10 Interesting Questions About Dental Implants

How strong are dental implants compared to real teeth?

As you will know, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A tooth implant has many links so it is clear to identify what we mean when we are talking about the strength of the implant. They are made up of the following:

 

  1. The implant itself which is implanted into your jawbone
  2. A trans-mucosal element which connects the dental implant under the gum to the restoration of the gum
  3. The screw which screws in the trans-mucosal element into the implant
  4. The restoration on top, the part that you see.

Some implant systems blend a few of these elements together, however the list above is relatively standard.

In times of extreme force applied to the restoration we don’t always want that force transmitted down to the dental implant. If the tooth implant were to fail then it can be a very costly procedure, therefore sometimes implants are designed with this screw which connects the transmucosal element to the implant as a failsafe mechanism. If too much force is applied to the restoration then this screw breaks, this protects the dental implant itself and means the repair, by way of replacing the screw is relatively simple, cheap and quick to do.

Nothing is as good as your natural teeth so we always recommend treating implants as second-best to keeping your natural teeth wherever possible.

Why are implants best for tooth replacement?

One of the things your dentist will always be wanting to do is to keep as much of your mouth intact and as healthy as possible. Dental bridges often mean reduction of the teeth either side of the gap in order to accept the new single tooth replacement. A dental implant on the other hand does not require reduction of adjacent teeth.

A dental implant also can help to stabilise gum in your jaw bone around the new tooth or teeth. When a tooth is lost the surrounding bone tends to collapse into the gap, this can lead to a loss of bone height around the gap. Having a dental implant placed immediately after a tooth is lost can help to prevent bone grafting in the future.

What are the pros and cons?

Dental implant pros:

  1. Can look like natural teeth.
  2. Support the surrounding bone and prevent it resorbing.
  3. Often the most cost-effective option when considered over the life of the implant.
  4. A wide range of options on how to restore the implant including crowns, bridges and dentures.
  5. Can last for many years.

Dental implant cons:

  1. May be the most expensive way to replace missing teeth in the short-term.
  2. A lengthy procedure including implant surgery.

Do dental implants work like real teeth?

A successful implant can work exactly the way a natural tooth works. They effectively work as a replacement tooth, looking and working the same as a natural tooth.

However:

  1. A dental implant does not have a periodontal ligament around it like a natural tooth, this acts like a suspension mechanism to protect the tooth. All forces placed onto the dental implants are transmitted directly to the bone.
  2. The dental implant does not have any nerves and so you cannot feel any pain or sensation through the dental implant

What do they really feel like?

Once an implant is placed and the teeth and gums have healed then the restoration attached to the implants will feel like natural teeth. The only exception to this rule is if you have removable dentures.

Which is better, dental implants or bridging?

Bridging often involves removing tooth structure from teeth either side of the gap that you wish to fill. If this tooth structure is healthy then this can mean potentially compromising the dental care of adjacent teeth. Dental implants on the other hand do not need to involve teeth either side of the gap meaning they are a more conservative option.

What’s better, dental implant or partial denture?

Modern dentures can look extremely lifelike and be very effective. However if you have a partial denture it will almost certainly have some form of clasp around the tooth as well as a plastic area which touches the gum and other teeth. A poorly fitted partial denture can irritate this delicate gum and cause recession.

Partial dentures are however much cheaper than dental implants but because that are often made of plastic have a much higher fracture rate.

Are dental implants safe?

With proper care and attention as well as a dedicated dental team dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. The implant itself will invariably be made of medical grade titanium, amazingly the human body does not recognise titanium as a foreign object and so the bone will fully integrate with the dental implant. This makes titanium a truly biocompatible material to use.

Why are dental implants necessary?

Implants are never necessary. They are always an elective procedure. An important option is always ‘do nothing’, you in your dentist should always consider the ‘do nothing’ option for any treatment, weigh up the alternatives and decide if any treatment is right for you. The definition of ‘right’ will always be an individual decision based upon:

  1. Desired results.
  2. Affordability.
  3. Timeframe.
  4. Acceptability of treatment e.g. surgery etc.

 

Is a dental implant painful?

A common question is do dental implants hurt? Whenever you have any invasive dental procedure you will always be given a numbing injection. This is usually the most painful part of any treatment.

To help with the injection we recommend asking your dentist to use a numbing topical gel first, this gel gently numbs the gum so that when the needle goes in there is minimal pain.

You may also find that there is some mild discomfort after the dental implant has been placed, particularly in the days immediately after the surgery. Over the counter painkillers can usually help with this and the pain normally subsides after a few days.

How many implants am I likely to need?

This depends on exactly what your situation is. Dental implants are normally used to treat 2 groups of people:

  1. People with missing teeth
  2. People with loose or unstable dentures

In both cases the outcome is the same, implants restore your ability to smile, eat, chew and laugh again with confidence. Many patients also find that their dignity is restored and their ‘dental comfort’ is massively improved.

For people with missing teeth (or tooth), without dentures

If you have more than one tooth missing, then we will often place 2 (or even more implants) and ‘bridge’ the gaps as highlighted by the arrow in this photograph.

The custom made crowns that fit over the top of implants ensure that you will not see any metal and will be made to blend in to your surrounding teeth invisibly… no-one will ever know you ever had teeth missing.

If you have all your teeth missing then you will either need a denture, or a ‘full arch implant bridge’, dentures are explained below, but a full arch bridge will usually involve the placement of around 4-12 dental implants (it depends on your exact situation as to how many you will need).

Screwed gently to these implants will be a full new set of teeth which you are not able to remove yourself (we can remove them for deep dental cleaning periodically).

This is often the preferred option for patients with no remaining teeth as often a full arch bridge can be made to look exactly like your own teeth.

In some instances, with all implants, we may find that additional surgical treatments such as bone grafting are required. These are explained later on in this guide, but only a full clinical assessment by one of our implant specialists will tell for sure.

For people with missing teeth with dentures

If you currently have dentures and find that they are loose, then dental implants can help enourmously. We simply place 2 or 4 implants gently in to your mouth, then place some ‘clips’ inside the denture (like a press-stud), this means you will hear an audible click as your denture locks in to place.

Depending on your exact situation we may decide that making a new denture is best for you, or we may even be able to convert your existing denture.

So if you wear dentures and feel you are not able to go out for a great meal with your friends then this could be a perfect solution for you.

Blue Court Dental Centre provides dental implants in Harrow for the local people, including Wembley, Stanmore and Greenford.

Ways to manage your dentist fear

The British Dental Association estimate that around 25% of the UK population suffer from some form of dental anxiety with around 12% having extreme fears affecting their ability to attend the dentist.

Visiting the dentist is key to ensuring that your oral health remains good. Without good dental health gum disease can take hold meaning that more dental treatment is possibly required, thereby exacerbating the dental fear.

Finding ways to relax and stay calm at the dentist is what this blog post is all about.

Why are we scared of dentists?

The first thing to understand is that fear is a learned behaviour, think about it, we aren’t born afraid of the dentist, it is something that we have learnt to do as we have got older. Accepting this is an extremely beneficial thing to do as it means that if we can learn to be afraid then we can also learn to relax and be calm.

 

Fear of pain is one of the most common reasons people cite for being scared of the dentist, this is quite understandable especially if people have had bad experiences in the past. What is worth noting is that modern dental care has made extremely big advances in recent years. With topical numbing gels and fine needles injections can be extremely comfortable with no pain, this then also leads to painfree treatments.

Will dentists judge me and my teeth?

This is often another common reason people give for not visiting the dentist, a dentist is not there to judge or to criticise, we are here to help, encourage and educate you about how to stay dentally fit and healthy. A dentist cannot achieve this goal if they are judgemental so you will find that any good dentist will support and encourage you and not be judgmental.

What are my options if I’m afraid of the dentist?

The really important thing to understand is that you do have options. It’s quite common that people feel they have no options, especially nervous or anxious patients.

A good dentist that specialises in treating anxious or nervous patients will ensure you have as many options available to you as possible. Here are your options:

  1. Talking to your dentist. You should always ensure you have a dentist you can trust and talk to, a good dentist will take time to listen to your concerns and ensure they take your anxiety into account.
  2. Ensuring you stay in control. Make sure you agree a stop signal with the dentist before any treatment begins. Simply knowing that you can raise your hand at any point to take a quick break means you’re in control and can really help you relax.
  3. Breathe slowly and gently. Breathing slowly and gently helps muscle relaxation generally, if you just breathe slowly and gently throughout your treatment you will find you stay more relaxed.
  4. Ask about sedation. Some dentists offer gas and air via inhalation sedation. This can also help if you are feeling anxious.

How to stop being scared of the dentist

Relaxation techniques are a great way to stop being scared of the dentist. Understanding that fear of the dentist is a learned behaviour and can therefore be unlearnt is a key principle to accept.

Practising breathing techniques both before your appointment and during treatment can also help.

Requesting an early morning appointment is also a great way to ensure that any dental phobia is contained to a short period early in the day, rather than allowed to build throughout the day.

You may also find of bringing a friend with you can help to keep you calm.

Good ways to relax and calm the mind at the dentist

  • Enjoy a cup of green tea. Green tea has been shown to have a chemical, L-Theanine, which has been shown to elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which can help you relax.
  • Chew sugarfree gum. This can help to keep saliva flowing and prevent your mouth from drying out. It’s also been shown to lower anxiety and control cortisol levels. Of course you can’t do this whilst in the chair!
  • Remember to breathe slowly and gently. You could do this in the waiting room of the dental practice and during treatment to help relax.
  • Visualise your happy place. Most people have a happy place that they think of, this could be a holiday or a time you spent with friends. Visualising this whole experience can be extremely relaxing and calming.
  • Listen to calming music. This type of music can be different for each person but listening to the music you find relaxing and peaceful can also help you with your dental anxiety.

We hope you have found the information contained in this blog post useful, our dental practice in Harrow is a friendly and calm practice, taking time to listen to your needs and concerns and help out wherever required with any dental fears.

Just remember, it’s good to talk…

 

Why do I have tooth sensitivity?

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth for a variety of reasons, this article highlights why you may suddenly develop sensitive teeth, what you can do about it at home, what treatments the dentist may be able to offer you and how to reduce the pain from tooth sensitivity.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

diagram of a toothYour teeth are made up of three primary layers:

  1. The nerve and pulp. This is the deepest living part of your tooth, it contains the nerve and has blood flowing through it to keep your tooth alive, it is protected by two out of protection layers.
  2. The dentine. This is the softer portion of your tooth, it gives the tooth it’s primary colour and its role is to support the hard yet brittle outer enamel.
  3. The enamel. This is the hardest substance in the human body and protects the outer portion of your tooth.

Sensitivity occurs when hot or cold substances, such as eating ice cream, get too close to the nerve, there are many reasons this could happen, including:

  • Tooth wear caused by over brushing.
  • Gum recession caused by over by over brushing or general ageing.
  • Cracked teeth caused by trauma.
  • Decay in teeth caused by poor oral hygiene.
  • Tooth grinding or clenching.

Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

The key to understanding this is to think about how the hot or cold feeling may be getting through to the nerve. If you have had a recent trauma then perhaps the tooth is correct. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while perhaps there is an area of tooth which is decayed.

The image below shows gum tissue recession around the gum line, possibly caused by over brushing. The enamel is thin in this area which can easily lead to teeth sensitivity.

Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/
Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/

If you can’t immediately identify what the problem is then visiting a dentist or dental hygienist may be best option.

How do you stop sensitive teeth pain

If you have sensitive teeth with no obvious cause then you may find that using a protection and relief toothpaste such as Sensodyne may help.

How does Sensodyne work?

These toothpastes work because there are tiny holes, called tubules, in the dentine of your tooth. If the enamel becomes eroded away then these tubules can transmit the hot and cold through your tooth. These toothpastes work by quickly creating a barrier so that the hot and cold feeling can’t be transmitted to the nerve.

However, it’s worth noting that these types of toothpastes WILL NOT work if the sensitivity is caused by excessive enamel or dentine loss such as cavities, excessive wear or cracks caused by trauma.

How long does tooth sensitivity last?

Tooth sensitivity is usually only instantaneous when the nerve becomes exposed to hot or cold. Remove the hot or cold and the sensitivity goes away. However, the reality is that this is not practical to do on a day by day basis, we have to eat and drink after all! Unfortunately, if your teeth are sensitive they won’t get better on their own, you will either need to use a relief and protection toothpaste or visit a dentist to ascertain why your teeth are sensitive.

What does the dentist do for sensitive teeth?

The basic premise for reducing tooth sensitivity is to protect the outer surface of the tooth to prevent the hot and cold sensations been transmitted through to the nerve, or in extreme circumstances to remove the nerve itself. There are a variety of ways of treating sensitivity at the dentist, including but not limited to:

  • Fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel. These fluoride gels can be applied topically at the dentist or trays can be provided for use at home.
  • Bonding. Composite bonding materials can be used to bonded to the outer surface of the tooth to rebuild the enamel where it has been lost. This can cover up the dentin hypersensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft (Please see the explanation video below). If the sensitivity is caused by excessive gum resorption which exposes the more sensitive root of the tooth then a gum graft to replacing some of the gum tissue may be undertaken to cover up some of this exposed area around the gum line.
  • Root canal. In extreme circumstances a root canal can be used to remove the nerve of the tooth. This is not normally a preferred option and will only be undertaken in extreme circumstances.

Summary

One of the key things to focus on is brushing your teeth and maintaining good dental care throughout your life, ensuring you brush and floss regularly. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, particularly in later life as the gum becomes more exposed and the teeth wear. Certainly, this is one of the best ways to prevent tooth sensitivity. If you are older then be aware about using a soft bristled toothbrush, watching to ensure you don’t consume too many acidic foods and drinks and be aware if you grind your teeth. Cold air can also affect sensitivity, so you may find you need to wear a scarf in cold weather.

 

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)

Top tips for whiter teeth without treatment

Most people want to have teeth that aren’t brown, yellow or badly stained. Teeth whitening is often the first port of call but there are also many things you can do at home, come to that, there are many things you can avoid at home to help you have whiter looking teeth.

We’ve broken the list down into:

  • Things you SHOULD do for whiter looking teeth
  • Things you should NOT do
  • Things you might want to consider
  • Things to avoid when looking for whiter teeth

We then finish off our list with one final secret for whiter looking teeth… Read on to find out more.

Things you SHOULD do

In order to have the whitest looking teeth without going for teeth whitening treatments we recommend:

 

  • Watching your oral health care routine. If you keep your teeth clean then plaque will not build up, stains adhere more to plaque then they do to tooth enamel so if your teeth are clean then they are more likely to look whiter.
  • Using an electric toothbrush. It has been shown that using an electric toothbrush means you are more likely to clean your teeth adequately. Many electric toothbrushes have a timer pressure sensor to ensure you don’t press too hard and clean for the right amount of time.
  • Cleaning in between your teeth. By using floss or an incidental brush you will keep your teeth cleaner and prevent the buildup of plaque which can look dark, yellow or discoloured.

Things you should NOT do

As well as taking positive action to do things to keep your teeth looking monitor, there are also things which we recommend you should not do:

  • Smoking. Smoking dries out your mouth, if the mouth is dry it has less saliva and it is saliva which neutralises the acid from the bacteria. This means that smokers are more likely to have tooth decay which can look dark, brown or black. If you have plaque buildup around your teeth then smoking will also discolour this plaque giving your teeth are very yellow look.
  • Avoid anything that can stain, think of your teeth like a white T-shirt, anything that can stain the T-shirt can stain your teeth! That doesn’t mean stopping eating food which is healthy for you, it just means think about how much you eat and cleaning your teeth afterwards.

Things you might want to consider

In addition to things you definitely should or should not do there are a few extra things which you may want to consider in your pursuit of whiter teeth.

  • Eating Strawberries. Now we don’t mean eating tons of strawberries every day, however strawberries contain malic acid, in small doses it has been shown that malic acid can whiten teeth… But don’t go overboard as it is also an acid and can actually damaged teeth if used too much.
  • Eating crispy or firm food can clean your teeth naturally as you go. Eat them towards the end of the meal as they will then help to naturally clean your teeth with their rough and crunchy edges, think about things like carrots or celery.
  • Chewing gum after eating stimulates production of saliva which neutralises and cleans your teeth by washing away debris. Always use a sugarfree gum.

Things to avoid when looking for whiter teeth

  • Coconut oil pulling. This seems to be a modern trend but there is no evidence to show that coconut oil whitens teeth in any way at all. In fact, some toothpastes are now including coconut oil but may not include enough fluoride. In this instance, this can lead to tooth decay due to a lack of fluoride.
  • Beauty salon whitening. people often believe that you can go to a beauty salon for teeth whitening, however teeth whitening is not legal for anyone other than a dentist (or a dental hygienist or dental therapist working to prescription of the dentist) to carry out tooth whitening.
  • Using hydrogen peroxide/bleach. Whilst teeth whitening gel at a dental practice utilises hydrogen peroxide it does so in an extremely controlled and limited way. Using home bleach or any other form of non-dental hydrogen peroxide without the strict supervision or control of the dentist can be extremely dangerous as the soft tissue/gums can burn easily.

A final secret for whiter looking teeth

So here is our final secret for whiter looking teeth… Wear red lipstick! It’s a tip used by many celebrity and make up artist as the red lipstick forms a contrasting frame around your teeth making them look whiter.

red lipstick and white teeth

Image credit: Miki Hayes 2.19.15  https://www.bustle.com

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding

It’s often a dilemma knowing which to choose, crowns, veneers or bonding so we thought we would explain the differences between each in order that you can make the best decision based upon your own requirements and clinical needs.

What are the main differences between crowns, veneers and bonding?

  • Cost
  • Strength
  • Removal of tooth structure
  • Ability to change appearance of the tooth
  • Frequency of replacement

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding Cost

The cost of crowns, veneers and bonding is determined by a couple of factors:

  1. The time it takes.
  2. The cost of materials.
  3. The cost of laboratory fees.

Bonding usually takes a little less time than veneers and particularly crowns, but the biggest difference is the cost of laboratory fees. Bonding is done directly onto your tooth and therefore there is no third-party laboratory required in order to manufacture the restoration, this keeps the cost down considerably.

Bonding typically starts from between £345-£445 depending upon the complexity.

Dental veneers and crowns Usually take longer than dental bonding as the dentist needs to prepare the underlying tooth structure in a very precise way in order to receive the new dental veneer and Crown. Once the dentist had prepared the underlying tooth an impression will be taken and sent to a dental laboratory, the dental laboratory then makes the veneer or crown. This extended procedure adds to the cost.

Veneers and crowns typically start from £650 depending upon the complexity.

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding Strength

These three restorations can be ranked in order of strength.

  1. Dental bonding-lowest
  2. Dental veneers
  3. Dental crowns-highest

With any type of restoration on a tooth one needs to be aware and be sensitive to the fact that what you have is not an entirely natural tooth. Dental bonding is most prone to fracture, however because the bonding is done directly onto the tooth it is the easiest to be repaired by the dentist. If veneers or crowns fracture they will need to be removed and sent back to the laboratory for repair, sometimes repairs are not possible and a full remake is required.

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding Removal of tooth structure

Most dentists will prefer to keep as much natural tooth structure as possible, this is generally the preferred option wherever clinically justified. Removal of tooth structure is needed in order to receive the new restoration, particularly with veneers and crowns although sometimes a small amount of tooth structure is removed for dental bonding.

The three restorations can be ranked in order of the amount of tooth structure generally required to be removed.

  1. Dental bonding-lowest amount of tooth structure removed
  2. Dental veneers
  3. Dental crowns-highest amount of tooth structure removed

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding Ability to change appearance of tooth

Depending on what change of appearance is required may define which type of restoration your dentist uses.

  1. Minor chips and shape defects can be corrected with dental bonding.
  2. More major chips and shape defects plus the colour of the tooth can be corrected with dental veneers.
  3. The most severe chips, shape defects, tooth rotations and tooth wear can be corrected with dental crowns.

Crowns vs Veneers vs Bonding Frequency of replacement

The frequency of replacement will usually be determined by the following:

  • How quickly the materials used becomes worn or discoloured.
  • How well you look after the restoration, teeth and gums.
  • How careful you are when eating.
  • How well do you protect your teeth during sport.
  • Not having any accidents!

As you can see you will play an active role in maintaining the restoration and ensuring it lasts as long as possible.

Typical problems and reasons for replacement are as follows:

  • Dental bonding
    • The composite bonding material can discolour due to strong coloured foods being consumed or smoking etc
    • The restoration can chip due to excessive biting forces.
  • Dental veneers & crowns
    • The restoration can chip due to excessive biting forces.
    • The surrounding teeth change colour (either darker through age or whiter through whitening) and the dental veneer no longer matches and needs to be replaced.
    • The gum margin on the tooth recedes due to age (a natural phenomenon), this can then expose the underlying tooth which often look starker. This necessitates remaking the veneer or crown in order to cover up his newly exposed underlying tooth.

Summary

As you can see, the decision about whether to have crowns, veneers or bonding is not a simple one. It involves taking into account many factors and balancing out the risk factors in order to ensure you have the very best restoration for your budget, requirements and clinical suitability. Cosmetic dentistry such as this is very often as much an art as it is a science.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)

Looking for an emergency dentist? Here’s what you need to know

The search term “Emergency dentist near me” gets almost 4000 searches in the local area per month, so we know that people looking for an emergency dentist and that they need information about treatments and options available.

We have broken this article on emergency dental treatments down into a few headings:

  1. Teeth which have come out completely.
  2. Loose teeth.
  3. Broken teeth.
  4. Tooth abscesses.

1. Teeth which have come out completely

What to do if the tooth comes out completely

If the tooth has come out completely you may be able to replace it so long as it is not damaged. If there are still blood vessels or nerves attached do your best to keep these intact and only hold the tooth by the crown section and not the roots.

Where to hold a tooth if it has been knocked out

If you can, gently place the tooth back into the socket ensuring it is the right way round. Only do this if the tooth is completely clean and hasn’t been in contact with the ground.

If the tooth has been in contact with the ground place it into a clean (ideally sterile) plastic bag with some milk and take it with you to your dentist or accident and emergency at the local hospital.

If the socket is bleeding profusely then gently bite down onto a soft piece of gauze, when the bleeding subsides don’t immediately remove the gauze as this could dislodge the blood clot and the bleeding could start again. Alternatively use a cold teabag, it has been shown that the tea contains substances which can help to reduce the amount of bleeding.

Do teeth grow back in adults?

Unfortunately not. Once your baby/deciduous teeth have fallen out you only get one set of permanent teeth. The only teeth which may grow after this initial set have come through are the very last molars or wisdom teeth.

2.Loose teeth

Can a loose tooth become tight again?

If the looseness of the tooth has been caused by gum disease then yes, if the gum disease is treated and the problem resolved then the tooth can tighten up again. This shows the importance of the early treatment of gum disease and how the situation can be saved if caught early.

3.Broken teeth

Is a chipped tooth an emergency?

A chipped tooth is only an emergency if either the tooth is bleeding or the gum surrounding the tooth is bleeding and won’t stop. If the tooth has chipped and there is no pain or bleeding then this would not normally be considered a dental emergency, you should however make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible to rebuild the tooth if required.

Can a chipped tooth heal itself?

Amazingly, yes, a chipped tooth can heal itself but it won’t rebuild itself. If the tooth chips and the softer underlying dentine has become exposed the tooth will react to this and create what is known as secondary dentine. This secondary dentine is often much darker but is also harder and will protect the softer underlying tooth. If you want the full contour of the chipped tooth to be restored then the only way to do this is to visit your dentist who will then use dental bonding or possibly veneers or a crown.

How to fix a chipped tooth

A chipped tooth can only be fixed by your dentist. If the chip is small then they may use dental bonding to rebuild the full contour of the tooth. If the chip is significant then dental bonding may not be adequate and a full dental crown or veneer can then be used. This may require a small amount of reduction of the healthy tooth structure in some instances.

4.Tooth abscesses

Is an abscess a dental emergency?

Yes. an abscess is a buildup of pus from an infection around the tooth. It is characterised by significant swelling, redness and pain. An abscess will not go away on its own and in extreme circumstances can spread to other parts of the body and make you ill.

What helps a tooth abscess?

If you have a tooth abscess then we recommend you contact your emergency dentist as soon as possible, whilst you are waiting to see them you can reduce the pain by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, this is particularly effective if the abscesses caused by gum infection. Saltwater can help to remove bacteria from the infected area.

 

We also recommend:

  • Taking recommended doses of over-the-counter painkillers.
  • Avoiding particularly hot or cold food and drinks as it may make the pain worse.
  • Eating on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Using a softer toothbrush than you would normally and don’t floss around the affected area until it has been seen by a dentist.

Please note, these are all temporary solutions and you will need to see a dentist to get the abscessed sorted.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)

What alternatives are there to amalgam fillings?

One of the things most dental practices want to do is to offer you alternatives to treatments, having a dental filling is no exception. There are a wide range of options when it comes to treating tooth decay with a dental filling and in this blog post, our Harrow dentist, Dr Nishan Dixit discusses what alternatives there are to the classic silver amalgam filling.

Types of dental fillings in the UK

There are a variety of materials that can be used for a dental filling, each is selected depending upon the material properties, what the material needs to do and your clinical situation. Those materials include:

  • Amalgam (silver coloured fillings).
  • Composite (white fillings).
  • Porcelain ( white fillings).
  • Gold.

Amalgam Filling Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to amalgam fillings, these typically include restorative materials such as glass ionomer white fillings, composite white fillings, porcelain white fillings and even gold fillings although these are not used very often nowadays.

Amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings are still commonly used in the UK, particularly in NHS dental practices. The material is relatively cheap, easy to work with and durable. Amalgam silver fillings contain a mixture of silver, tin and copper which is bound together with mercury.

Mercury poisoning is a concern of many people with amalgam fillings. The most risky time for release of free mercury is during placement and/or removal of an amalgam filling, this is due to release of mercury vapour. Having an amalgam filling removed can potentially release more mercury than leaving it in place.

Several studies have shown that the amount of mercury released from fillings is extremely low, especially when left in place. However, due to their typically unsightly nature and potential to release mercury many patients are preferring to opt for a more cosmetic option.

Another problem with amalgam fillings is that you can get what is known as an amalgam tattoo. This is where the dark silver colour from the amalgam shows through the front surface of the tooth creating a dark effect around the gum making it look like it has a tattoo.

Composite fillings

These are one of the most commonly used alternatives to mercury fillings. Composite fillings are mercury free and are often a blend of fine ceramic particles mixed with a composite material which sets when a special light is shone on it. The composite comes in a variety of tooth coloured shades so your dentist can select the right one for you. Composite fillings may wear faster than your natural teeth so you may need to have them replaced a little more often.

Amalgam fillings versus composite*

Property

Amalgam

Composite

Wear (1 highest 5 lowest) 3 4
Fracture resistance (1 worst 5 best) 3 4
Cost (1 expensive 5 cheaper) 4 2
Loss of tooth structure (1 least 5 most) 4 2
Health concerns (1 unhealthy 5 healthiest) 1 4

How long do white fillings last?

White fillings typically last up to 10 years. Data shows that after five years approximately 75% of fillings remain. This has reduced to 50% after nine years. This is based upon research undertaken in 2001.

Can you have White fillings on front teeth?

Yes, white fillings on front teeth are often called dental bonding. They can either simply replace a small decayed area or cover the whole of the front of the tooth. They can also be used to add to teeth to make the teeth longer, if worn down, or to change the shape of a tooth.

Are there any side effects from white fillings?

Unlike amalgam where people are concerned about the side-effects from mercury, white fillings have a few inherent side-effects related specifically to the material used. Any side effects from a white filling are common to all types of filling and include:

  • Numbing of the area due to the anaesthetic used.
  • Sensitivity of the tooth for a few days afterwards.

 

How long after a filling can I eat

This depends upon the type of filling you have had, amalgam takes approximately 24 hours to harden completely, during this time you should eat softer foods and avoid anything sticky. The white filling is set and made completely hard by curing the composite with a light in the dental surgery. This theoretically means that you can eat straightaway after a white filling.

We do however recommend caution as you probably will have had an anaesthetic to numb the area whilst the filling was placed. It is better to  wait until the anaesthetic subsides before eating as you should be careful of biting your cheek and tongue as these area are still numb.

*Subjective data based on experience. Individual properties may vary depending upon the size, position and age of the restorations including the skill of the dentist that placed the original restoration.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

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What does a dental hygienist do and do I really need to go?

We get asked this question all the time at our dental practice in Harrow, Middlesex, people often wonder if a dental hygienist is just an excuse to get a little more money out of people… Some people wonder why the dentist can’t do the same job as the hygienist and have everything done in one appointment.

In this blog post we explain why the hygienist is so important and crucially, why the hygienist can save you money by helping you stay dentally fit and healthy.

What is dental plaque, tartar and calculus?

Formation of dental cavitiesDental plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth every day. This film contains millions of bacteria and as these bacteria feed on the sugar in your diet they excrete acid and it is this acid which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Tarter or calculus is when this soft, sticky film hardens, typically this is in between your teeth in difficult to reach areas where it is not removed each day. When it hardens into calculus this is where bacteria can lurk and excrete more acid directly onto your teeth.

If this calculus remains in place for too long the gums can become inflamed, read and puffy. The acid can also eat away the hard outer enamel layer of your teeth, if this progresses then the teeth can begin to rot from inside!

What is the difference between a dentist and a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist is uniquely trained to look after your dental health only. They have in-depth training to understand how and why your teeth and gums can become unhealthy, they are able to spot the early warning signs of gum disease, help you change habits which may be exacerbating the onset of gum disease and work with you to treat any gum disease.

Your dentist on the other hand, as well as doing all this will be treating any decay, helping to restore broken down teeth, replace missing teeth, straighten crooked teeth plus have a deeper understanding of the anatomy around your head, face and neck enabling them to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer as well as biting problems which can lead to headaches and neck pain.

In an allocated appointment time your dentist will be hard pushed to do the role of the hygienist as well, doubling the appointment time to give the dentist time would increase the cost to you, so seeing a hygienist not only ensures you see someone uniquely trained to help you with your dental health but also keeps costs down as the dentist is not doing it themselves.

A typical routine dental health check appointment with your dentist will last around 30 min, a typical routine dental hygiene appointment will also last about 30 min. It is quite usual to have a visit to the dentist and then the hygienist consecutively every six months. Many practices offer dental membership plans to help spread the cost of these appointments over an extended period throughout the year.

What is a scale and polish?

This is the common term used to describe removing calculus (scale) from your teeth and then polishing them to make it more difficult for the calculus to adhere again. A scale and Polish is however an oversimplification of what is actually done. Your hygienist will check the dental health of each individual tooth and surrounding gum area, they will assess your cleaning and diet habits to work out why calculus has built up in particular areas, they will then give you advice on how you can reduce this in future. Once the calculus has been removed the teeth will be polished and cleaned and flossed in between.

How often should you go to the dentist and hygienist?

If you haven’t been to the dentist or hygienist for some considerable time you may find that more frequent appointments are required in order to get your teeth and gums to a healthy state. Sometimes a monthly appointment at the hygienist are required for 3-4 months in order to do this. Once your dental health is in a satisfactory condition routine appointments at the dentist and hygienist are then recommended every 6 months.

What tools do dentists and hygienists use to clean teeth?

Plaque on teethMost dentists invest heavily in technology and equipment to ensure you receive the very best treatment. A clever piece of technology that many dentists use is an ultrasonic scaler. This uses ultrasound waves which are conducted through to the calculus on your teeth at the end of probe connected to an ultrasound device. The high frequency ultrasound dislodges the calculus from your teeth in a comfortable, painless and rapid fashion. Using this device means your hygienist can clean your teeth faster than using a hand-held instrument alone.

As well as the ultrasound device your hygienist will also use various hand tools to clean in the difficult to reach areas in between your teeth. Right at the back of your mouth, in between the last molars can often be very tricky to reach with a toothbrush meaning calculus buildup readily in these areas. Cleaning in these areas and removing the calculus can be quite tricky sometimes, especially if teeth are very crooked.

How to remove calculus from your teeth?

Unfortunately the only way to remove calculus from your teeth safely is to visit your dentist and hygienist. Trying to pick away at home can result in damaging your delicate gums. If you visit your hygienist they can give you oral health advice as to the best way to keep your teeth as clean as possible and prevent the buildup of calculus in the first place.

Visiting the dentist and hygienist is an important thing to do if you wish to keep your mouth (and whole-body) as healthy as possible as well as keeping your overall dental costs as low by being dentally fit.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)

 

 

What are my options for straight teeth quickly?

With such busy and hectic lives we know how things can often be overlooked, perhaps you are getting married and have just realised you’re not happy with your smile? Perhaps you have a big birthday or other celebration coming up and have suddenly realised you need to look good for the photos?

Depending upon how long you have got there are a few options available to get fast results, let’s take a look.

Quick correction of mildly crooked teeth

If you have just a single tooth which is mildly rotated or twisted or perhaps even a couple of front teeth then this can often be corrected with dental bonding. Dental bonding is where your dentist as a small amount of tooth coloured composite material to the visible part of your tooth, this material can be built up to make your teeth look straight.

Dental bonding to correct mild crooked teeth

How quickly can I have straight teeth with dental bonding?

The process is done with you sitting in the dental chair and can take anywhere from 45 min up to a few hours, depending upon the number of teeth you want straight. For fast results, dental bonding certainly beats every other form of straight teeth treatment but it is only suitable for correcting very mildly crooked teeth.

Quick correction of moderately crooked teeth

If you have moderately crooked teeth, in other words, a few teeth which are quite crooked or many crooked teeth then dental bonding is a possibility as are veneers and orthodontics.

Dental veneers work on the same principle as bonding, they cover the surface of your tooth, leaving your natural tooth where it is and simply building out areas of your tooth to make it look straight. Dental veneers are more permanent than dental bonding and will last longer. A big advantage with dental veneers is that you are able to have instant straight white teeth as the veneers can be made any colour and as white as you like.

Moderately crooked teeth can also be straightened quickly using Invisalign Go.  This is a clear removable brace which moves teeth rapidly compared to other orthodontic systems. The Inman aligner is also a system able to straighten moderately crooked teeth rapidly. The Inman aligner works by simultaneously pushing and pulling teeth on different parts using a revolutionary new spring system.

How quickly can I have straight teeth with Inman aligner?

Typical treatment times are between 12 and 16 weeks, assuming you only have moderately crooked front teeth.

How quickly can I have straight teeth with Invisalign Go?

Typical treatment times range from approximately 4 to 7 months, assuming you only want the front teeth straightened.

How quickly can I have straight teeth with dental veneers?

From start to finish we recommend allowing at least four weeks. This will give you time to have a consultation with the dentist, have some initial diagnostics done to work out the final shape of your teeth and then have the teeth prepared by the dentist and veneers made by the technician.

Quick correction of severely crooked teeth

Severely crooked teeth will almost certainly require extended treatment with orthodontics. Whilst bonding and veneers are excellent at straightening rotated teeth, if the body of the tooth is not in the correct position then orthodontics will most likely be the best option. There are orthodontic systems to give fast results however these generally only work on the top or bottom front teeth. If you need other teeth to be moved as well then more complex orthodontics maybe your best option.

Orthodontic systems such as Invisalign and Six Month Smiles are ideal options to straighten more severely crooked teeth.

How quickly can I have straight teeth with Invisalign?

Typical treatments with Invisalign take between 12 and 24 months, depending upon the severity of your crooked teeth.

Summary

There’s no one size fits all solution to having straight teeth quickly, it depends upon your clinical situation and budget, the best way to find out which technique is best for you is to visit your dentist for an initial consultation.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. 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.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Latest posts by Dr Nishan Dixit (see all)