Five Common Myths About Teeth Whitening

White teeth

Clapham dentist, Dr Nicola Ogilvie, explains the reality behind these misconceptions.

One of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments at the Confidental Clinic is the teeth whitening procedure.

There are many likely reasons for this, including immediacy of results and the fact that it is one of the most cost effective ways of giving your smile a significant  boost.

Teeth whitening is also popular with celebrities, and this inevitably means that it will often receive a fair amount of media coverage. Unfortunately, not all celebrities are able to keep themselves out of the headlines, sometimes for the wrong reasons. This makes them easy targets for the media who will then often look for ways of portraying them even more badly. This often includes any beauty and cosmetic dental treatments that they may have had, especially where they have gone from dark smokers teeth to dazzling white ones.

With the media coverage often comes a number of half truths, and sometimes outright lies about this treatment. To help to counteract these, we take a look at some of the more common ones below.

Teeth whitening is painful

In all probability you will have read of someone who has been in pain following this treatment. I think that it is safe to say that this has never been the case for any of our Clapham patients. It is true that the teeth whitening procedure can cause temporary additional sensitivity for a few patients but this is not ‘painful’ as such and usually only lasts a few days. If someone has suffered genuine pain, they have probably used an illegal whitening outlet that has used a far stronger whitening solution than is safe. Never risk this. Only registered dentists are now able to provide this treatment.

It damages your teeth

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Dental Implants – More Affordable Than You May Think!

Dr Jignesh Patel

In the long term, dental implants offer very good value for money, says Clapham dentist Jignesh Patel.

When a patient loses a tooth, there are a number of factors that they may consider when deciding on the best way to replace it. The three main options available are a denture, a bridge or dental implants.

Each has its pros and cons, and even the one that perhaps offers the least secure option, dentures, can be a suitable choice for anyone who wishes to avoid having an invasive procedure to replace the missing tooth.

Increasingly however, our Confidental Clinic patients are turning towards dental implants as the best solution to restore their smile. Most dentists, and a growing number of patients, would agree that this method offers the most benefits, not only for its natural appearance, but also the strength of the replacement tooth, as well as longevity.

Overcoming the ‘fear factor’

The initial barrier for some patients is the thought of the procedure that is necessary in order to place teeth implants. If this is solely understood from an article on the internet, or elsewhere, it may give rise to concerns about discomfort during the procedure. This is not the experience of the vast majority of patients that have implants placed, and we recommend that if you are considering them, you have a consultation with our implant team, on a ‘no obligation’ basis. We find that when patients have a better understanding of the procedure, and are able to have their questions answered by a professional, this helps to reduce any anxiety about the procedure.

We also offer a range of support services, at our Clapham practice that help patients to undergo this procedure with the minimum of stress. We will discuss this in more detail during the consultation.

The cost of dental implants

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False Teeth – A guide for patients who choose to wear dentures

Older couple smiling

How to make wearing dentures as trouble free as possible.

Whilst dental implants and bridges can also be said to be ‘false teeth’; when we refer to this, we usually mean dentures. This method of tooth replacement has been around for centuries, though it is safe to say that modern versions are far superior to older ones.

In many ways, dental implants offer a superior alternative but, for reasons of cost and the fact that, unlike dentures,  they require invasive surgery, some of our Clapham dental patients may choose not to have them.

When you have teeth that are missing and you decide to use dentures to replace them, this can present a few challenges, particularly at first.

Your new dentures

When you are first fitted with your new replacement teeth, you will almost certainly find that they feel strange in your mouth. You will probably find that you salivate more as your body will see these as a ‘foreign object’ it needs to get rid of. Speech may also be affected for a little while. In both of these cases, this should settle down soon afterwards.

One of the biggest challenges that new denture wearers face is when eating. They certainly can feel very strange initially, and it may be tempting to remove them to eat. We would advise against this and, instead, recommend that you choose softer foods and cut them into smaller pieces, chewing slowly until you become more accustomed to wearing your dentures. You can then start to vary your diet accordingly.

Looking after your mouth

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What Happens If You Don’t Replace A Missing Tooth?

Showing a dental implant and crown

Leaving a gap in your teeth might be the ‘easy’ option, but is it the best one?

None of us want to lose any of our teeth if we can possibly help it. Taking care of what we eat, and making sure that we brush and floss our teeth regularly will help to give us the best chance of avoiding this.

If you make sure too, to see one of our Clapham dentists every six months or so, any problems that we do find can be treated early, potentially saving the tooth.

Life doesn’t always work that way though, and even with the best will in the world, accidents can happen which result in a knocked out tooth. If we don’t look after our teeth and avoid visiting the dentist, the chances of losing a tooth to decay also increases.

To replace or not?

If you lose a tooth you are, by default, left with a gap between the teeth. Where this is highly visible, the chances are that you will consider the various options to replace it; usually a denture, bridge or implant. Where the tooth is less visible though, such as a rear tooth, it might be tempting just to leave the gap.

If you do decide not to replace a missing tooth, a number of things can happen.

Increases stress on other teeth

When you lose a tooth whose primary purpose is for chewing and breaking down food, additional stress is passed to the other teeth that are still present. Lose too many teeth and the chances of damage and wear to the remaining teeth increases.

Jaw pain

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How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath

dentist examination

Unless we notice the signs, we may not be aware that our breath smells bad.

Most of us have probably done it at some time or another; eaten a meal before we go out that contains garlic, and then, unsure if our breath smells or not, breathe quickly out then sniff the air we expel.

“Yes, no problem”, we are almost certain to think if we do that, but the reality is that our breath dispels so quickly and mixes with the air around it, that most smells will go undetected and we may well be socialising with others unaware of our smelly breath.

There are a couple of ways that might help our Clapham patients discover if they have bad breath or not. If you run your tongue along the inside of the wrist (but not if using perfume there) and then smell your wrist; if you find that that smells, then it is very likely that your breath will smell badly too.

The other way is more obvious, but also too late for that occasion, and that is when you notice people inching away from you when you are talking to them.

What to do about bad breath

There are two main causes of bad breath (although other medical conditions or side effects of medication could also cause it). These are temporary bad breath caused by what we eat and drink, and that caused by gum disease. Temporary bad breath is just that. It is largely within our control, and, as we know, certain foods such as garlic, cigarettes and coffee can leave strong smells on our breath. If we are going to be in a situation where we are in close contact with others, it is easy enough to avoid these foods and make sure that we have fresh smelling breath when we leave the house.

The other cause is more difficult to remove, and that is the type of bad breath which is caused by gum disease.

Gum disease and bad breath – diagnosis and treatment in Clapham

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Potential Indicators Of Root Canal Problems

Dr Jignesh Patel

Clapham dentist, Dr Jignesh Patel, discusses symptoms that may indicate root canal infection

Most of us are, perhaps, prone to self diagnosis when things don’t feel right with our teeth. The wealth of information, both factual and ‘fake news’ available on the internet probably encourages us to do this even more.

Even if we do try to self-diagnose though, it is still important to have any problems examined by one of the Confidental Clinic team, in order that any appropriate treatment can be given during the early stages of the problem.

One not uncommon dental problem which is often misunderstood by patients, is a root canal infection. We have discussed the treatment of this in other blogs so today, take a look instead at some of the potential signs that you might need to receive treatment for it. As noted earlier, please make sure to have any symptoms checked as sometimes the same symptom can have a different number of causes, and only an experienced dentist will be able to diagnose thoroughly.

Tooth pain

Tooth pain, or toothache, can be caused by a number of issues, including both root canal infection and general tooth decay. Where a root canal infection is present, the pain is likely to be quite severe as this is the area that the nerves of the tooth are located. You may also find that the pain spreads to the gums as well. It will be particularly painful when you use that tooth to bite on anything or even when you touch the tooth with your finger.

Any type of tooth pain should trigger a prompt visit to our dental practice so we can examine and treat it correctly.

Swollen and sore gums

These particular symptoms are common in gum disease cases. It is not the only thing that can cause it though and especially if the swelling or soreness is at the base of one particular tooth, rather than on several teeth. This may indicate a more specific problem. Whilst this symptom, when gum disease is present, is likely to occur over a period of time, the same symptom caused by a root canal infection is likely to happen more quickly. Whichever it is though, make sure to have it checked.

Tooth sensitivity

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Brighten Up Your Smile Ready For Spring!

nice white smile

Nicer looking teeth for the warmer months ahead.

There is no doubt that having healthy teeth and gums is the most important thing as far as dentists and patients are concerned.

Once this has been achieved though, and an ongoing plan to keep it that way is in place, why not take a look at some of the cosmetic dental treatments that we have on offer?

One of the most popular of these is our teeth whitening procedure, and at this time of the year, it is a great way to get your teeth looking brighter and whiter for the sunnier months ahead.

Scale and polish

Before we discuss the teeth whitening treatment that we provide at our Clapham dental practice, it is worth mentioning a side benefit of the scale and polish procedure that is carried out by the dental hygienist here at the Confidental Clinic. This treatment is essential for making sure that teeth and gums are free of hardened bacteria (tartar or calculus), but as a side effect of this treatment, the cleaning also removes some of the staining from your teeth. This is a good place to start, not only to have healthy teeth and gums, but to discover the natural colour of your teeth once any staining has been removed.

Take home teeth whitening

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Same Day Dental Implant Placement

full arch teeth replacement

This fast and (almost) permanent solution to missing teeth offers many benefits.

First of all, we should probably clarify why we included ‘almost’ in the title of this blog post. Dental implants, when looked after correctly, have a very long life expectancy, and can be expected to last for a minimum of 15 years.

The reality though, is that they often last much longer than that, and in fact, the second person ever to have dental implants placed, still had them 48 years later!

Their ‘survival’ rate will depend on a number of factors and although they can last for a very long time indeed, it would be technically incorrect to call them ‘permanent’, although for practical purposes, they are.

From the above, patients of the Confidental Clinic should be able to see that they are, at the very least, a practical and sustainable alternative to dentures. Whether used for replacing a single tooth, or for multiple missing tooth replacement, dental implants offer an excellent long lasting option.

Individual tooth replacement

We won’t delve too deeply into this subject here as we have covered this a few times in previous blogs. The process for an individual implant is, in some ways, quite different to that where multiple teeth need replacing. An individual implant usually needs time to fully integrate with the jaw bone before a crown can be attached, but this does not have to be the case where multiple teeth, or a full arch, are to be replaced.

All on 4

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Returning To The Dentist After A Long Break

Fear of the dentist

Why you should not feel embarrassed about taking this beneficial step for your oral health.

Whilst most people do keep up with their regular six monthly appointments at the Confidental Clinic, this is not always the case. Some people cancel an appointment and then don’t rearrange it. Others may even simply not show up for that appointment and may ‘disappear’ altogether.

Obviously this is not a good thing, but there can be a number of reasons for it. A change in circumstances may make it more difficult to get an appointment at a suitable time, or sometimes, a nervous patient avoids an upcoming procedure and may drop out altogether.

In nearly all cases though, if you don’t see a dentist for some time, you will almost certainly pay the price. Instances of decay and gum disease may cause serious oral health issues and tooth loss is a real possibility. Delaying can also lead to more complex and expensive treatments becoming necessary.

Taking the first step

Eventually, most people will need to see a dentist again. Sometimes, they will be in so much pain with a toothache that there really isn’t any option. Others may, one day, decide that their teeth are in a poor condition and are unattractive and may wish to correct this. From the perspective of this Clapham dental practice, in either case, patients should not feel embarrassed. We are here to help!

The aim of our team of dentists is not to judge you for not seeing a dentist for a long while, but to help you to get your oral health back on track. Naturally, once this has been achieved, we will encourage you not to let your regular appointments slip again. There is little point in having your teeth restored if you are going to neglect them again.

For those patients who have not been to a dentist for a very long time, you are likely to notice a real difference in what our dental practice can offer. Technology now allows us to treat a wider range of issues than was once the case. Modern orthodontics, for instance, can now perform the same function as traditional and highly visible metal braces. This enables people to straighten their teeth without the need for unsightly metal braces.

Nervous patients

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Veganuary And Dry January

Good teeth on smiling people

What these two campaigns mean for the health of your mouth.

If you even just flick through the news, whether in papers or on the internet, you can’t help but have noticed that January seems to be a popular month for campaigns that can be life changing.

Dry January, a campaign to encourage people to go a month without alcohol, has been going for a few years now, whilst the furore surrounding Piers Morgan and Gregg’s now infamous vegan ‘sausage’ roll means that the campaign to encourage people to go vegan for a month, Veganuary, has received a significant boost in publicity.

Both of these campaigns may offer benefits to our health as a whole. Alcohol is widely linked with a number of health problems, and even if you don’t wish to become entirely vegan, most experts agree that increasing our intake of non animal based foods is probably very beneficial for us.

Few articles on these current campaigns though, have focussed on the effect that these campaigns can have on our oral health. At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we thought that we would address just that.

Dry January

Few would dispute that drinking to excess is bad for our health in many ways. In addition to the direct effect that it can have on organs such as the liver, alcohol is a prime cause of many accidents and assaults, as anyone who has visited an Accident and Emergency department on a Saturday night can probably attest.

Alcohol can also play a harmful role in our oral health in a number of other ways too.

Sugar content – Most alcoholic drinks contain sugar and some of the newer generation of drinks, often aimed at younger people, can contain very high quantities indeed. Even traditional beers such as a pint of bitter contain sugar though. Regular consumption means that we expose our teeth to more sugar than we would if we didn’t drink.

Dry mouth – Drinking alcohol often causes us to wake up with a dry mouth in the morning. This dehydration means that our mouths have provided an ideal place for bacteria to thrive in our mouth as we sleep. These bacteria are a significant contributor to both tooth decay and gum disease, both of which may lead to eventual tooth loss.

Accidents – as mentioned earlier, drinking too much alcohol may well lead to a stumble, fall or collision that damages our teeth. Whilst this can happen at any time, the effect of alcohol makes this more likely. In many cases, this will lead to the need to see an emergency dentist at our Clapham practice. Please call us as soon as you can and we will endeavour to see you the same day wherever possible.


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