Why does the dentist use x-rays?

X-rays also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. X-rays are used to diagnose early signs of tooth decay. Teeth and bones are very dense, so they absorb the x-rays while the x-rays pass more easily through gums and cheeks to give a clear view of the health of your teeth, jawbone and supporting tissues.

Use of X-rays

Early tooth decay does not show many physical signs. X-rays are able to detect decay under fillings or between teeth in areas that are not visible to the naked eye. They will also show abscesses and infections in the roots of teeth. They also enable the dentist to determine the level and health of bone present in your jaw. This is especially important prior to orthodontic or dental implant treatment as it can affect the success of any treatment.

In children x-rays can also help to show where their adult teeth will erupt or in adults where wisdom teeth are.

Types of X-rays

There are various types of x-ray. Some show one or two teeth and their roots, while others can take pictures of several teeth at once.

Some of the most common types of X-rays performed include:

  • Periapical – Provides a view of the entire tooth, from the crown to the bone that helps to support the tooth.
  • Bite-Wing – Offers a visual of both the lower and upper teeth. This type of X-ray shows the dentist how these teeth touch one another and helps to determine if decay is present between back teeth.
  • Panoramic – Shows a view of the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses and the joints of the jaw, and is usually taken when a patient may need orthodontic treatment or implant placement.
  • Occlusal – Offers a clear view of the floor of the mouth to show the bite of the upper or lower jaw. This kind of X-ray highlights children’s tooth development to show the baby and adult teeth.

Not all dentists have the facilities to take all types of X-rays. If you require a specialist x-ray prior to treatment you may need to be referred to an alternative surgery. This will ensure that you receive the highest possible quality of care.

Dangers of X-rays

The radiation received from a dental x-ray is incredibly small and much less than is received from natural sources, including minerals in the soil and from our general environment. Constant advances in technology, including the shift to digital imaging plates, and the fact that the dentist will only take X-rays when they are clinically necessary mean that the risk from dental X-rays are kept as small as possible.

Frequency of X-rays

When you first attend a dental practice the dentist will recommend that you have X-rays taken, unless you have had X-rays taken very recently. X-rays help to form a fundamental part of your dental health record and the dentist will build on this every time you visit the practice. If you change dentist, your X-rays and records are not be needed by your new dentist. If they are important, our dental team will ask for your permission to have them set across or ask that you collect them from your old dentist.

After this X-rays are recommended every 9 to 24 months depending on various dental risk factors, including history of decay, age and condition of your mouth.


You should inform the dentist is you know or believe that you may be pregnant prior to any treatment. They will not take x-rays until after the baby is born, unless they really have to.

REMEMBER Prevention is better than cure and that is why x-rays are used.

If you need more information or would like to discuss how dental x-rays are used during your dental treatment call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre today on 01622 682029 and book a consultation.

Top tips for fresh breath

In this month’s blog we look at some top fresh breath tips, to ensure that with a little diligence, your mouth can smell as pleasant as the smile it sits behind.

1.Brush your teeth twice a day

Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. This helps to remove plaque and food debris which if left can provide a breeding ground for bacteria. Don’t overdo things, though. If you brush too hard you can wear down your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.

2.Change your toothbrush regularly

Brushing your teeth builds a foundation for good oral care, and promoting fresh breath is part of the process. But you need to make sure you’re using a good toothbrush. It is important that you replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become worn.

3.Use interdental cleaning aids

Using interdental cleaning aids such as floss or interdental brushes helps to remove food that may become trapped in areas that brushing alone misses.

4.Don’t forget your tongue

Although brushing and flossing are staples of oral care, the tongue however is often neglected. Use your toothbrush or ideally a tongue scraper to help clean your tongue and tame the bad breath it causes.

5.Rinse your mouth

Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath and doesn’t just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breath at its source.

6.Chew sugar free chewing gum

Chewing sugar free chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva flow. The saliva helps to wash away any food debris and bacteria that can cause bad breath.

7.Stop smoking

Smoking contributes greatly to bad breath. Tobacco dries out the mouth and can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even after brushing teeth.

8.Drink water

Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water to avoid dry mouth. Drinking water will help to keep odour under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria

9.Visit the dentist for regularly appointments

Attend for regular dental appointments as the dentist will be able to identify any problems which may be exacerbating your bad breath such as infections or gum disease.

Bad breath is one of life’s annoying little quirks. As unpleasant as it is, following these fresh breath tips will help to make your mouth healthier avoiding any potentially embarrassing situations.

If you would like further help and advice to prevent bad breath, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment today.

Dental implants – still not convinced?

Over the past few years there has been tremendous growth in the number of people turning to dental implants to replace missing teeth. In this article we look at the reasons for this.

Next best thing to natural teeth

Dental implants provide the closest possible replacement, currently available within the dental industry, to your natural teeth. As the field develops and evolves new treatments are introduced to help combat many of the problem’s patients face when trying to maintain their natural smile.

Long lasting and hard wearing!

Dental implants are strong and stable and if cared for properly should last for at least 10 years. Other restorations if looked after properly should last for 5-10 years, however after time they will need to be replaced and so overtime this may mean that they can work out more expensive than the initial outlay on a dental implant.

Enjoy life with no need to worry about your teeth!

Other options such as bridges or dentures can interfere with eating, smiling, speaking and other activities but with implants you do not need to worry. Once in place they should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth. They will function in the same way as your natural teeth so there is no need to worry about struggling to pronounce everyday words.

Retain your natural teeth

Bridges require that the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared and crowns put on them. This means damaging healthy teeth. Dental implants are totally self-supporting and this means that there will be no effect on the teeth on either side of the gap. Dental implants will also help to prevent the remaining teeth from moving or shifting into the gap caused by the missing tooth which in the long term can lead to complications with your bite.

Feel full of confidence and ready to take on the world!

Dental implants can give you your confidence back. There will no longer be any need to worry about missing teeth or worry about moving dentures. You will be able to join in the fun, with dental implants you will be able to get on with life and not let your teeth rule your decisions.

Eat a full and varied diet

You will no longer need to worry about the food you eat. With dental implants you will be able to eat a full and varied diet. You will not need to worry about the menu when invited to a friend’s for dinner or when you are out celebrating a special occasion, you can have your pick of the dishes.

Protect your healthy bone

When teeth are extracted there is a risk of loss of bone or deterioration of your jawbone. When not being used your jawbone loses its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only restoration that help to preserve and stimulate bone growth, helping to keep your jaw in tip top condition for many years to come.

High success rate

Dental implants have be tried, tested and adapted over many years and can now show a long track record of being reliable and providing long term successful outcomes. Dental implants can often give more guaranteed results than bridgework, removable appliances or retreatment of root canals.

Here at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre we provide 0% finance options to help interested patients spread the cost of dental implant treatments if they wish and we also regularly have special offers on dental implant treatment.

With all these benefits why wait any longer to see if dental implants are the right treatment to restore your missing teeth. Call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre today on 01622 682029 to book a consultation.

Keeping your teeth white following teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is an effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without damaging the teeth themselves. Treatment can be completed at home or in surgery by our trained team of dentists and hygienists and can be designed to fit around your schedule. Our dentists and hygienists are qualified to offer the best form of whitening treatment that meet your individual needs. Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre uses the most advanced teeth whitening materials provided by Pola, Zoom and Enlighten, all world leaders in teeth whitening products and systems. Results can be seen in as little as 2-3 weeks.

The effects of teeth whitening can last up to three years, but most people will require a top up every year to keep their teeth looking their best.

In this blog, we look at some simple ways you can ensure that your teeth stay white for as long as possible following teeth whitening.

  • Oral Hygiene Routine

It is important to ensure that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine to keep your teeth looking their best.

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean in between your teeth using interdental cleaning aids daily
  • Change your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if it becomes worn to ensure you are cleaning your teeth effectively
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Wherever possible try to limit them to mealtimes.
  • Stopping smoking will help prevent discolouration and staining.
  • Visit your dentist for regular routine dental appointments
  • Visit the hygienist

You may want to consider an appointment with the hygienist for a scale and polish. The hygienist is able to remove calculus and plaque build-up, which if left can cause discolouration of your teeth. They are also able to remove staining caused by smoking, food and drink and other lifestyle factors. As well as providing help and advice on the best oral hygiene routine to follow in between appointments.

  • Foods and drinks which stain your teeth

The key rule to follow is that if a food or drink has the ability to stain your clothes or the tablecloth it also has the ability to stain your teeth. If you are a fan of red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up on your teeth. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices and berries.

Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they’re eaten. Apples, raw carrots and celery can all help to keep teeth white.

If you would like to find out more information about teeth whitening contact Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, on 01622 682029 to book a consultation appointment today.

How to deal with tooth loss

No matter how well we all look after our teeth, there may come a point where it is not possible to save a tooth. No one wants to be left with a gap which can affect your confidence and self-esteem so in this month’s blog we look at the potential options to fill a space left by an extracted tooth.

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Why you shouldn’t put off your routine dental appointment

Here at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, we understand that a visit to the dentist is no-one’s favourite outing. It is, therefore, easy to see how for so many people a routine appointment at the dentist can get placed on the backburner.

However, putting off a trip to the dentist can have a dramatic effect on your oral health. Even those who take excellent care of their teeth put themselves at risk of serious oral conditions without a regular dental examination.

Here at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, we have put together our reasons why you should not postpone your routine dental examination.

  • Gum disease

Gum disease can affect anyone and is currently the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK. Gum disease can occur even in those who take good care of their teeth. Just because you brush and clean interdentally daily does not mean that you are using a proper and effective technique. Gum disease stems from areas missed with regular oral hygiene and once gum disease is present it is impossible to reverse the effect. However, with an effective oral hygiene routine and regular hygienist appointments it is possible to halt the spread of the disease to the point where you should be able to keep your natural teeth for life.

  • Cavities develop long before they become painful

Tooth decay occurs long before you feel any pain, so waiting until you are in pain before scheduling a dental appointment is a bad idea. By waiting too long you are far more likely to need extensive treatment such as root canal treatment, a crown or in worst case scenario the tooth may need to be extracted. The dentist will be able to detect problems as much as five years before they become painful, it is much easier to treat and reducing the need for time consuming and costly dental procedures.

  • Regular cleaning helps to reduce the build-up of stains

By attending for regular hygienist, it is possible to remove tartar and plaque build-up that it would not be possible to remove at home. The hygienist is also able to remove stains ensuring that your teeth remain bright and white.

  • Skipped dental appointments just mean more later

When you regular postpone dental examinations, you may think that you are saving yourself time and money, but in the end, you are just putting off the inevitable. Waiting until you experience a problem, means that you will require more extensive dental treatment in the long run, which is likely to require far more time away from work and leisure than a dental examination.

Call today on 01622 682029 to book your consultation at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre and ensure your teeth stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Spring clean your smile

With the first bulbs appearing and the feeling of spring in the air, now is the perfect time to get rid of the old and bring in the new.

This same principle can be applied to your oral health, over time it is easy for bad habits to creep in. So here at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, we have come up with our 5-point plan to get the spring back in your smile.

  1. 1. Oral Hygiene

In order to keep your teeth looking their best, it is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and use interdental cleaning aids to clean between teeth daily. If you just brush, you will miss over 40% off your teeth. You should aim to brush for at least two minutes to ensure the most effective clean and spit, don’t rinse as this will allow the fluoride to continue working protecting your teeth for longer. It is also important to ensure that you do not brush too hard as this can cause damage to the teeth and lead to toothbrush abrasion.

  1. 2. Diet

Eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods is not only bad for your body, it is also bad for your oral health. Why not use the spring to focus on a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fresh produce and limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes? As the weather gets warmer, consider how often you are consuming fizzy drinks. To help your teeth, use a straw with your fizzy drink as this will reduce the amount of acidic liquid that comes into contact with your teeth, reducing the risk of acid erosion.

  1. 3. Quit smoking

Smoking can have a detrimental effect on your teeth and gums, causing staining, gum disease, tooth loss and in the most serious cases oral cancer. Why not use this year’s No Smoking Day on the 13th March to take the leap and quit for good?

  1. 4. Book an appointment with the hygienist

The hygienist is focused on preventative dentistry, ensuring that you can keep your natural teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible. They will professionally clean your teeth, removing plaque and calculus which if left can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. The hygienist is also able to advise you on the best possible oral hygiene routine to follow at home in between appointments. All of this can help to reduce your chance of developing gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK. This will ensure that no matter what the time of year, your teeth will always be smile ready.

  1. 5. Budget for your dental treatment

Dental care should not be viewed as a luxury. To ensure you are always covered, why not consider joining our Membership Plan. This will enable you to spread the cost of your dental treatment into manageable monthly amounts and ensures that you make your oral health a top priority.

Looking for further help and advice on getting your smile spring ready? The team at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre are ready and waiting to help you start your journey to a brighter smile. Do not hesitate, call today on 01622 682029 and book an appointment.