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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Are You Giving Up Sugar For Lent?

It may be a religious festival but everyone can use this occasion to take a look at their diet

Foxhall Dental PracticeSugar is responsible for a lot of health problems in the UK and indeed, other parts of the world.

Not only does this apply to obesity and related issues such as diabetes, but it is also responsible for a lot of tooth and gum health problems too. In the West, we eat far too much sugar in our diet, and not only in the obvious places such as cakes and sweets but also as added ingredients to foods and drinks.

Even if we make conscious efforts not, for example, to put sugar in our tea, the impact will be limited. Far too much sugar is consumed in other ways and although any reduction is good, we need, perhaps, to be more radical in our thinking if we are to look after ourselves better.

Hidden sugars

We can probably skip talking about sweets, chocolates, cakes etc. Most of our Ipswich patients will be fully aware of how high in sugar they are. It is often in the things that we wouldn’t expect, or if we do, probably don’t really think about, where we consume a very large proportion of our total sugar intake. So where are some of these areas?

Coffee – Whilst we can control the amount of sugar we put in coffee at home, many of us are addicted, it seems, to store bought coffee. Whilst cappuccino was once thought to be ‘exotic’, it is now one of the more mainstream coffee drinks with new ones coming along all of the time. These newer ones often contain added ingredients such as flavoured syrups, creams and marshmallows. All of these add to the total amount of sugar in our drinks. Although each drink will vary in the amount they contain, it is worth considering that one of the most sugar heavy drinks at a popular coffee shop contains as much as 23 teaspoons of sugar!

‘Sports’ and fizzy drinks – We have discussed these before but it is always worth a reminder, especially as these seem to be popular with children who sometimes use them for an energy boost. Unfortunately, these are terrible for our teeth. Not only can they contribute to tooth decay but also enamel erosion due to their high acidity. Very few of us require the energy that they allegedly provide and it is largely marketing that makes us believe that we do. Water is often the ‘healthiest’ drink for you with others drunk more sparingly as a ‘treat’.

Harmful sugar

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Gum Disease – A Common Dental Problem

How to prevent gum disease and how we can treat it at our Ipswich dental clinic

gum disease probeSome people may think that the health of their gums comes secondary to the health of their teeth and whilst this is understandable to some degree, it isn’t really correct. We may want our teeth to look as nice as possible and not cause a painful toothache that keeps us awake all night, but it’s well worth understanding that a nasty infection of the gums can cause us some fairly serious problems too.

Although some degree of gum disease is likely if we neglect our oral health regime for a time, perhaps due to being ill, it will usually revert again once we commence brushing and flossing properly. That said, even when we brush regularly, it can still occur, which is why we always recommend that our patients see the Foxhall Dental Practice oral hygienist on a six monthly basis for a professional clean and advice.

Potentially harmful bacteria

Our mouths are full of bacteria, some of it good and some not so good. Generally, if we maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle and good cleaning, this will not be a problem. If we neglect them though, or due to external causes such as illness, the potentially harmful bacteria can grow significantly in numbers and then start to attack our gums, leading to gum disease.

There are a number of things that we can do to keep the number of potentially harmful bacteria down to a healthy level. The most obvious of these is to brush our teeth well. Even if you think you already do this, it is worth making sure that the bristles on your toothbrush aren’t worn (usually no more than 3 months old). Make sure too, to angle the bristles so they reach beneath the gumline, helping to rid them of food particles and bacteria. Flossing too, should be an important part of your daily oral health care routine so if you don’t already, you should start to floss between your teeth too.

Dehydration can also cause bacterial numbers to increase. You should not only make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but also avoid smoking and excess alcohol consumption as these are well known to cause a dry mouth which prevents bacteria from being flushed away efficiently.

Treatment of gum disease

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Beware Dental Implant ‘Special Offers’ – Are They All They Seem?

If you are tempted to travel for cheaper implants, you might want to think again….

Single tooth implantDental implants are becoming increasingly popular for replacing missing teeth, offering as they do, a long lasting and secure solution that both looks and feels like a natural tooth. One barrier to having these placed, for some people however, is the cost.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is not a cheap option for replacing lost teeth although it should be remembered that they actually offer good value for money over their lifetime and shouldn’t need repairs etc providing that you take care of them as instructed by our Ipswich implant team.

As teeth implants become more widely known, it is natural that those with less disposable income are also likely to want them instead of dentures and will look for a way to save financially. This is entirely understandable but can lead some to make poor choices, easily tempted by ‘special dental implant offers’. These are often not the bargain that was hoped for though.

Dental implant holidays

As the weather starts to warm up, we anticipate that you will see a rise in the number of these adverts. The reason for this is that many of the treatments are carried out abroad, often tempting patients with an ‘all in’ offer which includes not only implants, but a holiday too. Although this might be tempting, and we will come to the implications for the treatment shortly, the reality is that after you have had an implant placed, you may not feel like doing much for a day or so and will be restricted in what you can eat, making it less of a holiday than you might have wished for.

Clinical qualifications

Most people register with a local dentist, and most of the Foxhall Dental Practice patients come from Ipswich and the local areas around it. This makes sense as it enables you to get to know your dentist’s team and how they operate. It also means that if there are any follow up problems to a procedure you have had, they are on hand to help you out.

If you travel abroad for treatments and in particular dental implant placement, the likelihood is that you won’t know the dentist who is carrying out the procedure. Although there are some excellent dentists abroad, and we don’t wish to denigrate their abilities, this isn’t always the case and, because you don’t know them, you may be taking a gamble on how skilled and experienced they are at placing implants. For example, one of the reasons why a procedure may be cheaper is that they are less experienced and, in effect, you are helping them ‘practice’ their skills. This might go well for you, of course, but it is a risk, especially with such a complex treatment.

There is also the possibility that some countries have less strict requirements to qualify as a dentist. At the very least, you should check this out before you go.

Cheaper materials

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Invisalign Or Quick Straight Teeth?

Orthodontic solutions for different problems available at out Ipswich dental clinic

Invisalign bracesOne issue that we see at the Foxhall dental practice quite often is that of crooked teeth. This is quite a common problem and perhaps more so because there is often a reluctance to do anything about it as crooked teeth rarely hurt and may not appear to pose any immediate problems.

Whilst some people do acknowledge that their smile would be improved if they had their teeth straightened using orthodontics, fewer seem to recognise that crooked teeth can also lead to other problems too. The fact is that crooked teeth make it easier for food and bacteria to become trapped, often in places that are very hard to clean. This can lead to tooth decay and even gum disease. Crooked teeth often also wear quicker and may become damaged more easily.

Modern orthodontics vs old style braces

Before we look at the orthodontic options that we have available, we should point out to anyone who has crooked teeth that there is no longer the need to have highly visible ‘train track’ braces to straighten them. Whilst these are still available and do work, modern orthodontics now also offer a more discreet option, providing a solution that will straighten your teeth but which are much less visible to those around you.

As well as offering a more discrete teeth straightening solution, there are also different methods available that can be used in various situations. There are two types, in particular, that are popular options at the Foxhall Dental Practice so let us take a look at those now.

Invisalign

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Does Chewing Your Food Cause You Pain?

If putting pressure on your teeth causes significant discomfort, you may have a root canal infection

root canal workEating should be an enjoyable experience, but when the taste of your favourite food is spoiled by a severe pain when you bite down on it, you know that you have a problem.

Whilst we might often assume that this means we have tooth decay and that a straightforward filling should be all that we need, a symptom such as this could mean that you have an infection in the root canals of your teeth, a problem that will require a more complex treatment at our Ipswich dental clinic.

Root canal infections occur following damage or major wear to the enamel on our teeth. This allows bacteria to enter into the more porous dentin part of the tooth. In many cases, discomfort will be noticeable at this stage, often in the form of a toothache, and usually patients will then visit the Foxhall Dental Practice to have this checked and treated.

Where this initial discomfort isn’t felt, or where patients choose to ignore these early warning signs, the bacteria may then enter into the root canals of the tooth, causing an infection that can lead to severe pain.

Treating a root canal infection

When the root canals of a tooth become infected, the tooth can not be restored using the normal filling method. In order to access the root canals, your dentist will first of all provide you with a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort that the procedure might cause (more on that later). They will then need to access the top section of the tooth so that the root canals can be reached. Once this has been done, the infected material can then be removed and the hollow canals thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining bacteria.

Once cleaned, the root canals then need to be filled. Usually, fillings are carried out using either an amalgam filling or one of the increasingly popular tooth coloured fillings that we offer our Ipswich patients. In the case of a root canal procedure though, a special type of filling called ‘gutta percha’ is used. Gutta percha is a thermoplastic substance that comes from the percha tree, most commonly found in Malaysia. This material is used as it can be heated and then compressed into the root canals. This provides an excellent sealant that minimises the risk of any reinfection following the procedure. Finally, in most instances, the dentist will apply a crown to complete the restoration. This has the advantage of providing additional strength to the restored tooth as well as making it look natural again.

A ‘dead’ tooth

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Planning Your New Year Smile Makeover

Will 2022 be the year when you finally feel confident about your smile?

White teethIt’s fair to say that the last couple of years haven’t been great for the majority of us and most of us have had to make sacrifices, with some making bigger sacrifices than others. This has probably left a lot of us feeling less than happy and fulfilled with our lives and just waiting for things to change so that we can get our lives going again.

There is always optimism at the start of a new year and that can be no bad thing. It is also a time when we often take stock and look at changes that we can make in our lives to feel better about ourselves.

For some people, this will mean a new wardrobe, a change of career or simply losing a few pounds. Although the Foxhall Dental Team aren’t able to help you with those, what we can do is help you to have a more attractive and confident smile, helping you to feel better about yourself.

A new year smile makeover

So how can we help you have a smile to be proud of? Much of this will depend on your own expectations and what you feel you need to achieve. Some of you will no doubt have looked in the mirror and wished your teeth were white like they used to be, or that your crooked teeth were nice and even. You may even think that there is little that can be done about problems like this, but you would be wrong. Our Ipswich based dentists offers a wide range of cosmetic dental treatments that can really change your smile for the better. Let us take a look at some of the more popular ones now.

Teeth whitening

One of the most popular treatments that we provide for our patients is a teeth whitening procedure. It is not only food and drinks that cause our teeth to become discoloured, but the fact that as we get older, the dentin beneath the enamel of our teeth darkens, causing a dull appearance. The only way that this can be reversed is by using a teeth whitening procedure. This is an affordable and non-invasive treatment that is done within our practice and typically takes just one hour. After this time, we are sure that you will be delighted with the result and your teeth will be several shades whiter.

Dental veneers

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