Archives for February, 2010

Can porcelain veneers become yellow? We ask a Molesey dentist for an opinion

Porcelain veneers can become yellow over time says a Moseley dentist. The average life span of porcelain veneers is around 10-15 years, which is the time span that most dentists tend to agree on. Yellowing has been reported around the 10 year mark, but no specific reasoning has yet been clarified. Smoking is an obvious reason as the stains that porcelain will take on, are similar to that of natural enamel. Porcelain is a natural material just like enamel, and as a type of clay it will yellow just as a statue or similar object made of porcelain will do. This generally happens when the material is left for long periods in natural sunlight, as in the placing of a statue in a window. White wine may also be a contributor as it contains acids that will react with porcelain, and cause a yellow stain to develop. The solution to the problem is two fold, first choice would be to replace the veneers altogether, that would be preferable as the matching of colour would be better. Next would be to try a polish up with a semi abrasive brush, the dentist would lightly brush the stain to take the discolouration off, but the deeper the stain is, would determine the success of this method. If it was too deep then the colour below the stain would be much brighter than the white shading of a 10 year old veneer. If the veneer needs to be replaced then the patient would be waiting around 4 weeks for new ones, the procedure is a little more complex than the original one as the old ones have to be ground down to remove them. Once that is done though, the new veneers are simply cemented back in place of the old ones.

A Sunbury dentist advises on children’s oral health

Just because our children will lose their milk teeth and grow adult ones, doesn’t mean they don’t need to be taught oral care. A Sunbury dentist has spoken out about the lack of oral health care in children; it seems that children aren’t being taught about oral hygiene until later in life. The problem may be that we tend to think about our children’s teeth at a much later stage in their development, than we do about talking and walking. A baby can develop teeth problems from the moment they are born, even before our children get their milk teeth they can develop dental disorders. Acid build up in their mouth is a by-product of milk formula which is counteracted by their saliva production, but we tend to feed them just before they are due for a sleep. When sleeping their saliva gland stops producing and acid builds up, this eats at the enamel when they get their first molars. If we start associating cleaning the teeth with a fun attitude, then they will pick up good oral hygiene habits early. We also need to make sure that they have the right tooth brush, use the correct tooth paste and learn to floss as early as possible. It is also important that they get into the habit of regular dentist visits; this is to get them into the habit and also to eliminate any dental phobias they may develop. As we teach them to do simple things like learning to swim, so they don’t develop a fear of water, we would be doing them a big service in our parental duty in teaching them to keep their teeth and have no fear of getting treatment when they need it. A nice smile and a building of confidence will also be a reward of early learning in oral hygiene care.

A Surbiton dentist advises on the complications of untreated abscessed tooth

An abscessed tooth is a painful and uncomfortable matter, it is caused by bacteria leaking into the gums and infecting the inside. If it isn’t treated immediately then complications will quickly occur. These can result in other teeth becoming infected, and the loss of more teeth will generally follow. Oral hygiene is an important part of preventing infections in the mouth and a lack of it is a dangerous thing. Other complications can lead to heart problems, and diabetics are also prone to infections of the blood. Once bacteria gets a hold then gum infections will spread quickly says a dentist from Surbiton, one of the big problems facing a dentist is that some people have a morbid fear of the dentist, and the pain and discomfort of an abscess will often be better to bear than facing our fears. Although these fears have little foundation, they are no less embedded in our psyche, even a visit to the doctor can be complicated to a sufferer where a tooth problem is involved. However, the long term problems of an untreated abscess will be devastating for the teeth and could end in the loss of a lot of teeth, plus blood poisoning. A simple course of antibiotics is usually all that is needed, and within a week a dentist will be able to look at the root cause of the abscess and then teat it. If the infection gets into the cavity of the inner chamber of a tooth then a root canal treatment may be needed. This is only possible though if the tooth is saveable, and a lot of teeth won’t be saveable in cases where long term damage has been done to an abscessed tooth. Prevention is better than a cure, so to avoid an abscess it is better to have a good oral hygiene regime.

A Kingston-upon-Thames dentist advises on cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry these days can mean anything from teeth whitening to a precious stone being inserted in a tooth, vanity gets the better of us sometimes and the dentist profession has like all other related professions, adapted to the needs of the times. Teeth whitening is now available in home kits and at salons in every High Street, this is done by bleaching the teeth or using a gel that is activated by an intense light beam. Technicians usually do this rather than a dentist as it is just a one day course that is needed to apply it. Where a cosmetic dentist is involved you will usually be seeking a more complex procedure. Veneers are one of the most common things a dentist will apply to the teeth; they come in 2 types, a thin veneer and a porcelain veneer which are much thicker. The thin ones are like a false nail and are fitted in much the same way, with a glue or dental cement. The tooth is roughed up a little on the surface to make it bond better, and they don’t last as long as the porcelain versions. The porcelain veneers are thicker and that means the amount of tooth surface taken off is much more, it will be equal to the thickness of the veneer. This version lasts 10-15 years and is possible to polish when and if they stain around the 10 year mark. Thin veneers are possible to replace when they become damaged, and this can be done over and over again. With porcelain veneers it is a bit more complicated as the tooth is much thinner after the first fitting, and can generally be replaced just the once. Dental implants are another cosmetic procedure available; these are false teeth that are screwed into the jaw, just like a real tooth.

A Molesey dentist advises on Baby bottle and tooth decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is not a subject that usually gets brought up in Ante- natal classes, but it is an important part of baby care says a Molesey dentist. The problem isn’t just one that is easily solved by breast feeding; it starts almost as soon as the baby is born even though teeth won’t start to grow till much later. All baby formulas contain bacteria; we all have bacteria in our bodies as we need them to break down enzymes, acids and fats into the energy that we need to feed our organs. When a baby salivates the mouth is producing an anti acid agent to dilute the acid in the formula, but when the baby falls asleep this activity stops and acid builds up. That acid is what damages the teeth by destroying or weakening the enamel of baby’s first teeth. This comes at a time when your baby is beginning to develop a personality, and they will pick up on any negative vibes they feel from anyone around them. A baby can tell by the tone of a voice if it is receiving a negative compliment, bad teeth can cause problems that will affect their smile and facial features. The baby will also have constant pain problems with their first teeth from baby bottle tooth decay. The way to counteract this is a simple one, firstly keep your baby awake for at least 15 minutes after a bottle, that way the saliva production will be sufficient enough to dilute the acids. Secondly ask your doctor about safe fluoride levels in the water supply, and then enquire at your water supplier for their level tables. Fluoride is a big friend to our teeth, and your baby needs to have sufficient levels to fight tooth decay in their early years.

A Weybridge dentist advises on the best way to clean teeth when wearing braces

Braces aren’t designed for easy access to the teeth surfaces when they need cleaning; says a Weybridge dentist. Food residue get into the most smallest of places, and most braces have all the hidey holes that bacteria thrives in. The result of a bad or lax regime in cleaning your teeth and braces will be bad breath, stains and more visits to the dentist. The solution is quite simple though, and there are some very good devices to help you overcome the problem. Rinsing first will help to dislodge any bacterium that has built up in the night, when we sleep our saliva glands stop working and that gives bacteria a better chance to breed. Flossing is important as well, so floss with extra care and vigour to dislodge food residue and bacteria build up. Then comes the brushing, and this needs to be done with more visual contact than usual, making sure that you get in between the teeth and around the braces. Whether you use a hand brush or an electric one there are extra brushes you can get to help with braces. A proxabrush is what you are looking for in the chemist shop, these are designed to allow you to get under the braces and under the solder edges to remove that plaque. When flossing, remember that you need to also floss in between and under the wire, it will take a little longer, but it will reap you big rewards in the end. Remember that you will also need to see your dentist every 3 months as opposed to every 6 months on normal visits; they will rid you of any tartar build up. This will make your breath fresher and keep it fresher for longer, but drinking water throughout the day will also help a lot with acid production.

A Kingston-upon-Thames dentist advises on tooth decay treatment

Tooth decay is caused by acid build up in the mouth, this is a by-product of the bacteria that is in our food says a Kingston dentist. The acid is produced when sugary products are left in the mouth after eating, sugar may well be a nice treat and an energy boost, but if left in the mouth it feeds the bacteria and then the acid produced attacks the enamel on our teeth. Cavities are soon formed by chewing food that is pressed into the cavities during eating, the softened enamel wear away quickly. Then cracks appear deep inside the cavity, this allows the bacteria to seep into the inner chamber of the tooth and infect the tooth and gums. The treatment needed to recover a tooth from this process can vary according to the extent of the damage. Cleaning the teeth properly and remembering to brush inside the top of the tooth is one way that will keep the decay at bay, but it won’t prevent it entirely. The dentist may be able to stem the decay by a fluoride cleaning treatment, but this is rare as it only really works at the very early stages. Drilling out the top of the cavity to get rid of the softer enamel that has already been damaged is the first stage, and then a clean up of the cracks to rid them of hidden bacteria comes next. A filling is then required and this is made up in the surgery as a paste, it hardens quickly and seals the cavity. If the cavity is a deep one, then a crown will be needed to top off the filling. A crown is a hard topping that does the job of the enamel on the tooth. In extreme cases a root canal treatment may be needed, this involves a deeper cavity filling, and is much the same as a normal filling.

A Shepperton dentist explains wisdom teeth pain

Wisdom teeth are not a nice thing to have when they start to play up, says a Shepperton dentist. Not everyone develops wisdom teeth; they usually appear in the late teens and generally by the age of 21. They are the last teeth that we grow, and they grow on the end of each row of teeth on the inside of the jaw line. Wisdon teeth in general don’t cause us a problem, but sometimes they grow bigger that the space allowed for them, and that’s when the problem starts. Impacted wisdom teeth are the extreme of the problem and these are the worse case scenario, pain follows a swelling of the gums and infection will set in where the tooth cracks and allows bacteria to seep into the inner cavity. Extraction is only possible after a course of antibiotics and when the swelling has disappeared completely, but it may not be necessary and your dentist will advice you on all the options. Your dentist will generally be able to extract the tooth or teeth, but in some extreme cases it may need the skills of a surgeon. Infection is a big risk so keeping the wound clean is a very must-do after a wisdom tooth extraction; this may include not smoking for a few days while the deep wound heals. It is generally done under a local anaesthetic although a general may be needed in some rare cases, this will be done by a dental surgeon in a hospital theatre. Stitches will be needed and a follow up appointment will be made at the dentist afterwards, these are usually self dissolving stitches and the healing process can take up to a few weeks to completely heal the wound. The removal will stop any further problems, and it is usually the end of any future tooth pain on those particular teeth.

A Sunbury dentist advises on dental implants

A dental implant is not a new innovation, the research was started in the 1950s in Sweden and Oxford, the results of which have been revolutionised of late says a Sunbury dentist. They are the ultimate in false teeth and are a real God send for the patient who has lost a tooth or two, and doesn’t want to wear a denture on a plate. The patient first consults a dentist with a tooth problem, this could be a misaligned or crooked tooth, it may be a chipped, cracked or discoloured tooth or even worse a decaying tooth. Once it has been decided that a veneer won’t solve the problem by covering it up, the decision may be made to extract it. The patient then has pictures taken of the gap left, and the teeth either side of the rogue one. An orthodontist will then make the new tooth, this will look just like the old one in colour, size and shape, except it will be more perfect than nature’s last attempt. The new implant has a screw on the bottom of it, the dentist will now drill into the jaw line and screw and glue a plate in place, this has an inner screw hole and into this is placed the new implant. After three to six months the implant will fuse into the jaw and for all intents and purposes the implant acts, feels and works just like a natural tooth. Multiple implants can be fitted in this way, and they last a long time, if they in turn become damaged then they can easily be replaced in a few sittings. This has completely turned around the false tooth industry, especially for those patients that cannot wear dentures on a plate. The new implant can literally be used just like the old tooth, and it can be cleaned in just then same way so there’s no need for a glass of water each night, glue or any special cleaning materials.

A dry mouth can cause dental cavities says a Molesey dentist

A dry mouth has many causes and a few consequences, one of which is dental cavities says a Molesey dentist. The warning about the relationship formed by a dry mouth and cavities isn’t a new one; cavities are formed by the acid that is made by the bacteria in our mouths, mainly feeding off sweet and sugary food residue. Diabetics are familiar with his problem as one of the main symptoms of diabetes is a dry mouth, the acid can produce quickly and do its damage on the enamel of the teeth. Chemotherapy patients are another victim, as if they don’t have enough problems already. We need the saliva that our glands produce in order to neutralise oral acid, which is the single most problem we have with oral care. Drinking water is one answer, but when you’re on chemo or a diabetic with a high sugar level, then this in itself causes more problems. The answer in some prolonged cases is a dental sealant, this is a solution that a dentist will usually reserve for his younger patients aged between 6-10 years old. The problem occurs in children who cannot get a brush into their cavities due to the smallness of the cavities. A plastic filling is used to replace the enamel that is burned away by the acid, acid cannot burn away plastic, so this preventative treatment is a really clever one. This won’t work in all cases though, and so it needs the patient to be aware of the problem and use other methods to counteract the acid problem. Drinking water and swishing it around the mouth will go some way to doing the job, but if you don’t want to keep visiting the loo every 20 minutes, then just swish and spit.