Although relatively uncommon, oral cancers can be extremely serious.
Mouth cancers are probably less well known to the general public than breast or lung cancers, for example, and are not as common. The damage that they can cause though should not be underestimated, and over two thousand people a year are thought to die from this particular form of cancer.
Whilst we are not cancer experts as such, our Clapham dentists and hygienists do have an important role to play in both the prevention and early detection of oral cancers.
As with any medical condition, prevention is preferable to treatment, and the good news is that the risk of mouth cancer can, by and large, be significantly reduced with a little self control and professional care. A good oral health regimen, combined with professional dental supervision, will go a long way towards having a healthy mouth.
There are certain patients though, who are at an increased risk. Anybody who smokes and/or drinks alcohol in large quantities is more likely to suffer from this potentially fatal disease. Both tobacco and alcohol contain carcinogens which can damage the DNA within cells and lead to cancers. Stopping or significantly reducing both of these habits will greatly improve your chances of avoiding mouth cancers.
In addition to stopping these potentially cancer forming habits, one way in which you can greatly improve the health of your mouth is to make an appointment with our dental hygienist. Not only will your teeth and gums be thoroughly cleaned, but this is also an excellent way of understanding your oral health better, including learning methods to keep your mouth cleaner and healthier.
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Near invisible braces that straighten your teeth with the minimum of inconvenience.
Anyone who is unhappy with their crooked teeth will almost certainly have considered having dental braces at one time or another. Many braces though, offer an unsightly method of straightening teeth, with most being made from metal and therefore highly visible. In addition to this, it can be very difficult to keep teeth clean when braces are being worn and food becomes easily trapped in the wiring.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we are pleased to offer our patients an alternative type of orthodontic system in the form of Invisalign braces, which use an entirely different method altogether.
By replacing wires and brackets with a series of transparent plastic trays that are placed over the teeth, patients are able to have their teeth straightened without the inconveniences of traditional braces. Whilst the trays should be worn for most of the time during the treatment period, they are designed to be removed by the wearer when they are eating and for cleaning their teeth. This simple method makes them a very practical way to straighten teeth.
By removing the trays, patients can eat the same foods that they usually would without the difficulty of eating or food getting trapped in the wiring. In fact, trapped food may cause more than embarrassment and can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. Although the risks of decay and gum disease are minimised using Invisalign braces, it is still important that you maintain your dental and hygienist visits during the treatment period, as well as maintaining good oral care at home.
The comfort factor
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How smoking affects your facial features and your teeth, prematurely aging you.
We have covered in a previous blog post, the dangers to oral health caused by smoking, with the increased risk of oral cancers and advanced gum disease.
Although these issue do, quite rightly, grab the headlines, there is another issue which long term smokers have to face, and that is the way that it affects their appearance.
Although it may once have been ‘cool’ to smoke, and there is little doubt that in earlier times, the sight of Bogart and Bacall smoking could be classed as ‘alluring’, few would argue that to be the case these days. With a heightened awareness of the damage that smoking causes, more and more people are attempting to stop.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we see the effects on oral health of smokers on a daily basis. Our facial aesthetics team also see the effect that it has on the patient’s appearance in general.
We don’t really like to use the term ‘ugly’, but it is often an appropriate term where someone has smoked for a long period of time. From a dental perspective, there are a number of visual symptoms which can cause a smoker to have an unattractive smile.
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Helping our Clapham patients to maintain healthy gums.
Gum recession not only detracts from an otherwise attractive smile, but can create other problems too. In today’s blog, we take a look at why some people’s gum recede, how to prevent it, and the problems that can occur if we don’t.
It should be said that gums are likely to recede, to some degree, as we grow older. This is simply one of those unfortunate facts of life, like wrinkles, that we would rather avoid. Most of us would probably agree though, that we would rather our gums not recede until we are in the later years of our life and avoid it completely if at all possible.
Medical – There are a number of potential medical reasons for your gums to recede. These include hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, and other medical conditions where the immune system is affected, making it less able to fight bacterial infections. Some medications may also cause gums to recede as a side effect. If your medication has this listed and you are concerned, please consult your GP before stopping any medication.
Gum disease – This is one of the most common reasons for gum recession that we see here at the Confidental Clinic in Clapham. Both gingivitis and the more advanced periodontitis, will cause this to happen over time. In addition to improving your home oral health regimen, we strongly advise that you see our helpful dental hygienist on a regular basis for professional cleaning (also known as a scale and polish).
Incorrect brushing – In their desire to have clean teeth, some patients are prone to use excessive force when brushing. This can have the effect of wearing away the gums and, at the same time, causing enamel damage which increases the risk of tooth decay. A gentle circular motion with a relatively new toothbrush is all that is needed and our hygienists will show you the correct techniques.
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Safe and effective facial aesthetics at our Clapham dental practice.
If you hadn’t visited a dental practice in the UK for a number of years, you might be surprised to notice that some, including ourselves, now also offer facial aesthetics as well as both general and cosmetic dentistry. On the surface, this may initially seem a little strange but actually fits in well with our approach of helping patients achieve the look that they wish for.
The clean and hygienic environment of a dental practice also makes this an ideal safe space for these treatments to be carried out with minimal risk of infections for the patient.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we have a dedicated team who are trained to carry out facial aesthetics procedures such as anti wrinkle treatments and dermal fillers. Of these, the anti wrinkle treatments, such as Botox, are perhaps the most well known. However, in this blog, we will take a look at how dermal fillers, a slightly less well known option, can be used to give you a more youthful appearance too.
Reversing ageing signs
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Making sure your mouth is healthy for a positive outcome.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures to help patients realise a great new smile. Before a cosmetic procedure takes place though, it is important to make sure that your mouth is as healthy as it can be.
By ensuring that problems such as decay and gum disease are not present, we are able to minimise the risk of the dentistry failing, saving you both disappointment and money.
General cosmetic procedures
Whether you are thinking of having a straightforward teeth whitening treatment or something a little more complex, such as dental veneers, it makes sense to make sure that your mouth is as healthy as possible first. There is little sense in spending good money on teeth that may need to be filled or worse, are on the way to being lost completely. For example, in the case of dental veneers, if the underlying tooth becomes decayed, this is likely to weaken the bond with the veneer and failure can result. In cases where the decay is significant, the shape of the tooth may be changed so radically that the veneer no longer fits the tooth at all and other restorative procedures need to be considered.
We’ve possibly all seen cases in the media where patients have had cosmetic dentistry failures simply because their own dentist had not addressed the health of their mouth before commencing?
This can be avoided by ensuring that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. With good aftercare, your new cosmetic treatments should be effective for the maximum time possible.
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Why dentures are still one of the most common tooth replacement methods.
Whilst we are firm believers that dental implants are currently the best option for replacing a missing tooth, the reality is that not everybody follows that particular route.
Whilst most of our Clapham patients would accept that dental implants are the strongest and easiest to use solution, for some, the cost, or simply the invasive nature of the procedure, deters them from having them placed.
Although we do offer help for nervous dental patients at the Confidental Clinic, the fact is that the use of modern partial dentures does offer a means of having a replacement tooth without the need for invasive procedures.
The good news for potential denture wearers is that modern dentures are more comfortable and natural looking than their predecessors. Whilst they may not offer the strength and stability of a dental implant, they do offer an acceptable compromise without the need for dental surgery. Most modern dentures are made from acrylic and these are the most commonly used. The replacement tooth is made in a shade to match that of your natural teeth to create a realistic looking smile. Small metal clasps are also used which attach to adjacent teeth to help to improve stability.
Especially where more than one adjoining tooth needs to be replaced, patients of the Confidental Clinic might wish to consider the flexible Valplast dentures that we have available at our Clapham practice. These offer a heightened degree of comfort and will flex with the mouth, making them feel more natural than traditional dentures.
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Avoiding the need for bone grafts or sinus lifts prior to implant placement.
Whilst most patients who opt for dental implants are able to have this procedure without the need for a bone graft or sinus lift, some patients, unfortunately, are not. This can be due to a number of reasons with the prime one being loss of bone in the jaw, especially where a tooth has been missing for some time.
As the strength and long life of a dental implant depends, to a large degree, on the quantity and quality of the bone structure, it is usually necessary, in these cases, to perform a bone graft or a sinus lift in order for there to be a firm foundation for the implant to be placed.
Zygomatic dental implants
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we offer our patients the option of zygomatic dental implants. These differ from regular implants in that they are longer, and, instead of being placed at the usual ninety degrees into the bone structure, they are placed at an angle into the cheekbone (also known as the zygomatic arch) and use this area to provide the necessary bone structure to secure the implant in place.
Naturally, prior to any procedure, all options will be investigated, and scans taken of your jaw. This is essential to determine whether you can have regular implants or require zygomatic ones. It is also an essential part of the procedure if zygomatic implants are needed as it enables us to determine the exact position in which the implants need to be placed.
Instant replacement teeth
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Safe and effective cosmetic dental treatments at our Clapham practice.
The teeth whitening procedure is one of the most well known and popular cosmetic dental procedures currently available. All of us will have seen the result of this treatment when we see Hollywood ‘stars’ with perfect white teeth.
Unsurprisingly then, many people have visited the Confidental Clinic to have their own teeth whitened, greatly improving the appearance of their smiles.
Despite it being a non-invasive procedure, a few patients have expressed concerns about whether there are any risks attached to a whitening procedure; something that our experienced Clapham dentists discusses below.
To quickly recap; the whitening procedure offered by the Confidental Clinic is a personalised home whitening one which involves making trays to fit each patient individually. The whitening agent is placed into these and they are then worn for a few hours a day for a few weeks, until the whiteness you want has been achieved.
The first thing that we should say is that the biggest risk with this procedure is to choose to have it done by a non professional. High street whitening outlets were once commonplace but are now illegal. Only registered dental personnel can perform this procedure. A number of non professionals have been prosecuted for offering this treatment, very often in an uncontrolled and harmful manner. Please make sure that you do not take this risk!
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How our Clapham dental hygienist helps to prevent gum disease.
As we have mentioned in previous Confidental Clinic blogs, gum disease is responsible for more tooth loss than decay, yet, despite this, most people take less care of their gums than their teeth. Whilst regular brushing will help to look after the teeth, it is less effective at removing harmful bacteria from between the teeth and the gum line.
Additional techniques such as flossing, or inter-dental cleaning with a special brush, greatly improve the chances of removing this ‘bad’ bacteria, and yet, only around 20% of us floss and many that do, often do so incorrectly.
Even if someone takes really good care of their teeth and gums, there are still areas where bacteria can collect which make it almost impossible to remove with home cleaning. Visiting our Clapham dental hygienist, Lauren Bennet, should be seen as more than an ‘extra’ and, instead, an essential part of keeping your gums healthy.
There are a number of ways in which these visits are important for good oral health.
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