Long term care of your tooth implant
As dental implants become more widely known, an increasing number of people are choosing to have them when they have lost a tooth. One key factor for those that choose to have them placed via our Ipswich dental clinic is the fact that, unlike dentures, they are relatively straightforward to keep clean and healthy.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay attention to them though. As with your natural teeth, things can easily go wrong if you fail to take care of them as you should.
Whilst it is true that special care needs to be taken for the first 3 months or so after an implant has been placed, this doesn’t mean that maintenance of them should stop there. Foxhall Dental’s implant dentists cover some of the most important aspects of this long term aftercare below.
Why the need for diligent care?
You might think that as an implant is made entirely from artificial materials, it shouldn’t need to be brushed etc. It is true that the implant itself won’t suffer from decay if you don’t brush it, but remember that its survival and stability depends on the healthy surrounding bone which holds the implant securely in place. If this fails, it is likely that the implant will too.
Gum disease, and especially periodontitis and peri-implantitis are particular threats to a dental implant, but this can be avoided if you take good care of your gums.
Before we move on to general implant maintenance, it is worth stating that if you play a contact sport such as football, you should wear a mouthguard. This will protect not only your natural teeth but your implant too. Whilst an implant can be replaced, if there is any damage caused to the bone in that area, perhaps from a collision between players, replacing it may not be straightforward.
If you regularly play contact sports where facial damage might occur, you might wish to delay having implants until you no longer play, perhaps using dentures as a temporary solution instead.
Cleaning your implant
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There are a number of oral health problems that can make mealtimes less enjoyable
If we have a toothache that is persistent, we might feel reasonably sure that it is caused by tooth decay and a cavity.
Not all toothache is like this though and some patients experience discomfort only when they are eating.
Naturally, any pain in the oral cavity should be cause for our Ipswich patients to contact us for an appointment to have it checked without delay.
Our Foxhall Dental Practice team takes a look at some possible causes of discomfort when you are eating. Please read on.
Although you might expect a cavity to be painful at all times, this isn’t always the case and in some cases, you may only notice them when you are eating. Some of the ingredients in our food, such as sugar, can trigger pain when it enters a cavity. Pressure can also build as food becomes trapped in the cavity, causing discomfort. Any discomfort when eating, whether caused by a cavity or one of the other issues below, will require a check up by one of our dentists followed by any treatment that might be needed.
Whilst we often notice a cavity (even if we deny it to ourselves to avoid a visit to the dentist), a crack in a tooth is not usually as noticeable. Some cracks can be very small but if they have damaged the enamel sufficiently, this allows temperature and bacteria to compromise the dentin layer which in turn affects the nerves deeper within the root canals of the tooth. As we have previously mentioned, once the dentin is exposed, even through the tiniest of cracks, sensitivity, tooth decay and possibly root canal infections may follow.
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What causes some people to notice that their teeth hurt more first thing in the morning?
It might seem a little strange but some people find that their teeth feel uncomfortable when they wake up but then any discomfort eases as the day progresses. One obvious reason might be because they have taken painkillers for it which have worn off overnight, but presuming that not to be the case, why do people experience this?
In fact, there are many possible reasons why your teeth may be more uncomfortable in the morning and, whatever that reason, you should contact the Foxhall Dental Practice if this happens to you so that your teeth can be thoroughly examined. Below, we take a look at some of the possible reasons for painful morning teeth.
Bruxism, or grinding of teeth, generally, although not exclusively, occurs when we are asleep. There are a number of theories why this should be the case but it is widely thought to be related to stress and that the teeth grinding might act as a bit of a ‘release valve’ for built up stress and tension. Either way, it can cause some serious harm to our teeth. Most commonly, the enamel is worn away, making teeth more sensitive and prone to decay, but teeth can also crack or even break. It is possible that this might be causing the discomfort and you should see one of our Ipswich dentists to have your teeth checked.
If it is your rear teeth that are causing you discomfort, it could be caused by a sinus infection. Your sinus cavities are situated directly over the top rear teeth and fluid can build up in this area if you have an infection. This often causes pressure which then affects the teeth. You will need to see your GP if this is the case, who will provide treatment for it which should reduce the discomfort.
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Even severely stained teeth can be made to look great again with veneers!
The first stop for most of our Ipswich patients who are looking for ways to improve their smile is to have their teeth whitened.
This is a logical first step as the treatment is non-invasive and one of the most affordable cosmetic treatments that we offer at the Foxhall Dental Practice.
It is not the only suitable treatment that can help you have a brand new smile though and whilst it works for the majority of patients who have stained or discoloured teeth, it is not always the most suitable solution for everyone.
Anyone who has smoked for a long time will know how badly stained your teeth can get. Whilst this isn’t the only reason for severe tooth staining, it is one of the most common. With more and more people stopping smoking, or attempting to, it is probably no surprise that once they have succeeded in doing so, they want to reverse this particular problem as soon as they can. Whilst some success might be achieved with a teeth whitening treatment, for many, fitting dental veneers could be a better option.
Chips and cracks
Staining isn’t the only reason for using veneers. Over time, our teeth can suffer from cosmetic ‘defects’ such as chips or cracks on the tooth enamel. Even if a teeth whitening treatment was a workable solution for any discolouration that was present, it wouldn’t get rid of these problems, and indeed, may even serve to highlight them. In cases like this, replacing the damaged tooth surface with a new porcelain veneer is likely to be the best option available.
Closing ‘gappy’ teeth
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Looking after your teeth and gums can lead to more than just an appealing smile!
Have you ever wondered why some people have no particular odour to their breath whereas others make you take a rapid but subtle step backwards when they talk to you close up?
It can be all too easy to presume that someone’s bad breath is caused by what they have eaten, and to some degree, this can be true. Most cases of bad breath that come about in this way are temporary, but for others bad and foul smelling breath can be a long term problem.
For the benefit of patients of your local Ipswich dental clinic, we offer a few thoughts on why you, or those around you, might have bad breath and how this can be changed.
Foods to avoid
There is no getting away from the fact that certain foods make the breath smell pretty stinky. The best known of these is, of course, garlic. This might be great for keeping vampires away but you might also notice that others avoid you at parties if you eat too much of it! Garlic isn’t the only culprit though and a number of foods can cause temporary bad breath. The following are some of the worst culprits:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products that are smoked
- Tinned fish
- Curries and other spicy food
This is not a complete list of course but it might be wise to avoid too much of these when heading out to a social function.
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Cheaper alternatives might be tempting but probably won’t achieve the whiteness you hoped for….
Who doesn’t want to have whiter teeth? Not many people it would seem, judging from the popularity of the various teeth whitening treatments that are currently available.
Few would dispute that an attractive white smile beats a dull and discoloured one, hands down, any day. The question though is how to choose the best method available.
It can’t have escaped our Ipswich patient’s notice that there are now many ways to whiten your teeth without necessitating a visiting to see a dentist. From simple teeth whitening toothpastes to more complex (and expensive) DIY teeth whitening treatments, it can be difficult to choose, and price is often the deciding factor. Whilst this is an understandable choice, especially for those on a budget, it often isn’t the right one.
Tooth whitening toothpastes
This is perhaps one of the most common ‘complaints’ that we hear at the Foxhall Dental Practice. It usually goes something like this: “I don’t understand it. My teeth are still dull and discoloured and I’ve been using a tooth whitening toothpaste for months now”. The fact is that this method of teeth whitening is unlikely to come anywhere near achieving the whiteness you had hoped for.
The reason for this is that whilst these toothpastes do contain an active whitening ingredient, they do so in very small quantities. Whitening agents, such as those used at our Ipswich dentist, are very powerful and, in the wrong hands, can be potentially dangerous. It is for this reason that very little of it is allowed in toothpaste form.
There is also potential harm in using some of the toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth as, possibly to compensate for the small amount of whitening ingredient allowed, they sometimes include additional abrasive elements that aim to remove surface staining from the teeth. Whilst it might be effective in doing this, it can also erode the enamel which protects your teeth from sensitivity and decay; particularly if used over-zealously.
‘Over the counter’ teeth whitening kits
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Looking after your gums shouldn’t be of secondary importance to your teeth
Many 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 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.
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With mask wearing likely to be a feature of our lives for a little while yet, your Ipswich dentist addresses this common question
We 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.
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.
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.
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Why leaving a gap in your teeth isn’t a good idea and how it can be treated by our Ipswich dentists
Nearly 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.
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.
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Samantha Henley advises what to expect on your visit for a hygienist appointment
Hopefully, 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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