Our passion is helping you have a healthy mouth

This popular tooth replacement method is ideal for older patients who have lost natural teeth.

Some of us might associate cosmetic dentistry with the young and potentially beautiful, but it can be beneficial for all ages. Some cosmetic treatments are just that; they improve the way that you look. Others also have practical implications as well. Dental veneers for example, can be used to help someone have a perfect white smile but they can also be used to help tackle tooth sensitivity.

One of the best known cosmetic treatments that ‘doubles’ as a practical one is dental implant placement. At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we have had many older patients who have had this procedure and have been delighted with the many benefits that they bring. In today’s blog, we take a look at how some of our senior Burton patients could benefit from implants and some of the practicalities involved in having them placed in our later years.

Tooth loss

As we get older, the likelihood of tooth loss becomes more real. Whether by accident or problems that evolve over time, tooth loss is a reality for many older people. Whether this is individual or multiple tooth loss, this can cause a problem and most people will look to replace them, often with dentures.

Dentures are greatly improved from the ones that your grandparents may have worn. They offer a greater degree of comfort and look more natural than their predecessors. Whilst some denture wearers are perfectly happy with them, others sometimes find them uncomfortable or unstable in their mouths. Because of this, more and more older people are looking into dental implants as an alternative.

Are dental implants suitable for older people?

In a nutshell, the answer to the above question is yes, with a few caveats. There is no reason why older people can’t have dental implants and it is often this age group that benefit the most from them.

Not only do dental implants look natural and, once established, offer a greater degree of comfort than dentures, but they are more practical too. Foods that can be a challenge to eat when wearing dentures are not a problem at all for dental implants. In fact, your implants will almost certainly be as strong as your natural teeth and even stronger in some cases.

Implants are also much easier to maintain. You basically treat them as you would your own teeth with regular brushing, flossing and ongoing professional dental care at our Burton clinic.

The caveats

Read more ›

Cosmetic dentistry at your Burton dentist – get ‘smile-ready’ for the new year ahead!

The term ‘20/20’ is often used to denote perfect vision. Whilst we can’t promise an absolutely perfect smile, we are confident that this 2020 could be the year when you manage to achieve your best possible smile with the help of your local cosmetic dental team!

With Christmas now well and truly behind us, many of us will be looking ahead to the rest of this year and may have decided to make some changes in our life too. The early part of the year is when we tend to see an increase in enquiries about our smile makeovers and we are always happy to help our patients decide on the best route forward for them.

The first steps

At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we believe that, above all else, good oral health is essential. This means that before you have any of our cosmetic treatments, you will need to have a thorough examination to make sure that your teeth and gums are in good general health.

There is little point in having beautiful white teeth if decay or gum disease is present. Any short term gains would be offset by the damage that would almost certainly follow. It may be necessary to do minor restorative work prior to your cosmetic treatment but this will stand you in good stead and allow you to get the most from your new smile.

What are the main options available?

Read more ›

Please try our quiz and see what you can remember from this year’s Mike Allen Dental blogs

Are you sitting comfortably, or are you perhaps starting to panic about all the Christmas presents you haven’t even thought about buying yet? Whatever you are doing, why not take a break, make a cup of tea and see how much you can remember from our blogs this last year.

We have always tried to make our blogs informative without being too technical so that our patients can benefit from them. See how well you can remember what you have read by answering the questions, set by our Burton dentists, below. Answers are at the bottom of the page. Have fun!

  1. Does a chipped tooth need immediate treatment or can it be delayed until your next check up appointment before being examined?
  2. Name 3 reasons why you should have your teeth straightened, excluding aesthetics
  3. Name 3 options for replacing your very back tooth when lost
  4. Name the 2 main roles that a dental hygienist plays
  5. What is dentin?
  6. Apart from to determine if there is a root canal infection, why do we use x-rays in this specific case?
  7. What causes persistent bad breath?
  8. What medical issues have been linked with gum disease?
  9. Electric or manual toothbrush?
  10. Why is a root canal treated tooth sometimes referred to as a ‘dead’ tooth?

Answers

Read more ›

Following root therapy, these aftercare tips will help to maintain the tooth.

Although an air of mild panic is sometimes detected when we inform a patient that they need to have a root canal treatment, the reality is that this is the only way to save a tooth where the internal soft pulp has become infected. Despite its reputation, the root canal procedure should cause no more discomfort than most other invasive procedures and will, of course, be performed using a strong local anaesthetic.

We have covered the details of root canal treatment in previous blogs such as this one but briefly, to remind patients, it involves the dentist using special tools to access the canals inside the tooth and down to the roots. The infected pulp is then removed and the canals cleaned before finally being filled with gutta percha and a crown attached to the top to provide strength and restore appearance.

How strong is a root canal treated tooth?

Without this treatment, a tooth infected in this way would need to be extracted. The root canal procedure preserves the tooth and leaves it with a reasonable amount of strength. Unfortunately, it can never be as strong as a healthy tooth and our Burton Upon Trent patients will need to observe a few simple  precautions to make sure that it stays strong for as long as possible.

Keeping the tooth clean

Read more ›

Helping young teeth stay healthy through better brushing.

A toothbrush is a toothbrush, right?  Well yes, but there are a number of options to choose from, and just as we adults choose a toothbrush to suit our own personal needs, this also needs to be the case for young children, albeit with parents or carers helping.

Getting this basic piece of dental equipment right can make a big difference in how they look after their teeth. Conversely, choosing any old toothbrush could cause potential damage.

Baby’s gums

There appears to be some confusion about oral care when it comes to babies. Mums-to-be that come to Mike Allen’s Dental Practice are sometimes a little surprised to find that although babies don’t yet have teeth, their oral care is important. Although we can’t see their teeth as they have not yet erupted, it is important to keep their gums healthy ready for when they do.

Cleaning the gums is quite easy to do and requires no more than a gentle wipe of the gums with a clean damp cloth. It will also probably help your child to become familiar with the need to clean in this area.

Young children

When teeth come through they will need to be kept clean. Although these ‘baby teeth’ will eventually fall out, no parent wants to see their child in pain because of a severe toothache. Where decay sets in and the tooth needs to be extracted, this will likely have to be done in hospital. As the first teeth also act as placeholders for the adult teeth that will eventually come through, any loss could cause problems such as misalignment; possibly requiring orthodontic treatment later on to correct it.

For a smaller child, it is necessary to buy a brush that has a smaller head. Using an adult size toothbrush would not only make brushing more difficult but is likely to be uncomfortable for the child as well. Starting out in this manner could well result in them and avoiding cleaning their teeth when they can.

Children’s teeth are also softer and less resistant to damage than adult teeth and care should be taken to use a brush with softer bristles. Using one with harder bristles may cause the enamel to wear away, exposing them to an increased risk of tooth decay.

Although you may need to help them brush their teeth initially, you should encourage them to do so themselves as soon as is appropriate. It is important therefore that you choose a brush that they are comfortable with. Don’t forget how small children’s hands are and it is important to get one that they feel comfortable holding.

As we have mentioned before, even when your children start to brush their teeth themselves, you should supervise them when doing so until such a time that you are happy they are cleaning them sufficiently well.

Manual or electric?

Read more ›

Dental restorations are more effective than you might imagine; give our team a call.

Ideally, all of our Burton patients would have looked after their teeth well from childhood and need little treatment other than perhaps a small filling or two during their lifetime.

In the real world though, this is almost certainly not true for everybody and a few, at least, may have reached a point in their lives where they feel that their tooth health is on a downwards spiral and that it is too late to do anything other than wait for the inevitable tooth loss and the need for a full set of dentures.

Some people in this situation will have neglected their teeth and almost certainly not been to see a dentist for some time. The longer it has been since you saw a dentist, the more likely it is that you may think that you are beyond help.

The fact is that dental care has advanced a lot in the last decade or so and it is now quite possible that we may be able to restore your teeth much more effectively than you might imagine. Even when teeth do need to be extracted, dentists can now offer a wide range of tooth replacement options to get your smile and mouth function back.

Saving your teeth

To allow us to put an action plan into place to save your teeth, you will off course need to make an appointment. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since you last saw a dentist, the team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice will not ‘judge’ you but will work with you to help you to restore your teeth and general oral health to a much better condition.

The first step is to have an examination. As you may not have seen a dentist for some time, this is likely to involve x-rays so that we can see what is going on below the gum line. Although some problems may be obvious, those such as root canal infections can only be determined through the use of scans and x-rays.

Unless you are in immediate pain, one of the best places to start is with a thorough clean by our hygienist. This should be an ongoing appointment every six months, but by doing this initially we can start to bring the health of the mouth up and potentially make any additional treatments a little bit easier.

Fillings and extractions

Read more ›

Caring for this important part of our teeth.

Regular readers of our bi weekly blogs will probably have come across the term ‘dentin’ quite a few times and they may well understand that this is the area of the tooth that is located directly below the protective surface enamel. In today’s Mike Allen’s Dental Practice blog, we are going to look at this part of our teeth in a little more detail and also how we can help to keep it as healthy as possible.

What is dentin?

As mentioned above, it is situated beneath the enamel of our teeth. It is a hard section of a tooth but not as strong as the enamel which is always the first line of protection against many tooth problems such as decay and eventual root canal infections. It is also a yellow colour and is one of the reasons for tooth discolouration as we get older as it darkens over time, beneath the translucent enamel layer.

Around 70% of the dentin material is made up of a mineral called Hydroxyapatite (1). The rest is made up of organic matter (20%) and water (10%).  As you can see, the water content in this region means that it won’t be as hard as enamel.

Within the dentin layer are tiny tube-like structures that we call ‘tubules’. These contain cells and fluids and it is these which can allow us to feel pain when we have a toothache and can also accelerate the advance of tooth decay.

The dentin layer’s role is predominantly to support the enamel, but also enables sensations to be passed from the tooth, via the tubules, to the nerves and subsequently to our brain. It is these sensations that prevent us from biting too hard on harder foods which could potentially break our teeth even when they are healthy.

Tooth sensitivity

Read more ›

We may reach out for our daily caffeine ‘hit’, but coffee isn’t necessarily our friend!

Most of the staff and patients of Mike Allen’s Dental Practice probably drink coffee at least occasionally. For some people though, it is almost a ritual and to start the day without one might seem next to impossible. Coffee has been around for a very long time and largely is thought to be OK, or even positive, for our health as long as we don’t drink it to excess.

Even taking this into account, we should still stop and consider whether our regular coffee habit  may not be that great for our teeth. That might seem a bit harsh, but here is our reasoning why.

Teeth staining

Whilst tea stains our teeth due to the tannin in it, coffee is a rick, dark beverage, especially when drunk in the form of espressos etc. These stronger forms of coffee can certainly stain our teeth if we drink them very regularly. Dark and discoloured teeth are not harmful in themselves, but they don’t look very nice and most of us would prefer to have our teeth white, particularly for when we smile.

Brushing your teeth obviously helps to remove some of the staining, but if you drink your coffee after your morning brush, there is plenty of time for staining to take effect before you brush them again. A regular ‘scale and polish’ with our dental hygienist will also help to remove some surface staining but where this is not sufficient, you may wish to consider our non invasive teeth whitening procedure.

Sugars

Read more ›

Calm and happy kids means successful dental visits and a healthier mouth!

Phobias are strange things and it can sometimes be difficult to understand where they have come from. Some phobias are common, such as a fear of flying or even of spiders. Others are definitely more on the ‘weird’ spectrum, including ‘linonophobia’ (a fear of string) and ‘chorophobia’ (a fear of dancing).

One of the most common ones that many people suffer from to varying degrees though is ‘odontophobia’ which, as you may have guessed from the name, is a fear of the dentists.

At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we see our fair share of nervous dental patients from the Burton area. Many are not only afraid of visiting the dentist, but when they do, they often apologise for their anxiety. The thing is that we see lots of people like this, and if you are afraid of having dental treatment, or even a check up, don’t worry, you are most definitely not alone.

There are a number of ‘tactics’ that you can use to reduce your stress levels, but, seeing as it is believed that many phobias start when we are very young, we thought it would be worth looking at how parents can help their children to avoid this problem in the early years.

Deal with your own phobia first

The truth is that, especially early on, children learn much about life from their parents. So, if mum or dad are panicking about their upcoming dental visit, it is hardly surprising that the children also see this as something to avoid if they possibly can. Dental phobia is a problem, and one that can lead to serious oral health issues. For parents whose anxiety is relatively mild, it may be enough to just put on a brave face around the kids. More serious anxiety though may need to be addressed.

There are lots of websites dedicated to dental anxiety solutions and it is worth looking at these to find one that works for you. It may be a case of trial and error but hopefully you will gradually overcome it.

If you are still very anxious about dentists, you may wish to ask a close relative to bring your child when they need to have their teeth checked. A favourite auntie might even make it into a treat for the child. Just make sure that they are not nervous too, and that you have authorised them to be the carer for your child with our team.

Keeping kids relaxed

Read more ›

Mike Allen looks at the problem of weakened teeth.

As we get older, it is highly likely that we will have had some dental treatment and many cases, it might be quite a significant amount. The most common treatment is the tooth filling, which usually offer a long lasting restoration where cavities have formed.

Although some people have no problems with their restored teeth, others may start to lose confidence in them, not trusting them when eating harder types of food. This might lead us to eat a more restricted diet largely made up of softer foods. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and regular supervision and possibly alternative solutions can help.

Fillings

Dental fillings are strong and many of us will have older amalgam type fillings that were placed many years ago. There may be a lot of truth in the old adage that ‘if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t need fixing’ but while strong, amalgam fillings don’t last forever, over time they can become loose, weaken or crack and may even lead to further decay of the tooth as they age.

The main reason for the additional decay is that amalgam shrinks slightly over time. As it does this, it sometimes leaves a tiny gap between the filling and the rest of the tooth. Bacteria will collect here and decay is very possible.

Providing that you see one of our Burton dentists for a regular examination every six months or so, we will be able to monitor any deterioration of your fillings. If you have been experiencing any sensitivity or discomfort in a filled tooth, please do let us know.  When an amalgam filling does need replacing, you may wish to consider our white dental fillings. These offer not only a better appearance but are strong and adhere better to the tooth than amalgam.

Crowns

Read more ›