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

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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Beware Of ‘Cost Cutting’ Cosmetic Dentistry

Cheaper is often not better and can easily lead to additional problems!

tooth painWith the Covid-19 situation and with just 3 months to the post Brexit trading arrangements, it probably isn’t surprising that most papers are forecasting tougher times to come for a lot of us in the UK. This won’t come as a surprise to some people who may already be looking at ways of cutting the cost of their outgoings. This might apply to planned cosmetic dental treatments too.

In this earlier blog we discussed the risks involved in choosing cheap dental implants by going abroad for treatment.

Planning to have dental implants, whether here or abroad, often means quite a lot of deliberation and research. There are other treatments though, which may be decided upon a lot more quickly and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are also a number of companies moving into these markets offering ‘cheap’ products.

Teeth whitening

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic in Canterbury, we offer a fast acting teeth whitening treatment for £350. This is one of the most cost effective ways of improving the whiteness of your teeth but even so, some people might be tempted to look at other options.

As we have mentioned before, teeth whitening toothpastes will offer little, if any, significant benefit and over the counter products are not as effective as those that we offer due to the limits on the amount of whitening ingredient allowed in them.

There are newer ‘self whitening’ products now on the market which are often seen advertised on social media and aimed at the younger market, perhaps hoping that the influence of programmes such as ‘Love Island’ will encourage people to buy. Again though, the success of these will be limited by their legal obligations and you shouldn’t expect miracles.

Perhaps the biggest danger is that some may be tempted to use illegal teeth whitening outlets. Although teeth whitening now has to be supervised by a qualified dentist, there are still places offering this treatment. Some of these operate just about legally, using loopholes to get around the law, whilst others just take their chances. In both cases, the staff are likely to be only partially trained if at all, and there have been a number of cases of teeth being badly damaged through the incorrect use of the whitening ingredient. This can lead to very sensitive teeth and, in some cases, even tooth loss.

For a really effective improvement in the colour of your teeth, our trained clinicians are your best, and safest, option for a nicer, whiter smile.

Teeth straightening

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Maintaining A Healthy Weight For Better Oral Health

Diet and lifestyle choices that contribute to obesity can also negatively impact your teeth and gums

gum problemsSome of you may have seen a recent report suggesting that obesity increases the chances of dying from Covid-19 by 48%. Whilst this is headline making news, it has been known for some time that obesity poses a serious problem for our health more generally.

Linked with many medical issues, including heart disease and diabetes, there are strong arguments for a national strategy to reduce the extent of this problem.

What has largely been less well publicised is the harm that being overweight can do to your teeth and gums. Although any damage here may seem less serious than the heart for example, the reality is that teeth and gums that are in poor health can dramatically reduce the quality of life for people in this situation.

Diet

Anyone who has been around for more than 20 or 30 years will have seen a real change in the way that we eat. Although sweet and sugary foods were eaten years ago, the quantities and the way they are eaten have certainly changed a lot. Whereas cakes or puddings were eaten after a meal, this type of food is now widely available in the high streets. Add to that chocolate bars and sweets that are much more heavily advertised on TV, and there is little wonder that there is an obesity problem.

The same applies to our meals in general. In days gone by, we would have eaten three meals a day, with the vast majority of these being home made. Nowadays, we tend to ‘graze’ throughout the day, not allowing the enamel on our teeth to recover. In addition to this, many ready made meals are much higher in sugar than you would expect, even savoury foods.

Problems arising from obesity that affect oral health

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Common Problems With Front Teeth

Fixing problems with damaged front teeth for a healthy and attractive smile

dental check upAlthough all of our teeth are important and should be well looked after, it is probably fair to say that most of us are more concerned about the teeth at the front of our mouth.

These are  sometimes called the ‘social six’ teeth and are the ones that are most visible when we speak or smile.

Whilst these are perhaps less prone to decay as they are easier to keep clean than the rear teeth (though decay certainly can occur if we don’t clean them well), they are vulnerable to a number of problems, some of which can make a detrimental difference to our appearance.

In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blog, we will take a look at some common issues with the front teeth and how our Canterbury dental team can help you to protect and restore them where it becomes necessary.

Knocked out teeth

Let’s start with the most dramatic of all. Anyone who plays contact sports is at a higher risk of this, but front teeth can be knocked out through collisions and falls as well. If you do play a sport or take part in an activity where there is a significant risk of this, please do consider wearing a mouth guard to help protect your front teeth. Where a front tooth or teeth are knocked out, the only option is to replace them. Dentures and bridges are options that are available but we recommend that you seriously consider dental implants. As your front teeth are visible, these will provide the most natural looking and secure replacement option.

Broken teeth

Broken front teeth are not uncommon, often for the reasons mentioned above. Smaller chips to the teeth may be restored using cosmetic bonding or possibly even veneers. For more significant breakages, a dental crown is the most likely option. These will provide a natural appearance whilst restoring both strength and functionality to the damaged tooth.

Discoloured teeth

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Has Lockdown Affected Your Skin?

For those who find their skin has lost condition, our facial aesthetics treatments can help

Patient after cosmetic dentistryIn earlier blogs we have discussed some of the adverse effects that lockdown may have had on our teeth and gums. The same is potentially true for our skin where a lack of fresh air, poor diet and the general stress of the virus situation may well have taken its toll.

We may not have thought about this too much whilst our social life was restricted, but now that things are opening up again, most of us will want to look our best when we go out to meet friends and family in a social situation.

To help you avoid any comments about how your appearance might have aged during lockdown, you may wish to take advantage of the facial aesthetic treatments that we offer at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic in Canterbury.

The effects of lockdown

An all round healthy lifestyle is essential if you want to have great looking skin. Under normal circumstances, this would include plenty of fresh air with a reasonable, though not too much, amount of sun. Good hydration and minimal alcohol and a diet high in fruits and vegetables will normally help you to keep your skin vibrant and fresh looking. Of course, with the various restrictions that we have been under, most of us probably spent more time indoors with very little sun. We may also have found that our diet worsened too with more ‘comfort foods’ being eaten to help us through the challenging times. All of these are likely to have had an impact on our skin.

Those of you who are regular patients at our Canterbury facial aesthetics clinic and who have wrinkle reduction treatments with us on a regular basis, will have missed out and may have found that the lines and wrinkles that you were managing quite well have now returned.

What can you do?

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Why Older People’s Teeth Tend To Lose Their ‘Sparkle’

And what your Canterbury dentists can do to help regain it….

White teeth and smileGrowing older and the changes that come with it, are something that, with a bit of luck, we will all have to deal with. Some of these changes can be positive, such as having a sense of what we want from life. If we are on a career path or have healthy savings, we are also more likely to be able to do some things that we couldn’t achieve when we were younger or had young families.

Ageing does come with it’s ‘costs’ though, and we will all notice changes in our appearance as the years go by. The first signs of grey hairs and a few wrinkles on our face offer a clue that we are not as young as we once were, however we might feel in ourselves.

One sign of ageing that we probably don’t notice as much ourselves as others do when they see us, is the colour of our teeth. As we get older, our teeth tend to lose the whiteness of previous years and can appear to be ‘yellowed’ and lacking in that brightness they had before.

What causes this discolouration?

It is a common misconception that the only reason that teeth become discoloured is due to staining. It is true that this can cause significant issues and is a common cause, but it is not the only one. Ageing will also cause this, but whereas most staining takes place on the enamel surface of our teeth, the darkening in colour that we experience as we get older, occurs in the layer below that.

The dentin layer

Beneath the hard protective enamel exterior of our teeth lies a softer and more porous region known as the dentin area. This is a darker yellow coloured material that also allows sensations such as hot and cold to travel through it to the nerves in the root canals of our teeth. From a dental point of view, this is why we need to keep the enamel strong and healthy as once the dentin layer is exposed, bacteria can enter and lead to tooth decay and root canal infections.

Even with healthy enamel though, this area of the tooth starts to darken as we get older and this will start to show through the translucent enamel layer. Erosion of the enamel may cause this to happen earlier than if we have kept it healthy, and of course, any additional staining of the enamel will make the appearance of our teeth much worse.

What can we do about it?

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Is now the time to replace those missing teeth?

See how dental implants can be potentially life-changing

single dental implantThe Covid-19 situation has been terrible in many different ways. In addition to the large number of  tragic deaths, many people have been hit with financial worries and other anxieties. Not everyone has struggled so much though and some of you may not have found it quite as difficult and may have even saved a little money over the past few months.

Until recently, we were not allowed to eat in restaurants or take weekend breaks away and  some of us may find that we weren’t spending as much as before. Many holidays abroad will have been cancelled too and even though we can fly now, albeit with some restrictions, it is likely that many of us will decide not to risk it and may decide to put the money saved to other uses.

Opportunities

If you are one of these people, this could be the perfect opportunity to consider your options to replace any missing teeth with dental implants. Whilst many may still opt to wear dentures, simply because they are the cheapest option initially; with money you may have saved during lockdown, this could be an ideal time to invest in a longer term tooth replacement option that offers an excellent degree of strength and stability.

Why not dentures?

Dentures work well for some people. They are much improved aesthetically on older types and many now offer a greater degree of comfort than previously. They are typically the cheapest option at the outset and also usually require little or no dental surgery. Why then are an increasing number of people abandoning their dentures for dental implants? The simple reason is that implants offer more strength and security and look and feel as close to a natural tooth as is currently possible. Dentures, on the other hand, can have a tendency to move in the mouth when eating or speaking and some wearers find that they limit their choices of food accordingly.

Individual and multiple tooth replacement

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