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 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


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 [email protected] requesting current vacancies.

Posted in: News

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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.


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


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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The Secrets of Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening secrets

We in Britain are proud of our natural-looking teeth. Just compare us to some of our friends over the pond, who have teeth so white they risk road accidents by dazzling incoming traffic. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures in the good ol’ US of A, but more and more of us in the UK are choosing to get our teeth whitened too. So what do you need to know about teeth whitening?

Searching for whitening home remedies in Google brings up a plethora of ideas, ranging from the plausible (stop smoking) to the not-so-plausible (brush your teeth with a banana peel). Meanwhile supermarket shelves heave with toothpastes claiming to whiten your teeth, but try one at home and you’ll find they’ll only brighten them a shade or two at most. Even mouthwashes are getting in on the act, claiming they can restore your teeth’s natural colour – even though in reality they only remove the most superficial of stains.

Here’s the truth about teeth whitening: the real, most effective solution is whitening at your dentist. That’s not the same bleach as under your sink, mind you. We’re talking about dental bleach here. And the best place to start a whitening treatment is in the care of a professional – your dentist.

Teeth whitening can take as little as an hour, thanks to the futuristic technology of ‘laser whitening’. Here, the dentist paints bleach onto your teeth and then shines a laser on them to activate the whitening effect.

A cheaper but much longer method is to wear a mouth guard filled with a whitening gel. The guard must be worn for a few hours every day for several weeks. A trained dental professional should make the mouth guard to ensure it fits properly.

Also, you’ll need to consider that teeth whitening is only temporary. You’ll have to whiten them again after a few months or years as the effect wears off. You can make the whitening last longer by limiting your coffee, tea and red wine intake, as these will all stain your teeth. Also, keep in mind that teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. It won’t work on false teeth, fillings, veneers or crowns.

Teeth whitening isn’t available on the NHS because it’s a cosmetic treatment, so you’ll need a private dentist instead. Some beauty salons offer to whiten teeth, but in Britain this practise is illegal, because dental professionals are the only people licensed to do it. This is because the procedure can be dangerous if done improperly: an unqualified practitioner can damage your tooth enamel or even burn your gums with the bleach.

You can also find DIY kits on the internet to whiten your teeth at home, but the NHS doesn’t recommend these either. For one thing, the provided mouth guard might not fit properly, causing bleach to leak into your mouth. So you should always seek a dental professional if you want your teeth whitened, because they understand how to do it properly and safely.

Posted in: Teeth Whitening

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5 ways to take better care of your teeth


Taking good care of your teeth is important to remove plaque and to reduce the long-term risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Yet despite this, many people only use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth, even though there are several other additional ways you can use to ensure your teeth stay healthy.


Dentists recommend that everyone should floss, because it removes plaque and food from between your teeth where your toothbrush simply can’t reach. In fact, you should floss every night before brushing, and you may also need to floss during the day if food gets regularly stuck in your teeth. If you’ve never flossed before, then you should expect some minor gum bleeding when you first start, while your gums get used to the abrasion. Remember to pay special attention to the teeth at the back of your mouth, because these are the teeth hardest to reach, and therefore usually the most neglected.


Mouthwash is not just for keeping your breath fresh – it can also reduce plaque and gum disease. But don’t make the common mistake of rinsing your mouth with water afterwards, because this will reduce the effectiveness of the mouthwash. Also, be careful when giving mouthwash to young children, because if they are not properly shown how to use it, they may accidentally swallow the rinse.

Electric toothbrush

You may think an electric toothbrush is an unnecessary expense, but they are actually better at removing plaque than regular toothbrushes. Try to buy one with oscillating heads (these are heads that rotate in opposite directions) as this is the most effective type of electric toothbrush.

Brushing properly

Even if you’re brushing your teeth the recommended minimum of two times a day, your efforts could still be going to waste if you’re not brushing them properly. For example, you may be neglecting to brush certain areas well enough, leading to plaque build-up in these areas. If you think this may be the case, then you can buy plaque disclosing tablets, which will help reveal any trouble spots. These tablets will dye any plaque left over after brushing and thereby highlight any areas you missed. But also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t brush with too much force, as this can prematurely wear down the enamel protecting your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive in particular areas, then this could be a sign you’re brushing too hard. Instead, use small circular movements rather than large heavy movements. You can even ask your dentist to watch you brushing your teeth, and they can then advise you on your technique.

Get a regular check-up

Finally, you should see a dentist regularly, because problems are much easier to solve if they’re caught early. The NHS recommends that adults go for a check-up at least every two years, though you will probably need to go more frequently if you have existing problems. Children, on the other hand, should see the dentist at least once a year.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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Volunteering in Cambodia with Dentaid


For the month of March 2015 Scott Arms Dental Practice will be donating £1 from every course of treatment to support our Hygienist Amie Kavanagh, who will volunteering in Cambodia with the charity Dentaid.

Dentaid is a charity dedicated to eradicating dental pain across the world. They work in some of the worlds poorest and most remote communities.

In June we are sending our dental hygienist Miss Amie Kavanagh over to Cambodia to volunteer and provide dental treatment within disadvantaged communities. She will be providing pain relieving treatment, fissure sealants and preventative oral health advice to children.

As a practice we are fully supporting Amie and will be fundraising over the next couple of months. As gesture of our support Scott arms dental practice will be donating £1 to Dentaid for every new treatment plan for the month of March.

Please visit Amie’s donation page for more information, and if you can spare the money please help donate to this fantastic charity:

Posted in: Charity Event

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