Our implant dentist, Dr Harpal Chana, explains how and why you should do this.
Dental implant placements are becoming more common, yet it is still a very sophisticated procedure that requires years of extra training before a dentist is allowed to carry out this procedure.
It is widely considered to be the most effective way of replacing a missing tooth, or teeth, and can provide patients with many years of service, providing a strong and secure artificial tooth.
Despite the above, it is important that our Teddington patients are aware that they will also need to take responsibility for looking after the new implant once it has been placed. Naturally, there will also be follow up appointments at our Elmfield House Dental Practice to make sure that all is well, but everyday responsibility will fall to the implant patient themselves.
Cleaning a new implant
Once your new implant is in place, it is immediately at risk. The area of placement is especially vulnerable and it is very important that you keep it clean. You will not be able to brush the area at this stage and you will need to clean it with a warm (but not hot) saline solution tipped over the area of the implant. You will need to do this a number of times a day for a while. Once the area has healed sufficiently, a soft toothbrush may be gently used. You will also need to gradually introduce dental floss for the reasons explained below.
Why do you need to clean an implant?
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Giving up smoking has many benefits for our teeth and gums.
Although an increasing proportion of the UK no longer smokes, there are still a significant number who do. The general health risks of smoking are well known, and include the likes of lung cancer and heart disease. These are not the only health issues that smoking can cause though, and our mouths are especially vulnerable to a number of them.
In addition to serious health issues, smoking can also have a profound effect on the appearance of our smile, as we will see.
Before we look at the health implications, it is worth noting that smoking any tobacco product will almost guarantee that your teeth will discolour. Unlike gradual natural discolouration, this can leave the teeth a very dark yellow or even brown colour. Although this can be rectified either using a teeth whitening treatment or dental veneers, stopping smoking is the best way to prevent this and will also be beneficial for your health.
Smoking and oral health
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Helping Teddington residents with a healthier and more tooth friendly diet
If you ask almost anyone what causes tooth decay, they will tell you ‘sugar’. Whilst the reality is a little more complicated than that, it is certainly true that sugar consumption plays a very significant role in a number of dental problems. That, plus other health issues such as obesity and diabetes, also linked to sugar consumption, should hopefully provide a significant motivation to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
In today’s Elmfield House Dental Practice blog, we offer a few suggestions to help our Teddington patients do just that, and help them to have a healthy and attractive smile.
Watch out for ‘hidden’ sugars
By this we mean not only sugar that appears in foods you might not expect it to, such as a lot of savoury foods, but also, sugars that are divided into their specific types, which often don’t mention the word ‘sugar’ directly. These include fructose, lactose, glucose, corn syrup, maltose and even hydrolysed starch.
A healthy start
Don’t start your day with a high sugar cereal or chocolate spread (however nice they might taste). These can provide immediate gratification and a quick energy boost. This boost fades quickly though and you would be much better off substituting these with no sugar cereals, yoghurts and fruit.
Mind the snacking
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Replacing a full missing arch of teeth in just one day
We have looked at the general use of dental implants in an earlier blog post, and today we complement this by taking a look at another use for teeth implants that is perhaps less well known by our Teddington patients.
The All On 4 teeth replacement system is used when a full arch of teeth needs to be replaced. Whilst a full set of dentures would perform a suitably adequate role from an aesthetic perspective, many patients find them to be unstable and restrictive, particularly when eating and also somewhat messy to keep clean. However, the choice between full dentures and no teeth is not the only option available at the Elmfield House Dental Practice.
New teeth in just one visit!
The All On 4 procedure, also sometimes known as ‘same day implants’ or ‘teeth in a day’, is an excellent way of providing patients with a natural looking and very secure set of replacement teeth. The use of dental implants does not mean that each tooth is replaced individually; in fact, only 4, or sometimes 6, dental implants are used in total.
The ‘revolutionary’ aspect of this procedure is the use of 2 specially designed dental implants that are placed towards the rear of the arch. Unlike regular implants, these are designed to be placed into the jawbone at a specific angle. This provides significant additional strength and often allows the complete treatment to take place in a single day, rather than the more protracted process with single implants.
To complete the procedure, the remaining two (or four) implants are then placed towards the front of the mouth. Once this part of the process is complete, a full fixed bridge of teeth can be attached immediately and you can leave our Teddington dental practice with a brand new smile!
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Why ignoring potential dental problems is never a good idea.
Especially if you are nervous about seeing a dentist, it can be tempting to ignore relatively minor discomfort or suspicions that all may not be well with your teeth. A small piece chipped from a tooth may be ignored and slightly sore gums may not be high on your list of concerns.
Whilst these, and other relatively ‘minor’ problems can easily be ignored without too much suffering, they are also signs that much worse could be to come if you do not have them checked. Even a toothache which is a well known and understood sign that you may have tooth decay, can sometimes be ignored in the hope that it will go away.
Seeking professional advice
At the Elmfield House Dental Practice, we recommend that any of our Teddington patients who have even minor symptoms have them checked as soon as possible.There are very few, if any, dental problems that will simply resolve themselves. Even if your discomfort is manageable now, this is unlikely to last and will only get worse. Similarly, what may start off as a small chip from a tooth is likely to weaken the tooth and lead to further breakages that require more extensive treatment than if you had it treated in its early stages.
Specific treatments will vary from case to case, but the following are a few of the possible treatments for common ‘minor’ dental issues.
Chipped tooth – If deemed to be cosmetic damage only, a composite may be used to restore the appearance of the tooth. Where the structure of the tooth has been compromised though, a filling or crown may be used to provide the extra strength required.
Toothache – If, following an examination, it is found that you have tooth decay, a filling is the most likely outcome. Where the damage is significant, a dental crown may be used instead to restore the tooth. We may also x ray the tooth to determine if there are any root canal or other issues that need treatment.
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Anxiety can be a real barrier to receiving the treatment that you need. We can help!
Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias there is and if you suffer from it, you know how debilitating it can be.
The anxiety may well have stemmed from an earlier dental experience elsewhere, perhaps as a young child, and can range from the relatively mild to very severe fear of seeing a dentist.
At Elmfield House Dental Practice, our dentists do all that they can to help patients receive any necessary treatment in a calm and relaxed manner. For those with mild levels of anxiety, this gentle approach can work very well, but for those whose anxiety is more severe, a little help may be needed.
Although some people think about the old ‘dental gas’ when we mention sedation, this is an entirely different thing. The gas that used to put you to sleep is no longer used by dentists and can only be administered within a hospital environment. Instead, we offer what is sometimes known as ‘conscious sedation’. As the name implies, this will not put you to sleep (despite occasionally being referred to as ‘sleep dentistry’), but will enable you to receive your treatment in a totally relaxed but conscious state. The sedative can be administered either intravenously or orally.
In addition to the relaxation and lack of anxiety that sedation offers, we have been told by some patients that it also seems to make the procedure last for just a few minutes. If you are due to have a lengthy treatment such as a dental implant placement, it may be worth discussing sedation with us.
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Big sporting events can be exciting, but your teeth can suffer if you don’t take care!
With England now qualifying for the knockout stages in this year’s World Cup Football tournament, we can perhaps relax a little; but when the going gets tense, it is worth keeping an eye out to make sure our teeth and gum care doesn’t slip.
Biting nails and teeth grinding
You can imagine the scenario. England are facing penalties to win the game and avoid being knocked out … we probably don’t need to say more?! These are the kind of moments when we find ourselves biting hard on our fingernails, or perhaps even grinding our teeth together and both of these can cause damage to our teeth. Biting our nails can cause them to chip, or even, in rare circumstances, to break. If you wear dental veneers, there is also a small risk that this may cause them to become loose or to ‘pop off’ altogether.
Grinding our teeth is potentially even more damaging, with teeth wearing down, cracking or even breaking. This habit, also known as bruxism, can also occur at night when we sleep, especially if we are stressed.
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From 1st July 2018, there are new laws covering some aspects of these fillings.
For many patients, the main problem with the use of amalgam for fillings is its dark colour. Whilst perhaps less of an issue on rear teeth, although these can also show when we laugh or yawn, they can spoil an otherwise attractive smile if used on the front teeth.
For some patients, there are also concerns about the use of mercury in this material, although The General Dental Council has deemed there to be no safety issues when it is used in a solid form, such as in amalgam. Some patients though, prefer to avoid them altogether.
Whilst not covering the role of amalgam generally; from the 1st July 2018 it will be illegal for dentists to use amalgam in children under 15 years old, or in women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding. There are exceptions to this and amalgam can still be used when ‘deemed strictly necessary by a dentist based on the specific medical needs of the patient’. Despite this exception though, the fact is that most problems where an amalgam filling would normally be used can be resolved using white dental fillings, inlays or onlays.
Why the ban?
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Make better use of this readily available resource to help keep your teeth and gums healthy
In the Western world, water is in such plentiful supply that we probably think little about it at all.
When it comes to our oral health, most of us probably only associate water with when we brush our teeth in the morning and evening.
Despite this, water can be really useful in the front line against common dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Your local Teddington dentists explains why.
One of the biggest threats to our teeth and gums is gum disease, and periodontitis in particular. This attacks the bone that hold our teeth in position and can lead to tooth loss. We can help to prevent gum disease, not only by brushing, flossing and having a scale and polish at Elmfield House Dental Practice every six months, but also by staying well hydrated.
The bacteria which contribute to gum disease thrive and grow in a warm and dry environment. When we are dehydrated, our mouths can become dry, allowing the bacteria to grow. Where our mouths are dry for long periods of time, such as if we have been drinking alcohol and go to sleep without drinking sufficient water, this can significantly increase the risks.
No sugar refreshment
Water is often the best option when it comes to feeling refreshed. It will also help to eliminate, or at least reduce, the consumption of soft drinks that are very high in sugar. These have been widely linked with much of the rise of tooth decay in children, and ensuring that children drink water or dilute juices instead, will help them to keep their teeth healthier. This also applies to adults too of course.
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Specialist dental skills under one roof in Teddington.
If you are lucky and have also looked after your teeth well, you may have only visited Elmfield House Dental Practice for your regular check ups and possibly hygienist appointments too. At worst, you may have needed a straightforward filling for a small cavity.
Not everyone is so fortunate though, and factors such as poor oral health care or even an accident may require you to need specialist dental care. If this is the case, then you can be assured that we are able to offer these to our patients when required. Specialist dentistry covers a number of areas, some of the most common ones being as follows:
Literally meaning ‘inside the tooth’, from the ancient Greek, the most common procedure carried out in this field is root canal surgery. This is necessary when the soft inner pulp of the tooth becomes infected. When this happens, it cannot be treated and the infection needs to be removed. To do this, the top of the tooth is accessed and the infected material then taken out. The hollow canals are then cleaned to remove bacteria before being filled and a crown attached to restore both strength and appearance.
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