Mouth Cancer Checks At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt

dentist checking the mouth

What signs do our dentists look for during your six monthly oral examinations?

Oral cancer is a growing problem, with a rise in this sometimes fatal illness being seen around the world.

Despite smoking being on the wane, other factors such as the HPV virus, poor oral health care and, problems specific to some countries, such as the chewing of the betel nut in India, appear to be increasingly contributing to the problem.

Oral cancers most commonly occur on the lips, tongue and gums, but can also affect the salivary glands, tonsils and sections of the windpipe. Even where the disease does not prove fatal, it can have devastating effects for the patient, with problems including difficulties in swallowing, speaking, and even breathing. Although we obviously hope that none of our Cheshunt patients suffer from this disease, the reality is that no one is immune. Spotting potential signs at an early stage offers the best opportunity for early treatment to start, which, in most cases, will improve the chances of a positive outcome.

Dental examinations

Although, at The Lodge Dental Suite, we are not qualified to actually diagnose oral cancers, we are in an excellent position to monitor the condition of your mouth at regular intervals,  providing that you maintain your six monthly examinations.  Amongst the signs that we look for are:

  • Red and/or white patches on the tongue or in the mouth generally
  • Ulcers that have not healed over time
  • Lumps on the soft tissue
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Persistent sores
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

As well as visually checking for potential signs, we may ask you questions about your lifestyle too, if we feel that this may be a significant factor in your oral cancer risk.

What causes mouth cancers?

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Causes And Treatment Of A Dental Abscess

Oral pain

Our Cheshunt and Waltham Cross dental team are here to help treat this often painful problem.

Anyone who has had a dental abscess will know just how painful they can sometimes be, although it is entirely possible to have an abscess that causes no pain at all.

Whichever is the case, they should not be taken lightly and you should seek the advice of your local dentist if you suspect that you may have one.

An abscess can form inside the tooth, the gums and even in the bone surrounding the tooth and is typically caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated, it is possible for the bacteria to spread to other parts of the body and may lead to further medical complications.

How to spot an abscess

There are several possible indicators of an abscess, and whilst some of these may also apply to other conditions, you should call The Lodge Dental Suite for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms in our around the mouth which may include:

  • A sudden ‘throbbing’ pain which becomes worse
  • Any pain that spreads to the side of your face. This can affect your ears, jaw and neck as well as your teeth
  • Any swelling or visible signs of soreness such as a reddening of the face
  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Sudden sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Bad smelling breath and/or a nasty taste in the mouth
  • A high temperature and a general feeling of being unwell. This could be an indication that the bacterial infection has spread.

What causes an abscess?

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Preparing Young Children For Their Dental Visit

sugar and kids teeth

Dental nurse, Anna Fejfer offers some helpful advice to parents of nervous children.

Going to the dentist for the first time can be a nerve wracking experience for some people.

This is especially so when you are very young and probably completely unaware of what will happen. Slightly older children may also have experiences of the dentist being an ‘evil character’ in a story, such as the popular ‘Demon Dentist’ book by David Walliams. It is likely therefore, that a fair number of children probably dread their first dental visit, which really is a shame.

We’ve mentioned before that you should ideally bring your child to see us for the first time at around one year old. At this age, they won’t have fully developed this type of fear and an early visit will enable them to get used to the dental surroundings, usually without the need for any treatment. Even if no teeth have come through, it is a good idea for the dentist to examine the gums so that they are nice and healthy when the teeth finally erupt. This can reduce the discomfort often felt as their first teeth come through, and hopefully make for a happier child!

Especially if you are a nervous patient yourself, you may transfer some of these feelings onto your children. So to help you to bring your child to The Lodge Dental Suite with the minimum of stress, we offer a few ideas which you might wish to consider

Educate them in advance

If, one day, you suddenly announce that they are going to the dentist the next day, there is every chance that young children will panic. All sort of images will go through their heads; usually quite unpleasant ones. You can help to prevent this by educating them about why they need to see a dentist, well in advance. You will be able to find child friendly educational videos online and also a number of picture books with simple and non scary illustrations to help them feel more relaxed. If your child is old enough to use the internet, try to ensure that they don’t search dental images as that may produce rather scary looking medical images which certainly won’t help.

Let them bring a ‘friend’

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The Risks Of Oral Piercings

Dentist Melisha Govender

Facial decorations are all the rage with teenagers, but could cause damage to your teeth and gums!

Decorating the face has been common across cultures and ages. For many years in the UK, this was largely limited to the use of lipstick and earrings. More recently though, there has been a trend to perhaps more extreme methods and it is not unusual to see tattoos on the face and neck as well as ‘stretched’ ear lobes and facial and oral piercings.

Everybody has different tastes of course, although there are potential social implications to having facial tattoos. It is with the relatively common trend of oral piercings though, that we, as family dentists, are most immediately concerned with.

Aside from any pain or discomfort associated with having the piercing, and any subsequent soreness, oral piercings can have a negative effect on your teeth and gums in a number of different ways. Dr Melisha Govender, principal dentist at The Lodge Dental Suite, tells us why below.

Chipped and cracked teeth

Piercings are nearly always made from metal, or another hard material. It should come as no surprise then that the constant contact between piercing and teeth can cause chipping or cracking of the tooth enamel. Over time, this will not only weaken the teeth but may lead to decay or even root canal infections as the enamel no longer offers the protection that healthy and intact enamel would.

Infections

In addition to any localised soreness that may occur following an oral piercing being placed, infections are a real risk, especially if you don’t take care to keep both piercing and oral cavity clean. This may cause not only swelling and general soreness in the area of the piercing, but, it is thought, may also increase the risk of gum diseases; the dangers of which we have covered in previous blogs such as this one. Potentially, there is also an additional risk of blood-borne diseases such as certain types of hepatitis which could, potentially at least, prove to be serious.

Sporting injuries

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Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Having Dental Implants

Dr Guy Sharon

Dr Guy Sharon offers his perspective on this revolutionary tooth replacement treatment.

Using dental implants to replace missing teeth is becoming a more widely known procedure across the UK. Consequently, more and more patients are making enquiries about them at our Cheshunt dental practice.

Although many patients do go on to have successful placements, others sometimes opt not to have them, using dentures instead to fill the gaps in their teeth. Although having dentures fitted is a non invasive means of doing this; quite a few  wearers find that they can be somewhat uncomfortable and also inconvenient at times.

With this in mind, and to encourage those who may be wavering in making a decision, here are four very good reasons why you shouldn’t worry about having your dental implants placed at The Lodge Dental Suite.

Careful planning

A very important part of any dental implant placement procedure comes before the treatment itself starts. It is very important that you are thoroughly checked for any other oral health issues which might affect the procedure. For example, if you have gingivitis or periodontitis, this will need to be treated before we are able to place an implant. Failing to do so would greatly increase the risk of the implant failing.

We will also make sure that we are up to date with your medical records and request that you do let us know of any changes in your situation, including in your medication.

We will then use 3D scanners and x rays to determine a) if you have sufficient bone available to place the implants into, and b) the exact position that they need to be placed. An incorrectly placed implant would be problematic and may also affect the nerves in your jawbone. With careful planning, all of this can be avoided. The pre procedure time is also a good opportunity to ask any questions that you have, and we can also advise options, such as a bone graft, should you be lacking sufficient bone structure to carry out the placement straight away.

Little or no discomfort

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Watch Out For Illegal Teeth Whitening!

Dr Melisha Govender looks at how some questionable establishments are trying to get around the law

There was a time, not so long ago, when you could simply pop into a salon on the high street and have your teeth whitened. Whilst some of these places probably offered this treatment with the best of intentions and with the safety of the patient in mind, many certainly did not. Problems with painful teeth and other health issues prompted the law to change in recent years, and now, it is only legal for teeth whitening treatments to be offered by suitably qualified dental staff within an appropriate environment.

Although there may be a few ‘backstreet’ operations still offering this treatment, which should definitely be avoided, and which are illegal, there appears to be a trend towards a new type of operation that is, technically at least, just about operating within the law. Some of these have recently been ‘endorsed’ by reality TV stars, gaining them publicity.

How do they operate?

It is illegal to perform a teeth whitening procedure on anyone unless you are a qualified practitioner. What is not illegal though, it seems,  is to sell the products that will whiten your teeth. Providing that you do not actually treat the patient, instead allowing them to do so themselves, you may not be breaking the law. What some of these salons offer though, goes much further than simply providing the materials needed to whiten your teeth. Some also now provide places to do so, even offering the special teeth whitening lamps to activate the process. Providing that the patient does all of this themselves, it appears that these salons are ‘probably’ acting within the law as it currently stands.

Why is this a problem?

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Dental Care Advice For University Students

Cheshunt dentist, Dr Melisha Govender, offers advice for first time students.

Some of our Lodge Dental Suite patients will currently be in the process of choosing which university to go to, or be preparing to relocate to one if they have already been offered a place on a course.

This is, without doubt, an exciting time in life which can affect your future in many ways.

Naturally, we wish the best of luck to all students from across Hertfordshire that are about to embark on this journey, but we would also like you to take just a few minutes to read this blog so that you are well equipped to help your teeth and gums stay in good health during this time.

Student life will almost certainly throw up some new challenges to your oral health, and, in today’s blog, we take a look at some of these.

Regular brushing

Especially in your first year, when everything is new and exciting, with many social events; it can be the easiest thing in the world to flop into bed from a late night out, without cleaning your teeth. Especially if you have been drinking, do try to remember to clean your teeth before going to sleep. This can make a major difference in helping you avoid problems such as tooth decay.

Alcohol

Many students will drink alcohol when away from home. Hopefully, you will not suffer too badly from doing so, but it is important to be aware of the damage that alcohol can do to your mouth. Most alcohol contains sugar for a start, but the dry mouth caused by dehydration, whilst you sleep, is also a significant contributor to gum disease. Alcohol is also a known factor in mouth cancers. Try to drink sensibly and stay well hydrated.

Smoking

Thankfully, fewer people smoke now, including the younger generation. Try not to smoke if you possibly can, as not only does it result in stained teeth, but is still the leading cause of mouth cancers.

Junk food

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Don’t Gamble With Your Health!

Neglecting teeth and gums may lead to other serious conditions.

When everything is going OK in our lives, many of us likely have a tendency to presume that this will always be the case. This isn’t always a bad thing, and the constant stress of worrying what could go wrong would have its own side effects. As we are fully aware though, there are certain things that we do need to do each and every day if we are to thrive, or even survive. Eating, for example, is essential.

The same thing applies when it comes to looking after our teeth and gums. Everyday care should include keeping an eye on our diet, avoiding sugars and overly-acidic products as far as possible. It also means cleaning our teeth twice a day and introducing the use of tooth floss if you do not already use this. Professional oral care will also need to be maintained, with six monthly check ups at The Lodge Dental Suite being an essential part of your overall oral health regimen.

Quality of life

Before we move on to some of the more unexpected consequences of neglecting our oral health, our principle dentist, Melisha Govender considers the more immediate impact that poor oral health can have on your life.

Aesthetics – Taking pride in our appearance can have an important impact upon our lives. A nice looking smile can help to attract a partner and may also be influential when it comes to applying for a job. Even our own self esteem and confidence can take a knock if we have teeth missing, or even badly stained teeth. With the treatments that we provide at our Cheshunt dental practice, these problems can largely be avoided with a little help from our team.

Gum disease – Less well understood by some patients, gum health is very important and will help you to retain your natural teeth for longer. Patients who do not look after their gums may suffer from problems such as bad breath, which may drive friends and colleagues away. Tooth loss can also be the result of more advance gum disease.

Other health issues

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Dental Emergency Appointments

Don’t call 999, call The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt

There have been a number of reports in the press, about the increasing number of phone calls to the emergency services from people in dental pain.

Dialing 999 is only for serious medical emergencies, and, however painful it may be, a raging toothache does not fall into that category unfortunately. The only reason to call 999 for a dental emergency is where any damage has been caused by an accident and where a potentially serious head injury may also be involved.

So, what do you do in the event of a dental emergency, such as a severe toothache, or a broken tooth?

Make an emergency appointment

The first thing that you should do is to call our Cheshunt dental clinic to make an appointment. Make sure to explain your symptoms clearly to our receptionist and request an emergency appointment. At The Lodge Dental Suite, we will always try to see any patient needing urgent treatment the same day wherever this is possible. Whilst our receptionists may be able to offer some advice on how to stay as comfortable as possible, they may also speak to one of the dentists for their advice, and call you back.

Staying comfortable

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Do ‘Targeted’ Toothpastes Really Work?

Our Cheshunt team look at this growing industry.

Even the most casual observer can’t help but have noticed that specific toothpaste advertising on TV is on the increase.

Even major supermarkets now stock some of the more ‘niche’ ones such as those based on activated charcoal. This is all well and good for the manufacturers, but what effect, if any, do these toothpastes actually have, and can they do what they claim?

As dentists, we always tell our patients that they should clean their teeth twice daily (plus floss too of course). The question is, does it matter what type of toothpaste you use? Our Cheshunt and Waltham Cross dental practice team attempt to answer this question.

Teeth whitening toothpastes

For probably obvious reasons, this is one of the more popular ‘specialised’ toothpastes. Almost everyone wants to have a nice looking smile, and if that can be achieved through simply changing toothpastes, then why not? The truth is a little different though, and although some of these pastes may contain additional abrasives to remove some surface staining, they will make very little difference to any internal discolouration, something very common in adults. You should also be cautious about using toothpastes with additional abrasives in them as they may cause erosion of the enamel layer on the teeth, particularly if you brush too vigorously.

Gum disease toothpastes

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