The foods and drinks we consume can stain teeth. Smoking further stains teeth and the natural bright, white shade becomes darkened. Teeth whitening are a successful and simple method of lightening the colour of your teeth. The degree of whiteness achieved will vary from patient to patient and with the type of bleaching process chosen.
A whitening gel is placed in a custom-made tray that you can wear whilst asleep or for short periods during the day. Results are normally seen over 4 weeks.
- If your front teeth are stained chipped, or misaligned, veneers will give you a good life-like appearance with minimum tooth adjustment. A veneer is porcelain facing on the front of your teeth usually your top teeth; it is just like a false fingernail.
- Veneers are made out of porcelain and are used mainly for aesthetic reasons. Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is needed.
- Porcelain veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right colour to improve a single discoloured or stained tooth or to lighten front teeth (usually the upper ones) generally.
Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, when orthodontics (braces) is not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position; a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
White FillingsIf the decay is not too serious, our cosmetic dentist will remove all the decay and restore the tooth with a white (tooth coloured) filling. Our dentists can safely replace silver amalgam fillings with white tooth coloured fillings.
Dental decayHappens when the enamel and dentine of a tooth become softened by acid attack, producing a cavity (hole). More about decay detection in our Preventive Dentistry section.
Broken TeethA veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again. The porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken part. Bonding: sometimes instead of a porcelain veneer, a natural colour ‘composite’ material is used. A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth like chipped or broken tooth corners. A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth like chipped or broken tooth corners.
- A crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes known as a ‘cap’. Crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling. They can be made of porcelain or gold or a combination of these materials.
- A dental crown could be used for a number of other reasons, for instance:
- you may have discoloured fillings and would like to improve
- the appearance of the tooth
- you may have had a root filling which will need a crown to
- protect it may help hold a bridge or denture firmly in place.
- Besides having dental implants, there are two main ways to replace missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth or teeth - a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge.
- A dental bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth. Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base.
- If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base to reduce the cost.
You should replace missing teeth for a number of reasons. Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side.
- Replacing lost or missing teeth has substantial benefits for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces the natural teeth and provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear older and reduce their ability to eat and speak.
A dental denture is an appliance, which is worn to replace lost or missing teeth to enable you to enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. A complete or full denture is one that replaces all of the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaws. A partial denture fills in the spaces created by lost or missing teeth and is attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. The base of a denture is called a plate and can be made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. The teeth are normally made of acrylic and can be made to match your natural teeth. This is especially important in the case of partial dentures.
Dental implants offer a permanent solution for your missing teeth. A dental implant is essentially a substitute for a natural root and commonly it is screw or cylinder shaped. Each implant is placed into a socket carefully drilled at the precise location of the intended tooth. Often the implant can be placed at the same time as removal of the tooth, all on the same day.
If an implant has a screw thread on its outer surface it can be screwed into position and if it does not, it is usually tapped into place. The main aim during installation of any implant is to achieve immediate close contact with the surrounding bone. This creates an initial stability, which over time is steadily enhanced by further growth of bone into microscopic roughness on the implant surface.
In order to support replacement teeth, dental implants normally have some form of internal screw thread or post space that allows a variety of components to be fitted. Once fitted, these components provide the foundation for long-term support of crowns, bridges or dentures. Click here for illustrated information.
Oral Surgery (Extractions)
- Wisdom Teeth Sometimes there may not be room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth and, as they start to come through, they push against the teeth already there or may start to come through at an angle. When this happens, you might feel some pain or discomfort, so the best thing to do is to visit your dentist. The dentist will probably take an x-ray of your mouth to see how - or if - your wisdom teeth are coming through. From this, they will be able to make a judgment on whether or not to take them out, and how easy or difficult it might be. Extractions can also be done under sedation.
- Extractions Having a tooth out is the same as having an operation and, because of this, you must look after the area to speed healing and to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some pointers:
For the first 24 hours, try to avoid eating hot food, don't smoke, don't drink any alcohol and try not to disturb any blood clot which might have formed. Don't rinse your mouth for 24 hours after extraction. After that, rinse gently with warm salty water - half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water is enough. Brush your teeth as normal to keep your mouth as clean as possible. You may feel some small pieces of bone work their way out of the socket - don't worry, this is perfectly normal. There may be some swelling and a bit of discomfort in the first two to three days. If you need to, take some ordinary painkillers - aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetomol will be fine.
If you feel pain a few days after the tooth has been removed, it might be where the blood clot has broken down leaving an empty hole in the gum. This is called a 'dry socket' and will need to be looked at by your dentist. Simply go back and the dentist will pack the wound to ease your discomfort.
Your dentist may have given you some gauze to place onto the area where the tooth has been removed - if not, a clean cloth handkerchief will do just as well (but not a paper tissue).
Roll it into a small firm pad large enough to fit over the gap (probably around 1cm by 3cm). Sit up and gently clear away any blood clots around the gap using the gauze or hanky. Put a clean pad over the gap (from tongue side to cheek side) and bite down on it firmly for 10 to 15 minutes. Take the pad off and check whether the bleeding has stopped. If not, apply a fresh pad and contact your dentist.
Root Canal TherapyWhat is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.
Why is root canal treatment needed? If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
Does it hurt? No. A local anaesthesia is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done.
What does it involve? The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection. Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist. At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed.
Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle. The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
What will my tooth look like after treatment? In the past, a root filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.
What if it happens again? Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back the treatment can be repeated.
What if I don’t have the treatment? The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can’t heal and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer an extraction, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Will the tooth be safe after treatment? Yes. However, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. Where can this treatment be carried out? Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you.
What about aftercare? Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth at least once a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary snacks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist for regular check-ups.
SedationIs there anything that can help me with my fear of the dentist? Yes. Some people are so frightened of the dentist that they will not go for dental treatment. They can overcome their fears with relaxation or sedation. Our dentists are sympathetic about these feelings, and you can ask our dentists about these ways to help.
What is sedation?
We offer Oral Sedation - Without the need for painful injection. You become drowsy and unaware of any treatment, but you are still able to co-operate with the dentist. The effects of sedative medicine take some time to wear off and your dentist will tell you how long the drugs will take to clear from your body. You won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time.
How does relaxation work?
When we are faced with a challenge or something we’re afraid of, such as a visit to the dentist, our bodies produce substances, which raise our anxiety. However, we can train our bodies to work against this anxiety, by learning to relax. It’s not possible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, so learning relaxation helps control our anxiety.
Children DentistsOur Dentists aim to prevent dental disease rather than treat it at a later date. Fluoride applications and fissure sealants (tooth coloured sealants) are applied to biting surfaces of children's teeth to prevent decay.
HygieneDental hygiene treatment includes professionally cleaning the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps our most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque. The dentist also plays an important role in treating gum disease.
Bad Breath DentalBad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. The smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums usually cause persistent bad breath. However, strong foods like garlic and onions can add to the problem. Smoking is also one of the main causes of bad breath, along with certain illnesses such as nasal and stomach conditions. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. So correct and regular brushing is very important to keep your breath smelling fresh.
The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay. If you see your dentist regularly this will not only help prevent bad breath but will also let the dentist look for and treat these problems.
Gum Disease TreatmentsScreening for gum disease forms an integral part of your routine examination.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.
What is periodontal disease?
Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
What is the cause of gum disease?
All gum diseases are caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria, which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.
Tooth Decay DetectionDecay may or may not cause discomfort; even though it doesn’t hurt, the tooth is deteriorating. Using higher magnification and powerful lighting, it is easier to detect decay at an early stage to prevent excessive tooth damage. When cavities are small, they are much easier and less expensive to treat. Early tooth decay does not tend to show many physical signs. Sometimes the tooth looks healthy, but your dentist will be able to see from an x-ray whether you have any decay under the enamel, any possible infections in the roots, or any bone loss around the tooth.
Mouth Cancer Screening
- Mouth cancer is a malignant growth that can occur in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, lips and throat. Mouth cancers have a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma. The mortality rate is just over 50%, despite treatment, with about 1,700 deaths per year in the UK. This is because of late detection. Visit your dentist at once if you notice any abnormal problems or are not sure. Regular dental checkups allow early detection of abnormalities in the mouth.
- Mouth Cancer Foundation The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a registered charity that raises awareness of mouth cancers and provides information and support to patients, carers and health professionals.
Giving Up Smoking
It's not easy... So that's why this web site is here. Giving up smoking requires preparation, determination, and support. This site is here to help you with each of these. If you're thinking about giving up, have a look-in.