Achieving straight and even teeth without gum health problems.
On the face of it, having your teeth straightened is a great way to a pleasant new smile. Modern orthodontics can now achieve this without the need for unsightly metal braces, as was often the case in the past. Whilst modern cosmetic dental braces offer a greater degree of comfort and discretion whilst wearing, there is still one thing that they have in common with older style braces, and that is the necessity of keeping your teeth and gums in good health.
Even without wearing braces, many people end up with gum disease through poor cleaning and not having them cleaned by the hygienist at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice. However, when wearing modern orthodontics, extra attention should be paid when cleaning your teeth.
Traditional style braces
Although using more discreet materials, many orthodontics still use a similar system of wires and brackets to older style braces. This presents a challenge as it allows small pieces of food and bacteria to become trapped in them. If this occurs, both tooth decay and gum disease are more likely.
You will be given full cleaning details when you have braces at our Burton practice. Please make sure that you follow these, and also attend any appointments that we request that you make. You may need to brush your teeth more regularly to prevent food from becoming trapped which may be a little more time consuming, but is worth it in order to have nice looking teeth once your braces are finally removed. If you find yourself in a situation where brushing is impractical, such as after a meal in a restaurant, simply swilling water around the mouth will help to remove much of the food debris from your teeth and the braces.
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Planning ahead for Christmas can help you to significantly reduce sugar consumption.
At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we are firm believers that prevention is better than the cure. Whilst we can perform many corrective procedures to restore a damaged or decaying tooth, there is no doubt that all of our patients would prefer there to be no need for any treatment at all.
Naturally, good cleaning and flossing are essential to achieve this, as are regular checks and hygienist sessions at our Burton dental practice. One area that many of us fall down on though, is our high sugar diet.
As the Christmas adverts are now starting to appear frequently on TV, and as many people will shop in advance for some of the non perishable food items in order to spread the cost, we thought that we would take a look at how you can reduce your sugar intake at this time, without taking away all of the fun too.
Essentially, there are two approaches to this type of shopping; the one that says ‘eliminate all sugar’, or as far as possible, whilst the other suggests reducing it whilst still enjoying the pleasures of Christmas.
No sugar diet
It is possible to have a sugar free Christmas, or almost sugar free anyway. Of course there is no need to use sugar for the Christmas turkey, and you can now also buy sugar free Christmas puddings.
Sweets can be replaced with nuts, cheese and fruit, although you should remember that fruit also contains sugars, albeit natural ones, and more than a few teeth have been chipped or broken on stray pieces of nut shells!
Reduced sugar diet
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Some helpful tips for the postoperative period.
Here at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we always try to repair and save your natural teeth wherever possible, but sometimes this may not always be an option. There may also be situations where it is possible to do so, but would mean that the tooth would have minimum functionality and/or would be likely to break again very soon. Once this stage has been reached, an extraction is the most likely way forward.
The extraction of a tooth does cause some minor trauma in the area of extraction. The gums will obviously bleed a little due to the localised disruption which happens as the tooth is gently rocked from side to side to loosen it from its socket before removal.
To prevent infection and to speed up healing times, it is important that you look after the area of your mouth from which the tooth has been removed. Initially, you will be given a piece of sterile gauze to bite down upon to stem the bleeding and this will also allow a blood clot to form which starts the healing process. It is very important that you do not dislodge this as this can lead to a ‘dry socket’ which can be very painful. If this does happen to you, please call our Burton dental practice to arrange to see the dentist as soon as possible.
Below, we offer some useful aftercare advice during the various stages following your extraction.
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Identifying oral health problems in smokers and available treatments.
Although a large proportion of the UK population have managed to stop smoking, or have, at least, switched to e-cigarettes, there is still a sizeable section of society, thought to be approximately nine million, that continue to smoke. It has been a little while since we discussed this topic on our blog, so hopefully, the advice below will act as a timely reminder to Burton patients of Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.
The most noticeable sign that someone smokes is often the colour of their teeth. Whilst all teeth will gradually darken over time, a person who smokes is likely to see this happening much earlier. The yellowing effect of tar from the cigarettes can really detract from an otherwise pleasant smile.
Our custom home teeth whitening kits are excellent in cases where the teeth have darkened internally. Where there is heavy staining from smoking on the enamel of the teeth though, replacing the damaged surface using dental veneers may be a more effective treatment.
Gum disease is much more widespread in patients who smoke than those that don’t. There are a number of reasons for this, including the likelihood of a drier mouth, ideal for bacteria to thrive. In addition to this, the irritation from the smoke is likely to exacerbate any soreness or discomfort experienced because of this problem. Whether you smoke or not, but especially if you do, we highly recommend that you see the hygienist at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice on a regular basis. The professional clean will help to rid your teeth and gums of hardened bacteria that would be near impossible to remove yourself.
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Bite correction for aesthetic and functional benefits, at our Burton practice.
You may have heard your dentist mention the term ‘occlusal’. Essentially, this relates to the way that the teeth bite together. Although some specific problems such as an underbite or overbite can also have an effect on the way that your teeth look, there is also the risk of damage being caused to your teeth due to an incorrect bite.
Before we go on to look at how an occlusal problem can be corrected, let us take a look at a few of the problems that can be caused, if not treated.
Aesthetics – As mentioned above, some occlusal issues can leave a person less confident about their smile due to the way that their teeth look when they do.
Wearing down of teeth – If your teeth do not meet correctly, they may wear down the teeth in the opposing jaw. This not only affects their appearance but can damage the enamel, making them more prone to decay and root canal infections.
Broken teeth – An uneven bite can cause excessive force to be placed upon a tooth that was not designed to take it. Whilst the tooth may gradually wear down, it may also break off suddenly as it becomes weaker.
Jaw problems – If we have an incorrect bite, this can cause the jaw not to function as it should. Clicking or grinding jaws are often a symptom of this. These problems are often referred to as TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) dysfunction and, in some patients, can cause quite severe pain and may even cause persistent headaches.
Occlusal problem treatments
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Tooth decay is much too common, especially in children. Here’s how we can help.
Whilst gum disease poses a serious and persistent threat to our oral health, it is likely that most patients are more familiar with the problem of tooth decay. This is especially the case in children, who may have a combination of a high sugar diet and, potentially, a poorer teeth cleaning regimen.
At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we offer family friendly dental care to ensure that your children’s teeth get off to a good, healthy start.
First dental visits
We generally advise parents to bring their children to see us at around one year old. Whilst any treatment at this age is very unlikely, it does allow them to get used to the various noises, smells and sounds of a dental practice and will make it seem like a normal thing to do as they get a little older. It is also thought that doing this makes them less likely to be afraid of dental visits in later life too.
As their first teeth come through, and probably around the time they develop a fondness for sweets, regular dental checks can help them to avoid, or at least minimise, the effects of tooth decay.
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Interdental care can help reduce the chances of oral health problems.
As a child, if left to our own devices, it is probably true to say that most of us would only brush the surface of our teeth, the part that we can see. Of course, at that age, it is understandable that this seems to be perfectly logical. As we get older though, we would be expected to have a better understanding of why we should clean ALL of our teeth.
Despite this, less than a quarter of us use dental floss or any other interdental tool to reach in the area between the teeth. If everyone did this, we would very likely see a decrease in cases of decay and gum disease at dental surgeries across the UK, including here at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.
Trapped food and bacteria
Whilst some food and bacteria does become stuck on the surface of our teeth and especially just underneath the gum line, much of this is removed when we brush our teeth if we do so correctly. The most likely place for both food and bacteria to become trapped though, is in the spaces between our teeth. Crooked teeth that overlap are especially vulnerable to this.
As trapped food begins to rot and break down, acids and bacteria accumulate in these spaces and will start to eat away at the surface enamel of the tooth. Although we may not visibly see anything due to the location, the chances are that, unless you do clean between your teeth well, the enamel of your teeth is being compromised right now. Eventually, as bacteria enter the softer dentin part of the tooth, decay, and possibly toothache, are likely to follow.
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Even teeth offer more than just a nicer looking smile.
Our teeth can become crooked for a number of reasons. Sometimes this may be due to habits as far back as our childhood, such as thumb sucking, but can also be caused by genetics or overcrowding. Unfortunately, when one tooth moves slightly, others may well follow; moving into the new space which is available.
The end result of crooked teeth can be that it spoils what may be an otherwise attractive smile. Equally important though, is that it can make keeping your teeth and gums healthy, that little bit more difficult.
Clean and healthy teeth
An essential part of keeping our teeth in good condition is to brush and floss them on a daily basis. This helps to remove tiny food particles, along with bacteria, which can damage both teeth and gums. In order to keep the teeth really clean, it is essential to be able to clean between the teeth, where food and bacteria become more easily trapped.
Where teeth are straight, this is relatively easy to do. When teeth have become crooked, possibly overlapping, this creates a tight space that even dental floss may struggle to reach into. The eventual result of this is that debris and bacteria can build up in these areas over time, potentially causing tooth decay, and the need for treatment.
Modern ‘invisible’ dental braces
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Giving your new implants the best possible start.
As we have mentioned in previous Mike Allen Blogs, dental implants are an excellent way to replace missing teeth, and can last for twenty years or more providing that you take good care of them. Whilst this is important throughout their life, the first few months especially can be critical.
In today’s blog, your local Burton implant dentist offers some advice on how to get your implants off to the best possible start and ready for a long and useful life.
There is no need to join a gym or exercise class, but keeping your body in good condition will help the area of the implant procedure to heal. Exercise improves blood flow around the body, including the gums. A healthier body means that healing may be faster and infections more easily avoided. Even walking more and taking the stairs instead of elevators can contribute positively towards this.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
Both alcohol and cigarette smoking increase the risk of gum infections and this is one of the biggest challenges to a successful dental implant placement. Both periodontitis and peri-implantitis can cause your newly placed dental implant to fail. Please follow our advice and avoid smoking and drinking (other than in small quantities), for a period of time both before and after your procedure at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice in Burton.
Watch what you eat
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A look at causes and possible treatments of tooth sensitivity for our Burton patients.
Whilst most of us probably associate tooth pain with a toothache; for some people, persistent tooth sensitivity is also a debilitating problem. With healthy enamel, our teeth should be resistant to extremes of temperature, but, when the enamel becomes damaged, it exposes the dentin layer of the tooth. As this is porous, the nerves, within the inner tooth are able to detect temperature more easily and this may cause some significant discomfort.
In today’s blog, we take a look at some of the reasons why the dentin can become exposed and how we are able to treat the issue at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.
A leading cause of tooth sensitivity is when the enamel of our teeth become worn and eroded. There can be a number of reasons for this including
- Failure to keep our teeth clean with regular home care
- Excessive brushing that causes the enamel to wear away
- Exposure to high amounts of sugar. Fizzy sugary drinks are especially bad for this
- Exposure to citric acids such as lemon or orange juice
Preventing this from happening in the first instance is obviously the best way to prevent having sensitive teeth. Once the enamel has worn away though, one option to restore the teeth to a comfortable state is to replace damaged surface enamel with porcelain dental veneers.
Cracks, chips and loose fillings
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