Our passion is helping you have a healthy mouth

Our daily habits play a large part in increasing or decreasing our risk of oral cancer

When we brush and clean our teeth in the morning and at night, most of us do so in the hope of maintaining a healthy set of teeth and gums. Memories of toothache from the past often act as an encouragement not to forget to do this. Our teeth and gums are very important of course, and no one is disputing that fact. There is another good reason for keeping our mouth clean and for generally looking after it though and that is to help avoid the risk of oral cancer.

This is a growing problem in the UK and one perhaps that too few people are really aware of. Oral health checks that we carry out at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice when you come for your six monthly check up also include monitoring the soft tissues of the mouth for any possible indications of this problem.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is when tumours form in the soft tissues of your mouth. This can include the lips, gums, roof of the mouth, cheeks, tongue and even the throat. Left untreated, these can grow and spread, making them much harder to treat and generally leading to a worse outcome. Like most forms of cancer, the sooner they are detected and you can receive the appropriate treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be.

How will I know if I have it?

Read more ›

Keeping your dental implants in good condition is essential – avoiding smoking is a key part of this

With dental implants becoming increasingly popular with our Burton patients, it is important for them to be aware of any problems that might occur once they have been placed. Whilst implants have a very high success rate, this doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong if you don’t look after them correctly.

Some people might feel that because they are made from artificial materials, then nothing can really go wrong and no special care needs to be taken to keep them healthy – but this is not quite correct. Whilst they won’t decay like a natural tooth, the artificial titanium root that is used to support the crown can become loose in the jaw bone if you don’t maintain good gum health.

The basics

It is worth reiterating that you should treat your implants as you should your own natural teeth. Brushing and flossing is important even though the artificial tooth itself can’t decay. Both brushing and flossing will help to remove food debris and bacteria from the gums and help to keep them healthy. This in turn helps to maintain strong and healthy bone into which your implant has been placed. If this starts to deteriorate, then the implant may become less secure and may fail.

Smoking

Whilst we hope that most patients of Mike Allen’s Dental Practice are, by now, familiar with the fact that smoking is bad, not only for your general health, but for your teeth and gums too, there are still a significant number of people who do still smoke, estimated to be somewhere in the region of seven million in the UK. This is of particular concern if you have dental implants as smoking can have a devastating impact on them.

Many of the problems that we have listed below also apply to those without implants, but some more specifically so. Please read on if you are considering teeth implants or already have them in place.

Osseointegration problems

Read more ›

Treatment options in Burton when a full arch of teeth is lost

Losing a tooth or two is relatively common as we get older. Replacing these is usually done using a partial denture, a bridge or an individual dental implant. What happens though when a full arch of teeth are lost?  Although this is less common than the loss of individual teeth, it does happen. This can be through general and lengthy neglect of teeth, severe gum disease, side effects of medical treatment or genetics. Whatever the cause though, it can have a major impact on the life of the person who suffers from this.

Restoration of your smile is possible even when this happens. Losing a full arch of teeth is not only devastating for the way that you look, but will also affect how and what you can eat and very likely your speech too. If this happens to you then, what are the options available for our Burton patients that we are able to provide at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.

Dental bridge?

This is one that we have to rule out. Although bridges can be used for individual tooth replacement or where a few teeth are missing, they can’t be used for full arch tooth loss as there are no teeth available to attach the crowns that hold the replacement tooth/teeth in place to.

Dentures

The most obvious initial conclusion for anyone that loses a full arch of teeth is that they will be forced to wear dentures for the rest of their life. It is true that these do offer a viable solution but they are not without their compromises. Dentures now look more realistic with the ‘artificial gum’ colour made to match the natural colour of your gums. The teeth too can look realistic, but unfortunately not everyone finds them to be comfortable or practical, especially when they are eating.

The only way to ‘secure’ dentures in the traditional way is for them to fit securely against the gums, causing some suction to help keep them in place. Many wearers also use a special denture adhesive which helps this even more. Even then though, dentures are not always as secure and stable as they could be and can still become loose, especially under strain.

Most full arch denture wearers are quite careful about what they eat. For example, eating softer foods means that there is less ‘pull’ against the dentures when you chew, unlike with something which is more difficult to chew and may cause the dentures to pull away a little from the gums. Although this often just makes it feel strange, it can, on occasion, pull the dentures away from the gums, causing them to move around in the mouth, sometimes significantly. As with those moments when you say something embarrassing, just at the same time as the rest of the room goes quiet, many denture wearers will tell you that their dentures came horribly loose at just the wrong time, often causing embarrassment.

There is one option available for those who want to wear dentures but in a more secure manner and that is by stabilising them using dental implants. This can be done in a very similar manner to our next option.

Same day teeth (‘all on 4’)

Read more ›

Don’t underestimate the importance of regular monitoring of your teeth and gums

Today’s blog is a ‘back to basics’ one. There are many fantastic dental treatments, both restorative and cosmetic such as teeth implants and whitening, but without a good solid foundation to your oral health care, these will be irrelevant. Good care at home is essential of course, but so is seeing your Burton dentist on a regular basis, usually every six months, for a thorough examination.

We have heard of people who only visit the dentist when a problem, such as a toothache, arises. This is a poor way of looking after your teeth as we will see later. We do acknowledge that for some people, this is due to a fear of seeing their dentist but there are now many ways that we can help nervous patients at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice so please contact us if this affects you and deters you from your regular check up.

Why have a check up?

It is perhaps better initially, to take a look at what happens when you don’t. As we mentioned above, some people only go to see their dentist when a toothache arises. In most cases, a toothache follows extensive tooth decay. This doesn’t happen overnight and a cavity can take months, or even years in some cases, to develop to the point where it becomes painful. Not only is a toothache likely if the problem is allowed to develop over time, but more damage will be done to your tooth too, usually requiring more significant treatment or possibly even an extraction. You might think you are making your life easier by missing your check ups, but in the longer term, this is certainly not true.

Compare the above outcome if the same patient had gone for a check up. There is every chance that a small amount of decay would have been detected and all that would have been required was a small filling. The treatment would be less invasive and more of the natural tooth would be saved, making it stronger and more functional, to say nothing of avoiding a painful toothache!

Not just tooth decay

Read more ›

Dentists sometimes use words and phrases that can be confusing for the patient – our Burton team explains….

Most patients are familiar with the more commonly used dental terms such as fillings, cavities etc. Sometimes though, dentists can forget that what they say may be confusing for the patient, especially as we discuss treatment with others in our team who, like us, have been trained using these terms.

In today’s blog, Mike Allen’s Dental Practice team will try to explain a few of the things that we might say which may not be overly familiar to you and which we hope will help you in the future. Do remember though, if you are not sure about anything, we are only too happy to answer any questions for you!

Here then, are some of the terms that we might use that may be less familiar to our Burton patients.

Calculus

Calculus is another word that we use for what you may know better as ‘tartar’. This is a collection of bacteria and minerals that forms a hard crust on the surface of the teeth and around the gumline. Because it is rough, it becomes easier for more bacteria to attach to and if left unchecked, can lead to gum disease, with its various symptoms. Although brushing your teeth at home is essential for good oral health, tartar can only be removed using a scale and polish procedure that is typically carried out by the hygienist.

Molars

Molars are the teeth at the back of the mouth. Because they do a lot of the hard work such as grinding our food, they are particularly vulnerable to a range of issues such as wear and breakages. Decay is also more common in these teeth, partially at least, because they may be more difficult to keep clean. The rear of the very back teeth especially, are common areas where decay occurs. You can minimise this risk by making sure your toothbrush reaches at the back of these teeth and by using floss.

Periodontitis

Read more ›

A “gappy” smile can be problematic – here are some treatments in Burton to fix the issues

If you take a look at photos of people who are deemed to have a perfect smile, the most noticeable thing is that their teeth are most often an attractive shade of white. Look closer at the photo though and you will notice that they are all neatly positioned and, not only are they not crooked at all, but there are also no noticeable spaces between each tooth. This is an ideal scenario of course and few of us will manage to have teeth like that without some cosmetic dental intervention.

There are two aspects to having gaps between the teeth that can cause problems for you. The most common issue brought to us by our Burton dental patients is that of aesthetics. Gappy teeth can spoil what would otherwise be an attractive smile and for most people, this is the key issue. Having gaps between the teeth can lead to other dental problems too. Food can become trapped more easily and spaces between the teeth also allows teeth to ‘drift’ a little and this can result in a crooked, uneven smile over a period of time.

So, how can Mike Allen’s Dental Practice help you? We have a range of treatments that can help you close those gaps between your teeth and the method used will be determined following a thorough examination at an initial consultation.

Composite

A straightforward way to ‘reshape’ teeth so that the gap is closed between them is to use a special composite material. This is moulded to the edges of the teeth, reducing the gap between them. This can only be used successfully where the gap is quite small though and it is also perhaps best used as a shorter term solution. Composite can wear and stain over time, becoming more noticeable to those around you, although it can be replaced as needed.

Porcelain veneers

Read more ›

Your friendly Burton dental team helping nervous patients receive essential oral care

Many people have a certain degree of concern when it comes to seeing a dentist and if we’re honest, probably most would prefer something else if they could. The fact is though, that good dental care is essential and shouldn’t be considered ‘secondary’ to other medical care as it sometimes can be. Aside from any immediate pain from a toothache that can occur, some issues are also now thought to contribute to other health problems.

If dental anxiety is an issue for you, you may choose to avoid ‘optional’ treatments such as teeth whitening but the priority is to make sure that, however nervous or anxious you are about visiting the dentist, you do so in order to maintain a healthy mouth.

A friendly approach

At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we believe that helping nervous patients, and indeed, all of our patients, starts with a friendly and welcoming approach. We do whatever we can to make you feel welcome and relaxed when you come to our Burton clinic.

From the moment that you walk through the door, you should be expected to be treated courteously and with a welcoming smile. Although this is a small thing, it can help people to feel more relaxed and in safe hands. Our waiting room and treatment rooms are also decorated in a way that we hope makes patients feel more relaxed too.

Dentistry

Of course, patients don’t visit their local practice to look at the decor or chat with the staff, but to make sure that they have healthy teeth and gums. The biggest factor for attracting patients is to have a team of experienced dentists that have the patient’s best interests at heart. Whilst all dentists in the UK will be qualified in performing essential treatments, the way in which these are carried out can make all the difference to a patient.

We always welcome our patients as they enter the treatment room and will make sure that they feel comfortable and relaxed  before we start any treatment. We are also aware that some patients like to be informed about what will happen during the treatment and are happy to discuss that. We also know that others would rather know as little as possible and just want the treatment over with as quickly as possible. Our dentists will always try to find the right balance here between maintaining a relaxed approach whilst completing the treatment as efficiently and promptly as is safely possible. Ultimately, the most important thing is to have the treatment that you need to restore and maintain healthy teeth.

Although modern local anaesthetics are very good, some patients still have a fear that they will still feel pain. This can be even more so when, for example, a tooth is being filled. It can feel as though the drill will hit the nerve if the dentist goes just one millimetre further. Of course, this won’t happen but the fear can be very real. To help ease this anxiety, we may ask the patient to raise their hand if they need a few second’s ‘breather’ before the treatment recommences. We will advise which hand as this will depend on which side of the mouth the dentist is working to avoid knocking the hand that the drill is in, for obvious reasons.

Helping yourself

Read more ›

Looking at your options in Burton for rebuilding damaged teeth

We always say that prevention is better than cure, and this also applies when it comes to your oral health. Avoiding too much sugar, cleaning your teeth effectively and making sure that you attend our Burton dental clinic for a check up regularly are good ways of maintaining a healthy mouth. Although these are great ways of keeping a mouth healthy, it isn’t foolproof and problems like tooth decay can still occur. Providing your check ups are regular, relatively minimal intervention should be necessary to restore your teeth.

In cases where tooth decay has already occurred, you can opt to receive treatment at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice here in Burton. In today’s blog, we take a look at some of the possible treatments you might receive.

Minor fillings

If you eat a reasonably low sugar diet and also see your dentist regularly, there is every chance that any tooth decay we detect will be relatively minor. In most cases, any cavities should be able to be restored using a dental filling. Although traditional amalgam fillings can be used, more of our patients are turning to tooth coloured fillings as these are much less visible when you smile or when you are talking to others.

Larger filings

If you haven’t been to a dental clinic for a while, perhaps even ignoring early signs of tooth decay, you may well find that when you do eventually see your Burton dentist, you require a much larger filling than you would if you had sought treatment earlier. Tooth coloured fillings can still be used for most of these cavities as they are now much stronger than has been the case in the past. For larger rear tooth fillings though, we may recommend, if you are looking for an aesthetic option, the use of inlays or onlays for additional strength and appearance.

Dental crowns

Read more ›

Avoid the risk of wobbly teeth and tooth loss that periodontitis can lead to….

Looking after the health of our gums is just as important as looking after our teeth but this is a fact that isn’t always recognised to the degree that it should be. Although gum disease may not cause the severe pain that a bad toothache can bring, it not only has a number of unpleasant symptoms, such as foul smelling breath, but if left to worsen, it starts to affect the bone which holds the tooth root in place. When this happens, it can cause the tooth to become loose and even fall out.

To help encourage our Burton patients to pay a little more attention to their gums, here are some top gum care tips from the friendly team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.

1 – Brush your gums gently

Yes, you heard that right;  bacteria can collect on your gums, and especially the gum line where teeth meet gums, as easily as on the surface of the tooth. Don’t just ‘flat brush’ the tooth surface but angle that toothbrush so that the bristles can reach beneath the gum line where food and bacteria can easily become trapped. Make sure to use a toothbrush with healthy bristles and don’t be afraid to buy a new one as soon as you notice the bristles becoming worn out.

2 – Floss between your teeth

Here is something that around 80% of the UK population don’t do. For many people it is the ‘difficulty’ of using dental floss that puts them off. Anyone who has persevered a little though will be able to tell them how simple it is and what a difference it makes. The reality is that it is in the spaces between the teeth that bacteria and pieces of food get trapped. Whilst some of this can be removed by swilling the mouth with water (also a good idea following a meal), there are still likely to be remnants left which will decay and attract bacteria. Flossing your teeth when you do your night time brushing is a great way to help keep teeth and gums clean. For those who really do find this difficult to do, please talk to us and we will try to help.

3 – Quit smoking

Read more ›

The reality could be closer than you realise with help from our Burton cosmetic dentists

Although it’s early days yet, many of us will have spotted a few small signs that the warmer weather is on it’s way. A few buds have started to appear on the trees, and even a few blossoms. It is often these signs that start us thinking about the months ahead when we are free to be outside more and mingle. There are also holidays and weddings too to think about, and this time of the year often sees many of us looking for a new start for the year.

Some of this ‘spring renewal’ is relatively easy to do; a new wardrobe of summer clothes, a new hairstyle and perhaps a renewed enthusiasm for the gym in time for when you are able to lie on the beach. Some things seem less straightforward though and more difficult to change. One of these is doing something about a dull and discoloured smile.

Don’t waste money on whitening toothpastes

Understandably, given the amount of advertising time dedicated to them, a lot of people are likely to turn to the teeth whitening toothpastes that they see advertised on TV and online. We would advise against this if you are serious about having whiter teeth. The reality is that these toothpastes are only allowed to include a tiny fraction of the whitening ingredient that can be used in professional teeth whitening procedures such as the ones we have available at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice in Burton.

Whilst generally, most of these toothpastes are harmless, some do include additional abrasive elements. Whilst this might help to remove at least some surface staining of the teeth, they may, if used to excess, also erode the enamel which helps to protect our teeth from decay and tooth sensitivity.  If you really want to see a significant improvement in the whiteness of your teeth, we recommend that you side-step these toothpastes and see our cosmetic dentists instead to have your teeth whitened.

Comfortable teeth whitening at home

Read more ›