Periodontitis – A Major Cause Of Tooth Loss

Looking after your gums shouldn’t be of secondary importance to your teeth

Gum disease checkMany of us will have been told to”make sure that you clean your teeth well” by our parents when we were younger. This is good advice but not complete. They should also have included making sure that you clean your gums well too. Of course, depending on your age, your parents may not have been as aware as we are today of the importance of having healthy gums.

Most advertisements on TV that promote gum health products focus on the fact that your gums may bleed if you have gum disease. Whilst this is one of the more visible symptoms when it occurs, it is not the worst thing that can happen if you don’t see a dental hygienist to help you control and manage the problem.

A ‘slow burning’ disease

The fact is that gum disease does not happen overnight and gradually builds up from what might be a mild case to very severe indeed. This is good news as it means that there is much that we can do to minimise gum disease and intervene when it does occur and before it becomes more serious. With the help of our experienced dental hygienists at the Foxhall Dental Practice, there is no reason why you should not have a healthy set of gum.

Gum disease is often categorised into two broad stages, gingivitis and periodontitis. We will take a brief look at both of these now.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an earlier stage of gum disease and one that is usually not too severe and can be treated by the patient both improving how they look after their gums plus professional gum cleans known as a ‘scale and polish’ which can be carried out at our local Ipswich dentist. Early symptoms of gingivitis can include bleeding gums, soreness, redness or inflammation of the gums and bad breath. It is quite possible for only some or even none of these to be present though and this is why we recommend that you see a hygienist every six months for your professional clean.

Periodontitis

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Do Covid Masks Affect Our Oral Health?

With mask wearing likely to be a feature of our lives for a little while yet, your Ipswich dentist addresses this common question

Foxhall Dental PracticeWe will find out later today what the new advice will be regarding the wearing of masks, along with other Covid related easing of restrictions.

It does seem likely though that the advice is moving from a position of a complete abandoning of the masks to a more cautious approach. In addition to this, opinion polls suggest that a large number of people will continue to wear them anyway, whatever the government’s position.

This seems an opportune time then, to address a question that has been put to us by patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice, and that is whether the wearing of these masks is potentially harmful to our teeth and gums.

Safety first

We should, first of all, say that we believe that wearing a mask in appropriate situations is helpful in the prevention of infection. You will notice that all of our dentists wear a mask when examining or treating you, irrespective of Covid. This is to prevent cross infection of any airborne disease from dentist to patient and vice versa. Even if there are some potential drawbacks to wearing a mask, our recommendation is that you continue to do so where guidance suggests.

Mask mouth

This is a term that has been used to describe the effects of wearing a mask for a moderate to lengthy period of time. We know that they can make you feel hotter than usual and this in turn can lead to premature dehydration. We have discussed before about how a dry mouth enables bacterial growth in the oral cavity which can then contribute to incidences of both tooth decay and, more commonly, gum disease.

This problem might be worsened by the fact that we might be reluctant to remove the mask, even for a few seconds, to take a drink of water. This might be so if you are on a busy plane for several hours for example. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend that you remove the mask for a long time, pulling it down to take a quick drink of water should present minimal risk and will help to prevent ‘mask mouth’ and any risk to your oral health. So whilst the risk of “mask mouth” is small, it’s worth being aware of how prolonged mask use could lead to issues such as a drier mouth than normal.

Anxiety

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Should A Missing Tooth Be Replaced?

Why leaving a gap in your teeth isn’t a good idea and how it can be treated by our Ipswich dentists

Implant in the jawNearly all of us will lose at least one tooth in our lifetime, whether from decay or through an accident. Depending on where the tooth was situated, we may choose to leave the gap instead of having a tooth replacement procedure. Although few of us will want to live with a gap in our front teeth for obvious reasons, less concern is often paid when the missing tooth is towards the rear of the mouth and therefore less visible.

From a layman’s point of view, this makes sense. After all, you can use your other teeth to bite and chew your food and no one (apart from your dentist) will see the gap so why bother undergoing treatment to replace it? Well, there are some very good reasons.

Aesthetics

Let us start with the most obvious reason. If a gap caused by a missing tooth is visible when we smile, it isn’t a good look and very few of us are going to accept that. Even a few missing teeth that are less visible though can have an impact upon your appearance. One of the roles that your teeth play is to support the cheeks. If teeth are missing at the side/rear of the mouth, this can cause the cheek in that area to appear sunken. Similarly, when a tooth is lost, bone mass in that area is reduced and can cause small but sometimes noticeable facial shape changes.

Many teeth replacement procedures at the Foxhall Dental Practice are carried out to restore the appearance of a person’s smile and general facial expression, but there are some very good reasons to replace any missing teeth, wherever they are located in the mouth.

Functionality

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Some Very Good Reasons To See Our Ipswich Dental Hygienist

Samantha Henley advises what to expect on your visit for a hygienist appointment

Flossing teethHopefully, a large number of you already come to see us at the Foxhall Dental Practice for an appointment with myself or one of the dental hygiene team.

For those of you who don’t, we thought we would focus today’s blog on the benefits of doing so and what happens during a typical appointment.

Most of you probably take good care of your teeth and do all that you can to avoid the pain of toothache, but are you aware that your gums are just as important as your teeth and that neglecting them can have a significantly negative impact on your overall oral health?

Why take care of your gums?

Your gum health is important. This is now a well established fact and an increasing number of people now see their dental hygienist on a regular basis. This will go a long way in avoiding some of the more common problems associated with gum disease which can range from a relatively mild soreness, to wobbly and lost teeth.

There are two main stages of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis. The former is a milder form which can usually be treated and managed by ourselves. Periodontitis is an advanced stage gum disease which should be avoided at all costs as it can result in tooth loss and any treatment given will be far more invasive than the treatment that we provide and has to be carried out by a suitably qualified dentist.

There are many possible symptoms of gum disease although it is also possible for it not to reveal any noticeable signs as well. Even gingivitis can have some unpleasant symptoms including sore and inflamed gums, gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, and bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Having hopefully convinced you that seeing a dental hygienist will be of benefit to you, let us take a look at what happens during a typical appointment.

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Preparing For Your Dental Implant Treatment

Ipswich prosthodontist, Hiten Pabari, offers advice on getting ready for your new tooth implant

implant tooth replacementWe have discussed, in a number of blogs, the reasons why so many people are choosing to have dental implants rather than dentures. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at some of the things that you can do, once you have taken the decision to have them, to prepare yourself for the treatment and the success of the placement.

Naturally, you will be in excellent hands at the Foxhall Dental Clinic when you have your procedure and our clinical team are highly skilled and experienced. This doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute though to the success of the treatment, and there are a number of things that you can do to help.

Good oral health

There is little or no point in placing dental implants into an unhealthy mouth. Blog readers will know by now that periodontal diseases, including peri-implantitis, are one of the biggest threats to an implant. This later stage gum disease can damage the bone structure that holds the implant in place and can cause it to become loose and, ultimately, fail altogether. Before we carry out your implant treatment, we will ensure that any problems that might affect the implant are treated so that the implant starts its life in a healthy environment. This will greatly improve the chances of a successful outcome of the treatment.

Smoking and drinking

Related to the above is a call for you to take responsibility for your overall oral health. For those of you about to have implants placed, you will need to stop some lifestyle habits that can lead to an unhealthy mouth.

Top of this list is smoking. Not only does this increase the risk of gum disease, in itself a major threat to a dental implant, but smoking also narrows the tiny blood vessels in the gums where the implant is placed. This means that there is less ability to fight infections and your new implant will be at risk because of this in addition to any problems caused by gum disease.

Alcohol consumption is a similar threat if carried out to excess. In both cases, our Ipswich dental implant team will request that you forgo both smoking and excessive drinking for a period of time both before and after the treatment. We would advise that you maintain this afterwards too. Even once your implant is fully established, its longevity could be harmed if you start smoking again.

Improved fitness can be beneficial

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Midlife Smile Improvement Treatments Are Increasingly Popular

How can our Ipswich dentists help you revitalise your smile?

smiles with whitened teethOne interesting thing that has come out of the year of Covid and numerous lockdowns is that the number of enquiries about cosmetic dental treatment has risen.

Whilst you might expect this to largely come from younger people who are trying to make themselves as attractive as possible for when bars and clubs re-open, one of the largest groups showing an interest has been the over 40s.

Often referred to by the media as the ‘Zoom Boom’ after the popular teeth whitening treatment, many mid-lifers are coming to realise that they can give their appearance a significant lift by having more attractive looking teeth. In today’s blog, we will take a look at why this age group might be showing a particular interest and how we can help.

Life begins at 40

This is a well known saying but in the past it was probably as much an optimistic statement as anything genuine. As our health and awareness has improved though, people no longer see their forties as the start of a slow decline. They often find, as their kids leave home, that they have not only the free time, but also the money and energy to enjoy doing the things that they may have had to cut down on whilst bringing up a family.

There was a time when, at that age, you would be wearing ‘dad clothes’ but this is no longer true either and many middle aged people pay attention to dressing well and doing what they can to look their best. This is where the range of cosmetic treatments at Foxhall Dental Clinic can really help.

The effects of ageing on teeth and possible solutions to the problem

As anyone of this age, or even approaching it, will be all too aware, signs of ageing start to creep up on us. This obviously affects our skin but time also has an effect on our teeth as well. Whilst you can help to prevent some of this with good home oral care backed with checkups at our Ipswich dental clinic, there are still likely to be some issues which cause our smile to be not as we would like it.

Dull and discoloured teeth

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Don’t Take Your Teeth For Granted!

Teeth are living things and need regular care to minimise damage, or worse, complete loss

fast dental careIf we look at our teeth in the mirror, they look like solid inanimate objects. Unlike our eyes, mouths etc, they don’t move (or shouldn’t anyway!) and may be seen as a ‘dead material’, something similar to, say, our fingernails.

Whilst we don’t expect our Ipswich patients to understand the components of a tooth in great detail, it is important to recognise that teeth are actually quite complex and therefore need to be taken care of on a regular basis.

Although some dental problems can happen quite suddenly, such as when a tooth breaks after a fall or similar, most occur slowly and over a period of time. By the time we start to notice the problem, it is already there and will need treating as soon as possible.

The best thing to do, of course, is to do what we can to avoid these issues from arising in the first place. This is best achieved through regular daily care, combined with twice yearly check ups at the Foxhall Dental Practice.

Keeping teeth clean

One of the most obvious things that we can do to keep our teeth healthy is to clean them regularly. Even if we consider that we already do this, there are still often ways that we can improve on it. We can start by asking ourselves the following questions:

  1. How old is the toothbrush you are using?
  2. Do you clean all of the tooth and surrounds, or just the flat surface?
  3. How long do you brush for?
  4. Do you rinse your mouth after brushing?
  5. Do you use dental floss?

If the answer to question 1 is more than 3 months, you need to change it. Worn bristles are less effective at removing food and bacteria. For question 2, you should clean all parts of the tooth, including around the gum line, an area often neglected. For answer 3, you should be brushing for at least 2 minutes each time. For 4, if you have been taught that way, it is time to change. You should spit but allow the toothpaste to remain in the mouth. This allows the fluoride more time to help strengthen your teeth. Finally, for question 5, if you don’t use floss, you really should. It is a great way of keeping the spaces between your teeth, where food can get trapped, clean.

The above might seem like small changes or additions to your daily cleaning regime, but they are important ones that can make a significant difference and will help to keep both your teeth, and your gums healthy.

Dental hygienist appointments

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Tooth Preservation – Root Canal Treatment

How we treat root canal infections and help to save the infected tooth

Root canal x-rayIf you were asked what is the worst pain that you could imagine, we are sure that some of you would say ‘root canal’. This is unfortunate and also untrue. It is likely that its reputation stems from a time when anaesthetics and x-rays were not so effective and where an abscess was present, it certainly could be quite painful.

Patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice need have no such worries. If you need to have root canal treatment, we will always take an x-ray prior to the treatment and if any abscesses are discovered, these will be treated first. Needless to say, modern local anaesthetics will numb the nerves of the tooth and, treated by our experienced dentists, you should feel no significant discomfort.

Having clarified that, let us take a look at why you might need this treatment and what it entails.

Why might you need root canal treatment?

This is a specific procedure which falls under the dental field of ‘endodontics’, literally meaning ‘inside the tooth’. It applies where the root canals have become infected. This is most likely due to the exterior enamel of the tooth having been compromised either through decay or perhap a crack or breakage. When this happens, bacteria can enter the root canals and cause infections to occur. Root canal infections can cause a significant amount of pain. This is because the nerves of the tooth are located there, along with other soft pulp materials. Whilst antibiotics can sometimes be used to address this, infections are likely to reoccur and a root canal treatment is the best, permanent solution to the problem.

The only other option to resolve this problem is to extract the affected tooth. This should only be done if there are other circumstances which dictate that this is the best choice. In most cases, our Ipswich dental team is likely to recommend root canal treatment.

What happens during the procedure?

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Dental Check Ups Are Important – Don’t Miss Out!

Although often routine, check ups are important to prevent minor issues from becoming more serious.

Dentist check-upApart from how well you look after your teeth at home, the twice yearly check up at your local Ipswich dental practice is one of the most important things that you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

It may sometimes be considered relatively unimportant by some, and it might be tempting to skip yours, especially if it is inconvenient on the day. There are many good reasons why you shouldn’t though.

At the Foxhall Dental Practice Ipswich, we encourage our patients to make sure that they attend their appointments. Not only is it frustrating for us when someone is a ‘no show’, but they also take a spot that someone else could have had as well as putting their own oral health at risk. If you really can’t attend for some reason, please do let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange a suitable new date.

Why are check ups so important?

Check ups usually take place every six months or so. Some patients who are at higher risk of problems may be requested to have their teeth and gums checked more frequently.

The key role of a check up is to look for any problems that you might have with your teeth, gums and the oral cavity in general. By having them at regular intervals, and with good oral care at home, any problems that we find are likely to be treatable with a relatively minor procedure. If you miss appointments, these problems are almost certain to worsen and any treatment you might eventually need to have are likely to be more extensive.

Make sure that you book an appointment to have your check up, and you may wish to take advantage of our current special offer of a private dental check up for £75.

The following are some of the things that our Ipswich dentist team will look for when they examine your mouth.

Tooth decay

Most of our patients are likely, at some point, to have been told that they need a filling due to tooth decay. Some may have probably expected this but ignored early symptoms such as a slightly throbbing tooth, hoping that they were wrong. In many cases though, we detect small areas of decay that are causing no discomfort at all to the patient, but, left another six months, would almost certainly do so. As we detect these small areas of decay early, they can usually be treated with a filling, often quite a small one. These can now also be provided in a natural looking white filling material to make them less visible.

Chips and breakages

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Are Your Teeth Looking Dull?

If your teeth have lost their former brightness, the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich can help to renew your smile.

white smiles on older peopleHopefully, most of our older patients will now have had their Covid vaccinations and are beginning to look forward to the future with a little more hope than many of us have probably been feeling over this last year or so. For those who have not yet had their vaccinations, we do encourage you to do so when your turn comes along.

Each of us will have had different circumstances during the lockdowns, but given that we have had a lot more time to ourselves, we may well have reflected on some aspects of our lives. Some of us may have reflected on our own advancing years and the fact that we are no longer as young as we once were. A few moments in front of the mirror may well confirm that as we notice a few lines and wrinkles appearing on our face and as we notice that our smile is not as bright as it once was.

We will write a blog in the coming weeks about how we can help you ease some of those ageing lines and wrinkles, but in today’s blog, we would like to focus on how we can help you have a whiter and more attractive smile.

The first step

Some of you will probably have bought and used a tooth whitening toothpaste and discovered that it made little difference. This is not surprising as although all whitening products contain a bleaching agent, it is only logical that anything sold over the counter is likely to be restricted in the amount of this ingredient that is allowed because of safety concerns. In fact, whitening toothpastes contain very small quantities of this and may possibly be helpful in maintaining whiteness following a teeth whitening procedure, but is unlikely to significantly improve the whiteness of your teeth if they are already discoloured.

We would recommend that, in the first instance, you arrange an appointment at our handy Ipswich dental clinic to see the hygienist. This is always a good start to any oral health improvement but can also improve the appearance of your teeth. These improvements are due to the scale and polish procedure that they will carry out which removes tartar from the teeth and gum line. This is a build up of bacteria and minerals which leaves a rough surface. Not only can this attract further bacteria but also helps staining products attach themselves to the tooth surface. Once this has been removed and your teeth have been given a high speed brushing, you will often notice an improvement in the whiteness of your teeth.

The second step

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