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

Dental Implants – Clear Benefits For Older Patients

See how Canterbury residents are taking advantage of the latest teeth implants….

Implant retained denturesHaving written about children’s oral health in our previous blog, it seems only fair to take a look at a treatment that can be hugely beneficial for the older generation. As we now generally live to an older age, we find that we also want to remain active for as long as possible.

Whilst we do have to accept some limitations on our abilities as we get older, it doesn’t mean that we should have to put up with things which can cause us problems when we don’t have to.

One example of this is that many older people do lose their teeth, or at least some of them. There are many reasons why this might happen including poor oral care and other age related issues such as reduced saliva flow which can increase the risk of gum disease and potentially lead to tooth loss.

Losing a number of teeth means that many will resort to dentures. These have improved over time but some people do still find them restrictive and even uncomfortable as they may have a tendency to move around in the mouth, rubbing against the gums. If your dentures are unstable, you are also likely to resign yourself to not eating some of the foods that you really like, replacing them with softer and easier to eat foods.

It doesn’t have to be this way and a tooth implant placement at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic can revolutionise your later years.

What are dental implants?

Very briefly, as these have been covered more extensively in other blogs, they are a replacement tooth that consists not only of the crown, but also an artificial tooth root (it is actually this part that is the dental implant). The use of a replacement tooth root means that, once placed and integrated with the jaw, they remain strong and stable in the mouth for a very long time.

Can older patients have them?

Absolutely. In fact, anyone whose face has developed sufficiently can have a dental implant placed. There are certain conditions that have to be met though, otherwise a prior procedure might be needed before the treatment can begin.

Are you a suitable implant candidate?

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Healthier Teeth For Your Children With Gentle Dental Care In Canterbury

Getting kids used to seeing a dentist early is important for their long term oral health

children with good teethAs adults, most of us acknowledge that we need to see our dentist on a regular basis, even if it is some way down our list of favourite things to do. Anxiety about dental visits can start from an early age and is just one of the reasons why children need to be introduced to the dental practice environment from a young age.

With good home tooth care and ongoing supervision, perhaps with early intervention where problems occur, getting your child into the habit of seeing a dentist from a young age can play a major role in them having healthy teeth and gums throughout their adult lives.

Start them young

The general advice is to bring your child to our Canterbury dental clinic from around the time of their first birthday. Although it is very unlikely that any intervention will be needed this soon, it is a good opportunity to learn ways that you can help to look after their young teeth. A visit at this age will also help them to become accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of a clinical environment. This may well help them to avoid the anxiety that many children feel about seeing a dentist, as they grow older.

Later starters

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Are Your Teeth Sensitive To Hot And Cold?

Why sensitive teeth can lead to significant discomfort

tooth painMost of us will occasionally feel a twinge as we bite into something really cold, like an ice cream. This usually lasts for a very short period of time and causes us no long term problems.

For some people though, this sensitivity is an ongoing issue that can cause quite a lot of discomfort and may discourage them from eating or drinking hot or cold foods and drinks.

With a rise in consumption of ‘sports drinks’ which are very high not only in sugar, but in acids too, we are seeing a growing number of patients at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic who complain of this problem.

What causes sensitive teeth?

There are a number of possible reasons why people might have sensitive teeth. One of these is genetic as some people simply have a much thinner layer of enamel on their teeth than normal. This is unfortunate but there is nothing that you can do to prevent it. However, there are options to help you overcome this which we will discuss later.

Quite commonly, overly sensitive teeth are caused by damage to a tooth, or teeth. This can be due to a crack or chip in the tooth which has exposed the dentin layer beneath it. This is a problem, not only because of the discomfort, but the fact that the dentin is exposed means that there is a very real risk of tooth decay or even root canal infections not too far down the line. Even if you think that your tooth sensitivity is manageable, you should have it checked by one of our Canterbury dentists to make sure that there is no significant damage.

One of the most common reasons for sensitive teeth though is due to enamel erosion which wears away the outer protective part of the tooth and leads us to experience sensations of hot and cold in a more extreme manner. It can be caused by a number of things such as the drinking of highly acidic drinks. Teeth grinding (bruxism) or even excessive brushing can have the same effect too.

Pain management

Once your enamel has eroded, it won’t grow back and, unless you have treatment, this is something that will persist. The only real way to ‘manage’ any discomfort is either through avoiding very hot or very cold drinks and food or by using a tooth sensitivity toothpaste which blocks some of the sensation from reaching the nerve endings in the tooth that causes the discomfort. Some people do take painkillers but we would generally not recommend this as a long term solution.

Treating sensitive teeth

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Seasonal Habits That Are Bad For Your Teeth

A change in seasons can have an impact on our teeth advises local Canterbury dentist

Nervous dental patientSummer seems to be trying to hold on by the skin of its teeth, at least for now, but most of us will have noticed the first signs of autumn appearing. That early morning ‘nip’ and the gradual browning and falling of leaves tells us that colder weather is certainly on its way and we can pack our tee shirts away for a few months at least.

Whilst each season brings its pleasures and problems, it might pass you by that they can also have an affect on our teeth and gums as we make changes to adapt. Here at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we have put together a few things which we feel might have an impact on your teeth as Autumn starts to take hold.

Increase in sugary ‘comfort’ food and drinks

As the colder weather arrives, the chances of us eating and drinking colder food and drinks also recedes. After a long autumnal walk, the first thing we are likely to do when we arrive back home is to make ourselves a nice warm drink. Quite often these will be ‘boosted’ with additional sugar or ‘extras’ that contain it. A thick chocolate drink is high enough in sugar on its own, but increasingly, they are topped with extras such as whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate. Whilst the odd treat may not do too much damage, it is best not to make a habit of this and to look for alternatives to warm you up.

Instead of these high sugar drinks, why not make a quick soup before you go out so that it is ready to eat when you get back home? It will warm you up and also provide useful nutrition whilst avoiding the high sugar content of many ‘warming’ hot drinks.

Tooth sensitivity

This is a significant problem for a lot of people, many of whom have probably been dreading the end of summer and will not be looking forward to the cold wind passing over their teeth, causing them to wince in pain and discomfort. Much tooth sensitivity is caused by enamel that has been damaged, possibly through the consumption of too many acidic and high sugar drinks. Excessive brushing can also cause this, but either way, significant discomfort can result.

There are options available for our Canterbury patients who suffer from this problem. One long term solution would be to have your teeth restored with dental veneers which replaces the damaged enamel and provides a protective layer that shields the more sensitive parts of the teeth from the cold autumnal winds. It is also a good solution longer term because veneers can last for ten years or more when cared for properly.

If you don’t wish to have this procedure, another option is to try a ‘sensitive teeth’ toothpaste which helps to ease any discomfort. This might help but will depend on how severe the problem is.

Bonfire toffee and Halloween sweets

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Teeth Whitening – An Affordable And Effective Way To A More Attractive Smile

Ask a Canterbury dentist about this popular cosmetic treatment

White teeth and smileThere was a time when we simply accepted that our teeth looked less attractive as we grew older. Most people’s teeth would discolour and take on a yellowish shade.

This was often accentuated by the fact that, at one time, many people in the UK smoked.

Times change though and whilst some still do smoke, it is in ever declining numbers. People too, are generally more aware of their appearance and are prepared to take action to improve it rather than simply leave it to the ravages of time.

Whilst sweating it out in a gym or pounding the early morning streets can help to tone the body and improve our fitness, there is an easier way to give yourself a more youthful appearance by whitening those teeth that are not as bright as they once used to be. The most effective and safest way of doing this is to have a teeth whitening procedure at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic.

What are the benefits?

There are clear and obvious benefits to having a whiter set of teeth; namely, their appearance. A whiter, brighter smile in itself is enough to lift our spirits a little, especially after what has been a difficult time for many of us. Others will notice the improvement too and, as it is said that people are attracted initially to a nice smile, you may find yourself attracting new friends.

Although most people do have a teeth whitening procedure to improve their smile, many of our Canterbury patients have told us that they have also found a new self confidence and no longer felt the need to avoid smiling in public for fear of revealing a set of dull and discoloured teeth.

How affordable is it?

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Gum Disease And Tooth Loss

Ignoring early signs of gum disease could result in losing teeth

gum problemsIt has long been instilled in us by our parents that it is important that we brush our teeth. This is good basic advice and although taking good care of our teeth is a little more sophisticated than that, it is a great start.

It is only more recently though that good gum health has been widely recognised as equally important and it is a message that we hope parents will take on board when supervising their children whilst they clean their teeth.

The fact is that whilst brushing our teeth is important to stop tooth decay and the often painful toothache that sometimes goes with it, gum disease is equally serious. We will look at some possible symptoms shortly but it is worth noting that symptoms can be minor or barely noticeable at all in some cases, which is why it is important that you see our Canterbury dental hygienist to make sure that your gums stay in good health.

What causes gum disease?

Gum disease is largely caused by potentially harmful bacteria in our mouth getting out of control. In a healthy mouth, we flush much of this away with saliva, but sometimes our mouths are dry; often in older people and those who smoke or drink alcohol. This creates a problem in that it allows the number of bacteria to grow rapidly. These then attack the soft tissue of the gums and we may notice some of the symptoms starting to appear.

As the problem advances, some of the bacteria combine with minerals in our saliva which then form a hard ‘crust’ on the teeth and around the gum line. This is known as tartar or calculus and forms a rough surface which then attracts yet more bacteria. Before too long, the problem starts to get out of control.

The two main stages of gum disease

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Oral Cancer – Helping Our Canterbury Patients Stay Safe

Mouth cancer can be life changing or even fatal. But there are things that you can do to help avoid it….

Dentist with x-rayAt the Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we believe in whole mouth health. This means that not only do we help you to keep your teeth healthy, but also the soft tissues of the mouth too. Whilst the focus is often on gum health, with gum disease being a serious problem that can result in lost teeth, there is a very real threat to all of the soft tissues in the mouth and that is oral, or mouth, cancer.

In the UK each year, it is estimated that there will be around eight thousand new cases of mouth cancer diagnosed each year; a number that appears to be on the increase with around 50% more cases than ten years ago. In addition to these figures, just over 2,500 people are likely to die from it on a yearly basis. Whilst treatment can be effective, especially when detected early, it can also leave the patient with life changing facial disfigurements and problems such as difficulty with speech, or with swallowing their food.

This all sounds very gloomy and, of course, should be taken seriously, but there are certain things that both patients and dentists of our Canterbury dental clinic can do to minimise the risk of suffering from this awful disease.

Lifestyle risks

Three of the biggest factors that contribute to a heightened  risk of oral cancer are largely within our own control. Improving our oral health is likely to mean changes to our current lifestyles; changes that might be difficult for some, but will ultimately be worth it for improved health.

Smoking – This is one of the biggest risks not just for oral, but other types of cancer too. Thankfully, less people smoke these days and you will no longer be the odd one out if you don’t smoke. That doesn’t mean that it has died out though and there are still thought to be in the region of seven million smokers in the UK. Unfortunately, some of these will be younger people who may not fully realise the risks that they are taking. This is especially so as they may also be at a higher risk of oral cancer due to other factors.

Alcohol consumption – The odd glass of wine or pint of beer is unlikely to do any significant harm, but readers of our blogs will know that drinking alcohol often causes a dry mouth and a subsequent increased risk of gum disease. Because of a lack of saliva, bacteria that affect the gums and other soft tissue are allowed to thrive instead of being washed away.

Whilst many teenagers are looking to a healthier lifestyle than their parents and grandparents, there are still a significant number who drink to excess, probably too often for their own good. Especially when combined with smoking, this heightens the risk of poor oral health.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – Whilst oral cancer once used to be linked almost entirely to smoking and alcohol, HPV is now thought to be responsible for around one in every four cases of mouth cancer and every three of throat cancer. Unfortunately it is perhaps not that widely talked about as it is largely transmitted through oral sex. This may explain why it is now the major cause of oral cancer in younger patients who may well be more sexually active and with a number of different partners.

HPV will not give you cancer directly, but causes changes to occur in the cells that it infects which may then lead to them becoming cancerous. To minimise your risk if you are sexually active, you may need to consider reducing your number of partners and practice safe sex. There are also vaccines available, so please ask your GP for advice.

What you can do

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Bruxism – Damaging To Teeth And Difficult To Control

Grinding our teeth whilst we sleep can cause long term damage

tooth painThere are a number of things that can cause harm to our teeth and gums. Some of these, such as eating too much sugar, can be controlled with a little bit of willpower. Others, like bruxism, are not so easily controlled yet can cause a large amount of damage in just a short period of time depending on the severity.

In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blog, we will discuss the nature of teeth grinding and how we can help you here in Canterbury.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is simply the grinding of teeth. Whilst this can occur when we are awake, if we are sufficiently stressed or angry, it mostly occurs whilst we are asleep. This makes it very difficult to keep under control. There are a number of theories as to why this happens but most believe that it is due to stress and that the grinding of teeth is a subconscious outlet for our anxiety. We may not even realise that we do this and some of the damage may occur over a long period of time. This is not always the case though.

What damage can it do?

The most significant damage that bruxism can cause is the breaking of teeth. This usually only happens if the teeth are already weak and/or the grinding is particularly aggressive. Teeth have been known to fracture and break when it is this severe. More common though is the gradual wearing down of the enamel. This still causes problems though with tooth sensitivity and vulnerability to tooth decay being particular problems. In addition to this, worn teeth are also more prone to breaking than healthy ones.

Another issue that many teeth grinders suffer from are TMJ problems. The TMJ (or temporomandibular joint to give it its correct name) is essentially the hinge that allows us to open and close our mouths. Usually this happens more or less in an up and down motion but when we grind our teeth, this joint is placed under a lot of undue stress, moving it into positions that it was not meant for. Over time, this can lead to not only a painful jaw, but also headaches and other facial pains.

Can it be prevented?

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Seven Benefits Of Dental Implants

Why an ever increasing number of people are turning to this excellent tooth replacement technique

Diagram of a dental implantThere are essentially four options available for anyone who loses a tooth, or a number of teeth. These are leaving the gap as it is, having dentures, having a bridge fitted or having a dental implant placed. We don’t recommend the first option as leaving a gap in the teeth, however unnoticeable it is, is not a good idea and can lead to issues such as misaligned teeth over a period of time.

Both dentures and bridges have been around for a long while and both fulfill the role of replacing a missing tooth to some degree. Neither are without their drawbacks though, with dentures sometimes being uncomfortable and potentially unstable for some wearers, whilst a bridge can require healthy teeth to be prepared so that the bridge can be attached.

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we believe that, in most cases, dental implants offer the best option for our patients. They do require some minor dental surgery, followed by a longer healing time, but overall this relatively modern treatment provides perhaps the best long term solution for replacing missing teeth.

Let us take a look then at some of the most significant benefits of having dental implants to replace missing teeth.

Longevity

Although implant placement is a fairly lengthy procedure compared to most dental treatments, it also provides a long lasting solution to the problem. Unlike many teeth restorations which may need replacing after a few years, dental implants can last for twenty years or more once they have become successfully integrated with the jaw bone. This will depend largely on how well you look after them but fortunately this is quite straightforward to do and requires no fiddly cleaning, unlike dentures for example. We will look more at the cleaning of implants a little later.

Strength and stability

Whilst dentures and bridges offer a certain level of strength, they come nowhere near to the strength of teeth implants. This means that, once fully integrated, you can use your dental implant exactly as you would a healthy natural tooth. This strength is also related to the stability of the tooth. Whilst dentures can sometimes move around in the mouth a little, the implant replaces the root of the missing tooth and provides an extremely secure anchor for the crown to be attached.

Comfort

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Enhance Your Smile With Dental Veneers!

Boosting smile aesthetics with this popular treatment in Canterbury

Dental hygiene check upA 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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