January 21st, 2010
TMJ, or Temporomandibular joint disorder to give it its full name, is a condition affecting the joint of the jawbone and skull on both sides that can be the cause of great pain but about which very little is known. For many years it was though that TMJ was caused by stress or other mental anxiety disorder. This may be part of the reason for TMJ but current explanations are leaning more and more to dental problems being the underlying cause.
It is now believed that interruptions in bite (the way the top and bottom teeth sit together) can cause disruption to the joint and associated muscles, which can eventually become very painful. Bite can be interrupted when teeth change position in the mouth as a result of tooth loss or other dental trauma. This can alter the way the top and bottom jaw align causing the joint to rest in an unnatural position. Over time this can cause stress to the joint and muscles, leading to pain.
It is believed that about one in ten people in the UK will have some form of TMJ in their life although the majority will never have it diagnosed. Diagnosing TMJ is notoriously difficult and it is often the last avenue to be explored because of the wide range of symptoms it can cause. TMJ can cause pain in the face, neck, head and even shoulders which makes it very difficult to locate the exact cause. Dentists can test for TMJ using the clench test, which involves keeping the mouth firmly shut to examine for pain. Further tests involve construction elaborate jaw reconstructions to test for misalignment.
TMJ can be treated with over the counter pain relief and also with specially constructed dental appliances to be worn at night to prevent further misalignment. If you are suffering with an unexplained pain in the head or neck, make an appointment with a Kingston upon Thames dentist and ask about TMJ.
January 18th, 2010
Teeth whitening has become a huge phenomenon over the last decade with more and mote patients wanting to brighten their smile. Because the smile is one of the first things that people notice about each other when they first meet, it is only natural to want to make a good impression. Whiter teeth can make you look younger and more attractive and can even boost your own self-confidence. Teeth whitening can be effective for people of all ages.
Although it is very popular, many people are still unsure exactly how the whitening process works and what different procedures are available. There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to whiten teeth with results that vary widely. Many products are available over the internet but dentists recommend that these should be avoided as they can cause damage to the soft tissue. It is very important to choose the right product for your teeth and the best way to do this is to consult your Molesey dentist.
The dentist can advise which product is most effective for your individual teeth and can carry out most whitening procedures in the surgery. They can also prepare less-concentrated trays to be used at home. Most whitening treatments take about two weeks to show results but this will depend on the original nature of the teeth.
If applied by a professional dentist there are few risks involved in teeth whitening procedures with only some minor sensitivity being experienced by some patients which usually disappears after a few days. Whitening can last up to three years and radically affect the appearance of your smile.
January 16th, 2010
Six Month Smile braces are a revolutionary new orthodontic straightening system, pioneered in the US, that is now sweeping the UK offering incredibly fast teeth straightening. More traditional straightening methods involve wearing braces for as much as two to three years to achieve results that Six Month Smile braces can achieve in just six months.
Six Month braces can be used to treat most forms of misalignment including all forms of bite issues as well as overcrowding and spacing problems. A dentist will assess your suitability for the treatment at an initial consultation where they will take x-rays and photographs. They can then give you a more thorough idea of how successful the treatment could be for your teeth and how much it is likely to cost. Both of these factors obviously depend on the nature of the orthodontic concern.
Once the braces have been fitted you will be required to visit the dentist every four to five weeks for a check up. Treatment with Six Month Smile braces may cause some discomfort at the beginning and after adjustment appointments but this is common to all orthodontic straightening procedures and is rarely more than mild and temporary. It is also important to stress the level of discretion offered by the treatment. Unlike traditional train-track braces, the nickel wires used in Six Month braces are tooth coloured and very discreet and very hard to notice unless standing at very close quarters to the patient.
Six Month Smile braces from a Sunbury dentist are perfect for putting the finishing touches to a beautiful smile. For the millions of people in the UK who feel anxious about their teeth, Six Month Smile braces could offer the perfect solution in just six months.
January 14th, 2010
A dental bridge is one of the simplest ways to restore the appearance of a lost or knocked out tooth that also preserves its functionality and dental health benefits. It is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible, as even one vacant space in the dental arc can have a severe negative impact on the remaining teeth.
Missing teeth can leave hollows which harbour dangerous plaque forming bacteria, which will then attack other teeth. This is especially true for patients who have already lost teeth to decay or infection. Theses hollows are very difficult to clean thoroughly and need to be filled with a dental prosthetic. Vacant tooth spaces can also encourage movement within the dental arc that can result in bite interruption and painful jaw and joint conditions.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap between missing teeth acting as a rigid support, filling in any hollow preventing the build up of bacteria and restoring the use of a functional tooth. The bridge itself is an artificial tooth, known as a pontic, attached on either side with a dental crown. The pontic is attached to the crowns using either dental bonding or resin bonded strips.
A dental bridge from a Weybridge dentist can last up to fifteen years if properly maintained, serving all the purposes of a real tooth and looking cosmetically accurate. The pontic can be specifically matched to the other teeth in the mouth for the most lifelike appearance. Dental bridges are one of the most affordable solutions to losing a tooth and don’t involve the unnecessary hassle of a less permanent replacement such as plate or partial denture.
January 12th, 2010
Zoom teeth whitening is a procedure used throughout the UK to lighten the colour of tooth enamel and restore the appearance of discoloured teeth. Teeth whitening has been used as a cosmetic procedure for many years but it is only recently with the advent of such treatments as Zoom that it has become more widely available and affordable to all.
Teeth can become discoloured for a number of reasons, including what we eat and drink. Substances like red wine, coffee and tobacco can increase the rate of discolouration and result in unpleasant stains. However, even without these substances, teeth will naturally discolour with age. The thinking behind teeth whitening is therefore that by having whiter teeth you will appear younger and healthier and with the stunning results now achievable this is definitely the case.
The Zoom treatment works by using a special lamp to accelerate the bleaching process. The concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel then penetrates the enamel bleaching any stained substances white and restoring the enamel to its original colour. Zoom treatments are carried out in Sunbury dentist’s surgeries as dentists are fully trained to use the necessary safety equipment, as in the wrong hands the concentrated gel can cause damage to the soft tissue on the mouth.
The treatment usually takes around an hour, depending on the condition of the teeth, and can produce stunning results up to ten shades whiter. Repeat treatments are advised for patients wishing to achieve the best results, or specially prepared, low-concentration trays are available to take home for a more dramatic effect. The treatments are perfectly safe if professionally carried out with only minimal discomfort being experienced by some patients, similar to sensitive teeth, for several hours after the application.
January 11th, 2010
Sleep apnea can be the underlying cause of heart disease, stress and even strokes yet most people who suffer from it have no idea they have the condition. This is because sleep apnea affects breathing during sleep, causing patients to temporarily stop breathing without waking up. This can interrupt sleep patterns meaning it is almost impossible for sufferers to get a sufficient night’s sleep. Studies have shown that as few as one in seven people suffering from sleep apnea are aware that they have the condition.
There are two main types of sleep apnea. The most common is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is when the soft palate at the back of the throat collapses blocking the airway. This prevents breathing temporarily until the palate corrects itself. This can also produce a sound like snoring, which is why many people with sleep apnea merely attribute the sound to snoring. Of course the important distinction is that snoring is the sound of breathing during sleep, whereas breathing is actually prevented during apnea. The other type of sleep apnea is called Central Sleep Apnea and actually occurs when the part of the brain responsible for respiratory matters forgets to send the command to the lungs to breath. This is a less common but more serious condition that may require urgent medical treatment.
Most obstructive sleep apnea can be remedied by dental appliances fitted by Kingston-upon-Thames dentists. The appliances, worn during the night, support the soft tissue preventing any collapses that may block the airwaves. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or are suffering from unexplained stress, make an appointment to see a dentist who will be able to examine you for the signs of sleep apnea.
January 10th, 2010
The pain caused by an infected tooth can be extremely unpleasant and severe. Just asked anyone who has experienced it. That is why a root canal treatment is such an important procedure in dentistry. The procedure has a somewhat fearsome reputation as far as dental treatments go, but this may be attributed somewhat unfairly because of the intense pain and discomfort that creates the need for the root canal in the first instance.
Teeth become infected when the enamel has been worn away due to decay caused by plaque. This exposes the dentine and sensitive pulp to attack from bacteria, which will eventually penetrate deep into the tooth root and irritate the dental nerve. An infection soon takes hold in the root, which causes further pain, abscesses and ultimately tooth loss. In cases of infection, a root canal treatment can remove the infection, clean the sensitive insides of the tooth before repairing any damage. This not only brings an end to the pain and the dangerous infection but can also be the only chance of saving the tooth. Even if the nerve has been damaged so severely that it has died, a root canal is still capable of preserving the functional structure of the tooth.
The treatment itself involves drilling a hole into the root canal to allow the dentist to remove the infected material. Once thoroughly cleaned and filled with medicine to prevent any residual infection, the hole can then be filled with dental bonding and in some cases the tooth crowned to further strengthen its structure. The treatment will usually take place over a number of appointments but has a very high success rate and given the nature of the symptoms of infection, is certainly worth the time it takes for a complete treatment. If you are suffering from any of the signs of dental infection or believe you may have an infected root canal, make an appointment to see a Weybridge dentist who can explain root canal treatment in further detail.
January 9th, 2010
Like all cancers, oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer visually manifests itself as growths or sores on the soft tissue of the mouth that do not go away naturally. All parts of the soft tissue including the lips, tongue, lining and throat are affected by oral cancer and it can be life threatening if not diagnosed early enough.
The most common symptoms of the disease are painful swellings and lumps or red and white velvety sore patches appearing on the soft tissue areas. Other symptoms include unexplained bleeding in the mouth, numbness or tenderness in any part of the face or neck and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms are the first indicators that you may be suffering from oral cancer so it is important that you make an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible after discovering any of them.
Certain factors make the contraction of oral caner more likely including smoking or drinking excessively, but male patients, especially overweight ones are also more at risk. Although it is crucial to remember that one fifth of people diagnosed with oral cancer neither smoke nor drink or possess any other high-risk characteristics.
The most important weapon in the fight against oral cancer is regular check ups at the dentist. Surbiton dentists are trained to detect the early signs of oral cancer and can refer you immediately for specialist treatment. Catching the disease early can increase your chances of successful treatment by as much as eighty per cent, which is crucial with such a virulent form of the disease.
January 9th, 2010
Gum disease is extremely common in the UK, affecting roughly three quarters of all adults above the age of 35. This shocking statistic is backed up by another one in the fact that gum disease, not tooth decay, is responsible for more lost teeth in the UK. These are worrying facts and made all the more concerning that gum disease is becoming more common among younger patients, especially teenagers who are not cleaning their teeth sufficiently.
There are two types of gum disease that are categorised by the severity of the symptoms. Gingivitis is the milder form of the disease characterised by irritated or sore gums, and in some cases, bleeding gums. This can mostly be addressed by improved cleaning methods, which will prevent any further damage. However, if gingivitis is left to worsen and not addressed by attention from the dentist and improved cleaning, it will become periodontitis which is a much more serious concern. Periodontitis has symptoms ranging from infected tissue, receding gums and loose teeth. It needs to be treated with special medical attention that can include anti-biotics to kill the infection and even hospitalisation in severe cases.
If gum disease is not spotted early by a Surbiton dentist and treated accordingly it can result in tooth loss, and with nearly half the people in the UK over the age of 45 having lost at least one tooth it is clear that we may not be taking the threat seriously enough.
The message is clear. To protect our gums and teeth we must do more to keep them healthy by cleaning them properly and keeping up regular appointments at the dentist.
January 7th, 2010
Mouth guards are fairly common in certain sports such as rugby and boxing but you might not know that dentists recommend wearing a mouth guard when playing any physical sport involving contact, balls or high speed. This is because the majority of dental injuries resulting in dental trauma are caused by accidents occurring during sport, and not just high contact sports such as rugby and boxing.
Cracked, damaged or knocked out teeth cannot only be very painful, but they can also be the cause of months or even years of painful and costly dental complications. A knocked out tooth that cannot be instantly replaced will need to be repaired with a dental prosthetic such as a dental implant or dental bridge. These replacements can cost thousands of pounds and usually only last between ten and twenty years. This means that they will need to be replaced possibly several times throughout your life and will never provide the same level of security and comfort of a real tooth.
Mouth guards can provide protection against damage to teeth limiting the risk of the need for this treatment. Although mouth guards are available from most sporting good stores, Molesey dentists recommend you have a mouth guard fitted especially by a dentist for the maximum degree of protection as generic mouth guards can often be ill-fitting and slack.
Wearing a mouth guard may not be the most fashionable thing to wear when playing sport but when compared to the alternative of having a painful and unseemly missing or cracked teeth, it really does make sense. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss the benefits and costs of mouth guards.