Dental Care In The Near Future

Dental practices in the UK are able to open again from June 8th, but what should you expect when they do?

Foxhall Dental PracticeMost of you will have seen the news that dental practices in the UK are able to open again following our closure because of the Covid-19 situation.

On the surface, it may appear to some patients that this means that everything is more or less back to normal. Much as we wish this were the case, it isn’t unfortunately.

When the government announced this, we heard about it at the same time that patients did. As you can probably understand, running a dental practice means not only performing treatments but also ensuring that the whole practice environment is safe for both staff and patients. This is even more important at this particular time for obvious reasons.

As the announcement came with no real forewarning, dentists and their staff have been doing all that they can to get things ready to open again as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is not as simple as just unlocking the doors. The most obvious thing to note is that we have to plan for the new ‘normal’, at least until such a time that the virus is no longer such a threat or a vaccine is widely available.

PPE and staff training

Most of you will have now heard of PPE, the protective equipment that keeps both patient and staff safe. Due to the worldwide demand, it is challenging to source this in sufficient quantity to be able to operate safely. Our Ipswich dental patients can rest assured that we are doing all that we can to source this as quickly as possible.

Systems are also being put into place to make the practice a safe environment. This stems right from how patients can safely wait in the reception areas to how we thoroughly clean the environment after each treatment.

What should patients expect?

Read more ›

Wobbly Teeth In Children And Adults

Why teeth become loose and where it requires professional advice.

Dr Samuel Ofori-AttahMost of us can probably remember having a wobbly tooth or two when we were younger. Some of us may even be unfortunate enough to remember the traumatic experience of a parent tying all sorts of ways to remove them? We will discuss why you shouldn’t do this a little later on in this blog, but first, let’s take a look at what causes wobbly teeth both in children and adults, and the potential consequences.

Children and wobbly teeth

Our patients who are parents of young children may already have experienced their child having a wobbly tooth. This is usually nothing to be concerned about and is quite natural as their first teeth will eventually fall out so that their adult teeth can erupt in their place. The temporary nature of the first teeth can, unfortunately, cause some parents to pay less attention to them as they will come out anyway. Even though these are temporary teeth, it is still important to make sure that your child cleans them well, and also the gums. Anyone who has had a severe toothache would not want to put their child through that, and, although temporary, these teeth still play an important role.

The first teeth, or milk or baby teeth as they are sometimes known, enable a young child to progress from soft foods to a more normal diet. If the teeth are not looked after and have to be extracted, this can cause problems in this transitional stage that could have long lasting effects. In addition to this, confidence and speech development can also be affected and can cause problems during a child’s developmental years.

Just a word of caution here; if your child has a wobbly tooth, even if it has been ‘hanging on’ for a little while, please don’t forcefully try to pull it out by the ‘door handle’ or any similar technique. Gentle and gradual pressing on it with the tongue should see it soon fall out. If you have one that is particularly problematic, please contact our Ipswich dental team for advice. Using a more forceful method may cause not only discomfort to the child but also possible damage to the gum tissue.

Try to keep your children’s teeth healthy and make sure that they brush them well, ideally supervised by yourself or another responsible adult.

Loose teeth in adults

Read more ›

Stress And Anxiety – Challenges For Our Teeth

Additional side effects of the Covid-19 crisis – guidance for our Ipswich patients

Worried dental patientAs if it wasn’t enough that some of us have suffered stress and anxiety not only from the threat of the disease itself, but also of the many weeks of isolation; reports now indicate that many of us are anxious about the safety aspects of having to return to work.

Although we are not yet at this stage; with the numbers of deaths and new cases going down gradually, it can only be a matter of time before many of us have to return to a situation where we are less able to control our own safety.

All of this ongoing anxiety and stress can be harmful and have adverse knock-on effects, including for our teeth and gums.

How stress and anxiety affects our oral health

There are two main ways in which these problems can have a negative effect on our teeth and gums. These are both direct and indirect. Our Foxhall Dental Practice dentists explain below.

The direct effects include immediate or gradual damage caused by grinding of the teeth; a condition known as bruxism. In most people this occurs at night and is therefore very difficult to control directly. In rare cases, and under extreme stress, people may also do this during their waking hours.

There are two likely outcomes to this. The most likely being a gradual wearing away of the protective enamel layer of the teeth. This exposes the underlying dentin layer, thereby increasing the likelihood of both tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. Less likely, but not unheard of, is that teeth can break under the strain. This is probably more likely to happen on teeth that have already been restored or are already weakened by damage. The breakage can range from a small chip coming away from the tooth, to a complete fracturing.

The main indirect way that we harm our teeth and gums through stress is by changing our daily habits, nearly always for the worse. When stressed, we are less likely to care of  ourselves, and especially when it comes to what we eat. Under normal circumstances, most of us probably eat reasonably well balanced meals, with perhaps the occasional junk food ‘treat’. As stress levels rise, the latter is likely to feature more. With stress and anxiety often comes some degree of depression or at least a lowering of the mood.  When this happens, making an effort to cook a meal is one of those things that is likely to go amiss when we simply ‘can’t be bothered’.

Unfortunately, most junk food and even general ready meals often contain high levels of sugar. Add to that the additional cakes and biscuits we may eat and it is easy to see how damage to our teeth and gums can occur, especially over a period of time.

What can you do about it?

Read more ›

More Dental Advice To Help You Through Lockdown

A few more tips from our Ipswich dentists on how to keep your teeth looking the best that you can.

Flossing teethIn the greater scheme of things, keeping our teeth looking nice is probably a fair way down our list of priorities right now. Even from a dental perspective, it is far more important to keep your teeth healthy than to keep them white.

For some patients though, it will be a bit of a concern, especially those who may have previously lost confidence due to having stained or unattractive teeth.  As we are currently unable to see patients for treatments, including cosmetic ones, we thought that we would offer a few tips below that might help to keep your teeth looking OK for just that bit longer.

Some of these tips will also be of benefit, not only to the appearance of your teeth, but their health too. Enamel erosion is a factor which can affect both for example.

Brush your teeth well

This one should be pretty obvious. Brushing your teeth regularly will help to remove much of the surface staining that can occur as foods and drinks become stuck to our teeth. It will also help to remove acids which can cause tiny pits to appear in the surface enamel which in turn can trap discolouring substances as well as potentially harmful bacteria.

Avoid damaging foods and drinks

A surprising amount of foods and drinks can cause our teeth to look less pleasant. Some of this is down to the acidity as mentioned above. Some though are more likely to have an immediate impact than others. If you smoke, or if you drink very strong coffee such as espresso, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised if your teeth darken relatively quickly.

Whilst it might be a difficult time to cut down or cut out habits like this, by doing so, you will help to maintain the current condition of your teeth for longer. In the case of smoking; if you can use this time to stop, you will be doing your teeth and gums a favour. There is also some medical thinking that smokers are at a greater risk of the more serious consequences of the Coronavirus, so stopping now would certainly be beneficial.

Drink water

Read more ›

Taking Care Of Your Oral Health During Lockdown

Some simple oral health care tips to help you through the coming weeks.

oral hygiene equipmentHopefully we are all following government advice to stay at home, apart from essential workers and for exercise or food suppliers. Although this initial period technically ends soon, there is a widespread belief that the restrictions will be extended for several more weeks, and perhaps even more strictly.

We are sure that our Foxhall Dental Practice patients are finding it stressful and worrying and, like us, can’t wait for things to return to normal, or at least to some degree of normality. As it is though, what is happening is necessary and we encourage our patients to follow government guidelines strictly. We also encourage you to look after your own welfare, including teeth and gums during this testing time. Bearing in mind that even emergency dental care is quite restricted at the moment, it makes sense to do all that you can to avoid requiring it.

In today’s blog, our Ipswich dentists offer some general oral health care advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy during lockdown.

Teeth cleaning routine

In ‘normal’ times, most of us will live by certain routines to some degree and this includes when we clean our teeth. Our night time clean should be easy to replicate as it should always be done last thing at night before we go to bed, with nothing (except water) eaten or drunk afterwards. Mornings may be a different matter though.

If we usually brush our teeth just before leaving for work, we may not currently have that situation as many businesses are closed. As this gets us out of a routine of getting ready for work, it is possible that we may also forget to clean our teeth. If you are in this situation, try to find a regular time to brush your teeth, whether that is the first thing upon getting up or perhaps before you walk the dog; whatever fits in with your own lifestyle – but please keep the discipline.

Start flossing

One of the things that we sometimes hear is that people don’t have the time to floss between their teeth. In all likelihood, this is because some people find it difficult to do and perhaps give up. So if you find that you currently have time on your hands, this is a good opportunity to learn how to do it. There are videos available online, though please make sure you choose a reputable one to help you. We are sure that once you have practiced a little, you will be able to do this in just a few minutes and subsequently improve the health of your teeth and gums.

Don’t eat too much junk food

Read more ›

Samuel Ofori-Attah – General And Aesthetic Dentist

A spotlight on our experienced Ipswich dental team.

Dr Samuel Ofori-AttahAt the Foxhall Dental Practice, we offer both private and NHS dentistry as well as a range of cosmetic treatments that help patients to have the best smile possible. In our blogs, we have discussed many of these treatments and tried to offer useful general dental information for our patients.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at the roles that one of our dentists plays within our team and we will continue this topic for other members in later blogs.

Dr Samuel Ofori-Attah has worked both in private and NHS dental practices and takes pride in his ability to restore patient’s mouths so that they can eat and chew normally. In addition to this, he loves to help patients have more attractive teeth. This includes the use of white fillings, teeth whitening and crowns; three areas that we will take a look at now.

White teeth fillings

Traditionally, the filling of a tooth has been carried out using a dark coloured material known as amalgam. This is made from a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. This does provide a strong filling and has been used for a very long time. There are disadvantages to it though, in addition to its dark colour. It sometimes requires significant amounts of natural tooth material to be removed so that it can be securely placed. It can also shrink over time, exposing tiny gaps that can allow bacteria to enter and potentially lead to further decay.

Amalgam fillings also contain mercury compounds and there has been some debate about its use in fillings for some time. The advice is that mercury is safe to use but it is also encouraged that its use is reduced over time and this is partly due to concerns about the harmful leaking of mercury into the environment. By using white composite fillings, this issue is avoided altogether.

White fillings have very strong bonding qualities which can often mean that we don’t need to remove as much tooth material when placing them. From an aesthetic perspective, the fillings can also be made to match the colour of your natural tooth, providing a natural looking and strong filling.

Crowns

Read more ›

Foxhall Dental Practice – 50 Years And Still Going Strong!

A full range of services for our Ipswich dental patients

Foxhall Dental PracticeIt is hard to say whether the newer generation of dental practices that are now opening will still be here in 50 years time, but we are proud of the fact that we are a long established dentist that has served our patients for just that length of time. In some cases we have treated 3 generations of the same family and our staff, of course, has also seen a number of changes over that time too.

The biggest changes though have probably been around the treatments offered and the technology that allows us to perform the procedures. We suspect that if we could go back to when the practice first opened, we would probably shudder a little if we could see the less refined equipment that was used back then.

As we now offer both private and NHS treatment, we can deliver a wide range of treatments to fulfil a number of different needs. In today’s blog, we will take a brief look at some of the treatments that we currently have available.

Family dental care

Fillings – Something many children who eat a lot of sweets will be familiar with. These are useful for restoring a tooth that has suffered from tooth decay. Increasingly these are being done using tooth coloured filling materials rather than the dark coloured amalgam that many will be familiar with.

Dental crowns – These can often be used where a tooth is more badly decayed or has broken. A damaged tooth is shaped and a natural looking crown then attached using a special dental adhesive.

Hygienist services – Perhaps best known for the ‘scale and polish’ procedure; seeing a hygienist helps you to have healthy teeth and gums and also helps you to learn ways to improve the way you look after your teeth and gums.

Root canal treatment – This treatment is used when the root canals of a tooth become infected. As this is where the nerves are located, an infection of this type can be very painful indeed. To restore the tooth, the canals are cleaned and filled using a special material before a crown is usually added to complete it. We are aware of the reputation that this treatment has but can assure our patients that it should cause no more discomfort than most invasive treatments. Indeed we are always happy to discuss any concerns that you have about this or any other treatment.

Dental implants – In most dentist’s opinions, this is now the ‘gold standard’ of teeth replacement methods. Unlike dentures and bridges, it also replaces the root section of the tooth and not just the crown. It is this factor which gives it the excellent levels of strength and stability that other options might lack.

Cosmetic dentistry

Read more ›

Is Your Mouth Health Getting Worse?

If you feel that your teeth are starting to deteriorate, act now before it’s too late.

Ipswich dentist Dr NandiniAlthough education surrounding good oral health is now more widely available than it used to be, there are still plenty of people who still neglect theirs. Some of these people will also perhaps have avoided seeing a dentist for many years as well.

Eventually though, there  comes a point where the patient has a toothache or is worried enough to face their fears, but still dreads what the dentist will say about the state of their teeth.

At the Foxhall Dental Practice, our dentists are very experienced and have encountered this situation before. If you come to us, we assure you that you will not be given a ‘lecture’ or judged, but we will do our best to help you restore your mouth health. This can be done gradually, over a period of time depending on what treatments need to be carried out.

Initial check up

The most important step in reversing declining oral health is to have your mouth examined by one of our Ipswich dentists. We will carry out a thorough inspection, including the soft tissues as well. In rare cases, we may suggest that you see a GP if we have concerns about the condition of your tongue and other soft tissues and this is purely a precautionary measure to eliminate oral cancer. For most people though, it will be the teeth and gums that are the main concern.

Cavities

Unless you are extremely lucky, it is very likely that you will have some tooth decay if you haven’t been to the dentist for a number of years. Providing that the decay is not too extensive, it is usually possible to restore the tooth to a functional state. Most cavities can be filled using our discreet white dental fillings. These offer a strong solution and are almost invisible as they can be made to match the colour of your natural tooth. If the cavity is large and on a tooth that comes under a lot of pressure, such as at the back of the mouth, it may be prudent to use an inlay or onlay instead to give it the strength required.

Where a tooth is damaged in such a way that a filling is not suitable, the tooth may need to be prepared and a dental crown attached. This both strengthens the tooth and helps to restore its appearance; especially important where it is a visible  tooth.

Gum health

Read more ›

‘Deep Clean’ Vs A Scale And Polish

A look at the difference between two types of teeth and gum cleaning methods.

Gum disease checkMany of our Ipswich dental patients will be familiar with the scale and polish procedure. This is something that we would encourage all patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice to have as a matter of routine.

A deep clean, also called ‘root planing’ is a different matter altogether and we hope that our patients avoid the need for this particular procedure.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at each of these procedures in turn; at what they involve and the reasons for carrying them out.

Scale and polish

This is a routine but thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums that is carried out by a dental hygienist. It is largely a preventative measure but can also be used to reverse or manage gum disease when already present. We recommend that all patients have this procedure every six months, or more frequently if you are in a higher risk group, such as if you are a diabetic or a smoker. The procedure itself is non invasive and usually requires no local anaesthetic. The hygienist first of all scrapes away hardened bacteria and minerals that have formed on and around the teeth and gum line. The bulk of what is left is then shattered and removed using a special sonic dental tool. Finally, the teeth and gums will be thoroughly cleaned using a powerful high speed brush.

By removing the hardened deposits, it makes it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself to the teeth and gums. In addition to this, a rough surface will also become stained more easily and whilst it is not the most important aspect of this procedure, our Ipswich dental patients are often pleased to find that their teeth also appear whiter after having them cleaned in this way.

Deep Clean/Root Planing

Read more ›

How Important Is Good Dental Hygiene?

Do we sometimes consider our oral health to be of secondary importance?

Flossing teethMost of us would probably agree that staying healthy is important. With better awareness, many of us can now expect to live into our old age, helped by being active, eating healthily, exercising and not smoking. Having successfully raised the awareness about this, we feel that more focus now needs to be put upon oral health as this can also have a significant effect on our overall quality of life.

Over time, the dentists at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich have seen the results of oral neglect. Whilst, for many, this may have been routine dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, the effects of poor oral health can go much further and potentially cause serious general health issues.

How to achieve good oral health

Although we have covered this before, we believe that it never hurts to repeat important messages about our health and that includes oral health too of course.

Left alone, our teeth and gums would come under attack from acids and bacteria and it wouldn’t be long before discomfort and diseases took hold. Thankfully, looking after the oral cavity is relatively straightforward although there is always room for improvement. Eating a tooth friendly diet is a good start. This means trying not to eat too many sugary foods and avoiding overly acidic drinks and harsh citrus fruits.

When we clean our teeth, we generally start by brushing them. This needs to be done effectively and we advise our Ipswich patients to discuss the best way to do this with our dental hygienist. Flossing between the teeth should also be added on a daily basis as well. As bacterial and mineral deposits build up on our teeth over time, especially where it is difficult to brush, this produces a rough surface that can attract bacteria which needs to be removed by the hygienist with a procedure known as a scale and polish. With this and regular dental visits for a checkup, you should be on your way to having a healthy mouth.

Oral health problems

Read more ›