Phasing Out Amalgam Fillings

Why white dental fillings are the future for restoring tooth cavities.

The dilemma with amalgam fillings is that they provide an excellent level of strength whilst also being very dark in colour and therefore highly visible.

It is often this latter reason that causes patients to opt for the more aesthetically pleasing option. There is also the question of mercury, which is used in amalgam fillings, but not in white ones. Mercury is a toxin but is deemed to be safe when used as a component in this tooth filling material.

Whilst there have always been patients who have concerns about this, action is finally being taken to phase out the use of amalgam fillings. This is apparently not because of their safety, or even their high visibility, but due to concerns about the amount of mercury that is currently being released into the environment through their use.

Under 15s

Under an agreement between the British government and the EU, the use of amalgam is now gradually being phased out. This started on the 1st July 2018 with a ruling that dentists can no longer use amalgam fillings on children under 15 or for pregnant or breastfeeding women, unless there are genuine medical reasons for doing so.

This is phase one of the reduction of amalgam fillings and there are sure to be more to follow.

Are white fillings as good?

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Should You Be Concerned About Mouth Sores?

Regular mouth sores? Get a check-up by one of our Cheshunt dentists.

Mouth sores are not uncommon, and usually not especially serious either.

Despite that, they can both be very unsightly and also quite uncomfortable, depending on their precise location. Whilst most will go away on their own, or with a few changes to your lifestyle, persistent sores, or any that last for over a week should be checked out at The Lodge Dental Suite.

Causes of mouth sores

Some conditions such as leukoplakia or oral thrush may cause mouth sores, but they are also more likely if you have problems with your teeth or gums. Some sores are caused by bacteria and can be more prolific if you have an untreated tooth cavity, or even just a relatively small piece broken off a tooth which is causing irritation. In addition to preserving the tooth, having it treated may also help to prevent mouth sores.

Another possible dental cause is when you don’t clean your teeth well, including failure to use dental floss. This could be due to generally poor oral health care, or perhaps when it becomes more difficult to clean, for example when wearing a “wires and brackets” brace to straighten crooked teeth. If this is you, and you need advice, it may be a good idea to see our dental hygienist for guidance and a thorough clean to help restore your mouth to good health.

Stop smoking

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Keeping Your Teeth Clean Whilst Wearing Braces

Latest Invisalign braces

Additional care when undergoing orthodontic treatment

Taking care of your teeth and gums, making sure to keep them clean at all times is very important. This becomes even more so when you have to wear braces to straighten your teeth. Whether this is for aesthetic or functional reasons, you will not want to have the end results spoiled by damaged teeth or sore and swollen gums.

In this context we will discuss the Clear Aligner teeth straightening system later on, but first of all, we take a look at the more commonly known conventional braces.

What’s the problem?

Most conventional dental braces use a series of wires and brackets which work to put pressure on the teeth, encouraging them towards the desired goal. These same wires and brackets though, also tend to be problematic when it comes to trapping pieces of food in them. These small pieces of food, if not removed, will attract bacteria which can both cause significant enamel damage as well as laying the foundation for gum health problems.

How to clean your teeth

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Did You Know?

Some weird and wonderful facts about our teeth!

A great looking smile is something to be cherished, and our extensive range of cosmetic treatments can help you to have nice looking teeth.

There is more to teeth than aesthetics though, and functionality is very important as well. Naturally, at The Lodge Dental Suite, we do our best to help our Cheshunt patients to have both healthy and great looking teeth.

Although dental care is a serious business, there are some facts about teeth that are both interesting, and very often amusing too.

Did you know that the enamel on your teeth is not, strictly speaking, a solid material. It is in fact made from thousands of microscopic ‘rods’, which, when combined, appear to be a solid mass. Despite this, it is the strongest material in our body!

Before toothbrushes were invented, twigs were often used to brush the teeth; not very effectively either we suspect.

On average, we spend around 40 days of our lifetime cleaning our teeth.

Our teeth are individual. Like fingerprints, no two people have the same teeth pattern. As fingerprints can be easily destroyed during fires etc, dental records are often used to determine the identity of victims.

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Reduce Tooth Enamel Damage Through Dietary Changes

Just a few simple changes in what we eat and drink will help to protect our tooth enamel.

It may sometimes appear that dentists want us all to eat a ‘perfect diet’; one that is free from sugar.

We only do this though because we are aware of the damage that some food and drinks can cause, and know that it is in the best interests of our Cheshunt patients to be aware of them.

Although we know that sugar and acidic foods can cause damage to our teeth, we also know that most people are likely to continue to consume them, including dentists! However, our aim is to raise awareness and hopefully help people to take steps to reduce their intake of these types of foods and drinks. A significant change in diet, backed with good oral health care, could make a big difference to the condition of your teeth.

Sugars

Inevitably, the number one enemy of our teeth, other than neglect, is sugar.  Whilst this has long been the case, the fact is that sugar is now more widely present in foods of all types. Whereas once, if we avoided sweets and other obviously sugary items, we would be OK, these days, almost all food has sugar in it, often for preservation as well as taste purposes. As we now tend to eat more convenience foods, we also consume far more sugar than we used to.

To cut down on the amount of sugar in these foods, as well as reducing obvious ones such as chocolates etc, keep an eye on the labels of the products, or, better still, cook your own meals from scratch. These don’t have to be complicated ones and even simple-to-cook meals can taste great with good ingredients.

Acidic food and drink

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How Important Are Milk Teeth?

sugar and kids teeth

Care of our first teeth is important, for many different reasons.

A recent study found that many parents believed that their child’s first teeth were not that important, and that it was only when adult teeth come through that real care needed to be taken. Whilst we can understand the logic of this, it is very definitely incorrect for many different reasons.

At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt, we believe in looking after patients from a young age, typically around one year old. This early intervention can help to prevent many dental problems in children in the years to come, enabling them to grow up with strong and healthy teeth.

Milk teeth

Our first teeth start to come through at approximately one year old, although this does vary from child to child. They remain with us until they start to fall out and be replaced by our adult teeth, starting at around 6 or 7 years old. Not all of these fall out at the same time though, and it is entirely possible to have some milk teeth remaining as we enter adulthood.

Although temporary, having healthy milk teeth is important, for many reasons.

Pain

Nobody likes to see their children suffering, and, as anyone who has had one will know, toothache can be extremely painful and cause a child a lot of distress. In addition to this, young children who need to have decaying teeth extracted, will often need to have this done in hospital, adding more stress in their young lives.

Speech development

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Looking For The ‘Wow’ Factor?

A great smile can help you really stand out from the crowd in Cheshunt!

Although, above all else, it is important to have healthy teeth and gums, there is little doubt that also having a beautiful looking smile is a real bonus.

Many studies have shown that a smile is one of the first things that we notice about other people, often instantly affecting our judgement about them. Those first few moments when we notice a smile could have significant implications for personal relationships, and even, potentially, for our employment prospects too.

Having a great looking smile though is something that rarely happens without some cosmetic dentistry being performed. However well we look after our teeth, from a health point of view, some discolouration and/or crookedness of our teeth is fairly likely at some point in our lives.

Cosmetic dentistry

At The Lodge Dental Suite, many of our patients have opted for cosmetic dental treatments to help them have a nicer looking smile. There are a wide range of options to choose from, though it is always best to discuss the most appropriate treatments with our dentists rather than attempt to pick from a list.

We’ve discussed some of the treatments available at our Cheshunt practice in previous blogs, but it’s always worth a reminder for anyone considering treatment.

Teeth whitening – This can either be done at home using custom made whitening trays, or a one hour teeth whitening procedure can be carried out within the practice by one of our cosmetic dentists, for more instant results.

Straighter teeth – Our fast acting cosmetic braces offer a way to have straighter teeth in a shorter period of time than you might expect. Anticipated treatment time can be discussed following a consultation to assess your specific needs.

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Do You Have A Missing Front Tooth?

Don’t hide your smile! See what our Cheshunt dentists can do to help.

Tooth loss is not uncommon, but when it is a front tooth that is missing, it can have a very dramatic effect on your appearance. The front teeth too are vulnerable to accidents such as a fall or a blow to the face; so even those who really look after their teeth can potentially find themselves in this situation unexpectedly.

First we should make clear that we are not talking about a diastema, where all the teeth are present, but the way that the teeth have grown has left a gap between the teeth. Here we are discussing when a front tooth has been knocked out or has to be extracted because of damage or decay.

Can the tooth be saved?

If you lose a front tooth (or any) due to an accident; if the roots are still intact, it may be possible to save the tooth if you act very quickly. Pick the tooth up, avoiding touching the root, rinse, but don’t rub, the tooth in water and then put in a container of milk or your own saliva and contact us straight away. Every minute lost means less chance of saving the tooth, so please act quickly.

Presuming that the tooth can’t be saved though, or has been extracted, what are the options to replace it available at The Lodge Dental Suite?

Dentures

A denture could be used in situations such as this. Whilst these are more advanced than older type dentures, they may still move around in the mouth from time to time. Because the front teeth are very visible and prominent, this may be instantly noticeable. So whilst this approach is certainly viable, other more permanent methods may be preferred.

Bridge

A bridge could be used, but in order to attach it, significant preparatory work would be needed to attach supporting crowns to the teeth adjacent to the gap. This is not an approach that some patients are willing to take, particularly where front teeth are concerned.

Dental implant

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Remineralisation Of Teeth

The role of modern toothpastes.

Along with tooth whitening toothpastes, you may have seen advertisements for toothpastes that claim to ‘remineralise’ teeth.

Whilst the claims may seem quite impressive, we suspect that quite a few people will not actually understand what this means, and it’s not surprising. In today’s blog, The Lodge Dental Suite team take a look at this process to help our Cheshunt patients have a better understanding.

Mineral deficiencies

Minerals play an important role in our bodies, and dental health is no different. They play a crucial role in keeping the enamel of our teeth strong and healthy, helping to protect the inner parts of the teeth which are more vulnerable to decay etc. We can get most of the minerals that we need from our food, but some people may lack in these due to illnesses, medication or even poor oral care. When this happens, the enamel of our teeth is likely to be weakened.

Saliva

It is probably not widely known that the saliva that we produce contains many minerals that help to strengthen the enamel as well as helping to clean away the bacteria from the teeth and gums. As we have covered before, this is important in the fight against gum disease, but minerals such as calcium and phosphorus ions are also present in our saliva and play their role in keeping the enamel of our teeth in good condition.

Where we struggle to produce sufficient saliva on a regular basis, this can cause mineral loss which negatively affects the health of our teeth. This can happen if we smoke, drink regularly or even as a side effect of an illness or related medication.

Preventing mineral loss

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Don’t Like Seeing The Dentist?

Here are some very good reasons why you really should!

At The Lodge Dental Suite, as at every other practice in the world most likely, we often meet patients who really don’t like the dentist; not in a personal way of course.

The vast majority of patients are friendly and polite, but some unfortunately have an in-built fear of coming to see us or simply don’t prioritise it in their busy lives.

We completely understand and are sympathetic to these concerns and below, our Cheshunt dental team look at a couple of the more common reasons why some people avoid the dentist and discuss how important it actually is to attend.

It’s going to be painful?

This is probably the number one fear of most dental phobic patients. It is perhaps understandable that patients are concerned about this, given the fact that our teeth are located so close to other prime senses such as sight, sound and taste. The sound of the drill so close to our ear obviously amplifies the sound and the sight of a dentist, just a short distance away from our face, can be quite unsettling for some….

But….

It is important to remember that we don’t perform dental procedures on patients unnecessarily and restorative procedures are carried out when there is a real need. In many cases, not only will it help to restore the function of your teeth, but also prevent the need for an even more invasive procedure further down the line if it were not treated early enough. With regards to a patient feeling pain, this is very rare. Whilst there may be a certain level of discomfort during some procedures, this should be relatively minimal with the use of a local anaesthetic. In many cases, it is actually the anticipation of pain, rather than any actual discomfort which causes the patient distress.

I don’t have time and my teeth are fine

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