Which Type Of Tooth Filling?

Ipswich dentist, Dr Chirag Kothari, explains the pros and cons of different types of dental fillings.

Dr Chirag KothariBy far the most common procedure carried out by dentists is the humble filling. This is used when a cavity appears in the tooth, usually caused by tooth decay. The decaying material is firstly removed and the cavity then filled using one of a number of materials.

There are two main types of filling materials that are most often used in dental practices in the UK and each have its own pros and cons.

Some types may not be suitable for all cavities and here at Foxhall Dental our team will always discuss the most appropriate one for your own particular needs so that you receive the best treatment outcome possible.

Without further ado then, let us take a look at these fillings, along with a brief look at other possible restorations.

Amalgam fillings

This is the type of dental filling that many of our patients will be most familiar with. It is a strong but dark coloured material that is made from a mixture of metals that include tin, copper, silver and mercury.  It does offer a very high level of strength and also lasts for a long time before it will need to be replaced and the tooth refilled. Amalgam dental fillings are not without their drawbacks though. The most obvious of these being the dark colour which makes a tooth filled in this manner very visible when we laugh or smile, or even yawn. For this reason, many of our patients are increasingly turning to cosmetic options when a filling is needed on a particularly visible tooth such as those at the front of the mouth, sometimes also called the ‘social six’ teeth.

Amalgam fillings can also shrink a little over time. This can lead to tiny gaps appearing between the filling and the tooth. This small gap can attract bacteria and further decay is quite possible. Finally, the use of mercury in amalgam fillings has caused some discussion over the years. It has been shown to be safe to use in this situation but the potentially negative impact of mercury in the environment means that it is likely to be phased out in the coming years ahead.

Tooth coloured fillings

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Dental Ideas For Christmas Gifts

Our Ipswich dentists suggest some tooth friendly Xmas presents

teenagers with straight teethWith the year we’ve all been having, it may have even escaped our attention that Christmas is not too far away. It is likely to be a very different Christmas to our usual one although much of that may well depend on how well the current restrictions work and how well they are adhered to.

One thing that is likely though is that we may not be able to shop in the same way as we usually do, due to the risk that this could greatly increase the number of Covid-19 cases and put us back to square one.

This means that many of us will be doing even more of our Christmas shopping online than we usually do, and because of this, it may be wise to start your shopping a little in advance.

In today’s blog, we thought that we would take a look at a few ideas for Christmas gifts that you can buy your friends and loved ones that are tooth friendly and can benefit your smile.

Electric toothbrush

We have mentioned before about how a worn toothbrush is ineffective at cleaning your teeth and removing bacteria and food particles. This can be a good time to change your toothbrush and maybe even switch to an electric one if you currently use a manual toothbrush. It is generally agreed that electric toothbrushes are more efficient and although they may feel a little unusual initially, few users switch back to a manual one once they have used them for a while.

Water pik

Whilst we firmly believe that dental floss is the best way to clean between your teeth, we also acknowledge that a lot of people will simply not carry this out. If you know someone like that, a water pik might be a suitable option. These ‘blast’ fine jets of water between the teeth, helping to remove food that has become trapped. We don’t believe that this is as effective as learning how to floss, but it is better than doing nothing at all. Whether you use floss or a water pik, you should also see our Ipswich dental hygienist every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned with a scale and polish treatment.

Tooth fairy box

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Dental Practices Remain Open During Second Lockdown

Dental service and oral care advice for our Ipswich patients

Foxhall Dental PracticeIt was a possibility for some time and now it has finally happened; we are in a national lockdown again due to the rising number of cases and hospital admissions of Covid-19.

Although this is a nationwide lockdown, there are some significant differences from the first one. The most widely known of these is that schools and universities are open this time around. The good news is that so are dental practices, including our own.

Patients of the Foxhall Dental Clinic will be pleased to know that we are still able to open for appointments and especially for those that need urgent treatment. Although we may not be able to see you quite as quickly as ‘normal’ times, we will do our very best to see you as soon as we possibly can.

Patient safety comes first

As those of you who have been able to attend our Ipswich dental clinic since the last lockdown will be aware, there have been a number of changes to the way that we operate in order to keep both our staff and our patients safe. These include:

PPE – Although our dentists have worn face masks and disposable gloves for some time, full PPE is now used to keep any possible Covid-19 transmission risks to an absolute minimum.

Social Distancing – You will see notices reminding patients to keep a distance from each other and the waiting room has been rearranged to facilitate this.

Hand sanitisers – Although many of us are now washing our hands better and at more regular intervals, we still strongly encourage the use of our hand sanitiser stations that are situated throughout the practice. You may have washed your hands before you left home, but, for example, touching a surface that has a lot of contact, such as on a bus, could still mean that you have picked the virus up.

Fallow time – This is the additional time that we allow between each patient to make sure that our treatment room is as clean as it can be. Surfaces and any reusable equipment are fully disinfected between patients.  This is one of the main reasons why we are currently able to see less patients each day.

All in all then, we believe that our practice is as safe as it can possibly be and we encourage you to come along with confidence.

Keeping your teeth healthy during lockdown

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The Faster Way To Whiter Teeth!

Our one hour teeth whitening treatment is really popular! Leave our Ipswich practice with a beautiful, brighter smile….

White teethYou may have looked at your teeth in the mirror recently and wondered what happened to that youthful sparkly smile of old?

If you have, you are not alone and certainly not the first.

Whiter teeth have been treasured throughout the ages and maybe surprsingly, various attempts at whitening teeth have been carried out in the past.

Amongst those attempting whitening treatments were the ancient Greeks (a mix of white wine vinegar and pumice stone), the ancient Romans (human urine!!!!) and some barbers in the 18th century attempted to whiten teeth using acid. As well as some of these being pretty revolting, even if they did whiten the teeth a little, serious harm was likely to have resulted due to the acids used eroding the surface enamel.

In the 21st Century, these are no longer used, although some teeth whitening toothpastes do use additional abrasives (a little similar to the ancient Greeks!) This can only remove surface staining though and not any internal discolouration and can still cause harm to the enamel on our teeth.

How can the Foxhall Dental Practice help?

Our experienced Ipswich dental team are able to help patients who wish to have whiter looking teeth, not only safely, but in a very short space of time too. Our fast acting treatment means that you don’t have to sit at home wearing a tray for a few hours a day for a couple of weeks. Both at home and in-house treatments are equally effective and safe (if used correctly) but our in-house treatment offers the opportunity to have whiter teeth in just a single hour.

How does it work?

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Dental Implant Recovery

Looking after yourself and your new implants!

double dental implantThere are many good reasons to choose dental implants as a replacement when you have lost a tooth, or a number of teeth.

Unlike dentures which sit above the gums, implants are placed, at our Ipswich practice, into the jawbone and act as a substitute tooth root. This means that they are more stable than a denture and also offer a degree of strength that will enable you to eat any food that you want without worrying if they will become loose in your mouth.

We have covered the procedure surrounding the placing of implants on our Ipswich dentist blog before. This time, we look at what you need to do when you are recovering from the procedure. This will not only help to make things more comfortable for you but will also minimise any risk of damage to your new implant.


If you smoke, it is very important that you stop, not only before your procedure, as you will have been instructed, but also afterwards, especially whilst the implant fuses with the bone. Studies have shown that smoking significantly increases the risk of implant failure. This is due, in part, to it being a significant contributor to periodontal diseases that can lead to bone loss. If the bone holding your implant degrades, the implant may become unstable and even come out.

Individual implant placement recovery

Although this very successful procedure will leave you with strong and long lasting replacement teeth, it is still a minor surgical procedure and patients should expect a degree of discomfort in the area of the treatment for a short while afterwards. This is usually quite manageable by taking your usual pain killing medication for a few days. Any rare cases of significant pain should be discussed with your dentist and, of course, we are also available for any other aftercare advice as well.

There are things that you can do to help yourself though and which will also help your new implants to get off to a good start.

Immediate aftercare

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Sharing A Toothbrush And Other Bad Bathroom Habits

A little carelessness could create problems for your oral health

Dr Chirag KothariMost of us have probably built our oral health regime based on what others, most likely our parents, have taught us. We may believe that this is perfectly fine as we haven’t really known any other way.

Whilst some of these habits may have sound foundations, some are also likely to be out of date and could even be affecting your teeth and gums.

This blog will hopefully also be useful to those Ipswich students who will be returning to university in this unusual year. Although there may not be the parties of previous years, student living can be quite chaotic initially and until people start to settle into a new routine. Hopefully, our suggestions will at least help to avoid some common errors.

We asked some of the Foxhall Dental Practice team to name some of the poor habits in the bathroom that might be most damaging to oral health. Here are some of their suggestions.

Never share a toothbrush

There are no circumstances when it is OK to share your toothbrush. This applies whether it is with your family, friends or complete strangers, although the latter is obviously the most risky. Your toothbrush should be yours alone and sharing another person’s toothbrush is almost certain to mean the transference of bacteria from mouth to mouth. Regular readers of our blogs will be aware of the potential harm that some bacteria can cause. As well as the possibility of tooth decay, periodontal diseases can occur which can not only be uncomfortable and unpleasant (bad breath anyone?) but can also, ultimately, result in tooth loss if not treated effectively and in time.

It isn’t just oral health problems that can be passed on in this way either. Serious health issues such as hepatitis and HIV can also be passed on by sharing your toothbrush. This is obviously a higher risk if you share with strangers but it is best to eliminate the risk altogether by not sharing your toothbrush with anyone at all.

If you do find yourself in a position where you have forgotten or lost your own toothbrush, use something such as kitchen towel with some toothpaste on, or if all else fails use your finger. This is better than sharing a brush although you should replace your lost/missing brush as soon as you can.

Chewing sugar free chewing gum can also be useful to help keep your teeth clean on a temporary basis so it is always a good idea to keep some handy. Do remember though that this should never replace brushing your teeth and you should return to this (with your own brush) as soon as you can.

Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet

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Causes Of Plaque And Tartar

Don’t neglect your gums recommends Foxhall Dental hygienist, Clementine Hynes

oral hygiene equipmentFrom a very young age we are encouraged by our parents and schools to take good care of our teeth and to brush them well twice a day. This is good advice but unfortunately the gums are rarely mentioned at this age. This is unfortunate as habits learned early on in life tend to stay with us as we grow up.

As a result of the focus largely being on the teeth, many of us start to get a buildup of tartar on our teeth and especially around the gum line. This can lead to gum disease as well as tooth loss if not managed better.

What is plaque and tartar?

Plaque and tartar sometimes get confused and although they are similar in some ways, they are not the same. Plaque is very common and, in fact, we all produce plaque every day of our life. It is a thin film of bacteria, both good and bad, which coat our teeth during the day and night. In itself, it is not especially harmful as long as we maintain a good cleaning regime. Whilst we may not notice plaque; if you go to bed dehydrated and wake the next morning with a white gooey substance around your teeth and gums, that is plaque. It builds up especially in warm dry places and a dry mouth is the perfect environment for that.

Tartar contains bacteria but also minerals from the saliva. Unlike plaque, which is a soft substance, tartar hardens and attaches itself to our teeth and especially on the gum line. This presents a problem in two ways; firstly, it is almost impossible to remove simply through brushing your teeth and secondly, it creates a rough surface which additional bacteria can collect on, to say nothing of substances that can cause tooth discolouration.


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Family Dentistry – Something For All Ages

From baby to grandparent, Foxhall Dental helps families to have healthy and attractive teeth

Big familyOur Ipswich dental practice has been here for over 50 years now. In that time, we have treated thousands of patients including some that came to us when they were very young and are still registered with us well into their later life.

As the practice has evolved, we have also increased the number of treatments that are available so that you can not only have healthy teeth, but attractive ones too, thanks to the range of cosmetic dental treatments that we have available.

Although we all need general oral health care throughout our lives, there are some problems that can arise at various ages. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at some of the problems, and potential treatments for them, as we go through life.

Babies and very young children

We always advise that you bring your children to see one of our child friendly dentists at around the age of one year old. It is unlikely that there will be any problems at this age but it does help them to get used to being in a dental practice. It is thought that this helps to reduce anxiety about visits which will stand them in good stead in the future.

Young children

Once your child’s teeth start to come through, it is important that they are monitored. There can be a tendency to pay less attention to these as they will eventually fall out quite naturally anyway. Good health in ‘milk teeth’ is important though. Apart from not wanting your child to suffer from a painful toothache, premature loss of a first tooth can cause the adult teeth to erupt in a crooked manner. This could then require the use of orthodontics to straighten them.

Later childhood

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Is A Coffee Habit Harming Your Teeth?

With coffee shops open again, many are gradually returning to daily visits

Gum disease checkIt is not so long ago that having a coffee outside your own home would invariably mean a mug of ‘instant’ at a cafe, especially if you lived outside the major towns and cities.

These days though, coffee shops are everywhere in the UK; indeed, there are estimated to be in the region of 30,000 of them and they appear to be gaining in popularity by the day.

Coffee shops have been popular in the past and were often frequented by artists and intellectuals. These days they are more accessible to the rest of us and may provide an alternative meeting place for those who don’t wish to drink alcohol, whether for health or religious reasons.

Whilst coffee itself is not directly harmful to our teeth, the speciality drinks and snacks that often go with it, can be.

The ‘problem’ with coffee

As mentioned above, coffee itself will not cause any actual harm to our teeth. It can stain them though and a frequent espresso drinker may find that their teeth become quite badly discoloured over time. This can be treated at the Foxhall Dental Practice by using our popular teeth whitening procedure, but if the staining is too heavy, you may need to consider having porcelain dental veneers fitted instead.

The real issue with coffee is that few of us drink a non sugar version, and indeed, many of the ‘speciality coffees’ offered in these premises are likely to contain very high quantities of sugar. To take just one example, a ‘Mocha Latte’ in one of the well known coffee chain stores, contains 14 teaspoons of sugar, and that isn’t the worst offender! As we add creams and syrups to our drinks, the amount of quantity we consume increases. If we also add a blueberry muffin from the same store, we add another 10 teaspoons of sugar. In total then, one of these coffees and a muffin will give us 24 teaspoons of sugar, an incredible amount. To put it into perspective, a can of coca cola contains around 9 teaspoons, so our coffee habit there is the equivalent in sugar of drinking just under 3 cans of cola.

If this were an occasional treat, we could perhaps let this go as long as we generally look after our teeth well. As we know though, many people do this almost every day, or at least a few times each week and this habit is likely to lead to a great deal of tooth decay and gum disease.

Whilst our Ipswich dental team can help to restore teeth damaged in this way, it is better to be aware of the damage that our coffee habit can cause and make choices that help to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.


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Do You Have Confidence In Your Teeth?

Are your teeth unhealthy or don’t look good? Here are the solutions….

double dental implantAs we get older, and perhaps even more so if we haven’t always taken good care of our teeth in our earlier lives, some of us will be aware that our teeth are not functioning quite as well as we would like.

Teeth that have been filled can remain reasonably strong but there is little doubt that some teeth with larger fillings may feel more vulnerable than a healthy natural tooth would.

Teeth that have worn away over time, perhaps due to tooth grinding or enamel erosion, or teeth that are a little wobbly, may also not feel as strong as we would like them to be and we may find that we are conscious of them and feel insecure when we are eating.

As food offers one of the pleasures in our lives and provides important nutrients for good health, it is a little worrying that we might find ourselves avoiding eating certain foods because we find them ‘challenging’ or that the difficulty we find in eating them removes the enjoyment.

Restoration of damaged teeth

At the Foxhall Dental Clinic in Ipswich, whilst we do believe in treating problems in as minimally invasive way as possible, there does come a time when patients might want to explore more advanced options to resolve an ongoing problem. An example of this might be a tooth whose filling keeps coming out. This can be caused by a number of things including size, age and location of the filling. If a filling does come out a couple of times, we are likely to wonder when it will happen again and it can make us a little nervous about eating.

A filling is a common and relatively straightforward dental treatment, and this is why it is most often used where decay or a breakage to the tooth has occurred. It is not the only available solution though and if it is causing you problems, there are opportunities to have other treatments that, whilst slightly more invasive, offer a stronger and longer lasting alternative.

Dental crowns

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