Bradley and Partners
St Peters House, 2 St Peters Lane,
Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2BP

Part Two Of Our Dental Terms A-Z

Continuing our series of dental terminology explanations.

Bradley and Partners LogoLast time, we took a look at some of the dental terminology that you may have heard at our Canterbury practice up to and including the letter ‘I’.

Today, patients of Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic can continue to learn more about some of these terms, starting with the letter ……..

J – Jawbone – Not a huge choice here and most of you will know what the jawbone is.There are separate terms for the upper and lower jaw which you may occasionally hear though. The upper part of the jaw is called the ‘maxilla’ and the lower part the ‘mandible’. Bone loss in the jaw following extraction or tooth loss can cause other teeth to move and may result in crooked teeth. Some patients may also suffer from jaw problems, often caused by teeth grinding. These are known as ‘occlusal’ problems.

K – Keratinised gingiva – Not one, perhaps, that you will hear too often but this refers to the thicker gum tissue around the neck of a tooth. Keratin itself is a protein that makes up the external layer of our skin as well as our hair and nails.

L – Local anaesthetic – Most of you will be familiar with this term and it is necessary to apply this before many dental treatments. To do so without would cause the treatment to be too painful to perform. It is applied via a fine needle into the gum around the tooth to be treated. Many people say that they dislike this as it hurts when it is given. In reality though, you are unlikely to feel much sensation as it enters the gum and any discomfort comes from the anaesthetic entering the bloodstream, a necessity to make the area numb so that the procedure can be carried out with minimum discomfort.

M – Molars – These are the teeth at the very rear of your mouth. They have a predominantly flat surface which allows you to chew your food. They are very strong but, being at the back of the mouth, are more difficult to keep clean. You should always try to clean at the back of these, including the use of floss.

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Your A-Z Of Dental Terminology

An alphabetical guide to the world of oral health for our Canterbury patients

Bradley & Partners Dentist LogoAs experienced dentists, as with many other professions, it can become all too easy to slip into using terminology that we understand but which may sound strange and possibly even concerning to the patient sitting in the chair. Some of the dental terms that we commonly use are at least vaguely familiar to most people, but this isn’t the case for all of them.

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we want you to feel relaxed about your care and treatment, and to help with this we have compiled an alphabetical list of terms that you may hear when you come for your check up or for treatment with us. Naturally, not all terms will be listed here and if you do hear us mention a word that concerns you, please do ask your dentist; they will be happy to explain it to you as best as they can.

So .. here goes

A – Amalgam – For many years, this has been the most commonly used dental filling. It is made from a combination of metals including tin, silver and mercury. It is a very strong filling material that lasts a long time although it can shrink slightly over time, potentially leaving gaps where bacteria can enter. Many of you are now moving away from amalgam fillings due to their high visibility and opting instead for natural looking tooth coloured fillings.

B – Bonding – Bonding can be used in cosmetic or restorative dentistry. It requires no invasive treatment and involves moulding a resin to the tooth. It can be used to reshape a tooth or even to fill one in some situations. It is not the strongest option available though and can discolour.

C – Calculus – Although this term is still used by dentists, you are perhaps more likely to hear it referred to as ‘tartar’. This is a combination of hardened bacteria and minerals which can build up on the teeth and around the gum line. It creates a rough surface which not only attracts staining but can also attract more bacteria too. If it is not removed, it may increase the risk of decay and gum disease. It can be removed by a dental hygienist using a scale and polish procedure.

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Looking After Children’s Teeth During Lockdown

Parents have a lot of additional pressure at this difficult time, but do take care to keep an eye on children’s oral care.

children with good teethWe don’t know how long we will be in lockdown, but indications are that it will be a little while yet, and although there are calls for schools to reopen as soon as possible, it is likely that children will be learning from home for several weeks to come.

This can put a lot of extra strain on parents, especially if they need quiet time to work from home too.

With all the added pressure, it can be all too easy to let things slip a little and take our eye off the food and drinks that our children are consuming and if they are cleaning their teeth or not.

We may have made a conscious decision to allow a little leeway with our children at this time. After all, they are probably struggling too. Online lessons aren’t quite the same as ‘in person’ teaching and they will be missing their friends as well; instead watching TV for much of their stimulation. In all likelihood, they will spend quite a bit of their time feeling bored, and when this happens, they are more likely to reach for the biscuits or sweets. As our Canterbury dental team are all too aware, this kind of habit can soon lead to tooth decay, with parents then also having to cope with a child possibly with severe toothache.

Treating kids

Before we look at ways of helping to keep your kids teeth healthy at this time, it is worth reminding you that medical and dental intervention is more difficult to access quickly at the moment. Given that young children may have to go into hospital to have a tooth extracted, we are sure that, given the current situation, it pays to do all that we can to avoid this if at all possible.

How to keep kid’s teeth healthy

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Your Cosmetic Dentistry Options In 2021

Your local Canterbury dentist offers thoughts on the journey to an attractive smile

Patient after cosmetic dentistry2020 is now finally behind us and many of us will be hoping for a better year ahead. Despite the somewhat shaky start to the New Year with the storming of Capitol Hill and the large number of Covid cases and deaths in the UK, things will hopefully get better as we move forwards into the year.

By the time that Spring arrives, most of the more vulnerable people should have had their Covid vaccinations and although there may still be some restrictions in place, we should start to see improvements and may finally be able to socialise with friends again to some degree.

Many of you will have been working from home during the lockdowns and you may have spent less money than you normally would due to restrictions on eating out and on taking holidays. If you have been fortunate enough to save some money, now could be your opportunity to have the cosmetic dentistry you have been promising yourself to gain that elusive, attractive smile.

Initial consultations

If you are considering having a smile makeover, the first step is to arrange an initial consultation at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic. During this, we can discuss what you hope to achieve and examine your teeth so that we can determine the best treatments to use for your specific needs. We will also discuss costs at this stage and, for those who require it, we also have a range of dental finance plans to help you to spread the cost of your treatment.

What procedures you will need will depend on your own situation. Below, we take a look at some common dental problems and the potential solutions for our Canterbury patients.

Missing teeth

This is probably the most visible problem that you can have, especially if it is one of the ‘social six’ teeth at the front of the mouth that are visible when you smile. Although dentures can still be used to replace a missing tooth, or teeth, dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular option, and for good reasons. Not only do implants look natural, but they also offer a greater degree of stability and strength. This is because, unlike dentures, they provide an artificial tooth root as well as a crown. They can be used to replace teeth individually, or a few may be used to secure a bridge where a number of consecutive teeth are missing.

We have an experienced team of implant dentists who will be able to guide you through the procedure and answer any questions that you might have about this excellent treatment.

Crooked teeth

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A Festive Dental Quiz

How much did you learn from our blogs this year?

Bradley & Partners CanterburySo, we have come to the final blog of 2020! What a year it has been and as things currently stand, doesn’t appear to be getting any better.

We were initially going to offer advice on how to look after your teeth this Christmas – why you should brush your teeth, avoid chocolates etc, but finally decided to offer a quiz to try to offer a little light relief from the current doom and gloom.

All of the answers to these questions will have appeared in our Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blogs this year so hopefully you have been reading them. Let’s see how well you do. The answers are at the bottom of the page … no cheating now!

Q.1 – What is Bruxism and name 2 types of damage that it can cause

Q.2 – Aside from possible accidents, name 2 negative effects that drinking alcohol can have on your oral health, especially if you drink to excess

Q.3 – Why do older teeth tend to be more dull and even yellow, even in non smokers?

Q.4 – Dental implants are commonly used to replace individual missing teeth but can also be used to replace multiple teeth, including a full arch. Can you name what this procedure is commonly called?

Q.5 – What is a diastema?

Q.6 – Bad breath can be caused by what we eat, but if it is persistent it can have its roots in a particular oral health issue. What is it?

Q.7 – Name the type of filling used in a root canal procedure

Q.8 – What causes sensitive teeth?


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Prevention And Management Of Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth can cause a lot of discomfort, but it is manageable. Canterbury dentist, Lucille Illingworth explains more

tooth painLittle is more unpleasant than when your teeth come into contact with ice cream or a steaming hot cup of tea when you suffer with sensitivity. This is a condition that affects many thousands of us in the UK and it can be caused by many things, some of which are preventable with a little care.

In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blog, we will take a look at some of these causes and also at some ways that you can help to manage, and even reverse, the effects of sensitive teeth.

Why are some teeth sensitive and others not?

Essentially, if you have sensitive teeth, it is often because the dentin layer has become exposed. This layer is porous and allows temperature signatures to reach the nerves much more easily. This in turn sends a signal to our brains which leads to us experiencing  pain and discomfort.

There are a number of reasons why this can happen and an obvious way is if a tooth is broken or even cracked. This is why we always recommend that you have a tooth examined by one of our Canterbury dentists if it has received a blow. You may not be able to see any damage yourself, but if there is a fine crack for example, not only does this make it more likely that you will experience more sensitivity, but it also exposes an area where bacteria can enter. Tooth decay is probably not far behind unless you have the tooth restored.

An increasing problem that can lead to sensitive teeth is enamel erosion. The number of cases of this has grown over the years, quite likely in line with our increased consumption of drinks that are high in both sugar and acids. These will damage and thin the enamel, causing the dentin to be more exposed to extremes of temperature. Avoiding, or at least reducing foodstuffs like this, in addition to brushing your teeth gently rather than forcefully, will help to protect the enamel on your teeth.

Finally, gum disease can cause the gums to recede and expose the less well protected roots of the teeth. Make sure that you look after your gums by brushing them lightly, as well as using floss and keeping regular appointments with our hygienists.

Management and restoration of sensitive teeth

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Avoiding Root Canal Problems

Diligent dental care at home and regular check-ups help to avoid invasive dentistry

Dentist with x-rayWe have discussed before why you shouldn’t be afraid of root canal treatment in a previous blog linked here. Like all invasive treatments though, it is much better to avoid the need to have them in the first place if you can. Sometimes, this might be unavoidable, for example if damage is done to the tooth which is caused by an accident. Most dental problems don’t occur quickly though and deterioration of the tooth structure can take some time.

Root canal problems occur, as you would imagine, in the roots of the tooth, and there is usually good opportunity avoid problems like this with appropriate oral care. In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blog, we look at some ways that you can reduce the risk and hopefully avoid the need for root canal therapy.

Home care

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums clearly depends on how well you look after them at home. From what you eat to how you clean your teeth plays a very important part in preventing significant dental issues.

Protecting the enamel on the exterior of your teeth is essential as it is this layer that gives protection to the more vulnerable dentin layer below it. Once acids and bacteria reach this part of the tooth, the troubles really begin. It is important then to do all that you can to keep the tooth enamel healthy. There are five essential rules for this.

  1. Avoid eating too many sugary or acidic foods and drinks
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride (this strengthens the enamel). Do not eat or drink anything but water after your night time brushing
  3. Use floss to clean the spaces between your teeth. This is where enamel often becomes damaged and decay occurs
  4. Make sure that you have a regular appointment with one of our Canterbury dentists to have your teeth checked
  5. Have your teeth professionally cleaned (scale and polish) with our hygienist

If you follow these five basic guidelines, you will be helping to minimise the risk of significant oral problems, including root canal treatment.

Professional care

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Has A Second Lockdown Added To Dental Anxiety?

Covid lockdown – is it adding to your stress levels and affecting oral health?

dental check upWe are now almost a week into the second national lockdown. This is due to end on December 2nd although some experts believe that it will either extend, or that there will be some significant restrictions still in place, perhaps roughly equivalent to what existed in Tier 3. Although there has been some good potential news surrounding a possible vaccine success, this is unlikely to be available to most of us for a while and the announcement may not yet have done a great deal to lower the stress levels of some of our Canterbury patients.

Dental anxiety is one of the main reasons that some patients avoid seeing a dentist at all and it doesn’t take too much imagination to realise the potentially catastrophic consequences of this. Although many dental phobics take as much care as they can to have healthy teeth, nearly everyone will suffer from minor issues with their teeth and gums at some point in their life. For many of us, this might be a couple of small fillings, but if not treated at an early stage, this can lead to much more significant problems down the track.

Preventative care

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we offer our patients preventative oral care both in the form of six monthly checkups and appointments with the hygienist. Both of these elements are very important when it comes to keeping your whole mouth healthy.

Check-ups allow us to detect early stage problems and treat them quickly before they become more serious. Hygienists not only advise on how to look after your teeth and gums better but also provide a ‘scale and polish’,  a non invasive treatment that removes hardened bacteria and minerals from the tooth surface and the gum line. This plays an important role in the prevention of gum disease and its associated symptoms, including painful gums, bad breath and even, potentially, tooth loss.

Most early stage interventions and professional cleanings cause very little discomfort, if any at all. Those who choose to avoid even this stage of treatment run a very real risk of having poor oral health and are likely to require more significant intervention as problems progress. If you are generally anxious about seeing a dentist, this is not good news!

Reducing your anxiety levels

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Bad Breath? Could Poor Oral Health Care Be The Cause?

Halitosis causes an offensive smell that can mean people avoid being around you!

Oral inspectionA few years ago, an article came out in a dental magazine which investigated the smells that people in the UK found to be the most offensive.

Whilst halitosis, or bad breath, only gained a ‘bronze medal’ in third place, the degree to which people actually found it to be a really offensive smell can probably be indicated from the gold and silver winners which were, in order of ‘merit’, babies nappies (with added poo) and sewers on a hot day.

Given the ‘stench factor’ of these two, it should leave us in no doubt how bad halitosis really is.

There can be many causes of bad breath, with some being temporary and, whilst stinky, completely harmless. A good example of this is the classic ‘garlic breath’. This might smell but is entirely harmless and will vanish in time if you don’t eat any more of it. Not all bad breath is like this though and, if persistent, it may well indicate that you have an oral health problem.

Persistent bad breath

If you have been told that your breath smells, probably by a close friend, or you notice that people are taking a step or two backwards as you speak to them, it is probably time to have this investigated. We know that bad breath can make you feel embarrassed about seeing a dentist, but you shouldn’t be and we can assure you that our Canterbury dental team is used to helping patients tackle smelly breath by treating any underlying issues.

There are a number of possible causes of halitosis that we see at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic. Not all of these necessarily require treatment. Occasionally, for example, we find that a piece of food has become trapped it is this that is causing the odor. This is easily removed and that may be all that is needed.

Far more common in cases of persistent bad breath caused by poor oral care is gum disease. Whilst there are other symptoms of gum disease, bad breath may be the one that you might feel most reluctant about getting checked. Please don’t be; if your breath smells on a regular basis, please make an appointment to see us.

Gum disease

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Smoking And Its Effect On Dental Implants

Smoking, both before and after treament, could be devastating for your new implants

Diagram of a dental implantIt seems like a lifetime ago now, when pubs were full of smoke and doctors sometimes suggested smoking as a way to ease stress. With advertising of cigarettes now banned in many arenas, and a ban on smoking in pubs etc, this definitely seems to have encouraged more and more people to quit.

This is obviously a good thing, not only from a health perspective, but even a 20 a day smoker would now be spending around £4,000 a year, an amount that would buy a very nice holiday indeed. Despite all this though, there are still thought to be in the region of seven million smokers in the UK. Many of these will develop general health issues because of it and will also be at significant risk of poor oral health.

General oral health issues

Before we move on to discuss smoking’s relation to dental implant problems, it is worth taking a brief look at some of the main general issues that smoking can cause in relation to your oral health.

Gum disease – Smokers are at a much greater risk of gum disease than non smokers. A combination of chemical irritants and dry mouth are at least partially responsible for this. In addition to this, nicotine narrows the already tiny blood vessels in the gums which help to supply the blood flow and help healing. Infections are therefore also more likely.

Bad breath/halitosis – The smell of cigarette smoke on someone’s breath is not attractive. The worst of the smell though often comes from poor gum health (see above) and can be very unpleasant indeed.

Oral cancer – Although not the most prominent cancer; oral or mouth cancer, can have devastating effects. In some cases it can lead to facial disfigurement and even fatalities. We always look for possible signs of this during your check up at our Canterbury practice and will refer you to your GP for further investigation if we see anything of concern.

Smoking – Implications for implant placement

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