How do you know which dental specialist to see?

26th May, 2016

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.




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.


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.



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.


How to clean teeth properly

5th May, 2016

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.


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

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.

Did You Know That Talking Therapy Can Help Dental Fear and Anxiety

21st January, 2016

It’s not uncommon for people to feel quite anxious about visiting the dentist, recent research has shown that talking therapies can help and so we thought we would create this article to explain more. We’ve broken this article in to 3 section:

  1. Talking therapies to overcome anxiety
  2. Dental Sedation
  3. General tips to relaxing more

Talking therapies

talking therapyCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could help many people with a dental phobia overcome their fear of visiting the dentist and enable them to receive dental treatment without the need to be sedated, according to a new study by King’s College London. (1)

Patients with dental phobia were able to face doNickwn their fear after an average five sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a study found.

Professor Tim Newton, who led the King’s College team, said: “People with dental phobia are most commonly given sedation to allow them to become relaxed enough for a short period of time to have their dental treatment performed. However this does not help them to overcome their fear in the long term.

“The primary goal of our CBT service is to enable patients to receive dental treatment without the need for sedation, by working with each individual patient to set goals according to their priorities. Our study shows that after on average five CBT sessions, most people can go on to be treated by the dentist without the need to be sedated.”

Of all patients referred, four-fifths (79%) went on to have dental treatment without the need for sedation and 6% had their dental treatment under sedation. The average number of CBT appointments required before a patient received dental treatment without sedation was five.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

CBT cannot remove your problems, but it can help you deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you. These parts are:

A Situation – a problem, event or difficult situation. From this can follow:

  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Physical feelings
  • Actions

Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.

In addition to talking therapies some people also want to consider dental sedation

What is Sedation?

ID-100341794tiveryluckyIntravenous Sedation is when a drug is administered into the blood system during dental treatment. Sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being aware of the treatment being carried out. You remain conscious during intravenous sedation and you are still able to understand and respond to simple requests.

However, many people report that they do not remember much or anything at all about the treatment they had done as sedation can produce a partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when we administer the drug until it wears off. This can result in you not remembering very much of what happened, some people remember nothing at all.

While the drug used during sedation will relax you and make you forget what happens, you will still need to be numbed as it is not a painkiller. If you have a fear of injections, the dentist will not numb the treatment area until the sedation has taken full effect. They will then wait until the local anaesthetic has taken effect before starting your treatment.

The sedation drug administered though a vein, usually in the hand. An extremely thin needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin on the back of your hand. The needle has a soft plastic sheath around it and as it enters the vein, the needle is slid out leaving the soft plastic sheath in place. The drugs are put in through this sheath, this stays in place throughout the procedure.

How will IV sedation in the surgery affect me?

You become drowsy and are not aware of having any treatment, but you are still able to co-operate with the dentist. The effects of sedative medicine take some time to wear off and your dentist will tell you how long the drugs will take to clear from your body. You won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time.

In addition to CBT we also recommend finding ways to relax…

Top Tips to Relaxing at The Dentist (2)

ID-10044145Ambro.Try Acupressure

Pressure to meet a deadline can be stressful, but acupressure can help release all that tension. Acupressure’s a kind of touch therapy that works by balancing the circulation of fluids and energies in the body. Use the thumb and forefinger to massage the soft area between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Dab on some lavender oil for extra relaxation.

Sip Green Tea

Instead of turning purple with rage, get green with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger . Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.

Remember to Breathe

Is there any simpler way to relax? Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate . For the fancy noses out there, try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique’s supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body (and possibly eliminating the need for a tissue).

Use Creative Visualization

The doorbell rings. It’s Ryan Gosling (or Elizabeth Banks), and he/she wants to know if you’ll marry him/her. “Yes!” you shout and then—sorry, time’s up. These little daydreams, also known as “creative visualization,” involve thinking of something that makes us feel happy. It’s an instant mood boost on hectic days when we’re feeling tense.

Find the Sun

Here comes the sun—and some stress relief. If it’s a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy folks

Take a Quick Walk

“Now walk it out, now walk [stress] out.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts!

Try Aromatherapy

It takes just a minute to drip some lavender, tea tree, or another essential oil into your palm and inhale. The soothing scents may help send stress and anxiety packing by stimulating smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions


(1) ‘Oral health status of non-phobic and dentally phobic individuals; a secondary analysis of the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey’ by E. Heidari, A. Banerjee and J.T. Newton was published in the British Dental Journal on Friday 13 November 2015

(2) Tips sourced from: site accessed 14/12/15

Image courtesy of Ambro, Tiveryluck & Stuary Miles at

Our Thoughts on the New Sugar Smart App

13th January, 2016

Image Credit:

It seems that, each day, many of us are eating too much sugar.

You may be surprised to discover the amount of sugar you are eating and how quickly the added sugar  that many of us consume can build up during the day.

The government are now advising that parents take action by installing a new app onto their smart phone which is able to read the barcodes on many food products giving them a visual representation of the amount of sugar a product contains.

The “sugar smart app”, from Public Health England (PHE), functions by checking bar code scans and revealing total sugar content of the food in either cubes or grams.

Authorities hope it can help combat tooth cavities, weight problems and type 2 diabetes and encourage families to select more healthy options with their daily diet.


Approximately 46,500 children and young people under 19 were admitted to hospital for a primary diagnosis of dental caries in 2013–14 according to The state of children’s oral health in England report by the Faculty of Dental Surgery – that’s more children than were admitted for tonsillitis.

As a nation, if we are going to reduce these hospital admissions for young people and we need to get dental disease under control.


Dental cavities arise when the bacteria in your mouth secrete acid. This acid secretion happens as they digest the sugar in your diet. This acid attacks the hard enamel of your teeth and can continue to penetrate deep into the tooth structure.

If this acid attack is left unchecked then the tooth can become seriously infected.

The only way to stop the dental cavity from continuing to grow is to visit the dentist, have the caries removed and then the hole filled. Advice on a good oral health routine can then be given as well as dietary advice.

It is this acid attack which can be limited if we control the amount of sugar that we have in our diets.

There are however other reasons to limit the amount of sugar.


Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said:

“Diets that are high in sugar are fuelling the rise in obesity, and in turn the dramatic rise in Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which cannot be prevented and is not caused by being obese. With the average child consuming three times the recommended daily amount of sugar, the need for action has never been more urgent. The new Sugar Smart app will help parents to understand and take control of their children’s sugar intake.

PHE states that young people are eating 3X more sugar than is recommended in their new Change4Life marketing campaign. Their research indicates that normally children aged 4 to 10 years of age are consuming 22kg of added sugar annually. That equates to about 5,500 sugar cubes which is more that the average 5-year old weighs!

It’s all as simple as 3 easy steps:

  1. Get The App

  2. Start Scanning

  3. Reveal The Sugar


Credit: PHE

Image Credit: PHE

  1. Download the application through the Apple Store or Google Play.
  2. Based on how old you are, your everyday sugar allowance will differ. The application informs you on the maximum you should eat.
  3. Select the product that has a barcode.
  4. Open the application.
  5. Permit the application the use of the digital camera on your phone- a box will appear requesting permission.
  6. Line the barcode track up with the red-colored line and wait for a beep. If it’s doesn’t work, yo may be trying to scan too close up, so move the camera further away.
  7. The application will let you know just how much sugar there is in the product – however the application does not have every food item available yet as it is still in it’s development stage.
  8. After that you can share the end result together with your connections on FacebookTwitter, Google & other social media sites.
  9. Clicking the menu button gives you more about sugar content in meals, a scanning history and let’s you go to the app’s website.
Credit: PHE

Image Credit: PHE

If you have children we can highly recommend that they download the app and begins scanning food, this can be a fun way to educate your case about the amount of sugar in food.

More resources about sugar



How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Pre treatment

Do You Have a Higher Chance of Developing Tooth Decay?


The Sugar Factor

Image Source:



Bluecourt Dental is a Private dental practice in Harrow offering free dental health advice via their website, social media streams and regularly updated blog posts.

Mouth Cancer – Are You at Risk?

30th October, 2015

November 2015 is mouth cancer action month.

Mouth cancer action month was set up in 1998 to begin to combat the growing concerns about a significant increase in diagnoses of mouth cancer in the UK. The primary concern was that there seemed to be a lack of general awareness about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, knowing what to look out for and being confident to report it to a healthcare professional. This year our dental practice in Harrow is doing its part to raise the awareness of mouth cancer.

Throughout this blog post we have placed several hyperlinks to additional resources, if you click on these you can find out more information about the subjects highlighted.

The causes of mouth cancer.


Most mouth cancers can be linked back to smoking cigars and pipes, there are also instances of habits such as chewing tobacco being a contributory factor to mouth cancer. Alcohol also gives an increased risk of mouth cancer, particularly if consumed at the same time as tobacco.


With a tendency for people to lay out in the sun more, over exposure to sunlight can also responsible for causing some cancer of the lips.

Sexual Preferences

Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.

The signs of oral cancer

There are many different forms of oral cancer. However, the primary signs and symptoms may include:

  • A lump or thickening of the soft tissue in your mouth, including the gums, tongue and cheek.
  • Soreness and/or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of your mouth.
  • Hoarseness.
  • White or red patches in the mouth the do not normally. (Typically these areas should heal within three weeks)
  • Mouth ulcers that don’t heal within three weeks.

Early detection of mouth cancer

The two best ways of detecting mouth cancer early are to be mouth aware at home and to have regular visits to your dentist. A modern dental practice should always undertake the mouth cancer check with every dental health assessment and this is a primary way of spotting the first signs of mouth cancer.

In order to be more mouth aware we have created a free guide, this goes through seven points for self-assessment at home. Looking at the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them. You can download your 7 point mouth cancer self assessment guide here.

If your dentist believes they have found an early sign of mouth cancer than they will immediately refer you to the local hospital who can carry out more extensive tests which may include biopsies.

If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.


How to keep a healthy mouth

Mouth cancer awareness


Blue Lip Selfie Campaign – #bluelipselfie

Get involved with our Blue Lip Selfie campaign and show your support for mouth cancer!

This year, the British Dental Health Foundation have joined forces with main sponsors Denplan and created a fantastic new campaign to help raise awareness of mouth cancer.

They’re asking people to wear blue lips as a visible sign of support for mouth cancer and take a selfie. We hope this positive, interactive approach will significantly boost awareness of the disease and get everybody taking about mouth cancer, the risk factors involved, the signs and symptoms, and what we can do to help reduce our risk.

So what are you waiting for? Show the world your perfect pout and be part of something huge that aims to get everybody talking about mouth cancer!

Take your  #bluelipselfie and donate to mouth cancer

How to take part

Everybody can take part in the Blue Lip Selfie campaign; men or women, old or young, it doesn’t matter.

All you need to do is take a selfie of yourself or alongside family, friends or colleagues, and share it with the hashtag #bluelipselfie to help raise awareness get the campaign going viral and encourage others to show their support for mouth cancer.


Time to make that change

17th September, 2015

IMG_5815 IMG_5821 IMG_5825

Years of bad habits and irregular visits to the dentist caused this patient’s teeth to deteriorate very quickly.  Her top teeth were very uneven and heavily discoloured.  Close friends and family always commented on how her teeth looked, which over time, caused the patient’s confidence to drop.  She would never smile openly or laugh out loudly.  Meeting new people was impossible and having photographs taken was never an option.  This had a big impact on her life.  She wanted to become the person she was, someone who was full of life and confidence.

After careful thought and planning, the best course of treatment recommended by Dr Dixit was to replace the existing crown and provide new porcelain crowns for the heavily filled and discoloured teeth. The teeth were prepared to the ideal shape for the crowns using custom-made templates to minimise drilling. A soft-tissue laser was used to painlessly recontour the gums enabling the final crowns to be of the ideal length for her face. The new colour was matched to perfection using a special hand-held shade taking device.

IMG_7477 IMG_7481 IMG_7489

The patient was over whelmed  with the results.  Friends and family could not believe how confident it had made her. She was now able to hold her head up high and smile openly and laugh loudly.




Are British Teeth Finally Something to Smile about?

30th July, 2015

There have often been jokes about the state of the teeth in the UK compared to those of citizens in the USA, but are things changing? Are British teeth finally something to smile about?

Ricky Gervais' teeth

“These are my real teeth. You think I’d wear them all the time if they weren’t real? ” Ricky Gervais’ reply to interviewer remarking on his ‘false teeth’. (Source

Over the years more and more Americans have had cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening and dental veneers have become commonplace, Linda Stradley (1) says:

A recent survey showed 80% of Americans aged 18 to 49 want whiter teeth, with women leading in this area at 85%. 6 out 10 believe a whiter, brighter smile would boost their self confidence especially in the 18 to 24 age range

It wasn’t that British teeth were particularly bad that put us as the butt of many a joke, It was simply that the idea of a perfect smile had become brighter and whiter thanks to the surge in Americans having cosmetic dentistry – British teeth were just more natural!

What we have noticed is that patients looking for cosmetic dentist‘s in the UK, particularly in our location of Harrow, Middlesex has also increased.

Natural smiles vs. Hollywood smiles

When dental companies first started to produce materials that enabled dentists to restore smiles with dentures, dental veneers and bonding the range of colours was very limited. Over the years this range of colours has grown and can be seen in the image below.

Shade guide


What is interesting to notice is that the three whiter Shade taps on the left of the image are additions. When Vita performed their original research to discover the different colours of teeth that existed throughout the populace they reproduced this in their a guide, from the lightest discovery through to the darkest discovery.

Since its original shade guide was introduced the American desire to have a whiter smile has forced the manufacturers to add on these three extra colours from mid-white through to the brightest dazzling white.

This session with having perfect teeth has been reflected in this Quora discussion.

Who is having cosmetic dentistry?

Source - American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Levin Group, Inc study 2013

Source – American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Levin Group, Inc study 2013

The distribution of people having cosmetic dentistry is fairly even across all age groups although more than half of the people having cosmetic dentistry are over the age of 40.

This is possibly contrary to what many people think in that cosmetic treatments are only for younger people.



Why do people consider cosmetic dentistry?

This is another extremely interesting aspect to look at, why do people want cosmetic dentistry in the first place?

One might initially think that it’s because people want to look younger however the results of the survey showed that 89% of people asked for cosmetic dentistry to improve their physical attractiveness and/or self-esteem

Reasons for having cosmetic dentistry

Source – American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Levin Group, Inc study 2013


What options are people going for to enhance their smiles?

Not surprisingly one of the most common treatments in cosmetic dentistry is bleaching or whitening at 93%, however crowns and bridges top the poll at 97%.

What treatments that people have with cosmetic dentistry

Source – American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Levin Group, Inc study 2013

 Why are British teeth now something to smile about?

The first reason is that more people are visiting the dentist. NHS statistics show that 52.3% of the adult population now visit the dentist and 69.2% of the child population visit the dentist. With more people visiting the dentist and having access to healthy teeth this will inevitably enhance the smiles of people in the UK.

One of the biggest problems however is that nearly 100,000 fewer children visited the dentist in the most recent research compared to previously produced statistics.If this trend isn’t reversed then the jokes about British teeth may become true again in years to come!

Campaigns such as this “Is your mouth making you sick?” infographic have also helped raise the awareness of going to the dentist, particularly with its links to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer


Proof that the British teeth are something to smile about



After cosmetic dentistry

This patient had cosmetic dentistry using dental veneers to restore her smile.

The advent of additional treatment styles has also enable more people to access treatments which make their smiles look better. In the past these treatments were not available in the UK but modern orthodontics which allow invisible, rapid and lifestyle treatments to straighten teeth have now become commonplace.

Six month smiles is a great example of this, this modern treatment has allowed more patients to access orthodontic braces than ever before. Orthodontics is generally the preferred way to straighten teeth, rather than have dental veneers. Orthodontics maintains your natural tooth structure which is an optimum treatment for most dentists.

Before six month smiles


After six month smiles

A perfectly straight British smile

If you live locally and would like to visit our dentist in Harrow please complete the form on this webpage to request a free cosmetic dentistry consultation. We are always happy to help you achieve your perfect smile.



Common Questions About Botox

23rd June, 2015

Patients frequently travel from around the Harrow area to visit Blue Court  Dental Centre for their antiwrinkle treatments, as we are asked so frequently about this type of treatment we thought we would write a blog post specifically around the use of Botox.

It is important to note that this is a prescription drug and may or may not be suitable for use on any individual. We offer a range of antiwrinkle treatments and it is only after a full assessment that we will be able to prescribe the best treatment for you. This may or may not include Botox.

Botulinum Toxin (Often referred to as BOTOX)

Here at Blue Court Dental Centre in Harrow, Middx we like to be able to offer our patients extra services that may not be available locally elsewhere. Botox and fillers are one such service we are very excited about providing.

Botulinum Toxin

This is commonly used in the treatment of wrinkles, frown lines and crows feet. Over time these wrinkles will become permanent even when you’re not frowning. The Botulinum Toxin treatment involves using a series of targeted injections that relax the muscles that cause the lines and wrinkles. The result is smoother, younger looking skin and you’ll be amazed when your wrinkles smooth out after a day or so, restoring your face to a more youthful and relaxed look.

Botulinum Toxin works by blocking the nerve impulses to the muscle that trigger wrinkle causing contractions. It is one of the safest and most widely researched cosmetic products available today. The treatment can cause a little discomfort and redness may also appear on the treated area, but this will disappear after an hour or so.

Results can be seen after as little 48 hours and last for around 4-6 months. There is no recovery period, bruising or swelling after treatment. Botulinum Toxin does not cause any loss of facial expressions. Only the treated areas will be affected.

Botulinum Toxin treatment is relatively quick, an initial consultation takes around 30 minutes, and then the treatment itself takes 15-30 minutes, depending on the area to be treated

Is treatment with Botulinum Toxin Cosmetic painful?

Discomfort is usually minimal and brief. Prior to injection, your physician may choose to numb the area with a cold pack or anaesthetic cream. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. Most patients are in and out of the physician’s office without downtime following treatment.

Side effects associated with the injection include localized pain, infection, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, swelling, redness, and/or bleeding/bruising.

Will I still be able to make facial expressions?

Although the results are visible, a treatment with Botulinum Toxin will not radically change your facial appearance or make you look as if you’ve “had work done.” The muscle activity that causes frown lines between the brows is temporarily reduced, so you can still frown or look surprised without the wrinkles and creases between your brows.

Who should not use Botulinum Toxin?

Do not use Botulinum Toxin if you:

  1. are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTULINUM TOXIN. See the Medication Guide for a list of ingredients..
  2. had an allergic reaction to any other Botulinum Toxin product such as Myobloc® or Dysport®
  3. have a skin infection at the planned injection site

You should not be treated with Botulinum Toxin if you have:

  • A disease that affects your muscles and nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease], myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome). See “What is the most important information I should know about Botulinum Toxin in the Medication Guide
  • allergies to any Botulinum Toxin product
  • had any side effect from any Botulinum Toxin product in the past
  • a breathing problem, such as asthma or emphysema
  • swallowing problems
  • bleeding problems
  • plans to have surgery
  • had surgery on your face
  • weakness of your forehead muscles, such as trouble raising your eyebrows
  • drooping eyelids
  • any other change in the way your face normally looks
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Botulinum Toxin can harm your unborn baby.
  • are breast-feeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Botulinum Toxin passes into breast milk.

What will happen to the moderate to severe frown lines between my brows if I choose not to continue treatments?

If you do not continue treatments, the moderate-to-severe frown lines between your brows will gradually return to the way they looked before treatment.

Do treatment results differ?

Yes, individual results may vary. To get the best results, it’s important to go to a practitioner who is experienced in administering Botulinum Toxin.

Common treatment areas with Botox

common treatment areas with Botox

How long does treatment with Botox® last?

The results from treatment with Botox® usually last around three to four months. If you did not continue with regular Botox® treatment, your lines would eventually come back to the level they were at prior to your treatment. As lines become softer and the muscles less active, regular clients find they may need Botox® less frequently than every four months.

Does treatment with Botox® hurt?

This non-surgical treatment is done using very small, fine needles and local anaesthetic cream may be applied to the skin to make your experience as comfortable as possible. After having the treatment you will be able to get straight back to your everyday tasks without having to miss out on work or any social occasion.

Is Botox ® suitable for everyone?

Botox® is very safe and has been used by qualified clinicians for many years. However, we are not able to use Botox® in an area where there is a skin infection present or in individuals with known allergies to any of the ingredients in the wrinkle relaxing injection. Patients with neuromuscular disorders such as Myasthenia gravis or Bell’s palsy  may be at increased risk of serious side effects and should avoid Botox treatments. We would not advise Botox® treatment to those who are pregnant or breast feeding.

What are the injections like?

We thought probably the easiest way to let you know what the injections are like is to show you! Here’s a video which you may find helpful:

Further information about Botox can be found here

Answers to Some Common Questions about Mouth Cancer

20th May, 2015

Did you know that your routine six monthly dental health check should include a mouth cancer screening? There is unfortunately no national programme in the UK regarding screen for mouth cancer and it is down each individual to ensure they visit their dentist to be screened every six months.

As part of our oral healthcare information program we have written this blog post to answer your common questions about mouth/oral cancer.

First signs of mouth cancer.

There are a range of signs of mouth cancer which typically include things like:

  • Mouth ulcers which don’t heal.
  • Persistent discomfort or pain in your mouth.
  • Read or white patches in and around your mouth or towards your throat.
  • Lumps in your neck caused by enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Difficulty in swallowing which may be accompanied by pain or burning sensation when chewing.
  • Bad breath otherwise known as halitosis. Bad breath in itself is not a sign of mouth cancer but if you have cancer bad breath can be worse or more frequent than normal.
  • A lump on/or thickening of your lip.
  • Unusual numbness or bleeding in your mouth.

Checking for mouth cancer.

When your dentist undertakes your dental health check and includes a mouth cancer screening they will:

  1. Check inside of your mouth with the help of a small mirror.
  2. Look at your neck and underneath your jaw.
  3. Check to see if your lymph nodes are swollen.
  4. Observe your face and neck looking for swellings, skin abnormalities, moles and asymmetry.
  5. Look for any changes in colour or texture around the board of your lip.
  6. Visually examine your gums and the inside of your lips/cheek.
  7. Examine your tongue for changes in colour, texture, Mobility and symmetry.
  8. Move your tongue from either side to check underneath.
  9. Asked you to say “Ah” and check the back of your mouth and soft tissue areas.

Oral Cancer Beauty Dental

We have also written a self examination guide for mouth cancer screening in Harrow, this can be downloaded here.

Free guide available for immediate download…

“7 Point Self Examination Guide for Oral Cancer”

One of the most important things with mouth cancer is early detection, so in this guide we will talk about how you can examine yourself at home, the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them.Our guide is exclusively available by e-mail so please enter your details opposite for immediate access.Dr Nishan Dixit
Dr Nishan DixitBDS (Lond) 1994,

LDS RCS (ENG) 1994

GDC Reg No. 70208

Mouth cancer prognosis.

The prognosis for mouth cancer depends largely upon how advanced your cancer is and the type of cancer that you have. It also depends upon exactly where your cancer is located. Cancer Research UK gives the following statistics.

Rates for individual mouth cancers include

  • Lip cancer – nearly 90 out of 100 people diagnosed (89%) will live for 5 years or more
  • Tongue cancer – 55 out of 100 women (55%) and 44 out of 100 men (44%) will live for 5 years or more
  • Oral cavity – this includes all other mouth cancers (not lip or tongue) and nearly 55 out of every 100 women (55%) and 48 out of every 100 men (48%) will be alive 5 years later

The key with improving the prognosis for mouth cancer is early detection. The National Institute Of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that A five-year survival rate for those with localised disease at diagnosis is 83% compared with only 32% of those whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Steps you can take to lower the risk of mouth cancer.

There are various steps you can take to lower your risk of developing mouth cancer, these include:

  1. Monitoring your tobacco/alcohol use. Many cases of mouth cancer can be linked directly to smoking cigarettes.
  2. Be aware of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases. Human papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type) have been linked also to the increased risk of developing mouth cancer.
  3. Exposure to the sun. You might think that you don’t sunbathe with your mouth open, so how can this increase your risk of mouth cancer? The reality is that mouth cancer can also happen on your lip , which does indeed come into contact with direct sunlight.

Mouth cancer treatment.

As we have already said the prognosis depends upon the type of cancer and how far advanced your cancer is. So long as your cancer has been detected early and hasn’t spread to other areas of your body then a complete cure may be possible with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Once again, the effectiveness of treatment really does depend on early detection.

The NHS has written an excellent introduction to the various treatments of mouth cancerincluding:

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cetuximab

>> Read more about these treatments here

 A patient’s experience of oral cancer

This gentleman gives a very positive story of oral cancer and how its early detection impacted him.


Blue Court Dental Centre  are a local family dental practice in the heart of Harrow, Middlesex. As well as offering a range of dental treatments to the local people they also offer dental healthcare assessments including routine oral cancer screening.