Category Archives: News

What to expect when your child’s permanent teeth appear

The arrival of permanent teeth is a major milestone for children – and their parents – but what should you expect when your child starts to get their adult teeth?

It takes a relatively short time for children to acquire their baby teeth – and with the night-time waking and general upset this causes that is something most parents should be grateful for.

When it comes to losing those baby teeth it is a slightly different story with teeth taking years to come through.

Losing baby teeth

Most children start to lose their baby teeth aged between four and six years old. As a general rule these are lost in the same order that they arrived – usually the bottom two front teeth (incisors) are the first to go.

From here the top two front teeth usually work their way out. As well as replacing baby teeth, children will also grow permanent teeth that have not had a predecessor. The first of these to appear are the ‘six-year molars’, which usually appear after the loss of the bottom two front teeth.

Here on in the teeth continue to develop with most children expected to have 28 permanent teeth by the age of 13, with wisdom teeth expected between the ages of 17 and 21 years old.

Among these permanent teeth will be another set of new molars, known as the ’12-year molars’.

Taking care of permanent teeth

While it is important to take care of baby teeth to ensure good wellbeing and to avoid unnecessary pain and dental treatment, there are no second chances with adult teeth and it is imperative that children develop and maintain good dental hygiene habits.

Get them into a good dental routine at a young age and the habit should last – and help to protect those permanent teeth.

In particular when new molars arrive make sure that your child becomes used to brushing further back in their mouth to allow them to properly brush the new tooth, which of course is in an area they would not be used to brushing.

Thankfully the pain associated with the arrival of baby teeth is not usually seen with the emergence of permanent teeth, however, teeth erupting can still cause discomfort. Molars in particular can cause headaches in some patients. Treat general pain with paracetamol but should you have any concerns, or if the pain is prolonged or serious, then get in touch with your dentist.

Parents may also be concerned about how straight their child’s permanent teeth appear to be growing. While many new teeth may appear to be growing at an angle these do generally settle down and straighten out as the remaining teeth come through.

Likewise teeth that appear to be growing behind baby teeth should find a natural remedy as the baby teeth will usually eventually drop out to leave just the permanent tooth that has grown behind.

Should you have any concerns about your child’s teeth please contact Bhandal Dental Surgery.

Is flavoured water bad for your teeth?

Water is the dentist’s friend – free of sugar and with cleansing properties it is the ideal choice of drink to help maintain healthy teeth.

By what about the huge assortment of flavoured water that is available on the market? Is it all just as good for you? The short answer is, in terms of dental health, no.

Water is an essential part of wellbeing and good hydration goes hand-in-hand with a healthy body. Health experts advise that we enjoy 6-8 glasses a day to stay hydrated.

In a world of huge consumer choice, however, there are plenty of other beverages vying for our attention, unfortunately many of these contain sugar.

With awareness continually rising about the empty calories of fizzy drinks, which pose a threat to dental health, more consumers are turning away from such obviously unhealthy choices.

Choosing sugar free? Watch out for fruit acids

However, many health conscious shoppers opt for water-themed drinks in the belief that it is better for their health.

Which, on the balance of things, they possibly are – but if you think you are making a decision that is good for your teeth, it might be wise to think again.

While flavoured water is often sugar-free, which is a good thing, it can be high in citric acid due to the flavourings used, particularly in the case of citrus fruits.

This can push the acidic levels of flavoured water up to as much as pH 3, when normal water sits between 6 and 8. The lower (0-7) the pH level of food or drink the more likely it is to cause acid enamel erosion to teeth.

The corrosion of the enamel surface of teeth can lead to tooth decay and, unfortunately, there is no way to repair enamel.

So, while the fact that flavoured water can be sugar-free is a bonus you have to consider what it is being flavoured with and how acidic that is.

Particularly troublesome to teeth is when flavoured water is sipped. While sipping plain tap water will have no effect on the teeth, sipping acidic, flavoured water throughout the day will spell trouble for tooth enamel.

Sparkling water

Sparkling water fares slightly better and is a reasonable alternative to fizzy drinks. The carbon dioxide that is used to carbonate water does make sparkling water slightly acidic so it is worth considering limiting it to meal times, but it is certainly better for your teeth than sugar-filled fizzy drinks.

As with all treats in life moderation is key. If you are a fan of flavoured water stick to drinking it at mealtimes so that that acidic effect is contained and the mouth has the chance to counter the effects in one go.

The best option is to make plain water your drink of choice.

If you are concerned about sensitive teeth get in touch with Bhandal Dentistry.

What actually happens when you have a filling?

Fillings are perhaps the most widely understood dental treatment – but what exactly does the treatment entail?

When a colleague, friend or family member heads off to the dentist and tells you they are having a filling there is no further need for explanation. Sadly all too many of us have been there having our own dental cavities patched up with a filling.

But that is probably as far as most people’s knowledge stretches – and of course that fillings can be silver or white.

Fillings play an important part in protecting teeth in the long term – and allowing people to keep their own teeth. When a cavity appears in a tooth, caused by plaque breaking down the tooth’s protective enamel, to prevent the problem worsening and protect the tooth a dentist will ‘fill’ the hole.

What are fillings made from?

There are two main types of fillings used by dentists: amalgam and composite. An amalgam filling is generally referred to as a mercury or silver fillings, although they actually contain mercury, silver, tin and copper.

Amalgam fillings are hard-wearing and work well on back teeth, however their colouring makes them noticeable and they are generally avoided for dental repairs at the front of the mouth.

Composite fillings are often referred to as ‘white’ fillings owing to the fact that they are coloured white to make a more natural blend with teeth.

Made of a plastic resin mix these can be closely matched to the colour of the teeth and, as such, are less noticeable and ideal for more visible parts of the mouth. They are, however, less durable and may need to be replaced within 10 years.

How is a cavity filled?

First things first – to make patients comfortable during the procedure a dentist will numb the area to be worked on using local anaesthetic.

The dentist will then clear out the decayed part of the tooth using a dental drill, before smoothing the area ready to accommodate the filling. A suction machine is also used at the same time to remove water generated by the drill – as well as any fragments that are removed from the tooth.

The dentist will then fill the hole with whichever filling material is being used. In the case of composite fillings a bright light is shone on to the material to harden and strengthen it.

Your dentist will then check how well your filling fits with the rest of your teeth by asking you to bite down on a piece of carbon paper. If necessary a dental drill will be used to improve the shape of the tooth.

If you are worried you have a cavity and may need a filling get in touch with Bhandal Dental Surgery.

 

Tackling the problem of sporting dental injuries

We all know about the importance of protecting our teeth from decay but what about when it comes to sport?

Exercise is essential to wellbeing but some sports do carry the danger of physical injury, including damage to teeth.

Dental injuries are a common problem in sport and unfortunately it is usually front teeth that bear the brunt of any impact.

Damage can include fractures to the teeth, broken teeth, teeth being knocked out of position – or knocked out completely. Then there is the problem of cuts to the gums and inner cheek as well as the tongue.

It comes as little surprise that one of the main sports associated with dental injuries is rugby, however martial arts, basketball, football, hockey, boxing and racquet sports can all present a danger to dental health. Essentially any sport where there is a risk of collision or failing at a fast speed could carry a threat of dental injury.

Preventing a sporting dental injury

While there is a chance that broken teeth can be repaired the repercussions of a sporting dental injury can be long- lasting.

Rather than risk a sporting dental injury, children and adults who take part in sports – certainly contact sports or those which carry an increased risk of injury – should consider wearing a mouth guard to protect their teeth.

The best option for protecting your teeth from a sporting dental injury is wearing a custom-made mouth guard that can be fitted by your dentist. A good fit is essential to prevent injury.

A dentist will ensure the best fit possible by taking an impression of the patient’s teeth then having a mould made to fit. The close fit will allow for maximum comfort while playing sport as well as a good level of protection.

While off-the-shelf mouth guards are available these are not recommended as a rule as the fit is not generally close enough to adequately protect teeth from injury.

Invest wisely

There is the alternative of using a ‘boil and bite’ mouth guard which will give a closer fit than an off-the-shelf version, however this will not offer the same protection and comfort as  a specially fitted mouth guard.

When it comes to playing sport don’t let the risk of injury hold you back – instead invest in your health with a well-fitting mouth guard before the worst happens.

For more information on mouth guards to protect against sporting dental injuries contact Bhandal Dental Surgery.

A natural finish: Why to consider dental implants

Healthy teethWhen it comes to teeth natural is best, but should the worst happen and you need to replace a tooth implants are an excellent way to maintain a natural look.

As dental implants are designed to be replacements for single teeth they can be used without affecting other teeth and make a fantastic restorative option.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant sees a titanium screw inserted into the jawbone, which acts as a base to add a replacement tooth to (a crown).

The result is a highly functioning tooth that helps to maintain the structure of the mouth but that also looks natural.

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants do require the patient to undergo surgery as the screw is inserted into the jawbone.

This screw then essentially needs to fuse with the surrounding bone to become part of the structure of the mouth and provide the same rigidity you would expect from a natural tooth.

An abutment is then attached to the top of this screw which allows a crown to be fitted over the top.

The result is a replacement tooth that looks natural.

What are the advantages of having a dental implant?

Part of the problem of losing teeth is that they help to support the structure of the mouth – and in turn the face. When teeth are missing this is affected as the jawbone starts to recede where the tooth has been removed.

A dental implant helps to address this by adding support to the jawbone. In the case of bone mass being lost, dentists can perform a bone graft so that there is enough bone for the implant to connect with.

As well as helping to maintain facial structure in a way that surface tooth replacement such as dentures cannot, implants allow teeth to be replaced without any healthy teeth being affected.

When a dental bridge is used to replace lost teeth this needs to be fitted to adjoining teeth, which may need to have some of the surface removed to accommodate the crowns that will hold the bridge in place.

Although implants may require a greater investment at the time of treatment they offer a great solution to preserve the health of your mouth in the event of losing a tooth.

For more information on dental implants contact Bhandal Dental Surgery.

Hatch a plan to deal with Easter excess

Easter is a wonderful time of year to enjoy with family – there’s the arrival of spring, a bank holiday weekend and plenty of treats to eat.

The problem is that too many of these treats can spell danger for our teeth.

While adults are known to be tempted by a spot of chocolate, Easter can be a particularly sugar-heavy time for children.

Mums and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles all love to indulge the little ones with an Easter egg but this can easily turn into a mountain of chocolate, which youngsters will most likely attack with gusto from the minute they get up on Easter Sunday.

Of course most people enjoy tucking into an Easter egg (or two!) and children look forward to the annual Easter egg hunt, so the secret is to keep the fun, but try to contain the sugar.

While this may be easier said than done there are some ways to help cut down on the amount of sugar consumed this Easter and certainly the damage done to teeth.

Easter egg alternatives

Yes most kids love chocolate, but they love toys too so why not give them something that will last instead?

With the popularity of hatching toys there’s no need to even deviate from the egg theme. Hatchimals, Little Live Pets surprise chick and hatching dinosaur eggs make brilliant alternative egg gifts this Easter.

Cuddly bunnies and chicks will be a big hit with young children while themed craft sets are always popular.

Protecting teeth

The main problem a large stack of chocolate and sweets presents to teeth is the temptation to snack on it throughout the day.

It is far better in terms of dental health to eat a serving of chocolate in one go – ideally after a meal. The reason for this is that sugar acts as fuel to bacteria that attack the teeth causing acidity.

That means eat breakfast before ripping open an Easter egg! Then try to save the rest to eat after other meals.

As hard as it might be to convince young children looking at a pile of Easter eggs a sensible approach will pay off in the long term.

Periodontitis: Controlling gum disease

Gum disease is a common problem but if it is not picked up until a late stage it can become a serious concern.

dental-check-ups-woman

Hopefully, most cases will be caught early with the tell-tale signs of bleeding gums being easy to spot. Regular visits to the dentist are also essential as a trained professional will easily spot early signs of gum disease.

By careful brushing and the support of a dental hygienist it is usually possible to stem the progress of gum disease.

How to treat periodontitis

However, should you develop periodontitis there are a number of ways to treat the condition.

Specialist teeth-cleaning advice would be the first step to stop the problem developing further. This will need the commitment of the patient to make thorough cleaning part of their daily routine, including flossing and using interdental brushes.

Dentists may also use scaling to remove bacteria from the teeth, or a practice known as root planing where the surfaces of the tooth’s root are smoothed to deter bacteria that may stop the gums healing.

In advanced cases periodontal surgery may be necessary where the gum is moved away under anaesthetic allowing areas that are normally out of reach to be cleaned. It may also be the case that antibiotics are prescribed to help fight an infection.

Dealing with tooth loss due to periodontitis

These measures all aim to protect the teeth, which can become loose if the bone becomes affected. In the worst case scenarios patients can lose teeth due to periodontitis.

When the teeth are at risk, however, options remain to protect the smile. Specialists can work to restore the gums and bones through grafts, while implants and bridges may be needed to replace teeth lost to advanced gum disease.

As with all dental ailments though prevention is better than cure – concentrate on good daily hygiene and maintaining regular dental check-ups to make sure any problems are spotted at the earliest stage.

Smokers are particularly at risk of developing periodontitis, so if you do smoke quitting would certainly benefit your dental health.

If you have any concerns about gum disease contact Bhandal Dental Practice.

Which foods are good for your teeth?

When it comes to food and teeth most information relates to cutting back – but there are some foods that are actually good for your dental health.

Just like the rest of our wellbeing can be boosted by the foods we choose to eat, our teeth and gums can also benefit from eating particular foods.

So, while it is certainly wise to cut back on those sugary snacks and to watch out for food and drinks that can stain teeth there is some positive news. Here are some foods that you can tuck into and know you are doing your dental health some good into the bargain:

Apples

Apples are sweet, tasty, packed with vitamins and fibre – and as if that wasn’t enough their texture and watery content makes them act as a sort of natural toothbrush in between daily brushing sessions. By encouraging the mouth to produce more saliva, apples help to clear bacteria from teeth.

Green Tea

 Green tea has been heralded as a ‘super food’ due to the many health benefits attributed to drinking it from helping to prevent serious illnesses to losing weight. Studies have also suggested that drinking green tea could help to control periodontal health following on from gum disease.

Cheese

Some good news for cheese fans! Packed with calcium and protein, eating cheese will help to strengthen the enamel that protects teeth while the act of chewing it again creates saliva that balances acid in the mouth.

Greens

Another prolific health food champion, leafy greens are a great addition to your plate. Full of calcium – and other vitamins – they help to protect enamel.

Strawberries and oranges

While we still need to watch the acidic content of foods, these fruits are high in vitamin C, which is needed to produce collagen that is essential to good gum health. Strawberries also contain malic acid, which can help to naturally whiten the teeth.

Drink lots of water, brush twice a day and choose foods that bring added benefits to your teeth instead of sugary snack to keep your dental health in top condition.  

How a dental crown can help to protect your teeth

Despite our very best intentions we all might at some point face that dreaded realisation that one of our teeth has cracked – or has developed a large cavity.

Dentists are committed to doing all they can to protect patients’ natural teeth and when serious damage is caused they will take whatever action they can to save the tooth.

In the case of a crack, fracture or serious cavity the best course of treatment is often a dental crown.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is essentially a cover for the damaged tooth that is shaped to fit in with the other teeth. Its prime purpose is to protect the remaining tooth from further damage – and in the long run to avoid the need for the tooth to be removed should the problem worsen.

A dental crown can be made from different materials, which often different strengths. These are:

Metal: Gold crowns have long been used to protect teeth from further damage and due to the material’s natural strength are very long lasting and durable, however, due to the colour these are generally used at the back of the mouth.

Porcelain-metal fused: These combine a more natural finish that can be better matched to the colour of the other teeth, while also benefitting from the strength of the metal underneath to help withstand daily wear.

Porcelain/ ceramic: Ceramic dental crowns have a more natural finish than other materials and make an ideal choice from front teeth that need dental work. However, the material is weaker than metal and more prone to damage if used on molars.

When would you need a dental crown?

Teeth can be damaged in accidents or cracked through biting into hard food – such as popcorn kernels, toffee etc. If the damage results in a ‘fracture’ that has not reached the root of the tooth a crown can be fitted to prevent the damage worsening, which will in effect save the tooth.

A dental crown could also be used to give added protection to a tooth where a large cavity has emerged due to decay. While a filling would be used to repair the cavity there can sometimes be a risk that if a filling is large enough it will split the tooth.

For more information about dental crowns, or if you are concerned about a cracked tooth contact Bhandal Dental Practice.

Dental resolutions to keep your smile shining bright

Good dental health is a marker of good well being – and is vital to confidence. The key to protecting your dental health is not to take it for granted. As with so many ills prevention is better than cure when it comes to looking after your teeth.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions to get your teeth into to improve your dental heath and protect yourself from future problems.

Brush at least twice daily

A good brushing routine is the cornerstone of good dental care. Regular brushing helps to prevent a build up of plaque by removing harmful bacteria.

Floss

Flossing regularly is an important part of maintaining dental hygiene as flossing between teeth removes bacteria that toothbrushes cannot reach.

Regular dental check-ups

Keeping up to date with your dental appointments is essential to allow any potential dental issues to be flagged up before they become a serious problem. Early treatment can usually resolve problems quickly. Dentists will also give teeth a professional clean, targeting hard to clean areas.

Cut back on sugary snacks

Sugar is your teeth’s worst enemy in that it mixes with harmful bacteria in the mouth to create acids that attack the enamel. Too much sugar – in particular sugary snacks – will lead to tooth decay.

Drink wisely

Fizzy drinks, fruit juice and sugary coffees will flood your mouth with sugar, impacting even further damage done from too many sugary snacks. Opt for water, milk or green/white tea to give your teeth a break.

Quit smoking

The health problems connected to smoking are well documented and these also extend to dental health. Stopping smoking will cut your chances of developing gum disease as well as a number of oral cancers.

Small changes can make all the difference when it comes to looking after your dental health. With just a little effort you can help to protect your dental health for years to come by sticking to a good dental routine.