Why the condition of your jawbone is important for implant placement.
Nobody plans to have dental implants whilst they have a healthy and full set of teeth.
But as we know, this may not last forever and tooth loss may occur either naturally or as a result of an accident. In this case replacing your tooth with a dental implant will be easier if your jawbone is generally strong and healthy.
In addition to ensuring that the jaw is suitable for dental implants, should you need them, a strong jaw bone also helps with talking and chewing food too. Some factors which cause bone loss in the jaw may also affect other bones in your body, so an overall approach to good bone health is likely to be generally beneficial to the health of your body.
What causes bone loss?
It is well established that we need a sufficient intake of calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy and this is readily available in dairy products. For those who don’t consume dairy products, such as vegans, an alternative source should be sought.
In addition to calcium, there are two important vitamins that help to keep bones strong. These are vitamin K2 and vitamin D. Vitamin K2 can be obtained through sources such as liver, eggs and some cheeses, whilst vitamin D can be obtained through sufficient exposure to sunlight and is also found in cereals, orange juice and tuna, amongst other foods. The vitamin D also helps the absorption of vitamin K2. Generally, if you eat a healthy diet, you should not need to take supplements, but you may wish to discuss this further with your GP.
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The ‘amalgam question’ and answers from our Ipswich dental team.
The use of amalgam in dental fillings has been around for a very long time now. It is a very strong material that offers a high degree of functionality and is long lasting.
From a patient perspective though, it is also very dark in colour, due to the metal compounds used in it, and is therefore highly visible. For some patients too, there is the question of the use of mercury in this material.
In this week’s Foxhall Dental Practice blog, we look at some of the most common concerns amongst patients regarding the use of amalgam fillings for dental cavities.
It is a fact that mercury is a toxin. This does not mean that it is dangerous for dental patients though and the General Dental Council has deemed that it is safe as a component of an amalgam filling. For those patients of our Ipswich practice who prefer to avoid the use of amalgam though, we are able to offer an alternative in white dental fillings instead, whether for safety concerns or simply for a more natural appearance in order to enhance a smile.
Removing amalgam fillings
Some patients concerned about the mercury aspect of amalgam have asked us whether they should have them removed. This is, of course, the prerogative of the patient but it is worth noting that removing them may actually be more problematic than leaving them in place in some cases. Whilst we make every endeavour to keep all risks to a minimum, it is important that patients are aware of this so that they can make an informed decision. We will discuss the various aspects with you before any treatment begins.
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Awareness is growing about this potentially deadly form of cancer.
Although not one of the more common cancers in the UK, mouth cancer is still diagnosed in around 18 people in the country every day. Over a year, this works out at around 6.5 thousand people whose lives may change significantly. Although most of these will be treatable, some patients will unfortunately die from it. Given the seriousness of this situation, it is increasingly important to have a six monthly check up at the Foxhall Dental Practice to monitor your oral health, not just your teeth and gums.
Men especially, are more likely to develop mouth cancer, although this may be due to factors such as lifestyle. With good care though, the risk of having mouth cancers can be minimised.
In addition to increasing the chances of tooth loss through gum disease, smoking is a leading cause of oral cancers. Approximately two thirds of those who have mouth cancer are smokers, or have smoked in the past. Even if you don’t smoke but inhabit smoking environments, this will add to your risk factors. If you are considering stopping smoking but taking up chewing tobacco; don’t. This magnifies the risks by around fifteen times!
Whilst the occasional drink should cause few problems, excessive drinking has been linked to around a third of all oral cancers. If you drink heavily, this is another reason to at least cut back to reduce the risks.
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Adult or child alike, many of us eat and drink too many teeth damaging products.
Over the years, our eating and drinking habits have changed; many would say for the worst.
Although there was probably less awareness of the harm that sugar did to our teeth in the past, there was also less availability of high sugar foods which were mainly seen as a treat and not as a part of our daily diet.
Perhaps because we are busier nowadays, many people rely on either convenience foods or takeaways. These can contain higher amounts of sugar than might be expected in savoury foods. Very often too, those moments of hunger are increasingly satisfied with a quick chocolate bar, rather than a healthy snack.
Whilst our Ipswich patients would do well to check ingredients before they buy a product and keep the sugar intake as low as possible, this is not always possible and most of us will eat a certain amount of sugary items even knowing the damage it may cause.
At the Foxhall Dental Practice, we feel that by cutting out, or at least drastically reducing, our intake of certain types of food and drinks, we stand a better chance of preventing tooth decay when also backed up with regular dental and hygienist care. With this in mind, here is our list of foods that should be kept to an absolute minimum.
These are perhaps the number one enemy of our teeth. They contain very high quantities of sugar, and, to add to the damage, are also very often acidic, damaging the protective enamel of our teeth. Water is certainly the ‘healthiest’ drink that we can have and also quenches a thirst better than these products. Children especially should be limited in the amount of this type of drink and moderated to very dilute juices or ‘sugar free’ where possible.
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Some interesting insights into this popular teeth replacement system.
Although dental implants are now well established as an excellent tooth replacement system, they are still relatively unknown to a number of patients.
As they become more established though, more and more people are choosing implants over dentures due to their strength, stability and longevity.
At the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich, we have offered his treatment for a number of years now, with nearly all patients that have had them being highly delighted with the results. In today’s blog, we thought we would take a look at some facts you might not know about dental implants.
The earliest dental implants are thought to have been used in ancient Egypt, around 2500 BC. These were naturally very rudimentary and usually took the form of shaped stones or pieces of shell which were placed into the empty socket in the jaw. There is a strong school of thought that this was done post mortem, in preparation for the afterlife, rather than as a practical solution for lost teeth.
Modern dental implants, as we currently know them, were not discovered until the 1950s. Whilst it is possible, in theory, to use any material as an implant, virtually none will bond with the bone and will quickly fall out, rendering them practically useless. During an unrelated experiment in 1952, Per Branemark, a Swedish scientist, tried to recover titanium rods from a rabbit, but found, to his surprise, that it was very difficult as the titanium had fused securely with the bone. His discovery led to further tests and the advent of titanium implants.
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Modern dentistry has come a long, long way.
It is a fair assumption that few people actually look forward to their dental appointment, unless perhaps they are excited about getting a brand new smile. For the majority, there is a realisation that this is a necessary oral health check that will help them to have healthy teeth and gums, and hopefully prevent any serious oral health issues from developing.
For other patients, a dental visit can be a nerve wracking experience. Even though we do our best to help patients to relax at the Foxhall Dental Practice, it is inevitable that some will struggle to overcome their anxieties.
Why do we worry?
Our mouth is very close to all of our key senses; sight, sound, smell etc. This means that we experience all these senses very closely when having our mouth examined or having treatment. We may well also have heard tales from other dental phobic patients about how painful their treatment was. In most cases, this is likely to be exaggerated to some degree and the fact is that feeling pain during any procedure is unlikely. Given the effectiveness of modern anaesthetics and precision dental tools, pain is very unlikely, although a mild level of discomfort is quite possible for some more complex treatments. For most patients though, it is likely to be an unfounded fear of imminent pain, rather than any real discomfort.
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Have you ever wondered what happens in our mouth whilst we sleep?
Almost from the moment that we wake up in the morning, our mouth is always on the go. Whether eating, drinking or simply speaking to others, it rarely stops working. So, at night, when we sleep, you would imagine that it simply rests with nothing happening until we wake in the morning. This is not the case though.
A number of things happen in our mouth whilst we sleep, and, as you will see, having fresher smelling breath is not the only reason that we should clean our teeth in the morning.
A ‘gooey’ mouth
Have you ever woken up with the unpleasant feeling of having a sticky gooey substance in your mouth and wondered what was causing it? If so, you probably won’t be pleased to hear that this is, in fact, a collection of bacteria that has grown overnight. It isn’t a pleasant feeling and does give a certain encouragement to brush our teeth sooner, rather than later. Generally, this ‘goo’ or plaque as it is known, increases when we have a dry mouth, perhaps through dehydration or through drinking and smoking. If this happens on a relatively regular basis, the risk of gum disease is heightened and a thorough inspection by the hygienist at the Foxhall Dental Practice is recommended.
Whilst some foods can leave you with bad breath in the morning; if yours is persistent, this may be due to the increased bacteria that eat away at food debris and even the soft tissue of the gum. As they do so, they expel gases and it is often this that is the cause of smelly morning breath.
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Modern orthodontics offer a better teeth straightening experience for our Ipswich patients
We have discussed, in previous blogs, how having your teeth straightened can be beneficial, both from an aesthetic and practical viewpoint. We have also acknowledged that the reason why some people do not have this procedure is due to it being perceived as being unattractive, a factor that is less significant with modern orthodontics such as Invisalign transparent braces.
The other factor which can deter some patients though is that of the perceived discomfort of wearing braces. This information may well come via a friend or family member who has had to wear them to straighten their teeth. But it’s not necessarily accurate.
At the Foxhall Dental Practice, we believe in doing all that we can to help our patients have the best experience possible when it comes to having straighter teeth. The traditional method of wearing wire and brackets type braces may sometimes come with a certain level of initial minor discomfort; at least until the patient becomes accustomed to wearing them. The additional risks of trapped food leading to decay and possible toothache only add to this factor.
Whilst some cosmetic braces do take a similar approach, the materials have changed and are much finer than in older style braces. Generally speaking too, these are used for minor corrections and are not used for longer periods of time.
Do orthodontics have to be uncomfortable?
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Links between stress and oral health problems.
Did you know that April 2018 was declared to be Stress Awareness Month by the World Health Organisation?
Stress is widely considered to be one of the most serious health epidemics of our time, with a faster pace of life and ‘always on’ technologies probably being at least partially responsible.
Whilst an element of stress can be a good thing, too much stress can have a negative impact on our mental health and can lead to depression and anxiety.
This, in turn, may well lead to a worsening of our oral health.
When we become affected by stress, many of our healthier habits can go out of the window and we turn to short term solutions to deal with it. Two of the most common of these are smoking and alcohol consumption, both of which can have a major impact on our mouth, especially in the increased likelihood of periodontitis and even mouth cancer. Stress affects the gums by increasing the level of a hormone called Cortisol. Whilst this hormone does reduce inflammation, which is generally a good thing, it also suppresses the immune system over time. This reduces our capacity to fight off infections such as gum disease.
Stress can even affect our ability to sleep, and lead to a general worsening of how we look after ourselves. A poor diet, high in sugar, is increasingly likely and is a well known factor in contributing to oral health issues.
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Special care to look after your teeth and gums should be taken if you have diabetes.
Generally, we suggest that our Ipswich patients come to see us for a check up at the Foxhall Dental Practice on a six monthly basis. If you are a diabetic though, we may recommend that you see us more frequently. This is because, on the whole, diabetics are at an increased risk of dental problems, and especially gum disease.
Because of an often weaker immune system, infections are more likely and it is important, where gum problems such as gingivitis occur, to treat this as soon as possible. Interestingly, a number of reports have linked gum disease with an increased incidence of diabetes, so it seems that these two medical problems are perhaps interlinked to some degree.
An important part of full mouth health care is to receive ongoing care from the dental hygienist at our Ipswich practice. They will discuss your oral health and offer suggestions of ways that you can improve how you look after it.
Another important part of hygienist appointments is the ‘scale and polish’. This non invasive procedure cleans hardened bacteria, known as tartar, from the teeth and gum line. This is done by ‘scraping’ away the tartar from between the teeth, before using a sonic tool to shatter and remove most of the rest. Finally, a high speed brush is used to remove any remaining bacteria. This also has the cosmetic benefit of removing some surface staining.
Can diabetics have dental implants?
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