The next time you have a check-up….
Here at your Ipswich dental practice we have a thorough list of things we check when you come in for a checkup; like symptoms of mouth cancer, signs of tooth decay and any evidence of bite problems. However, we can be aided in our efforts to help ensure your optimum oral health if you let us know certain things when you come in to see us.
The more we know, the more informed we are about your dental health needs. We can then create a detailed and unique care plan to suit your individual oral health needs. Dr Avina Gandecha from our clinical team advises 10 key things to tell your dentist next time you have a checkup:
1. If You Have Been Having Any Oral Pain
If you have been experiencing any oral pain, it is important for us to know so that we can find out the cause. Even sensitive teeth are usually sensitive for a reason. If we know you have pain in a specific area, we can investigate it for you.
2. If Your Gums Have Been Bleeding
Bleeding gums is a common sign of gum disease which can be more easily treated once it is identified in the early stages. If the disease develops it becomes much more serious and can lead to tooth loss. The sooner you tell us about this symptom the better your long term prognosis.
3. If You Are Pregnant
We need to know if you are planning on becoming pregnant so that we can do any dental work and diagnostics beforehand. If you are pregnant already we need to know so that we can understand your unique needs during this time. Any information about vitamins, medications, specific health advice from your doctor, cravings and morning sickness is information we need to know.
4. If You Want To Improve Your Smile
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Many people drink alcohol to some extent, but is this really harmful to our oral health?
You may have noticed in some of our Ipswich dental practice blogs, that alcohol is often mentioned alongside smoking when discussing certain problems, such as gum disease.
Whilst the majority of us would acknowledge smoking to be harmful, something that is now well established in fact; we may feel more ambivalent when it comes to alcohol. Although not everybody drinks, many of us do drink in moderation and may not feel that the little we consume could cause significant harm, especially to our teeth and gums.
Inevitably, the odd drink here and there will be less harmful than if you drink heavily each day. Even if you are a light drinker though, it is worth understanding the different ways that alcohol can affect your oral health.
Regular consumption of alcohol is likely to have a negative effect on your gum health. As many of us will know, alcohol causes dehydration and very often leaves us with a dry mouth in the morning. When you wake up like this, you may also notice a sticky ‘goo’ in your mouth. This is actually a collection of bacteria, and, although these bacteria are always present in our mouth, when our mouths are dry, they multiply much faster. The increased number of potentially harmful varieties can soon lead to gum disease if this is a frequent occurrence.
Linked to the increased number of bacteria is the possibility of halitosis. Whilst the smell of stale alcohol on the breath is unpleasant, it is nothing compared to the offensive odour of halitosis. The gases expelled by these bacteria, along with the smell of decaying soft tissue, can be very unpleasant indeed.
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Can certain sounds and sensations actually have a physical effect on our teeth?
Probably everyone has different sounds that set their teeth on edge, as the saying goes. One of the most common examples of this is the sound of fingernails being scraped along a blackboard. Does this actually have anything to do with the health of our teeth though?
Taking a break from looking directly at the procedures available at our Ipswich dental clinic, our Foxhall Dental Practice team attempt to answer this question.
From a number of research projects, it appears that this particular sound has a frequency which is very similar to the cry of a baby or someone screaming. The conclusion drawn from this is that this sound becomes impossible to ignore and may be linked to a very old warning signal of distress, helping the survival of young babies and adults in trouble.
There are other theories too. One of which suggests that our reaction to this sound is due to the shape of our ear canal.
There is much research on the topic but none of it appears to relate to our teeth. The general consensus is that the term originates from the phrase to ‘edge the teeth’ meaning the sensation of sensitivity when we eat something acidic, such as raw rhubarb. A similar phrase has also been found in a version of the bible from 1382 and is mentioned at least once by Shakespeare.
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Good oral healthcare advice for younger patients.
A recent report has stated that on average, children are having to wait for over 250 days for a hospital appointment to have their rotten teeth extracted.
There are two points to this problem. Firstly, no parent should want to see their child in pain for anywhere near that length of time, and, secondly, in most cases, having to have teeth extracted in hospital, could often have been avoided with better oral care.
It really is not that difficult to avoid most tooth decay and whilst some areas of the teeth may be a little trickier to clean than others, a bit of persistence and practice, should help.
A good teeth cleaning regimen is the basis for healthy children’s teeth. Don’t be surprised if your child is not a fan of doing this though, that is far from unusual. For younger children especially, you should supervise them to make sure that they clean their teeth correctly. Also, remember that once they have cleaned their teeth at night, you should not give them any further food or drink, apart from water. Doing so will mean that sugars and acids remain on their teeth all night whilst they sleep, increasing the likelihood of dental problems in the future.
Benefits of a dental hygienist
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When done by a professional, your teeth can be whiter in just one hour.
Teeth whitening is now quite a big business which can be seen by the number of ‘teeth whitening’ toothpastes now available and which are growing at a very fast rate.
Naturally, when some people buy these they may expect to see spectacular results. Unfortunately, this won’t happen as the amount of the whitening ingredient allowed in them is heavily restricted by law for safety reasons.
The only way to have your teeth whitened to any significant degree is to have this done by a qualified cosmetic dentist, such as those at our Ipswich dental practice. There are two types of whitening treatments currently available; the custom home whitening kit and a ‘one visit’ teeth whitening treatment. Both of these produce equally great results.
This treatment involves impressions being taken of your teeth and trays made from these to fit you comfortably and securely. You will then be given a whitening solution, along with instructions, so that you can whiten your teeth at home. This involves wearing the trays for a few hours a day for around two weeks to achieve the whiteness that you are aiming for.
It should be noted that these do differ from shop bought whitening kits in two ways. Firstly, in a shop bought kit, the trays will be a general size and not made for you individually. This does increase the risk of the bleaching agent leaking onto your gums and lips, potentially causing irritation. Secondly, and similarly to toothpastes, the quantity of whitening ingredient is much lower than that provided by a dentist, and will therefore produce less successful results for most people.
In-house teeth whitening
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Why the condition of your jawbone is important for implant placement.
Nobody plans to have dental implants whilst they have a healthy and full set of teeth.
But as we know, this may not last forever and tooth loss may occur either naturally or as a result of an accident. In this case replacing your tooth with a dental implant will be easier if your jawbone is generally strong and healthy.
In addition to ensuring that the jaw is suitable for dental implants, should you need them, a strong jaw bone also helps with talking and chewing food too. Some factors which cause bone loss in the jaw may also affect other bones in your body, so an overall approach to good bone health is likely to be generally beneficial to the health of your body.
What causes bone loss?
It is well established that we need a sufficient intake of calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy and this is readily available in dairy products. For those who don’t consume dairy products, such as vegans, an alternative source should be sought.
In addition to calcium, there are two important vitamins that help to keep bones strong. These are vitamin K2 and vitamin D. Vitamin K2 can be obtained through sources such as liver, eggs and some cheeses, whilst vitamin D can be obtained through sufficient exposure to sunlight and is also found in cereals, orange juice and tuna, amongst other foods. The vitamin D also helps the absorption of vitamin K2. Generally, if you eat a healthy diet, you should not need to take supplements, but you may wish to discuss this further with your GP.
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The ‘amalgam question’ and answers from our Ipswich dental team.
The use of amalgam in dental fillings has been around for a very long time now. It is a very strong material that offers a high degree of functionality and is long lasting.
From a patient perspective though, it is also very dark in colour, due to the metal compounds used in it, and is therefore highly visible. For some patients too, there is the question of the use of mercury in this material.
In this week’s Foxhall Dental Practice blog, we look at some of the most common concerns amongst patients regarding the use of amalgam fillings for dental cavities.
It is a fact that mercury is a toxin. This does not mean that it is dangerous for dental patients though and the General Dental Council has deemed that it is safe as a component of an amalgam filling. For those patients of our Ipswich practice who prefer to avoid the use of amalgam though, we are able to offer an alternative in white dental fillings instead, whether for safety concerns or simply for a more natural appearance in order to enhance a smile.
Removing amalgam fillings
Some patients concerned about the mercury aspect of amalgam have asked us whether they should have them removed. This is, of course, the prerogative of the patient but it is worth noting that removing them may actually be more problematic than leaving them in place in some cases. Whilst we make every endeavour to keep all risks to a minimum, it is important that patients are aware of this so that they can make an informed decision. We will discuss the various aspects with you before any treatment begins.
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Awareness is growing about this potentially deadly form of cancer.
Although not one of the more common cancers in the UK, mouth cancer is still diagnosed in around 18 people in the country every day. Over a year, this works out at around 6.5 thousand people whose lives may change significantly. Although most of these will be treatable, some patients will unfortunately die from it. Given the seriousness of this situation, it is increasingly important to have a six monthly check up at the Foxhall Dental Practice to monitor your oral health, not just your teeth and gums.
Men especially, are more likely to develop mouth cancer, although this may be due to factors such as lifestyle. With good care though, the risk of having mouth cancers can be minimised.
In addition to increasing the chances of tooth loss through gum disease, smoking is a leading cause of oral cancers. Approximately two thirds of those who have mouth cancer are smokers, or have smoked in the past. Even if you don’t smoke but inhabit smoking environments, this will add to your risk factors. If you are considering stopping smoking but taking up chewing tobacco; don’t. This magnifies the risks by around fifteen times!
Whilst the occasional drink should cause few problems, excessive drinking has been linked to around a third of all oral cancers. If you drink heavily, this is another reason to at least cut back to reduce the risks.
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Modern dentistry has come a long, long way.
It is a fair assumption that few people actually look forward to their dental appointment, unless perhaps they are excited about getting a brand new smile. For the majority, there is a realisation that this is a necessary oral health check that will help them to have healthy teeth and gums, and hopefully prevent any serious oral health issues from developing.
For other patients, a dental visit can be a nerve wracking experience. Even though we do our best to help patients to relax at the Foxhall Dental Practice, it is inevitable that some will struggle to overcome their anxieties.
Why do we worry?
Our mouth is very close to all of our key senses; sight, sound, smell etc. This means that we experience all these senses very closely when having our mouth examined or having treatment. We may well also have heard tales from other dental phobic patients about how painful their treatment was. In most cases, this is likely to be exaggerated to some degree and the fact is that feeling pain during any procedure is unlikely. Given the effectiveness of modern anaesthetics and precision dental tools, pain is very unlikely, although a mild level of discomfort is quite possible for some more complex treatments. For most patients though, it is likely to be an unfounded fear of imminent pain, rather than any real discomfort.
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Have you ever wondered what happens in our mouth whilst we sleep?
Almost from the moment that we wake up in the morning, our mouth is always on the go. Whether eating, drinking or simply speaking to others, it rarely stops working. So, at night, when we sleep, you would imagine that it simply rests with nothing happening until we wake in the morning. This is not the case though.
A number of things happen in our mouth whilst we sleep, and, as you will see, having fresher smelling breath is not the only reason that we should clean our teeth in the morning.
A ‘gooey’ mouth
Have you ever woken up with the unpleasant feeling of having a sticky gooey substance in your mouth and wondered what was causing it? If so, you probably won’t be pleased to hear that this is, in fact, a collection of bacteria that has grown overnight. It isn’t a pleasant feeling and does give a certain encouragement to brush our teeth sooner, rather than later. Generally, this ‘goo’ or plaque as it is known, increases when we have a dry mouth, perhaps through dehydration or through drinking and smoking. If this happens on a relatively regular basis, the risk of gum disease is heightened and a thorough inspection by the hygienist at the Foxhall Dental Practice is recommended.
Whilst some foods can leave you with bad breath in the morning; if yours is persistent, this may be due to the increased bacteria that eat away at food debris and even the soft tissue of the gum. As they do so, they expel gases and it is often this that is the cause of smelly morning breath.
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