqiSome of you will possibly acknowledge that you drank too much over the Christmas and New Year holiday and perhaps as a consequence of this, be taking part in Dry January, when you don’t drink alcohol for a whole month. Whilst taking part in this will certainly give your liver a bit of a well earned rest, just giving up for one month is unlikely to produce any long term benefits unfortunately.

At the Cygnet Dental Practice, we see a number of problems that have either been caused by or contributed to by regular or excessive alcohol consumption. Although we appreciate that many people do like to have a drink, there has to be a sensible approach to this.

A new approach to alcohol

As an individual, you will know how much you drink (although some may underestimate this amount). If you have a couple of glasses of wine or beer a week, you probably need to do nothing about this. Although no alcohol is thought to be the best option, a small amount such as this will do little harm to your health or your teeth and gums as long as you clean your teeth correctly.

At the other extreme, there will be those who drink excessively and are putting their health, and lives at risk. If you acknowledge this yourself, or have been told by loved ones around you that you drink too much, a good place to start would be to discuss this with your GP who should be able to offer help.

Most people probably fall somewhere in the middle with their drinking habits. Sometimes this may be a few drinks every evening after work, whilst for others, probably younger people, it may revolve around concentrated bouts of drinking, sometimes referred to as ‘binge drinking’.

For those who drink regularly or heavily, the start of a new year is a good time to look at how you can cut down on your alcohol intake.

Broken teeth and emergency dental appointments

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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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