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

Keeping Your Teeth Strong And Healthy In Later Life

Advice for our Canterbury patients who are progressing in years

Bradley & Partners CanterburyWhen you are young and healthy; as long as you take good care of your teeth and don’t eat and drink too many tooth damaging foods and drinks, there is a good chance that your teeth will be strong and healthy with minimum intervention from a dentist. As the years pass though, you might find that you start to notice issues that you hadn’t before. In the same way that we tend to feel more aches and pains as we become older, we can also suffer from unexpected dental issues.

In today’s blog we take a look at what you can do to maintain healthy teeth and gums as you become older, and also the role that Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic can play, helping you with restorations and cosmetic improvements where required.

Wear and tear

The reality is that the longer we have our own teeth, the more wear and tear they will inevitably be subjected to. Even the best looked after teeth can suffer small amounts of damage such as a barely noticeable chip. As time goes by, these can add up and may affect the appearance and even the strength of the tooth, potentially causing it to become even more damaged after a while.

Although this may feel inevitable, it isn’t necessarily so and even if it were, there is still much that you can do to make sure it happens as late on in life as possible, keeping your own natural healthy teeth for longer. The best way to do this is to make sure that you have an efficient cleaning regime which includes the use of a brush that is in good condition and isn’t worn and that you also use dental floss on a daily basis. Doing this will help to keep the enamel strong and therefore help to prevent minor damage to your teeth.

Don’t forget your gums!

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‘Turkey Teeth’ – An Unnecessary And Potentially Harmful Treatment?

Inspired by programmes like Love Island, young people are heading abroad for highly invasive cosmetic dental treatments

Nervous dental patientSome of our Canterbury patients may have seen recent news reports about the number of young people who have travelled abroad for highly invasive dental treatment, perhaps following the example of some  Love Island contestants.  Although we completely understand why people want to have the best looking teeth possible, this has to be weighed up against the risks of some of the treatments available and the actual need for the treatment to be carried out.

For example, a teeth whitening procedure is harmless if carried out by a qualified dentist and this can really give a boost to those with discoloured teeth. Other treatments, such as veneers, are more invasive and the need should be balanced against the outcome.

One of the main treatments that these people have been travelling abroad for, often to Turkey and therefore the name ‘Turkey teeth’, is to have multiple dental crowns fitted for cosmetic purposes and it is this treatment that we will look at in today’s Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic blog.

Are dental crowns a valid treatment?

Crowns have long been used for restoring badly decayed or broken teeth and offer an excellent restorative option, leaving natural looking results and providing a high level of strength and functionality. They can also be used for cosmetic purposes, although given the amount of natural tooth that needs to be removed for a crown to be fitted, the decision to have them for this purpose shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is the main problem with ‘Turkey Teeth’; highly invasive treatments are being carried out on young and healthy teeth. This can have a significant impact on the person’s life further down the line.

The rise of ‘Turkey teeth’

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Some Fun Facts About Teeth

20 useful and not so useful facts about the wonderful world of teeth

Oral inspectionMost of us probably only think about our teeth when we have a problem with them or, if we are lucky enough, when we admire our smile in the mirror before we go out for the day.

As dentists, we have been trained to be able to help you maintain healthy teeth and to treat them when things go wrong, but we are sure that even some of our dental team won’t know some of the more obscure facts about teeth that we have listed below!

With all the bad news in the world and as the weather is nice and sunny, we thought that we would compile this fun list for our Canterbury dental patients. We hope that you enjoy them….

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Five Ways That Water Can Help You Maintain A Healthier Mouth

Don’t underestimate the positive role that water can play in the health of our teeth and gums

Smiling peopleIn many ways, we have become accustomed to looking for technological solutions to all of our problems, from communication to saving the planet.

Technological advances are inevitable and important, of course, but it can also be very useful to go back to basics and look at the essentials in life, whatever area we are looking at. This even applies to dental care.

We are certain that our Canterbury patients approve of the various improvements in oral care over the years, from x-rays, higher speed and finer drills etc, but patients and dentists alike can also benefit from ‘going back to basics’ from time to time.

In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic blog, we are going to look at one of the absolute essentials when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. We are talking about H2O, better known of course, as water.

Brushing your teeth

This is perhaps the most obvious example of how water is used on a daily basis in home dental care. Most of us add a little water to our brush when we clean our teeth. Because we produce saliva though, there isn’t actually any need for us to add water although there is no harm in it either. One thing that is worth mentioning though is that you really should NOT use water afterwards to rinse your mouth. A lot of people do this but it rinses the fluoride away from the teeth, denying it the opportunity to strengthen the tooth enamel as it should. If you find that you do this, try finding a toothpaste that you like the taste of and don’t rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth; just spit.

Swilling the mouth

Despite recommending that you don’t use water after you have brushed your teeth, there are many occasions when it is a great idea to swill water around your mouth and then spit or swallow. When we consume food, it is almost inevitable that small particles of food will get trapped between your teeth or in the gum pockets. Whilst using floss will help to remove this, we probably don’t want to do this after we have eaten, especially in a restaurant. Swilling water around the mouth after eating is a great way to dislodge and flush out trapped food debris. Even if you don’t wish to leave the table and do this, even drinking water after a meal will help to remove food particles as well as washing sugar away from the surface of your teeth. It is important to remember that this doesn’t replace brushing and flossing and you should do this as normal.

Staying Hydrated

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Tooth Enamel – Its Role in Avoiding Sensitive Teeth

More about this relatively common problem

tooth painOur teeth are made up of three basic parts; the outer protective enamel layer, the more porous dentin layer that lies beneath it and the root canals of the tooth, where the tiny blood vessels and the nerves of the tooth are located.

Although we may worry more about our root canals as we know this can be very painful if infection happens, more focus, perhaps, should be put on the  enamel layer of our teeth.

The enamel layer is hard and not particularly sensitive and this is because it is designed to protect the internal parts of our teeth that are. Healthy tooth enamel is essential if you want to avoid other problems such as tooth decay, sensitive teeth and root canal infections. If the enamel becomes damaged or gets worn away, the potential for painful dental issues starts to increase significantly.

6 steps for healthy enamel

The most important thing that patients of Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic can do, of course, is to make sure that you have a good daily oral health regime with diligent brushing and the use of floss. One issue that can arise in the more overly enthusiastic is the overbrushing of the teeth. You simply need to brush gently for two minutes in the morning and last thing before going to bed at night. Brushing for longer and, even worse, brushing too hard or ‘scrubbing’ your teeth, is likely to wear down the enamel more quickly.

Avoid acidic high sugar drinks. Whilst we know that sugar is bad for our teeth, these drinks not only often contain high levels of this but also acidic ingredients. To make things worse, they pass directly over our teeth as we drink them. These types of drinks are best avoided if possible but if you must drink them, try to use a straw to avoid the tooth damaging liquids coming into contact with your teeth so much.

Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. In all likelihood, you are already doing this as most toothpastes contain this ingredient. Some ‘natural’ ones may not though and this can lead to problems as fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and a lack of it means that damage is more likely. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste to be on the safe side.

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Spring Into Summer With A Whiter Smile!

Cosmetic dentistry in Canterbury to make the most of your smile

Smiling couple good teethAfter a few minor hiccups, it appears as though spring has finally arrived, along with the promise of a more sustained period of sunshine ahead. Generally though, most of us will be looking forward to getting out our summer clothes and feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs. We are also likely to attend more social gatherings with others, such as barbeques and garden parties.

After months of looking at the weather and deciding to stay indoors watching box sets, the time has come to venture out and mingle.

What better time to take a look at a few of the ways that you can make the most of this by improving the whiteness of your teeth?

Home maintenance

Before we take a look at the treatments we have available at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic, it is worth reminding patients that they can help keep their teeth looking brighter at home as well. This will also help to maintain any new whiteness gained from a cosmetic dental treatment.

You should, of course, brush your teeth well. This goes without saying and not only will this help to remove some surface staining, but will help to keep your teeth and gums in good general health. There is little point in having attractive white teeth if you are suffering from gum disease. Try also to avoid eating and drinking too many products that contribute to staining of the teeth. Tea, red wine and dark berries are just a few examples of this. A quick internet search will help you with this.

Finally, please avoid any ‘teeth whitening tricks’ that you might find online. Whilst some of these are simply ineffective but harmless, some can be incredibly damaging to the teeth even though they may appear to be innocuous (the use of lemon juice to whiten teeth is a case in point).

Teeth whitening

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Why Do Some People Hate Going To The Dentist?

A look at some of the most common reasons for dental anxiety

Smiling person at the clinicAnxiety about a forthcoming dental visit is one of the main reasons for cancellations and even ‘no shows’. Thankfully, these are relatively small in number but even then are frustrating for both dentists and those who genuinely need assistance and could have taken the appointment if we had been informed in time. Most of all though, missed and cancelled appointments are likely to have a long term effect on the patient who made the cancellation or didn’t turn up.

Our Canterbury based team understands that dental anxiety is very real and that some patients experience a rise in stress levels when they come to see us. Thankfully, we have many years of experience of treating nervous patients and most find that they manage well once they arrive at our comfortable and relaxing dental clinic.

What then is it that causes this high level of anxiety amongst certain people? We take a look at some of the main reason in today’s Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic Blog post.

The build up

There is a well known book called ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. It is popular for one particular reason and that is that it addresses the key factor in anxiety. The fact is that we are still genetically predisposed to run away from dangerous situations. Sometimes these are genuine such as if there is a threat of violence, but equally, many of the situations are imagined. Dentistry is an interesting case in point. On the one hand, if we are due to receive treatment, we know that it will involve a certain degree of intervention, even for a straightforward filling. Our ‘flight or fight’ response then kicks in and some of us may cancel or not turn up.

For most people, this anxiety is overcome by the knowledge that the treatment will not be too uncomfortable as local anaesthetics will be used and we also know that leaving a problem like this will result in more extensive treatment later on. If you are ever tempted to cancel your appointment or not turn up for it, please give us a call and we will do our best to help you receive the treatment that you need whether this is a routine tooth filling or something more complex.

Sounds and smells

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The Impact Of Stress On Your Oral Health

How managing stress helps to prevent damage to teeth & gums

Nervous dental patientApril is Stress Awareness Month, and this year marks 30 years since its inception. It is difficult to say whether life is more stressful now than when the programme first started, but with the combination of recent events in the world, it is hard to imagine that it is not.

Stress will impact all of us at some point in our life. Sometimes this is transitory and passes after an event has occurred, but other times it can be something which we have to deal with and manage for a significant part of our life.

It is well established that stress can have a negative effect on our general health and can contribute to serious issues such as heart attacks. It is probably less well known that it can also have a significant impact on our teeth and gums too, and, in today’s blog, our Canterbury dentistry team explores this, explains the risks and how to prevent or restore damage caused in this way.

Teeth grinding

Perhaps the most obvious and occasionally extreme damage that stress can cause, occurs when we grind our teeth together. This is sometimes referred to as ‘bruxism’ and can range from mild to quite aggressive grinding. Unfortunately, much of this occurs during sleep and therefore makes it hard to control.

The impact it can have will vary depending on the length of time this period lasts and the strength of the grinding. Unfortunately, we have seen a range of the damage that it can cause here at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic. Possible issues are general wearing down of the teeth which can expose the dentin layer, meaning the risk of tooth decay is higher. This can also cause teeth to become more sensitive as well.  Severe and powerful grinding can even cause teeth to break or shatter if weak enough. Although this is less common than general wearing of the enamel, it can and does happen.

If you do grind your teeth, you may benefit from wearing a mouthguard at night but, where possible, it is better to try to reduce your stress levels where you can. This may be easier said than done but we will offer a few pieces of advice a little later on.

Tooth decay

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How Serious Is Gingivitis?

Our Canterbury hygienist team takes a look at the early stages of gum disease

gum problemsIt is often said that, during our lifetime, virtually all of us will suffer from gum disease at one time or another. This may well be caused by periods when we neglect our oral health a little, either because we simply choose not to bother so much, or perhaps when we are ill and lacking in energy and motivation to clean our teeth properly.

In most cases, the gum disease is likely to be reversed when we start to brush and floss correctly again, and, if this hasn’t been a long period, there is every likelihood that we may not even be aware that we have had it at all.

Sometimes though, we might go through longer periods of oral health neglect. This may be due to a lack of understanding on how to keep our teeth clean, or in some cases, almost deliberate neglect such as might be the case with a teenager going through their more rebellious stage. Either way though, once our gums have been neglected for a period of time, some early symptoms of gum disease are likely to be noticed.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the name for early stage gum disease. The more advanced stage is known as periodontitis and we will come to that a little later on. Although gingivitis is generally less serious than periodontitis, the symptoms should not be ignored and help from Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic should be sought as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration in your oral health.

There are many possible symptoms of gum disease, not all of which may be present. If any of the following occur though, please contact us to make an appointment and don’t let things become worse.

  • Sore or painful gums
  • Persistent bad breath (ie not caused by something you recently ate)
  • Pus between the teeth
  • Inflamed gums
  • Dark red gums
  • Tender gums, especially if causing discomfort when eating

These are just a few of the symptoms that can arise, but it is also quite possible that you will have no symptoms at all and this is why we strongly recommend dental hygienist appointments with us every six months.

Restoring gum health

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Dental Implant Aftercare

Teeth implants are straightforward to look after – here’s how….

single dental implantAs we’ve already mentioned in our Bradley & Partners Dental & Implant Clinic blogs, titanium implants are an increasingly popular choice for those who are looking to replace a missing tooth, or teeth. This is because they provide the patient with strong and stable solution that allows them to carry on eating as if they still had their natural teeth.

There is one other advantage that they have over dentures though, which we will consider here.

Hopefully, we all know how to look after our natural teeth but anyone looking to replace missing teeth should also consider how they will need to look after whatever option that they choose when the time comes.

Cleaning dentures

Whilst dentures are still the leading method of replacing missing teeth, they are not the easiest to look after. For a start, they have to be taken out of the mouth for cleaning. This is usually done by brushing them using special cleaning paste over a sink. Although it is recommended that this is done by placing a towel in the sink, just in case they are dropped, many people eventually let this slip and drop them on the hard surface, resulting in damage or breaking them completely. Although the dentures can be restored, it means that you will be without them for a while and it also adds to the ongoing expense.

Dentures also require overnight soaking before being returned to the mouth the next morning; a factor which can be inconvenient in some situations.

Cleaning dental implants

Dental implants require different cleaning at different times. Before we look at how to keep them clean once they are fully integrated into the jaw (typically around 3 months), let us look at the stages after they have been placed.

Stage 1 – When your implants are first placed, it is important that you take great care. You shouldn’t brush them initially and instead use a saline solution which is put in your mouth and ‘tipped’ over the implant. Our Canterbury implant team will provide more aftercare information at the time of your procedure.

Stage 2 – As the implant becomes more established, you may be able to start brushing them gently with a soft toothbrush. Again, the dentist will advise when you should commence this stage based on their observations during your post procedural checks.

Stage 3 – Once the implants have fully undergone the osseointegration process, the real benefits begin. Not only can you eat without worrying about their stability but you can clean your teeth exactly as you would if they were your natural teeth. Particular attention should be paid to the gums though, with the bristles angled towards them and flossing added to your routine if you don’t already. Professional cleaning by our hygienist every six months or so is also recommended.

What will happen if you neglect your cleaning?

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