Pain And Discomfort Following Dental Treatment

A look at what you might feel and what you shouldn’t feel, following dental surgery.

There are a number of reasons why people might need treatment for unhealthy teeth. Accidents can happen at any time which require immediate treatment. Poor oral health care may lead to tooth decay and the need for a filling or crown.

Finally, you may just have decided that you are fed up with having loose dentures and voluntarily opt to have a dental implant placed instead.

All of the above will require some degree of invasive dental surgery. Few would ever describe having this as a pleasant experience, but, with the use of modern equipment and powerful local anaesthetics, for most people, it is relatively stress and pain free.

After the treatment

It is common for patients to be concerned about how the tooth will feel following a procedure, once the anaesthetic has worn off. This is something that our Greenwich patients often ask us about. In many cases, such as a filling, you may feel little discomfort at all, apart perhaps, from a little additional temporary sensitivity.

Other, more invasive procedures may cause minor trauma to the surrounding tissues and may also cause swelling in some cases.

Expected after effects

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Oil Pulling – Twenty Wasted Minutes Of Your Life?

Although its popularity appears to be waning, this ancient method of oral care still has its followers.

In the days before the internet, most people who wanted to look after their teeth just trusted their local dentist. Of course, there were a few ‘old wives tales’ that did the rounds, but even these often had some elements of wisdom in them, passed down from generation to generation. These days though, most people have access to the internet and a search for alternatives to professional dental care is a popular one.

Whilst there is quite a lot of information available about (often dangerous) DIY treatments, some people do seem to believe that, out there, there is a ‘miracle’ way of preventing your teeth from having problems in the first place. Enter the ancient Ayurveda method of oil pulling!

What is oil pulling?

Essentially, the belief is that swilling, usually coconut or sesame oil, around the mouth for between ten and twenty minutes each day will effectively dislodge food particles and clean the teeth of the potentially harmful bacteria that can lead to decay and gum problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. It is also claimed that it can ‘pull’ harmful toxins from the body and improve general health.

These types of claims are not exactly helped by the fact that they are sometimes endorsed by celebrities or ‘influencers’, which adds an additional appeal for some people. It is always worth remembering that whilst they may be great singers, actors or footballers etc, they certainly aren’t dentists and will not have undergone the years of training that the dentists at the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich have.

Look at the history

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Saliva And Tooth Decay Control

Healthy saliva levels are essential for teeth and gum protection.

Looking after your teeth is not overly difficult, with a little care and attention. It is, however, multi-faceted and requires a number of care factors to come together for the best protection possible against tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health issues.

Most of our regular Greenwich dental patients are aware of most of these, and, in addition to watching what they eat and drink, will regularly brush their teeth, and hopefully floss too. Combine this with visits to the Confidental Clinic for regular checks on their oral health, and they are hopefully well on their way to having a healthy mouth.

There are also other factors though, which can affect the health of our teeth and gums, and one in particular can affect older patients, as well as those who have type 2 diabetes. That is the lack of efficient saliva production.

Why is saliva important?

Apart from the fact that a lack of saliva produces a dry mouth and can lead to us feeling dehydrated and tired, it is also essential for oral health protection. The most obvious way in which it does this is through washing away food and bacteria from our mouth as we drink and swallow. This isn’t its only role though.

Saliva is important as it helps to keep the number of potentially harmful bacteria in our mouth under control. By doing this, it reduces the risk of infections to both teeth and gums. As we have mentioned in other blogs, a lack of saliva, and therefore a dry mouth, is a significant factor in common gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Making sure that you are sufficiently hydrated, especially at night, is a positive move in keeping teeth and gums in overall good health.

It is also worth mentioning, of course, that saliva also plays an important role in the breakdown and digestion of our food. It also enhances taste (hence why some older people find that their sense of taste is reduced in their later years), and also lubricates around muscles in our mouth which helps with our speech. Finally, a lack of water in the system is a well known contributor to constipation.

Acidity reduction and minerals

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Fizz Free February – Are You Taking Part?

Helping to prevent tooth decay and obesity by reducing fizzy drink consumption.

February sees the start of a brand new health campaign, and one that could be of significant benefit to adults and children alike. It encourages us to cut out, or at least cut down, on the number of fizzy soft drinks that we consume. Although this is a general health campaign which is also aimed at reducing obesity; if successful, it could have a very positive effect for our Greenwich patients.

Sugar, as we know, is one of the foodstuffs that is harmful for our teeth. Even if we don’t eat sweets, we probably consume more than our fair share in ready made products, even savoury ones. Those who also consume sugary fizzy drinks may be unaware of just how much sugar there is in a can.

For example, did you know that the sugar content of a can of a very well known brown fizzy drink contains just over 9 teaspoons of sugar (12oz can)? Given that the recommended maximum amount of sugar we should eat each day is approximately 7 teaspoons and you can see that just drinking one can a day already exceeds this figure.

How much damage can sugar cause

As we aren’t qualified to offer general medical advice, we won’t explore the issues of obesity and diabetes here, but instead, turn our attention to some of the dental issues that we see at the Confidental Clinic, which too much sugar can contribute towards.

Tooth decay

How many of us have been told that if we ‘eat too many sweets and your teeth will fall out’? Probably most of us we suspect. The fact is that excess sugar consumption will certainly increase the likelihood of tooth decay which could ultimately lead to the need to have teeth extracted. If you see a dentist at our Greenwich practice on a regular basis though, you may not have to have fillings if problems are detected early enough. Continued excess sugar consumption though, will almost certainly lead to oral health issues.

Enamel erosion

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Restoring Your Teeth With Dental Veneers

Porcelain restorations for both practical and aesthetic purposes are available at our Greenwich practice.

Some dental procedures are largely designed for practical purposes, whilst others such as the ever popular teeth whitening procedure, performs no other role than to improve the appearance of your teeth.

Some treatments do fall somewhere in the middle though, having a practical application for both restorative and cosmetic purposes. One treatment that falls into this category is the use of porcelain dental veneers.

For anyone who hasn’t read our previous blogs, a brief reminder of what a veneer is. Essentially, it is a very fine layer of porcelain that is used to replace an equivalent thickness of the natural enamel surface of the teeth. It is then shaped and polished to give a realistic appearance. It can be used for practical or cosmetic purposes and we take a look at some instances of this below.

Sensitive teeth

It is possible that some of our Greenwich patients may have noticed that their teeth have seemed more sensitive than usual during the recent ‘cold snap’. Some degree of this may not be unusual. For example, if you have been outside in the cold weather for some time, breathing in freezing air, and then take a drink of hot tea, you may notice some sensitivity with your teeth. This shouldn’t be painful though, and if you find that it is, or find that your teeth are sensitive in normal conditions, there may be a problem that veneers can help with.

In you are experiencing this, it is likely that the enamel on your teeth has become damaged in some way. This may be through general erosion caused by exposure to acidic food and drinks or even through brushing too hard. Whatever the reason, using dental veneers to replace the damaged surface will protect the more sensitive inner part of the tooth from exposure to extremes of heat.

Similarly, if a tooth has a small crack, or chip that exposes the inner part of the tooth, veneers can be used to restore these too.

Diastemas

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New Year Oral Health Tips For Parents With Young Children

Getting your child into a routine of looking after their teeth well will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

There are probably a fair number of adults in the UK who wish that they had personally looked after their teeth better when they were younger.

Although some of the harm may have been our own fault, it is a fact that many parents in the past, did not have the information needed to provide the best care for their children in their early years. Much advice likely amounted to little more than “brush your teeth well”.

If only it were that simple! Thankfully, these days, parents are armed with much better advice and can help to provide more effective dental care for younger members of their family.

Whilst with slightly older children it is often a case of reminding and supervising; where the children are very young, or toddlers, if you wish, it is primarily a parent’s responsibility to provide the care for them.

To help with this, our Greenwich dental team have put together a basic guide to help parents who have toddlers take better care of their teeth and gums:

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Three Tips For Achieving Smoother Skin

Our Greenwich facial aesthetics team offer some tips for younger looking skin.

Although our skin will inevitably wrinkle as we grow older, we can do quite a lot to help delay this. A healthy lifestyle and diet are certainly good places to start, and some also argue that using techniques, such as meditation, can help us to relax and reduce the number of frown lines on our face.

These everyday tips make good sense, and we would like to add three of our own to this list which we hope will help you to stay younger looking for longer!

Protect yourself from the sun’s rays

Living in the UK means that when we see the sun, we tend to try to spend as much time in it as we possibly can, knowing that that could be it for a number of days, or even weeks. The sun though, however enjoyable it may be, can be very damaging to the skin and we should make sure that we are well protected when we expose our skin to it. Make sure to wear a high factor sunscreen on your face and any uncovered parts of your body. This especially applies if you spend a lot of time working outdoors. You may also wish to make sure that any outdoor clothes have UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) too, if you are in this situation.

Start your prevention strategy early

If you wait until your forties or fifties before you start thinking about skin protection, it will possibly be a little late, and your only effective route then may be the use of Botox treatment, and/or dermal fillers. This is a very safe and effective approach that we will discuss shortly.

In addition to the advice about sun protection, make sure that you stay well hydrated and definitely do not smoke. You will rarely see a forty year old smoker with good looking skin! You might also consider starting to use moisturising creams that include antioxidants and retinol too. Some of these are claimed to actually help reverse skin damage and also to slow down the loss of collagen, the natural substance in our skin which helps to retain elasticity and which reduces with age.

Restoring your skin

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Your Christmas Guide To Good Oral Health

The festive season can be a time when good habits go out of the window….

By the time you read this blog, many of you will probably be in full swing of preparing for Christmas. Especially if you have children, the ‘to do’ and ‘to buy’ lists can seem endless. Both in the busy run up to Christmas and the holiday period itself, the way that we look after our teeth can often slip.

This need not necessarily cause any long term damage, but extending this lack of care, as well as some increased risks of holiday accidents, certainly can. In today’s blog, Greenwich dentist, Dr Krina Patel (GDC 192609) offers some useful tips for keeping your teeth and gums in good condition over the holiday period.

Moderate your eating habits

Not even the strictest dentist would expect you to deny yourself the pleasures of some indulgent Christmas food. It does pay though, to keep an eye on what you are eating and drinking. Try to keep your sugar intake down as much as possible, however many boxes of chocolates you receive as presents!

Mind the alcohol

Again, the Confidental Clinic team respect the fact that many people like to drink more at Christmas. We have noted before, the risk of problems such as gum disease and even oral cancers that are increased through excess alcohol consumption. Try to balance your alcohol intake with plenty of water, your head will thank you for it the next day.

For some people, Christmas is the only time of the year that they drink much at all. Although this is positive from the point of view of overall alcohol consumption, it can mean that those who are not used to drinking are at an increased risk of accidents through falls and collisions. Indeed, most dental practices will see a few patients after the Christmas period who need emergency care for tooth damage received in this way.

Your Christmas present list

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Poor Oral Health And Your Blood Pressure

Periodontal disease increasingly shown to contribute to other medical problems.

Around one in three adults in the UK have been diagnosed with having high blood pressure and it is estimated that there are also somewhere in the region of 5 million people who have probably not yet been diagnosed. Although high blood pressure need not necessarily indicate any immediate danger, it can eventually cause arteries to rupture as they weaken with age, sometimes leading to strokes or a heart attack.

The modern lifestyle of fast food, stress and other factors such as alcohol and smoking are widely believed to be amongst the most common causes of it.

In most cases, high blood pressure can be effectively regulated with medication. This should not be seen as a ‘stand alone’ treatment though, and dietary change and increased exercise are often recommended too.

A recent study has found that poor oral health can also be a factor in high blood pressure (hypertension) and that patients who have good overall oral health tend to respond better to any treatment that is given.

Periodontitis

One of the biggest oral health problems that can affect the outcome of treatment for this common problem is periodontitis. We have touched before on the harm that this can do, damaging the bone in the jaw and being one of the most common reasons for tooth loss amongst adults. Research has shown that not only do people that are free of periodontitis tend to have lower blood pressure, but those that do have high blood pressure, but are periodontitis free, also respond much better to any medication that may be prescribed to lower it.

The report recommends that any patient who does have gum disease, arranges with their GP to have more frequent checks on their blood pressure. This is especially the case for those who are at a higher risk of gum disease, such as diabetics, who may have less control over it than other patients. Conversely, anyone who is diagnosed with having high blood pressure, would benefit from seeing a dentist more regularly to monitor their gums. We would also add that you should also consider seeing our Greenwich dental hygienist so that your teeth and gums can be regularly cleaned professionally.

We don’t necessarily advise that you rush out to buy a blood pressure monitor as, whilst potentially useful, these are often not as accurate as when taken by your GP. If you are in your middle age especially, it is a good idea to see not only the dentist on a regular basis, but your GP too. They will be happy to monitor your blood pressure and other age related health problems over a period of time.

Other periodontitis medical links

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What Happens When Food Gets Stuck In Your Teeth?

Dr Sandeep Patel takes a look at the tooth decay process.

The fact is that whilst most of us do clean our teeth reasonably diligently, twice a day, only a small minority apply the same regularity when it comes to flossing, with many of us never using it at all.

Failing to floss though, is asking for trouble as failure to remove food that gets stuck between the teeth is a recipe for tooth decay, as well as gum disease.

The decaying process

Although we may attempt to remove any larger pieces of food that gets trapped in the spaces between our teeth, we may barely even notice smaller ones which can remain there for some time. Brushing is essential of course, but this often does not clean effectively between the teeth.

As food particles break down, they provide a food source for the bacteria within our mouth. This causes them to multiply and, as they metabolise the sugars produced by decaying food, they produce acids which start to eat away at the enamel on our teeth. Although our teeth remineralise under normal circumstances, to replenish enamel that is lost through the normal eating process, the speed at which these bacteria grow means that there is insufficient time for this to happen effectively and enamel will start to become compromised. It is at this stage that small cavities start to form.

Cavities

A dental cavity starts off very small and then gets larger if not treated. It can actually take several years for a cavity to be fully formed, which is why seeing your Greenwich dentist every six months helps to prevent large cavities from forming. As the cavity becomes larger and eats away at the enamel, the bacteria will eventually reach the dentin layer underneath it. This is a softer material than enamel and the decaying process is then likely to speed up.

Once the bacteria reaches the dentin layer, you are more likely to experience toothache due to the porous nature which enables the nerves to be affected more easily.

Root canals and beyond

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