Mistakes To Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

Optimising this basic, but essential, tooth care routine.

Modern dentistry can now do wonders to save and restore damaged teeth, and even to replace them using permanent methods such as dental implants. By and large though, much dental care revolves around the simple, yet important, act of brushing our teeth (and flossing as well, we hope!)

Whilst the vast majority of people do carry this out twice a day, it is not always the case that they do so as well as they could. In today’s blog, our Greenwich Confidental Clinic team take a look at some of the more common mistakes that people make when brushing their teeth.

Keeping a toothbrush too long

Ask yourself when was the last time you bought a new toothbrush, or changed the head on the electric one. If it was over three months ago, you need to change it. Using an ineffective brush is one of the more common mistakes that people make. Using a new one with bristles that aren’t worn out will make cleaning your teeth much more efficient.

Rushing it

We know that life can be busy, but cutting time out of brushing your teeth is asking for trouble. It is thought that, on average, we brush our teeth in the region of 45 seconds. This is a long way short of the recommended 2 minutes. Set a timer on your phone or play your favourite two minute song while you do it. You might be surprised at how long two minutes is and how far short of it you have been falling!

Brushing too hard

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Keeping And Re-Using Your Invisalign Trays

Once used, should you keep or throw away your transparent plastic trays?

In today’s world we are increasingly conscious of the need to preserve the environment and perhaps not live in such a disposable way as we have in the past. This probably suits the natural ‘hoarders’ amongst us, but may be more challenging for those who like to replace things regularly and often.

At our Greenwich dental practice, we try to be as ‘eco friendly’ as we can, and most of our dental equipment is sterilised and re-used. Some products, such as surgical gloves, have to be replaced to prevent cross infection. One of the more unusual, but perhaps not illogical, questions that we sometimes get asked on ‘green’ subjects, is what patients should do with their Invisalign trays once they have been used.

During the treatment period

As regular readers of this Confidental Clinic blog will know, the discreet Invisalign treatment uses a series of transparent plastic trays, made from impressions that are taken of your teeth. Each of these trays are worn for a short period of time, usually a few weeks. During this time, the trays will work to gently coax the misaligned teeth towards their desired position. The tray is then removed so that the next in the series can be fitted, and the correction continues on a gradual basis.

What do you do though, when you have finished with a tray? Should you keep it, or simply throw it away?

We generally recommend that patients undergoing this treatment should keep the tray that they have just taken out and store it somewhere safe. The reason for this is that if the tray that you are using to replace it becomes lost or damaged in any way, you can then re-fit the previous one as a ‘holding’ tray to prevent any reversing of the progress made. You should then, as soon as possible, consult our dental team to have a new tray made to replace the one that is lost or damaged.

There is no need to keep any other previous trays and these can be disposed of using the guidelines of your local council’s recycling scheme.

Full sets of trays

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The Importance Of Healthy Tooth Enamel

This first line of defence for our teeth should be looked after as well as possible

As some patients will already know from reading previous blogs, there are three essential parts of a tooth. The enamel, the dentin layer and the pulp which is stored in the body of the tooth and root canals.

Toothache, whether relatively mild or severe can occur when either the dentin layer or the root canals become infected with bacteria.

As these areas are vulnerable to bacteria if left unprotected, our teeth have a first defensive layer which is made of enamel. This is a very strong material that also allows us to chew even harder foods without harming our teeth when doing so. Although strong, enamel is not invulnerable and, if we don’t take good care of it, it can become compromised and eventually lead to tooth decay.

What damages the enamel on our teeth?

There are a few things that can harm the enamel on our teeth.  Instant damage in the form of a break or a crack will compromise it and allow bacteria to enter. This often happens in the form of an accident and there is often little that we can do to prevent it other than wear a mouth guard when playing sport etc. Even the smallest chip or crack should be examined by our Greenwich dentist in order for it to be treated as necessary, before the problem becomes worse.

Others ways in which the enamel of our teeth can be harmed are through bacteria and acid damage.

Bacteria will always collect on and around our teeth. In fact, our mouth is full of millions of bacteria and whilst some are not harmful or are even beneficial, not all of them are. Some bacteria will attack the enamel leading to damage if not managed properly. This can be done with good brushing at home and the addition of flossing to your dental routine if you don’t already do so.  You should also take advantage of the hygienist services at the Confidental Clinic and have your teeth and gums professionally cleaned with a scale and polish procedure. This will help to rid your teeth of the bacteria, plaque and tartar that home brushing does not.

The other main way in which enamel is damaged is through acidic food and drinks. These include both healthy foods such as citric fruits and less healthy options such as sports drinks or even regular sugary fizzy drinks. Although it is best if you avoid these altogether and opt for sugar free versions where available, if you must drink them, try to do so through a straw to minimise contact with your teeth.

Treatment for damaged enamel

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Can A ‘Minor’ Dental Problem Wait For Treatment?

It can sometimes be tempting for patients to avoid seeking help for a minor dental issue.

Like all dental practices across the country, we have helped patients at the Confidental Clinic who, when asked if there were any problems at a regular check-up, tell us that a tooth had been ‘playing up’ for a little while. Usually this would be either not painful or not overly inconvenient enough to seek prompt treatment and the patient chose to wait until their next check up appointment at our Greenwich dental surgery.

Although this may be understandable and it is perhaps a very English trait not to want to ‘bother’ the dentist, doing so is a mistake that you could, potentially, pay for dearly.

What constitutes a ‘minor’ dental issue?

This depends on who you ask. If you ask a patient they may well say that issues such as a chipped tooth, a small crack, or even a tiny bit of decay can all wait a few months to be treated. If you ask a dentist, we would say that none of these should be ignored, and whilst they may not be causing any immediate discomfort, they are all issues that should be treated as soon as possible, and definitely not left for several months.

Any problem that damages the enamel in any way, whether that be by decay, a chip or a crack needs to be checked and potentially restored .. and as quickly as possible.

What happens if you leave a small defect on the tooth enamel?

Once the enamel on your teeth becomes damaged or compromised, it exposes the dentin layer beneath it. This porous material is easily affected by bacteria and acids and will eventually lead to tooth decay. This alone can soon result in a toothache, or even a root canal infection, should it reach that far before it is treated.

If a tooth is cracked or chipped, it is not only decay that might be a problem. A cracked tooth is a weakened tooth and it may not stand the daily rigours that it is subject to. If ignored, even for a short while, further breakages may well occur which will need more extensive restorative treatment.

What sort of treatments should you expect?

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Tooth Crowns Explained

Confidental Greenwich dentist, Dr Lynn Hutchinson, discusses the procedures that use a dental crown

Along with fillings and extractions, the use of a dental crown is probably one of the most common restorative procedures that is used at dental practices across the UK.

It is a strong and versatile solution to a number of problems and, with good care, should last the patient for many years.

In today’s blog, we thought that it would be useful to look at what a crown is, and some of the more common procedures that make good use of this restorative item.

What is a dental crown?

A crown, or as it used to be more commonly known, a ‘cap’ is usually made from porcelain, porcelain bonded to metal, or increasingly, newer materials such as Zirconia. They are used to ‘cap’ a tooth that has been damaged or treated, and is shaped and ‘styled’ so that it matches the patient’s current teeth.

What procedures is it used for?

The most common reasons for using a dental crown are as follows:

Broken tooth – Whilst a filling is the most likely first option; where a breakage, or cavity is too large for a filling to offer sufficient strength, a crown may be produced and fitted instead. This not only protects the tooth, but gives sufficient strength for the tooth to be used for normal daily routine.

Root canal treatment – When a root canal treatment is carried out, it is often necessary for the dentist at the Confidental Clinic to remove the top section of the tooth, so that the root canals can be accessed.  Although, once the canals have been cleaned, a special filling is used to offer some strength and protect the canals, this is usually too weak on its own to be strong enough for the patient to use the tooth to eat with. To offer the additional strength needed, a dental crown is usually attached to complete the restoration.

Dental implants – Crowns are also used as the final part of a dental implant procedure. Once the implant itself has been placed and integrated with the bone, an abutment is attached to allow a crown to be added to the new artificial tooth. This makes for a natural looking and very strong tooth replacement.

Cosmetic purposes – Although usually used for practical reasons, crowns can also  be used in a cosmetic dental procedure to restore the appearance of teeth that have been worn down and appear shorter than usual. This could, for example, happen with someone who has a tooth grinding (bruxism) habit, once they have managed to overcome it.

How are they produced?

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Considering A Dental ‘Touch Up’ To Give Your Smile More Appeal?

Dr Sandeep Patel looks at common treatments which can be used to improve your smile.

You may well have come across stories of media personalities who have undergone dramatic changes to their appearance through surgery?

This often relates not only to facial features such as nose and lips, but sometimes also, their teeth.

Coming from this is a common misconception that in order to improve your own teeth, you would have to undergo significant treatment to do so; but fortunately this is not always the case.

If you have a car, that has a few minor scratches and scuffs, you wouldn’t necessarily consider having a full respray job. Instead, you might have those particular parts worked on. Although probably quite a loose analogy, it could be said that our mini smile makeover works in a similar sort of way, to some degree at least.

What is a mini smile makeover?

As the name suggests, this is a treatment, or a number of treatments that are designed to improve your smile, but without the need for the more significantly invasive procedures that are available, such as dental implant placement.

Each patient’s personal requirements will be different according to their needs and the type of smile they hope to achieve. Some people are happy with some minor defects, but not with others whereas other patients might want to improve their smile as much as they possibly can. Whatever your preference, our Confidental Clinic dentists will be able to produce a treatment plan for our Greenwich patients that will give them a significant improvement in their smiles.

Mini Smile Makeover Treatments

As mentioned earlier, a number of treatments can be used to produce an improved smile as part of a mini makeover. These are the more common ones that are used at the Confidental Clinic.

Cosmetic bonding

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Why Do Some People Have “Thin” Gums?

Translucent, thin gums give some patients for concern, but should they?

If you take a look at your own gums in a mirror, the chances are that you will see a set of healthy pink gums, providing that you have looked after them of course.

This is not the same for everyone though and some people may notice that their gums seem to be on the thin side, and sometimes semi transparent.

This is a condition known as gingival biotype and is largely hereditary. There is nothing that you can do to increase the thickness, but it is useful to be aware of this condition as you will need to pay extra special attention to how you look after them.

Healthy gums

Even with healthy and pink gums of normal thickness, you should, of course, not ignore your gum health. Thicker gums will not prevent gingival problems such as gingivitis if you don’t look after them. Brushing, flossing and a regular scale and polish at the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich are all essential components of a good oral health regimen.

As we have mentioned in previous blogs, allowing your gums to deteriorate will not only result in soreness and possible bleeding, but can even led to eventual tooth loss if it is not corrected.

Looking after thin gums

Patients who have thinner gums are at an increased risk of a number of dental issues. Due to having less protection, it is important to maintain what you already have, by looking after them correctly.

One issue that is perhaps more likely is tooth sensitivity. Hot and cold will be able to reach the roots of the teeth more easily, and especially as the roots of the tooth are not protected by an enamel layer, you may well find that you are in some discomfort. Although this is not necessarily harmful, patients with thinner gums may wish to avoid very hot or cold food and drinks to minimise this discomfort.

Excessive brushing

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Tiredness And The Affect On Our Teeth And Gums

Insufficient sleep can make us less careful with our oral health.

Are you tired right now? If you are, it may simply because because you had a late night last night, perhaps going out to a party or similar. If these are rare occasions, we usually soon catch back up on our sleep, and any neglect to our teeth, caused by being tired, is usually resolved when we get back to our normal routine.

If you are permanently tired though, or have a lifestyle that results in a lot of late nights, this could be having an ongoing negative effect on the health of your teeth and gums which may result in the need for treatment by our Confidental Clinic team.

Skipping or sloppy brushing

Many of us will have, at one time or another, gone to bed without brushing our teeth, or giving them a brush so quick that the only benefit is being left with a minty taste in the mouth. Whilst not ideal, this usually causes no long term harm, provided that it is a one off occasion. Where we are permanently tired though, or go to bed very late, there is every chance that our brushing routine is much less effective than it should be. Flossing too, an important part of everyday oral health care, is likely to go out of the window as well.

Poor diet

Although it is just as easy to prepare a healthy salad; most of us, if lacking energy, will probably unwrap a chocolate bar or prepare a ready meal. Whilst chocolate will nearly always have more sugar, some convenience foods are also very high in sugar, especially compared to food that we cook ourselves. A regular diet like this can soon speed up harm to our teeth!

Energy boosters

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Regular Dental Implant Check-ups

Periodic monitoring of this tooth replacement system is important.

Taking the decision to replace your missing teeth with dental implants may not have been a straightforward one.

There are a number of factors you may have had to consider, including cost, suitability, and, potentially, the apprehension of undergoing a longer dental procedure.

Patients that do go ahead, often take advantage of the finance plans that we offer at the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich. This helps to spread the cost and helps manage what is many people’s main concern about having implants placed.

Those that do choose to have dental implants, rather than dentures, are nearly always glad that they did. This is a stable and secure replacement for natural teeth, and as close to the real thing as it is currently possible to achieve. Once placed though, your implants will need monitoring, along with your natural teeth.

Why implant check-ups?

Patients are sometimes confused as to why they need to have their implants checked on an ongoing basis, once they have been placed. From a layman’s perspective, they are after all, made from titanium, with the crown also being artificial. Because of this, they are right to deduce that their new replacement teeth can’t decay and from this perspective they are absolutely correct.

However, whilst dental implants won’t decay and are incredibly robust, that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily remain problem free if you ignore their aftercare.

Periodontal diseases

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Cancelled Appointments

Why “no shows” can prove problematic for patient and dentist alike.

Many of us will probably have had to cancel either a doctor or dentist appointment at some time in our lives. Usually this is for a genuine reason and can’t be avoided.

This is completely understandable, but sometimes the reasons are less genuine. In today’s Confidental Clinic  blog, we thought it would be useful to look at the ‘knock on’ effect of cancelled appointments along with what we do to try to minimise these, as much as we can.

Your own oral health

There are probably two main reasons why people cancel an appointment. The first is for a genuinely good reason, and often one that crops up at the last moment, such as having to collect a sick child from school, for example. We completely understand that people have to prioritise in situations like this and will always do our best to work with them to find an alternative new appointment.

The second reason that people cancel is that, as the day of their appointment draws near, their dental anxiety levels rise. We do understand that this affects some people quite badly. If you are an anxious patient, please do discuss this with us in advance of any treatment. We can then discuss various options e.g. sedation which make the procedure pass more pleasantly and lessen any anxious feelings that may be surfacing.

In either case, if you do cancel, please arrange a new date at the same time so that you don’t forget to do so and miss seeing a dentist for some time.

The effect on our practice

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