Solutions & advice
Protecting your teeth
How can I protect my teeth?
These following useful tips can help keep teeth healthy:
- Cut down on sweets and limit snacks between meals.
- Brush and floss daily. Hold your toothbrush at a 45° angle and clean all surfaces of each tooth. Use a brush with medium bristles and replace regularly (every 8-12 weeks). An electric toothbrush can maintain better gum health by vibrating just under the gum.
- Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride can help remineralise the structure of the tooth.
- Visit your dentist and hygienist every six months for a thorough dental assessment and professional clean. Hygienists are trained to prevent gum disease by deep cleaning teeth and helping you develop an effective oral hygiene routine.
- Come and see us straight away if you have toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or you notice signs of decay, such as white spots, discolouration or cavities. The longer you wait to be seen, the more intensive and lengthy treatment may be. If neglected, cavities can lead to root canal infection, permanent damage and even tooth loss.
- The acids formed by the bacteria in plaque can be neutralised by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralising agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production, however, saliva alone is not enough to combat tooth decay.
- If you are at medium to high risk for developing cavities, your dentist may recommend high concentration fluoride gels or mouth rinses. They may also use professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants to provide an extra barrier against food and debris.
What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, can occur when your teeth are frequently exposed to foods containing starches and sugars such as fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, biscuits and even fruit and juices. The natural bacteria in plaque interacts with sugary and starchy deposits left on your teeth and produces acids. Over time, these acids damage tooth enamel, leading to decay and a weakening of the teeth.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Teeth grinding or clenching is the leading cause of tooth sensitivity and 75% of the population will clench or grind their teeth at some point in their lives.
Receding gums can cause exposure of the dentine at the gum margin and erosion from fizzy drinks, as well as wear of enamel from overenthusiastic brushing, can all contribute to tooth sensitivity.
Which toothpaste is best?
If you are prone to developing tartar (hardened plaque), the Triclosan in a tartar control toothpaste can help. Whitening toothpaste can marginally control staining but it does not alter the colour of the teeth. Children should use adult fluoride toothpaste once their back molars have come through.
Improving your teeth
How can I make my teeth look whiter?
Our safe home-whitening kits feature precision-made mouth trays, which ensure the whitening gel has good contact with your teeth, and they only take around two weeks to work. Avoid over-the-counter kits as they do not include the more effective professional grade gels we supply.
If you want a longer lasting solution to teeth whitening or it is not suitable for your teeth, you can choose to conceal discolouration with veneers or cosmetic resin.
How can I replace my teeth?
You have a number of options including:
– these can be used to replace one or more missing teeth or to stabilise dentures.
– partial or complete, these can be used to replace a few lost teeth or a whole set.
– a bridge features a false tooth positioned between two crowns which fit over the teeth either side of a gap.
Worried about your teeth?
Will treatment be painful?
We use a local anaesthetic to ensure your treatment is pain-free. You can always stop the procedure and discuss your options if you do feel any discomfort. We try to give painless injections and will never proceed if you are not comfortable.
Why are my gums bleeding?
The bacteria in plaque and their toxins cause inflammation (gingivitis) of the gums and bleeding signifies presence of this bacteria, so try to keep your teeth clean by flossing and brushing more effectively. The bleeding should subside when your dental hygiene improves.
Do you check for oral cancer?
We carefully check all oral tissues for any abnormalities during your routine check-ups. You should consult your dentist if you have an ulcer or sore spot which lasts for more than three weeks.
Are amalgam fillings any cause for concern?
Not according to the World Health Organisation who have studied research from around the world and come to the conclusion that there are no long-term health effects from amalgam fillings. However, many of our patients prefer white fillings as they are less obvious and we will always take your views into account when deciding which filling to give you.
We keep up to date with all the latest dental research and will inform you immediately if any concerns about amalgam fillings arise.
Am I at risk from tooth decay?
As every one of us harbours bacteria in our mouths, we are all at risk of developing tooth decay. However, you are more likely to have problems if you have a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods, or live in an area without fluoridated water. Children and senior citizens are the highest risk groups for developing cavities.
where our practice is located, fluoride is not currently added to the water.
Looking after your teeth during pregnancy and caring for young teeth
Can pregnancy effect my teeth?
You may be more at risk from gum disease while you are pregnant as your gums can become more inflamed – so make sure you attend regular check-ups. It is a myth, however, that your teeth lose calcium to feed your developing baby.
My baby is teething – how can I help?
- Use teething gels to help numb the gum.
- Try teething rings that can be cooled in the freezer
- Children’s liquid ibuprofen or paracetamol can help but make sure you refer to the instructions for the correct dose.
One of my child’s permanent teeth has erupted but the baby tooth is still there. Is this a problem?
This will usually correct itself without intervention. Sometimes it can help to take out the baby tooth, to allow the adult tooth to grow through in a better position. If you are worried, speak to your dentist.
My child’s tooth has come through, but it looks crooked. Should I be concerned?
This is nothing to worry about. The tooth will probably straighten naturally or it can be corrected by using a brace at a later date. Your dentist will assess crooked or crowded teeth during routine check-ups.