Turning a blind eye to minor niggles can lead to more serious problems later on.
It is, perhaps, human nature to put our heads in the sand when a problem arises.
Sometimes we may do this very temporarily before acknowledging that the situation has to be dealt with. At other times however, it can be tempting to leave our heads there a bit longer than we really should. This is what sometimes happens, with some people, when they notice a minor ‘niggle’ with a tooth or a slight soreness of the gums.
At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt, we have seen a number of patients who have done this in the hope that the problem would go away of its own accord. This can happen of course. For example, a seed or small piece of hard material may have become lodged between the gum and tooth, causing some temporary soreness until it comes out. In many more cases though, this early discomfort may well be the sign of something worse to come, unless dealt with.
Some early warning signs and potential problems are:
Aching or mild throbbing tooth
If you are experiencing any unusual sensation in your teeth, then there is likely to be a problem that shouldn’t be ignored. Both of these symptoms may well indicate the presence of tooth decay. If you act promptly, it may only require a small filling. If ignored until the discomfort is more serious, you may even need to have a root canal procedure or even have the tooth extracted.
Sore or bleeding gums
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Why DIY dentistry is almost always a very bad idea.
What is the first thing that you do if you feel unwell, or suspect that there is something wrong with your teeth? You probably go straight online to try to self diagnose, as many people do.
Whilst it is great being able to find information about your health online, interpreting the information and being able to determine the difference between accurate information and false claims can be difficult.
Some of the false information is available because, quite bluntly, it makes money for the person claiming it. Other information may have been uploaded by someone with the best of intentions, but unfortunately, this also often results in damage to the teeth and gums.
In today’s blog, The Lodge Dental Suite team take a look at some of the more common dental claims that can cause harm which are commonly found on the internet.
This is one of the most common searches relating to cosmetic dentistry. Because many of the suggested methods seem relatively harmless and easy to try, it is probably not surprising that people try to save themselves a few pounds by attempting this themselves. Unfortunately, even such a non invasive treatment as teeth whitening can be very damaging if you do it yourself. One of the most common suggestions is to use lemon juice to whiten the teeth. Not only will this not work, but the high levels of acid will cause harm, damaging the enamel on your teeth.
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Even though they may not be very visible, our rear teeth are still important.
It is only when we laugh out loud that people are likely to see our rear teeth (apart from your dentist, of course!)
Because of this, if we lose one, we may consider it not worthwhile having an artificial replacement and, instead, leaving the space as it is. This may make little cosmetic difference to our smile, but it can have a number of negative effects.
Firstly, our rear teeth are the ones that do a lot of work in breaking down food so that we can swallow and digest it efficiently. Lacking a rear tooth means that this now has to be done by the remaining teeth. This puts additional strain upon these teeth, potentially leading to premature damage.
Front teeth chewing
In cases where a few back teeth have been lost, it is not unknown for patients to switch to chewing with their front teeth, or those nearer the front. Whilst they may opt for softer foods when eating out in order to avoid doing this, they may well do so at home when on their own.
The teeth towards the front of the mouth are not really designed for this purpose, but to bite off and tear food into smaller pieces, ready for the rear teeth to grind it down further. Using these teeth to chew is potentially going to lead to damage, whether the gradual wearing down of the tooth, or even an unexpected breakage.
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A look at some of the ‘added benefits’ of having a teeth whitening procedure.
It is fair to say that the main reason for having a teeth whitening procedure is to get whiter teeth. That much is pretty obvious!
Whilst this is a more than worthwhile reason in itself, patients are often surprised by the additional benefits that it can sometimes offer.
So if you are considering having this popular cosmetic dental procedure at our Hertfordshire dental practice, but have yet to take the plunge, why not read on to see what else you might gain from it.
A warmer smile
There is little doubt that it is much nicer being greeted by a white smile than one that is dull or discoloured. Research has shown that we tend to respond positively to a nice smile and this can be to our advantage when we meet someone for the first time, whether this be a business or personal meeting.
Do you sometimes take a quick peek in the mirror before you go out to see how you look? Most people do. Imagine how much happier you might feel if you saw a set of attractive white teeth reflected back at you? We suspect that your self confidence will receive a boost after having your teeth whitened at The Lodge Dental Suite and many of our satisfied patients confirm this.
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How this convenient system can be used to enhance your smile
The Snap On Smile system provided here at The Lodge Dental Suite is an excellent way to improve your smile for those special occasions, without the need for corrective dental surgery.
Many patients from Cheshunt and Broxbourne have used it, with great success, for occasions such as weddings, holidays and even photo-shoots.
Whilst these types of occasions are the predominant reason that most people opt to have the ‘snap on smile’, some patients have asked us whether it can be used as a more permanent solution, for example to make up for missing teeth. Unfortunately this is not the case.
A temporary measure
Our Cheshunt dentists firmly believe that dental implants are the best option for replacing a missing tooth, or teeth where circumstances allow. Not only do they replace the tooth but also the root of a tooth. Because an implant it is placed into the jawbone, it replaces the natural tooth root and provides a secure base to attach a crown to. Its placement also means that bone loss in that area is minimised.
Having said that, we are aware that some people do not wish to have dental implants for various reasons and will want to consider other options, especially where a missing tooth is visible. We have discussed dentures and bridges in previous blogs, but, can a ‘snap on smile’ also be used for this purpose?
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Some key points to consider.
Virtually all dental procedures involve some type of intervention with the natural state of your teeth; a check up being about the only one that doesn’t.
Our experienced Cheshunt dentists will always do whatever they can to make any treatment as gentle as possible, but most procedures will still require a certain level of aftercare, either to preserve the tooth repair itself or to prevent infection and other complications.
You will be given full aftercare instructions following a procedure at The Lodge Dental Suite, but, briefly, here are some of the most important pieces of aftercare advice that we usually offer.
Whether you have an amalgam or a tooth coloured filling, always allow time for these to fully harden before using them to bite or chew food. It is probably best to avoid harder foods for approximately 24 hours.
Following a tooth extraction you will be given a piece of gauze to bite on to stem any blood flow and form a clot. Do not poke at the clot with anything, including your tongue as dislodging it may lead to a dry socket which can be quite painful. You will need to keep the area of the procedure clean though and can do so by tipping some warm saline solution over the area. Do not swill round the mouth or spit as this may also dislodge the clot.
You should exercise caution when eating and we will offer further advice about this at the time.
Root canal treatment
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If you wish to replace missing teeth without a surgical procedure, dentures are an excellent choice.
There are many good arguments for using dental implants, rather than dentures, to replace any missing teeth that you might have. Strength, stability and longevity being some of the more obvious ones. Despite this though, there is little doubt that some patients simply do not wish to take up this option, perhaps due to the invasive nature of the treatment. In many cases, especially for older patients, dentures are still one of the most popular teeth replacement options.
At The Lodge Dental Suite, we see patients that travel to us from local areas such as Broxbourne, Cuffley and Goff’s Oak to have their dentures provided by us. We make sure that anyone who receives dentures at our Cheshunt practice is happy that their new dentures both look nice and offer a high level of functionality and comfort.
Types of dentures
Dentures are typically made of two main parts, a plate, which is usually made from acrylic or metal, and the replacement teeth. These are usually made from acrylic and will be provided in a shade that matches your natural teeth to enable them to blend in well, providing you with a natural looking smile.
Where a full arch of teeth have been lost, a full set of dentures will be used, but a partial denture can be provided where either a single or a few adjacent teeth have been lost.
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Orthodontic treatment with ‘invisible’ braces at our Cheshunt dental practice.
Whilst many patients have orthodontic treatment at The Lodge Dental Suite in order to give them a great looking smile, there is another reason why having straight teeth is very beneficial. In addition to making them easier to keep clean, straight and even teeth are important for a correct “bite”.
Whilst, on a day to day basis, having an incorrect bite may not be noticeable to the person concerned; it can cause a number of problems over a period of time. These include:
- Aesthetics – As mentioned above, an incorrect bite, such as an over or underbite, can be detrimental to the way that you look.
- Worn teeth – Teeth that do not meet correctly are more likely to wear down, changing their shape and potentially making them more vulnerable to breakage, or problems such as tooth decay.
- Jaw problems – Over time, an incorrect bite can put a strain on our jaws and can lead to not only clicking and grinding of the jaw, but also quite severe pain and persistent headaches in some people. This is sometimes referred to as TMJ problems.
Treating an incorrect bite
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Diligent aftercare is important for long term implant benefits.
In various blog posts we have stated the many benefits of having dental implants placed to replace a missing tooth. These include strength, stability and longevity, to name but a few.
As with all oral health issues though, these things will not be achieved without dedicating a little time to looking after your implants.
Fortunately, as we shall see, this is not a time consuming task, or especially difficult to do. Failure to look after your implants though, may lead to problems such as peri-implantitis, which we will take a look at in today’s Lodge Dental Suite blog.
What is peri-implantitis?
We have discussed periodontitis (advanced gum disease) in previous blogs. Peri-implantitis has some similar symptoms to this oral health issue, but specifically relates to problems that can threaten the health or survival of your dental implant. Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease that can lead to inflammation of both the gum and the bone into which a dental implant has already been placed. This can happen at any time during the lifetime of an implant and may lead to the loss of supporting bone in which the implant is placed. This can lead the implant to become loose or even fall out altogether.
Although you may not experience discomfort or other symptoms from this disease until it has become established; once it has, the following symptoms may indicate that it has taken hold:
- Deepening of the gum pockets
- Blood or pus appearing at the gum line
- A sore or bruised appearance of the gums
- Exposure of the thread of the implant
Despite the rather unpleasant symptoms mentioned above, the good news for dental patients from Cheshunt and Broxbourne is that keeping your dental implants clean is relatively straightforward.
Keep them clean
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From restoration to replacement, The Lodge Dental Suite can provide the solution.
A broken tooth can happen to anyone, at any time. Whilst a healthy tooth is less likely to break under normal circumstances, a heavy fall or blow to the face can cause even the healthiest of teeth to break off.
If this happens to you in this manner, you should first of all make sure that there are no associated head injuries by getting yourself checked at the A&E, and then make an emergency dental appointment at our Cheshunt dental practice.
Each broken tooth will vary in the way it is broken, and also the extent. These factors, along with patient preference will help us to determine the best option for treatment of the broken tooth.
Dental bonding is an option where a breakage is very small. It is the most straightforward procedure for this purpose but is not the strongest. Any sizeable breakage where pressure will be put on a tooth may not be suitable for this procedure.
Depending on the area and type of break, it may be possible to restore the tooth using a dental filling. This can either be a standard amalgam one or a tooth coloured filling which will provide a more aesthetic appearance. An additional bonus of white teeth fillings is that, generally, less of the natural tooth has to be removed in order to place it.
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