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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Brushing Your Teeth Immediately After Eating Could Cause Them Damage

Dentist surgery

Wait a little while after eating before you brush.

Brushing our teeth regularly is the very foundation of good oral health, and is something that we regularly remind our patients about to help them keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Without doing this, it won’t matter how healthily we eat or how often we see the dentist, and is almost certain to result in tooth decay. Even if we currently brush our teeth twice a day though, there is every chance that we may not be doing it as well as we should be.

Before we move on to the main topic of this blog, it is worth reminding our Clapham dental patients of a few basic rules when brushing.

  1. Use a brush with bristles in good condition. This means replacing the brush every three months or so
  2. Make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride. This helps to strengthen the protective enamel on your teeth
  3. Make sure you clean your gums too, and angle the brush approximately 45 degrees towards the gums so that the gum pockets are cleaned
  4. Don’t rinse afterwards, but allow the toothpaste to remain on your teeth. This helps fluoride absorption
  5. Floss your teeth too. This helps to remove food and bacteria from those hard to reach spaces between your teeth.

Why wait before you brush your teeth?

If we choose to brush our teeth straight after eating; whilst it may freshen our mouths, it also catches our teeth at a time when they are more vulnerable. Although probably not widely known, our teeth soften slightly after we eat. This is caused by a loss of minerals such as calcium and phosphate, important components of our tooth enamel.

Brushing immediately after eating will remove even more of these minerals and make it more difficult for our teeth to remineralise afterwards. If done regularly over a period of time, the enamel on our teeth will become thinner and may cause problems such as tooth sensitivity and even decay. It is best to leave approximately half an hour before we brush.

Helping the remineralisation process

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Winter Illnesses And Your Oral Health

Dr Jignesh Patel

The season for coughs and colds is upon us and can even affect our teeth and gums if we don’t take care.

Although colds and the flu can occur at any time of the year, the colder Winter months typically mean that this is more likely.

If you use a busy public transport system, you will be all too aware of the various airborne germs and viruses that can be transferred as you hear people coughing and sneezing all around you.

Although there are a number of things that we can do to help avoid these illnesses, such as regular washing of hands, for the most part, they are an inevitable part of life and are rarely life threatening providing that you are generally healthy.

Oral health and the flu

Because a flu virus can affect you for several days, in some cases leaving you bed ridden, it can be all too easy for your teeth and gums to suffer during this period. Below, Clapham dentist Dr Jignesh Patel (GDC 81168), looks at some of the potential problems and what you can do to minimise the impact of the flu, and colds, upon your oral health.

General care

When you are feeling especially dreadful, the last thing on your mind may be to drag yourself from your bed to clean your teeth twice a day. Although skipping even a single brushing session is not a good idea, if this continues for a number of days, your teeth and gums are likely to deteriorate. Given that you may also be eating less healthily and opting for comforting high sugar foods, it isn’t hard to see what could go wrong.

If you physically can, do try to maintain your regular teeth cleaning regimen. Even a cursory brushing, with toothpaste, for a few days, is better than nothing at all.

Stay hydrated

If you have the flu, it is quite likely that your appetite will suffer and the fact is that most of us can go without food for a short period of time. What we do need though is water, and quite a lot of it. In addition to making us feel better, hydrated and potentially helping us to recover from the virus, drinking water regularly will help to flush away any food particles, as well as some of the excess bacteria that can lead to gum disease. Do stick to water and avoid high sugar energy drinks as these will only exacerbate the risks.


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Hyperdontia – The Problem Of Too Many Teeth

Confidental Clinic

Whilst tooth loss is a concern for many of us; for some, having too many teeth is a problem.

As we develop as young children, we should eventually have 20 baby, or milk, teeth. As we become adults, this number will grow and a healthy mouth should eventually consist of 32 teeth. This is not always the case though, and some adults also develop additional teeth.

Genetic factors and certain illnesses can contribute to this happening, and when it does, it can create a number of problems for the person concerned. It is particularly likely in people suffering from a Cleft lip, Gardner’s disease or Down syndrome. Twice as many men are likely to have this problem, than women.

In most cases of hyperdontia, just one or two extra teeth are likely to be present, but even more additional teeth are not unheard of. In one very rare case, 232 teeth were removed from a boy’s mouth in India (reference 1). Instances like this though are extremely rare and few people will have more than a couple of additional teeth. In some cases, hyperdontia can not only cause aesthetic problems, but can also lead to facial deformities and speech problems.

Not all additional teeth, also known as supernumerary teeth, may necessarily look like a natural tooth and can take many forms. These include small ‘peg’ like shapes, conical teeth and those that have a tooth like shape but are significantly smaller.

Also, not all additional teeth are necessarily visible, and some may not have yet erupted. These will show up during the x-rays that we take from time to time during your regular check ups.

The risks and complications

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Cracked Teeth – What Happens Next?

dentist examination

Almost invisible cracks can appear in our teeth, causing discomfort and potentially further damage.

Some cracks that appear in our teeth are visible, but this is not always the case. Although we might be tempted to ignore even the more visible cracks, except for when they lead to obvious damage such as breakage, this is inadvisable.

Cracks in the teeth, however,  do not always appear so obviously to the naked eye, and some may be so small that, even upon close inspection, they can be difficult to detect.

Whilst you may not be able to see these cracks, you may well notice their effects. If you notice a change in any of your teeth, whether in their appearance or the way that they feel, it is advisable to see one of our Clapham dentists as soon as possible to get them checked out.

Minor crack issues

Although aesthetics may not be an issue when you suffer from a tiny crack in a tooth, you may experience some additional sensitivity, especially when eating or drinking hot or cold products. Some discomfort may also be felt when eating and you should have this checked as soon as you can. Whilst sensitivity can be caused by other problems such as enamel erosion, all dental issues that cause unwanted results should be investigated.

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Fresher Breath With Healthier Gums

Hygienist Lauren Bennett

Looking after your gums has many benefits. Nicer smelling breath is just one of them.

When it comes to unpleasant smells, little can match the odour of severe halitosis and anyone who has stood too close to someone with this will understand what we mean.

There are a number of things which can cause bad breath and many of these are temporary; for example, eating certain foods such as garlic, can cause bad breath, as can others such as beer or coffee. These usually only last a short time though, and with reasonable oral health care, will soon go.

One type of bad breath that will not easily go though is that caused by gum disease, which occurs as the number of harmful bacteria increases in our mouths. This is often due to poor cleaning of the teeth and gums, although other factors, such as smoking or certain medical conditions such as diabetes, increase the likelihood of both gingivitis and periodontitis.

Unpleasant gases

Although, as we have previously discussed, gum disease can have serious consequences for the health of our teeth, and also cause a fair amount of soreness and discomfort; in this blog we will focus on halitosis. So, why does gum disease often lead to extremely bad breath?

The harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease do so by eating away at the soft tissues of the gums. This is often what causes the soreness, and bleeding when we brush our teeth. This is not the only result of this action though. As the bacteria ‘digest’ the flesh, they also expel gases and it is this that results in the often sulphurous smell of halitosis. This may be so strong that it is impossible to mask with breath fresheners or mouth sprays and even where a patient does successfully manage to mask the smell, this does not get to the root of the problem.

Gum health management

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Chipped Teeth – Unsightly And Uncomfortable!

Dentist surgery

Even the tiniest of chips in your teeth can lead to problems – act quickly!

Some people have a habit of putting off seeing a dentist where a ‘minor’ issue is present. Whilst some of this may be due to dental anxiety, or an appointment not being very far away anyway; leaving a problem is likely to lead to it becoming worse, if not treated. For this reason, we always encourage our Clapham patients to at least contact us for further advice if they notice anything wrong.

Whilst some patients will put up with a relatively mild toothache for some time before contacting us, a delay is even more likely where any damage seems almost irrelevant or unnoticeable. A case in point is where a tiny piece of tooth has broken away.

Tiny chips still matter

Whilst a larger piece of a tooth breaking away may be cause to ring the dentist for an appointment, the tiniest of chips may be almost invisible and very likely not cause any immediate discomfort. There are a number of reasons though, why you should have this looked at, as soon as possible.

Damaged enamel and tooth decay

Where a tooth has chipped, however small, it is possible that a small area of the dentin layer below it has become exposed. This softer, more porous, material can become affected by bacteria entering. This may eventually lead to tooth decay becoming a problem, and a filling is likely to be needed. Root canal infections may also start in this way.

Soft tissue discomfort

Even the tiniest of chips can create a razor sharp edge to the tooth and this can easily cause some of the adjacent soft tissue to bleed as it cuts into it. Any wound in the mouth needs to be kept clean to prevent infections. Even if you manage to do this though, any cut or graze is likely to be noticeable when you eat or drink certain foods and however tiny the cut, the discomfort can be significant.

How we treat a chipped tooth

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