School Closures – Some Dental Advice

Our Clapham dentists offer suggestions for this enforced period of closure

Big family groupThis is a difficult time for everyone, and those who now have to keep their children at home for an unknown length of time will possibly find it a particular challenge. Even as adults, a long period of isolation can be challenging, but we can usually find things to do to keep us occupied even if we do feel a little bored at times.

Children will probably find it harder though, especially as their time with friends is likely to be limited. Schools will presumably provide some work for them to do to help with their education but this is likely to still leave a fair amount of spare time.

Where possible, it is best to use this time wisely, and, as dentists, we feel that it does provide an opportunity to help your children understand the importance of good oral care and may, in the long run, help them to grow up with healthier teeth and gums.

Maintaining healthy teeth

One advantage of having your children at home is that it is easier to monitor what they eat. No more swapping the healthy apple you packed for a bar of chocolate at school. Try to keep their diet healthy and tooth friendly and avoid too many sweets which they may want to eat when they are bored. Perhaps limit them to certain times of the day, preferably when they are due to clean their teeth reasonably soon afterwards (but allow at least 30 mins between eating and cleaning as the tooth enamel actually softens when we eat and then re-hardens).

Make sure to supervise them when they clean their teeth if they are young enough, and don’t forget to look after your own teeth and gums too. This might be a good time for both of you to improve the way that you brush your teeth by watching educational videos on the subject. You might be surprised at how inefficiently you are currently brushing.

Depending on their age, this might also be a good opportunity to start your children with flossing. This is something that the Confidental Clinic in Clapham strongly recommends for everyone.

Dental education

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Teeth Whitening Pens

What are they and do they work?

White smiles young coupleAccording to a recent article, one of the best selling items in the health and beauty section of a certain well known online retailer is the teeth whitening pen. Retailing at under £20, it isn’t hard to see why this might be appealing to quite a few people.

With the likes of Love Island and other celebrity programmes helping to promote whiter teeth, anything that does so at this price is a ‘win win’ surely?

As with a lot of things in life, cheap isn’t always good. In today’s blog, our team of Clapham dentists discusses this popular ‘cosmetic tool’.

What is a teeth whitening pen?

As the name suggests, it is a pen-like implement that you use to whiten your teeth. It is convenient and can easily fit into a makeup bag for example.  You then use the pen to remove surface staining from your teeth, helping to make them whiter. In theory at least, it seems a good idea, but how does it work, if at all?

How do they work?

Each pen will vary but some do include a peroxide solution which is known to help whiten your teeth and is used in many professional teeth whitening treatments. The reality is a little more complicated than that however and we will come back to that shortly. Other types don’t include peroxide but create ‘scrubbing bubbles’ which help to lift staining products from the surface of the teeth. These are ideally used straight after eating and before the staining has hardened on the surface of the tooth.

The good and the bad

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Do Chipped Teeth Need Treating?

Minor damage may still require restoration – get it checked!

dentist examinationChipping a tooth isn’t that uncommon. It can happen in many ways; from a fall or collision to biting on something that was harder than expected, such as a small stone that has found its way into a loaf of stone ground bread.  Many of these chips are fairly minor whilst others may be a little larger and it can be tempting to leave the chip as it is. We would advise against this as we’ll see later in this blog.

Aside from the way that chipped teeth can affect your smile, there are other problems that can arise with even a tiny chip on the edge of your tooth.

Minor chips – problems and restorations

It could be argued that providing that the chip is ‘cosmetic’ and doesn’t expose the dentin layer beneath, it should be OK not to do anything about it. Whilst we understand this viewpoint, the Confidental Clinic team recommend that you still consider having the chip restored.

There are a few reasons for this. The most obvious one being that in nearly all cases, this will leave a sharp edge which can cut or graze the lips, gum or tongue. This could, in turn, lead to infections if you are unlucky. There is another issue though that any tooth that has been compromised in any way is likely to be weakened to some degree. For these reasons, we recommend that you consult our Clapham dentists about the problem for their experienced opinion.

The treatment required to restore the chipped tooth will depend on a number of factors, but given that we are discussing very small surface chips, it may well be that a simple cosmetic bonding would be sufficient to resolve the problem.

Larger chips of the teeth

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Illegal Teeth Whitening Treatments On The Rise

Investigation finds that potentially dangerous illegal treatments are up by 26%.

Fear of the dentisteeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures currently available. Its popularity boosted by reality TV programmes such as Love Island, it is also a potentially lucrative market and, as such, is tempting for those looking to make a ‘quick buck’ who do not have the necessary skills, experience or qualifications to perform the treatment.

An investigation for the BBC found that there has been a rise of around 26% in these illegal teeth whitening treatments, many of them in London. There were 732 reports of this to the GDC, with the real figure probably being much higher as these rely on reports that come directly from customers.

This is a worrying sign, and, for patients who opt to have their teeth whitened this way, it may also lead to long term dental or even general health problems.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Before we look at the illegal side of this market, it is important to say that a teeth whitening procedure that is carried out by a dentist registered with the GDC is perfectly safe as is the case with all dentists employed by the Confidental Clinic in Clapham. Patients will be assessed for their suitability and the whitening solution is carefully monitored for safety levels. Patients who have this treatment in this way will have a safe and successful procedure.

Where are the risks?

There are many risks to having this treatment carried out by an unqualified practitioner. Some have been found to be using unsafe strengths of the whitening solution. This may achieve the brilliant white look that some who watch reality shows might like, but it can come at a very high cost, including potentially painful tooth loss.

More common risks are that the teeth are damaged in such a way that they become incredibly sensitive. Even with a safe procedure, a few patients occasionally find that their teeth are a little sensitive for a few days before returning to normal.  Where a much higher strength of solution is used, this sensitivity may be much more severe and also, potentially permanent.

Other risks are burns to the soft tissue, such as the lips and gums, around the teeth. This can be very painful and unsightly for the person concerned.

There is also a very big risk in that most of these practitioners will have had little or no medical training. All dentists are required to undergo a certain level of emergency medical training. Although very rare, the stress of undergoing dental treatment could potentially cause a patient with heart problems to have a heart attack. Although medical backup is essential;  as first responders, we need to know what to do immediately in the rare event that this happens. Without this, the patient’s life could be in danger.

How do they get away with it?

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Dental Appointment Cancellations

How this can affect both dentist and patient alike

Dentist surgeryMost dental appointments are made well in advance for a check up. This means that patients commit to a date far enough in the future that anything could crop up in the meantime.

Having to change the date is not unusual and doesn’t cause a problem if sufficient notice is given. Where a patient doesn’t give us notice though, it causes inconvenience for both our Clapham dentists and their patients.

There are a number of reasons why patients may need or wish to rearrange an appointment at the Confidental Clinic and we take a look at some of these below.

Other engagements

We understand that many things can happen in the time following making your appointment. You may have another important appointment, such as an interview the same day, or perhaps you want to book a holiday at that time. This isn’t a problem if you let us know in advance so that we can free your spot up for another patient.

The problem has resolved itself

This is one that patients often get wrong. The truth is that most dental problems that you have made an appointment for will not get better on their own. A small cavity that was causing you toothache may suddenly cause less discomfort, but please believe us when we say that it will very likely return with a vengeance. Even if it doesn’t, it will still continue to damage your tooth leaving you needing a bigger filling than if you had received treatment at your set appointment. So please make sure to have any dental problem treated as soon as possible – typically they will get worse if left.

Dental phobia

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Looking To Rejuvenate Your Apearance In 2020?

If so, look no further; the Confidental Clinic team are here to help!

Older couple with nice teeth and skinHappy New Year to all of our patients and regular blog readers. We thought that we would start 2020 by writing for those of you who might be looking at ways to improve the way that you look this coming year.

Our experienced Clapham dentists have a wide range of treatments at their disposal that can help to rejuvenate both your smile and your skin. Not everybody will need all of these of course, and many patients will benefit greatly from just a single procedure.

Without further ado then, let us take a look at some of the most common rejuvenating procedure that are available to our patients.

Teeth whitening

We’ll start with what is one of our most popular cosmetic dental treatments. This treatment has been popularised by many TV stars and celebrities and our home teeth whitening kits allow you to achieve a brighter smile in the comfort of your own home and at times that are convenient to you. The level of whiteness can be adjusted to meet your requirements and you should expect to see the full benefits after approximately two weeks. The treatment is not permanent but is long lasting and can be repeated when needed with no ill effects.

Porcelain dental veneers

For patients with heavily discoloured teeth or where there are defects such as chips or cracks in them, a teeth whitening procedure might not provide the results that you want. In situations such as this, porcelain veneers can be used to replace the damaged or discoloured enamel. A very attractive smile can be created using this method and your veneers should last you for approximately ten years with good care.

Orthodontic treatment

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Your Seasonal Dental Quiz From Confidental Clinic In Clapham

Have you been reading our blogs this year? If so, what can you remember?

Confidental ClinicOver the past year, we have been writing a number of blogs which we hope that you have found useful and educational.

Our main aim, of course, is to encourage our Clapham patients to improve the way that they look after their teeth and their oral health in general.

As it won’t be long before we are all focussed on Christmas, it seems like a good time to see what you can remember from the blogs that we have written this last year, so, below, you will find a few questions based on our 2019 blogs. See how well you do and have fun….

  1. What is the procedure called that is used to restore a tooth when the soft pulp area, containing the nerves, becomes infected?
  2. Apart from anything that we eat or drink, what is one of the major causes of bad breath?
  3. If you lose a tooth, what is the effect in that area of the mouth?
  4. Why shouldn’t you use lemon juice to whiten your teeth?
  5. What do we call the procedures that can be used prior to a dental implant placement when there is insufficient bone to place it into?
  6. Name some of the problems that can be caused by premature loss of our ‘baby teeth.
  7. Name three advantages of using Invisalign orthodontics over ‘traditional’ style braces
  8. Why should you use dental floss?
  9. Why is alcohol potentially harmful for our oral health?
  10. What is a ‘scale and polish’ ?

Answers

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What Do Dental Implants Feel Like?

Our Clapham implant team looks at what patients can expect from this procedure.

Showing a dental implant and crownAlthough many people do still use dentures to replace lost teeth, an increasing number are opting instead to have dental implants placed.

There are many good reasons for this, including their strength and longevity.

The procedure itself is one of the longer ones due to its complexity. That, and the fact that it involves minor surgery means that we are often asked a lot of questions about implants before a patient is prepared to commit to having them.

This is perfectly understandable and the team here at Confidental Clinic is always happy to answer any questions about implants or any other dental treatment. Some questions are asked quite regularly though and we thought that we would take a look at one of those today.

What do dental implants feel like?

Everybody has heard tales of loose dentures, including some embarrassing moments when they move around at an inappropriate time. Stories about dental implants are far fewer, partly because they are a newer product but also, quite frankly, there are fewer stories to tell. Indeed any stories you do hear are likely to be good ones!

For the vast majority of people, a dental implant placement is a great success and where this isn’t the case it is usually because they have opted to cut corners and perhaps travelled abroad for treatment or have failed to look after them as they were instructed to.

Dental implants may feel slightly different, especially in the period soon after they were placed, but you will very soon become used to your new replacement tooth and be able to use it just like your natural teeth.

Directly after treatment

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Trapped Food? – Use Dental Floss!

Leaving food trapped between your teeth is asking for trouble….

dentist examinationMost of our Clapham patients, we hope, clean their teeth twice a day and also do so effectively. If we do this and avoid eating too much sugary food, we probably think that we are looking after our teeth well. Although this is a good start, keeping your teeth and gums really clean requires an extra step to be fully effective.

Sugars and bacteria not only get stuck to the enamel surface of the tooth but also in the spaces between them. These are much more difficult to remove and if you only brush, there is likely to be food debris and harmful bacteria remaining in between your teeth. Over time, this will start to lead to both tooth decay and gum disease.

The tooth pick option

We know that some people do use toothpicks when they get food stuck between their teeth. These do serve a purpose in removing larger pieces of food that get trapped. As far as your oral health goes though, they do very little to help. The reality is that larger pieces of trapped food may be annoying and also visible, but they usually work loose due to saliva flow after a short period of time. What is more problematic are the tiny pieces that you can’t see that become trapped and a tooth pick will not be effective in removing these.

Dental floss

It is thought that only around one in five of us use dental floss on a regular basis. The reasons for this are unclear but probably include ‘difficulty’ as one of them. It is probably fair to say that most of us find it a little tricky when we first attempt to do it, and may well quickly give up. A little perseverance with it however, can make a real difference to the health of your teeth and gums.

We do encourage any patient of the Confidental Clinic to let us know if you do struggle to use floss. We are always happy to give you a quick demonstration of how to do it correctly. It really isn’t difficult, with a little practice and only takes a few minutes each day.

The consequences

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Restoring Your Smile With Invisalign

Are you fed up with having crooked teeth but don’t want to wear braces? If so, then read on.

Invisalign from £44 per monthIt is very likely that there are thousands of people in the UK who live with a crooked set of teeth which they are unhappy with. Despite the success rate of orthodontic treatments, many patients still choose to live with their teeth as they are, rather than having to wear ‘braces’ for a long period of time.

We do understand this as braces as many people understand them, can be highly visible and for some, a little uncomfortable too.

There are also additional dental risks when you wear regular braces. The wires and brackets that are used in this treatment are a potential trap for food and bacteria which can be notoriously difficult to remove given the additional effort required to keep teeth and gums clean when you wear braces.

Revolutionary orthodontics

Whilst people might be prepared to tolerate wearing braces for short periods of time to correct minor cosmetic problems, they may be less keen to do so when a lengthier treatment time is needed for more significant correction.

This is where a revolutionary method of teeth straightening comes into its own in the form of Invisalign orthodontics. This orthodontic system offers a great way to gently straighten crooked teeth, something which can often take a year or more, without the disadvantages of traditional wire and bracket type braces.

Although Invisalign orthodontics work in the same way as traditional braces, by gently exerting pressure over a period of time, encouraging the teeth towards their correct position, it does so using an entirely different method. Patients will no longer have to worry about having wires around their teeth which can both look and feel a little strange. Instead, Invisalign uses near-invisible ‘trays’ which fit directly over your teeth.

What are Invisalign trays?

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