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The truth about teeth whitening at home

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There is a huge demand for teeth whitening in the UK, and it looks like the demand is ever increasing. Maybe our increased use of social media plays a part in this, increasing our appearance anxiety and demand for bright pearly whites.

There are many products on the market, especially in local supermarkets which claim to “whiten your teeth”. But do they actually whiten your teeth? Or are their manufacturers selling false hope to people who want a nice set of pearly whites in 2017.

Do most whitening products work?

Well most whitening products don’t actually “whiten” your teeth at all. Whitening products tend to remove stains from your teeth, without actually changing the colour of them. Surface stains can be caused by a wide variety of food and drink – including coffee, red wine and certain fizzy drinks.

What sort of products whiten your teeth?

Now to actually whiten your teeth, you need to use a product containing peroxide, a bleaching agent that whitens the enamel of your teeth.

We strongly advise you don’t try to use any peroxide containing gels by yourself. You should visit a dentist for this, where you can get a close-fitting, custom-made tray to use to prevent the whitening agent leaking onto the gums and into the mouth. Incorrect applications of peroxide can lead to blistering and tooth sensitivity.

What foods and drink can discolour your teeth?

  • Curry – It has a deep pigmentation which can cause your teeth to become yellow over time. When opting for a curry, ensure you mix in fresh fruits and vegetables to help reduce its staining effect.

  • Coffee – It’s very high in chromogens and it’s also very acidic, with both cause your teeth to yellow over time.
  • Red wine – in moderation it can be good for your health but it is very acidic, contains lots of tannins and is high in chromogens, which can stick to your teeth quite quickly.

Where can I get teeth whitening which works?

By far the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth properly is with your Dentist. Our dentists use a teeth bleaching gel containing carbamide peroxide to your teeth. This chemical will bind to any stains on the surfaces of your teeth (enamel) and remove them. A special covering is used to protect your gums and any irritation will disappear within a few hours.

You can find out more on our teeth whitening page, or call our team on 0121 357 5000 to see one of our teeth whitening dentists.

Posted in: Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening

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Your teething baby – Everything you need to know

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If you’ve just had a baby, then you might be wondering when their first teeth will come through. Don’t worry: this blog post will give you the lowdown.

When does teething start?

Most babies start teething around 6 months of age. All babies are different however. Some don’t start teething until after 12 months. Others are at the other extreme and start teething in their first few weeks. In rare cases, babies are even born with one or two teeth. These are called ‘natal’ teeth. If the natal tooth isn’t attached to a root, the paediatrician might want to remove it to prevent the baby from accidental swallowing it.

The order babies’ teeth appear in

Different teeth come through at different times. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Usually the bottom front teeth are the first to come through. These typically appear at around 6 months.
  • The next teeth to appear are usually the top front teeth, which come through at around 7 months.
  • The teeth on either side of the front teeth are next. These appear at around 10 months.
  • The back teeth come through at around 14 months.
  • The canines (the sharp-looking teeth) appear at around 19 months.
  • Finally, the second molars (the teeth right at the back of the mouth) come through at around 2 years.

Most young children will have all their teeth at around 2.5 years of age.

Symptoms of teething

Teething sometimes causes symptoms such as:

  • Chewing on things a lot
  • Dribbling
  • Flushed cheeks, or just one flushed cheek
  • Sore gums
  • Fretful behaviour, such as crying

See your GP if your baby has any symptoms that concern you.

How to soothe your teething baby

Teething can sometimes cause discomfort and even mild pain for babies. This is usually normal, but there are some things you can do to help your baby.

Sometimes babies chew objects to ease their discomfort. Common items are toys, clothes, and even their own fingers! A safer alternative is teething rings. These rings are made of plastic or wood and are usually large enough to prevent your baby from swallowing them. Some teething rings can be put in the fridge before use – the coldness will help to soothe your baby’s mouth.

Another way to sooth a teething baby is with teething gels. These gels contain a mild anaesthetic that numb the pain around the erupting tooth. These gels can be used safely on babies aged more than four months. Speak to your GP however before using gels on babies younger than four months. Also, never use adult pain relief gel on babies; always use a teething gel that’s made specifically for young children.

If your baby is over six months old then you can give them food to chew on, such as pieces of bread, carrot, or apple. However, never leave your baby alone with food in case they choke.

Register with a dentist

Don’t forget to register your baby with a dentist when their first teeth come through. We like to think we’re a good choice, so don’t be shy and contact us today!

Posted in: General Dentistry

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How to take care of your childrens teeth

Girl in dentists chair toothbrushing a model

Some parents wonder whether it’s worth taking care of their children’s first teeth because the adult teeth will replace them anyway. But good oral hygiene in childhood is a cornerstone of healthy teeth in adulthood, especially now when it’s coming up to Christmas. So from brushing to sugar to dentist visits, this post will show you how to take care of your children’s teeth.

Brushing

The foundation of any oral hygiene routine is brushing, and children are no exception to this. You should begin to brush your children’s teeth as soon as their first teeth appear, which is typically around the age of four to seven months.

Some dentists recommend parents to brush their babies’ teeth with water because babies tend to swallow toothpaste and the fluoride can be harmful. However, we do recommend fluoride toothpaste because it’s better at protecting teeth. One compromise is children’s toothpaste, which has less fluoride than adult toothpaste. If you do go down this route, ensure the toothpaste actually contains enough fluoride to do its job: at least 1,000ppm fluoride is needed. You should also use toothpaste sparingly on young children. Children under the age of seven shouldn’t be brushing with more than a pea-sized blob.

Some children dislike brushing their teeth, and this is entirely normal. However, it’s still important that children do brush their teeth. You can encourage them by brushing your teeth at the same time as them. Also, flavoured toothpaste can make brushing more enjoyable for children.

Seeing a dentist

It’s a good idea to take your child to the dentist as soon as their baby teeth have started appearing. This is because the dentist can check to ensure that the teeth are erupting normally, and they will also check your baby’s mouth for any sign of other problems. Another advantage of early dental visits is it helps your child get used to going to the dentist. Unfortunately, many children are apprehensive about dental appointments, and this fear can continue into adulthood and cause poor dental health. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get your child used to the dentist by taking your child at an early age.

Sugar

It’s a fact that kids love sugar. Unfortunately though, plaque loves sugar just as much as kids do! It doesn’t help that sugar is found in so many foods these days. One way to manage your kids’ sugar intake is to read the back of food packets. This will allow you to determine how much sugar is in each food. Snacks such as dried fruit, cereal bars, fruit juice, and fruit rolls are among the worst culprits for sugar. You might think that dried fruit would be healthy, but it’s actually one of the worst snacks you can give to a child. That’s because it contains around 60 g of sugar per 100 g of fruit, and it also gets stuck between teeth easily where it can stay for hours. For healthier snacks, try popcorn, cheese, peanut butter, milk, or sliced apple, and keep the sugar just to special occasions.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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Orthodontic Braces – What are my Options?

Which brace is right for me?

Whether you’ve got a peculiar bite, a less-than-confident smile or just a couple of wonky teeth, the world of orthodontics can be a confusing place. Gone are the days of standard train tracks: we are entering an era of choice when it comes to tooth-straightening technique. However, there is a not always a spectrum of opportunity for everyone: some braces are not suitable for particular malocclusions (unusual bites) and others are only viable in patients with more simple cases. Despite this, the market is still broad and here are the most common orthodontic treatments, simplified for ease of selection.

After a thorough consultation and assessment with our orthodontist, the choice will become easier due to the joint construction of an ideal treatment plan.
Call our dental team on 0121 357 5000 to arrange an orthodontic consultation where you can discuss your treatment options.

Fixed Braces

These braces can only be placed and removed by an orthodontist.

Metal Fixed Braces

Also known as train tracks, metal fixed braces comprise generic metal brackets that are attached onto the front of the tooth with a special orthodontic glue. The brackets are then connected together with an orthodontic wire; with the memory of a perfect arch, this wire is able to gently pull the teeth into alignment. The wire is attached to the brackets through individual elastics. For discretion these can be clear or silver, but more popular amongst our younger patients are the colourful varieties.

White Fixed Braces

Similar to metal train tracks, white fixed braces consist of brackets attached to the tooth, connected with an orthodontic wire. However, the brackets are constructed from tooth-coloured ceramic and are accompanied by a similarly coloured wire, making them a more aesthetic option. Both white and metal fixed braces require the same treatment time and the same number of appointments.

Lingual (Incognito) Fixed Braces

Tailor-made gold alloy brackets are attached to the back surface of the teeth so they cannot be seen. Kate Middleton is rumoured to have used lingual braces to secretly achieve her royal smile.

Removable Braces

These braces can be placed and removed by the patient.

Removable Appliances

When teeth require either tilting or tipping into place, removable appliances are an ideal way to achieve a perfect smile.

Functional Appliances

Used to change the relationship between the upper and lower jaw (especially during years of growth), functional appliances are often used as an adjunct to fixed braces. Commonly used is the Twin-Block appliance, a removable brace used to open the jaw to correct an overjet (when the upper front teeth are too far in front of the bottom teeth). This is most commonly followed by a course of fixed braces.

Invisible Braces

For smaller tooth movements, invisible brace treatment comprises a series of plastic clip-in braces that are comfortable and inconspicuous. Each brace will provide a small amount of tooth movement, before the subsequent brace is prescribed.

Retainers

Retainers are made from clear plastic material and are recommended for nightly wear after completion of orthodontic treatment. Because teeth may continue to move slightly throughout life it is recommended to continue using the retainer long term.

Posted in: Cosmetic Dentistry, Orthodontics

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Why Do Implant Costs Vary so Much?

Dental Implants Testimonials

There are many different types of implant systems on the market. Some have a long track record with many years of research behind them; other dental implant systems have limited research behind them. This in some ways can be compared to a car, in terms of a Rolls Royce is very different to a Skoda. A Rolls Royce would be known for its quality.

Recently a patient attended our dental practice from Russia claiming to have recently had the latest dental implant placed. A radiograph was taken of the patient and in reality they had a blade implant which dates back to the late 80’s early 90’s.

Implant dentistry is an area of dentistry which is constantly evolving, with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of research on a regular basis. Implant companies who invest this money in their research and have a long standing track record are likely to cost slightly more. Because of their reliable track record they are generally considered the “better implant systems”, whereas new implant systems may not have this proven track record.

Treatment can also vary in cost depending on the type of post that is used as this can vary from a gold metal post to a titanium post or a ceramic post. A ceramic post can produce a better aesthetic appearance but is not always ideal with a long spanned bridge where a number of teeth are being replaced. The ceramic posts are generally considered very good in the aesthetic area but tend to cost slightly more.

The degree of cost can sometimes vary due to the experience of the dentist concerned. Some dentists have been placing implants like ourselves for over 20 years and have placed many thousands of implants. Where as some dentists may have only attended a short course and there is a large learning curve with dental implants. As a result of this it is always wise to confirm the number of implants a dental practitioner has placed.

Some patients seek treatment abroad, this can be risky, as if things go wrong it may be difficult to go back to the dentist abroad and in England you have considerable protection under various legal aspects and all dentists in this country have to be registered.

What a patient should do

Before agreeing to treatment at any dental practice it is worth looking at the experience of the dentist concerned, the type of implants used and confirm they are a good quality implant and you feel that all treatment options have been fully explained to you beforehand.

Posted in: Dental Implants, Replace Missing Teeth

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Scott Arms: Award-winners at Sandwell Business Awards

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Scott Arms Dental Practice proudly collected their award for Employer of the Year at the Sandwell Business Awards 2016. Principle dentist, Dr Phil Tangri is seen with Amie Kavanagh a therapist at the practice receiving the award from ITV presenter Sameena Ali-Khan and Paul Deep.

The event was a pleasure to attend and celebrated the hard work of local businesses. Scott Arms Dental Practice is dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care, but we certainly acknowledge this is only possible when there is a great team on board. We therefore are immensely honoured to be given the Employer of the Year title.

Careers Opportunity

We are always looking for passionate individuals wishing to join our great team. This includes dental nurses, hygiene-therapists and laboratory technicians. Our opening hours gives variety to working opportunities.

If you are interested, please send an email to info@scottarmsdentalpractice.com requesting current vacancies.

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Who exactly is the Tooth Fairy?

Who is the tooth fairy?After Father Christmas is finished making toys at the North Pole, he’ll no doubt be sipping cocktails in Barbados along with the Easter Bunny. So have pity for the poor Tooth Fairy, who has to work all year round without a single day off. That’s real job dedication for you.

Not only does the tooth fairy have an amazing work ethic, but she’s generous too. Thanks to a survey this year, we know that tooth fairy payments have increased by a whopping 40% in the last five years alone. (Or perhaps this is just a sign that the British economy is finally recovering.)

The survey also revealed that the average payment the tooth fairy leaves for a tooth is £2.10. This average varies geographically though. The tooth fairy is the most generous in London, where she leaves £2.50 per tooth, and the stingiest in Newcastle, where she only leaves £1 on average.

So where did the tooth fairy come from?

References to the tooth fairy date as far back as 1908, when a newspaper article at the time said, “If a boy takes his little tooth and puts it under the pillow when he goes to bed, the tooth fairy will come in the night and take it away, and in its place will leave some little gift.” The article goes on to suggest that this ‘little gift’ can be a few pennies. If only our children would be happy with just a few pennies today!

And before this, French children left out their teeth in exchange for money. But it wasn’t a fairy that took their teeth – it’s was mouse instead. The idea was that by letting a mouse take the teeth, the child’s new teeth would be as a strong as mouse’s. At the beginning of the 20h century, Americans crossed the French mouse myth with a Disney-style fairy, and voila – the modern-day tooth fairy was born. So we have the Americans to thank for the modern tooth fairy. Though let’s not be too ready with our praise, because they did also make the horrendous film “Tooth Fairy” with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as the titular fairy.

What’s the purpose of the tooth fairy?

Losing a tooth can be a scary experience for a small child, so the tooth fairy is a way to turn a scary experience into an exciting one. After all, who wouldn’t want to wake up with money under their pillow?

And money doesn’t have to be the only thing the tooth fairy leaves – she can also leave a letter as well. A hand-written note from the fairy can certainly make the event more personal to your child. It can also be a chance for the tooth fairy to stress the importance of good dental hygiene. After all, the tooth fairy can sometimes be a stronger influence on children than parents! A letter can also help the tooth fairy discourage children from spending all her money on sweets…

So let’s hear it for the tooth fairy, unsung hero of the dental world. And maybe if we all keep our teeth really clean, she’ll be able to afford a bit of time off to join Father Christmas in the Barbados.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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Finding Floss Fiddly? Try Interdental Brushes

Daily tooth brushing is an important part of maintaining good oral health. The bristles of a toothbrush are very effective at cleaning accessible areas of the teeth but do not reach interdentally to clean the surfaces where two teeth meet. Dental floss is a common solution and has existed in a similar form for over 200 years when dentists first began recommending silk thread for cleaning between teeth. Some patients are very comfortable using floss but others find it time consuming and somewhat awkward to handle. A 2015 US national survey found that 18% of participants said they would prefer washing a sink full of dishes than flossing their teeth daily. The value of interdental cleaning is still important, so those who feel they can relate to this opinion may be pleasantly surprised by interdental brushes’ ease of use.

Why should I clean interdentally?

Preventing a condition is always preferable to treating it. Dental caries, or tooth decay, is caused by acid from plaque bacteria living on the tooth surface dissolving the tooth’s hard structure. The point of contact of two teeth is a common place for decay to begin because it is not so well cleaned by regular tooth brushing alone, leaving the plaque bacteria behind.

Gingivitis is the technical term for inflamed gums. Gums can become irritated from products released by bacteria living on the nearby teeth. Reducing bacterial numbers by cleaning between the teeth can prevent the onset of gingivitis. Gingivitis may also progress to periodontitis when the bacteria are allowed to mature. Their products then begin to irritate deeper than the gums and onto the tooth’s bone support. Periodontitis is in fact the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

What are interdental brushes?

Interdental brushes are small brushes that are able to fit between the teeth. As the brush is gently pushed through the space, a correctly sized brush will fill the space to give a superior clean to a thin piece of floss.

Many styles of interdental brushes are available. Some are held between the thumb and forefingers, others have longer handles and right angle heads if the user prefers. The spacing between our teeth varies around our mouths so the size of the bristle heads is important. The largest size that passes through a space comfortably will provide the most effective clean by brushing against the sides.

interdental-brush

How do I use interdental brushes?

The use of interdental brushes before or after tooth brushing is open to debate, but as each instrument cleans a different part of the tooth you will see the benefits whichever you favour. Some patients only use interdental brushes as a tool when they have food trapped, but interdental brushing should form part of a daily oral hygiene regime.

Find the size of the interdental brush that fits snugly through the tooth gap and hold it comfortably in your hand.

Enter the brush between the teeth, starting in a logical sequence not to leave any tooth spaces out.

Rinse the brush between insertions as to avoid transferring debris between teeth. You will also see on the bristles what was once being left behind on the teeth after tooth brushing.

Most brands of interdental brushes are reusable so just like a regular toothbrush, keep it on the side and replace it when the bristles begin appearing worn.

Even if using interdental brushes gently and correctly sized, you may still experience some discomfort and/or bleeding when you first begin their use. This can be a sign of sore gums (gingivitis) and you will be benefiting greatly from continuing with the routine. Gingivitis is reversible so once the teeth have had fewer bacteria for several days, the symptoms of inflammation will begin to disappear. If you do remain concerned, please speak with your dentist.

TePe is one of the many interdental brush brands available here in the UK that we as dentists would recommend. Their short YouTube video however gives some insight into the general use of interdental brushes.

If you have any further questions, your dentist or hygienist will be happy to help.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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What to do with a chipped tooth

Chipped tooth

Imagine you’re out bowling with friends. You strut to the lane with the ball, swing your arm back, and – smack! You’ve accidentally hit your friend in the face! Now she has a chipped front tooth. So what do you do?

How can a tooth chip?

A tooth can chip when you:

  • Bite down on something hard
  • Fall and hit your mouth on the ground
  • Get hit in the mouth

Incisors often chip after a blow to the mouth, because of their vulnerable position at the front of the mouth. Molars are more susceptible to chipping when chewing hard foods.

What’s it like to have a chipped tooth?

You will usually quickly notice the sharp area with your tongue. A chipped tooth probably won’t hurt unless the broken piece is large.

What to do if you’ve chipped a tooth

  • Phone your dentist as soon as possible to make a non-emergency appointment. A chipped tooth is only a non-emergency and may not need treatment at all. But you should still see your dentist because she will be able to file down the chipped area and check for any hidden damage.
  • Bring the tooth fragment to the dentist appointment because she may be able to reattach it. In the meantime, store the fragment safely in a container and cover it with milk or saliva.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if the tooth is painful.
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water as a natural disinfectant.
  • If your damaged tooth is now sharp and jagged, cover it with wax paraffin or sugarless gum to prevent it cutting your tongue, lips and cheeks.
  • Avoid chewing hard food with the injured tooth because it may cause more of the tooth to break off.

At the dentist

The dental treatment you will require will depend on the severity of the damage.

  • Minimal: The smallest chips do not require any treatment at all.
  • Small: A very small chip can simply be smoothed down by your dentist and will not need to be filled.
  • Medium: For a medium-sized chip, the dentist will either make a filling or reattach the original chipped piece of tooth. If the tooth is a molar, then it might require a crown (a cap that covers your tooth) if the chewing surface is damaged.
  • Large: A severely broken tooth might mean an exposed nerve. In this case you will probably need a root canal to remove the damaged nerve, as well as a crown or a cap to replace the chipped tooth. This is more serious than a minor chip and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

What if it’s more serious than a chip?

You should seek the nearest emergency dentist immediately if your tooth is cracked, badly broken or knocked out completely. You can tell when you have a cracked tooth because pain will occur when you release a bite, but not when you bite down. You should also see a dentist immediately if you think you have nerve damage, which is characterised by persistent pain.

Posted in: Emergency Dentist

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Taking Care of Dentures

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There are lot of denture cleaners on the market, ranging from pastes and creams to solutions and tablets. The consensus is that provided you are following a cleaning regime that works for you and cleanses the dentures appropriately it doesn’t matter which products you rely on. However, here is some advice frequently given to denture wearers on how to successfully care for their dentures.

  • Take your denture out at night and leave it in a glass of water after following your preferred cleaning regime. If the dentures are left in the mouth overnight, bacteria and fungus may become trapped under the denture and the saliva won’t have an opportunity to clean the mouth. Leaving the dentures in water prevents any warping of the material.
  • When you take your denture out at night, brush your teeth as normal and then brush the denture with a soft toothbrush or denture brush. Use either soap and warm water or a special denture toothpaste. Never use regular toothpaste on your denture as it contains abrasives that may damage the material.
  • Place a hand towel either in the sink or on the surface you use to clean your denture as they can easily break if dropped.
  • Steradent make a range of effervescent denture cleaning solutions. Dentists generally recommend using these solutions according to the instructions a couple of times a week to help remove stains and dirt.
  • Fixatives can be used to help keep a denture in place but should be removed thoroughly from the denture and mouth at night. Brushing the denture and gums with a soft toothbrush and warm water should be adequate.
  • If your dentist suspects you have a fungal overgrowth on your denture, usually caused by the fungus Candida albicans, they might recommend leaving your denture in a sodium hypochlorite solution (like Milton or Dentural) for 20 minutes.
  • If your denture has a special soft lining or a metal base then use a cleaning regime recommended by your dentist as some products, particularly effervescent solutions, may cause damage.
  • If your denture is still dirty after following the recommended cleaning regimes, your dentist will be able to clean it for you with specialist tools. Mention this to your dentist next time you go.
  • If your denture causes you any pain, make an emergency appointment at the dentist to have it adjusted. Most adjustments can be made chairside by the dentist, but in some cases the denture may need to be returned to the laboratory for a short period of time.
  • Never try and adjust your denture yourself. If you have any problems with the denture make an emergency appointment at your dentist.
  • It is still important to visit a dentist, even if you have no teeth, as oral diseases such as bacterial and fungal infections can still affect the soft tissues of the mouth. It is also important to visit a dentist so they can complete the recommended cancer screening that every patient receives during their check up.
  • Posted in: General Dentistry

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