Category Archives: News

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.

How your lifestyle can damage your oral health

Research is showing a definite link between oral health and general well-being – but it is also true that how well you look after yourself can affect your dental health.

dental-check-ups-woman

Study after study has flagged up smoking, poor diet and excess alcohol consumption as problematic to many areas of health – and oral health can certainly be added to the list. Within that trinity of red flags for health are contained a multitude of problems for oral health.

The main lifestyle factors affecting oral health

Poor diet – more specifically a sugar-rich diet

Sugar is bad news for teeth, it clings onto the surface feeding bad bacteria that then sets to work attacking the protective enamel of the teeth leaving them prone to decay.

The upshot of this is that sustained attacks are a direct route to cavities, which will need fillings. Cutting back on sugar – and certainly avoiding snacking on sugary foods will help to avoid decay.

Smoking

Not only does smoking cause unsightly discolouration of the teeth it is also linked to some very serious conditions. Smoking is a major cause of periodontal disease, which if left untreated can cause irreparable damage to the structure of the mouth causing teeth to be lost.

Stopping smoking will help to halt the spread of the problem and a good hygiene routine – with the support of a dental professional – will help to keep gum disease under control.

Oral cancers such as mouth cancer and throat cancer are all heavily linked to smoking, which it is estimated is responsible for 65 per cent of cases.

Alcohol

The chances of developing oral cancers are also higher for people who drink alcohol, with research showing that 30 per cent of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers were attributed to alcohol.

Drinking alcohol can also cause damage to tooth enamel adding to the possibility of decay.

Together smoking, alcohol and infections are to blame for 91 per cent of oral cancer.

The good news is that sticking to government drinking guidelines and living well – eating lost of fruit and vegetables – could help to cut your risk.

If you have any worries about your oral health, please contact Bhandal Dental Surgery straight away.

Research is showing a definite link between oral health and general wellbeing – but it is also true that how well you look after yourself can affect your dental health.

Study after study has flagged up smoking, poor diet and excess alcohol consumption as problematic to many areas of health – and oral health can certainly be added to the list.

Within that trinity of red flags for health are contained a multitude of problems for oral health.

The main lifestyle factors affecting oral health

Poor diet – more specifically a sugar-rich diet

Sugar is bad news for teeth, it clings onto the surface feeding bad bacteria that then sets to work attacking the protective enamel of the teeth leaving them prone to decay.

The upshot of this is that sustained attacks are a direct route to cavities, which will need fillings.

Cutting back on sugar – and certainly avoiding snacking on sugary foods will help to avoid decay.

Smoking

Not only does smoking cause unsightly discolouration of the teeth it is also linked to some very serious conditions. Smoking is a major cause of periodontal disease, which if left untreated can cause irreparable damage to the structure of the mouth causing teeth to be lost.

Stopping smoking will help to halt the spread of the problem and a good hygiene routine – with the support of a dental professional – will help to keep gum disease under control.

Oral cancers such as mouth cancer and throat cancer are all heavily linked to smoking, which it is estimated is responsible for 65 per cent of cases.

Alcohol

The chances of developing oral cancers are also higher for people who drink alcohol, with research showing that 30 per cent of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers were attributed to alcohol.

Drinking alcohol can also cause damage to tooth enamel adding to the possibility of decay.

Together smoking, alcohol and infections are to blame for 91 per cent of oral cancer.

The good news is that sticking to government drinking guidelines and living well – eating lost of fruit and vegetables – could help to cut your risk.

If you have any worries about your oral health, please contact Bhandal Dental Surgery straight away.

Teeth straightening for adults: What do I need to know?

We are well accustomed to seeing children wearing braces in their teeth but in recent years increasing numbers of adults have chosen to have their teeth straightened.

While children are still growing dentists frequently take action to correct problems with the teeth to solve as the fact that the body is still growing makes this easier.

However, this does not mean that adults cannot have their teeth straightened it could instead take a little longer to manipulate teeth into position once they are established.

Why choose teeth straightening?

Very often the reason for an adult opting to have braces fitted to their teeth is cosmetic.

Yet it is not only the appearance of the teeth that will be improved, problems with the positioning of the teeth that can cause an overbite or make eating uncomfortable can also be addressed.

The decision to have this done later in life could be as a result of missing out on having braces fitted when a child, or because the teeth have moved over the years making an issue more pronounced.

What braces are available for adults?

The beauty of modern technical advances is that dental intervention looks far less obtrusive than you may remember in your youth.

Yes metal braces are still used and are very effective but there are other options too.

Metal braces are still the fastest way to straighten teeth but these have reduced in size and are now available in different colours.

Adults having their teeth straightened are often more conscious about the appearance of the braces and to counter a number of more discreet options are available.

These include ceramic braces that are clear or can even be matched to the colour of teeth, lingual braces that are fitted to the back of the teeth, and virtually invisible teeth aligners that fit over the teeth.

Teeth straightening treatment usually takes between 12 and 18 months but can take more or less time depending on the extent of the problem.

Are you considering teeth straightening? Get in touch with Bhandal Dental Surgery for more advice.

Protect your teeth: Foods that cause acid enamel erosion

Enamel plays a vital part in protecting our teeth. This tough substance – the hardest substance on the body – forms the outside of each tooth.

If enamel is damaged is can eventually lead to tooth decay. As there is no way to repair tooth enamel it is important that we take care of our teeth.

What is acid erosion?

Acid erosion occurs on teeth when certain foods with a high acid content – or sugary foods – come into contact with the teeth temporarily softening the surface.

Saliva acts as a natural remedy to this, restoring the natural ph balance. However, repeated acid attacks on the teeth compromise the body’s natural ability to neutralise acid in the mouth and the acid in food and drinks can start to damage enamel.

If acid enamel erosion becomes a problem the protective surface of the tooth begins to wear away exposing the dentine below. This can cause the teeth to appear yellow in colour and can lead to pain and sensitivity when eating.

Foods that can cause acid enamel erosion

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Fruit juice
  • Citrus fruits
  • Wine
  • Tomatoes
  • Coffee
  • Pickles
  • Sweets
  • Berries – cranberries and blueberries

All foods with a high acidity level can be problematic for teeth. While many of them are best avoided (sweets and fizzy drinks certainly), others have health merits of their own. To minimise the effect of acid on teeth it is best that acidic foods are eaten as part of a meal, rather than as a snack to minimise acid attacks on the enamel.

It is also advisable to drink water after consuming an acidic food or drink to help to wash away the acid.

Brushing teeth after eating will also help but it is important to leave a gap of up to an hour after eating acidic food as brushing when the surface is already weakened could cause further damage.

If you have any concerns about decay contact Bhandal Dental Practice today.

Bruxism: Why do I grind my teeth?

It is estimated that up to a third of the population grind their teeth.

Bruxism – as teeth grinding is medically known – usually affects people in their sleep, when they grind their teeth or clench their jaw. It can also be an issue throughout the day – although this is usually just jaw clenching.

But what causes people to grind their teeth?

Causes of bruxism

There is no exact answer as to what causes people to grind their teeth. As it is largely a subliminal action most of the possible causes are psychological.

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorder
  • Medication side effect
  • Lifestyle factors

Stress and anxiety are seen as a major factor in teeth grinding. This is in part due to the fact that stress can cause sleep disruption, which bruxism is commonly related to. It goes without saying that when someone is worried or anxious this can affect their ability to relax, which has a knock-on effect for sleep quality.

Likewise if someone already displays some sort of sleep disorder, such as snoring, sleep apnoea or sleep talking they are more likely to grind their teeth.

As with many other issues, lifestyle factors can also play a part in bruxism. The energy boost that many people enjoy with their cup of coffee can be a factor in teeth grinding if multiple cups (more than six) are consumed on a daily basis.

Drinking alcohol, smoking and using recreational drugs have all also been shown to be a possible cause of some cases of bruxism.

Teeth grinding can also affect children, although this is generally linked to the arrival of baby teeth and later adult teeth.

Treatment for Bruxism

If you recognise that you are suffering from stress and anxiety, the first step in combating bruxism will be to deal with those underlying issues. Identifying the cause of stress will be helpful and then working on making changes, if possible, to ease the pressure. The NHS suggests a number of ways to try to combat the effects of stress. If you are struggling with anxiety or stress it may be worth contacting a medical professional for help.

Mouth guards to protect the teeth can also be made in consultation with your dentist, which while not removing the cause will protect your teeth.

If you are concerned about the effects of bruxism get in touch with Bhandal Dental Surgery.