New laws restricting the use of mercury based fillings came into law from July 2018.
From July 1st 2018, new laws came into being in the UK, restricting the use of amalgam fillings. From that date, they can no longer be used in patients under 15 or in pregnant or breastfeeding women, unless there are genuine medical reasons for doing so.
This new ruling has led to some of our Bedford patients asking us whether anything needs to be done about their teeth that already have amalgam fillings.
One of the main reasons for this new ruling is related to the use of mercury compounds in this particular treatment. However, it is important to note that this is not considered to be because of any danger from its presence in amalgam, but because of concerns about the level of mercury that reaches the environment from this process. To all intents and purpose, the General Dental Council’s agreement is that amalgam fillings are still safe and patients should not be concerned. However, we do understand the various concerns and we support a controlled phase out of amalgam for this purpose.
So despite the declaration that it is still safe to use, it is reasonably likely that we will continue to see further restrictions placed upon it and cosmetic white fillings increasingly used as a matter of routine for dental fillings.
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Feel relaxed and confident on your holiday with healthy and attractive teeth!
Most of us look forward to our annual holidays. A few weeks in the sun, or on the ski slopes, can certainly give us a chance to relax and wind down, before heading back to our normal lives. Understandably, when we go, we want to look our best. For some, this means going to the gym or going on a diet, in the hope of attaining a body that looks good on the beach.
For others though, it is often a great opportunity to take action to really improve their smile.
As most people will be going on holiday during the summer months ahead, this rules out some treatments which can take several months for the process to be completed. There are a couple of procedures though that can change your smile for the better in just a short time.
Having a teeth whitening procedure is one of the easiest ways to give your teeth a pre holiday boost. From an initial examination to completion of the whitening treatment can take just a couple of weeks using our “at home” system. We provide customised whitening trays which are designed especially for you, to ensure a safe and comfortable fit. These trays hold the whitening gel which gently and safely bleaches the surface and internal parts of your teeth to create a great new smile!
The trays provided are yours to keep and can be used again at a later date if you wish to top up the whiteness. Just two quick points of caution here. If it has been a long time since you used the trays, or if you have had dental work done since the last time, do have them checked by your Bedford cosmetic dentist. Loose fitting trays may lead to leaking of the whitening agent which could cause irritation to the lips and gums. Secondly, always buy the gel from your dentist, and never over the internet. There are potentially dangerous whitening gels available and it really isn’t worth the risk for a few pounds less.
Looking for something a little more permanent?
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Why healthy bone is necessary for implant placement, and how bone grafts can help
Implant procedures are becoming more routine than ever for replacing a missing tooth. As we have mentioned before, in our Dental Centre Bedford blogs these offer a strength and longevity that no other tooth replacement method can equal.
It is worth remembering though, that although the procedure is more widely used, certain conditions have to exist in order for the implant to be placed and remain healthy.
For example, smokers and drinkers who refuse to stop for several months are not ideal candidates for this treatment. The increased risk of periodontitis means that the titanium implant may not bond successfully with the bone and may well fail altogether.
Whilst implants are suitable for the majority, there are other categories of people who may not be suitable, and one of those is where there is bone loss in the jaw area.
What causes bone loss?
Both smoking and significant alcohol consumption can contribute to bone loss. Whilst these habits are largely avoidable, loss of bone density also occurs when a tooth is lost. As one of the main roles of the jawbone is to hold teeth in place, when a tooth is no longer present, bone is re-absorbed and its resources are then used elsewhere in the body.
Because the titanium implant requires sufficient healthy bone for placement, this can create a problem for the patient, so a bone graft procedure is necessary before treatment can proceed.
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Tackling the effects of ageing on our skin in Bedford
It can be difficult to determine what actually constitutes a healthy diet. Older people would probably argue that the ‘meat and two veg’ approach worked for them, and, although the vegetables may have been overcooked, there was very little processed food available which contained additives and the high sugar levels that we often see now!
Younger people may be be inclined to avoid this approach though, and opt for a more selective diet such as veganism or gluten free etc. Whichever is the healthier though, is this enough to keep your skin young looking?
A balanced diet
A balanced diet which includes a lot of fruit and veg is generally believed to be beneficial for the skin. These contain many vitamins and minerals which help to maintain elasticity along with high water content which helps in ‘flushing’ away toxins and keeping the skin supple. Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes too is hugely beneficial. A quick glance at the skin of a regular smoker will soon tell you why! In addition to that of course, are the significant adverse effects of smoking on your teeth and gums.
With a little help
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Many patients might be aware of the word, but do you know what it is?
There are some dental terms that patients hear us use, that they likely already understand reasonably well.
Tartar is one of those words that dentists use quite frequently, and many patients know is not a good thing, but may have little knowledge of what it really is.
In today’s blog from your Bedford dentist, we look in more detail at tartar and why it needs to be removed from your teeth and gum line.
What is tartar?
Tartar is actually quite a common dental problem, one which most people will have to some degree at various times. Poor oral health habits and lack of correct cleaning will make the situation worse though.
Sometimes also called calculus, tartar is a buildup of minerals and bacterial deposits which usually forms either on the teeth or just below the gum line. Its rough surface attracts plaque, a collection of bacteria which is damaging to both teeth and gums. The roughness also attracts staining and you may find that your teeth appear darker if you have tartar.
Why is it a problem?
As mentioned earlier, the rough surface of tartar helps harmful bacteria to collect on its surface. These can go on to cause significant oral health problems, and in particular, gum disease. Although early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, can usually be reversed through relatively non invasive means; if it is allowed to develop, periodontitis is a distinct possibility. This can also damage the bone holding your teeth in place and tooth loss is not out of the question.
How to get rid of tartar
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Which is the best type of toothbrush for your teeth?
If you have already switched to an electric toothbrush, you may be wondering why so many people stick with the traditional type.
Using an electric toothbrush feels much easier and the high speed rotation of the bristles can leave your teeth feeling much cleaner. The question of which type is best to use often arises in conversation with our Bedford dental patients.
At The Dental Centre Bedford, we believe that it is a personal choice which type of brush patients use but there are advantages of using an electric one, as we will see below.
The standard type of toothbrush has been around for centuries. The type of bristles used and the general design has changed over the years, but the fundamental principles remain, with the user manually brushing their teeth to remove staining, food debris and bacteria. Provided that you are diligent, this is a perfectly acceptable way to clean your teeth. Too many people though, do not brush their teeth correctly, and, rather that using the recommended gentle circular motion, instead, apply far too much pressure when brushing, often damaging the protective enamel of the teeth. Others of course, don’t apply enough pressure and don’t brush for long enough!
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The promise of a warm summer ahead could spell trouble for our teeth!
It could turn out to be a false promise, but the signs seem to be that we might be in for a hot, or at least warm, summer. There is no guarantee in this country of course, but it is worth taking a look at some of the problems it can generate for our teeth.
Our eating habits tend to change in hot weather, with winter comfort foods often abandoned for salads. Not all changes are as good for our health though, as our Bedford dentist explains.
One of the foods that we most associate with summer is ice cream and this has long been a popular way to try to cool ourselves down on a hot day. Even a plain ice cream will contain high levels of sugar though, to say nothing of those with extra toppings that children are so fond of. Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t eat ice cream of course, that would probably be unrealistic. But it is important to be aware of the potential harm it could cause and to make an extra effort to keep our teeth cleaned properly afterwards.
We have discussed the potential harm that high sugar fizzy drinks can cause before. Water should be your “go to” drink to make sure you keep well hydrated in the hot weather, and fizzy drinks and juices saved for occasional treats.
A chilled beer can seem incredibly tempting, and no doubt, a large quantity will be drunk during hot afternoon barbeques. Alcoholic drinks are often high in sugar though and the additional dehydrating factor of alcohol can mean trouble, not only for our teeth but our gums as well. A dry mouth caused by alcohol consumption, especially on a hot day, can create the perfect environment for gum disease to thrive. In addition to this, accidents are far more likely to happen if we have one too many!
Talking of the barbeque …
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Not all cracks in your teeth are visible but they can still cause problems.
Often, when a tooth cracks, we know about it. It can weaken the tooth and a small piece breaks away, or there is a sudden and obvious discomfort when it happens. It doesn’t always happen this way though and the problem can be more difficult to detect, especially when it is either a very small crack, or it occurs beneath the gum line. Sometimes, these can even be difficult to detect with the use of x-rays.
At The Dental Centre Bedford, we always ask our patients to be honest with us when they come for their six monthly check up. We know that some people prefer not to ‘bother the dentist’ with minor issues, but these can sometime lead to deterioration of the tooth if not treated. So if you are noticing a change in your teeth, however small it is, please do mention it to us.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth
Where the crack is not obvious, there are a few symptoms which you may notice when this occurs. It is unlikely that any discomfort will be constant, such as might be the case with tooth decay. More likely, you will notice an increase in sensitivity when consuming hot or cold food and drinks. Also, when you put pressure on the teeth when eating, you may notice some discomfort. If you do, please arrange to see one of our Bedford dental team as soon as possible.
Aside from obvious accidents, teeth can crack for a number of reasons. These might include:
- A tooth weakened by a large filling
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Misaligned teeth causing excess pressure
- Root canal treated teeth weakening over time
Treating a cracked tooth
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From young to old, oral health care is important throughout our lives.
Modern dental care has moved on from that provided to previous generations, and a wide range of procedures are now available to help you have great looking teeth as well as just healthy ones. These have been a huge benefit to many patients, not only from an aesthetics point of view, but also helping patients feel better about themselves, often helping with their confidence too.
Despite this, it is important that we never forget the basics of good oral health care. This is the bedrock for any cosmetic improvements that patients may wish to make. There is little point in having a teeth whitening procedure if your teeth are badly decayed, for example. At The Dental Centre Bedford, it is our aim to help all of our patients, however old they are, to have a healthy mouth.
One way that we aim to help people to keep their teeth and gums healthy is to make sure that we provide a friendly caring service that encourages patients to return for regular appointments. However much a patient might be aware that they should do this, if their dental practice is unfriendly and unsympathetic to their anxiety, there is a reasonable chance that some patients will fail to return, allowing their teeth to deteriorate.
Our team of friendly and sympathetic dentists at our Bedford practice are fully aware that how they treat their patients can make a real difference to whether patients return to have their teeth and gums examined on a regular basis. We also endeavour to see any patient who contacts us with a dental emergency, as soon as we possibly can.
Children’s dental care
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Aesthetic and practical advantages of cosmetic fillings available at our Bedford dentist.
Nearly everybody will have a dental filling at some point in their life, whether due to decay or a broken tooth. If you have had one, the chances are that it will be made from amalgam, a combination of metals which offers an excellent level of strength but which is very dark in colour.
This is one of the main reasons why an increasing number of patents at The Dental Centre Bedford are now opting to have white fillings as an alternative to amalgam fillings.
Whilst the most noticeable advantage of using these cosmetic fillings is in the appearance, they also offer other practical benefits which may be less obvious to some of our patients.
It is worth a brief look at the chief reason why patients opt for this cosmetic dental procedure. The reality is, that even though amalgam is strong, unfortunately it is also very dark in colour. Even an amalgam filling on a rear tooth becomes visible when we laugh or yawn. Some patients do also express concern about the use of mercury in amalgam, although this has been declared safe for most categories of patient.
Less invasive treatment
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