Do you turn to the Internet if you have a toothache, and is this a good idea?
If we are honest, most of us would probably admit to searching the internet when we are ill. Whilst this can sometimes help to put our mind at rest, it can also make us believe that we are suffering from something far worse than we actually are. Even dental problems are frequently searched for and whilst this is not a problem in itself, the remedies, or lack of, sometimes are!
Whilst few patients would attempt to fill their own teeth, whitening procedures and even orthodontics are known to have DIY solutions which almost always do not work, or worse still, create further problems.
DIY cosmetic dentistry
Before we look at more general reasons why you should see one of our Purley dentists if you suspect you have a problem, rather than simply search for it; it is worth looking at the two cosmetic procedures we mentioned above.
Teeth whitening is a precise science and the teeth whitening treatments offered at the Confidental Clinic provide a safe and successful way to have nicer looking teeth without doing them any harm. Some popular DIY solutions often include lemon juice. This will have little effect in improving the colour of your teeth, and will also strip some of the enamel away, leaving them exposed to other problems. Orthodontic solutions using rubber bands are also available on the internet. We hope that we don’t need to tell our adult patients how ill advised that is! Generally though, this advice is aimed at young teenagers so it is worth making sure that your own children do not attempt this.
General dental advice
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If your teeth feel uncomfortable when you eat hot or cold foods, you may need treatment.
Whilst some of us will have thinner enamel on our teeth than others, due to genetics; if you notice a sudden change when you eat or drink hot or cold foods, feeling discomfort when you didn’t before, there may be a problem.
Even where the discomfort is manageable, if this is happening to you, you should have your teeth checked by one of our Purley dentists to see if there are any underlying problems. Sensitivity often occurs when the enamel is damaged in some way, exposing the underlying dentin layer.
One of the main causes of tooth sensitivity is due to erosion of the protective enamel. This is usually a gradual process and can happen in a number of ways; for example, one of the most common causes is the exposure of the enamel to an acidic environment. One of the worst culprits for this is increasingly thought to be high sugar, acidic fizzy drinks. Children especially should be discouraged from drinking these too often, but adults too should exercise restraint. Even natural fruit drinks, which are generally thought to be healthy, can still be very acidic and should also be limited.
Although we always encourage patients to clean their teeth thoroughly, applying too much pressure when doing so, for long periods of time, is another common cause of tooth erosion. There is no need to press too hard when doing this. Many electric toothbrushes now have pressure sensors which cut out when you do this and can be a useful investment if you don’t already have one.
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Just a little extra effort could really give your teeth and gums a boost.
It is probably fair to say that most people don’t have seeing the dentist at the top of their list of fun things to do. There is always a risk that they will find a tooth that needs filling, or worse.
Despite this though, a number of patients probably pay far less attention to their teeth than they ought to if they want to minimise the amount of dental treatment that they receive.
At the Confidental Clinic in Purley, we believe in preventative dental care and are always happy to offer advice to any patient who wishes to know how to take better care of their teeth. Whilst some of this advice will be specific to individual patients, the following is some good advice that is hopefully useful to everyone.
Brushing your teeth
Failure to do this will almost certainly lead to decay and other problems. You can optimise your brushing though by making sure that your brush is reasonably new (no older than three months) and that you use a good quality toothpaste. There is no need to ‘scrub’ your teeth hard and you may well damage the enamel if you do.
Far too few of us use dental floss. This is a shame as it is a simple thing that can really make a difference. Pieces of food and bacteria collect in placed between the teeth that a toothbrush will struggle to reach. It is no surprise therefore, that a lot of decay starts in these areas. If you are unsure how to use dental floss, ask us how and we’ll be pleased to advise.
Cut down the sugar
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The chances are that very few do, but it is a very beneficial addition to their daily teeth cleaning regime.
With only around one in five adults using dental floss to clean between their teeth, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that very few children do either. This is a shame as flossing is very useful for all of us and helps to prevent decay which often starts in the areas between our teeth, as well as helping in the prevention of gum disease.
It is not only food that gets stuck between our teeth, but also bacteria. It is the bi-products from the bacteria which eventually start to eat into the enamel of the teeth or cause sore or bleeding gums as gingivitis takes hold.
Kids and flossing
It can be hard enough to get our children to clean their teeth, so adding flossing to this may seem like an impossible task. It is true that initially mastering it can be a little tricky, but once you can, it is a great way to improve the chances of having healthy teeth and gums.
Naturally, very young children will not floss, but once they are able to hold the floss more or less correctly, this is a good time to introduce it to them, perhaps helping them to do it initially. Don’t expect perfection; kids will probably find it particularly tricky, but with a bit of practice, this can soon be part of their everyday cleaning regime. Many kids will also appreciate the minty taste that many types of dental floss use.
For adults, we should floss just before we brush our teeth last thing at night. Ideally, this should apply to kids too. However, as children can go from being very active to very tired in a short period of time, it may be better not to leave the flossing too late. Do encourage them to do this though once they have finished eating for the day. That way, most food debris at least, will be removed.
How we can help
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Have your teeth straightened in shorter time with the Damon system.
Having crooked and uneven teeth is no fun, especially as a teenager.
Despite that, many people do not take corrective action at this stage of their life to have them straightened. As they enter their adult life, these same uneven teeth can cause them to become less confident about their appearance, and, in some cases, the situation becomes worse over time.
As a tooth starts to move in its socket, it creates a small gap into which adjoining teeth can start to encroach. This does not happen overnight, but a before and after picture, taken at a few years interval would almost certainly indicate a worsening of the crookedness.
The only known way to straighten teeth is the use of orthodontics which gradually exert pressure on the teeth, moving them back to their correct position over a period of time. Because too much pressure would damage the teeth and the supporting bone, this has to be done gently and can take a significant amount of time to work, depending on how uneven the teeth are.
Modern orthodontics, such as the wide range that we have available at the Confidental Clinic in Purley, can now perform this function in a way that is more comfortable and more discreet than traditional systems. Some of these are even able to achieve their aims in a much shorter period of time than in the past. This includes the Damon teeth straightening system.
Damon braces system
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Having a gummy smile doesn’t have to be forever, thanks to this excellent procedure.
Whilst gum disease is a serious threat to our oral health and we should always take steps to minimise the risk, for some people this is not the only challenge that they have with their gums.
Where the gums have grown further down the teeth than is normal, this can lead to a problem sometimes referred to as a ‘gummy smile’, Whilst this doesn’t usually present any real health issues, it does lead to a rather unusual looking smile which may cause some embarrassment for those with this particular problem.
Why does it happen?
More often than not, a gummy smile is hereditary but can also be caused by premature eruption of the teeth as well as gingival hypertrophy where the gums are enlarged or grown longer than usual. Whatever the cause, our dental team at the Confidental Clinic can help patients who are suffering from this, to have the opportunity to have a regular smile through the use of a well-established dental procedure.
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A look at why regular visits to a coffee shop could be doing more harm than you think.
Coffee shops seem to be an increasingly popular place to meet to catch up with friends, and even for business meetings. Wherever you live in the UK, you probably don’t have to walk very far before you come across one of the major chains, or perhaps even a local artisan coffee shop. Whilst coffee, per se, isn’t actually harmful for your teeth, it is worth taking a look at why our Purley patients need to be cautious about their coffee habit.
Whilst some short and strong coffees such as espresso or ristretto may contribute to stained teeth, other coffees can have a much bigger impact than that.
Sugar, sugar and more sugar
Even if you don’t add sugar to your coffee, many patients of the Confidental Clinic may be surprised at the amount of sugar already present in many of the drinks. This especially applies to the more ‘exotic’ coffees; the ones that include not just water, coffee and a little milk perhaps, but also additional extras such as whipped cream, marshmallows and flavoured syrups. Rather than treating these as a drink, it is perhaps better to look at them more as you would a desert. The fact is that some of these drinks contain an incredibly high amount of tooth damaging sugars.
How sugar causes damage
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If your dentures feel unstable in your mouth, implants may offer the solution.
Dental implants are now widely used for both single and multiple teeth replacement. Their strength, longevity and ease of care make them very popular with an increasing number of our Purley patients. One use that they are perhaps less well known for though, is their role in securing loose dentures.
With millions of people wearing false teeth, it is very likely that many will have become accustomed to having them, and will have adjusted to them so that they are generally, happy to eat with them. Few denture wearers though will deny that there are times when their dentures let them down, either by moving around in their mouth, or creating difficulties when eating certain foods.
At the Confidental Clinic in Purley, we are able to offer a solution to these problems in the shape of implant retained dentures.
The implant procedure
Depending on each individual case, we typically use anything from two to four dental implants to stabilise your dentures. This does require some minor oral surgery but this will be done using a strong local anaesthetic and should cause no more discomfort that some other dental procedures.
Once the implants have been placed, your dentures can then be attached to the implants, providing you with a stability that you may not have thought possible.
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Although we are often told that it is polite to sip, it can lead to enamel erosion on our teeth.
Older patients of our Purley practice may remember, as a child, being told not to ‘guzzle’ their drink. This word is barely used now but basically means to drink it fast and greedily. It was certainly not deemed to be polite to do so, and young children were taught to drink as their parents did, which was generally to sip.
Whilst it may well have seemed more polite and genteel to sip drinks slowly, recent studies have shown that this action, although done with the best of intentions, is actually one of the reasons why many of us have compromised enamel on our teeth.
Enamel erosion may not seem to be as bad as, say, a broken tooth, but it is just as serious, if not immediately quite as uncomfortable. On a minor front, eroded enamel creates a rough surface on the tooth and any staining products that are consumed, such as red wine or tea, will stick to the surface much more easily, causing premature teeth discolouration. More seriously, once the protective enamel layer has been damaged, the softer and more porous dentin layer beneath it is exposed. This allows acids and bacteria to enter the tooth and helps the decaying process to begin. Bacteria can also enter the root canals more easily and infections may follow soon after.
How to drink
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Our take on the recent discussions on social media about how we should brush our teeth.
You may have recently seen a number of tweets about whether you should wet your toothbrush before adding the toothpaste, or put it on dry, before brushing. Surprisingly, this simple debate seems to have started a social media storm, so we thought that we would also put forward the thoughts of our Purley dental team on this particular subject.
Wet or dry?
The reality is that it makes little difference whether you use a wet or dry toothbrush, unless perhaps, you suffer from a dry mouth, in which case, wetting the toothbrush may help to apply it more evenly in the mouth. Providing that you brush your teeth well, and are able to supply sufficient saliva to moisten the mouth, either way will work … providing that you brush your teeth correctly.
The right way
You should always use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Most brands will do, but if you use a ‘natural’ toothpaste, do make sure to check the ingredients. Fluoride strengthens the enamel on the teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay.
You should brush your teeth using a gentle pressure, and in a circular motion. It is important that you do not press too hard as this can damage the enamel and can also cause gum recession. For this reason, it may be better to buy a good quality electric toothbrush which includes a pressure sensor. This will then cut out temporarily when you apply too much pressure.
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