Our passion is helping you have a healthy mouth

If so, here’s why you shouldn’t ignore it….

Can you run your tongue over both the front and back of your teeth and say that they feel entirely smooth? If you can, then congratulations, you are doing a great job of keeping your teeth clean and also probably already see the hygienist at our Burton dental practice on a regular basis. If the surface of your teeth feels a little rough or ‘fuzzy’, then you should almost certainly join the ranks of those who currently do.

You might ask what the problem is if your teeth don’t feel entirely smooth. After all, there is no obvious damage and they probably function normally too, so why should you be concerned? In today’s blog, we will examine what this seemingly innocuous ‘problem’ could lead to and offer suggestions on how to improve things.

Oral bacteria

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Some of it is good bacteria and some is potentially harmful to our teeth and gums, especially when they multiply to the point where their numbers become out of control. The ‘fuzziness’  that you can feel on your teeth is most likely a collection of this bacteria which has formed a film on the surface of your teeth. This is natural and is usually kept under control both through saliva washing it away and also when you brush your teeth.

Unfortunately, not all of this bacteria will necessarily be removed and especially if you don’t take care of your teeth as well as you could, the bacteria can combine with the minerals in your saliva and form a hardened material known as tartar. This is a hard substance that can’t simply be removed by brushing at home.

The problem with tartar

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Helping you to keep your children’s teeth strong and healthy

As the end of the school summer holiday approaches, there will be some who will be breathing a sigh of relief to get their house back to normal so that they can go about their daily life without the constant background of TV noise and “mum, I’m hungry” please! Of course, we all love our kids and we know that, despite their complaints, most of them will be ready to go back to school and see their friends again.

As they return to school, we do lose some control over their lives. This is important for the child though as they develop and learn to take responsibilities in their lives. It can mean however, that their oral health can go downhill as we will have less control over what they eat and drink whilst at school and on the way there and back.

So what can our Mike Allen’s Dental Practice patients who are parents do to help their children maintain healthy teeth and gums for the next few years whilst they are at school?


Kids are often more open to information than we sometimes think. A simple instruction to clean their teeth may well meet with the infamous ‘why?’ response. Simply answering ‘because I said so’ might work but it is likely to be of more long term benefit if we explain to them what will happen to their teeth if they don’t brush them regularly. There are a number of web videos available which are especially useful for younger kids and will help them to understand why they should clean their teeth well and hopefully set them into a good routine.

Food and drink

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Do you call your dentist when you have a minor problem or wait until your next appointment?

It wouldn’t be stretching the truth to say that most people would rather not go to the dentist if they could get away with it. Thankfully, most of our Burton patients recognise that doing so is important to maintain a healthy mouth and retain a strong and functional set of teeth. Even if we are diligent in our home oral care and keep our six monthly check up appointments, there may be other occasions when we might need to make an additional appointment if a problem arises between them.

The difficulty some people have is knowing when to call the dentist for an appointment and when to simply leave it until the next one is due. Generally speaking, we would say that you should call Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, even for minor problems, unless, for example, your next appointment was within a week or so.

The problem with ignoring minor dental issues is that they rarely go away, and in most cases will become worse over time. This could well mean that any treatment you need will be more extensive than if you had consulted us about it when you first noticed it.

‘Minor’ dental problems

Whilst it is possible to have discomfort in a tooth that isn’t serious, such as if a piece of food temporarily gets lodged between the tooth and gum; in many cases, it is likely to be an indication of a problem that is just starting. It is in your interest to have this checked by one of our dental team so that we can treat it as soon as possible and prevent it from deteriorating.

A few of the common problems that can be caused by leaving a ‘minor’ issue for a period of time follow.

Tooth decay

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Why Burton patients are seeking alternatives to this traditional tooth replacement method

Most people will know somebody who wears dentures. Usually this results from tooth loss over a longer period of time but it can also be due to accidental damage to the teeth at any age.

Dentures have been in use for a very long time, with rudimentary dentures discovered in an archeological dig and which were dated around 2500 BC. It was discovered that, for these particular dentures, wolf teeth had been used. Thankfully, we have come a long way since then!

Modern dentures

Even in the last 50 years or so, there have been some significant advances in denture design and it is now possible to have dentures that look very natural indeed. There are even some that offer a degree of flexibility and move in the mouth which helps them feel more natural and adds to the comfort factor. Even then though, most of our Burton denture wearers would agree that they do not feel the same as natural teeth.

At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, your dentist in Burton, we are pleased to supply a wide selection of modern dentures for our patients, although, as we shall see later, more and more are opting for alternative solutions.

The ‘problem’ with dentures

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Great looking smiles with the latest cosmetic dentistry in Burton

The word ‘selfie’ is probably talked about less than it used to be but is still a part of everyday life for many people, especially perhaps, the younger generation. Whether you are sending them to a friend, adding them on a dating site or simply posting them on social media, you will naturally want to make your smile look as warm and attractive as possible.

Although some of us will already have a great looking smile, there will also be a large number of folk thinking that they would have a great looking smile too if it weren’t for that crooked tooth, the fact that they are discoloured or even if it wasn’t for those cracks that have appeared recently. Even a relatively small flaw with your teeth can spoil what would otherwise be a great smile. If this is the case for you, you might wish to consider some of the cosmetic dental treatments that we have available at your Burton dentist.

A whiter, brighter smile

The most obvious thing that you can do to improve your smile is to have whiter looking teeth. Many of us have teeth that are discoloured to varying degrees, either due to dietary habits such as consuming too much tea or through the natural ageing process which causes our teeth to become duller over time. For most of us, this can be rectified in a straightforward manner using a non-invasive cosmetic treatment called teeth whitening.

Prior to your treatment you will be given a full oral health check. There is little point in having whiter teeth if you have gum disease or some of your teeth need filling. Any issues like these will be treated first and then your teeth whitening treatment can begin.

We will discuss with you, the level of whiteness you require and the procedure will be adjusted accordingly. Impressions will be taken of your teeth and these will be used by a special laboratory to produce the trays which will fit over your teeth. These usually take a week or so to arrive and you will then be given instructions on their use along with the appropriate whitening gel. Generally, these trays will need to be worn at home for a few hours a day with initial results being noticeable at around one week and the full effect appearing approximately a week later. This treatment can be repeated without any harm to your teeth and gums.

Hide those cracks

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Mike Allen offers some advice on how to care better for your teeth and gums

Becoming a dentist takes many years of study and training, and the years of experience behind our team means that they have probably encountered most dental problems. These skills are necessary and essential and however well our Burton patients look after their teeth, it is almost inevitable that some will still require dental surgery at some point in their life, whether due to an accident or general wear and tear.

Having said that, many routine dental treatments such as a filling are largely avoidable, or can certainly be reduced, if we improve the way that we look after our teeth at home. In today’s Mike Allen’s Dental Practice blog, we are going to take a look at some of the essential things that you can do to give your teeth and gums a fighting chance of avoiding the need for invasive treatments.

Take care of your diet

We aren’t about to get on our ‘soapbox’ and tell you that you should never eat sugar, or foods containing it. Firstly, this is now almost impossible as sugar is included in many foods, including some that you wouldn’t expect. Secondly, life is for living and the occasional treat of a slice of cake, for example, can brighten up what might have been a less than pleasant day.

The key is in knowledge, and the ability to generally maintain our healthy eating. Essential food groups such as vegetables contribute many minerals and vitamins that are essential for good health. Protein too is important to build muscles that allow us to function. Most ‘health guides’ will tell you all of this but few will mention the psychological benefits of ‘treats’. The key thing here is that these should be occasional and as a part of a healthy diet should not cause too many problems if you make sure to clean your teeth well.

Smoking and alcohol

Alcohol can be consumed in moderate quantities without too many problems, but if consumed too regularly or in excess can have an impact on both our general and oral health. As we suspect many of you will know, drinking too much alcohol leads to dehydration which not only causes a hangover, but leaves the mouth very dry. Anyone who has woken up with a dry mouth after drinking may have noticed a ‘gooey’ white substance in their mouth. This is caused by a growth in the number of bacteria which thrive in warm and dry environments.  Ideally, you should keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum and make sure that when you do drink, you also drink plenty of water to help avoid dehydration.

Smoking should not be done at any level and so should ideally be stopped altogether. It is one of the leading causes of both gum disease, which can even lead to eventual tooth loss, and oral cancer. In addition to this, it is an expensive habit and we suspect that there are better things to do with the money saved!

Home teeth cleaning habits

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Things you can do to help your new tooth implant outcome

Dental implants are largely considered to be the gold standard for tooth replacement. Whilst dentures and bridges do have a role to play, neither provides an ideal solution as they don’t replace the root part of the tooth as an implant does. They are also more difficult to keep clean and require more care. Dentures in particular, also cause some patients problems with stability and functionality.

Anyone who has read our blogs will know the basics of the dental implant procedure and that it requires the placing of an artificial tooth root, which is the actual implant part. This is then left to bond with the natural bone and provide a firm anchor onto which a crown is attached.

To be able to place a dental implant requires extra study and qualifications and our Burton team will do all they can to help ensure that you have a safe and effective procedure. Despite all the dentist’s skills though, there are still a number of things that you, the patient, can do to make the treatment and healing go as smoothly as possible.

Stop smoking

At Mike Allen’s Dental Surgery and most other dentists in the UK, anyone wishing to have teeth implants placed will need to stop smoking for a period of time either side of the treatment. There are many good reasons for this. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of gum disease and periodontitis and peri-implantitis can be a real threat to an implant, potentially causing it to fail. Smoking also narrows the tiny blood vessels in the gums and reduces the blood flow to that area. This means that healing is likely to be slower and there will be less ability to fight off any infections that occur. It should be noted that excess drinking can have similar effects too.

Although we recommend, from an oral health point of view, that you stop both of these habits permanently, it is essential that you do so either side of your procedure.

Get some exercise

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Ignoring potential symptoms of gum disease can lead to serious oral health issues

Few of us actually enjoy going to the dentists. However friendly and helpful they are, there is always the nagging suspicion that you might need to have treatment, and especially if you are a nervous dental patient, this is something that you probably hope to avoid. The reality though is that healthy teeth and gums are important for your quality of life and also, potentially, for your overall health too.

Whilst even a nervous dental patient will usually face their fears and contact the dentist when they have a very painful toothache which simply can’t be ignored any longer, more ‘minor’ issues, like gum problems can sometimes be ‘put off’ and thereby allowed to progress and become worse.

Early symptoms

If you have your teeth regularly cleaned by the oral hygienist at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, you might never experience these symptoms, but the reality is that a lot of patients choose not to do this and therefore put themselves at a higher risk of gum disease and related problems. So what are the potential signs that you might have a gum disease problem? There are quite a few common ones although it is important to remember that gum disease can be largely symptom free in its earlier stages and we would always recommend regular checks rather than waiting for any symptoms to appear.

Common gum disease symptoms might include:

  • Sore gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Wobbly/loose teeth
  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Bad breath/halitosis
  • Receding gums

This isn’t a complete list of gum disease symptoms but these are some of the more common things that you might notice. If you do detect any of these, please contact our Burton clinic as soon as you can so that it can be treated as quickly as possible.

How is gum disease treated?

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Orthodontic treatment is not just for children writes Burton dentist, Mike Allen.

There is a common misconception amongst some people that only children should need to wear dental braces. Whilst it is important that this age group do grow up with their teeth both healthy and even, they are not the only ones, and adults who have crooked teeth don’t have to settle for that, and nor should they.

Not only do straight and even teeth look more attractive than crooked ones, and can help us to have a confident smile, but they are more likely to be healthier too. Teeth that overlap and press against each other are notoriously difficult to keep clean in the areas where even dental floss struggles to reach. At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we can help you to have a straight and even set of teeth to promote a healthy and attractive smile.

Dental braces

Quite a few of us will probably have known children who were at school with us who had to wear braces and suffered bullying and name calling because of it. This may well have left us with a negative opinion of them and could make us query why on earth we would want to wear braces when we were older.

Whilst playground bullying doesn’t happen to us as adults, there is no doubt that a visible set of braces can draw attention and may not always result in pleasant comments being made. This can understandably make us more anxious about being seen with braces in place and may lead to us becoming less confident as a result.

This doesn’t have to be the case though. It is now possible to have your teeth straightened in an almost invisible manner through the use of cosmetic orthodontic systems, such as those available from our Burton dental practice.

Advantage of cosmetic teeth braces

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Can this simple method really make your teeth brighter?

Although perhaps perceived as a bit of a novelty initially, supermarket shelves now contain many different brands of tooth whitening toothpastes. Judging by the advertising around these products, they must be very popular with the general public. Advertising can be deceptive though and its aim is often to make you think what you ‘want’ to think. That is, if you use this toothpaste, you too can have a smile like the person advertising it.

The truth is that most actors who appear in these adverts will have had nice teeth in the first place and could well even have undergone a prior teeth whitening treatment at their dentists. So why is this type of toothpaste so popular, and does it really work?

What is in a tooth whitening toothpaste?

The good news for consumers is that these toothpastes contain a similar ingredient to those that we use at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice during a teeth whitening procedure. The bad news is that it is in such small quantities that anyone expecting spectacular results is going to be very disappointed. In fact, even if your expectations are more moderate, you may well not see the results that you had hoped for.

If you are wondering why the amount of the whitening ingredient in these toothpastes is so small, the reason is that they are restricted by law for safety reasons. The active whitening ingredient is a form of bleach and could be dangerous if consumed in significant quantities. As toothpastes are widely used and often easily available to small hands, there is a risk to children especially if they eat the toothpastes, as we are sure some of you can remember doing yourself when you were younger.

But they are harmless aren’t they?

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