Thinking of Travelling Abroad for Dental Implants?

Travelling abroad for dental implants?

Travelling abroad for dental implants?

With the attractive price that is often promoted by overseas dental practices it’s no wonder many people are tempted to travel abroad for dental implants and other forms of treatment. However, before you commit to this it’s important that you are fully aware of what to expect and what risks may be involved. The General Dental Council have put together a series of guidelines for people thinking of travelling abroad for their dental treatments.

Some of the questions you may want to ask are:

  • Who will be carrying out my treatment and what qualifications do they have?
  • Will the dental team speak English? If not, will you provide a translator on the day of the procedure?
  • Do you have any references or testimonials from previous patients?
  • How many times have you carried out the procedure I am having? What are the rates of success, complication,
    readmission and infection?
  • Are you regulated by a professional body and do you have to be registered with them?
  • Is the work guaranteed for a certain period of time?
  • What aftercare do you provide?
  • What happens if I am unhappy with the results? Who pays for the extra flights, hotel and remedial work?
  • If there are complications and I need further treatment, is this included in the initial cost?
  • Do you have insurance to cover this procedure?
  • Do you have a complaints system in place? Can I see a copy of it?
  • Who can I contact for advice after the treatment?

Travelling abroad for dental implants can be relatively risky compared with seeing a dentist in the UK. Dental implants often require a lengthy stage of preplanning and post placement care, this can become very difficult if you have to travel abroad to see the dentist each time.

Whilst implants have a very high success rate they can occasionally be problems, again, this is much easier to remedy if the implants are placed in the United Kingdom.

How much are dental implants abroad

We’ve looked at the prices of dental implants abroad from a few different countries including the most popular ones Spain, Poland, India & Turkey. Implants seem to be around £500 per implant, when compared to the cost of dental implant in the UK this can often seen extremely cheap.

We would however suggest you exercise extreme caution, one of the factors which affect the cost of the implant is the dental implant components themselves. There are well known and established dental implant component manufacturers such as Straumann, NobelBiocare and ITI to name just a few. The amount of research and historical product development that has gone into these implants is extensive and this comes with a cost.

Dental implants are manufactured to extreme tolerances of fractions of a millimetre, whilst it is possible to mimic the recognised brands above, it’s not possible to do this making them cheaper and maintaining the quality.

Many dental implant systems abroad use unrecognised or copy implant systems, this can mean that when you come back to UK if there is any problem that the dentist in the UK may not be able to help at all with any form of treatment on the dental implant.

If these copy system companies have also gone out of business then it can make replacing the implant or indeed general maintenance virtually impossible.

Our advice is always to stick with recognised implant companies and ensure you have certificates to prove that the dental implant components used are genuine.

Is it safe to have dental implants abroad

One of the ways you may be able to judge this is to compare dental treatments abroad with those undertaken in the UK, particularly the regulatory framework in UK. UK dentists must comply with and/or are regulated by:

  1. Decontamination in primary care dental practices (HTM 0105) – This is a health technical memorandum and audit tool to help with decontaminating reusable instruments in primary care dental practices.
  2. The Care Quality Commission – The independent regulator of health and social care in England.
    1. Treating people with respect and involving them in their care.
    2. Providing care, treatment and support the needs people needs.
    3. Caring for people safely and protecting them from harm.
    4. Staffing.
    5. Quality and suitability of management.
  3. The General Dental Council – The GDC regulates dental professionals in the UK, maintaining standards for the benefit of patients. The GDC will investigate any complaints made to them about dental professionals in the UK.

This all means that your safety in the UK has a considerable amount of backing, support and regulation… You are strongly advised to check the same is true from any dental treatment you choose to have abroad.

 

 

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Posted in Replacing Missing Teeth

Did you know there could be a link between headaches and the position of your teeth?

It is estimated that 14.7% of the worlds population suffer with headaches of some form. Of course they can be caused by a variety of causes but did you know that the position of your teeth could be one of those causes?

Your teeth are in fine balance with one another, amazingly they don’t always meet together when you eat, it’s when you are not eating that problems can occur.

Your jaw is a very finely balanced hinge which is attached to your skull with a complex array of muscles. Some muscles are dedicated to opening your mouth and others are dedicated to closing it again. Your jaw joint, known as your temporomandibular joint is extremely complex and permits movement in all planes, not just opening and closing like a crocodile!

Gray309

Your teeth begin the guiding movement of your jaw, when your teeth are fully clenched together they will be interlocked. In order to move your jaw from side to side your muscles need to open to prevent the teeth from interlocking, as they do this the jaw can move from side to side and the angle that it moves from side to side will be dictated by the way the teeth interlock and the angles of that interlocking.

The Dental cosmos (1914) (14581513959)

What can often happen is that the teeth are not actually in exactly the right place, known as a malocclusion. Your jaw joint will be most relaxed when it is in its most retruded or backwards/posterior position, in this most posterior position your muscles should ideally be relaxed, however this is often not the case.

  • When your teeth are fully interlocked this is what is known as centric occlusion.
  • When your jaw is a fully retruded posterior position this is what is known as centric relation.

Ideally centric occlusion and centric relation should happen at the same time but if they don’t and the muscles around the head, face and neck are pulling on the jaw because the teeth are not in the correct position then this can translate into headaches. The following image shows where all of the muscles connect, notice how high up on the head the superficial temporal and temporal muscles go.

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If these muscles don’t relax then they can easily cause you to have headaches.

Constant headaches

Constant headaches can be exacerbated by the tension in the muscles caused by the malocclusion of your teeth. We are not saying that all constant headaches are caused by dental malocclusion but it would be worth talking to your dentist to see if they are in conjunction with looking at other forms of headache treatment.

Grinding teeth headache

Teeth grinding headaches can also be a result of this. Because your muscles may not be fully relaxed as the teeth are not in the correct position then they may have a tendency to grind your teeth at night. Wearing a custom made night guard can help enormously with night-time teeth grinding. These custom night guards will be made by your dental practice. They work by sitting over the lower teeth and preventing the top teeth from locking into them. Because they can’t lock the muscles relax, this relaxation prevents the grinding and subsequent headaches.

Treating a malocclusion and headaches

As well is using custom night guard is your dentist may also be able to selectively grind your teeth enabling them to move smoothly without putting pressure on the muscles. This is a highly skilled task and is known as dental equilibration. The following video gives a little insight into how this is done.

Orthodontics to move teeth into a better position or restorative treatments such as dental overlays can also help solve dental malocclusion.

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Posted in Dental health

What’s the point of a dental hygienist?

It’s quite common for patients to be concerned that visiting the dental hygienist is not necessary, you may wonder if the hygienist is simply a ruse to get you to spend more money at the dentist. The purpose of this blog post is to explain what the hygienist does and to help you understand what you can do at home to make their job easier and save you money.

What does a dental hygienist do?

The simplest way to do this is to look at the General Dental Council Scope of Practice which explains exactly what each of the dental professions is trained, competent in and indemnified for. A dental hygienist can:

  • Carry out a clinical examination.
  • Complete a periodontal examination including charting and indexing.
  • Diagnose and treatment plan hygiene related therapies.
  • Prescribe, take, process and interpret x-rays (radiographs).
  • Give appropriate dental health advice.
  • Provide preventative oral care to patients and liaise with dentists over the treatment of caries, periodontal disease and tooth wear.
  • Undertake cleaning both above the gum and under the gum.
  • Use antimicrobial therapies to manage plaque and related diseases.
  • Applied topical treatments and fissure sealants.
  • Provide advice on how to stop smoking.
  • Give dental block analgesia injections.
  • Assist with the care of dental implants and treatment of peri-implant tissues.
  • Identify anatomical features and recognise abnormalities including interpretation of common pathology.
  • Carry out an oral cancer screening.

Your dental hygienist therefore has a key role each time you visit the dentist, they are there to help keep you dentally fit and healthy and because it is not your dentist taking on these duties a dental hygienist can actually save you money as well.

As part of a dental hygiene visit they will not only look at your existing hygiene and carry out any treatments required, your dental hygienist will also give you advice. To help with this, we’ve written our own dental healthcare advice checklist for you to follow each day.

How to brush your teeth

Clean your teeth properly

  • Wait for at least 20 min after eating before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to recover from the acid attack of eating.
  • Brush your teeth holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle.
  • Brush for 2 min at least twice per day.
  • Use a pea sized amount of fluoride containing toothpaste, reduce the size for children and infants.
  • Floss or clean your teeth with interdental brushes at least once per day.
  • Use a good quality mouthwash in between meals but NEVER just after brushing. (Mouthwash contains less fluoride than toothpaste, if you rinse your mouth out with mouthwash after brushing then you actually reduce the amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth)

Your dental hygienist questions answered

How to remove plaque

It is unfortunately not possible to remove plaque or tartar safely at home, you stand a high risk of damaging your delicate gum tissues if you try. Tarter (which is hardened plaque) should only be removed by your dental hygienist or dentist, they have special sterile instruments to do this and are trained to delicately remove this hard substance and not damage your gums.

How to remove stains from teeth

Depending on how stained your teeth are there are three primary ways to remove stains:

  1. Professional cleaning. Your dental hygienist will use a special cleaning paste and rotating brush to clean the surface of your teeth, this can often remove mild stains.
  2. Micro-abrasion. This is where an extremely fine sand is gently blasted against your teeth, this micro-abrasion removes more stubborn surface stains.
  3. Teeth whitening. Once all of the surface stains have been removed by either cleaning or micro-abrasion you can then whiten your teeth to remove the intrinsic yellow staining which may have happened over the years.

Teeth whitening toothpastes may also have a mild effect at home.

Can you use baking soda to clean your teeth?

It is not generally recommended to clean your teeth with baking soda. Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is abrasive if used repeatedly, this abrasion can damage the outer enamel surface of your teeth leaving it more prone to acid attack and erosion.

Should you floss before or after brushing?

It generally doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after brushing, the key is that you do floss and clean in difficult to reach areas in between your teeth. These are areas in between your teeth  where the bacteria lurk in the hardened tartar. Cleaning in between your teeth with floss or an interdental brush can help to prevent the plaque hardening into this tartar.

It also doesn’t matter whether you floss your teeth in the morning or the evening, it really is up to you.

 

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Posted in Dental health

Your options for quick straight teeth

As more people become focused and conscious about their smile it seems is becoming increasingly popular to look for options to have Straight teeth as fast as possible.

In this blog post our Stourbridge dentist takes a look at your orthodontic options for fast and rapid braces, with treatments often being only 16 weeks long.

To make things easy, we’ll start with the quickest way to have straight teeth, the Inman aligner.

Inman aligner

Typical treatment time approximately 16 weeks.

The Inman aligner is a removable orthodontic appliance with a revolutionary spring mechanism designed to push and pull on the same tooth at the same time. Pushing and pulling in able faster rotation of the tooth, meaning the Inman aligner can often straighten teeth in approximately 16 weeks.

You will need to wear your aligner at least 20 hours per day to see the fastest teeth straightening result, any less and treatment time will inevitably be increased.

You can remove your aligner for eating and cleaning but other than that, you should wear your orthodontic appliance all of the time.

Because the aligner is designed to move teeth rapidly it can typically only be used to move the front six teeth and is not standard practice to try to move back teeth. Back teeth have larger root systems And therefore cannot move as rapidly as front teeth.

Visit the official Inman aligner website.

Six month smiles

Typical treatment time approximately 6 months.

The six month smiles system is a fixed orthodontic system utilising tooth coloured brackets and wires. Six month smiles uses a different type) to conventional fixed braces with a triangular design meaning it can move the route and tooth crown at the same time.

Because this orthodontic system is fixed you will not be able to remove your braces. Six month smiles is capable of moving teeth great distances than the Inman aligner which is why treatments typically take longer than the Inman aligner removable appliance.

Visit the official six month smiles website.

Clear smile aligners

Typical treatment time approximately 18 months.

Clear smile aligners are a removable orthodontic system providing you with a series of clear plastic aligners. These clear plastic aligners move your teeth a small amount each time in the desired direction, approximately every two weeks you will swap your aligner for a new one which will put pressure on your teeth move them a little bit further. Repeating this process over and over means you can move teeth simply and easily.

One of the biggest advantages of clear smile aligners is the fact they are virtually imperceptible. The Inman aligner, whilst not particularly obtrusive can still be seen, six month smiles uses fixed brackets which can also be noticed when you look close… The clear smile aligners, even on close inspection are virtually invisible.

As with other removable orthodontic systems you should be wearing your clear smile aligners for at least 20 hours per day, only removing them to eat and clean your teeth and appliance.

Visit the official clear smile aligners website.

General teeth straightening questions.

Does straightening teeth fast hurt?

Teeth straightening can sometimes be uncomfortable when you first have your new appliance. Each time use swap and aligner with clear smile aligners or have your six-month smiles or Inman aligner adjusted you will notice the immediate pressure but it puts on your teeth. This pressure is required in order to move your teeth and can sometimes be uncomfortable.

Will fast teeth straightening make my teeth sensitive?

Because the teeth are being moved they can become more sensitive than normal. You may find that immediately after adjustment of your appliance that your teeth feel more sensitive than normal, this will normally settle down after approximately 3 days.

If I have my teeth straightened will they go back to what they were like before?

After any orthodontic treatment you will be provided with a retainer. This retainer will keep your teeth in their final position. You should typically wear a retainer for 12 hours per day after you have had orthodontic treatment. Standard retainers are made from a clear plastic, very much like the clear line aligners. This makes your retainers virtually invisible and comfortable to wear.

I would like straighter teeth, what should I do?

If you would like straighter teeth and live in the Stourbridge area we offer a consultation designed to help you discover which orthodontic treatment could be right you, please click here to book now.

 

 

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Posted in Straightening crooked teeth

What’s the best teeth whitening kit?

As with many things in dentistry are lots of searches online, people looking for the best type of teeth whitening for them.  The reality is that it depends on what your criteria are as to which will be the best teeth whitening treatment for you. In this article we go through the various teeth whitening kits available a look at the pros and cons of each.

A review of the different types of teeth whitening kit

before we go into the individual types of teeth whitening kit it’s useful to understand a small amount about how teeth whitening works, you can then use this information to make your own decision about which teeth whitening kit is the best.

The teeth whitening process works using an active ingredient, usually either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This active ingredient releases oxygen into the tooth structure, the oxygen breaks down the bonds which hold the stains together, as the bonds break down the staining breaks down and consequently a white tooth colour is achieved. This process carries on throughout the tooth meaning your whole tooth goes whiter.

Typically the active ingredient is 6% released hydrogen peroxide, any product containing or releasing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide can only be sold by a dentist.

Whitening strips

Teeth whitening strips are a popular option, most of them contain adequate hydrogen peroxide in order to whiten teeth. One of the big concerns is that hydrogen peroxide could potentially come into contact with your delicate gum area. They can also be a little fiddly to use every single day.

Teeth whitening pens

Teeth whitening pens typically have approximately 3.5% hydrogen peroxide, The same problem as whitening strips is apparent, you need to keep the hydrogen peroxide away from your delicate gum area. Another problem with Teeth whitening pens is that in order to work the active ingredient needs to be in contact with your teeth for a few hours each time in order to begin to make a noticeable difference. If you simply paint your teeth with a teeth whitening pen then your lips will wash off the active ingredient almost immediately.

Whitening toothpaste

Teeth whitening toothpastes usually contain approximately 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, the main way that teeth whitening toothpastes work is to be slightly more abrasive so that they can remove surface stains on your teeth a little bit more effectively than regular toothpastes.

Teeth whitening at home

Teeth whitening trayHome teeth whitening is one of the most effective ways to whiten teeth, because it will be prescribed by your dentist they can use up to 6% hydrogen peroxide, significantly higher than in other forms of teeth whitening. With home teeth whitening the teeth whitening gel will be held against your teeth for a couple of hours each day using a whitening tray. This whitening tray will be custom-made for you ensuring that the gel does not leak out and touch your delicate gum area.

Teeth whitening at the dentist

Having your teeth white and in the dentist’s chair can also be an extremely effective way to have a brighter smile. Many systems use laser teeth whitening to conveniently break down the bonds which hold the stains together, thereby whitening teeth very quickly, often in a single hour.

You may also find that some dentists use laser teeth whitening to give an immediate brighter smile and then have home teeth whitening as a top up afterwards, this can often be one of the most effective and quickest ways to whiten teeth.

 

With all of the options for whiter teeth it can sometimes be rather confusing to know which one is best, we always recommend visiting your dentist to have a discussion about the different types of teeth whitening treatment, request an appointment today.

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Posted in Cosmetic dentistry

Dental Crowns vs Veneers

A common question people often ask is “Should I have dental crowns or dental veneers?”, so , let’s take a walk through your options and discover which is best!

We will start by taking a look at what each of these restorative options are.

What are dental veneers

What are dental veneers

Dental veneers are an extremely thin covering, generally made from high-strength dental great porcelain, they usually only cover the viewable front surface and tip of your tooth. They literally veneer teeth!

veneer

vɪˈnɪə/
cover (something) with a decorative layer.

What are dental crowns

A dental crownDental crowns can be equally as thin as dental veneers (sometimes 0.5 mm) but they cover the full circumference of your tooth, rather than just the outer viewable surface of your tooth.

Dental veneers pros and cons

Dental veneers can be extremely versatile, lower cost, highly aesthetic and beautiful, transform the look of your smile but they can sometimes be more fragile and likely to fracture.

Dental crowns pros and cons

Dental crowns can also be extremely versatile, highly aesthetic and beautiful and transform your smile whilst also being more durable but because they cover the full circumference of your tooth they can the more destructive to your natural underlying tooth structure, they may also cost a little more than veneers.

The uses of dental crowns versus veneers

Dental crowns can be used for:

  • Covering extremely dark or non-vital teeth
  • Changing the shape of your teeth
  • Rebuilding the bite on your back teeth to change the way your teeth meet
  • Making large changes to the angulation and rotation of your teeth
  • Rebuilding large areas of decay and restoring the tooth to its former shape

Dental veneers can be used for:

  • Covering extremely dark and non-vital teeth
  • Changing the shape of your teeth
  • Making small changes to the rotation and/or ambulation of your teeth

Types of dental crowns

Dental crowns are usually made from a few different materials:

  1. Gold. This was once the preferred option as gold is such a nice metal for technicians to work with and is relatively inert. It is however rarely used today.
  2. Porcelain fused to metal. This is where a metal casting is made to fit directly over the prepared tooth, on top of this metal casting porcelain is fused which is the part you see. These are sometimes used today but are becoming less often.
  3. All porcelain. With the advent of high-strength porcelain these are now becoming more prescribed than ever, zirconia is the preferred choice of material as it is naturally occurring, extremely strong and translucent like natural teeth.

Types of dental veneers

Dental veneers will usually be made from one of two different materials:

  1. All porcelain, similar to dental crowns.
  2. Composite resin. This type of veneer is often called an ‘immediate veneer‘ or ‘instant veneer‘ this is where the resin is applied directly to your tooth by the dentist in the chair and cured with a high-strength light.

How long do dental crowns last?

Dental crowns have an average life expectancy between 5 and 15 years. There are instances however when dental crowns have last considerably longer than this, up to a lifetime! It is worth noting however that it is not usually the crown which files, it is normally the tooth underneath which requires treatment necessitating removal and remaking of the crown.

How long do dental veneers last?

On average dental veneers last approximately 10 years. They are however far more susceptible to damage and fracture than dental crowns. The most common reason for replacing a dental veneer is a dark line appearing around the gum margin as the gums recede as we get older, this then means that the underlying tooth shows through which can then be darker.

 

Summary

As you can see, it’s not a straight decision about which to have, dental veneers or crowns… It’s more about taking a clinical view over which type of restoration is best for you, you may find that a combination of crowns and veneers are used on different teeth to restore your smile.

We hope with this has given you a good insight into the type of restoration you would like, dental veneers or crowns? Do you have any further questions? Please feel free to ask them in the Ask Dr Dermott section of this website.

 

 

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Posted in Restorative dentistry

Why Does Dentistry Cost so Much?

Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net Stuart Miles

This is a question that is asked by many people so we thought it would be a good idea to take a little bit of time to address this issue. Dentistry can often feel like it costs a great deal of money  and there is a general consensus of opinion that healthcare, including dentistry  should be free in the UK on the NHS.  In this blog post we go through some of the reasons why dentistry can seem expensive and perhaps how you can keep costs low.

One of the ways that you can lower the cost of dentistry is by enrolling on a membership plan at your dental practice. These membership plans often include all of your dental health appointments (including routine dental health checks and hygiene visits) as well as a good  percentage discount on any other treatment required. You can find out more about our practice membership plans here.

Let’s continue with the theme of this blog post and look at some of the reasons that UK dentistry  can seem quite expensive.

Reason #1 – Keeping you Safe

In the UK the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly inspect all dental practices, they are checking for cross infection control procedures as well as policies  which keep you safe.  Dental practices must also adhere to cross infection control policies such as Decontamination in primary care dental practices (HTM 01-05). Complying to this heavy regulation is absolutely the right thing to do and keeps  you as a patient safe and protected  however, many of the requirements can end up costing a dental practice  money by way of investment in  equipment, training and often separate sterilisation rooms.

Reason #2 – Using the Best Suppliers

Image credit: gameanna at freedigitalphotos.net

One of the ways that a dental practice could reduce their costs with dental implants, bridges, veneers and dentures is to use a cheap dental laboratory. Your dental practice could send your new teeth to be made overseas  in somewhere like China or India. The problem with this is a loss of control of quality, who is making your new implant or crown? Exactly what materials are used? And what action could you take if there is any problem?

For this reason  many dentists prefer to use UK laboratories which inevitably have higher costs than laboratories in India or China. Using a UK dental laboratory means we have a good level of communication with the laboratory technicians, this ensures you have the highest quality implants, veneers, crowns and bridges with a trusted level of support.

Reason #3 – Using the Best Products

It would also be a quick and simple cost-cutting measure for any dentist to use cheaper materials,, many of the dental materials that your dentist uses regularly are available  on sites like Amazon or eBay. However, where do these materials come from? By using quality materials with the regulatory CE Mark you can rest assured that  any material that is used in your mouth comes with the highest quality and  assurance rating.

Reason #4 – Looking after Your Whole Body Health

In years gone by it used to be that your dentist would just look after your teeth, whilst this is still the focus of their attention modern research has shown  that there are clear links between your whole body health and the state of your teeth and gums.

The bacteria which are present in gingivitis and periodontitis have also been shown to be gateway bacteria in heart disease, diabetes and even things like erectile dysfunction.

With these clear links  your dentist gets an insight into other conditions which may affect  your whole body health. It’s always been important to look after your dental hygiene but with more  understanding it’s clear that dentistry should not be taken in isolation.

Reason #5 – Staying on Top of the Latest Research

As with any professional one would expect that they have to keep up to date with the latest research and continuously update their knowledge. In years gone by it was possible for many professionals to do their initial education at University and then never do any more courses. This is now not the case and dentists need to ensure that they  undertake 250 hours of continuing professional development every five years. The General Dental Council set out the requirements for courses as follows:

  • Medical Emergencies – What to do and how to keep you as the patient safe
  • Disinfection and Decontamination – Techniques, equipment and materials to protect you as a patient.
  • Radiography and radiation protection – Understanding and reading radiographs
  • Legal and ethical issues – Understanding how to keep you as a patient protected
  • Complaints handling – What can you do if you have cause for concern and who should you turn to?
  • Oral Cancer: Early detection – Keeping patients safe and detecting cancer early
  • Safeguarding children and young people – Looking for the warning signs that they may be safeguarding issue
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults

Summary

As you can see, dentists and dental practices have a heavy requirement to keep themselves updated with modern techniques, materials, research and systems in order to keep you safe and protected as well as provide you with the highest level of care.  All of this comes with a cost and this unfortunately works its way through into the cost of dentistry.

So what can you do to keep costs low?

One of the simplest things is to ensure you look after your teeth from as young an age as possible. Regular brushing for 2 min twice per day with a fluoride containing toothbrush and then cleaning in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss  will help to keep your dental costs lower as your oral health will be better.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog post or book an appointment for a dental health check please contact us today.

Redhill Dental Clinic is a local practice in Stourbridge offering affordable dental treatments to the local people.

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Posted in Dental health

Are Straighter Teeth Healthier Than Crooked Teeth?

One of the biggest reasons people opt to have straighter teeth treatments  such as orthodontics is for cosmetic purposes. But did you know that straighter teeth can also be healthier teeth?

 

In this blog post our Stourbridge dentist, Dr Philip McDermott takes a look at the difference between crooked teeth and straight teeth and asks… Can straighter teeth be healthier teeth?

Looking after your dental health.

One of the most important things to do is to look after your dental health by cleaning your teeth adequately, this involves brushing and flossing twice per day for 2 min each time using a fluoride containing toothpaste. It’s important to always clean in those difficult to reach areas in between your teeth using either floss or an interdental brush.

And it’s cleaning in between the teeth which can be difficult if your teeth are crooked or overlapped.

The reason it’s important to clean in between your teeth is because this is where the acid excreting bacteria lurk. The bacteria excrete acid as they digest the sugar in your diet.  It’s vitally important that this  bacterial layer is removed twice per day otherwise it can continue to build and grow into dental plaque. If the bacteria is left long enough and dental plaque forms this keeps the acid in contact with your teeth even longer meaning the acid attack can be almost continuous.

Keeping the bacteria and plaque at bay should be your number one oral health priority.

Let’s look at the mechanics of cleaning in between teeth.

In order to clean between your teeth you will need to use something more than a toothbrush. A toothbrush simply can’t reach these difficult areas in between so you will need to use either floss, tape or an interdental brush.

How to use floss

How to use interdental brushes

It can be difficult to get floss or brushes in between crooked teeth

It can be fiddly at the best of times to get this floss or brush  in between your teeth but if your teeth are crooked it can be even more difficult.

For this reason  the straighter your teeth are, the easier it is to get in the floss or brushes and therefore the easier it is to keep your teeth clean.

Straighter teeth really can be healthier teeth!

For more information on either straighter teeth or healthier teeth please contact us today the book your appointment.

Posted in Straightening crooked teeth

What Are the Options to Replace Missing Teeth

The options to replace missing teeth generally fall into three categories:

  1. Dental implants
  2. Dentures
  3. Dental Bridges

Each of these options has unique advantages and disadvantages and in this blog post our Stourbridge dentist, Dr Phil McDermott takes a look at each of them.

Dental implants

One of the most popular ways to replace missing teeth is to use dental implants. These have a series of advantages over other mechanisms:

  1. They don’t require removal of otherwise healthy tooth tissue from the teeth either side such as is required with dental bridges.
  2. Dental implants support the bone around the site where the tooth has been lost. This means that the gingival architecture and therefore aesthetics of the extraction site remain good.

bone resorption around tooth loss site

The cost of dental implants.

The cost of dental implants often can be higher than some other techniques for replacing missing teeth. However, when taking into account the lifetime of the dental implant  and the fact that adjacent teeth are not disturbed (unlike with dental bridges) the overall lifetime cost of a dental implant  works out  often to be cheaper than other forms of replacing missing teeth.

To replace a single tooth with a dental implant often costs around £2000, finance schemes are available which help to break this cost down into a series of monthly payments.

Dentures

Replacing missing teeth with dentures

Gone are the days where dentures look ugly and can easily be noticed.  Cosmetic dentures can now be made which harmoniously blend the denture teeth into the surrounding teeth.  However, dentures are inherently removable  and it is for this reason that many people prefer a permanently fixed option such as a dental bridge or a dental implant.

One of the things that the denture does not do is support the underlying bone like a dental implant does. When the tooth has been extracted the surrounding bone will continue to fall into the extraction site  and continually change the shape of the gum in this area. A dental implant is the only truth replacement option that stops this from happening. More information on dentures is here.

Dental bridges.

 

A dental bridge may require removal of healthy tooth structure either side of the gap


Dental bridges
 have been around now for approximately 50 years and so have a good track record of being  an exceptionally good way to replace missing teeth. Dental bridges can now also be made from beautiful and aesthetic all ceramic materials which mimic teeth perfectly meaning the dental implant completely disappears in your mouth.

However, dental bridges, with two distinct disadvantages.

  • The teeth either side of the gap also need to be included.  These are known as abutments and it is these abutments which will support the new false tooth in the middle. This means that to replace a single tooth a new three unit dental bridge we need to be made. This increases the cost and also means that otherwise healthy tooth structure either side of the gap has to be removed in order to accept these apartments.

Any dentist will take you that it goes against their nature  and training to remove healthy tooth structure.

  • 2.  The other disadvantage of a dental bridge is that it doesn’t support the underlying bone structure like a dental implant does this mean that in time the gum underneath the new false and suspended tooth may shrink and resorb, this can result in gaps forming underneath the bridge and a poor aesthetic outcome.

Bone loss under a dental bridge meaning it may need to be replaced

Another way to replace a missing teeth using a dental bridge is to use what is known as a Maryland bridge. Rather than completely  remove all of the tooth structure from the teeth either side your dentist will create wings on the inside of the adjacent teeth which support the new false tooth.

This can be much more minimally invasive approach but Maryland bridges do have a tendency to occasionally become a bonded, this means  you may have to make frequent visits to the dentist to have them re-fixed.

If you have missing teeth and would like to know your options whether that be a bridge, a denture or dental implant then please give our dentist a call or request an appointment online.

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My gums bleed sometimes, is this a problem?

So many of us have seen the adverts on TV which talk about bleeding gums whilst brushing and flossing,  but is it really a problem if your gums bleed? In this blog post our Stourbridge dentist takes a walk through the dental health issues related to bleeding gums whilst brushing.

What are the causes of bleeding gums?

Gum disease or gingivitis

The most common cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis, this is the first stage of gum disease  and is really simple to treat if caught early. The acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth congregate where your cleaning is not quite so efficient, usually in between the teeth. As the bacteria congregate this plaque can irritate and infect the gums. When the gums become irritated they become swollen, tender, red and can bleed whilst brushing. Gingivitis responds well  to a change in cleaning habits and a good visit to the hygienist or dentist.

Medication

Sometimes medications can have the side-effect of bleeding gums, these include:

  • Phenytoin, a seizure medication.
  • Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug often used to prevent transplant rejection.
  • Blood pressure medications called calcium channel blockers, which include nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and amlodipine.

Cleaning Technique/Routine

If you are used to using a floss or interdental brush in between your teeth and forget for a few days then you might find that your gums bleed slightly when you reintroduce this interdental cleaning. This shows how quickly the gums can become inflamed if cleaning is not consistent. If you change your technique, for example switching from flossing to interdental brushing then you may also find that the gums are slightly sensitive at the beginning.  You will normally find that the gums settle down after about a week of changing your routine.

Implements Used

We’ve use the word ‘implements’ here deliberately. All manner of household items  such as credit cards and safety pins get used to clean between your teeth. We highly recommend you don’t do this, primarily because of the risk of cross infection… Who knows where those credit cards or safety pins have been!

Smoking

Smokers are at a much higher risk of gum disease than in non-smokers as the toxins in the cigarettes inhibit your body’s ability to fight disease and infection in your mouth.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy some women find that their gums swell and have more of a tendency to bleed, this is due to hormonal changes which alter the body’s response to the bacteria that cause gum disease. So long as a healthy oral hygiene routine is maintained during the pregnancy the gums should return to their prepregnancy state afterwards.

What to do if your gums bleed

The answers to this really lie in addressing the causes which we have described above. Principally this involves:

  1. Making sure you clean adequately in between your teeth, for 2 min twice per day to ensure  that the plaque buildup is at a minimum.
  2. Being aware of the medication you are on (but never stopping without the advice of your doctor).
  3. Addressing your cleaning technique/routine and ensuring that you clean regularly.
  4. Using only  dental floss or interdental brushes  to clean in between your teeth, never be tempted to use a pin, for example!
  5. Maintaining a healthy diet. A healthy diet plays an important part  in enabling your body to fight infection and disease. A high sugar diet will also increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth which increases the likelihood of dental disease and bleeding.
  6. Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist is able to detect the early signs of gum disease much better than you are at home. If your dentist spots the early warning signs then you can be referred to hygienist for more intensive cleaning and assistance.

Can you catch gum disease?

The quick answer to this is yes. For example, a kiss can exchange up to 80,000,000 bacteria, some good and some harmful. If your own immune system is suppressed for any reason then the concentration of bad bacteria may just tip the balance over the edge in your mouth, leading to gum disease.

It’s important to note however that gum disease is not infectious, in the same way  as many other diseases are. it’s much more complex than that.

The same is true for sharing drinks or utensils such as straws or  forks. Always maintain a healthy cleaning routine to ensure that the bad bacteria  stays well away from your mouth!

Vitamin deficiency causing gums to bleed

Whilst this is rare in the United Kingdom, vitamin C deficiency, otherwise known as scurvy can cause gums to bleed.

My gums bleed when I’m at the dentist, why is this?

Image source: www.deardoctor.com

Image source: www.deardoctor.com

When you visit your dentist they will usually probe around all surfaces of the tooth. This is to check the space between your gum and tooth, they will be looking for the depth that the probe can go and scoring this. If this is monitored between dental appointments  then the score can be monitored to see whether it goes up or down, this is then a good indicator as to  whether your oral health is improving or getting worse.

During this probing process, if your gums are inflamed then bleeding may occur. You may find that your gums bleed during this probing when they don’t normally during brushing, this is another reason why you should visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your gums are not inflamed.

If you are concerned about any of the issues raised in this blog post please contact your Stourbridge dentist to make an appointment.

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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Posted in Dental health

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Please use this form to contact Dr. McDermott about your questions with cosmetic treatments or possible concerns you have about your teeth and options you may have with them.
Location
Redhill Dental Clinic
14 Redhill
Stourbridge
West Midlands
DY8 1ND
Phone: 01384 372015
Primary Email: info@redhilldental.co.uk