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  1. Overview of Cosmetic dentistry procedures

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    Studies have shown that the appearance of your teeth can have a great effect on your self-confidence. Cosmetic dental treatments can be defined as those treatments that can correct and improve the appearance of your teeth, particularly the teeth on show when you smile.

    The appearance of your teeth can be affected by their colour, their alignment, their shape and the position of the gum line. If any one or a combination of some of the above is a factor in the appearance of your smile, there is always a cosmetic dental procedure that can correct them.

    The most common concern for many people is the colour of their teeth. Teeth can darken or yellow with time and this is often a result of exposure to foods and drinks that stain the enamel. Examples may include red wine, tea and coffee. Smoking may also cause your teeth to darken. Thankfully, teeth can be easily whitened using specially formulated bleaching gels. These are applied to your teeth in a custom made thin gum shield which can be worn during sleep. In many cases it takes only two weeks to lighten your teeth to a youthful and vibrant colour.

    If your teeth are crowded, crooked or misaligned, they can be straightened suing a variety of appliances. Traditionally braces would have to have been worn often for 18 months to 2 years. Where the back teeth are poorly aligned and the bite is poor, traditional orthodontic braces may still be a good option. In many cases however, it is only the front 6 or 8 teeth that require straightening to improve your smile. Treatments such as Cfast ™ can straighten your front with barely noticeable appliances in only six months.

    If the shape of your teeth has suffered from tooth wear or breakages, it is nearly always possible to restore the teeth to their original anatomical shape. If the changes needed are small, it may only take the bonding of some white composite filling material to restore the shape. Where there has been more considerable tooth loss, porcelain crowns or veneers can be made and fitted to the teeth.

    Whatever your cosmetic dental concerns are, you should always feel free to talk to your dentist and discuss what treatment will be best suited to your problems.

    If you would like to know more information about any cosmetic treatments we offer click here to request a complimentary consultation with our treatment co-ordinator Lily.

     

     


  2. Tooth Sensitivity

    Smiling Lips 

    Tooth sensitivity describes a condition where either a tooth or a group of teeth become sensitive to temperature changes in the mouth.  Typically, a person will note that when having either a cold or hot drink, a short sharp pain will be felt in the sensitive area and this may last for anything form a split second to a few minutes.

    Sensitivity in a tooth or teeth is a sign that the protective barrier which shields the inner nerve of the tooth is lacking. The inner tooth tissue which forms the bulk and shape of the tooth is called dentine. This has a “honeycomb” like porous structure which allows for the transfer of air and fluids. Above the gum line, dentine is covered by non-porous enamel. Below the gum lie, the dentine is protected by cementum and the gum tissue.

    When either the enamel or gum tissue fails to provide adequate protection of the dentine, the nerve becomes exposed to changes in air and fluid pressure in the porous dentine. Lack of enamel may be caused by acid erosion; lack of gum coverage may be caused by recession. In either case, tooth sensitivity is the likely outcome.

    When tooth sensitivity occurs, it is important to see your dentist in order to diagnose why the sensitivity is happening. It is especially important to exclude the possibility that the sensitivity is being caused by dental decay, in which case a filling may be indicated. Where recession or thin enamel has been identified as the cause, your dentist may elect to apply a fluoride varnish which can help to reduce the sensitivity. Alternatively, commercially available products can help when used in a particular way and your dentist can show you the correct technique.

    Once the short term sensitivity has been treated, it is sensible to then try and treat the condition that has lead to the sensitivity. This may involve using a fluoride mouthwash to help stop further enamel thinning or placing  a small protective filling over exposed roots surfaces where the gum has receded.

    If you are worried about tooth sensitivity click here to make an appointment to see your dentist.

     


  3. Acid Erosion

    Glass of Cola with a Straw in It

    The problems of tooth decay and sugar are well publicised and there are not many who do not now recognise the need to avoid sugary foods and drinks with the aim preventing cavities.

    However, a growing concern in dentistry is the effects of dietary acids on teeth. Over time, acid can erode the enamel of teeth. As the enamel thins a number of problems may occur. The teeth can start to look translucent and unsightly, sometimes looking yellow as more of the inner dentine shows through. Combined with the frictional forces of chewing and grinding, the teeth can start to wear down. Furthermore, as the enamel protection starts to weaken, teeth can become sensitive and will become more susceptible to decay.

    The most important safeguard is to know which foods and drinks are high in acid and to reduce the frequency of their consumption. Whilst listing every acid food or drink is impossible, the lists of foods high in acid include fruits, especially citrus fruits and pickled foods.

    Drinks that are high in acid include fruit juices and fizzy drinks.  Any fizzy drink, including sparkling water, is produced by passing carbon dioxide through water which forms an acid. Of increasing concern is the growing popularity of high energy drinks and smoothies, all of which will have high levels of acid.

    A non-dietary acid source may be the result of a medical condition such as acid reflux or an on-going problem that causes you to be sick. Body acids are very strong and will cause the same problems as dietary acids.

    Wherever and whenever the sources of acid are identified, it is important to reduce the exposure. In the case of acidic foods and drink, liming their intake will reduce the risk of acid erosion. In the case of medical problems such as reflux, it is important to visit a medical practitioner to help diagnose and treat the condition. It is also worth noting that following an acid exposure, one should not brush their teeth for 1 hour to allow the acid levels in the mouth to drop.

    Where the acid exposure is likely to continue to be high, or where there is a history of high acid exposure that has already started to thin the teeth, the best way of protecting the remaining enamel is by using a high fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste. Your dentist can advise you on the best product to use and how to use it most effectively.

    If you would like to book an appointment with you dentist please fill in our online request form. We look forward to hearing from you.


  4. Mouthwash – to rinse or not to rinse?

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    A common question that dentists are asked is whether there is any benefit to using a mouthwash as part of a daily oral hygiene programme.

    As a general rule, it is fair to say the for the removal of plaque bacteria (the cause of tooth decay and gum disease) is achieved most effectively by brushing and flossing your teeth daily and by seeing a dental hygienist at least twice a year.

    There is no scientific evidence that the use of a general (non-specific) mouthwash significantly reduces plaque bacteria over and above good brushing and flossing techniques.

    Some mouthwashes contain the chemical Chlorhexidine Gluconate. These are strong anti-bacterial formulas that may be prescribed by your dentist when it is not possible to brush your teeth for a short period of time, for instance following surgery in the mouth. Some companies market these as long term daily oral hygiene products but they should not be used as such. Chlorhexidine Gluconate can stain teeth and affect your taste buds when used for long periods.

    If you have suffered from thinned or weak enamel, or if you happen to have a high decay rate, your dentist may recommend using a mouthwash with high levels of fluoride. Fluoride can attach to the molecules of your tooth enamel and strengthen it, making it harder for sugars and acids to break down the enamel molecules. It is important not to swallow these products in significant levels and it is therefore only recommended for children over the age of seven and adults.

    If you want to use a mouthwash in conjunction with a good brushing and flossing regime (you may simply like the feeling that it gives you), it is very important to make sure that the mouthwash is water based and does not contain acohol. Traditionally many mouthwashes contained alcohol to act as a preservative but some studies have suggested that long term use of alcohol on the oral tissues could increase the risk of oral disease. Thankfully, many mouthwashes have dispensed with the use as alcohol as a preservative but some still exist and it is worth checking.

    If you would like to request an appointment with one of our dental hygienists please click here.

     


  5. How To Floss

    Floss box

    The idea behind any good oral hygiene regime is to limit the build-up of plaque bacteria that collect on teeth surfaces. These plaque bacteria are responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.

    However good your toothbrush is, the only effective way of cleaning between your teeth and removing the plaque is by using dental floss or tape.

    We would recommend that floss is used twice daily at the same time that you brush your teeth. By taking a suitable length of floss or tape and holding tight between two fingers of opposing hands, the floss can be placed between two teeth and gently scraped between the teeth all the way to (and just below) the gum line. This should ideally be repeated for all the spaces between all of your teeth.

    If you are not used to flossing regularly, you may find that at first you will find the process somewhat cumbersome. However, like all things, practice makes perfect and after a while you will become proficient.

    There are some other products on the market that can be used if conventional floss or tape does not work well for you. If your manual dexterity is a little bit limited, flosettes (a small piece of floss on a Y shaped disposable fork) may help. Alternatively, if you have large gaps between your teeth which can sometimes happen when you have had gum disease that has caused recession, interdental brushes may be more effective.

    Occasionally people find difficulties using floss that are related to the teeth. The most common complaint is that the floss continually shreds when introduced in to a particular gap. This may the result of a filling with a sharp edge and it would be prudent to see your dentist to identify whether a filling needs replacing.

    In all cases, our recommendation would be to see your dental hygienist so that they can identify which product will work best for you and show you the most effective technique for using it.

    If you would like to book an appointment with our dental hygienist please click here.


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