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

Remote Dentistry – The Future, Or A Risk To Our Teeth?

Will a time come when you don’t have to visit your local dentist?

Dentist with x-rayGoing to the dentist for a regular checkup has become routine for most of us, or at least had until the start of the pandemic. Gradually, as dental practices return to normal, this will start to happen once again. Those of you who use social media a lot though may have noticed what seems to be an ever increasing number of dental treatments that are offered with some degree of remoteness.

As we become more accustomed to technology and given that most of us would like to save time where possible, could this be the future of dentistry, or is this something that might be more problematic for our Canterbury patients?

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we value the face to face meetings with our patients. Not only does this allow us to physically examine your teeth and gums, but also helps us to put you at ease. With nervous patients, for example, they might be reluctant to tell us of a problem as they want to avoid treatment. Detecting these problems though and talking them through any procedures can really put them at ease and help them to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Let’s take a look then, at some of the types of ‘remote dentistry’ that you may have heard about.

Initial virtual consultations

During lockdown, some dental practices have used video communications to hold consultations with their patients.  Whilst few would probably want this as an alternative to physical visits, they have certainly been useful during this last year or so. The question is whether these are likely to continue once things return completely to normal. In our opinion, there may be a use for this type of remote care. It could potentially save time for both patient and dentist where an initial consultation could be held remotely. Although in most cases, this may well also require a follow up visit to the dentist, it could remain useful for initial consultations, and especially cosmetic ones.

We feel then, that the use of this technology will almost certainly have a role to play but will not completely replace the traditional visit to your dentist.

Remote treatment

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Time For A Smile Makeover?

Not sure how to bring out the best in your smile? Let our Canterbury dental team help!

Patient after cosmetic dentistryAlthough we may not be entirely out of the woods yet, there is little doubt that there is more optimism in the air than at this time last year. Some of you will, no doubt, have had your first post lockdown pint or taken part in some other activity.

The more pleasant and sunnier days have probably also helped to lift our spirits as well.

It is usually around this time of the year when people start to look at ways to renew their life with new clothes, healthy eating and other things that make us feel good about ourselves. With restrictions in place for local dental practices for the last year or so, we know that many of you also can’t wait to do something about making your teeth look nicer again as well.

Some of you may have managed to save some money during the pandemic as you couldn’t take holidays or go to restaurants etc. You might wish to consider spending some of this on a smile makeover at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic.

What is a smile makeover?

A smile makeover is often not a single treatment but can be made up of a combination of treatments depending on the patient’s needs. Most of us probably have an idea of how we’d like our teeth improved; often something as straightforward as having them whitened; but for the best results, you should arrange an appointment with one of our cosmetic dental team so that we can assess and discuss your needs with you. In addition to working out a treatment plan to suit your budget and requirements, we will also check your teeth and gums for any problems that might be present. You wouldn’t, for example, fit dental veneers to a tooth that had a cavity. Gum health too will be checked and treated so that you have a healthy mouth before any cosmetic dental treatment can start.

Treatment options

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Osseointegration – Its Role In Dental Implant Placement

Without this natural process, dental implants would not be the success story that they are.

Diagram of a dental implantBy now, most of you who read our blogs regularly will be aware of dental implants and why they offer benefits that other tooth replacement options can’t match. Implant placement is a field of dentistry which is growing in popularity with our Canterbury patients, and with good reason.

Although the initial part of the process is quite sophisticated and requires minor surgical treatment; once they have become established, and with good care, teeth implants both feel and act like a natural tooth and can last for twenty years or more.

The quality of the implants used and the skill of the dentist is, of course, very important, as is the aftercare they receive. One of the most important parts of the process though is something that occurs naturally and that is the process of osseointegration.

What is osseointegration?

This is a term that patients of Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic probably won’t hear too much from our team, but it is key to a successful implant placement. It is the process of the artificial implant fusing or bonding with the bone in the part of the jaw where it has been placed. It is not only used in implant placement but in more general medical situations generally. For example, it has been used in the provision of artificial limbs as a method of securely attaching these to the patient in order to provide additional stability. This should give you an idea of the strength that this process provides to an artificial tooth.

Osseointegration is described on Wikipedia as a ‘direct structural and functional connection between living bone and the surface of a load-bearing artificial implant’. All that this means is that the implant is placed directly into the bone which then ‘accepts’ and ‘integrates’ the implant as part of its own structure. It does this by gradually building and fusing bone around the implant until it has, in effect, become one with it. This provides an extremely strong bond and much more than, for example, simply screwing the implant into the bone would do. Once fused, and with good care, there is no reason that the implant should be able to become loose.

Is this a recent discovery?

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Don’t Neglect Your Gum Health!

Politely reminding our Canterbury patients about the importance of looking after your gums

Woman flossing teethWe hope that you enjoyed our recent three part ‘a-z’ of dental terms, and in today’s blog, we return to one of the basics of good oral care. Most of us know how to look after our teeth well, and hopefully do so on a daily basis. There are still a significant number of people though who pay much less attention to their gums. This is a mistake that can not only lead to some unpleasant symptoms but can even result in tooth loss if neglected for too long.

As we approach Spring, and hopefully the gradual easing of restrictions to our lives caused by the pandemic, this seems as good a time as any to start thinking about getting back into a good routine when looking after our oral cavity. Presuming that you do already brush your teeth well, let us take a look at the whys and hows of looking after your gums.

Why gums?

Although we tend to suffer pain most when it is our teeth that are affected, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore our gums. Indeed, gums can become painful too if they become infected. They can become swollen, sore and may even bleed when we brush them. These are amongst some of the more noticeable symptoms of gum disease. You shouldn’t wait until your gums are uncomfortable. Gum disease can be ‘silent’ and you may not even be aware that you have it, especially in the early stages.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, halitosis is a common problem. One of the biggest concerns though is that when infection reaches an advanced stage (periodontitis), it can affect the bone in which your teeth are secured, causing teeth to become loose and wobbly and quite possibly eventually leading to tooth loss.

How to look after your gums correctly

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Final Part Of Our A To Z Of Dental Terminology

Concluding our explanation of dental terms that you might hear during your visit to our Canterbury clinic

Bradley & Partners CanterburyToday’s blog wraps up our A-Z series of things that you might have heard a dentist say but were not sure what it meant. We hope that you have found this useful and, as they say, normal service will be resumed with our next blog.

In the meantime, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these and please remember that the dentists at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic are always happy to explain anything to do with your treatment that you don’t understand.

S – Scaling (periodontal) – Also sometimes called ‘root scaling’, this is a treatment for advanced gum disease (periodontitis), when the bacteria has not only affected the gums but the roots of the teeth and potentially the surrounding bone as well. It is an invasive treatment that has to be carried out by a suitable qualified dentist and shouldn’t be confused with the regular ‘scale and polish’ which the dental hygienist carries out. Another ‘S’ worth briefly mentioning too is ‘suture’; this is simply another name for a stitch.

T – TMJ or Temporomandibular – This refers to the ‘hinge’ of your jaw that allows the mouth to open and close smoothly. It can be affected by dental problems such as an incorrect and uneven bite as well as teeth grinding. In some cases where these habits occur, problems in this part of the jaw may lead to clicking of the jaw and even headaches. These can sometimes be prevented with a mouthguard which helps to prevent teeth grinding whilst you are asleep.

U – Unerupted tooth – This is a tooth which has not erupted as it should and may be causing discomfort or may have become infected. This most commonly occurs with the very rear teeth that are often referred to as wisdom teeth. These impacted teeth can sometimes be difficult to extract and a surgical procedure may be necessary in a small number of cases.

V – Veneer – Teeth veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment that can also be used to protect enamel damaged teeth from sensitivity to both hot and cold. Whilst a teeth whitening procedure is the first choice for those seeking a whiter smile, veneers may be more appropriate where heavy staining has occurred or where teeth are chipped and cracked. Most long term dental veneers are made from porcelain.

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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?

Answers

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