Why You Need Regular Scale And Polish Treatments

Sometimes neglected by patients, this simple treatment can really benefit your whole mouth

fast dental careMost of us, when we visit a dentist, do so for the benefit of our teeth.

Whether we are going to receive actual treatment such as a filling, or simply to have our teeth checked, most of us want our teeth not to cause us any problems and increasingly, to look nice too.

This is all good of course, but patients should also pay equal attention to their gums, as well as their teeth.

However healthy your actual teeth are, they can still come under threat if you neglect the health of your gums. Gum disease can occur all too easily if you don’t take care of them. Initially causing problems, such as soreness and inflammation to the gums, gum disease can eventually start to affect the bone in which the tooth is held. As this becomes infected, it will deteriorate and the tooth can become loose and even fall out.

There are certain things you can do at home, such as brushing your gums as well as your teeth, and using floss. Equally importantly, you should see the hygienist at our handy Ipswich dental surgery at least every six months and more frequently if you are deemed to be at higher risk of gum disease.

Prevention

At the Foxhall Dental Clinic, we believe that people should be guided towards maintaining better oral health. This should also reduce the need for any future treatment as the teeth will be healthier. Our dedicated hygienist plays an important role here and will be able to discuss various matters with you, including your own cleaning regime, diet and habits and how they might affect your oral health and finally offer advice on suitable mouthwashes etc. All in all, with a few changes to your lifestyle, you can start to improve the health of your teeth and gums.

Treatment

Although the ‘scale and polish’ procedure that you will receive when you see the hygienist actively removes build-up of tartar from your teeth, it is also a preventative treatment in that it minimises the risk of gum disease reaching the more serious stage of periodontitis, where the bone can start to deteriorate. The treatment itself should cause no discomfort and rarely requires a local anaesthetic. It is made up of three different parts.

Manual scaling

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Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Ruin Your Teeth

Our friendly Ipswich dentists are here to help nervous patients

Dentist in surgerySome of you may have been waiting for a dental appointment for longer than usual due to the backlog caused by the Covid pandemic. This was far from ideal for everyone, but for nervous patients especially, it has created a whole new problem. Overcoming anxiety around a visit to the dentist can take a lot of courage and a willingness to go through the fear barrier in order to maintain a healthy mouth.

These anxieties are likely to have worsened over the past few years and so patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice may be finding that this means that they are more reluctant than ever to make or attend an appointment.

Dental phobias and anxieties are horrible as anyone who has suffered from them will know. It can even affect dentists too, so it isn’t something to be embarrassed about and we encourage any patient feeling this way to contact us for help so that they can receive the care and attention that they deserve.

Why dental anxiety?

Some people are naturally more prone to anxiety anyway but even the usually calmest of people can find their anxiety levels rising when a dentist’s visit is due, but why is this?

There are many theories as to why this might be the case, including a bad experience as a child. One thing that is becoming more widely accepted amongst the medical community though is that a large part of the fear is due to the location of the treatment. Think about it; if you are having an operation on your foot, although you may not be looking forward to it, you would probably be less concerned than if it were a procedure in the oral cavity. The feeling is that this is because your mouth is so close to all of your main senses; i.e. sight, sound and taste. You see a drill approaching at very close quarters as the whirring sound gets louder and louder as it gets closer. It is probably not surprising then that our minds can receive warning signals of potential ‘danger’.

Don’t give in to your phobia

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One Hour Teeth Whitening

This speedy, safe cosmetic dental procedure can give you a smile to be really proud of!

White teethAt the moment, everything seems bright and shiny. The sunny weather (while it lasts) makes things look less drab and the blue sky puts most of us in a good mood.

Unfortunately though, even the sunny weather can’t make our teeth look bright if they are stained or have become dull over time. There are a number of possible reasons that this can happen, which we will look at in a minute.

Whatever the reason though, our dull or discoloured teeth can spoil what would otherwise be a nice looking smile. In some cases, it may even lead to us losing some of our confidence, especially in the presence of others.

The rise in the number of teeth whitening toothpastes now available indicates that more and more people are trying to do something about this common aesthetic problem. At best though, these toothpastes will have a very limited effect and so if you would like to make real improvements to the whiteness of your teeth, you will need to consider a teeth whitening procedure, such as that provided at our Ipswich dental practice.

Why teeth stain

Before we look at the teeth whitening treatment provided at the Foxhall Dental Practice, it is worth mentioning that there are essentially two types of tooth discolouration. The first comes from surface staining of the teeth. This is caused by factors such as smoking, red wine consumption along with other tooth staining products (e.g. tea and coffee). This type of staining is more preventable by avoiding these foods and drinks.

The other type of staining is unavoidable as it occurs because we grow older. In this case, it is not so much the surface of the tooth that discolours but the softer inner part below the enamel. This darkens in colour and then shows through the translucent enamel surrounding it, leaving teeth looking dull and often a little ‘yellow’ looking. No amount of brushing your teeth will make a difference in this case and may well even harm the enamel if you brush too vigorously.

There are typically four options that people consider when they decide to improve the whiteness of their teeth….

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How Important Is Mouthwash To Your Oral Health Regime?

This mouth freshening product is very popular, but is it really necessary?

oral hygiene equipmentPerhaps because they are one of the larger dental products available in our supermarkets, it can seem that mouthwashes take up a lot of shelf space and are therefore very visible to shoppers.

This might be one of the reasons why mouthwash is such a popular product. The fact that it is very easy to use and leaves your mouth and breath feeling fresher probably helps too. In today’s blog, we will take a look at the benefits, or otherwise, of this popular product, helping our Ipswich patients to decide whether it is a useful product for them or not.

The first thing to say is that if you have used a mouthwash in the past and was told not to bother by your dentist, you might be interested to know that times have changed and they are now not just a ‘perfume for the mouth’ as has been described by some, but offer genuine benefits too. There are cautions though. It does leave you with fresher breath, but most toothpastes will also do that and there is the risk that some people might stop brushing and rely on mouthwash only.

Not a substitute

The most important thing to say is that mouthwash is not a substitute for a good overall oral health regime. It doesn’t ‘burn away’ bacteria from the teeth and gum line despite how it might feel in those products that contain alcohol. Bacteria and mineral deposits accumulate on the teeth and gum line and these can only be removed by effective brushing and the use of dental floss. More extensive cleaning should be carried out by the hygienist at Foxhall Dental to ensure that you maintain a healthy mouth.

Given that you don’t really ‘need’ to use mouthwash, what benefits does it offer?

Why should I use it?

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Moving Into Middle Age – A Checklist For Your Teeth

As we settle into maturity, it’s a good time to review our oral health care

middle aged couple smilingWhether you think middle age starts at 30, 40 or 50, it doesn’t really matter. Most of us will reach an age when we are more content in our own skin and probably realise that we are starting to slow down just a little. As we enter these years, it is often a time when we take stock of our lives and our overall health. This should include looking to see where we are with our teeth and gums and to take any necessary action to restore our smile so that we have a healthy mouth and a great looking smile as we grow older.

Thankfully the days are long gone when older people would expect either to have gaps in their teeth or wear dentures. This problem can now be rectified through various treatments that we have available. As our natural remaining teeth also become discoloured as we grow older, we are likely to want to address this problem too. The fact is that with good general oral care and some cosmetic treatments, the Foxhall Dental Practice can help you have a healthy mouth and a great looking smile as you leave your younger years behind.

First step – Dental checkup and general restoration

This is primarily aimed at those who have stopped going to the dentist regularly, perhaps only doing so when a problem arises, often accompanied by pain. However, it does sometimes happen that a patient has to cancel an appointment and fails to make a new one. This means that problems can deteriorate over a longer period of time between checkups. If this has happened to you, please call our Ipswich dental practice to make an appointment.

Seeing a dentist every six months means that good overall oral health can be maintained and any minor problems treated before they become more significant.

Second Step – Check for gum health issues

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Protecting Your Oral Health This Summer

The warmer weather can pose additional challenges for our teeth and gums….

Flossing teethWe are sure that many of our Ipswich patients are welcoming the warmer weather and are probably making plans to make the most of it before the darker and colder days re-appear. Summer holidays and BBQs will almost inevitably be on the list, along with shorter breaks and other family events.

The warm weather is great to be sure, but it does bring with it some additional risks to your oral health. As part of the remit of the Foxhall Dental Practice is to enable and encourage and educate our patients to look after their teeth well, we felt some ‘summer tips’ would be useful for helping you keep your teeth and gums in good condition this summer.

Smoking

Let’s start with one that isn’t strictly related to summer but we never miss the opportunity to remind you how devastatingly harmful smoking is. Many cancer risks are associated with smoking and oral cancer is no exception. This can be fatal but even where not it can cause problems with speech, swallowing and may also result in facial disfigurement. Save your money and your health and make this the time to stop smoking.

Alcohol

We probably drink more alcohol during the summer months, either at parties and BBQs or just enjoying a quiet cold beer in a warm pub garden. We aren’t on a mission to stop you drinking but we do urge you to do so in moderation. Alcohol is also a contributor to oral cancer, especially if drunk in excess or too regularly. It is also a common factor in gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis (and if you have dental implants, peri-implantitis too). Have fun but remember to drink sensibly.

Fizzy Drinks

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Tired Of Your Ill Fitting Dentures? You Do Have Other Options….

Dentures are still popular, but people are starting to move to alternative ways of replacing lost teeth

Two dental implantsEven if you don’t wear dentures yourself, or even know of someone who does; you are most likely familiar with the problems of dentures that no longer fit securely and often move in the mouth, even falling out on rare occasions.

There are a number of reasons for this which we will look at in a minute, but we also ask the question why this is still a popular tooth replacement method when better options are now available.

The Foxhall Dental Practice team believes in helping our patients receive the best treatment possible. Not only does that mean in the way that we treat and care for you, but by providing the right information so that you can make an informed choice about the best treatment for your situation.

Why do dentures become loose?

It isn’t uncommon for patients to tell us that they were happy with their dentures initially, but over time they have become less secure than they used to be. Not only can this be embarrassing as they can move around when you speak, sometimes causing speech issues, but they can also make eating less enjoyable than it should be. It isn’t uncommon for people to select food from a menu based on how easy it is to eat, rather than if it is their first choice tastewise.

Some patients put this problem down to the quality of the dentures, but it is rarely this that causes the problem. The fact is that when you lose a tooth, or teeth, the bone which previously held the tooth root in place gradually starts to vanish as it no longer has this role to fulfil. Although the amounts are quite small, it can still result in changes to the shape of the face, and subsequently, to the way that your dentures fit as the jawbone is now a slightly different shape to what it was before.

Why then, do some people still choose dentures?

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Caring For Teeth Restored By Root Canal Treatment

Appropriate care after this tooth-saving procedure

root canal workHopefully, our readers won’t just see the words ‘root canal’ in the title of today’s blog and move on quickly to something else. Whilst there is little doubt that this particular procedure can invoke fear in many dental patients, there is no real reason for this to be the case in the modern world.

Procedural techniques have improved, and with x-rays being used beforehand, there is minimal risk of carrying out the treatment where an abscess is present; something which it is thought to have given the procedure its historical reputation for pain!

We have discussed the actual root canal procedure in previous blogs and thought that today, we would take a look at what our Ipswich patients need to do to maintain a tooth that has been treated in this way. Although a tooth restored in this way is able to function relatively normally, there are some things that patients should be aware of.

The effect of root canal treatment on a tooth

This treatment is carried out when the soft pulp in the root canals of the tooth becomes infected. This ‘pulp’ contains not only tiny blood vessels, but also the nerves of the tooth. It is this factor that means the tooth requires a little extra care afterwards. The following is what we advise patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice who have received this treatment.

General cleaning

The most important thing that we should state is that although the nerves of the tooth have gone, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to clean the tooth. In fact, you should take extra care to keep it clean. This includes regular brushing and also flossing around the tooth. You might not get toothache anymore if you don’t, but there are two significant risks to your oral health if you neglect this. Firstly, the enamel needs to be kept as healthy as possible. A root canal treated tooth is slightly weaker than a healthy natural tooth and you should therefore keep the enamel as strong and healthy as you possibly can. Also, as a crown will have been fitted to complete the root canal procedure, if the enamel starts to deteriorate, your crown may become unstable and come away from the tooth.

Secondly, and something which applies to all of your teeth, is the possibility of gum disease. This is more common in people who don’t brush their gums as well as their teeth. As food gets trapped between the tooth and the gum, it is important that you angle your toothbrush so that these areas are cleaned. Floss should also be used to remove food that has become trapped between the teeth. Remember, gum disease not only has some unpleasant symptoms such as bad breath but can also result in loose teeth or even tooth loss.

Care when eating

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Stress Awareness Month – Dental Concerns

How does stress affect our oral health and what can we do to minimise its impact?

Stressed patientThis April marks the 30 year milestone of Stress Awareness Month. This anniversary couldn’t have come at a more apt time, with more people suffering from stress and anxiety than ever.

There are few of us who don’t long for the day when we turn on the news and something good has happened for a change, and there will also always be those who are going through personal stresses due to things like divorce and illness etc.

It is good to be aware of stress and discover how we can manage it more effectively and minimise it where possible. That is for the experts though and at the Foxhall Dental Practice, we thought that we would attempt to play our part by pointing out some of the harm that stress and anxiety can cause to the oral health of our Ipswich patients.

Gum disease

When we are stressed or anxious about something, it can feel all consuming. Unless the stress levels are extremely high though, we are usually able to function in our daily lives, albeit at a less focussed level. We may be able to do our job but not as well as we normally would as our focus is elsewhere, or perhaps it is your job that is causing the stress? In this situation, something usually gives. In some cases, people start to drink more or ‘comfort eat’ to deal with the stress and ignore the fact that these could cause health issues later on.

This can also apply to the way that we look after our teeth. Whilst most people will still brush their teeth when they are stressed, they are less likely to be focussed whilst doing so and may give their teeth a shorter, more cursory brushing than they normally would. If this continues for any length of time, bacteria are likely to build up on the teeth and the gum line. Eventually, your gums might start to feel tender or even bleed when you brush your teeth. This is a likely sign of gum disease and you should contact your dentist for an appointment.

Tooth decay

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Restoring Ex Smokers Teeth

Stopping smoking is important for your health, but your teeth and gums may need some follow-up restorative work

Dentist in surgeryStopping smoking is hard, especially if you have been a regular smoker for a number of years. There are many good reasons to make the effort to stop though, with both health and finances being amongst the most significant. There are lots of ways to quit smoking but whatever works best for you is definitely worth the effort.

Although you will be financially much better off once you have stopped, as well as benefiting health wise, you are likely to have suffered with poor oral health that may have affected your teeth and gums.

In addition to any health issues that may have arisen, it is highly likely that the appearance of your teeth will have suffered too, especially if you were a heavy smoker.

Health issues and treatment

We probably don’t need to say too much about the health implications of smoking. Heart disease and various cancers are more likely if you smoke and you should make sure that you see a doctor if you have any concerns about your health. They may also be able to offer some help and guidance if you are thinking of quitting smoking too.

From a dental perspective, there are two main risks from smoking; oral cancer and gum disease.

Oral cancer is very serious and can be life changing due to the facial disfigurement it can cause. In some cases, unfortunately, it will also result in death. Although it is not the only cause, smoking is considered to be the main cause of this problem. Like most illnesses, the sooner it is detected, the better the chances of positive medical intervention. This is why, when you have your check up at the Foxhall Dental Practice, we not only examine your teeth and gums, but other soft tissues in the mouth too. Although we are not qualified to detect if something is cancerous or not, we are able to detect unusual issues with the soft tissues in your mouth and will refer you to your GP if we notice anything of concern to us. In many cases, the problem will be something entirely different but it is important that you have this checked out as soon as possible.

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