Boosting smile aesthetics with this popular treatment in Canterbury
A smile can really lift our day and a great looking smile even more so. It is said that the first thing that most of us notice about other people is their smile, and we tend to be drawn towards those that do, rather than people who smile less. There can be many different reasons, of course, why some people smile more than others. Our health, money and relationship worries can make smiling more or less likely for periods of our life.
Another key reason why some people smile less than others is that they are embarrassed about their teeth. Even subconsciously, if our teeth are crooked or discoloured, we are likely to be more self conscious about them and probably smile less than we normally would.
Thankfully, with the range of cosmetic dental treatments available at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, there are a number of ways in which we can help you to improve your smile. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at one of these popular options in the form of dental veneers.
Origin of dental veneers
Teeth veneers were one of the first procedures to be used to improve the appearance of teeth. This happened during the Hollywood era when filmmakers discovered a problem when shooting close up scenes as many of the actors, as people did at that time, smoked quite heavily. This inevitably led to their teeth becoming heavily stained. This certainly wasn’t ideal when zooming in for a close up romantic shot!
To resolve this problem, California dentist Charles Pincus came up with the idea of dental veneers. Unlike modern ones, these were temporary and simply stuck onto the surface of the teeth for filming purposes only. It is thought that this is where the term ‘Hollywood Smile’ originates from. Over time, clinical research has enabled veneers to be used more widely and also improved both their appearance and durability.
Modern dental veneers
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Some tips and advice for our Canterbury patients on how to make dental visits less stressful
When we write our blogs, we know that some of them might only appeal to a relatively small number of you at any given time. For example, only a small percentage of you may be looking at ways to replace a missing tooth at that particular time. One topic that we do know will be of interest to a large number of you though, is dental anxiety.
Dental phobia is very common and probably almost as common as a fear of flying. There can be varying degrees of it though and most patients probably feel at least a tinge of apprehension when they come for an appointment. This level of anxiety is rarely enough to make them cancel their appointment however, and they will be able to receive the necessary care and attention.
Like at all dental practices, some patients of Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic will suffer from quite extensive levels of anxiety and this can lead them to avoid appointments, especially when they know that a treatment is going to take place. As we know, delaying treatment will only make the situation worse, with more extensive treatment almost certainly needed later on.
In today’s blog then, we are going to offer some hopefully useful tips which, whilst not probably completely eliminating all anxiety, should do so enough for you to receive your treatment in a reasonably relaxed manner.
Find your dentist
We know that different people will ‘click’ with certain dentists and not so much with others. We have many highly qualified and friendly dentists within our Canterbury practice and we are happy to help you to find the right one for you. For example, some patients are relaxed by a dentist who has a ‘chatty’ manner with their patients whilst others would rather they say as little as possible and get on with it. Neither approach is bad but it affects different people in different ways.
Bring something to help distract you
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Are too many people deterred from having their teeth straightened because they don’t want to wear braces?
Are you one of those people who looks in the mirror at your teeth and feels frustrated because they look good apart from them being uneven? If so, you are far from alone.
Whilst an increasing number of people are happy to have treatments such as teeth whitening which take a short period of time to work, some are put off the idea of having their teeth straightened due to the length of time they might have to wear braces.
Although there are some fast acting orthodontics, such as Cfast, that can provide solutions to minor problems in just a few months, many crooked teeth problems will require the patient to wear braces for a year or more. Understandably, this does put some people off.
Should you have your teeth straightened?
It might be tempting not to bother having your teeth straightened and to leave them as they are, even if they are crooked. The obvious disadvantage of this is the effect it has on your appearance, and crooked teeth can really spoil what might otherwise be an attractive smile. Fewer people seem to recognise the more practical problems of crooked teeth though. They are much harder to keep clean, and teeth that are very tight against each other or which overlap can lead to food and bacteria getting trapped in areas that are very difficult to keep clean. This may well lead to tooth decay and gum disease problems.
There is also the issue of incorrect alignment which can lead to uneven wearing of the teeth, leading to sensitive and even damaged teeth.
‘Braces’ have changed
At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we provide a range of teeth straightening systems for Canterbury dental patients that can straighten all types of tooth misalignment. Where more than a cosmetic improvement is needed, we generally use Invisalign orthodontics. Not only is this an excellent and reliable system, but offers many benefits for the wearer for the duration of the treatment. Unlike traditional dental braces that are made from wires and brackets and which have to remain in the mouth for the year or so of wearing them, Invisalign orthodontics are removable by the patient. This isn’t their only advantage either.
Discreet teeth straightening
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Highlighted by the BBC today, there are still many harmful cosmetic dental materials available online
Some of our Canterbury patients may have noticed an article on the BBC website today regarding potentially dangerous teeth whitening products being sold online.
This follows an investigation by ‘Which’ magazine who found that the worst of these contained quantities of the active ingredient which whitens the teeth and which is a form of bleach, to be 300 times above the recommended amount.
We will look at the issues around these treatments shortly but this is probably an opportune moment to appeal to our patients to remember that your teeth are not a solid block of material and shouldn’t be treated, for example, like a fingernail. Teeth are very complex and as those who have had a painful tooth will know, also have very sensitive nerves within them too!
Teeth whitening agents
The active ingredient in these products and also in teeth whitening toothpastes and the treatments that we use at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, is called hydrogen peroxide. It is a form of bleach that is safe to use by those who are professionally trained to do so; i.e. dentists. Whilst it is in teeth whitening toothpastes, it is there only in very small quantities and typically would not exceed 0.1%. As you can see, this is a small quantity which ensures that the toothpaste is safe to use. Unfortunately, it also means that anyone hoping to have bright white teeth from its use are likely to be somewhat disappointed.
The amount allowed is higher for specialised home teeth whitening kits that can be bought from chemists. Whilst small children are sometimes known to eat toothpaste, it is assumed that the kits will be less easily available to them in the home and therefore a higher amount of bleaching agent is allowed. This can range from a starting point of 0.1% up to 6%. This is also the maximum level that suitably trained cosmetic dentists can use.
Home or professional teeth whitening?
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Will a time come when you don’t have to visit your local dentist?
Going 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.
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Not sure how to bring out the best in your smile? Let our Canterbury dental team help!
Although 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.
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Without this natural process, dental implants would not be the success story that they are.
By 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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Politely reminding our Canterbury patients about the importance of looking after your gums
We 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.
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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Concluding our explanation of dental terms that you might hear during your visit to our Canterbury clinic
Today’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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Continuing our series of dental terminology explanations.
Last 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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