Easy & Quick Straight Teeth

More more people are realising the benefits of having straighter teeth, not only to the way they look but also making teeth easier to clean and therefore keep healthy. With modern lifestyles it’s becoming increasingly common to want to have orthodontic braces  as quick as possible,  without having to wait months or even years for the result.

As an Invisalign approved provider we are proud to introduce you to Invisalign Go, the fast braces system for rapid results in Harrow.

Am I suitable for Invisalign Go?

Quick results can be achieved with this system because we are only attempting to move the anterior (front teeth).  It is typically these teeth in the aesthetic zone of your smile which have the largest cosmetic impact on the way you look. By just focusing on these teeth, which have smaller roots and therefore move quicker,  we can achieve straighter teeth quicker than many other systems.

So are you looking to straighten your front teeth only? Then you may be a candidate for Invisalign Go.

How quick is quick?

The average treatment time is 7 months, this means your individual treatment could be slightly less or possibly slightly more. If you wish to straighten both the top teeth and the bottom teeth this can be done at the same time and need not necessarily lengthen the treatment time from having one single arch only treated.

How will I know if these braces will work?

The beauty of using Invisalign is its ability to track and plan  your progress.  You will typically have  review appointment every 8 weeks and you will be changing  your fast aligners every 2 weeks.  It’s also possible for us to take digital photographs of your teeth and compare them against the digitally produced treatment plan which is done right at the beginning. The digital  treatment plan before you start treatment will work out where your teeth should be at any stage throughout the process, we can then use ongoing digital photography to compare progress against the plan.  Revolutionary!

What does Invisalign look like when being worn?

Almost invisible braces
Compare Invisalign to conventional braces

Because Invisalign Go uses clear aligners they are almost imperceptible and virtually invisible.

Take a look at the image here, if you look extremely closely you can just about see the edge of the Invisalign braces around the gum margin of the teeth in the image at the front. Invisalign really is virtually imperceptible in normal everyday living.

This means you can wear your clear aligners all day long with no one else knowing, a huge move forwards in orthodontic technology.

How do I get started with Invisalign Go?

The simplest way to get started is to request an appointment for a review, your dentist can then take a look at your overall dental health to ensure you are suitable  for this type of rapid brace, digital photographs may be taken as well is impressions which can then be used to create your digital plan treatment.

Treatment can then begin in a matter of weeks… Why not book your appointment today

Why do my teeth look yellow?

 

This is a question we get asked lots at our dental practice here in Harrow, so we thought we would take some time to take a look at the common reasons why your teeth may not be quite as white as you’d like to be… Some of those reasons are obvious but others aren’t!

What are you eating?

red white
Image credit: Master-isolated-images FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It sounds quite obvious but there are many foods which have any impact on the colour of your teeth. Some foods stain your teeth directly whilst others contribute to dental decay by being rich in sugar.

Foods which contain high amounts of sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth, the more sugar there is in your food the more this bacteria is able to feed and excrete the bacteria which then attacks your teeth causing dental decay. Teeth can then become dark either through the dental decay or by the bacteria forming solid deposits, known as plaque, which then become stained by the strong colours in some foods.

Some food on the other hand is naturally dark staining such as dark berries, tea and red wine. These may stain your teeth on their own but the staining is compounded if you have plaque on your teeth caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and sugar in your diet.

Of course, so many of us like to eat foods like this, so if we want our teeth to be bright and white then we just have to get on top of our dental healthcare!

Are you brushing as well as you could?

Even if your diet isn’t too rich in sugar and you avoid the food with strong colours then your teeth could still be yellow then it would likely that your oral health care routine isn’t as good as it should be.

Quantity of bacteria in your mouth
Image credit: wellordie.com/health

Your mouth contains so many bacteria, more than the population of the world in fact, so it’s really important that you keep on top of this and remove as much bacteria and food as you can after each meal.

When brushing your teeth we recommend using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice per day for 2 min each time. We also recommend flossing daily to ensure your teeth clean in between and then using a fluoride mouthwash in between meals (never after brushing as the mouthwash has less fluoride in than toothpaste).

Are you scrubbing rather than brushing?

anatomy of a toothYes, it’s possible to clean your teeth too much! If you scrub your teeth too much then the gum can recede as it will often become irritated due to the excessive brushing. As the gum recedes it may expose the softer dentine part of your tooth which is lower down towards the root. This part of the tooth is softer than the enamel (a part which you usually see) and is therefore more susceptible to both dental decay and staining.

When you brush, go easy and don’t scrub, if you visit a dental hygienist regularly they will be able to tell you if it looks as though you may be pressing too hard when you clean your teeth. It may also be worth considering an electric toothbrush, many of these have pressure sensors and light up red if you are pressing too hard, a really useful aid if you find this is a problem for you.

Your teeth just are naturally yellower!

Some people’s teeth are just not naturally as white as other peoples. Over the years celebrities have had so much teeth whitening that the commonly accepted shade for teeth is now considerably whiter than it was a few years ago.

Dental manufacturers have had to create new whiter and brighter colours for their materials to match this new trend, what was considered an average tooth colour 10 years ago would now be considered yellow.

Shade guide
Whiter shades have been created by the dental manufacturers to cope with the cosmetic demand of white teeth

Perhaps you are taking medication which makes your teeth look yellow?

The first thing to say is that you should never stop taking any medication that has been prescribed to you without first consulting your doctor. It has however been reported that some medications may affect the colour of your teeth, most often this happens if the medication is taken during childhood whilst the teeth are still forming, rather than extrinsic staining of the teeth at a later date in adulthood.

Some medicated mouthwashes can also stain teeth, so please ensure that you read the label of any medicated mouthwash that you may have been prescribed.

Rest assured though, if your teeth have been stained through using a medicated mouthwash this can easily be removed by your dentist or hygienist.

Do you smoke?

Well, you knew this would probably come up at some point! Smoking darkens teeth because it changes the delicate PH balance in your mouth, it also dries your mouth out which leads to an excessive buildup of bacteria. This bacteria not only has a rather noticeable smell, but also can contribute to increased rates of dental decay.

Plaque on teeth

The smoke itself also has many of these colouring components which, particularly when coupled with poor oral hygiene, can stain the teeth quite noticeably.

As a sidenote, if you have any damage to the gum in your mouth then smoking also slows down the healing process, just another reason to begin the quitting process.

You are older than you were yesterday!

It’s just a fact that as we age various things happened to our body! Gravity takes over and alas, our teeth can appear yellower. The reason for this isn’t because your teeth are actually going yellow, it’s because that as we get older the outer surface of the tooth (enamel) wears away, as the enamel wears away with age the yellower underlying dentine becomes more exposed. As that dentine nears the surface it has the effect of making the teeth look yellower.

This is often more prominent on the lower teeth towards the biting incisal edge. It can be noticed that there is significant yellowing or staining right on that chip area, this is known as secondary dentine and is a common concern with people in, shall we say, more senior years!

And the good news is…

The good news is that most of these problems can be quickly and simply resolved. If you give up smoking, look at your diet and ensure your oral health care routine follows the suggested procedure then you can have a big impact on the colour of your teeth. Your dentist can also whiten your teeth in a couple of ways.

If your teeth just have surface staining perhaps from smoking or food stains then this can be removed with an air abrasion technique. This blasts very small particles at the end at your teeth which very gently remove the surface stain. If however the enamel of your tooth is intrinsically not as white as you would like them teeth whitening could also be the perfect option for you.

What ever you decide, your friendly dentist in Harrow is here to help, please contact us today to book your appointment and begin your journey to brighter, whiter teeth.

 

How to Look After Children’s Teeth Properly

tooth and mirror

Most parents want to look after their children’s teeth in the best way possible but often find the advice given confusing or difficult to follow. In this blog post we set out to explain in simple terms  the easiest way to look after children’s teeth, prevent future problems and keep visits to the dentist to the absolute minimum.

1. Brush using the right kit, in the right way at the right time

Using the right kit

Children have smaller mouths than adults, clearly and so need to have a smaller toothbrush. If you try to clean a child’s mouth with an adult’s brush you will find that you will be missing parts of their teeth, particularly right around the back teeth. Use a child’s toothbrush with a pea sized amount of Children’s toothpaste. Children’s toothpaste has a reduced amount of fluoride compared to adults toothpaste, this ensures that your child does not receive too much fluoride.

Brushing in the right way

Brush your children’s teeth twice per day. Up until the age of 7 we recommend brushing your children’s teeth for them and then supervising after this age. When you brush clean for 30 seconds in each quadrant, top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right ensuring that you clean the biting surface, tongue side and cheek side of your Children’s teeth.

Brushing for the right amount of time

The whole process should take 2 min and this should be done twice per day.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

ID-10044145Ambro.Maintaining a healthy diet is important for overall body health  as well as dental health, but the two are linked. The simplest piece of advice, and probably the most important, is to watch the amount of sugar that your child has in their diet. It’s not just the added sugar (such as on cereal in the morning)  it’s the hidden sugar in so many  food items particularly fizzy drinks and processed food. A good way to monitor this is to use the governments sugar smart app which we have blogged about in the past.

Sugar is so damaging because it feeds the acid excreting bacteria which cause dental decay. Limiting the amount of sugar your child eats will have a dramatic effect on tooth decay.

3. Visit your dentist

We would say that, wouldn’t we! But it’s true, your dentist is able to detect the early warning signs of gum disease and dental decay before you will notice it at home. They can advise on your  child’s oral health care routine and let you know if there are areas that you are missing whilst you are cleaning. It’s extremely important to ensure  that your child’s over all dental health remains in good condition throughout their lives, and this starts from an early age.

Many people mistakenly believe that because children lose their teeth that they don’t need to worry about looking after them…… they will get a new set after all. This is  a misconception, the habits that we form at an early age will continue into later life. If your children don’t have a good oral health care routine with their baby teeth, why would they change that routine and habit when they lose their baby teeth? The reality is that they won’t and those same bad habits will continue through to the adult teeth…  Which don’t get naturally replaced.

For further advice and information  please request an appointment with our dental hygienist at our practice in Harrow, we’ll be happy  to answer any questions and give you advice on your own dental health care routine.

Images courtesy of  freedigitalphotos.net

Study claims that 100,000 patients per year are heading straight to A&E with dental emergencies

According to a new study by the BritishDental Association at Newcastle University has found that far more patients are attending accident and emergency with their dental emergencies than official government statistics state.

People visiting A&E for dental problems in the UK

The official government statistics claimed at around 14,500 patients with dental problems attend their accident and emergency department  (statistics from 2014/15). However, the British Dental Association’s research indicates that due to systematic under-reporting the figure is far more likely to be closer to 135,000 patients per year.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chairman of general dental practice at the BDA, said:

“Ministers keep underestimating how much their indifference to dentistry has knock-on effects across the health service. GPs and A&E medics are having to pick up the pieces, while the government’s only strategy is to ask our patients to pay more in to plug the funding gap.

“We are seeing patients who need our care pushed towards medical colleagues who aren’t equipped to treat them. As long as government keeps slashing budgets and ramping up charges, we will keep seeing more of the same.”

There are many reasons why NHS dentistry is struggling to cope with the demands of dental emergencies  and it’s not our intention to get involved with the politics of why that may be. The reality is that many dental practices may find it extremely difficult to cope with the bureaucracy and funding within the NHS, and so to provide their patients with the treatments of choice opt to work in the private sector only.

So is Private dentistry an expensive alternative?

The perception is often that private dentistry is a very expensive alternative however it is possible to see a private dentist, with all  of the  benefits that brings from as little as 56p per day, that’s less than the average mobile phone contract and less than a cup of coffee per day!

There are two ways to enjoy private dentistry for these low fees, let’s look at each in more detail.

1. Keep Your Mouth Healthy

It sounds obvious, but the more you do at home to keep your mouth clean, your teeth bright and your gums healthy then the lower your dental costs will be. According to research by the American Dental Association in 2013:

  • 56.8% of women brush their teeth twice a day
  • 49% of men brush their teeth twice a day
  • 50.5% of Americans floss daily

With only around half the population brushing their teeth according to the recommended amount  of twice per day it’s no wonder that dental health suffers!

2. Saving For Your Dental Treatment

If you took 56p per day and saved this in a bank account then by the end of the year you would have £206. This is enough for two comprehensive dental examinations without private dentist, including x-rays PLUS two appointments with the dental hygienist. This equates to £17.16 per month which is less than most people pay on a mobile phone contract, so the question has to be asked which is more important,  looking after your health  or paying for a mobile phone?

The cost of dental treatment

Blue Court Dental Centre is a local dental practice in the heart of Harrow offering private dental care to the local people. Please contact us today to make an appointment and explore your options from as little as £17.16 per month.

 

Are Sports Drinks Destroying Your Teeth and a Risk to Your Health?

Some recent research from the University of Cardiff showed that of the 160 children that responded to their survey 89.4% of them stated that they drank sports drinks with half of them drinking them at least twice a week. These drinks are intended to improve performance and keep athletes hydrated and are not intended to be drank as recreational drinks, especially by young people.

Drinking these drinks has been marketed as being fashionable, trendy and often healthy which has led to a surge in popularity amongst the younger members of our population.

The main reasons for consuming these drinks was attributed to the nice taste (90% of respondents) With 80.4% of respondents purchasing the drinks from local shops. 77.9% of boys came to drink sports drinks during physical activity whilst only 48.6% of girls claimed the same thing however, more girls claim to drink socially, 51.4% compared to 48.5% for boys.

Alarmingly, a study reported in the independent.ie says that 55% of the sports drinks consumed at home rather than during any exercise at all!

The problem is not the sports drinks themselves, the problem is the fact that these drinks are formulated for enhanced exercise performance. The sugar in sports drinks is there to give fast absorption of carbohydrate so that the muscles can run at peak performance. Yet if these drinks are consumed with out the physical exercise then the body is not using the sugar in this way.

Lucozade sport, for example Contains 27 g of sugar or 7 teaspoons worth in a 750 mL bottle. The world health organisation recommends people consume a maximum of 50 g of added sugar per day, meaning one bottle of Lucozade sport is more than 50% of your daily recommended intake.

Obesity expert Dr Donal O’Shea says:

“If you’re a gold medal Olympian who’s burning 6,000 calories a day and can’t eat enough to replace that, maybe a sports drink is okay, but for everyone else they have no benefit,”

Credit: PHE

The government’s recent launch of their Change4Life campaign of the Sugar Smart app goes a long way to helping children understand how much sugar is contained in various drinks, because this is an app, children find it more interactive and a useful way to scan their favourite drinks to see how much sugar is included.

What are the risks to your dental health of too much sugar?

With written in other blog posts about the effects of too much sugar with regards to diabetes and obesity but there are also risks to your dental health.

Dental decay is caused by the acid excreting from the bacteria in your mouth, these bacteria feed prolifically on the sugar in your diet, the more sugar you have, the more they feed on the more acid they excrete.

In the most part your saliva neutralises this acid but it can only work to a certain degree, too much acid and it attacks your teeth and causes dental decay.

One of the biggest problems is that these bacteria lurk in between your teeth which is notoriously difficult to clean, this is why using an interdental brush or floss is absolutely vital for maintaining your dental health.

Bluecourt Dental Centre in Harrow, Middlesex can advise you on the best cleaning techniques and oral health advice in order to keep your teeth fresh and bright for life. They can also provide dietary advice and encouragement to children to drink healthy drinks rather than sports drinks designed for athletes.

Dry mouth? Here’s what you need to know…

It is very normal for people to occasionally have a dry mouth, this can be caused by dehydration or anxiety. If you have a persistently dry mouth then it may have an underlying cause which needs further investigation, your dentist may be able to help.

What are the causes of a dry mouth.

A dry mouth is caused by under active salivary glands which are not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. This could either be because you don’t have enough water in your system and you are dehydrated or due to a medical reason causing the glands not to work as they should.

A few of the causes of dry mouth are:

  1. Medication. Some antidepressants and antihistamines can cause your mouth to dry out, if you are taking either of these medications take a quick look at the instructions and see if a side-effect is a dry mouth. Never stop taking prescribed medicines until you have spoken to your doctor about any potential side-effect.
  2. A common cold. If you have a cold and your nose is blocked it can cause you to breathe excessively through your mouth, this can dehydrate your mouth, particularly whilst you are asleep.
  3. Medical conditions. There are a couple of medical conditions including diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome which cause dry mouth.

What problems can dry mouth cause?

Dry lips are very often associated with a dry mouth, as is halitosis. The saliva in your mouth keeps bacteria at bay, without the saliva the bacteria multiply and cause the bad breath.

Tooth decay and gum disease are also associated with a dry mouth. If they are not bathed in the saliva then the bacteria which secrete the acid are not neutralised, the acid can then become stronger and cause decay in your teeth faster than normal.

ID-10040609nixxphotography.How to treat a dry mouth

Before you know exactly how to treat a dry mouth you need to understand what is causing it. If you believe you are fully hydrated then medical assistance may be required, either from your doctor or dentist.

Some things you could try include:

  1. Staying hydrated by drinking as much water as you need per day.
  2. Stopping smoking.
  3. Limiting the amount of caffeine you drink as this can dehydrate you.
  4. Chewing gum to stimulate the flow of saliva, make sure this gum is sugarfree to avoid tooth decay.
  5. Visit a pharmacy and ask for some over-the-counter saliva substitute.
  6. Try to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.
  7. Use a room humidifier at night if you think you may be mouth breathing.

Preventing tooth decay due to a dry mouth

One of the big problems of a dry mouth is maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay. It is extremely important to regularly visit your hygienist and dentist if you have a dry mouth to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.

Gum disease can progress painlessly on the whole and only a dental health professional will be able to tell in the early stages if you have either gingivitis or periodontitis.

The general rule of thumb for good teeth cleaning is:

  1. Start brushing your molars and then moved forwards towards the front of your mouth.
  2. Brush from your gums towards the chewing surface and use little strokes to get your teeth clean.
  3. Make sure to clean all your teeth. Hold your toothbrush up and down to get behind them.
  4. Remember to brush your tongue.

Do all of this twice per day and use a fluoride mouthwash in between meals as a top up. Avoid using mouthwash after you brush as toothpaste has a higher percentage of fluoride than mouthwash, if you use a mouthwash immediately after brushing then you reduce the amount of teeth strengthening fluoride around your teeth.

For advice on dental health and dry mouth please give Blue Court Dental a call or request an appointment online.

Image source nixxphotography at freedigitalphotos.net

Survey reveals that 72% of men have used their female partner’s toothbrush

AID-100116377 by imagerymajesticccording to a new survey women change their toothbrush twice as often as men. The survey showed that, on average, women change their toothbrush every 92 days whilst men change theirs every 185 days.

The survey was carried out by Carisbrook dental in Manchester which asked 1000 patients about their oral health habits.”

“All our research shows that women take dental health far more seriously than men,”

Dr Tariq Idrees owner of Carisbrook dental said,

“Throwing your toothbrush out after three months might seem like a short time, but think of the germs, viruses and bacteria it is exposed to daily; new toothbrushes have been developed where the bristles change colour when they wear one out providing an immediate reminder of when to getting new one.”

 change your toothbrush after you have been ill

According to the survey electric toothbrushes are used by 57% of women and 32% of men. Another interesting fact was that women spend on average £42 per year on the dental healthcare, whilst men spend only £24 a year on the same dental healthcare including brushes, toothpaste  and other products such as mouthwash.

The survey also revealed that 7/10 men (72%) have used their female partners toothbrush whilst only 26% of women admitted to using their male partner’s brush.

“Women spend twice as much on their teeth and tend to have much healthier teeth and gums. They are almost 5 times more likely to have cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening.” Said Dr Tariq Idrees

At Blue Court Dental Centre in Harrow we have similar experience of women taking more care of their dental health than men. If you don’t look after your toothbrush then the bristles can become bent and frayed, this means they are not able to clean in between your teeth in those difficult to reach areas where the acid excreting bacteria lurk.

The spaces in between your teeth are particularly vulnerable to dental decay and if these areas are not kept clean on a daily basis your oral health care can suffer.

We have also written in other blog posts about the further implications of not looking after your teeth and gums. Dental disease has been linked to other conditions such as diabetes and heart problems.

Using an electric toothbrush makes it far easier to ensure that your teeth are adequately cleaned and rinsing in between cleaning your teeth, particularly after meals with a good quality fluoride mouthwash is another step you can take to ensure your teeth stay dentally fit and healthy for life.

If you are at all concerned about you or your partner’s oral health then please do give us a call or request an appointment online.

Image courtesy of ImageryMajestic @ freedigitalphotos.net

Five Tips for Fixing Stained Teeth

A clear, vibrant smile is among the most important aspects in looking and feeling your very best every single day. In cases where your teeth are yellow or stained it may affect ones self-esteem thus making you embarrassed to speak or smile for photos.

Fortunately, many instances of tooth discoloration have easy fixes. The technique you will decide on to whiten your teeth is dependent mainly on the cause of the stains, so below, we’ll review the most common causes and how to repair the unsightly damage they cause.

Whitening Plaque-Stained Teeth

 Plaque on teethBrushing alone cannot fully remove plaque from your teeth, so with time it may accumulate and cause surface discoloration. There’s a couple of steps you can take with plaque stains, and not one of them is remotely complicated! You can change to brushing with a whitening tooth paste, make use of a tooth-bleaching system, or visit a dentist for air abrasion which can gently remove these stains.

Getting rid of Drink and Food Discoloration

red whiteUnfortunately, it is a fact: certain meals stain the teeth. Coffee is probably the worst offender and the most obvious, but also think about  fizzy drinks, wine, sports drinks, pasta sauce, vinegar, and berries.  Tea can also be a culprit, you will find that black tea is worse than white tea. To combat food discoloration, get a jar of activated charcoal, an all natural product which lifts surface stains off teeth. Nowadays,  you can buy this type of charcoal in mint flavours.  You may also want to consider tooth whitening toothpaste.

Fighting Age-Related Tooth Discoloration

Most of us are quite familiar with the normal complaints of ageing, aching joints, memory loss and inability to use modern technology, we are joking on that last one by the way!

Did you also know that tooth discolouration can happen as we get older? Unlike the majority of the others in our list, age-related yellowing isn’t brought on by surface stains, but by worn-lower enamel and calcified tissue referred to as “secondary dentine.”

Secondary dentin starts to develop once our teeth are fully formed, and keeps growing gradually throughout adult life. Secondary dentine is darker and much more opaque compared to “primary dentine”  this means that it can show through the more translucent primary dentine.

There is no way you can reduce this at home, deep teeth whitening or perhaps some form of restorative treatment such as veneers crowns may be the only way to fight age-related tooth discolouration.

Eliminating Stains from Smoking

smokingIt’s well-known the most visible manifestation of a smoker may be the yellow or brown teeth that tobacco causes. If you are hooked on cigarettes or eating tobacco, it’s embarrassing to broadcast this every time you open your mouth. Fortunately, tobacco stains mostly affect the surface of the teeth instead of penetrating further in, so for example a whitening gel with peroxide might help  reduce the yellowing of tobacco.

Dealing with Discolouration Caused by Medication

IMG_6096An unwanted effect of tetracycline antibiotics is yellowing or graying on the teeth, and regrettably, because this happens from inside-out as opposed to outside-in, it is not as simple as  simply treating the surface and to.

A very similar situation arises if you have been exposed to an excessive amount of fluoride causing fluorosis. Fluorosis leads teeth to yellow and become mottled.

In some instances this discolouration can be treated with very precise bleaching techniques, perhaps using lasers. However, in most cases discolouration caused by medication will need to have some form of restoration over the top of the tooth is to completely cover the discoloured area. This would typically be a dental veneer or dental crown.

Biography

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental in Harrow. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation. It is important for him to provide care in a calm and unhurried manner, taking the time to make even the most nervous patients feel at ease and informed about any procedures they need.

Patients come from all across the country and even overseas to experience the outstanding treatment that Dr Dixit provides, and his record speaks for itself as many patients have been under his care for over 20 years. Building long-lasting relationships with patients is at the heart of Dr Dixit’s dentistry.

Images via Master-isolated-images @ freedigitalphotos.net

How do you know which dental specialist to see?

In life we know that if things are particularly complicated then a specialist in that area is the best person to sort it out. Dentistry is no different. Understanding which specialist to see can often be rather confusing so in this blog post, our Harrow dentists takes some time to go through each of the specialist areas to help you understand which person can best solve your dental problems. The following definitions are taken from the General Dental Council specialist register.

Orthodontist

4_12_ORTHODONTICS_Cfast_Cosmetic_Tooth_Alignment_Triodent

 

The development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaw.

Many general dentists are now offering what are known as either short term orthodontics (STO) all limited outcome orthodontics, these treatments move teeth to a more cosmetic situation and include treatments such as Invisalign (clear braces), Six Month Smiles (tooth coloured brackets) and the Inman aligner (rapid orthodontics). These systems typically only move front teeth and don’t address more complicated biting problems.

A specialist orthodontist will typically use more complex techniques to move teeth greater distances. A specialist orthodontist can correct biting problems and even work with a growing jaw during the early teenage years to help move the jaw and bone into a better position.

If you have a child whose teeth don’t seem to be biting correctly then a specialist orthodontist may be the person to see, many children begin their orthodontic treatment at the age of 12, but it’s worth seeing an orthodontist sooner if you suspect they could be a problem.

Adults with crooked teeth could start with a general dentist, see if one of the short-term orthodontic techniques could work and have a discussion about whether a specialist orthodontist would be better suited due to biting problems.

Periodontist

The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders (infections and inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.

Gum disease can often progress painlessly, it can start as red inflammation with bleeding on brushing, this may be a sign of gingivitis. As this gingivitis and inflammation spreads it can move down the tooth towards the root at this point it becomes the more serious periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss.

At this point your dentist will probably refer you to a periodontist. The periodontist will then look at the extent of any disease and work with the treatment and help you prevent it happening again.

Prosthodontists are also the specialist which place dental implants. Their detailed knowledge of the gums and other structures surrounding the teeth makes them the perfect person to restore your missing teeth with implants.

Prosthodontistdenture-implant

 

The replacement of missing teeth and the associated soft and hard tissues by prostheses (crowns, bridges, dentures) which may be fixed or removable, or may be supported and retained by implants

A Prosthodontist will work extremely closely with a dental laboratory. It will be the dental laboratory which manufacture your crowns, bridges or dentures to replace any missing teeth. These restorative options are also offered by your general dental practitioner but in some instances the restoration of the missing teeth becomes extremely complex, perhaps combining crowns, bridges and dentures in complex ways. Understanding how these restorations perform together takes specialist knowledge, in this case a Prosthodontist will often help to restore your smile.

You may also find that a prosthodontist will work with a periodontist. The periodontist may place the dental implants (as in the example above) and the prosthodontist may work closely with the dental laboratory to make the denture on top. It is a close coordination of a specialist team to achieve the best result.

Endodontistanatomy of a tooth

 

The cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue.

Endodontics is a specialist field which many general dentists do not offer themselves. It takes many years training to be able to work in the small environment which is the root of a natural tooth. Many people think that root canal treatments are painful, the reality is that this type of treatment actually gets you out of pain. The results can be quite immediate!

Working with an endodontist your general dental practitioner is able to save teeth rather than remove them. This is always the preferred option of treatment if at all practical.

Oral Surgery

The treatment and ongoing management of irregularities and pathology of the jaw and mouth that require surgical intervention. This includes the specialty previously called Surgical Dentistry.

There are times when, unfortunately, some form of surgical procedure is required, for example:

  • Simple and complex dental extractions
  • Removal of Simple and Complex Wisdom teeth
  • Removal of retained roots
  • Orthodontic extractions
  • Exposure and bonding of Unerupted teeth for Orthodontics

This is when an oral surgery specialist will step in and support your general dental practitioner in the more complex surgical procedures.

Restorative Dentistryrestorative dentistry

 

The restoration of diseased, injured, or abnormal teeth to normal function. Includes all aspects of Endodontics, Periodontics and Prosthodontic

A specialist in restorative dentistry works particularly with your natural teeth in order to restore them. This could be the complex combination of crowns, bridges, bonding, looking after the gums or treating complex problems with the teeth themselves. It involves a wide range of skills in order to save teeth.

You only ever get one set of adult teeth so it would make sense to restore them whenever possible, rather than have them extracted and be lost for ever. A restorative specialist helps you do this.

With so many specialists working to help save, restore and generate your perfect smile it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. Our dental practice in Harrow works with resident specialists, in all areas, we can refer you to the right person for you, alternatively you could search the specialist register on the GDC website.

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How to clean teeth properly

In this blog post we will be taking a look at everything you need to know about keeping your teeth clean and healthy for life. People in Harrow are often looking for ways to reduce the cost and time of visiting the dentist, one of the best ways to do this is to keep your teeth fit and healthy.

A healthy smile means your dental fees will be smaller, you spend less time at the dentist and can smile with absolute confidence.

How to clean teeth properly

In order to keep your teeth fit and healthy for life you must adopt an efficient and effective system for cleaning your teeth. Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Wait 20 min after eating before brushing your teeth, this gives your enamel time to harden again after that acid attack of eating.
  2. Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste
  3. Hold your brush at an angle
  4. Brush all of your teeth from front to back, the top and the bottom, remember to brush your tongue.
  5. Brush up and down and round and round.
  6. Try to keep the toothpaste in your mouth without rinsing, this leaves the maximum amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth for the longest period of time.
  7. Once a day use an interdental brush or floss to clean in between your teeth, this does not have to be at the same time as you clean your teeth.
  8. Once or twice a day rinse your mouth out with a fluoride mouthwash, typically a good time to do this is just after the meal. Avoid using mouthwash after cleaning your teeth, toothpaste has a higher percentage of fluoride than mouthwash does, if you rinse with mouthwash after cleaning then you actually reduce the amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth.

toothpaste

Cleaning teeth with an electric toothbrush

Whilst it is not 100% necessary to use an electric toothbrush most dentists recommend them. Modern electric toothbrushes offer a few advantages:

  1. an audible timer to ensure that you clean your teeth for the correct length of time
  2. a pressure sensor to ensure you do not press too hard and damage the sensitive gums
  3. an oscillating brush head to get into all of the tiny gaps

The combination of all of these features means that an electric toothbrush tends to be more efficient at cleaning your teeth.

You may also find with a manual toothbrush that you tend to press on some areas of your teeth harder than others. This can often lead to receding gums in this area, an electric toothbrush tends to be easier to clean with the same amount of pressure over your entire row.

How to clean teeth plaque at home

Plaque buildup on your teeth due to something known as biofilm. This biofilm is a sticky thin layer over your teeth. It is made up of bacteria which feed on the sugar in your diet.

Sometimes this biofilm builds up in difficult to reach areas, such as in between your teeth or on the tongue side of your teeth. As the biofilm gets thicker and thicker it turns into plaque, a hard substance which adheres to your teeth.

The plaque means that the acid excreting bacteria are in constant contact with your teeth, as they excrete acid whilst they feed on the sugar in your diet this can attack your teeth causing dental decay.

For this reason it is important to keep plaque to the absolute minimum.

The best way to do this is to follow a good oral hygiene routine, please see our previous section on how to clean teeth properly.

If the plaque build up significantly then you will need to see a dental hygienist who can remove it using an ultrasonic scaling device.

Plaque is extremely difficult to remove at home because it is so hard and stuck your teeth.

How to clean teeth with braces

tooth and mirror
Image courtesy of Cuteimage at freedigitalphotos.net

If you have dental braces it is just as important to keep your teeth clean as it is without braces. When you have the braces removed you want to be able to show off your brand-new smile!

Plaque can build up very quickly around braces so it really is important that you have a good oral hygiene routine whilst wearing them.

An electric toothbrush will help enormously if you have fixed orthodontics, using interdental brushes will also be important as you will probably not be able to get floss in between your teeth due to the arch wires.

Here are our top tips for cleaning teeth with braces:

  • follow the advice in our previous section on how to clean teeth properly, plus…
  • Use a mirror every time you clean your teeth, this can be really helpful to ensure you have cleaned all the way around your braces
  • ask your orthodontist for some special brushes which allow you to clean in difficult to reach areas, round ended bristle brushes seem to work best.

After brushing your braces should look clean and shiny and you should be able to see the edges of the brackets. Ensure you rinse with a good quality fluoride mouthwash at least once per day.

How to clean teeth stains at home

As with almost all of our advice we recommend avoiding getting teeth stains in the first place by maintaining a good oral health routine. If you find that your teeth stain then this may be because you have plaque which has built up, keeping this plaque to a minimum will help keep your teeth looking bright.

The best way to keep your teeth clean and free from stains at home is to visit the hygienist first, have a professional clean and polish and then follow our steps listed previously. This will allow your teeth to be cleaned to their maximum brightness, all you need to do after is to maintain them at home.

Some advice on cleaning teeth stains at home:

  1. try using a whitening tooth paste
  2. try using a whitening mouthwash

Your gums are very sensitive we therefore do not recommend you try any other stain removal technique at home.

Oral hygienists

A dental/oral hygienist is an important part of the dental team and could help you save lots of money at the dentist. Hygienists are specially trained to be dental health educators, helping you look after your teeth and carrying out deep cleaning which is not possible at home.

Your hygienist will also typically score your dental health on a scale from 0 to 4, this is known as a basic periodontal examination (BPE). Each tooth is rated on this scale which allows you to track your dental health across each visit. The hygienist will use a probe around each tooth to determine pocket depth around each tooth.

Scoring is typically

  • 0 No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, no bleeding after probing
  • 1 No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, but bleeding after probing
  • 2 No pockets >3.5 mm, but calculus/overhangs
  • 3 Probing depth 3.5-5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 4-5 mm)
  • 4 Probing depth >5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 6 mm or more) fifth

How much do oral hygienists cost?

Visits to the dentist are normally more expensive than visits to the oral hygienist, at our practice a oral hygiene program appointment costs from £48.

Teeth cleaning appointments

Teeth cleaning/oral hygiene appointments are best made at the same time as you visit your dentist. Typically a patient will visit the hygienist for 30 min and then go on to have a routine dental health check with the dentist for 30 min afterwards.

This makes best use of your time and is the most convenient way to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned.