Dental Health

Prevention

Preventative care is the idea that many issues can be detected early on and with appropriate action addressed before they can cause pain or require more complex intervention. Thankfully, preventative care is very effective and has led to less dental disease in the UK. It is because of this that regular check-ups are recommended.

Check-ups are formed of three parts*:

  1.  Your dentist will first discuss with you whether you have any problems and what you hope to achieve with your dental care.
  2.  Then they have a thorough look at your entire mouth, especially your teeth and gums. When necessary, any further checks such as x-rays will be delivered at no extra cost.
  3. Finally they will update you on what they have seen and if needed discuss treatment options with you, including written estimates.
 
 * If time allows they may perform simple treatments such as tooth cleaning during the check-up appointment. However, this cursory clean should not be mistaken for a hygienist appointment which is a dedicated 30 minutes.
 

Our experience shows that when young adults leave home, they are initially at a higher risk of developing serious tooth decay. We offer 18 to 25 year olds a reduced check-up fee to help support their dental health.

As soon as your child’s first tooth is visible it is important to brush their teeth twice a day, usually when 6 months old. As they get older encourage them to brush after you to practice.

To ensure the teeth are coming through correctly it is important to regularly bring your child to check-ups. This also helps your child get used to the sights, smells and sounds of the dental practice, allowing them to be more confident as they grow older.

Preventative dentistry means we will offer guidance on brushing technique and a healthy diet. Your dentist may also suggest applying fluoride varnish to  make the teeth more resistant to decay. Another simple and common treatment is a fissure sealants – a thin coating to make the adult molars easier to clean.

We treat children free of charge on the NHS.

Hygienists are vital members of the dental team. They focus on preventing and treating gum disease by promoting good oral hygiene.

In essence, any plaque (bacteria) on our teeth can trigger inflammation. This inflammation may show as bleeding gums, but in more severe cases can also lead to the bone and gums that hold the teeth in place receding. Alongside excellent cleaning at home, the extra support from a hygienist in cleaning your teeth will enable healthy gums.

Alongside their crucial role in maintaining gum health, a ‘scale and polish’ removes build-up and surface stains from your teeth leading to a cleaner and sometimes noticeable whiter smile.

Treatments for Health

Fillings generally fall into two types, metallic or white. Metallic fillings can be longer lasting whilst white materials are more aesthetic. Your dentist will explain the differences whenever this type of restoration is recommended.

  • White fillings are made from a composite resin. Their chief advantage is the way they blend so well with your natural teeth while also supporting the remaining structure of a damaged tooth to reduce the risk of further breakage or discomfort.
  • Amalgam is the traditional silver/grey coloured filling. Whilst composite fillings are more natural looking, amalgam fillings can offer a durable and long-lasting solution at times when white fillings would not. As such, amalgam fillings still play an important role today.
  • Gold fillings offer a superb outcome that is likely to last longer than other fillings types. However, the high cost of gold and the fact patients prefer more natural looking alternatives means they are rarely placed these days.

In the middle of a healthy tooth there is living tissue that we call the pulp, it is made up of blood vessels and nerves. Occasionally teeth die or the pulp can become inflamed. This may be caused by trauma, decay, deep fillings, or sometimes there is no obvious reason.

 

 

Symptoms of pulpal problems include sensitivity to cold and/or hot drinks, a throbbing ache and pain on biting. On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all.

If pulp problems are not managed early on then infection around the tooth may cause swellings and other serious issues.

Root canal treatment provides a solution of cleaning out the inside of the tooth, including any infection. then sealing it closed.

 

What is involved?

  • The area of the mouth to be treated is numbed with a local anaesthetic and the damaged tooth tissue removed painlessly.
  • The root canals are then located and measured using x-rays or electric location devices.
  • The canals are then cleaned.
  • Finally, the root canals are filled to prevent further infection.
  • After the root canal the tooth will need at least a filling and possibly a crown to provide the best long term success rate.
  • After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort should be relieved by taking painkillers.

 

After root canal treatment the tooth contains no nerves. However, there are normal tissues surrounding the root: the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone. After a while, a root canal treated tooth should feel no different to any other.

 

How long does root canal last?

Very occasionally a root canal treatment will fail and further treatment may be required. However, any symptoms will usually pass with time. Generally, root treated teeth should last indefinitely but they can become brittle. This can cause part of the tooth to fracture and for that reason, dentists will sometimes recommend a crown.

Daily brushing and flossing are essential to avoid gum disease and decay. As always, regular check-ups are essential and will enable your dentist to detect any problems in their early stages.

A crown (sometimes known as a cap), is a cover that is fitted over a tooth using a dental adhesive. They can be recommended for a number of reasons. They can offer the very superior aesthetics required in an aesthetic makeover, or they can simply restore strength where the structure of a tooth has been compromised. Many materials are available, ranging from the oldest which is gold to cutting-edge ceramics. Modern ceramics achieve the excellent aesthetic results that our patients increasingly desire.

What is involved?

  • We prepare the affected tooth by removing a thin layer of the outer surface, being sure to leave a strong core to maintain the health of the tooth.
  • Impressions are taken and the shade of your teeth noted to allow for a perfect match.
  • We then fit a temporary restoration to protect the prepared tooth while awaiting your permanent crown.
  • The impressions are sent to our laboratory where skilled technicians fabricate your final restoration. 
  • When ready, the crown will be checked for fit and appearance and then fixed in place with a special dental adhesive.

How long do crowns last for?

  • Crowns are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease. Ceramic layers can chip or fracture, but this is virtually unheard of with the most modern materials. At St. Oswald’s our ‘superior’ crowns are covered by a 5-year guarantee, (conditions apply).
  • Daily brushing and flossing are essential to avoid gum disease and decay at the most vulnerable portion of the crown which is the junction between the tooth and the crown.
  • As always, regular check-ups are essential and will enable your dentist to detect any problems in their early stages.