Advising our Greenwich patients to be aware of the dangers of illegal teeth whitening.
Some of you may have recently seen a BBC report that claimed that there has been a rise of 26% in the number of companies that are offering teeth whitening illegally.
Many of these are in the London area and therefore are of special concern to us for the protection of our patients.
At the Confidental Clinic, we take patient safety very seriously but unfortunately the same cannot be said about many of these outlets.
For a number of years now, it has been law that only a clinical professional registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) is able to perform this popular cosmetic procedure. Whilst most patients seeking whiter teeth will take this approach, there are some who either willingly or perhaps unknowingly, go down the illegal route.
What are the dangers?
Carried out correctly and by trained and experienced staff, teeth whitening is a very safe and non invasive treatment. This doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong though and there have been a number of cases where people have suffered at the hands of those who simply shouldn’t be carrying out this procedure. There are two key risks if not done correctly. Firstly, if the solution used is too high in strength, real damage can be caused to the teeth, and especially the nerves. This can lead to severe tooth sensitivity and potentially leave the patient in very bad pain for a long period of time. In some cases, the damage caused may even lead to tooth loss as well.
Another key danger is that of burning to the soft tissues of the mouth including the gums, lips and tongue. Whitening agents are a form of bleach and can burn. Our Greenwich dentists make sure that patients have their gums and lips fully protected when performing this treatment, minimising the risk of any irritation. Where the staff are not fully trained, this is not likely to be done as effectively and there have been many cases of patients receiving disfiguring burns to the lips and gums.
Why risk it?
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Options for replacing lost teeth at your local Greenwich dental practice.
If you are very fortunate, you might go through your whole life with a full set of natural teeth. ‘Good’ genes, good oral health care and an element of luck can help with this. For the vast majority of us though, tooth loss is an almost certain occurrence at some point in our life.
Unlike with our first teeth, once an adult tooth has gone, it is gone, and unless new technologies come along which enable it, a new tooth will not grow back in its place. This then leaves the dilemma of whether we should replace the missing tooth and if so, how it should be done.
Should you leave a missing tooth?
If you have lost a visible front tooth, it is almost certain that you will want to replace this as it will affect your appearance quite dramatically. The same doesn’t apply if you lose a rear and less visible tooth. Even in this situation though, the advice of the Confidental Clinic is that you should replace it. There are many good reasons for doing so including the fact that a gap in the teeth can cause other teeth to become crooked and it also sometimes means that we put additional pressure on other teeth, causing their premature wear.
How to replace your lost tooth
There are essentially three different methods that are commonly used to replace a missing tooth. These are dentures, a bridge or dental implants. We will take a look at the pros and cons of each of those now.
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Worn down tooth enamel can lead to this uncomfortable condition.
Have you ever winced in pain or discomfort when you have had a sip of a very hot or cold drink, or even found that breathing through the mouth on a frosty day causes your teeth to feel really uncomfortable? If you have, you will know how unpleasant having sensitive teeth can be.
This condition can be caused by a number of things including a cracked or broken tooth.
Probably more commonly though, it is caused by worn enamel which exposes the more sensitive dentin layer beneath it. Our Greenwich dentists take a look at some of the causes of this problem and how it can be managed and treated.
What causes enamel wear?
There are two main causes of worn enamel. The first is from friction between the teeth and the second is largely diet related.
Tooth grinding, or bruxism, is a well known cause of enamel damage. The grinding together of teeth will wear the enamel away and may even cause cracks to appear or even breakage of the teeth in more extreme cases. This can be difficult to overcome as most teeth grinding takes place when we sleep and may be related to stress. Dealing with the root cause is essential and the Confidental Clinic can help you to restore your teeth once the issue is resolved.
More commonly, enamel erosion is caused by eating or drinking the ‘wrong’ kinds of food and drink. This particularly applies to acidic foods and drinks that damage the enamel. One of the worst offenders for this are high sugar sports drinks, although even putting lemon juice in your water can have this affect as well if taken to excess. Changing your diet to minimise these foods and drinks is the best way to keep your enamel healthy, as long as you brush and floss as well too of course.
Managing sensitive teeth
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Here are two very good reasons why you should
2020 is now properly under way and next Christmas seems a long way off. Some of you will have probably started your new year resolutions, whilst others may have already failed to keep theirs. Amongst them all, there is one New Year’s resolution that we would encourage patients of the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich to keep, or to make if you haven’t already done so, and that is to stop smoking.
It may not be the easiest of resolutions to keep, especially if you are a long term smoker, but there are many benefits to doing so, not least the amount of money that you will save. From an oral health perspective though, there are two very real issues that smoking is regularly associated with.
People who smoke tend to have poorer levels of oral health than non smokers. Infections are more likely due to the irritants in the smoke which find their way into the tiniest of cuts and grazes, often making the situation worse. More commonly linked to smoking though is gum disease. Smoking can leave the mouth very dry and this provides an ideal breeding ground for potentially harmful oral bacteria that can lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Whilst both of these are treatable, it is at the latter stage of periodontitis that the most serious problems arise. This is difficult to treat and may require a ‘root scaling procedure’ to be carried out by a periodontist. Even with this treatment, there is still a risk of tooth loss where the problem is too far advanced.
Even relatively minor cases of gum disease can lead to uncomfortable inflamed gum tissue and bad breath can also occur. Stopping smoking, cleaning your teeth well and seeing a dental hygienist every six months should help to keep the risk of gum disease under control.
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Looking ahead to a more attractive smile in 2020.
The presents may not even be wrapped yet but some of us will already be thinking ahead to the new year and what we hope to achieve in it. No doubt the ‘usual suspects’ such as losing weight or stopping smoking (a very good idea from an oral health point of view) will be top of the list, but many will also be looking to improve other aspects of their life too.
One thing that seems to be increasingly on people’s ‘to do’ list for the new year is to take action to have a whiter and more attractive smile.
Some will have already tried to achieve this with a tooth whitening toothpaste and found it to be less than successful and will be looking for more effective ways of having whiter teeth. At the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich, we can do just that!
A convenient treatment
In addition to providing an effective treatment that enables you to see a real improvement in the whiteness of your teeth, our procedure allows you to do this in a way that is convenient for you. We will provide trays that are made from impressions of your own teeth. This provides a good level of comfort and helps to minimise any spillage of the whitening ingredient onto the gums and other soft tissues, which could cause burning.
You will be given the whitening solution in accordance with your desired aim. The treatment can, for example, be adjusted to suit your desired level of whiteness. We will also offer advice as to the best way to use the trays.
Generally speaking, we suggest that the trays are worn at home for around 4 hours a day. This could be while you watch TV or do any jobs in the house or garden; it really is down to you to decide when it is most convenient. You will start to notice results in around a week with the final whiteness being achieved at around 2 weeks. This gradual improvement also means that whilst people will notice a difference, it will avoid the ‘shock’ of seeing someone who had yellow teeth turning up at work the next day with very white ones.
Heavily discoloured teeth
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Our Greenwich dental team offers some seasonal oral health advice
Most patients of the Confidental Clinic are probably looking forward to Christmas. For many, it is a time away from work where we can put our feet up and let our hair down a little. Once the presents have been bought and wrapped and Christmas dinner eaten, we can start to relax and indulge, or occasionally overindulge, in some of the things that we tend to enjoy.
This is all great fun and we have no wish to spoil your enjoyment at this time of year. It is worth noting though, that some of our Christmas and New Year festive habits might not be as great for our teeth, and oral health in general.
Too many sweets and sugary goods
Most of us probably get sweets and chocolates bought as stocking fillers and perhaps decide to eat them over Christmas and Boxing Day. But of course all of this additional sugar is potentially very harmful for our teeth. If you do eat a lot of extra sweets, make sure to clean your teeth really well and floss them also. Preferably, resist the temptation to over indulge.
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With so many toothpastes now available, deciding which one to use can be confusing.
If you ask your parents or grandparents, the likelihood is that, providing it is still in existence, they are still using the same brand of toothpaste as they did as a child. There were few choices then and the one that you used was often based more upon taste than anything else.
It couldn’t be more different these days. A quick trip to any supermarket or chemist in Greenwich will reveal just what a wide selection of toothpastes there is to choose from these days.
As patients quite often ask us which is the best one to use, we thought we would put a summary together of the most common types of toothpastes currently available.
We’ll start with this one as it seems to be one that is currently being widely promoted by celebrities and influencers and is probably in the public eye a lot at the moment. There are two apparent reasons for using this toothpaste. Firstly, it is claimed that the charcoal ‘pulls’ toxins and bacteria from the gums and therefore helps to prevent gum disease. Some also claim that it helps to whiten teeth.
As far as the first point goes, there has been no real evidence to support this and there are better toothpastes available which can help with your gum health. If it does whiten your teeth, it will do so because of the abrasive qualities of the charcoal. This can also damage your teeth by wearing away the protective enamel if used regularly – verdict – probably best avoided.
Tooth whitening toothpaste
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Is dental phobia stopping you having this popular tooth replacement procedure?
Some of our Greenwich patients will be denture wearers. Some will be happy with this and find them adequate for the role they are intended to play, whereas others may find them less practical and sometimes a little uncomfortable.
Some of the latter group may have considered dental implants but, realising that it means a minor surgical procedure, decided against it.
Although some people will just stick with what they already have rather than undergo a procedure, others may appreciate the benefits that dental implants offer but still be afraid to undertake it due to their dental anxiety. We appreciate that this may be challenging, but it would be a shame if their anxiety prevented them from having this ‘gold standard’ in tooth replacement options.
For those who don’t know, dental implants are titanium artificial tooth roots. These are placed into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone in a process known as osseointegration. This then provides an extremely secure base upon which a dental crown is attached, in effect replacing the whole tooth, unlike dentures or bridges which don’t replace the root.
Whilst any invasive procedure may cause anxiety in phobic patients, there is a particular aspect of this procedure that seems to cause the most anxiety and that is the way that the implants are placed.
Most of us will have had a filling and whilst not actually liking it, will be aware that with anaesthetics, it isn’t too uncomfortable. Unless you have had an implant before, unsurprisingly, you will likely not have had any surgery on your jawbone. This is an essential part of implant placement and it seems to be this which some patients find worrying.
How implants are placed
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Teenage years can be fun but there are lots of challenges for our teeth!
Whilst being a teenager can be fun, it can also be a challenging time of life when we are just discovering who we are.
In today’s world, this is often done in public via social media, adding to the difficulties that teenagers are going to face now and potentially in the future as those social media posts tend to not go away!
It is also a challenging time for their teeth. During our teen years we will have lost most, if not all, of our baby teeth, and the ones that we are left with will have to last us for the rest of our life. Given that fact, we can see why it is so important that we look after them, but arguably this can be quite difficult for a teenager to do.
Diet and lifestyle
As we mature from children into young adults, it is understandable that we seek to have more freedom and make more decisions of our own. The most visible sign of this is likely to be in the way that we dress, and perhaps, the music that we listen to. We will probably also have found ways to circumvent the meals that we only previously ate because we had no choice and we will become increasingly responsible for the food and drinks that we consume.
Although some teenagers are oral health savvy, the fact is that most aren’t, and a diet chosen by a teenager is likely to be high in sugars and possibly acids too. Both of these are likely to lead to enamel damage, often resulting in decay and sometimes root canal infections too.
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A brief look at a few old sayings and how relevant they are today.
As we get older, we sometimes start to recall some of the things that were said to us as children. Indeed, there is every likelihood that this memory recall may have come about because you have found yourself, perhaps unexpectedly, saying exactly the same things to your own children.
It has been said that what we learn early on in life stays with us throughout our lives. This can be very beneficial but can also have long term negative effects, even when said with the best of intentions.
Today, our Greenwich dental team at the Confidental Clinic discuss some dental related sayings that some of you may have heard as a child.
‘Stop picking your teeth’
Let’s start with the one that most likely irritated our parents when we did it, a bit like biting our fingernails or scratching our hair. It is worth asking though, why we actually did this. In all likelihood, it was because we were aware that we had something stuck between our teeth, such as a piece of food. Often we would try to rectify this using our fingernails but as we know, dental floss or a proper “toothpick” is a much better approach – and more hygienic too!
Done regularly and as part of our daily cleans too, flossing will also help to prevent cavities and gum disease.
‘Give your teeth a quick brush’
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